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Wife of almost ten years is emotionally cheating on me

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This0is0Fine posted 1/7/2020 16:32 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:05 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/7/2020 17:02 PM

I'd also recommend that you decide what your line-in-the-sand will be if she fails the poly. Take a financial beating in the divorce or take a mental beating and an early death living with a cheater for the rest of your life.

This0is0Fine, this is what I've been contemplating over the holidays after my WW had a definitive "deception indicated" polygraph fail on December 23.

It may help you to know that I had not given my wife an ultimatum about doing a polygraph until I had languished in limbo for three years and came here in August seeking advice. Obviously I wish I'd brought all this to a head a long time ago, but I don't regret giving my children three years of stability.

That said, limbo is quite simply hellish. It has taken a toll on me and I don't wish the same for you. I'm passionate about posting in cases like yours here at JFO because I can see all the mistakes I made in the early days and I don't want to see someone else go down that path. I didn't have a community advising me at the time, and I wish that I had. I understand you love your wife, or you wouldn't be here. All of us as betrayed spouses are in the same boat.

But I can tell you the anger and clarity that comes with time is haunting and severe. So avoid limbo at all costs. Do the poly and get clarity.

Thumos posted 1/7/2020 17:06 PM

I have to destroy what we have built to get something else.

It's really important for you not to think this way. As time goes by, this will make more sense, but you really need to begin to accept that she already destroyed it, not you. That's not on your shoulders.

This isn't just semantics. My IC has made this a really overarching point. He's said on many occasions that I have to realize the marriage is dead. Really dead. Turning blue and about to be buried. There's a chance for a new one. Maybe. But the old one is REALLY dead. And you, my brother, didn't kill it. She did.

Westway posted 1/7/2020 18:02 PM

This question isn't irrelevant, but it's a multifactor optimization isn't it. If the only question is, "Is my current partner the best I can do?" you are laying the foundation for dissatisfaction. Just looking for the next higher branch whenever you can get it. My wife and I have worked hard to have what we have and get where we are in life together. One thing I know about her that I can never know about a future wife, she loved me when I had nothing. We have gotten along very well on every major life decision, house purchases, having children, how to raise children. Aside from this emotional affair our relationship has been a model of positivity and consistency. So is she the best I can do? Can I get all those things and someone that won't emotionally cheat on me? Sure, it's possible. But it's a whole new investment, it's a whole new trial, and I have to destroy what we have built to get something else. So if the strict question is "Is she the best out there period?" the answer is almost certainly no for me, and for anyone in a relationship. It's very unlikely you actually found the best person for you. If the question is instead, "Is the relationship and life we have built and need to rebuild better than the life I will have if we get divorce and I build something new?" The answer is more likely than not, yes.

I think you are in a "sunk cost fallacy".

Individuals commit the sunk cost fallacy when they continue a behavior or endeavor as a result of previously invested resources (time, money or effort) This fallacy, which is related to loss aversion and status quo bias, can also be viewed as bias resulting from an ongoing commitment

How long will you continue to invest in something that continues to decline in reciprocation, as she is doing? The more you give, the less she is giving.

[This message edited by Westway at 6:04 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

PassThis posted 1/7/2020 18:34 PM


She says she is sorry frequently.

Actions which back up the words:

Here's what would seal the deal for me:

1) She schedules the polygraph. She should be begging for it if she is telling the truth now that we are out of a high anxiety state at all times.

2) She chooses to leave her job.

I hope that she passes the poly and finds a better job that gives her the same pride, and pays her better for her efforts.

Also, I hope that she will realize that her "self" is also improved by those actions as well. She gains self-satisfaction that she pulled out of her death spiral with infidelity, that she demonstrated that she is worthy of a devoted husband's love and support, that she is a "good" person who can face and fix her flaws, and that she can have the best thing anyone can have in life, (IMHO) a great marriage with a husband (you) that has proven he stands by his vows and commitments. I then hope you are as happy.

There is probably some dose of hopium in the previous two paragraphs. But, you have to have goals which include some positives and a little stretch, and then go out and achieve them. Remember I am a quant decision scientist guy, and not a pessimist or I could not be in a risk business. Thumos, it seems to me, probably is a good poster to provide balance to my posts.

Sending more hope, strength, and support.

This0is0Fine posted 1/7/2020 19:20 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:05 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

NotInMyLife posted 1/7/2020 22:55 PM

This0is0Fine:If that kind analysis appeals to you, you might want to read The Science of Trust by John Gottman.

NotInMyLife posted 1/7/2020 22:55 PM

[This message edited by NotInMyLife at 10:55 PM, January 7th (Tuesday)]

This0is0Fine posted 1/8/2020 17:33 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:05 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/8/2020 17:42 PM

Noting that many of these companies look less than trustworthy themselves, I'm letting her do some due diligence to figure out which she thinks is the best.

It's fine to let her choose, but make sure you have a chance to actively interview and talk to the examiner yourself -- and that YOU decide the questions, not your WW. The examiner will work on the wording with you.

Find an IC who specializes in treating betrayal trauma and ask them for a polygraph examiner recommendation. You can also ask your local police department for recommendations.

Look for one with a law enforcement background. The one I used was quite professional, decades in law enforcement, with a nice office next to dentists and architects - no shady strip mall.

And I know you know this, but set a deadline for "research" on who to choose, or this will quickly become a bunch of foot dragging nonsense.

She isn't yielding on the job. Somehow, her IC has said that it's reasonable for her to keep the job if she can keep the required work only and reporting contact agreement intact

Terrible advice from her IC. Stick to your guns. First rule of any real reconciliation is stop digging that hole. That means LEAVING THE JOB WHERE THE AFFAIR HAPPENED.

This isn't hard. Your wife sounds like an intelligent woman who is being intentionally obtuse and leaning on recruiting her IC to back up her terrible decisions.

If it's a red line for you, be prepared to stick to it.

FYI - You can look on this very website, SI, for therapist recommendations in your area.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:46 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

Robert22205https posted 1/8/2020 17:52 PM

IMO, your priority is to get that relatively favorable separation agreement reduced to writing asap while she's willing to sign it.

Then you'll be in a stronger position with respect to other issues like the job.

With respect to her selecting the polygraph examiner, be sure the examiner sees both of you as the customer (so he's not favoring her by avoiding certain questions that you need answered).

Thumos posted 1/8/2020 18:02 PM

And on further reflection, it really is a huge red flag that her IC is backing her on the job thing. Huge. It's an unreasonable, untenable situation for her to remain in the same job in which she conducted and intended to conduct sexual infidelity with her AP, who also works there. It will trigger you constantly.

You might remember earlier in the thread many of us were recommending you meet first with her IC to ensure guardrails were established.

Also on Dec. 12, I wrote:

Is her IC a betrayal trauma specialist or a hippy dippy therapist who will help her rugsweep and blameshift onto you?

It looks like you may have ended up with the latter. Please I urge you again to look for a betrayal trauma specialist for both her and you.

[This message edited by Thumos at 6:03 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

jb3199 posted 1/9/2020 05:38 AM

And on further reflection, it really is a huge red flag that her IC is backing her on the job thing. Huge.

It's bigger than huge. It's bigger than enormous. Ridiculous may even be a better descriptor, but it almost takes away the seriousness of the situation.

This isn't a decades-long job with total financial devastation hanging in the balance. And you are not going to find one member on this site who thinks that your wife's refusal to leave WHEN SHE KNOWS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO YOU is an acceptable decision.

You will regret this single decision to let her stay. It may take months, or even years(if the two of you are still together), but it will not go away. The wayward spouse leaving the job they had the affair in(if financially possible) is Infidelity Healing 101.

NotInMyLife posted 1/9/2020 09:16 AM

My IC kicked me to the curb. He said he had weekly openings, I took a bit to say sure (a couple days). He finally got back to me and said he had no openings. Guess I need to find a new IC.
The weeks following year end holidays are the busiest intake periods for both counselors and attorneys (lots of family drama). Did you ask to be put on a wait list for the one you found?

Didn't her IC originally tell her to change jobs? I guess she's been working on spinning her self-actualization meme.

[This message edited by NotInMyLife at 9:19 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

Dismayed2012 posted 1/9/2020 10:36 AM

KUDOS! on the post-nup. Make sure it's iron-clad. I'd have my own experienced divorce attorney double-check it to make sure it'll hold up later in court. Don't skimp on this matter. It's statistically possible that you're going to need it. Also ensure that it's effective regardless of the reason for the divorce; very important. Protect your future.

Stevesn posted 1/9/2020 10:45 AM

Honestly the job would be a dealbreaker for me. Iíd say:

ďI canít be with you while you are still in touch with him in any way shape or form. It breaks my heart but I cannot work on trying to rebuild our marriage while he is still in our lives. I need to mean enough to you that youíd want that too. If Iím not, then best we go out separate waysĒ.

But thatís just me. If you can live with it, and find happiness, then more power to you.

This0is0Fine posted 1/9/2020 11:32 AM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:05 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

HellFire posted 1/9/2020 11:40 AM

She agrees there are lots of positive reasons for leaving the job. Yet won't. And you don't understand why?

Simple. If she leaves, then seeing the OM will be more difficult.

And, MAYBE her IC is encouraging her to stay, but it's highly likely your wife is telling you that,so you will let it stay.

Stevesn posted 1/9/2020 11:45 AM

Thatís why i would simply say:

ďUntil he is completely out of our lives I cannot work on this relationship. I think itís best we move on. You obviously have a dire need to be there and because of that it shows me you still need to be near and in touch with him. I cannot be with someone who feels that way and I donít want to force you to do something you donít want for us as well. Iíll be working to move on by myself. Let me know if things change and depending where I am in my recovery we can talk possibilitiesď

While the man is still in contact in any way youíll never find the peace of mind you need. Others including you may disagree. Those are just my thoughts.

M1965 posted 1/9/2020 12:43 PM


I really don't understand why she is resisting the logical conclusion about the job. She agrees life would be easier if she just got a new job. She agrees she could probably get compensated better at a new job. She agrees it would make me feel better. She essentially recognizes this a stubborn irrational attachment to her current job because of the ownership she feels in what she has built there.

I don't know why she can't just let it go.

Apply Occam's Razor and the mystery goes away.

If she was a scientist who had spent the past fifty years working on a cancer cure, and she was weeks away from the final formula, an irrational desire to cling on would be justified.

What she has built there is not a cure for cancer. It is an inappropriate relationship with a married co-worker. She needs to explain why that is so hard for her to leave behind.

She isn't yielding on the job. Somehow, her IC has said that it's reasonable for her to keep the job if she can keep the required work only and reporting contact agreement intact

The opinion that matters and takes priority over all others is the opinion of the husband she cheated on.

Relevant questions:

1) Is your wife married to her IC? No.

2) Has your wife cheated on her IC? No.

So is it any surprise that her IC is perfectly comfortable with her still hanging out with her married boyfriend at work? The IC has no skin in the game. Why should he care?

3) Is your wife married to you? Yes, for now.

4) Did your wife cheat on you? Yes.

Is it any surprise that you are less comfortable with your wife hanging out with her married boyfriend at work?

There is no mystery in any element of this.

5) If your wife left her job, could the company replace her in five minutes with any of dozens candidates, or would it collapse, because it could not function without her unique, irreplaceable talents?

6) If your wife destroys her marriage for the sake of remaining in her job, how easy will it be for her to replace it?

7) Ask your wife (and you really should ask here this as soon as possible):

What is more important: what you have built at work, or what you have built in ten years of marriage?

Who is more important to you: your boyfriend, or your husband?

Or you can both continue circling the elephant in the room for months, maybe even years, with her still in that job, still going to conferences where she promises to keep it strictly business with the guy, and maybe everything will turn out great for all concerned.

Sorry for being so blunt, but leaving that job is number one at the top of the 'to do' list if she has any intention of saving the marriage. Or number seventeen on the list if she wants to keep seeing her boyfriend.

[This message edited by M1965 at 12:46 PM, January 9th (Thursday)]

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