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Married 5 years, lied to for half

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a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 13:04 PM

I found out my wife had an affair from a stranger. He approached me at a bar that my wife and I both go to, and told me she'd been sleeping with someone there. He said he was telling me because it had happened to him and he'd have wanted to know. I didn't believe him at first, but when I confronted my wife, she eventually confessed. She said the affair lasted 8 months and ended 2 years ago. I asked her why she did it, why she ended it, why she never told me, all she could say was that she didn't know.

I think what makes this particularly painful is that we have never had a great sex life. Even early in our relationship, in the phase where sex is more natural, I always wanted more than her. I loved her though, so I eventually accepted living with less than I wanted. Relationships are compromise, right? So to then find out, her libido is just fine if she's with another man, is frankly devastating.

I've read that she was likely getting aroused by playing a different role and by sneaking around, but it's impossible not to take the behavior as an unfavorable comparison: she liked sex, just not with me.

I just know I could never lie to her for as long as she lied to me. I have supported her financially and emotionally, and I think I'm just done now.

In some ways, after reading some of the stories here and elsewhere, I can see that her behavior could have been much worse. She had already broken off the affair (or so she says, but with covid we're both home so much I don't know how it could be ongoing now), and she didn't try to gas light me, she seems to be really sorry, has already found herself a therapist, and she wants to reconcile. Yet I don't really want to. Does that make me a bad person?

rugswept posted 4/30/2021 13:10 PM

When she took it up with that other man, kissed and then had sex, she dissolved your M. Your M didn't exist anymore except that she didn't tell you.

Here the victim is supported, not the cheater. You absolutely have the right to drop this M like it never existed. That's your choice. She already did it from her end. Now you can close the deal by saying goodbye to her.

I'm really big on R, had a one and only. Sometimes, depending how we feel (as individuals), R makes no sense. A dealbreaker is a dealbreaker.

Don't get guilted into ANYTHING. You've already paid enough.

RANT OVER.

Butforthegrace posted 4/30/2021 13:23 PM

You won't find a single thread here on SI by a BH who divorced his WW and later regretted it.

You will find many threads by BH's who stayed with WW and tried to work it out, only to find after years of hard work that they still feel the anger, betrayal, and unfairness of it.

I'd tell her exactly what you said. "Wife, it's obvious to me that you enjoy sex with other men more than with me. I think it's best if I let you have your freedom so that you can have sex with the men you find attractive."

Freeme posted 4/30/2021 13:34 PM

she seems to be really sorry, has already found herself a therapist, and she wants to reconcile. Yet I don't really want to. Does that make me a bad person?
You have every right to decide it's a deal breaker. What she did was huge. You weren't married for that long when she cheated. Also, she was giving someone else what she wasn't giving you while you were supporting her. 8 months is a long time, that's a lot of lies... don't belittle what you are going through. Yes this can be a deal breaker.

She said the affair lasted 8 months and ended 2 years ago. I asked her why she did it, why she ended it, why she never told me, all she could say was that she didn't know.
I don't think she is coming clean with everything. She just wants to rugsweep it and stay married. There is a reason your unsure of how truthful she's being. I don't think she's remorseful. I think she's upset she got caught and that it could ruin her marriage.

Have you checked phone records to see if they are still in touch? Have you checked her computer to see if they still email? Is OM married? Did the stranger give you a name or much information that you can fact check to see if your WW is telling you the truth?

I wouldn't feel comfortable with "I don't know" being her answers. It wouldn't make me feel safe that she is not going to cheat again.

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 13:41 PM

You will find many threads by BH's who stayed with WW and tried to work it out, only to find after years of hard work that they still feel the anger, betrayal, and unfairness of it.

This is a big part of why I don't think it's worth it. I'm also just skeptical that she can really change, or that she wants to change for the right reasons. If she had come to me herself, told me what happened and how sorry she was on her own, I might be more inclined to believe that she had really felt guilt and was ready to mend things. But as things stand, I only know that she started feeling bad when she got caught.

If she was never going to tell me (and it certainly seems like after two years she would have told, if she was going to), what else might she keep from me? I just don't think I'm interested in living with that. Thank you all for reading and your support. I'm so glad I found this place.

Justaguy61 posted 4/30/2021 13:42 PM

I agree with the advice you have already received here. I would ask her WHY she wants to reconcile? Is her answer going to be "I don't know"? Ask yourself WHY she would want to reconcile... it seems like you have already asked yourself that question and you have no good reason.

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 13:44 PM

Have you checked phone records to see if they are still in touch? Have you checked her computer to see if they still email? Is OM married? Did the stranger give you a name or much information that you can fact check to see if your WW is telling you the truth?

Unfortunately I have basically no evidence other than her confession. Our phones are in her name, and I don't have easy access to her emails. I know that until she got caught she would still see the other guy at the bar, but like I said in my first post,just the fact of my working at home and her not being gone much makes a continued sexual affair unlikely. Very possible she was keeping the option open for when I go back to the office though. I think if I was set on reconciliation I would probably go down this path of demanding emails and phone records, but frankly, I think the best thing for me is to get out and spare myself further revelations. I know enough to leave, right?

Butforthegrace posted 4/30/2021 13:49 PM

Your thread has an element of "found out years later". Finding out years later adds its own layer to the shit sandwich your WW has fed you. There is the sense of surrealism, as if the last 2-3 years have been a false reality.

There is the sense of unfairness. As you said, her sexuality toward you has been tepid, but she's throwing the pussy at another man. By hiding this from you, she essentially tricked you into remaining committed despite the bad sex, and putting up with it.

Another unfairness is the sense that she has no consequences. She arrogated to herself the right to decide that her half of the marriage would be a secret one-sided open marriage. She had her fling, her thrills, while you were being a good engine, bringing home your paycheck, being a husband. Don't you want that for yourself?

My observation about the "found out years later" scenarios is that, often, the quality of the marriage between the end of the A and Dday matters. Did she realize the gravity of her error after the A ended and throw herself into being the best wife a woman can be? A dream-come-true spouse? You should assume that the marriage you've had for the last 2 years is the best you're going to get. The marriage will never be as good now that you have learned the truth.

By the way, if the AP was married at the time, I'd suggest that you reach out to his wife to discuss what she knows. You should do this without first telling your WW that you will be doing it. Many posters find that the BOW can be a helpful ally in terms of finding the truth, as well as a shoulder to cry on as you share your mutual pain.

This0is0Fine posted 4/30/2021 13:54 PM

Yet I don't really want to. Does that make me a bad person?

Divorce for cheating is always sufficient justification. Hell, you don't need any justification more than what matters to you these days.

You didn't mention kids, I don't know if you share a house.

Essentially, your whole marriage is a lie. You are young, just try again and make sure you pick better next time (this is hard for some people).

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 13:58 PM

My observation about the "found out years later" scenarios is that, often, the quality of the marriage between the end of the A and Dday matters. Did she realize the gravity of her error after the A ended and throw herself into being the best wife a woman can be? A dream-come-true spouse?

So this is a bummer, because she actually was kind of great over the last year. The marriage did not improve right after the affair ended, but it did eventually. This last year she cooked dinner every night, properly ran our household. I thought I was truly happy. The only temptation I have to consider reconciliation is that for the last year or so she was pretty close to the dream-come-true spouse. The sex still wasn't great but I could tell she was at least making an effort.

BUT, knowing it was all based on lies makes my happiness turn to ash in my mouth. She didn't tell me because she knew I would have left her back then. I don't think I would have traded my autonomy then for a chance at a happier marriage with my betrayer later.

I do not believe AP is/was married but I don't know much about him, so I can't be sure. I'll see what I can find out.

fareast posted 4/30/2021 14:07 PM

I am one who filed for D almost immediately after my fWW confessed. But eventually months later before the D was final we were able to begin to recover our M based on all of the actions she took to convince me to try. I have been very happily reconciled for a long time. But that doesnít mean I think R is for everyone. You decide. No WS is owed a second chance. If learning of her A is a dealbreaker for you, that is perfectly okay, even if she is truly remorseful. Divorce for cheating is always justified if that is what you truly want to do. Sorry you are here. And good luck.

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 14:08 PM

You didn't mention kids, I don't know if you share a house.

Essentially, your whole marriage is a lie. You are young, just try again and make sure you pick better next time (this is hard for some people).

No kids, we do share a house. But I've already talked to a lawyer who doesn't think my case will be overly difficult. WW wasn't working, and had the affair, so I really have all the leverage.

Picking someone better next time though... That's scary, because I really was fooled this time around.

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 14:13 PM

I am one who filed for D almost immediately after my fWW confessed. But eventually months later before the D was final we were able to begin to recover our M based on all of the actions she took to convince me to try. I have been very happily reconciled for a long time.

Curious to hear more about your experience. Did your WW confess of her own accord or was she caught? I feel like for me that is actually a critical distinction, because an unforced confession shows true remorse, something my WW did not do.

Also, I would be curious what actions she took that were able to convince you to change your mind, if you'd be willing to share.

Butforthegrace posted 4/30/2021 14:13 PM

The sex still wasn't great but I could tell she was at least making an effort.

Are you willing to spend your life in a marriage with not-great sex, PLUS always knowing that she fucked another man behind your back and lied about it for years? I guarantee you that when you stare yourself down in the bathroom mirror in the morning, even years from now, if you're still married, this will cross your mind.

Again, it's very likely that what you got that last year, that's the best your going to get. How much confidence to you have in her ability to keep it ramped up to that level for the rest of life? Is she a long distance runner? Does she have that sort of stick-to-it personality?

FYI, I was dumped for the AP. It utterly crushed me. I was a blathering mess for a few weeks. Eventually life got much better. In hindsight, my life has been way better without her.

By the way, if you're considering staying in the marriage, I'd strongly recommend that you read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" by Linda MacDonald. It's a short book, and inexpensive on Amazon. It's sort of the gold standard in terms of the basics a wayward must do if R is to have a chance. Consider whether your WW is up to the task. If you think so, ask her to read it. If she eagerly reads it, digests it, and does everything it says, maybe you have a chance. If she gets through a few pages and then puts it down, or if she says the book is excessive or heavy-handed, you can pretty much know that R has no chance.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 2:16 PM, April 30th (Friday)]

Robert22205https posted 4/30/2021 14:15 PM

How old are you guys?
Do you have any kids?

Talking about her affair makes a cheater feel guilty and ashamed so they block you by saying 'they don't know' or 'they don't remember'.

However, experiencing the full extent of guilt and shame is a necessary ingredient to becoming a safe partner.

Another motive for withholding information is they feel you will divorce them if you know everything. They also convince themself it's to protect you but it's really them protecting themself.

In order for you to decide to R or D, you need more information from her. You need to know the full extent of her betrayal in order to 'forgive' - and also to decide if she's a safe partner going forward.

Insist she write a detailed timeline (names, contact information, marriage status, when it started and ended, how they communicated, including days, times, names, conversation topics, sex, how she felt after each contact).

The timeline is non negotiable. To discourage her from withholding information consider informing her that everything she says will be subject to a polygraph test.

That way you can confirm how many affairs she had while married and/or dating you.

Inform her that while you can't guaranty that you'll stay married to her - any further lying or withholding of information will guaranty divorce.


[This message edited by Robert22205https at 2:18 PM, April 30th (Friday)]

a1234567 posted 4/30/2021 14:25 PM

Are you willing to spend your life in a marriage with not-great sex, PLUS always knowing that she fucked another man behind your back and lied about it for years? I guarantee you that when you stare yourself down in the bathroom mirror in the morning, even years from now, if you're still married, this will cross your mind

Man this is not what I want to hear but this is totally right. I don't think I can live with it. That was my initial instinct anyway. I think I'm just going to follow my gut and be done.

Marz posted 4/30/2021 14:25 PM

Sheís sorry she got caught.

Started an affair with a stranger at a bar. Thatís dangerous behavior. You should get STD testing.

Right now you know the tip of the iceberg. All cheaters lie a lot.

Repeats happen. Under the circumstances the capability to go through this again is probably high.

Sorry youíre here. It sounds like youíre intelligent enough not to jump into R without thinking. Iíd stay away from marriage counseling. That field is full of rugsweepers and the marriage isnít broken she is.

Marz posted 4/30/2021 14:36 PM

Nothing and no one else matters at this time. You only need enough info to satisfy you.

You never had a good sex life but she had no problem having sex with a stranger? Your sex life with her may never change. IMO settling is not a great option. Even if she never cheats again is this the life you want?

You need to do some serious reading and thinking.

[This message edited by Marz at 2:38 PM, April 30th (Friday)]

fareast posted 4/30/2021 14:46 PM

a1234567:

No, I donít mind sharing my experience. Her ONS happened at her Office Christmas Party. I did not attend as I was home cramming for grad finals. We had been married just five years at the time. She stumbled home and confessed immediately. It was a drunken mess. I simply was not going to tolerate living in a dysfunctional M after putting up with that crap with my own parents. We separated almost immediately and I filed for D. She moved out and we had little contact. Months later she tracked me down and pleaded for a chance.
She had quit her job and gotten into counseling on her own. She confessed to all of our friends and family. She had talked with former coworkers and friends who were honest about how she came across, flirty and available. She took responsibility and no blameshifting. She changed her attitude and appearance and was more mature and serious, less the sorority party girl type. She was empathetic for the pain she had caused me, not wallowing in her own self pity and shame. I had done a lot of work on myself and had kept active moving on with my life. It was a very slow process of rebuilding over two years when I decided to give her a chance. Consistent actions convinced me to let go of my anger and resentment and be all in.

We are each different. Most importantly IMO you must value yourself. What do you want. Get stronger for you. If you do decide to give her a chance, set your boundaries on what you require and watch her actions. Is she empathetic about your pain? Is she humble or is she defensive and blameshifting. Is she working on her own weaknesses that allowed her to have an A? Just a few things to look at.

[This message edited by fareast at 2:47 PM, April 30th (Friday)]

This0is0Fine posted 4/30/2021 14:47 PM

a1234567,

Honestly as it comes to trying to wrap your head around this, and telling you to D, we are saving you some effort.

Try this on for size. Cheaters only admit what they are caught at. How do you know she wasn't fucking dozens of other men randomly at bars?

If you wanted to consider R we would tell you:

1) NC with this AP, and all others, forever.
2) A complete written timeline of this and all previous or existing affairs.
3) A polygraph to confirm the timeline is true and complete.
4) Individual therapy to figure out what is broken inside her and why she is a cheater.

Book recommendations, "Not just friends" by Shirly Glass and "How to help your spouse heal from your affair" by linda macdonald.

etc. etc.

But dude, why? What are you even saving at this point?

I R'd with my wife that went on a few secret dates with a coworker with a solid confirmation of no sex. It took over a year before we were in something I could call reconciliation. Our marriage was great before. Our sex life was great before. We have two kids and a house.

I'm not always against R, I just don't see a reason to recommend it to you.

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