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This is my first thread at TAM, I am European and English is not my native language, so please bear over with me for any misspellings or bad language. Anyway; here is my story – I know it’s a long story, sorry about that.

Eight months ago, I discovered my wife having a full blown LTA, as bad as it gets, I would say. Of course I was shocked, we had known each other for 26 years, have 2 kids aged 7 and 10. We were the perfect couple in many peoples opinion, seemed so happy together - and we were. We were caring for each other, had a satisfactory sex life, financially well doing etc.

We went through D-day and the following days following some sort of a typical pattern: Mutual chock, denial, trickle truth, resentment, and remorse to some degree, fear, HB and finally a depression for me.

My wife justified the affair with the fact, that she didn't ever try sex with anyone but me, since we were very young when we coupled. She wanted to learn how it was to have sex with another man, and she had thought about it for a while. She also blame shifted a bit by mentioning my weight getting worse (true) and I being distant because of a personal web project (true, and she was distant by watching tv-shows tv-shows, that I didn’t have any interest in, but this could have been handled if discussed).

Then one day a male acquaintance from our kids’ school started texting her with friendly messages, later on more and more flirting and finally erotic. She told me, that she was flattered and very glad to learn that she is still attractive - and she is very attractive.

They started to have sex and the affair went on for 9 months. I found out by accident seeing a SMS from an unknown person popping up on her phone, saying “sweetie”. Investigating phone bills strengthened my suspicion and I demanded to see her FB account – she confessed under heavy pressure from me.

She had a hard time the first time they had sex, she said, very shy and reluctant to start with but then it became easier and easier. It was not ever in her mind to leave me, she still loved me endlessly, she says. It was just like living in another world, she explained, and me and the kids just didn't exist in that world (compartmentalizing). Later on she told me, that she actually loved this guy, which explained a lot to me about the resistance in telling me the whole truth at once (trickle truth). I think she may have recognized that I would have left her immediately had I known this from the beginning, and I probably would have.

But I have been told stories like: "It has absolutely nothing to do with you", "You are my only love" or "sex with you is just as good or even better..." but these stories are so hard to believe, when you have been cheated on like that.

I had a minor to medium depression, with sadness, fear, anger, and tons of ups and downs. I couldn’t concentrate at work and I also started having minor problems with sexual performance as well (performance anxiety). This was about the same time as we went through the HB-phase.

She would continue her social activities on FB, SMS etc. and I was a bit concerned about that, in fact even angry from time to time (there were guys being called “Sweetie” etc.). But she insisted on having her own life, and I guess that taking away her social life and flirting nature would result in me having a different woman than the one I initially fell in love with – I didn’t want that to happen either.

We even discussed the possibilities of living in an open relationship, since I accepted the fact, that I wouldn’t be able to stop her in thinking about sex with other men, and that there forever would be a considerable risk of her falling back in.

4 months ago my wife then, as a part of these discussions, offered me a free pass. She had now spent 6 months trying to explain how it felt to be with someone else while still loving your spouse. And I just didn’t get it. I couldn't relate to it in any way, and I had difficulties understanding her story. Further as a result of her affair; my self-esteem totally vanished from one day to another. This "unexpected" consequence, diminishing my self-worth, was hurting her, I could tell. So she decided to push me to get some extramarital sex to see for myself what it was like, and to regain some confidence in myself. I told her, that it would be okay with me, if she saw OM, but that she needed to be absolutely honest with me in relation to this and tell me if it went further than that.

I started writing other women on dating- and social networks and did also get contacts back. What a priceless feeling being recognized and appreciated by other women! I did also go out - twice. And I am so glad I did! I suddenly understood what the h... my wife talked about earlier, and my self-esteem was boosted significantly. I now KNEW for sure, that it actually had nothing to do with me not being good enough at all - and that I was quite able to get attention from other attractive women as well. And at the same time, I didn’t stop to love my wife at all – on the contrary, not many women would actively support their husband in dating other women.

My wife was well informed about my activities. And it became very clear to me that it was in fact very hard on her, and I think that for the first time, she realized, how I had felt during the last 5 months. At the same time, OM moved to the other end of the country and told her, that he wouldn’t see her again. And when I told her that I might continue the activities, and that I was still writing someone, she became extremely jealous!

All the sudden, things turned 180 degrees. Now the story is, that my writing with and seeing other women have everything to do with her, she is not good enough, I will probably end up leaving her etc. Well, well, what do you know…

She now states, that we should not date others, since it is not normal, whatever that means. She says that her desire for other men has vanished, that her need for sex it reduced to a minimum, and that she can be 100% honest with me if she ever gets the desire for other men again. She says that she would prefer that I didn’t see someone, but if I plan on doing it anyway, she would like to know and approve of it. If she chooses not to approve and I insist on following my desire disregarding her resistance, we will not be able to live together anymore (obviously). And she has shown to be very reluctant in discussing the matter anymore.

I think that what I would prefer is that it was just the two of us in our relationship. But on the other hand, I don’t think that I can rely on her never getting the desire for other men again. I don’t think that I can trust that she will tell me either, since she would fear that I will either leave her or insist on having some strange myself – and she doesn’t seem to like any of these outcomes.

So given these uncertainties… I am so much in doubt about what path to follow. Hope for her new monogamous lifestyle to last and take the fall if she it doesn’t? Wait for her to tell me in 6 months that she now desires another man, knowing that I had my opportunities and didn’t act on them? Continue to work on the possibilities of having an open relationship lifestyle, which clearly means that we will both have to learn to handle jealousy?

I don’t own my wife, and I don’t get to decide how she is going to live her life – I focus on myself, my wellbeing and my actions (did have some IC). I don’t believe in control, punishment, revenge and the alike.

Does anyone have some thoughts and perspective on this situation? I would appreciate it very much, thanks.
 

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All I can say is that you two haven't a clue what marriage is all about.
I think you're both messed up and wonder why on earth you are even together.
Sure she did wrong first but you followed suit.
I find it a bit humorous that she encouraged your cheating so that she could cheat all nice and easy and then her man leaves and she suddenly wants YOU to stop what she did and pushed you to do! WOW!
 

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Welcome:

Firstly stop looking for other woman , delete them from your life. Two wrongs don't make a right and you have zero excuse for looking for attention elsewhere.

Decide to either actively work on your marriage or get out. Give your wife the same choice.

If you both decide to work on the marriage then:
Set boundaries that both of you adhere to
No opposite sex friends
No girls night out or boys night out
Full transparency of everything, email accounts, facebook etc.
Go to Marriage counseling
Look for ways to improve the marriage


Read the book "His needs, Her needs" by Harley , there are items in there that both you and your wife can use to help understand what to do to secure your marriage and meet each others needs.

Again, stop messing around on your marriage, its bad enough your wife is an adulterer , do you want to be called the same.

There is a newbie thread that explains more about remorse, click on the link below

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/coping-infidelity/32002-welcome-tam-cwi-newbies-please-read.html
 

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Wow is right. You guys have destroyed your marriage, or what a marriage is supposed to be. There is a lot of baggage struined around this train wreck. Regarding your wife, she is reaping what she has sown. You said: "I don’t believe in control, punishment, revenge and the alike." There is something else that you won't have its called "trust". Neither of you will be able to trust each other again. Whats the point?
 

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Wow, so it sounds like after DDay etc - she continued to be in touch with the OM and in fact likely still seeing him until he moved.


She also continued to flirt and seek attention from other men after DD.

Wow - talk about your completely selfish wives.

Wow - no wonder you couldn't heal. You where living in an one sided open marriage.

so your solution was to become like her, live in a fully open marriage.

Now the OM is gone, your wife is alone, and is finally realizing that you don't actually need her - you are no longer tied to her and you can be free.

Now she wants to cancel the deal to reign you back in.

Wow.

You need to figure out how to go back and deal with her initial cheating and continued affair, because it still hasn't actually been dealt with. You need to do this because ALL the conditions from before will exist again and what is to stop her from repeating it all over again?

You both need to decide if you want to be open relationship ongoing cheaters who only use each other for financial support and sharing kid duties or if you are both ready to actually be married partners and monogamous.

You should also get your kids into therapy because they know how the two of you treat each other and it's going to deeply scar their personal understanding on how to be a honest loving relationship.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks a lot for the replies so far:)

@Eli:
I have read about everything there is to read on this topic - believe me - including a lot of Harleys material. We even used one of his questionnaires to come clear on what we both needed and how we delivered on them. Went well, no big surprises there. And the trouble is, we DO actually come along quite well fullfilling each others needs - but it just seems that it is nice to get "external recognition" as well, of course it is after 26 years.
By the way, I don't look at my self as a cheater - I wouldn't dream of seeing others without telling her, if she wants to know, that is.

@Initfortheduration:
I agree with you. Trust is the main problem, and that's why I chose to put myself in a position where I didn't NEED to trust her 100% - nobody can, I realized. We're all human, and I can't control if she chooses to cheat or lie in the long run, no matter what. I don't like to be dependent on this for my life to be happy. This is in fact one of the things that I think a lot about and needed some thoughts on.

@Shaggy:
I know that she had brief contacts with OM, I discovered some, and she told me about some her self. I am pretty sure that sex stopped upon D-day. Besides that, I think your analysis is pretty precise - liked the one about "one sided open marriage" - that's exactly how I felt, she re-negotiated the terms of our relationship without telling me.
Kids don't know and are not affected - like I said, we do come along quite well and, believe it or not, we still love each other. Otherwise I don't think we would consider staying in this.
I think I agree with you in most - what exactly do you mean by "All conditions from before"? I can't see what's to prevent her from doing it again either:)

Pidge: Not sure that I get your point - I haven't posted it and haven't come across anything quite similar - what do you mean?

It is for sure the decision about direction, monogamy, open or quit that is the hard part - especially since I tend to question her honesty when we discuss these issues.
 

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Kids don't know and are not affected - like I said, we do come along quite well and, believe it or not, we still love each other.
Kids are much much more aware than you are acknowledging. They don't come out and say they've been affected, but they have been.

Oh and be prepared for some day some other kid at school teasing them because word got out about your wife and the OM.
 

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Why don't you both try to heal your marriage. At least, now you both know what it feels like when both of you have committed adultery. You did not cheat but you did commit adultery.

The damage you have done to each other certainly has affected your children whether or not they know the source of the damage.
To assume you don't treat each other the differently now is ridiculous.

If you try to save your marriage, and I think you can, and it doesn't work you haven't lost anymore than you already have and you both can just go back to having meaningless sex with lots of other partners.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you try to save your marriage, and I think you can, and it doesn't work you haven't lost anymore than you already have and you both can just go back to having meaningless sex with lots of other partners.
I like this perspective, didn't think of it that way before:scratchhead:
My only concern would be, that I had so much pain in the first 5-6 months, that I am terrified of reliving them, if it happens again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
We had quite an argument today. Derived from another talk we had.

So we had this long discussion of the past 8 months - and then it suddenly hit me like a rock, when she complained about how hard it is on her, that I am suffering, how hard it is on her when we need to talk relationship-stuff so often, and that it makes her sad, how hard it is on her, that we just can't seem to move on, how hard is on her when I can't trust her.

I now know for sure, that she may have SAID that the affair was her responsibility, but she didn't ever ACCEPT AND ACT ACCORDING TO that responsibility. I sat there for 5 minutes answering all of her complaints with: Don't put the blame on me - What can YOU do to help us get through this mess?

She suddenly became silent and then cried. I think she has finally realized that this isn't going to be easy, and that it can't be swept under the rug anymore.

So Shaggy, guess you were right in your assumption.
 

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My wayward husband, the narcissist, does that all the time. "Oh, comfort ME because your leaving me after I cheated is devastating!" Sympathize with ME because I can't sleep! Feel for ME because I have to rebuild my life!

F*** you. I'm completely devastated, haven't slept in months, and have to restart my life from scratch, with no family to fall back on. Grow up.

Yeah. It's not easy for anyone but they put US in this mess. Let them stew in it.
 

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Wow, the classical case of the cheater not being able to take what they were dishing out earlier. Talk about double standards

"It has absolutely nothing to do with you", "You are my only love" or "sex with you is just as good or even better..."
She now states, that we should not date others, since it is not normal, whatever that means. She says that her desire for other men has vanished, that her need for sex it reduced to a minimum, and that she can be 100% honest with me if she ever gets the desire for other men again. She says that she would prefer that I didn’t see someone, but if I plan on doing it anyway, she would like to know and approve of it. If she chooses not to approve and I insist on following my desire disregarding her resistance, we will not be able to live together anymore (obviously). And she has shown to be very reluctant in discussing the matter anymore.
Well, I did not see the part where the OM had your approval


The amount of selfishness that she has displayed on her part is cause for concern. She will definitely rewrite history once she finds a new OM.
 

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Wow, the classical case of the cheater not being able to take what they were dishing out earlier. Talk about double standards.
Tell me about it warlock. My ex-wife went bat-sh!t crazy a year and a half after our divorce was finalized, when I told her that I had a GF. She went to a mutual friend of ours and told her "How can mori do this to me?" :scratchhead: We were already divorced for Christ's sake!:mad:
 

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Ok, so she gets dumped by OM, and then all of a sudden things change. I doubt she will remain faithful to you, there will be another oprotunity for her to engage in another affair. The fact that it's all about how she is feeling at the moment shows that she does not have any remorse yet and yes, wants to rug sweep.

I'm not so pessimistic to believe people can't change, I did. If she wants the marriage to work she will have to do all the heavy lifting in order to make you feel secure in your marriage.
 

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Ok, so she gets dumped by OM, and then all of a sudden things change. I doubt she will remain faithful to you, there will be another oprotunity for her to engage in another affair. The fact that it's all about how she is feeling at the moment shows that she does not have any remorse yet and yes, wants to rug sweep.

I'm not so pessimistic to believe people can't change, I did. If she wants the marriage to work she will have to do all the heavy lifting in order to make you feel secure in your marriage.
I share your opion. Given similar circumstances in the future, I think too that she will be strongly tempted and also that she may go for it again.

Now that could in some cases be OK with me, but only provided that it's out in the open and her being honest about everything. This way we could make an agreement on the matter and it would also give me the opportunity to stay in touch with my own needs.

I also, like you, believe that people can change when they learn how their actions effect other people - and my wife has learned that now for certain.

What's bugging me the most is, that I can't trust her assessment of her self, when she says that she will be completely open and honest should there be a next time.

How can she be? She would expect one of two outcomes from her being honest about a desire: I would consider separation or I start dating other women again. She doesn't want any of these outcomes, and the discussions would make her uncomfortable.
So clearly lying and cheating would be a logic alternative for her, wouldn't it?
 

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What's bugging me the most is, that I can't trust her assessment of her self, when she says that she will be completely open and honest should there be a next time.

How can she be? She would expect one of two outcomes from her being honest about a desire: I would consider separation or I start dating other women again. She doesn't want any of these outcomes, and the discussions would make her uncomfortable.
So clearly lying and cheating would be a logic alternative for her, wouldn't it?
You could insist on full transparency from her as one of your N.U.Ts (non-negotiable, unalterable terms) for remaining married to her and absolutely mean it. It is she who brought the marriage to the brink of divorce by having a sexual affair and it should be she who should embrace full transparency to rebuild the trust she broke. You should convey to her that until she commits to it, that you have one foot in and foot out of the marriage. Her actions will determine where both feet will eventually find themselves together.

And lastly, close the 'open marriage' for good once and for all.
 

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I share your opion. Given similar circumstances in the future, I think too that she will be strongly tempted and also that she may go for it again.

Now that could in some cases be OK with me, but only provided that it's out in the open and her being honest about everything. This way we could make an agreement on the matter and it would also give me the opportunity to stay in touch with my own needs.

I also, like you, believe that people can change when they learn how their actions effect other people - and my wife has learned that now for certain.

What's bugging me the most is, that I can't trust her assessment of her self, when she says that she will be completely open and honest should there be a next time.

How can she be? She would expect one of two outcomes from her being honest about a desire: I would consider separation or I start dating other women again. She doesn't want any of these outcomes, and the discussions would make her uncomfortable.
So clearly lying and cheating would be a logic alternative for her, wouldn't it?
Now you're using your head. If you want to complete the fog clearing. File for divorce. separate accounts, cancel her credit cards.
 

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Like Morituri said - now is the time to put in place non-negotiable terms which will enable you to catch the next time.

btw - one of the signs of the next time beginning would be her sudden desire to change these terms - like "Why do you still need to look at who I'm texting.."
 
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