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Hello-

My name is Matt. I am 35 years old.

Looking for your feedback regarding my conundrum:

My wife and I were high school sweethearts. We had a child (now 17) at 18 years old, but didn't end up "officially" getting married until about 10 years ago. Here it goes:

Immediately after high school, both my wife and I went to college (while working full time to provide for our daughter). We both succeeded at obtaining degrees and obtaining good jobs in our fields. After my bachelors degree, I went on to obtain a masters degree (again, while working full time). This really excelled my career, and things continued down this path for about 13 years.

After 13 years in my field, I became burnt out and decided I needed a career change. After much consideration, I decided upon law school (again, all while working full time in my previous career). My wife was very supportive of my goal to become a lawyer. About 2 years into the law program, I was succeeding, but was EXTREMELY stressed and unstable. I would work from 7:30am - 5:30pm, and then I would be in school from 6:30pm - 10pm four nights a week. On top of that, studying and exam preparation probably took upwards of 20 - 30 hours per week outside of the time I was in class. I went to school strait through summers, no breaks.

Anyway, I explain the above to give you an idea of my mindset (or lack there of) during this time. I was in a bad place. Ultimately, I started to become distant from my family. School and work consumed me. I began to hang-out with my law school counterparts after classes, would drink excessively, and sometimes would not come home until 1 or 2 in the morning. After much thought, the best explanation I can give is that I simply was overcome with stress and this is how I dealt with it.

While the pressure was already building at home, it came to a head based on one major event. I was out late one night with my law school counterparts. After the bar, me and a couple other individuals (both female) went to the apartment of another classmate. A few hours later, I went home. LET ME BE VERY CLEAR HERE......I DID NOT HAVE AN AFFAIR. THERE WAS NO CHEATING.....PERIOD. The next morning when my wife asked where I was the previous night, I lied and said that I was picking some items up from my office for a presentation the next day. I did not want her to question why I was in someone else's apartment at 2am on a weekday. Long story short, she had tracked my movements via my cell phone and knew that I was lying.

My wife was sure that I was cheating (which I wasn't), but the discussion became heated and I started venting as to the status of our relationship (stupid, I know). As previously mentioned, I was not in a good state of mind due to everything going on at school/work/etc. I complained about her attitude towards met....I complained about how frustrated I was that "fitness" was not part of her life.....I complained about our sex life. She became very depressed. Although depressed, she took significant steps to meet my complaints. She lost weight, our sex life got better, and her attitude became friendlier. Eventually we reconciled (although she still thinks I was having an affair to this day). I don't want to fail to mention, I am not proud of this. I handled the situation horrendously.

A couple more years go by. I finish law school and am having success in the field. Around the time I finished law school, my wife switches companies and starts a new position. At this point, she has made significant improvements in her physical appearance and was undoubtedly getting more attention from men.

A couple of days ago I was blindsided when I opened a laptop and her imessage account was open. Essentially, she was having a "sexually natured" conversation (text) with a male co-worker. I confronted her on it, which she quickly admitted to. She was regretful. While I don't think that their relationship has progressed beyond the messages, I really have no way of knowing.

While regretful, she said that she feels she did it because it felt good for her to get the attention I was not giving her at home. She went on to explain how she still doesn't believe I didn't have an affair, and how my comments on ways she could "improve" (weightloss, sex, etc) damaged her emotionally.

I don't know what to do. I accept blame for damaging her emotionally and for being a complete ******* for the several years I was finishing school. That definitely happened. I know that my personality is sometimes harsh and un-empathetic. I realize that I am stubborn and always have to be right (it must be the lawyer in me).

My initial reaction was that I was willing to work through the "affair" (again, I do not know the extent). I love her and do not want to throw 17 years out the window. When I said this to her, however, my wife said that she was not willing to jump back in that quickly. She said she needed to take some time to evaluate the situation and what she wants in life. She said that she has not been happy with our relationship for a long time, and although she tried not to, she still resents me for the incident I described above.

What should I do? She has asked for her "space" to collect her thoughts. There are significant trust issues on both sides of the equation. While I want to give her the space she needs, I don't want this to turn into her somehow controlling me. I accept some responsibility, but she is the one that got caught doing this!! Should I move out for awhile? Should I file for divorce? I am completely confused as to what to do. The situation is further complicated by the fact we do have a 17 year old daughter the loves and relies on both of us. I don't want to hurt her either.

Thanks for your thoughts
 

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While the pressure was already building at home, it came to a head based on one major event. I was out late one night with my law school counterparts. After the bar, me and a couple other individuals (both female) went to the apartment of another classmate. A few hours later, I went home. LET ME BE VERY CLEAR HERE......I DID NOT HAVE AN AFFAIR. THERE WAS NO CHEATING.....PERIOD. The next morning when my wife asked where I was the previous night, I lied and said that I was picking some items up from my office for a presentation the next day. I did not want her to question why I was in someone else's apartment at 2am on a weekday. Long story short, she had tracked my movements via my cell phone and knew that I was lying.

Why lie? Look what it gets you.

A couple more years go by. I finish law school and am having success in the field. Around the time I finished law school, my wife switches companies and starts a new position. At this point, she has made significant improvements in her physical appearance and was undoubtedly getting more attention from men.

A couple of days ago I was blindsided when I opened a laptop and her imessage account was open. Essentially, she was having a "sexually natured" conversation (text) with a male co-worker. I confronted her on it, which she quickly admitted to. She was regretful. While I don't think that their relationship has progressed beyond the messages, I really have no way of knowing.

Most betrayed spouse always want to believe it was just an emotional affair. If they have contact it's usually physical.

While regretful, she said that she feels she did it because it felt good for her to get the attention I was not giving her at home. She went on to explain how she still doesn't believe I didn't have an affair, and how my comments on ways she could "improve" (weightloss, sex, etc) damaged her emotionally.

Bull**** excuse. She did it because she wanted to.

I don't know what to do. I accept blame for damaging her emotionally and for being a complete ******* for the several years I was finishing school. That definitely happened. I know that my personality is sometimes harsh and un-empathetic. I realize that I am stubborn and always have to be right (it must be the lawyer in me).

Yep, you have your issues that you need to work on but it didn't cause her to cheat. Most betrayed want to try and justify their behavior because they don't eat to believe that their spouse would just cheat but they did.

My initial reaction was that I was willing to work through the "affair" (again, I do not know the extent). I love her and do not want to throw 17 years out the window. When I said this to her, however, my wife said that she was not willing to jump back in that quickly. She said she needed to take some time to evaluate the situation and what she wants in life. She said that she has not been happy with our relationship for a long time, and although she tried not to, she still resents me for the incident I described above.

She's in deep with her other man and doesn't want to give him up. You made a huge mistake of offering Reconcilliation right of the bat. You lowered your status to a weak plan B

What should I do? She has asked for her "space" to collect her thoughts. There are significant trust issues on both sides of the equation. While I want to give her the space she needs, I don't want this to turn into her somehow controlling me. I accept some responsibility, but she is the one that got caught doing this!! Should I move out for awhile? Should I file for divorce? I am completely confused as to what to do. The situation is further complicated by the fact we do have a 17 year old daughter the loves and relies on both of us. I don't want to hurt her either.

Cheater speak. I want time and space to try out my other man
I'd bet he's married. Inform his wife without any warning or letting your wife know immediately. It's the quickest way to end an affair.

Better wake up here.

No marriage can be worked on with another man in the mix. Just because you found out doesn't mean it'll stop.

Don't worry about pushing her away she's already gone. Exposure is the best way to end her fantasy. Affairs only survive in secret and darkness.

Get strong quick. Being weak and afraid will just get you more of what you're getting.

Go online and check your phone bill. I suspect you'll get a shock. Keep digging.
 

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Anyway, I explain the above to give you an idea of my mindset (or lack there of) during this time. I was in a bad place. Ultimately, I started to become distant from my family. School and work consumed me. I began to hang-out with my law school counterparts after classes, would drink excessively, and sometimes would not come home until 1 or 2 in the morning. After much thought, the best explanation I can give is that I simply was overcome with stress and this is how I dealt with it.

While the pressure was already building at home, it came to a head based on one major event. I was out late one night with my law school counterparts. After the bar, me and a couple other individuals (both female) went to the apartment of another classmate. A few hours later, I went home. LET ME BE VERY CLEAR HERE......I DID NOT HAVE AN AFFAIR. THERE WAS NO CHEATING.....PERIOD. The next morning when my wife asked where I was the previous night, I lied and said that I was picking some items up from my office for a presentation the next day. I did not want her to question why I was in someone else's apartment at 2am on a weekday. Long story short, she had tracked my movements via my cell phone and knew that I was lying.


You show multiple signs of a cheater--I'd have agreed with your wife. She tracked you and you lied after withdrawing in your marriage. Just what were you doing--any touch, flirt, at all or were you having tea? Your wife withdrew from connection to you to protect herself. After all, you shamed the way she looked and were hanging with other women. Your state of mind excuse means anytime things are too stressed with you, instead of sharing with your wife, you turn to others.

You both have a lot of work if you choose to try to restore this marriage.
 

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i suggest that you tell her that you will take a polygraph to prove to her that you did not have a physical affair but can she do the same.....i but she'll yes but she'll back pedal as it gets closer to that day...if you give her space she will automatically cheat...might has well tell her that you will instead give her, her walking papers.
 

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You sir are an ass hat. If you are smart enough to go to law school the you should have been smart enough to take a polygraph about the affair you did not have.

And what in the hell were you doing out drinking when you were working full time and going to school.

OK, you wife is sleeping with this guy, and I will break from tradition and say that it is completely your fault. Yep, the crap you pulled.

Now she may not leave you for him, but yeah, she is done with you.

BTW, you are not half as smart as you think you are. She is stepping back from you now, because she is asking the OM if he will leave his wife and be with her.

You are toast...
 

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I accept some responsibility, but she is the one that got caught doing this!!
I think @Lostinthought61 has the right idea. You are responsible for your action in staying out all night and not bringing that to a complete resolution after it happened.

But you are not responsible for "making" her cheat, just like she was not responsible for making you stay out. I think you will get a "parking-lot confession" on the way to her polygraph.

While regretful, she said that she feels she did it because it felt good for her to get the attention I was not giving her at home. She went on to explain how she still doesn't believe I didn't have an affair, and how my comments on ways she could "improve" (weightloss, sex, etc) damaged her emotionally.
The "because it felt good for her" is the truth. That is 100%, completely, totally, why she did it. The rest of that is blame-shifting. She regrets getting caught, but she is not repentant for having done it.

Should I move out for awhile?
No. At least, not until you speak to an attorney. Find out where you stand, and what the results of any future actions will be. First. You don't have to act legally, just get the attorney's advice on your situation and what outcomes you can expect from future choices you may make.

I don't want to hurt her either.
I can appreciate that, and I don't believe that any of us should seek revenge, no matter what is done to us. However, that being said, you do need to protect yourself should your marriage break.
 

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Space means you have been replaced.

She thinks the grass may greener somewhere else. She has emotionally detached from you. Do not agree to space or a break.

It is divorce or nothing, unless you agree to a break where you can see other people. That has some equality to it.

Typically a women will ask for space to give another relationship time to develop to see if the other man will make a "nest" with her.

If so she will fly to him and leave you. It is pretty serious.
 

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How "sexual" was the text conversation that you saw ? Did it give you a sense of how developed it was or how long it might have been going on in terms of how familiar they were?

How did she meet him?

Who initiated ?

Much more info needed by you to determine how evolved this affair is.

She is cheating. You were wrong to lie but that is the only thing that you need to come clean about and explain why you lied. Then ... make sure that she understands that not only did you not cheat but also that

(a) She is cheating
(b) You will not take any blame or responsibility for her cheating
(c) Even if you did cheat (which you did not) - two wrongs would not make a right.

So in every way - she is in the wrong and you should not tolerate her affair. You need to get out of infidelity and not be afraid to lose her in the process.

If she does not go NC immediately - then there is no question about going straight to D - dont bother with MC or separation - both would be useless.

If she does agree to NC - then do not let her sit on her laurels - she needs to prove to you that she wants to be in the marriage - anything less and again, go straight to D.

And do not move out under any circumstances - she is cheating, she should move out.

Good luck with reclaiming your self respect.
 

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Sorry OP - from my perspective you might be in trouble. Basically you treated her poorly for a long time. You were selfish. You showed her a side of you that hurt her. She got with the program to preserve the family but she probably checked out emotionally a long time ago. That damage is done. Now she's more confident in her body and herself and she knows she has options. She started young with you and never had a chance to explore and is probably curious. She knows what's behind door #1 (you) and it wasn't kind to her.

Honest question (and I know and appreciate that you've been VERY honest in your post about your past failures) - Can you blame her?
 

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Let me say this 1st… it is in excusable for your wife to have any intimate conversations of any kind with another man. There is nothing that justifies this period

However, because I read your entire post, it is very clear that both of you have made some major missteps in this marriage. I can understand why your wife thought you were cheating. Both of you have work to do. Anyone who focuses only on your wife's actions is incapable of being objective, because there is absolutely shared blame here.
 

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Thank you all for your feedback. To answer the a couple of questions y'all asked:

1. During the incident in which I lied about my whereabouts, we were having some cocktails and discussing various topics (mostly school related). I will acknowledge that one of the individuals present was flirtatious and showed heavy interest in me during our interactions. That said, while I may have "flirted" back (or at least was never 100% clear with this individual that I was not interested), it never reached the level of any type of affair. In hindsight, given the way she was coming on to me, I should have used better judgement and completely stayed away! No interaction. That would have been the right thing to do out of respect for my wife. But, it never reached the level of an affair of any type.

2. No...I can't blame her for the way she feels about me and our relationship. The way I have treated her has absolutely damaged her emotionally. When our relationship "improved" following our reconciliation, deeper thought has led me to understand that was nothing but smoke and mirrors. She was doing what she though would "save" the marriage. The damage was done. Does not excuse her actions regarding the affair. She has made some mistakes here too.

3. The OM is married w/ children.

4. One more additional fact. When I confronted my wife about the messages, it was not a well planned or thought out process. I was literally enraged. Almost an out of body experience type of rage. I can't even recall exactly what was said, but my wife has told me that I pretty much went as low as I possibly could when it came to name calling, etc. This upsets me as I have always prided myself in not going for the "lowest of blows" per say during arguments. I just completely lost control.

Just to be clear, my goal here isn't to "get the upper hand" or come out of this looking good. I could care less about that right now. My objective is to determine whether or not the marriage can be saved, and if so, what actions give us the best chance of doing that. I do love her very much. Wife may not even be open to reconciliation. Based on #2 above, I don't know that it is possible for us to ever recover. Even if we decide to try to work it out, I don't know that the deep seeded impact will ever go away. It will always linger. I don't know that any amount of counseling will change that. That said, maybe a separation/divorce is the best thing. I just don't know????
 

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Thank you all for your feedback. To answer the a couple of questions y'all asked:

1. During the incident in which I lied about my whereabouts, we were having some cocktails and discussing various topics (mostly school related). I will acknowledge that one of the individuals present was flirtatious and showed heavy interest in me during our interactions. That said, while I may have "flirted" back (or at least was never 100% clear with this individual that I was not interested), it never reached the level of any type of affair. In hindsight, given the way she was coming on to me, I should have used better judgement and completely stayed away! No interaction. That would have been the right thing to do out of respect for my wife. But, it never reached the level of an affair of any type.

2. No...I can't blame her for the way she feels about me and our relationship. The way I have treated her has absolutely damaged her emotionally. When our relationship "improved" following our reconciliation, deeper thought has led me to understand that was nothing but smoke and mirrors. She was doing what she though would "save" the marriage. The damage was done. Does not excuse her actions regarding the affair. She has made some mistakes here too.

3. The OM is married w/ children.

4. One more additional fact. When I confronted my wife about the messages, it was not a well planned or thought out process. I was literally enraged. Almost an out of body experience type of rage. I can't even recall exactly what was said, but my wife has told me that I pretty much went as low as I possibly could when it came to name calling, etc. This upsets me as I have always prided myself in not going for the "lowest of blows" per say during arguments. I just completely lost control.

Just to be clear, my goal here isn't to "get the upper hand" or come out of this looking good. I could care less about that right now. My objective is to determine whether or not the marriage can be saved, and if so, what actions give us the best chance of doing that. I do love her very much. Wife may not even be open to reconciliation. Based on #2 above, I don't know that it is possible for us to ever recover. Even if we decide to try to work it out, I don't know that the deep seeded impact will ever go away. It will always linger. I don't know that any amount of counseling will change that. That said, maybe a separation/divorce is the best thing. I just don't know????
I'm going to give you my advice from the perspective of doing the 'right' thing, being righteous, etc but before I do that I need to know. Do you know how to reach OM's wife?
 

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A touch of karma at work here maybe.

Your wife will never know if you did or didn't have an affair. You were certainly absent from the marriage and neglected your wife's heart. On top of that you then say such hurtful things to her and try and blame her for your behaviour. Even though she is depressed she tries to please you and improve herself.

Your wife has now done the same to you.
You will not know if she did or didn't go further. How does that feel? Does it give you some understanding of her fears?

She says you are not giving her attention. Is this true or is she doing what you did and blame shifting?
If after her improvements you are still not giving her attention, then she may have given up on you and hardened her heart.

You both need to really talk and listen to each other now. You both have felt hurt in this marriage and need to find out if it's worth saving
 

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I'm going to give you my advice from the perspective of doing the 'right' thing, being righteous, etc but before I do that I need to know. Do you know how to reach OM's wife?
Yes, I do know how to reach OM's wife. Not sure exactly where you are going with this (but I would like your input), but I have considered disclosing. Ultimately, I don't know that tearing apart his family out of my own hurt/anger is justified.
 

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A touch of karma at work here maybe.

Your wife will never know if you did or didn't have an affair. You were certainly absent from the marriage and neglected your wife's heart. On top of that you then say such hurtful things to her and try and blame her for your behaviour. Even though she is depressed she tries to please you and improve herself.

Your wife has now done the same to you.
You will not know if she did or didn't go further. How does that feel? Does it give you some understanding of her fears?

Yes. I completely understand her fears. Once trust is gone, there is no real way to completely unwind it.

She says you are not giving her attention. Is this true or is she doing what you did and blame shifting?
If after her improvements you are still not giving her attention, then she may have given up on you and hardened her heart.

Valid question. I would say there is some truth to it. I don't think the issue is that I don't give her attention, its that I don't communicate in the same ways she does/would/appreciates. She is naturally a very empathetic and thoughtful individual. I on the other hand, am naturally very blunt and see things as black/white. She has described it as selfish. I don't know that selfish is the right word, but I think that our personality traits when it comes to emotions and communication are very different.

You both need to really talk and listen to each other now. You both have felt hurt in this marriage and need to find out if it's worth saving
 

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Yes, I do know how to reach OM's wife. Not sure exactly where you are going with this (but I would like your input), but I have considered disclosing. Ultimately, I don't know that tearing apart his family out of my own hurt/anger is justified.
I feel I need to disclose this first. That I am a person of Faith that takes that seriously and is in favor of reconciliation in most cases where both parties want to save the marriage, to move on and forgive and forge a new marriage. That's what I believe. So having said that, I understanding the logic that you have now, that you think by telling the OM's wife, that you would be doing it out of revenge or anger, that is a normal gut instinct and I'm sure many would do it from that perspective but no matter what the mindset is .... you DO have to tell OM's wife and you have to do it after you have made a plan and you do it with respect and you do it SOON!

If you want to save this marriage, the most important thing you can do, is go all in, understand your own mistakes and hurt that you have caused her and go in for the long haul that it's going to require to create a NEW marriage between you 2. That involves counseling, understanding and an open mind ..... HOWEVER because of what is going on now, that stuff I just mentioned has to come AFTER you attempt to stick a stake in into the heart of this affair.

The most effective weapon and no if ands or buts about it will be telling the OM's wife. Affairs thrive in secrecy, in the dark and must come to light. You don't have to write a f'n manifesto or tell the world or go scorched earth as they say but you can't keep it a secret, it will allow the affair to thrive even when you think it might be over and clearly, it's not going to end anytime soon as it sits now, her words are right out of the script of the Wayward Spouse that has basically chosen the affair over the marriage and needs time to figure out how she can make that work still and still live with herself and who she is.

You may think you are going to pi$$ your wife off like no other and you probably will but that cannot be a deterrent. No matter what she says after you have done it, it will have done the best thing you have done to save the marriage, I am being dead serious sir, this cannot be tabled.

Now, that is just in regards to saving the marriage. The other reason you need to tell OM's wife. Is because it's the right thing to do for her as well. OM's wife will probably be devastated, may even be in denial and blame you, that happens sometimes but in the end, it will open her eyes and give her the best chance at saving her own marriage and family.

Telling OM's wife goes against the very logic and instinct of those of us that try to be just and no vengeful when this all happens, I have been there. Many of us have been there and many of us have been too late. I waited to long in my case but after reading many books, talking to specialists, etc. This is the 'RIGHT' thing to do. Where I differ from others on the board is some will recommend going 'scorched earth'. I don't believe that's right at this point and in this case she needs to know. Collect the info you have and as I have said, reach out to her and make sure you do it with empathy and respect and let her know you are doing it with hopes she can use the info to save her own marriage.

Once this is done and the dust has settled, you can then be on more of an even playing field and you can start to atone for your own sh** but none of that is going to help now and it's frankly just going to be used against you for justification. Keep posting and good luck!
 

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My thoughts:

LIsten to marc 878. He's exactly correct.
Decorum: spot on.

Here's the thing: You are going to feel like this is all your fault. It's quite clear that is what your mind is doing to you. You are in the process of trying to nice your wife back. Sir, it flat out WILL NOT WORK.

Other posters have told you what it means when a woman in an affair is asking for space. They are EXACTLY right.
At this point, ANYTHING you do other than filing for divorce and going completely dark on your wife will have the opposite effect than what you want.
If you want your wife back, the only chance you have is exposing the OM to his wife, WITH EVIDENCE, because she won't want to believe it and the OM will paint you as a crazy. You have to expose suddenly without warning.
If you chase your wife, she will run.
If you give her "space", it will be to allow her to have sex and develop the relationship with the OM, or other OTHER MEN.
This is guaranteed.

TO BE CLEAR: Your past has ZERO to do with her cheating. IT's ALL on her. Lots of men have been just as rotten as you may have been, but their wives didn't cheat. She chose to do this. If you cheated on your wife and can't bring yourself to say so, you are reaping what you've sown. It def. planted a seed of betrayal. However, she just used that as an excuse.

Since your wife is wanting space and is soon to give you the ILYBINILWY, you should file for divorce, expose the OM, and start to detach.
That is your best chance of happiness. This advice will help you if you want her back, and it will help you if you wind up having to divorce anyway.
I know you're hurting. If you show weakness and attempt to "work things out", you're toast for sure. 90% chance it's over anyway.

Now is the pivotal moment in your life where you are cut off at the knees, but need to have the strength of ten men. Weakness will get you nothing but a divorce.

I'm sorry.
 

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I feel I need to disclose this first. That I am a person of Faith that takes that seriously and is in favor of reconciliation in most cases where both parties want to save the marriage, to move on and forgive and forge a new marriage. That's what I believe. So having said that, I understanding the logic that you have now, that you think by telling the OM's wife, that you would be doing it out of revenge or anger, that is a normal gut instinct and I'm sure many would do it from that perspective but no matter what the mindset is .... you DO have to tell OM's wife and you have to do it after you have made a plan and you do it with respect and you do it SOON!

If you want to save this marriage, the most important thing you can do, is go all in, understand your own mistakes and hurt that you have caused her and go in for the long haul that it's going to require to create a NEW marriage between you 2. That involves counseling, understanding and an open mind ..... HOWEVER because of what is going on now, that stuff I just mentioned has to come AFTER you attempt to stick a stake in into the heart of this affair.

The most effective weapon and no if ands or buts about it will be telling the OM's wife. Affairs thrive in secrecy, in the dark and must come to light. You don't have to write a f'n manifesto or tell the world or go scorched earth as they say but you can't keep it a secret, it will allow the affair to thrive even when you think it might be over and clearly, it's not going to end anytime soon as it sits now, her words are right out of the script of the Wayward Spouse that has basically chosen the affair over the marriage and needs time to figure out how she can make that work still and still live with herself and who she is.

You may think you are going to pi$$ your wife off like no other and you probably will but that cannot be a deterrent. No matter what she says after you have done it, it will have done the best thing you have done to save the marriage, I am being dead serious sir, this cannot be tabled.

Now, that is just in regards to saving the marriage. The other reason you need to tell OM's wife. Is because it's the right thing to do for her as well. OM's wife will probably be devastated, may even be in denial and blame you, that happens sometimes but in the end, it will open her eyes and give her the best chance at saving her own marriage and family.

Telling OM's wife goes against the very logic and instinct of those of us that try to be just and no vengeful when this all happens, I have been there. Many of us have been there and many of us have been too late. I waited to long in my case but after reading many books, talking to specialists, etc. This is the 'RIGHT' thing to do. Where I differ from others on the board is some will recommend going 'scorched earth'. I don't believe that's right at this point and in this case she needs to know. Collect the info you have and as I have said, reach out to her and make sure you do it with empathy and respect and let her know you are doing it with hopes she can use the info to save her own marriage.

Once this is done and the dust has settled, you can then be on more of an even playing field and you can start to atone for your own sh** but none of that is going to help now and it's frankly just going to be used against you for justification. Keep posting and good luck!
excellent!

I totally agree that OP should expect his wife to justify her horrid behavior by making the OP feel it's all his fault. It's just how it works.
This affair stuff follows a script so closely....
OP should have already exposed OM. To have not done so is showing his weakened state of mind. You MUST do what is logically correct in this situation, and TOTALLY IGNORE what your own emotions make you want to do.
STOP BLAMING YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP.

Your wife needs to see that you are a strong man that can make it without her. She needs to see that this is a dealbreaker for you.
She needs to see what it feels like for you to be GONE from her life. This is the only thing that MIGHT break her state of mind, which is likely solely focused on her new "love".

Exposing the other man is the right thing to do all the way around. If it seems like revenge, all I can say is there is no suitable revenge for a man that is screwing or attempting to screw MY wife. All the gloves are off. YOU can't say anything that will destroy his life, unless it's true. And if it's truth, then it's ALL HIS FAULT....

EXPOSE. DO IT YESTERDAY.
 

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Thank you all for your feedback. To answer the a couple of questions y'all asked:

1. During the incident in which I lied about my whereabouts, we were having some cocktails and discussing various topics (mostly school related). I will acknowledge that one of the individuals present was flirtatious and showed heavy interest in me during our interactions. That said, while I may have "flirted" back (or at least was never 100% clear with this individual that I was not interested), it never reached the level of any type of affair. In hindsight, given the way she was coming on to me, I should have used better judgement and completely stayed away! No interaction. That would have been the right thing to do out of respect for my wife. But, it never reached the level of an affair of any type.

2. No...I can't blame her for the way she feels about me and our relationship. The way I have treated her has absolutely damaged her emotionally. When our relationship "improved" following our reconciliation, deeper thought has led me to understand that was nothing but smoke and mirrors. She was doing what she though would "save" the marriage. The damage was done. Does not excuse her actions regarding the affair. She has made some mistakes here too.

3. The OM is married w/ children.

4. One more additional fact. When I confronted my wife about the messages, it was not a well planned or thought out process. I was literally enraged. Almost an out of body experience type of rage. I can't even recall exactly what was said, but my wife has told me that I pretty much went as low as I possibly could when it came to name calling, etc. This upsets me as I have always prided myself in not going for the "lowest of blows" per say during arguments. I just completely lost control.

Just to be clear, my goal here isn't to "get the upper hand" or come out of this looking good. I could care less about that right now. My objective is to determine whether or not the marriage can be saved, and if so, what actions give us the best chance of doing that. I do love her very much. Wife may not even be open to reconciliation. Based on #2 above, I don't know that it is possible for us to ever recover. Even if we decide to try to work it out, I don't know that the deep seeded impact will ever go away. It will always linger. I don't know that any amount of counseling will change that. That said, maybe a separation/divorce is the best thing. I just don't know????
Listen, I get that you are owning your crap, I get that. But you are not listening to the advice that is being given you, JUST like every lawyer in the world.

You need to get over that. YOUR WIFE IS HAVING AN AFFAIR. She is and has been sleeping with him.

Do you understand that? It is about a 99.999% chance that this is true. Don't believe me, then you and your wife need to go and take a polygraph, you can afford it.

She will know that you were stupid but did not cheat and you will know that she is cheating.

I get that you were and ass hat previously, but even with that, that does not give her a reason to sleep around on you.

You need to wake up and understand what is going on, but you want to talk about all your bad deeds.

So far, you have handled this entire thing in the worst possible way.

You need to take polys, both of you.

Then you need to decide if you can stay married to a wife that is sleeping around on you...
 
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