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Hi everyone,

This is my first post, so I apologize in advance for it being so long! I’ve been a long time lurker on these boards for almost three months now, and as unfortunate as it is for me to have to be here, your stories and advice have been lifesaving to say the least. If I hadn’t found this board when I did, I suspect that I would have made so many mistakes in this already difficult process.

Here’s my story:

My partner and I have been together for nearly 3 years. We are not married, but we do live together, and had been talking about long-term commitments in the coming year or so. My SO is a PhD student and 30, and I am 27. No kids. As my partner is in the dissertation writing stages of his PhD, he had to go for two month in April to Boston and New York for a month each. We live in a big city on the east coast, so we planned to see each other every two weeks. While I don’t like long distance, we both knew that it was necessary and it would only be a one-time venture. He went to Boston first, and found a sublet with roommates. One of these roommates was a girl who he got along with, and he’d tell me that she was friendly and kind and they’d hang out from time to time. He’d tell me that from time to time she’d invite him out with her and her friends or sisters, but they never really spent a lot of quality time alone. At the time, I believed him, and assumed nothing was amiss. At the end of April, he moved down to New York and then a month later back home with me, and we went on with our lives.

Around this time, I started to notice little red flags. I’m pretty keen about following my instincts, and the first thing I thought was amiss was when I went to grab his phone for him and saw that he had three text messages from her. I quickly scanned them and they didn’t seem all that damning: how are things back in X city you live in, what is your address? How has your summer been? But I did find it a bit strange that he was texting some girl he had only roomed in the same apartment with for a few weeks as frequently as every few days, but I said nothing.

Almost fortuitous, a few days later, I was using his computer to check my email and he had left his email open and I noticed that there were quite a few emails over the course of a couple of months. Feeling that bad feeling in my gut, I scanned them. While they weren’t sexual or necessarily damning, they were borderline flirtatious, and I immediate asked him why he was talking so much to this girl. He defended himself, saying that they were just friendly and that I could read all of them if I wanted to. I declined, figuring that his offer was enough of an admission of innocence as any and dropped it that evening, but my gut was still screaming that something was off.

The next morning, after he left for work, while looking for a pen in our shared desk, I found a number of postcards hidden at the bottom of the drawer, which were sent from her. They were extremely flirtatious: “Oh I miss you so much. I want to come visit you down in X city. I think about you often!” It was then that I panicked and immediately started searching for more information. Now, I guess the good thing about my partner is that he’s been keeping a journal since he was at least 12, so I knew he had his journal hidden somewhere in the apartment. While I believe wholeheartedly that one’s journal is PRIVATE, I felt like I was justified in reading it to keep myself safe.

When I found it, sure enough, he had detailed entries about how this girl was flirting with him and he enjoyed it, and flirted back, bought her a few gifts, and even, after he left for New York, continued to send her cards in the mail. He admitted to himself that:

A.) He loved me, didn’t find the girl attractive, but loved the attention.

B.) That he knew what he was doing was wrong, and that he felt like he wanted to cheat, but wouldn’t. And that what he was doing, which was more or less about to turn into an Emotional Affair, wasn’t wrong because he wasn’t doing anything physical. Also, he thought that it was so innocent, so discreet, that I wouldn’t find out.

With that smoking gun in hand, I confronted him. At first he got defensive, admitted that SHE was flirting with him, but he was doing no such thing. I knew he was lying at that point, and I demanded that he hand over his phone to prove it. It was then that he knew I had cornered him and he broke down in tears. I felt like I was made a fool of, and told him in no uncertain terms, that he was 100% responsible for what he did, and that I wasn’t going to stand for any his behavior any longer. Thank God I had found this board the morning before I confronted him, and laid out a list of ultimatums that everyone here had suggested. Without any fighting or debate, he handed over his phone tracking records, email password, and immediately made an appointment for therapy.

The problem didn’t stop though; I told my SO to sit down and write the OW a no-contact letter, and looking back, the mistake I made was letting him write it. It was kind: “Oh, I was flirting with you, and I sort of have a crush on you, but I love DE very much and this is detrimental to my relationship. This is inappropriate and I cannot speak with you anymore. I hope you understand. You were a nice roommate. Have a great life.”

Her response back made it sound as if he had told her that our relationship was on the rocks. (From my perspective, and what he wrote in his journal, it wasn’t.) She was SO disappointed that he wasn’t leaving me. She understood, but was heartbroken. Her response made me livid and I spent one evening screaming at him until he started bawling again. I never admitted to him that I read his journal, but when he was out of the house, I scoured the pages for proof that it got physical, or that he told her that he was leaving me. I even tried to read between the lines. I feel that in the end, I’ll never know exactly what was said to make her believe that, but I’m trying to accept that reality and move forward.

My SO blocked her email after that last final email in August and deleted her phone number. Since then, he’s made every effort to work on our relationship (I’ve been the distant one, holding back to see what he gives me.) and has been going to a therapist every week now for two months. I have seen a change—in the way he is more open about his emotions with me, his honesty, and his attempt to answer all questions I have over what transpired. But as many of you BS’s know, I still didn’t trust him at all, and believed that maybe his change was just superficial.

Yesterday, I believe we had a breakthrough. He came home and while eating dinner, he told me that he had something to talk with me about. He pulled his phone out and turned it over to me to show a text message he had gotten. It was from an unknown number and said, “Thinking of you. Miss you…” and I knew immediately who it was from. When I asked him how he felt about it, he told me that he was angry: “I’m working hard to fix what I did wrong. And I don’t need this in my life right now. I’m angry. I thought she was nice at first, but now I think she’s a selfish person. What part of No Contact does she not understand?”

He admitted that his first reaction was to immediately delete it because we had been having a very good week, but told me that he’d rather be honest in this relationship than hide things to keep things harmonious.

We’ve since taken the number and blocked it from his phone. Part of me wants this girl to feel like crap—my first reaction was to call her up myself and tell her to go f***k herself, or have my SO send a text message back that said, “Leave me ALONE,” but I figured that a reaction, any, would be what she would want.

My anger, sadly, is still there. I want to ignore this girl, but I also want to have my revenge. I want to call her up and tell her that she’s a sad, sorry, worthless person. I know I should ignore it, I know I should, but I don’t know what to do about it. I’m afraid that she’ll keep up the contact, or keep trying to get under our skin. The most retaliation I’ve done since was put her profile up on cheaterville.com, but that only gave me temporary relief.

So I guess I don’t know what I hope to achieve from this post! I feel a lot lighter to just tell my story, also introduce myself and thank you guys, and also seek advice. For those reconciling, how have you moved forward in forgiving your WS, even though resentment and hurt is still there?

How do I make the OW/OM an insignificant part of my reality? Right now this woman is an obsession in my mind and I know it's unhealthy. Have any of you struggled with this? At this point, both my SO and I want her to go away.

Again, thank you guys! And I apologize for the novel. If I weren't a writer, this would most definitely be much more brief. :)
 

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I am not in a position with my own relationship to offer you any sound advice. I would just like to say that I am glad he was honest with you and hopes for a change. Many men would pretend to disconnect and still maintain the connection as long as you didnt know about it (as my husband has done). I will say that you can not let her consume you and steal your joy! She probably wants just that...to cause problems with you and your SO. Dont let her have the joy of doing that! Ignore her, thank your SO for being honest and hopefully if it continues he will continue to be honest with you! So thankful that is as far as it went!
 

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You want to exact devastating revenge on the interloper?

Then let your bf continue to heal, you probably need to see an IC to heal properly too. THEN have a long and fruitful romantic life with a loving partner. SWEET REVENGE
 
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