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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been lurking on these forums for over a year, and want to thank all of you for sharing your stories and experiences. They have been tremendously helpful as I've gone through my own journey after my ex-wife's infidelity.

I've decided to share my own story in case others can learn from it, and because I'd appreciate advice on getting closure. It's very long, but if you don't want the backstory you can skip to the scattered last few paragraphs to see where my head is (before that is my variant of the standard WW story).

Summary: My WW had an affair with her boss. We separated in 2011 and our divorce was finalized in early 2012. A week after the judge signed the decree, she moved to the UK to live with the OM. We have two young children, ages 5 and 3, who reside with me in the US; she visits them every few months and will have them for over a month in the summer. Life is good, but I have been through the same pains, doubts, and self-questioning that many of you have. It has made me stronger but I still cope with the aftermath and seek closure.

Cue backstory. We met in college in 2001, and were each other's first serious relationships. After a few years of dating, we were engaged, and married a year later. Both very successful in our careers at a young age. We decided to start a family and had two wonderful, healthy kids. Life was great …

In early 2010, soon after our second child was born, my WW began to behave unusually. She was much less affectionate to our daughter than she had been to our son as a newborn. She became more distant to me at the same time. Whereas we used to speak daily on the phone when I traveled for work, communication shifted to emails about logistics and basic pleasantries. On weekends she preferred I take the kids to soccer games, birthday parties, and the like while she relaxed at home or got a pedicure.

I naively believed all of this to be due to work stress, as she had become engrossed in her job around this same time. During her maternity leave, she had been passed up for a promotion; this made her quite insecure and she eagerly sought to prove herself. She threatened to leave the company, and they appeased her by moving her into a role directly under the new CEO. He had founded an online market research company in the UK; my WW's company merged with them late 2009 and he was appointed CEO of the combined entity. She was in effect his "chief of staff" in charge of special projects and communications.

At first I thought this was a great opportunity for her to work with the CEO. She often mentioned how he reminded her of me, except a decade older, British, and balding. He was smart, funny, nice, "a good family man" (wife and three kids), etc. I met him myself a few times and he seemed like a standup guy. Little did I know he was targeting my wife, and would become the driving factor in her leaving both me and her children.

She began to spend a significant amount of time with the executive team, including travels around the world and late nights out when the CEO and others from the UK came to visit headquarters in TX. Wanting to support her career, and ignorant of the red flags, I allowed her to go out with this group … I trusted her 100% and thought that as a woman trying to break into the "old boys" club, nights out with coworkers were necessary. I was also unaware of the risks that today are obvious after reading this script play out over and over.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the CEO separated from his wife in the UK in 2010 (I didn't learn this until 2011 when I found out about the affair). Around the holidays that year, my wife mentioned "taking a break" which shocked me, but she never followed through and we chalked it up again to holiday and work stress. Rug sweeping to a degree we moved on with our lives throughout 2011, taking care of the kids and going on trips together as a family. We were busy, and probably not giving each other enough attention, but I still never thought that she would be having an affair.

In the summer of 2011, my WW called me out of the blue one evening and told me that the CEO was being investigated for "improper favoritism of women" in the office and that she was one of several who were brought into the allegations. She swore that there was nothing going on, but was concerned about damage to her reputation and what her peers would think now that several in the office were being asked about her. I believed her and vowed to support her no matter what. About a month later, the CEO resigned and soon after my WW said she had to leave the company as well because she didn't feel comfortable working there, and wanted to try something new.

I was suspicious of this timing, and my suspicions were confirmed a week later when I saw an email from my WW to her former boss lamenting how he had left to return to his home in the UK, and proclaiming her "love" for him. I confronted her but she denied they were anything more than friends, and she attributed the word "love" to being drunk when writing (she was, it was written to him during a night we were on vacation and had drank together by the pool for hours). I wanted to believe her. She wanted space to "figure things out" … so we agreed to go to counseling after she returned from her last work trip to the UK to close things off. You can see where this is heading …

Needless to say, she did not call home to talk to me or the kids nor respond to calls the entire week in the UK. I finally sent her a very direct email asking for the truth, and she admitted to being "in love" with her boss and said he was the reason why she couldn't be with me. Upon her return, I gave her the choice to end all communications with him; she refused which was a dealbreaker for me. We began to talk of a "trial separation" and what that would look like.

I still wanted to hold our family together, and had many others encouraging me to do the same. Our split was a shock to everyone as my WW had never expressed unhappiness to a single friend or family member. I also learned that she had been lying to him about several things, e.g., telling him we were already separated and that she had moved out of the house and was living independently (while we were still married and living together). So I contacted the OM, exposed her lies, and told him to back off. He did not respond to me, but I later learned that he did ignore my WW for a week or so, until she threatened to expose him to his own wife and to the board of the company they had worked for, and was considering a sexual harassment lawsuit. At this point OM told my WW that the only reason he had stopped calling was because I threatened him. She in turn blamed me for "meddling" with her relationship (!) and we moved from trial separation to filing for divorce.

Finalizing the divorce was relatively painless, even though my WW was cold to me and the kids during this time. It became clear that my WW's top priority was moving to London to be with OM (though she told me and others that it was due to her "long-standing" desire to live in a different country). She was willing to give me primary custody of the children to ensure a fast divorce, and since the children were most important to me I accommodated. However, I told her in no uncertain terms that OM should never expect to be friends with me and that I would never accept him as part of our children's lives. She ignored this; her story to me that she was only going to the UK for 2 months to see if she could get a job, and she also told the OM among others that I would eventually "get over it" and might even move to the UK so that the kids could be by their mother. Delusional at best. She left in early 2012 and has been there since (with some hopping around countries to avoid visa limitations).

A year later and for the most part, life is great. I've been a great father and have built even stronger bonds with my two awesome children. I've reconnected with many old friends, and have received amazing support from them as well as my family (both mine and my WW's). The dating scene is amazing; I've had more success with women than at any time in my life, even though I am very hesitant to pursue anything serious at the moment. Ask any casual observer in my life and I'm the "poster child" for recovering from a divorce … or so it seems.

WW and OM are still living together in the UK. I heard through friends of the trips they have taken: skiing in the Alps, sailing in the Greek Isles, and so forth. For about a year neither of them were working (him due to being wealthy, my ex-WW due to visa issues) so it was truly a "honeymoon" period. That didn't bother me too much as I was enjoying life and new freedoms myself, but seeing how my kids have been hurt by their selfishness has been painful. No children deserve to have their mother abandon them and move across an ocean for someone else. It especially bothers me that POSOM might one day interact with my children if they remain together, or they visit her in the UK.

Relations between WW and me are tense. After initially accommodating her infrequent visits back to the US (being flexible around visitation times), I decided at the end of last year to enforce boundaries. The result was her blaming me for "keeping her away from the kids" (she wanted extra time around Christmas but I only gave her what was spelled out in the decree... even though she was able to come to US for a longer time). In my mind, it was a natural consequence - how can she accuse me of blocking her access to the kids when it was her choice to leave them and move across the ocean? But to her, I'm evil and selfish.

So yes, as my user name suggests, I've been struggling to a degree with getting closure. It's twofold.

The first part is around standing up for myself. Before we divorced, I told OM I would expose his actions to his family and professional colleagues if he did not back off my wife (tactical mistake in giving him the heads up). While I did ultimately inform his wife – she was already moving towards divorce having realized he was making no efforts to her and the kids, and my letter solidified her resolve – I held back on the professional exposure since he had already resigned from the company he founded. And I didn't do cheaterville or any sites like that, despite the temptation.

OM now has taken a new CEO job with a small service recommendation company in the UK. I realize that exposure to his colleagues could just make me look vindictive, probably wouldn't solve anything, and could just escalate an already delicate situation. But a small part of me wants to follow through just so I know I did everything I could and said I would, and get the truth out. One could argue that the employees and investors have a right to know about their CEO and his past. It also doesn't help that my WW has told me that she and OM "laughed" at the emails I wrote him and didn't (don't) believe I would do anything.

The second part of getting closure is around accepting what I cannot control. Many close to my WW suspect that she may have had postpartum depression (given the ease with which she left kids) or is bipolar (runs in her family). Having read up on these conditions, I can attest that there are indeed symptoms of both. That said, she followed the WW script to a tee and even before the affair, she was always a bit more self-centered than the average individual … the type of person who was "always right" (I loved her despite this). So I'm not sure what to believe, or even how I'd respond if she were found to have a medical issue at the root of this. It could just be WW selfishness and entitlement anyway.

And I have lingering doubts about the OM's intentions … from what I saw of their communications when my WW and I were living together (checking phone records, etc) it was very one-sided in terms of her chasing him, threatening him when he didn't respond, etc. I also wrote OM several emails; in one he responded that he "did not believe a mother should live an ocean away from her children" … yet he has sustained a relationship with my ex-WW. She still does not have a job over a year later, and I have wondered if OM is holding out hope that outside factors (e.g., visa challenges) force her to leave the UK so his hands are clean. But then again, they are living together so maybe OM indeed wants her to stay.

None of this should matter to me. Like I said, life is good on nearly every dimension. But I cannot rest easily without knowing I did everything for my kids. So I often wonder if going "nuclear" on exposure of OM has any benefit, or if it's too late and would backfire at this point (yes, I should have been more aggressive when it was all going down). Will I feel better afterwards?

Fundamentally I believe the kids should have their mother more present – but I can't control that and even if she were around more, in her current condition she isn't prioritizing them. And part of what's driving my lack of closure is knowing that my ex-WW changed so dramatically and so quickly upon getting involved with OM, that it is almost assured at some point she will realize what she lost … in a way, I'm trying to force the issue by exposing him with the hopes it will snap her out of it and save both her and my kids years of lost time, even though I can't imagine reconciling.

I know perhaps I should let things take their course and just stay focused on living my own life and taking care of my children ... i.e., I should take the attitude that even though I care about my ex-WW as mother of my children, she's not my problem anymore (regardless of potential root causes or OM's intentions).

Ok, I'll stop. I've most likely written your eyes off with this novella. Tell me what I need to hear.
 

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Huh. I'm not sure what is "right" to recommend, in all honesty. I can only tell you what I'd do.

Now, as you probably already realize, exposure is used to shut-down, or at least publicly taint, an affair. Since you've both more or less moved beyond that, I can't see exposure helping you in any way that's not vindictive.

...not that there's anything wrong with being vindictive. :D

I have no experience with bipolar disorder or postpartum depression outside of friends who suffer from it. And all I can tell you, based on their experiences, is that it sucks. However, based on stories I've read here on TAM, these are NOT valid reasons for her affair at all. Cheaters know what they're doing. It's as simple as that. And this is especially true if she was the aggressor in her affair. No excuses - mental disease or not, she knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she started her affair. She knew exactly what to do to maintain her affair. She knows exactly what to say and do to rub salt in your heart-wound (she "laughed" at your emails to OM? Really? *cough* cvnt *cough*).

With that said, how exactly would exposure complicate things? Beyond her being furious, I mean? What's she going to do if you do expose, after all? Make an angry phone call? Send you an irate email? Screw 'em, says I.

Expose the affair. It's what I'd do, but I'm also a bastard who holds a mean grudge. Expose them both for what they are, to everyone that matters to them. Will it make you look vindictive? Yeah, probably. But who cares? You don't work with them. And it's not like you're lying - especially if you have actual evidence to present while exposing. Make-'em squirm.

Also, I'm a bit curious about this "sexual harassment" suit your wife allegedly threatened her lover with. Have you spoken to a lawyer about this? Are you entitled to any damages as a result of her lover's actions in ruining your marriage? Can you sue at all? I've heard mention "alienation of affection" suits brought up here on TAM, and I'm curious to know if this can be applied in your case.

Once you've gotten exposure off your chest, hit the dating scene, hard. It sounds like you've already dabbed in it, which is good to hear. At this point, I suspect you need to either:
- let the bad blood out (exposure)
- find an awesome woman to set you straight.

I say do both.

Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck to you.
 

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Why go nuclear? You could actually wind up having your ex back in your life in the US if the OM loses his current job! Do you really want that?

Sure, you can maybe make the argument that it would be better for the kids to have their mom around but do they really need someone around who treats them as a burden, regardless of what issues she may have?

Look, there's plenty of folks out there who suffer from depression issues and bi-polar problems but they didn't move an ocean away from their kids to have sex with someone else.

Personally, in the long term I think your kids would be better off without this disruptive force in their lives but that's just me
 

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I think you owe it to your children to go nuclear and you should have done it long ago.

The OM and your WW feel safe and secure, able to do whatever they want because everyone is afraid of taking action. They used that to hook up in the first place - using your fear of derailing your wife career by not giving her the essentially unlimiited time to be away from her family in order to advance her career, and then later fear of going nuclear that allowed her the freedom to "visit" the UK to continue her affair.

Going nuclear would help knock the wind out of the sails of the OM and bring reality to their relationship - hopefully enough to end it.

Right now your kids mother has abandoned them so she can run around having a party life with the OM, and by not going nuclear you've let them do it without any negative consequences.

BTW, I would suggest you never ever give permission for the kids to leave the US to visit her until they are 18.
 

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BTW, Since your wife was making good money, and she lost that job because of her affair with the OM - and she is not unemployed - who is paying her part of child support to you?

Did you sue either the company or the OM for damages because they failed to prevent the affair?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the responses. Perhaps the best way to explain my current state of mind is that I vacillate between Jibril's & Shaggy's train of thought and Toffer's. You guys stated my two mindsets more eloquently than I did above. Justice (and potential relief) from exposure ... versus acceptance that I've got it relatively good and that my WW returning might be more trouble than it's worth.

A few quick clarifications ...

Re: sexual harassment claims: I don't live in an alienation of affection state. All I've got to go on is the fact my WW threatened to expose him, and that she said he admitted to flirting with her from the very beginning (when both were married). He also told her things like "if we were both single, I'd date you" that encouraged her to take the steps she did ... though I know she still made the choices she did. I've seen the emails to that effect. I also heard secondhand from a former colleague of WW/OM about how OM had tried to get another young 20-something employee drunk one night and made moves on her, which she rebuffed.

Not sure that's enough for me to make any claim - and it's been a year since they worked together - but had my WW wanted to bring OM down she probably could have (especially given the allegations already against him). He was smart though in that he always caveated any of his comments to the WW with stuff like "you should make your own decisions independent of me or any perceived future with me" ... giving himself plausible deniability and an out if she changes her mind.

Re: keeping the kids in the US. I don't think I have the right to do that. She gets them for up to 6 weeks in the summer. Now I won't fly them over there myself, but if she comes and picks them up I don't think I can stop them from traveling with her (she took them to Spain for a month this past summer). Bottom line is while I won't enable, I do intend to respect our decree and we did not exclude international travel.

Re: child support. Yes she pays me, using the $ from our divorce settlement until she finds a job ... living with OM she has few expenses other than travel back to see kids. Obviously it is good that she is paying this.

Also, just to be clear, my WW has not completely abandoned them. She still calls home a few times a week and talks to the kids on the phone or iPad and does see them every 2-3 months. She believes that this sort of interaction, coupled with fun trips like going skiing, will maintain the bond with her children ... and that she will be a "better mother" because she is now "happy" living in London with OM and not "depressed" living in our town and with me. Still very foggy if you ask me but it's been a year and she has not broken from her script. I know inside that the kids appreciate the simplicities and snuggles of day-to-day life with me but it grates me when I hear her trying to get the kids excited about their next fun trip with mom or what they will do when she comes to visit.
 

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I think it's natural to want some closure. Most people who are cheated on feel tremendous humiliation. Their pride takes a big hit and they somehow believe that the feelings of humiliation must transfer to other people who are on the outside looking in. But they don't transfer. Usually, outsiders lose respect for the cheaters and see the BS as a noble figure.

In your case, you are definitely the one to be admired. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what the two of them think. They are so tainted as human beings by their actions that they can think what they want. The rest of the world has no respect.

Your W seems to be one of the small percentage of people in the world who is pathologically selfish. She hasn't bonded with her children in a natural, normal way & they are extremely lucky to have one parent who loves and really cares for them.

But you know all this. People like me will just reaffirm it.

Since you've read for a while here, you know that there's a script to infidelity. Because we're dealing with human behavior, there's also a script for most of the other experiences in life. This includes your W's move across the ocean.

If your W follows the standard path, she will not be a welcomed addition to life in the UK to anyone except her OM. I predict that he will want to be rid of her sooner rather than later as well. Whatever sense of belonging she might construct for herself there will burn out quickly. Remember that she is the American interloper who broke up two families (nevermind that he got divorced earlier) and is flaunting herself in a culture that would be happy to see the back of her.

This means that she will probably be headed home soon enough. I believe you dodged a bullet in having her show her true colors when she was very young. I fear that the bullet may be headed your way again at some point. If this happens, please remember that there is something very wrong with her for her to leave her children like that. That will never be fixed.
 

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This might sound harsh, but I think you need to focus on protecting your kids from your former wife.

YOU have been the parent, the one constant in their lives. Your ex-wife fcked around on THEM, abandoned them and really has no business in their lives. She may even try to re-bond with them during her one month - which means they will feel abandoned again when they return home.

I would get advice from others and maybe even a therapist who specializes in children.

But if it was me, I would never allow this woman into my children's lives again.

EDIT to add: What were the terms of your divorce re: your ex-wife's access to her kids?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
EDIT to add: What were the terms of your divorce re: your ex-wife's access to her kids?
She has visitation rights for one weekend a month, and up to six weeks in the summer (last year she took 4). We alternate major holidays.

She's realizing the challenge of the current arrangement (coming in from London for a Friday 6pm to Sunday 6pm visit) and is placing huge guilt on me to allow her more time for her visits, threatening to go back and try to modify custody. For example, she'll book a trip for a week or more and then try to make me look bad if I "only" allow her the weekend specified in the decree.

But for now I am standing strong on the agreement - if only so that she recognizes the sacrifices and consequences of her decision. Just don't know what is long term best for kids.

And yes, they and I are meeting with a therapist.
 

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She has visitation rights for one weekend a month, and up to six weeks in the summer (last year she took 4). We alternate major holidays.

She's realizing the challenge of the current arrangement (coming in from London for a Friday 6pm to Sunday 6pm visit) and is placing huge guilt on me to allow her more time for her visits, threatening to go back and try to modify custody. For example, she'll book a trip for a week or more and then try to make me look bad if I "only" allow her the weekend specified in the decree.
The expression "she made her own bed" comes to mind.

She actually has a pretty sweet deal. Only coming in for holidays or for the odd weekend. She gets to be the "good-time" Mom, while you get to be the everyday parent. She's "special" while you're everyday, enforcing rules, homework, etc. Does she realize how lucky she is? I'm guessing not and that she is presenting herself as a "victim" denied access to her "dear children".

Remind her that her kids were the furthest thing from her mind while she was fcking her boss.

Is there any way you can go for full custody?
 

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I concur with Dame, this next year may not go so well for the EXW. The OM knows her story and as the novelty of being with her wears off and her narcissism starts to take its toll on him I suspect he will want to get rid of her.

Don’t think everything is all roses and puppies with her; she is going to put on a front to make it look like she made the right choice. There’s no way in hell will she let you see any issues with her or the OM.
 

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Sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing your story. I think you did all the right things. I live in Germany and I do know a bit about British immigration. She could file for it easily. My guess is, she want to keep her US Passport in case things go south.
As for your Ex cough cwnt cough. Good Riddence. The other posters have covered what I thought, you might want to move a block away from were you are now and not tell her. hehe Have a good life David
 

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Ask your lawyer if they have any contacts with solicitors or barristers in the UK. It might be worth getting a UK law firm to act on your behalf in the UK before your ex and her lover decide to try to have your children moved to the UK.

Could you check to ensure she can't have the names of the children added to her passport? Not even sure if that is possible.

By the way, please accept my apologies that a UK person (I hesitate to use the term man) would act in such a caddish and dastardly way.)
 

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Making you feel guilty? After the horrible selfish things she has done, including abandoning her children? - I don't think there should be anything you should ever feel guilt over with her.

It is her choice to live in the UK and have such a distance from her kids.

And yes, she did abandon her kids. Seeing them for fun holidays and talking a couple times during the weeks isn't being in their lives. It means she isn't helping with home work, getting them off to school, dealing with play dates, teaching them how to be friends. Dealing with teachers,school, and after school activities. She isn't there for sports, or for scrapped knees, and she isn't there when they get sick and need someone to comfort them.

Bottom line - she isn't there at all as a parent.

I wouldn't be so certain that you have to permit them to leave the US to see her. That isn't a guarenteed right of a divorced parent who does not have primary custody. Sure they have visitation - they come to you and the kids, not the other wayaround.

This is because there have been way too many parents that take off with the kids to foreign countries and then both the parent and the country refuse to return the kid - especially bad in the middle east.

And while you may not have alienation of affect where you live, you may still be able to sue. He wasn't just anyone, he was the CEO of the company. The company themselves eventually terminated him for such stuff. You still might be able to go after him for causing her to leave her job.

You sound like a nice guy. It burns me up to hear about the OM and you lying cheating wife essentially getting away scott free with only the inconvenience for her that she has to deal with jet lag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all for the advice and supporting words.

Shaggy, I'm not sure I could sue OM for anything more than emotional distress (and that's not worth the hassle on my end as I'm doing ok now) ... perhaps my XW could have a case for having to leave her job, but right now it's all rainbows and unicorns in her mind ... she genuinely thinks they'll be together forever and doesn't understand why people won't accept that they are "soulmates" and that "if you really love someone you would sacrifice to live where they are" (to which I asked why she didn't want to live by the kids ... got no response to that one)

I'm definitely back and forth on the further exposure. Yes, I feel the truth should be out. Who knows if OM will target other young women at his new company. And I'm not sure if his colleagues or the PE firm backing him knows his history or character. I've been very close to emailing them but held back.

But part of me wonders if exposing would just bring them together in an "us against the world" type of situation. I think that may have happened when I exposed to OM's wife ... granted as mentioned above she was already on her way towards divorce, in her words "now it all makes sense why OM was distant and not putting any effort into our marriage"

And if I were the one blamed for breaking them up, I'm sure my WW would come back with a vindictive streak which would only hurt me and the kids further (this may happen regardless if/when they split ... as she'll realize what she gave up).

My main objective is to keep OM out of my kids' lives. If I can do that, I don't care if my WW is with him or not. So far he has not made any effort to meet the kids so that's good but I fear for this summer if she takes them to UK and is still living with OM. I don't think my decree forbids international travel but will have to check into that. Also, if she has a job by then I'm not sure how she plans to take care of the kids ... she has mentioned wanting my nanny to go to UK but I don't know if that will happen or would be best situation.

Anyway, I'm staying strong and doing the best I can. Life is good. Just gotta keep reminding myself that, enjoying the moments with my kids and with friends. As the saying goes, it's not the cards you are dealt, it's how you play the hand.
 
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