I need advice. My wife and I have been married for almost 13 years and have been together for over 15. We have two young daughters: 3 and 8. Two years ago she made a career change from nursing to real estate. She’s very good at it and has had great success. She’s finally happy in a job and I’ve been very proud of her.
A couple of months ago I caught her having an affair with another agent. It’s not as bad as you think, I won’t go into details about why I believe her, but sex was not involved. What happened is she went on a work retreat to Florida, got drunk one night and kissed this man. I’m human too, and I understand that mistakes can be made in a moment of vulnerability/lack of judgment, but what hurts the most is once she returned from this trip she met up with this man in secret on two other occasions where kissing was again involved. I found out because I always check her location before I call her, because I don’t want to bother here while she’s at a showing or while she’s driving, but this time she was parked in a very odd place. Anyways, it all came to light after that.
The confusing part is that this man is much older than us, he’s not very attractive and really doesn’t have much to offer. She told me that she basically fell in love with him for a lack of better words. We decided to try to work things out. I didn’t want her to quit her job because she finally has something she loves doing, but I made it very clear that she cannot communicate with this man unless it was absolutely essential to business. She agreed, but on multiple occasions thereafter either saw or spoke to him for trivial things. Like doing her a favor to go put up a for sale sign at one of her listings and referring a buyer of one of her properties to him. So a total of four times I had to reiterate what “essential to business” means and finally I had to practically beg her to cut this man from our lives. Which she agreed to. Since then she has had little to no contact with him and only in a manner that fits our agreement.
What I’m really struggling with is we had a great marriage. She agrees. She says I’m the best husband. We get along great, never fight, we have great sex, we’re perfectly compatible. So how do we go about “fixing” something that was never broken? I told her the other night that im committed to resolution, but what are we trying to resolve?
I’ve come to realize, at least believe, that she has some kind of deeply seeded issues that obviously strongly influence her actions. So how am I supposed to accept what she’s telling me. She says it was the biggest mistake of her life and that she swears that it will never happen again. I believe what she says is genuine, the trouble is that it doesn’t matter if she is sincere in saying that, because if you had asked her six months ago she would have said the same, yet here we are.
A backstory to our relationship for clarity. We dated for about a year in high school. Our relationship was pretty much over by this time, but she slept with another man. I don’t hold that against her because we were both dumb kids. My mother was a schizophrenic drug addict. And when I didn’t have a place to live, her parents offered a room to me. I was probably 19 at this point. She married a man who was in the Navy and lived in Virginia so she wasn’t in the picture at this point in time. I was living with her parents for probably 8 months before she left her husband and came back home. As you can imagine we quickly found ourselves engaging in secret encounters. We didn’t label our relationship, but it was more than just friends with benefits. I was happy, because I was completely obsessed with her. Looking back I think she satisfied something in me that I lacked from my relationship with my mother. Which is why I let her walk all over me.
We went though a very dark time. In fact just recently she mentioned how she couldn’t believe how badly she treated me when we were young. I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty confident that she “cheated” on me twice around that time. But, I stayed with her because I was desperate for her affection and I didn’t really have any other options. I’m not saying this to paint her in a bad light, but I’m now critically analyzing everything in an attempt to make sense of all this.
Despite all that, we moved on and cultivated a beautiful relationship and eventually marriage. Truly, I’ve never felt more secure in my entire life. She became a beautiful person. She was devoted, loving and kind. I always felt that we really are meant for each other. Like we both had our issues back then, but fate put us together in our worst times in order for us to have this perfect marriage.
About five years ago, she went on a girls trip to Vegas. I’ve never had any doubt about her commitment to me, but she called me one morning while she was there and hysterically told me that she had made out with a man in a club. It hurt, but I could tell she was devastated by her own actions. And again, I understand we’re all human and make mistakes. I forgave her.
Since then, no issues. I was completely secure and confident in our marriage and our commitment to each other until now. Now I’m questioning everything. I’m looking back and realizing that no normal man would allow a person to do such hurtful things to them over and over. I’m realizing now that the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in my life has been from her, my wife, the one person that isn’t supposed to do that. And I’ve been HURT. I’ve grown emotionally and I understand now that I had a very unhealthy attachment to her when I was young, but I truly felt that she had changed. Now I’m wondering if she’s only been faithful to me for the years prior to her career change because she was surrounded by other woman and now she’s with plenty of men and a very flexible work schedule that easily allows for affairs.
I think I should leave her. I can’t let her hurt me anymore. But what about our kids? Our house? Like I said before, we get along great. All I want to do is kiss her and make love to her, but when is enough enough? I’ve been so proud that I’m raising my kids in an unbroken home, because I never knew what that was like. So, I’m faced with a decision: do I leave her because I can’t accept her promises that she’s given me so many times, or do I stay for my children and my own self serving desires? I’m so confused. When I’m alone, the answer is clear, but when I’m with her and see how much she wants us to stay together I become so conflicted.