may72018
(This will take some time to read)

On Friday WS's former AP (March 2018 to June 2018) was in attendance at a school district wide tailgating party before the high school football game.  Each of the elementary schools were assigned a slot on the lawn to setup and I was given the task of manning the grill.  He doesn't teach at my wife's school anymore still teaches in the district at a different elementary school.  

I saw him across the lawn far away from where we were setup and it was pretty clear that he saw me too, and while proximity was unsettling I felt as though I could handle it.  The reason being we were in a pretty big open space with no reason to find ourselves near one another.  After his wife left, who's also a teacher in the district, he suddenly showed up in our section and was yucking it up with his former colleagues (all women).  They were so happy to see and talk to him because he had gone dark over the last year for reasons unknown to them after leaving for another school.  

I found myself moving a safe distance away to play a game with my daughter and son (the one who had him as a teacher), but I felt pushed out.  My wife stayed clear of him and came over to me to ask how I was doing.  In a very direct way I told her not good, I don't want to cause a scene, and I've found something to keep busy with by playing with the kids.  She got a terrified look on her face and sat down on the lawn next to us with her back to the group while the kids and I played a game.  

He hung around for a bit with the teachers from my wife's school.  I glared over at him from time to time.  My wife looked at me each time with a look of "please don't."  When he finally left to head over to the football game I waited with my family for several minutes before we started to make our way over.  My wife was sitting next to me in the bleachers and leaned over to get confirmation from me that i was "all good" and I told her that I most certainly was not.  

Then she told me that the teachers from her school were going out for drinks after halftime so we could leave the game before it ended.  She asked if it would be ok if she went.  I told her that she could do whatever she wants.  In my head, he was going to be there with his old friends too.  She didn't like being put in the position of needing to make the call on her own.  She wanted clearance from me.  I told her if she wanted to go I'd like to tag along.  So we left the game at halftime and went home to drop the kids off.

I asked her if drinks were still happening when we got home.  She said that she didn't know.  It took about 30 minutes for confirmation to come through as to yes the group was getting ready for drinks.  One of the group members asked if I was coming along.  Before we left my wife offered up her observation of the tailgating run-in.  

She said that she was happy to have the band-aid pulled off.  She also told me that earlier that day she had learned that after a year of ghosting on the group of female teachers he had reached out to a couple of them the day before.  Her feeling about all of this is that it was good to see him reconnect with his friends from his old school.  She asked me if I saw his wife at the tailgate and I told her that I did.  She said that was good and that must mean that they are doing ok.  I told her that I really didn't care about him reconnecting with his friends or the state of his marriage and that he chose to step into possible hornet nest of trouble when he came over to hang out.  I also pointed out that by doing so, it forced her to remove herself from her friends and relegated me to keeping my $hit together and that it was a toxic move on his part to do so.  She said that she was concerned about my statement of not wanting to cause a scene.  I pointed out that I didn't say I wanted to cause a scene and that I found something to distract myself with until he left.  

When we headed out to the restaurant after this brief chat she offered up to me that I'm going to be shocked when I have my next haircut (9/16) with our stylist.  When we were pulling into the parking lot of the restaurant she suddenly asked me what happens if he's there.  I looked to her and with a laugh said, "I guess we're rolling the dice then!"  Thankfully he wasn't there.  

The next day we talked some more.  I wanted to have a direct conversation about boundaries now that he has reentered the orbit of their mutual group of friends.  I asked her what her plans are for payday happy hour now?  I'll give some backstory here now.

He had stopped coming to happy hour after it was ended in June of 2018.  I really drove the point home to him in August of 2018 when he cast a lure to her via a work email.  I took the initiative then and sent him a pretty persuasive text that more or less told him any future attempts at contact or replies to contact would be a bad idea, while at the same time humiliating him by turning his own words (from his texts to my wife) on him and suggesting my next step would be to take the lid off this and expose it. 

So back to happy hour.  My wife said that maybe she should stop going to happy hour now.  Again, I told her that was her choice.  She said that this group of friends are important to her and doesn't want to stop going.  I agreed, but pointed out that the flip side of that coin is that they are tainted for me.  At the same time there are a few who are really good people and if push came to shove would be friends of the marriage if they knew what had happened.  I certainly don't want my wife to feel isolated because that's not going to be good for her recovery.   

Her suggestion, as it has been since the preceding year, was to have just one drink and immediately get her bill so if he shows up she can leave.  I told her that wasn't going to work for me.  I asked her how she would feel knowing that I was home and it was 6, 7, 8, etc. o'clock and she wasn't home from the bar yet?  She didn't understand so I told her that whether it was early or late I'm wondering if she followed through on her promise to leave if she showed up.  She asked me if I didn't think she would follow through on the promise.  I point blank told her that she hasn't demonstrated to me that she is capable of good choices yet.  

My offer to her was that "I" need to be welcome to come to happy hour too.  She said that would be weird because it's a bunch of ladies.  I pointed out that he used to be a regular along with a couple of other male teachers from her school.  So she said that it would be weird because they are blowing off steam about their week and other stuff and they might be uncomfortable if I started showing up.  She said that would put her in a strange place.  So I told her that I won't come every time, BUT I reserve the right to show up ANYTIME I want to without asking permission or telling her I am going to.  She agreed that that was a boundaries compromise she could live with.  

We talked some more on Sunday and her feelings of being responsible for this guy's year long detachment from friends came up again and that she was happy that these people could reconnect.  I told her that she was responsible but he was never a friend.  He was they guy in the school that all of the female teachers "connected" with.  Funny, interesting, smart, helpful, pretty open about being unhappy in his marriage, etc...I  had also come to learn that he was pretty good at getting them to talk $hit about their husbands with him. 

My wife never did that in all the texts that I vacuumed up.  But we had been in kind of a dry spell with some deaths in the family earlier that year, she had an extremely difficult class, and we had a teenager struggling in school.  I told her that my take on the situation was that she was in a bad spot, she didn't talk to me about it, she landed on his radar screen, he cast a lure, she bit, and didn't let go for a few months.  And now we're still dealing with the consequences.  I also said that I'm really not going to accept the premise that it's ok to either be happy or sad for this guy.  I get that she feels immense guilt and shame.  While at the same time hasn't done a full truth telling with me yet.  

I suggested that she wasn't his first rodeo and in fact he probably had something going on in some form or fashion with other teachers at the school.  At minimum, looking for someone to feed off from and she certainly became one.  I told her that I want her to get past the point of being worried about him and whatever hell of a life he's going through because it isn't about her.  If he succeeds at life fine.  If he fails, not OUR problem.  So we wrapped up the talks for the weekend and left it at that.  

On Monday I had my haircut with the stylist who had previously told me about her husband's affair.  And when she told me a few weeks ago I told her about my situation.  Then she had told my wife about her husband's affair.  The stylist had texted me after telling my wife that she had told her.  The only thing my wife had said to me about the stylist, because I didn't let on that I knew, was when we were in the car after the tailgate going to get drinks with the teachers.  The stylist told me I could tell my wife I knew.  

Throughout Monday, coming out of the weekend of lots of talking, my wife was very engaged via text with me.  The end game being she wanted to connect intimately that night.  Lot's of funny, flirty, and innuendo laden material.  Like we used to do.

When I got home from my haircut she asked if the stylist had told me anything of significance.  I told her that she had and that it was horrible.  Honestly, a more terrifying and difficult situation to deal with than what my wife and I had been through.  We compared notes about what we had been told.  My wife then said, "I don't know how I would feel if that happened to me."  

By saying that she threw a hanging fastball.  I said, "Well I do."  Her immediate response was that I was pretty quick to stick in the knife and twist it real good.  She went quiet the rest of the night.  No follow through on the day long flirting which didn't surprise me.  But she made me feel bad for her, and I went to bed that night not feeling great about having said what I said.  

Yesterday morning I apologized for hurting her with what I said.  She said that no apologies were necessary.  Yesterday evening when I got home she kept herself busy most of the time with really insignificant tasks that kept us from being able to talk or be close to each other.  I asked her if I could help and she told me that she was all set.  

This morning it felt like she was still in a somewhat bad place.  I did get a hug and a peck on the lips though before I left.  

I'm assuming that the energy from the weekend built up until I popped it with the "I do" comment.  She's probably processing.  I know I am.  Most times it feels like we're both committed to making this work.  Thoughts?
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Keepabuzz
I will premise my response with “to each their own”, and that I understand we all have to find our own way down this path of misery. So I am NOT judging at all.

After what your wife did, how are boundaries negotiable?  My wife also had an affair with a coworker. She quit her job the day after her confession, at my demand. I understand not everyone is financially able to do that. But your wife could get a job teaching some where else. My wife also had friends at her job, some of them good people. I could not have cared less, all those friendships were severed at my demand. It was well over a year and a half before my wife went to a girls night at our neighbors house with me next door, much less a bar. I would not have been ok with that. I’m not ok with that now, and I’m 4 years out.

Your wife’s response to your reaction at the tailgating is infuriating to even read to me!  It’s clear she is still far, FAR more worried about her own image than you and how what she has done has effected you. Then for that piece of $hit to walk over there and insert himself!! You sir, are far more kind than I am. That would have been more than I needed to pound the teeth out of his head. Right there in front of everyone. Then on top of that your wife has the utter ignorance and complete lack of any hint of respect for you to make a comment about “HIS” well being!!!!  If my wife had EVER made a comment even close to that I would have been done, and put her on the street!  

After what she has done, she DOES NOT get to call the shots!  YOU set the boundaries that make you feel as safe as possible, and/or triggered the least. She can comply, or hit the bricks!  Don’t let her control you in any way for and instant more. 

Wow, I’m chewing nails just reading your post. The nerve of your wife!  I do agree with one thing she said, there are NO APOLOGIES NECESSARY!  You said NOTHING wrong!  I would have said far, far worse, and I still would have been well within my rights to do so.  

I have seen many BS’s say here and other places talk about how they feel bad about saying things to their WS, or for calling them names etc. I feel absolutely ZERO GUILT for anything I have said to my wife regarding her affair and the damage she has caused me, and I never will.  I haven’t raged at my wife for more than 2 years. But it’s still there, under the surface, but back then if said something that was a jab at her, she took it, as she d*mn well should have. That is the very, VERY least she could do. 

Stand up, and tell her what you need, and more importantly what you WILL NOT put up with.  Do not negotiate, or cave.  Do not put up with an instant more of her bull$hit.  

Again. This is just my thoughts.  Take it or leave it....  

😡🤬🤬🤬
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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hurting
Stick the knife in and twist? Pretty sure that’s what your wife did (as my husband did) with his cheating and lying. I’m with Keepabuzz- that would have had me flip to rage with some VERY firm reminders on WHO caused all of this in a split second. And I haven’t raged in months. 

I too find her response infuriating. Even her asking if you’re ‘all good’ which I get it... is a figure of speech pissed me off. You are NEVER going to be ‘all good’ in that kind of situation. Even suggesting it with those words has me on edge and gritting my teeth. I would’ve made that point clear as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Yes she SHOULD be checking in on you- but not assuming you will be ‘good’. She should assume you’re NOT ok. At ALL. and go from there!

As for giving you looks to say ‘please don’t’? Wow. The nerve of it all. Again, concerned about how SHE might look. You had every right to storm over there and punch him in the face in public should you have felt the urge to. You left it at a few glares! That’s an impressive effort, and I feel like she didn’t appreciate the amount of pain you were in, or restraint you exercised there. You literally had the biggest freaking trigger there baiting you. Be proud of your own self restraint. Less so about how she managed things.

Honestly, she shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about whether he ‘reconnects’ with his friends or not. It is a totally moot point. What she SHOULD be more concerned about is how much more work she has to do. 

I know i’m coming down hard on her- it is how I would’ve reacted to my husband in such a scenario though, at a MINIMUM. There isn’t a ‘right’ response here. I wanted you to know though, that your responses and feelings are so calm and toned down that I’m quite amazed. I would’ve exploded. Your responses were totally justified (and then some!)

As for needing a few days to ‘process’ things... my husband does this too. I hate it and it triggers me more, but the things that make him withdraw are FAR more severe than a comment of ‘i Know how that feels’. If I had said that to him, he would withdraw a little, But there would sure as hell be no comment about ‘sticking the knife in and twisting it’. He would most likely have answered with ‘I’m Sorry that you know how that feels’. 

I’ll be clear though- he has not always said the ‘right’ things. But he has learnt the hard way, to NOT say stupid defensive things like that. Every time he did, I raged and raged. He eventually learnt how to react more appropriately.
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seventy7
just my view on this, but I would have absolutely lost my SH** as soon as my wife showed any type of concern/empathy for her AP's situation with his wife or friends. To me, that is a big red flag. Honestly I probably would have left right then. 

It sounds like your wife made the correct move to remove herself from the situation and check in on you, but it sounds like she may have done that not to comfort you, but to make sure that you didn't do anything that would embarrass her. If I read that wrong, then I apologize, but again a red flag to me. 

As for you feeling guilty for what you said...I get it. I said some pretty hurtful stuff, sometimes still do, and I always feel guilty afterwards. However, rather than my wife pulling away, she will usually give me my space for a while and then come in to check on me. She apologizes for anything that she may have said that triggered me, and I apologize for whatever I said. In the end, we have have a pretty good discussion about what we like to call " THE WHAT & WHY". What was said that triggered me, and why I responded the way I did. This works both ways. Sometimes I say something stupid and my wife stops me and says "ok, whats going on, do you want to talk?" This has really helped and I have gotten much better at holding my tongue when I want to say those comments. 
Male BS
D-Day 11/1/2017
It gets easier as time goes, but the pain never goes away
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Phoenix
Hello May72018,
I completely agree with both Keep and Hurting. I would have never reacted the way your WS did. I also feel it was disrespectful. I would have asked my BS spouse to leave to spare him any pain, anger, shame, embarrassment, etc. I would have totally put my BS feelings first before mine or any one else especially not the AP. 
It seems there is a lack of essential boundaries. It's been 23 months for us since Dday. Our situations are different. I am assuming that you are probably doing better than my BS (we just had a pretty bad episode) Not sure what kind of recovery work you have done that keeps you calm during these extraneous moments. I know my BS would have definitely have punched the AP. He actually went and beat him up at his job after Dday. 
But back to boundaries, I have friends who will invite me out to different things and I will not even consider it. I am sure those boundaries will stay in place. For me it's very important to make him feel safe and to regain trust. I will comply will my BS request so he can fell safe. I will keep boundaries that will re-establish trust. 
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triplehooks
may72018, my (dude) heart aches for you.  You had every right to beat the $hit out of that a$$hole in front of your wife and her wino friends and your kids.  It's primal.  Kudos to you for restraining yourself and staying out of jail.  Not everyone is capable of doing that. 

There are a couple perspectives I want to offer you.  These are based on my own wake up calls I have had to interrogate myself about.

Like my wife, your wife involved herself with a married man... doesn't matter that he was "unhappy" ("poor little five year old, he's unhappy, lets get him a cupcake (or some pu$$y)" -- WTF?!?!?!).  His happiness is not her problem.  His marriage certificate (and his WIFE) demands her respect though.  You may hate to hear these words, I HATED hearing them in thinking about my wife) but your wife is a home wrecker.  She KNEW he was married, and this did not stop her.  Think about that.  This is not a gendered statement because dip$hit is a homewrecker too.  But you (obviously) are not married to dip$hit.  You are married to your wife.  Are you okay with pledging the rest of your life to a homewrecker?  If you were on the dating circuit and your date told you she strained another marriage beyond belief because she was unhappy or wasn't thinking or whatever, would that be acceptable to you?  Would you keep seeing her?  I personally would not.  I would move to the next candidate.  That's because "homewrecker" is on my list of "must not haves" in identifying candidates to marry.  I know, "it's complicated".  Decades of practicing your love for her is a hard habit to break.  Kids in the mix.  Assets, etc.  All the sunk costs.  I know all of these things and face them myself.  But the stench of her home wrecking will never be far behind her.  She will carry it on her for the rest of her life.  After you've done all the hard work and stuffed down your pride, and the pain may be years behind you, and things normalize somewhat (but are never the same), is she worth it?  Is that what the "best outcome" for you looks like?  Or is that a kind of settling?  I'm not saying these things to make you believe them.  I'm saying them because they are heavy things to consider and relevant and make sure if you are going to push the rock up this long hill that you are ok with that.

Did she get checked for STDs?  Has she signed a post-nup?  If you are reconciling, fine, but put the risk on HER.  Set the terms up front for your exit if it doesn't work out.  Capture terms that reflect her adultery if you are in a fault state.

Your wife is CLUELESS, and seems (from your description) like a world class narc.  I have seen behaviors like hers before.  They aren't healthy.  There are so many problems here.  She has a lingering connection of some kind, among other things.   

One way to re-stance yourself would be to awaken to the fact that the WORST has happened, you have nothing to lose at this point because you have already lost it all (you lost your wife dude, just like I lost mine.  I say that because although she lives with you etc she is not the same person anymore.).  Knowing this is freeing in some ways.  Kind of like when the QB in football gets the d-line offside, he gets a free play and often throws a bomb and gets a TD.  You have a free play now.  Use it be the most honest and authentic you can be.  All the inhibitions and feelings sensitivity you've probably habitually exercised while caring for your precious wife's heart for these many years let them go for a while.  Say $hit you wouldn't have said in the past.  Be brutally honest.  Get your feelings out and don't restrain yourself.  You can't lose her anymore than you have, so there's nothing precious you need to safeguard right now.  

If that a$$hole shows up again, make a scene.  Get in his personal space and tell him to f@ck off (well say something like "it's inappropriate for you to be here, please leave"), without creating any reason for him to feel physically threatened.  You can't lose actually, as long as you maintain your composure.  If he takes a swing -- great!  You win.  Criminal prosecution AND civil law suit (is he a homeowner, his insurance will pay out).  Let him know if he's ever in your presence he can expect problems.  Let your cheater know this too.  You shouldn't be constrained by her fragile image management membrane that will pop as soon as people know about her wrong doings.  If she is concerned for herself and concerned for that a$$hole, she is doing a world class $hitty job of keeping you safe, and if she has one job, ONE JOB right now its to keep YOU safe. Tell your cheater if she is here to work on it and reconcile with you its not okay to continue old habits with social groups that contain that motherf@cker.  She either needs to be honest with her crew and say why that a$$hole needs to be cut out of their circle or she needs to bow out.  If she is hanging with a group that hang with that b!tchboy it will be toxic for more reasons than we can count.  So she has to chose: does she want to keep her dirty secret from that group?  Then bow out of their gatherings.  Does she want to hang with them?  Then b!tchboy can't be a part of it and that means more than just leaving when he shows up -- it means pro-actively cutting him out, in which case she has to sing like a canary.

If "I know what that feels like" seems like a twist the knife remark to you you are barely scratching the surface.  I feel like you are living in a straight jacket.  This is common in realtionships involving someone with borderline or narc tendencies.  We let their needs and priorities and fragile feelings DOMINATE how we live.  Free yourself.  Let your arms out.
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ThrivenotSurvive
I am struggling to respond to all the posts the past few days because I am buried at work, but I just wanted to chime in here and say - I AGREE with Triplehooks.  

After DD, I started being REALLY honest.  No more letting things slide in my marriage, no more being 90% happy with the way things were, etc.  He'd chosen the atomic bomb in dealing with his petty resentments, hurt feelings, etc.  Me speaking my truth wasn't even CLOSE to that.  

So I decided that if we were rebuilding - it would be built on NEW, FRESH ground that incorporated all my needs as firmly as his.  I agree with Triplehooks about how your wife is handling this group of friends too.  She needs to ante up to telling why he can't be a part of the group, or find an excuse out.  NO WAY she leaves you hanging wondering if he showed up, or if she left.  That made me so mad my blood boiled reading it.  

This is not YOU being unreasonable.  This is her not wanting to face the fallout of HER ACTIONS.  She wouldn't have to do this if SHE"D made the right choice.  

From the outside looking in, your wife still doesn't "get it".  She does NOT understand the depths of the pain, anger and fear she put inside your soul.  I would say I can control myself VERY well, and if I'd been in your shoes at that event I would have been struggling before the AP walked over.  But when that selfish bastard walked over and inserted himself NEAR YOU - he was pushing buttons he KNEW were there.  And your wife took up for HIM?  That's BS!

If my husband's AP had done that, I honestly have no idea what I would have done.  My stomach hurts thinking about it.  But I can tell you it wouldn't be pretty.  

Your wife needs one hell of a wake-up call about how she's handling this.  ALL her loyalty and care should be with you right now and forever more.  100%.  If not, show her the door.  I know I am usually the calm one - but this isn't okay.  She's being willing to prolong and intensify YOUR HURT to save face and be kind to him.  That is selfish in the EXTREME.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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