waltw
Hello,

a few weeks ago I learned that my wife (of 10 years) is having an affair. Been having a suspicion for some time, and now have evidence of an emotional and sexual affair. She doesn't yet know that I know, and I'm planning to confront her with the evidence. In general I am very afraid of asking questions that could drive her further away, but at the same time not coming across as if "nothing happened" and not driving towards some closure (ie being stuck in "give me some time").
In essence, I'd like our marriage to recover over time, and set the confrontation up in a way that allows her to come clean and perhaps back to me.
I take some blame in our relationship getting this way; when I felt that she was slipping away, I tried to get more control over her. This only pushed her away. (Yes, textbook error... wish i knew better then). I am struggling with the guilt of that, and how this should come into the discussion. Am I the guilty one?

Over the past few days, we've had some herat2heart conversations about our problems, and she says that she's not seeking or thinking of a divorce, that yes we are at a low, and that with time things should heal. There is hope. Overall I'd say that these were good and positive conversations, with some tears shed on both sides, no fights or anger or nerves. I however gently inquired about whether she's seeing anyone else, which she categorically denied. Now, given that she's not honest in that, I don't know whether she's honest in pretty much everything else she said. How should I take her statements so far? (What's a lie and what's not?)

At my behest we have engaged a professional counselor. I wanted to do that many months ago, when problems became more pronounced, but at that time she said we don't need it. Worryingly, she says now that our problems aren't huge, and that she doubts if counseling will help - instead she says that we have to put effort and allow time. This also has me concerned, that maybe she already made up her mind internally (to break up), but can't make up her mind on telling me; for fear of hurting me? hurting the kids? the "whatever" it is that hasn't made her leave yet. I of course imagine that her saying "I'm out, that's it" may be an outcome of our confrontation chat... Finding it hard to face that. But yet, I'm hopeful in the "whatever", which I don't know, or is it better not to be this naive at this stage?

Any and all advice is welcome.
TIA.
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TimT
TIA: I think your approach is a thoughtful one. Since I don't know the current state of her affair (and you may not have a clear picture, either), it is hard to know how she will react when confronted about it. If the affair is winding down, she may be relieved to know that it's finally "out" but it's probably more likely that she will huddle into a defensive mode to protect herself and the other relationship. You should be prepared for that. No matter how dramatic the reaction, it is not a predictor of what the future of your marriage will be. But your marriage will be void of trust and intimacy unless the affair is dealt with.

I would suggest starting with your commitment to her and to your marriage and then invite her to join you in making it better. Tell her you know she is involved with another man (BUT DO NOT REVEAL YOUR EVIDENCE) and ask if she is willing to give up that relationship completely in order work on the marriage.

Again, you may get strong denial and defensiveness. She may want your "proof" but I would hesitate putting all your cards on the table right now. If she knows what you know, she can focus on trying to excuse or justify those specific incidents without dealing honestly with the bigger issue.

If you haven't read the Wayward Spouse eBook, I'd recommend you do so. 

Also, Marriage Builders (I think) talks about a Plan A approach that is good as a first step after Dday or confrontation, if you are willing to work toward rebuilding the marriage. It includes both "carrot" and "stick" behaviors:

THE CARROT OF PLAN A

  • Meeting your wandering spouse's emotional needs.
  • Making "home" a warm and inviting place to be.
  • Placing emphasis on what has worked in the marriage.
  • Showing consistent self improvement in areas where previously lacking.
  • Communicating with a calm reassuring voice and relaxed body language, even in the center of a verbal storm created by the infidel.
  • Becoming the person any reasonable spouse would want to come home to.
  • Remaining open to the possibility of recovery.
  • Offering forgiveness and understanding.

THE STICK OF PLAN A

  • Exposing adultery where it matters most. Exposure that takes the form of a swift and sudden unexpected tsunami of truth.
  • Not apologizing for exposure or speaking the truth in a kind yet direct way.
  • Directly communicating the hurt and devastation that the affair has caused.
  • Not accepting blame for the infidel's choice to become adulterous.
  • Allowing the consequences of adultery and infidelity to fall freely upon the heads of the adulterous.
  • Establishing boundaries that disallow the affair to affect children of the marriage or the financial security of the marriage, or otherwise ruin innocent bystanders.
  • Standing up to infidelity as a beast that must be slain for the good of the family.
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Anna26
waltw wrote:
Hello,

a few weeks ago I learned that my wife (of 10 years) is having an affair. Been having a suspicion for some time, and now have evidence of an emotional and sexual affair. She doesn't yet know that I know, and I'm planning to confront her with the evidence. In general I am very afraid of asking questions that could drive her further away, but at the same time not coming across as if "nothing happened" and not driving towards some closure (ie being stuck in "give me some time").
In essence, I'd like our marriage to recover over time, and set the confrontation up in a way that allows her to come clean and perhaps back to me.
I take some blame in our relationship getting this way; when I felt that she was slipping away, I tried to get more control over her. This only pushed her away. (Yes, textbook error... wish i knew better then). I am struggling with the guilt of that, and how this should come into the discussion. Am I the guilty one?

Over the past few days, we've had some herat2heart conversations about our problems, and she says that she's not seeking or thinking of a divorce, that yes we are at a low, and that with time things should heal. There is hope. Overall I'd say that these were good and positive conversations, with some tears shed on both sides, no fights or anger or nerves. I however gently inquired about whether she's seeing anyone else, which she categorically denied. Now, given that she's not honest in that, I don't know whether she's honest in pretty much everything else she said. How should I take her statements so far? (What's a lie and what's not?)

At my behest we have engaged a professional counselor. I wanted to do that many months ago, when problems became more pronounced, but at that time she said we don't need it. Worryingly, she says now that our problems aren't huge, and that she doubts if counseling will help - instead she says that we have to put effort and allow time. This also has me concerned, that maybe she already made up her mind internally (to break up), but can't make up her mind on telling me; for fear of hurting me? hurting the kids? the "whatever" it is that hasn't made her leave yet. I of course imagine that her saying "I'm out, that's it" may be an outcome of our confrontation chat... Finding it hard to face that. But yet, I'm hopeful in the "whatever", which I don't know, or is it better not to be this naive at this stage?

Any and all advice is welcome.
TIA.


Hi Waltw:

You sound so calm and collected in your post but I don't think I would be wrong in assuming that you are anything but right now.  Nothing could prepare you for that horrible sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, when you find the irrefutable proof, the confirmation that what you suspected has been going on.  Then you are living on your nerves most of the time, you can't sleep, eat, and it's a struggle to even function properly on a day to day basis. 

I was like you too, suspected for a while, spent some time gathering evidence and eventually got the courage together to have THAT conversation.
I tried the, 'I have something to ask you and I want you to answer me honestly' approach but of course, as you would expect he denied it.  But when he realised I had proof he had to admit things. 

Tim's advice is sound, don't lay all your cards on the table, I got as much out of my husband as I could without doing so and, I still have evidence that I never brought up.

My husband did say though that he had been wondering about telling me as it was getting harder to cover it up, I think he suspected I was onto him.  So I think in one way he was relieved it was out in the open, but even so there was so much that he didnt' and still hasn't told me.  Perhaps he thought that it wasn't really necessary, I suspect part of it was that he was trying to protect her too.  I thought too that while he was protecting her, (by not answering questions like, 'where did you meet up')  there was always the possibility that things were still carrying on between them. I was proved right too. And maybe he thought if he told me that, I might turn up to catch them out one day!  

I've been using the carrot part of plan A. But after almost 8 months separation, I'm probably going to be moving on to the stick part of plan A.  This is because I now know that things have started up between them again and this changes things.

But of course your story will be very different to mine, and the best thing I can suggest to you, is to take your time with any decisions you make once it all comes out.  There is no need to rush into anything.  It's true that time is a great healer, and how you feel about things now will be completely different to how you feel about the situation in a month or two months time.  Good luck with everything.
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waltw
Thank you for your replies. Yes, it's true... Among all the other things, I've been averaging 3hrs of sleep per day for the past week, and severe loss of appetite. However, based on new findings, I have today resolved to confront her on Monday next week, which will be a good time for all. That in itself is a sort of relief.
I still though cannot bring up the right words/feeling; I would like to come across calm, so as not to scare her off, but not too calm & composed (which the replies here indicate I might) - yes I'm really hurt inside, and I'm not trying to close a business sale here, or play poker. Neither do I want to go and come across as pitiful.
I would like to show her my pain, and the pain for the family. I have some reason to believe that she may concede easily, as she's showing signs of stress too. This clearly though makes me think that I really have to hit it right note with the stick and carrot on that evening, i.e. make her think, rather then consider herself liberated from her secret.
In the correspondence evidence I just obtained, she shows signs of wanting to escape the "prison" of family life and "live the day", besides other lengthy statements about a carefree existence. Interestingly her lover's response is something like "very nice words, thank you for that". I'm probably foolishly reading into this a somewhat lower enthusiasm on his side, but still...
Anyway, how would you hit that right note? Assuming she comes clean, and says she "wants out", I'm thinking that trying to put any doubt about her new relationship will not work at this stage. Should I go and meet the man (I know who he is) after speaking with my wife, and have a "if you're not serious about this, and care for her even a bit, please stop breaking our family up"? Yes, it's not his call about our marriage, but I'd like to think that my wife may come to her senses eventually after the imminent joy of "liberation", and when the thrill of the affair goes out.







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Anna26
waltw wrote:
Thank you for your replies. Yes, it's true... Among all the other things, I've been averaging 3hrs of sleep per day for the past week, and severe loss of appetite. However, based on new findings, I have today resolved to confront her on Monday next week, which will be a good time for all. That in itself is a sort of relief.
I still though cannot bring up the right words/feeling; I would like to come across calm, so as not to scare her off, but not too calm & composed (which the replies here indicate I might) - yes I'm really hurt inside, and I'm not trying to close a business sale here, or play poker. Neither do I want to go and come across as pitiful.
I would like to show her my pain, and the pain for the family. I have some reason to believe that she may concede easily, as she's showing signs of stress too. This clearly though makes me think that I really have to hit it right note with the stick and carrot on that evening, i.e. make her think, rather then consider herself liberated from her secret.
In the correspondence evidence I just obtained, she shows signs of wanting to escape the "prison" of family life and "live the day", besides other lengthy statements about a carefree existence. Interestingly her lover's response is something like "very nice words, thank you for that". I'm probably foolishly reading into this a somewhat lower enthusiasm on his side, but still...
Anyway, how would you hit that right note? Assuming she comes clean, and says she "wants out", I'm thinking that trying to put any doubt about her new relationship will not work at this stage. Should I go and meet the man (I know who he is) after speaking with my wife, and have a "if you're not serious about this, and care for her even a bit, please stop breaking our family up"? Yes, it's not his call about our marriage, but I'd like to think that my wife may come to her senses eventually after the imminent joy of "liberation", and when the thrill of the affair goes out.




Oh yes, we all know that feeling, sick to the pit of your stomach, it's in knots all the time, and it's the last thing you think of when you go to sleep and the first thing when you wake up in the morning.

I think the words you want to say will come to you quite naturally when the time comes. You have time to get your head round it.  I do a lot of writing my feelings down.  I find it quite cathartic and it helps me to make sense of what I'm thinking when everything seems so muddled. But on the day I surprised myself.  My heart was thumping inwardly, but outside I was quite calm and even reasonable with him. Perhaps it was because I felt so numb for so long anyway but I don't think it would have helped me by being angry. 
I did manage to convey how hurt I was, (and yes the tears came but not uncontrollably) but that I still wanted my marriage and that I was prepared to work with him at it, but that it had to be his decision to stay.  He had strong feelings for her, and was and is very torn.  I didn't believe I could force things by issuing demands and ultimatums at that point.  I believe that would have pushed him further away immediately.  Maybe I got that wrong, I don't know, but it takes a very strong person to be able to put a foot down like that, and I was anything but at that point.

I think you are right in thinking that trying to cast doubts about the relationship not working, won't help.  She will be seeing him through rose coloured spectacles right now, all his perfection and probably all your flaws, their world is only positive.  Because it's not real. It's cloud cuckoo land. Yes, it's real to them, but they have none of the more mundane everyday things to deal with like in non affair land. 

 No-one can tell you whether you should approach him or not.  Some do and feel better for it, and others just feel that they have made themselves appear weak and needy somehow. I ended up writing a letter to her, very similar to one I wrote to my husband.  I was fair but firm, and spoke of the differences between affair love, which would probably fizzle out and the stronger, reliable and more stable kind that develops after many years. I spoke of the loss of a great many things and the pain that I was going through, that her husband would go through.  She never responded, I didn't expect her too, but I just felt like I was getting my feelings out.  Although she doesn't know me in person, I know who she is and where she lives.  Personally I now feel that appealing to their sense of what is right, does no good, because to them, what they are doing feels so right and perfect anyway. Human decency and consideration doesn't get a look in when faced with limerence.  Welcome to Planet AffairFog! 

I really hope that your wife does come to her senses sooner rather than later, and from what you have said it sounds like her AP isn't as enthusiastic as she is. Perhaps he will be the one to end things but either way your wife needs to realise for herself, the huge mistake she made, and that if she wants to be with you it's precisely, because she wants and loves you and is prepared to commit and work on your marriage.   And if she does, that's when the no contact rule will be absolutely essential.
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waltw
Thank you for the heartening words. I shed tears reading them, but still, feel more confident now on how to do it. And yes, I've been rehearsing it in my head and the emotions do come...

However immediately after the confrontation, assuming she at least concedes to the affair, what should I be thinking of doing? Or even saying, or not saying?
Leaving the house for a few days? Asking her to leave for some time (would I be pushing her to her lover)? Stay together at home and what... ? Refuse to talk to her? Clearly the day after cannot be like a regular day, however given the distance that has grown between us (she went cold and generally not communicative a few months ago, which led to several arguments on "why aren't you talking to me", etc...), maybe for her it will be business as usual if we don't talk...
I know that I will not be ready to talk, to a cheat and a liar, but that moment must eventually come for us to have a chance at mending.
So, after the day, how do I show distance, make her feel my pain, yet be open for her sincerity (if it ever comes)?


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Anna26
waltw wrote:
Thank you for the heartening words. I shed tears reading them, but still, feel more confident now on how to do it. And yes, I've been rehearsing it in my head and the emotions do come...

However immediately after the confrontation, assuming she at least concedes to the affair, what should I be thinking of doing? Or even saying, or not saying?
Leaving the house for a few days? Asking her to leave for some time (would I be pushing her to her lover)? Stay together at home and what... ? Refuse to talk to her? Clearly the day after cannot be like a regular day, however given the distance that has grown between us (she went cold and generally not communicative a few months ago, which led to several arguments on "why aren't you talking to me", etc...), maybe for her it will be business as usual if we don't talk...
I know that I will not be ready to talk, to a cheat and a liar, but that moment must eventually come for us to have a chance at mending.
So, after the day, how do I show distance, make her feel my pain, yet be open for her sincerity (if it ever comes)?



It will be strange at first.  I found we were both quiet for a while because we really didn't know what to say to each other but in any case I didn't think it was a good idea to be constantly hammering on about the affair.  I'm not actually very good at getting my feelings out verbally anyway and I found it was only coming out when something was bothering me enough to speak up. And my husband has great difficulty in expressing any emotions or feelings at all.  He would talk to me if I brought it up but most of the time it was like he just couldn't, he didn't know how, and it was up to me to initiate any conversation about that particular topic.  Most of the time we were actually getting on okay because we weren't talking about it too much. 
Maybe it would be a good idea to limit conversations to a couple of times a week and in between times you can be thinking of what you really want to ask, how you will phrase it and can do so in a rational way? 

This is just my experience, so please don't think I'm saying this is what you SHOULD do..

In my case, I suspected the affair was still continuing.  He was still at home, having his cake and eating it so to speak.  I just couldn't tolerate this at all and after about three months I set a boundary, either he stopped seeing her completely, or he would have to move out for a while.  When you are in the affair triangle you are getting pulled both ways (TimT would probably explain this better than me) so I took myself out of the equation.  Beforehand, his activities were causing me a lot of pain and angst, but when we separated somehow I felt I had a lot more control in my life and was a lot calmer.  Obviously, we were still in touch, but I left the contact up to him and kept the conversation very much to business as usual and the more mundane family life.  Remember too that you can't control your wife's decisions and choices, only your own. You need to work on you and building up a life for yourself regardless of whether she chooses to be in it or not.
You can never be certain though that if you chose to separate for a short time that you wouldn't be pushing them together.  It crossed my mind several times that I didn't know what he was up to, but in the end who want's to live their life constantly checking up on someone elses activities.  It is their choice in the end and they have to live with it.

Again, I'm not saying this is what you should do, some people stay together throughout. You must do what you feel is best at the time.

Sometimes I think the WS buries their head in the sand and hope the problem will simply disappear but of course it doesn't.

There is a great link here to the 180, which is a kind of about face, tactical manoeuvre to help the BS focus on themselves.  Kalmarjan posted something on here somewhere about what effect this had on him as a WS when his wife used this approach.  He gives some great insight from the point of view of a WS, as do many others.

http://affaircare.com/the-180/

Hope this helps somewhat and that I haven't confused you.  I'm sure others will be along at some point to maybe add to this or with different ideas.
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johnbluedog69
If your wife is indeed in the affair fog you won't be able to believe anything she says and less than half of what you see her do.ultimately it has to be her choice to stay with the marriage or leave you cannot influence that decision. Only let her know if you are willing to work on it or not my wife has been in an affair for almost two years now and she has repeatedly told me she wants our marriage to survive yet she can't leave her affair partner for nothing at the cost of our marriage and her own children we have two sons together. This is all tearing them apart inside it still won't cause her to stop the affair.so sad indeed I'm sorry you had to find this place but welcome there are a lot of understanding people here who truly know exactly how you feel right now I for one do.
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johnbluedog69
Don't bother contacting her affair partner. It does absolutely no good trust me on that one the only thing that would help is if you had an uncle in the Russian mob lol.
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Merry
My husband cheated; I found out, he admitted it and I went ballistic, crazy, uncontrolled ballistic!  It was not a calculated response; it was ignited reaction.  He wanted me, not her and told me it was the biggest mistake he had ever made and that he was relieved to have it end.  We went for counseling with Tim, never parted, and now we are better.  
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