tessak
I found out about my fiancées affair about two weeks ago. I’d been suspicious of this throughout my pregnancy (we just had our baby in early May- his first, my second. As an FYI, this is a little bit harder to cope with as I left my daughter’s father in 2014 due to an affair of his own. There was no attempt at reconciliation, but I don’t want my current relationship to end.) I don’t know what my next step should be... I don’t want to suffer this pain anymore, and have been reading so much about recovering and repairing relationships that it’s basically consumed my life since it was actually confirmed. 

My fiancee says he wants us to work things out, but I feel a little bit like I’m the only one putting any effort into doing so... he’ll answer some of my questions, which definitely has helped, but others he avoids or will tell me he doesn’t remember or doesn’t have an answer for me. The details about how long it’s been going on, the extent to which they were involved, and how to move forward trusting him again are completely absent from our conversations. He admitted to kissing her in our kitchen a couple of weeks after our son was born, and that he ended it then because of the guilt felt given that the baby was now here. I’m not sure whether to believe that or not.

 I had a brief email exchange with this other woman, who’s story makes a bit more sense as far as the timeline goes compared to when his behavior started to change. She said that it was a very casual, emotionless fling once a month or so— nothing more. He says that it happened twice that they were alone together— the situation from above and once at her home, but that nothing more happened aside from kissing and touching her breasts. He says she was more emotionally invested than she’s admitting to and that she was hurt when he ended things, saying that even after he told her about me and the baby, she said something to the effect of “but we can still fool around, right?” She claims she never knew of me until the day I found out, and followed through with blocking him on Facebook after our email exchange... I want so badly to believe his version, but hers seems more credible. I just need some clarity but- 1. I’m not getting all of my questions answered, and 2. I don’t know who or what to believe...

My fiancee has been a bit more attentive and has opened up a little bit more than he was at first, but has always been very reserved emotionally due to some unresolved issues from his childhood. I can tell he’s frustrated with my questions and wants me to get over it, but I’m not sure how to move forward without my questions being answered... by the same token, I’m scared that I’m coming across as incessant and am not sure how to approach this given his past. I feel like I’m a very forgiving person, have been doing pretty well at being logical vs. over-emotional, but I can’t get him to open up to me about the things I previously mentioned and I don’t think I can do anything more without having this conversation. In my mind, those are major details that need to be addressed so we can heal. And because of the little emotion shown on his part, I’m questioning at times whether he actually wants to fix things or not. 

Any help would be immensely appreciated. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
TessaK,

I know you love him and want things to work out... but there are a LOT of red flags in what you are describing.  

In your other post you mentioned that though you've known each other for a long time, you've only been a couple for three years.  This is typically the "honeymoon" phase of most relationships.  And yet, during that time you mentioned (in your last post) that there were previous inappropriate texting issues with other women and now this scenario , which he says didn't progress to sex, but she indicates differently.  I hate to say it, but I think it is way more plausible that her story is the "correct" version of what happened.  Trickle truth is very, very common and you will likely learn more as time progresses.

First red flag - he's had issues with seeking outside attention and lack of appropriate boundaries during the earliest stages of your relationship. This has nothing to do with you.  There is something wrong in him.  It could be an addiction to attention to shore up low self-esteem or an ingrained mechanism stemming from childhood issues - or some other deep psychological issue.  Whatever the case, it will take a MAJOR effort from HIM to overcome - and in order to overcome it, he will first have to be willing to do a lot of soul-searching and self-reflection to figure our the WHY of what he is doing.  This isn't something that you can make him do - he will have to want to do it himself.  It is EXACTLY like a drug addiction.  He will not change until HE wants to change - and like a drug addiction, he may not see any real reason to change until he's hit rock bottom.  

Second red flag - he's still lying and being defensive.  He wants you to "get over it" and move ahead.  Not only will that not help you heal - it will allow him to hide the truth from HIMSELF as well.  Until he faces what he is doing and WHY he is doing it, there is little chance for change.  Case in point... he's escalated from texting inappropriately to physical contact.  His behavior is getting WORSE, not better.  

I am sorry but until he's willing to do something substantial to show you that he's committed to looking "under the hood" of his behaviors and the reasons for them (the real reasons - the ones inside him) I don't think you have any reason to believe that anything will be different - at least not for long.  

If he REALLY wants to show you that he wants to change and get your marriage on track, he'll do something meaningful that is likely very uncomfortable to him - sign up for individual counseling or marriage counseling, or if that is financially not feasible, he could read some of the resources on the main website for this forum and do the First Aid and the WHY? courses.

Just saying that it won't happen again without doing anything concrete is frankly useless.  I've never seen it work.  

Read some of the resources on the main website for YOURSELF - read the threads on here that talk about the 180 and how to heal yourself.  

Between your love for him and the fact that you have a child together, you are going to be tempted to let him off easy - to accept his apologies and his promises that he won't do anything like this again.  And I get it.  I don't judge you for that at all and no one else here will either.  But I think that it will be a mistake.  If you have ANY chance of a healthy, secure relationship in the future - it will be only because you make it clear that you will accept nothing less than that NOW - and require him to DO something (like what was mentioned above.)  If he refuses - do the 180 (look it up on here).   

You need to dig deep and be WILLING to lose him and the relationship if he can't or won't make significant changes.  Because if something fundamental doesn't change NOW, this pattern that he's already been acting out will only continue... and likely just get worse with time.  That is no environment for you - or your child.  

I am so sorry you are having to go through this at ANY time, much less right now when you should be celebrating your child. 
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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anthro
It is obvious he is still lying. That's not a good foundation for rebuilding. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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tessak
ThrivenotSurvive,

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate the thought and honesty in your assessment of our situation. Your response explains perfectly what I’ve been feeling all along and I think I just needed an honest evaluation of my perspective from someone else to realize it’s a now or never kind of thing.

 I feel like I’m making progress with him, but that it’s going much slower than I’d like... like I said, we’re past the outright lie that nothing was happening and onto him slowly letting these bits and pieces of the truth come out. Cliche as it sounds, I feel like this has turned us into two completely different people and I’m as scared to talk to him as he is to open up and have the serious conversations it’ll take to actually move on. It’s hard, because I see little glimmers of hope when we do get to spend time together... we had this last weekend to ourselves without the kids, and while there wasn’t a ton of progress, I did explain why it is that I need to have those conversations and he seemed to understand. I think he’s genuinely sorry for what he’s done, but is just really struggling to be fully honest about it. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s afraid to hurt me worse, or thinks I’d try and use what he says against him, or if there’s stronger feelings for this other woman than he’s letting on and maybe those details I’m asking about are too meaningful to him to share with me. 

I’m scared to “rock the boat” in the sense that I feel like if I don’t push him, he’ll eventually open up to me on his own. Despite this and the previous texting issues, he really is a great man and an amazing father. It’s hard because he was “my person”— he helped me recover from my relationship with my ex after that affair... He was one of the few people who I could open up to about that infidelity and the abuse that came along with it... He was the one to help me regain any confidence I’ve had since then and finally made me feel like it was okay to assert myself and ask for what I want instead of just what I need. Now he’s taken back everything he gave me... That sounds ridiculously codependent, and maybe that’s something I need to work on, but the effort he put in with me then makes me feel like I should give this a reasonable chance at success... I don’t want to give up without giving it a fair shot, but I don’t know the point at which it’s not worth continuing to try, either.

There’s so much emotional baggage from his childhood— (he was sexually abused from the ages of 11-13, and when he finally got the courage to seek help, he wasn’t believed so major trust issues developed)— that I can understand why it’s hard for him to talk about feelings at all, let alone guilt and mistrust. I don’t know how else, or if there’s a “lighter” way to approach what our relationship needs to succeed. As much as we’d both like to put this behind us, I don’t know what I can say to make him realize that I’m not out to hurt him; that he can trust me and that what I’m trying to understand is the truth behind what’s gone on so we CAN actually move on in a healthy way.

Is asking for details unreasonable given his past? I question this because at times I don’t know if I even want the answers to some of my questions, and the added layer of him never really having the chance to deal with his own abuse also gives me pause. If not, what can I say to get him to open up so I get my questions answered honestly? I can’t deal with this slow revelation of the truth, and I know for certain that I can’t handle going through another affair and more lies/secrets, so what’s reasonable effort before I say enough is enough?
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Keepabuzz
I agree with Anthro. 

Betrayal is a terrible, terrible wound. To say the damage to the betrayed is monumental would be a gross understatement. In my opinion for the betrayed to even consider giving the offender an undeserved second chance, the offender should be going way above and beyond on all fronts. Regardless of what happened in their childhood, previous relationships, the state of the marriage before their affair, etc.  The offender should be ALL IN. If they are not, I see no reason to attempt reconciliation.  To each their own, I know plenty of people have stayed and fought through trickle truth, and further abuse, it’s must not something I was/am willing to do. 

The red flags are all throughout your post, and they are big well lit red flags waving in the wind. You should not feel like you can’t say how you feel, or ask the questions you need answered because “he gets frustrated”.  WHO CARES!! He doesn’t get to betray you and then be like “Yeah, I’m sorry about that, but can you not bring it up all the time?”  That is beyond ridiculous. He clearly doesn’t recognize, nor appreciate the second chance you are trying to give him. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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tessak
anthro wrote:
It is obvious he is still lying. That's not a good foundation for rebuilding. 


Anthro,

Do you have any suggestions on getting him to open up honestly? I know this isn’t a good place for us to be, but I do have hope that we can rebuild a better, more mature relationship than what we had in the very beginning; a little shred anyway. 

We had this past weekend alone without the kids and although not much progress was made in getting my questions answered, I think he understands now why I ask the questions I do and that I can’t move on without further discussion. We were able to reconnect as friends and do some of the things we used to enjoy doing together after I made the choice to drop talk of the affair. I don’t want to have the wool pulled over my eyes anymore, but I don’t want to give up on us too soon either.
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Keepabuzz
tessak wrote:


Anthro,

Do you have any suggestions on getting him to open up honestly? I know this isn’t a good place for us to be, but I do have hope that we can rebuild a better, more mature relationship than what we had in the very beginning; a little shred anyway. 

We had this past weekend alone without the kids and although not much progress was made in getting my questions answered, I think he understands now why I ask the questions I do and that I can’t move on without further discussion. We were able to reconnect as friends and do some of the things we used to enjoy doing together after I made the choice to drop talk of the affair. I don’t want to have the wool pulled over my eyes anymore, but I don’t want to give up on us too soon either.


So you found out about his affair 2 weeks ago, and have already made the choice to stop talking about his affair?  
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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tessak
Keepabuzz wrote:


So you found out about his affair 2 weeks ago, and have already made the choice to stop talking about his affair?  


No, sorry if it came across that way. We’d spent basically Friday evening through Saturday afternoon talking about this and various related issues, and needed a break from it by the time dinner rolled around. I dropped it for the day so we could close our minds off from it for a little while is all.
If you read my response to ThrivenotSurvive (it’s ridiculously long, I apologize), there are some touchy issues from his past that I think contribute to why it’s so hard for him to open up honestly.
There’s absolutely no chance of us working through this without further discussion, and no chance of me staying if we can’t work it out to the point I’m confident it won’t happen again. I’m just not sure how to actually ask or maybe word questions in a way to know for sure I’ll get an answer that’s not meant to ”protect” me.



P.S... I just saw your other response now, I’m terrible at this message board thing. I appreciate the response, it validates the frustration I’m feeling with it all. I’m probably too exhausted between this and the baby to even write anything that makes sense right now. I had no idea I could feel so many ways all at once. 
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Keepabuzz
tessak wrote:


No, sorry if it came across that way. We’d spent basically Friday evening through Saturday afternoon talking about this and various related issues, and needed a break from it by the time dinner rolled around. I dropped it for the day so we could close our minds off from it for a little while is all.
If you read my response to ThrivenotSurvive (it’s ridiculously long, I apologize), there are some touchy issues from his past that I think contribute to why it’s so hard for him to open up honestly.
There’s absolutely no chance of us working through this without further discussion, and no chance of me staying if we can’t work it out to the point I’m confident it won’t happen again. I’m just not sure how to actually ask or maybe word questions in a way to know for sure I’ll get an answer that’s not meant to ”protect” me.


Demand the unfiltered truth when you ask your questions. Listen to your gut instinct. If you feel he is being untruthful, say it. HE has to step up, or not.  If he doesn’t, then at least you have a clear view to make a decision about your future. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Skelling
Tes,
what a hard place to be in. As the others said. There are quite a few red flags here. No need for me to go ver that again. I have to agree though that rebuilding will be impossible, if he won't open up. You asked how to get him to do that. You can't get him to do anything and frankly you don't want to either. He needs to be willing. He needsto unerstand that he made bad choices and betrayed your trust and need to do everything in his power to restore that. No matter the shame or guilt or issues from the past. No one said it was an easy road. But he chose that road. My husband lied to me for over a year about the affair. Straight to my face, getting angry and telling me its all in my head.... So when it finally came out. I asked for one thing and for one thing only. The tuth and I meant the full truth. It was scary and hurt like nothing else but that was what I needed. He didn't get it. He wanted to protect and salvage what he could by giving me the trickle truth or adapting his version to what he thought would hurt me less. Even down to sexual details that he would invent, just so he didn't have to give up the whole truth because he was convinced it was to horrible to handle.And it was but I still preferred the horrible truth over continued lies.
But his story didn't add up. I could feel he was still lying. I begged him to give me the truth. I asked him over and over "Do I have the truth now..." He swore there was nothing else. But I felt it and so I had to make a decison for myself. I had to be ready to let him go despite the fear of the unknown, my love for him and everything else. But I knew I could't live with lies anymore. So I told him to pack his bags, explain to our 4 children why he is leaving and then get the h*** out.
That evening he told me everything as well as he could remember (by that time the affair had ended 18month ago and he had made up so many lies and stories that I think it was really hard for him to distinguish between what actually happened and what he had made up andmaybe even started believing himself) It was bad but at the same time I had a senseof relief that FINALLY i had a picture to work with. The questions didn't stop 10 month in there are still questions. Now they are more for reassurance rather than for information. I had to accept that he doesn't remember all the details that I wanted or felt I needed to know. I had to make my peace with that and I did. It wasn't easy but you will come to the point where you ask yourself "Do I have enough to make an informed decison, do all the little details really make a difference..." For me I needed to be able to answer those questions: Was he in love with her? Did he plan a future with her? Was he preparing to leave me? How far was he invested? Did he tell her he loved her? Did he use protection? How long? And how did he keep it from me? Now all those questions you should get ananswer to because these are details you don't forget. I wanted to know exactly what he said, what conversations they had. How he ended up naked in her bed, if he told her he didn't want sex. (Thats one detail he doesn't remember. He knows he went in her hotel room and she was already in her unerwear. he remember telling her they shouldn't have sex but doesn't remember what came next up to the point where they are laying naked next to each other and she tells him she wants it now.) I had the hardest time to believe that someone could totally blank on getting undressed and ending up on top of someone else but I suppose shame, guilt, lack of sleep all play into this. My point is there will always be questions that stay unanswered and in hindsight I wish I hadn't asked for sooo many details as they do haunt me now. At the moment though I felt I needed them. I felt like I needed to complete a giant puzzle and every little detail played a part. I think for me knowing all those details meant I was able to figure out how invested he really was as I didn't trust anything he said so I made it my quest to figure it out myself. 

Sorry this is getting longer than I planned. So bottom line. You won't get answers to ALL questions but he NEEDS to answer the biggest ones. No excuses. No matter what burdens he has from childhood. We all carry our own. There is no tiptoeing around and you should not be worried about rocking the boat or worried about making him angry or pushing him away. The tables are turned now. He should be scared as heck of loosing you. I know it is scary and it hurts but no more lies. Wishing you all the very best.
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seventy7
He needs to understand that you are fully prepared to leave, and will leave, if he does not answer your questions...all of them. He has no say in what he can and cannot answer.

As long as he thinks that you will stay, regardless of what he says, he will continue to lie. That is how the mind of a narcissist works, they will relate anything and everything back to how it affects them. They rationalize with themselves, thinking, "why tell them the truth because they are going to stay regardless, I will just take the easy route and try to avoid an argument."

Once my wife realized that i was willing to leave, and actually left, that is when it clicked and the truth came out. As others have said, your post is riddled with red flags. He needs to own up to the truth, quickly
Male BS
Married 17 years
D-Day 11/1/2017
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BorealJ
tessak wrote:

Do you have any suggestions on getting him to open up honestly? I know this isn’t a good place for us to be, but I do have hope that we can rebuild a better, more mature relationship than what we had in the very beginning; a little shred anyway.
There's nothing you can do to manipulate his actions.  Too many of us BSs have tried to lead our spouses to their own healing and marriage healing with terrible consequences to our own well being.  Don't look outwardly for healing.  Find it in yourself.  He has resources available to help him find his way.  He should pick the ones that are going to be the most helpful to him. 
For you, look at Tim's manuals or listen to his podcasts that describe each stage of affair recovery.  It'll help you decide what to work on as you move along.  This early stage, Tim would call the reaction stage and you'll feel all kinds of stress and traumatic emotions.  One of the most helpful pieces of advice here is to delay.  Rather than rush into conversation, marriage counseling, or even any permanent decision making, you need to focus on self care right now first.  As these emotions settle a little, you can start to worry about what's next.  In your case, one thing I would delay is the actual wedding/marriage (you said fiance, right?).  A decision to pursue that is much further along than you are right now.  Can you put that decision on hold?  It was hard for me to do.  I felt like I needed to decided whether to pursue the marriage or not right away.  The truth was though, I had no good stable insight to base that decision on so I was distracted when I should have been focusing on my own well being.

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anthro
The reason we talk about taking care of yourself, doing the 180 etc, is that your actions are all that are within your power. His actions and decisions are for him and what we have to let go of is the idea that we can do anything about them.

So you can only say - the only way I can even think about staying is if he is up at 110% commitment to repairing and restoring our relationship. Complete truthfulness is obviously part of that. You can't do anything to make him fully truthful. All you can do is call it quits if he isn't. It's not an ultimatum, it's just na acknoweldgement of your own limits.

I do think it is possible for a WS to be doing their best and still messing some stuff up. That is a hard thing to identify; I think you just have to know it in your gut. My wife did not go NC ("no contact" with the AP) immediately after d-day. That was totally unacceptable. The contact however was all aimed at getting him to rebuild with his wife. Of course it was stupid and pointless, prolonged the pain for quite a few people, and had the opposite effect to her intention ("hi, it's me, forget about me" makes no sense). I was very close to walking out, or more correctly kicking her out. I mean sleeping separately, drawing up legal agreements, arranging money to simplify her departure level of very close. In retrospect I think she was (a) very wrong but (b) still in the realm of genuinely trying to sort stuff out. It would be equally possible for someone who has not gone NC to be (a) very wrong and (b) not doing their best at all. Lots of things are like that. I think some of these issues only become clear enough in retrospect, maybe 6-12 months in.

I do not think that at just a few weeks past d-day it's a certainty that your husband is not going to lift his game. But I think it does need to be made super clear to him that you are genuinely on your way out the door if that doesn't happen. It does have to be genuine. You have to embrace the logic: I can't live with dishonesty + He is still being dishonest = I can't live with him.

Once you do that then your own choices flow pretty naturally and his response is up to him.
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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Fionarob
This could be the wrong assessment......but it seems to me that he is avoiding answering your questions because he is trying to limit the damage and keep certain things hidden.  There is no excuse for him not to talk about this or answer your questions, childhood trauma or not.  And to be expecting you to accept what's happened and move on already - absolutely ridiculous and a very immature view.  Is he saying that's what he would do if the shoe was on the other foot ??  I don't think so.  Has he no empathy for what you are going through??

You are in a very difficult situation, a baby and another child.  He probably thinks that he can get away with not taking any part in repairing the damage, because you will stay regardless.  Do you have any other options?  At the moment it doesn't appear that he is taking anything seriously at all.
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tessak
In my mind, I know the answer to this is “no,” but am I crazy for feeling like I can’t heal myself without knowing what the hell my life has actually been for the last however long it was really going on? So much of my life has been spent in pursuit of a higher education... I have advanced degree in psychology for goodness sake... and it’s like this situation has completely undermined the core of my being... it’s not only my love life, I question my judgement and career choice and spending so much time and money on my schooling... what happens if I go into work and give someone advice and it’s wrong?? 

I don’t know how to make him really believe that I’ll leave him. I doubt myself daily that I truly will... I’ve been living out of suitcases in our home for weeks. I know I don’t want to be walked all over anymore but I’m terrified to follow through with leaving.
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