GpG
Hello,

I'm new to this forum and I'm hoping some of you may have advice for me or at the very least some nugget of wisdom to help me. Sorry, this may be a long post.

At the beginning of December I was at work when I received a text message from a number I didn't recognize.  When I opened the text I was greeted with a series of naked pics of my wife and other kissy face selfies at restaurants and bars.  The AP who sent it to me went on to detail that they'd been having an affair for over a year and that he knew she was having other affairs as well.  Needless to say, I was floored.  I've been married to my wife for 25 years and we've been together for 30.  We have a 22 year old daughter and a 17 year old son.  We are also raising our 3 year old grandson due to our daughters addiction problems.  So...life has not been easy and our marriage did suffer from lack of physical and emotional intimacy.  I knew we had problems but I never suspected this.

After confronting my wife and seeing further evidence on her phone it was clear that the AP sent the pics to me because she had already tried to break off the affair and he was getting revenge.  He sent those photos to others as well. We ended up getting a restraining order on him and he appears to be out of the picture.

Anyway, in the following weeks it also came out that she was having another affair  with an old college friend of ours.  This one was sexual and more emotional than the original affair and didn't break off until I uncovered it.  In fact, my wife has not fully volunteered anything.  Everything I know, I know by investigating and confronting her.  Anyway, we decided to try and work things out and for the past few weeks we had more good days than bad but there were backslides as my emotions are all over the place.

Yesterday, I had a terrible gut suspicion and I took a deep dive into her phone while she was sleeping.  I found evidence that she had been having affairs for MANY years, including hyper sexual online photo exchanges with numerous people and actual dates and partying here in town.  She claims the online stuff was meaningless and the other "dating/nightclub stuff" was never sexual but did involve kissing etc...Again, she never admits anything so the the reason she admits to "kissing" is I have pictures of it.  I don't believe the other affairs were't sexual as well. From the evidence I have this has bee going on more or less continuously for at least 10-12 years...probably longer since cell phone evidence wasn't really available before that. After DDay I pleaded with her to just come clean about absolutely anything no matter how long ago so I could fully understand what we were up against and I had to know all of what I was trying to forgive.

When I showed her what I had found while she was sleeping she was furious.  Previously, she had been open to unlocking her phone and seemed truly sincere in wanting to try and move forward. Now she says she can't live with me constantly investigating her and that she knows I'll never forgive her and I'll punish her forever.  She says she feels both humiliation and anger. Now she's been sleeping for two days, just tells me to leave her alone. She has no interest in helping with our grandson or talking to me.  I feel like she's flipping the script on me and now I'm apologizing to her and begging her not leave or give up!  It seems like she's given me 4 weeks to "get over it" and now she's done. Four weeks to "get over" over a DECADE of lies and affairs!

We did try and see a marriage counselor after DDay and we had two sessions that seemed very helpful in facilitating communication.  However, I wanted to be really honest in therapy and I admitted that I had slapped my wife the night of DD after having been shocked by sex pictures of my wife out of the blue.  (I know I was very wrong to do that and physical violence has not been part of our relationship in the past).  Anyway, the MC "fired" and recommended anger management and domestic abuse intervention instead of MC.  I know slapping was wrong but this has never happened before and isn't the issue at this time.  We were left with no MC.

I lost!
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ABCOneTwoThree

My husband lied and cheated with many women over the course of our marriage as well. We were married almost ten years, and I frankly lost count of the amount of times I discovered more affairs/inappropriate messages/sexting/etc... 

Like your wife, my (now ex) husband only admitted to what I could actually prove. So if I had a message saying he went to a party to hook up with someone, he’d only admit to going to the party and TRYING to hook up with someone. If later I found proof he actually had sex with her, only then would he admit to doing it. We did this dance for years, he never got to the point of confessing things in their entirety, at his own volition. That was one of that MANY breaking points for me. To this day (separated for over a year and a half) I still don’t know everything. It will take a massive personality shift in your wife to get the truth from her, from my experience. I was tired of feeling like I had to constantly monitor my husbands online and cell activity, I wanted a husband, not another child. 


He was also a fan of needing me to move on ASAP from these affairs, “I haven’t done that in over two months, why are you bringing it up again!” 🙄.


Now, there was definitely more to our demise than just the infidelity, he was also abusive. Mentally, sexually, and in the end physically. So reading about you slapping your wife was a bit of a trigger for me, and I’m actually not surprised that your MC didn’t feel comfortable continuing. The abuse always eased up right after discovery, and then got worse when I didn’t “get over it” fast enough. Until eventually I just turned into this shell of a person that felt nothing, I didn’t cry or really express any extreme emotions for over 2 years. My ex also pulled the victim card when I talked about leaving or when I wasn’t “over it”. And then when he cheated again it was my fault, because I wasn’t being the wife he wanted, it’s a viscous cycle.


I am a firm believer that there is a serious difference between the one time cheater, and the serial cheater. Your wife is a serial cheater, and as such will need MUCH more time and effort to become the kind of wife you deserve than your average one time cheater. My ex husband was never going to be up for that challenge, he spent years proving that I could never trust him again. Those are precious years I wish I could get back. Do you think your wife is up for that challenge? She essentially will need to rewrite her entire being at this point, lying and cheating is so much an ingrained part of her personality right now that it’s going to be her default until SHE changes that, you can’t force it. Honestly, there’s very little you can do to even help that process, it’s going to have to come completely from her. Think of it like an addiction, it doesn’t change unless the person with that behavior sees the need for change, and makes the change themselves because they want to. 


I became the OW for a different person after leaving my ex husband, he was also a serial cheater. Last I heard, his BS knows only a fraction of the truth, they’re still together with her believing she knows everything she wants/needs to know. And he threatened my safety in order to ensure she’d never know more. That’s how much this personality flaw dictates these people’s actions. Once lying becomes part of who you are, it’s hard to ever live honestly again. 


Right now, I’d say focus on just you. On the things that make you feel good, and feel whole. Independent therapy may be a good place to start, and yes, you’ll probably need to address the slapping incident however justified you feel it was. As much as it may hurt, I would suggest not giving into your wife’s pity party right now, unless it becomes dangerous. I did wind up calling the cops one night when my husband threatened to take his own life because I had finally resolved to leave him. A week later he told me he only threatened to take his life to see if I still cared enough to stop him, and then he threatened me with a knife, pushed me, and slammed my arm shut in a car door when I tried to leave with my kids. When narcissistic and self involved abusers feel they are losing control, they’ll do whatever they can to maintain it. 

Formerly EasyAsABC 
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Sorry
I have to start by saying that I am very sorry that you find yourself in this position. It must have been a devastating blow to live with and I find that the addition of salt into the wounds....I am so sorry.

In my opinion as a WS one month in is early days and your wife is evidently so wrapped up in herself that she can't even think far enough to function let alone be open.

While I don't support any form of violence I would not have held It against him if my husband had slapped me upon discovery. I think that those kind of shocks often lead to uncharacteristic behavior...find a new therapist, one who is slightly more accepting. 

I personally think that your wife needs a reality check. Ideally a boot out of the house to sort herself out. Nothing sobered me up to the devastation I had created quite so much as realising I would lose it all.

Many people will probably tell you not to make threats unless you plan to carry them out. My experience therefore hints that you should stay within the realms of what you are feeling. 
I stongly advise against begging or undermining yourself.

My husband asked me to write everything down for him. EVERYTHING and I remember being rather resentful because it really felt like homework and like I was being a naughty child. When I emailed him the fifteen page document I was told that I had one last time to check it and that was My last time to tell the truth. 
I remember months down the line remembering small details that I had genuinely forgotten and having to go back to him and add them in, each time he would tense up and then usually realise that them were not important and it would be okay. But I remember being really aware of how much I had messed up and also of the fact that I had to prove that I was worthy of a second chance to prove myself.

I think you need to be clear about what you want, where you boundaries lie and stick to them. 

I wish you, and yourself wife much strength for the journey ahead of you.
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Keepabuzz

GPG,
     Above in the previous 2 responses you have heard from 2 women. One a former cheating wife, and one a BS, turned AP.  Now I will give you my take, I am a make BS. My wife had a single affair that lasted 6 months. 


First off.  Man I know the pain and confusion and anger you’re in right now. 


Secondly, I didn’t hit my wife on d-day, but I came very close about a week later. If I had, I wouldn’t have felt bad about it for a second, and in my opinion, you shouldn’t either. I never believed in crimes of passion until my wife destroyed my entire world. I get it. I’m not saying do it again, but don’t lose any sleep over it. Your wife deserved far worse. 


 My advice to you is get a lawyer.  Sit your wife down tonight and tell her she needs to leave. She is in lunatic land, and that needs to be somewhere other than your home.  You should NOT leave, she should. I would gather all proof you can and store it somewhere safe that she can’t access. Get advise from your attorney to ensure your are protecting yourself as much as possible, and you don’t step in any pitfalls. 


 Betrayal and all that comes with it is abuse.  Your wife has abused you mentally, sexually, emotionally, and financially. That is the reality, and has done it for years, and is doing it still.  I agree with those above me here, there is a huge difference between people that have one affair and serial cheaters.  You’re wife is clearly a serial cheater,  I suggest your divorce as soon as humanly possible. 


You need to do the 180 with your wife, and quick. Cut her out of your life.  

Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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ThrivenotSurvive

I think that you have received a BOUNTY of wisdom in the posts above.  I would really, really take it to heart if I were you.  I am a female BS (betrayed spouse).  

While I agree that there is a world of difference between a serial cheater and a one-time cheater, I am a strong believer in change and redemption.  But as ABCOneTwoThree pointed out, serial cheating is VERY similar (some therapists would say identical) to a serious addiction.  People with a serious addiction have to 1) Believe they have a problem.  2) That the root of the problem (and therefore the solution) is in THEM. 3) They have to WANT to change more than the feeling the addiction gave them.  

There is nothing is your synopsis that tells me your wife meets any of the above criteria.  Your heart (and health) are not safe in her hands.  

I would ask your wife to leave asap and begin the process (which will be very hard, but doable) of building a new life without her.  IF at some point she has a true "Come to Jesus" moment and takes decisive action to fully come clean and get her OWN therapist to deal with he OWN issues - you can decide what that means to you then.  But that is both unlikely and not something you should be waiting on.  

I think your wife has become very used to wielding the vast majority of the "power" in your relationship.  She has taken your trusting nature and used it to do what she wanted, when she wanted -for years, possibly decades.  Now she is using the fact that you want to save the relationship against you so that YOU are the bad guy for asking too many questions, looking to deeply, not being over it.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not fall for it. 

I still have times when my husband and I have to talk about the affair and we are 3.5 years out from DD!  My husband understands that this is NOT something I want, but when the fear gets too high or I am heavily triggered, it is something I need.  And he does so with love and compassion.  Your wife's reaction of thinking you should be "getting over it" and "not be looking" is RIDICULOUS.  Even before I had experienced this myself I would never have thought someone should be "moving on " in a month - or even 6 months to a year.  Now I know the truth - it takes 3-5 years at LEAST. 

It says something VERY ugly about your wife's character to not only be able to do the things she's done - but now, when faced with your pain - to act the way she has.  If YOU had done something that crushed your wife's heart and she found out - would you have looked at her grief-stricken face and had the audacity to get ANGRY at HER for being upset?  I doubt it.  I want you to sit down and REALLY think about that.  She's more concerned with her not having to "deal" with your pain and anger than in helping someone she says she loves and has deeply wounded.  Do you REALLY want to spend the rest of your life with someone like that?  

I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this.  You DO NOT deserve what has been done to you - and SHE does not deserve you.  

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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GpG
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to really listen and respond with such heartfelt advice.  It has really helped me even just get through today with some shred of sanity!  I have a lot of hard thinking to do ahead.  We've been together since I was 19 and she was 17...I'm 50 now. Although I see that much (most? all?) of that time was likely a lie.  Aside from the the "love" aspect, our 17 yo son has had severe depression issues (been hospitalized a couple of times) and I'll be raising our 3 year old grandson alone at my age! I'll likely lose my house and most of our retirement is tied up with her pension.  I've been well and truly screwed. I'm currently studying the 180 method as an interim way of keeping my sanity without making any hasty decisions when I feel my mind is not completely grounded. What are your thoughts about the 180 in my situation?
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Keepabuzz
GpG wrote:
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to really listen and respond with such heartfelt advice.  It has really helped me even just get through today with some shred of sanity!  I have a lot of hard thinking to do ahead.  We've been together since I was 19 and she was 17...I'm 50 now. Although I see that much (most? all?) of that time was likely a lie.  Aside from the the "love" aspect, our 17 yo son has had severe depression issues (been hospitalized a couple of times) and I'll be raising our 3 year old grandson alone at my age! I'll likely lose my house and most of our retirement is tied up with her pension.  I've been well and truly screwed. I'm currently studying the 180 method as an interim way of keeping my sanity without making any hasty decisions when I feel my mind is not completely grounded. What are your thoughts about the 180 in my situation?


100% do it. First thing in the morning, get an attorney. Protect yourself, she certainly isn’t. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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ThrivenotSurvive

I think a 180 would be good but DO everything mentioned above to protect yourself.  See an attorney (so you know what your options are and ways to protect yourself), get as much proof of the affairs as you possibly can and put it out of her reach.  Hopefully you won’t need it, but I would not trust her to be fair if it comes to it.  

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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GpG
I have very little evidence at this point. All of the photos were deleted... And boy were there some doozys! I'm in ab no fault state so not sure how much that would matter anyway. Damn I should have saved them, but access to her phone was limited so in didn't have time to forward them... And there were hundreds. I may have a few. And I may be able to text with her and get some admissions in writing. I'm looking at lawyers now to say least reviee my options.
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triplehooks
March into the doctors office (or clinic, whatever works best for you) and get tested for STDs GpG.   Visit r/adultery on reddit or the wayward forum on survivinginfidelity.com to see just how common “bareback” is with cheaters.  And the forums are overrun with stories of betrayed spouses catching anything under the sun from their cheaters, including, sadly, MANY females getting cervical cancer from certain HPV strains, with significant repercussions.  INSANE to think the risks they take and what they expose you to.  It’s a cesspool of STDs out there.  

If you had none when you came into the marriage, were faithful the whole time, but have one now that could be grounds for a law suit.  It’s very rare to be able to sue your spouse but negligent transmission of an std to a spouse has been a successful avenue in some states.  

Defrauding your spouse is not cool and it’s a personal opinion and just howling at the moon (nothing will come of it) but 50/50 asset splits in a situation like yours is highway robbery.  I’d argue she OWES you some number for the opportunity cost of every year of your life she defrauded you via this double life.  

Really sucks and heart broken for you GpG.

Good luck flipping the switch here.  
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Sorry
As a wife who had an affair. I think I have to give you an ounce of hope. Affair for women can be very different for women thn for men.

I count the fact that you have been together forever in your favour. There is a chance (please do not crucify me for my opinion) that your wife started her affairs from boredom with manotony. 

One of my numerous reasons in my head for justifying an affair was that I had only even been with my husband and I wanted diversity ðŸ™„

I also felt that I always followed the rules and I wanted to feel what rebellion felt like.
I was incredibly naive and stupid, for someone who is neither of the above.

My husband was lovely, dependable, relaible and BORING, Predictable. I was desperately lovely as we had just moved to a new city and when I communicated how lonely I was I did not feel supported.

I met someone at work who took an interest in me and made me feel special and interesting. I stupidly fell for it. I kept telling myself it was just like a fun extramural.

It did not change how I felt about my husband, how wonderful I thought he was or even my plan to stay with him and our kids forever. I had it all, the dependable happy marriage and an exciting "hobby".

Your wife does have an addiction to her outside persuits, but the fact that you are still together may very well mean that for her, like me, the lives are compartmentalised.

I did not believe at the time that I was taking anything away from my husband. He still had a loving devoted wife.

It was only when I realised post D day that I had torn my marriage in two that I had the first inkling of the devastation I was causing.

I know it sounds far fetched but that was genuinely my level of fog. I even remember once feeling that I wanted to share the excitement of my affair with the person I shared everything with, my best friend and husband. (just like if I got a promotion at work or some other dopamine hit- look what your clever little wife did!)

My affair had virtually nothing to do with my husband or my marriage. It had to do with loneliness and emptyness inside me and many poor choices.

I do not actually know if we havean special female cheaters here to let us know if it is the some for them?

And just before anyone freaks out on me, I no longer believe any of the above is correct. But at the time I did.

I think that the one thing your wife had to realise is that there is something deeply messed up in her head and she really needs to find a therapist that she can trust and work with. 

The key to bringing me out of my fog was and still is seeing my husbands pain and anguish.

But do not beg. Stand up for yourself and be assertive.
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ThrivenotSurvive

Sorry - 

One  quick question - when you came home and found your husband curled up crying on the bed did you urge him to hurry up and get over it? 

Or when he went snooping on your phone or asked you questions did you act like he had no right and that he was the bad guy for doing so? 


If my husband had done any of those things I would have lost the last shred of respect for him I had.  It was only his clear and abject misery at the pain he’d caused me and his willingness to own what he’d done that made me think we had a chance.  

It is the way she’s acting NOW as much as what she’s done in the past that makes me think he is not safe with her. 

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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Sorry
No. I think I realised pretty quickly that this was a I hope that we one day get over it.

However I did miss my ex AP terribly. And I think that people react differently to realising how much they messed up.

I am not necessarily saying that there is a healthy future here. But I can imagine that for a spouse who gets caught out And suddenly wakes up, that carrying on like normal seems like a really easy option.

I also know that I owed it to my husband big time to pull myself together. Mainly because he told me to.

After D day many WS are big blubbering idiots, it helps to have the smart person in the mess lay down the rules and provide a space in which to work. Hence my comment about being assertive.

I know it is easier to paint the marriage as over, maybe even over a long time ago. But one month is early days. And having never been a serial cheater I prefer to give people some benefit of the doubt.

I could imagine that if my husband had not found out about the affair and it had ended, with the shame and emptyness I would have continued looking for someone else to fill it. 

It is just a different (and not necessarily correct) perspective.
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GpG
So. She's leaving in ab Uber tonight. We talked a bit. I started calm but refused any gaslighting and told I would beg ever again or accept script flipping (which she kept trying to do) she's leaving angry which reinforces my belief: I'm done. I'm seeing a lawyer tomorrow. Important: my son is here. What do I tell him? The truth about why mom is bailing?
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GpG
He's very sharp. He'll want to know and he's almost 18. He's not a child.
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