vvs_135
Thank you
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ThrivenotSurvive
vvs - I am so sorry that you are experiencing this.  There is little pain that resembles it.  However, in some cases a marriage can grow stronger in the aftermath.  I feel mine has.  I would have GREATLY preferred that we had found another way to shake us out of our stupor, but it is what it is and we can't go back.  However we are very happy now 4 years after DD.  

This will be a long road - and the proof will be in your wife's action in the LONG term.  What is important for you both right now is to make no sudden decisions (your emotions will be a bit of a roller coaster for a while) and for you to practice significant and deliberate self-care.  

There are a LOT more to be said, but unfortunately I need to get back to work right now.  But peruse these threads- there is infinite wisdom here.  Many of us have been visiting for years along our journey and you will see the growth and changes as we began to understand ourselves and our partners in more depth.  As we began to reclaim our self-worth and value while still offering compassion to our spouses. 

You will find wisdom, kindness and honesty here.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel - but the tunnel is a bit longer than you hope.  Welcome.
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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triplehooks
Horrific, and so sorry this happened to you.  Take some time and space, restore yourself first, and then revisit what you want. The emotions are overwhelming at this stage, so take in advice from folks way further down the road and see what makes sense to you. 

Meanwhile you need to take some very practical steps right now: get her tested for STDs, full panel (sadly you have to specifically REQUEST to be tested for herpes 1 and 2), and hold off on sex for a while, until you REALLY know what you want to do.  You may end up divorcing and you don't want any events of "condonation" in that case.  Get yourself tested.  Highly recommend one of them needs to quit the job/be transferred immediately.  Talk to a lawyer just to get informed.  Research if you live in an Alienation of Affection state.... just so you know all your options.  

You are in what you will later recognize is a long term state of shock.  You will long for a past that is no longer accessible and realize the future you envisioned really isn't accessible either, and you will have to make a choice around the fundamental question: is this acceptable to you?

At some point, like all the rest of us, you will go through a phase of anger.  For some its a reactionary emotion to the surface understanding of what happened.  For others its a long term feeling (that doesn't block out all other emotions BTW, its just there along with everything else) that is quite righteous and acknowledges the oppressive, life-obliterating nature of this atrocity.  Recognize that anger is as healthy as any other emotion and don't bow to acculturation that villainizes that emotion.  Recognize it's there a) as the flip side of the coin of deep love (anger is only present about things you care passionately about) and b) it's there to protect you.  And make no mistake: YOU are the one that needs protection.

I will tell you something no one told me, I had to figure out on my own.  This is an INJUSTICE.  This is not a bi-lateral thing, it is not a reflection of your relationship, it is not something that simply happened between/was governed by dynamics between her and you.  It happened because two people who lacked integrity (your wife and her accomplice) collided.  It is about THEIR lack of integrity, not about ANYTHING you did or didn't do.  It is a reflection of a mentality of ENTITLEMENT and CENTRALITY, THOUGHTLESSNESS and SELFISHNESS.  And it was a multi-lateral attack: your wife was participating in a covert attack on her accomplice's wife and children (if he has any), and he was undertaking a covert attack on you and your children, with her assistance.  It is -- at minimum -- a breach of contract; this is a behavior that is EXPLICITLY counter to the standard commitment of marriage, unless you explicitly agreed otherwise (I doubt you ever consented to that).  At its worst it is a CRIME (it is in FACT a crime in 37 states of the US, a felony in the US military with consequences that include dishonorable discharge, loss of pay/pension and some prison time.  In MANY countries in the world it is punishable by death.).  The consequences of the rip in the fabric of your union play out over generations and for SURE your children will be severely impacted -- even if they are not explicitly told -- because they will SEE your changed behaviors.  If/when they learn (these secrets almost always come out) their image of one of their heros will be destroyed and they will lose trust in much of what they have experienced/learned.  And it will impact the way they related to their own realities and relationships.

One of the most difficult things about this is the change to your own perception of your partner.  I recommend you think not only of the impact on you and your children of your wife's choices here, but REALLY reflect on the impact on the other family.  Try to square your view of what is acceptable behavior to you with the actual reality that your wife was willing to swing an ax at the foundation of safety and security of someone ELSE's life -- without ANY consideration for their well being and agency.  Is that someone you can get your head wrapped around investing the REST of your life in?

Ultimately, try to find your way to grappling with what "restorative justice" looks like to you, in this equation.  You can never be made whole for what was stolen from you, but what actions could your wife take that would represent a "valiant effort" in trying to come close to that?  Beyond what she needs to do for you, for your children, what do you need to see her do for the other family so you can believe that she recognized the scope of the damage she visited on them and won't just "do nothing" about that?  Will the other betrayed spouse choose divorce now?  Will they live a reduced standard of living as a result?  Could you live with the fact that your wife destroyed the financial well being of another person like that (much less CHILDREN??), and then laa dee daa skipped along her merry way?

Good luck getting your grounding vvs_135.  Sorry you are here.  Take good care of yourself.


 


      
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vvs_135
Thank you both for your wisdom and advice. I appreciate the support as I deal with this rollercoaster.
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FanofMike2020

First of all, I would like to tell you how sorry I am for the wounding of your heart that your wife bestowed on you and your family so thoughtlessly and carelessly.  This type of betrayal will reverberate through generations.  I wish people would know this before doing such a selfish act of betrayal.  It also sounds like she needs therapy to figure out why she is so broken that her only option was adultery.

I, too, agree that both of you need to get tested for STDs ASAP.  My sister’s husband gave an STD and fathered a child from one of his affair partners.  My sister was totally devastated along with her children.  Needless to say, divorce was the only option for her.  

Your wife needs to transfer jobs or find another one.  You should have access to all social media sources.  Your wife’s privilege to privacy has gone out the window.  Going forward, your wife does not need any male friends.  The only male friend she needs is you if you choose to stay and work things out with her.  Why people don’t already know this is beyond me.

 According to what you posted, she does sound remorseful and seems to want to work on the marriage.  It’s unfortunate that she had to break your heart in order to realize that, just like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, everything she ever wanted was in front of her the whole time (There’s no place like home.)  She thought that the grass was greener somewhere else.  It is because that’s where the septic tank is.

Again, I am terribly sorry for what you will have to face because of her and her affair partner’s choice to cheat and possibly put your health at risk.  I do think that a visit to a lawyer is warranted just so you know your options.  

As a child, my father had affairs, and apparently we must have been the talk of the town.  I come from a very small town (about 2,000 people).  When I was about 9 or 10, I was on the playground when some kids came to me laughing and telling me that my father had a girlfriend.  They kept laughing, left to go play not realizing the bomb they had just thrown my way.  From that point on, things that I had seen before started to make sense.  The fact that I used to hear my mother crying behind closed doors.  The fact that I used to hear them arguing, but being little, I had no clue why they argued.  From that point on, it shattered my perception of my father.  I was truly embarrassed to have him as my father.  He smoked, he drank, he gambled, and now I knew that he was hardly ever home because he had his lady friends.  I came to realize that strangers were more important than his real family.  This affected my self esteem.  It was almost nonexistent so I can just imagine how my mother felt and you as well.

I never told anyone about how I found out about my father’s character until years later after he had passed away.  My sisters and I were at my second sister’s house, and the conversation inevitably always turns to how an awful father we had and how grateful we were to have had our mother as a stable force in our lives.   That is when I decided to tell them about how I had found out about his infidelities.  My sister was so angry.  She recounted what happened when she was little.  My mom and dad were arguing, and my father raised his hand to slap her.  My sister said she quickly got between them so that he would not slap her.  My sister loathes my father due to his cheating and just being a terrible father in general.

I hope your wife realizes how her adultery will affect her friends and family primarily you and her children for generations.  Your children will ultimately be the ones that pay for her choice to cheat.  Get them into therapy if you think they need it.  

Again, I am truly sorry for the wounding of your heart.  Set your boundaries, and stick to them.  There are many people here that will give you wonderful advice.  Read the posts by KEEP here whose wife cheated on him.  He talks about what he went through, trying to mend his heart, and setting up his boundaries to protect himself.  Talk to someone to gain perspective.  

Good luck to you and your family, and take care of yourself for your children’s sake.  Wish I could give you a hug.

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stillme

It seems like what you are describing is trauma bonding (more compassionate, more physical, etc. following the confession). You might be having a unicorn experience where all is well and there will be no permanent damage regarding her affair. However, I would caution you to prepare for the roller coaster of emotions to begin shortly. 

I also recommend STD testing (and require her to share her results) as soon as possible. Sometimes confessions are a result of finding out something that would eventually require the betrayed spouse to know anyway. 

Is she still working with the person she had an affair with? Since this is someone she works with closely, she may need to consider changing jobs. 

I would also encourage counseling, she seems to be talking as if this is something that 'happened to her', as if she feel into something almost out of her control. She had a hard time finding opportunities for date night, but found the time to meet a co-worker at a hotel twice? And, they didn't just sleep together twice - you also said they would kiss at work. Did she really call it off or did he move on? Unfortunately, you cannot simply take her word for what is happening, you may need an independent third party to verify what she is saying. 

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vvs_135
Thank you all for the great advice. I will continue to watch things progress and I hope to God I can learn to forgive and move on.
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GuyInPain
Hi VVS.  I'm very sorry for the pain you're experiencing.  If you're like me, it is the worst trauma you will experience in your life, so you are undertaking a long & important struggle for yourself & for your marriage.

From your account, it sounds like your wife has done a lot of what is important in this situation: She has confessed of her own accord, rather than being found out by you or someone else.  She has, at least by her own account, confessed everything, instead of trickle-truthing like most adulterers.  She has accepted your repeated questioning, rather than saying answering once was enough like most others.  She has expressed remorse, rather than being defensive like most others.  She has expressed full responsibility, rather than tried to shift the blame like most others.  She has looked inside herself for the reasons for her behavior, rather than resisted self-examination like most others.  She has expressed her love & commitment to you, instead of wavering between spouse and affair partner like many others.  

This is all very encouraging.  So do realize that she has made real progress for herself, the marriage & you.  Lots of couples take months or years to get to the point where the betrayer even gets up to the starting line for real recovery & healing, but your wife seems to have gotten there remarkably quickly & made further progress beyond that.  It's almost as if she'd read books & online forums like this one to get up to speed on what she needs to do!  My wife took the low road – lying about the behavior for years, then trickle-truthing, defensiveness big-time, blame-shifting.  Only years later & only when I risked all to ensure we got to the truth did she & we make progress from her affair.  So I know whereof I speak. 

And yet even we are still married & in a good marriage – not perfect, but very good with lots of sharing, mutual fulfillment & fun.  So I feel hopeful for you.

Even so, I affirm what others have written to you:
– She must get full STD testing.
– Realize that you may not have actually gotten the full truth. 
– Make room for your anger.
– Realize that what you've experienced is a terrible injustice.
– Prepare for a longish road of healing.
– Insist on marriage counseling, including individual counseling for her & maybe you if that seems right.

On forgiveneness, which you mention, I just finished & highly recommend 'How Can I Forgive You: The Courage to Forgive & the Freedom Not To,' by Janice Spring Abrams, the author of 'After the Affair,' which I also highly recommend.  Read 'After the Affair' first, then the forgiveness book.

God bless you.
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minnie16
I agree with all that you said, But I find After the Affair by Spring to be blame shifting to the betrayed... just my quick opinion, because some of her chapters lean in that direction ..
But You may like her, just that cautionary note.
D day June, 2016
ws affair: 18 months sexual affair plus 2 years emotional affair after. Ow 20 yrs old; WS 60
live in Texas
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