Like I said, she was broke (and still is) for someone who is broken to keep it together this long is a proud accomplishment (Use kinder words than me, I can be a little blunt). You can take some of the credit for that. Her past has taught her not to trust men and she overcame that because she felt you were worth it. She loves you, think of that before trying to discuss any of this. Hugs, holding her while she cries and letting her talk without interruption are important. Keep reminding her that you believe you both can get through this, but it can't just be ignored any longer.
Stu, I have been harping about communication for the two of you. You have found massive amounts of information in the last few days, and while it is a HUGE weight off of your shoulders, the problems still exist. Your wife has quite a history, but where she shielded it to protect herself, she wound up damaging you beyond comprehension.
This is where communication is key. Secrets almost always do more harm than good. What you need to do is convince her that you are her ally, but that you need honesty in a healthy relationship. The others here have stated this very well. Don't stuff all these emotions and feelings deep down. IC is a great idea. Communicating with your wife is even a better one. Doing both together may be your best option.
Think about it.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day: 9/18/09 D-Day#2: 2/19/10 The Marriage Killer: 6/6/11
Heading for D
(I'm genuinely curious--it seems like all that stuff is pretty much universally suggested in most similar situations.)
[This message edited by twisted at 2:20 PM, March 11th (Tuesday)]
Why is the 180 and talking to a lawyer and all the standard stuff that's suggested for an unremorseful spouse not being pushed very hard on this thread?
I don't think 180 is appropriate in this case in my opinion. The evidence is very strong that this was a long time ago before they were married. I think it is cheating but stu best solution will not be do force this viewpoint given the other circumstances involved. His wife clearly is indicating what she did was not cheating - she isnt saying it didn't happen. With the abuse potential and other issues some sensitivity is certainly warrented in my opinion. A hard 180 would do the opposite.
Stu isn't dealing with a flagrant wayward. If we want technicalities, she never "openly" cheated on Stu.
She, like others here, carry a lot of baggage. I believe that she is trying to communicate, albeit in her unhealthy coping mechanisms. That is why Stu needs to knock down that protective emotional wall that his wife possesses. I can not see her progressing without professional help.
Now, if she REFUSES to cooperate, that will leave Stu with only a couple of choices---(1)take it, and have an unhealthy marriage(because she will continue to keep her emotional walls up), or (2)not take it...and then let the 180, and following actions, apply.
Again, this is just my opinion. You do what you think is best for you.
I had no idea, I only new what she told me. When your with someone, what do you really know about their past, unless your actively involved with them you don't. My BF and I were very close and yet look at what I didn't know.
Gently, this is a sign that you need to work on a number of things about yourself. This includes your "picker" when it comes to friends and your spouse.
Granted any of us who have been betrayed have been in the same boat in terms of not being aware of things about our SO and, sometimes, our friends. But this is why, while we are not to blame for our spouse's infidelity, we are still responsible for evaluating our own tendencies to do things like rugsweep, tolerate abuse, etc.
Also, to me, it's a sign that your so-called BF is not your friend. He certainly didn't have your back. He was selfish and enabling.
I agree with IceCream that the 180 is appropriate. Maybe she's not involved in an active affair. Maybe she's reigned herself in within the confines of your M. But, if all of this story is true, Stu, your wife has massive, massive issues. And she's not willing to work on them right now. And your willingness to put up with this, to support her, to keep this a secret don't communicate to me that you're compassionate and understanding. They tell me that you are codependent.
My advice would be to tell your wife you know something (I'm careful here not to say "everything" because, frankly, I don't know why we are trusting your "BF" as far as we can throw him). If that is best handled in the office of an IC, through a letter, whatever, that's fine. But I would tell her that you are willing to stay in the M, willing to support her, but she has to meet you at least half-way. She has to demonstrate a willingness to deal with her shit. If she continues to stonewall, I say a hard 180 and you can reevaluate the M after she starts to take some accountability for taking care of herself and, by extension, you.
Or you could just keep it a secret, give her a hug and a ring and be content to let these revelations about her remain hidden. To let her struggle with them. To let her suffer. To let yourself suffer. To continue to live a life together based on a lack of communication, a lack of intimacy and a lack of respect.
Sorry for the 2x4 here, Stu. But again, if this is all true, I feel strongly that you are in an abusive situation here. You yourself admit you have insecurity issues and you idolize your wife. In my view, you are being willfully myopic about this situation and the result is that you are being continually lied to about the people around you and, therefore, emotionally abused. Sometimes emotional abuse comes into focus because our spouses cheat. Or sometimes it comes into view when you find out they have a hidden past everyone conspired to keep from you. Either way, it's abuse.
I'm seeing things about both you and your wife that *concern* me. One of the biggest concerns about your wife is that her encounter with the OM who was the cause of you starting this thread (the only *A* word that I'll refer to him as has a few more letters than the name that *you've* given him), occurred AFTER she had done the rehab/therapy thing.....which is an indication that whatever she worked on in therapy at that time didn't *take*. There is a very strong indication that your wife has some pretty deep issues, and *white-knuckling* the impulse to act-out because of those issues will very rarely be able to be sustained for an extended period of time.
Wife's concerning issue #2: The *compartmentalization* that I'm seeing. She has always given you a very *vanilla* version of who she was pre-Stu. She gave you *just enough* to let you know that she had a sexual past, but she wasn't really truthful about all that her past entailed. I believe that, generally, pre-relationship sexual details are not really the *business* of a new partner. But in this case, there are indications that her pre-Stu-relationship behavior is due to more than just "wild-child"-phase behavior. Another tendril of this compartmentalization aspect that makes it even more concerning is how she is reacting now. She is running away from it. She wants it to *go back in the box* and not be spoken of. <--This type of reaction almost always signifies deception. This type of reaction typically is *more* than shame over past behavior. In my own personal experience, this type of behavior indicated the blowing up of a *double life.*
My concern about you is your assumption that she has been a faithful wife to you. Maybe she has been....maybe she has been able to *stuff* all of her issues in *the box*...and be content and happy with you, and I REALLY hope that is the case. HOWEVER. This is a VERY DANGEROUS assumption for you to make right now, because the truth is.....you don't REALLY *know*, you are assuming. If you read some of the other posts here, you will find many who thought their spouse was the *picture of virtue*...only to find out that their *picture* of what the reality was for them was TOTALLY wrong. It happens -- it happened to me -- you wouldn't be the first BS to be blind-sided with the information that your *life* was nothing like you thought it was.
Again, I'm NOT saying that is what is happening here.....what I am saying is that you need to *gird* yourself for the possibility that your wife may not turn out to be exactly who you *think* she is.
Regardless of any potential *marital misconduct* on her part....you're really not going to be able to lay what you now know about her past to rest and just *carry on*. You're still in the *shock* stage right now but, soon enough, you're gonna get hella pissed about the *thing* between you wife and your BF and the fact that you knew NOTHING about it. You keep mentioning that your BF's wife is the *jealous* type and I'm getting the feeling that you'lll be willing to *stuff* your true feelings about that issue so as not to also be seen as jealous. I won't go into detail about *why* I believe that you'll eventually get angry about this so as not to plant any premature seeds, but the anger WILL (most likely) come at some point in the future.
My tl/dr version is this: You and your wife need to *get real*. Your wife needs to relinquish her *box of secrets* and put everything on the table for you. You can still have a marriage even if she won't do that, but it won't be an authentic and true relationship.
And, due to what you have learned, you would be very well served to question her about her behavior during the marriage. IMO, any denial of marital misconduct should be followed by her agreement to take a polygraph.
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
In an *ideal* world, what you described should happen. Problem with that is that *real* life interferes. You get a shitty counselor (which totally sucks). AND that pesky notion that you really cannot control anyone else. Your wife's interactions will only be as good as what she chooses to offer (refer back to that *compartmentalization* thing I talked about).
Here's my synopsized experience with a counselor post Dday...I KNEW my (now)stbx was lying about his past and so I was, shall I say, *less* than totally cooperative during MC. The counselor decided to see my (now)stbx on his own for a few sessions. And according to stbx, he confessed his prior *indiscretions* (which I didn't know about) and the counselor basically back-burnered them and told stbx not to say anything about them to me.
The problem is that *you* are still entrenched in the couple-mode mindset.....a world where it is you and your spouse against everyone else, etc. Dude, a new sun has risen and the game has changed.
You say that you comprehend the potential difficulties ahead.....and I am going to say an emphatic NO, you don't. This is your first foray into this type of shit and while you may *think* you know what you're doing? Trust me when I say that you don't. A lot of people who have responded to you have BTDT......gone *through* the fire and are further away from Dday than you are (myself included).
An other thought, it has been mentioned many times that my wife take a polygraph. I have difficulty with this. It smacks of distrust
The thing is that you can now never go back to *not knowing*. The problem with that is that now you *know*. And EVEN IF you decide to drop all of the questioning and whatnot today....you'll still *know*, kwim?
You can absolutely carry out with the rug-sweeping plan that you put forth earlier.....but think of the barriers that your marriage will have. Your wife did *stuff*, YOU know that your wife did *stuff*, your wife knows that you know that she did *stuff*.....and yet, no one is going to *talk* about that stuff. That is a recipe for disaster....or total unhappiness.
Dude. Do you want a REAL marriage or a *superficial* one?
I am not telling you what path to take....I am only cautioning you to not commit to one way or another before you know exactly what you are dealing with.
[This message edited by spanz at 9:19 AM, March 12th (Wednesday)]
I personally think if you want to go to IC just for you then thats fine. If it will help you digest and get stronger after finding out all of this then I think thats great. Many times the BS, which I feel you have written here many times, has no idea how to approach the WS or communicate. And they have a WS who will not talk about it. Happens here all the time. A good IC will hopefully help you get to the root of why that is, why you as the BS cannot find a way to communicate what you want....almost all of the time it is fear based. Whatever those fears are, and to you they are legitimate right now, will be worked thru and talked thru with your own IC.
You cannot make a WS do anything as we all know on here. A BS can only control themselves. And my therapist way back when I went advised me to come on my own when my then WS did not want to go. He felt as my WS sees me going and feels me changing that he will either want to come on board or not. OR the BS will get strong enough to make a decision for the WS and the marriage at a later date.
So if YOU want to go and it is for YOUR issues thats great. Sometimes we all need a person who hears US and can help US.
I can only comment from my own experience which is not unlike yours. My wife was not having sex at the time I proposed, she was into the beginnings of an affair, and her affair continued after we were married for a couple of months more. This took place 32 years ago, I only found out last year. The other similarity to yours is that my wife was abused as a teenager for years by her father. She never told me anything, and he died 5 years ago. Like your wife, mine has been an excellent mother to our children, and I believe faithful other than the one affair. She has compartmentalized this and doesn't remember very much about her childhood, our initial dates or her affair. We have tried hypnosis, and currently working it through with professionals (now on the third one). You can tell pretty quickly if they will be helpful.
I am hoping the therapy will open up her memory such that she can help me understand why this happened to us.
I believe you need to sit down with your wife, and explain that although this happened 10 years ago, the pain, anguish and torment to you is eating at you ever since her revelation. Explain that you have no one else to talk to about this, other than your BF, who you now know she dated and he has helped a great deal in enlightening you to some of her life before you met her. Now you know that she was also given a shit sandwich before yours and I am sure you feel badly for her. Explain that you both need to share to get through this.
In my opinion, she needs to see professional help. At first without you so she can speak freely. Later you can share sessions as she gains confidence in dealing with it. None of this will be easy on her or you, and it may open up many other boxes you may not like.
You are confident that your wife has been faithful to you since your proposal. Tell her of your true feelings about how her having sex 10 years ago, keeping pictures and diary intact , and subsequent leaving you disrespected as this guy taunted you with their secret. Explain to her if you are willing to work through this, but she must be completely honest and transparent now and going forward.
Know this, you do not know everything yet.
This morning I woke up from a dream that has been bothering me all day. It evolved my wife and my BF being sexually intimate and they were doing the things described in that diary and the pictures. Then a film crew was there filming. A director was giving orders to the cast as to what action was to go on with my wife. I was in a corner watching and wanting to hurt my BF. Of course my mind added a lot more porn detail. All day I have been cursing and angry at my BF for sleeping with my wife. There is no reason for my anger towards him, so why am I angry at him?