I believe you stated you were a virgin when you hooked up with your wife. I don't blame you for not recognizing the signs of childbirth. Burns and scars easily have other explanations. The degradation of women you does exist and truthfully, your WW is lucky to have survived. It's not just fantasy material on the net.
Your timeline does need some clearing up, but hell, your just finding out yourself. I would fully expect there to be changes. If your WW dropped out as a freshman in college and had a jr in HS living w/her, it wouldn't surprise me at all. My own stepson moved in with a college freshman at the same age.
One thing that does concern me though is her admission of
BUT! She said about a week and a half after my proposal, that guy she had sex with, called her and said he wanted to apologize for his behavior and wanted to take her to dinner as his apology, she said no, then after he spoke to her more, excepted. She said he brought her flowers with a card that said he was sorry for his deplorable behavior. She said he was extremely charming, during dinner they had a number of drinks to acknowledge that he had been an ass. He drove her home and she invited him in for coffee. As they talked he got amorous and the two wound up in her bed. She said as they were beginning to get into it she realized she was a fool, that he was manipulating her into doing something she would regret for the rest of her life. She told him to leave, he did. She said nothing happened, there was no sex. Yes, they were naked together and there had been a lot of grouping and kissing, no intercourse.
Really? The guy who wouldn't stop? Who *got off* on the power trip of making her talk to you while they were doing whatever, stopped at groping and fondling when she said no? BS flag on this one.
However, I'm going back to where I was. Really, for right now, none of this matters. You've heard enough for 5 lifetimes. You need some space, some time to process what you have learned so far and to determine a plan of action from here.
I'm sorry for another epic post, man. Your specific situation really breaks my heart. The contrast of your innocent past and your wife's sordid former life, it frankly seems a bit like my namesake, The Book of Hosea itself (with minor variations). I think that's why I'm especially caught up by it, and feel grieved for you both.
I know a lot of these replies are litigating details, questioning seemingly contradictory narratives, etc. I don't need to add to that. I trust your telling the truth, as best you understand it. (If not, well, we've been punk'd something epic!)
I just wanted to offer, in the middle of all this, a more practical, 20,000 foot view. It's still $.02 advice, but I hope it might have some actionable advice (and not be a waste of your time!)
FIRST AND FOREMOST: Find the RIGHT Therapist.
You've made an appointment. I'm glad for that. You NEED someone highly recommended. Do not settle for a clock-watcher, a pill-pusher, a New Age Quack, the cheapest guy on Yelp, or any other form of human mediocrity.
NOTE: As a practical point, you're going to want a Male Therapist.
I'm not sexist. Frankly, I think Female Therapists often have the edge on empathy and listening skills. But much of your psychic trauma is of a sexual nature (a sense of Male Ego violation, Inadequacy, Betrayal, etc.) Talking about these issues with a Female Therapist, even a great one, could further complicate the already labyrinthine emotional dynamics. AND YOU DO NOT NEED THIS SITUATION TO GET ANY MORE EMOTIONALLY COMPLICATED THAN IT ALREADY IS, STU!
Treat the selection of your therapist every bit as seriously as you'd treat the choice of your Brain Surgeon if you had a Stage 3 tumor. You wouldn't want some D-grade amateur with a degree from Fun Ed Medical College & Beauty School cutting into your skull. And you don't want the IC equivalent trying to help you through this crisis, either.
SIGNS OF A GOOD THERAPIST:
• He will tell you how he works, and why he works that way
• Will seek to understand what your therapy needs and goals are, and will you help you articulate those you might sense but not yet fully be able to explain
• He will have an authentic, non-judgmental disposition
• He will have prior experience dealing both with marriage crises and sexual abuse challenges (Whether or not you reconcile with your wife, she is the mother of your children and a sexual abuse victim. You NEED a Therapist who can help sensitize you to your wife's very deep-rooted pains and dysfunctions)
• He will help create a sense of safety in the chaotic present, and a sense of hopefulness about the future resolution of your current crisis
• He will speak honestly, and sometimes ask difficult questions, but will not put you on the defense or criticize your beliefs of feelings
• He will be "present" during the session (even if taking notes), and will, over subsequent sessions, build on the disclosures and revelations of past sessions without asking you to remind him of important details already covered.
SIGNS OF A BAD THERAPIST:
• He does not have (or can not explain) what his therapeutic philosophy is. (NOTE: "I'm just here to listen, bro." is not a philosophy of healing. That's what drinking buddies are for.)
• He talks too much about his own life / problems / crap (Seriously, some of them do. If so, bill them for YOUR time.)
• He never talks. (Telltale verbal clues: "Uh-huh. Yep. Okay. Go on. Mmmmm. Interesting.")
• He is judgmental of behavior, whether yours or others. (This does happen, frequently with "old school" therapist. You do NOT want this. If he says, "Boy, your wife is what we used to call a (insert derogatory term here)", then RUN.
• He's late for appointments
• He is too quick to reach conclusions. (You can get THAT kind of armchair therapy here, for free, and already have.)
• He does not make you feel comfortable.
If you don't feel, after a session or two, like this person is fully present in your very unique crisis, like they are truly listening, genuinely concerned, and giving you cause for hope of a brighter future, then find someone else! Bad Therapy is worse than no therapy!
The selection of a good therapist is about YOU and YOU ALONE, Stu. It may benefit your wife and your children, but you need it, first and foremost, to aid in your own healing and stabilization.
SECOND: Don't make any rash choices right now!
I know, in reading all the various contradictory perspectives here, you're probably even more overwhelmed and confused. You came here in agony- and, as new facts surfaced about your wife's past (both before the marriage and during the engagement), your pain and trauma only grew more agonizing. Contradictory advice ("DUMP HER!", "FORGIVE HER!", "YOU'RE LYING!", "SHE'S LYING!") may only compound your confusion.
Though your situation is unique, most Betrayeds know, perhaps better than you might think, just how unmoored your mind is in this current time. We can all remember that horrorable dawning shock-- the DAY WE LEARNED OUR MARRIAGE AND SPOUSE WAS NOT WHAT WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.
You are living in a Waking Nightmare right now, Stu. Like "Back to the Future 2". Your past was altered by the unseens actions of others, and your formerly beautiful, predictable world is being twisted and darkened right before your eyes. And it won't stop changing before you, even though you just want REALITY back so you can make a reasonable choice and know things aren't going to change yet AGAIN.
It's truly a kind of madness, Stu, and it's felt most acutely as you look at your wife.
• One minute, she's the beautiful girl you (re)met in a supermarket, reaching for something on a high shelf.
• The next, she's being diddled by Mr. Adonis after accepting your marriage proposal.
• The next, she's that "hot", shapely girl who caught your teenage eye in the hallway.
• The next, she's in some porn film and photoshoot.
• The next, she's your blushing bride, exchanging vows and rings with you.
• The next, she's a drug addict being sexual exploited by Paco the Drug Dealer.
• The next, she's giving birth to your first sweet child, and giving you the gift of fatherly pride.
• The next, she's giving birth to some stranger's kid, and giving it up for adoption.
• The next, she's a little girl in a room , sleeping peacefully with her teddy bear.
• The next, she's a sex-abuse survivor, clinging to that same bear and wishing so badly she just go back in time herself, before her own reality grew so dark with abuse, so heavy with shame, and so fragile with secrets.
And on and on and on.
WARNING: THIS MAY CONTINUE FOR LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
This is WHY Therapy is so important RIGHT NOW. Your own stabilization is the first step towards healing. But it takes time, work, and an ocean of tears. So avoid the temptation, in the panic of a moment, to divorce and run. Don't rush to Reconcile, in a desperate gambit to "get things back to the way they were". Don't let a moment of emasculated humiliation goad you to humiliate your wife for her long ago crimes.
Just try not to do ANYTHING that will compound your pain, or anyone else's, or that you might later regret.
LASTLY: Be the Best Father You Can Be
Stu, however the tragic situation with your marriage is resolved, you are the father to two children you clearly love very much. They are complete innocents in this. Even if your whole world quakes and falls apart before your eyes, your children's love is perfect and unconditional. They have no dark secrets that could pain you to learn. They will not change into something horrible as you stare at them.
They are, in this crisis, a great gift to you. A kind of talisman against the madness around you. I know there will be moments where your own pain is so great and your mind so tortured that being around them might be impossible. But I really encourage you to let that pure love that they feel for you, and you for them, be a kind of sanctuary for you.
Protect them, first and foremost, from this crisis with your wife. Some parents, while in crisis, say harsh things of their spouse to their children. You don't seem like the sort who would, but beyond that, really be mindful not to fight with her around them.
If you can, make extra time for them. Surprise them with an ice cream outing, or a fun movie, or whatever sort of thing that will delight them. If they're old enough, take on little new family projects; a giant jigsaw puzzle, model rockets, something that can be experienced together. And, yes, include your wife.
Remind yourself of the value of your family, and the preciousness of this time you have with them. Remind yourself, too, of your wife's goodness as a mother. Of the joy she finds in their innocence, and in the clean slate they are, and represent for her.
I don't mean, in suggesting all this, to tell you "you better reconcile!" I guess, having seen the blessings of reconciliation in my own marriage, I'm probably rooting for it (unless your wife has been unfaithful in your marriage beyond what you've yet learned)... But it's not my place, or any of ours, to tell you what to do with your marriage.
I just want, in the middle of this nightmare, for you to have some joy and safety. To feel the comfort that sometimes only the laughter and wonder of your children can provide. To have chance to see the world through innocent eyes, and to feel more of the manly pride that comes from being a great father.
No matter what happens in the future, you will not regret doing this now.
[This message edited by Hosea at 5:26 PM, March 15th (Saturday)]
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
I'm going to edit here to just add that you are correct that you are under no obligation to debate me or others. As I am under no obligation to engage your story further if I feel what you are describing and the help you are looking for is beyond what my limited experience as a BS can provide. For that reason, it's best that I step aside.
So best of luck to you, Stu.
[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 6:35 PM, March 15th (Saturday)]
But as I have been learning here, anything is possible and probable
Actually, that's completely incorrect, only possible things are possible. By definition.
I hope all the cyber attention you've received does something to help with whatever problems you are experiencing. Best wishes.
how do you know that child she had after she dropped out freshman year isn't your BF's?
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
I will find the truth about me
^^^^This first brother.
As blurry as everything is right now, you need to remind yourself repeatedly that you are going to get through this. I'm sure that it may not seem this way, but believe us when we say that you will.
No, everything won't return to "normal". Your life is forever changed, and some of it for the worse. But you don't really know how bright the future can be. But taking the steps towards counseling is a good start. Urging your wife to regularly receive counseling would also be a smart move. Continuing to communicate with your wife is also paramount for multiple reasons---she needs to know that you want to support her(if you are both committed to each other), and you need to discover the entire truth, by which I mean your life SINCE you met your wife. Her past is brutal, no doubt about that, but it is what has transpired since you were dating...when you believed that you were in an exclusive relationship.
There is no way to digest everything at once. It is hard not to feel like you are drowning. But it does get better---it really does. You just need to accept that.
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 believe the best direction for me is the psychologist.
Stu this is going to be he beginning of this getting better for you. I can't emphasize enough that this journey isn't going to be easy, but it is going to make your life easier in the long run.
FWIW- I think your W has to get some therapy too, but you can't force her to do that.
Pray for strength to change the things that you can, peace for the things you can't and the wisdom to know the difference.
Let the last part sink it. Your Ws past is outside of your control and at this point it is outside of her control too. However you still have a choice and staying M'd is a choice too.
She got past her worse fears. You learned about her past and you are still here.
FWIW- The second date with scumbag, that is a clear cut case of cheating. Whether it went all the way or not doesn't matter. (If I had to guess you will find out more about that time later on).
Your Ws creditability needs to be factor here. While she had her reasons, withholding this much from you is healthy wither. I would bet if she found out you had lied to her she would be upset.
Honesty goes both ways. Put this on the back burner until you start therapy and try to endure or escape as much as you can until then.
DS 1, DD 6
Dday 8/31/11. ONS that occurred 3 years earlier. Lied to for 3 years.
Every truth comes to light in a long enough timeline.
“BUT! She said about a week and a half after my proposal, that guy she had sex with, called her and said he wanted to apologize for his behavior and wanted to take her to dinner as his apology, she said no, then after he spoke to her more, excepted. She said he brought her flowers with a card that said he was sorry for his deplorable behavior. She said he was extremely charming, during dinner they had a number of drinks to acknowledge that he had been an ass. He drove her home and she invited him in for coffee. As they talked he got amorous and the two wound up in her bed. She said as they were beginning to get into it she realized she was a fool, that he was manipulating her into doing something she would regret for the rest of her life. She told him to leave, he did. She said nothing happened, there was no sex. Yes, they were naked together and there had been a lot of grouping and kissing, no intercourse.”
Currently I’m doubting just about everything I thought I knew about the people around me.
As well you should, man.
Currently I’m doubting just about everything I thought I knew about the people around me.
You seem like a truly decent-hearted, worthy husband and father. You've obviously been a Naive Husband, wearing rose colored glasses for your entire marriage. Now you're taking them off. You're seeing the ugly world for what it is, and shocked and horrified. Be prepared for the world, and the people you love, to grow uglier still as your eyes adjust.
Most of what you know about love has been taught to you by a broken, haunted, self-destructive woman. If she has discounted your worth with her lying and wayward behavior, it's not because you deserved it. If you learned about friendship from your best friend, well, he's failed you nearly as much as she has.
It's time, if you haven't already, to let THEIR DISCOUNTING OF YOUR WORTH (made obvious through all the secrets they've kept and lies they told) lead to YOUR DISCOUNTING OF THEIR WORTH.
1) Worthy Wives don't betray their fiances, and keep deeply sordid personal histories a secret from their Naive Husbands. They just don't.
2) Best Friends don't quietly conspire with worthy wives (and former sex partners) to keep Naive Husbands in the dark about facts he deserves to know. They just don't.
You have a chorus of advisors and brethren in pain here. We have contradictory perspectives and prescriptive suggestions based on incomplete facts and our own biases. Use what you can, lose what you can't.
BUT WE ALL AGREE ON TWO THINGS:
1) YOUR THERAPY IS CRITICAL. It sounds like you have a good therapist. Has it been helpful so far? Do you feel like he's proving both empathetic and insightful? Is he giving you hope for a brighter future? How is that going for you, Stu?
2) YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER. You're a better man than you believe, and certainly far better than your wife or BF believe. We all see that, it's so damn obvious from where we all sit. If you find yourself ever doubting it, DON'T.
Because there are women- LOTS OF GREAT, WORTHY WOMEN, who would kill for what your wife has taken for granted. Believe it!
And there are lots of friends- LOTS OF AWESOME, WORTHY FRIENDS, who would never think of keeping you in the dark about things so important to your future soundness of marriage and mind. Believe it!
If you haven't already done so, open up your Emotional Balance Sheet. It's time to depreciate some valued assets-- MASSIVELY... And, while you're at it, it's time to appreciate your most valuable one-- yourself. MASSIVELY.
You deserve far better than you've been given. We all believe it. We want you to believe it, and to have it.
To me, my concerns were validated when you revealed the presence of the journal and pictures. Can't think of a single instance where it is ever recommended to keep mementos from an abusive past.
Her whole story just keeps falling apart doesn't it?
She said that she met him a few more times, up to the time he got married. When he returned from his honey moon they got together again. She said she didn’t love him, but there was something about his dominant behavior she liked. I asked how many times, she said at least 1 or 2 times a week until he returned to school, except for when he got married. I believe I mentioned that he had gotten married about a month after I proposed. We got engaged in May and he left for school I think the end of August; that’s 4 months,
Again, why did it stop there? There really hasn't been further contact? Over 10 years? Again, I wave the Bull Excrement flag.
She went to a rehab hospital and received therapy and counseling for a number of years. She was seeing a doctor while I was dating her and I didn’t know it. She told me that over the last 10 years she has occasionally seen a therapist so there would be no regression, I thought it was a regular doctor visit.
For what specifically, who was the doctor? What was his specialty? Given her behaviors, I'm beginning to doubt the treatments were for what she is claiming. Even if the were,
there would be no regression
it doesn't seem to have worked.
What about Puerto Rico? She didn’t say anything, but her face had a strange look. Nothing more was said
This is very concerning. Please be extra careful when dealing with her. There are some certain personality types who have adverse reactions to having the world they have created questioned.
As for your *friend*.
I may have been seeing (remembering) him as the close friend I had in high school. When we reconnected he might not have been THAT PERSON I remembered
If you stick your hand on a red hot burner, do you warn your friend or help him touch it too?
he couldn’t be her boyfriend. He couldn’t deal with her past, he had asked me if that made him a bad person
Not for not being able to deal with her past, but for not warning you? Absolutely He's not your friend. Maybe hers, but never yours.
Sorry brother. Implement the 180, work on you and get to the psychologist
[This message edited by 5454real at 3:05 PM, March 17th (Monday)]