I don't see what your wife did on that weekend as cheating. She informed you she was unhappy, that she had a date, that she needed to evaluate the state of your relationship. That is a lot more than many of us got from our unfaithful partners. She was transparent and tried to start a conversation with you.
She proceeded to do what she told you she was going to do. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see you explain why you didn't ask her about the date immediately after you returned (particularly if you sensed she was distant). But, putting that aside, you proposed to her and she made a judgment not to tell you directly about sleeping with this other man. This tells me that you both seem to have a severe communication problem that goes back to the period before your marriage. From her not telling you about this guy, to you not telling her you were a virgin and being cagey about your sexual past with her... from the outside it seems odd that the two of you seem to have been content with a relationship built on obfuscation.
And even now she seems afraid of MC and, by your own admission, you aren't relating to her in the ways you want to. I think MC and/or IC is essential for both of you to live more healthy and fulfilling lives in general.
I can tell you that when I first started dating my ex-husband, before we had a conversation about being exclusive, I slept with other men. And, no, I never told him about it. I know he had an ex-girlfriend still vaguely in the picture, and I didn't ask him about her. That may have been a misstep on my part-- to not stick my neck out and make either one of us accountable. Not because I would see either of us continuing to date freely before we had a firm commitment and expectation for the relationship set as "infidelity"... but because it showed a willingness to keep things hidden. To live separate lives. As others have said, I think that's a bad way to start a life together.
Of course your feelings of betrayal are perfectly valid, but I would push you that what you are experiencing here with her having slept with this man is the tip of the iceberg. I think there may be a lot more below the surface, which is why you are responding particularly strongly. I encourage you to go to IC on your own to explore this. And to come up with strategies to stop the mind movies you describe, to help you process your anger and to help you relate to your wife in more productive ways. You've taken a big step here by exploring your emotions and thoughts publicly. Opening up like that is a great instinct. I hope you continue to push yourself in that direction in order to help yourself heal.
Best of luck to you.
But as a naive person I donít understand how she could do things of a sexual nature with a guy she spent a weekend with that she wouldnít do with her own husband
Have you asked her to do these things with you during your 10 year M? If not it might be that she doesn't particulary like those things but did them when asked.
Anyways, I'm of the oppinion that if a WS does things with the OM those things should from there on be done with the BS as well. For me that would be a deal breaker.
The sex she had with the OM sounds pretty mechanical in nature if I am reading between the lines. There is no way she would have felt great about it afterwards either especially once he had left and she had sobered up from her high. She probably doesn't even know why she behaved the way she did back then or why all that seemed so important at the time which is why she is brushing it off now. I know that doesn't do anything to help you when you are feeling deeply hurt.
As others have suggested I would strongly recommend you seek individual counseling for now even if your wife is reluctant to go herself.
When I mentioned counseling, she said that if she went, the marriage would problem be over. Why did she say that?
With you she needs to be seen as a respectable wife and mother; she needs dignity and respect. The image she wants is not a depraved whore, but a decent upstanding housewife who wants a loving, proper and dignified sex life. The stress is on emotional love, not perverted gymnastics and deviant excesses.
Sexual perversions = the 'sick' woman she use to be, who would screw around, allow herself to be abused and indulge in shameful acts of unnatural sexuality.
Loving relationship = what she has currently has and she will not allow acts of 'shameful depravity' to intrude and besmirch the purity of her union with you. Maybe she is afraid of the Madonna whore complex; to quote the dictionary:
A man with a madonna-whore complex is a man who will sleep with and have perverted lust for a sexual and beautiful woman, but he will never respect her as "wife" material
Being honest, there are certain sexual acts I am curious about, but I would never want to do these with my husband. I want to preserve my respectable, loving image with him; I cannot allow him to think of me as a slut even if it would excite him. No way.
Being a married woman with children confers respectability and I think your wife wants to distance herself from the shameful hussy of her youth. Indulging in 'unusual sex' undermines her preferred image of proper decency and the strongly favored emphasis on emotional love.
The fact that your D-day is recent for you is probably one of the reasons that you are so raw..
If you get through these feelings you will be fine whether or not the marriage survives..
Whether or not this is infidelity doesn't matter you have some bad feelings (about your wife) to process..
No escaping the feelings via alcohol or other addictions, or rug sweeping these feelings for the sake of the relationship
Like others have posted, it would be good to tell your wife of your hurt and your mind movies and do it in a gentle way..
Then see if she is willing to learn better communication skills with you and to respect your feelings better..
I'm not suggesting that you guys go to MC, just learn to communicate with each other better..
I do think each of you really need IC..
[This message edited by doggiediva at 12:22 PM, March 7th (Friday)]
I can feel the pain in your words. Quite honestly I get a little emotional from reading your posts. It's ok to feel how you do. It's very natural to do so. The fact that this happened 10 years ago is irrelevant as you obviously are just finding out. I agree with doggiediva in that doesn't matter if it was cheating or not cheating or whatever we want to call it. Let's call it terrible, hurtful, horrific pain or whatever.
Reading back through your thread it looks like you have had some discussions with your wife. Your wife clearly had/has some issues. Now you are experiencing your own issues as a result of hers. All of these issues need to be addressed. It's easy for me to sit here and say go to IC, clearly you guys need it. But have the two of you really communicated with each other. As in REALLY listened to each other. I know you have listened to her express her past issues. Has she really listened to you on your current issues? Does she show any remorse? Those graphic images aren't going to go away in the short term, but if she can show you true remorse, that will be a good first step in healing. I know at first it didn't sound like she was remorseful. What has she said since? Have you asked her to help you with your pain? Have you asked her for what your needs are?
ETA - edited grammar above
[This message edited by yearsofpain25 at 12:50 PM, March 7th (Friday)]
Does she shrug her shoulder and brush it off? Show intense remorse? Apologize in a 'get over it' tone? Say nothing? Or act defensively? Her response is key to your healing. We can offer advice and support but her reactions are much more critical.
Her failure to tell you about her Adonis sexual experience when you proposed in indefensible, but do you have any idea whether she actually enjoyed this sex or not? Maybe she was the passive partner and never really had an [O] for example. If she just lay there it might be easier to accept her attitude. From her perspective if she wasn't emotionally involved with this guy then she wasn't making love to him and it didn't matter so much. A woman's interpretation of lovemaking is generally different than a mans and betrayal is often an emotional issue not physical. So if she considered she had not really betrayed you, then it was OK to accept the marriage proposal and say nothing about the torrid sex.
I have been a member here for more years than I care to admit and ALL the stories of betrayal are terrible. Unfortunately some stand out from the others by the brutality of the betrayal.
Unfortunately yours is one I won't forget. What she is did was beyond cold and brutal. And honestly I don't have any words of advice that would help you getting over what you read and saw.
And I too wonder at why she says this:
When I mentioned counseling, she said that if she went, the marriage would problem be over.
Suggests me there is probably more going on than you are aware of.
Sorry you are here.
He probably had a fiancee who later became his wife at the time.
He married his wife about a month from the date I proposed to my wife; thatís the weekend of their sexual contact.
I doubt that they had a month long engagement. If he was so keen on disrespecting you, maybe you return the favor and tell his wife. Not saying you should, but that option is available to you. Remember what I said about being a good man and being able to say that with a clear conscience.
With him being so close, are you certain your wife has never had contact with him again ? Keeping compromising Polaroids and journals doesn't lead me to think what they had was completely devoid of emotion. Who keeps mementos from a one night stand ? especially after they are married.
I am sorry you are hurting. Counseling does help, I can attest to that. Meds, despite the stigma, are sometimes needed to weather the rough spots and gain some clarity about what direction you want to take.
Listen to me clearly. You are in a bad spot. I understand I've been close to where you are now. You really need some help. This isn't going to get better on it's own. This isn't something your W seems ready to discuss with you. You need some support. Is there anyone close you can reach out to ?
I know you don't like the sound of IC, but if you really want the hurting to stop, you have to unload this somewhere.
Suggests me there is probably more going on than you are aware of.
Bingo. That is why she wants to let it go and wants to avoid talking about it. I am sorry, but those of us who have been around for awhile have seen this play out all too often.
[This message edited by numb&dumb at 1:14 PM, March 7th (Friday)]
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.
I don't want to minimize your pain at what happened, and your anger and disgust is natural and a normal phase...but I caution you to try and have some distance too and see if you can see this more objectively. Your wife has been with you for a long time, and it's extreme to reduce your perception of her to just some slut because she had this (admittedly hurtful) weekend before your engagement. Speaking as a woman solely, I feel from some of your statements that it's not only the betrayal but also the actual acts themselves that upset you--i.e., that if this happened when she wasn't with you, it would still upset you. And that part of your reaction I don't find totally fair. Obviously you're suffering and you feel what you feel, I don't want to downplay that. But personally I don't think it's the sex acts themselves that are wrong. The context, the cheating, is wrong...but your reaction seems to come from having a very binary view of women's sexuality. You don't want to think of your wife as engaging in certain acts, and knowing it totally changes things for you. I hope you can explore that reaction and come eventually to a place where you can accept that a woman doing x or y or z doesn't in and of itself mean she should be judged.
Obviously reacting to this information is a process, but wanted to do my small part in standing up for sex positivity (again, just in the general terms you think of women engaging in certain acts; not trying to mitigate your pain at the betrayal).
I really hope that your wife can get to a place where she fully comprehends the damage done by her past actions. It sounds like she can't yet. If you're still hearing dismissive things like 'it's ancient history', 'I'm not the same person anymore', 'let it go', etc., then she's got some work to do.
It IS "Ancient History." But it's your Marriage History, and the memories of it were sacred to you.
Now Chapter 1, The Proposal, has been horribly revised. The sordid details are pretty painful, but more than that, it's the shocking disrespect of you by her on your first day of marital engagement that is really far more troubling, right?
She's got to fully own that, not avoid it or diminish it. It IS serious, and her aversion to acknowledging that fact might even give you reasons to suspect other possible betrayals you've not discovered. (I really hope that's not the case, but she's not helping herself by discounting your pain...)
One last thing, between us Betrayeds.
All of us, whether we were cheated on the day of our engagement, or 30 years into a marriage, are forced to reckon with the horror of Marriage History revisions.
An affair ten years into a marriage bleeds backwards in time and stains every single page in our marriage history prior to it. The stain is worst where the betrayal took place, but it taints everything before it regardless.
First Date. Courtship. Proposal. Wedding. Honeymoon. They're all discolored, all damaged by an act of infidelity. For all of us.
I can no longer look back on my own proposal night, made on bent knee in a Thai restaurant with the best little diamond ring I could afford to offer, without feeling a little stab of pain. However sacred that memory was to me, however precious that moment was once, it wasn't enough to keep my wife from straying several years later. We're fully reconciled, and she's a different woman now. The stain has faded, but it's never coming out. We both have to live with that, and never let it happen again.
I really do hope for you that your wife will fully acknowledge, and truly repent, of that horrible early stain she left in the earliest chapter of your Marriage History. If she does, and has left no others since, then I do hope you can forgive it and limit the damage it does to the pages past. Because when you're old and looking back together, you deserve to have a Marriage History full of joyful memories, not painful ones.
We all do.
ďNo, Lord,Ē she said.
And Jesus said, ďNeither do I. Go and sin no more.Ē
Gently, I'd like to agree with Norabird on this aspect:
I hope you can explore that reaction and come eventually to a place where you can accept that a woman doing x or y or z doesn't in and of itself mean she should be judged.
Again, this is not to attack you or to minimize your experience in anyway. I say this because I think finding some outlets to explore this-- whether it's IC or even here at SI to begin with-- might help you contextualize and process some of your thoughts in new ways and give you a small measure of relief.