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So lost

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NotPennysBoat posted 12/24/2019 11:41 AM

Hello everyone. Just a quick backstory of my wife's infidelity. 5 months ago my WW told me she was in an emotional affair with a guy from work. She was a worship director and he was an administrative pastor at our church. They had been friends for 5 years but over the year had become very close. Then 3 weeks before the confession they had expressed love for each other and had kissed on a few occasions. She was sorry and wanted me to forgive her. This is when I started my recovery journey.

I told her she needed to quit or the church would find out and they would be fired. over the next two months she quietly made plans to exit. When she gave notice they asked her to stay on for another month. She did, then a week before her last day they were found out and they both were let go. She was so sad and embarrassed. Felt like she had lost everything. After a month of staying at home and taking care of our kids I was still waiting to see the change that showed me she had understood what she had done to our marriage.

Then after months of suspicion my fears were confirmed. I had proof that the affair had never actually ended. She confessed that they talked all the time. He even bought her a burner phone. Then three days later she told me everything. Not long after the first confession it got sexual. Then the one weekend I left on a business trip she invited him over to our house and they had sex. When all was revealed I knew something was going on. But I never thought she was capable of that. We had both waited to have sex until we were married. We were each others only sexual partner. 17 years of faithfulness and commitment she threw away.

Now here I am. Not only have I been betrayed but she did it while I was going through so much hurt trying to forgive the first offense. I started seeing a therapist. I cried so many times begging her to let go of him and not tell herself that what they had shared was beautiful or special. Now I don't know if I can reconcile. I am so and totally lost. I need help, wisdom , advice. I don't know what to do. I love my wife, but I don't know if that is enough to save this marriage.

beenthereinco posted 12/24/2019 12:45 PM

So sorry you have found your way here but glad for you that you have. This is a safe space for you. I'd keep it that way by not telling your WW (Wayward Wife) about it.

You say this:

I love my wife, but I don't know if that is enough to save this marriage.

And indeed it is not. There are lots of folks on her that loved their spouse up to and after the day they got divorced. As a wise woman said "What's love got to do with it?".

Where you start is by first facing the fact that your WW is a liar. She is not the person that you thought she was so in essence you are in love with someone that really doesn't exist. I am sure that if you had been told that she was capable of having an Affair and would in fact cheat on you after 17 years of marriage you would not have married that woman but in reality that is the woman you are married to.

You can recover and you can reconcile if after having all of the information and seeing how she acts and feels you want to do that but it will be with a new base. You will now know what she is capable of and you can make an informed decision as to whether she is someone that you love.

A few questions for you. Was the OM married? I assume if so that his wife, the OBS (Other Betrayed Spouse) knows about the reason he lost his job. Does she also know about the false Reconciliation you were in? What are she and her husband doing? If she does not have all of the same information as you do then your first duty is to contact her and let her know everything that has gone on. She is your best ally at this time and may know things you do not. Also it is the right and moral thing to do.

Second, what is your WW's attitude now? Is she remorseful? Has she apologized for the two different D-Days you have gone through? Is she still in contact with the AP (Affair Partner)? Is she blaming you for the Affair at all? Has she sought out counseling? Has she given you a complete timeline for the Affair that checks out with what you know?

For example my spidey sense is tingling over this:

Not long after the first confession it got sexual.

This is not likely true. They were having sex before the confession. It just doesn't make sense to confess an emotional attachment to someone to your husband and THEN go sleep with them. Not unless she was expecting to leave the marriage to be with him. Was that the plan? If not then I would say she is still lying to you and you have no base for forgiveness or reconciliation yet. To me forgiveness is an informed decision. You have to know what you are forgiving. Even in the Bible it says to Repent and Be Forgiven. Repent = Confess. My gut is telling me she has not confessed it all.

You've got a way to go here. It will get better but you need to take care of yourself along this journey. This has robbed you of a lot I am sure. Do not let it take your health as well. Good luck and come back often. Folks here will help.

WilliamM posted 12/24/2019 12:55 PM

Blow this affair up. Inform her and your immediate family, close friends, and the church leadership. Tell the POSOM's wife. Blow it up. File for divorce on infidelity grounds, and do a hard 180. So sorry you are going through this.

Marz posted 12/24/2019 12:56 PM

Admitted kissing in an affair usually equals a physical affair.

Sorry man but she's a proven liar and you probably only know the tip of the iceberg.

When they bring them into your home it's a whole new ballgame to the affair.

goalong posted 12/24/2019 13:39 PM

I am so and totally lost.

Hope it does not apply to your day to day responsibilities like job. It is the worst thing one can do to him/her self. Do your things even better despite the adversity. It looks good in everyone eyes and give a sense of achievement at this difficult time. WW may not be your friend now and actually she is a distraction to your well being.
You should think of the following yourself
1. Why did you let it go rather easily by believing everything she said. good marriage, dependency, love, avoiding conflict?
2. Why did she continue even after confessing to you? Addiction? valuing OM more than you? Just playing you around?
3. What do you want to do now?
Reconcile, divorce? Inability to do one or the other due to practical reasons such as money, family, WW not showing commitment, your stand on infidelity.
Have someone dependable in the circle. talking to someone gives you emotional support as well as clarity for questions you have.

squid posted 12/24/2019 15:16 PM

It doesn't matter what you did in the marriage. 50/50 responsibility for marital problems must be shared by both partners.

And it doesn't matter what you did in trying to handle her affair. You didn't cause her to start the affair and nothing you did caused it to escalate. She CHOSE to enter into an inappropriate relationship with another man knowing full well it was wrong. And SHE allowed it to escalate because she liked and thought you would never find out. It's that simple. That has nothing to do with you.

What does matter is what you do NOW. Not next in a few days or next week or a month. TODAY.

Are you doing any family gatherings tonight? Tell all your family members what is going on. Tell her family too. At church tomorrow after mass, pull your priest aside and let him know. EXPOSE, EXPOSE, EXPOSE. Then watch the fantasy crumble.

Then on Thursday file for divorce. You can gauge by her response by what you should do next. If she drops the A immediately then MAYBE you have a shot at R. If she asks to "think about it" then file.

Anything less than "I 100% commit to our marriage" is a total waste of your time. Even if you got that, it's not a guarantee that your marriage will survive. But better to drop her that drag her along while also being her cuck.

If, by some miracle, she wakes up you can always call off the divorce proceedings. But don't wait another day hoping she will change. If she wants to change she must do that work herself. You cannot waste your life trying to do that for her. That will merely crush your soul. I know from personal experience.

Act now, NotPennysboat. She's shown you who she is. She lied then lied some more. For her own personal gain. Without any regard for your safety, or even her kids'. Your kids.

None of ever thought our WS's could commit such betrayal. Until they did.

Hard 180 and talk to an attorney on Thursday and get the D ball rolling. This is literally for your health and the health of your kids.

Good luck.

Robert22205https posted 12/24/2019 18:02 PM

Save all evidence of her affair.

I'm sorry you here (especially over the holidays).
Your marriage as you knew it is destroyed. And your wife is not the girl you married. You can no longer trust anything she says or promises.

First, the most successful strategy to exit infidelity is not intuitive. Second, the most successful strategy is the same whether you ultimately decide to R or D.

Get angry (but not physical). You must show zero tolerance for her infidelity. Read up on a hard 180 - and implement it immediately.

The quicker you recover and appear to move on (and the more confidence you show) with your own life the more attractive you become to her.

She must believe that you are ready to divorce her (whether it's true or not) but will wait until your emotions settle before making a final decision.

No sex with her.
She must go NC immediately.

Do not warn her and: expose her affair to the church elders and the board - and if the OM is married expose him to his wife.

Do not cry or beg hoping she'll feel sorry for you and stop her affair. Crying and begging has the opposite impact. It's viewed as weakness and a free pass to continue the affair.

Don't try to nice her back or to compete with the OM. No husband can compete with the fantasy she has of the OM.

Finally, since they are both leaders in the church they need to confess and apologize in front of/to the congregation.

[This message edited by Robert22205https at 6:04 PM, December 24th (Tuesday)]

Marauder posted 12/24/2019 22:35 PM

Save the evidence, inform her parents and yours, see a divorce lawyer.

She knew the risks, she knew the consequences, she knew what was at stake and she did it anyway. She did not care about you, she did not care about the children, nor anything else. She only cared about getting her fix, and damn the consequences. The only reason she'll stick around is that you're convenient, useful, giving her security, and prop up her public persona.

cried so many times begging her to let go of him and not tell herself that what they had shared was beautiful or special.

Never play the pick me dance. It gives the cheater all the control and power. It only encourages them and leads to escalation. It's akin to appeasement politics.

Butforthegrace posted 12/25/2019 00:02 AM

I love my wife, but I don't know if that is enough to save this marriage.

I'm so sorry you are going through this on the Holy Night. Respectfully, you do not love your wife. I say it that way for a reason. There is a woman you do love. She exists in your imagination. She is the woman you thought you married.

Your actual, real wife, that is a different person than the one you thought you knew. The actual wife is the kind of woman who will look you in the eye, lie to you, and fuck another man. That is the reality of the woman whose name is on your marriage certificate. She is not a wife. She is not a woman worthy of your devotion.

I suggest you go to the Healing Library (yellow box, top left of page) and read about The 180. This is a tool to give you psychological space so you can clear your.

Buffer posted 12/25/2019 00:06 AM

What robert2220 said as well as but for the grace word for word. Also get tested for STDs as well as STIs. You have been put at risk by their deliberate acts of betrayal.


[This message edited by Buffer at 4:52 AM, December 25th (Wednesday)]

ShutterHappy posted 12/25/2019 02:01 AM

I cried so many times begging her to let go of him


The above reaction is very common and normal amongst Betrayed, but itís also the wrong approach.

Begging, or trying to nice your WW back into the marriage doesnít work; you need to understand that. Right now, your WW is in love with the OM and sheís so much in the fog that she doesnít fully get the destruction she is causing. This is why the posters here are suggesting actions that bring her back to reality. Because right now the OM is some new and exciting BF and youíre the guy tsking care of the house and children.

You might have spent the last 17 years caring for your WW but starting from today you need to take care of YOU.

So the first thing you need to do is detach. Donít talk to her, don†Ďt eat with her, sleep in a separate room. Like the others have said, expose the affair to everyone. And very importantly, inform the OBS.

The only thing you need to tell her is that you refuse to work on the marriage while thereís a third party in the marriage. Then tell her you will be seeing a lawyer. And thatís it. Leave the room. Thereís nothing else to discuss. Get an appointment and start the D process. And take care of YOU. Seek support from friends and family. Eat well, exercise, spend time with your children.

After doing this (the firm approach), some waywards get out of the fog and some donít. For those who get out of the fog, it is possible to Reconcile under certain conditions but your WW is not there at the moment., so thereís no point trying to R.

The most important part is that you get out of infidelity, with or without her.

And post often.

[This message edited by ShutterHappy at 2:04 AM, December 25th (Wednesday)]

NoOptTo posted 12/25/2019 09:52 AM

Firstly I like to say how sorry that you need to deal with infidelity during the holidays. As others have said, that act of filing for D is important because it shows your WW that her actions have consequences!!! It also shows strength in yourself. She has made countless decisions to act selfishly for her own enjoyment over you and the children's welfare.

You have been using the pick me dance with her, crying and asking her to pick you. This shows weakness. Others will also tell that the pick me dance never works. It often promotes rugsweeping and no consequences for ones actions.

Exposure is also important. Telling family and friends of WW pour conscious choices is another form of consequences that she will have to form answers for. Often it is said that shedding light onto a situation that thrives in secrecy is the best antiseptic to begin change. You need her to change her thought from loving her feelings towards AP to feeling of embarrassment and hatred for ruining her family. The best way is to expose it.

Let's go back to filing for D. You begin acting 180 towards her. Look it up in the healing library. No doing anything for her. Only talk about the kids and D. Most of all watch her actions. Does she go about playing the victim? Continue towards D. Does she become mean towards you and the kids for her poor choices suffer from her guilt, continue with D. Does she continue to contact AP, continue with D. Or does she start to get it, cuts contact with AP, starts asking you what she can do to help you to heal from her actions, ask for forgiveness continually, shows you through her actions that she wants you over just speaking with words. She does not get defensive when you ask about her A. She makes you feel safe to open up to her again, then you can pause the D process. And maybe offer her R, reconciliation.

I must reiterate you need to watch her actions before offering her R. Too many people pump right into R without seeing if WS is a good candidate for R.

Now is time for you to worry about yourself and your children. Do not show your children that rugsweeping is acceptable. All actions have consequences. Your children do something wrong, they get in trouble and ther is some sort of punishment for their action. You wife is no different. Also if you rugsweep, you will begin form resentment towards WW and your self esteem will begin to suffer for accepting that your staying with a spouse that thinks so lowly of you.

If your WW accepts her consequences and begins to act in a remorseful way towards you, she needs.to get into IC to begin to learn her whys that allowed her to have such poor boundries with AP. Then if you do offer her R, she needs to sign a post-nup agreement giving you a better return if you two D for any reason afterwards. Sometimes we see people in R for years only to reach it's a deal breaker 5, 6, 7 yeats later.

Once again I'm sorry your here. Look out for your interests now. She ended your marriage when she interjected AP into your marriage. Let her worry about herself.

Buster123 posted 12/25/2019 09:58 AM

Not long after the first confession it got sexual. Then the one weekend I left on a business trip she invited him over to our house and they had sex.

I think it was sexual before the 1st confession, however this is "exhibit A" of why we always tell people that in order to R one of the APs should quit the job immediately (unless very rare circumstances won't allow it), by now you should know that cheaters lie a lot, your WW is a proven cheater and a liar, she doubled down on her huge betrayal, here's a few things you should do, the path to either D or R run parallel to a certain point:

1)EXPOSE the A with ALL family and close friends and of course with OBS (Other Betrayed Spouse) if any, do it without warning, no thing kills an A faster than full exposure, nothing ! it typically removes the "beautiful, romantic and special" aspect of it and replaces it with ugliness, shame and embarrassment, also OBS typically becomes an ally in helping monitor communications.

2) She needs to send an NC FOREVER text to OM in front of you (watch her hit "send"), short and to the point (No sweet goodbyes).

3) Demand she gets tested for STDs (you should too) and take a pregnancy test, no questions asked.

4) Tell her to write a complete timeline of the A, this could have been going on for much longer, again cheaters lie a lot.

5) Consult a D attorney to know your legal options, don't forget to ask about a postnup agreement in your favor in case she cheats again in the future, make it a conditino to R, at this poing she's shown you what she's capable of, you should protect yourself and your kids financially.

6) She needs to go to IC (Indivicual Counseling) with someone who specializes in infidelity (very important) to find out her "whys" and deal with them, do not do MC (Marriage Conseling), it's a waste of time and money now.

If she refuses to any of these, just file for D and have her served without warning, D takes a long time and can be stopped if she comes around, complies with the recommended advice and starts doing the heavy lifting to restore the M she killed with her huge betrayal, (or NOT ! cheaters are NOT entitled to a 2nd chance) if she doesn't then just let D run its course and get out of infidelity, you deserve so much better than a cheater and a liar.

Keep posting frequently, this is a crucial time and the collective wisdom of SI can help you go through this difficult situation, every case is different but cheaters typically follow a similar script. We've seen this play out THOUSANDS of times.

Justsomeguy posted 12/25/2019 15:10 PM

Hey, sorry to see you here. Sucks even more going through this on the holidays. It does get better, you just have to walk through it. I get the 50/50 blame thing for marriage problems, but sometimes one spouse bares most if not all of the guilt for marital problems. 50/50 is just a way of saying you were in a relationship and both had a responsibility to protect it.

Don't let your WW tell you that the M contributed to the affair. That's slimy blameshifting. Relationships ebb and flow, and since she cheated during an ebb, and blames that ebb on her decision to cheat, and since more ebbing is most certainly in your future, she will certainly cheat again. Of course they often counter with, I've changed, which defeats their initial premise. Anyway, this is my long winded way of saying that you are on the beginning of your education. You will learn, develop your bullshit detector, learn to trust your gut, learn to be strong, learn how to counter a bullshit argument, and perhaps learn that you don't actually like your WW anymore.

This time is a powerful period of growth and it sucks. But good stuff, I mean the really good stuff in life, takes real work. You may very well look back on this time as one of the most significant in your life. It won't feel like it now, and there are many members here who would probably refuse to trade who they are now for a return to the ignorant bliss of a pre A life.

I remember a sermon once where they told us about a Roman method of execution. They would tie a corpse, face to face, palm to palm, and toe to toe to the condemned. As the corpse rotted, they would slowly die, breathing in the foul putrisence. Did I spell that right? Anyway, that was what it was like being with my WW. even if she was trying, she was always a corpse to me, weighing me down. It took a long time to admit that to myself. So I cut myself loose. It felt amazing to be free. It was not easy, but it was wonderful.

I'm not advocating for D or R, though it may seem like it. I guess I'm saying that the woman you though you had is either dead or never actually existed. Resurrection is possible, but odds are, she won't change unless she really wants to. You might have another dday. Or more. I think recovery is pretty rare. What I mean is real recovery as apposed to learning to live with it. You can find whatever stat you want to bolster your confidence in whatever direction you choose. But the decision must be yours. I'll leave you with this. It is a piece of advice that was given to me. What would the you, thirty years from now say to you now? What advice would he give. Would he be happy with your decision. I guess Frost said it better than me: "I shall be telling this ages and ages hence. I took the road less traveled, and it made all the difference". I just wish he would have been just a little more specific.lol

TheGuy123 posted 12/25/2019 16:10 PM

My advise is stop playing the "pick me dance" it is very unattractive.

Women love confident men so please stop crying....go cry alone in the garage like the rest of us.

Until you can just let her go she will never get a taste of what she will lose. You must get her to think twice about what she is giving up by having the guts to go out and find that guy you used to be before her. Once she starts to second guess her choices by seeing her husband move on with out her she might want what she can't have.

So go find a gym, work out, look your best and be happy to have a second chance (fake it until you make it) to find someone new or at best show your wife you will not be her plan B and will not share her. Command respect brother.

Your positive attitude (be it fake for now) just might make her take another look at what she is giving up. Even if she doesn't notice someone else will and when that happens...man... will your old lady lose her shyt.
By no means am I suggesting you start looking for another chick to date, but the fact that in your wife's eyes you could get picked up by someone else....well then

At the end of the day her boyfriend is not begging and cry for her....so raise you attraction level and just let her go...it just might save your marriage. It did mine!

[This message edited by TheGuy123 at 4:38 PM, December 25th (Wednesday)]

fooled13years posted 12/26/2019 12:38 PM


So lost

You are not lost, we know exactly where you are.

Right now you are at the intersection of "how did this happen" and "never thought she would do this".

If you turn right and go straight you will eventually find yourself at the intersection of "how do I save our marriage" and "who am I married to?"

As you continue on your journey you will find yourself at the intersection of "I am so mad at her" and "I want to ruin his life."

As you push forward you will find yourself at the intersection of "I am going to be alright" and "I am moving on with or without her."

You will eventually make it through all the valleys and mountain tops and be looking down on the town of "my life is great again."

The journey is hard with lots of twists and turns, back tracking, bumps, highs and lows but the destination is worth it.

Stay the course and be strong.

NotPennysBoat posted 12/27/2019 02:27 AM

Thank you all for the advice. I hear a lot of similar a comments which let me know that I really need to look into both sides before I commit to hard one direction. I didn't want the last post to go too long so I left out some details. Three days after d-day 2 (when I discovered the affair never ended) was D-day 3 when she admitted to the sex and meet ups she had spent the previous months lying to me about. Since D-day 3 she has been a completely different person. Her attitude has changed. Her body language has changed. She is committing to me 100% and wants to be completely open and honest with everything. Giving me complete access to her phone whenever I ask for it. She has blocked him completely on all social media, and has removed the apps from her phone. She threw away her burner phone, and has agreed to every request. She is fully throwing herself into recovery mode. Listening to books on affairs and how to help me heal.

I don't say that to try and convince any of you that I should stay. I say that so you know that this isn't a clear cut and run scenario. I have told her to her face on many occasions that I don't trust a word she is saying. Luckily we text a lot, so when she text me something sweet or loving I usually go back and screen shot an almost identical text from when the affair was going on. Then ask her why should I believe you this time. She is going in to get an STD test next week. I myself am now getting tested just to make sure.

Her AP is also married. The OBS knows about the emotional affair with kissing but that is all. I didn't want to put her through the complete truth until after the new year. I am seeking wisdom from male friends at our church on how to proceed. I realize that I am still in extreme shock and probably will be for another month or so. January 5th will be out 18th wedding anniversary. I have serious doubts we will celebrate out 19th. I wan't to give her a chance. I like the advice one person said about starting the process to D then stopping it if things dramatically improve.

Thank you all who took the time to comment on my post. It's comforting to know there are others out there and I am not walking this alone.

Marauder posted 12/27/2019 03:03 AM

I say that so you know that this isn't a clear cut and run scenario.

I disagree. She's right now in damage control mode. She has proven herself to be an apt liar and deceiver. She confessed and then KNOWINGLY escalated anyway. Because she wanted it. Because she wanted to get banged by the guy. Because the instant gratification was worth more than all your time together and your commitment.

Right now she's in damage control mode. There's a risk her meal ticket might ditch her. That you might expose that they went even further to her family, friends, and his as well.

She gives you access? So what?! She knows you'll have access. There won't be anything to find for you. She threw her burner phone away? Let's ignore she got it in the first place so she could set up a date where that guy could bang her in your marriage bed. So what?! She can get a new one at any time!

The OM being married also means he has a bunch of things to lose. Ask her about telling the OW and see how she reacts. If she is anything but on board with that decision you know a part of this is her covering for him.

Robert22205https posted 12/27/2019 08:26 AM

Do they see each other at all (like during the weekly sermon)? If so, their attraction continues.

What advice have you received from your Church?

I ask because often their focus is to just 'forgive' (and give her a second chance) which may help you heal/process her betrayal in the short term - but forgiveness is not a solution to infidelity.

Every spouse has a right to feel safe from infidelity.

Forgiveness does not make your wife a safe partner.

Her tears of shame, embarrassment by exposure, and transparency do not make her safe - nor is her discomfort comparable to the pain she caused to her husband.

squid posted 12/27/2019 08:54 AM

I agree she is in damage control mode. Most WS's go into it when they realize the BS is intent on D. "Uh-oh, you're taking away my cake??"

Don't be naive to believe that she suddenly had an epiphany and has woken up. Waywards just don't snap into the wayward mindset overnight. It's a gradual build up, with thousands of choices and rationalizations made along the way that allowed them to justify their decisions.

You're about to take away her safety net. Of course she'll do and say anything she needs to in order to have her cake and eat it too.

I say go scorched earth and tell everyone. That is a natural consequence for her actions. You shouldn't have to protect her from her consequences. You didn't make her choose to cheat. She did that all on her own. She certainly didn't take into account how you would feel if she fucked another man.

Don't offer R yet. Still follow through with seeing an attorney and have the D petition drawn up. Keep it locked and loaded.

What you'd need to see from now on is consistency in her actions. Don't believe a word she says. She's an accomplished liar. I think you already realize this and are taking everything she says with many grains of salt. That's good.

My philosophy is once a spouse cheats, the marriage is over. Proceed straight to D. If the WS truly wants to save the marriage then it is entirely their responsibility to do so. They need to be moving mountains in order to regain the trust they destroyed. They should be begging and pleading. NOT the betrayed spouse. For all I'm concerned, they don't deserve a chance. They need to convince me they deserve a chance.

I think you know in your heart if this is a dealbreaker. I get wanting to give her a chance. But don't fall victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

It takes 2-5 years to recover from infidelity. Even then, there's no guarantee the marriage will survive. Maybe I'm just jaded.

Good luck.

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