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Busted Wife in an Affair

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barkplugs posted 6/25/2020 14:12 PM

Well, hello world.

Busted my wife in an emotional affair about a month ago right before she left on a business trip. No, the trip wasnít to see this guy, the destination was nowhere near him. Saw her phone open with messages on it, so I picked it up to snoop, just because; probably knew something wasnít right.

When I found the messages, it was with a user that had a male looking avatar with words like ďi love youĒ and ďbabyĒ. Thought it was some kind of joke with her female friends. Like an idiot I just handed the phone to her and asked what kind of weirdness that was. Her hands started shaking and she spit out two contradictory excuses immediately. Yeah, I know, I was stunnedÖ shouldíve taken the phone and screen capped the whole thing and sent it to myself. Nope, didnít do that. Stupid.

Anyway, she deletes the message thread before I can stop her. Itís via Facebook and Iím not sure it can be recovered even with a subpoena.

Her trip is cancelled and now itís 3 days of f-ing BS. The online (and phone) affair lasted 6 months. Betrayed me by talking about all kinds of details about me and my life. Takes me until the 3rd day for her to understand that I need to know everything otherwise we are through. Oh, it had it all. Tears, fear, depression, some begging. Everything Iíve ever read about or witnessed via friendís struggles.

Of course, Iím completed gutted and thereís zero trust.

I know how this infidelity business works. I know what recovery is supposed to look like, transparency and all that. Iíve seen it with a couple of friends before. Except this time itís me.

Why am I here? Because my friends donít seem to have real empathy to what Iím going through and itís frustrating. Itís crap like ďthatís terrible bro, but at least you have someoneĒ, ďI donít want this to come out wrong, its not that badÖ its not like she had sex with himĒ.

Yeah, not helpful. Thanks, but no thanks guys. FML. Basically, I have no one to talk with about this, pre-counseling.

Hereís some bullets to answer questions before they get posted:

- No, they never met up.
- It doesnít seem like they were planning to meet. Logistically, it wasnít feasible.
- Heís many many hours away in a different state.
- Heís a jobless loser with excuse after excuse to keep from being productive.
- I called him up with her in the room to blow it all up. Guy was brain dead, he sounded like he had a high school dropout level of thinking. Not a joke. Serious ďaffair downĒ situation.
- He has no kids; we have kids. Heís clueless here.
- I told his girl, gave her evidence and blew that up for him. And yeah, I liked doing that a LOT.
- The wife has been very transparent.
- Wife deleted all social media.
- Wife made sure I had access to phone and all email.
- Sheís keeping me informed of anything that might look odd before I even catch it myself.
- Sheís already started individual counseling.
- Weíve got couples counseling booked.
- Sheís owned it all, Iím not getting blamed by her.
- No, I do not believe it has gone underground.
- Marriage had lots of communication until this.
- During the affair, she never acted differently.
- She was an effective actress. Led a double life, per se.

Iím struggling with trusting anything sheís told me that I canít verify due to the messages being deleted. Thatís such a huge problem to me. But it is what it is.

Thing is, though, Iím not interested in tracking all of her communications and movements. I just donít have the energy right now, F that. Thereís so many ways to start side conversations, so many apps.. its just endless. I work in techÖ I know. Its either over and stays over or Iím done.

Given all the social negativity I'm being inundated with by way of media and facebook, this is just about to put me over the edge, stress-wise.

What do I do? Any advice? I would really, really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

[This message edited by barkplugs at 4:33 PM, June 26th (Friday)]

Lalagirl posted 6/25/2020 14:20 PM

Welcome, barkplugs. You have been heard.

You are definitely on the right track given your bullet point list. Good job.

Your WW should make her own appointment with an IC who specializes in infidelity (it may help you as well). No MC; that's for fixing broken marriages. It's not the M that's broken; she is, and she needs to get to the crux of why she felt the need for ego kibbles outside of her M.

She should also provide a written timeline of the A to you.

Others will be along soon with great advice. I hope that we are able to help you get out of infidelity, whatever path that may be.

beenthereinco posted 6/25/2020 14:53 PM

Hi bark,
One question for you that wasn't clear. How did she meet Mr Wonderful?

Robert22205https posted 6/25/2020 14:59 PM

Did you ask her if this was the first EA?

Did they exchange pictures?

Did she offer to take a polygraph?

Ask her what was in the texts as well as a timeline of the EA - all subject to a polygraph.

Talking about you was easy to confess. Include questions of your own as to what the texts may have covered? For example, sex, meeting someday ...

MickeyBill2016 posted 6/25/2020 15:25 PM

Well on the bright side, you had more progress in three days than I had in three months, and you seem sure they never met up. cheaters can be clever.
I know it sucks but you also seem to be in control of things...just keep strong, stick around here for advice (we have seen it all and more) and you already know that she has to fight for you and the marriage, not the other way around.

What is her mood like? Defensive, quiet, cold (my wife), devastated, sad, carefree?
Or this will pass, don't worry.

[This message edited by MickeyBill2016 at 3:31 PM, June 25th (Thursday)]

ChamomileTea posted 6/25/2020 15:28 PM

You handled that like a boss, man. Well done.

Now, you just sit back and wait to see if she can fix herself. Bear in mind that cheating is not a marital issue, it's about character. There's something inside her which is capable of saying "yes" to cheating, a gap between her stated values and her actual deeds. She has to root that out and replace it with functional boundaries which protect her marriage. You can't do that for her. She has to do it for herself.

You might read together a copy of Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. I really like her "walls and windows" method of teaching boundaries. In a nutshell, we keep great big open windows with our mate, and erect tall imposing walls with potential interlopers. It's a good book overall though and I think you'll both get a lot out of it.

Buster123 posted 6/25/2020 16:10 PM

A few hours in another state is just a short hop on a plane, he could have visited her for free sex, cheaters lie a lot, these unknowns could possibly fester for a long time, so I suggest you demand she gets tested for STDs (you should too), just in case, it also sends a message about the severity of her actions and helps with remorse plus she's now a proven cheater and liar and this may not be her first rodeo, I suggest you polygraph her when you find the energy, also consult an attorney to know your options, ask him about a postnup in your favor in case she cheats again (no alimony/she doesn't touch your retirement, etc.).

Keep in mind a successful R may take about 2-5 years with a remorseful WW doing all the necessary work, it's way too soon for your WW to be remorseful, she probably "regrets" getting caught, keep in mind she lied hundreds of times to your face while she was having fun with OM, has she apologized with the entire family for her huge betrayal yet ? I would have her write a heartfelt apology to them for putting the stability of the family at risk.

Buffer posted 6/25/2020 17:03 PM

Hi BP,
Sorry for where you are, So Much of a betrayal.
Regardless there are things that you need to know, the Who, What, Why and When it all started etc. her justification to her conscious decisions to lower her boundaries to Betray her partner.
The depth of betrayal is immense cause it is only her word they didnít hook up for a quick consummation of the A.
The good folks here will offer advice from their perspective of BTDT. With the battle scars to prove it.
Just breath, IC for the both of you. Make no long term relationship decisions for a few months, your thinking and emotions will be up and down. Anger will appear and come in like waves crashing over a rock.
Can I ask how long this A went for?
Also how old are your children? Were they used as a cover to allow the A to grow.
They will know that Mum and Dad are having a prolonged argument. Some people here will advise STD checks DNA the children regardless there were no hookups. It is only her words remember, she lies and has lied for months.
Legal advice for your location regardless. You will need to know how a worst case scenario would look and your and her responsibilities.
Try to eat well, exercise, drink water. Maintain a 180 at the moment and gather information. Assume nothing, believe nothing and check everything she says and does.
One day at a time

[This message edited by Buffer at 5:55 PM, June 25th (Thursday)]

thatbpguy posted 6/25/2020 17:20 PM

Sometimes an EA is worse than a PA. She replaced you with him. Not to be crude, but a friend of mine is a sex addict and when he was last single (5th wife now), he'd have EA's with married women and have her masturbate on camera for him... so it can become 'physical' in that sense.

I would also agree that all trust is gone. Pretty much forever. All she can do moving forward is to be trustworthy and hope you accept it in general terms.

So for now, she needs to understand why she is broken ad does what she does- and how to fix it all. That part is all on her. As well as how she will earn back you. There are a lot of good resources in the healing library.

As for you, take things slow. The next 6 months or so are going to be brutal. But it's part of what we go thru. See how she does, cope as best you can with the wide range of emotions you're going thru.

Buffer posted 6/25/2020 17:57 PM

As above^^^. Also does she truly want to remain in the marriage or was this her exit A?

[This message edited by Buffer at 9:34 PM, June 25th (Thursday)]

ShutterHappy posted 6/25/2020 20:00 PM

One question for you that wasn't clear. How did she meet Mr Wonderful?

Very good question!

You need to know the whole story, from beginning to end. Like another poster said, have her write a timeline and have her read it to you.

Once you have the timeline, you might consider a polygraph.

My guessometer tells me over 75% of ďEA only affairs, with the BS stating they never metĒ were PA. It makes sense... if you are going to get involved with a married woman, why aim for EA only?

BeyondRage posted 6/25/2020 21:24 PM

Couples counseling is worthless until you get the answers to what you do not know, which is still plenty.

You"re tech savvy. Put a VAR in her car and tell her she is taking a polygraph.

As far as OM being a couple of states away. If she travels for business or he is in a job with flexibility nothing is not possible. And do not assume you know he is a loser and is worthless. You believe everything he says or her??? He was smart enough to hook your wife.

And she does not go overnight from what she was doing ( or in two days) so effectively for any other reason that you busted her and she is in CYA mode.

You have done a lot right but don't stop the game while you're in the "red zone".

smolderingdark posted 6/25/2020 22:31 PM

Likely this is not the first time your wife has done this. This is the first time you have caught her.
Get tested for STDs. Tell your wayward wife you are getting tested and that she is getting tested too. Dig deeper and ask how many other affairs there have been.

Talk to a lawyer to assess your situation. You should consider getting a post nuptial in place.
Consider separation and consider divorce. Selfish actions have consequences. You should not leave your wife under any illusion that this betrayal will be forgotten or rug swept. She should going forward have the expectation that you are ready to leave her and the marriage.

A typical reconciliation takes between 2-5 years and no guarantees. Take some time to decide if she is worth that effort, worth the risk.

recovering2018 posted 6/25/2020 22:35 PM

Some parallels to my story. I can't give you any magic bullet, but it does get better. I'm about 3 years from D day.

I chose to stick it out. She did everything she was supposed to although it took a couple of months to get all the truth out. I made her do it in writing and sign a post-nup.

She had a 6 week EA. He was 3,000 miles away. But my gut tells me that if it was 30 miles, they would have hooked up, and she didn't deny it. So EA vs PA doesn't matter really does it?

I'm in shape and his net worth was less than a month salary for me, so yes they affair down.

My life now is mostly trust but always verify. Her phone is fully backed up and I have full access. Also do random VAR checkups.

If not for the 3 kids, I would have been gone. We are good now, but it's never quite the same.

If you need it to be the same, then it's probably best to move on. Just my opinion.

RocketRaccoon posted 6/25/2020 23:01 PM

Agree with the rest that you handled it extremely well, and you should take comfort in that.

With a mindset like yours, you will have a good chance to get out of Infidelity. This does not mean R or D, but that infidelity is no longer in your life.

Now, you will need to know a few things, and hopefully, her 'confession' gave you some answers, but you will find that the majority of WS will rarely give you more than 50% of the story.

The base instinct for WS is to lie (they did it for so long to cover their tracks, it will be their go-to mechanism), and so you will most likely end up with a trickle-truth situation.

You will need the WW to write down a detailed timeline. The base details to be put in are the dates, times, places, and how it all started. Some Betrayed Spouse will want to know:
- the emotional context
- what they wore
- who knew, and does the WS still keep in contact with those people (enablers)
- what pictures/videos were exchanged

After the timeline is written, it may help to get the WS to read it out loud to you. This will help them realise what they have done. After the reading is over. Get them to read it again, but substitute the BS name for the WS name (i.e. put the shoe on the other foot). See how that rocks their boat.

Then get them to rewrite the timeline again, as the first draft is just a draft. If the above exercise works, you should get a more 'truthful' timeline. You will have to be content that you will never get the 100% truth, and that your WW had shared intimate moments/memories with her AP. Nothing will change that, but the force of the emotions you feel will disappate in time.

A No Contact letter should also be sent by the WS to their AP. This letter will have to be approved by the BS before it is sent.

Boundaries should be established (e.g. no Girls Night Out, no male friends), and their consequences if there is a failure to abide by the boundaries. If you do not enforce the boundaries, she will know that you are a Paper/Toothless Tiger.

Watch her actions more than listen to her words. WS are practised liars, so discount the words coming out of their mouths.

Try and get to talk to someone IRL. It helps to be able to see a person. Anonymous forums can help you through somewhat, but we will miss the nuances.

All in all, you seem to have a pretty good head on your shoulders, and it will serve you well.

barkplugs posted 6/26/2020 10:07 AM

Wow, thanks everyone - I appreciate the time youíve taken to write. I really do.

Iíll address some questions. Some things I wonít answer because they arenít going to be critical or it could reduce anonymity.

- They met online in a shared interest group over social media
- Length of affair: 7 months
- Communication type: online (social media), phone
- Legal advice: had that consult within 6 days of finding out. I know my options.
- The guy is who I said he is. Iíve done a P.I. deep dive on the guy. Both by my own research and paying a professional. Not only does the info corroborate, but thatís one reason I had the ability to alert his own partner and deep six his shit. I did my research on her, too.
- Was sex/physical intimacy possible? No. Not at all. The location is too far, the guy has no money, I monitored our spending and itís a 99.9% ďno wayĒ w/o me being hopeful that ďit just isnít so.Ē Given our schedule and general lack of reasonable time of separation it is highly unlikely he flew up here. I could offer more info for more convincing statements, but at that point itís just for the skeptics and Iím not going there.
- Wifeís current mood: devastated, sad, guilty. Not argumentative. Truly appears to be taking it seriously. In other words, not just talk, but follow-through. I see the actions.
- Buffet - Was it an exit affair? No... donít think so at this time. Sheís put in too much effort already for me to believe it was consciously that. The next few weeks/months will tell if it really was.
- The kids were not used as cover.

Things I somewhat trust from her confession (but can never know for sure due to chats deleted and phone cache being a no go):

- General scope of the conversations.
- The reasons for the affair.
- Nudes were not exchanged in either direction.
- Very few photos exchanged either. Facebook galleries served well enough, it seems.

Her counseling is intended to uncover the personal issues that influenced her decisions to go this route and to then ďfixĒ those.

Marital counseling is to work on our relationship and understand how we can make the marital unit stronger all around.

My position is that even if a cheater is solely responsible for their decision to betray their spouse, contextually the situation needs to be seen in full for what it often is: that both spouses usually participate in a relationshipís deterioration. And then one of them nukes it. Survival depends on the strength of the bunker. For me and within my marriage, the only honest measure is to take a look at how my own behavior has influenced the situation.

Now, has she had physical affairs or other emotional affairs? Man, thereís no way I can get proof of that. Polygraphs are unreliable; Iím not going that route. I wish I could have this info, I really do. Itís just not going to be. I can either deal with that or... not, I guess.

I mean, hereís the thing about lack of evidence: if someone doesnít want to give up info which they know the other person cannot retrieveÖ thereís nothing you can do about it. You can drive yourself crazy or choose to be watchful and mindful going forward.

I do not want to get divorced. Iím going to give it timeÖ allow her to get her mind right and make progress.

All that said, I know other situations are counter to mine and I understand the impetus behind the advice you are giving me. While I want to claim some of it is over the top, I know itís not. And I appreciate the effort. Iím just doing my best to read my situation for what it seems to be, so please donít interpret my responses as too dismissive.

BeyondRage: noÖ I didnít take everything she is telling me about the affair or the guy at face value. I did my own research about him and the situation. Iím skeptical about some things, mostly specifics from the deleted chats.

Also, I like the written timeline idea. I will go that route.

For those who experienced the waves of anger, when did they finally slow down? And how did you finally find a sense of peace? How long did it take you to not wake up first thing in the morning and think about it?

Was there ever a change in your spouse you can look back on and point to as the moment you know they ďgot itĒ and made a real change?

[This message edited by barkplugs at 10:12 AM, June 26th (Friday)]

thatbpguy posted 6/26/2020 10:20 AM

Wifeís current mood: devastated, sad, guilty. Not argumentative. Truly appears to be taking it seriously. In other words, not just talk, but follow-through. I see the actions.

Just a word of caution.

The difference in the aftermath of betrayers v. betrayed is that the betrayer just had the greatest non drug high they will ever experience. And the betrayed has quite possibly the greatest emotional devastation they will ever know.

I say that to say this...

Betrayers are like criminals. They weren't hurt in anyway- just caught. For the vast majority (IMHO and based on experience) the aftermath is temporary emotions and they are more or less wanting to move on soon enough. For the betrayed (victim) this is something we live with forever.

This is why she needs to fully understand her brokenness, and have a true & legitimate desire to fix this and see to it, it is out of her life.

I would closely monitor this if you can. Otherwise, it will quite possibly be a 'rinse and repeat' cycle.'

barkplugs posted 6/26/2020 10:33 AM

bp, thanks for this message. It makes a lot of sense and it is a good reminder.

In the hope of not sounding trite, I have been watching for consistency and authenticity. In some respects, I already feel like there is a strong desire to move on and deal with it a little less than before.

It's just too soon for me to know what is real. I can't expect devastation on her part every moment either, people just don't work that way.

We'll see, right.

fareast posted 6/26/2020 10:36 AM

Thatbpguy is spot on. The key imo is consistency in actions, not words, over time.

[This message edited by fareast at 8:56 PM, June 26th (Friday)]

beenthereinco posted 6/26/2020 11:11 AM

They met online in a shared interest group over social media

That's not as bad as someone from her past like an old school boyfriend. Those are usually tougher to dislodge. Seems to be some kind of escape back to youth at play at the same time and feelings like they missed out on their soulmate.

Has she given up this group completely? Not just blocked the guy but dropped the group? I think that is important because there may be people in the group that could facilitate communication or he can come back in with a different user and make contact. I think she should be happy to drop this group all together to make you feel better.

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