Newest Member: Dazedandconfused1978

I Can Relate :
For Those Who Found Out Years Later

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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 4:20 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

WOF: This has been such an ugh topic for me. My WH has sworn on everything that they had sex 6 times, he got 1 BJ, and he performed oral on her for 30 seconds 1 other time. So a total of 8 encounters. (Side note: him going down on her has bothered me more than anything. I don’t know why exactly, but it has.)

This has been his story for 15 months now. I’ve asked if it’s possible there were more encounters, and perhaps he is unable to remember the exact number of times, but he says no. When I regrettably reached out to the OW she said “probably around 25 times.” She is a liar though, and I caught her lying about the dumbest shit just trying to hurt me, or hurt him, whichever one. When I talked about this with my therapist, she said the truth is likely somewhere in the middle, especially given that there was that 3 year gap. When I mentioned what my IC said to him, and that I would understand if he admitted he couldn’t give me the exact number of times, he still stuck to his story. In hindsight, I don’t think he could have gone over there 25-30 times in that short amount of time without me absolutely knowing something was off. Him leaving really early happened enough for me to notice, but not that much.

Woo, sorry that was long, but it has been one aspect that I’ve stayed stuck on. I’ve come to accept that I believe he believes he is telling the truth. I don’t think he is purposefully minimizing at this point. I suppose that will have to be good enough.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 4:22 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

FWIW - what she said:

marriageredux959

Time is the tough part to explain to people who discovered infidelity as it happened.

Infidelity reveals time doesn’t work in our minds like it does on paper.

The betrayal feels like it just happened — the pain is brand spanking new.

I think that’s the key take away is that people new to this thread allow themselves some extra room to recover. Our inner logic trying to suggest we should be farther ahead in our healing because the infidelity was (however many) years ago.

In those years, some WS get a head start on learning from their choices, some don’t.

^^^ This.

The time in between is interesting in terms of the WS.

I've read more than one, more than several blurbs from degreed, experienced, credentialed therapists who assert that it's a good outcome if the wayward realizes the mistake, feels guilt, feels remorse, doesn't do that thing again.

There is a school of thought that was widely prevalent many years ago, and I am under the impression that it is still the European model, that divulging a sexual and/or romantic indiscretion one is not likely to repeat to one's permanent partner is unnecessary, particularly cruel and disrespectful.

There is a concurrent school of thought that spouses are only human, and that navigating a human lifetime requires each of us to look the other way on occasion if we want to continue with one person for most of that lifetime.

I've read, even recently, therapists who still espouse this/these points of view.

Against this, almost the whole of SI argues the loss of the betrayed's agency, which is not an invalid point.

In my experience, there are multiple dimensions involved in that lapse of time between the betrayal and the discovery.

This is true regardless of whether no further infidelity occurred during that interim.

The focus shifts from the actual infidelity to the whys.

My husband felt squicky enough and guilty enough about the infidelity that he never did that particular thing again.

He never got physically involved with another woman again.

OKAY THEN.

Good enough, for what it's worth, which is plenty,

but that doesn't address WTF happened in the first place.

My husband told me, unequivocally, that his FOO informed what happened:

"Men do this."

"This is just what men do."

"No harm, no foul."

"What she doesn't know, won't hurt her."

"Men do this."

"If I'm presented with this opportunity, I *need* to do this- because *this* is what *MEN* do."

"No harm, no foul."

"Men."

*Opportunity.*

This pivot point presents itself.

It's been a pivot point from the beginning, in our entire marriage.

OMG, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???

AS A YOUNG ATTRACTIVE WOMAN, I HAD FUCKING 'OPPORTUNITIES' GALORE. DICKS RAINING FROM THE SKY. (SOMETIMES, VAGINAS.) YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT???

I was dealing with a plethora of ridiculously cheap opportunity, that would have cheapened me, that would have cheapened HUSBAND, that would have cheapened US, and I realized that, and I loved Husband, and I loved us, and I did not.

The first fucking 'cheap' opportunity that presented itself, Husband punched the FOO narrative, AND HERE WE GO.

And the very fact that THE FIRST FUCKING OPPORTUNITY THAT PRESENTED ITSELF WIPED OUT OUR VOW, NOT ONLY OUR VOW, BUT ALL OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROMISE AND PERSONAL LOVE AND VALUE THAT WAS US, THAT CHEAP FUCKING SHIT WIPED US OUT, OH BUT FOO SAYS THAT'S WHAT MEN DO, HAVE A 'WIFE' AND HAVE SOME 'FUN,'

And then he buried it.

And then we buried it.

But the narrative that informed it,

And the narrative that buried it,

continued.

And it informed our lives,

In between that betrayal and the discovery.

And now, here we all are.

What happened back then, is.

Honestly, it's multi-generational shit you somehow, most likely genuinely, did not deal with at that moment, way back when.

You do not need to stay in it.

one more thought - "How do you ever know if it happened only once?"

Not Just Friends

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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 4:32 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

Or that, because at least then my choice would have been quite clear. It’s the delay between her affair and my discovery of it that is so problematic, because in the mean time we built a great marriage. Or at least as great a marriage as can be built when one person knows all the facts and the other does not.

This is exactly what boggles my mind. 4 years ago, it would have been such an easy decision. The delay is the only reason I’m still married. The only reason I have hope. I was pretty blissful in my ignorance. I understand it wasn’t authentic, but I didn’t know that, and I was happy. I’m not saying I wish I never would have found out. It needed to be dealt with. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the way things were before d-day. Not even before his A, but those 2 years before discovery. It sounds absolutely bananas to feel that way, but I do, and very few understand it.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 4:50 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

On the topic Opportunity: My WH is ridiculously good looking. I’ve honestly lost some attraction for him since d-day, but he is, and women have always taken notice. He received numbers galore when he was working as a field technician. He always told me about them. Then our marriage got to its lowest point, and we were both checked out of it. He has told me that women more attractive and more successful than the AP have flirted with him and given him their number. It wasn’t so much she was the first opportunity he had to cheat, she just happened to come along when he was the most vulnerable. I’m not excusing his behavior, but it’s the reality of our situation. I know there have been no other incidences. I used to look at the phone records all the time, and he never acted the way he did when he was having his A. Months leading up to his A I had quit caring wtf he was doing. I started hanging out with my family more and basically ignored him. We were either fighting or we were ignoring each other. It was hell.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 6:04 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the way things were before d-day. Not even before his A, but those 2 years before discovery. It sounds absolutely bananas to feel that way, but I do, and very few understand it.

I understand it. I have lived it.

I don’t want the marriage we had before the affair. That marriage, before the affair, was at best two people on the same team checking off the boxes of engaged/married/homeowners/parents and so on. We were “in love” I guess but we weren’t, I don’t know, really revealed to one another. I don’t want that marriage back.

In the period before the affair, maybe the year or so before, it sucked. We were roommates who were coparenting and fucking when we were in the mood and not fighting. We were disconnected, but bound together. Our communication was about the logistics of parenting. Our intimacy was that I knew how to get her off and she participated for me to get mine. I don’t want that marriage back.

During the affair, she was a monster. She treated me with contempt. She picked fights, gaslighted me, accused me of things I did not do. She was aloof, she cut me off from physical intimacy for weeks, in one case months, at a time. We went to marriage counseling and she lied to the counselor, and accused me, it turns out, of EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS IN FACT DOING. I could do nothing right. I certainly don’t want that marriage back.

After the affair, she turned in to me. She became kind. She takes an interest in me and what I like. She initiates physical intimacy and she is all in for it, new and different elements of physical intimacy, too. She is honest, scrupulously honest, and transparent. We have become truly intimate, honest, and we communicate better than ever. The more she did, the more I responded in kind.

Honestly, I don’t know how we made it this far in the absence of the marriage we now have. She sustained all this for five years after ending the affair. It’s not an act, it’s not a cover up, it’s not a charade.

That was, is, the marriage I have always wanted. There’s just this one time that she slipped and fell on another man’s dick for three years that I’d change if I could. Did I really need to know that to be happy? No. I did not. I was happy. I enjoyed, and enjoy, the “ephemeral matter of the heart” knowledge that she wants me, she wants us, and she will fight for it. Knowing what she did then does not help me enjoy what he have had for the last eight years any better.

I do think the skill set that we now have, to discuss the hard stuff, to reaffirm to each other all the time that we are all in, that it is us against all the challenges, that if there’s a good part about her affair, I guess it’s that we have built on the strengths that we developed after the affair and before I learned of it. We could have reverted to the old ways, but we didn’t. Our intuition, our energy, our solution was to turn in, once again. Now that she’s given up the fear that held her back from telling me the whole truth, we are rebuilding again, but not from scratch, from a better place than we were in immediately after her affair.

It is a work in progress. I’ve come to accept that it always was, always will be.

[This message edited by Wiseoldfool at 12:09 PM, March 15th (Monday)]

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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 6:28 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

Honestly, I owe all of you an apology. My post last night was a hot mess. I was over tired, we'd had a chore oriented busy (and productive! that's good) day. I allowed that post to devolve into an emotional dump and not much else. Again, sorry.

Here's what I wanted to say, and should have said:

One of the issues I've discovered and we're exploring with disclosure/discovery years later is that the basic premise of the infidelity is not explored at the time nor in the interim.

Whatever dysfunction informed, instigated, permitted, facilitated a sexual and/or romantic infidelity still exists, more or less undisrupted and unexplored.

That dysfunction continues to inform and influence the marriage, even as it is largely unrecognized, unacknowledged, unseen without a huge glaring event like infidelity lighting it up.

My husband was upset with himself in the immediate aftermath and swore it wouldn't happen again. He says it didn't and I believe him.

Not saying *anything* about it to me at the time was not possible for us. I *knew* something sexual had happened with another woman as soon as he walked through the door. For the first time in our relationship he couldn't meet my eyes. He kept talking to a point in space somewhere beyond my left shoulder.

Anyway, he gave me a much sanitized and abbreviated disclosure a few days later. I accepted it (although I've always suspected that there was more to the story given Husband's degree of guilt) and we went on with life.

A more complete narrative just kind of tumbled out many years later.

We are almost three years out from the more complete DDay2/same incident.

I do clearly remember the period of time during this past three years when I wished that DDay 2 had never happened.

But I also remember the context in which that wish was couched: "Everything else, and now *this* too???"

My husband *is* a good man and overwhelmingly he has been a good and faithful husband. That being said, our marriage has had its challenges.

For *decades* I'd dealt, since nothing I did/said/tried seemed to affect any changes. My husband had issues with agency and boundaries, his own, mine, ours as a couple. Honestly, understanding what I know now, it is a miracle and a testament to his devotion that he had a single, nearly anonymous indiscretion. He did self correct in that area.

I spent years dealing with agency and boundary issues with him and with us and with his parents and family, sublimating by telling myself that he really did love me and value us, as evidenced by the fact that he'd never cheated on me.

Imagine how DDay 2 felt based on that premise.

"All that and this too."

So yeah, there was a huge chunk of me that wished I'd never found out.

But here's the thing: the sexual indiscretion was much more of a symptom than a problem.

I can honestly say that at three years out from DDay 2, the actual sexual aspect doesn't bother me so much anymore. What *really* hurts is the permissions he gave himself, the rationalizations he used, the absence of protection of my boundaries, his own boundaries, and the boundaries of the marriage. And also the context of when and how the incident happened.

I was quite literally in the middle of a huge personal sacrifice and a compromise (having nothing to do with sex) with which I was quite clearly NOT comfortable, and I said so quite clearly to Husband, when this thing occurred.

My level of investment and commitment and sacrifice and discomfort in service to his agenda did not even register. He had no awareness that he might have owed me even basic consideration, much less perhaps even a little more consideration in light of my sacrifice, compromise and obvious discomfort. I was so far off of his radar that when an illicit opportunity fell into his lap, the idea that it might actually hurt me even more because of the context didn't even cross his mind. I wasn't on his radar at all, much less the idea that I was sacrificing so he could even be there in the first place.

The basis of *all* of this, the one sexual indiscretion and a myriad of other issues and non-infidelity struggles in our marriage, something we've spent the past three years exploring in painful detail, is a fundamental absence of experience with healthy agency and healthy boundaries and a respect for same.

Every difference of opinion, every difference in priorities or agenda, every difference in preference was a zero sum game to be won or lost, and I am quite sure my husband didn't even realize what he was doing.

For about the past year in this three year discovery period, we have been dissecting out Husband's and our relationship with his FOO, particularly with his parents.

His parents have *always* been difficult: hierarchical, dogmatic, authoritarian, demanding, stubborn, etc.

Husband and thus we dealt with them by giving them *exactly* what they wanted, on their terms, and then running away and staying away for as long as possible.

Although I recognized that his parents were difficult, for the longest time I guess I kind of subconsciously blamed us for not knowing how to manage them more elegantly. I mean, according to them, everyone loved them and they just got along famously with everyone! Because everyone knew they were just and proper and right! About everything! They are The Way!

I clearly remember *the exact moment,* about 20 years ago, at an extended family gathering, when I realized that the extended family very, very much disliked my husband's parents.

They were imposing their own particular set of preferences and operating procedures on the group as a whole, which simultaneously made them the center of attention, of course. This gathering was intended to honor a family elder and it very quickly became All About Husband's Parents in cringingly awkward ways.

I think I realized that first: Husband's parents were sticking out like sore thumbs through a series of "LOOK AT ME!" and "WE'LL DO THIS MY WAY!" maneuvers. I was embarrassed for them and I found myself trying to think of discreet ways to redirect them, much like one might redirect an over stimulated toddler. And then I looked around the gathering and realized, suddenly, that *every single person there* was 'smiling' through clenched teeth and tight lips, and doing their level best to ignore Husband's parents and their acting out.

Husband's parents, for their part, appeared absolutely oblivious to this negative feedback. They were too busy enjoying their centrality.

That moment was a real epiphany for me, although I/we did nothing with that information for years. We continued in Husband's manner of dealing with them: give them what they want, on their terms, and then run away and stay away as long as possible.

Over the past three years, and particularly over the past year, reading and exploration we've done to address our issues collided with some particularly animating family events. These high octane family changes lit my in laws up like JATO rockets. They have shown their asses and acted out in response to degrees that honestly surprised me, even after all these years.

It *finally* dawned on me that we were looking at two flaming narcissists who were married to each other.

All of the sudden, *so many things* snapped into focus, snapped into place, made sense:

Their own miserable marriage. These two people *hate* each other, and if you sit still long enough, each of them will tell you all about it.

Their marriage is one huge control struggle, one big grudge match, one enormous and over arching zero sum game. Gee, so where did Husband get this tendency? There is no compromise or mutual sacrifice, just win or lose, winner takes all. Wonder where that came from?

They did not model mutual respect or healthy boundaries for their children. Their children were not taught nor allowed to have healthy boundaries for themselves.

The parents are central to all things, and everything is about them, unless they are uninterested, in which case, do not bother them.

No one else has agency, even in their own lives.

Only they are allowed to use the word "No." "No" is never, ever uttered in their direction.

Etc.

So, do you see how far away I am/we are, from that one single incident of sexual infidelity years ago?

Honestly, at this moment approximately 3 years out from DDay2/same incident, the incident itself is quite literally a footnote in the bibliography.

The *real* story is the dysfunction that informed it, and has informed large chunks of our marriage.

The good news is that we, both of us, have Husband's parents in proper context. We are both wary of armchair diagnoses but it's just so glaringly, painfully obvious now that it's like trying to stare at the sun.

What's particularly informative is that the two of them are opposite/complimentary types of narcissists: FIL is a particularly loud and proud grandiose narcissist (I swear it's getting more pronounced as he ages, I think I read somewhere that this is A Thing) and MIL is a particularly insidious covert, passive aggressive narcissist. Oh, she's good. We can now recognize that *this,* this covert passive-aggressive narcissism is *exactly* what FIL was attempting to describe when he's complained about her over the years. Grandiose narcissism and all, he wasn't wrong nor was he exaggerating about MIL.

Anyway, long story short, our problem isn't a long ago single incidence of infidelity, and never has been.

Our problem is one of boundaries and agency and respect that wasn't modeled or taught or practiced or even allowed to exist in the FOO.

If I'd never found out what actually happened that night long ago, I would have continued to hang onto that one token of 'value' in our marriage, that Husband obviously loved and valued me as evidenced by his untarnished fidelity, but the fundamental problems would have continued to be there, and would have continued to be expressed in other ways.

WOF, I'm betting that if you look back over your years of 'happiness,' you will see patterns as well. Doesn't mean that you were miserable and/or that your wife didn't/doesn't love you. It probably does look like The Golden Age of Innocence from your current perspective, I get that.

I *do* think that we are going to end up as one of those couples where 'infidelity made us stronger.' To say that I wish it hadn't happened is to say that I wish this fundamental damage that informed and facilitated it wasn't there in the first place.

Without the catalyst of dealing with "WTF WAS THAT???" and the why's, I strongly doubt that we would have *ever* gotten a handle on the dysfunction that informed much of our relationship.

[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 12:49 PM, March 15th (Monday)]

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 7:34 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

WOF, I'm betting that if you look back over your years of 'happiness,' you will see patterns as well. Doesn't mean that you were miserable and/or that your wife didn't/doesn't love you. It probably does look like The Golden Age of Innocence from your current perspective, I get that.

I can see patterns in retrospect that were not clear at the time. Preaffair, our patterns were a failure of communication, of engage/fight/distance/re-engage, of turning outward rather than inward.

Post affair, and pre-disclosure, those patterns reversed. It was five years between the end of the affair and the disclosure of it.

Our situations were/are very different in terms of what our spouses did. I cannot look at what my wife did in her affair as less important than the patterns that existed before, during and after her long term affair. Her affair has been devastating to me, and very damaging to us. Had it been a ONS with a stranger type thing, I might put the patterns vs the event on different levels than I see them now. What she did, though, was turn the patterns into justifications and then make my life hell for three years before she decided to do "better." What she did next, the "better," is why I'm sticking it out now. She earned at least my best effort to work through what I now know to have been my life.

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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 8:00 PM on Monday, March 15th, 2021

I don’t disagree that there were obvious issues that needed to be addressed. His A needed to come to light. I’m glad it did. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss the years we had before d-day. It’s another aspect for me to mourn. I thought we had overcome the impossible, and it had be done without something like infidelity. I was so incredibly proud of what we had built together. I can miss that feeling, and understand it wasn’t authentic. I can see there were blind spots, and those needed to be worked through.

I can tell you how and why my WH had an A. I know his bullshit justifications. While I don’t fully understand the wayward mindset, I do know a lot about selfishness. I was an extremely selfish and manipulative wife. I would say emotionally abusive even. We both had resentments towards each other. He chose to seek validation from the OW to feel better about himself. I chose to use anger and manipulation under the guise of self preservation. Toxicity all around.

What’s strange in my case is that we both realized we were really fucking up at the same time. We never discussed it (not until recently) but we both started changing. He started communicating more, and being more present. I dove into working on my anger and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Our marriage started to flourish for the first time EVER. Suffice it to say, we grew the hell up.

I don’t know what it’s like to be in any other situation. I don’t know the hurt one feels when they are cheated on in a marriage they considered to be happy one. I don’t know how it feels to have the AP still in the picture after discovery. Or for the A to end, and the marriage still sucks. All I know is my experience.

We are working on those weak spots in ourselves and in our marriage. I have hope we will be able to get to a place of authenticity and genuine bliss. I have to believe that, otherwise what’s the point?

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 6:08 AM on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

I threw a huge word salad at this thread to describe a very basic concept:

Empathy.

Or, lack of it.

I am lucky, we are lucky: Husband has the capacity for empathy. He is not emotionally truncated. He is, however, compartmentalized and he is emotionally guarded and avoidant.

It makes sense.

He was raised by two narcissists.

Lack of empathy is a hallmark of narcissism.

It is my understanding, from reading, (I am not in any way trained in this area) that 'curing' a narcissist of lack of empathy is nearly impossible. Narcissists can be taught to emulate empathy if they can be shown that it is of use to them, but they won't invest the energy, the commitment nor the personal sacrifice of putting another's needs or desires ahead of their own out of a sense of fairness, obligation, the good of the group, a sense of charity, or even out of love.

I can clearly see this in Husband's parents.

I believe Husband spent years mindlessly repeating his parents' emotional and relational modeling: the zero sum game, winner takes all, etc.

If I 'won,' then by default, he 'lost.' I spent *years* battling this mindset and not understanding the genesis of it.

We are fortunate in that we did not have endless, relentless conflict and I was not completely alienated because most of the time, we shared common interests and goals and values.

Other times this stubborn self centeredness came out of left field, unexpectedly, and there was just no shaking Husband out of it.

FOO modeling.

Have you ever seen a dog who has been conditioned to expect that his food will be stolen by more powerful dogs that he cannot best? What does the dog do? He doesn't waste time or energy trying to defend his food. He knows that's hopeless. He doesn't enjoy his food. He bolts it down quickly before it can be stolen from him.

That's what it felt like, for years: all of the sudden, out of left field, something would trigger Husband and he'd start 'bolting his food.' He'd grab at opportunities, stimuli, resources, even people and places like he was starving and it was all about to vaporize. No room for discernment, no time for better judgment. Better grab whatever that is quickly, before it disappears!

I would not at all be surprised to read/find that this is a signature characteristic of people raised by narcissists.

Random samplings of SI indicate a correlation between waywards and narcissism. Certainly infidelity has a strong component of absence of empathy. Whether it's a temporary condition totally focused within the infidelity, or it's a more permanent situation in the presence of clinical narcissism, I guess that's a couple to couple, infidelity to infidelity circumstance.

When Husband *finally* saw himself and his parents he was mortified. He continues to be mortified. He has no idea how or why I am still here. My best explanation is per above: most of the time we were on the same page. When we weren't, if it wasn't a hot button/trigger for Husband his reaction was much like when his parents aren't interested: don't bother him. If we were intrinsically on the same page, he was happy to give to me and he could be quite generous with time, affection, material goods if he wasn't being triggered elsewhere or otherwise.

I *always* had the feeling that I was battling not something intrinsic in his personality or something missing in our relationship, but some demons and damage with which he was struggling. It wasn't an absence of love between us, it was compartmentalization, avoidance, compensation for being raised by people who lacked empathy.

*My god, I'm sitting here remembering some of the impossible demands, expectations, challenges and judgments his parents have leveraged on us as a married adult couple and as parents over the years and it's unreal.* Why did we *even* put up with that noise?

It all came to a head over the past year and we are out of it. His parents are completely ignoring us- nothing makes a narcissist uninterested faster than discovering they can no longer control you. So thankfully we are no longer targeted.

We spend a LOT of time on SI sorting out 'regret' vs. 'remorse.' I would posit that perhaps we should focus on empathy and the absence of it.

Interestingly enough, I needed/need to learn and understand how my own empathy is required for reconciliation.

In the first year to year and a half following DDay 2, I was a howling banshee, an injured animal with an open wound. I have told Husband that I was angrier with him during that time than I've ever been at any human being or circumstance in my entire life.

'Angry' isn't the right word but I cannot find the correct word.

I was a howling wounded animal that was, simultaneously, a human being who was just *done.* *Done.* *DONE.*

Honest to god I think I turned into Medusa. I'm not even kidding.

It was *everything* I could do to hold myself in place long enough to give reconciliation a chance.

Husband didn't shake off years of adaptation and compensation to narcissistic parents immediately, even in the face of that storm. He was defensive. He was terrified. He trickle truthed like a champ.

Furthermore, and most importantly, there was *literally nothing* he could *do* about it in the present day.

That's another component in finding out years later:

If discovered in the immediate time frame, there's usually *something* the wayward can do to demonstrate a change of heart, a change in priority, a change in behavior: end the affair, amend behavior, give complete transparency, pay more attention to the relationship, etc. to offer some recompense and reassurance.

Years later, that immediate window of opportunity to address the injury directly is long gone. Is the wayward going to send a "no contact" letter to someone with whom they've not had contact for years?

Not only that, as I indicated in a previous post, the fundamental issues that informed the infidelity were/are likely still present and have been all along. Those issues likely informed other/all areas of the relationship and caused other problems.

Even if further sexual/romantic infidelity does not occur, quite likely other non-sexual/non-romantic infidelity or infidelity-like behaviors persisted.

All of these behaviors accumulate and cause damage. It piles up.

When the actual infidelity is eventually discovered, it comes in like a wrecking ball and knocks over this pile of shit as well.

Not pretty.

My husband now realizes that those nights in which he and his buddies closed down the bars and then some don't play well in light of a years' later discovery of infidelity. I howled and raged at him then: coming home long after the bars close down, at least once literally at dawn, is unacceptable when one has a wife and babies at home.

At the time he insisted to me that he "hadn't done anything wrong." What he was saying, post indiscretion, is that he hadn't touched another woman. Of course I didn't know that's what he was saying, and honestly, he probably didn't realize that either.

Learning years later that one of those 'nights out' had yielded an infidelity didn't put all of the other nights in a very good light. Husband *should* have had the maturity and self discipline and self awareness to realize that he'd already pushed that limit to the point of breaking it. Whether I was completely aware of what had happened and whether or not he ever stepped over that line again, testing my trust by showing up at home *hours* after the bars closed was not his brightest move.

Again, think of the dog bolting his food: if Hubs didn't 'keep up with the guys' for even one (1) night out, he'd get dumped. Right? Right.

After he (and his liver) matured out of that acting out, competition at work sucked him in to that version of 'bolting down his food.' Too late hours out with the guys morphed into too many late nights at work.

Now dump a later years discovery of infidelity on top of it, and years worth of other (often quite pedestrian but very real) marital stressors.

Too late- Husband cannot 'correct course' at this late date. He can't take any of it back.

And I, having morphed into Medusa, was just raging at him. With venomous snakes for hair.

If there was any hope of reconciliation, *I* had to develop some compassion and empathy for *him.*

He is already mortified with himself and with the FOO. He is already horrified at the amount of damage he mindlessly caused here, emulating his parents' modeling. He's already amended his behavior. There are no more 4am or 6am arrivals from a night out with the guys. There are no more endless hours at work. There is no longer the 'bolting of food,' the aggressive grabby and presumptuous behaviors. He has his parents and FOO (and they have themselves) at a healthy(ier) arm's distance.

He's *finally* outed with the truth. All of it.

What else can the man do?

*My* empathy is what is required.

I'm finally getting to a place where I can deliver it. That's a relief for me as well.

I am convinced that I could not feel empathy for Husband's pain, horror, mortification, terror, etc. until I saw him put and enforce healthier boundaries with the FOO and in other aspects of his life. I no longer feel like I'm going to get steamrolled on his jugernaut to get to the food bowl to bolt down that food.

WOF, it appears that your wife arrived at empathy on her own, but without simultaneous truthfulness or accountability. You are now struggling with complete forgiveness.

I wonder if it would be useful to think about forgiveness in terms of empathy. If, instead of framing it in terms of giving 'forgiveness,' what if you asked yourself what it would take for you to feel empathetic towards your wife?

Perhaps then *both* of you would have a better chance of figuring out what *both* of you need to bring to the table in order to allow you to move forward.

[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 1:06 AM, March 16th (Tuesday)]

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

posts: 491   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8642102
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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 7:02 AM on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

I would also like to add:

I am not blameless.

I am not to blame for Husband's infidelity.

Fortunately, Husband had/has enough integrity, courage, self and situational awareness and respect to insist upon that from the beginning: the incident had nothing to do with me or with us.

It just, was.

On its own.

It was its own weather.

But, I *am* and have long been, probably have always been, codependent.

LOL, that's my super power. Funny not funny.

When I first spoke up on SI (after lurking for a solid 7 months) a long time member suggested that I might be codependent.

IIRC, it was ButForTheGrace.

*waves* at ButForTheGrace. :)

"Pfffbbbt!" I replied. "Nonsense!"

and then I proceeded to list all of the ways in which I am An Independent, Strong, Enfranchised, Skilled, Educated, Competent, Modern Female, disguised enough that I could continue to be anonymous.

It's an impressive curriculum vitae, if I must say so myself, lol, even rendered in anonymous form. (IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN MOAR IMPRESSIVE! IF I'D DARED TYPE IT OUT IN EXPLICIT DETAIL.)

It's all true.

Every bit of it.

And some.

And you know what?

I AM CODEPENDENT AS FUCK.

I AM THE VERY DEFINITION OF CODEPENDENT.

As I said in a previous post on this thread, when I could not affect a healthy change in Husband, in our relationship dynamic, in the FOO, or in our/my relationship with them, "I dealt."

That is *the very definition* of 'codependent.'

(ButForTheGrace, obvs, you were right. :) )

Looking back, on many levels, we *all* might have been better off if I'd used some of that independence, competency, etc. to remove myself from the situation, thus giving more accurate feedback to everyone involved.

"Zero stars, do not recommend."

On the other hand:

Husband's siblings have been engaged, married, and divorced *many, many multiple times each,* so many diamonds flying around that I/we have *literally* lost count. We can keep track of the count of multiple ex spouses but ex fiances/fiancees? Lost track years ago.

The bodies piled up like cordwood and not a damned thing changed in this overall family dynamic. I mean, NOT. A. DAMNED. THING. CHANGED.

I am recently learning that codependence and narcissism go together like hand in glove. Nay, they attract each other.

Husband's parents were *absolutely* enmeshed with Husband's siblings. They don't feel one ounce of regret, remorse, empathy or sympathy for the many multiple failed relationships and marriages of Husband's siblings.

In fact, it's almost like they feel victorious.

For years I've told Husband that his mother would like nothing more than having their immediate nuclear family in their chairs, in their proper places, at high noon dinner on the High Holy Days, into perpetuity. Their offspring should of course be present also to pay proper homage to their elders. Spouses? They can kindly off themselves, most preferably without leaving a mess to clean up. Their presence is certainly not welcomed, much less necessary. Spouses are a pesky distraction from the FOO's glory.

Moreover, persistent spouses represent (to the FOO) 'happy marriages.' In that their own marriage is *miserable,* the existence of a happy marriage in their circle of influence represents a win on someone else's part, vs. the failure on theirs. 'Happy marriages' must be banished at all costs.

I recently pointed out to a long time, very well educated (formally and in life experience) friend that I am The Last In Law Spouse Standing. Husband's siblings most likely will not marry again, and have no children of their own, despite several marriages/relationships.

"His family hates you for that, right?"

Yes, yes they do.

Multiple/many other in laws/spouses/fiances/fiancees saw the lay of the land and got the hell out.

I persisted,

and here I am.

As far as ONS vs. affairs, I get it, it's intrinsically different.

Personally, I do not like to get into whose damage is worse, whose infidelity is worse, etc. for a number of reasons.

Infidelity, is.

And then it must be processed and resolved, one way or the other.

I do agree, your situation with your wife and a multiyear affair is fundamentally different than my husband's single, anonymous indiscretion.

Different deal.

So yes, different 'treatments,' different resolutions.

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

posts: 491   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8642106
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 1:29 PM on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

WOF, it appears that your wife arrived at empathy on her own, but without simultaneous truthfulness or accountability. You are now struggling with complete forgiveness.

I wonder if it would be useful to think about forgiveness in terms of empathy. If, instead of framing it in terms of giving 'forgiveness,' what if you asked yourself what it would take for you to feel empathetic towards your wife?

Perhaps then *both* of you would have a better chance of figuring out what *both* of you need to bring to the table in order to allow you to move forward.

I told her last night that I hope I can get on her level of investment and love because she deserves it. I feel guilty that she’s all in and I’m “meh.”

[This message edited by Wiseoldfool at 10:39 AM, March 16th (Tuesday)]

posts: 96   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8642125
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guvensiz ( member #75858) posted at 1:39 AM on Friday, March 19th, 2021

WOF

I don't know if I missed it, but I'm sure you asked your W why her A ended and suddenly she became an extremely good wife.

And what about the AP? You were best friends with him. There must have been times when the three of you got together after their relationship was over. How did your wife balance these situation and extreme honesty?

posts: 520   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2020
id 8643065
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 5:49 AM on Friday, March 19th, 2021

WOF

I don't know if I missed it, but I'm sure you asked your W why her A ended and suddenly she became an extremely good wife.

And what about the AP? You were best friends with him. There must have been times when the three of you got together after their relationship was over. How did your wife balance these situation and extreme honesty?

The affair started long distance; he lived in another state. About a year into it, he moved into his sister’s basement in our subdivision. The affair lasted about another 15-18 months before she ended it. About this time, he became an insufferable jerk to everyone. His sister was ready to kick him out, we saw him seldom. He finally burned all his bridges, told everyone to fuck off and disappeared.

The end of my relationship with him was bound up in the end of his relationship with everyone who cared for him at the time. We were all pretty fed up with him. In retrospect this ending is, like everything else, all too obviously affair related. I think my wife’s conduct in those few months after the affair and before he disappeared was honest in the sense that he was acting like a jerk and everyone was sick of his bullshit. No one but the two of them knew why he was acting like a jerk, but that story didn’t emerge for five more years.

posts: 96   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8643111
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guvensiz ( member #75858) posted at 1:31 PM on Friday, March 19th, 2021

Thank you for your reply.

Could it be the purpose of moving from another state to his sister's basement to improve their LD EA and turn it into physical?

And was it because he was acting like a jerk because their A went bad, or was their A gone bad because he was a jerk?

As I understand it, it was your wife who ended the A. This seems logical given AP's acting like a jerk, but still the word of a cheater cannot be trusted completely, of course.

I wondered why she suddenly decided to be a good wife? Considering that your marriage was not in good condition even before the A, this was not a spontaneous return to normal, but a decision taken and implemented by her specifically. And this decision process requires thinking something.

posts: 520   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2020
id 8643162
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Katieing ( new member #72290) posted at 4:37 AM on Thursday, April 1st, 2021

WOW, never knew this site existed, I was feeling down tonight but the newbie “I’m devastated etc” did not Apply. I found out 3 years later (according to him) and that was 18 months ago but I pretty much think based on actions, money transfers , overnights ) it was a lot longer. So I can say from Experience YES pilots do get around. I found out on Halloween (yup weird) 2019. We are still living together putting on the pretty nurse and pilot front. It’s great upfront but not behind closed doors. He wants someone else and I am not that woman. I was 20 years ago (we have been married x 36 years) I am Same size weight and basically shape (yup, some sagging as it’s all natural 115 pounds) but now it’s weird because he says he’s commits to me (hello no) but wants weird shaving, clothes etc

He parties with our friends (who Think we have a GREAT marriage) looks like a fun guy but then gets home and is just not nice, he is very worried I will break his facade. So I am an idiot but I just needed some TLC. I am a Front line covid RN so I should be used to stress. Honestly the covid all day I can deal with.nGoing to a nice dinner with friends, he drank I did not he turned ugly I’m just fed up, sorry just venting. The sad thing is after 36 years and I am totally self sufficient, I am more worried about what others would think especially our kids and grandkids , because he would be upset. So sad for both. Thank you for listening❤️

posts: 11   ·   registered: Dec. 13th, 2019   ·   location: Florida
id 8647113
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Katieing ( new member #72290) posted at 4:46 AM on Thursday, April 1st, 2021

WOW, never knew this site existed, I was feeling down tonight but the newbie “I’m devastated etc” did not Apply. I found out 3 years later (according to him) and that was 18 months ago but I pretty much think based on actions, money transfers , overnights ) it was a lot longer. So I can say from Experience YES pilots do get around. I found out on Halloween (yup weird) 2019. We are still living together putting on the pretty nurse and pilot front. It’s great upfront but not behind closed doors. He wants someone else and I am not that woman. I was 20 years ago (we have been married x 36 years) I am Same size weight and basically shape (yup, some sagging as it’s all natural 115 pounds) but now it’s weird because he says he’s commits to me (hello no) but wants weird shaving, clothes etc

He parties with our friends (who Think we have a GREAT marriage) looks like a fun guy but then gets home and is just not nice, he is very worried I will break his facade. So I am an idiot but I just needed some TLC. I am a Front line covid RN so I should be used to stress. Honestly the covid all day I can deal with.nGoing to a nice dinner with friends, he drank I did not he turned ugly I’m just fed up, sorry just venting. The sad thing is after 36 years and I am totally self sufficient, I am more worried about what others would think especially our kids and grandkids , because he would be upset. So sad for both. Thank you for listening❤️

posts: 11   ·   registered: Dec. 13th, 2019   ·   location: Florida
id 8647117
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 SI Staff (original poster moderator #10) posted at 6:44 PM on Friday, May 28th, 2021

Bump

posts: 10000   ·   registered: May. 30th, 2002
id 8663522
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elKAPPYtan ( member #72085) posted at 6:58 PM on Friday, May 28th, 2021

I had the final convo with my WW last night about what I needed from her to start healing, we shall see. How should I handle her claiming she "doesn't remember" as it was back in 2014-2015?

Example would be a time she was on the phone with him (he was just a friend) and she was sitting out on the front porch to our home, I was standing at the window looking over her shoulder (she didn't know I was there) and I watched as she went into her recent call list, selected his number (wasn't saved in her phone as a name) and deleted it from the recent call logs. I remember this happening and the blow up fight that ensued, she claims she has no idea what I am talking about.

[This message edited by elKAPPYtan at 1:00 PM, May 28th (Friday)]

Me: 36 STBXWW: 36 DDay: Oct 3rd 2019

"You keep it in between the pages of the books you burn so no one gets to read" -Corey MF Taylor

posts: 159   ·   registered: Nov. 14th, 2019   ·   location: MI
id 8663530
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Shellshocked2021 ( new member #78901) posted at 10:02 PM on Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

Had the wind knocked out of me 2 weeks ago.

We have been married 34 years. I had been married for 3 years before getting a divorce. I moved back to my home town and at 27 married a gal 9 years my younger. We dated for a year and then got married. A year later we had a baby girl. We ended up moving to a different part of the state and I started a new job and my wife was a stay at home mom. She soon became acquainted with another woman in the town we were living in and they became good friends. We did things with her and her husband and the girls would do their thing. But as good of a person and friend she was, she was a toxic friend who managed to get them both into trouble every now and then. One of the weaknesses my wife has is alcohol. She is not a social drinker and even though she is a very responsible person she likes to drink. We lived there for 10 years at which time we had the opportunity to move back to our home town and family.

Once we returned home we bought a house and life was good, but my UW was feeling the itch to have some fun. I trusted my UW and always gave her free rein as I felt marring her so young I had taken her young adult life away from her. She reacquainted herself with a friend from highschool. She lived close to us and she and her husband and my wife and I did stuff together. This gal who I will call Toxic from now on was larger than life, when she entered a room everybody noticed. She commanded attention and had a posse around her all the time worshiping her. During this time we were struggling in our relationship due to all the pressures of life and we both are type A personalities so even though we loved each other it was tough. During this time period Toxic told my wife that she wanted to divorce her husband but she needed a way to do it on her terms. So toxic devised a plan to introduce her husband to another woman and get them comfortable with each other and then divorce him. While this was all transpiring she started a affair with her highschool boyfriend on the side.

Once she had divorced her husband and she had moved into a new home with her AP she started having dinners/parties of which my wife was invited to, but I was not on the guest list. We were having issues but when this began to happen things began to turn for the worst with my wife and I. It turned out that while my wife was running around with Toxic she was telling my wife what a POS I was and that there were a lot of other men out there that could take care of her. Here is where the story gets interesting. During this time there was a guy who by reputation was nothing but an emotional/sexual predator who my wife and I knew but not personally. He and Toxic were also good friends. Toxic always invited him to these dinners and made the effort to introduce him to my wife. I can't prove my theory but knowing how evil Toxic is and this guys reputation I am sure that Toxic informed this guy that we were having marital issues and my wife was very vulnerable. Toxic fed him all the info he needed to make my wife think he was someone she could talk to.

In the meantime I was becoming an emotional and physical wreak and had lost 40 pounds that I could not afford to lose. My daughter convinced me to move to another state where she and her boyfriend were living and get healed up. All the while my UW was having an emotional affair with this guy. He lived outside of town so she could sneak up to his place and she said they would talk for hours. Eventually the taking turned into pillowtalk. This went on for about 8 months then my UW started feeling guilty and started trying to get me back because she realized she really loved me. (Did not stop her from sleeping with him though for awhile longer). I had the opportunity to move back to my home so I took it and my UW and I moved on for 10 years. Then one night she had to much to drink and had fallen asleep on the couch. Past history when I would wake her up in that condition she can be a very ugly person to be around. She would be combative and call me ugly names. But as I was waking her I got the surprise of our 34 years together. She opened her eyes and a big smile came across her face and she started talking to me in the sweetest, sexiest voice I had ever heard.

I did not know what to say. As I was helping her up she stood up and gently wrapped her arms around me and was hugging me in a very sensual way. I ask her what she was doing and were she thought she was. She used my name in a third party way several times. As I put her in bed I knew something was a miss. The next morning I ask her about the night before and she ask me if I really wanted to know and I replied yes. That is when she told me about the affair 10 years earlier. I felt my heart being pulled out of my chest but she only told me that she had an emotional affair. I ask her who the guy was and did it involve sex. She replied yes it involved sex and gave me the name of the guy. When I realized who it was I was devastated. I could not breath, I started flooding with questions, but she could not answer some of they right off because of the time frame. So I gave her some time to think about the whole thing.

Its been two weeks since this hit me. I have done nothing but think about what she did, who she did, and how it has affected us. That is when I started thinking about Toxic and this guy and how they probably conspired to do this to get us to divorce so that Toxic could find her a better "husband". I ask my wife if my theory was valid to her and she though about it while she was at work and when we talked about it at lunch she agreed that was probably the truth, because my wife told Toxic she was still in love with me.

Now let me say this in bold letters, I DO NOT CONDONE WHAT SHE DID AND AM STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO. She made the choice to cheat and even she admits that at the time she knew there were other ways to resolve our differences, but that when this guy talked to her she felt comfortable going down that road until she was convicted about how wrong it was what she was doing.

posts: 11   ·   registered: Jun. 3rd, 2021   ·   location: Washington
id 8664820
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Shellshocked2021 ( new member #78901) posted at 3:49 PM on Monday, June 7th, 2021

So I will give an update as to what I have learned so far. My UW and I have had several good talks and expressed to each other where we were in our lives at that time her affair was going on. She explained that she was emotionally broke because we were not getting along and Toxic offered her a breath of fresh air that she enjoyed. I explained to her what I had experienced through out our entire marriage by her poor choices do to her alcohol problem and her having a wild streak that amplified when she was drinking.

I ask her how this affair got its legs and she told me that She and the AP had met at some gatherings that Toxic was having. He was easy to talk to and responded to her in all the right ways. They had run into each other at a couple of these gatherings and then started talking on the phone regularly. I ask her when all this started and she said about 10 months before I left to another state to live with my daughter. I ask what these conversations were about and her response was they were about how much I loved my BS (me) and how I wanted our marriage to work out.

Eventually she was driving up to his place and they would sit in his living room drinking wine and she would talk about me and how our marriage was not what she wanted but still loved me and was sad we were in the place we were. She said they would talk about life in general and the AP's family and his history. She said that talking to him was easy and comfortable. She was deep into the Affair Fantasy where everything was at peace with no drama. She also said that her AP would ask her regularly if she was going to divorce me and move on and she told the AP that she didn't know.

So then I ask her when the sex started and her response was that after about 6 months she got to drinking to much at his house one night and they started kissing and it eventually ended up with them in bed. I ask if that happened often and she said that they only had sex maybe 5-7 times and that she never really initiated it , but she did not stop it either. The interesting thing is she said it was the worst sex of her life. So I ask why she keep doing it and she could not really answer the question because she said that is not why she was there. She wanted to just talk to someone who would listen to her and acknowledge her.

I ask her how long after she was with him when I left and she said about 2 months. She said the AP as time progressed through their relationship keep asking her why she was with him instead of her husband and she would tell him because you are so easy to talk to. It came to the point where she realized what she was really doing was using her AP as a therapist to talk to and not someone she wanted to be with the rest of her life. It finally came to an end when the AP told her she needed to make a choice to either divorce me or discontinue their relationship because he was tired of being a sounding board. She choose to end the relationship.

It was at this time that she began a concerted effort to start calling me and wanting me back in the marriage. She turned her back on all her toxic friends and for the last 10 years she has been a faithful and devoted companion. Our marriage at times has not been a bed of roses, but we were enjoying each others company and doing things together until 3 weeks ago when the illusion came crumbling down. Our current talks have been fruitful in how we hurt each other and what we did wrong. She has been straight with me about the affair, not ducking questions and giving complete answers when she can remember and she has also offered a more complete answer if my question was to vague.

Where I am at now with my questions are I can somewhat understand why she wanted to talk to someone and have a sounding board. I told her though that I am upset and hurt beyond words that you discussed our family issues with an outsider without regard for our privacy. But the one that I am really hung up on and lose sleep on is, if you did not have feelings for him and did not want to be with him why did you have sex with him not once but 5 to 7 times? My UW can't really answer that question other than to say that usually it resulted from having to much alcohol and relaxing her inhibitions. She also said that it made her feel like a man really wanted her. She promised than it was meaningless and she did not even enjoy it and she also said that the times that they did have sex she wished she was with me.

I know some of her answers seem self serving to ease my pain and you may be correct. I have told her that in no way can I accept what you did. The pain you have caused is deep and lasting. And she understands that and wishes she could change the past. She has stated loudly and boldly that she made a serious mistake and only ever really loved me. Now I have to figure out how to forgive her and if I want to stay in this marriage or divorce her and move on.

Thanks for letting me vent.

posts: 11   ·   registered: Jun. 3rd, 2021   ·   location: Washington
id 8665572
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