As always, I wish to begin by thanking this community for its support. I know I don’t engage directly much with the posts / posters, but please don’t let that belie my feelings of warmth and gratitude for the advice and care I have received since first posting. I feel so fortunate to have discovered SI.
I am out of town on a business trip and, alone in my hotel room now, it feels like the first time in a while that I have been able to breathe and take stock.
Wednesday I called the OBS and asked to meet her. She said she knew why I wanted to meet and that she did not wish to suffer further pain. She is close friends of one of the bridesmaids, who had told her about my Facebook post. I expressed my concern to her that she was allowing herself to be continually damaged by her husband and told her that meeting with me and seeing the photos from the second consecutive affair weekend would, surprisingly, turn out to be empowering for her in the longer term. She disagreed.
My WF has been texting, calling and even emailing since my Facebook post revealing her 2nd infidelity weekend. I have not said a single word to her directly in 10 days. The tone of her texts has evolved from spite and anger on the day of the Facebook post, to hurt and despondency midweek, to begging, pleading, negotiating, promising, and so forth over the last few days. She has apparently left a hand-written letter in my mailbox, while I have been away, detailing her reasons for being given another chance as well as her multi-step plan to atone for all of this.
I made the right decision to expose to our wedding party the real reasons for the cancellation of the marriage. Not only did I have to defend myself immediately from such heinous claims that I was an abusive person, but it also constituted the absolute most minimal consequence of her failing to take the path of integrity by telling the truth, in her own words, about why our relationship has come to an end. I have spoken with each of the groomsmen as well as two of the bridesmaids and it is clear they came to my defense immediately and turned on her quickly for a) being a cheater and b) for being so utterly craven as to turn around and suggest that I was abusive.
Part of me is superficially concerned that her sudden about-face and desire to win me back has not come from a good place within her, but from the community response to her actions. I feel / fear that had there been less opprobrium for her from everyone in the group, and had—say—a few of them believed her poisonous lies, that she wouldn’t as swiftly be begging for my mercy.
But I can’t worry about that.
I will disappoint all of you by saying that I agreed to meet with her father on Thursday. We met at his golf club for mid-afternoon drinks. It was a long and difficult and complex discussion. Her father is a very, very high-powered man and one of the most high profile people in the city where we live. I have to be very careful saying any more than that. He took me in his confidence by telling me that he had had two big affairs when my WF was younger (a detail my WF never shared with me): the first, a year-long one when she was 10; the second, a lengthier one when she was 15-16.
He told me this because he blames himself for his daughter’s infidelities towards me. He pointed out how she has always worshipped him and that he didn’t do a sufficiently strong job of pointing out to his daughter—when both affairs were revealed—why what he did was so wrong and how it might have hurt her mother, the children, the larger family.
He told me that she has never loved another man like she has loved me, and that this is the first time a man has actually held her accountable for any form of poor behaviour. He suggested that I hold tremendous power here and that I have a ‘God-like’ opportunity to grant his daughter forgiveness and salvation. That my ability to forgive her and reforge the relationship will not only be the mark of a ‘Great Man’, but that it will also secure her lifelong loyalty to me from her.
I won’t lie: there was a tremendous amount of seductiveness in the thoughts I had surrounding those words. But then he made the mistake of saying that, given his power and name, he could open ‘x door’ and ‘y door’ for me by doing ‘z’. And, I could see how his name would enable just that. However when he said that to me, I then lost my cool. In the flash of a moment, I saw little difference between his thinking, on the one hand, that his name and power could absolve any sin and, of course, on the other hand, my WF’s thinking that her physical beauty could absolve her many infidelities.
If it weren’t for SI, I wouldn’t have been able to say what I said next, which was: “I don’t think you understand. It will take years for your daughter to re-enter my life in any form.” I said, “For me to be with her again, I would need to know that she truly had understanding, empathy, self-knowledge, and genuine remorse.” But, I said, “that will be a long journey for her. She has been doing this for years and years and her damage is deeply engrained.” To his credit, he respected my stance and asked me to just give it all a bit more time.
Friday morning, a few hours before I was to head to the airport, the OBS phoned and with a shaky voice asked whether I could meet for coffee. I agreed.
In the name of respect and dignity, I will not share the details of the painful 40 minutes we spent together. But the second round of photos were horrible for her to see and to process. Yet by the end of the chat, she was actually making some headway around the reality of what her husband had done with her—and with one of her actual friends, no less—and I believe she is finally embarking down her own, slow, difficult pathway to the light. Part of me was tempted to point her here, but then I realized I wanted to keep this to myself and I also don’t want things to get messy and more complex and internecine than they already are.
But I will say that my emotions after meeting her were complex. As I looked at the little earth from 35,000 feet, I felt the following emotions for her: the first was anger, that she could allow herself to be repeatedly abused like that (and as many point out on SI, infidelity is a form of abuse) and still want him back; next came tremendous relief and pride, that I am somehow not ensnared in such feelings for my WF; and finally there was deep sadness for her, that the stakes involved in the fallout of all of this, for her, are so, so, so much worse than the ‘clean break’ I am afforded and will pursue.
Finally, yesterday before dinner, I received a long email from my WF’s mother. She had enough empathy to acknowledge how I might be feeling, but then proceeded to share that a) her daughter has revealed all of the details about her affair to her, and that b) she has never seen her daughter so broken, and that c) would I, at some level, take some time to consider giving her another chance. Wow. It’s like me and my pain around this are the deepest afterthought ever.
My three final thoughts:
1. Is there something wrong with me in my complete desire to never see this woman again? I have read so many threads here and on other post-adultery-type forums, and I see almost nobody who doesn’t have at least 5% desire to be back with the adulterer. I am worried there is something very hollow in me that I can have no desire to have her back with me, when it is clearly the most human emotion to want to return to the Time Before the Infidelity, to that innocent and golden space.
2. How could my WF reveal the details of her infidelity to her mother but hasn’t had the integrity to do so yet with me?
3. How do I prepare myself emotionally for what might be in my WF’s handwritten letter? As per point 1, my deeper concern is that I am like … that I am like the shoreline of a beach about to be hit by the waves of a tsunami: where the pain is receding safely, seemingly, out to sea – only to have much much more powerful waves hurtling their way towards me, about to engulf me. I am worried that the content of that letter will open the space in my heart for me to want her back. And that scares me deeply.