Update on her timeline from 20 years ago
I keep trying to write an update on the long, slow process that I've been going through with my W to create a detailed timeline of her A of almost 20 years ago. We've gone through a lot but I haven't written much about it. I didn't want to post anything that might give away what I know or affect how she was answering my questions.
Also, I keep going into such a detailed rant and I'm not sure anyone cares to read that at this point.
So the bottom line is this - 18 years ago as we were working on R she lied and minimized both how sexual the affair was and how serious it was emotionally. She claimed that the affair was mostly online except for "a few times" when she happened to be in OM's town on business overnight, and it became physical. She said at the time that she loved him but she minimized how serious their relationship was. They had sex, but he never stayed the night, she claimed.
I never understood how she could sit on the fence for two months when it was obvious to me that she couldn't really love the guy. She really only knew him from their online chats and a few brief encounters - or so I thought. This was long before online EAs had become a common thing.
The truth is that she arranged to meet OM over a dozen times and had sex with him at least nine times. The truth is that he stayed overnight many of those times and she arranged long weekends so they could play house and cultivate their relationship. She was seriously contemplating a future with him.
She made it sound like he was the pursuer and she was simply the victim of poor boundaries and the "slippery slope." It's clear now that she pursued him just as much as he did her - maybe more. She arranged nearly every meeting. She made sure that he'd have his opportunities, and more than once when he didn't make the next move, she made it for him.
Her lies didn't stop on Dday. She agreed not to see him in person as a condition for us staying under the same roof while we tried to work things out. She admits now that she planned to meet with him, supposedly for "closure," but he didn't show up.
I also found from one of her posts here that she seems to have broken "No Contact." Someone here asked, "What was one setback during R that you did not think you could overcome but did?" She answered, "H thought I wasn't still talking to OP, but I was. Still hard to admit that after all this time."
She says now that she doesn't recall that and doesn't think that she spoke with OM after NC. But she leaves open the possibility that there is something she is forgetting. She says believes she meant that she was still talking to him after D-day.
But there was never a time when I thought she wasn't talking to OM prior to NC. And she knew very well that R didn't begin until NC had been established. So how could talking with him have been a "setback in R" if it occurred before NC?
After we were trying to R she discovered SI and it was a great help in getting her to finally take responsibility at least for what she had admitted to. But even as she was playing the model WS here, she repeated the same lies that she told me.
I left SI to her as a safe place to deal with her issues. I stayed away and didn't read her posts. I realize now that was probably also part of my rug-sweeping. After reading her archived posts I realize how stupid it was. I just wanted things to go back to the way they were. I didn't want to think about it any more. I didn't want to face who she really was during that time.
I had never heard of a "timeline." But she understood the concept of timeline very well from her time here and she never offered that to me. She advised complete disclosure to other WSs here many times but she never gave it to me. She even told WSs whose BSs didn't want details that they should write it out while the details were fresh in case their BS ever changed their mind. She never did that either.
She claimed here to have given me dates but not details, which she said I didn't want. She never gave me either. She gave me, "A few times when I was there overnight." and that was a lie. I never said that I didn't want details. I said that I wasn't sure, given our therapist's advice against it. I gave up getting them because she made it so difficult and I didn't have the will to keep fighting over it. And now I realize it was also because I wasn't ready to have my illusions about her shattered.
She did a lot of work on herself to understand what she did and why. She seemed truly remorseful and she became a better person and a better wife through all that work. But now I'm left wondering why all of that work never inspired her to follow her own advice.
After a year or so we rarely spoke of her cheating any more. She would apologize from time to time. When the topic came up I would usually dismiss it, saying that there wasn't much point in talking about it when we couldn't change anything. We could only move on and live with it.
I regret that. I realize now it was all rug sweeping. Rather than really dealing with it I was trying not to think about it. I'm sure that was a convenient excuse for her to keep her secrets based on "he doesn't want to know."
But I was operating under the belief that the story she had given me, while vague, was largely the truth. There's a big difference between "a few times" by happenstance and a dozen times that involved tremendous planning and deceit. There's
a big difference between an online infatuation that she mistook for love and calling that person the love of your life as you're trying to plot out a future with them.
As I was coming to understand just how much she had lied to me back then, I also realized that she had directly lied to me about it since then, and even during this timeline process. She may plead forgetfulness, but I know that some of these things she did not forget. And I also realized now that she always lied more than I thought. And more recently.
Not that it's common. But I realize now that she has always had ways to manipulate me to get what she wants. At the far end of those tactics, a little fib or omission wasn't out of the question. An outright lie was an option if it was something she really wanted or the truth seemed painful or dangerous.
I talked to her about that and it was clear that she had already been struggling with it - probably based on the lies she had told in her initial timeline. She agrees that it's something she needs to work on. My tolerance for it is at an end.
Early in the process she decided that she needed to get back into IC. At first she went back to her original therapist in hopes that she would have records or recall whether she had talked about breaking NC or anything that might help her answer my questions.
No luck there, it was so long ago the records were discarded and the therapist had no recollection. But one good thing that came from it was that she saw clearly now just how enabling that original therapist's techniques were. So she signed up with a new therapist who specializes in trauma in hopes that she would be more sensitive to what I'm going through and help her access some of those memories. This therapist follows a complete honesty policy so no secrets are acceptable if I decide to join her in MC with this therapist.
We still haven't had a full discussion of all of this. I'm waiting on her answers to my final set of questions. Those are mostly digging into details where I have reason to believe she wasn't entirely transparent, but also about the implications of what I've learned and discovered.
It seems like I need to check in again on how she's progressing. I understand that these questions aren't easy, but it occurred to me - I wonder how long it would take if she put as much effort into it as she did the affair? Was that so easy?
24 comments posted: Saturday, July 30th, 2022
Timeline update and my grand tour of her infidelity
I've just come back from the first weekend I've taken for myself, away from home, in probably 20 years. I spent two nights in the hotel where my FWW and her AP played house over a long weekend almost 19 years ago.
I went out on what I'm calling my grand tour of my FWW's infidelity. 30 locations in three days covering the first time she deceived me through the last time she tried to see her AP.
Some background since it's been a while since I've updated: My FWW and I have had 18 years of happy marriage since R. But I rug swept the whole thing in less than a year and never got my questions answered. Last May I came across some of my old notes from investigating the A and it all came back. And I realized that I couldn't accept not knowing what had happened to my life back then. And I couldn't continue to carry all the shame and blame I've been dragging around. Thread with the full story is in my profile.
I asked my W if she would do a timeline of her A from nearly 19 years ago. She was supportive and agreed. She worried that it would be difficult because those are things that she has tried to forget but that she would do her best. I told her that I wanted to see her timeline and then I would write up all the questions that I had about it, and that we might have to go through that loop a couple of times.
It took a way too long but I finally got a timeline after all these years and several months of effort.
I always suspected that she had minimized some things, but I was really hurt and disappointed at how much lying and deceit she had never revealed or corrected for all these years. The A was both more intense and more sexual than I was led to believe. I should have known. I had evidence that suggested it. But I dismissed it in favor of the version she gave me which suited my fantasy of who she was at the time.
And she knew better. She was active here for years and counselled many WSs that complete honesty was essential. Her rationalization seems to have been that "he didn't want details," or "he didn't want to talk about it."
Neither of those is exactly correct. I stopped pushing for details because she made it so hard. I stopped wanting to talk about it because I thought I had the truth and it was easy to fit the story that she had given me into my naive ideas about who she was at the time.
Aside from the lies that were revealed, and they were significant, what really boiled my blood about the timeline she gave me was failure to used language that owned those actions. "There was some over the clothes touching and then he kissed me." Language about her was passive, language about him was active.
There were other comments that didn't set right with me. It's a victim narrative that I don't accept. As if that she was lured in by this creep when the truth of her actions show that she was pursuing it as much as he was.
Then on top of that, after taking a long time to write it up, all she wrote about the sex was, "oral and missionary" the first time and then "oral and straight sex" every subsequent time.
This was infuriating for me. I told her that I wanted details, but that it was okay to be clinical. She was on SI long enough to know the importance of a complete and open timeline. She knows the importance of owning her actions.
So I told her that I was going to write up follow-up questions and that I was going to want every detail she can recall. Everything. No more excuses. If his dick tasted like strawberry twizzlers I want to know about it. I don't believe "oral and straight sex" was an honest effort. If she can honestly say, "I don't remember what we did on this night," I'll accept that. But if it's a lie then she's going to have tell it to me and live with it - not just try to get away with avoiding it.
So sometime in October I gave her my list of questions. There were a lot. And it's just a start. Many of them were tough questions probing for those details. But others were simple questions trying to put a date on things where she was not certain. Was it before or after your birthday? Was it before or after some event.
Cue the movie montage of calendar pages peeling off. Time passed. I saw little sign of focus or effort on it. She said it was hard to write with me around so I tried to be away more.
Still little progress. And I started to notice all the time she's spending on other things. All the events she's putting on her calendar that are going to burn up her free time to write. And I realize that this just isn't a priority for her. Ok, it's hard, I know. But this matters to me. I'm stuck in this and helping me out seems to have no urgency for her.
Two of her events were out of town weekend events with family. I trust her family but just like in the bad old days I'm left at home taking care of things. She has always had her own "getaways" to pursue her interests. Since Dday they have almost always been with family or trusted friends but they never stopped. I could probably count on one hand the number of non-work trips that I've taken since we've been married.
Post Dday my original therapist advised that I needed to do more on my own and develop more of a male friend group that I could be active with. I made a half-hearted attempt at it but soon reverted to norm. I just am not a very social person. I'm happy pursuing interests on my own and most of them are accessible at home. But I realize now that I've never given myself permission to go out and enjoy myself apart from my W.
So I started thinking about what I might do as a weekend getaway for myself. If she needs time alone to write I would give her some time alone to write.
I've always loved driving trips. I love driving. I love the two lane back roads and the whole process of navigating a journey. And then it came to me: I would visit all the places where my FWW betrayed me and broke our trust. OM lived two hours away and their meetings were scatter on a wide swath in between.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I had never been to most of these places. It would finally make these places and events real and hopefully give me some sense of closure.
But I also liked the idea on a different level. I've always loved visiting historic sites. There is something almost supernatural about the way events at a historic site echo through time and can be felt in those places. These were historic sites in my life - the places where some of the worst parts of my life took place without me knowing it. Now I would know them and they would know me. And maybe somewhere back in that time the knot in her stomach will twist a little tighter.
I told her my plan and I told her that I needed the first thirty questions done at least a week in advance because those questions would nail down all the places I needed to visit. I think the fact that I was going away for a three day weekend was the wake-up call she needed
She did buckle down and complete the questions I needed answered for the trip. And those answers led to discussions that made it clear that she still has unresolved issues that she needs to work on. She agreed to go back into IC with a new therapist. One who will not advocate rug sweeping or anything less than full honesty.
I had a good weekend. It was cathartic for me. Standing in those places and knowing what happened there is so much better than living a lie. Not saying it was easy. But I always knew that things didn't completely add up and my mind wouldn't allow any option other than R at the time. Rug-sweeping was the prescription for that.
We still have a lot to unpack from her timeline, things that she has finally revealed and things that she hasn't. Would the truth have changed my mind about R at the time? Probably not, I was just too desperate for R. But it may have given me cause dig deeper into the reasons for that rather than rug sweep it all and just live with it for almost 20 years.
That's sad because it could of been a happier 20 years for both of us. It's a big deal. But I think we'll make it. Time and distance from these events helps a lot. But I'm done accepting anything less than the truth.
13 comments posted: Monday, April 18th, 2022
On the question of "spying"
There has been a topic recently where the question of "spying" has been a matter of debate. I use the word "spying" because I think some in that thread are using it to try to shame the OP and I really don't GAF what they call it. When you smell smoke, and you check it out and there's smoke, you were justified even if it wasn't yet a fire.
There are two questions about "spying" that have been a matter of disagreement on that thread.
First, when is someone justified in spying on their spouse?
Second, when is someone obligated to reveal to their spouse that they have spied?
I'm specifying spouse here because that's the case in question. So we're talking about someone fully committed and in most traditions considered "as one" with their spouse.
I'm saying "spying" but for the purpose of this discussion lets assume that's just a pejorative for any kind of snooping or investigation.
158 comments posted: Friday, April 1st, 2022
Please don't rub my nose in it.
"Please don't rub my nose in it." That's what a BS said in JFO recently and it reminded me of my brief time on other infidelity forums following my Dday 20 years ago.
I was completely lost and confused and unable to understand how something like that could have happened. I still deeply loved my WW and desperately wanted to rescue my marriage. This couldn't have happened if I hadn't done something to cause it. I had to somehow prove to my WS that I could fix what was wrong with me and again be worthy.
I'm not sure if anyone talked about "infidelity trauma" 20 years ago but certainly nobody talked to me about it at the time. I'm not sure which forums I tried to get help on, but I know I didn't find SI at that time.
On the forums where I tried to find help it was explained to me over and over again I shouldn't tolerate the kind of behavior I had experienced that I should head straight for D. My lack of manhood and my WW's status as a whore was either expressed or implied, depending on the rules of the forum.
And that was completely unhelpful to me. Yes, my thinking was naive and I was buying into my WW's blame shifting but I wanted to find a path to R, not be bludgeoned onto the path to D. So I left those forums and never went back.
I relied on IC to help me through and it did help. But our therapist recommended rugsweeping and that's the path I took. Fortunately my WW found SI, became remorseful, and did a lot of work on herself. So that helped us to have a happy marriage over these years. But I never really healed, I just tried not to think or talk about it.
And now here I am 20 years later trying to address that and finding resources that I wish I had found 20 years ago. But I'm also seeing some BSs who think that that same kind of 2x4 treatment is what freshly betrayed BSs need to get them on the one true path to D. I see a BS asking not to have his nose rubbed in it, and others disappearing after a barrage of 2x4s and it makes me deeply sad for what is ahead for those BSs. And for the opportunity that I lost 20 years ago to the same kind of treatment.
Please stop. You are doing real harm. These people are emotionally intelligent enough to find their own way with some support. Tell them your experience and let them decide for themselves whether it applies. They need someone to help them understand this bizzarro world that they've been plunged into. Yes, R can become an almost impossible challenge in some circumstances. It takes two to R and sometimes that needs to be said. Gentle warnings about the challenges ahead with an unremorseful WS are important. But we should be giving people a map and a compass and helping them find their own way, not telling them they've got no balls if they don't go where we think they should be going.
56 comments posted: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022