Unusual Dilemma-- Telling a O B S Decades Later, After O W/O B S Divorce and More
Hi, again. I don't post often, but SI is the only place I can come for advice on a situation as complicated as this one.
The TL;DR is my feeling of moral obligation to tell a BH:
-Whose wife cheated on him with my THEN-SINGLE WH for about 1.5 years, 30 years ago (just a few years before I met my WH).
-Who has been divorced from that wife for at least 10-12 years (and I think he has remarried?)
-Who considered my WH (and later me) a friend from around the time the affair started until at least the divorce, but probably still thinks fondly of him (my WH). I believe if the BH has yet to figure out his wife and WH had an affair, he would be especially hurt by this betrayal.
-Whose wife had at least one affair before she had one with my WH, and (according to WH via the wife) the BH also knew about and forgave.
-Whose wife, according to my WH's assessment, most likely had several other affairs after my WH-- but I don't know if the BH knows.
-Is quite rich and powerful. Not sure if he'd make WH's life miserable but that might hurt me and my child even if we do D.
-Who was always very kind to me-- and I believe to be a wonderful person-- a big hedge against his hurting us.
-Whom I feel a moral obligation to, now that I know-- I found out just this past fall along with the two affairs and countless inappropriate interactions WH participated in during our marriage.
-Whose (now ex-)wife/OW is in very bad shape, drug addicted, being arrested, continuing to date much younger men, estranged from their son and mentally unstable (I'm a little afraid of her, though I don't have proof she would attack us, etc.)
It's just so complicated.
DDay(s) were about 9-10 months ago. WH and I are separated after 20+ years of marriage and almost 30 years together. After hundreds of hours of conversation and some progress, I think we're barreling down on an R vs D decision by the end of this month.
I have a pretty strong bias in favor of the truth for BSs regardless of circumstance. And I don't like that it didn't even OCCUR TO ME over all this time that WH should tell this BH or that I should. I don't like that thoughts like "It will hurt OBH so deeply" or "It's in the past" or "He probably figured it out a while ago" and so on even crossed my mind. I would absolutely want to know if it were me. I just... I'm feeling torn now. I know it's because I still feel some form of obligation to carry WH's shame, but I don't know if that's the only reason. Ugh. All input welcome.
10 comments posted: Saturday, August 12th, 2023
Long: WS input? Don’t want my pain and resentment to interfere with healthy shame/remorse/amends/growth after hurting WH… but I
Edit: Even my title was so long it was cut off!
Should be: "Long: WS input? Don’t want my pain and resentment to interfere with healthy shame/remorse/amends/growth after hurting WH… but I do feel it"
BS here. I am so upset. I desperately need to reach out to people who understand, for any and all advice, but please, please, no 2x4s.
WS input in particular is desired!
I will try very hard not to include a billion details, as is my wont-- only a million!-- so I can get to the meat of this issue. But please feel free to ask questions and I will answer any and all of them fully and truthfully.
Here are my threads about some of what WH did to me and our relationship for the past (nearing) 30 years. It is relevant to say that our relationship spans my entire adult life. Friendship and "friendship" figures prominently.
Essentially WH deceived, cheated on, gaslit, blocked empathy towards me, "made me the bad guy" and withheld sex from me, in some cases, for our entire 25+-year relationship, always involving women he either considered friends or whom he tried to make into friends (and friends of mine!) after the fact. Like "Not Just Friends" but a much more intense and inadvertently cruel use of that particular smokescreen. Since D-Day (October) we have been separated but had not ever completely given up (separated as in "I need to get the f— out of here," not separated as in "we are almost certainly divorcing"). We recently decided via Discernment Counseling— as we’d seen good personal growth in ourselves/each other— to continue neither committing to marriage/reconciliation, nor committing to divorce, but still talking, being open, exploring, etc. as our growing adult selves.
Just after that, earlier this month, I went on a personal/professional trip to another city for two weeks, asking WH for some additional space to be an adult in the world without him, and not communicating with him a whole lot during that time.
WH had mostly long since stopped speaking to problematic female friends (he did speak with a few I trusted). I had basically not spoken to any of my own male friends since October, since this seemed like a volatile time to get too close to them. But around April, I told WH I intended to speak with them again. I felt okay about my motivations, having spoken to my therapist about them as well, and wanted just to see how I could manage those friendships in an honest way, feeling fairly confident in my boundaries. I did speak with a couple of my male friends, which went great— not too intimate, but still friendly and connected.
WH knew I’d see one of those friends on the trip. After I left on the trip, I also found that another male friend from HS (whom I knew was divorced, but didn’t know was truly single), was in the city I was visiting. I made plans to hang out w/that HS friend, but I did that without informing WH-- in my mind, because I wasn't informing WH of much of anything once actually on that trip. Regardless, he did not know I was planning the possibility. I assumed meeting that friend would go as the other meetings with male friends had gone, but that may have been wishful thinking/denial (less because that friend was uniquely attractive/dangerous in any way and more because the more an emotionally vulnerable married het person spends time with opposite sex friends, the more likely she is to hit on something problematic).
Within a couple of hours of hanging out with that friend, I felt (internally) very strong feelings for him which overwhelmed me and shocked me— feelings which were exciting, but nauseating/uncomfortable/painful. I had some inkling intellectually that those feelings must have been less about him, though he was great and all. They were more about how I felt about myself, being open and honest, and how being around the friend reminded me of who I was before I met WH. During the evening, I tried to listen to those feelings and the warning signal they were sending me— but I also tried to deny them, because I was having a great time with the friend "as a friend." I felt like something was temporarily going haywire in me, and I could make the feelings go away, just be friends and continue to enjoy good conversation with a seemingly caring person. I thought if I continued to be straightforward and not to try and enhance any possible allure I might have, then, sunlight being the best disinfectant… the limerant sort of feelings inside me would pass (eg, I felt like kissing him). I know, I know— being open to others tends to pique interest rather than tamp it down, and sharing relationship issues, even without discussing the infidelity and focusing more on my own feelings, can be dangerous. That said, I wasn’t painting myself in the best light or being coy or cute. I was trying hard to convince myself I didn’t feel the feelings and we could just be friends— this helped a tiny bit— and before the night was over, I even suggested we hang out again. But denial didn’t help much, and by the time I fell asleep that night, I knew the feeling wasn’t going away anytime soon.
The next day, after fairly panicking and trying to figure out what to do, I decided to put a stop to seeing that friend again by sending a series of short texts. In doing so, I admitted attraction to the friend, as well as told the friend I would not be seeing him again on that trip, but I DID NOT DISCUSS ANY OF THIS WITH WH before doing so. During the time I spent with the friend in person, and in texts after, I did not do anything with or say anything to the friend or do anything else with anyone else that I did not plan to immediately tell WH as soon as I arrived home a week+ later. That is, I did nothing I was ashamed of nor wanted to hide at the time— but I didn’t discuss any of it with WH during the trip. I didn’t consciously flirt, nor did the friend seem obviously to flirt with me (though we clearly enjoyed talking). However, during the night (which did span 7+ hours, including an event), I did admit to the friend that I’d had a seemingly unrequited crush on him in HS (he demurred), and we did discuss relationship challenges, mostly generally.
That day and over the next week, I also told a good friend, my therapist, WH’s cousin (to whom I’m close) and the other male friend I saw (not good!) about what had happened. This was during the trip, so before I told WH. I felt I was being open with everyone and erroneously thought I’d handled it okay by attempting to squash it— and that it wasn’t good, that WH would be hurt, but— again, thinking erroneously— that it wasn’t devastating or horrible. The day after I saw the HS friend, I felt so very urgently the need to make sure I didn’t see him again on that trip that I didn’t slow down and craft a better response nor— to reiterate this— did I speak with WH before texting, which I very clearly should have. I didn’t want to be vague, or tell a white lie or in any way give any opening or let the HS friend think he had a chance. ("Oh, you're busy? Maybe later...")
I felt, for MY sake, knowing myself, if I openly admitted attraction, I wouldn’t be able to take it back and say, "Eh, on second thought, we can totally just be friends! Let’s hang out again!" All I wanted to do in that moment, desperately, was to stop the flooding I had caused by busting a pipe in my kitchen. I didn’t care too much how I did it, as long as I stopped the immediate, imminent disaster. Of course, by admitting attraction, I opened another can of worms and caused similar and unnecessary damage to my relationship. I should have taken more time, and also spoken to WH. The friend seemed gracious and understanding in his reply— though it’s true I phrased things in a way that sort of made that easy for him to do— and he did not admit mutual attraction, though I think it’s unlikely he felt absolutely none.
Even this is too long— again, happy to clarify and add detail— but suffice it to say that when I got home from the trip, I told WH about all of this, showed him every text and so on, as well— as he said he always knew I would, if anything happened— and he was very deeply hurt, and frankly, livid.
Though he also eventually said he loved me and still thought I was great— even as he felt numb towards me and was no longer sure he wanted to be with me…
In the past few days, he also called me a liar, a hypocrite, and a b*tch.
He said that I— then later, what I did— disgusted him.
He said he thought I was "better than that" and I’d proved that I wasn’t.
He said I'd cheated, that it was an affair. He said it was an exit affair. He said it was a revenge affair.
He said that I had finally gotten my revenge on him. He said I did I did the exact wrong thing at every turn.
He said that I was naive, that I was manipulative, that I had engineered the situation, that I had planned and executed it, that he didn’t believe I wanted to be with him (I told him during calmer moments that this actually made me see I did want to try and be married to him— fair enough not to believe this!)
He said I was useless and that I was nothing to him. (And then that I'd said mean things to him before, too.)
He said he couldn’t trust me. He said I had kept a secret. He said his nightmare had come true. (He'd had a dream before the trip that I came back and told him I had dated someone and that he'd said, "Well, I guess it's over, then.")
He blocked me on text and did some related things (then pretty swiftly unblocked me).
He said "I don't want to see you ever." He said "fuck you."
He said this was the worst thing I could have done, especially at this point in our relationship, that I should have known better. That I "read books" so I should have already read through "Not Just Friends" and have followed its tenets.
I should have done more research. I should have gotten better advice. I should have crafted a better-written text to the friend, since I’m a writer, and usually do craft better responses.
He said he knew I was trying really hard to do the right thing, and that’s what made it so f---ed up, because instead I did all the wrong things. He said it was horrifying that this was what I did when I was trying to do right.
Further, he said that it was almost literally the worst thing I, PineappleJellyFlavor, could have done, because I was more-or-less incapable of having sex with someone else while still married. And maybe I wasn’t really even capable of professing love for/passionately kissing someone else, and more-or-less incapable of consciously planning something clandestine and keeping a secret for long. And therefore, since it was the worst thing I, personally, was at least easily capable of— that was what in particular made it an affair. The fact I could have done ~no worse made it the worst thing I could have done.
I want to be clear that he seems to essentially believe everything I say, though of course he has understandable doubts. But you should understand that all of these things were said with his taking my story at face value. So he didn’t— per se— think that I wasn’t telling him everything, and that’s why he called me a liar, a secret-keeper, a hypocrite, a cheater. He was expressing that my story itself, as (mostly) told above, proved that I was those things.
We have discussed this more in the past few days and had some revelations. I’ve learned a lot and I stayed non-defensive for the most part and listened. He is not lashing out as much.
Obviously this is so, so fraught in part because of how friendship/"friendship" was truly the most prominent feature of his deep-seated issues and his betrayals of me.
There is more, but suffice it to say that I felt awful, shared the whole truth, answered difficult questions truthfully and thoughtfully, recognized a lot of missteps and bad choices on my part, felt appropriate shame and remorse, determined to do better, read through "Not Just Friends" (Part I, about slippery slopes and M/F hetero friendships), looked for more books, want (aside from WH) to better understand my relationship to men in the world, how to set better boundaries and much more, and spoke again with my therapist about concentrating on this. I blocked the HS friend on text and social media— though I also did so without a very clear goodbye/I won’t be speaking to you (just a "take care")— and without consulting WH before blocking the friend. I stopped talking, at least for now, to my other male friend, whom I had told about the incident before I told WH.
I hate all of this, especially because I went through so much positive personal growth on my trip otherwise and finally felt like an adult, finally felt like I could be myself (with others, almost all women)— and that got conflated with this mess, throughout which I still profoundly lacked self-awareness and hurt WH.
I am also deeply hurt and resentful. I do not, under any circumstances, want that hurt and resentment to cloud learning, humility, healing and amends. But this also complicated by the fact that I always always always took on more than my fair share of blame for things in our marriage that I had no idea the half of. Why he’d be distant, at times cruel, wouldn’t have sex with me, made me feel crazy, etc. When Final D-Day came and I saw the light, I blamed myself almost not at all. Finally, for once, I saw clearly that it wasn’t me, I wasn’t defective, I wasn’t "too anxious," I wasn’t crazy. Since November, when things have been good or I’ve considered reconciling, I’ve also been therefore terrified of going back to the way things used to be, of taking on too much blame, of doing too much rugsweeping, of "making WH’s arguments for him," of calling unfair things fair, and so on.
I know some of this was his hurt speaking, and he took a percentage of it back, or modified it. On the other side, I don’t THINK I am being terribly defensive in this, and I really don’t want to be. But I cannot say that hearing him say some of these things didn’t have me cry-laughing in pain and disbelief a couple of times. Or making me feel hopeless and defective.
I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m seeking outside support so I don’t lose myself again, don’t decide I’m a piece of sh-t or at least that the person I love most thinks I’m a piece of sh-t, after all I’ve done and been and tried to do. We spent almost all day, every day, for 3+ days talking about this. I did speak with a friend, my mom and my therapist during that time, but I’m exhausted. Not from talking about it, but by the hurt I caused… and the hurt I feel. Am I asking if my feelings are legitimate? Reasonable? I don’t know. But if anyone else has had a similar experience, I’d love to hear about it and how you handled it.
15 comments posted: Monday, June 12th, 2023
Aside from practical barriers, how and why do people *not* separate after D-Day?
I could say I'm curious or just don't understand, but I feel like asking this will illuminate something for me about myself. This is not a judgment of others, not remotely. It's me wondering why I never even considered the choice that most people seem to make.
I had sort of twin D-Days, like Minneapolis and St. Paul are twin cities. One in mid-October, when I found evidence of an EA/OA and then just a few weeks later in November, WH confessed major bombshells, including a past PA and the details of his pre-relationship sexual history that he'd lied about since we met. Kind of a one-two punch.
In October, before I even knew the "worst," I...just had to get out. Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200, Go Directly to Freedom. I took a couple of days to figure out how that was going to happen, but I was out before a week was up.
It wasn't a decision I made lightly, and we are not made of money. In fact, I'd just been laid off. My parents don't live nearby, so I couldn't just crash with them. We do have a kid, though thankfully she's ES-age and not younger, and he's a reliable parent, so I'm sure that counts for a lot.
And when I left, I was even leaning towards reconciling.
But I didn't feel like I could think straight. I didn't feel like it was something I could abide by, being in the same house with him. I needed SPACE right away. Even though we never really stopped talking and seeing each other (until I needed a little more space for a month, earlier this year).
But most people, including those not committed to reconciling and not committed to divorcing, don't seem to separate/leave right away, or maybe even at all. Or am I incorrect?
I guess if they think they're permanently leaving, they want to get all ducks in a row before they do, and never look back. But what if they're not sure, or they're considering reconciling?
Again, I understand if the relationship is abusive, maybe if they are or the WS is disabled and dependent, if they can't afford to leave even temporarily and/or have nowhere to go, if they need to be with the kids and the kids need to be in the home and the WS won't leave (or a similar scenario where the BS must stay in the home and WS won't leave).
I am also getting some inkling that even if they have means and flexibility, people consider separation only to be an option when you're sure or almost sure you're divorcing. I am also aware that, if they think their WS will see it this way, the BS could feel they are giving up their "chance" or "claim" to reconcile. Out of sight, out of mind? I know when I briefly semi-separated from WS years ago (after his As, but before I knew of his infidelity), my aunt asked me if I wasn't afraid he'd find somebody else since I wasn't around. If so, I said, I'd be sad, but if his lack of object permanence was that severe, then I guess it would be for the best. (In hindsight, that was one of his most faithful periods.)
And I guess if one is afraid that leaving for any length of time will drive the WS into the arms of the AP... Is that a big reason? Is the vast majority of infidelity discovered in progress, specifically with a viable AP?
I don't judge ANY reason for staying. I just imagine it to be so much harder psychologically not to get some distance. Or are there reasons it's easier and/or more beneficial that I am just not seeing?
19 comments posted: Saturday, May 6th, 2023
How to handle need for NC or other distance from inappropriate other-gender friendships (het relationship)
Hi! BW here.
FULL-ON D-Day was just over a month ago, got-the-ball-rolling D-Day was almost 2 months ago. So... it's early for me. I'm trying not too hard to lean into reconciliation, still trying to keep a fully-open mind.
That said, WH's big issue-- a common one-- is a desperate need for validation and a lack of boundaries.
His "real" affairs were:
1) In the 90s, he confessed days after, we half-a-- reconciled (well, *I* put in a lot of work, he never was all-in... obviously)
2) An EA/OA in 2004-2005, I discovered in October, 2 months ago -- he was still in touch with her through this year (2022), though "as a friend"-- mostly ignoring her attempts to reignite through the years.
3) A different PA in 2004-2005, he confessed in November, a month ago-- he was periodically in touch "as a friend"
(I say "as a friend" not because he was making explicit or romantic overtures-- from his end they were almost exclusively genuinely "friend"-level-- but because he was a delusional idiot with no boundaries-- there's an even deeper reason for this I won't get into now. Oh, what the heck-- along with #3, he finally confessed something I'd never REALLY suspected-- he'd lied about how he'd lost his virginity, well before we were dating. In fact, he lost his virginity to a married woman-- one he'd stayed "friends" with more or less to present day, and who was in our wedding-- SO YOU SEE THE ISSUE.)
However, at the time I discovered #2 a couple of months ago, I also discovered hundreds of absolutely ridiculously boundary-stomping, barely-toeing-the-A-line, sexually-explicit ("as a joke"-- but never clearly joking) group messages (and some private) with a mostly-female group of "friends" from 2009-2010.
Shortly thereafter, I did some more digging and found only mildy-to-moderately less egregious types of text-based boundary stomping, sexual/romantic winky/jokey/not really conversations with several of his female friends-- yes, he has many female friends. These occurred variously between 2010 and ~present (2022) in some cases. Sigh. Not with all of his friends, and we're exploring why/why not. (Mostly those women have better boundaries! He's only as strong as the other person's boundaries.)
In any event, most of these conversations and relationships lost most or all of their innuendo over time, especially after 2018. Though he was still living many lies with me, burying his past, gaslighting me, not fully-empathizing with me... he did do some important-- but non-therapy, so not sufficient!-- work in his personal life starting around 2018. I do think that lessened his desperate need for validation somewhat.
He started IC a couple of months ago, just before I discovered #2 and all of this egregious "inappropriate" behavior. Even before the discoveries and confessions, I was pushing on old unresolved issues-- like A #1, for example. So the IC he's seeing-- that's great.
I find I cannot deal with knowing how bad, bad, bad his boundaries are. It pains me, because in most... all? cases, these women have been kind to me, and I liked them and they liked me!!! And I had encouraged him to form more friendships with women.... ugh, I didn't know he was like this because I overempathize with him and I am not like this with my male friends!
But... I don't want to compromise myself, especially not right now. I'm tired of doubting my instincts and subjugating my needs to his-- OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING HE GASLIT ME INTO DOING FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS AHEM.
I don't LIKE this, but I think I need to set boundaries around his communication with, at the very least, some of these women. Two of them he f---ed up with right after the final (??) D-Day last month. He realized how creepy he'd been and decided to apologize to them via text (and he did tell them he had cheated on me "16-17 years ago" and we were separated). Of course that only garnered him "Oh, I still love you, I never thought anything of it, I hope you two stay together, I just love JellyPineappleFlavor" (but they are being sincere). Both I and our MC kinda reamed him out, so he "got" it... maybe mostly.
But I'm like... what? Trying to figure out what feels safest for me right now. Even if it's not forever. I think there are a handful of women he really just needs to be NC with, frankly. Bare minimum, just to start. It's too triggering for me. Maybe that should be my litmus test? How triggering it would be to know he chatted with them?
So does he just...
Stop contacting them?
Not block them, but share any messages he gets from them and also not respond?
Tell them that he's going NC?
Also tell them why?
None of the above?
I can sit on these questions for myself, but I guess any additional clarity anyone can provide, especially if they've been in the same situation, would be dearly appreciated. Thanks so much.
6 comments posted: Tuesday, December 13th, 2022
Q: What are the chances I figured everything out, all on my own? A: Statistically zero.
Hi, there. First post. I’ve written about 2/3 of a long form essay telling my story (and this is super long itself!), but I tabled that because I need to just.. start asking questions and getting support.
Shortest version for the purposes of this post is that WH and I (BW) got together when I was extremely young and he was much older, but still young. We’ve been together more than 25 years and are in our 40s/50s. A year into our exclusive relationship, he had what was essentially a ONS with lots of added horribleness, and I "forgave" him near-instantly, mainly because I was in shock and didn’t want to lose him. For the record, too, regarding this DD#1, he confessed (in a weaselly way, but still with intent to confess) within days of cheating. I wouldn’t have guessed and may never have found out otherwise. Now, we did talk about it and work on it SOME— shortly after it happened and again some years later, and it has never been a verboten topic. But it was also never fully resolved. Plus, as I stated to him in recent years, and he agrees, it was a huge mistake for me not to have broken up with him at that time, even if we might have gotten back together in a better place. I basically taught him he couldn’t do anything to make me stop loving him/clinging to him/supporting him. It was absolutely terrible for my self-esteem, even though through the years, I made slow and eventually steady progress on that front.
Recently I’ve come to realize how much damage was done to me and our relationship by my so-called forgiveness— and by not fully dealing with all the ramifications. WH and I had lots of fairly productive discussions over the past month+ about this and other issues, in which he has been impressively non-defensive about 95% of the time.
But then… I thought, could he have cheated again? Sometime in these many years? I had been thinking of other cheating-like things he did over the years— nothing very recent, but at least within the past ~12. Gambling money away, lying to me about job-hunting when he was unemployed, etc. These seemed to be semi-isolated events, and we’d been to MC since then. (A short course, not the best therapist, but a bit helpful.)
Anyway! I am "not a jealous person" but I am trying to trust my intuition more and thought I’d make a quick list of people my gut said he COULD have cheated with. Four people/occasions popped up pretty quickly, at least one surprising me, that it even popped into my mind. But next to two of the four I wrote, in parentheses, something like: "ehhhhh I don’t think so."
I asked him and he said no to all of them, and to any other possible infidelity, ever. I very specifically phrased the question as "Did you ever cheat again, in any way that you might consider it a betrayal had I done it to you?" So as not to only mean some very narrow idea of, IDK, PIV intercourse. He seemed to sincerely answer, "No." I think I asked a follow-up question about one of the two my gut felt most strongly about, who was a cam girl I had thought he was "friends" with years ago (I know, I know!) And he confessed to having seen a little more of her show, one time, than he had ever told me before. (Believe it or not, that was the one that had surprised me by popping into my head!)
Friends, he was absolutely and very consciously lying. It was TT.
A couple of days later, while reading SI, I went into his computer. I have the PW for normal spousal reasons, like it was the only computer we had brought on a recent trip and I needed to use it to check in to flights and so on.
What I found in his Messenger chats and the emails he never deleted was (to make a long story slightly less long), an online/EA with the cam girl from 17 years ago. And with continued communication— maybe 10-20% inappropriate but less egregious than in the start— more or less through present day. This was by far the worst I found.
But also, with the other most suspicious person/group on my "suspects list"— there was not OBVIOUSLY an affair-affair, but extremely graphic "jokes" with just the thinnest possible veneer of joking, made in Messenger group chats and elsewhere. About 12-13 years ago. Absolutely a betrayal, absolutely he would have been horrified and rightly hurt and angry had I done this to him, though perhaps we could say that this stopped short of an affair per se. Imagine saying all the sexual things you were going to do to a person you also very obviously had a crush on, but couching it in "everyone knows we’re just joking." From the various messages and emails I’ve found it’s possible, perhaps even more likely than not, that it never progressed further than that. But at this point for me, anything’s possible. And definitely, absolutely a betrayal.
I confronted him, he told me many more details about the "cam girl" that were pretty bad, and seemed genuinely shocked at how he had recast the conversations with the second person/group and had remembered them as much milder. Because of this, and especially the TT, I am currently separated from him just to clear my head at a minimum. He’s started IC and gone a couple of times, seems to be doing a lot of right things (NC with the cam girl), giving me all the space I need, we’re seeing a MC also, next week, etc… There’s a lot more, but…
To get to the title question!
I am naturally feeling like my world is upside down, that I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me, etc. And both that 1) I should not have been doubting my intuition all these years— it’s spot-on!!, and 2) who knows what’s true anymore— anything could be true!
I’ve only been away from him for a handful of days so far, but it recently occurred to me that— no kidding!— there is NO WAY I know everything now. At absolute minimum, there are 1) known unknowns, like the specific, literal content of every "love letter" he wrote the cam girl, though I get the gist— romantic and sexual fantasies, plus 2) some minor but illuminating or more hurtful additional details about one or more of these incidents. But that’s just the bare minimum, the stuff I’m basically 100% sure exists that I don’t yet know.
But with a significant degree of likelihood, say 70-80% (or maybe 99%), there must be more than even that. Either major details about these incidents— like he actually slept with the main "joking" person of ~13 years ago, or he sent money to the cam girl— both of which he denies. Or even whole additional incidents.
So I once again started brainstorming other possible opportunities, times, places or people*, really trying to broaden my mind, since I’m "not a jealous person" (sigh). But suddenly, it struck me. I thought again of my very first list of 4 suspects, 2 of whom I’d mostly dismissed, and the other 2 of whom I was right-on about.
And I asked myself this question:
What are the chances that the ONLY TWO PEOPLE I genuinely had a gut feeling about and discovered evidence "against" were also THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE he betrayed me with**?
Like, wow, I may be a genius, but that’s awfully coincidental. It’s true my intuition is strong, because all these years, I didn’t really suspect cheating with either of these people/groups, but they still popped up quickly in a gut-feeling brainstorm. So yes, my gut is awesome in that way— if I have a feeling, I’m probably right. Specifically, I actually had a feeling, and was proven right in those two cases.
But just because when I DID have a suspicion, he turned out to have had an affair of some sort, doesn’t not mean that he couldn’t also have had an affair with someone I DON’T particularly suspect!
I mean, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? What are the chances that I got these two right AND there were no others?
My answer is in the title, right? Statistically zero. Like it’s theoretically possible, but if true, wow, what a laser-beamer I am. I suspect ONLY the real betrayals and ALL of the real betrayals? Hm.
Among other possibilities— because there have been dozens of possibilities over the decades— I revisited one of the "other two" from my initial list of four. One that had popped into my brain, but I had mostly dismissed pretty quickly— a ~gut inclusion, but also a gut dismissal, I think.
But I came back to it because I had been thinking of other things WH’s betrayals had in common with each other, plus some things common across his relationships with people he’s close to, and factors in common among people he’d been with before our relationship… And this one person from my original list of four just checks alllllll the boxes. I still don’t have a gut suspicion about her… yet she did make my top four brainstorm, so maybe there’s a gut suspicion there somewhere. But when I made a list of points in favor of some sort of affair and points against, there was a long, smart and highly-specific list of reasons in the "he did it" column and only maybe two items in the "he didn’t" column. One is "not his type" (LMAO, pretty weak) and the other is "I don’t have any sort of smoking gun" (of course absence of evidence is not evidence of absence— but I did search her name when I was looking into old emails and messages, and there was nothing suspicious— not that those couldn’t have been deleted).
Thanks for letting me get all that out, and thanks for any support.
If you have a similar story to share, please do! Basically if you knew you didn’t have ALL the information, and then came to find out there wasn’t much more, or there was a LOT more… I’m all ears. I mean, I guess that’s everyone, ugh. But any insights on how to process this are appreciated. Thanks again. This blows.
*I know this may not be entirely healthy, but man, it’s so early in this, I am looking for a small base of control, I think, even though I know I will be blindsided again— at least when we meet for MC next week.
**Besides the initial incident more than 25 years ago.
16 comments posted: Monday, October 31st, 2022