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For Those Who Found Out Years Later

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strivn4peace posted 8/21/2010 16:54 PM

I'm not sure if this is the right place for my question but here goes...

I found out two years after my FWH ended his last A. During my discovery of all the affairs, I learned that I was, in fact, an OW myself. My FWH was 4 months into a relationship when he met me. He didn't end that relationship until 5-6 months after we started dating. Hence, he was seeing us both at the same time (as well as other women). I found out from the discovery emails that he may have seen me one night, and her the next. We all lived far apart from each other so it was easy for him to hide his As. Neither his girlfriend nor I had any idea about each other. Nor did either of us know about his other As.

My only knowledge of her (his false story of course) was that he dated her a few times before he met me. Reason that ever came up is I attended a party with my FWH and someone asked if I was who she met at a party he attended a few weeks after we met. Other TTs occured over our engagment but I was always given the impression (until this year) that their relationship ended around the time ours began.

He broke things off with her in summer 2006. She left in tears. He continued to email her (but never saw her) for another year (until about a month before we married). During that time, he did mention he was in a new relationship when she asked to meet with him (by email) and he responded that it would not be a good idea. It was almost a year after we married (summer 2008)that he admitted to her (again in response to an email from her) that he was married. (He later said he didn't tell her before because he didn't want her to figure out that he was possibly seeing me while dating her. He didn't want to hurt HER feelings.) Their communcations became very rare by September 2007.

So my question: It's now 4 years after they broke up and contact is rare (once or twice since he told her he was married, she forwarded a mass email to him). Does she have a right to know about me? Or is this just setting up someone for being hurt when there is no more contact?

I am torn on this issue. On one hand, I want her to know that I didn't know I was an OW. It wasn't my fault. On the other hand, is it fair to bring up something from before when she has most likely moved on in her life and has no idea that she was cheated on? Should I be the only one to hurt and is telling her just being vindictive (THAT I don't want to do).

Anyone have thoughts on this?

[This message edited by strivn4peace at 4:59 PM, August 21st (Saturday)]

feelingstupid09 posted 8/21/2010 22:37 PM

5kids we are in the same boat except my WH first "encounter" with a stripper was only a couple of years after we were married, then a ONS three years later and another a couple of years later...the pattern seems to be a ONS every 2+ years if I am to believe what he tells me, which I am beginning to.

He too said, "he could no longer bear the burden. He says everyday he almost told me, wanted to tell me, but was afraid I would end our marriage and he didn't want to end our marriage. I was never replaced in his mind or his heart and what he did was stupid"

Always felt badly after, never really enjoyed it; it was more about the "chase".

We are about 18 months into R. Started really immediately because of the tremendous remorse I saw in his face and the fact he is doing everything by the "book" and he doesn't read books. He will do anything; our only real problem is "remembering" which like you said tough to remember that long ago.

I so want to contact the two women I know about, but why? What would that accomplish?

button12 posted 8/27/2010 13:06 PM

Jeez, the time-lag is sooo awful. I just found out, last week pretty much, that my partner slept with someone in the backyard of a friend's minutes from our house, while I was at home - 2 years ago. Another nail in the coffin. I'm finding it really hard to reconcile in myself.
Much love to all those in similar situations....

GraceisGood posted 9/15/2010 16:03 PM

I have read through this whole thread and I want to send ((((Hugs)))) to you all. There are so many variables in infidelity but the pain is a common factor regardless.

I have a question for those of you who spent most of your married life living in the shadow of infidelity but not knowing.

My H had his first ONS a month prior to our wedding, so I never had a fighting chance at a "real" M.

Less than 6 months into our M I "sensed" something was wrong and spent the next 19 years trying to fix it.

Anyhow, long story short, my question is this:

How do you deal with M issues when logically most of the M issues are due to infidelity? My H's guilt, anger, projection, blame shifting, gaslighting, etc it was all founded on his infidelities. Am I to just let that all go now?

What have you done?


1985 posted 9/15/2010 17:27 PM

My DDay was 25 years ago and it was 5 years after my W's A ended. So I have had a lot of time to think about the question of "am I happy I found out long after it ended or not happy".
I believe that if I had found out at the time it was actually going on (and absolutely if I had walked in on "the act") that I would have divorced. I just have concluded that it would have been too much for me to take; the doubting would have been too overwhelming; healing would not have been possible.
By finding out 5 years later I was able to see that she had ended it on her own and not because she got busted; that she had chosen to stay on her own and not because she was confronted with an immediate choice; that she had ceased contact on her own.
Those things formed a foundation for me to start from and build on emotionally.
With that foundation, we stayed together (see: recent post in Reconciliation -- "40th Anniversary").
Not to say it was easy. I still had all of the pain and anger and sense of loss and uncertainties that you all describe. It is just that I had a foundation of some positive things to come back to and cling to that would not have been there if I had discovered it in progress.

Dallas2 posted 9/16/2010 10:01 AM

1985 Thanks for the great post. I found out seven years after the A. I, like you would have divorced my FWH had I known then. We are working on R at this point in time something I would not have done then.

GraceisGood posted 9/16/2010 13:02 PM

1985 and Dallas 2 - I also probably would have D'd if I would have found out during (of course I will never really know for sure)

What I am pondering is not to stay in the M or not, what I am pondering is all the M issues over the last 22 years (17 of which he was actively cheating) and knowing that most all of those issues were a direct result of his double life. Now there is not a double life, yet I have all the wounds from all those years.

He is a "new" person but I am still the same person shaped by his "abuse" of me all those years.


Dallas2 posted 9/16/2010 22:07 PM


My MC told me to let it go. He had already punished himself all these years.On the logical side I can sort of understand this concept. He's the one who missed out on some of the most joyous times in our life. However, my heart says why should I let it go, hwen he kept the secret so long and deprived me of what we had. Like 1985 he endedon his own. Have you discussed what was happening. Is he a very insecure man or needy. Seven kids must take a lot of your energy. I also felt like he had beaten me down and then one day I realized that I had let him do it to me. I do not tolerate it anymore.
I guess you have to figure out if you still love him or not and he has to the same.
I would start with that. Are you in any type of MC and or IC. I'm doing both. It helps me to talk to somebody who doesn't take sides. I am having a hard time with this one but think about what he needs to do to help you heal and then tell him so he knows. I wish you luck and will keep you in my prayers.

played-a-fool posted 9/17/2010 11:02 AM

I found out 19 yrs after my WW's A. It may have happened 19 yrs ago for her but it happened 7 mos ago for me. A couple of things really tick me off about this. She had the A, which only consisted of 1 physical encounter but a short EA, and then went on to have another child with me. Then theres the 19 yrs of deception. If I had known for sure then I would have divorced her when there was only one child for us. Now theres a teen aged daughter in the house that needs her father. And becaue of the 19 yrs of deception I will never believe another thing she tells me. I consider her the best liar I have ever met. We are in R but I think its only for my daughter for me. WW is doing everything she is supposed to for me to heal and I am making a lot of progress but I still have doubts that I will be able to stay with her.
I agree with a lot of what 1985 says though. She ended it on her own and says she felt absolutely disgusted with what she did. She said no love or pleasure at all and she cant believe she let herself do that. She still should have told me so that I could have made my own choice. Now 19 yrs of my life are a lie and I will never get those yrs back. She says she was terrified she would loose me. I think if you look in the dictionary beside the word selfish you would see her picture. Yes, I'm more mature now and I probably would have left her back then so she's right about that, but it would have been my choice. Instead she imposed her will on my life.

GraceisGood posted 9/17/2010 11:28 AM


I only have 4 kids (not 7), we were married 8 years, together 10, before the kids came. He did the Majority of his infidelity before we had kids, so it was not like he was not getting his needs met at home because I was "focused" on the kids, my whole focus in our M was on him, I worked for him, I cleaned for him, I was available for him, cooperative for him, willing to try things for him,etc. So that dynamic does not play into our situation. And once the kids came, my habit of putting him first was so ingrained that it continued.

My H does not even realize all the things he missed out on, his self focus was so strong that he really does not have a clue, all he can see is himself and his life, he has no idea what all I suffered for him, when I tell him things from "our" past, he is totally shocked, has no recollection because he was so checked out, I have no one to witness my pain, no one to validate or authenticate it, I am just sitting on this island full of pain, no room to move all alone.

I blocked the pain for 19 years because I thought that my one and only requirement was being met. All I ever required of my H was that he be faithful. I glossed over all my pain from his mistreatment of me because I told myself that my deepest need was being met, but then I found out that it was not being met, and more so, had NEVER been met, all that pain for NOTHING. It is like wearing braces and head gear for 20 years tolerating the pain, the discomfort, spending the money, loosing time at appointments, not eating favorite foods, etc, only to have them removed and to still have crooked teeth and be embarrased to smile. And now I am to just let it go, let the orthodontist off the hook, let him put new braces on me and believe they will work this time?

No, not in IC or MC cannot afford it, but that is not to say I am not proactive, I read here, I read there, I get books at the library, I talk to people online, I tried to join BAN, have tried theophostic prayer, meditation, etc.

think about what he needs to do to help you heal and then tell him so he knows

How does one know what they need to heal. Sure I know what I need to stay in the M, transparancy, honesty, blah, blah. But what to heal, it is not like I came with a manual, do X, Y and Z and she is "cured", I have never dealt with this before, I have no frame of reference. I have never "healed" from anything, I have just kept on keeping on my whole life. I know things I think I need but my H will not do those things, he says he cannot, they are not "him" and how can I fault that or question it, what if I force him/require him to do those things and they do not work for me, they are not the key to heal me? So then I think I figure out what I need and he is going to be all on board with that after I made him do things that did not work? I think not.

At this time, out of all my reading/communicatng, etc, this quote from "How Can I Forgive You?" is what resonates with me the most:

"Health comes not from exorcising painful events from our minds but from bearing witness to our pain, acknowledging its impact, commiserating with our selves, mourning our losses, and then giving new meaning and creating new connections with people...." Just letting it go will not accomplish this will it???

Thank you for your time and thoughts, it is greatly appreciated, I am sorry I am not "easier" and cannot just have an "ah ha" moment over this, it is a huge sticking point for me.


Paperclip posted 9/17/2010 12:02 PM

I blocked the pain for 19 years because I thought that my one and only requirement was being met. All I ever required of my H was that he be faithful. I glossed over all my pain from his mistreatment of me because I told myself that my deepest need was being met, but then I found out that it was not being met, and more so, had NEVER been met, all that pain for NOTHING.

Oh Grace, I so understand this. I put up with so much, his alcoholism, smoking, drugs, mood swings, poor treatment of me, and I always told myself that I wasn't perfect either, and rationalized it as "At least he's not cheating." So on D-day, all these years of crappy treatment just hit me in the face.

I don't know - how does one go back and make retroactive boundaries? Is it reasonable for me to tell him to stop doing things that I let go all these years? It's been awful hard to face myself too and wonder how I put up with it.

I think I will bring this up next time in MC.

GraceisGood posted 9/17/2010 12:45 PM

how does one go back and make retroactive boundaries?

Great question and one I ponder as well, not only how but should.

Is it reasonable for me to tell him to stop doing things that I let go all these years?

Yes, I think it is reasonable, just like he could request changes from me I should be able to request them as well, of course that does not mean he will grant those changes, or make it easy, or not try to pull the "it never bothered you before?" line. Especially if he knew the "deal" prior to D-day was that these things slid because he was keeping up his end of the deal (being faithful), he took his end off the table, so of course you can take yours off now IMO. My H knew our "deal" I made it clear prior to M, problem is he did not really understand it, and he "heard" something different, that is on his shoulders, not mine.

It's been awful hard to face myself too and wonder how I put up with it.

Yes, that is a tough one. I know that I feel like not only did my H betray me, but I betrayed me as well. To realize how truly naive and unaware I was makes me doubt my level of awareness today. I do know how I put up with it though, I am good at playing games in my head to endure things, so good that it is just automatic, I do not even realize something makes me feel bad until much much later, so much later that it is really too late to confront or do anything about. I try to see myself ovjectively (well, as much as I can) and realize that if a stranger were to tell me my story I would feel empathy for them and try to encourage them and try to help them see that it was not deliberate, but it was ignorance. I come from a very religious background and have had humility and dying to self, and putting others first, and the idea that I am a worthless sinner, capapble of all sorts of atrocities, so who am I to judge another, etc. This plays a huge role in all this as well.

Good luck getting the answers/clarity/direction you need in this area with your MC


GraceisGood posted 9/17/2010 12:53 PM


She still should have told me so that I could have made my own choice

Yes, that is such a tough thing IMO. I thought I was living a life making my own choices and dealing with my own consequences, you know lying in my bed, and that is part of what allowed me to take so much for so long, but then to find out that those choices I made were not really mine, but based on lies and manipulation will do a mind bender on you.

I never got to make an honest fully informed choice/decision my whole adult life. Cannot get that back.

There is no restitution, there is not making it up, it is a total and complete loss.

My H cannot say that he had the truth, he choose to have 4 kids with me knowing the truth, I did not get that choice. Being someones pawn sucks, even if they were not intentionally, maliciously doing it, it still sucks.


Tryingtoheal61 posted 9/20/2010 14:56 PM

Hi, joining this thread. My F?WH's A was six years ago. The A partner told, who happens to be his ex-wife.

We were only married for two years and we were fighting a lot. XW was giving F?WH a difficult time about visitation with his daughters. XW was essentially controlling our home and older daughter in conjunction was treating me disrespectfully. Ahh, the whole blended family.

Also, please bear in mind that two years prior to that we had arrived home from our honeymoon to a lawsuit from XW. This woman created a lot of pain for F?WH and myself, so who in their right mind would have an A with such a person?! Yep, my F?WH.

During the A, as I said there was a lot of fighting. Only to come to find out that they were too. She was threatening to tell me. So, my F?WH's A was not escape, no bills, no laundry, no children that was not the case for him. Which completely boggles my mind.

He says he was afraid of losing me and his children. Of course, he wanted it all.

I had thrown him out a few times because of the fighting and then we went to counseling during that time, but he lied - shocking-not! I feel so stupid for not realizing that he was in the fog, that I thought he was just selfish and thoughtless.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I was also in pain during my marriage when we were essentially supposed to be newlyweds (our second year of marriage), he went outside of our marriage to make himself feel better. I stayed in it in pain, trying to make it work as I believed in my marriage vows.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had kicked him out for good, where would I be today. Possibly with someone else, who didn't bring this darkness to our marriage, early on and now. That woman will always be in our life in some capacity.

We are back in court regarding visitation because they had tried a second time, thought about getting remarried before he met me, had another child and because they were divorced and child was born after that, there is no court order regarding that child. We have been in and out of court for 8 years. XW is with someone else and has been for three years, but still gives my F?WH difficulty about visiting with his daughter. I'm not sure if I can tolerate another 6 years.

GraceisGood posted 9/20/2010 17:28 PM

Tryingtoheal61 -

I am sorry for why you are here, but welcome, and nice to meet you.

You are in a super tough bind with the Ow being the X and the child visitation and all. I do not have such experience so cannot offer any advise, sorry.

I get frustrated because I was also in pain during my marriage when we were essentially supposed to be newlyweds (our second year of marriage), he went outside of our marriage to make himself feel better. I stayed in it in pain, trying to make it work as I believed in my marriage vows.

Do you mind sharing what kind of pain you were in during your M? I too was in pain during my M pre D-day.

It feels to me that many people on SI had good M pre D-day (I know this is a generalization, and there are many different types of M Pre D-day, this is just how I feel)and they want to go back to the pre A M. I do not want the pre A M, so I am intrigued to see someone who was in pain as I was (not infidelity related directly) in their M and I desire to know what they feel about it.


Dallas2 posted 9/21/2010 05:07 AM

He a new person but I'm the same one formed by all years of abuse from him

This as been so true for me too. The I realized I allowed it to happen. I felt he was such a good man to stay with me when I became chronically ill and unable to work. No more will I put up with his treatment of me. But I seem to still not push my new M boundries but am working on it.

Tryingtoheal61 posted 9/21/2010 10:02 AM


Thanks for the welcome, nice people here, but wish I didn't have to join the club.

Anyway, you asked what kind of pain I was in before D-day, it was during the first two years of our marriage. He has two daughters and I have a son from a previous marriage for him and a previous relationship for me. Anyway, his oldest daughter and my son are only 1 year apart in age, but the discrepancies about how consequences were handed out were very different. My SD was allowed to disrespect me in my home. I didn't appreciate it and was vocal about it. I will give you one example that has stuck with me, I was outside working in my garden in the front yard. WH and SD walk in, SD looks at me and doesn't acknowledge me in any way. As if I'm non-existent. I mention it to my WH, I'm upset, angry, hurt, he doesn't want to talk about it (sweep it under the rug, like many things) and wants to take her out for her birthday and act as if nothing happened. Making me feel like I am nothing in my home. Which led to a screaming fight in the middle of a parking lot restaurant. Unfortunately, there were many incidences like that.

Also, it was very confusing because I treated my son and his youngest daughter essentially the same, he never said a word about guiding them, reprimanding them, asking them to help with dinner dishes, set the table, clear, whatever. If I looked at his oldest daughter and he thought I was crossed eyed, he would flip out. Yelling at me for looking at her like that. Our MC at the time said, to ask oldest daughter to help with whatever, I would as was directed by our MC and WH would lose his mind. So, then I would ask him to ask her and then, again, he would say just ask her. I was so lost confuse, felt like I was twisting in the wind.

Since we have been back at MC it has been discovered that my WH is NPD with lack of empathy. Our MC said he could not help us until we went to IC. I had gone a few times, but at this point, feel pretty good and have stopped. My WH is still in IC and may be for some time.

I'm not sure if we are going to go back to MC, but eventually I would like to because I have residual pain from that part of life. I felt like he was taking and taking and not protecting me. It felt like he, his ex-wife and oldest daughter were my enemies. Still trying to work through that.

[This message edited by Tryingtoheal61 at 10:05 AM, September 21st (Tuesday)]

Tryingtoheal61 posted 9/21/2010 12:09 PM

Just wanted to add, that since D-Day my F?WH is becoming the man I knew he could be. Our marriage seems more respectful, he rarely communicates with XW, mostly through lawyers and oldest daughter lives on her own and seems to have grown up somewhat, she's still young and needs some maturing. So, no, I would not want to go back to that time. If our marriage had continued on that track, we would be divorced.

GraceisGood posted 9/21/2010 13:15 PM

Tryingtoheal61 - thank you so much for sharing more of your story. I can relate even though ours was not a blended family as yours is.

My H too would flop back an forth, getting mad at me for doing one thing, then get mad at me for later trying to do it his way, telling me then to do it the way I did it the first time. Yes, it is crazy making.

My H had not empathy either. He is slowly learning it, what is frustrating is to see his empathy for others, his response to sad stories on the news, or things in our friends life, yet his lack of awareness of my need for his empathy.

Good luck with your continued journey through this, glad your H is keeping up with his IC.


Dallas2 posted 10/22/2010 10:05 AM

I hope this isthe right place for this,
My H had an A seven years ago I just found out in April this year. He extremely reluctant to talk about it. Well during our last conversation he told me he had seen her at a party a few years ago with her new boyfriend and since heard she had gotten M. Then a little later he said a couple of years ago he heard she had breast cancer.
Is it normal for a WS spouse to keep hearing about his AP through the years or is my gut right in feeling he asks about her?

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