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Double Whammy

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ShutterHappy posted 6/25/2020 03:47 AM

It is clear to me that she is truly remorseful. She has absolutely refused to blame anything about me or our marriage as the reason for her straying.

So that gives you the option of R or D. You can even try R right now, change your mind and D two years down the road; you have options.

Instead of being her protector, focus on your needs.

Are you leaning towards one or the other option at this point?

[This message edited by ShutterHappy at 3:48 AM, June 25th (Thursday)]

Riddle67 posted 6/25/2020 10:17 AM

Thank you to everyone who took the time to offer a response. I've found that thinking about and processing everything seems overwhelming. And yet there are themes in the responses that I think have helped me focus. It's true that this is a club that I never wanted to join, but I'm grateful that all of you are here.

From some of the responses, I realize I need to offer some more detail on my wife's work situation. Within a year of the affair ending my wife was laid off from her job. The AP was no longer her boss at the time so had no role in the layoff. My wife found a better job relatively quickly, and since then has found an even better job and the new company has treated her wonderfully during her sick leave. The AP was laid off a year ago, and has yet to find another job. I presume it's pretty hard to find one now in that industry thanks to COVID. I'm happy with that fate for him. Without letting my wife off the hook for one second, I have a particular dislike for bosses who take advantage of their position, which clearly happened in this case. I am a boss and have had many women working for me over the years. The thought of having relations with any of them, even if both of us were single, repulses me because of the clear misbalanced power dynamic. While both the AP and my wife crossed the infidelity boundary, he alone crossed a separate workplace ethical boundary.

Several people mentioned that I need to tell the OBW. I know this is practically a hard and fast rule on SI. But I've also read many differing opinions outside of SI. In this case, the affair is over and there has been no contact for 2 years (I've investigated call records and email and the evidence backs that up). Also, the OBW used to work in the same industry as her cheating husband. It's a relatively small industry where everybody knows everybody else and if OBW and/or the AP decide to bad mouth my wife it could seriously affect my wife's earning power. And that would affect my kids directly, as well as me in a reconciliation. Not worth the risk. I do believe the OBW has an absolute right to know. I don't believe it is my obligation to tell her. It's the obligation of her cheating husband.

I spent the first week after learning about the affair plotting revenge against the AP. I tracked down his current phone numbers, address, name of wife and kids etc. But after a lot of reading about infidelity and the aftermath I've decided I have no interest in revenge. My issue is with my wife, and I feel I need to spend all my energy on dealing with that, as well as helping her heal from the cancer.

Several others also brought up that HPV passed on from the affair could be a possible source of the cancer. This is likely true. The cancer biopsy for my wife showed "light staining" on the HPV test. Further tests were inconclusive. The doctors have concluded it was likely HPV related but can't say for sure. In all honesty, I hope it is HPV related because that means the chances of the cancer coming back are very slim. Obviously, it sucks for me that I've likely beeen exposed to HPV through no fault of my own. I guess I can take some solace in that my risk profile is the same as 60 or 70 percent of the adult population. In hindsight, I'm amazed it didn't occur to me after the HPV stain test to ask my wife if there had ever been anyone else, but I didn't. As I said, I had total trust. And yes, STD testing is booked for me.

A number of people questioned the timing of her telling me about the affair. A cyncial view is that my wife has used the cancer to simply unload her guilt on me. Believe me, I understand the pull to be cynical now. But truthfully, this makes no sense to me. It seems to me that she has simply traded the guilt she felt for not telling me about the affair, for a new guilt as she sees me in a huge amount of pain that she caused.

I asked my wife why she told me when she did. Her answer was that she felt she was dying. After the excruciating treatment every part of her body hurt, from top to bottom. She became convinced that the cancer had spread with every new sensation of pain. We have since learned from the cancer psychiatrist she's dealing with that this is very common right after cancer treatment ends. My wife says as she resigned herself to the idea that she was going to die she could not shake the thought that if she died I would be mourning her as a wonderful, loving and caring wife - and that she couldn't stand the idea of me mourning an incomplete or wrong picture of her. That I deserved to mourn her knowing everything. She also felt maybe that would make it somewhat less painful for me to mourn her. When she began suffering what looked to me like a full nervous breakdown, she felt she had reached now or never time, that there might not be another opportunity to ever tell me. She told me when she was at the most vulnerable point of her life. I had never seen her so broken. But she said she was willing to accept whatever happened to her as a result, even if it was me dropping her off at her brother's house and saying good luck. I believe her. She was in no state to demand anything from me at that point. And if she was gambling that I wouldn't follow through on what I said I would do that was a risky bet - she knows I tend to follow through on what I say.

MickeyBill2016 asked the following:

Is the affair something that you could forgive if she did not have cancer, if she had the affair ended it and then you found out on the same timetable..?
My ability to forgive is based on two things I think - my love for my wife, and my belief that she loves me, is truly remorseful and is willing to do whatever it takes to help repair what she has broken in me. So yes, if you subtract cancer from the equation, I don't think anything changes in my ability to forgive.

fooled13years asked whether I still feel I could never forgive my wife for infidelity and would divorce her. The thing about when I repeatedly said that I would divorce her is that it's not something I ever thought about seriously. I had total trust in my wife that she had never cheated and never would. I treated these exchanges as part of the regular light hearted banter that we often engaged in and basically just threw out that response almost by rote without thinking very hard about it. I figured I was just stating the obvious - that cheating is bad. It never occured to me that she had already cheated on me. The moment she revealed she had cheated on me, I realized within an instant that the question of what to do is actually way more complicated than I had ever considered, cancer or no cancer.
fooled13years also recommended I don't have an RA. A revenge affair is something I have zero interest in. I'm not willing to compromise on my own morals. Plus now that I know first hand how horribly painful it is to be betrayed, I can't imagine inflicting this pain on anyone, nevermind someone I love.

Bigger suggested I break everything into individual problems:

I see three major projects ahead. Three things for you to focus on.
If you can – then consider addressing what I think might be the most important two.
1) Your WW recovery.
2) Your personal recovery.
3) The infidelity.
I really appreciate this advice. I think so far I've been treating all of this as one giant mess. But you're right, this is exactly how I would deal with a crisis at work - break it down into individual problems and deal with them one by one.

And finally, to Throwaway999. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I feel I'm lucky in the sense I will have the time I need to process everything with my wife. It sounds to me like you may not. I wish you all the best in your struggle. I'm sending good thoughts and vibes your way.

fareast posted 6/25/2020 10:30 AM

Riddle67:

You obviously think things through and have a good head on your shoulders. Bigger has given you great advice. Make sure to take time for you. Take care of you. Be vigilant.

[This message edited by fareast at 8:57 PM, June 26th (Friday)]

faithfulman posted 6/25/2020 10:47 AM

It is clear to me that she is truly remorseful.

Nope. She didn't tell you until the moment when you leaving would make you the villain.

Maybe she felt guilty because she saw what a great husband you are to see her through this dark time.


Like Golden R wrote:

Confessing while she's suffering from cancer and its treatment is emotional manipulation. She gets to alleviate her guilt and she knows you won't leave her while she's dealing with her health crisis.

I don't know that anyone would advocate you leaving her at this time while she is sick.

But don't be surprised if she has minimized the extent of her relationship with her boss, the true scope and degree of horrible things she did, what she said, what she planned, and why it really ended.

Not to mention if this was the only person.

It's pretty much always worse than what a cheater admits to.

Several people mentioned that I need to tell the OBW. I know this is practically a hard and fast rule on SI. But I've also read many differing opinions outside of SI. In this case, the affair is over and there has been no contact for 2 years (I've investigated call records and email and the evidence backs that up). Also, the OBW used to work in the same industry as her cheating husband. It's a relatively small industry where everybody knows everybody else and if OBW and/or the AP decide to bad mouth my wife it could seriously affect my wife's earning power. And that would affect my kids directly, as well as me in a reconciliation. Not worth the risk. I do believe the OBW has an absolute right to know. I don't believe it is my obligation to tell her. It's the obligation of her cheating husband.

Not telling the other betrayed spouse would be your biggest mistake ever.

What if your wife's sickness is due to HPV or something similar?

Shouldn't this woman know?

Wouldn't you want to be informed if somebody else knew your wife was screwing someone else?

Maybe give this woman some agency in her life because this dude has probably cheated on her before and after your wife.

Telling the other betrayed spouse is not about revenge or anything like that. (Though screwing up the cheating bosses so he gets his comeuppance is a nice effect of this course of action.)It is about doing the right thing.

Do the right thing Riddle.

Butforthegrace posted 6/25/2020 11:02 AM

Also, the OBW used to work in the same industry as her cheating husband. It's a relatively small industry where everybody knows everybody else and if OBW and/or the AP decide to bad mouth my wife it could seriously affect my wife's earning power. And that would affect my kids directly, as well as me in a reconciliation. Not worth the risk.

Condensed version: "I'm afraid it will get back to my WW and she will be mad." We see it a lot from newly minted BH's. Fear is a common feeling at this point. You just learned that what you thought you had is an illusion. Your WW has been lying to you every day for the past 5 years about the state of your marriage. 1,800 + days. The woman you are married to is the kind of woman who will fuck her boss in a car, for years, and come home and look you in the eye and say nothing. Unprotected sex, contracting an STD and passing it along secretly to you, negating your agency in terms of an ability to make your own decision about what you will do.

Man, do the right thing. If the OBW knew that there was an HPV infection being spread by this man to people he has sexual contact with and called to tell you, you'd be grateful.

As to bad-mouthing and its impact on a career, the same is true in the other direction. Your WW could bad-mouth the AP and hurt his earning power. "He was a boss who abused his authority. A sexual predator spreading an STD." It's a detente. SI is filled with threads by BH's who feared something like this before disclosing, then, after disclosing, came back and reported that it was the best thing they've done, the OBW was grateful, they learned a lot about the A, etc. Imagine the world if everybody who is faced in life with a moment to take decisive, morally right actions, decided against acting out of fear. Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Are you Chamberlain or Churchill?

I asked my wife why she told me when she did. Her answer was that she felt she was dying.

That's such a cheap, shitty reason. Lie to you until she thinks she has reached the bitter end, then dump a shit sandwich on you to alleviate her own guilt so she can croak, leaving you alone to munch the shit sandwich by yourself. There has been a lot of talk about this on SI, and the consensus here is that if you've withheld this secret for life and are on the brink of death, that's the wrong time to tell your BH. Take it to the grave at that point. Confessing on a perceived deathbed is simply another selfish wayward act by a wife whose whole marriage for years has been one long string of selfish wayward acts.

You're kidding yourself with the "I can see now she tried to tell me" crap. "If you had an affair I'd forgive you." That's not trying to tell you. That's bottom-feeder fishing, hoping that you might reveal that you had one so she can then blame you and frame her own affair in the context of that blame. It is your wife trying to figure out a way to paint her A as okay.

Riddle, you're still new in the process. You should expect your emotions to fluctuate a lot. At some point your anger will come in. Right now, I hear a lot of hopium in your posts. You, like lots of newly minted BH's, are clinging to the idea that your marriage is the one pink unicorn that, unlike every other marriage stained by infidelity, can recover miraculously, with no pain, no anger, no consequences.

You have a long road ahead of you and one day you'll look back on those improvident hopes and beliefs with a wry but grim chuckle.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 5:53 AM, June 26th (Friday)]

Sunspot posted 6/25/2020 11:52 AM

it could seriously affect my wife's earning power.

Please don't refrain from doing the right thing just because of money.

beenthereinco posted 6/25/2020 11:55 AM

And if she was gambling that I wouldn't follow through on what I said I would do that was a risky bet - she knows I tend to follow through on what I say.

I don't think it is that much of a gamble, she knows that you are not the kind of man to leave her in the middle of this health crisis. A gamble would be to tell you that when she was healthy.

Throwaway999 posted 6/25/2020 11:56 AM

I agreed 100% with telling the OBS. I know in my situation, had I been told by the OSB at the time...I could have dealt with the affair then. Not finding out years later...many years that stole my choice to decide the fate of my marriage. Decide what I choose to do with the rest of my life.

By confessing years later and during cancer treatment does highly impact your thought processes. It’s much harder to objectively see the person you are married too. She is suffering...both mentally and physically from the cancer...been there, done that. It clouds your vision. It’s definitely harder to objectively take off the rose colored glasses and look at the damage done by your wife to your marriage.

On top of all that being said....the HPV does impact the OBS health and frankly telling her is the moral thing to do. By not telling her you are contributing to taking away the choices in the OBS life as well.

There must be some part of you that wishes that you had found out at the time of the affair....don’t wait any longer...do the right thing.

Carissima posted 6/25/2020 12:35 PM

I'm sorry but if your WW's cancer was possibly linked to HPV then you were probably told that it can take years to develop. This means the OBS is maybe sitting right now with a ticking clock death sentence she doesn't know about just because it may harm your WW's earning potential.
I admit I'm always on the side of telling anyway but this time not to seems especially, morally wrong.

Bigger posted 6/25/2020 13:23 PM

For many it won’t make any difference why your WW decided to tell you about her affair when she did. If she tells you she’s a witch, if you had found out some other way, they claim she should have told you and since she didn’t, she’s a witch. It’s a no-win situation.

Based on what YOU share – and that’s all we have – she possibly tried telling you previously.
OK – one can argue that she should have told you despite you telling her infidelity would automatically lead to divorce. I actually think that would have been the correct “brave” thing for her to do. But she didn’t.

I always think that a voluntary confession always indicates that the WS has remorse. It shows an admittance that carrying this albatross around her neck will prevent her from being whole in the marriage. I doubt it’s the “correct” remorse, the remorse she needs to end up feeling if you two reconcile. Like a lot of emotions remorse has many shades and the eventual type is the type that is gleaned when she finally understands the damage she did and what she risked. I have yet to read about the WS that has the final, eventual remorse right at d-day that they might have a year later.

If she told you in some attempt to force you to hang around while she was battling cancer then it begs the question why? Why not simply keep the secret? You would have been around anyways.

Irrespective of why she told you then YOU are free to choose your own path out of infidelity. Be it with your wife or be it without her. You have no obligation to reconcile, not any more that you should automatically divorce.

With your text about what other sites say about exposing to the OMW.
This site is purely based on the experiences of those that have been there, walked the walk and drank the Kool Aid. This is not theory – this is experience.
I do some DIY on cars. I challenge you to find any book, site or association that suggests adding cinnamon to the coolant can fix smaller holes in a radiator. Yet any salty garage-monkey knows it works. As far as infidelity is concerned we – the mechanics of SI – know ALL the tricks.

Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that YOUR case is exceptional and unique. The only unique factor is that it’s YOU and YOUR marriage. Other than that – the reasons she confessed, how the affair took place, where, whom, the consequences… we have seen it all in one form or another.

I stand by my advice: Split your issues into smaller more manageable bites. I agree with you that the affair isn’t active, and that gives you the privilege of TIME. That time should be spent on personal recovery and helping your wife in her healing. It should also be spent in analyzing your options. Get a GOOD view of divorce. Get a GOOD view on what you would need to reconcile. Later – maybe only a couple of weeks from now – you can better decide where your best path lies.

rambler posted 6/25/2020 21:47 PM

So she lied for 5 years and now you should trust what she says.

Don't you think that eventually you may have put this together. I am sure her doctors are aware.

Your state may have laws where your wife may be required to notify sex partners if she has an std.

Remorse is her feeling your pain. Reget is how it impacts her.

Butforthegrace posted 6/26/2020 07:33 AM

I always think that a voluntary confession always indicates that the WS has remorse.

Bigger, I find your posts to be filled with wisdom and insight. But this once I disagree with you, slightly. In most cases, like you, I feel a voluntary, unprompted confession is an "un-wayward" thing to do, a sign of some degree of remorse.

Except.

Except one that occurs when the confessor believes she is on her deathbed. In that instance, the confession has no chance of leading to reconciliation. It is simply unburdening herself of her internal guilt, whilst plopping a shit sandwich in her BH's lap as a valedictory "think of this when you remember me" gesture. It's the height of selfishness.

Bor9455 posted 6/26/2020 08:25 AM

BS ONLY

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:22 PM, August 6th (Thursday)]

Westway posted 6/26/2020 09:11 AM

My issue is with my wife, and I feel I need to spend all my energy on dealing with that, as well as helping her heal from the cancer.

Okay, but you don't have to be her emotional tampon.

My wife says as she resigned herself to the idea that she was going to die she could not shake the thought that if she died I would be mourning her as a wonderful, loving and caring wife - and that she couldn't stand the idea of me mourning an incomplete or wrong picture of her. That I deserved to mourn her knowing everything. She also felt maybe that would make it somewhat less painful for me to mourn her.

Total utter horseshit. Manipulation in it's most syrupy, romance novel form. This isn't the movie "The Other Man" and you're not Liam Neeson and she's not Laura Linney. You tell your WW the next time she says something stupid like that you're gone.

She told you about the affair because of guilt and shame, and because she was an emotional mess. Women babble and gush the first crap that comes to their minds when their emotions run over the rim.

Stinger posted 6/26/2020 09:34 AM

Yes, that noble motive for telling you so you would mourn less is complete drivel, as is her claim that she tried telling you. Your wife seems very adept at manipulation.

Your decision is going to boil down to whether you can stomach betrayal long term. Some people can. Others cannot.

Riddle67 posted 6/26/2020 10:38 AM

Bigger,

Thanks again for another thoughtful response.

I doubt it’s the “correct” remorse, the remorse she needs to end up feeling if you two reconcile.

I hadn't thought of things this way, but it does make a lot of sense to me that there are different levels and stages of remorse. I would agree, I can't imagine that she truly understands the damage she's done to me until she's actually seen my pain for an extended period of time. She could have remorse for having the affair, but it probably needs to be combined with remorse from actually watching me truly suffer now that I know.

You have no obligation to reconcile, not any more that you should automatically divorce.

I don't feel any obligation. I feel to have the affair or not have the affair, and to tell me or not tell me, has been totally within her sole control for 5 years. I had no control over any of that and it was massively unfair. Now, aside from the cancer and whatever happens with that, I have control. What happens next is my decision to make.

This site is purely based on the experiences of those that have been there, walked the walk and drank the Kool Aid. This is not theory – this is experience.

I don't dismiss the collected experience of all you here on SI. I'm simply saying that right now, in my current state of mind, that's where my decision sits. It could easily change as I move forward. Heaven knows, my mind never stops thinking and re-thinking everything. I wish I could stop it even just for a while. We started watching Breaking Bad because I wanted to get my mind off things. That was a mistake. First, cancer is big part of the plot and so every time I saw all the MRI and CT and PET machines in the show I immediately went straight back to the cancer journey. And then there's a part where the wife has an affair with her boss. Well that just sent me reeling. And this was all to take my mind off things! I like to relax watching movies and tv series but it seems almost everything has an affair or sickness or betrayal in it. Am I ever going to be able watch these again? How long does it take for my mind to stop spinning at a hundred miles an hour? I find myself fantasizing about being able to speed up time just so I can quickly get to a place where I can feel better.

Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that YOUR case is exceptional and unique. The only unique factor is that it’s YOU and YOUR marriage.

Who knows? Maybe I am falling into that trap. Although the reason I've spent hours and hours reading threads here on SI was because of my desperate need to find out my situation is NOT unique, that there are others who have faced the same things and survived. And I kind of have found that, even the cancer angle. Do I feel my odds of reconciliation or divorce are better or different from others? I don't think I do. I think I'm facing thoroughly average odds.

Bigger posted 6/26/2020 11:07 AM

Riddle67

I’ll give you this:
If the affair is active, I am 100% on the tell-the-other-spouse bandwagon.
There are moral aspects to why, but I have always said the main reason is simply to make the affair real. It’s a preventive measure. Bring it out of fantasy into reality. It generally gives you – the BS – a clearer view on where the WS path lies. In 9/10 cases exposure to the OPS ends the affair.

In your case – when time passes, and you don’t think the affair is active – IMHO it’s more a moral issue and less a preventive one. If you are OK with not having that bit more prevention and morally your are OK with not telling her… Well… It’s your call. I won’t judge.

Bor9455 posted 6/26/2020 11:08 AM

BS ONLY

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:22 PM, August 6th (Thursday)]

Westway posted 6/26/2020 16:05 PM

Ozark for me comes to mind, the first episode the woman's AP dies as he falls out of his penthouse onto the concrete. My wife and I talked through that episode and how it made me feel, etc. Part of me cheered when I saw that scene.

She is a very good example of what you do not want in a WW. I'm amazed Marty didn't knock her out when she punched him for telling her he was glad the OM was killed.

Hurtmyheart posted 6/26/2020 16:20 PM

Hits very close to home. This is all so deep. Sorry you are going through this.

[This message edited by Hurtmyheart at 6:37 PM, June 26th (Friday)]

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