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3 months in

Pages: 1 · 2

Onward1 posted 3/24/2021 12:56 PM

Hi folks. This is my first post. Iím three months past D-day.

First off, a huge thank you to everyone on SI for being here. Iíve leaned heavily on your words over the last few months of hell.

My wife and I have been married 25-years and together for 33. College sweethearts. Two teen aged kids. Storybook life, or so I thought. I found out that, ten years ago, she conducted a 3-year EA/PA over the course of 10-12 business trips to another state. She also stayed in contact with the OM for years after the PA. I actually knew of the relationship, but she told me early on that he was gay (this deception hurts almost as much as anything). Additionally, she had a one-day alcohol-and-drug-fueled hookup in 2017 at a music festival. Just incomprehensible. I found all of this out in a letter I discovered. After endless discussions and teeth-gnashing, Iím confident this is the whole truth. Weíre in MC and both in IC. Sheís been very forthcoming, is remorseful, is resolute about wanting to reconcile, and professes her true love for me daily. She answers every question I ask. Before D-day (during Covid lockdown), she and I were actually doing well after years of her drinking too much and spending too much time with friends and not enough at home. She had been living in shame for years. Sheís now stopped drinking (Ďfor goodí) and is starting AA.

Iím in a different boat. Iím buried in mind movies, obsessive thoughts, incessant questions, rage, poor sleep, bad dreams, depression, etc. But I love her and I do want to stay together. I can actually envision a foggy future where she regains my trust and I move toward forgiveness. But this question just keeps ringing in my head: Can I live with this? Can I actually make it through each day knowing what she did? Can I ever respect her again?

Weíre spending most of our time together. Weíre discussing things every day, enjoying sex (mostly trigger-free), and stumbling through this shit show together. Iím working hard not to put pressure on myself to make any decisions.

But I could use your advice. I feel panic around this question. Can I live with this?

Does this resonate with anyone?

asc1226 posted 3/24/2021 14:21 PM

Sheís now stopped drinking (Ďfor goodí) and is starting AA.

People in AA can bond closely. Check and see if female only meetings are available.

This0is0Fine posted 3/24/2021 15:48 PM

You are asking yourself the right questions. If you find yourself answer that it is a dealbreaker, that's completely fine and totally understandable.

You do have to live with this if you want R.

When you get to the other side, it will be a part of your story you don't sweep under the rug, and doesn't cause you daily pain (if you really can live with it). Can you imagine one day saying to a friend without shame or remorse, "My wife was unfaithful for years, but we worked through that and I know she won't do that again."

Will you feel you lose integrity or self-worth? Do your core values support reconciling with your betrayer or are you ignoring them in the name of love?

These are hard questions. I don't know if you have the answer to them now. You might not have them until later. You are always allowed to change your mind, which is freeing on the one hand, but maddening on the other if you find yourself waffling.

JoVCT posted 3/24/2021 16:12 PM

Yes, Onward1, this absolutely resonates. I am 10 mos post D Day. Similarly storybook life (or so I also thought.) Married 38 yrs, together 47. 2 great sons. He had an EA with some PA thrown in for 15 yrs. She was a bored housewife, my formerly WH was looking for more attention. My discovery almost broke me, and it absolutely terrified him because he was suddenly aware of what he stood to lose. He has done everything right since I found out. I am sure it is over, I am sure he would never do it again. He shows love for me every day, allows me to look at his email and texts any time I want. We are on a very good path, and I would say that our marriage is stronger right now than it has ever been. And still.... I am tortured by thoughts and fantasies about what was going on. About the loving emails he wrote her. About the long phone calls they shared almost daily. He is so sorry and so ashamed, and I appreciate that. But still.... It has gotten better over these past 10 mos, and I know I made the right decision, but I am not sure I will ever be able to truly forgive him, and I am pretty sure I will never ever forget.

[This message edited by joannt1002 at 4:14 PM, March 24th (Wednesday)]

Unhinged posted 3/24/2021 16:43 PM

I'd imagine your post is going to resonate with just about every betrayed spouse here. It's a tough question and one that doesn't have an easy answer. To be honest, the only way you'll ever know whether or not you can "live with this" to is give reconciliation a try. If she's able to own and fix her shit, rebuild trust and faith, then, perhaps, you'll be able to live with it.

Iím buried in mind movies, obsessive thoughts, incessant questions, rage, poor sleep, bad dreams, depression, etc.
I feel ya, brother. Pretty sure we all go through it.

One of the things that helped me most with the mind movies was recognizing that every single one of those mind movies was deserving of a "Raspberry Award." They all sucked. The director sucked, the writer was a hack, the lighting was all wrong, sound a cacophony, and the editing pure shit. So, I fired the producer!

No matter how hard you try (or don't try), mind movies are NEVER close to the reality of the situation (unless you were an actual witness).

Obsessive thoughts and incessant questions are par for the course, unfortunately. As you get your questions answers and start to untangle those obsessive thoughts, I think you'll find that both begin to ebb, however slowly.

Rage. Ooh... I felt such rage that I even scared myself. The rage, more than anything, is why I sought out professional help. I got lucky(ish), I think. My IC was an XBH (remarried) and an anger management specialist and teacher (wonder why those go hand in hand ). I only saw him a few times, once a month for a while. He helped. It was time and money well spent.

Sleep was a big problem, too. I couldn't sleep and wound up exhausted. I tried a mild OTC sleep aid, which sort of worked. I smoked a lot of weed, which also helped, but I'd been doing that since I was out of the Navy (don't much like alcohol).

Exercise, wearing yourself out physically, is probably your best bet. The endorphins and hormones were tremendously helpful (still are, in fact).

I also couldn't eat, which probably compounded all of the above. I lost over 30lbs in about two months. Somehow, that weight found me again, but that's another story.

All of what you're feeling, including depression, is all too common for betrayed spouses. It takes times and a little bit of work on yourself to overcome it all.

Take some time and read through some of the articles in The Healing Library (see link in yellow shaded area at the top-left of the page).

Keep on reading and posting, Onward1. I'm sorry you've had to find us here. Welcome to the greatest club that no one ever wanted to join.

Butforthegrace posted 3/24/2021 16:45 PM

Hello Onward.

If you've been together 33 years after meeting as college sweethearts, that puts you both around age 53 now? Two teenage kids?

You say that she had an EA/PA that lasted about 3 years. If my reckoning is right, this happened around ages 40-43 (years 2009-2011)? If your kids are 13 and 15 now, they were 3 and 5 when this occurred? Your WW was perhaps a SAHM when the kids were young? When youngest reached age 3, she was feeling like she had lost herself as an individual with a meaningful role in the world and found refuge with another man.

By the way, if she stayed in contact with him for years, then the EA was ongoing. It's more accurate to say she had an affair that was 10 years (if that's the correct time), with a PA component that occurred over about 3 of those years (assuming she's not lying about that -- cheaters lie and minimize almost always).

Why did she end it? Where is the AP now? Who is he (in other words -- do you know him)?

What about the hookup in 2017? What was she doing at a drug-fueled weekend music festival without her husband, in 2017, as a nearly 50-year old mother and wife? Was the hook up with the same man who was the earlier AP?

I do think you'd find a lot more advice if you were to post this thread on a forum like General or Just Found Out.

Meanwhile, I'll confirm to you that your questions are normal. She has had years to process her infidelity (assuming you know the whole truth -- she is a serial cheater, suggesting there could be more); to you, it's as if it happened the day you found out.

One of the long-term questions you'll need to answer for your self is what you'll say to yourself as you stare yourself down in the bathroom mirror 5 years from now, or 10. At age 53, you're still young enough to start over. Age 63, it will be harder. Time passes and is lost forever. There is in fact time pressure on you to make this decision.

One of the factors that is unique to the "found out years later" scenario is whether the marriage was a dream-come-true in the years in between. It has been about 4 years since your wife last had sex with another man. Has she thrown herself heart and soul into being the best wife a man could dream of having during those four years, as if she was trying to prove to herself, and the world, that she's better than just a woman who cheats? I say it that way because you should assume that the four years before your Dday are the best you're going to have as long as you stay married to her. Going forward, there will always be the overlay of the trauma and humiliation and pain of her cheating.

Were those four years your dream-come-true as a man and a husband?

Another factor is the surreality. You look back at those years before Dday. Every day she lied to you. To your face. Like in the vicinity of 4000 days she has looked you in the eye, the man to whom she vowed devotion and fidelity, and lied as she carried on with her AP, at least emotionally. Really, dawg? A human who chooses to do that to a spouse, is that a human you are actually considering staying married to?

Another factor is the apparent lack of consequences if you stay. She had gave herself a secret hall pass, had her fun, lived 10 or so years in a private, one-sided open marriage with some NSA recreational sex on the side as you chugged away like an unwitting useful engine, working your job, bringing home your paycheck, fathering your children. Now, she gets to pass go and collect $200 without going to jail, just move on in life enjoying the final turn toward the golden years knowing her devoted husband is around to care for her as she grows old and feeble? Does she deserve that from you?

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:43 PM, March 24th (Wednesday)]

Wiseoldfool posted 3/24/2021 17:06 PM

My wife and I have been married 29 years, together for 35. Our sons are a little older than your kids.

Ten years ago, my wife began a three year affair with my best friend. It continued for three years.

I did not learn of it until about three years ago, but I didnít get the full truth until about four months ago.

I promise you I have walked your path. Your post reveals a man whose dilemma is mine. The mind movies, the resentment, the rage.

I warn you now that there is a substantial contingent of posters here who I will call the "burn the witch" gang. They will savage you, degrade your wife, and heap humiliation upon you at the slightest hint that you would consider remaining married to her. Needless to say, these men are all divorced.

There are also numerous former wayward wives here who share their stories of redemption and the grace their husbands have shown them. They have earned that grace, and they pay their dues every day.

As for me, I will say this: I do agree with at least one thing Butforthegrace observed: the wife you had in hand after her affair but before your discovery of it - if that wife is not worth the effort then the one you have now certainly is not. If the wife you had after her affair but before your discovery of it was the wife you would conjure from central casting, then you have a shot if you want it.

Itís hard. Iím working on the grace and redemption part of it. I think itís worth it, but I might change my mind. It does get better if she does her part consistently.

Stick around, take what works for you and leave the rest. Youíre among friends here.

HDENUFF75 posted 3/24/2021 20:01 PM

Donít try to answer that now. And donít be hard on yourself because you do not know the answer right now. You will know with time; time makes everything a little easier. You will know based on her actions. I beat myself up in the beginning because I did not know the answer either. Once I told myself that I didnít need to figure that out now a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. You will have to live with it whether you stay in the marriage or not. But it is definitely harder having the perpetrator of the crime in your bed. The first year for me was more about trying to stay alive literally so focus on yourself and donít worry about the future, the questions you canít answer now but tell yourself you will just figure it out one day.

The1stWife posted 3/25/2021 05:10 AM

Itís hard to make the decision sometimes to D or reconcile.

Can you live with it? Some of us can and do. Some of us cannot or donít.

Many of us think - cheat on me and itís time to D. But then it happens and we choose a different option.

I would say to my H (college sweetheart like you) often ó please donít cheat. I get you may decide one day this marriage no longer works but just tell me. Donít cheat. Because once you cheat I lose all respect for you.

Unfortunately my H decided to lie and cheat.

I hope you happily reconcile like we did.

Justsomeguy posted 3/25/2021 11:13 AM

I want to caution you against what I would call the false duality paradigm. SI has a spectrum of position and experiences. To day there is a "burn the witch" crowd balanced with a "grace" crowd is to ignore this spectrum. I is possible to choose to D without wanting to destroy your WW, but rather because you recognize that this unilateral choice made by her and for you, does not fit with your core values and ethics. You also may stay with her and just live with it. R is a spectrum from "stronger than ever" to "waiting for the sweet release of death"...

We have also seen many members return from the land of "stronger than ever", only to realize it wasnt, or their cheater lied (can you believe it!). Others realized later that they couldn't live with it.
One thing I know is that the full truth, usually never is
It's generally followed by a new discover followed by "I didnt want to hurt you any more"... I think you should assume you dont know everything, and what you dont lnow, probably is a dealbreaker in your WWs mind.

I use to pride myself that I didn't hate anyone, that I could go anywhere in my town and not run into anyone i had an issue with. I tried to do everything in love. Well, my STBXWW took care of that, and now i live my life with my head on a swivel, loking for her AP.
Ducks for a man who has prided himself on his agreeableness.

In the end, you can choose to live with this or not. From longtime posters, it seems it never goes away. I dont buy the stronger than ever argument, as i have seen my own MIL reduced to ugly hysterics after decades, when she is reminded about my FIL's cheating. Seems to be a family activity on my WW'S side.. Despite loving her husband and saying it was a good marriage up to his death, there was a part of her that hated him and wished she left. She would open up to me and share these feelings, knowing I would never share them. By the end, she told me that she just wanted him to hurry up and die so she could be free. Doesn't sound like stronger to me.

I don't think many marriages really R. Many stay together, but real R is rare and precious. You owe it to yourself, NOT YOUR WW, to explore this for you. If you think it works FOR YOU, then do it. If not, don't. You only owe it to you. She's done all her exploring.

outofsorts posted 3/25/2021 20:06 PM

But this question just keeps ringing in my head: Can I live with this? Can I actually make it through each day knowing what she did? Can I ever respect her again?

I don't think you could possibly know that for sure at this point. I decided to try to reconcile with my husband about 1 month after Dday. I had no idea how I/we would actually get there. I had no idea if I'd be able to move past what he'd done. I didn't know if we'd work super hard to try to reconcile and then something would end up being a deal breaker.

I think all you can do is move in the direction you'd like to go - knowing that it may not work out - and keep moving in that direction until you hit you get there (or as close to there as one can get) or you realize that this is no longer an option and you need to take a turn.

Things do get easier as you work on yourself and your relationship.

Butforthegrace posted 3/26/2021 06:10 AM

I found all of this out in a letter I discovered.

I'm curious about this specific data point. It's odd that a 20+ year married woman who has cheated multiple times during the marriage, over a period of years, would write a single letter describing the extent of her cheating, and then leave it in a place where her BH could find it. Who was the letter to? Why did your WW write it? How did you find it? Was it in paper form, or did you stumble across a document on a computer?

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:27 AM, March 26th (Friday)]

ladyphoenix posted 3/26/2021 07:28 AM

Can I live with this? Thatís the million dollar question. Only you can answer that.

The good news for you is that you donít have to answer it at this moment. Give yourself time. You have to go through the grief process. Making decisions when you are in the early days is not necessarily your best choice. Take care of you. It seems silly to have to say it, but make sure you stay hydrated, eat well, and exercise. Give yourself the opportunity to sleep. It may not happen.

EyesOpened50 posted 3/26/2021 12:45 PM

Sorry to hear about your situation - been there myself but we've effectively rug swept it, there's no resolve and I intend to leave when I'm ready! Have you got a detailed timeline, can you check it off with records - statements, phone records etc. Most cheaters minimise, I hope you have got the truth or as much as you need to make an informed decision - take the time you need, to make the right decision!

I'm sure you've already been into the healing lounge - some very helpful and insightful information, which might help!

sisoon posted 3/27/2021 10:52 AM

But this question just keeps ringing in my head: Can I live with this? Can I actually make it through each day knowing what she did? Can I ever respect her again?
Yes. Yes. Yes. You can.

Maybe it will help to reframe your thinking. That is, IMO you have to live with this. If you deny the reality of what your W did, I don't see how you can live with yourself.

The question isn't 'can.' It's how will you live knowing your W betrayed you?

My reco is to focus on what you want. If you figure that out, and if you act to get what you want, the rest will follow. If you want to stay together, and if you both do the necessary work, you'll R, and sometime within the next 2-5 years you're very likely to wake up and feel fine about your W and yourself and your M.

If you want to D, or if you decide to D because your W or you won't do the necessary work, sometime within the next 2-5 years you're very likely to wake up and feel fine about yourself and your D.

I urge you not to worry about the statistics. Probabilities are lousy predictors of what will happen in specific cases. What counts are things like: what you want, what your W wants, and what you're each willing to do.

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:53 AM, March 27th (Saturday)]

Jackie84 posted 3/30/2021 14:09 PM

Iím also about three months from finding out about my husbandís latest affair. heís had multiple affairs with two-three months intervals separating them for at least two years. Now that Iím about three months from finding out this last one, Iím terrified that heís about due to start another. It feels pretty hopeless and horrible.

Cooley2here posted 3/30/2021 15:52 PM

I think for every one of us it is the idea that the person we have put our trust in can lie so easily. The problem with that is that we do all lie. Some of them are little white lies and some of them are doozies, but they are all lies. I read an article about a man who tells only the truth. He says what he thinks without parsing words and if you ask him a question be prepared for the answer. He has alienated everyone in his life. None of us tell the whole truth. If we did there would be no civilization. What we have to deal with is how bad the lie was. How long the lie was. How deep the lie was. That to me, believe it or not, is worse than the act. The sex act takes minutes or hours but the lie lasts years. Thatís when your rose-colored glasses come off and you look at the person across from you and ask yourself if they are worth it. It really comes down to that. Are they worth it?.

Butforthegrace posted 4/5/2021 10:37 AM

Onward, are you still with us?

Onward1 posted 4/6/2021 15:59 PM

Hey everybody.

Apologies for going dark. It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks. More revelations, more in depth talks. Anger, numbness, sleeplessness. And some hope. I'm hanging in there. Feeling a bit more stable in my wait-and-see mode. My WW checked herself into a 2 week outpatient addiction recovery program (drugs/alcohol) and it is having a dramatic effect. She continues to take the right next steps. So, we'll see.

Thanks to each of you for your advice.

sisoon, I'm holding your words:

The question isn't 'can.' It's how will you live knowing your W betrayed you?

My reco is to focus on what you want. If you figure that out, and if you act to get what you want, the rest will follow. If you want to stay together, and if you both do the necessary work, you'll R, and sometime within the next 2-5 years you're very likely to wake up and feel fine about your W and yourself and your M.

If you want to D, or if you decide to D because your W or you won't do the necessary work, sometime within the next 2-5 years you're very likely to wake up and feel fine about yourself and your D.

Westway posted 4/13/2021 16:28 PM

So I can assume she told you of more cheating occurrences, or that her long term affair with the OM was longer term than she had originally told you?

Trickle truth is the death to all reconciliation efforts. The two of you will never make it unless she makes a clean breast of everything.

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