My wife of many, many years has often lied to me about things. Some lies have been small and insignificant, others so elaborate and preposterous that I have been shaken to my core when I’ve found them out. I have considered that she may be a pathological liar and will never admit to this. As I see it, her condition is comparable to an illness and I will not leave someone I love because of a psychological problem. Lord knows I have my fair share of them myself.
But as far as I know, this is the first time she has cheated on me.
I noticed the typical signs: guarding her phone like Cerberus, shutting it off when I entered the room, hiding her screen from me, being distant, changes in behavior. No need to bore you with the usual specifics.
But my suspicion rose when I decided to finally join Facebook and she refused to add me as her friend and couldn’t really give a good reason as to why.
I accidentally stumbled upon the profile of a man who, I noticed, she had been interacting with quite a lot. Scrolling through is profile I noticed posts about subjects she had been talking about passionately for months. Every topic she has discussed with me was something he had written about. Every song she was suddenly listening to at night when I was going to bed was of a band he had shared on his profile and she had liked. I also knew he was exactly the type of guy who she would be into.
I was sure my gut feeling was right.
So I confronted her. She denied it, of course, saying she could never be interested in this person and accused me of being controlling and paranoid.
Honestly, I thought I was. I suspected she was probably gaslighting me but as I haven’t been the perfect husband (I have never cheated on her but I have at times been angry, resentful and judgmental towards her for various reasons), I thought it was just my own fears taking a hold of me.
All of a sudden she started going out on certain nights for the most ridiculous reasons I never bought for a second. When I said I believed she was going on a date with him, she once again accused me of being controlling and an abusive husband who wouldn’t even let his wife leave the house alone.
The thing is, she was going on a date with him.
Finally, just the other night, she screamed at me about how stressed out she was because of some important issues she was supposedly going out to handle that night and how I didn’t understand the gravity of the “stuff” she dealt with - even as she was applying her make up and fixing her hair and putting on her new dress (a dress I had recently bought her on her request) and clearly getting ready for another date night, brazenly, right in front of me.
Once she was gone, I couldn’t take it anymore. I called her and told her I knew she was with him. She still lied. She stormed back home and accused me of going too far, of letting my paranoia ruin our relationship, said she was visiting family and I had shamed her in front of them with my delusions and abusiveness.
So I did what I usually haven’t been able to: I calmed down.
Very calmly, very tenderly, I took blame for pushing her towards another man through my own bitter behavior. I explained that I didn’t judge her for doing it, that I wasn’t angry, and that I loved her and that I still wanted to work things out. And then, in the end, she admitted the affair.
Hearing her admit the truth felt… amazingly good. I didn’t get angry. I was sad but relieved. I felt vindicated. I wasn’t paranoid or delusional or controlling or abusive. I was right. Hearing her admit it felt reassuring and I understood even clearer that it wasn’t the affair itself that hurt me the most, it was the lie.
But the thing is, we had already had an argument a couple of weeks earlier and decided to fix our marriage and reconnect again. It really felt like she wanted to. But at the same time she was messaging him and going out on dates with him and snapping at me for what I assume is guilt and stress.
So anyway, back to the present: we had what was probably the most calm discussion we have ever had. I did most of the talking.
A few days later, she has opened up about what happened between them and what I know seems to match what she tells me so I believe she is telling the truth, or some version of it.
She does resort to the typical tactics: saying they never had sex, that it was never physical, that she only wanted someone to talk to and some attention. But how can I be sure she isn’t downplaying it?
Am I handling this right or wrong by being the calm, rational and affectionate person I’ve now noticed I can be instead of venting and yelling and being angry?
Will this only lead to her continuing the affair, with more secrecy and lies? Or could this be a turning point?
We’ve talked about it and both agree that we should take this as a positive turn of events, a new possibility to both better ourselves instead of letting everything fall apart.
But I don’t know how to trust her yet.
I asked her to send the other man a message telling him not to contact her again. I’ve asked her to block him on Facebook. She keeps stalling. And even if she did block him, what would this really prove? Unblocking him is as easy as clicking a button. How can I be sure she doesn’t keep engaging with him online? How can I demand proof without further alienating her?
I’ve also said I feel a need to contact him myself and tell him to respect the boundaries of our marriage and move forward with his life. This seems to panic her. She insists it’s her responsibility to end it but to me it sounds like she desperately doesn’t want me to talk to him for some reason.
Could she mean it or is it just another lie?
What reason would she have not to want me contacting him apart from either wanting to keep her affair going or possibly lying to him, as well, about being married? Getting caught lying to anyone seems to be what scares her more than anything and I feel she might cover her lies up with more lies.
Should I contact him anyway, against her wishes? Is it ever a good idea to do that? If so, how do I deal with her getting angry at me for doing it, which she will inevitably do?
I really need this person gone from our lives before I feel I can truly move on to build a better future with my wife. But in this day and age, how can you ever be sure they are really gone?
Seeing her as his top friend on Facebook even as I write this makes me sick. Literally. I even feel like I am cheating on her for writing this post.
So am I doing things right or wrong? Are my compassion and tenderness making true change possible or am I only enabling deceitful behavior and setting myself up for an even bigger fall?
Thank you for reading.