I initially posted this on the reconciliation forum, but over a few days I realized I’m a just found outer again.
My wife and I are about two years post affair discovery. Here's the brief back story.
Wife had a EA with her former boss. It had likely been going on for years before it hit my radar. We were friends with him and his wife and did couple things together from time to time, but my wife and him starting to run together and that's when it started. In hind sight I feel a little stupid not picking up on it much sooner than I did, but I completely trusted my wife and believed she was telling me the truth. It was a deep trust, which wasn't typical for me with previous partners.
Their relationship started to bother me but I kept it to myself. I didn't even know about the concept of an EA at that time. Around the time it started bothering me we decided to move out of state across the country to be closer to family and for a better place to raise our young children. I felt better about the situation because they would not be working or running together. Again at this point I was worried only about a PA with no concept of a EA.
After we moved they continued to message each other and talk on the phone from time to time. I was ok with that only because I thought it was accruing a lot less than it actually was. Fast forward a couple years and we are in marriage counseling. The reason for the counseling was we were having a recurring argument about her not living up to her end of the agreement to resume working after the kids were in school. During the counseling she brought up that she missed her old friends, she listed female friends, but also listed her old boss. She said there was a half marathon coming up in his town and she wanted to go run it with him and his wife. I agreed, we resolved the before mentioned argument and that was that.
She flies out there for the race and I call her the first night. Turns out his wife was not in town, but was out of town on work for a last minute project she had to take care of. My wife knew about her not being there prior to going, but never told me about it. I started to dig that weekend. Everything you would expect to find. Phone calls well in excess of what I knew about. Tests at all time of the day and night.
When she came home I confronted her with the phone calls and asked if they were having a PA. She denied it, just friends, im being controlling and paranoid. Classic playbook stuff. This was the beginning of a year and a half of hell which I could have saved myself from if I had been more educated about affairs and how they work. Deleted messages, no contact agreements broken, gas lighting, a couple marriage counselors. I became an expert affair investigator or as close as you can get. I work professionally investigating child abuse cases, so I had a lot of tools in my tool bag to work with. Every time she went underground deeper I followed and uncovered the deceit. Confronted her and she would get mad that I had spied on her. I never uncovered any evidence of a PA, although I've always suspected it. I found a lot of information though and feel like there would have been some indication. I think she rationalized them being just friends because there was not a PA.
Eventually I figured out I was just pursuing her and trying to control what she did. I looked at the unhappy person who spent the majority of my day thinking about it or spying and I said enough. I told her I was filing for divorce. I didn't say I was filing unless she did something, I just said I was.
We decided give marriage counseling one more shot. My counselor made a recommendation and hit a home run. This new counselor was great. In counseling my wife refused to characterize her relationship as an emotional affair, just friends. During that session I asked my wife if she had communicated with him recently and she said no. I took a pile of email printouts dated from the last week between her and he man and handed it to the counselor. The emails weren't damming except they proved she was actively lying to me and the counselor. The counselor confronted her somewhat aggressively. She said the man was aware of his impact on the marriage and if he were truly just a friend he would back off not have secret phone calls and emails. That visit ended with the counselor telling my wife there was nothing she could do for us unless my wife accepted it was an affair and wanted to focus on the marriage. We stopped counseling.
That's where I made my next mistake. I had met with an attorney and was starting the process of divorce. I started to have conversations about division of assets. Turned out she thought I was going to go live in a shack and she would stay in the family home and live life as normal. I spelled out the financial situation to her and she started to do the math. Crap, all the sudden her affair was going to cost her something because my pain didn't seem to have any cost to her. She came to me in the month following and said she chose me and wanted our marriage to be rebuilt. She agreed to the NC (again)and to let me see her devices any time I wanted. The thing is, I had to fight her on that even. In reading other posts I see the best cases are ones where the betraying spouse in proactive about wanting to rebuild trust out of a feeling of remorse. She reluctantly agreed to the bare minimum. I should have realized in the moment how empty those agreements were for us.
Since then things have actually felt pretty good. Sex is good, time together seems meaningful. I had initially asked to see her devices a couple time and she complied. I eventually decided to resist asking her to see devices. If she was going to cheat again I couldn't stop that and I knew that if she started up again I would figure it out eventually even without spying. I didn't want to live a life being a full time investigator at home.
2 years since I discovered the EA and I started to get that nagging feeling. She was visiting my mother with the kids in California. I couldn't go because of work. I messaged her and asked for the login information for her work computer. Keep in mind it had been a good 9 months since I asked to see anything and maybe 4 times total since she agreed to let me see them. She went into a dialog about how me asking has triggered her and made her feel controlled... She said she wanted to be with me when I looked at it, which was a week away. I figured since she didn't have possession of the laptop it was secure. I figured I could wait a week. What I didn't expect is the emotional creep that's occurred during that week. I feel like I did during the bad times. She's home now, I haven't seen the computer. I asked for permission to hold onto the computer until she was ready for us to look at it. I didn't want her to be able to do clean up. I'm assuming she has accessed the work email remotely since it's strange she hasn't wanted to attend to work emails.
I don't want to go through the dance again, but I don't want to jump straight to divorce without new evidence. My thought is to start the 180 treatment and begin moving on. If she approaches me to reconcile I won't do it unless she is taking proactive steps, basically chasing me.
Please don't speculate on if there was a PA. I've gone round and round with that one and in my case I feel that the EA component was much more damaging than a PA. I've been tested and include it as part of my regular physical each year.
[This message edited by Legatus at 11:10 AM, July 23rd (Friday)]