Thank you everyone, I really appreciate your input and your support. I will try to answer your questions best as possible, but for some, I am not even sure, what to think myself.
I agree with everyone saying I need to take care of myself right now and I try to. I have been reading a lot this past two months, this site and others and some of the suggested books. I have been surprisingly "OK" considering the situation. I am devastated, but not so much more than before, I cried more during our confrontations in the last 9 years, then now. I sleep fine, with the exception of the first few nights after D-day, I have no trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Mornings are tough and we usually have hard conversations then, when I wake up early and can't go back to sleep. I eat like I always have, not as healthy as I should, but I am trying, and the same goes for exercising. I function pretty normally with other people and with the kids. With WH I am triggered all the time, so I think about the LTA all the time when we are together, but with others I manage to function OK. I was wondering why I am taking things much more calmly as I would expect from myself. Maybe it is still the shock? Or, and this is the only other answer I could come up with, is that on some level I was sure our marriage was over for quite some time now and I had time to process and to mourn. Let me explain: as I wrote yesterday, I was pretty much aware something was going on for the better part of the affair and tried to talk to him about it many times over the years. With no success, so about three years ago, I sort of gave up on our relationship. I believed whatever they had was over at the time (no slip ups in the last few years), I just couldn't imagine living in a lie for the rest of our lives, so I was sure we were heading for divorce, I just wasn't ready to go through with it at the time. I had a plan on how to tell the kids, how to ask them if they want to live with me or him, I also thought about where one of us will live and what to do about our finances. It wasn't actually a conscious plan for divorce, but things were heading there. Then D-day came and the truth was worse than I suspected. It was one of the worst days in my life, but at the same time it was also some kind of relief. Not because he wants to reconcile, but because living in the hell of not knowing for sure, of questioning myself, was finally over. If nothing else, the last years have taught me that I can live without him, that I can go on. It would be hard, but I can survive. I told him all that, even my plans on divorce, telling kids, moving out. Then he completely surprised me, wanting to reconcile. I didn't see that coming.
He is still working with AP. He is willing to change jobs, and is looking for options but I am reluctant to demand it from him. It is still on the table, for the moment I just have to see if I can live with them working in the same building. Also, we have a loan (bought a house just last year) and can't afford being on one salary or to take a substantial cut. It is incredibly hard knowing he can see her in common areas at work almost every day. At least they don't work with each other and they can't interact during work hours. Breaks could be a problem. I have their work schedules and for now their breaks rarely overlap and he told his boss about the affair, to minimize the chance of them having to actually work together on some project. On the other hand, if I tell her husband, maybe the problem will solve itself .
Is he completely transparent giving you access to everything? Phone, emails including work emails, voicemails, social media, etc?
Yes I have access to everything I want, but I am aware, that if he wants to continue the affair, this won't stop him. He had a burner phone before and he can easily get another one or set up a new email account. He says he won't, but we'll see.
To add to previous posters: you mentioned that the OW is married. If this is still a case, you need to contact OBS (other betrayed spouse). He has an agency to know the truth.
She is married, yes. I know her husband's name and found his work phone number online, so I have the means to contact him. I thing he deserves the truth and him knowing would make it even harder for them to continue with the affair. What is holding me back, is what if he doesn't want to know. Do I have the right to force the truth to him? I know he had his suspicions along the way, but what if he chooses to live in denial? On the other hand, he could be like me and just needs a wake up call. I will have to think some more about that, but I am pretty sure, I will contact him in the near future. My WH is not thrilled about that, but as I told him, it is not his decision and he can't do anything to prevent it.
How was it found out?
I caught him with his burner phone. He was texting her while at home and kind of I sneaked up on him. He tried to deny at the very beginning, but soon realized he has no other choice than to come clean.
That is a full on second relationship for him. He is bonded with her and has a private history with her he will never forget. Will he miss the comfort of that relationship when it is ended a month from now? A year from now when life gets boring? Maybe, maybe not, but how will you know. This is an entire second life outside of your marriage. You are still in shock, as this is a betrayal beyond a shorter affair.
This is how I feel. He has a history with her that goes back almost half of our marriage, almost a third of our entire relationship. I can't be sure he doesn't miss it or won't miss it in the future. He says he doesn't think about her now, even though he admits he did love her. Is it possible to stop loving her in an instant, just because I found out? He claims he also loved me the whole time and he never considered leaving. He even told her that a couple of times (I believe he really did, it was confirmed in some messages on the burner phone).
He needs to be honest with you on why he did what he did and also the depth of this relationship. How did you finally discover his affair and not just suspect? Was he in the affair for sex or was there more to it? How were you treated when the affair was ongoing? Ultimately, you have to decide if this is something you can live with or recover from.
He has told me a lot about their relationship and in as many details as I needed. I can't be sure I know everything, but I have a good feeling he is telling the truth finally. Before, I always had a feeling, he was holding back. The affair was both physical and emotional. Maybe more emotional, since they really didn't have many opportunities for the physical part. A few out of town conferences (maybe one or two a year and not even that in the last two years) and an occasional afternoon (once a month, rarely twice and nothing physical in the last year and a half). We both have jobs, which finish by 15.00 or 15.30 and are close together, so we usually drive home together and we didn't change this routine in the last 9 years. Before the affair I thought our relationship was great. He was loving, caring, we were spending a lot of time together, with kids and alone, we didn't neglect that part of our relationship. We were great together. His behavior towards me has changed a bit during the affair, he was still loving and paying attention to me, but to a lesser extent as before. If I hadn't suspected an affair, I might not even have noticed, or maybe I would and would account it to both of us being tired, with three young kids and full time jobs. But he was never mean to me and he still spent a lot of time with us.
Stop listening to his words, because they sound like perfect cheater speak from what you have shared, and it can be really confusing, and start watching his actions. You deserve much better than a partner who comfortably lied to you for 9 years. He has some real hard work to do, and he is the only one who can do it. You can't love him into doing it. You can't do it for him. He has to do it. Can it be done, absolutely if he gets honest with himself and separates himself from his AP 100%, then yes.
I am aware of that. He says everything right, but it could be just talk. He is a good talker and he has proved that he is a very good liar as well. His actions are in line with his words right now, but I will have to be carful he doesn't blindside me again.
Are you willing to accept that your husband had a 9 year relationship with another woman? Is that something you can live with? Because if you go down the path to reconciliation, you're going to have to accept it. Also, as long as they work together the relationship is ongoing.
This is what I have been struggling with. I want us to work, but I am not sure I can live with all the lies and betrayal. I don't even know how to begin. I just know I want to try. I have good days, when I believe we can survive together, but there are times when the thought of them together is too much to bear. I will have to figure this out along the way. I told him I was willing to try to see if it is possible to repair our relationship, but I couldn't promise anything.
I would imagine she knows all your passwords to all social media, probably to your email, possibly to checking/financial accounts too.
At least about this I can be sure. He doesn't know my passwords (never wanted to, I would have told him otherwise), so she can't know either.
My first (and second, and third) impulse is "no." He's making all the right noises now, but in 6 months, when you're still struggling with the mind movies, and asking the same questions you've already asked (it's a trauma response) he's going to start getting angry and dismissing your pain. "Get over it, already," "I've already answered that," "Gawd why don't you trust me?"
It was my first impulse as well. Now, I don't know. All I know, if he starts acting like you described, I am out. I am willing to try R, but only if he is committed 100% and only if he gives me all the support I need. And even then, 9 years of lies may be too much. If anything good has come from these 9 years, it is that I now know, I can survive on my own. If I survived last 9 years, I can survive anything.
I'm so sorry. I can't answer that question but I can wonder how a marriage can be considered real when a 3rd person was involved. How do you know that any of what you have shared for the last 9 years was real and true. How do you know that it was "only" 9 years and that you haven't been the OW in their relationship all this time?
This is a big problem. I feel like everything in the last 9 years was a lie. I look at the photos from this period and I am sad, because nothing was as it seemed. I resent him from destroying 9 years of memories of my life, of our children's childhood. I had so many fond memories on this time, and now they are all tainted. I wonder if he was thinking of her, while we were taking that photos. He says not, he had everything compartmentalized, when he was with me, with us, he didn't think about her and the other way around. I am not sure I can buy that, I sure can't understand.
About the affair lasting 9 years I am sure, he didn't even know her for much longer (maybe 11-12 years) and I have some evidence confirming the timeline.
You were in denial for 7 years, what confirmed it? Do you truly believe that he flopped a switch on D-day and no longer has feelings for his girl-friend, whom he still sees at work? He has spent half of your marriage in an emotionally and physically intimate relationship with another woman. You didn't even have his undivided attention during either of your pregnancies. You actually don't know him as well as you would if he hadn't been sharing himself with another woman so why are you so willing to believe him now?
I caught him with a burner phone, so he had to come clean. I am not sure about his feelings. He says he has none any more for her and he acts accordingly, but how can I ever be sure. It is hard to me to understand, that he can love someone, and then just stop in an instant, because I found out. He admits he did love her. Could he cut me out like that as well, if she was the one he chose to be with? He assures me, he has always loved me as well, and always more than her, but this can be bullshit. After he dumped her, he talked to her again on two occasions, because he wanted some kind of closure. I agreed to that in advance, but demanded he tells her the truth about our relationship as well to make her realize she was always the second choice. She had this idea that we were little more than roommates (or she wanted to make us just that) and that they had some great love story. She wanted for him to stop having sex with me after they hooked up, so he lied to her about us. She also had problems with him going to vacations with me, alone ore as a family (they always fought during summer and winter holidays) and with him doing everything with or for me. At least he ignored her on all that. So when they talked he did tell her the truth about us as well and she didn't take it well. She is ignoring him completely right now. Before that she thought they can continue to have a normal workplace relationship. She even complained about the way he cut her off completely and came to him a couple of times with work related issues and he had to shut her down, but not any more.
This affair started when our youngest was almost two, so during pregnancies we were still OK.
My answer to your question would be that it's not possible under the current conditions. Do not deceive yourself, he hasn't cut her off and won't until he changes jobs. That's the absolute first step to building a new marriage with him. And even then, they will probably keep it up until the affair is fully exposed to her husband and your families (their co-workers already know). You will both need a lot of individual counseling before you know whether reconciliation is feasible.
As I wrote above, I am still thinking about demanding job change, but he is willing if I decide so. I will probably also call her husband. As for disclosing everything to our friends and families, or even to my friends, I don't want to do that right now. I know what I would think if any of them was in the same situation - I would be supportive, but I would think they deserved better and probably would feel less of them if they decided to stay with the cheater. I don't want them to think like that about me. If I decide to go, I will tell everything to everyone and I know I will have their full support. For now, I choose to stay alone in this. It is hard, because I have only him to talk about the affair, but this is my choice for now. At his work, two people know about the affair, their mutual friend, and his boss, he told her after I found out so that he could minimize any contact with AP.
Counselling is on the table, but we haven't decided to start yet. I want to see where we are heading first and to try to sort things out by ourselves, but at any moment I feel we can't do it alone, this will be a must. I told him that already and he agreed.
Is it possible to recover? Anything’s possible, people say they have. How can you live with this affair? I have absolutely no idea. He had a whole entire separate intimate relationship with another woman for the better part of your marriage. Take into account their time at work and he’s probably spent more time with her than you. He took time and energy away from your marriage and family for her. Let it negatively affect your marriage. Watched you cry and your sadness over the affair. She knew all about you and he told you nothing about her, except for denials. And now has the audacity to say he’s "ashamed" GMAFB. How you get over that I do not know and anyone who does is incredibly stronger than I could ever even imagine to be.
Thank you for this. Yes, he has put her in front of our family, of our marriage. He knew what he was doing and what his actions were doing to me and he just didn't care. And all the compartmentalizing couldn't make him not see that he was willingly destroying our relationship. He says now, the option of me finding out just didn't exist for him. He thought the world would end if I did. So he didn't think about this possibility at all. But he did see me devastated when I found out some portions of the truth, he did see me cry and he can't say he didn't know how the whole thing was affecting me. He was gaslighting me all the time, but on some level he must have known I didn't buy his story.
I asked him, why should I believe now is any different than all the instances in the past 9 years, when he told me he loved me and promised he had nothing to do with her. He says it just is different. Different for him, because now I know for sure and he has no doubt that this is his last chance. He said he has decided to be the person he wants to be and plans to stick to it. We'll see.
[This message edited by ZetaCephei at 10:45 AM, Wednesday, September 15th]