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Just Found Out :
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 ShowMeTheWayForward (original poster new member #79770) posted at 11:11 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

19 years ago, my future wife walked into my life.

No doubt, we were destined to marry and hold hands to the end.

It was instant, mutual, and gratifying.

I had held out for a long time, to one day meet my soulmate.

At the time she had a partner of 4 years, but the intent was there.

Upon meeting we were best friends for 14 months, engaged at 22 months, married at 36 months.

I remained single once we met.

Exiting her existing relationship was tumultuous.

He knew her heart was mine and went down swinging.

He was that way inclined, an angry man.

After 14 months, at last, we were together.

To take in the moment, to kiss, to date, to cuddle, to plan the future.

3 months later her ex-partner reappeared with a vengeance.

He meant business.

Seriously, he was on the warpath.

I had to get a restraining order.

It was a traumatic experience.

Thanks to the handiwork of some very supportive police officers, he got the message in no uncertain terms and slunk away.

Back to life with my soulmate.

Here’s the thing, though.

I was unable to ever shake the feeling she’d been doing something sneaky behind my back.

That something had been going on that I didn’t know about.

I’m instinctive, intuitive, and strategic.

It drove me crazy, exacerbated by the trauma of her ex-partner suddenly blowing up in our faces.

I had nothing to go on other than a sense, a feeling that ate away at me.

A sense that the way the other person carries themselves, is because they’re hiding a secret.

A secret that was tainting us.

I thought I was going mad, to suspect something of my beloved.

Eventually, time and emotion got the better of me and the questions started.

At times my line of questioning and approach was completely unfair thanks to alcohol.

I begged her to tell me what went on.

My periodical bouts of questions interrupted our development in the early years.

She was most keen that I stop it.

Fast-forward a few years and life throws-up other challenges along the way that can strain the strongest of bonds.

Along the journey, her outward demeanour towards me gradually declined.

When asked, she said it was the result of the earlier, persistent ‘interrogations’.

Fair enough.

I felt so bad that my behaviour had negatively impacted us.

I felt like an absolute grub.

I needed to find out what was wrong with me and fix it.

After much research, I concluded I had retroactive jealously.

I bought books on the topic and announced to her the thing hanging over us would soon be gone forever, as that thing clearly was me and my paranoia.

Fast-forward again to 2022, and I recently apologised to her about my reaction to an innocuous situation that unexpectedly rushed back old, strong feelings of her being sneaky behind my back.

The long and short of it is that during the ensuing discussion, she admitted to a schedule of sleeping with her ex-partner for the first few months of our officially being together.

I was right all along.

She would tell her parents she was going to see me, and sneak to his.

She slept with him while I was away for work.

She continued sleeping with him after we started having sex.

Turns out the reason he suddenly reappeared on the scene and went crazy, is because he thought she was with him, even if just physically, and he had just found out she was with me.

In a nutshell, she claims she was sexually gratifying him to keep him under wraps.

A way of managing him and protecting me.

Really?!

How long was she going to continue the ruse if he hadn’t found out about me?

She didn’t know, apparently there was no plan.

She has doggedly protected her secret for 18 years, to the detriment of us.

She has aggressively pushed back to make me go away, every time I got close to the truth.

Testament to some of her underlying character I suppose.

She knew I was on to something yet chose to treat me badly to make me back off and then blame me for it.

If she had just been honest in the beginning and put me out of my misery and clear the air when I first approached her about it.

Her current attitude is that it was 18 years ago, so what’s the big deal.

She swears she has been faithful ever since.

My head is swimming right now.

I have some ideas on how to handle myself and us, but I’m seeking some wise words and discussion to help guide my approach and guide me forward.

I'm also struggling to understand her behaviour.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2022
id 8708948
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Repossessed ( member #79544) posted at 11:35 PM on Monday, January 10th, 2022

I've no suggestions on your path forward. This is a painful story. What leaps out at me is "I was right." Until my own betrayal experience I didn't really know about stonewalling and that gaslighting is a real thing. Both are insidious. I had to read up on both to understand what I was dealing with. Those that excel at it seem to come by the skill intuitively.

That said, in 'Not Just Friends' the author, Glass, observes that "If you are the marital partner of someone who has been having an affair, you have to be able to figure out whether the lying is an idiosyncratic consequence of this particular situation or an embedded trait that is a matter of character and personality." That one smacked me between the eyes.

The traits of deception and manipulation appear to inform everything these people do. Now that I look back through my marriage sans the love goggles, I can see that much of our marital discord was owing to her/these traits.

How about you? Can you answer if this is who she is?

Here to keep myself mindful that I don't always see what actually is. I certainly didn't when I married her.

posts: 117   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021   ·   location: Chicagoland
id 8708955
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WishidleftHer ( new member #78703) posted at 3:26 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I think what's bothering you most is being lied to for all those years. I was lied to too, but as luck would have it, my WW was caught in the act. Luckily for them, not by me. No way could she keep it a secret.
Now you have to decide if you can live with someone who's more interested in their welfare than yours.

posts: 24   ·   registered: Apr. 25th, 2021   ·   location: Upstate NY
id 8708990
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 ShowMeTheWayForward (original poster new member #79770) posted at 4:55 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

@repossessed

Indeed.

To learn your soulmate has such an innate capacity to stonewall and gaslight on autopilot, as her go-to tactic, with such cruel disregard is really quite shocking.

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2022
id 8708999
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Riverz ( member #79713) posted at 5:14 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

SMTWF, my d-day was just over 3 weeks ago, so I’m in hell right now. But, that’s one thing I’m struggling with…was he REALLY my soulmate?? To betray me and deceive and lie to me with ZERO regard for my welfare, knowing it WOULD EFFING KILL ME when I found out??

He only cared ABOUT HIMSELF…that is NOT my definition of what a soulmate is.

And to add insult to injury, he helped me get over my first husband’s betrayal…HE WITNESSED ME LIVE THROUGH THE IMMENSE AGONY OF BETRAYAL TRAUMA AND HE STILL DECIDED TO CHEAT ON ME…unreal. AND, he was also betrayed by his first wife.

So ya, I’m fairly certain he was NOT my soulmate…I thought he was…and I loved him…that’s why the pain is unbearable.

I wish you strength as you navigate this hell.

posts: 98   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2021   ·   location: Canada
id 8709003
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 5:45 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I have a hard time categorizing her cheating on her ex and you at the same time as her being unfaithful to you.

She was feeding you both bullshit though.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1648   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8709004
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 6:24 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

19 years ago, my future wife walked into my life.

No doubt, we were destined to marry and hold hands to the end.

It was instant, mutual, and gratifying.

Sorry, but it sounds like you need to look in to the mirror a bit here as well. You knew that she was in a relationship but "It was instant, mutual, and gratifying?" It sounds like you're playing coy with something you know was not appropriate.

Your "soulmate" cheated on her partner with you, even if only on an emotional basis at that point, and you're surprised that she also cheated on you with him? You're romanticizing a relationship built on lies from the start.

Me: 60, BS
Her: 59, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 199   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8709008
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 ShowMeTheWayForward (original poster new member #79770) posted at 7:20 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

@seekingtoforgive

Point taken.

The gratification of finally meeting 'the one' is unavoidably selfish.

There's nothing appropriate about two people falling in love, if one or both are with someone else at the time.

That's why for thousands of years the topic has been the source of many poems, books, plays and movies.

I was single when we met and remained single until, after 14 months as friends, my understanding was we were free to explore moving forward together.

[This message edited by ShowMeTheWayForward at 7:28 AM, Tuesday, January 11th]

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2022
id 8709010
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GoldenR ( member #54778) posted at 10:48 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

It really sounds like you were her OM.

She wasn't cheating ON you, she was cheating WITH you. You just didn't know.

posts: 2661   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2016   ·   location: South Texas
id 8709015
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Linus ( member #79614) posted at 11:33 AM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Yes, I guess it should come as no surprise to you, as, quite clearly, she was cheating with you. Her first boyfriend's behavior was understandable. She was gaslighting him.
Both my XWWs had cheated in relationships before I met them. Yet, like you, I was too dense to realize what it meant.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2021   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8709017
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 12:30 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

She cheated on him in the process of starting with you. Other than the 18 years of what may qualify as white lies under the circumstances, how can it surprise you to know that she simultaneously "cheated" on you? You knew you were in a love triangle. The only detail you didn't know was that she had some sex with him in an effort to chill him out.

Sure, screwing him and lying directly about it speaks to the quality of her character. But you knew she was a cheater, and a liar, when you started with her. She was cheating and lying to her then-existing partner. The current revelation tells you nothing new about her character at that time. It merely fleshes out some details vis-a-vis timeline.

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3808   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8709021
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:56 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

She broke his heart. Then she kept you all tangled up because you could not make sense of what you were feeling. You KNEW there was something wrong but could not figure it out. So, look at who keeps coming out on top. It wasn’t him and it isn’t you. This is where some therapy might help.

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

posts: 3109   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8709024
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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 3:32 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Her current attitude is that it was 18 years ago, so what’s the big deal.

It might have been 18 years ago for her. You're just finding out, confirming suspicions that have been haunting you for every one of those 18 years. Having been a member of SI for several years now, I can tell you that plenty of folks have found out years later and it hits them just as hard as it does for those of us who found out much sooner. There are no statutes of limitations on infidelity.

There's a thread in the "I Can Relate" forum entitled: "For Those Who Found Out Years Later." I'm sure it will help to know that your reaction and feelings are perfectly normal and natural even after nearly two decades.

At the time she had a partner of 4 years, but the intent was there.
Upon meeting we were best friends for 14 months,

As others have pointed out, she was having an emotional affair with you, cheating on her partner. You were the "other man" and actively pursued and engaged in the affair. That doesn't justify her actions, playing both of you as she did. When people are torn, as she clearly was, they do all sorts of stupid, horrible shit.


Is your wife willing and able to sit down with you and talk all of this through? That's what it's going to take to move forward, one way or another. To dismiss it outright, however, is only adding salt to the wound.

Heading towards divorce
D-Day April, 2015

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button."
-Brene Brown

posts: 6383   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8709043
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Buster123 ( member #65551) posted at 7:05 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

So she's been lying to you from the get go, it's very possible that at the time she was still on the fence and was forced to choose when her ex found out, would you still be together if she had revealed the truth to you then ? maybe, maybe not, your reaction to your "cheating soulmate" could have been different. Anyway she's now a proven cheater and liar, your gut has been screaming at you for years, I suggest you listen to it and don't rugsweep this, hold her feet to the fire and demand she writes a complete timeline of the situation, subject to a polygraph, she first cheated with you and then on you, so of course this may not be her only rodeo, so one of the questions during the poly should be: since that time has she been unfaithful to you either physically or emotionally ?, Also demand an STD/STI test (you should too),she was sleeping with both of you at the same time, some diseases could remain dormant for many years, the walk of shame to the doctors office also helps with remorse.

posts: 2499   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2018
id 8709094
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66charger ( member #69471) posted at 8:21 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

He knew her heart was mine and went down swinging.

I had to get a restraining order.

It was a traumatic experience.

Thanks to the handiwork of some very supportive police officers, he got the message in no uncertain terms and slunk away.

I am sure it was traumatic. For him.

The message (in no uncertain terms) is you were an active participant in the demise of their relationship. Except the relationship did not end when you thought it did.

And that may be true even today.

[This message edited by 66charger at 10:02 PM, Tuesday, January 11th]

posts: 299   ·   registered: Jan. 17th, 2019
id 8709112
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RealityBlows ( member #41108) posted at 9:37 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

A reoccurring theme around here is that a DD deferred makes it no less traumatic and, in many cases, more so.

We've seen DD's deferred 35 years out have the same impact as an affair that has just occurred. Many times the many years of deceit and harmful gaslighting exacerbate the latent DD. Then there's the retroactive review, revaluation and reconciliation of your entire history together.

As others have said, you were probably the OM. She could also be a monkey brancher. The "appeasing him with sex" bit would not sit well with me.

If she's behaved the last 18 years, hopefully it was just a one-off, a unique situation that won't repeat itself.

If she would have just came clean 18 years ago you both would probably be well past this.

Question, who proposed the RO. You or her?

[This message edited by RealityBlows at 9:40 PM, Tuesday, January 11th]

posts: 776   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2013
id 8709137
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 11:57 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

A way of managing him and protecting me.

Plan A/Plan B in action right there.

It wasn't 18 years ago as far as you're concerned. To you, it happened 10 seconds ago. She better figure out that trauma lickety-split or your heart for her will die.

As far as whether she's now FINALLY telling the truth, hard to know. But if someone lies for this long, then their instinct is self-preservation and minimization. A lot of BS's on here have had their gut instincts completely verified here recently. WS's arriving here who were given benefit of the doubt were shown to have lied and minimized. For years. Other WS's who are trying to reconcile and who can smell bullshit a mile away sussed that out pretty quickly.

So it seems more common than not. Does your gut seem like she's telling you the truth now? Or did it go on for far longer with this poor other sap than she's even now letting on?

Lying for two decades -- that's not a personality quirk. It's her character. The lying is what really troubles you. As it should. That's because if someone can lie and lie and lie for two decades, that requires an ingrained value algorithm, a way of seeing the world (a worldview), a life philosophy. And none of these are good things in someone who can lie that long.

Also, I don't know if you've already said this or not, and I don't want to add to the pain here: But have you thought about whether you were possibly essentially the Other Man in this scenario, at least for a time? I mean, was she telling her ex the same thing about you, stringing him along, playing both of you?

ETA: Others have already pointed out you were the OM at the start of this. That's hard to hear, and I'm sure you didn't think of it that way. It seems in her character to branch swing and keep men in orbiting loops. She's also manipulated you for years regarding this and even had the temerity to convince you (gaslighting) you had a mental problem with retroactive jealousy. My WW did something similar to me in a condensed fashion. It's incredibly damaging, I can tell you.

I was single when we met and remained single until, after 14 months as friends, my understanding was we were free to explore moving forward together.

Did remaining single for 14 months come with promises of her attraction to you and mutual expressions of your feelings for one another? Did she let on in that 14 months that she wanted you and needed time to "wrap it up" with her boyfriend? Did you kiss her or do anything else with her during this time?

That's why for thousands of years the topic has been the source of many poems, books, plays and movies.

A lot of media has valorized infidelity if that's what you mean. Bridges of Madison County, The English Patient, etc.

I need to ask this: Almost from the beginning, you've felt something was off. From the very beginning there were red flags, or you wouldn't have felt this way. What were those red flags in her character?

Do you feel, given that you've seen her up close and personal for two decades, that she's capable of changing these qualities about herself?

Or is it just who she is?

[This message edited by Thumos at 6:22 AM, Wednesday, January 12th]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4527   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8709185
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 ShowMeTheWayForward (original poster new member #79770) posted at 12:19 AM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

UPDATE

Firstly, thanks to everyone for your constructive and much-appreciated contributions.

You’ve all said things that made me think and reading your feedback has quickly helped my thought process.

You saw the bullshit a mile away.

FOR THE RECORD

Some of you have alluded to this and my involvement willing or otherwise, so for the record, I was always very clear I did not want to be part of a physical love triangle, nor did I solicit her to physically cheat on him with me.

I did not know I was an active participant in a physical love triangle.

I did not actively pursue and engage in a physical affair.

However, yes, I was complicit in and a willing active participant in her emotional cheating on him.

I was an unknowing active participant in her physical cheating.

Regarding moving forward completely, I stood my ground and said that I’m all hers when she’s willing and able.

It was very clear she needed to sort her current situation first.

This wasn’t delivered as an ultimatum, but I was certainly at the point of thinking is this ever going to happen with us.

HER NEW STORY

So, your feedback has helped my line of thinking, I’ve gently asked her some new questions and we’ve discussed what happened some more.

Having initially confirmed my long-held suspicion that she cheated on me by going back to him for a while, thereby confirming the crazy story in my head all these years was true, as some of you quickly suspected she has now confirmed that she had never ended her relationship with him when we officially got together.

Although what was left of their relationship was her having obtained space from him, other than her visits for sex, during which he was clearly trying to talk with her and salvage their situation.

She just spun me a story and led me to believe that he was gone, and she was all mine.

So, when he found out about me and the whole thing blew up, she was quickly forced to get off the fence and choose.

In fact, he likely chose for her by getting rid of her once-and-for-all for cheating on him.

As a bloke, I sympathise. She destroyed him and I’ve just discovered I was a part of it.

As to all my agony about how on earth she could go back to see him, how could she sleep with him, what drew her back to him, how could she taint our new relationship after we waited so long and so on and so on, the answer’s very easy – it’s because she hadn’t left him.

I presumed she was going back to her ex-partner, he wasn’t.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE ME

Technically, I have no right to be upset about her cheating on me with him, because she was cheating on him with me.

I was the other man.

I'm not overly happy to know that I was.

I need to recalibrate the story that has been stuck in my head for 18 years, as per my original post above.

It was simply her lie that made me think she was cheating on me.

Realistically, the only thing I can be grumpy about is that she lied to me when she said her relationship with him was over when it wasn’t.

The person that suffered the most damage out of all of this is him, and he had every right to be upset and angry.

So, in the end, instead of my love running to me with open arms, free to be with me, I ended up with her by default purely because she got caught out.

Not sure how I feel about that.

Not sure how I feel about this whole bloody saga.

Not sure how I feel about what she did to him.

Not sure how I feel about what she did to me.

[This message edited by ShowMeTheWayForward at 12:38 AM, Wednesday, January 12th]

posts: 5   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2022
id 8709189
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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 2:50 AM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

SMTWF, I should take a step back here and say that I'm really sorry for what you're going through. I know it's tough. I'm like you in that I viewed my relationship as an epic romance. We were "soulmates." We had "true love." She was "the one." Everyone knew that we had a one in a million relationship. The cynics who doubted that just didn't understand "true love."

Having such romantic notions of love and discovering the cold hard truth of infidelity makes it all that much more devastating. So I'm sorry. But your relationship is not an epic romance. It was just another relationship between two humans who are driven by biology and psychology, not magic.

The gratification of finally meeting 'the one' is unavoidably selfish.

There's nothing appropriate about two people falling in love, if one or both are with someone else at the time.

That's why for thousands of years the topic has been the source of many poems, books, plays and movies.

I assume that you meant "there's nothing inappropriate." That seems to be what you're saying.

There are poems, books, and movies about murder, as well. Even people murdering their spouse to be with their "true love." Romanticizing something doesn't make it right.

In fact, "soulmates" is pretty much an infidelity trope. One of the many themes that occurs again and again. WS and APs use it as an excuse to justify their deceit and betrayal. There is rarely anything real about it. Such affairs typically fall apart as soon as they're met with reality. Would you consider it inappropriate if your wife fell in love with someone else while you have been married?

It sounds like your wife still has a wayward mindset. She lied for 18 years. She's telling you she slept with a guy for your benefit. And it's your fault that it bothers you.

None of that is ok and at a minimum she needs IC to figure out why she did it and why she thinks it's ok.

Me: 60, BS
Her: 59, FWS
Dday: 11/15/03
Married 37 yrs
Reconciled

posts: 199   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8709200
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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 4:11 AM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

Brother, I'm sure this all hurts no matter how you recalibrate it.

Some of you have alluded to this and my involvement willing or otherwise, so for the record, I was always very clear I did not want to be part of a physical love triangle, nor did I solicit her to physically cheat on him with me.

I'm going to mention this just once, more so for the sake of those reading then yours. Those 14 months during which you were "besties" could certainly be considered to be an emotional affair. That may not seem like much to you. However, it's a very real betrayal, no less devastating than any other affair. Can you honestly say that you didn't spend those 14 months greasing the wheels?

So, in the end, instead of my love running to me with open arms, free to be with me, I ended up with her by default purely because she got caught out.

Not sure how I feel about that... this whole bloody saga... what she did to him... what she did to me.

Are you absolutely sure that you ended up with her by default? She DID choose you, even if in a very fucked-up manner. She married you.

I don't know how I'd feel about all of this, either. What do you think would have happened if you'd found out the truth back then? Would you have still married her? Would have even considered a future with her?

[This message edited by Unhinged at 4:12 AM, Wednesday, January 12th]

Heading towards divorce
D-Day April, 2015

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button."
-Brene Brown

posts: 6383   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8709208
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