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’.
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.
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.