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General :
Digging deeper - what to do next?


 swordpepper (original poster new member #79777) posted at 6:31 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

My wife and I had started to lightly discuss / explore the swinging scene. We had looked up a couple of clubs in our city and considered it but ultimately nothing came of it… we just didn’t have the time, weren’t completely comfortable etc. After a couple of months we had (with my encouragement/initiation) started to experiment with some chat apps. Primarily with strangers online - couples and males.

Initially we were chatting to some people (we had two different accounts, mine was marked as couple… hers was not. However, I don’t see any malicious reason here just the way it turned out). In one instance we were in a group chat with a couple but to be honest it was primarily the male active (they shared an account). My wife was sending pictures / sharing etc in that group but was also messaging him directly on snapchat. We had (or at least I understood through discussion) agreed to not share faces or details etc. Through some turn of events we were discussing chat and she had showed me hers… as I scrolled up I saw pictures of her shared. These were normal pictures with friends but she had put emojis / scribbles over the friends faces to blur them out. It seemed that she was chatting more and more but insisted she didn’t give any details.

There was a light hearted discussion on evening and she sort of suggested that she could be with him and when I asked what she meant (because I understood it would be a 3/4 some situation), she fobbed it off and said "oh you could be with her". To summarize this first issue - there was a huge arguement and she apologized (although reluctantly) and from there on I understood that it wouldn't happen again (sharing faces etc). After some time and arguements, she eventually blocked him.

At this time, we were still using snap but it was mostly for shared fun.

Fast forward a couple of months and we are on a family vacation. During this time my wife was glued to her phone, something seemed up but I said nothing.
After returning home I got access to her account and saw that she was messaging someone else (not out of bound considering we had no hard rule against that). However, as I went through the texts that remained it was clear to me that she was engaged in fairly detailed and explicit conversations, describing intimate details etc - this all aligned with the time when we were on vacation.

I confronted her about this and she kind of suggested oh it was fine, we had agreed etc.
This brought us to a point where she deleted/deactivated her account after a significant arguement.

Here the second thing:
My wife has started to behave somewhat odd now. She recently started a new job (3+ months) although she works from home.
She has been doing good and is getting alot of encouragement from her team and manager on slack etc.

We have a shared photo album so I saw that she had taken pictures of various posts in slack, congratulating her on meeting targets etc.
In one of the posts in the team (posted by her manager), there was a picture of her (that I took) glammed up and on vacation - this was a very attractive photo, short dress etc.
The text of the post was congratulating her for being so great and meeting goals.

I do not know how he got that picture. I had access to my wifes work laptop and searched for media shared via slack.
She never shared this picture using that app and so Im suspicious of how he got it but have no proof.

Most recently, my wife asked me if it was okay for her colleague to drop over to pick up a spare covid test we had.
This colleague seems nice and just happens to live within one mile of us so I thought nothing of it - of course I was happy that we could help.

He dropped by and picked up the test and I didn't think any more of it.
A couple of days later, my wife mentioned that (lets call him Tom... her manager.. who lives 20 miles away) - got the test and was very thankful.

I said nothing, but this was a red flag for me. Why would she not mention exactly WHO was picking up the test?
For context, there is no situation where she would confuse these people - this is a completely remote company and most employees don't even live in our state.

I did some digging and everything seems unusually squeeky clean.
Lately my wife is not letting her phone out of her site, although thismorning I happened to have genuine need to use it. During that time she seemed suprised that I was holding it and the tension was clear.

I went and had a shower - after some time, my wife had gone out to get coffee.
I tired to login to her work laptop just to see if my suspicions were correct but I found the password had been changed.

This password was most definitely just changed in the last couple of hours and I'm more suspicious because tis is more of a "sacret device" as a work laptop.
I've continued to behave as normal (or a normal as I can).

I'm stuck on next steps here. I'm not certain she is cheating at the moment but I think she might be thinking about it and/or be communicating with her manager in a way that she believes should be hidden.
Given all of the backstory above, I believe (with snap messaging etc), I've seen a completely other side to my wife.

With this in mind, I'm very uncomfortable and not sure what I should do from here.

Note: No doubt, I know that I will get some backlash here for some of the things above.
Howeve, this is pretty high stakes right now and I feel that I need hard proof before anything else.

My experience with questioning her or having honest discussions in the past is that she ONLY discusses things that I bring up.
For example, she will not admit to anything unless caught red handed with specific details, even though I've approached this conversations in a reasonable way and made it clear I was willing to move past if we had honesty. She does not divuldge any details ever unless I spell out specific probems and/or have proof.

Any advice from those that may have had similar experiences or lessons?

[This message restored by Webmaster at 4:35 PM, Wednesday, January 12th]

[This message edited by swordpepper at 12:17 AM, Wednesday, January 12th]

posts: 1   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2022   ·   location: USA
id 8709083

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:44 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Stop the swinging.

First. In order to have an open marriage you need to be have complete trust in your partner. You don't have that. Her actions have shown you can't trust her.

Tell her no more messaging. No pics of any kind. Put a hard boundary up,and stand by it.

Unfortunately, this often happens when you open your marriage. Something happens that one of you isn't ok with, but your spouse is very ok with it. The spouse says no more, but the other spouse has developed a taste for it,and won't stop.

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8709088

asc1226 ( member #75363) posted at 7:08 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

The trouble with Pandora’s box is you don’t raise the lid to open it, you destroy it.

Accept that your marriage has changed. It’s not going back to how it was before. If you want to once again have a M based on a level of trust you can live with consult a lawyer and find out what divorce looks like for you. Then pass that information on to your WW and find out if she also wants a M in which some level of trust can be restored.

I make edits, words is hard

posts: 402   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8709096

src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 7:12 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

I agree with what Hellfire and asc1226 have said. The password change is a monstrous red flag. Spouses should not find it necessary to hide what they put on their electronic devices from each other. Time to confront and demand access.

[This message edited by src9043 at 7:14 PM, Tuesday, January 11th]

posts: 500   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8709099

emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 8:02 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

It's certainly possible she's cheating. Obviously none of us can say for sure. I will agree with you though that the weirdness/protectiveness around her phone is certainly a giant red flag.

I don't really care much for the comments that seem to suggest you asked for this by taking steps to open the marriage up. I do think that if you're going to do that you need to go back and set some very clear ground rules for what is and isn't okay and maybe that is where things went awry here. I'm no expert, but I certainly agree with Hellfire when she says that trust is a necessary precursor for all of this.

I'm going to assume you've had calm, rational, non-judgmental conversations with your wife about changes you've noticed in her phone usage/weirdness and how that is making you feel - particularly in the aftermath of you learning that she had been messaging with someone in a way that made you feel uncomfortable. In my experience, in a healthy marriage if someone brings up concerns like that in a gentle, non-aggressive manner, an empathetic partner with nothing to hide would say, "I'm sorry for making you feel like that, here is my phone, here is my work computer, you can have a look if you like and you will see that I'm just messaging with X about X (or whatever) and that I have nothing to hide." If you have done this without success, or if you anticipate receiving a tirade about how she's entitled to privacy and you're a jerk for even suggesting it (blah blah blah) then I think you have some problems - whether she's cheating or not.

If that's the case, one way of "catching her in the act" is to use a VAR (voice activated recorder). Note: this only works if she speaks with whoever you're worried about her talking to on the phone vs. just via slack or snap or whatever. Often VARs are used in vehicles where lots of affair conversations take place during daily commutes but if your wife is wfh at the moment, you might consider setting up the VAR in the room she works from during the day.

There are others here that will have other suggestions. Good luck. I hope it's nothing.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 743   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8709108

The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 9:40 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

She’s pushing (and has pushed) the envelope/boundaries quite a bit.

I would suspect something is up - b/c there is no need to change a password if there is nothing to hide.

You had her phone and she was very anxious to get it back. Hmmmm…….

All signs do not make this situation look good.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11155   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8709139

RangerS ( new member #79516) posted at 10:15 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

She is certainly acting like a cheater. You have a couple of choices. You can go into detective mode to gather more evidence (use VAR etc). Are you willing to divorce over this? If you are, have a calm talk with her and ask her if she wants to remain in a honest authentic marriage with you. If she says yes, ask her to unlock her laptop and hand it to you. If she won't, tell her that she needs to move out of your bedroom and you can can both discuss next steps in a couple of days. Tell her that the only way the marriage will survive is if she is open and honest with you.

posts: 10   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2021
id 8709154

ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 11:12 PM on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

The problem with opening your marriage and applying rules is that the rules are arbitrary. Yes, those rules would be something that you both agreed to, but that's the only basis of legitimacy they have. There's no supporting belief which can be depended upon to say "this is wrong" or "that is right". What your wife knows right now is that there does exist a set of circumstances whereby you are okay sharing her with others. Depending on one's core values, that can be a problem, because if you've come from a background which values monogamy, you've upended something you believed in. So, with monogamy off the table, you're dependent on your own, now arbitrary, definition of "fidelity". What does fidelity mean to you? Was it synonymous with monogamy?.. because if it was, the bad news is that you've thrown that out in favor of a set of "rules" that the two of you have cooked up. So, your wife isn't likely to view an affair with the same gravitas as she would have earlier. Where once it was going in opposition to core values at the heart of one's character, now it's merely rule-breaking.

My understanding of poly relationships is limited, and I've never observed one which has gone the long haul. But from what I've heard, the most important core value that the participants MUST share... is honesty. You don't appear to have that kind of honesty with your partner. So, my advice would be to bring ALL outside interests to a screeching halt, get into MC, work on your communications and your core values. Find out what you REALLY agree on, and then go from there.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

{edited for typos.. again}

posts: 4886   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8709176

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 10:34 PM on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

What to do next depends on what you want. So what do you want?

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26513   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8709392

Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 7:45 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

In a healthy marriage you would hope to be able to talk about it. Bit in a hewltny marriage you let your spouse use your phone without restriction if they need to use it. There is no tension and no password privacy.

Most people cheating will gaslight you forever if you let them. So it might feel bad spying but there's enough smoke here to warrant it, imo. VAR, GPS etc. Keylogger on the pc if possible. Even a PI is an option if her movements combined with inability to use the tech options warrant it.

IDK, you could play it either way but if your suspicion is high, it might save a lot of pain doing more data gathering.

posts: 441   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8709597
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