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Newest Member: itspointless

Just Found Out :
My Wife had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair

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faithfulman ( member #66002) posted at 6:05 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

She's not really trying except trying to get out of trouble.

@Clouds777 has hit right upon it. She is simply trying to get out of trouble. This is the nature of the immature and selfish personalities of cheaters.

I say it all the time: They got busted and then all they want to do is "get out of trouble".

Basically every new case of cheating is met with a chorus of "Get the cheater into therapy!".

But that presupposes that the cheater truly has a motivation of repenting, doing the incredibly difficult introspection necessary to change their ways, develop empathy and make amends to the person who has been betrayed - all without the guarantee of success, the betrayed may still decide to end the relationship.

It also assumes the lucky draw of a therapist who is not an idiot, or an enabler, espouses relativistic morals when it comes to cheating such as unmet needs, or some other bullshit.

Without that motivation and a truly competent therapist, all you have is a cheater whining in therapy with very likely a therapist going along with it and collecting a fee. In the very rare instances that the therapist takes a hard line against the immorality, lying, bullshit and so on, that therapist becomes an ex-therapist

I'm telling you, the motivation, and simply the capability to do this is extremely rare, despite the occasional "success story" that you see here or there.

***

So you will have to determine, sooner or later, is your wife the rare cheater who puts in the work, despite the fact she will have to accept and fix her intrinsic shitty behavior coupled with the lack of guarantee of continuance of the marriage?

To me the answer is pretty obvious, but I am just some dude on the internet who has no skin in the game, so it is much easier for me to say.

But all signs point toward her having a "get out of trouble" strategy, not a "fix myself, do anything to make amends to Strangelove" strategy.

[This message edited by faithfulman at 6:08 PM, Sunday, May 15th]

posts: 927   ·   registered: Aug. 28th, 2018
id 8735438
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:11 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

We just had a beloved family member(M) go through this. His W thought with family members pitching in he would have someone with him all the time. It became clear to his wife that he needed HER. No one else could do. She put aside everything, including a beloved job, to be whatever he needed. When you were alone did you ask her to spend more time with you. She sounds like things need to be spelled out and you sound stoic. Those two personalities trip each other up. She isn’t empathetic enough to read your mind. I am glad you two are talking. Keep it up.

And btw his scans are clear.

I’m glad to hear your family member is in the clear—it’s a scary time.

You’re spot on about our personality traits: I can be stoic and she is often paralyzed by indecision on how to act. I don’t blame her for leaving me alone during it; I wanted to be left alone. It’s just an interesting memory for me because I chose to go through it alone. No one—not my wife, my parents, my sister—knew exactly the extent of what I was going through. I felt like their worrying would be a net negative.

But my wife saw up close the signs—it’s impossible to hide sudden, massive blood loss from someone living with you. So she certainly knew things were worse for me than I let on. And she was always compassionate and I never felt unloved—I just think back to how alone I was then and find it a familiar feeling now.

Ultimately, during the affair, she chose AP over me. It didn’t work out for her and she’s back for round 2 with me. But I feel untethered to her now. I don’t think she’d leave me or cheat again, but I didn’t think any of that last year and it all became very real.

I want to finish the next half of my life with a partner who loves and respects me—and that’s certainly not guaranteed to anyone—but I need to believe she’s all in on this reconciliation; all in on me.

Yesterday went largely very well, but we did hit another hiccup last night where signs of anger showed up on her end and she mis-spoke, showing signs of fatigue of all my questions. She knew right away she messed up, but those triggers keep me at bay from beginning my journey to trusting her again.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735448
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:18 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

@Clouds777 has hit right upon it. She is simply trying to get out of trouble. This is the nature of the immature and selfish personalities of cheaters.

I say it all the time: They got busted and then all they want to do is "get out of trouble".

Basically every new case of cheating is met with a chorus of "Get the cheater into therapy!".

But that presupposes that the cheater truly has a motivation of repenting, doing the incredibly difficult introspection necessary to change their ways, develop empathy and make amends to the person who has been betrayed - all without the guarantee of success, the betrayed may still decide to end the relationship.

It also assumes the lucky draw of a therapist who is not an idiot, or an enabler, espouses relativistic morals when it comes to cheating such as unmet needs, or some other bullshit.

Without that motivation and a truly competent therapist, all you have is a cheater whining in therapy with very likely a therapist going along with it and collecting a fee. In the very rare instances that the therapist takes a hard line against the immorality, lying, bullshit and so on, that therapist becomes an ex-therapist

I'm telling you, the motivation, and simply the capability to do this is extremely rare, despite the occasional "success story" that you see here or there.

***

So you will have to determine, sooner or later, is your wife the rare cheater who puts in the work, despite the fact she will have to accept and fix her intrinsic shitty behavior coupled with the lack of guarantee of continuance of the marriage?

To me the answer is pretty obvious, but I am just some dude on the internet who has no skin in the game, so it is much easier for me to say.

But all signs point toward her having a "get out of trouble" strategy, not a "fix myself, do anything to make amends to Strangelove" strategy.

My determination on whether or not she will put in the work isn’t complete yet, but I’m seeing some work all the time; it’s just erased in my view by her seemingly daily missteps.

I’m committed to trying this out a few more months, so it’s a matter of monitoring her behavior and seeing if the commitment on her end stays up while the missteps become more rare.

And I’ll keep updating this thread so you can all keep me honest—be it I’m blinded by manipulation or I’m being too hard on her.

I greatly appreciate this help at the lowest time of my life. You’re all good people and you’ve had a deep affect on me.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735449
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 7:51 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

People throw around the words personality disorder when in reality they are probably only 4 to 6% of the population. Most of us have something in our personalities that could stand some improvement but we toggle along as best we can. If she has an issue with empathy chances are it got squelched in childhood. I don’t know anything about her history but you do and you can certainly look back and see if there were issues there. You can call these character issues instead of personality disorders, but whatever, you’re describing a part of the body. We keep forgetting that the brain is an organ in the body. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it does not. Anyway, you can’t change a persons basic personality. You can help that person learn some empathy but they are still going to be basically who they were at about age 18. We are finished maturing emotionally at about 25. At that point we should be able to take care of ourselves, treat others kindly, and pay attention to the outside world. If we are enslaved to what happened to us as children then what we do is all day long is try to get whatever we think we need regardless of who we run over in the process. I tell people to look at the detritus(hurt people) that’s left behind. If there’s a lot of it you’re probably dealing with a personality disorder or someone with many traits. If your wife does not appear to get past her own self to see you then she has a ton of baggage that needs dealing with.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3351   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8735454
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 11:46 PM on Sunday, May 15th, 2022

I tell people to look at the detritus(hurt people) that’s left behind. If there’s a lot of it you’re probably dealing with a personality disorder or someone with many traits. If your wife does not appear to get past her own self to see you then she has a ton of baggage that needs dealing with.

99% of the day she is going above and beyond to make me feel loved and comforted—hugs, kisses, check-ins, etc., but on average there is one red flag a day that shows she’s more focused on herself. Perhaps that should be expected due to all the revelations and change on her plate—as others have pointed out—or maybe that’s her mask slipping.

My gut tells me it’s the former, but my intellectual side wants to be less forgiving to avoid getting fooled again.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735482
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SicTransitGloria ( new member #79621) posted at 6:33 AM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Dr. S: I'm not a psychologist, but my sense is that your wife isn't a narcissist. It just seems like you married a child when it comes to personal and interpersonal maturity. The difference is that children are egocentric (they rarely see beyond their own perspective and concerns) whereas narcissists are egotistical (in love with themselves). There is a very childish immaturity to your wife's actions, words, and opinions as you describe them. Her selfishness. Her highly transactional view of sex. Her transparent underlying motives in those letters she writes. It isn't necessarily malicious or sinister--like thinking you're living with a sociopath--but it is often manipulative and still incredibly hurtful when you see their inability to love with real compassion and consideration. They love you, but their understanding of love is immature. And even worse, you almost feel bad at your anger because it feels like getting mad at someone that simply doesn't have the capacity to engage in an adult manner. The question is: will she grow up enough and quickly enough to save the marriage?

As I write this, something is coming to my mind that could be a sort of indicator of growth. I think we can all agree that she should be committed to changing and maturing to develop her capacity for compassion, introspection, and consideration in order to be the kind of partner you need her to be. And it sounds like she has committed to trying. But it would be really revealing if there was a way to know if she would still have that same commitment even if you two divorce. Because she should want to change regardless of the marital situation, because it's something that impacts every facet of her life and she should not want to continue to be so emotionally stunted and treat others as she has. If she is only doing it "to save the marriage," then it would seem like she doesn't truly "get it" and is still seeing her attempted behavioral changes in a highly transactional way (i.e. "If I do/say what he wants, I'll get what I want: to assuage my husband and stay in the marriage." This is the inauthentic mask you express worry about). I don't fault your wife if the marriage/prospect of divorce is foremost on her mind, but she should deeply desire to change (and do the hard work required) even if you decided to divorce.

[This message edited by SicTransitGloria at 6:35 AM, Monday, May 16th]

posts: 1   ·   registered: Nov. 23rd, 2021
id 8735511
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:18 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Dr. S: I'm not a psychologist, but my sense is that your wife isn't a narcissist. It just seems like you married a child when it comes to personal and interpersonal maturity. The difference is that children are egocentric (they rarely see beyond their own perspective and concerns) whereas narcissists are egotistical (in love with themselves). There is a very childish immaturity to your wife's actions, words, and opinions as you describe them. Her selfishness. Her highly transactional view of sex. Her transparent underlying motives in those letters she writes. It isn't necessarily malicious or sinister--like thinking you're living with a sociopath--but it is often manipulative and still incredibly hurtful when you see their inability to love with real compassion and consideration. They love you, but their understanding of love is immature. And even worse, you almost feel bad at your anger because it feels like getting mad at someone that simply doesn't have the capacity to engage in an adult manner. The question is: will she grow up enough and quickly enough to save the marriage?

As I write this, something is coming to my mind that could be a sort of indicator of growth. I think we can all agree that she should be committed to changing and maturing to develop her capacity for compassion, introspection, and consideration in order to be the kind of partner you need her to be. And it sounds like she has committed to trying. But it would be really revealing if there was a way to know if she would still have that same commitment even if you two divorce. Because she should want to change regardless of the marital situation, because it's something that impacts every facet of her life and she should not want to continue to be so emotionally stunted and treat others as she has. If she is only doing it "to save the marriage," then it would seem like she doesn't truly "get it" and is still seeing her attempted behavioral changes in a highly transactional way (i.e. "If I do/say what he wants, I'll get what I want: to assuage my husband and stay in the marriage." This is the inauthentic mask you express worry about). I don't fault your wife if the marriage/prospect of divorce is foremost on her mind, but she should deeply desire to change (and do the hard work required) even if you decided to divorce.

I think you’re spot on with every point. Her view of sex and love is immature, but I see those walls crumbling every day. We spent most of the weekend talking about sex and love (and having a lot of sex) and I can see flags arise at times, but she’s quickly able to identify them now.

She was always so tense about the topics and if I catch her off guard, I can see her instinct revert back to that, but moments later I see her now start to breath and access the situation.

We’re both working to be better about how we express those feelings. Her instinct is to shut down and put up a wall and my instinct is to get angry at her for it. On my end, I’ve instead tried to just tell her how it makes me feel, rather than judging her actions as good or bad. In response, I see her reflecting on them in real time—she’s becoming introspective and honestly doesn’t even realize it yet.

That all happened again last night and I’d say it was the best I’ve felt in two months—and all because I saw authentic change on her part. She can do the right things 99% of the time and it doesn’t move the needle much for me, but seeing her do the "wrong" thing and then move to correct it felt like awesome progress. We fell asleep cuddled in each other’s arms and I had to reflect on how far I’ve come emotionally over the last week.

I know there will be more downs coming, but I woke up this morning with a good amount of hope again.

As for her intentions of change, I strongly feel she’s in it for herself primarily, not just for me. It’s hard to watch, but she’s been hit by a Mac truck reflecting on how she treated me and her family. She is mortified and she’ll be in psychotherapy for some time regardless of how we play out.

That’s at this moment though—I recognize she could cave at any point in the future and give up. But I don’t see that as likely right now.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 12:21 PM, Monday, May 16th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735515
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 6:00 PM on Monday, May 16th, 2022

Another potentially useful tool in your tool chest could be fake it til you make it. This has its applicability in R, as it does in other areas of life.

R appears to be more hopeful than not for you I believe, but of course there will be times closer to your deadline for your WW to change that you might doubt R. This is where this tool may come in handy.

posts: 455   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8735559
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 4:56 PM on Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

DrStrangeLove,

I haven't been in your thread for a few pages. It seems like you have made a lot of progress with your wife.

I am a little curious about how you are working through pre-A issues at this point or if they are still off the table while you stabilize and recover. I'm not trying to blameshift you at all. There are legitimate issues that can come up in a marriage that the A can tend to muddy because it can seem like blameshifting.

You mentioned your wife had built up years of resentment against you. How have you guys addressed that since? I haven't seen you write much about her working through that or admitting it was relationship history rewriting.

You have also been very closed off with your wife. You say you felt alone during the tumor incident, but it also sounds like you walled her off and didn't want her to shoulder any of the pain and worry related to your health. It's not really fair to shut someone out, then ask them why they weren't there for you.

In my wife's case, she didn't like to share her pain with me. This was a major block for her before the A, and after the A in trying to reach R. I wasn't getting real emotional intimacy with her because she wasn't willing to share her pain with me. She didn't want me to see her in pain or to help her with her pain. She never wants to be a burden on her family and so that's part of how she coped. She felt alone in dealing with her mother's death, but not because I was unwilling to help or be there for her. But because she didn't want me to worry about it anymore. She created her own further aloneness.

I'm not saying you have the same issue as my wife as it relates to not sharing pain. I'm saying maybe you can learn something here about being open about pain and other negative emotions in order to achieve a higher level of emotional intimacy.

Yesterday went largely very well, but we did hit another hiccup last night where signs of anger showed up on her end and she mis-spoke, showing signs of fatigue of all my questions. She knew right away she messed up, but those triggers keep me at bay from beginning my journey to trusting her again.

One thing in dealing with the A, and the questions and the legitimate fatigue, is that you won't make much progress if you punish her simply for being less than perfect. She is only human, and the effort is what matters the most. It does seem like you are giving her some grace here, but she should feel it's ok for her to express her real emotions even if they don't make you happy. She is going to be angry at times. She is going to be fatigued. She isn't going to say the right thing every time. But if she catches herself and asks for a moment and she avoids defensiveness (which is different from anger or fatigue in that it's about self protection in the face of your negative emotions), that's what's going to help.

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

posts: 1974   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8735706
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 8:47 PM on Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

The last few days have went well with my wife--I've only seen minor flags and she's identified them quickly and we discuss them. She's now surfing this website, reading through threads on the wayward side and checking out the various articles, but she has decided against reading my thread, though she certainly could if she wants and I'm ok with that--it won't change what I post.

Also, as an update, we've decided to continue CT--at the urging of the therapist--in addition to each of us having our own IC. That will last as long as we can afford it I guess, though I will be monitoring for perceived value from our CT sessions, which thus far have been us reporting back on the massive developments we've had during our sessions. With the pace (hopefully) feeling more slowed, I plan to try to push for the sessions to look forward or dig into specific larger topics--we'll see how that goes.

As for me, without the daily assault of my wife's lack of empathy and selfish perspectives, I've been able to breathe again. I'm enjoying my time spent with her, but my thoughts are now able to explore various other festering wounds I've been ignoring these last two months. Principally, her family, which I brought up in discussion with her briefly last night. I thought now would be a good opportunity to dig into it with all of you as I'm hopeful some of you may have similar lived experience in this area.

For background, my wife is close with her immediate family, but very much less so with other relatives. They all live in another country, but are relatively close to us (a one hour flight) and we see them a few times a year (it used to be more before my wife and I had children). They're all nice, passive people who avoid conflict at any cost.

Her father is a charismatic, smart, polite, reserved man. He did very well in business and succeeded at the highest levels before retiring very wealthy. Her mother is kind, generous, opinioned (though unintelligent) and fiercely loyal to her two daughters, who she raised in various places around the western world as the family travelled for her husband's ascent up the corporate ladder. Her sister is three years younger, the sweetest person I've ever met, incredibly thoughtful and intelligent, but has suffered from horrible personal demons her entire life, culminating in cutting and various eating disorders throughout her adult life. As a young adult, she attempted suicide a few times and has spent a lot of time cycling through various medications that have numbed her ability to be present at various degrees.

I met them all around 2006-2007 and they were incredibly warm in welcoming me to the family. We'd alternate holidays with them, often going up to visit them about three times a year, including many Christmases. I was cordial, but hesitant at first, but their generosity and warmth was overwhelming. They'd spend thousands of dollars on me in gifts for birthdays/holidays, stock the fridge with my favorite beers, and welcomed me into their family with open arms. By the time I married my wife in 2012, I thought of them as my family and that feeling has only increased in the last decade--we host them every year for Christmas so they can be with the kids and we usually spend a week with them at one of their beautiful homes in the summer; not to mention any vacations or other visits mixed in over the years.

The one red flag for me has always been how alright they are seeing their grand children so infrequently--I'm a very family-orientated person and as you all know, children mean everything to me, so their moral values on family were slightly strange to me. Also, my wife's relationship with them has always been odd. Her mother has always been her best friend, but my wife always seemed burdened by her sister (who obviously absorbs up much of the family's attention) and a bit cold toward her father (in retrospect, I'd say resentful). We had countless discussions over the years with me urging my wife to involve her family more--give her sister a call to check in (they'd go months without speaking often) or take the kids up to Canada for a quick trip so they can see their grandparents. She always was reluctant and it frustrated me a bit because of how different my view of family was.

Now to the affair...

In November, my wife told her mother about AP, but only in the context of him being someone who was flirting with her on the PTA. The initial conversation was harmless with her mom jut saying to be careful it doesn't go beyond that.

In mid-Dec., my wife began talking about AP more with her mom, calling her right away after the first kiss on Dec. 17 and the make out session on Dec. 21. Her mother preached caution and to be careful, telling her she's a grown woman and can do what she likes, but that she disagreed with her actions and she was risking a lot. My wife accelerated the badmouthing of me, clearly looking to sway her mother to a more sympathetic perspective of the blossoming affair. My wife knew where things were going and knew the physical aspect would only accelerate.

Her family came to visit over Christmas, staying in our home (Dec. 23-27). My wife was acting horrible, disengaged, upset and moody and her family definitely picked up on it as a bigger red flag that I did. My wife blamed it on me to them behind my back, at one point crying to her father about how unhappy she was in the marriage. I cluelessly spent the days cooking elaborate meals and entertaining while I suspect their opinions of me were changing in real-time.

They left the morning of Dec. 27 and that was the day my wife went on a jog to meet AP to kiss and chat (the day they decided to get a hotel room on Jan. 4). After the jog my wife gleefully reported back to her mom that AP ran four miles to see her and her mom excitedly replied back: "Wow, he must really like you!" The exchange was shocking to see because it was like two 17 year old girls chatting about a cute boy, not a 70-year old mom talking to her 37-year old daughter, who was married with two kids and about to light her life on fire. And the exchanges only got worse throughout the affair.

On Jan. 4, the day of the trip to the sports arena and night at the hotel, my wife connected with her mom--my wife knew she'd be alone in a hotel room with another man and wanted to make sure someone knew where she was in case there was an issue of her safety, so her mom was the obvious choice. Her mom was disappointed in her and told her she'd come to regret it. My wife booked a car service using her mom's account to avoid any paper trail I could find, but she forgot to change the email address, so the reservation confirmation went to her father. So on Jan. 5, he knew the affair was happening. He told her mom how angry and disappointed in my wife he was and he largely stopped talking with my wife throughout the affair.

The conversations that followed between my wife and her mother largely centered on how the hotel night was a one time thing and it was something my wife needed to do for herself and she'd take it to her grave. That changed on Jan. 18 when she met AP in his car for the first time--the game changed and now she was in a full blown affair--she was texting with him constantly and seeing him for sexual activities every week or two. My wife rarely spoke about AP to her mom, largely focusing the conversations around how awful I was.

In late-Jan., my wife told her sister about the ongoing affair. Her sister, very reserved, offered exceedingly wise council throughout, telling my wife that she needed to stop immediately as it was all going to blow up on her. My wife didn't like that obviously, so she spoke to her less than her mom, who was more receptive to it all.

On Feb. 24, the night of the second hotel stay, my wife was feeling doubts. She hadn't seen AP since giving him a BJ in his car on Feb. 8 and she had a largely wonderful time with me since (Valentine's Day week and our trip to Miami the week after). My wife called her sister from the hotel while waiting for him frightened she was making the wrong choice. The sister advised that it be the last night of the affair--see him tonight and then walk away from him forever. My wife hung up conflicted, but it all changed once she opened the hotel door for him. Thy had wild sex all night and she was back on cloud nine.

My wife saw him again in his car on March 2 (the last meet) and they had sex again. As she walked to the train after leaving AP, she texted her sister: "Well, I'm definitely the bad guy now because I just did it again," followed by "I don't even think what I'm doing is wrong. :Shrug Emoji:" Her sister told her she was sitting on a stack of dynamite and needed to end the affair.

All throughout the affair, my wife's mom was eager to come visit to talk to my wife in person. They finalized the trip and both her mom and sister came to visit from March 13-17. I'd cook each night and chat with them, her mother always urging me to go get some sleep as she wanted more alone time with my wife at night to talk. The three of them got drunk and chatted every night of the trip. My wife's confidence was back--texting with AP and making plans to see him on the 17th once her family was gone--all of this while in the same room as me and her family.

I had overheard some of the drunken conversation the first night from upstairs (13th), but it wasn't enough for a big flag (some girl sex talk, but nothing that explicitly suggested an affair to my naïve ears). On the 14th I even asked my wife if she was having an affair and she jokingly responded "yes." Then on the 15th is when I listened in to the entire conversation from upstairs and read her phone, etc., blowing the whole thing open. The drunken conversations were hurtful; my wife jokingly complaining about all the sex she was having with two men and her mom saying: "I'd feel bad for you, but I don't."

Once I found out my wife was cheating, I was focused on only her in the immediate aftermath--talking with my wife the first few days without sleep (all lies at the time as she didn't come clean until March 18). But when her family left on the 17th, I actually felt a bit bad at how awkward it had been for them to be staying in the house during this Armageddon.

That afternoon I carried her mom's bags to the car and she gave me a huge hug, told me how much she loved me, and said to reach out to her anytime if I wanted to talk--that she was very hopefully my wife and I worked things out (what she had told to my wife as well).

I drove her sister to the train station a little while later. I apologized to her for having to deal with the awkwardness and for reading her private text conversations. Her sister gently put her arm on my shoulder for a few moments as I drove and told me not to apologize for anything.

The next day (March 18), I texted my wife's mother apologizing for the awkwardness of the trip and reinforced that having my wife's back throughout this was so important (obviously my wife was in bad shape at this point along with me). She told me she'd always have her children's backs, even when she whole-heartedly disagrees with their choices, but she couldn't imagine me no longer being a part of her life. We exchanged texts and she told me she'd keep our communication private from my wife, though I told her that wasn't necessary. She also told me she'd always be there for me and to call or text her anytime.

That night, my wife began unravelling more truth, including her significant drinking problem throughout the affair. In the moment, it hit me that the bottom of this thing was getting ugly beyond my means of handling alone. I suggested to my wife that we talk with her parents together and make sure she has the support she needs to move forward. In the moment, I felt overwhelmed. I texted her mom and told her we'd like to talk with her and my wife's father the next day. She said she'd get back to me with a good time.

The next day, May 19, her mom texted me back telling me her and her husband are only comfortable talking with me if my wife was on the call--which was the stated plan. But it struck me as very strange to reiterate that to me. Not only was that already discussed, but she seemed to go out of her way to make sure it was clear to me that I couldn't talk to either of them directly. I felt betrayed and looked at her parents differently immediately. I was the outsider, not a part of their family. I backed out, telling my wife and her mom that I was stepping back and they should talk without me.

I had my own problems to deal with so I just let it go so she could talk to her family without me. But the next day it got much worse. I had called my lawyer on the 18th and the lawyer had called me back on the 19th, so I told my wife we spoke and she was rattled. She went to her parents and they went nuclear. In separate conversations, they both told her I was going to divorce her and steal the children from her and that she needed to protect herself legally.

The panic went bananas--I was in the middle of trying to sort through the affair, dealing with our kids, and my wife was having an emotional breakdown based on repeated calls from her parents putting nonsensical poison in her mind. I had no intention of divorcing her or stealing the kids--hell, I live in a no-fault state so affairs have zero impact on alimony or child-custody, but no one had the thought to spend five seconds on Google before blowing everything in my world up. In just a few days I went from feeling part of the family, to outside the family, to feeling that they were enemies of my family.

And it kept getting worse--my wife's mom kept downplaying the affair to my wife, telling her things like: "It was only a three month affair, how long are you going to let him punish you for it?" Her father kept berating her choices, being especially harsh at my wife's (rightful) decision to tell the OBS, saying it would only make things for her harder and that he was disappointed that she was seeking out more drama.

Both of her parents are so incredibly selfish, weak, amoral people. There's no apology coming from them to me, even though they knew for months what was going on and did nothing. When my wife was in the middle of the worst crisis of her life, her mother was enabling her and her father gave up on her--no fatherly wisdom or advice to speak of.

I feel betrayed by both of them personally with them excommunicating me from their family as soon as things got hard and then actively working against my marriage. I also look at them with disgust at their lack of morality. I hear my wife's mother laughing it up in my living room at all the fun extramarital sex her daughter was having. It's sick.

I know the easy answer is to forget and forgive. There's enough friction involved with our current attempt at reconciliation without me drawing any hard lines on her parents or inviting further conflict. I can't quite imagine being in the same room as them right now--I *think* it would be worse than being in the same room as AP. I'm thoroughly disgusted by them and I know an apology isn't coming.

My wife has plans to take the children to visit them in mid-August. As of now, I'm not planning to go. That seems fine with me unless my views shift before then. But if reconciliation progresses, we'll be back to Dec. again in no time. I've hosted her family for Christmas for the last seven years, so telling my wife they're not welcome would be a fairly big deal. I think my wife expects that to be my position, but I know she'll be upset still--they're getting old and she has limited time with them left, so me making it harder on her and our kids to see them will surely create resentment for me.

I'm also cognizant that next year's holidays are going to be brutal as it'll be the one-year anniversary of the affair. Top those triggers off with seeing her parents again for the first time and it may be a bit more than I can chew. There's plenty of time before then, but I'm wondering if I should make an effort to repair the relationship well before then--perhaps even join my wife in August?

And I know what this sounds like--it's me trying to fix everything, just like with my wife. But I hate unclear situations and I'd rather not live with this cloud of shit above my head.

Anyway, this is long enough--feedback, as always, is welcome. Thank you, all!

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735749
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 8:55 PM on Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

DrStrangeLove,

I haven't been in your thread for a few pages. It seems like you have made a lot of progress with your wife.

I am a little curious about how you are working through pre-A issues at this point or if they are still off the table while you stabilize and recover. I'm not trying to blameshift you at all. There are legitimate issues that can come up in a marriage that the A can tend to muddy because it can seem like blameshifting.

You mentioned your wife had built up years of resentment against you. How have you guys addressed that since? I haven't seen you write much about her working through that or admitting it was relationship history rewriting.

You have also been very closed off with your wife. You say you felt alone during the tumor incident, but it also sounds like you walled her off and didn't want her to shoulder any of the pain and worry related to your health. It's not really fair to shut someone out, then ask them why they weren't there for you.

In my wife's case, she didn't like to share her pain with me. This was a major block for her before the A, and after the A in trying to reach R. I wasn't getting real emotional intimacy with her because she wasn't willing to share her pain with me. She didn't want me to see her in pain or to help her with her pain. She never wants to be a burden on her family and so that's part of how she coped. She felt alone in dealing with her mother's death, but not because I was unwilling to help or be there for her. But because she didn't want me to worry about it anymore. She created her own further aloneness.

I'm not saying you have the same issue as my wife as it relates to not sharing pain. I'm saying maybe you can learn something here about being open about pain and other negative emotions in order to achieve a higher level of emotional intimacy.

First, to clarify on the tumor, I'm not blaming her for leaving me alone--it's what I wanted. There was also a bit of selfishness from her at the time that I found draining. She was trying to work from home once a week to "help" me out, but was getting push-back from her boss. It caught me up in the same conversation about how unfair her life is and how she's not treated as well as others, etc. It's an attitude I could barely tolerate while healthy, but I went two months without a moment's sleep (crazy if you haven't tried it lol), had an agonizing headache and was bleeding everywhere. My sole focus was getting myself in front of the best doctors on the planet--I had not even an ounce to spare for my wife's insignificant problems. So yes, I gently shut her out by creating the appearance that I didn't need her help.

And to her credit, she was always compassionate to me, so I don't mean to make it out to be a bigger deal, it just flashed for me as a point in my life where I felt similar to post-D-Day.

As for the resentment, she's working on it in IC and reading books on letting stuff go. Resentment is a big issue for her beyond just me as it's a result of avoiding all conflict and feeling entitled at the same time. I did write about it a bit a few pages back, noting that me asking her to stop complaining about her job to me constantly was interpreted by her as me emotionally shutting her off. I see that now and I handled it poorly--I'm not nearly as compassionate as I wish I was and I'm working on it.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 8:57 PM, Tuesday, May 17th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735751
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 12:29 AM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

The absolute last thing you should be worrying about is discomfort for your amoral and inconsiderate in laws. If your wife feels that the kids should see them, she should do the work to make that happen NOT at a time where they should be with you, like Christmas. This is not something you should expect yourself to deal with at the anniversary of her affair, whether you are together or not. They have not even apologized. You need to prioritize you and your healing. They shouldn't even be on your radar.

If your wife actually prioritizes you, she will suggest this on her own and NOT expect you to rugsweep their horrible treatment of you. Your wife did this so only she should be made to be uncomfortable and put out to fix it, not you. Does she have a plan to address this, maybe with her IC coaching? Things can't just go back to what they were - oops! We knew she was cheating on you and encouraged it but you know, no big deal. WTF!?!

Have you asked you wife why you have not gotten an apology from your in laws?

The repair attempt should be led by your inlaws and your wife, not you. You did not do this. You have barely inched forward to attempting R. Do not worry about or plan to visit any of your wife's complicit accomplices any time soon. You do not need to move that fast and you certainly do not owe them anything. They owe you quite a lot if they expect you to stay in their life.

posts: 277   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8735782
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 3:20 AM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

I know the easy answer is to forget and forgive.


See that big can of Nope on the shelf? Pick it up and open it up.

In the quote above, what that will achieve is plain rug-sweeping, and all at SI knows how well that works.... *hint - and answer is never*

Your unwillingness to see your WWs parents is understandable, as they had betrayed you also. As with all betrayals, you will never forget. You may get to a stage of forgiveness, but if you forget, then it means you have not learned.

Forgiveness is also not a thing that is done immediately, as a forgiveness given too quick will mean little to all involved. The giver will not be forgiving fully, and the recipient will not value it as it was not earned.

Don't feel obligated to visit, or to host, your WWs family. You have to do what is right for YOU, as YOU are the aggrieved party. If anything, your WW should be the one doing all the work to mend the bridges she destroyed between you and her family, if she still wants you to have a connection to her family.

She wants to host her parents for Christmas? She has to do all the work to make YOU comfortable to host them, as it is YOUR house. She wants you to fly over to see her family? She has to do ALL the work to make you comfortable, and DEFEND you against her parents if it has to come to that.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 987   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8735797
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rambler ( member #43747) posted at 4:09 AM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

I will preface this wth I have seen a lot of very, very bad things So I tend to go with worst case.


I would not let her leave the country with my kids unless I have a court order protecting my rights. There is a lot that can happen.

Did your wife tell them you are abusive?


You need to stand up for yourself. Why are you worried about whether something will tick your wife off rather than her ticking you off.


Your in laws can stay at a hotel and your wife already knows one.

making it through

posts: 1323   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2014   ·   location: Chicago
id 8735802
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bob7777 ( new member #79867) posted at 11:20 AM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

It's hard to find out that you are only a tolerated part of the "family". But better late than never. I think you have to redefine your whole relationship with her family if you continue with your wife. At least you now have confirmation from where she got this selfish behavior.

posts: 13   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2022
id 8735819
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Thank you all for the replies—this one was my favorite:

Your in laws can stay at a hotel and your wife already knows one.

You’re all right in that my wife needs to manage this. She knows that too. She understands and agrees with my feelings on them, but she also understands their position, which is that they were supporting and focused on her—they just did things to unnecessarily alienate me.

The part she can’t defend is their lack of morality—especially her mother—but it’s impossible for her to be angry with her mom over it because she knows for one, she was worse, and two, she was encouraging it by telling her how horrible I am. She now recognizes her own immoral actions and the immoral behavior of her mother in enabling it and doesn’t know how to handle it—honestly, it’s a big deal for our reconciliation: how do I move forward with someone who lacks such basic moral principles?

She’ll be talking with her IC about all of this and hopes to find a path forward before we get to Christmas. FWIW, I’m open to resolving this, but it will likely require effort on their end.

As for her leaving the country with the children, that’s not a concern for me, but sadly it is something that crossed my mind. If any of you are in the mood to cry, watch the documentary Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father—one of the saddest films I’ve ever seen (I’m a big movie buff).

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 12:43 PM, Wednesday, May 18th]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735827
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 12:41 PM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Your wife should NOT see their (in laws) side of things. What can you possibly mean by this? She sees where it's not their fault? What they did is not just supporting her. And why has no one apologized to you??? Im guessing they do what she does by pretending its not actually their fault so why should they apologize.

Here you are, worrying about repair attempts, while she sees their side of things. Stop excusing her behavior. Obviously you can see where she gets it.

posts: 277   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8735829
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nekonamida ( member #42956) posted at 2:24 PM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Has she ever sat down with them after DDay and gone over what she told them when she was bad mouthing you? Admitting that she was lying/exaggerating and being honest about what was actually happening during that time could bring them to a place of wanting to put forth that effort. Maybe not given MIL wanted you to be over it so quickly but she should still try.

The holidays will be brutal for you. Even if you start to resolve this by then, seeing them may not be a good idea.

posts: 5140   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2014   ·   location: United States
id 8735835
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 3:59 PM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Your wife should NOT see their (in laws) side of things. What can you possibly mean by this? She sees where it's not their fault? What they did is not just supporting her. And why has no one apologized to you??? Im guessing they do what she does by pretending its not actually their fault so why should they apologize.

Here you are, worrying about repair attempts, while she sees their side of things. Stop excusing her behavior. Obviously you can see where she gets it.

She can see their perspective on specific examples--I can too. We both agree that they were wrong in their handling. And further, she recognizes that I'm both personally hurt and morally horrified. As you suggest, it's her job to bridge the relationship back together so that I'm comfortable being with them. She's going to work on that and I'm going to let her lead this--scary to think!


Has she ever sat down with them after DDay and gone over what she told them when she was bad mouthing you? Admitting that she was lying/exaggerating and being honest about what was actually happening during that time could bring them to a place of wanting to put forth that effort. Maybe not given MIL wanted you to be over it so quickly but she should still try.

The holidays will be brutal for you. Even if you start to resolve this by then, seeing them may not be a good idea.

She hasn't seen anyone in her family since her mother and sister left our house on March 17. She has talked to them and provided feedback for how she feels, but their sole concern is her well being. So she'd be telling them how bad she feels for what she did to me and they'd tell her she has to forgive herself--and in the mother's case, telling her it wasn't even that bad lol (it's insane for me to write that).

My wife hasn't found their comments and advice helpful. Combined with the fact that our CT in no uncertain terms expressed to my wife how fucked up her boundaries are with her marriage and her family. So those two factors have led to her not discussing any thing affair-related with them since early April. So the last six weeks or so there has just been this weird unsettled conflict feeling.

My wife doesn't know how to approach my feelings with them as she thinks they'll get defensive. She's convinced her father will say: "You're a grown woman and the mistakes are yours, not mine--I was just doing what I felt was in your best interest at the time." And her mother will say, "I was supporting you at every turn and you were my only priority so I regret nothing I said or did."

And as you know, my wife isn't very good at navigating such a conflicting conversation, so she feels unprepared to embark on it yet. I told her that's fine and she should go at her pace, but to understand where my headspace is right now.

And honestly, this all feels like drama. Her parents apology to me is such a sideshow to what really matters to me, but I also recognize that this wound can't just be left to fester or it will cause problems down the line for me and my attempt at reconciliation.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735852
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 4:33 PM on Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

I also wanted to share this--after several suggestions, I went back and started reading the thread by Walloped. I stumbled across this post, written 7+ years ago by a married player/serial cheater. It's as though this was written by my wife's AP. It's creepy as hell. My wife read it and was shocked too.

My perspective- as a serial cheat. Before I start, I'm no GQ model look alike and I'm not wealthy.

For me, it was always about extra sex. The thrill of the chase and ego boost was a plus, but I just wanted more sex than my wife did. I always loved my wife and certainly never ever wanted to leave her or lose her. Especially not over someone else's wayward wife.

I had a simple method. I used it because it worked. I targeted married women. I figured they were safer for several important reasons.

1- Less likely to be sleeping around with random guys (STDs).

2- Less likely to pull the crazy girlfriend BS and call my wife.

3- In case of an unwanted pregnancy, I had a built in schmuck to pay the tab and would have claimed to have had a vasectomy.

The most important part of being a player is to hide it. I started with shy looks making certain I'd get caught and then doing my best to look embarrassed. If she started to come around more or dress sexier then I'd try a safe compliment. If she called me on my BS (yes, it happened) I simply acted highly offended. After all, I'm a married family man. That usually got me an apology. A few really smart ones just avoided me altogether.

If she accepted the compliment, I knew I had a chance. I never ever wasted time with someone that I didn't want to bed. If the compliment was successful, I simply followed with more as time permitted and just let things develop. Who knew where it would go? When she would speak with me about her frustrations with her husband (they always complained about their husband) I used that to my advantage. If they complained that he didn't do enough with the kids, I was dad of the year. If he didn't help out around the house, I did everything at home so my wife didn't have to. Yes, it was complete BS, but so what. My job was to make them feel special, pretty and needed and to paint the fantasy. After all, my goal was not conversation or friendship. I wanted to score.

Once things progressed and I had to keep it intense unless it was simply a once and done kind of thing. I would do that by pushing her boundaries for sex. Anal, public hook-up whatever. Keep in mind, I'm in it for the sex so I tried for everything I liked and heard more than once statements like... I never even let my husband do that. That was usually with anal, but sometimes public hook-ups also.

I certainly didn't want to be paying for hotel rooms out my pocket. If she wanted to pay, that was fine. Otherwise, we could hook-up anywhere, it didn't matter to me.

I always advised them to keep the secret between us, because it was so special. Actually, I didn't want to get busted. If they got busted, and some did. That was their tough crap to deal with. I certainly never vowed to love/honor/cherish them.

As I look back, I'm stunned at how easy it was and how many fell for my crap. I had some that would try to pull away and I'd feed them the star crossed lovers BS, you know... kept apart by the cruel hand of fate. That worked like magic to seal the deal. I also used things like I think my wife may have cheated on me. Then I'd work in how I got tested for STDs and it was clear and somehow manage to mention my vasectomy (never had one). Understand? I'm safe, you won't catch anything if you sleep with me and I won't get you pregnant. That was the message.

The one thing that sent me running was the fear of getting caught and sometimes I just wanted a quick bang and wasn't in it for a couple of months of an affair. I'm still also amazed by how many didn't see through my crap either. They didn't have to deal with the day to day stresses that adults face with me (finances, mortgages, car payments, child care, time commitments, etc.). With me, it was just fun and sex. The poor bastard at home didn't have a chance once the play was in motion. It also helped me to see him as a douche-bag when his wife whined about him for whatever reason.

I work with a woman that has lost everything over an affair with me. The house, husband, family, etc. It's difficult to see. She hates me now, but I never vowed anything to her or forced her to do anything. That's her tough crap. Her kids are in therapy, their grades tanked and she's struggling financially and the kids blame her, etc. Honestly, I wish she'd quit so I didn't have to see her every freaking day.

I do know a few like me that I consider even worse. They brag and laugh about getting wayward wives to do things and try to get email or text proof to show off. It's pretty easy, just tell her how much he liked doing X with her last night and let her respond. Then they had proof to brag about and trade notes. I didn't do that. I just wanted the sex and avoided the women they talked about. I liked to find the ones who would seem to be the last to ever do anything like this. Goes back to my 3 reasons.

I never flirted with a married woman unless I wanted in her pants. Plain and simple, you do have to hide it so they don't see it coming, but it's really that basic. Other players use different methods, but we all use what works and modify sometimes if we're not progressing to try a different angle. Not all women are the same, and sometimes deviations are required if she'll let you in her pants.

It was never about love, just sex. I sold the fantasy, yes. But that is all it ever was. A fair trade. They were adults and quite frankly should have known better. Am I a predator, I certainly never thought so and I certainly never thought about what would happen to them when we were done. Yes, all my affairs ended. Most stayed married to their H they *****ed about and screwed around on. Therefore, he must not have been that bad. People just get caught up with unrealistic expectations on life I think. For goodness sake, Prince charming is only charming because he wants a blow job.

Before I close, I'll say this as well. An engaged woman would have worked for me also, but I never found one that would go for me. Also, newly married women are much harder to get. I had the best luck with women who had been married for at least several years, throw a kid or two in the mix and they were usually more susceptible to being chased.

It was a fair trade. Attention and compliments for sex.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 640   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8735862
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