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Reconciliation :
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 9:29 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Hi folks, I use to be a member here like over 15 yrs ago and have been recently struggling with something that is old news and would like your 2 cents. I dated my wife for 6 yrs in the 80's prior to getting married then after 5 yrs of marriage I come home from work and she is crying saying she thinks she wants a divorce; I asked her if there was someone else and she admits to kissing another man on two occasions. Of course I am assuming she had sex with him but she sticks to her guns and denies it. It was a coworkers brother who was visiting from California, He is had left for home long before my wife told me. Well anyway fast forward 5 years we managed to stay together and have 2 kids and one night I actually had a bad dream of her having sex with this guy and I woke up pissed off and questioned her and asked her to take a lie detector test and I also told her I was going to ask not just about him but if she was faithful during our whole life together. Well she broke down and holy shit what she told me. She admitted to having sex with 6 different ONS during the 6 yrs of dating, She explained that it was always during a short fight/breakup. I practically needed to be hospitalized, she rewrote my beautiful past and made it a nightmare. My version of reality was not reality. A girl I loved and allegedly loved me was basically a huge slut. Now keep in mind When she admitted all this it was 12 to 18 yrs in the past during dating in her early 20's and we were married for 10 yrs with 2 kids so I tried like hell to understand her low self-esteem etc. After 2 or 3 years I seem to have put it all behind me and for some strange reason now 23 years later after 30 plus years of marriage it is kicking my ass once again, depressed, in shock like she told me yesterday. At this point I think it is closest to PTSD and its my problem to deal with not hers but sometimes I cant help but bring it up and make her feel like shit. So basically am I nuts? She passed the lie detector for the guy she kissed durring marriage which after what she disclosed I still dont buy it but this is ancient news that I am letting destroy me.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762102
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ThisIsSoLonely ( member #64418) posted at 9:36 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Ugh Shouldofleft - I'm so sorry this is coming back to haunt you now. Have you felt anything amiss lately or do you think this is just unresolved past issues rearing their ugly heads?

If you don't think anything new has happened, I think that maybe IC is your first stop here, with possible MC later? Having a neutral party to just hear you and offer advice is immensely helpful (or at least it was for me). It sounds like you rug swept most of your feelings and you need to get them out!

"Sometimes you're going to have to let one person go a thousand different times, a thousand different ways, and there’s nothing pathetic or abnormal about that. You are human." - Heidi Priebe

posts: 1914   ·   registered: Jul. 11th, 2018
id 8762104
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 11:34 PM on Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

Lonely thanks for your thoughts, I am seeking counselling waiting for return phone calls and reading all sorts of books on ptsd. I just cant understand how I put together a couple of 5 or 6 year stretches of being ok with what she disclosed. I definitely had setbacks over the years with triggers but nothing like whats been running through my mind lately. I recently went to part time at my job to test the waters of retirement but other than that my life was on autopilot. I thought I got to the bottom of everything and was extremely hard on my wife for answers and she did and said the right things even before she disclosed everything so I dont believe I rug swept but maybe Who knows, I would love to not be like this she has had enough and wants a divorce if I cant get over it.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762126
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Never2late ( member #79079) posted at 1:49 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

It sounds like you never got over it. Understandable, most people never completely get over it. This is unfortunately the shit sandwich you agreed to have when you decided to stay.

She has actually threatened to divorce you if you aren't over it? Does not sound like someone that is remorseful.

posts: 70   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8762149
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 2:34 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Never, I was married for 10 years and had 2 young kids when she disclosed what she did while we were dating but I do agree I should have left after she kissed another guy before we had kids, if she came clean about her past then I would have been gone for sure but here I am reliving the shock of her confession 23 years later. I definitely will never get over the information she gave me but I really thought I had my pain and disgust under control for many years, we've been married for over 30 years and things were going great for the last 10 or 15 and then wham it's back, cant sleep loss of appetite nasty remarks and all like she told me yesterday. As far as her wanting a divorce if I dont get over it I dont blame her, she has been as remorseful as a person can be for 23 years and she is getting tired of my mood swings.

[This message edited by shouldofleft at 2:40 AM, Wednesday, October 26th]

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762153
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 4:42 AM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

shouldofleft

Your situation - that is your thoughts and anguish and confusion are normal.

Seems to me you rug-swept your wife's dalliances and/or just didn't get the tea-leaf readings right.

Your pains are normal and not to be ashamed or denigrated. Why? Easy - you found out you have been living with someone you do not know! Lies by omission - "What he doesn't know won't hurt him!" Well - you fleshed out that one omission of multiple ONS by threat of polygraph. Good move for getting the truth. But, like a kid with a gun (think 5 year old) you just shot yourself (in the foot?) There is only one way through your pain and that is talking through your thoughts - IC - and your wife.

Concern is words in other post (I didn't find them) that your wife is thinking of divorce if you "can't get over this" or words to that effect. This is a MAJOR RED FLAG! If your wife was/is really invested in marriage and family - then she should be willing to walk over broken glass to work on finding a path for BOTH of you to heal. Yes - BOTH

You have to heal yourself and you can do it with her by your side in the future - or with her not by your side.
Either way - you have to find your path to peace on your own. If wife is willing she can assist but the wheel of the ship is in your hands. I would suggest you get the book:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. | Sep 8, 2015

You have to find a way to live in peace with the memory of what she did. Together or separated and you will have this memory the rest of your life (barring Alzheimer's) - this will take work on your part and plain old time. Years -

One thing to keep in mind is both of you have changed over the years. Your opinions and assessments of things that occur in life have morphed - sometimes for a less forgiving opinion and others for - well - that is life - we go on and "just let it fade some" but yet never forgetting. You have a friend that turned alcoholic and then got clean. He is still your friend (?) and you know he did a bad thing but you were not the object of any mistreatment and didn't observe any that violated your morals - so you keep him as a friend. Your wife is no longer she "was" a decades ago. You want your pound of flesh for her sins on your marriage but that event has so long passed - the "getting the pound of flesh" will not make your marriage better. Maybe, for a moment, your inner Alpha will feel good at seeing her suffer - but long term - making her suffer will also make you suffer when you realize you did something for revenge or "to do unto others as done to you." (apologies for mangling the phrase) If you truly still love the person you have lived with - say the last 10 years - then you should realize that love is actions and your "getting a pound of flesh" is not a loving action.

Your wife - should be your best friend. Your post leads me to think you "broke up" six times and her "go-to" to absolve her "hurts" is to get porked by some dude? Really? From your post I gather you were both still on the road to "adult maturity." I think we all did some SXXX in our late teens or early 20s that would shame us today. I think you need to consider that with your IC. You need to flesh out if she still harbors the opinion that if you have a serious issue - she hits Tinder of Craigslist for emotional medication. If you find that she is still of that persuasion - you need to see a lawyer and start plotting your future with your fortune being the most important issue to discuss.

Getting back to "divorce" if you can't get over this. This also tells me she has some self issues. To her (for suggesting?) says "I think I would hurt less if I divorce rather that go on for the long slog down the path of reconciliation." Yes - reconciliation is a long path - the rest of your time together if you two manage to stay. My bet is you both have some stuff to do - change in habits? Choice of words when talking?
(about anything!) - consideration of the others opinions? Dealing with life stresses? Family relations?
I probably missed a minefield or two but you need to make a list and start working on all the things you thought were OK and make sure they still are or not and need work.

Your posts convey to me (my interpretation) is that you want to stay with her more than not. What you say about her is pretty much the same. So, if that is true - you must start to think carefully of what you do and say as you are walking on thin ice and need to work on finding a way to work on finding each other.

Make a list of all you still like about your wife.
and a list of what you don't
Make a list of deal breakers and discuss with someone who knows you or in IC

I've gone on to long (good thing I haven't hit the Marsala yet!)

Others will post soon and give you more suggestions so buck up for the long haul. Looong haul.

After-thought - I am assuming fidelity has been the norm since the confessed "kiss."

We here know the confusion you are experiencing - so give yourself time and find someone to talk to about all of this. Talking helps in that the brain has to work harder to "order speaking" and hearing words helps cement the meaning. The meaning when spoken can often reveal wrong thinking.

I am thinking you wish to run the Gauntlet of reconciliation - so you need to realize the process is long.

Good Luck

Not Just Friends

posts: 686   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8762163
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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 3:20 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Your post is my nightmare. During the days after DDay1, my partner rewrote at least 3-4 years of my life. Then he chose to stick with the minimized story for 5 years, during which we got married. Then the trickle-truth started early this year with the last truth revealed just a few days ago (DDays 2-5). Every new DDay rewrote my rewritten life + my life after DDay1, including my marriage. I feel my marriage is a sham, as if I said "yes" to a different guy. I completely understand your sentence: "My version of reality was not reality". In fact, my new versions of reality were not reality, and I don’t even know if my current version of reality is reality (if I even know what is my current version of reality). I now have to decide whether to leave or stay. I’m inclined to staying. We are 17 years together, and I have good reasons to believe he is a different man now, and we can have a happy future. However, I’m terrified that the same thing that’s happening to you now is gonna happen to me in the future.

The trauma is a real thing, and this shit can make you feel crazy 100%. In that sense, yes, you’re nuts. At the same time, know that what you’re going through is not unusual, so be kind to yourself. It’s great you are seeking counselling and reading about PTSD, that should help. The thing is, you can get re-traumatized even when you are in a safe environment. Traumatic memories are imprinted in your brain, and they can resurface when you experience a reminder of the past trauma. This can happen even if the reminder is not obviously related to the betrayal you’ve experienced. So, it is quite possible that you didn’t rugsweep anything, and that there are no unresolved issues. What’s happening is that your brain cannot differentiate between past and present experiences. That’s why you are reliving stuff. For your brain it is as if the traumatic event is happening now. Guess what, it’s not. It happened decades ago; you are safe now. You said it yourself – the things were going great, she has been remorseful, she did and said the right things.

I believe it would be helpful to distinguish between the two traumas here: 1. her betrayals, and 2. her dishonesty and lying for years and years after. As for 1: I’m pretty sure that, on a rational level, you know she’s not the same person. She’s not the same broken, reckless woman in her early 20s. You said her sexual encounters happened while you were fighting / on a break. That doesn’t make them right, but surely it makes them less wrong, wouldn’t you agree? I believe her ONSs were an unhealthy way of dealing with the pain caused by your fights (and possibly other issues in her life). It’s definitely a stupid way of dealing with the shit, very immature. However, don’t you agree that it’s hard to expect full maturity from a person in that stage of life? Most of us did stupid and immature things in our early 20s. As for her kissing the guy while you were already married, that was very wrong, but from what you wrote, it looks to me like you were able to resolve that. It happened a long time ago, she came clean about it, owned it, and nothing like that happened again, right? That makes me think your real trauma is actually the trauma number 2. How did you resolve the fact that she hid her sexual encounters for so long, that she married you and had your children during that time? My friend, I believe this is the real problem for you, the real trauma. Not the fact that she fucked some random dudes in her early 20s, but the fact that she was capable of hiding that from you for so long. I realize this is maybe just a pure speculation, as I don’t have a full insight into your story. Perhaps this is something worth exploring with your counselor.

One more thing:

A girl I loved and allegedly loved me was basically a huge slut.

Please, don’t do this. She slept with 6 guys during the period of 6 years – that doesn’t make her a slut. And even if it does, slut-shaming is just very misogynistic attitude. You’re better than that.

[This message edited by Hannah47 at 3:30 PM, Wednesday, October 26th]

posts: 133   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:38 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

If you can't think of what might have triggered it, you might try EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) with a qualified therapist. It's rather immersive and will probably feel worse before it feels better, but it might shift things for you. I wouldn't rule out changes in the brain if it's sudden and persistent so you might discuss it with your medical doctor just to be on the safe side.


ETA: I don't think your wife is selfish or unempathetic if she's had enough, and I don't think she's a "slut" for having sex before marriage. What are we talking about? teens, early twenties? Her brain wasn't even fully developed yet if that's the case. The bottom line is that you've had 23 years to work out whether you wanted a divorce or not. If you've offered faux forgiveness all that time and allowed her to invest in the relationship, that's twice as long as she defrauded you of the truth about the premarital carousing and allowed you to invest. Neither one of you gets a single minute of your life back, and if there's no credit given for being a good husband and a good wife for nearly a quarter century, what's the point anyway?

I think you'd be wise to look into that "slut" comment and figure out where that's coming from. If you've got some sort of unyielding "used goods" attitude toward her, maybe divorce is the answer. If it's about feeling defrauded ten years into the marriage and then failing to act on it, that might be something you can find a way to make peace with by taking ownership of your choice to stay. You did have a choice, even if it felt like it was too hard to act on at the time. You haven't been chained up in the basement all these years, right? You decided where you would stand.

Sometimes, we get to a point in life where we feel a general sort of malaise and disquietude. We wonder if we're in the right place or what choice might have made us happier and then we focus on whatever pops up like if we concentrated hard enough, we could change it. For me, it was always about leaving my hometown. Any time I got to that state of angst, I would end up focused on what my life might have been, yadda, yadda, when all along I was complicit in making the choice not to go back. So, another idea would be to spend some time leaning into your unvoiced worries in order to see if this fixation is a distraction from something else you'd rather not think about.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 4:12 PM, Wednesday, October 26th]

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

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8762221
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 4:13 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Hippo, thanks for your incite, you are spot on about marrying someone you didn't know because that is how I felt for many years. In my then girlfriends defense we had a very rocky relationship and technically we were broken up but to me they were really only bad fights with a week or two cooling off period before we got back together, and she did admit to going on a date with 2 of the six ONS but swore nothing happened. Since I believed her, we got engaged and married and I can't help but feel like my life was stolen. Had I known the truth then it would have killed me to lose her, but I would not have married her (I think) but unfortunately, I found out after 10 years of marriage and 2 kids too late. Other than the drunk Christmas party kiss she has been a good wife and mother and has answered every question taken lie detector tests and has basically done everything I need to feel better, but I just can't wrap my head around how this unbelievably dedicated person could have done all those ONS. It is so opposite of who she seemed to be to me that it does not compute which is why I think I'm suffering from PTSD because of how shocking and vast her actions were. What concerns me most at this time is not her faithfulness, truthfulness or dedication to our marriage it's why after so many hard-fought years of inquisitions pleas for forgiveness that I now feel almost worse than the day she told me. More vivid mind movies, insomnia, loss of appetite the whole shebang. I feel like my wife died and I'm living with the person that killed her at times. I thought I had her actions neatly filed away deep in my head somewhere and locked the filing cabinet since around 2009 now 13 years later the information I have had since 1999 is as fresh and painful as day one. I think I might be the problem to not be able to understand and get over the actions of a drunk, upset,19-23 yr old girl who went to 4 different high schools with a crappy upbringing. She is now in her late 50's and doesn't even know that girl anymore.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762225
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:35 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

"Technically broken up" is broken up.

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

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8762228
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 4:39 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

Thank you, Hannah and Tea, Wise helpful words. I believe my wife has earned forgiveness many times over I'm just stuck for some unknown reason for the last few months, I just cant figure it out. Trying to locate a good therapist.

[This message edited by shouldofleft at 2:20 PM, Thursday, October 27th]

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762229
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 7:10 PM on Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

shouldofleft

Get the two books I suggested and find a counselor experienced in trauma brought about by the experience of infidelity.

The Book I noted in a Private Message to you - it is sort of a "con" for staying with an infidel.

The one in my first post - is for you alone - you have to work through your pain - that is heal yourself.
Lots of work in reading and talking (IC?) and discussion with your wife is part of the process.

Your Wife has grown a lot, lived a lot of stresses (raising kids and ???) and she is now a much different person from that young woman (please expunge slut from your vocabulary) when you were in the dating game.

In speaking about your past and current situation and dealing with considerations for the future of your relationship - you must measure your words very carefully. A few words spoken in haste can destroy any gains in bettering your ties to your wife and her ties to you. It is perfectly OK to take your time and think before you utter a reply or speak to a subject or ask a question. If you have a problem with blurting out words when emotionally hyper - just STOP talking. Go outside and mow the yard. Take a hike. Go to a gym and punch the daylights out of a punching bag. When my wife used to piss me off, I would get my STIHL 036 and gnaw up a log and then, with a 10 lb. splitting maul, split all that I had cut. By the time of the last whack - I was no longer with enough energy to be angry with anything. And mind in a more serene mood . . .

You can find inner peace and happiness of you really STILL Love your Wife as the person she is today. The path to that happiness is long, bumpy, fits and starts, but you can take your time and travel at a pace with which you are comfortable. You can do it!

Did you make the list of good and bad things about your wife? Maybe ask her to do same about you? Then you pick an item and find the middle ground. Know that some things will be hard and some you will have to just accept.
Does she get angry because you don't load the dishwasher the way she wants? The problem isn't the way you load dishes (unless you really find some way to bollox the job) - the issue is why the anger?

Wife used to get really on a roll if I did HER laundry and used bleach (I never use a lot - a couple of capfuls per load) - compromise in order. I wash anything/everything BUT her stuff. She has to wash her own stuff. Problem (her getting all wound up) solved! See my point? A slight modification in behavior makes a huge difference!

When/if you get to a counselor - I would work on how to work on how to get brain off the thinking you are experiencing that causes you so much stress. What she did is so long ago and she was still a maturing person and you were not married - it is part of your history and you HAVE to teach yourself (with help if needed) how to not let that memory control your day-to-day well being. Many on this and other boards have done this - you can too.

grin

Not Just Friends

posts: 686   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8762260
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Adolfo ( new member #79193) posted at 9:14 AM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

shouldofleft

I just want to let you know you are not alone. My wife and I have a very turbulent past, with a relationship that was off and on for more than a decade. She decided to step out with someone while we were dating, and again, with a second AP after we were engaged. (He had hit on her multiple times, knowing she was engaged, until she agreed to go out with him. Yeah, a real winner of a guy!) After about six months, she lied massively and told me she had stopped seeing the POS. We continued our relationship. More than a year later, after the relationship was deteriorating again, I went by her apartment one morning and found a trail of underwear and clothes leading to her bedroom and the POS in her bed! We had been in false reconciliation for over a year. She eventually left our relationship to be with the POS for two years. Once she realized, subconsciously, that she was with a narcissist, and when her limerence had finally worn off, she reached out to me. Two years after that, we married. No regrets, I wanted to be with her.

The problem was, though, we rug swept all that had happened and I never processed it... Never had my questions answered, never had my say. I didn't want to push her away. The marriage had high points and low points. We drifted apart somewhat and were almost living as roommates for a while, for a variety of reasons.

Around twenty-five years after we married, which was eight years ago, after going through some life changing stuff with our business that got my mind whirling, I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided that if I was going to be married to her, I might as well have all the benefits of marriage and so should she. So I went to her and told her things were going to be different.. We were going to change and we would have a real marriage. And we did!

Problem is that when all the love and good feelings came back, so too did all that pain from so many years earlier. We've discussed it many, many times, and she is somewhat understanding. We've read some of the usual books, How to Help Your Spouse Heal From an Affair, and The Five Love Languages, etc. It has taken a few years but I have slowly gotten her to open up and we've shared a lot of feelings about the past. She has answered many questions. We are now able to discuss it without her going ballistic, saying I'm punishing her, and shutting down on me. I have been writing down my thoughts, anger included, for a few years and that has helped. I plan to present her with all my writings when I'm ready so she has an understanding of my thought process over time. Also, a list of all my unanswered questions that she has promised to answer as best as she can remember. She has grown impatient with me, and when I ask her anything she just says "give me the questions!" Even through this, we are as close and loving as we've ever been. We make great efforts to be the best we can for each other.

I don't know if this helps. It's hard for many to believe that the trauma can still be so strong after more than three decades, but I'm here to tell you it can. My best advice is to just go easy on your wife. Maybe she would be receptive to written questions with the condition that the answers settle it. I hope it works out. Try not to waste the years you have both invested.

[This message edited by Adolfo at 9:30 AM, Friday, October 28th]

posts: 14   ·   registered: Jul. 28th, 2021   ·   location: NC
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 11:56 AM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Shouldofleft

This beginning is written after I wrote the bulk of below text. I felt a forewarning is required because the following might sound hard or harsh. Believe me – since you post in the Reconciliation forum – it’s totally 100% based on getting you back on track.
I believe in a couple of factors regarding infidelity and marriages. One major factor is being truthful. That obviously applies to the couple, but no less does it apply to US. We have to be truthful to US – ourselves. Another factor I strongly believe in is my quote below: We can decide our paths and are seldom – if ever – forced to remain in unhappiness.

You can’t get PTSD from something you didn’t know about. The six times she had sex during the period you had an on/off relationship – the six times you learned off so many years later – THEY didn’t cause PTSD until possibly after you became aware of them. Any sensations of unease you had previous to that… are not related to THIS issue.

Only you two know what your pre-marriage life was like. If its true that the six ONS were when either of you was clear to the other that the relationship was over… well... we can argue about how tasteful that might be but its not infidelity. I can fully understand that it can damage you and your relationship, I can fully understand that it could have affected your decisions regarding an ongoing relationship. But… technically not infidelity.

If six lovers in two years is the benchmark for being a slut then Bigger is a slut. Heck… the way I behaved after d-day and the end of my relationship I might even make double-slut. Or is a male-slut called a slutter? Or maybe we just skip harmful titles that really don’t bring anything positive to the table…
Be careful using negative titles to define someone so completely. Like if you were the one that told her six times during your dating period that the relationship was over would she be justified in labeling you a quitter? If you need to judge your wife then use the experience of the totality of your married life to define her.

Of course I am assuming she had sex with him but she sticks to her guns and denies it.


And later you twice mention she passed a poly on that issue.
If you aren’t going to believe the poly then why do it?
Is there any way that she can convince you she’s telling the truth? She’s told you what she says happened, it’s been verified by a poly. Either work on accepting that it was a kiss (and that too is infidelity) or accept that you will always think she had sex with him and work on that basis.
Slight t/j but for me this is the biggest problem with poly’s. When the BS doesn’t accept the result. It’s why I insist the poly needs to have a purpose and the BS accepts the result of that purpose. In this case I’m assuming the poly was applied to get to the bottom of if WW and OM had sex – the result is "no".


Shouldofleft – your username says a lot…

The kids and all that are not preventing you from divorcing.
They definitely make D harder. Kids are a great reason to do your best to reconcile. But they aren’t PREVENTING you from leaving.
You will never get any result in reconciling if you feel forced to be there. You need to WANT to reconcile.

Imagine this scenario:
Imagine you get a phone-call from your family attorney (someone you trust). Turns out those e-mails from a West-African gentleman telling you that your rich uncle passed away and you really do have twenty million dollars being deposited in your account. With the freedom that money offered you – would your first act be to divorce? Who would be the first person you called with the news of the money? Your wife?

Be truthful to yourself: Either you want this marriage or not. No excuses like finances or kids or whatever. If you don’t want it – get divorced. If you do – work towards reconciliation WANTING to reconcile rather than feeling forced or obliged to reconcile.

I have a feeling that your emotions after the kiss-incident might actually be connected to something you sensed from the dating period. It might also be something created by this pink elephant your wife might have been carrying from the dating period. Now that the elephant has been released you either get it out of your house, or get yourself out of the house.
I also think – based solely on what you share – that the kiss was just that. A kiss. If your wife passed a poly on that issue then I would base the truth on that.

My experience with infidelity was in a relationship I ended. I later married my present wife (of 30 years). About 15 years into this relationship I had to get IC due to behaviors I had that were not healthy. I’m a former cop and have experienced stuff people shouldn’t have to experience. Corpses and mutilations, stabbings, suicides, rapes, molestation… Things that can leave deep marks in your mind. The IC was quick to see that although I had PTSD connected to some of those events the main problem was from when I caught my fiancé with the other man. Infidelity does that to you.
Dealing with the PTSD was relatively easy for me using cognitive behavior therapy with the IC. Made a great difference in my life too. I strongly recommend you get some IC and deal with it.

Other than that…
Decide if you want to be married or not. Act on that.
If you do decide you want this marriage then take steps to work on your issues (the marriages issues). I recommend MC where you make the sexual encounters pre-marriage and the way it might have affected both of you a priority.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 11139   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8762536
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 1:30 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

I think therapy will help you. It's all flooded back for some reason and exploring that probably requires a pro therapist. Your marriage sounds good, it's your own thinking that needs the help. I do wish she hadn't mentioned D, that's disappointing. Did she just say it out of frustration?

My own situation flooded back to me many years later when we moved back to the area we lived in when young. I wasn't expecting it, all issues were seemingly long since resolved and the marriage was healthy. The move triggered it, even though we had visited family here many times and that never did. Our heads and hearts work in odd ways.

posts: 697   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8762548
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Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 2:55 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

you are spot on about marrying someone you didn't know because that is how I felt for many years

(…)

I can't help but feel like my life was stolen.

(…)

I would not have married her (I think)

(…)

It is so opposite of who she seemed to be to me that it does not compute

(…)

I recently went to part time at my job to test the waters of retirement

It’s probably not that simple, but perhaps your step towards retirement triggered all of this. Retirement is a major life change, the one that makes you look back and think about what you’ve achieved – what was good, what was bad, what you could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done better or different. The brain links it to your relationship/marriage situation and BAM you are reliving the trauma. OK, it’s definitely not that simple, but you get the point. I based this on the fact that you’ve repeatedly said your wife has earned your forgiveness / she did and said the right things / she has been remorseful / things were going great / this is not about her faithfulness, truthfulness, or dedication to your marriage and so on. The only thing left is what I quoted above – you feel your life was stolen. You say you would’ve done differently. You could’ve had a different (better?) life.

Mate, it is a fact that you married under false pretenses. Ideally, when you marry someone, you have all the information about them that is relevant to you, and you accept them for who they are. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You didn’t have the information that was relevant to you + she had that information and she decided not to give it to you. She was not honest about major aspects of herself (that being not only that she did all those things you found horrible, but also that she was capable of hiding that from you). You did not consent to this marriage, you consented to the marriage with the person you thought she was. In a sense, you married a different person (a person that existed in your mind only). You did not accept her for who she was, you did not say "I do" to who she was. If this is your problem, I completely understand as I’m in a similar situation. My husband recently revealed some (relevant) stuff that are not compatible with the image of him I had when I said "yes" to him. It’s a mindfuck situation.

I believe there is a way out of this conundrum. First is to acknowledge that people change. All the time. Sometimes people drastically change years after getting married, so much that their spouses don’t recognize them anymore. Sometimes changes are minor. Sometimes changes are positive, sometimes they are negative. Which leads me to the second point – you don’t say "I do" just on your wedding day. You say "I do" every single day. Or "I don’t" if you decide to do so. You say you think you wouldn’t have married her, had you known the truth then. However, would you marry her now, when you know who she was and who she is? Based on what you wrote, I believe the answer is "yes". Accept her for who she was, accept her for who she is, and say "I do" to her now. Perhaps a vow renewal would be a good idea?

Yes, your life would’ve been different. It could’ve been better, but it also could’ve been worse. From what you wrote about your wife, it seems to me you got lucky.

Good luck with the therapy and everything!

[This message edited by Hannah47 at 3:37 PM, Friday, October 28th]

posts: 133   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
id 8762586
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 3:20 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

Thanks again everyone, Hannah I could have wrote exactly what you did and it would be 100% true, and bigger the day she spilled her guts with all that information was beyond shocking to me and every now and then I feel like she told me yesterday, that's why I liken it to PTSD because I relive the absolute shock of it all. As for my wife wanting a divorce, she was only pissed and tired of my periodic melt downs on this issue, she assured me to stay and do whatever it takes to help me. She is happy that I am seeking professional help but as some of you know finding a good therapist is difficult as a matter of fact I haven't found one that takes my insurance and or does in person sessions, they all seem to be doing zoom sessions which I would prefer not to do.

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
id 8762597
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 shouldofleft (original poster new member #82234) posted at 11:52 PM on Friday, October 28th, 2022

PS wish I picked a better name,......

posts: 26   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2022   ·   location: East coast
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 12:11 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Adolpho,

You wrote, Problem is that when all the love and good feelings came back, so too did all that pain from so many years earlier.

Thanks for writing that.

I had a similar experience when I decided to recover my marriage and treat my W well not using how she treats me as a excuse. My W was happy, but I also needed to know what happened about 20 years before. I had a reason now to completely recover my marriage whereas before I was ok to put up and shut up.

posts: 1232   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8762714
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 12:19 AM on Saturday, October 29th, 2022

Shouldhaveleft,

I think our subconscious does not forget, we can suppress things in our conscious awake life, but that mass of unseen mental material is there waiting to avalanche down.

Through the years I had dreams about my W cheating on me and in those dreams it wasn't so much the sex, but the feeling of abandonment and loss that haunted my mind in the days that followed the dreams. They always seem more real than actual life.

What do you think triggered you now?

Do you still live anywhere close to OM or the ONS, does your W still work in the same industry or company.

My W kept in touch with the children of the company owner where she had an affair with OM1 to this day, in a way it's like a dilute poison, but I have a hard time telling her to cut off people in their 70s.

[This message edited by survrus at 12:21 AM, Saturday, October 29th]

posts: 1232   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8762716
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