Rover – I started this before your last post. I’m sticking to it but read under the dotted line too.
I don’t think I can overstate this.
In a relationship like marriage is supposed to be there isn’t really any room for secrets. I’m not talking small relatively innocent secrets but large impactful ones like infidelity, secret debt, an addiction problem, a child from before or whatever. This is why we regularly get posters whose spouse comes clean on something they didn’t have a clue about from way in the past. Its because they realize they can’t really have a good marriage with a rotting pink elephant in the home.
If your wife would tell you NOW or in the next very few days that she met OM, that she went to a swingers sex-club with him, there were recordings online on porn-sites and whatever NOW your marriage could still survive. You can recover from what you know.
However… if you were to work at reconciling and maybe six months from now things were getting better and THEN that your wife told you that she did meet OM during those three days… even if there was no physical touching… that discovery could cause more damage than ANYTHING shared today.
The truth will come out. If it comes out now it can be dealt with. If it comes out later it can be devastating. It’s like this infidelity is a big sore. Right now it might hurt like hell to disinfect it, sow and clean. But it starts healing. Discovering new "truths" as you heal is like the scab being torn again and again, and sand being strewn into the raw hurt. Repeatedly.
She HAS TO understand this. She really needs to understand – as do you – that a failure in a poly maybe 2-3 weeks from now would be the end of any belief in you that reconciliation is even possible.
Ask for a timeline on those three days alone.
Ask in sufficient but not too much detail.
Where did she stay?
What did she do during the evenings?
Where did she eat?
Whom did she visit over the day?
What did she do over the day?
For now don’t ask for too much detail. You want to allow her to fill in later.
Once she has told you what she did… start corroborating the story.
Like if she says she stayed at the Hilton and that she had an early night and ordered from room-service. That during the day she went shopping.
That the second evening she went out to dinner with her friend Sally but was back by 10 PM.
That the third day she slept in but then went for lunch at some restaurant alone before heading for some shopping or an art-gallery or whatever.
Once you have her story start corroborating with the evidence you can get.
Judge her reaction – especially hesitation or excuses.
Like the hotel bill. Ask to see it. She can’t find it or it’s lost? Have her phone and ask for her itemized bill by e-mail. Hotels get this request daily for all sorts of accounting reasons and it takes them all of 3 minutes.
Hotel can’t find her reservation to send a bill? Where is the charge to the credit card? Its rather rare that hotels accept cash. They tend to want a card to guarantee payment. Is the reservation in her name? Do the charges make sense for one person? Is there a charge for room-service? Did she really have a salad, a chicken-sandwich, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of champagne on her night in?
Have her phone Sally and let her know that she’s handing the phone over to you and she should please answer some questions. The friend Sally can be told that you two are dealing with an affair, and can she confirm where they had dinner on the night of xx (don’t ask what place – maybe Sally says they ordered in) – confirm the name of restaurant, the type (Italian, Mexican…), where they sat, what they had and so on. Then – once Sally has told you her details – ask your wife the same.
Get it? You corroborate the stories to what evidence you can get. Be careful that maybe recalling she got pizza while Sally thought lasagna isn’t the deal-breaker. But Sally saying Italian on Main Street and your wife Chinees in the suburbs…
Your wife is supposed to feel like she’s being interrogated. She needs to fully understand that the KEY to redemption is that you KNOW what happened. That the ONLY path forwards for the marriage is for you to be able to say "OK – I think I have the truth, and if a poly confirms it then I will accept that as fact." This is the key to enable YOU to reconcile.
The items I think I would be interested in and focus on:
Those three days.
The content of the pictures sent. If explicit what is the risk of them being found online? What steps is she taking to protect herself in this regard?
What was the extent of their communications? Was there any phone-sex, online sex etc?
Her talk of suicide should be taken seriously, but shouldn’t control you.
I have this basic belief that a person is married only because he wants to be married. If you and your wife divorce, things will be OK. In 2-3 years she will be doing fine, and so will you. Life goes on. I think this is a message you need to get to her. That a divorce isn’t the end of the world.
She also needs to understand that she does have control. The truth I’m hammering on… if she’s truthful you commit to not filing and working on your anger, hurt and emotions for 30 days. That’s all you can promise, and it’s better than not filing today and then learning 2 weeks from now that they sexted, or met, or kissed or whatever. THAT would automatically end the marriage.
There is no way to avoid the blame and the embarrassment. It’s what it is. But both of you will get over it. It’s in her hands to create the environment where you believe reconciliation might be possible, and then your hands to offer it.
I think your emotions about a positive (for you) divorce are at best semi-realistic. I have a feeling that the support payments would be relatively limited anyways, and you are maybe going from 100% to 60% for some limited time. This isn’t Taliban controlled where the adulteress is lucky to not get stoned. I think that your vision of some 70/30 split isn’t realistic, but maybe something closer to the 50/50. Have you asked your attorney what support payments would be without infidelity and what they could be in your situation?
In all these factors consult your attorney. Remember money has many colors and not all are green. You could place in your post-nup that all debts related to her and her business are paid with whatever spousal support you might have to pay. That this clause is valid until these debts have been paid (so if you reconcile and work things out they get paid in the next 2 years the clause is dead). You could place that you have the option of buying the family home at an as-is value that’s 80% of fair market value, or that she get’s the house (but keeps the mortgage) in lieu of your pension and/or savings.
If this can’t be done in a post-nup then ask your attorney about the impact time can have on the adultery in divorce. If you can file and then just wait and see. It should become clear in the next 30 days if your wife is really capable of reconciling.
[This message edited by Bigger at 4:55 PM, Wednesday, November 16th]