I’m really glad you checked back in.
In some ways your thread reflected what I think are this site worst characteristics, and sometimes I think those characteristics tend to drive newly betrayed people away.
I am former law-enforcement and have training in investigations and investigative procedures. Although there is a totally different level of procedures, quality of investigation etc for formal, legal investigation compared to personal, there are common traits that IMHO should be respected.
One of my instructors often quoted "When you hear the beating of hooves you think horses, not zebras".
That quote is a lot deeper than it might sound at first glance.
What you shared in your first post was IMHO a definite beating of hooves. What wasn’t clear was what was coming around the corner. Horses? Zebra’s? Asses or donkeys?
Of course, if you live in horse-country the odds are high that it will be horses. This site is definitely horse-country. We don’t get many zebras so nearly all the hoof-beating we hear is horses, but by assuming that based solely on what you had could have been disastrous. As would have been presenting what little you had to others. For all we knew – at that time – the beating you heard could have been rain on a tin roof.
So, when you started to get responses stating it was definitely an affair, they had sex, go directly to divorce and STD test and don’t collect your $200 when you pass GO… To me that’s like if I – as a policeman – were to assume that the young black American male driving an expensive vehicle had stolen it and arrested him solely on that suspicion.
Your second post put more content into the smoke. After that post it was clear that there was some form of infidelity going on. The incriminating factors IMHO was the deletion of content and the lack of indignant reaction when accused of infidelity.
What remained was IMHO to better define what kind. Emotional or had this traversed into physical? We still haven’t IMHO seen what’s rounding the corner – horses or zebra’s – but we definitely know it’s some four-footed mammal. We might even be smelling the manure.
Personally I like to know what I’m dealing with before selecting my tools.
One of the biggest problems with emotional infidelity is that many don’t recognize or understand them. Physical is pretty clear – there is no or very little gray line between sexual and non-sexual actions. EA’s were really only acknowledged as something "real" in the late 1980s and it’s still very common for a spouse to refuse being in an affair because "he/she’s only a friend. There is no touching or anything sexual".
I try my best to avoid assumptions. Like the assumption that because she’s having breakfast with a colleague then she definitely has been having sex with same colleague. Both the morning meeting and the number of calls and texts could have been explained in some connection to their work (which we have very limited info on). However I use deductions a lot. Like deducting that the combination of that meeting, the reaction of OM (driving away rather than saying a "hi" or greeting you in some way), the number of calls and texts would indicate infidelity. Her reaction later made me firmer on those deductions. Still no assumptions though. That extra day and a VAR could have given you so much more info…
However – with the above knowledge – everything you shared in your first 2 posts then what we KNEW was:
>She was meeting a male coworker outside of work.
>There are remarkably many calls between these two.
>A significant number and time were during the commute.
>That she recognized it might not look good, but it wasn’t what you thought [I think that she might be denying its "infidelity" because there hasn’t been anything intimate. They are only "talking about their issues…]
>That she removed all the content that could have proven her innocence – or her guilt…
>That her reaction wasn’t indicative of an innocent person.
Jensen – Your third post gives us more info. That despite the damage its causing her marriage she still goes to see OM and that it’s so directly unrelated to work, the level of distancing she’s doing to you… this makes me see the horses. I now better know what’s approaching, and I don’t see any black-and-white striped animals…
We still don’t know what form or sort of infidelity you are dealing with, but I think it’s very clear that it’s infidelity.
However… In the present situation it’s not relevant. What is relevant is that your wife is in infidelity, and while there your marriage has no ability to be a marriage. In order for that to change three things are needed: she needs to acknowledge and end the affair, you need to want this marriage and she needs to want this marriage.
As is then all we know is the affair isn’t acknowledged and is (probably) ongoing. She might want this marriage, but if she also wants her affair… would that work? Sort of eat the cake but keep it?
What would be your ideal outcome? If she met her two requirements, would you want to reconcile?
You don’t need to decide now. All three requirements need to be in place, and even if you wanted this marriage then while she’s cheating and not being honest then it’s not being offered to you. There really is only one path open and that’s the path of ending this marriage.
What you control is the pace and how you go about it.
If you don’t want this marriage – if what you know already is a dealbreaker – then simply follow your attorney’s advice and go through the process of divorce. Remember it’s not a process of revenge.
If you want to reconcile you can stall the formal process. The initial part is filing, but that’s a relatively simple document (in most cases). Just a letter of intent if you will. But it sets the tone and creates an initial date that can have significance on the marriage and its commitments.
What I suggest you do is carry on along the same lines you have been doing.
Since you have talked to an attorney then ask how far and what steps you can take to prevent your wife from being in the home. You want to be very careful not to refuse her entry if she has a legal right to be there and that could be considered domestic abuse (name on lease or deed is not the key-issue here, but legal residence).
Expose the affair. Expose based on what you know. Like don’t tell your sons "Your mom is screwing around with Bob" but rather something along the lines of "your mom is interacting with Bob more than can be considered "normal" or "healthy" in a marriage. I don’t know if it’s physical, but there is definitely an emotional affair going on. While she isn’t willing to acknowledge or explain what’s going on there isn’t any way we can remain married".
Prepare what you would need if you were to entertain reconciling. I would suggest you need: a) the complete truth as to the timeframe and extend of the affair b) some knowledge of what was in the texts c) total accountable NC with OM – probably including one or the other change jobs.
And no – I don’t think what you did is stupid. It’s risky, and you were fortunate to get cops that listened but IMHO you were never in danger of being arrested or charged. Knocking at people’s door isn’t illegal, and there was no pattern of harassment.