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Reconciliation :
Looking for outside guidance and advice on rebuilding trust

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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 3:50 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

Just going to give some background to start this post off:

My wife is F 30, I am M 32, we have been married for almost 10 years, and have two children together.

Ever since my second child was born in 2018, our marriage started to become a little rocky, she had some postpartum depression, she barely wanted to have sex with me, which I told her was important to me, I even told her it felt like she didn't even find me attractive anymore. This in turn I feel like started to ruin my mental health and made me distant which leads into everything that happens next. It seemed like anytime we would spend some time together there would be a little argument, sometimes bigger arguments. But I also wasn't being the most supportive husband either, I would put things off, or not always be as helpful as I could with the children. My wife had hinted and tried to advise me sometimes here or there during disagreements, but the problem is I grew up in a household with a lot of bickering and arguing, so in a way I was immune and thought it was normal. A few times in the past two years she used the D word, my mother also used this word frequently to my father, hence why it didn't faze me when she said it.

Getting into the next part, middle of December 2022, my wife called me at work, and we got into a disagreement about parenting the children, how I am too hard on them, etc. I came home from work early to have a discussion with her. We talked, and she stated she can't do this anymore, I also had noticed her guy coworkers texting her more frequently (she does have a job where she needs to communicate with them, but it seemed excessive) so I ended up going through her work phone, needless to say I found quite a bit of flirting back and forth between her and two guys mainly. I brought this up in our conversation and the response from her was that she hasn't felt like we are married for the past year, and it seems like we are just coasting and thats it. I told her that I felt like this was a wake up call for me to make a change, so I started counseling, and tried to just be a better person in general and it felt great. Things between us felt a little better but it still seemed off, we agreed to let her change her work phone passcode due to me snooping, and she promised to tell the co workers enough is enough and that she is married.

First week of Janurary 2023, I woke up at about midnight due to needing to use the bathroom, my wife was next to me in bed, I look at our phones on the nightstand and notice a message on FB messenger. Mind you no one messages us ever, barely. I thought that was weird so I proceeded to look at it (I know I'm in the wrong here, but bad gut feelings) its one of her co workers that she had been flirting with and they were friends on FB too, the message she had sent him was basically please delete the topless picture i sent you, and then it was still a bunch of sexual talk back and forth, him talking about doing things to her, he also had sent her a picture of his package.

Needless to say I couldnt remain calm and immediately blew up, the jist is that basically she felt like I wasnt giving her the attention she needed and thats why she resorted to finding it somewhere else, she also stated it had been going on since August and that she didnt even feel we were married at that point, and was planning to leave me at the beginning of the year. She stated that they only exchanged one picture each a topless one of her and his package, and alot of the conversation was just him saying stuff and her agreeing, she stated she just liked the attention and doesnt even find him attractive and nothing physical every came or would have. I agreed that we could work on things and stated that her passcodes needed to be ones i knew, and that she needed to text him telling him enough, and that if i catch it anything from him again im telling his wife. She sent me the text she sent him which was good and straight to the point and everything seemed good going forward.

It was a struggle for me moving forward, I didnt know if i should be blaming myself for where we were or blaming and being mad at her, I struggled alot of days but managed to push ahead. A few weeks later, i caught her talking on the work phone with the co worker i caught the conversation through our cameras in our home, it wasnt technically a "bad" conversation but there was some laughing and stuff and she stated that hes a bad influence on her, and that she would expose his picture if he did anything with hers. I confronted her, she stated it was a meaningless phone call and I was overreacting, it didnt mean anything. She said she felt the cameras were an invasion of privacy which we had awhile prior to this just for security. I took them down.

Fast forward a few months everything seemed good, didnt appear she was talking to the co worker anymore, I did want her to remove him on FB but she said that would be childish and petty, but i told her anything online says you should eliminate all contact with the emotional affair party. So she stayed friends with him on FB and still is, but around march or april, I checked her work phone, nothing from the main offending co worker just work talk which is normal, but the other co worker she flirted a little previously with, liked to make sexual comments, my wife agreed to inform me of any sexual remarks. She had told him he needed to finish his work and he said something like you can make me finish with some suggestive emojis, her response did seem to ignore what he said. But I hinted around it to her like asking if anyone says sexual things to her etc, and saying i feel like they still do, she said no. Then i tell her i looked at her phone and that this co worker said sexual things, she said she didnt take it that way and just ignores him cause hes annoying.

After that everything seemed good again for awhile, i checked her phone periodically and nothing seemed off (yes without her permission, i know this is wrong). Until just a week ago, we got into an argument first time in awhile, she sent me a suggestive picture the following morning saying i took this for you, and thought i looked good but you didnt say anything to me last night, mind you she was being mean and grumpy that night. I eased over the conversation with her, but when i got home i checked her personal phone and seen she had sent the image to her work phone. I asked her if that picture was only sent to me and she said yes, I tried prying the truth out but finally had to tell her i knew it went to her work phone, she said yeah i sent it to myself but didn't send it to anyone, so she didn't feel like it needed to be said to me, she said that it felt bad when i didn't compliment her and that's why she initially sent it to her work phone but then decided not to do anything and delete it.

After all that here we are, the trust in our marriage is a huge issue, we get along great now, we go on dates regularly, sex is excellent and often, we laugh and have fun, dont argue. But, she feels like im always watching her or looking at her stuff, mind you shes on our family icloud so i can see her location too. Yet I feel hurt that even small things it feels like i never fully get the truth or the truth is stretched and blamed on me somehow. How do we rebuild trust in this situation, that makes both of us feel safe? Sorry for the long post I just wanted to give as much detail as possible, thanks in advance.

[This message edited by Rebuildingisnteasy at 4:26 PM, Monday, September 11th]

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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 8:43 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

Rebuildingisnteasy

There are two issues I see from your post:

Husband/wife interaction regarding normal marriage activities

Wife moral character

so for starters - cheaters lie

Also - cheating "thrives in the dark" - shine a light on it and it behaves like a cockroach when the lites are turned on.

Regarding your interactions - there has to be found the common ground. For example, you're to strict on your kids? How so?

What does she object about your parenting? Example?

Privacy? Ya, when you hit the loo, you expect a bit of privacy. Texts on phone/FB or ??? - Most of the time I would agree but she violated your marriage vows so "privacy" is now her excuse to hide her cheating.

jeez? topless photo passed to a co-worked - what more of a smoking gun do you need? Suggest you visit a lawyer and provide proof wife sent picture and have said lawyer pen a letter to your wife's paramour regarding penalty for sharing. He should delete it.

Your wife needs counseling - and you need to stand your ground on her loose and poor choices of "social activity" with other men.

Others will post here - I hope you get this mess sorted out.

[This message edited by Hippo16 at 8:44 PM, Monday, September 11th]

There's no troubled marriage that can't be made worse with adultery.If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, why not bungee jumping off a bridge span? For an extra thrill, don’t anchor the cord.

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 10:05 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

she initially sent it to her work phone but then decided not to do anything

This is bullshit. Why would she send a naked picture of herself to her WORK phone??

You are putting the cart before the horse. You want to learn how to rebuild trust on both sides..and she's been lying to you about this guy for months. Still is.

You need to earn her trust because you looked at her messages? Her messages she was exchanging with the guy she was having an affair with. It's actually not something you should apologize for.

You tell her what you want..she says ok..then when she gets caught talking to him,she tells you its no big deal,and acts like it's you who has done wrong. She actually shames you.

You deserve the truth. You don't have it.

Call his wife. Maybe she can find the evidence your wife keeps deleting.

She's doing the typical cheater thing. She's blaming you for her actions. You're too strict,so she needed to find a boyfriend,etc.

[This message edited by HellFire at 10:07 PM, Monday, September 11th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 10:28 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

When it comes to the kids my son would tell people he was scared of doing things in fear that he would do it wrong due to me getting on him because I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I can see my faults there I would hound him over little things which in turn my wife didn’t care for.

I’m surprised it took literally 6-7 years though which is why I initial thought maybe I really am being a pos husband, she said the reason anything initially happened is because she didn’t feel loved by me, didn’t feel like I cared about her, and didn’t pay any attention to her. Which I guess I see some of that and we did have arguments about it but at the same time it doesn’t justify emotional cheating.

The topless picture was what she sent last year that I found out, the most recent event where she sent a picture to her phone was just a picture in a tank top and underwear. I asked her why she did it after looking thru her phone and finding it and the answer I got was because I didn’t even say she looked good or complimented her, and she said she feels our relationship still doesn’t "feel" quite right, but she didn’t send it to anyone and deleted it so that didn’t merit her telling me.

When we talk or describe the issues she basically uses the fact that she felt like I wasn’t even her husband the last two years as a reason to equal it to what she did to me, which I accept I caused her pain but I don’t believe the pain I caused is as "bad" as what I feel she did personally.

At the moment everything prior to me seeing that picture sent to her work phone, everything seemed good. I check her work phone from time to time and her personal phone and haven’t seen anything for months till that picture. And when I say things like I don’t know if you truly deleted it or if you sent it, she says yeah that’s where trust comes in.

She also uses the fact that I look thru her stuff as a means to claim she has no privacy which in turn makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, is what I am doing wrong? We are scheduled to go to couples counseling have a video appt next Monday, but we shall see I guess. She basically says that she needs to feel like she has privacy but I also need to feel safe, don’t know what the counselor is going to say, also that co worker of hers she talks to mainly in winter months for work, but I even tried pushing when it first happened for her to find a different job or dept and I got pushback, also asked her to remove him off FB and got push back that it’s childish.

Prior to our first counseling appointment we had texted the counselor, explaining things, etc. I explained the whole scenario in my words and the counselor basically said that we should be setting a time every week to look at her phone, and that after I caught the emotional affair contact should have been ceased then, my wife then replied and stated contact didn’t cease then because me and her hadn’t “reconnected” yet, she also stated that I knew I could have asked to look at her phone anytime but instead I would do it behind her back, but my wife also made me feel as though if I asked to look at her phone it was an issue. She then tells the counselor that she doesn’t see that after eight months I should still be doing that and that it’s inappropriate and says that she feels I’m always checking up on her.

I can’t wait to see how the counselor addresses this.

Is what I am doing correct? Or am I in the wrong here?

[This message edited by Rebuildingisnteasy at 11:02 PM, Monday, September 11th]

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 10:59 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

No. She's wrong. All of it.

Ok..why send a picture of herself in her underwear to her work phone? My guess is,there is an app she is using to communicate with OM or another man, on her work phone. She didn't have her work phone with her when she used her personal phone to take the picture, so she sent it to her work phone so she could send it to OM.

She is probably still talking to him,and that's why she won't delete him off SM, and wants her "privacy." What she is really saying is she wants her secrecy.

Everything she has pushed back on,are typical requests from a BS. And things she should be doing to rebuild trust.

She's blaming you for everything. All of it. Typical cheater speak. If she wasn't happy she had so many other options. She chose infidelity. That's all on her. Her saying she didn't feel married? She didn't. That's why she cheated. She just didn't tell you first.

My gut says she's still cheating. The lots of sex,and her behavior lately is called love bombing. Common tactic used to deflect their spouses attention away from what they're doing.

Don't share this site with her. This is your safe place. It will do absolutely no good to bring her here. Right now,she is a very unsafe partner. We can help you get to the truth. It will be difficult if she is here.

[This message edited by HellFire at 11:02 PM, Monday, September 11th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6711   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 11:10 PM on Monday, September 11th, 2023

Yeah, I feel less crazy hearing it from someone else, I appreciate it.

She said if I was trying to be sneaky don’t you think I would have just took the picture on my work phone and then did whatever and deleted it..

I don’t plan on letting her know I’m on here, I appreciate the space to discuss this and not feel crazy.

And the love bombing thing makes sense too, she also works from home but goes into the office once a week. Mind you the office is not where affair partner is, but she has to go for ride alongs with other guys for training, now I’ve never caught anything with these other guys and she does text me throughout the day, but I even asked her not really to go out to the office and she just gives me the bullcrap that it’s her job and she gets depressed being in the house everyday and socializing with other people makes her feel less depressed, but I explained it makes me uncomfortable and it doesn’t seem to faze her.

[This message edited by Rebuildingisnteasy at 11:15 PM, Monday, September 11th]

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 12:31 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Gently,it doesn't seem as if she cares how you feel,or about what you need.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 12:55 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Yeah it sure does seem that way, I get that I looked thru her phone and checked up on her, but when you do something shitty it seems within reason to be able to do that, but to her she thinks that’s unacceptable. Although I explain to her I would rather know my spouse is going thru my phone where I have nothing to hide, than to find out she’s lying or doing shady things.. but she compares them as equals. Which I don’t find fair.

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Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 1:25 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I am not the toughest nut here. I have been too easy on my husband at times and generally really try to see the good in people.

But this is all just….NO, NO, NO and NO

She is completely full of baloney and you need to stop listening to her. If the therapist is dumb enough to say that you should be telling her in advance that you are going to be checking her phone then just nod your head and don’t do it. And find another therapist.

This is complete garbage. « JUST » sending a picture in a tank top and underwear to her coworker. Um no. And she almost sent it but didn’t. No.

I’m not saying she is never redeemable but right now she is a dangerous disaster. Stop trying to be honest with a liar.

I get it. We have all done this in the beginning because we were in denial. But the things you are doing to save your marriage here are going to make it worse. Later you will regret that you didn’t stand your ground because if and when this gets physical, and it will (if it hasn’t already) you will regret that you had a chance to stop it. Or at least give it your best shot. Being nice is not going to stop this.

I am so so so sorry she is doing this to you. And frankly I’m angry on your behalf.

The whole thing about being too strict. My husband did that too with the kids. People have different parenting styles and some can be too harsh. Her response to that MAYBE could be pulling away a bit (though it would be better to just talk about it). But the response never ever should have been to start reaching out to other guys.

Do not feel guilty checking up on her. Privacy in a marriage is earned. She lost that privilege. You need to be in stealth mode and gather information.

None of this is your fault. If there are problems in the marriage you work them out in the marriage. You don’t go outside.

[This message edited by Stillconfused2022 at 1:25 AM, Tuesday, September 12th]

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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 1:58 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I appreciate all the help so far, I’m glad knowing I’m not completely wrong for checking into her.

I guess my next question is where do I go from here? What do I do? What do I expect from the counselor?

Like I’m actively still trying to be a decent and better husband, do I keep trying my best? Do I keep having sex like everything is fine? I’m just so confused where and what to address first.

[This message edited by Rebuildingisnteasy at 1:59 AM, Tuesday, September 12th]

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fareast ( Moderator #61555) posted at 2:59 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Sorry you are here but you will receive good support. Your WW is blameshifting and this is causing you confusion. First of all there is never a legitimate reason to cheat on your partner. You are not a perfect H, and she is not a perfect W. There is no perfect M. If she is unhappy in your M, she has legitimate options to work with you to repair your M or she could simply separate or file for D. Then after D she could pursue a new relationship. Cheating and sending nude photos to other men is never justifiable. Most importantly, nothing you did or didn’t do in your M forced your WW to cheat. You don’t control her. Be aware that cheaters can cling stubbornly to the idea that because she felt neglected or unloved, her actions were justified. Totally false. Your WW vowed to be faithful as long as you are married, no matter the state of your M.

Your WW has to understand that she has destroyed trust in your M. She has to figure out how she became so broken as to cheat on you. This is so common. The BS looks inwards for reasons for their partners infidelity, and strives to become a better partner. It becomes the pick me dance and it never works. You could be the most perfect spouse and your WW would still be unfaithful. So, you can work on yourself and try to be the best partner and father you can be. I recommend it. But do not be under any illusion that it will prevent your WW from cheating in the future. She has to own her own terrible betrayal and demonstrate empathy and remorse for the pain she has caused YOU! Good luck.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 3:31 AM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I asked her why she did it after looking thru her phone and finding it and the answer I got was because I didn’t even say she looked good or complimented her, and she said she feels our relationship still doesn’t "feel" quite right...

Why should you trust her? Boiled down, what she has told you is that her fidelity is contingent on your behavior. This is an abdication of personal responsibility or HER moral failing. She's saying in essence that there exists a set of parameters in which you deserve to be cheated on and lied to. shocked
What is trustworthy about that?

I'm going to reprint a post I wrote for someone else, but basically, it sounds like what you're dealing with is the "unmet needs" fallacy which is still popular with therapists and in books. I think what you'll see though is that when you look very closely, it doesn't hold water. No matter what your issues are as a husband and father, they can't cause someone to throw away their own values system. These are all separate problems and they need to be solved separately.

Trust is never what it was before the betrayal happened. We can build new trust, but that trust is typically grounded in REAL CHANGE in a WS's character. Your WW hasn't changed anything.


My own WH went on a Craigslist binge seven years ago, multiple partners, various degrees of emotional attachment. He even thought he was in love at one point. But ten years before that, I'd caught him out in some online shenanigans, porn, cybersexing, emotional affair, etc. In fact, I caught him out only two weeks before a planned meet-up. I'd already seen an attorney before I confronted him and I was bent on divorce, but he pretty much cried his way out of it and I settled on MC. As you might have guessed already, we too were bamboozled with the "unmet needs" model of therapy, which sounds so reasonable. I upped my wife game, and did my best pick-me polka, but within a couple of years, he was right back at it behind my back. By the time we reached the ten year mark, he had screwed up his nerve to go live and in person on Craigslist.

Of course, I was pretty shocked as you might imagine. I thought we were good. I thought his "needs" were met. Damned if I hadn't been turning myself inside out for a decade to make sure, right? The more I thought about it, the more I revisited what I knew about the "unmet needs model", the less it made sense. I was doing everything right and he still CHOSE to cheat.

Here's the fly in the "unmet needs" ointment...

Healthy ADULTS don't need to be validated. They validate internally. Healthy adults are self-fruitful in the matter of contentment and life satisfaction, and when things come up which make them unhappy, they address the cause and solve the problem. OTOH, the vast majority of cheaters cheat because they're seeking external validation. They are NOT emotionally healthy. They can't do it on their own. They've got a hole inside them and no amount of external validation will fill it. Certainly, the old and familiar validation of a spouse doesn't get the job done. Our "kibbles" are stale and boring. They don't create enough adrenaline anymore to make the cheater feel special. It's like getting an "atta boy" from your mom, right?

This is old pop-psy which is still being taught in schools and still selling books. But it's bullshit. NOTHING you can do (or fail to do) can MAKE another person throw away their core values and do something that's in this kind of opposition to good character. If you're a person who BELIEVES in fidelity, who VALUES fidelity, you don't cheat. End of story. Because when we truly value something we protect it. The cheater has a "but..." in his values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, but... not if my needs aren't being met." For people like you and me, we have a "so..." in our values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, so... I don't put myself in risky situations with the opposite sex." This is the BOUNDARY we create organically. We don't sit around planning it out. It just happens, because it's innate to our character to protect what we value. The cheater doesn't have those boundaries because he doesn't really honor his values. He only claims to.

I'm not saying that your marriage is over or that your WH can't change. What I am saying though is that this "unmet needs" model is NOT going to challenge him to clean up his flawed character. In fact, it allows him to offload responsibility onto the marriage and onto YOU. It's not your job to MAKE him feel (fill-in-the-blank-here). It never was. It's his job to manage his feelings. You could have been doing everything exactly perfect for the entire length of your marriage, and he would still have cheated... because there's NOTHING in his character stopping him and he has no coping mechanism to fall back on when he feels unvalidated, inadequate, unappreciated, etc.

It's HIS job to see that his "needs" get met. Sometimes that might mean negotiating with you, say if it's about sex or about the division of labor in your home, etc. But sometimes, it might mean that what he sees as a "need" is unhealthy in an adult, like external validation through attention and flattery.

MC's are there to treat the marriage. The marriage is the client. So, of course they're going to talk about communications, resentments and expectations. The MC doesn't want to alienate anyone, so s/he's looking to find balance on both sides. But marriages don't cheat. People do. The only way your WH is going to make a change that safeguards against further perfidy is by correcting his need for external validation and becoming an emotionally healthy adult whose deeds are as good as his word. No excuses, just honoring the things he claims to value. For that, I would recommend IC (individual counseling) with a therapist who is well-versed in adultery.

The last thing any newly-minted BS needs is to walk into an MC's office, believing that they've come to safe harbor, and being handed a copy of The Five Love Languages or some other "unmet needs" gobbledygook. It would be really nice if we actually did have the power to control our mate by giving them "acts of service" or "words of affirmation", but sadly, we aren't gods who can stop a cheater from seeking out his/her choice of adrenaline rush and new kibbles. Although, this kind of pop-psy suggests that their behavior is somehow our responsibility. The more you dig into this ridiculous line of thought, the more absurd it becomes.

Anyway... sorry for the lengthy post. Nothing fries my ass more than seeing new BS's being sold this bill of goods.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 12:44 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I agree, and feel as though my eyes are being opened more. The blamshifting all makes sense, along with the "unmet needs", she does try to focus down on the fact that if she felt that we were in a good place in our relationship, these things would have never happened. She also says that she tried telling me how bad our relationship was for years, and uses that to justify everything, which is still NOT OKAY. My WW also has anxiety and depression, has a past with trauma, self esteem issues, and father issues which I'm sure is some of the reasons for her behavior, its crazy though it took 7-8 years for it to show its face.

The ground rules I initially tried to purpose back in January I will list below:

- If possible she needs to try to transfer to a different department or find a different job (fresh start preferred, just have a bad feeling with the company as a whole now with everything that happened)

She stated this is unrealistic, due to her liking her job, getting paid well, and it being not easy to find a work from home job like hers currently.

- I said I need to know your passcodes on all your phones/tablets. I already knew her FB password because I have a password manager we use.

She agreed to this, but stated if I felt the need to check to thinks its within reason to ask, and not do it behind her back. I explained that defeats the purpose, and that I need to verify without you knowing that your not trying to be sneaky or lie. She stated if that's needed what's the point in the relationship, isn't that exhausting for me.

- I initially stated that I didn't want her going into the office for a little while, I also didn't care for the ride along trainings either, and explained that her job is technically a remote position and she has no NEED to go into the office, the bosses just like to see it. I also explained after a couple times of ride along training I'm sure you've seen enough of the same stuff.

She pushed back on this, stating its her job, and why am I so jealous of her job and offended when she has to do things for work. She said that it helps her depression getting out of the house and going to the office once a week, and that she enjoys seeing the work the people do so she can help make it more efficient or understand them better when they explain things to her. A lot of the items she pushes back on she does get defensive about, which I told her literally makes it sound even more to me. I ended up giving up on this specific point, and this year she has gone out there once a week, mind you I can see her location (which I do check, and the trucks have a camera system in them) but still makes me feel uneasy.

- I told her I would like no contact with AP that got the picture, and also no contact with other guy that she flirted with.

She said in her job that is technically impossible, typically AP she doesn't have to talk to much at all, but once in awhile he will need to tell her something for work, lets say once or twice a month maybe. But guy she flirted with and that makes sexual comments (even though she ignores them) she has to talk to everyday and there isn't anyway around that. I asked if she could ask her boss to oversee a different area of guys, and she told me that's unrealistic. I did at one point say well your the one who screwed up maybe you need to que your boss into why you need this change, own it, and make it happen.

- I wanted AP removed from FB

She stated that this is childish, she says she works with him and it will look super childish if she just removes him off FB, she said now that I have her passcodes what does it matter that he's her friend on FB. She stated that she still needs to maintain a working relationship with people who she works with. Mind you even to this day AP still likes her posts on FB knowing that I can see it, this is even after in January my WW told AP in the text that I (her husband) know who his wife is, AP stated that he blocked me on her FB (pathetic), but my WW told him I found his wife's LinkedIn, and know where she works and is only a phone call away if I see any foul play from him.

- Last ground rule, was no deleting text messages on any device

This was okay at first, but then WW began complaining her work iPhone because she gets so many texts a day it slows down over time and she needs to clear them, I called BS. She stated even right now she only clears them after quite awhile, which I did confirm last time I checked her phone. She's not super tech savvy, so I know she doesn't realize you can see deleted messages in messages on iPhone.

Do all these ground rules seem fair? Were there any I should have included that I didn't?

Also, I think its BS after I recently caught her sending the tank-top/underwear picture to her work phone via her iPad which is connected to iCloud and saves her messages, I noticed yesterday that she unlinked her tablet from iMessages now, and its not signed in... Why would you do that to make yourself look more nefarious?

The councilor we are seeing is from the website/app {no soliciting}, not sure if anyone has any experience with this platform, but hopefully they don't feed some line of BS garbage that validates her and makes me look bad..

The councilor we already messaged back and forth a little explaining some stuff, and the councilor stated about a set time and day to check the phone (which I already told you all), but also that its concerning the emotional affair was not stopped and there continued to be conversation after the first time, she said there needs to be accountability in relationships and each needs to show accountability to the other and trust will be regained.

Let me tell you my WW didn't care for that response, she then stated the affair was not stopped because at the time we did not "reconnect fully", she says it has since stopped and we have since "reconnected" but neither of us can trust each other. She commented how I look thru her stuff behind her back, and that I don't fully trust her after 8 months and its unacceptable. She claims she has no privacy. I have full access 24/7 to her location, devices, credit cards (because we share accounts...), social media, email accounts (because I have the password manager, because she constantly forgets her passwords...). She states she doesn't have the same access to me, nor does she want it or feel the need to. She then proceeded to say that I say I am not checking up on her but she doesn't trust that I am not.

Not sure where the appointment Monday is going to get us, but either way the more information I get from all of you the better I feel going into the appointment, just know its truly appreciated.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 2:36 PM, Tuesday, September 12th]

posts: 17   ·   registered: Sep. 11th, 2023
id 8807459
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:07 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

she says she works with him and it will look super childish if she just removes him off FB, she said now that I have her passcodes what does it matter that he's her friend on FB. She stated that she still needs to maintain a working relationship with people who she works with. Mind you even to this day AP still likes her posts on FB knowing that I can see it, this is even after in January my WW told AP in the text that I know who his wife is, AP stated that he blocked me on her FB (pathetic), but my WW told him I found his wife's LinkedIn, and know where she works and is only a phone

Really think about this. She knows she had an affair with this man. You have made the reasonable request to delete him from Facebook. She is more concerned with how that will look to him,that how it makes you feel.

She says she must maintain work contact with him, yet she is talking about personal conversations she is having with you. She is also warning him that you know,to protect him. He has gone to a lot of work to prevent you from contacting his wife. There was more than pics and texts exchanged. This was a full blown affair. And, him liking her stuff,knowing you know? He's taunting you.

Stop asking her to do things. You need to demand. You need to set your requirements for attempting reconciliation. But,first,you need the truth.

You need to stop allowing her to blame you.

This isn't a negotiation. She cheated. She's had no consequences.

I suggest a polygraph. Or a voice activated recorder in her car.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6711   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8807462
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:15 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

She's mad that you don't fully trust her after 8 months? Sorry. You will probably never regain full trust. Also, she's doing nothing to gain that trust.

Stop MC. You didn't cheat. She did. She needs IC.

She's telling you if you aren't a perfect husband, it's ok to cheat.

You have your hands full.

The men who have the most success at reconciliation are aggressive in what they need. They give their requirements, and hold firm. Again,nothing you have wanted is ridiculous. You are giving her the chance to reconcile, and she is showing you she doesn't want it.

Call his wife. Don't tell your wife. His wife deserves to know. If nothing is going on now, then your wife shouldn't even care.

One more thing. She says she doesn't have to talk to the AP much. Yet she talked to him enough to develop an affair with him. She's lying.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6711   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8807463
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 Rebuildingisnteasy (original poster new member #83850) posted at 1:31 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Stop asking her to do things. You need to demand. You need to set your requirements for attempting reconciliation. But,first,you need the truth.


She stated multiple times it was never more than just flirting, a picture, and some attention that she wanted. I have drilled her multiple times about if anything more had happened, and get the same no nothing else ever happened, I don't even think he's attractive I just liked the attention. How do I get the truth if anything ever happened physical? Polygraph?

She also just text me this morning and said honestly do you ever see yourself trusting me again?

I think this is my chance to hold firm, I need to set ground rules and if she doesn't like them kick rocks, its unfortunate because I don't want to put my children through this hell and that's partly why I have been more lax and not as demanding but it doesn't seem like its getting me anywhere. So you think we should skip MC and I just tell her she needs IC?

posts: 17   ·   registered: Sep. 11th, 2023
id 8807467
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Confused282 ( member #79680) posted at 3:27 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I’m so sorry, You don’t deserve this.

I would not even respond to that text. Don’t have deep relationship conversations over text.

What good would it do?

If you type her out this long complex explanation then she says let’s get a divorce.

Don’t fall into that trap.

Of course you can trust her again. As soon as she decides she wants this marriage.

Then she will know she can’t have sex with other men, ever. Then behaves like she will never have sex with other men.

Since she was caught cheating with these men she can no longer have any relationship with them…. At all.

You’ll do some spot checking for a while then when it’s a long period of time where you find nothing and you don’t see any shady behavior then you will trust again.

If she really wanted the marriage she would get that.

She seems to want to make you the bad guy because she wants to continue to peruse these relationships.

That’s what it sounds like.

Your wife has you in a very bad spot right now.

Because she has told you she may want a divorce you are trying to save the marriage.

So now you are doing what is referred to as "The Pick Me Dance". Look that up.

So know if you do not do everything right it’s your fault.

She is leading you down a road to justify her continuing to cheat on you.

"You did not compliment my dress well now it’s ok to send nudes to another guy"

"I tried to work with you but you don’t trust me so I had no choice but to have sex with another man"

That one is coming. I guarantee it if you continue down this path.

Honestly there is more than you know that has already happened. Very unlikely she is willing to end a stable marriage and destroy young children for some male friends she is just teasing.

She is abusing you right now and leading you down a path to cheat on you, divorce and make it your fault.

Don’t let it happen.

You know what’s better than a polygraph? Telling those men’s wives.

They will very likely do their own investigation and either confirm what you know or uncover additional information.

At the very least they will keep a close eye on their husbands. Don’t go this alone.

You need to talk to a lawyer immediately.

You don’t have to file for divorce but you need to know what divorce will look like. Also they may be able to give you advice on how to proceed while protecting your self.

If she agrees to fix things then you need to do a polygraph. The threat of it may make her come clean.

I personally think you can try marriage counseling. The problem is just like any profession there are good ones and really bad ones.

There is a new group of them coming out into the world that are more inspired by politics than actually helping families. The wrong one and they will be pushing you into an open marriage or telling you wife that snooping her phone is equal to sex with another man.

She has probably been reading internet articles telling her that already which is why it’s in her head.

May I suggest you find a "Gottman Institute" trained counselor. Google "Gottman institute marriage counseling in my area" their website should come up. Then put in your zip code and you should find some.

I’ve read several of Gottmans books and they at least have an understanding that boundaries and consequences are required. Also that the affair must be dealt with before the marriage issues. They may also tell you that you should divorce. That’s why I like their philosophy.

I mostly wanted to chime in with the Gottman suggestion and to second and third what the others are saying.

I’m so sorry you are here. I only tend to chime in when I see someone in danger. It feels like you are in danger.

Listen to the people here. They really have seen it all. Hundreds to thousands of times as well as lived it.

I’m so sorry. You deserve better.

Of course you messed up. Of course you did things wrong. Reflecting and changing for the better is perfectly ok.

But unless you were a total cheating abusive monster you did not deserve this.

Your wife is currently the villain here.

Take care. I’m pulling for you.

posts: 169   ·   registered: Dec. 16th, 2021   ·   location: USA
id 8807476
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 3:33 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I think this is my chance to hold firm, I need to set ground rules and if she doesn't like them kick rocks, its unfortunate because I don't want to put my children through this hell and that's partly why I have been more lax and not as demanding but it doesn't seem like its getting me anywhere. So you think we should skip MC and I just tell her she needs IC?

It sounds like you're both frustrated at not making progress after eight months, but when you boil it down, nothing has really changed from dday. Your WW is still insisting that her adherence to fidelity is contingent on your behavior, and you're still trying to negotiate her compliance with transparency. When nothing changes... nothing changes. So, it's no wonder that you're still in the same spot you were eight months ago.

I think it's okay to do MC so long as you're willing to stand up for yourself. IOW, you don't accept ANY blameshifting regarding your WW's infidelity. Marital problems don't cause cheating. Character problems cause cheating, meaning the relationship we have to our own values system. Do our deeds reflect our stated beliefs? Are our beliefs really something other than what we've stated? Your WW is telling you that in her values system, there is are parameters in which you deserve to be betrayed, that there can exist circumstances in which cheating is a legitimate choice in her decision tree. shocked How can you work with that?

Is she willing to reevaluate her values system? Is she willing to remediate the flaws in her character which make it possible for her to choose perfidy?

If you're able to stand up to your MC, to lay your ears back and REFUSE to be railroaded by blameshifting, than yeah, I think there are things to be gained by it. If you're not ready yet though, you're not ready. A bad MC can cause untold damage by legitimizing a WS's excuses.

In terms of making "demands", what you're really talking about are boundaries, and of course, boundaries are about you, not about telling a grown ass woman what she ought to be doing. She can do whatever she wants. We don't control other people. But if she wants you as her husband, she needs to be living within the parameters of your tolerance. I found it helpful to make my boundaries about me and not about my WH. In order to do that, I rewrote my "demands" into Boundary Statements. This made it easier for me to see what was really important and also what was fair. Instead of "my spouse isn't allowed to have secret passwords", I made it about me... "I will not tolerate a secretive spouse who isn't an open book with me". That's a boundary I'm willing to enforce, and enforcement means that I would rather leave the relationship than have that boundary crossed because it's about me and how I want to live my life. I'm willing to give as good as I expect to get too, so I'm willing to be the same open book.

It really does sound like you both want to save the marriage, but your WW is going to have to be willing to make some REAL changes. Otherwise, you'll just continue spinning your wheels like you've done for the last eight months. Eventually, one or both of you will become too exhausted to continue. Her word isn't good enough anymore. That's just plain fact. She cheated and she lied. Simply saying that she won't do that anymore isn't enough. She has to be able to verbalize WHY she thought her behavior was acceptable and what she's changed about herself since then. Cheating is about the cheater. It's not about us. We can't fix it. Only the WS can, and right now... she's not.

I do believe that there's something to be said for The Golden Rule as well... to treat others as we would like to be treated. Your WW would understand why you're no longer comfortable with her job situation if it was YOU who had been caught sending pictures of your genitalia to your coworkers. If it had been you who had made sexual overtures and emotional attachments outside the marriage and then refused to end those contacts completely, she'd understand quick enough. Basic empathy is just walking a mile in the other guy's shoes. The fact that your WW is unable to put that shoe on the other foot tell us that her empathy is not as evolved as it needs to be.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7060   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8807477
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:53 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

I need to set ground rules and if she doesn't like them kick rocks

Gently, the ground rules - usually called 'boundaries' on SI - are for you, not for your W.

She's a free agent in charge of her own life. You are, too. You can't change her; you can change yourself. You set your requirements and dump her or walk if she won't meet them.

You define your boundaries. She decides whether or not to honor them. You respond to what she does.

Trust needs to be earned. I agree that your W doesn't seem to be willing to do the necessary work - but that just means the ball is in your court. Nothing will change in your sitch unless you take action. Often one partner needs to risk an M to save it.

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

posts: 29994   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8807480
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 6:09 PM on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

She also just text me this morning and said honestly do you ever see yourself trusting me again?

Answer her honestly.

"I do if you are willing to earn it back."

I think it would be fair to ask her if she, " honestly," wants it back.

I am really sorry here, but my instincts tell me she doesn't want it back. She's holding onto misplaced resentment against her father. She thinks you are her father, etc. There are bad things hiding underneath.

She needs IC. She is starting to spiral.

Stay close with your kids. Protect them.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5116   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8807499
Topic is Sleeping.
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