Hello all. I have been reading through the forums here and it is comforting to know so many others are coping with these tough situations. I share my story to get feedback and help heal.
I am 28 years old and my wife is 24, we have a home but no kids. We have been together for six years now, married for two. When we met, for me at least, it was love at first sight. I had dated a few people before, but fell in love with my wife quickly. Our first couple years together were passionate and tumultuous. We moved in together after a few months of dating. We fought a lot. A few years back my wife was diagnosed bipolar, she has been through a lot. Her father is bipolar and molested her, her mother has multiple personality disorder. My past has not been a walk in the park, but i could be described as the eternal optimist while my partner has always struggled to understand why i even love her or want to be with her.
Cut to the chase - 2.5 years ago, before we were married, while engaged, about to take a separation (for my wife to have space and figure things out) i cheated on my wife. I had just graduated college and was on vacation with a friend in amsterdam. I slept with prostitutes not once but twice. The big question is why? and that is hard to answer. Lust no doubt played a part. I think part of me was curious what it was like. Part of me told myself i was sewing my wild-oats. Part of me justified the experience with spite thinking back to the first year we were together when my wife left me for a week to party with her friends, got drunk and made out with another. Although engaged i knew upon my return my partner would be leaving me again, for an undetermined length of time which would leave me wondering and feeling powerless.
I knew when i slept with the first prostitute that i made an awful mistake, that i loved my wife and had done something terribly wrong. The second time was even more self-destructive and put me into the lowest place i can remember being. Returning from the trip my partner asked me if i had slept with any prostitutes and that was where the lie began. I thought i would bury it deep and take it to the grave, something between me and God. We would marry and things seemed to have been getting better.. although our relationship has always been a sort of struggle.
I went two years without thinking about it. Between a couple of strong plant experiences, couples counseling and EMDR work, my dark secret exploded into the foreground of my mind. I don't know if anyone else has experienced this but at first it crept in sparingly, then i'd think about it perhaps weekly, then everyday, every hour until i confessed. It was three weeks ago that i told my wife what i did. Needless to say it did not go over very well. My wife is graduating college this month and the news came a week before the opening of her big art show, a capstone project that we both put a lot of effort and time into. I went away for a week to give her space. I was not allowed to attend the show, which by the way was a success.
I have not slept in the same bed as my wife since the confession, as she is understandably very hurt and has taken residence across the house from me. I am trying to give her the space she needs right now. We have made some effort to rebuild i think. We have talked a lot about things and cried together. One thing that has been very nice is we have been reading books together aloud, taking turns reading chapters from a book of my choice and a book of hers. My stance is simple, i love my wife with all my heart and am willing to fight to save our marriage. I am trying to give her the space to figure out if she still loves me, which are words i have not heard since the confession and am afraid i may not again.
We're still doing couples counseling together, but it's weird. Our counselor is a woman and has worked with my wife independently for over a year before she took me on as well. After my confession my wife talked with her much via telephone and our counselor told her that i had no right to be at the art show, that it was work related. Well i admit that if my partner didn't want me there that's fine, but it almost seems to me like my counselor is taking her side. Last week when we went to counseling my wife told the counselor that she is hurting, but is interested in rebuilding our relationship and would like advice how. Our counselor totally dismissed the statement and went on to tell me that most likely we would grow farther apart as the months move on. She recommended the book True Lies
to my wife which i am only familiar with as a movie made popular by Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. On top of this i can't help but feel like our counselor is doing a poor job managing our sessions, bringing up tense things as sessions conclude as opposed to sending us out the door feeling hopeful. Am i out of line to consider a new therapist for us?
Thanks in advance for any advice or criticism. I'm wondering what i can do right now to give my partner the love and space she needs? Just typing my story out has made me feel better. For the most part i feel like the ball is in my wife's court, it's up to her to decide if she still loves me and wants to continue on together. I do not want to divorce but if it comes to that more than anything i want to be happy and have a good life. Really hoping we can work it out!
I ordered the book "After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful"
- my wife is willing to read through it with me. Any advice on rebuilding?