Originally Posted by lamaga
Nineteen days of texting and there was no physical contact.
NOTHING HAPPENED. Get over it. Go hug her and be glad that she is still with you. This is as big a deal as you choose to make it.
It was 19 days because he CAUGHT her at 19 days. That is why it was 19 days. Maybe you missed that one word, because it is the entire point to this story. Are we really going to pretend this wouldn't have gone on for 50 days? 150 days? Well maybe not the sexting part. That would get old, so they probably would have moved on to something that even lamaga wouldn't like after it continued that long UNDETECTED by Galway.
Presumably, in junior high, the stakes weren't quite so high with a little texting. In junior high, "relationships" (for those who had them, because for the rest of us, they were confined to looking at people across the room) lasted about...oh, 19 days. We're talking life partnership, and children. Let's not be so quick, and so glib, about this type of issue. Let junior high stay back there with junior high, agreed?
In his excellent book His Needs / Her Needs, which I suggest you buy NOW, Dr. Harley explains that this type of intimate communication leads to a powerful infatuation. THAT is why it's reserved for marriage partners. Yes, it crosses marital boundaries. But if people who entered emotional affairs could just wake up and end them with a snap of their fingers, then there would be no need for advice boards. Emotional affairs are fantasy escapes--they are first and foremost COMPULSIONS. Compulsion are extremely bad habits that are difficult to break. What is it they say about creating a habit? That it takes 21...er 19 days?
Another excellent book I recommend to you, Galway (and your wife) is Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass. Shirley Glass was a nationally recognized researcher on infidelity. If you ever read her book, you will learn far more than you ever wanted to know about how emotional affairs start, function, and end. The book is so good that for anyone dealing with infidelity, I strongly suggest that you ask any marriage counselors you expect to consult whether or not they've read it
. Our excellent MC pulled it off the shelf before I had a chance to mention it.
Here is why this is a big deal Galway--and you already know this. It's because you CAUGHT her. If she had come to you, all contrite and confessed, it would still disturb you greatly. But you would be able to see that she recognized it was wrong first, without you needing to intervene.
As far as fixing the relationship: affairs are the immature, stupid choices of people who are solving their problems--whatever they may be--in a very cowardly way. They know that what they're doing is wrong. Sometimes they do it because the marriage is in a bad place, but this DOES NOT excuse their choice. It sounds like you don't spend anywhere near enough time together. Most marriage experts recommend a bare minimum to 10 to 15 hours A WEEK of one-on-one alone time without movies, computers, phones, etc. for a married couple to properly bond. Marriages in trouble require 20 hours of this time. Where do the two of you fall on this scale?
Often swept under the rug, however--and this is why you must take this very seriously--is that beyond marital vulnerability, sometimes the reason for cheating lies partly or entirely inside the cheater
. You can work all day long fixing the marriage, but some people are very broken. Perhaps they were betrayed by someone important to them earlier in life. Perhaps they suffer from a personality disorder. But regardless, in these cases, the answer does not lie solely with "working on the marriage" and it's misguided to think that there is an easy solution to these types of problems.
As far as verification that she is not still in contact--the reason so many are recommending this is that:
1. cheaters lie to themselves
in order to betray you. Then, as the fun picks up steam, they have to start to lie to you
to keep things secret and private. Once they are in a compulsive fantasy, they will go to great lengths to protect the fantasy.
2. you cannot fix a marriage with 3 people in it. Picture the two of you on a counselor's couch, while your wife holds hands with this man as he stands out in the hallway. Marriage counseling is HARD WORK. People don't bare their souls and do the necessary heavy lifting while in a fantasy bubble. Escapist behavior is extremely fun, and MC is generally not.
I attended MC for 6+ months while my husband continued his emotional affair. I had no idea--because I didn't verify that it was over. I was uneducated about the power of infatuation and emotional affairs. I thought if my husband said it was over, then it was over. MC with a pro-marriage counselor TRAINED in the issues of infidelity is a revelation
and I can say that our marriage is better than it's been in many years now. An MC like that will not gloss this over and pretend like nothing happened. I highly recommend MC under the above conditions and hope you'll go.
Like you--I had to catch my husband in his affair. He never would have ended it on his own, he freely acknowledges that. Realizing this makes me feel sometimes like a freight train roared past my face. I was inches away from this lasting for who knows how long. This is the feeling that you have
. Learn from the mistakes of others. You have the ability to turn this around and have your marriage revitalized. But minimize those 19 days at your peril.