Re: My wifes betrayal
This is so heartbreaking!! You have invested 35 years in this relationship, and you literally wake up one day and find out your wife is not the person you believed she was. She is someone else! Like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I cannot imagine the enormous sense of betrayal, the sense of loss and futility in life you are likely experiencing. I am sure you have thought of divorce. At the same time you might yearn on some level for reconciliation and a way to believe your spouse again. Here are a couple of questions to consider: Do you think you can ever trust her again? Do you think the trust would be warranted? For many, many years she has lead a double life. She has been able to look you in the eyes, pretending to be a loyal partner, while carrying on sexual and emotional relationships with others. She says she loves you. Is that how real love is supposed to look like? It's overwhelming to find out the entire relationship for years has been a lie from her side. Like when a person we love dies, we don't want to believe it. First, it will take time to overcome your denial and disbelief. It is a process, but you can come to terms with the loss in time. A grief counselor, or any qualified counselor may be able to provide some help, and solace. It's therapeutic and relieving just to have someone to talk to and get things off your chest. It's what we women (most of us) do by nature, for free, with our female friends and sisters. Men sometimes have a hard time expressing and sharing their grief, but learning that behavior can be facilitated by a counselor.
There has been a lot of discussion on here about the number of partners your wife has had. Really consider, does it matter to you if it's ten or twenty or thirty? The issue is the same regardless of the number of partners. The issue it seems is that there has been a long-term pattern of betrayal spanning many years that was completely hidden from you all this time. And when you were getting clued in, there was every effort on her part to deceive and continue to keep you in the dark. There has just been no honesty that you can rely on in this individual. No fundamental honesty at all. There has also been talk here about submitting her to a polygraph. Her taking a polygraph at this point is really pointless, and solves nothing. If it reveals more betrayals, what does that prove? A polygraph is only helpful if you can tolerate 10 partners, but have a cut-off somewhere above 10 partners. So if you can' t tolerate 17 partners, for example, but can forgive any number below 17, then a polygraph might make sense. Please consider, what are your deal-breakers in a marriage? Do your deal-breakers include infidelity, dishonesty, and reckless disregard for your health (as in willingness to pass STDs to you through unprotected sex), or are your deal-breakers something else? If these are your deal-breakers, then being hung up on details like number of partners will take away from your focus on what's really important to you.
Sometimes couples stay in marriages after infidelity and other deal-breakers if they feel the overall outcome of divorce will hurt their young children. If you have children, and they are adults living their own lives, you at least don't have to worry about the burden of damaging young children in their developmental years. You have the blessing of being able to be purely selfish (in a good way) and decide what you think will be best for you, and only you. You can leave this relationship, if that's what you want, without any potential feelings of guilt over hurting growing children in a divorce. True, your adult children will be saddened, but they will understand, and their developmental years are past now, I presume.
Then there is the fear of being alone, which presents itself to any of us, at any age, when a long-term relationship or marriage fails. It's the biggest demon I think that keeps us trapped in an unhealthy relationship. Who would want someone who lies and cheats and hurts our health? Nobody! None of us would want such a person, if asked in advance, let's say by a genie with a crystal ball. But you've already gotten this bad hand of cards in life as far as this mate is concerned, and it's hard to leave after the fact, after the relationship has already existed, no matter how crappy the hand. It would be so nice to have a guarantee that if you played the game again, you'd get a good hand. Sadly, life has no guarantees. Wish it did! The hard part about life is, how do we muster the courage to try again when there is no guarantee of success? It's what makes decisions about relationships so hard. And, while you've invested many years into this crappy hand of cards, you can still muster that courage to try again! It takes a real act of faith in what the future can hold. If you do leave the comfort and familiarity of a relationship you have learned is false and abusive, life can and will get better.
If you can't jump into the decision of divorce right away, perhaps you can try separation. Have your wife move out. She cheated repeatedly and deceived unconscionably. Don't pity her or feel sorry for her! Maybe she can just move in with one of her guys. I want to just say "WHO CARES??!!". But, I know you do, and that is the draw. But, however you do it, I think you need to try separation. While you're separated, mingle and date and get your feet in the water again when it comes to socializing with the opposite sex. When you get out there, you will see that there are other options for you. The knowledge that there are other appealing options of mates for you can make a tremendous difference in recovering from the sense of loss brought on by infidelity. Nowadays, there are all kinds of websites for dating, for all types of people and all ages. All dating websites are not seedy hook-up sites for discreet affairs and casual sex like the one your wife used. The website she used I'm sure is very popular among cheaters. On the flip-side there are websites for people who are single, divorced, and separated who are serious about finding long-term companions for serious relationships, love, and even marriage. You may not feel ready to consider all this, but maybe come back to it when you're ready. Just know that life doesn't have to be bleak and empty after separation and divorce. You have other options. You always have other options. It's just a matter of when you are emotionally ready to consider them and pursue them!