need (very belated) advice after my wife cheated
This is a fairly long read. I have cut out tremendous amounts just to keep the size down. I would very much appreciate any advice from anyone willing to read through this.
My wife (R) and I have been married for about 6.5 years. It is the second marriage for both of us. Over the years, our marriage has fallen into a bit of a rut, but I thought things were comfortable. My wife has been very busy running her growing company, and we recently (little over a year ago) purchased a home which has drastically reduced both our savings and any extra money we had to spend on ourselves.
About 8 months ago my wife got involved in a sports car club online forum. She has always been very into cars, and she has a nice sports car which she refers to as her mid-life crisis (we are both in our 40s). Originally on the forum nobody knew she was female, and she was happy with that. Later, after she was more known and accepted in the group she let people know she was female and posted a few pictures. This being a car forum, it is almost entirely peopled by men. My wife immediately received more attention just by being an attractive woman who knows a great deal about cars. Over time many of her posts on the forum became more and more flirty and risquť, and at one point she posted photos of herself in a bikini.
Some members of the forum who live in our general area occasionally get together to do “fun runs” where they take their cars up into the mountains and turn them loose. My wife began to participate in the fun runs with the other guys and got to know them more personally. I have participated in only one of the fun runs because I have 3 kids from my previous marriage, and I spend one day each weekend with them. R does not get along well with my kids, so she generally has that day to herself, and that is the day she goes on the fun runs.
Apparently after the runs, R stopped for drinks with one of the guys from the group (call him M) and they started to talk and get to know one another. After a couple of weeks an EA started up which at some point became physical. I was aware and concerned about my wife’s growing attention to (and from) the forum, but she assured me it was just for fun, and I believed her. I had some suspicions, and she was making more and more excuses for the amount of time she was away, but I thought I was just being jealous. R really enjoyed the runs and the forum, and I did not want to make a big fuss over something which was adding such a nice spark to her life with what I thought were just my own insecurities.
One morning, as my wife was preparing to take an overnight business trip, my wife got a call out of the blue which she played off as a call from one of the people who work for her. When I checked the logs on her phone (something I had never done before) I found that she had deleted the incoming call. I asked her about it and she first tried to play it off as a glitch. I would not accept that, and my wife eventually admitted to having an EA with M, but she denied there was anything physical going on. I asked her for a complete accounting of what was going on, but she would not tell me anything. She kept insisting that she needed to leave for her trip. It would take almost 4 hours to drive to her destination, and she was concerned that she would get there after dark and be lost and/or vulnerable. After trying for almost an hour to get her to open up to me, I finally told my wife that she needed to cut off contact with M. I was going out and I thought giving her room to call M without my being there was a good thing to do – how wrong I was. When I got back from my errands R was gone. I was going nuts trying to get a handle on what had happened to my life so suddenly. My imagination was running amok, and I could not calm down. After going quietly nuts for quite a few hours, I texted R and asked her to promise me that she had not seen M that day. I got no response. After another hour passed I finally called R and was surprised to find she was in her car. It was now well after dark, and she was still 1 hour away from her destination. When I pressed she told me that after talking to me she went to see M. They spent 2.5+ hours together talking. She said that she needed to talk things out with him because she was so confused about her own thoughts and feelings. I was beyond shocked, and very, very hurt. R would not talk to me about what was going on, I was going nuts, I was hurting very badly, and R chose to spend time with M for consolation, all the while lying to me about her need to leave, etc. R said she would call me back when she reached her hotel because she did not want to talk while driving.
When R did call me back (what seemed like days later), it was more of the same. She was confused and upset, she was sorry she hurt me. She wondered what in our marriage caused her to step out. She finally needed to concentrate on the job she was there to do, and we hung up with me more confused than ever. I expected her to feel some shame or guilt, but, other than being “sorry to have hurt me”, she showed neither. I demanded “a full and detailed accounting” of what had gone on before I would consider anything else like counseling.
The next few days were bizarre. R returned home and we tried to have a normal life. R wanted to schedule counseling, but I refused unless/until she told me the truth of what had happened. I did not want to get the information doled out in little bits in front of a counselor. By the next weekend, I was to the point of not being able to function and confronted R with a list of questions. I showed her the list, and she agreed to answer. Among other things, R admitted the affair was physical, it had been going on for 6 weeks, and she had broken it off with M.
R had seen a counselor without me. R said she had felt dead in the marriage for some time. She felt that I was not the “leader’ she thought she had married. She did not think I could change, and when I asked her about helping and maybe changing some herself she shot back that she did not want to change. It seemed we were doomed to break up. Bizarrely, this gave me the first peace that I had had all week. If things were going that way I could accept it and move ahead without having to go crazy trying to figure out how to deal with the emotional issues swirling all around.
Over the next few days I thought more and more about what R had said and what our married life had been like, and I found that I more and more disagreed with her analysis. We had been happy. We could be happy. I still loved her. Surprisingly, I felt that I could forgive her (not that she ever asked for any forgiveness). I wanted to see if reconciliation was an option.
On Friday night I sat down and spoke with R about this. I told her my thoughts. I told R that I was making myself very vulnerable by opening up to her like this, and asked her to let me know directly if she disagreed. I felt rejected and hurt, and did want to put myself out there just to be rejected all over again. I felt that R had been holdingme at arm length, and would not tell me where her feelings truly lay. If she was not willing to consider looking to reconcile, I could deal with that, but she needed to let me know. R agreed to consider trying to reconcile, but was still unsure if there was any hope. She had booked a hotel for the following evening just to get away and think without the clash of emotions which we were both feeling at home. I too felt the confusion from living together with all the current stresses and emotions, and I understood her desire to take some time to think things through.
It turns out R lied to me yet again (on many levels). After that talk on Friday, R went and spent the entire weekend with M. She never even checked into her hotel, but instead spent the night at M’s place. After I had opened myself up, R had stabbed me right in the heart. This pain was far worse even than finding out about the affair. She lied bout having broken things off with M, she lied about cutting off all contact with M, she lied about getting away to clear her head and think, she lied about what she was doing, and she did all this the morning after I had just opened myself up to her.
I found out that R had not checked into her room (she hadn’t told me where she was staying, but I found out). I was hoping beyond hope there was some explanation, but I knew what it would be. When R returned home on Sunday night, I asked her about her time away. Initially she played it off. As I continued asking more probing questions, she must have realized she was caught. She admitted that she had spent the night (and both days) with M.
While I expected this, I was unprepared for my emotions. I was far beyond distraught. I was hurt like I had never been hurt before. This betrayal was so brazen. Did she hate me so much, or did she just not care about me and my feeling at all?. I asked R to leave. I told her I never wanted to see her again. I called her names. I wanted her to hurt like I was hurting. She started to tell me how she had just had too much to drink on Saturday and could not drive back to her hotel, but I cut her off. Actions had spoken already far louder than any words. Then, sadly, she left. Probably to be with M, but I don’t really know.
After calming down, I tried to think of what I should do. I needed help which is when I (very belatedly) found this forum. I would still like to reconcile with R, but only if her heart is in it. I did tell R this. She was angry. She was upset over all the awful things I said to her on Sunday. She doesn’t think she can forgive me! She has never said why she did it. She has never apologized or said she did anything wrong. She wants me to make amends to her.
So, finally, I am looking very belatedly for any advice on how I should proceed. Maybe I am a fool, and there is no hope, but it is worth me acting to fool for a while longer to be sure. I do not know where R is staying, and she won’t tell me what her feelings are toward me or M other than to say that “M is not the guy”. At least for now she runs her business out of our home (I have agreed to be out between 8:30 and 6:30 every weekday). I cannot afford the home without money from R. After all that has happened I do not even know how to approach R. I do not want to seem like some whining person being led only by their emotions, but I don’t want to come across as cold and emotionally detached thinking only of financial and logistical arrangements while planning out how to split with R forever.
Last edited by Alpha-s; 04-05-2010 at 02:17 PM.
Reason: edited for readability