Hellllllp. I am very anxious and entirely unsure of myself. I am prepared to leave my 26 year marriage, but fear that I am over-reacting. If it were not for my 16 yo son, I am pretty sure I would leave.
My wife has a history of making close friends with men. I never had a problem with it until a situation arose where she spent nearly all of her free time with a male co-worker who then, at a party with friends, extremely humiliated me with personal information he heard from her. My wife responded by laughing. I let her know I was hurt and later told my wife to choose between myself and her friend. She then restricted most contact with him to their work hours.
Since then she has worked hard to keep all her male friendships a secret, despite my attempts to reassure her that I don’t mind if she has men friends. She has always found at least one male co-worker to become close “secret” friends with. Over time I would typically find out through friends and her coworkers about the relationship (offhand comments) and I would try to influence her to be more open by again reassuring her I really don’t mind her men friends. She insisted that I had no need to be concerned and continued being quite secretive.
Then in 2001 I came upon her behaving unusually outside a restaurant (like she was trying to hide her presence) and I watched her go in with a manager with whom she works. That evening she lied about where she had been and when I confronted her with what I had seen, she apologized and admitted that they had become good friends at a recent conference. She insisted that they had never done anything but talk for hours. She promised no more secret meetings with him and to keep the relationship professional.
A year later I found out (from others) that she had continued to secretly meet him regularly at least for lunches. In fact I know she continued meeting him at least for secret restaurant lunches once or twice a month. In fact I could predict when they had lunch or would be in a meeting together because for a couple days before it she would treat me badly (distant and cold, very demeaning remarks, contempt). Then be very nice to me afterwards.
I have never told her what I know in order to keep the family (we have 3 kids) together and her response is to refuse to talk about these situations and simply become more secretive and sneaky. Plus, all I am aware of is secret lunches (and lots of guy chasing behaviors when away with other women).
In January 2009 the relationship apparently came to an end and she became much more caring and seemingly invested in our relationship. I became much more hopeful about our future.
Then, a couple months ago, I found out that she snuck out to a bar with her male boss while I was on a business trip. She had sent me several demeaning texts that evening and she had lied about where she had been. I have gradually found out that they have started driving each other places and also meeting for secret lunches. All of which my wife hides or lies about. Again she has started being cold on those days and nice during the days following. I thought, “same old pattern”.
Then, two days ago I found the following interaction in the “sent” file (erased from the inbox) of the email account primarily used by my wife:
My Wife: Where are you, you slacker?
Her boss: looking over your shoulder like always
My wife: Is that what is breathing down the back of my neck
Her boss: nope, just looking
My wife: You're peeking again
Her Boss: Nope, A good supervisor keeps the superlative traits of his employees in front of him as he assesses their capcity and best attributes.
My wife: A good employee makes sure her supervisor maintains all exaggerated thoughts in the correct perspective.
Her Boss: That is why team activities are so important to successful interactions between team members. If employees are not forthcoming with their supervisors or embrace their goals related to team building/interactions, enthusiasm can quickly wilt.
My wife: I prefer one on one activities over team activities but I can certainly be a team player in order to keep enthusiasm on the upswing. Supervisors need to be forthcoming with their employees about what goals they would like to see pursued, related to team building/interactions (of course).
Her Boss: We should consider scheduling a retreat. Being outside the office affords folks an opportunity to discuss issues they don't feel comfortable addressing in the work place. As team leader, your input would have to be the most forthcoming.
Note: they had just had the annual team retreat the week before.
My wife: I have to go to a meeting now. Have fun with your family and I will see you at work in a few days.
This suggests more than a secret lunch or drink to me. How do others read it? This would be the first real evidence that my wife is doing something more than eating or talking with her secret male friends.
I am worn out by the wondering and sneakiness. Am I over-reacting to it? What do others think?