I want to thank you all for your words - those that were kinder and gentler and those that were harsher and more uncompromising.
After I had read some of them, I started shivering so much that I had to curl up in a little ball on this rainbow shaggy carpet that we have in the study. The reality is that I have already thought everything that your words suggest. I've had the pictures in my mind to prove it. But do I still want to believe in him? Absolutely.
This morning I woke up certain of some things:
Because I love my boys, I'm not going to make any decisions now. At heart, I'm a fairly analytical person - and when all the emotional seesawing is done, I need to make the best decision I can for me and mine. If I do decide to stay married, I won't agree to go on with our marriage as it is.
Yes. Give him this list. Tell him once he completes it, you will consider giving him a third chance:
He must go to his parents with you and tell them what he's done and apologize.
He must go to your parents with you and tell them what he's done and apologize for hurting you.
He must contact OW's husband and apologize.
He must go back to IC and allow you to come to one session every month or two to get his IC's opinion on what's going on.
He must find a polygraph company and set up an appointment, for which you will set up the questions.
He must go to a lawyer and set up a postnup agreement so that if he cheats again he walks away with nothing.
If he's willing to do those things, you might have a chance.
Thank you turnera
for your list (I'm big into lists). He'd already agreed to take a polygraph (although thus far our local service providers seem reluctant to take on domestic interviews) and we discussed the idea of a postnuptial agreement in some detail this morning. He will choose an IC. I'm also going to start IC this week (my WH's idea) - I need a face to speak things to. I did realise that unless I shadow him 24 hours day for the rest of our married life, I will need to trust him at some point. So we're going to need a practical plan to make that happen.
Re: the sex part. We had a long nose-to-nose discussion this morning (like a heart-to-heart, but with tissues). And I found out something very interesting. He saw sex with another woman as the final step that he wouldn't be able to come back from. I think that for him everything up until then was very wrong, but somehow not quite unforgivable. I know men and women are supposed to respond differently to EA's and PA's but I think that my response to him on this was pretty unequivocal. I don't actually care much whether he had sex with them or not. I care that he lived a lie with me. That he gave another woman the truth of who he is for the time that he lied to me and even after that. That is what has done the damage and made me doubt whether I can stay married to him. And I care that he tells the truth to me now in all its ugliness.
And I also realised one final thing. That if I do give him this chance and he lets me down again; then I refuse to feel ashamed. It would be very easy to walk away so that he can never hurt me again. I am not weak if I choose to believe the best about someone.