I hope this is okay and not against any rules or guidelines. I read the guidelines sticky and the forum rules and I don't think I'm breaking any of them. Mods, if this is inappropriate, please delete this post (and please don't ban me). I'm not purposely doing anything wrong.
My WW posted this on SI SurvivingInfidelity.com - Seeking help
I occasionally read there, but don't really post there. She mentioned this post to me in passing. She gives the PG13 version but she lays out what basically happened but she left out some critical details. I should say this from the start too, I am far from perfect. I should have handled certain things differently early in our marriage. I was young and under a lot of stress, which are really only excuses for what I did. I had advanced at my company into a position that required a degree which I did not have at the time. They gave me the job and were paying 100% of my college education at a very good school. They were flexible in my work schedule and bent over backwards to make sure I succeeded. I juggled a new job where I felt the need to prove myself somewhat, STEM field college courses, and a family with 3 kids (5, 3, and 18mos). 14-16 hour days and very little sleep were common for me. To top things off, we had just purchased a house and money was tight. The budget was stretched and the last child was unplanned. She forgot to take her birth control pills. Any unexpected expense, car repair, appliance breakdown, etc., was a complete crisis. I'm putting this out there because I want to set the stage. We were both stressed. I needed my wife to step up and take some of my burden. I needed her to accept more responsibilities for the kids and take a more active role in running the household. I tried to explain that this would be temporary situation. My income would more than double once I had the degree. Unfortunately, my wife did not rise to the occasion. She prioritized attending kid birthday parties for extended family and coworkers over housework and laundry. She never missed a get together or party of any sort. We had some pretty heated fights about these things. That's really an understatement, things got out of hand sometimes.
Here's the part where I went wrong. We started to occasionally physically fight. I wish I could say I was always the defender and never the initiator, but that would not be true. I am not the one that "broke the seal" on the taking things to this level either. She took things too far 80% of the time and I did the other 20%. We would be arguing, I would piss her off, and she would just snap and fling herself into me like a damn wildcat. This little 5'3" 120# woman is throwing haymakers at me (6' 185#) and trying to claw my eyes out. I was astonished when it first happened. The absurdity of her attacks was more than I could comprehend. I would physically restrain her, and not gently either, to stop her onslaughts. I would sometimes throw her over my shoulder and toss her out of the house. I knew physically dominating her pushed her buttons. I never punched or beat her. The crazy thing is these fights became some sort of twisted foreplay and were almost always followed by awesome make up sex. Crazy, volatile, dysfunctional stuff. I look back at it and I'm ashamed about how I handled myself. I have no excuses for physically fighting with my wife. I should have handled things much differently. Thank god the kids didn't witness any of this firsthand.
That situation sets the stage for the affair. It was coworker 'not just friends' affair. Pretty typical sex for attention thing. He put in the work to woo my wife. Lasted 6 months. She claims the last 2 months were her trying to break it off. 10-12 sexual encounters. Her AP more or less stalked her when it was over. She changed jobs and he would follow her after work, tailgate her and try to get her to pull over. Sit outside her new workplace at lunch. He pressured her into "one last time" which she claims made her feel disgusted with herself. He ramped up the stalking and she eventually told him to stop harassing her or she would call the police. He offered her a ring and promised to start a life with her. She turned him down. He then threw her under the bus and told me about the affair - along with some of the details. The AP's wife contacted me too. I had my wife sit down and answer any of the woman's questions. He gave the ring he bought for my wife to his wife as some sort of new start. His wife was crushed when she heard about the ring and I believe that tipped her to immediate divorce. He got a domestic violence charge, lost his job, and was divorced in pretty short order. I also made her tell her parents and my parents in person that she cheated. Good times were had by all. I didn't deal with fog or any other end of affair crap that many folks deal with. I went into a tailspin though. I stupidly had a drunken one night stand on an out of town business trip in the middle of all of this too. I honestly have never felt guilt like that before. I felt like a complete POS - just like my father. I went against every moral fiber I thought I had and did something I promised myself I would never do. I feel somewhat disgusted with myself even writing that now.
I didn't know how to proceed at first. My knee jerk reaction was to divorce her right away. She cheated, I had cheated, we physically fought, this was clearly a broken marriage. I spoke to an attorney and he advised me to keep her around if I could tolerate it at all. I would have years of dealing with her anyway because of child support and co-parenting. He also said because the kids were so young the chances of me getting primary custody were pretty much nil. I would have also been screwed at my job and school. Divorce would have meant bankruptcy and we would have certainly lost the house. I am also a child of divorce. My parents divorced when I was 9 or so. My dad cheated and left to live with his mistress. It was a complete mess for me as a kid. Awkward stepmother drama, weird step-sibling drama, uncomfortable holidays, moving from childhood home to a new school, guilt, you name it I had it. He divorces new wife a year or so later and I lost contact with my father. He moved out of state and stopped paying child support. My mom, sister and I were basically living in poverty for awhile. I didn't see him until a few days after my 18th birthday when he showed up on our doorstep out of the blue. I really did not want that crap for my children. I feared I would lose touch with them too and my childhood history would repeat itself for them.
So hyper-bonding kicked in, I stayed and we went to counseling. The marriage counselor basically facilitated blame shifting. I had guilt about the physical fights and my cheating. We more or less rug swept the whole thing and tried to cope with the fallout as best we could. The marriage became a one day at a time endeavor for me. The physical fights stop. I would not tolerate and disrespect like that anymore. I am certain I would have pummeled her to oblivion if she struck me again and wound up in jail. I had barely controlled rage brewing under the surface. She maintained the affair was just something "fun and different and she got positive attention" and it happened because I was "mean to her and made her feel unloved". Those were pretty much her go to answers to "why?" and the marriage counseling supported this notion. Unmet needs not character deficiencies or lack of integrity. This pissed me off and I didn't always handle the anger very well. I never really regained trust or respect for her. The tone of our relationship changed and I eventually lost my connection with my wife. I hope that makes sense. We used to have passionate sex 5-7 times a week prior to the affair and it dropped to 3-4 times a week without much passion. The affair would come up in arguments 2-3 times a year. Year after year we would have groundhog day fights about the whole mess. I would call her names and berate her and we would sort of makeup. We lived pretty separate lives IMO. She does not see things this way at all and maintains she felt loved and her love for me grew over the years. I did graduate though. Income dramatically improved. Money was no longer an issue. Some of the stresses went away. I exercised to ridiculous levels to keep myself sane. We did do some normal married couple things. We raised our kids. But there was always an elephant in the room. I skirted around two emotional affairs (or overly close female friendships) over the years. I was lonely as hell.
I decided pretty early on I would just go through the motions in this marriage until the nest was empty. The rest of the story is in my wife's post on SI. The last 2-3 years have been a nightmare. She scheduled a polygraph test, confirmed the examiner with me, and had the examiner send me the report directly via email. I don't think there are any unknown secrets anymore. She's gone to personal therapy. She's made major life changes. I have put her through all the circles of hell. There has been some recent insights too. I took the MBTI test for work. We had some stupid straight out of Dilbert corporate initiative about team composition and personality types. I tested as an INTJ which is supposedly somewhat uncommon. I even had to speak to a psychologist and retake the test and still scored INTJ. My wife took an online MBTI and found out she's an ESFP. Which means we are complete opposite personality types. I didn't really put much stock in this test at first but, after reading some of the different personality strengths and weaknesses online, the stuff pretty much nailed the causes of our marriage issues. Opposites can attract and intrigue each other but they can also drive each other guano crazy. I believe we fit into both camps on different occasions. The love languages book offered some insights too. My wife has been doing a crazy amount of reading and self introspection. She approaches life differently now. She's doing all of the driving trying to save the marriage and I pretty much toss up hoops for her to jump through. She leaves notes on the bathroom mirror, sends loving texts, buys me small thoughtful gifts, gives me handwritten letters, prepares special meals and a host of other things. She is kind and thoughtful in other aspects of her life too. She seems to understand personal boundaries now and has demonstrated change and has consistently demonstrated this change for 2.5 years. She expresses gratitude and appreciation for trivial things now. She has matured and has shown a tremendous amount of personal growth. I haven't made things easy for her at all either. I've been harsh and doubting. I accuse her of trying to manipulate me. I test her over and over and she never wavers. I don't know what to think. I have things structured so a divorce is pretty straightforward financially. There won't be any alimony, child support, or custody issues. No step-anything drama. She's agreed to a preliminary draft for property and asset division. We can split without a bunch of fanfare or a lengthy court battle. She's even willing to sign a post-nup too. I believe she would do anything I asked of her now. I've lost the need to seek revenge or grind her face in what's she's done.
So I'm now conflicted and I don't usually feel that way about anything. I've always done the math so to speak and then go with what I've decided content that my decision is thought out. Some of the variables have changed in this math problem though and I find myself in unfamiliar territory. Am I a blooming idiot for considering staying with her and working through this mess? I don't really know what work I need to do either. I read threads here and they seem to start out great but a few pages in things almost always go awry and the betrayed person gets a new batch of crap to swallow and it ultimately means they wasted a bunch of time and energy. I'm in my mid forties and I don't want to waste any more time on a marriage that won't be fulfilling. My situation isn't really as clear cut as some here either. I am not without sin myself. I can see how a new start would work out too. I've spent years thinking about how I would start over and there is no fear involved in that decision. That path out of this ordeal seems to be the surest one to me. I would be master of my own destiny. I also have a job opportunity in another state, 1300 miles away from where I'm at, with an established company that's rapidly growing. It's in the Research Triangle and job opportunities seem plentiful if the new gig didn't work out for some reason. New job, more personal income, new area to discover that's full of cool history, freedom to explore new relationships, but retirement date would be impacted. Or new old wife, holiday family traditions are intact, secure job and two incomes, 2 healthy 401k accounts, kids\extended family are not impacted, we get to experience future grandkids together, but there's uncertainty about intimacy and emotional connection.
So what do you folks think?