Over a year ago, my wife had a flirty "affair" that never went beyond a few kisses with the OM. There weren't any deep emotions attached (no husband bashing, no sharing of intimate thoughts, etc), but she enjoyed the ego-boosting and exciting, immature "games." The man is now long gone and I don't believe there's any real threat from him. I have verified things to the best of my conversational and technical ability (after heeding some advice on these boards).
I've forgiven her for those mistakes, and I definitely feel like I've moved past anger and resentment about that affair.
What I can't seem to move past is my worry about what she's doing when I'm not around. I get uncomfortable sometimes when I see her on the computer or on her phone. I wonder what she might be doing while I'm at work or when there might be inconsistencies in her schedule, etc. Sometimes I still go in and look at the phone logs to check for texts or calls that she hasn't mentioned (there never are any).
Most of the time I can't even explain exactly why I feel this way, because I know she's not doing anything secretive or bad. She's just browsing the web or commenting on photos, etc. She's going grocery shopping or to the gym. She's been very open since the affair about what she says to people online, who she's friends with, and even when people have flirted with her at work or elsewhere. From everything I have seen and heard she hasn't come close to crossing any lines with anyone. Yet I still have to fight the urge to check up on her.
When does this anxiety (and mistrust?) finally go away? When will I stop evaluating any interactions she has with other men for their threat level? I feel like it's gotten better as time has gone on, but it's the stress and worry are still there.
What were the consequences to her actions? Why was she willing to risk the marriage with this guy? What inside said this was O.K.? Did she feel that if she got caught you would have forgiven her anyway so she had nothing to lose? Would she have been so accepting and forgiving as you have been if the roles had been reversed?
Your wife took actions that crossed the agreement of what was appropriate in your relationship. If there were things in the relationship that were leading to her feeling as though her needs were not getting met, that has to change. When you understand what she needs and can provide that, you become someone she needs. This gives you some control over whether or not the relationship is secure.
However, her choosing to go outside the relationship means she was in the position of causing you and the relationship some hurt. Did she switch from causing hurt to being the healing partner? The involved partner has to switch and proactively become the healing partner by giving you lots of reassurance without asking.
Let's say that happened and you're left with anxiety. Assuming it is the memory in your body of the pain you experienced, and truly nothing is going on now, you may have to find a way to release that anxiety (EFT tapping is excellent - search Youtube or visit EFT Universe).
Are you able to talk openly with her now? Will she dismiss your concerns/anxiety or be supportive? If she tells you, "It happened a long time ago, get over it." That's a problem that causes you re-injury.
Your brain is seeing things (her on the computer or going out) that feel threatening, maybe not at an intellectual level, but rather at a deep level. You need her to be reassuring. This isn't about blame or accusations, this is some left over fear. Ask her if she is open to working a little harder to provide reassurance - not because you fear she is really doing something, but because you love her and still deal with real concerns from those painful memories trapped in your body. If she is willing and able to reassure you when you feel the anxiety, it will go a long long way to helping your brain's threat responders feel more at ease.
But my fWW no longer goes out, she has given up everything to make sure I'm ok. So with this drastic change in my wifes life style it seem to have helped me heal. Also a big part of my healing is the fact that the trust that I continue to verify is always come up empty.
The thing for me is I track her, she knows I track her and her only concern is the amount of money I spend on this tracking (by the way there is alot of space junk around this planet. LOL). I now have a new hobby and she doesn't mind.
Keep in mind that the time it will take for you to heal depends on how the person that caused the wound help along the way. If she has a life style change that my WW has then it may come sooner.
But if she can't completely give her self back to you (both mind and body) then it may take awhile.
Make no mistake, as a new member in the cheater police force, you will continue to check up on her, it will just get less and less if she plays her cards right. If not then there is a good chance that her unhealthy behavior will come back.
I must add that there are a handful of consequences that may not have been addressed!!!!! And thats a very bad thing, trust me, Iv'e been down that road.
Its been about 5-6 weeks since I let my wife come back,have good days and some bad,her EA really hurt bad,its when the triggers happen that really kick your @ss,last night I found some old text on the internet between the two of them,things have been going pretty good for us but right now its feels like day one all over again,I thought an by now I would have been close to being over this,
man was I wrong,guess everyone is different but it slowly gets better Posted via Mobile Device
First, thank yous to everyone who has responded. You are all very thoughtful and helpful! I may not get a chance to reply to everyone right away, but wanted to focus on bryanp because he asked so many good questions.
Originally Posted by bryanp
What were the consequences to her actions?
Mostly there was the obvious pain she put me through, and her loss of my trust. She had to put up me being suspicious about everything for a long time, and me constantly questioning her "logic" about the whole thing. She also had some problems at work because, you know, nothing is secret for long. That was a big blow to her pride I think.
Why was she willing to risk the marriage with this guy? What inside said this was O.K.?
This is the big question, isn't it? And I think this is one reason I still have doubts sometimes. I don't feel like I've ever had a clear answer to why she did it. She says she love the attention, the ego boosting and the fun. And she says at the time that she didn't consider that it was risking the marriage. It was only when it started to actually get physical that she had her wake-up call. None of it is 100% clear to me, and I still struggle to understand how and when she realized it went from "harmless fun" to "OMG I have to put a stop to this!"
Did she feel that if she got caught you would have forgiven her anyway so she had nothing to lose? Would she have been so accepting and forgiving as you have been if the roles had been reversed?
Hard to say. She told me the truth to begin with after I told her my suspicions. I had no evidence to confront her with, just horrible gut feelings and changes in her behavior.
But again, she claims that she thought it was all harmless fun at first, so she didn't worry about getting caught. I do believe she thought, at the time, that it wasn't that bad. Not until the point where they kissed, but I still don't know exactly how many times that happened.
I should point out that she did own up to her behavior, did promise to be very open, and did engage in many, many discussions of what this all meant to our marriage. As for how much effort she put in to becoming the healing partner...that might be part of the problem, too. She did that at first, for a while, but she went back to normal after a few months. I think she still looks at it as a big mistake, but one that she's learned her lesson about and that she wants to move on from.