Originally Posted by Emerald
Forgive me if this has been covered or discussed - have not read all the replies.
I am putting myself in your wife's shoes. I haven't been a great wife for a long time but lately have been trying to be better because maybe:
I know about hubs affair or
I can feel him pulling away or
I have done some research/counseling/read books on how to be a better wife or
"insert anything here."
Do I want to know about hubs 4-yr. affair? Yes
Do I have the right to know? Yes
From what I have read Richard, all your scenarios are about you & your children. Why are you not confessing your A to your wife right now?
Allow your wife the dignity of helping you make the "big choice."
In attempt to give a final rundown (in efforts to avoid further redundancy) I will try to explain in a final Q&A format that sums up my feelings of the situation:
1) Does my wife have a RIGHT to know? Yes.
2) Does that mean my wife SHOULD know? Debatable.
EleGrl has also stated there are arguments to both sides of this debate. It can be as tricky as pro abortion vs. anti abortion.
3) Is my wife making changes to make our marriage better? Yes.
It didn't require her being witness to an affair to shake things up. Me moving out of the house is what finally told her I was serious about not tolerating the situation without some changes.
4) Is the affair primarily (or majority) my wife's fault? No.
5) Is the affair a sliver of my wife's fault? No.
6) Did my wife contribute to the animosity and resentment that led to me feeling I no longer care or value the relationship? Yes.
7) Is she most to blame for this? No. I would say it was near 50/50.
8) Have I made positive changes to make things better at home? Yes, but only slightly. I cannot make a "180 degree" turnaround as long as I'm in love with (or desire to be with) OW.
9) Am I open to making very strong committed changes to make the marriage the best it can be. Yes - if I am able to "see the light" and make the choice to stay home with the wife and family. I am also willing to visit MC and/or IC if it needs to get that far. If I am 100% on board with my wife and family I actually DO feel I will be capable of addressing my wife's needs cordially and make great improvements. If I sense either of us are slipping, I would immediately promote going to counseling.
10) If things get rough or unpleasant at home will I fall back into having an affair again? No. Absolutely not. I have already come to the crossroads of being disgusted with myself for being a cheater. Initially the attraction grew under the radar without either of us knowing it. Eventually it led to the discovery of emotional attachment, and snowballed from there. I also recognize the addictive nature of it, but I am very confident I am over the cheating. I have no desire to do that again.
I'm not addicted to the "cheating" or the "affair", but I was/am addicted to the OW. The OW is also completely on board with no longer cheating and living an honest & faithful life. Both of us still prefer & wish it could be with each other. I have discussed all the negatives with her today (we work together), and I believe she is also coming to the same conclusion the likelihood of us having success even if we divorce our spouses is very minimal.
Neither of us have a desire to cheat on our spouses any longer. Either we live honestly & faithfully with our spouses, or each other. Plain and simple.
11) Does the OW have any resentment towards me if we don't end up together? Yes, and no. The first time I attempted to leave (but recanted) she did. She was very hurt and devastated by it (and so was I). But now we have both are in a state where we have nearly surrendered to the reality of the unlikely situation things could possibly work out for us in the end. AffairCair gave EXCELLENT insight on the unknown HIDDEN costs (and damages) most people don't realize when going into such a situation. I believe I sort of "sensed" the danger of some of these problems lurking in the air... and just maybe that 6th sense of that (along with the wrongness and unfairness towards our spouses and children) were enough for me to snap back and not leave.
12) So OP "snapped out of it" and slipped back into affair mode. What's to stop OP and OW from doing that again? Plain and simple... we are both DONE being in limbo. We are DONE feeling awful for cheating. We are both ready to live an honest WHOLE life rather than 2 halves. While I cannot speak for her, I can speak for myself. I will NEVER CHEAT on my spouse ever again. I will constructively try my hardest to solve any problems. If I cannot solve them myself I will demand we go to counseling. If counseling doesn't work, then my next step will be to either separate or to live with mediocrity (assuming that is even an issue at that point).
13) Won't the guilt interfere with my capability of stepping up fully to the plate to be a great husband? I honestly do not believe so. I have always known my wife never DESERVED to be cheated on. It was a self-serving choice, and only spun out of control because of the intense high-passion & addictive nature of the attachment. If it was just a casual physical fling, or even a GF-type closeness it would not have gone on for 4 years. I completely realize the RELATIONSHIP aspect of our relationship to be somewhat "fantasy" because we both lacked the negatives of a real 24/7 situation. We were not exposed to each other's nagging bad habits. We were not exposed to life's daily problems. Etc., etc. I totally realize this. However, the INTERACTION aspect between us was completely out of this world... and if we were both single I would have likely proposed marriage to this woman within months (and not a decade like both our spouses in mine/her respective relationships).
14) By not telling my spouse, isn't she herself living a false lie? Absolutely Not. Ever since I moved out, the "old/previous" marriage sort of "died". She has already made great strides in improving things in effort to keep me very happy. And I've gotta acknowledge this. There is no doubt. Likewise, I know if I choose to be with my wife and kids, I will not just do it for the mindselt "to spare the kids & keep the "family" together. It would be more because I have surrendered hope the relationship between the OW and myself can reasonably work out in our favor.
And... because I refuse to live in a "semi-happy" state any longer I too can step up to the plate to make my wife's happiness a priority. Again... if we are both able to solve these things without counseling, great. If things don't work (or slip back to normal bad patterns), I will immediately recognize this and DO something about it.
So, in essence...
BOTH my wife and myself led into selfish immature "game playing" actions that led to the destruction of our relationship. I'm absolutely certain nearly ALL couples go through all types of psychological games (i.e., the "silent treatment" game... the "witholding sex & affection" game... the "staying really late at work" game... the "upping the ante on teaching lessons" game, etc.). Every game you can think of, my wife and I probably made it. Instead of teaching lessons it only fed into resentment and regret... to the point of INDIFFERENCE. Once that point was reached (of indifference), you would be very surprised how EASY it became to do the unthinkable... including having an emotional & physical affair.
Assuming my wife was also only "semi-happy" these past several years, if I return home with an attitude I'm "ALL - IN" in making the marriage the very best possible and my attitude... love... and affection... sexual drive... etc... you name it is all showered on my wife (and not split between BS and OW), I can only imagine the hapiness my wife would feel would receive a huge morality boost. At least I hope it would.
I think we both have learned the games not to play by now. If we are both fully satisfied and content with the way things are progressing, great. No need to go to counseling. If they are still unsatisfactory (or slipping downhill), then counseling is mandatory.
I know for certain I do not need counseling to prevent further cheating. I have absolutely NO DESIRE to cheat. My wife and I never had the special connection on the passion/romance side. Our connection was more built on mutual interests and the children we are raising together. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE!!! My wife and I need to have a special connection together for this to really work out. My wife needs to become my girlfriend again (and not just housemaid and mother). We both need to set time aside so we can be together as a couple (and not just parents to our children).
I do believe, with this mindset, my wife and I have an excellent chance at achieving something possibly close (interaction/passion/connection-wise) to what the OW and I have experienced. If I choose to stay with my wife that will be my willfull choice.
If my wife grows fonder... happier... and stronger (and more secure) in our relationship... and since I will never cheat on my wife again... and in time if we can both "fuel each other's fire" through the remaining years... I do not see any advantage to pull the rug under her feet and emotionally traumatize her.
Yes, I am making that choice FOR her. By keeping this a secret it's partially for my advantage (even at the cost of living with guilt for the rest of my life), and it's certainly VERY MUCH for our children's advantage (no question about it). Also, I feel it's in my wife's advantage providing there are no further episodes of anything secretive
. If I happen to make another slip-up down the road (which I won't... that's a given), but hypothetically speaking IF that happened IMO that is the only reason why it may have been beneficial to disclose the ugly affair.
Obviously... MOST people would feel they would want to know. But I do know my wife better than the strangers on this board, and in her case she is better off not knowing (and would honestly prefer not knowing). In contrast, the OW would absolutely want to know everything that happened. But these two women have completely different personalities.
Anyway, I said my peace. The good news to all of this is from this point forward there is no cheating going on. And very soon a final decision will be made to the path I end up taking. It was great to meet all (correction... SOME) of you.
AffairCair: I will surely reply to your post as soon as I can! I've been very busy at work today. It will likely be a bulletin board post, but might be in a PM instead.
I haven't decided if I should keep this thread open to share the truthful news how things play out in this real-life drama or not. Given the amount of time and effort so many posters offered me I feel very compelled to keep this "family" in the loop on things.
As angry I am with some of the posters, I must say I am both shocked and impressed with the sheer amount of time and heartfelt effort many people spilled out... in their posts & letters in efforts to save me from making a potentially big mistake. I truly appreciate everything that was said, but please also understand this is my life to live and I do need to carve things out my own way... even if it ends being a big mistake it is something I will have to live with (not you guys).