Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

My wife is has been having an emotional affair for the last two years with a close friend from HS who was an exch. student from Germ.any. They dated briefly before settling in as good friends. They fell out of contact for about 15 years before reconnencting two years ago (after I setup up a Facebook account for my 20yr reunion). He lives in Germ.any.

I knew of their contact and frequent emails, but I didn't discover the close nature of their friendship until 1-1/2 years ago when I found some early emails she had printed out and hid. Much to my surprise (we were high school sweethearts and are each other's only serious relationship and physical partners), I discovered that my wife considered OM her first love and over the years had thoughts of "what if" she and OM had ended up together.

So, I confronted her and she claimed that I misinterpreted her emails, they were just friends, yadda, yadda, yadda. And, thus began the long battle began as to whether she was doing anything wrong and whether it is an emotional affair. I immediately started snooping in her email to find out what was going on. I found things that I didn't like but no really convincing evidence of an affair. Between the emails and my wife's behavior, I viewed her relationship with OM as being more than friends but less than lovers.

We have since gone through cycles of fighting over the issue. I pushed for no contact a year ago, but she refused as she insisted there was no threat. As I didn't feel I had strong enough evidence, I did not want to risk her resentment if I forced her to give up something valuable that she truly felt was OK.

The problem I have had is that their relationship is not a full blown, out of control, 1000 texts/day sort of affair. They have kept things right in the murky area between clearly OK and an obvious affair. They aren't discussing sexual interest in each, they don't express romantic love for each other (AFAIK), and my wife didn't become more distant from me after starting her correspondence with OM (more on our relationship below). The single biggest topic they discuss is OM's romantic pursuits.

Here's what I do know:

- Even though I have strenously objected to her "friendship," she continues it anyway- with the closed doors just shut more tightly.

- My wife built a wall around the relationship. Email is always kept logged off. Her responses to my questions are always to downplay frequency and level of connection. She reacts defensively whenever I question the topic or her honesty on the matter. Mostly lies of omission, and just a few lies of commision (that I have caught anyway).

- They share lots of intimate details, feeling, hopes, etc. Even she admits that they are close confidants and best friends. They have zero boundaries on what they will discuss. She tells him everything, and doesn't confide in me at all anymore.

- From reading my wife's emails, it is clear that she cares very, very deeply and thinks the world of OM (see example below). Definitely beyond what I am comfortable with for an opp. sex friend.

- She recently left her email logged in for a couple weeks, and I was able to pick up on some clues. The recent emails were of a more personal and emotional content. She had recently told me the emails were maybe once a week, but were in fact 3-4 per week.

- She acknowledges that she Facetimes with OM, but lies about the frequency (which is almost every week these days according to my recently acquired VAR). She has always deletes her FT call history.

Here is a quote from a recent email from my wife to OM in response to a disappointing turn of events in OM's dating life:

"As you are aware, there are a myriad of things I would like to give to you, most all of which are accompanied by a myriad of reasons I can't. But there is one gift nothing (not time, distance, or any situation) would stop me from bestowing if I could. The only thing that stops me is that lack of a magic wand. If I had that wand though, I would make your #1 (whomever you decide that is) see you through my eyes. It would only take a moment, and would only require a glimpse. "

I have two takeaways from this. My wife thinks that if any other woman saw OM the way my wife does, then the other woman would immediately fall for OM. This is the probably the most convincing email snippet I have that shows that my wife has feelings for him beyond friendship. Also worth noting that my wife is not planning on being his #1 choice (i.e. not planning to leave me for him). Do my interpretations seem fair?

Here is our marital background. I am 40, she is 39. We have been married 19 years and have 2 kids (10,7). I work hard (45+hrs/week) and my wife stays home. Prior to kids, marriage was generally good and was at a high point right before our first child. But, we have drifted apart since having kids. Usual culprits: busy with kids, stress from my work, no family support locally, limited opportunities for “us” time, and just generally not meeting each other’s needs. Over the last year+ of research, I now understand that all of this is fixable (at least, once the EA is gone).

As it is now, our own issues plus the fight over the EA have brought us to the brink of thinking of separation. We both want to work things out. Currently, I have a NC demand on the table. My wife countered with offering complete transparency (I can set the terms) as long as they can still keep in touch. She is out of town at the moment, and the ball is my court to decide whether any compromise is possible.

Which brings me to my questions....

- Is it possible that she is really just in denial to herself that her friendship is out of bounds? Or, does she know full well that she's in an affair?

- If she has really convinced herself that it isn't an affair, will a forced no contact result in deep resentment from her? Or, will the fog lift and she'll eventually see the error of her ways?

- While her behavior toward me (secrets, lying, etc) is clearly intolerable, is it worth trying the compromise approach first if she opens up all of her communication with OM? I don't see it being a viable solution long-term, but is it worth considering as a short term step?

Thanks for any comments and suggestions!

Last edited by island_of_one; 01-06-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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post #2 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:23 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

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post #3 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:27 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

Your wife is in an emotional affair and you tolorated it for almost 2 years and now you want her to stop. Good luck!

Stop sharing your wife and tell her you will buy her a ticket to Germany. I bet the OM will love that. Now she will be his problem

Is the OM married? If so it might be time to contact his wife or girl friend.

I think you stop worring about her and just tell there is more to a marriage then this and life is to short to be sharing your marriage with her "friend". Ask her to leave, she can do what she wants and give her a big smile.

You can't control her or make her face a dam thing, but once she see how serious you are in moving on with out her, then maybe she will think twice about how fragile her marriage really is.

Ask her to leave and start helping her pack, then maybe she will get a clue on how confident you are in letting her go.

I think she figures you aren't going any were so why should she stop...why should she change...she hasn't faced a real consequences in over year and half.

Hell brother I would have cut her off after a month of that kind of crap. But I'm just a guy trying to protect my marriage and if the tough love I have to offer my chick..and she doesn't like it, then she knows were the door is.

I understand you love her man, but please have some self respect for your self and stop sharing your wife.
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post #4 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:29 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

This is clearly an EA and she has to go NC if you want to recover your marriage.
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post #5 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:38 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

You have been replaced emotionally----do NOT NEGOTIATE---she goes NC, totally transparent, and starts to spend the time/mental time she has for him---on you and the family

You tell her---point blank---enuff is enuff----either she is going to be married and follow a proper married script---which means there are no other men in her life---for any reason---or D, goes on the table

Also you might suggest to her she get a job---as she has way to much time on her hands---and then, you won't have to work 45+ hours a week, and the 2 of you can spend quality time together

You have not put her into the position, where she has to decide, is her emotional life with her lover worth losing her family/husband/kids/quality of life, over

You need to sit her down, and state quietly, but firmly----she ends this now and forever---she sends a NC e-mail, with you watching it go----and she opens up everything to you---the NC, and e-mail, go within 48 hrs---she does not get time to think about it

You also have to know she may go deeply underground, so you tell her if she does----she will, then and there be looking for an atty to defend a D, action----you might also hand her the want ads, when you talk to her----and DO NOT BACK DOWN---this is your future, you are defending----remember it is a very thin line tween friendship and love, same for EA and PA.
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post #6 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:38 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

She is in denial. She believes that because she is in complete control of her emotions, and is not being romantic (as she sees it) with the other man, that she is not in an emotional affair. She looks at it like she is no closer with other man than she would be with a really close girlfriend.

A forced no contact will result in deep resentment UNLESS she understands your viewpoint and acknowledges fully how valid your viewpoint is. She has to be made to see it as you do, or else she always will resent you. It's doubtful she's going to see the error of her ways on her own.

The compromise is worth a try, but not as you worded it. In addition to you being able to see all communication, you must have an agreement that if you catch her deleting or hiding things from you, that she will cease all contact. In addition, she has to share her deepest thoughts with you BEFORE she shares them with other man. As close a "friend" as other man may be, as her husband, YOU have to be her closest friend. Also, she cannot share her feelings about your marriage or intimate details of your marriage with other man, only with you. That must be part of the compromise.

My belief is that if other man showed a romantic interest in your wife, it would not be long before she started to reciprocate.

You posted: - They share lots of intimate details, feeling, hopes, etc. Even she admits that they are close confidants and best friends. They have zero boundaries on what they will discuss. She tells him everything, and doesn't confide in me at all anymore.

Have you discussed with your wife how you, as her husband, would like to be the one she shares everything with, and that you feel disrespected that she chooses to share her deepest thoughts with some other male, but not with her husband?

Have you asked her if she thinks it's normal that a spouse would choose a friend over their marriage?

Does she have any girlfriends?
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post #7 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:46 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

To your first question, whether she knows it or not does not change how you react to it. You have to treat her like an addict. She is addicted to the OM. She needs to go cold turkey in order for the affair to end.

While in this state she is not capable of protecting your marriage. She needs you to man up and put your foot down once and for all. She will probably resent you for a while, but so what? She might even leave you for the OM but wouldn't that be better than being in a three way?

Don't let fear keep you from taking control and doing what needs to be done. The ONLY shot she has of her fog lifting and getting back to the marriage is YOU forcing her to choose and enforcing the no contact.

There is no compromise in a situation like this. It is not a short term solution either. You'll just be further enabling the affair. You've allowed it to go on too long. It is going to be alot harder now than it would have been a year ago. There is only one way out of this for a man who loves his wife and respects himself.

Transparency is for making sure that the Wayward spouse is NOT continuing or starting an affair. It is the Contact not the Content that is at issue with emotional affairs. Although she has crossed many lines at this point when it comes to the content.

As long as this continues, you are in a threeway. Your marriage can probably survive her resentment. It definitely won't survive a third party.

You are currently sharing your wife with another man. Is that what you signed up for? If not, STOP IT NOW.

Btw, where is she now?
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post #8 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 09:48 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

Posters have it right. It is an EA & NC is the first step. Before you "go there" you have to have think this through. She's going to accuse you of trying to exert control over her.

No you are not. And she can't control you. You see her activity with an old boyfriend as a threat to your family. She doesn't. Tell her that when you start having lenghty intimate relationships with your old flames she can take whatever action she deems necessary - just as you are prepared to do now.

Tell her this issue IS that important. To you, and your children. You are not willing to stand by while she forms even stronger emotional bonds with anothet man - no matter how far away he lives.

But you have to be prepared to take action.

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post #9 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 10:01 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

No compromising---here----mge's DO NOT CONSIST OF 3

She drops him entirely, or she gives up her mge----her choice, and she doesn't get time to think about it

You must be very harsh about this----it is your mge/family you are protecting--------no more game playing---there is an extra man in your mge---and he needs to be gone---NOW
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post #10 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 10:30 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

You're in trouble my friend, she's way too into it emotionally to just quit at this point, sure, you can MAKE her stop, but that won't end it, that'll compound the problem. The FaceTime is particularly troubling.

There's a lot of factors in play here, including age, distance, the illusion of a more perfect time in her life (youth), innocence, etc. This isn't going to resolve without professional help in my opinion.

You can take a hard line approach, and it might work, but based on what you've written, I don't think it will. Here's the thing, has your wife done anything you don't think you can live with yet? I'm thinking no. And because of that, I think you're afraid you'll kill any chance of fixing the problem if you come at it with a full frontal attack.

Tell her the two of you need to get professional counseling. Do not try to kill her contact cold turkey, let an unbiased third party ease her into the of the reality of the situation. Do not be the bad guy, don't take away her pacifier, let the counselor do it.

Listen, what you have going for you is their distance from each other, so theres a different sense of urgency in your approach then there would be if he lived down the street, use this to your advantage, but do not delay any further with getting professional help in this.


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post #11 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 11:08 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

She's having two romantic intimate relationships at the same time and that is one too many.

She's gonna fight it like hell, because she loves having two men who want her, but she's flat out Emotionally cheating on you.
You both should read Not Just Friends, though I think she clearly knows her feelings are way beyond friends and she has convinced herself it's ok so long as she doesn't have sex with him.

Btw, given time they will eventually have sex. She will eventually begin to see you as the evil obsticle keeping their true love apart.

Ex lovers and especially first loves can never ever ever be friends or ronnect.

You will have to draw the lie in the sand and refuse to have her having an emotionally intimate relationship with any other man.

Be aware, she very likely will take it underground to keep it going.

Find a MC that knows about emotinal affairs.
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post #12 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-18-2012, 11:28 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

You are married to an addict. Treat her as such. You cannot believe what she says, because she will lie to keep what she wants. You cannot nice her out of it, you cannot negotiate with her, you cannot treat her as if she is rational, because she is not. She has.made a mistake, and she will not see it until she gets 'clean' after months of strict NC. You will need to watch her like a hawk to verify she stays NC too.

You'll need to redefine the boundaries inside your marriage too. Privacy means shutting the door to have a bodily function, not denying access to any and all accounts (email, social media, devices, etc.), no deleting messages or histories, NO SECRETS! in short. By agreeing to these sorts of things, you have enabled her. I think you fear that drawing the line will push her away, well wake the f up dude, she is already away! You can't make it any worse than it already is by standing up for yourself and your marriage! If she does something drastic, it isn't your fault, and it was going to happen anyway. It sounds to me like she might just have the sense to pull herself out of it with your help. It will test your love, your limits, and your self respect, because she is in deep. You've been betrayed massively already, and it won't end smoothly probably. That's why you will have to be strong, and hyper commited.
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post #13 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

Wow! Thanks for all of the support and insight. During this ordeal, I have certainly made my share of mistakes, but one of the biggest was not posting here sooner.

I’ll try to answer the questions asked and clarify a few things.

- OM is not married and does not have a serious girlfriend. He has someone he keeps around for “benefits” but does not have long term interest in her. As I mentioned, the single biggest topic discussed in emails with my wife is his pursuit of the perfect companion.
- My wife has a very close girlfriend with whom she has been best friends since middle school. My wife is currently visiting GF in N.M. and returns home tomorrow.
- I have read Not Just Friends (walls/windows analogy is great) and asked my wife to read it (which I don’t think she has done). I should have demanded that she read it….though I doubt it would have convinced her of anything. I have explained the basic concepts to her to no avail.

I think you described my wife’s perspective perfectly. She feels that she is in control and that the “friendship” is exactly like what she would have if it were with another girlfriend. But, you are probably right that if OM pursued her romantically, she’d reciprocate. Fortunately, OM seems to be satisfied having a confidant and has not expressed interest in more than that (AFAIK). My fear is as you stated- if she really is in denial and can’t understand why her relationship with OM it so damaging to me, then her deep resentment would be the final straw in ending the marriage. I have been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get her to see my viewpoint. It has taken a year just for her to get the idea that she is hurting me with her actions. I have expressed that a lot of my pain is from her sharing intimate thoughts with him (and her GF) instead of me. Of course, she denies sharing such things with him. If I opt to consider a compromise, I will include your suggestive conditions.

A couple posts mentioned seeking professionally counseling. That is exactly what I did year ago when my NC request was not answered. I had hoped to use the MC to set her straight. But, at the time we started going, I did not have the insight into her behavior that I do now. I had seen nearly all her emails for the first year (Oct 2010 into Jan 2011), but her feelings were never directly expressed in that time period. There was lots of speaking in code and reading between the lines, but nothing that she wouldn’t have plausible denial for. I only knew of a couple flat out lies (ex: lied when she told me she did not email OM while she was visiting GF last Nov). So, I didn’t have overwhelming evidence, and my wife had a host of seemingly heart-felt rationalizations which all had some degree of truth to them. Counseling really did more harm than good, and we have stopped/started a few times. As long as wife was not being open, there really was no point. I think our MC understands EA’s reasonably well, but I’m not sure she has really worked with a lot of couples on resolving them.

In the last month I have caught on to the Facetime activities, have a few examples of bold faced lies, and seen a small number of her emails for first time since January. With all of this new info, I have now erased my last percentage of doubts as to whether it is truly an affair as opposed to disrespect and a dis-agreement on boundaries. I think I may have finally convinced the MC. I met a couple weeks ago and revealed the FT activities. I go this week (Wed) and have the recent emails to discuss. The emails are from a couple months ago, but I was only able to pull data from an iTunes backup while wife has been out of town this last week. Assuming MC buys in, my plan is to have wife go with me next week and have a “no more secrets” intervention. As suggested, I am hoping the MC can be the bad guy for me. I think my wife is not so far gone that she can’t be brought back with help. We’ll see…
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post #14 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 12:17 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

The memory of our "first love" is very intoxicating. She is feeling all of those old feelings for the "cute" foreign exchange "boy" all over again.

The only reason it is not a PA is distance. This man wants to have grown-up sex with your wife. He is a threat to your family & needs to step aside.

I think you can save your marriage & family but the only way is no contact with the enemy.

Good luck. Damn Facebook.
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post #15 of 427 (permalink) Old 11-19-2012, 12:27 PM
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Re: Wife's EA: Is she really in denial, or just lying

Did anyone answer your question? We all know it's an affair, but does she?

My answer is "of course she does". So once she reads the materials that have been recommended to you, and accepts that it is obviously an affair, her next step will be to claim it was an accident. She didn't know it was infidelity.

To that I also say "poppyc.o.c.k". She's having her affair right in front of you and she knows she's doing it. Stop this nonsense, then be sure she takes ownership of it. This is no accidental affair. It's full blown and it's deliberate.
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