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 08:41 PM.