Firstly a little background on me and my marriage. I have been married for 7 years and have been together with my wife for 9. We have had an extremely strong relationship in that time that has only got stronger due to various things. She has got endemetriosis that made it incredibly difficult to conceive. We had our first child naturally, then had an ectopic pregnancy (Which was awful). We finally had twins a couple of years after via IVF. At the end of last year my wife suffered from severe depression which I believe was largely to do with all the stress of trying for kids. Eventually after several months treatment she came out of it. She has now got a part time job and seems to be enjoying it immensely.
A couple of months back she reconnected with her first boyfriend from school via facebook. She told me she had her first kiss with him when she was 12. At the time I had absolutely no problem with this as I trusted her implicitly. He works all over the UK and he had some business locally to where we live. He came to stay round at ours and seemed like a nice chap - a fiancee, 4 kids etc etc.
A couple of weeks after his visit, I noticed some very subtle changes in my wife's behavior - most noticeably that she always kept her phone with her no matter what, as well as other little things like changes in her appearance etc. At the time it didn't really ring any alarm bells and so thought nothing of it.
My wife then informed me that he was going to come down and stay again, which again I was fine with. So he came down to stay with a co-worker. The co-worker stayed in our spare room and he took residence on the couch. Just as it came to bed time, my wife started behaving incredibly strangely. At this point I felt something was up. I offered to sort out bedding for her friend and lock up (I normally lock up). She insisted she dealt with all this and told me to go up to bed and she'd be up in a minute. We had all had a bit to drink and by this point her friend was laid on the sofa in an apparent drunken stupor. So I went on up to bed, feeling rather uncomfortable about things. I then proceeded to wait for about 15 minutes to see whether she would come up. She didn't. I then crept downstairs as I really did feel something was up. They were both in our dining room, his bedding laid out all ready and I could see no activity as the dining room door was ajar. So I walked in the room. They both looked incredibly jumpy when I walked in. He had mysteriously snapped out of his drunken state and was busy looking for his phone. I asked what was going on, and was told nothing. My wife and I then proceeded to go off to bed, and we both had a rather big argument. Whilst I hadnt seen anything I asked her what was going on. She denied anything had taken place, told me that her body and her heart were mine and that I was being stupid.
A few days passed, and I did not really feel at ease with what had gone on. I took the decision to log onto her facebook to see if anything was going on. There were LOADS of messages in her inbox to and from the ex. Whilst none of them were incriminating, there were lots of "call me" messages, lots of kisses and generally lots of messages between the two of them.
I waited another couple of days, as I wanted to find out whether anything actually had gone on between the two of them. A message from the ex appeared saying "What where you trying to tell me the other night when your husband walked in". Whilst it was not an incriminating message, I felt I had seen enough to confront my wife about it.
When I did confront her, I was met with a wall of denial and anger that I had logged onto her facebook. She assured me nothing had happened and that she was "mine" for the keeping. This was still not enough for me, and so one evening after she had gone to bed, I crept into our room and took her iPhone and ran a backup on it. I am rather computer literate and so was able to back the phone up quickly, place it back beside the bed and then was able to browse the backups. On iPhones, even if you delete sms messages they are not deleted from the phone. I was able to recover a load of deleted messages she had sent and recieved from her ex. They were not good. One message sent from her to him stood out from the rest:
"I don't know I just feel like I want you to myself for a while and do things to you that I am really not allowed to x :-0"
The trail went on for a few more messages where they both confessed to their attraction for each other. This was absolutely heartbreaking to see as you can imagine.
I confronted my wife about this. We had a massive argument about it. She tried to assure me it was nothing more than loneliness and that she would never have taken it any further. At this point, sadly the trust had been completely broken from both sides - from my wifes point of view I had invaded her privacy (Which I had, and with good reason) and from mine that she was sharing extremely intimate messages with another man. I once again raised the whole thing about his visit, and she once again denied everything.
To cut a long story short, we are still trying to move on and there are still hiccups along the way. There have been several occasions since where I have discovered that she has still been in contact with him. Each time I have confronted her about it she has told me nothing has been going on and it was just innocent and hes a friend. I have been accused of being jealous and that I am making things more difficult than they needed to be. The last time it happened, I noticed she was playing on a facebook game against him an awful lot (as it shows up on my newsfeed). Upon logging into her account I found that there was chat functionality on there and they had been talking.
Before, when I had found out about them still communicating I had been calm and collected about things. This time I completely blew my top. I felt the previous times she had not listened to any of my concerns and had also said a lot of things to me to get me to back off. As with previous times, I told her to end the friendship immediately. I then told her if I found out any more communication was to happen after this, then I would get in touch with the ex boyfriends other half and tell her what has been going on. I also told her it was her last chance and I would leave her and end the marriage.
Its now been 3 weeks since my outburst. My wife called him the very next day (Presumably to end whatever was going on) and then proceeded to tell me she had called him. Since then things seemed to have quietened down.
Whilst I don't think a physical affair took place, I know an emotional one did.
I am a loving husband, I dote over our kids. I am more attentive when most when it comes to meeting my wife's needs. We have a great sex life. But I am really having problems coming to terms with what has happened. I want to let go and move on but don't really know how. I still log onto her facebook periodically and check her phone records, but this is becoming less and less as time goes by. My trust has been severely betrayed and my head messed with. If anyone has any advice on what I should do next I would appreciate the response.
1) Your wife is having an emotional affair - that is infidelity. It is NOT INNOCENT friend talk
2) Privacy in a marriage is a farce. Both of you should be open books to each other in your communications to other people. Tell her she's full of sh!t if she believes things should be kept from you.
3) You'll never reconcile fully with your wife unless the BF is out of the picture completely.
4) For a successful R - she needs to recognize that what she did was wrong, she should deeply regret hurting you, she should send him a NC letter that you personally witness, your communications to anyone should be transparent - both you and her, and you need to dedicate time to spend between the two of you to maintain that connection.
5) Temporarily, you and her need to hash through everything to figure out why she feels this urge to reconnect with her BF. If this is swept under the rug, she may try to cheat on you again.
So a few questions;
1) Did you see the last text were she broke it off? If not there is a strong possiblity that it went deeper underground and are using other forms of communication like a burner phone (I suggest a VAR Voice Activated Recorder be planted in her car under her seat and at home were she takes her calls).
2)Has she made an apointment for counseling to learn the tools to affair proof her marriage in the future? If not this will happen again, maybe years from now with someone different.
3)Would you reconsider exposing the affiar to the OM (other man) wife or GF? This will help give you an extra set of eyes on this affair from starting back up and you and the OM wife/GF could compare notes to see how far things really went. Expose is the best way to insure the affair doesn;t start back up when the OM throw your wife under the bus to try and save his own relationship.
To cut a long story short, we are still trying to move on and there are still hiccups along the way. There have been several occasions since where I have discovered that she has still been in contact with him.
This is a non-negotiable.
Right now, she is having her cake and eating it too because you have no stayed firm. So set your boundaries w/ consequences and stick to them.
You absolutely have NO marriage as long s she's still in contact with him. It's as simple as that. YES they were doing and are still doing dirt behind you back and right in front of your face. So tell her the bucks stops here.
You deserve better. Tell her that.
Do this in a non-shouty way. Be calm. Be firm. Tell her what you will and will not tolerate.
Oh, and tell his fiance. She has a right to know what this dude is up to. Tell the fiance w/o any warning to your wife or to this "chap." That way they don't have time to corroborate their stories and make you out to be the crazy/jealous husband (what your wife is already doing right now).
Oh and it goes w/o saying but: WHY THE F did you let her ex lover stay in yur house???? No more overnights. No more contact whatsoever. I think it takes a very special kind of devious person to invite the former/current lover into the home so you can do nasty things with them in the marital home. Sadly, your wife falls in that category. Yes, all cheating is bad. But actively inviting someone into your home to cheat with your spouse there is soooo dirty. A woman who respected you even a little would have never ever even imagined suggesting such a thing to you.
Did she really equate reading her text messages with her emotional affair with the ex boyfriend?
Do not rugsweep this and "move on". I don't think she realises the severity of her actions and this is confirmed by the fact she's still in contact with him (wouldn't be surprised if they took it underground).
One more thing, do not, I repeat, do not kneel to her gaslighting. She will say that you're being controlling and jealous all to justify the affair in her mind. She will guilt you into silence and this is the worst thing that could happen.
She's using other methods to stay in communication as you've mentioned and has zero intention to stop. A person who has regret for their actions, not even remorse would've proactively given up their phone/passwords as a token of transparency and reassurance.
You need to put your size 14 boots on and lay down an ultimatum that she stops contact with him completely. I think you should forward his finance these messages. She should at least know who she's getting married to.
Mr Diddle, I assure you, if your wife remains in contact with this man, the affair will turn physical. You know what all men are after in the end.
Thank you all for your insight so far. Some interesting comments which I will be definately following up.
A quick follow up on what I wrote before:
I have made it abundantly clear to my wife that the buck stops with her. I have told her in no uncertain terms what she HAS to do in order to keep me. I have told her I will leave if I find out anything else. The ball is now in her court with that one, and I have to trust she is doing the right thing. I am however still monitoring her movements and will do until such time that I feel better about things.
I am not stupid. If something does / is happening I will find out.
To be honest I am not asking you all for your opinions on how to cope with what has already been done - its already happened. I am asking for how to deal with the aftermath. I am finding it hard, very very hard.