I'm not sure if I just need to vent, or if I'm looking for advice. I just feel like I need feedback from others who have dealt with the same problems to help sort out what's "normal" about what I'm feeling. Long back story, so, thanks in advance to those who take the time to read it.
I'm a very distrustful person. Let me start with that. I have obsessive thoughts about people lying to me or trying to hurt me. I know that comes from growing up in an abusive household. So, I've learned to stuff those thoughts as being 'unreasonable' most of the time. I just want that up front as emotionally I tend to 'feel' the worst case possible, so logically I overcompensate and try to give the 'benefit of the doubt'.
I'm 42, wife just turned 44. Married 21 years, 3 kids (one in college 2 in high school). My job has moved me around a lot for work. 2 of the kids were born with medical issues. So, in the 'younger' years we were always a very tight nit family. Needed to rely on each other a lot, and because of the moves didn't have many friends that were not 'family' friends.
5 years ago we moved back to our hometown. Wife was very social in high school and her family is very active in civic matters in town. So, she knows hundreds of people who live near us. She connected over facebook with old friends from high school. Became active on the reunion committee and started going to various informal gatherings that took place mainly at bars to sing karaoke.
I'm a much less social person. I'm more happy at home, playing video games or working around the house in the evenings. I would go with her sometimes, but more often I would not. I didn't really like those people in high school, and from the couple of times I went, they haven't changed much.
3 years ago my wife's mother died. She took that loss very hard. But didn't want to talk about it, because 'it made her cry'. She started to go out more. Also joined a local community theater. She was out more nights than she was home, and when I requested she be home more, she would get angry with me and tell me she didn't want to be home if all I was going to do was be in the basement playing video games. The kids were getting older and needed her less and she wanted to have a life.
She started working on losing weight. Was dressing nicer and looking good. I would joke with her (prior to Dday) that I'd better keep an eye on her. She would tell me I had nothing to worry about, she was all mine and would never think about cheating (ha! what a crock of ****).
Most of 2011 we felt disconnected. I knew our relationship was 'off'. I suspected something could be going on. But I had a hard time coming to grips with that. I figured out the password to her phone and facebook and started keeping tabs on her. There was some sexual banter with the theater folks. But more like you would hear when joking around with a 'bawdy' crowd. Nothing that I would say was 'flirty'.
Shortly before our anniversary she started making plans to have lunch with someone she has known since the 3rd grade. I'll call him Joe. She didn't tell me anything, so, all I had to go on was the texts. Nothing sexual, just 'lunch' and a 'big hug' because they haven't seen each other in decades. I feel I made a mistake in confronting her at this point. I didn't have proof of anything, and it tipped my hand that I was looking over her shoulder. (this was June 2011). She claimed he was 'just a friend' and what not. I was still livid. I told her if that was true, she could invite him AND his wife over for dinner sometime, but not have a private lunch with only him. She claimed that would be 'uncomfortable' now that I was so suspicious.
She didn't change her passwords. But I could tell by reconciling to the bill she was deleting texts. I asked her not to and she would always come up with the **** & bull story that she was just freeing up space on her phone.
Just before Memorial day 2012 I caught Facebook (FB) chat from Joe planning a lunch date for memorial day. As the day approached I was waiting for her to lie to me for some excuse to get out Memorial day afternoon so I could confront her. She didn't mention anything about it, so I checked her FB again on Sunday. Turns out they both didn't realize is was Memorial day, so the canceled their plans. I wanted to save that log prior to her deleting it, but wasn't sure how to do that from FB. So, i tried to 'archive' thinking it would download it. But it just disappeared. I read up on Archiving and figured out it just saves it, but it no longer appears in the messages tool. So, i went into the archive to 'undo' what I had done so she wouldn't notice.
That's when i saw another thread from July with another high school acquaintance. I'll call him John. It was full throttle cybersex. Him asking her questions about her breasts and if she liked to feel cum inside her and what a great time they could have. She was leading him along, not trying to stop the chat, but insisted that they maintain 'boundaries' as they wouldn't want to get in trouble. WTF? There was a reference to another chat where he thought she had masturbated while they chatted. Ugh, so disgusting to think about. She always shamed me when I would masturbate and told me she tried it once when she was younger but didn't like it.
I was devastated. I was hoping to this point that it was just my distrustful nature. That she wouldn't really do anything to betray me. But here I had it. Proof she was at least in an EA with this POSOM. This thread was from July 2011. I this guy was at one of the high school gatherings she went to without me back in December 2010. She also tried going to another gathering in December 2011. But I decided last minute to go with, and she came up with some lame reason for not wanting to go. So, my conclusion that she hadn't been physical with this guy prior to July 2011. I think she was open to the idea, but maybe I caught it before it got that far.
I copied those posts and saved them on a thumb drive and hid that. I confronted her when she got home. 1st about her setting up a lunch date with "Joe". She stuck to her "he is just a friend" story and said she would have told me, but since they canceled she didn't see a point in bringing it up. I said I didn't care. If she even was thinking about having lunch alone with another guy. She needed to tell me about it before setting a date, and then only go if I felt the guy in question was 'safe'. As I didn't know Joe, he was not safe. She said I had 'nothing to worry about'.
So, I then asked her, "is there anything I should be worried about?" If not with Joe, how about with anyone? Did she ever kiss anyone? Let anyone grab her ass? Ever have an inappropriate text or chat conversation? She looked me straight in the eye, and without missing a beat said, "no, never. I would never do that to you."
I quoted a line her chat with John. I could tell from the look on her face she knew she was busted. I went off like an abomb. Kids in the next room and all, I no longer cared to keep calm. I was crying like I've never cried before (I rarely cry) and screaming at her, calling her a **** and liar. I told her to come clean now. She then admitted to the chat with John. She said there were also similar chats with another guy who i didn't know. But she said it was never physical and that she stopped it last year shortly after those texts as she 'felt sick to her stomach' about doing it.
I told her I wasn't buying it. They were still friends on her FB. That although she hadn't been to a high school gathering in six months, she was still in contact and planing to go again at some point.
She was stunned, obviously remorsefully. But I'd say more remorseful over being caught than what she did. She wanted to rugsweep and rugsweep fast. I told her it wasn't going to happen. I told her to go unfriend anyone on FB that she either flirted with, or encouraged her flirting. I told her she was to no longer delete texts and chat and that I would be watching. Anything deleted in my book would be cheating. I don't care if it was just a happy birthday note to Dad. Don't delete it! I exposed her to our pastor and he referred us to a family counselor for MC.
She removed about a dozen FB 'friends'. Some male, some female. Mostly high school people. Her posts were 'less flirty', but there was still some flirting going on that I was quick to point out to her and use as examples of things that pissed me off to see. She would call other guys handsome and sweetie. She told me she was just being nice, trying to build them up. I asked what for? Did she realize that was tearing me down, and leading them on to thinking maybe she was attracted to them. She got the point and cut that out.
Through MC, both of us realized we had some pretty major individual issues. So, we have put MC on hold for a few months to focus on IC. I'm still holding her accountable to 'follow my rules' (yes, more than a bit controlling, but oh well). I have her computer keylogged and haven't seem anything. I keep an eye on texts vs the phone bill and she deleted one message from one of the theater guys. The were joking about dildos. That was about a month after Dday. Nothing since.
From what I can observe she seems to be doing everything I've asked. I still just can't shake the feelings of anger and sadness. I've quit video games. Started working out. Playing my clarinet more. The anger and depression are not constant like they were the first few months. But it still comes on daily. Usually when I'm at work, or laying in bed trying to fall asleep. I just can't stop my mind from racing with the 'what ifs" (what if she didn't tell me the whole truth, what if she just took it deeper underground, what if, what if, what if!).
Does it ever stop? I like the name of the forum. So, I'll use it in the form of a question. "How do you cope with infidelity?" I know there is no one answer to that. Heck, maybe i'm asking it rhetorically. Maybe I have no idea what I'm doing posting here.
Thanks again to those who took the time to read this. I'd appreciate any input on how I handled the situation. And now that I'm am where I am, what should I be doing to stop the obsessive thoughts. Or should I embrace them? I feel like a mental case.