16 Year Marriage with Chronic Infidelity
I read the other posts, as well as the TAM CWI newbies page but didn’t find everything I was looking for. So I hope you all don’t mind me posting. I’ve been married for 16 years and the first time I caught my wife cheating was 6-months before we were married (when we were engaged.) There is no doubt that I have been an enabler.
The most important piece of history is that my WS suffered habitual molestation from a young age. When she was 6, her mother left her father for a carnival worker (Nope. Not making this up.) and her father in turn took off, leaving 3 kids alone. She ultimately wound up with her grandfather who habitually molested his own daughters. My WS does not remember being molested by her grandfather but suspects that she was. When her mother returned, the carnival worker she ran off with became WS’s step dad. The Carnie molested my future wife (then 6-9) repeatedly over the next few years.
Unknown to me at the time of our marriage, my spouse never had a boyfriend that she didn’t cheat on.
#1) Her first affair occurred at an office Christmas party. I attended the party with her, but could not find her for hours. Finally, while wondering the halls I saw her exit a room (the party was at a hotel) and she was with another man. I hid in a doorway and heard both my WS & her AP admit to just having sex. I let them walk away, and it was my intention to leave and never look back. If I had a time machine I would do just that. She ultimately saw me as I was walking to my car, and convinced me to come back to the hotel room. She was morbidly drunk, and denied everything. I told myself that I would talk to her about it when she sobered, but when I tried in the morning it only caused a fight. My WS is a brilliant liar and Rug Sweeper, and to my shame, I ultimately accepted her lies. I’m also obviously prone to the ‘Affair Fog’ and ‘Hysterical Bonding’. The most intense sex we’ve had is directly after or before her affairs.
#2) This had all been swept neatly under the rug for 10 years when I noticed a change in her behavior that set off warning lights. I truly thought #1 was a onetime thing. (for what it’s worth, I felt stupid typing that last sentence.) I noticed that she had installed an instant messenger on her laptop, and she had been deleting messages from one person. So I installed spy software on our computer and discovered that a night out with the girls was really a night out with an AP. When I gathered enough information, I confronted her about it, and to my dismay she denied facts even when I had printed them out for display. This was a really creepy thing to behold. Her lying was so intense and focused, I don’t know if I would have been able to decipher the truth had I not done such a thorough job documenting the affair. The ‘Trickle of Truth’ is her greatest tactic and most cruel form of torture! (I highly recommend anyone who’s about to confront a WS, do so with all the facts and never let them know until they’ve divulged everything.)
After No. 2, I contacted the AP and gave him an earful. I was shocked at what an ******* he was. So I informed his wife about the rest. Had he apologized to me, I probably would have never know he was married (Karma.)
She was now incredibly remorseful and agreed to see a therapist. The therapy sessions lasted a few months. The Truth Trickling continued, and I should have known she was not truly remorseful. After a FalseR, and with a lot of Rug Sweeping and Hysterical Bonding, I was able go back into the fog and pretend that I had a perfect marriage. On the surface we certainly did. She’s the only person I have a strong connection with and we have always interacted like best friends… Which makes the betrayal all the more hard. She’s the only one I can go to.
#3) In 2010 she contracted genital warts. I asked her who gave it to her and she said the guy in #2. I didn’t believe her, but didn’t have evidence or sufficient courage to confront her brick wall Trickle of Truth.
So #2 was 6 years ago, and I’ve basically been in the fog ever since. She’s highly intelligent, and business executive in finance that travels about twice per month. Her computer passwords and work phone accounts are encrypted for their clients security and I really don’t want to commit any kind of crime catching my WS. Her work situation is subtle enough that I would need to hire a PI in all of her territories just to catch her.
The funny thing is that I had stopped snooping 10 years ago. I guess I was just happier believing that my marriage was perfect, which my kids 9 & 12 still believe.. But after the Petraeus affair broke, it knocked me out of the fog. I was reading the NYTimes and the description of Paula Broadwell & Gen Petraeus methods of keeping their affair underground shook me. When I read that they hid their emails in the draft folder, I wondered “Is that how my wife cheats too?” My WS reminds me of the women involved in the Petraeus train wreck, and I started having Mind Movies and cold sweats. The humiliating 16 year experience finally blew my gasket. I was becoming extremely suicidal and depressed. I knew I couldn’t last, so one night last month I woke her in her sleep and confronted her. I was shaking and crying and said that her infidelity was driving me mad. She admitted several one night stands, and an affair that she had with a person in our town. She still claimed that the STD was from #2 or #3 even though I knew for a fact there were more, so I knew these were just Trickles of Truth and her lies were much greater.
She seems truly remorseful, and I know she’s troubled and would change if she could. I just think this is who she is, and 1 or 2 years from now, when I’m not obsessing about her nature, she’ll find another way. She’s even agreed to quit her high profile job (she’s the main breadwinner) but what then? There are men in every facet of industry, and I’m not really jazzed about her going back to college with a bunch of horny 20-something’s.
She has agreed to both couples counseling and one-on-one therapist for her. I know she loves me, and I still love her, but the trust has been so cruelly destroyed, I don’t know how it could ever be repaired. She’s said that she will mail the two she’s told me about in a similar fashion as this site suggests, but I still don’t know the whole list (which I must assume is very extensive.) I don’t believe that she’ll ever truly demonstrate remorse until she has the courage to own up to all of her betrayals. At this point, I’m in Limbo and have feelings of complete hopelessness. I always wanted my daughters to be raised with two parents, but I’m so tired of feeling like this.
Am I just wasting my time? Any advice, or even words of encouragement would be helpful.