I find your insight and keyboard calmness inspiring and reassuring. I am going through something with my wife that has similar circumstances and I wanted you to know, a brother from another mother is sending you love where ever you are on planet earth
Fight the good fight / shoulder to shoulder!!!!
Have you asked her WHY she brought the subject up all those years ago and then WHY she lied about it? What did she say?
I did in fact. She had a lot to say about it...
She brought it up because she wanted a shortcut to knowing what kind of a man I am (my comment earlier about... “But here's the kicker... You get to this only after you have invested some serious time with someone.” was dead on.) She didn't want to wait but she didn't want to let me pass her by and she also didn't want to be vulnerable either. So she thought that a good measure of character was to (oh the effing irony).... ask about my past.
But yet again everything is context... I remember thinking it was a bit odd, but I absolutely adored how fearless and forward she was about it. I could see that she had strong feelings for me and yet also scared of getting hurt. I later found out that she had casually asked my friend about me. I guess he told her that I was still in love with my soon to be ex (divorcing) and was it was a matter of time before I worked things out with her and that in the meantime, I was having fun. Also found out that he himself had a huge crush on her through out all of this and made his intent to date her very clear to her. Long before me, he tried to kiss her (I can't believe I am even mentioning this). She immediately put him in the 'friend' pile. Whether or not he actually believed what he told her or not, I will never know and I never really cared.
I saw her 'inquiry' as an opportunity for a confessional of sorts: nothing to hide translates into nothing to fear. I was by no means perfect: I had been married (technically still married at the time) and had a past of my own... But when she asked, I quickly decided it was a chance to open up to her and put myself out there for her. She initially saw it as a valid frisk. The other part was that I had been dealing with issues stemming from CSA which I felt must have contributed to my failed 'marriage' (fyi – it didn't). So I wanted a to be sure of myself before going back out there again...
Writing this (going back there, thinking about those days, my fears, my hopes...) made me realize something that never even occurred to me before:
The fact that my answer was “2 years” was totally consistent with the belief that I was trying to reconcile with my ex... that I was biding my time. Now my friend telling her I was just “having fun” would lead one to conclude that I would play her; add to that my answer (“2 years”), and yeah, I can see why someone would think to themselves “he really is waiting to get back with his ex”.
I never ever realized this before...
kcuf, I had more red flags on me than a construction site. I accepted that I was not the typical guy on the scene, but to see it from the other side really changes things.
I can see that the “smart” thing for her would have been to not take the chance and walk away....
But INSTEAD, she saw my answer as a tell tale of self-control, discipline, and virtue. Kinda funny really. For those in the “don't judge” camp, it's clear you can misjudge someone down for their past, but this shows that it's possible to mis-judge someone “up”. Just the other day, I did something that she thought was pretty cool and she lamented that she was envious of my self-discipline. I've also been keeping a rant list (not so much a journal, but just a list of phrases that trigger intense thoughts and feelings) and realized that I jotted down “admires my focus” a few days ago. So yeah, this is really making much more sense.
So she saw my answer as a tell tale of some type of 'superior' person. This is where the conversation goes beyond messed up... She had me on a pedestal, even before this, and that answer sealed it for her and hit that spot that still clung to the idea that pre-marital is bad. When she was a kid, her folks found out her older sister had sex. Rather than the nice talk that good dads will give about “we love you”, “were you safe”, “please take good care of yourself”,
Mind you, it was her sister, not even her. Long story short, my answer triggered her dad's messed up view that only good people don't have sex outside of marriage (even failed marriages count I guess), that she wanted me to admire her the way she had been raised to admire me; finally how, by this crazy line of thinking, I could enjoy myself while not destroy myself.
In that split second she had to respond, she thought of all this and panicked.
This was why she brought it up only to feel like she had to lie all those years ago.
Just this morning, she woke up very upset. She had a nightmare. When I asked her if she wanted to talk about it she said that it would only make me mad...
I felt like the biggest loser.
At this point I see that although this is great, the important questions are “why propagate the lie all this time / why not just come clean years ago” (this one seems kinda obvious though), and then the big one that is literally keeping me up at night “what else is there / what else have you lied (omitted) to me about?”. At one point, she even asked me point blank what would I like to know. I stalled. I was totally not prepared for that. But by now, I think I have thought this one through: read other's stories here, read more Cosmo thatn any guy should subject himself to in 5 lifetimes, even reread the sun also rises (did I mention I am not sleeping much). The answer to that second question is beyond crazy... Because the real issue isn't “what will she say”, it's “how will I respond”. I realized my head is subconsciously playing through all these insane scenarios and then coming up with what seems like the correct hypothetical response – like how the military has planned responses and contingencies for every eventuality out there, but this is all happening in my head.
And I think that is why I had that panic attack. I was trying to process and pre-emptively prepare for every variation and nuance of the unknown (what if this lie is just the tip, what if she has cheated, what if she wanted to cheat but didn't, can i even afford a good lawyer, can i forgive her for [enter action here], would it be pathetic of me to do so, do i hunt the sob down and kick some ass, what about the children, will i ever trust her again if it turns out that she actually [enter possible action here], am I onw of those guys who is supposed to double or triple her stated number to better approx the truth, and it goes on and on...)...
That aside, I now see that just because I may be ready to hear the whole truth, that does not mean that she is ready to share it or even ought to...
Do I even have the right to ask? Is it even advisable?