affair limbo

This is the latest installment of our ‘You Decide’ series where you will provide your opinion on a fictional affair scenario. In this particular scenario, we tell the story of Ron and Maria and their all-to-common tale of being in affair limbo.

Ron and Maria have been married for 25 years.  Their marriage has always been pretty good, but for the last several weeks Ron had been somewhat distant.  He’s been drinking more than usual, spending more time down in his basement man-cave, and is often short tempered with Maria.

Maria had written his behavior off as being stressed-out at work or perhaps hitting that mid-life crisis stage.  That is until six weeks ago when Ron left his cell phone out and Maria saw a text flash on the screen with the words “Goodnight, love!” Her curiosity got the best of her and she soon discovered hundreds of text messages between Ron and some anonymous person.

Maria confronted Ron and soon all hell broke loose. 

During the 2AM confrontation, Ron confessed everything to Maria.  He admitted that he has been involved in a physical and emotional affair with a co-worker named Andrea for the last 6 months.  Andrea was 10 years younger than Ron and was a single mother of two adolescent children.

Ron said that Andrea meant nothing to him and quickly promised to end the affair.  He assured Maria that he loved her, was sorry and he would do whatever he could to make it up to her.

Fast forward to just the other day…

After 6 weeks of emotional hell, Maria was just beginning to think that things were turning around for the better with her and Ron.  He had been acting more involved, was helping around the house more and was generally in a better mood.  He was even willing to talk about Andrea and answered most of Maria’s questions pertaining to the affair.

Then one night while Ron was out of town for work, Maria stumbled across a secret email account on their home computer in the basement.  She was shocked to find that Ron and Andrea have been corresponding through email since he supposedly ended the affair.  Further, it became apparent from the emails, that their affair had lasted not just 6 months as Ron had told her, but almost 2 years!

Immediately Maria called Ron, and through sobs, told him what she had found.  She also told Ron that when he got home they were going to have a very long talk about this. 

Ron comes clean…

Two days later when Ron got home, they had a long, tense discussion in which Ron came clean.  He broke down and admitted that the affair had been going on for about 2 years and that he had fallen in love with Andrea.  He really had tried to end the affair, but after just a few days of seeing her around the office, he missed her too much.  He approached her and they agreed to continue their affair.  They also decided to communicate only through the secret email account from now on.

Ron says that he loves Maria, but that he also loves Andrea.  He knows what the “right thing to do” is, but can’t seem to do it.  He now realizes that he’s put these two women that he loves in a terrible spot.  He knows he needs to end the affair but is too weak to do so.

Maria loves Ron very much and really wants to save her marriage, but Ron’s lies and betrayal have devastated her.  She doesn’t know what to do.  She worries that if she gives Ron an ultimatum that she will only push him further into Andrea’s arms.  Yet if she lets the affair “play out,” she doesn’t know if she is strong enough to live through that sort of indefinite torture.  She is now very much in limbo.

So, what should Maria do at this juncture? You decide.

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    55 replies to "You Decide: Ron and Maria – Living in Affair Limbo"

    • TheFirstWife

      Well well. My exact story.

      H’s affsir went in for 6 months and then he admitted it. Came home and told me about it – not b/c it was the right thing to do but because he was planning to divorce me. (I found this out after the fact b/c why should the CS be honest about anything?)

      And the affsir ended briefly and restarted a few weeks later. I had no idea b/c it was very well hidden and he asked for a divorce for a 2nd/3rd time a few months later.

      Mid life crisis, affair fog, infatuation – call it what you want but when the affair takes over, and becomes what the CS wants, it is a tough battle to fight. Or win.

      In hindsight I made a huge mistake in trying to continue to work things out with my H. It only gave him more opportunity to plan his divorce from me (which I knew nothing about untik I read the emails between him & OW).

      He eventually ended it with her on his own. BUT I should have thrown him out the first time the affair came to light. He lied about everything – and continued to lie, lie, lie.

      In this case this guy has had two strikes and she needs to get her power back. Once I I restored my self esteem and confidence and regained my power, the dynamics and relationship of our marriage changed. When I asked my H to leave (actually I demanded it) he knew I was out of patience and understanding.

      And he has been working hard these last 3 years to make amends. Every day.

    • Tired

      If my husband told me he “loved” the other woman it would have made it easier. If you love the other woman FU cheating spouse! He will find out later that that is not true. Or perhaps that she did not love him. Which is usually th case

    • Tired

      I have just taken out a large life insurance policy for me. My husband has none because he has not been working because he has been so depressed, yes wait for it, not because HE had the affair, but because of MY reaction to it. But he is the benefiencury. I’m planning to change it tomorrow. If I suddenly disappear, you will know why.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Tired…at this point It tends to be all about them, doesn’t it!!!

    • Tired

      I think Maria should give Ron an ultimatum. He needs to come to his senses. He is caught up in this foolish high, but he doesn’t realize what he has to lose. He will only realize this when Maria tells him she is is leaving. Otherwise he will play both sides, thinking of himself of course. You don’t know what you got, until it’s gone, and I found out a little too late…

    • Patsy50

      First if Maria is willing to give Ron a second chance, things have to change like take the computer out of the basement and into a space where it can be seen. Boundaries put into place. And tell him, last chance to prove yourself trust worthy or its divorce time. Or there is no more chances and divorce him.

    • Joey

      This pretty much sums up my experience. I am the betrayed partner and my unfaithful ex fiancé put me through the wringer. I tried for almost two years to make the relationship work and reconcile. But time and time again, she went back to her married AP. They really couldn’t give each other up, but were to cowardly to end it with their partners. Finally, I walked. I had to regain my self-esteem and self-respect.

      As for the scenario above, the betrayed spouse needs to take control of her life now. Do not let the cheater dictate things. Not necessarily give him an ultimatum, but through her actions, can show him that the cake-eating game he is playing won’t be tolerated and she will be ok without him. it’s funny – it seems to me time and time again that when the betrayed means business and shows the cheater that they are ready to move on with their life, all of sudden the cheater isn’t so “in love” with their “soulmate”. Makes me cringe in the story that the cheater is torn up for hurting two women he loves. In my opinion, the cheater really doesn’t know what love means while in the affair. If he loved his wife, he wouldn’t have cheated. If he loved his AP, he wouldn’t keep her a secret…

      • Shifting Impressions

        Joey
        Very well put, I couldn’t agree more!!!!

    • Shifting Impressions

      Well…in this scenario, d-day was only six weeks ago, so Maria is probably still in shock. She is probably not in the best state to be making any decisions. Unfortunately she probably has more power than she realizes but isn’t in much of a state to excercise that power.

      I doubt that Ron came “totally clean” after only six weeks either, as we all know that would be highly unlikely. Also, the AP works in his office.

      Her best bet, in my opinion, would be to go for counseling and to get legal counseling as well. I do believe she needs to insist that there be no contact and that Ron go for counseling as well. Also, he might have to change jobs.

      If he doesn’t agree I believe she needs to show him the door. He needs to know what he would lose if he continues with the OW.

    • Hopefull

      She needs to set specific boundaries at least to protect herself. My husband had been done with both affairs for about 15 months when dday happened and as far as I can tell just used them and they used him. He still minimized everything related to the affairs. I think some was to protect himself, some he was in denial and ashamed and some was to protect me. all it did was make recovery take longer.

    • Falling Ash

      I am afraid if I was Maria, there would be an absolute decision. Him stopping all contact with the OW, deleting any email accounts and other means of communication and finding another job would be the only way I would stay.

      That is what I insisted on. It was a gamble, but I was having no grey areas. If he wanted us, he had to prove it! Her or me! I was prepared to walk away if he vacillated in any way.

      Not that any of it has been an easy road, but no contact has been maintained from DDay and OH has become the loving, caring man he used to be before he met her. We both look back on the selfish man he was then, with incredulity and disgust.

    • Puzzled

      This is probably all too familiar to so many of us. The trickling of truth and lies. It’s the CS trying to only give what they want or hope we will accept. Sadly, it’s like the saying “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. We want answers and honesty. We get half-truths and lies. And just when we start recovering, something else comes up that destroys our emotional world. For Maria, it was d-day, then d-day 2. She was hit with the proverbial 1-2 gut punch from her husband. He thought admitting to a 6 month affair would be enough. He was still wrapped up in himself though and trying to protect his AP and himself.
      .
      Maria has the power but I’m not sure she’s emotionally ready to stand her ground. Ultimately, she needs to demand truth and that Ron stop all contact. She is in shock phase right now so she needs to find a trusted friend or counselor to talk and then she can decide how to proceed.

    • TheFirstWife

      My only comment is that Maria had to protect herself. And her children if any.

      NOTHING you say it do will stop the cheater from hsving an affair or continuing the affair.

      They either make the commitment or they don’t. End of story.

    • TryingHard

      Well of course this is an affair. Cheaters are like smokers. If a smoker says the smoke half a pack, double it. If a cheater says it he affair was 6 months, at least double it!!

      It’s the lie. The BIGGEST mistake I made was believing what he said. And I take blame for that because I WANTED to believe him. That’s where the cheater gains the upper hand is the deep need for the BS to want to believe them. LOL my husband even admitted to that after a MC session!!

      So they admit to just enough. But we keep checking and find more lies, betrayal, and multiple DDays. We are so desperate to get our lives back and that is natural. Especially when we are hurting so bad and we buy their words and parse every action in a positive light for the cheater. And they most times take the affair deeper underground with throw away phones and new email accounts.

      I believe there’s only one stand to take and that is to lawyer up. Give a very strong look at what they are about to lose. Make THEM do everything possible to prove you are their first priority even if it means finding a new job. Anything less just won’t work.

      My h left saying he loved me wasn’t in love with me. He lived the OW. So good go!!! Yes I was miserable and hurt and mad. I lawyered up. I cleaned out the account. I changed the locks and got a restraint order. He threatened to end his life. So I opened the door to communicate. He was a mess. In the fence. Back and forth still seeing her and leaving her employed in our business. Nothing changed until I blew and said no more. Her or me. If that’s an ultimatum I own it. In years later I’m not sure I just shouldn’t have just left the marriage.

      Cheaters are lying character disordered people. Sure he’s seemingly “changed” but is it real?? I will never know. But these are the cards I’m playing for now and I make a choice every single day to continue. Some days are harder than others. So be it

      • TheFirstWife

        TH. That is the essence of why most betrayed spouses get punched in the gut time and time again.

        We want to believe the CS. We want to believe they are telling the truth.

        Until you find out for the second, third or tenth time they have been lying and continue to lie.

        Like in this case – what should Maria do? I believe it should be her choice to stay in the marriage or leave, but only to make herself happy. Not him.

    • TryingHard

      TFW–Maria should lawyer up and give him the ultimatum and NO cry babying about missing the OW or he’s out. No more Mrs. Nice Guy!

    • Robin Simmons

      So sad that we all know way yo much about this topic! That being said, I am sorry, once the affair is found out and your CS continues to lie to you, then thats the deal breaker. If your spouse is willing to work on saving the marriage and not throwing their ass out, that should be where the affair ends. The “I made a mistake”, or any other excuse given will not hold water if the affair wasn’t ended immediately. When your marriage flashes before you, and your at risk to lose everything isn’t enough to open their eyes, then I believe the marriage is over! My husband ended the EA but continued sharing what was happening in the marriage. They worked together and it took some time to have him agree to have her removed. Those issues still haunt me 6 yrs later. If I had to do it again, it would be a very different story. I would definitely have left the marriage. Though my husband moved on fairly quickly and had pretty much did all the right things, the weeks of me begging and feeling like I was thrown to the curb continue to still cause me pain. Just not worth it.

      • TheFirstWife

        Robin. I think you make an interesting point about when and where to draw the line.

        From what I have read here and other places, it seems all too common that the lying continues, even after The affair is exposed and the betrayed spouse is begging for the truth.

        I think in hindsight many of us look back and wish we had made a different decision. I know I certainly feel that way.

        About two months after DDay2 when I found out that practically everything my H told me was a lie, I spent a long, long time wondering why I stayed. some days I had no answer and wanted to throw in the towel. But for the days where there was a glimmer of Hope, I was glad I stayed. For me. For my kids. For us.

        I am lucky b/c my H has made big changes. Our marriage is different. Not saying it was easy and not saying there are days I don’t still deal with my anger and deep hurt over hus cheating, but I hope one day those feelings will be less and less.

        The pain of him asking for a divorce numerous times hurts like hell. The fact he put OW first hurts like hell. His mid life crisis almost destroyed our family.

        But he has learned from this horrible experience and made changes. I think that is the best anyone can do.

        I will never forget the betrayal and pain. The devastation. The tears (that still flow easily if I let them). But I acknowledge his hard work to make our marriage a priority to him. He turned it around. He is different.

        He knows there are no more opportunities for mistakes or forgiveness. And for the first time he realizes I will just as easily leave him as he was about to leave me. he knows I will not stick around through another affair.

        So hard to move past the pain and we are 3 years past DDay2. But I make it my choice not to dwell on it or live in the past. As long as things are better I am happy. Some days easier said than done.

        I hope you can get there. I wish you did not have to suffer with this any longer.

    • Rachel

      Just an update. The ex mailed another letter to my attorney. It said he wants me to follow the decree as he has to. Wants me to pay him 33.00 pre divorce that I used on the medical card and wants me to pay 40% of my sons recent appendix removal. This guy is totally deranged!!!! My son is no longer a minor and he’s still fighting for that 33.00!!!!
      After I read the email that my attorney forwarded all that went through my head waaaah, waaaah,,waaaah!!!!👼🏻 He just won’t let it go!!!!!
      Name change is in the mail😉

      • TheFirstWife

        Rachel. There are no words (at least printable words) for your situation.

        I feel sorry for you and your sons. I know from past posts the exH makes a nice living. Focusing on the $33 shows how petty and childish he is.

        Clearly it is bothering him that he cannot control you or the situation any longer.

        It sounds like he just hates to “lose” and will do anything to just be an annoying pest. Good to know in a medical emergency with your son that the ExH will always focus on the $$.

        Mentally exhausting!! Your attorney must be sick of his shenanigans too!

    • TryingHard

      Rachel– doesn’t seem fair that you divorced Mr Cheaterpants because he was in love with his schmoopie du jour at the time and he cintinues to harass you. Your sins are adults. What he pays for them has nothing to do with you. He’s playing games with you. Trying to get any kind of attention he can get. I hope you and your lawyer ignore ignore ignore him and his stupid requests. I feel for your sons. That’s their dad and while you can totally detach and rid yourself of him they can’t. I hope they both get great jobs and don’t have to ask him for a penny. They have an asshat fir a dad!!! Lots of kids do and asshats fir moms too. It seems to make them stronger in the end.

      Luckily your sons only have one asshat for a parent. Ignore that narc bastard. Narcs hate being ignored but it’s your only choice. Ifd gave no contact with him period. Don’t respond, no answer, no reply, delete and block. Asshat dad is pathetic with his perceived power. He’s must be a miserable SOB!

    • Rachel

      The first wife & Trying hard,
      Yes, he does not like to be ignored and must have his own way. A lot of triggers have been coming to me. And not all good. I do get angry with myself because now I would never put up with his crap!!
      My attorney knows what kind of a moron the ex is. We don’t discuss him. im not paying anything else unless I’m taken to court.
      I haven’t mentioned anything to my boys, but will if I’m taken to court.
      It amazes me what a sack of sh*t he is and always was. He always told me that it was me with the problem. 😆

    • TryingHard

      I hope your lawyers legal strategy is stall. Can’t get blood from a turnip!!! Your sons know he’s a jerk without you saying anything. You’ve taken the high road si far no need to deviate now

      Truly I don’t think there will ever be a court date. Judges don’t like this petty crap on their docket. It’s too bad you are out of pocket every time asshat does this crap!

    • Rachel

      Drama queen. Always was, always will be.

    • Rachel

      Me changing my name should spark more drama. I don’t care. I am not that person anymore. I will have relief when it is changed.

      • TheFirstWife

        Can I send him the measley $33 so he will leave you the hell alone? Then he will have no reason to contact you – except for the 40% of the appendix costs and well he is out of luck on that too.

        • Rachel

          😂 I know I feel the same way!! Once this drama is over, he’ll start with something else!😆

    • Gina

      I think the fact that the CS “confessed” to a 6 month affair, the BS just started feeling good again and she found evidence of the continued affair and that it dated back 2 years is the only information needed in this story. Shows that the cheaters’ “coming clean” only applied to what was discovered by the BS. When faced with the loss of their marriage and destruction of their family and STILL the CS doesn’t stop the affair or come clean with the truth I don’t see what there is to work on.

      • TheFirstWife

        I agree that there doesn’t seem much to work with here. He has multiple issues and a long pattern of lying about everything

        Very sad. She has tried hard and he has not tried at all.

        When it was clear my H was trying to decide what he wanted I made it very easy for him. Her or me. Make a choice now and move forward. He thought he was going to wait until the end of the summer to decide.

        Sorry I’m not in HS and this is real life. Get a grip.

    • Wounded

      It has been 8 months since my d day and I feel like our relationship is in a holding pattern or stuck. After a tremendous amount of talking, counseling and more talking she has provided a sincere remorseful apology. I have also asked for her to share details about the EA in as much detail as she remembers. I told her that I needed her to fill in the puzzle pieces for my healing. She attempted to fill in the pieces but my gut tells me she is still lying about certain details. At this point does it matter if I know all the details? Honestly what is going to change at this point? I guess the part that still hurts is that she has a steel trap memory about everything else in her life but for some reason she gets foggy or has a hard time remembering all the EA details. Selective memory on her part or just flat out lying!!?? Any insight on what I might be able to do to get “unstuck” would be helpful. We have certainly made some progress but we still have a long way to go is my guess.
      We have been talking about forgiveness and I have done a lot reading on this topic but I guess my question is what am I actually forgiving her for? Having an EA? Seriously? I read a lot about what foregiveness is not and completely understand and agree with most of what I read. But I haven’t come across yet a good explanation for what I am forgiving her for. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
      I feel at some point I am going to need to make a choice/decision on whether I stay or cut bait on my marriage of 27 years and four kids later. So very sad to think I have to make this type of decision for something I had no part in and did not deserve! Some days the hurt is so bad that I feel as if I am in a tornado while she sits on the sidelines having been so selfish and disrespectful of our marriage watching me go through the pain? How unfair life is??!

      • TryingHard

        Wounded–it’s totally unfair and well you know the rest right???

        She remembers. Women remember everything. It’s who we are. She’s got ethical amnesia. She can’t own up to be a shithead. People can’t stand thinking they are shitheads. Cheaters will only admit to what you already know. But your question is great, how much more do you really need to know?

        8 months is not long enough to be over it. Especially if she just wants to sweep it under the rug and isn’t doing the work that’s needed to repair the damage she did.

        You want to forgive? Forgiveness isn’t one sweeping all encompassing act. She has to own up to every single rotten act and ask for your forgiveness. Not just a blanket statement “I’m sorry for having an affair”. Disect what you need to forgive her for. Did she kiss him? Ask for forgiveness for kissing him. Sex? That for sure. Lying to about where she was in a specific day/night. Did she call him on Christmas Eve? Separate request for forgiveness. I.e. I’m sorry I took time away from you and my family to call my boyfriend. I was wrong and selfish. Make her own fir what she needs forgiveness. And don’t forgive if she’s not asking for it. Make her ask for it.

        If everyone is so hell bent on forgiveness for Christ sake know what you are forgiving. I’m sorry I took a baseball bat and broke your arm. You did nothing wrong. It’s all my bad judgement. I will do anything to earn your forgiveness and never do it again. I will prove everyday that I deserve your generosity that is your forgiveness.

        That’s earning forgiveness. Anything less is lip service. Do cheaters do this? Some do but it’s never enough because what we really want to hear is it never happened.

        Personally I believe forgiveness is way overrated and an abstract concept. Especially when the deceit and betrayal cut so deep as when trying to forgive a cheater.

        I say if you want to stay in the marriage know what and whom you are dealing with. You KNOW what she’s capable of. No amount of forgiveness will change that. Get very smart. Watch her patterns and call her on her bullshit. Don’t be afraid you have nothing to lose. That’s the biggest conundrum. What do you really have to lose?

        I wish you the best. I can hear your pain. I know your pain. It is the worst. the other day I went to a funeral where the eulogies waxed poetic how the widow was the love of the deceased’s life. I will never hear that or know that or believe that should my husband die before me. Cheating is just the gift that keeps on giving!!!

        • Wounded

          Trying Hard
          Thank you so much for your thoughts on this topic. I believe your last line sums it up for me. Cheating is the gift that keeps giving! Boy aren’t those words so very true. It still consumes such a large part of my of my day and night. It sucks!

          We have our oldest daughter getting married on July 29th. It’s our first child to be married. What should be one of the proudest and most memorable days in my life is surrounded by my one year anniversary of my dday which is august 2. In addition to dday wife my was cheating with the guy on my birthday which is July 27th.

          Any suggestions on how I handle all of these emotions and what role should I expect the cheater to play in this emotional roller coaster that I will be on?

          • TryingHard

            Wounded—Yes I do have advice. Replace those negative/victim emotions with new memories. Now instead of 8/2 being DDay it has turned into a happy occasion of your daughter’s marriage. You know what comes with marriage? LOL grand children which I have to tell you is freaking awesome!!! So congrats and stand proud and shine for yourself and your daughter that day as you walk her down the aisle. Can you shift your narrative on that day? You know you are more than just someone’s husband. You have other relationships that are good I have no doubt. Don’t let your wife’s poor character define yours. Also, your memories are real. Just because she was acting like a shithead doesn’t negate your memories.

            DDay is your wife’s crap NOT yours. You did nothing to deserve her bad choices and behavior.

            It hurts more when significant dates happen to coincided. But really Wounded the date doesn’t matter. If she’d been with him on July 14 it would be significant because it was in the same month as your birthday right? I could go on and on. Assigning significance to dates is self punishment and guess what, I do it!!!.

            Your birthday is your birthday damn it and sure was your birthday before your wife decided to cheat on that day. So celebrate and do stuff on that day that makes YOU happy. You like to golf or bowl or play tennis or whatever it is you like to do, do it on that day. Get a mani/pedi if you are so inclined. If you don’t think you’re special and deserving of love and respect than no one will. So be good to YOU.

            I think we twist ourselves into knots trying to find answers, explanations, reasons anything to make the fact that they cheated untrue. First step to healing is accepting what happened and moving from there. You are in charge of your mind and your thoughts, not her. And we are silly enough to turn to the very person that stabbed us in the heart to be the one to help heal our wounds. Crazy right?

            You got this Wounded because you care. But I want you to start appreciating and caring for YOU. You may save your marriage in the process you may not but in the end you will save YOU and that’s all that really matters

            • Wounded

              Trying Hard
              Wow! Great advice and really appreciate the insight and perspective. Not to mention the humor. “And you know what comes with marriage?” Haha. Yes some day I hope to have grand kids.
              Much of what you said struck a cord in me. I was reading your reply on a plane earlier today and shed a few tears while I was reading. I might have scared my the person sitting next to me. Haha. Oh well…..
              Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

            • TryingHard

              Aww Wounded I’m sorry I made you cry. Your situation will def be an emotional rollercoaster ride. I remember about a month after DDay I was such a mess I took a trip to California. On the way home I was looking out the window of my plane and the overwhelming sadness hit me. I started sobbing uncontrollably with the thought of facing my unknown future. The poor two guys sitting by me were both so kind. I could not stop crying. I said nothing but some how I think they knew. I was so embarrassed losing that control in front of strangers. I felt naked!!

              I think the one big thing to do is take everything you are going thru into some kind of perspective. It’s hard. But we tend to not see the forest for the trees. We focus too much on details and questions and answers. It’s so important to look and examine what we KNOW. And really all we KNOW is these people we have tied our well being to are character disordered. That’s the forest.

              I think you should accept that her affair was probably a PA as well. Adults don’t just talk for months. They may qualify what constitutes sex or a PA. She may or may not admit it. But prepare yourself for this revelation. You cannot trust what she says because well they lie.

              I am happy I could make you laugh as well. Had it not been for my sense of humor during this mess I’m sure I would have lost my mind and gone down that crazy rabbit hole.

              No one can or should tell you to stay or leave. But you must know NOTHING will ever be the same with your relationship with her. I was at a funeral a few weeks ago. And the eulogy waxed poetic how the widow was the love of the deceased’s life. It struck me that nothing remotely like that would be said at my funeral or my husbands. Huge trigger. I decided then and there I don’t want a funeral and certainly no eulogies.

              Everything changes. Every important event and holiday and celebration takes in a different significance but it doesn’t make them any less valid to YOU. Don’t celebrate your daughters wedding as a reflection of your accomplishments you’ve made with your wife. Celebrate it as a wonderful job you did raising your beautiful daughter. Your wife is an aside right now. Your self worth is not dependent on her. You hold your head up and know who is on the side of good values and morals and integrity.

              Reconciliation is not for the weak of heart. Neither is divorce I imagine. But we can move forward and have good productive lives no matter which road we take.

            • Wounded

              Trying Hard
              Thanks again for all of the great advice again. Please give me your perspective on the PA. She said there was nothing but I will never know. She has obviously lied to me already and I can’t say that she isn’t lying again but all that I have to go by is what I saw or read on Facebook.
              She initiated the hotel meeting but she says that she either would not have gone through with the meeting or that she would have ended the affair at that point. Even as I am typing this is sounds ridiculous. I told her that was bs because two adults in a hotel are not going to just talk? She denied or lied again?

            • TryingHard

              Wounded–obviously I don’t know your wife so I can’t speak with abodolute authority. But this I know. People lie for 3 reasons. 1. To advance themselves 2. To protect themselves and 3. To spare others. There many ways to lie. Outright lies denial, obfuscation, omission, paltering, gas lighting, misleading, splitting hairs, and on and on. Cheaters are motivated to lie for all three reasons and they use all the above tactics when they lie. They are also at an advantage because as betrayed spouses we have truth bias. We WANT to believe them. We will blame others to believe them. We too are motivated to believe them. We are as desperate to believe them as they are to cover it up. And here is where the truth lies. In between their motivation to lie and our motivation to believe. All this I learned in books written by experts at detecting lies and reading body language. It’s really interesting. You can watch a person and by their body language alone you know they are lying without even hearing any sound. The tongue can say one thing, but the body language always gives the liar away if only we watch.

              Adults don’t talk sex for long. The sexual drive is too strong. Think about yourself and your own sexual drive. I really don’t buy into this whole emotional affair stuff. I think that is their story and they are sticking to it. Well except for Doug of course 😊 So yeah they met at a hotel? No it wasn’t just to talk. She’s soft soaping you. she knows you know there was a hotel room and now she needs to make up a lie for all the above reasons. listen to your gut. Tell her you believe she’s lying. You know she’s lying.

              So let me ask you. What if I were telling you this story about my husband meeting some gal at a hotel? Knowing what you know would you believe he didn’t have sex with her and they were just there to talk? You don’t have to go to a hotel to talk. unless they are young and into car sex, which probably already happened and was too messy and uncomfortable and they got away with that, they went to a hotel to have comfortable sex.

              Remember Wounded you don’t nearly have the whole story. Seldom do we until we call their hand and make them realize what they are about to lose because you are filling in the blanks.

              I think this is why she turns the table and locks herself away from you in a different room. She knows she will break down and the truth will come right out of her mouth. Stay strong and call her on her bullshit. Tell her what you believe and that you know she is lying and that if she continues to lie and doesn’t admit you are moving on and you will be just fine without her.

              That my friend is what I call getting all the balls in your court. And as I said before what do you have to lose? But she can change if she comes clean and earnestly humbles herself and tells the truth.

            • Wounded

              Trying Hard

              We I had an interesting night. I shared our exchange with my wife thinking it might help her understand my pain. It was an emotional discussion but it did not bring her share anything else about the EA.
              At this point I am going to believe what my gut says and will eventually have to make a choice or decision based on what I know. Fact is she is a liar, and cheater. She told another man she loved him. They made future plans together. They exchanged pictures of each other. They had on line sex and they masterbated with each other. My wife initiated a hotel meeting which never happened but can only imagine what would had dday not interrupt their meeting.
              She has broken and destroyed a pretty good marriage of 27 years all for some a?!hole who she knew back in high school. What a disappointment and waste of time!

      • Shifting Impressions

        Wounded
        Eight months is not all that far in……I am at three and a half years and not found that place of forgiveness yet, but I am closer than I was a year ago.

        The “forgetting the details” seems to be classic behavior. If they would only realize how much more damage is done by the supposed forgetfulness. I think it’s good to let them know that we don’t really buy that forgetfulness and that it’s a roadblock to recovery. But chances are you have already done that and it didn’t change a thing.

        I drove myself crazy for a long time…..wanting to know all the pieces of the puzzle. But at some point you have to say “enough”. What will it change?

        No, none of this is fair……the pain the cheating spouse unleashes with their betrayal is excruciating. But slowly it eases.

        And yes at some point you need to make choices about your marriage….but I would tell myself I didn’t have to make all those decisions right away. I didn’t have to have all the answers right away. I still don’t know for sure if we will make it….and that’s okay.

        My husband stopped contact immediately after d-day. If that would not have been the case, I would have asked him to leave.

        For now….take care of you. It takes time for the CS to show real remorse and even start to understand the depth of the pain they caused.

        • Wounded

          Shifting Impressions
          Thank you for your thoughts. It is sincerely appreciated.

          How do you know when the CS shows real remorse? How do you know when she truly understands the pain that she caused? She says she does but I don’t believe her for a second.

          One of the things that she doesn’t get is that much of her EA was done online in our house. On the family room couch, at the kitchen counter, in our bedroom on our bed.
          This makes me sick to even be with her in any of these places but it is hard to not be since we still live in the same house.

          There are many nights that I wake up because of what she did and I move to another bedroom in the house because I hate the thought of sleeping with her in the place she had her EA. Is this ok? Is this normal? Does she get the pain and hurt she did and why I can’t sleep next to her? She doesn’t really talk much about it. What she does do if and when she notices I’m gone from bed is to come lay in bed with me in the other room.

          When we are intimate with each other in our bedroom it hurts knowing what she was doing and saying to this other guy via Facebook in our bed. It feels like I’m competing or that ther are three of us in this relationship. It makes me sick to say this but it’s how I’m feeling!!

          I feel as if I am stuck in trying to move forward in our relationship but don’t know how?

          • Shifting Impressions

            Wounded
            It took many months before I could sleep beside my husband as well. It was such a struggle. Just sleeping was difficult. My safe place was gone.

            Has she ended the EA?
            How can you tell true remorse?? Listen to your gut. This is a slow process. Something very precious is shattered when your partner cheats. It just can’t be put back together overnight.

            In my case my husband wasn’t much help at first…If I shared my pain, it became about him not being able to handle my pain. He just wanted to move forward. It just doesn’t work that way.

            As time went on and the more we talked he slowly started to understand and yes I do believe you can tell when remorse is real. Something we did that was helpful was the we agreed to not do “more damage” with our words and actions. We tried hard to talk and really listen. Were we alway successful….heavens no!!! But we tried and are still trying.

            Make self care your focus for now. A counselor and/or a good friend or two will make it all somewhat easier to get through. I know, there are days when the sorrow is overwhelming.

            • Wounded

              Shifting Impressions

              As far as I know she ended the EA immediately after dday. I very quickly told her that either she ends it immediately or to pack her bags. Her choice. I believe there was a short period of emotional fog for her but she ended it.
              Your right about listening to your gut. There was one specific exchange between the two of them that was very apparent that there was mastebation going on. She has denied this fact but any human being reading the exchange would come to the same conclusion. She admits every person would come to the same conclusion but she denies that those were her intentions. My guts says BS!!! She is a liar and a cheater.
              Your thoughts on remorse are interesting. I guess time will tell and I can only hope for the best.
              Thank you so much.

            • Wounded

              Shifting Impressions

              I had a very interesting discussion with my wife as I read her our exchanges. I was hoping she might understand just how bad she hurt me and that she might understand that withholding or not sharing the complete truth only hold back my healing.
              At first I am not sure she knew how to respond. After each exchange I read to her I stopped so that we could discuss or I could explain the discussion.
              She claims she understands my pain but there is no way she could. People describe the pain of infidelity to the loss of a parent or family member. I completely agree since it feels like your carrying an elephant on your back everyday. It is impossible to go through a day without spending or thinking about the infidelity.
              I have no doubt she remembers much more than she is sharing. I am sure it’s because she is scared, embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid of the consequences. It is a shame that cheaters can’t be more honest! I guess at this point I will choose to believe what I know and go on from there.

      • TheFirstWife

        Wounded. I am sorry for you but believe me when I say that we all understand your pain. And frustration. And anger.

        There seems to be a pattern that cheaters follow. Lying (after DDay) is one of the typical patterns. Selective amnesia regarding details. Not admitting to anything the betrayed spouse doesn’t have proof of. It is all typical and standard behavior.

        Regarding the details – my therapist used to say most of the details are unimportant. You know your wife is a liar and cheater. If she texted him 5 times or 500 times, she cheated. If she sent one photo or 10 photos – she cheated. If you think they may have kissed (as an example) – even if she denies it, doesn’t make it true.

        You can make yourself crazy trying to figure out what to believe. My H & I fought for a year over whether he loved her. He wrote it in emails. Was planning to divorce me (I saw those emails). But he said he didn’t love her. I say he did. In the end who cares??? I will believe what I think is the truth.

        The OW and my H both claim thetecwas no sex. But he came back a day early from a business trip and spent the night with her. I believe they did. But he won’t admit it and who cares? I think he will lie to save his own neck. But it is a detail.

        And in the BIG picture at the end of the day, whether there is sex or no sex or 10 texts or 200 texts, they cheated and lied and disrespected us and did all the things that go along with cheating.

        I wish I had not wasted a year (12 long and painful months) to find out that continued lying after DDay was the norm.

        My H appeared to be doing all that he could to make amends the first month after DDay. Answering all questions Honestly and truthfully. And then I found out he lied – he was the one who initiated the first date. But he had been lying and let me believe she pursued him. Total lie! But tyical cheater pattern of behavior.

        Please focus on more important things and not the details.

        I hope you have a good therapist to support you during this ordeal. Please have some patience and don’t make any quick decisions.

        Take it one day at a time.

        • Wounded

          The First Wife
          Thaonk you so much for your thoughts. I sincerely appreciate your perspective.

          I completely agree with her not admitting to anything else other than the proof I had. My dday was when I opened her Facebook account and took 28 pictures of the Facebook string of rounchy sexual messaging back and forth. Even with the proof I have she still denies the intent of some of the exchanges which is absolutely crazy to me since it is very specific and detailed action oriented I can’t understand why she would do this but I can only summize that she is scared or embarrassed to admit the total truth.

          When should I get rid of those pictures? I know they only cut the wound open each time I read them. I don’t read them often but my counselor told me that I would know when is the right time to dispose of the pictures.

          As much as I know or what she has led me to believe there was never any physical sex between them. Only online sex. Does that make a difference? She (my wife) asked him to meet in a hotel which never happened beciause dday interrupted their excapade. Does or should this matter?

          I guess what I know for a fact is that I married a liar and a cheater and I have to make a choice that impacts me, our children, and 27 years of marriage.

          • TheFirstWife

            Wounded.

            We have some similarities in our experiences. My H’s last affair they met only 8x over 12 months. But there was still physical contact.

            The emails were another thing. I saw where he wrote to her telling her he was dumping me. Getting divorced. I read it in a number of emails. He never wrote anything nasty about me but he did ask for a divorce 3x. He never told me it was b/c of the OW but because he didn’t want to be married. The old “love you not in love with you” line if crap.

            The point is your wife wrote stuff to another man. I don’t believe for 1 second she would not have capitalized on an opportunity to meet him (but that is me). Luckily for her she is still in the EA category. Mine is EA and PA and I believe it was an affair.

            Some people can forgive an EA. Some cannot. It is your call.

            I have saved every email between them (3 1/2 years later) in case I need proof. In case my H tried to turn the tables. In case he does it again. I saved all the phone records too. Just in case.

            My H told the OW he loved her. Then told me he did not – only said it to let her down easy. So I told him I don’t know which is worse – you loved her OR you were dumping me for someone you didn’t love.

            Equally bad – no?

            So if it gives you security or proof of the affair – keep it all. If you feel the need to get rid of it Ibe day, you will. I keep my reminders because I worked for a divorce attorney and I want the evidence, so to speak.

            Your tolerance of the EA which may have become a PA is totally your choice – only you can decide what you can tolerate or accept. I think time heals things and can provide a very different perspective.

            For me, after the second round of the affair, I finally realized that his choices never had anything to do with me, but everything to do with him. That was the critical piece that I was missing, because all along I thought I was not good enough.

            As he was telling me that our marriage was great and he was so happy, he was still having and affair. Therefore that was a choice he made to please himself.

            I used to worry that he could possibly cheat again. That worry lasted 9 months. Until one day I woke up and said to myself, so what if he did it again? What would be different? Hell, he’s already done it and you have survived.

            So I no longer have that worry. It no longer controls me. Because I know if I even think or have a suspicion, or marriage is over. And it will be swift, calm and emotionless. He will be gone – for good. I will co-parent and that is it.

            It took me 2 years to get past the PTSD.

            But if you saw me now, you would not know. I live my life for me & kids. He is no longer the top dog. I treat him well and yes we are together, I love him and he is a great dad.

            He is working hard to make amends. I know he loves me but yet he chose to shatter the one person in life who stood by him and supported him and would do almost anything to make him happy.

            I forgive but yet live with my eyes wide open. He has forced me to remive the rose colored glasses.

            Only you will know what is right for you. I hope you have a support team (counselor or therapist or clergy) to help you navigate this period. Without my therapist for 3 years, I never would have survived this.

            • Wounded

              The First Wife
              So why do you believe that she would have gone through with the meeting or the PA??? Is this normal for the CS to act on this? Back to an earlier discussion my gut says she would have but heart doesn’t want to believe that. Trust my gut??

              It’s interesting, the other night I told her that she needed to fix herself, internalize what she did and why she did it. I told her she was damaged goods until she faced the facts of why she did what she did to her husband, kids, and family. I told her that I am not at fault for what she choose to do and the decisions she made. I might be a contributing factor but not the sole issue and that is what she needs to internalize.

              I guess time will tell if she attempts to fix herself?

            • TheFirstWife

              Wounded. I don’t really have the benefit of knowing your wife and there is a chance she may not have gone through with the meeting or PA.

              But my experience is telling me it most likely would have happened. Everything I have read on this blog leads me to believe it woukd have happened.

              Google “affair fog” and you may understand.

              My H always treated me well. Supportive and loving etc. but in 2013 he became someone I did not know. He wanted to be w/ the OW so he made the move to:

              Hire her to work for him after he met her in a bar one night
              Flaunt her in my face at times
              Made the first date happen
              Text and email her when I was in the room with him (of course I had no idea it was an affsir)
              Lie lie lie
              Ask for a divorce numerous times (but now swears he wants to stay married)

              Affair fog propels them into totally out of character behavior. My H had a typical mid life crisis affair – with a 30 year old!! Hecwas turning 50 and hated his job, was unhappy and bored and turned to someone else to feed his ego and focus his attention away from his problems.

              I told my H he needed to address his issues. He went to therapy YEARS later after DDsy2 and for a few months. It helped some but I not sure he went long enough to address his issues.

              Do I hope your wife can correct this situation and do everything necessary to address her issues? Absolutely I do. I always want to see a success story.

              But I realize from this blog that so many cheaters don’t really understand the full impact of their choices and behavior. And what cheating does to a marriage, family, friends, etc.

              And that is sad. The cheaters just don’t get it.

          • TheFirstWife

            Wounded. There used to be a guy who posted on here and I admired him. I sometimes wish I had followed his lead.

            He found out his wife was having an affair.

            After 2 days he realized she was lying through her teeth about the affair, details, etc.

            He saw a lawyer and therapist 48 hours later and started the divorce proceedings and ultimately divorced her. Wasn’t going to waste time putting up with her nonsense and continued lying.

            It was over swift and he didn’t look back.

            In his case he wasn’t going to deal with the crap so many betrayed spouses deal with after DDay – more lies, half truths, vague answers and too many “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember responses”.

            There are times I wish I had done that. Ended it when I found out he was STILL lying about all of the details when I stupidly believed every word of what he was telling me. Starting with letting me believe she pursued him. Until I saw the email and saw he pursued her.

            So that guy did what worked for him.

            And you will too. But sometimes you need to work slowly and patiently. My therapist said a “successful” divorce occurs when you have done all you can, gave it your best but it just won’t work. That makes a difference because it ends with no regrets (or very few)

            • Wounded

              The First Wife

              Well I spent some time with my wife going over our discussion. I have to admit it was very interesting to see how she reacted to certain comments but not react to others.
              After I read a section I stopped so that we could talk about what was said or give her a chance to share what she was feeling.
              Overall it was an emotional talk but one that I was glad that I did. I was hoping that she would have been more honest about all of the details but she was not. I guess at this point I am going to believe what I believe and that I will see where this takes me. We discussed forgiveness and agreed that the topic is way overrated and that she does not expect for me to forgive her for what she did.

            • TheFirstWife

              Wounded. Maybe this talk is the first step in getting through and breaking down the walls. The walls that are stopping your wife from being open and completely honest.

              Sometimes they operate and make decisions out of fear. I know that was my H’s place – fear if he told the truth I would leave him. Well I wanted to leave because he wasn’t telling the truth – Hiw about that for a thought?

              If you can get through the wall (little by little) you may start to see changes. At least I am hoping you do.

              Good first step though – don’t you agree?

    • Robert M.

      Wow! This really hits home. My wife admitted to “just a kiss” and then I found out later on that she downloaded a secret app to communicate with the other man for “business” reasons.”

      Needless to say, I’m moving on with my life, as she appears to be a narcissist with a new source of supply.

      • TryingHard

        Robert–I am so sorry she continues to lie to you. It’s almost like they can’t help themselves but the problem is the CAN. They are choosing not to stop the affair.

        Yes. Move on with your own life. But play your cards very close to the vest and announce NOTHING.

      • TheFirstWife

        Robert. Sorry to hear that the affair has continued.

        Reslize for some it is an addiction. It may be hard and painful to do the right thing – but sometimes the cheating spouse is just that selfish and unwilling.

        How sad. Get your support team – lawyer or mediator, counselor or therapist, minister of priest, financial advisor and friends. Get the wagons circling and play it close to the vest.

        Sorry for you. You tried.

        • call me the queen of cognitive disonance

          Hello to all of you who shared comments on this post. Unfortunately I too am a betrayed spouse (22 years 2 kids still married) of a covert narcissistic cheater and liar. I am almost four years since D-Day, and despite still being married and in many ways our relationship has improved tremendously, I still think that I want to divorce him. I guess two primary reasons; 1st) despite improvements and I do still love him, I feel deep down inside that he continues to cheat, I think with many- which means he is a sex addict. But he is good and very smart, and between his network of resources (huge compared to mine) and the role that technology has in making it so easy to get away with deception. I’m not sure that i will ever trust him again. 2nd reason) is because of the first I don’t think I’ll ever have peace of mind again due to his infidelity, and how this whole thing has transpired between us. I could write volumes and share the whole sordid mess, but what for ?? My question to all of you is: how have you been able to find a good lawyer (who understands covert mental abuse and narcissistic PD) so I don’t get totally steamrolled by him. Some how he always comes out like a winner when the problems escalate and it the time has come for real work. I’ve read that divorcing a narcissist is worse than being married to one (the smear campaign, devalue stage, the attempt to make it all your fault and rally their little minions).

          I panicked on d-day, was afraid that when he walked out that door that morning (to go work) that he would never come back, never even try to save our marriage. So I made the decision to forgive what had happened (any past activity) as long as, the affair ended, now. And for a while it somewhat worked but my husband wasn’t having any of those q&a sessions with me because (to this day) he feels he didn’t really have affair. He can tell himself whatever delusion he wants to believe. But the C -PTSD wouldn’t loosen it’s grip on me primarily because he did hardly anything to help me get over/past it. Anyway, my point is to wounded, DON’T FORGIVE TOO SOON! I thought I could make a decision to for give, put it behind me and move forward. And I possibly could have except for one thing- we basically talked about the situation for a couple of weeks (with him answering very few questions, probably all twisted versions of the truth) and then he really wasnt interested in doing anything to help me heal except, be nice to me, focus on our future and basically “get over it”. So I tried his way, except there are triggers everywhere, the known, the unknown, but I was in no position to leave him either financially or emotionally so I gave it a shot. But never being able to talk about what was going on emotionally inside me, has made this a slow often times so painful knowing he doesn’t really care what this has done to me, as long as everything looks good from the outside. It’s hard because we do enjoy doing lots of the same things together, and in some ways are closer than many couples we know. It’s knowing that he will never admit the truth to me, he will (most likely) continue with the keeping me in the dark about what goes on in his other life. Mountains of circumstancal evidence, yet I can’t seem to connect enough dots to know for sure. But my gut has been screaming at me to wake up and smell the coffee. So i need to tell him that I retract my offer of forgivness and that I’m not over this and if he is not willing to try it my way then im afraid I must say good-bye. I wish I would of kicked him out right from the start so he didn’t think I was such a doormat. So I’m pretty sure I’ll be needing a good attorney (too much cake eating happening on his part) but haven’t had any luck finding one to put my trust in. There was one that I thought understood my situation and did consider but he didn’t get many positive reviews (late to court, unprepared) that I didn’t want to take a chance on. At 100-200 a pop for consultations, i cant search forever without going broke. I am no angel myself and struggle with my own problems and obsessions/addictions (different kind). So am I wrong to feel I have the right to call him out on everything and not expect retaliation from him, simply because I can’t live without some peace in my life? But i am afraid that that neither decision will provide it. I really am so screwed either way, by staying i may have to accept his behavior and by leaving I admit that he really never loved me, this has all been a dog and pony show, lived this lie for 25 years and subjected my sons to growing up in a dysfunctional family. Like I said either way I have a long, long road to travel to get close to the peace of mind I seek. If you think I sound extreme read about covert narcissism to get a better understanding of my position.

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