You know what sucks about affairs? Everything!

Affairs suck. The betrayal is something that I may never recover from. I even look at my wife differently than before. Before, I was so proud to have her bouncing around everywhere. (she’s very energetic). I was so eager to see her each day and I had an unbreakable confidence. I proudly introduced her to friends, loved having her sing Karaoke with me even though she has a terrible singing voice and I gladly spent time with her anywhere and anytime.

Today, after her two-month long affair with a guy from the gym named Mark, I do not see her the same as before. I don’t. I am slightly embarrassed at introducing her because when I introduce her to someone it’s like they know….even if they don’t. When I introduce her to a male, I am wondering if she’s wanting to sleep with him too?

Everything about this sucks. Everything.

If you’re the betrayed spouse in an affair, I feel your pain. I feel it completely. The amount of daily mental attacks is overwhelming. For the last three days I have not been able to shake the negative feelings. They started when I found out that her affair partner and his wife are getting divorced.  The weight of the reality of this has hit me like a second tidal wave. Only now, I am more removed from it emotionally. Since I found out nearly six weeks ago I first went into EMS mode. Basically, get in the ambulance and rush you to the hospital because your marriage just had a massive stroke.

Now, six weeks past the “stroke” I am learning how to walk again, learning how to talk again and it feels like half of my body doesn’t work correctly. Christian friends look at us and go, “Wow you guys are so inspirational!”  You’re working on your marriage. You’re sticking it out!

Inside though, I am dying. I am dying because I can’t get past this negative perspective. Everything has changed. I am a different person and so is she. I forgive her. Heck, we all make mistakes. We all sin. We all give in and fall short of ours and others’ expectations. I get that.

But when the sin, mistake, bad fucking choice, stupid decision is so deeply wounding it seems nearly impossible to get past. According to the Bible I am supposed to love my wife unconditionally. Not a question. There is literally nothing she can do that would make me not love her.

But reconciling a marriage is a MUCH deeper and tougher problem. For me, trust is everything. It was important before, but now it has become even more important. And, I have way less trust than ever. So, it’s a double edged sword. I need even more trust than we had (which from me was complete, full, 100%) but I have lost every ounce of trust I had.

Some friends advise me to leave. They ask me when I will finally get out and protect myself. The short answer is that I don’t know. There is that part of me that simply can’t imagine giving up on 18 years of history with the love of my life. That part that says everyone deserves a second chance. For Allie, however, she had her second chance. She had an affair in 2012 and that was supposedly the only time. I remember her begging me to stay, making promises that she would NEVER do it again. She said that if she was ever even tempted she would come to me first and ask for a divorce. Well, fast-forward six years and she did it again. She didn’t come to me and tell me. She just did it.

UPDATE: My friends were right. They said that they wouldn’t be surprised if I found out about another affair. Well, on Labor Day (2018) she confessed yet another affair.  With her boss who she still works with.  She says it was “several months” and that she ended it but “can’t remember” when.  My guess is that she ended it when she started seeing Mark in her third affair.  I can’t keep up anymore!

Once a cheater, always a cheater. Scientifically and statistically there is literally NO WAY for her to change this behavior. A cheater has a 99% chance of repeating the behavior in the future. Translated: it will take an effing miracle to not do it again.

Concluding these posts is hard. In good writing, you would want to come to some meaningful conclusion. That is impossible.

What can stop a cheater?

It’s been a while since my last post. Lots has been going on, but I won’t get into detail about that right now.

I was thinking the other day about what might stop a person from cheating. I know for me, I have several core values that I run my decisions through. They are Character, Integrity, Commitment & Self-Respect. I simply cannot go there. Sure, I have been tempted. But I have always walked away. One time, I sped away in my car because the waitress who was flirting was so beautiful, I was very, very tempted.

Here are a list of reasons that should’ve stopped Allie from cheating with Mark.

  • Allie is married – This is an easy one. Any guy hits on you, tell them to fuck off. You’re married. Sure, it’s flattering because you’re human. But you committed to marriage to your husband, so do that. If you can’t, then get out of your marriage BEFORE starting a new relationship. Any real relationship worth having is also worth waiting for.
  • Mark is/was married – I wrote it like this because Mark’s wife divorced him in May of this year. When a married person starts hitting on you, no matter if you’re married or not, you shut that shit down!  Let them fuck up with someone else. This goes to integrity and character. Mark has four children who will be forever affected by their parents’ divorce. You tell them that as long as they are married, you will have NO PART in anything with them. And, if they persist, then call their spouse and let them know that their husband is hitting on you. You do this because as a member of society, it is part of the unspoken agreement. You just don’t screw with someone’s spouse. And ultimately their kids. You don’t want that kind of shit-Karma coming back on you.
  • Allie is a Christian – Hard to tell right? I know. I have wrestled with this a lot. How does a Christian, home-school mom abandon every ounce of integrity to sleep with a married man? Mental illness? Perhaps. I think that if you’re really a Christian, then you simply cannot do that. Sure, the common statement is that every sin is the same in God’s eyes. I am not so sure about that. Do a reference read on all of the adultery verses and you may see it like I see it. God divorced Israel a couple of times and gives only ONE reason for divorce in the Bible….adultery. So either she’s not a Christian, or she just said “fuck it” and walked from the Lord.
  • Allie has three adoring sons – We have three sons together. They are 13, 12, and 3 at the time of writing this post. Three sons!  How does a mom abandon her love for her OWN CHILDREN and commit the most destructive act possible in a marriage? Does she not think for at least a second?  The affair was planned. Pre-meditated. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing as she drove to the hotel room to meet up with Mark. How? I could never look my sons in the eyes again had I done that to their mom.  Character. Integrity.
  • She knew it would absolutely destroy me – Allie has had a couple of affairs now. This isn’t her first rodeo. After her 2012 affair, I forgave her and she talked at length at how God had saved her, and how she’d never forget me giving her a second chance. Six years later, she forgot. Perhaps because we had another child in that time? She knew how emotionally destructive it would be to me, but did it anyway.
  • Affairs can cause divorce – Allie knows this. But did that stop her? Nope. Mark is already divorced now because it only takes about 21 days here in Idaho. Just that a divorce can happen should be enough to stop any rational person. People get divorced. I get that. But get divorced first!  Don’t have an affair first. It simply doesn’t make sense. Apparently Mark told her that he was a “big boy” and could handle whatever ramifications Carrie threw his way. Hmmmm.  It’s costing him a fortune.
  • It will harm children – Affairs harm children. Divorce harms children. Study after study shows that children are harmed by divorce, for years and years afterwards. Sometimes up to 30 years later!!  If that isn’t storing up super-bad Karma for yourself, I don’t know what is. Any one of the reasons I name are stoppers for me. But this one….this one is a big one for me. I can’t even think about Mark’s ex-wife and kids without choking up a bit. It sucks for them. What are his two sons and his two daughters gonna think about marriage and relationships?
  • Where is Allie’s self-respect? When Allie and I started dating in 1999, she was a virgin. Yep, 23 years old and had held onto her purity to save herself for marriage. I married her and was the first to sleep with her. (which may not be true as I think about it.)  Maybe she lied.  Who knows.  Let’s assume she was telling the truth. How can you have that much will power and self respect as a young woman and abandon it as a 42 year old home-school mom who’s been married for 18 years? I would hope that even if she were to find herself single, she would have the self-respect to not just sleep with someone. How did she lose all self-respect?
  • Allie abandoned her respect for me – My wife claims that I am her best friend.  With friends like that…..who needs enemies? Bottom line is she abandoned any respect she had for our almost 20-year long relationship. Not even the respect to come tell me that she wanted out of the marriage. Anything?
  • Her Reputation – Wasn’t her own reputation worth it? Among her family, she has lost a ton of respect. Her brother and sis-in-law are very, very cautious around her now. With this being the second time, many in her family and some of her friends are beginning to wonder what exactly is wrong.
  • Her last affair and me giving her a second chance didn’t stop her. Though there was begging, pleading and tons of promises the last time she had an affair, that didn’t stop her. She said it would though. She said that because I forgave her, it strengthened her relationship with Christ and made her trust me more. So much for that right?

Why write all of this? Because if none of these things can stop a person from having an affair, then it simply CANNOT be about the betrayed spouse. It isn’t about you. If your partner has or is having an affair, then they have deep issues. Those issues existed prior to you and will continue long past you. But, I get it. It is hard not to take it personally.

 

Always looking over your shoulder

Betrayal – In the human experience, nothing is quite like it. From the betrayed’s perspective, it really sucks. Knowing a person who supposedly loves you has the capacity to do something horrible is so disturbing. It destroys trust…possibly forever, it kills marital intimacy and it changes the landscape of a marriage forever.

But what about the way the betrayer feels? How would it feel to be the one who betrayed another person? How does it feel to be Allie, the one who betrayed me to have an affair with a man named Mark? What would it be like to be that person after the affair? Especially when you’re trying to repent and reconcile your marriage?

Allie is remorseful and repentant about having an affair. Just this morning, she apologized a few more times and was tearing up at what she’s done. That feeling has to be pretty hard. She says she wants to grow old with me and be married. She doesn’t want to get divorced. (and for now, we’re staying together)

But there is an anxiety, and an unknown. She doesn’t know what the future holds for us. She is constantly looking over her shoulder to see if I am divorcing her. She is insecure and has a heaviness that is hard to explain. Life is different. The freedom she experienced in our marriage is gone. The freedom, trust, and security she had about my loyalty is shaky and uncertain. She knows that I have 90 more days in the commitment I made to make a decision about divorce.

Pick a lane!

When your wife has had multiple affairs, but still wants to work it out and stay together, it is sort of like highway driving. You have to pick a lane!  Which way are you going honey? Are you on the highway with me in my lane or are you needing attention from men?  You can’t have both.

So, I have been seeing a therapist, and we’ve been doing counseling. It’s all very expensive when someone decides to step out of a marriage like my wife Allie did. We will be in this for about $10k in therapists and counselors before it’s all over. Crazy right? I think so. Would have been much cheaper to get her thrills somewhere else or to exit the marriage respectfully and honorably BEFORE having an affair.

Okay, back on point. Yesterday I saw the therapist and we talked. And she asked me the hard questions. And asked if Allie and I have had some discussions. Here is a summary of questions and talks that the two of us need to explore.

  • How is is possible for Allie to be “all in” as she claims when we’re only four months removed from her being in an affair? An affair justified by her disdain for our marriage?
  • Does Allie know 100% that if it happens again, there will be no third chance?
  • Have we discussed the pattern and if Allie is really operating on the fantasy of narcissism? (this one is more complex so I will save it for another post)
  • Do I have any hidden agenda?  Basically, is there a thought in me that says “this may not work out.”  The answer of course is “yes” now that my wife has cheated again.

So, sometime in the near future, we need to have these discussions. Therapy tells me that whatever she wants to do is fine, but she has to pick a lane.

Best Article I have come across so far

This is by far the best article on affairs, I have ever read. It is in three parts.  It addresses everything that I have been going through but from the side of a therapist speaking to people who are or were cheating.

https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/31-reasons-to-stop-affair-part-one

Start the 3rd marriage

We were in counseling yesterday. Though it was a good session, I wanted to blog about something that they said. We have two counselors who are in session with us each time we meet. They are husband and wife and they do the sessions together.

At the end of yesterday’s session, the wife said to us, “you’re starting your 3rd marriage. You had your first marriage and Allie had an affair six years ago. Then you started your second marriage and Allie had an affair this year. Now you’re starting your third marriage.”  She said it as a positive message and I really hear where she’s coming from.

That statement affects me and Allie differently. For Allie, it is empowering for us to stay together. Allie even quoted it this morning after giving me another heartfelt, remorseful apology.

Allie sees it as a new beginning. A reason to stay together. I see it as another time that she was unhappy enough to cheat and that literally nothing can stop her from doing it again.

I have come to understand something really well. I didn’t choose for her to cheat. As a matter of fact, I am a pretty darn good husband. Faithful, forgiving, caring, loving, non-abusive, not addicted to anything. But, I have become a doormat. She doesn’t respect me and had unrealistic expectations of marriage. Basically, if she wants me to make her happy and I can’t. She owns her own happiness. She owns her own choices and she owns her own dishonesty, deceit and infidelity. I don’t own any part of those.

In all cases of potential infidelity, the cheater has three choices BEFORE cheating.

  1. Clearly and honestly explain to their spouse that they have an attraction for someone else and have unmet needs and expectations from the marriage. Seek counseling on these and they possibly can be solved.

    p.s. A person should NEVER come to their spouse with “feelings” for another person. This indicates that they’ve already gone too far and are in an affair. (may only be emotional)  But you cannot have feelings for someone unless you spend some time talking to them on some level. You can have a crush, an infatuation or an attraction. But true feelings of love would be through getting to know them and if that’s the case, you’re in an affair.

  2. You can stop any affair BEFORE it gets physical or before you develop feelings. This is ALWAYS an option. If the conversations have gone too far, you can stop the calls, the texts and the conversations. You have the power to stop those. None of us who have been betrayed believe you when you tell us that you couldn’t stop and “it just happened.” The easy way to stop it is to hand over your phone to your spouse and when the affair partner calls or texts, have your spouse respond.  Turn on any tracking activity and be an open book.  This step requires honesty which seems to be lacking when someone is a cheater.
  3. You can get divorced. If you are that unhappy in your marriage where you just HAVE to cheat, then go ask for a divorce FIRST. There simply is NO excuse that is acceptable for cheating. None.

 

I knew it – Yet another affair

I said that Allie and I were staying together in one of my posts. Less than one week ago, I was still working towards that potential with her. We had a great forgiveness and counseling session last Friday and I began to feel like she was really being sincere. I felt a humble compassion and love for her as we left the session. I felt hope.

We even went last Sunday to look at houses together. Starting to dream again. It was a relief because since finding out about her affair with Mark nearly six months ago, I have not been able to daydream or plan any sort of future with her. My mind just simply wouldn’t go there. So, Sunday we both had a great day as we started dreaming again. It felt nice. Almost serene.

The next morning, on Labor Day Monday, I opened her phone and saw a text she sent to her boss Derek. It was on August 20th while I was visiting a friend in New Jersey. The text was off color for something that you would send to the guy you work for.  Not flirty, just outside of professional context.

Rewind to last year.  I noticed some texts to Derek last September-ish which were flirty and attention-seeking from Kelli to him. I questioned her about them and she got defensive, but a few hours later apologized saying that I was right and that she had been seeking attention from him.  She claimed it was because of her being new at her job. She promised that there was nothing there and that it was wrong. (Stupid me believed her)

Over the course of this past year, I have probably revisited the question of anything between her and Derek two or three times. She always adamantly maintained that there wasn’t.

So on this past Labor Day (2018), I saw that text to him and asked her again, “Did something happen with Derek.”  She said “no.”

I headed out to my workout class and she called twice in the five minute drive, so I picked up. She told me over the phone that she and Derek did in fact kiss. I skipped my workout and came home. When I got home, the story grew more and now they’ve not only kissed but had met several times in his clinic. She maintains now that they were physical but didn’t have sex.  Only the two of them know the real truth.

She said that she was infatuated with him because he was nice.

Finding out about yet another affair is the knockout punch for me. Any small spark of hope was extinguished with this new discovery. She says that the two affairs meant the same thing, but to me they don’t. They are simply more and more times where she chose betrayal over loyalty. Lying over honesty.

The affair with Derek was about four months long (according to her) while the affair with Mark was two months. So, literally since we moved into this house, she has been in an affair, hiding an affair, been in another affair, and now recovering from the affairs. Over a year now of not “normal” in this home.

A letter to our counselors

I thought I would share a note Allie wrote to our counselors today. I still have the password to her email and saw this in there. She’s changed all of her other logins so that I can’t see those.

I will breakdown her email as I go below. See what you think.

I know this relationship is not healthy. I’m still grieving the loss of what it could’ve been and what it was. I’m so upset because before he found out about Derek he wanted to stay married to me and really work on the marriage. If I had been able to keep the idea of Derek from him even for five years and then confessed to him later, maybe we would’ve had a thriving marriage.

Okay, let’s stop there for a second. She is so upset that I had hope before I found out about the third affair (chronologically second affair). She says that if she had been able to keep the idea of Derek secret for five years, then she could just tell me after we’re strong again. Basically, trick me, lie to me and betray me some more so that she can confess it later. Are you guys reading this the same way I am?

Or if I had told him at the beginning of counseling which would’ve been even better, I think that we would still be married today.

How about NOT HAVING FUCKING AFFAIRS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Then, we’d still be married today.

I’m grieving because he now says he has no choice. I’m grieving because he feels like he doesn’t have any options. I grieve the fact that he doesn’t want to work on us. I grieve the fact that he doesn’t want to work on him. I grieve the fact he doesn’t care about how much growth I have made. I’m heartbroken that he doesn’t see my heart.

The old adage is true here. Actions speak louder than words. Her actions of betrayal, lying, cheating and intercourse outside of marriage shows me her hear at that time. No amount of “working on me” is gonna change that.

I’m heartbroken over what we’re losing. Will you please just speak to that somehow? When I try to talk to him we just fight now. He tells me he doesn’t have a choice and takes it back to the stuff I did.

“Takes it back to the ‘stuff I did”  The “stuff” you did was flirt, lie, betray, have sex, tell someone you love them, cheat, etc. That “stuff” is 100% what my decision to divorce is based off of.

I don’t think he will ever see it any other way.  But I do pray that he will.

Nope. I won’t.

I grieve that he will be all alone and that our dreams have been shattered.

I won’t be alone.  I have friends. I will have women in my life. Maybe not right away, but I will. If I want devotion, I will get a dog.  Our dreams were shattered by her choosing to have affairs.

I really do believe that we could pursue our dreams together if he was willing to forgive and see the growth and make his own growth.

So, let me get this strait. She breaks every vow, every covenant, every commitment, every ounce of respect or honesty and I have to be willing to forgive? Now, mind you, I do forgive her.  Just not gonna stay married to her.

Am I asking too much?

Yes.

Does that sound like entitlement?

If you have to ask…..

What do I learn about love?

As I have mentioned, my wife Allie has been very remorseful for about a month or so. Maybe a little longer. Maybe it’s because the reality of what she’s done has finally taken hold a bit or because she saw that she wasn’t gonna get as much money as she thought. Who knows?

At any rate, it has been a struggle for me. I love her and even contemplated staying together. Then I found out about the 3rd affair she had (or may still be having) with her boss. That was stings a lot because of the combination of betrayal and deception. She purposely hid things with him and even when directly question, lied through her teeth. When people show you who they are, it is our job to believe them.

But I digress.

This post is about love. What is love? What does it mean to have someone love you?

For me, my wife swears that she is madly in love with me. Yet, she had two affairs within the last 12 months. So, I have a really tough time believing that she loves me. But, for argument’s sake, let’s say that she does in fact love me. Then what does that say about love? Doesn’t it say “if someone loves you, they will betray you, lie to you, cheat on you and blame you for it”?

I choose me

Wrote a note to Allie that I never sent. She said that I was choosing women on Facebook over her.

If you’re just tuning in, Allie had three affairs. This entire blog is about my process through this after finding out on March 20, 2018.

Here is my response to her that I wrote but never sent. I sent a much shorter response.

The only person I am choosing over you is me.

I am choosing to draw the line and commit to myself. The line is saying that where you went is not okay. What you did, even if it was a symptom, was so destructive that I need some space and time.

I am working on me, my healing, my desires, my dreams, my life, my values.

When I needed you most, during a painful journey with my mom, you abandoned me for Derek.  You piled on blame and confused me with deception. You covered your tracks with lies and betrayed me while breaking our vows and the promise you made me six years ago.

I haven’t even been able to fully process my experience with my mom dying.  I wanted to write a small memoir to her but I have been more than distracted by your affairs.  I fear by the time I get to really pour myself into grieving her it will be too late.

Then, to make it even worse you added an affair with Mark.  You gave yourself fully to him. Fell in love with him and repeated and expanded the betrayal, lies and deception.

And I am told I am giving up?   That it isn’t personal?  That it isn’t against me?

I am destroyed by this.  So it really feels like it is against me.

I have forever changed. I have lost the ability to believe. Lost the adoration and admiration I had for you.  You were better than how you decided to behave. And I deserved way more than how you treated me.