Multiple Affairs

As you know, I caught my wife in her second affair in March (2018).  The question of should I stay or go is haunting me daily, hourly, by the minute. My wife is now a repeat cheater. She has exhibited a pattern or a cycle. Perhaps it is an addiction. Maybe it’s a mental disorder. I am not sure. Several things that experts know about multiple affairs.

  • People who have multiple affairs have never gotten to the core issue that they brought into the marriage
  • People who have multiple affairs often say “it just happened” and “I never saw it coming”
  • People who have multiple affairs are in cyclical patterns.  Now that I have had a long history with her, I am seeing those cycles play out.
  • People who have multiple affairs will likely repeat the pattern unless they put a ton of effort into healing from those core issues.
  • People who have multiple affairs truly believe their own remorse. They believe their own apology is sincere and they believe that they will NOT do it again.
  • People who have multiple affairs NEVER get professional help or NEVER get the appropriate professional help that helps them heal.

So, with all of that, we MIGHT have a chance IF Allie is willing to put in some long, hard work on herself. You see I am NOT to BLAME for her cheating. It is hers. She owns it and she has to face the issues head on. She has to be willing to do whatever it takes to heal from this. As a busy mom, there is huge concern that she will ever find the time to make progress.

 

But we had a relationship

This morning, Allie says to me that in Idaho it is felony to commit adultery. I looked it up and it is a felony, however rarely prosecuted. My guess is that it isn’t prosecuted ever.

But Allie says she got a little freaked out because Carrie could press charges against her. But as she thought about it, Carrie probably wouldn’t because Mark could have charges pressed against him and etc. If you don’t know, Mark is Allie’s affair partner and Carrie is Mark’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Carrie filed for divorce on May 1st, 2018.

So, as we talked about it a bit, Allie said that it is so weird that you could get a charge for simply having a relationship with someone. This is EXACTLY WHY I think that there is a mental disorder with all of this. Why you might ask? Because Allie still thinks it was just a relationship. EARTH TO ALLIE!  YOU’RE MARRIED. HE’S MARRIED. THERE IS NO RELATIONSHIP UNTIL YOU’RE DIVORCED AND SINGLE. IT’S ADULTERY!

Mark just used my wife Allie anyway. It is pretty clear that he doesn’t want anything long-term with her. Heck, he’s soon-to-be single.  If he wanted to run off to paradise with her, he would find a way to reach out to her. He was hitting on another woman in Crossfit just four days after the affair was discovered.

But Allie keeps saying that she wants me. Wants to be with me.  Maybe I am the one with a mental disorder for not divorcing her post haste. Of course, if you know me, I process big decisions by thinking them through thoroughly. This one is the biggest decision of my life. So, I am having to really pray and think about it.

UPDATE: She and Mark had sex more than four times. Allie was using “trickle truth” which is when you let the truth out slowly so that it doesn’t hurt as much. And, we’re divorced now.

Allie has had multiple affairs now.  She had one in 2012 which didn’t result in sex. But this one in 2018 did result in sex.  From what Allie says, they had sex four times. That’s plenty right? So, I am having to think about the risk/reward on both sides of the equation. Divorce and there are huge risks. Stay and there are huge risks. Allie hasn’t given me much of a choice right?

 

What to do with her remorse

My wife Allie had a 2nd affair that I discovered in March 2018. Since then, I have been on an emotional roller coaster.  Maybe better described as being in the middle of an emotional ocean with wave after wave of pain, confusion, discouragement, skepticism, isolation, doubt and heartbreak hitting me.

It is overwhelming and sometimes I feel like I am drowning in that pain. Most experts agree that it will take two years (or more) for the hurt spouse (me) to recover from my wife’s infidelity. That’s a lot of long-term pain. Then what? Will she do it again?  She already has had multiple affairs so the chances are pretty high that she will, in fact, cheat again.

When I first discovered the affair in March, I thought Allie was pretty hard to the idea that she just devastated me beyond any pain I had ever felt. I guessed that she was still in love with her affair partner Mark. I even speculated that she had a bit of a mental disorder. At first, I blamed myself for not being a good enough husband, etc. Normal self-doubting stuff for when your spouse of 18 years has another affair. During this time, I have questioned whether to stay to try to work it out or to leave her and get a divorce.

Fast forward to today. Allie is very remorseful. She often admits that she was wrong and that this was her issue and she is 100% to blame for it.

I feel that it is great that she’s coming to this place of repentance but I always feel that it is better to keep yourself out of a situation than have to repent later for it.

As adults, we do have absolute control over our decisions, our actions, our behaviors, and our choices. She consciously chose to have sex with this guy several times over the course of two months.

Many of you might say that now that she’s repentant for her actions I should start the healing and forgiveness process.  Stay in it for the kids. Stay in it because you have a huge history with this person. Stay in it because she knows you better than anyone. Stay because being single is no fun at all. You don’t want to be divorced. You don’t want to have to miss holidays with your kids. You don’t want to be alone when you’re old.

All of those things are true. I also don’t want to be in a marriage where my wife cheats on me. Even though the alternative sucks. Even though I don’t want any of the things that go with divorce, I don’t want to be married to someone I simply cannot trust.

“But she’s apologizing. She can change.”

Is that true? Can she change? Is she able to be a different person? Or is our character so ingrained in us that we simply cannot change. We cannot be different….even if we want to?

Right now, if you took away the fact that she had another affair, our marriage would be great. She’s being honest, caring, loving, and responsive. Before, she wasn’t.  And while she was pulled away from me, she would blame me for pulling away from her. That blamed added up. She then used the blame to justify being at the end of herself and saying “screw it” I am gonna go for it with Mark. Bad choice.

There are severe lifelong consequences for having an affair, especially one like hers. She fell in love with Mark. They started planning activities together. Probably did some future planning as well. And I can just hear her, throwing around the “love” word to see if she could get him to respond in kind.

I wasn’t there, so I don’t know exactly, but I know her. She looks for constant validation and affirmation.

So I don’t know what to do with her current remorse. It almost burns when she says sweet words. I hear the words, but they almost come into my heart as exactly opposite of what she’s saying.

 

The Deathblow To Marriage

Having an affair can be a deathblow to a marriage. As a matter of fact, it has a high possibility of being the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

I was reading this article today on Focus on the Family’s website. The author is a wife who cheated on her husband and subsequently got divorced. (She describes the divorce here) As a husband who has been cheated on, this article resonates with me. The author, Cheryl, says this:

“I quickly developed a deep emotional connection with a man I barely knew”

You know, that kind of sums up the sheer pain that the faithful spouses go through in all of this. Our wife has shared intimate emotions and intimate sexuality with a complete stranger. And for no good reason. I mean, all cheaters have their “reasons” but affairs don’t even mimic dating. In dating, my wife and I were cautious with our hearts, our emotions, and our physicality. We waited for all three. We spent time with one another and learned about one another. I remember that we didn’t kiss for about 60 days after we’d first started dating. My wife was a virgin and we were cautious with that part of our lives. We broke a few months before our marriage and she shared her virginity with me. We spent 3-4 months before marriage making love and it was beautiful. We even had a private “ceremony” before our real ceremony so that she knew my intentions were to always be with her and her alone.

Just 12 short years into our marriage, Allie had affair #1 with a man she didn’t know. She’d met him mountain biking. Just a stranger she met on the trail one day. Soon, they were texting back and forth and Allie found herself telling him how much she was falling in love with him. They had several encounters, but Allie reports that they never had sex.

I gave her another chance. And here we are another six years later, Allie has had another affair. This time, sharing everything (and I do mean everything) with another stranger.

Sure, they spent a lot of time talking on the phone and texting. And they met up a bunch. But for all intents and purposes, he is a complete stranger. She doesn’t know him, they’ve never dated. They never spent any real time getting to know one another. Yet, Allie “fell in love” with him. We all know it is fantasy and Allie is becoming more and more remorseful every day, but for those two months, she was at it with this guy.  If this were a dating situation, she wouldn’t do that. It is COMPLETELY out of character.

Now that Allie is super-remorseful and wanting things to work out in our marriage, I spend a lot of days very confused. I am thankful that she’s here and didn’t leave. I am thankful that she is remorseful and very upset with herself that she did what she did. BUT, I am having a nearly impossible time getting over the fact that she did it in the first place.  She did it. No stopping her.

This is possibly the deathblow to our marriage for me. I have found myself wondering, even looking outside of our marriage. For the first time since that private ceremony where I committed my lifelong sexuality and faithfulness to her. I am considering other women. Even somehow welcoming the thoughts. Would I go through with it? Not sure.

Allie opened a door to our marriage and it’s like opening a porthole underwater. The water just keeps coming in. Even if you happen to get the porthole to close, it has already flooded the room you’re in. You’re going to be wading through water for a very long time. Every step you take will be in the flood waters and you’re going to be constantly reminded of how the water got there in the first place.

“It never crossed my mind to be cautious about my relationships with other men because I never realized I could be so vulnerable”

The author in the above linked article says that it never crossed her mind to be cautious about her relationships with other men. Interestingly, I warned Allie about being cautious with Mark. I saw the two of them laughing about something in the Crossfit class and I said that she needed to be very careful not to give off the wrong impression. The problem was that Allie was ALREADY looking outside of our marriage for affirmation.

Mark is a narcissist. That narcissism gives him the enviable ability to complement others and make others feel good. But those complements and affirmations are a means to an end for a narcissist. They aren’t genuine. Rather they are manipulative, cunning and sly. They are simply to satisfy themselves. Narcissists will freely give complements, attention and affirmations to get what they want. For Mark, it was sex with my wife. He used her. And she let him. She fell for the oldest trick in the narcissist book.  Flattery. Allie falls all too easily to the narcissistic people of the world. Her dad was the biggest example in her life. Completely into himself and himself ONLY, he used manipulation to exploit those around him.

But Allie is married to me. A non-narcissist. I am skeptical. When I first met Mark, I thought to myself “that guy is full of shit…and himself. If he’s full of himself and shit, then the two must be related.” Is Mark pleasant to be around? Sure.  In doses.  He’s pretty funny,  confident (as all narcissists are) and seems to be happy. But for those of us who can see through it, we’re quickly turned off by the superficiality of narcissists. Allie on the other hand, plays right into a narcissist’s hands. And as her husband, there is NOTHING I can do to stop it. If I try, I am just being an asshole.

There is the rub with the idea that our marriage can go on. I struggle daily with the idea that we can remain married. I am married to a woman who is completely vulnerable, easily tricked and willing to give herself over to another man. Scary huh?

But on the other hand, divorce effing sucks. I will lose 50% of my time with my kids simply because she couldn’t keep her clothes on? Not a great deal for me.

 

 

What are the painful visualizations like?

 

What’s it like to to be the spouse who was cheated on? What are the pictures that go through your mind?

For me, it is a constant visualization of the two of them together. Watch this funny video.

  • I am the person taking the shower
  • The painful thoughts are the shampoo
  • The guy with the shampoo can be Satan

The video is pretty funny, but thoughts and visualizations of an affair are no laughing matter. If you’re a cheating wife, this is what you’re putting your husband through.

Stay for the kids

There is a good argument out there about parents who have experienced infidelity. The argument centers around staying married for the kids’ sake. If that is the ONLY reason you’re staying, then you will be better off divorced. But, your kids may not fare so well.

Studies indicate that there are lifelong consequences for kids who experience their parents getting a divorce.

  • Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.
  • Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.
  • Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.
  • Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.
  • Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly.6 They are also more likely to suffer child abuse.
  • Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress.
  • And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.

So parents who are considering divorce are statistically likely to put their kiddos through these things. Some kids don’t experience these but the probability increases.

The Wallerstein study shows that the effects of divorce can last 25 years!  Yep. You read that correctly. (the linked article above has all of the references linked)

“Contrary to what we have long thought, the major impact of divorce does not occur during childhood or adolescence. Rather, it rises in adulthood as serious romantic relationships move center stage . . . Anxiety leads many [adult children of divorce] into making bad choices in relationships, giving up hastily when problems arise, or avoiding relationships altogether.”

Wallerstein adds that the problems are compounded by parents who go on to marry another spouse. Feelings of abandonment and confusion are added because of the parent’s desperate attempt to get their own needs met. The driving force for divorced parents is the loneliness that makes people kind of crazy.

The desperation for a single parent to find someone who will love and accept them causes them to almost forget about their first family.

“Children never get over divorce. It is a great loss that is in their lives forever. It is like a grief that is never over. All special events, such as holidays, plays, sports, graduations, marriages, births of children, etc., bring up the loss created by divorce as well as the family relationship conflicts that result from the ‘extended family’ celebrating any event.”

The article goes on to say that parents should take a LONG PAUSE before pursuing divorce. That’s what I am doing now. I am pausing. Though Allie is remorseful and apologetic, I am still triggered every day, every hour by thoughts. I am wrestling with the decision of staying or leaving after discovering her second affair.

 

We are staying married

UPDATE:  I am filing for divorce this week.  After six months of thinking, praying, and clearing my head, I simply can’t take the pain of the affair(s).  Oh Yeah, when I wrote this, I wasn’t aware of the affair she had with her boss last year for several months. That really was the straw that broke my back.

Do I feel secure in my marriage? Nope.

Do I think that Allie will cheat again? Probably, if given the opportunity.

So why then am I staying married to her? Why put myself through that again? Great questions.

As you know, Allie had an affair with Mark which I discovered on March 20th, 2018. Since then, it has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I have wrestled with the question of staying with or leaving her. And what is best for our three sons. This was Allie’s 2nd affair.

Allie’s affair partner Mark is now divorced and Allie was at least a 50% cause of their marriage splitting up. I have a LOT to deal with mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  All of that being said, I am staying with Allie for now. Perhaps forever.

So the question is why? Why would I stay with someone who obviously doesn’t care about her commitment to me and/or her covenant with God? Why stay with someone who would treat me like absolute crap, rake me over the coals, tear out my heart and then try to make amends? Why stay with a homewrecker? Why give into her at all? Why not punish her by letting her be a single?

My answer is complex. I have loved her since the day I met her nearly 20 years ago. Allie wasn’t my type. She wasn’t the most attractive woman I had ever been with or ever met. Allie struggled with acne, even at 23 years old when I met her. Her mom wasn’t attractive, her family was quirky, and she came with a load of medical school debt from her physical therapy degree. But for some crazy reason, I loved her.

We have been through a MASSIVE amount of experiences together. We’ve lived overseas….twice. We’ve traveled the world. We’ve given birth to three sons in three different countries. We have done more than most couples I know.

She is the mother of my three sons. And it is well-documented that kids get screwed up by divorce. Sometimes for their entire lives.

Lastly, God. My faith in God convinces me that I should stay. Not for her, but for Him. Because she deserves divorce and struggle and pain, I won’t give it to her. God wouldn’t give it to me when I deserved it. When Paul was in prison for sharing faith in Jesus, he said that he has learned to become content in all circumstances. Then he goes before King Agrippa and states his case. He has done nothing wrong, yet he is punished.

I also haven’t done anything wrong in this affair. Quite the opposite. After the last affair, I changed. I became the man Allie said that she needed me to be so that we could avoid another affair. Then she had another affair. It crushed me.

Has everything changed? Yes. I will never see her the same or see our marriage the same. It’s not the same any more. Everything has changed. My views. My life. But I can still be content. I can still be satisfied in God with what He has for me though my life isn’t what I had hoped or planned.

Right now in Allie’s remorse, she is being very sweet and attentive. We had a great sex life before and that has not changed since her second affair. She is aware of me and my physical needs and she is being very apologetic. Could be empty words to avoid punishment. Could be true remorse. The only way to find out is to stick around.

If I divorce her, it would be final. But I think I would regret it for the rest of my life. I think that if I do it now, I wouldn’t know the end of the story. Imagine watching Star Wars and giving up on the heroes when it seems like all is lost. Imagine any story where the situation seems hopeless. Then, by the end, there’s a ray of sunshine. Hope.

Will I ever love her the same? Will I ever love her better? Will she become brand new? Will she make it into heaven? Is her soul lost?

I don’t know. But if I divorce her, I won’t ever know. Divorce ends the story. Our story. Sure, I could write another story with another woman, but honestly…..fuck that. Seems like a nightmare to me right now.

I have heard that 2-3 years after divorce, your head is clear and you can date again. You can be healthy. I think that 2-3 years after divorce, I would be wondering what would have happened if I had stuck with Allie. I can’t just unlove her, even when she does what she did.

Does it suck? Yes. But I am still hanging on. Still writing the story.

Allie’s first affair

As I was writing my last post a question came to mind, “who am I married to?” Carrie describes Allie as “the woman who ruined my marriage.”

It made me think of the first time Allie had an affair with a married man. His name was Shawn and Allie met him mountain biking in May of 2012.

Back up ONE MONTH from there. We’d just come back from a two-week family vacation in Costa Rica. Spent about $5,000 on that. From Costa Rica, we flew up to South Carolina to celebrate Allie’s Grandmother’s 90th birthday. While there, Allie’s dad was a complete ass-hat to us and we later found out that he was having an affair with a woman he is now married to.

Okay, fast forward. Allie met Shawn on a biking trail in Colorado. She was mountain biking a lot because her friend Gina was really into it. Their mountain biking outings were about 4-5 hours long and I would watch the kids for her so she could get out there and exercise. (this would come back to bite me)

Gina and Allie meet up with Shawn on a trail. He rides with them that day. Of course, Allie is quick to share her phone number with him so that she can invite him to ride again. That’s where it starts. He starts texting her and she “didn’t see it coming.”  Just like with Mark.

He gets so interested in her and they start having meet-ups.  They get physical and emotional, but supposedly didn’t have sex. I wasn’t there, so I can’t be 100% sure that’s true.

The affair ended because I caught her by finding some of the lovey dovey emails they were sending back and forth. Allie had used an old email account that she used to use so that I wouldn’t see the communications. But, like all cheaters, she eventually got caught.