Should I stay or Should I leave?

This is the battle: Should I stay with Allie or should I leave? As you know, Allie had an affair with a man named Mark starting in January 2018 and ending sometime around March 20, 2018 when I caught her. I didn’t catch her red handed. But right after being with him, I confronted her on a story she told me and she confessed.

Since that date, I have asked six to eight times for her to get a divorce. Her affair partner Mark is getting divorced because Mark’s wife Carrie filed this month. I don’t know the status of their proceeding except to say that all the normal stuff has been filed. We will see what happens once the judgment is entered.

So the question is to stay or go?

When Allie cheated on me the first time in 2012, I was very quick to forgive her, move through the pain and reestablish trust with her. After six years, I completely trusted her. We had a great year last year, going camping several times, taking some trips as a couple, moving into a new home and celebrating all that life offers. I look back at photos from 2017 and I simply don’t see the build up of pain that she describes.

However, Allie’s dad did some crazy shit over the past six years and she’s feeling a lot of rejection from him. But what the eff does that have to do with me? It doesn’t.

This affair took me by complete surprise. Other than a few clues she left here and there, for all intents and purposes, our marriage was going along quite nicely. We were about to celebrate 18 years, our kids were in a school they loved, and we’ve just moved into a home that we are very comfortable in. Everything was great. Literally.  I can name some really wonderful stuff that was happening. Yet, Allie decided to have another affair.

She’s often said that it was a sweet time when I forgave her the first time. She loved how “into her” I was. Truth be told, I love my wife. She’s the love of my life and I will probably love her the rest of my days on earth. But how do you reconcile an event like this?

Right now, Allie is remorseful. She often says how her mind is changing and how wrong she was. She have apologized many times in the last couple of weeks for what she did. She talks about how she was an idiot and that the weight of her sin is very heavy.

“When mistrust comes in, loves goes out.”

But she said that last time too. She used very similar words. She used similar actions. My problem is that she has a serious hold over me because of my love for her. I almost hate how she can get what she wants from me. I really wish I just didn’t care. I still want to protect her as much as I want to protect our kiddos.

I know if she and I get divorced, she’ll begin some crazy-destructive behaviors and I don’t want to put her or our sons through that. How do I know she’ll begin destructive behaviors? Because of the things she’s said throughout this time. She says she would want to be with Mark because she has feelings for him and it would be convenient. What? Doesn’t she realize the chances of a relationship born out of an affair has about a 0%? Of course she does.

Doesn’t she realize that he doesn’t want her? He got his ego boost and now is paying the price. Who in their right mind would want to go into a relationship with someone who cheated on their spouse to start it? That is the same question I ask myself. Who in their right mind would want to continue a relationship with a person who cheated on them multiple times?

The question of whether I will ever trust her again is probably pretty ridiculous. Of course I won’t. Fool me once……

Then, if I don’t trust her do we even have a relationship? Isn’t every relationship worth having built on the foundation of trust? Will I ever trust anyone again? Hmmmmmm?

So, I am weighing love vs. security. Balancing my mental battles with the good times. She still calls me “babe” and “honey” and “sweetie.” But those sound so empty. She still wants to plan future stuff, but I just can’t go there right now.

Divorce brings with it a shit load of pain. I know that. I would lose 50% of my time with my kids, lose my daily talks with Allie, it would be lonely as crap as I sleep in a bed alone for the first time in 18+ years. Making dinners during my “off weeks” would be super effing lonely. Maybe I am just scared of being alone?

I do love her. I do want the best for her. But I really don’t know. Struggling like crazy today.

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.

 

Hanging on by a thread

The last day or two I have been hanging on by a thread. Since discovering Allie’s affair in March 2018, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. Anger, depression, heartbreak, isolation, embarrassment, rejection and insecurity are just a few of the emotions I have experienced in the past 6-7 weeks.

Now that my emotions are beginning to normalize a bit, I have a lot of questions in my head about Allie. Questions about whether I want to stay with her or not. I am reading a book right now called “After the Affair“.  Here is just one of the profound quotes from the book when a person discovers their partner is having an affair.

“Your view of your life and the world you liven in may be ripped apart” & “the greatest threat to recovery is the loss of hope itself.”

The book is heavy, but eye-opening. It identifies feelings that people experience and describes how to recover. I am only in the first section which is written for those who have just discovered their partner’s affair. I very much identify with the people and examples the author cites.

Part of the trauma that you get to enjoy when your spouse has an affair is that several illusions are shattered. The illusion that you are special above all others is a big one.  You know, the idea that because she married you, she would be faithful to you and not go out sleeping around.

Another illusion you might have had is that your marriage was extraordinary. No matter what you’ve made it through your wife sleeping with another man will end that idea pretty quickly.

Now, you’re dealing with the loss of those two ideas that you had. You’re not special and your marriage wasn’t valuable. Those two corpses will leave you reeling for a while.

Another illusion that is there is that the kids will somehow play a role in giving your wife a conscious when she strays. Nope. Even our youngest child who has Allie completely wrapped couldn’t stop her from the affair. I venture to say, she’d have moved his car seat out of the way to lay down in the back seat with Mark.

As your illusions get shattered, your confidence in those illusions and beliefs get destroyed. All that you fought for in the past changed in an instant. None of it really matters any longer.

Here are some things that I believed:

  • 18 years of history meant something.
  • Our three kids and their future emotions are vitally important
  • I am special among all men
  • We have an extraordinary marriage
  • She loves me and would fight tooth and nail for us
  • She loves herself and wouldn’t not cheapen herself
  • She wouldn’t risk getting an STD (we get to enjoy one of those now too. More on that later)
  • She is an upstanding Christian woman. She doesn’t have the capacity to go from texting to sex in just a few weeks.
  • She respects me
  • She honors me
  • She honors our marriage
  • She has the maturity to come to me FIRST before having an affair.
  • She is an honest person
  • She knows how bad it hurt me the first time she cheated. She wouldn’t go that far again.

You see, all those things that I believed are shit.

Lifelong Consequences

Maybe you’re reading this and you are or have considered having an affair on your spouse. My guess is that you’re a decent person because unlike most, you’ve tried to find something on the good ‘ole internet that will help stop you OR justify you.

Or maybe you’ve had a cheating spouse and you’re looking for answers. There aren’t any. But there are a lot of us out there who have been cheated on.  Maybe that is comforting.

Or maybe you’ve cheated already and wanted to see if there are any lifelong consequences you may face. There are.  And you’re shit for not telling your spouse.  Yeah, I called you shit. And you’re an effing coward. But, do read on.

If you walked down that aisle, stood in front of that officiant and made promises, then you likely said something like this:

“I promise to hold you above all others. I promise to be faithful. For better for worse. Foresaking all others”

You might be sitting there thinking that I don’t know what’s happening in your marriage. True.  But if you made those promises, then you should have the maturity to unmake them. You knew what you were doing when you walked the aisle so you cannot convince me that you don’t know what you’re doing now.

Whatever you’re saying to your friends or yourself to “justify” your infidelity is a load of donkey shit.

  • He isn’t meeting my emotional needs.
  • He won’t see a counselor
  • She doesn’t want sex with me
  • I deserve to feel good
  • My spouse is an ass to me

Those things may be true. Heck some of them are probably true.  But have some effing gonads and tell your spouse first. Sit them the fuck down and say, “I am leaving you. I deserve to feel good and this marriage isn’t working for me. I know that this may hurt. But it is what I need to do for me.”  See, wasn’t that easy?

The coward’s road is to have an affair. Like a rat sneaking around at night trying to get something going on the side BEFORE telling your spouse.

What makes you think that you’re even ready for a new relationship when you don’t have the fucking maturity to end this one in an honorable way?

You have to realize that if you’re straying or cheating, then you’ve got the maturity issues. I don’t care what kind of dumb ass your husband is, YOU’RE the one with the problems. Swallow that pill with your next load.

Don’t have a crazy cousin, then you’re the crazy cousin

Okay, enough soap box stuff.  Your affair has lifelong, irreversible consequences. Some of those are:

  • He will never trust you again like he did before
  • If you truly love your husband, you’re gonna destroy him.
  • You can get an STD
  • You can’t unfuck someone
  • You will always have mental images that won’t ever go away. Those memories last forever
  • You will screw up your children who you claim to love

I know its a futile exercise to even say these things.  But I thought I would put it out there. Even if you get to be with your affair partner, you will screw around on him too. It’s only a matter of time.

You’re screwing up your kids too.

In this article, you can see how badly your divorce from infidelity will screw up your children. Not to mention that if you were to remarry your affair partner (or someone else) you’re not gonna be happy. You’re gonna divorce them too and screw them up as well.

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?

 

Cost per sex

I carefully consider decisions that I make, something my wife, Allie, doesn’t do very well. As you know, Allie has had multiple affairs now and I am weighing the options of staying or leaving her. She is repentant and remorseful now, but it is not a foregone conclusion that I will stay married to her.

I was thinking about how much the sex cost Mark, Allie’s affair partner. Mark’s wife Carrie is divorcing him and she filed on May 1st, 2018. I am writing this on the 19th of May.

Allie reports that they had sex four times. Almost five, but Allie says she couldn’t go through with it the first time they met up. Twice Mark bought and paid for a hotel room with cash. Let’s say that cost him $130.00 with tax.  That’s $260.00 so far. Allie says she insisted that he wear a condom. So, unless he bought the value pack, that’s about $13.00.

The other three times, Allie says that they had sex in her car. That’s nice huh.  I get to ride around in that car and think about that crap.

Anyway, Mark is up to $273.00 for four times.  That’s about $68.00 per encounter.

But, like I said, Carrie is divorcing Mark. Mark and Carrie own their home outright. It is worth about $450,000.  (I am a Realtor and can look that shit up)

Carrie hasn’t worked since they got married nearly 20 years ago. They have four children. Three are minors. Thus, Mark is gonna be paying 100% of their care and child support. That will probably be about $2,000 per month. Sure, he was already paying that, but they were married. Now, he’s gonna be paying that while not being married.  If he wants to have a new relationship in the future, he will still be paying that and probably for another woman too. Expensive.

Carrie will get maintenance and/or alimony. That amount will have to do with 1/2 of Mark’s remodeling business. If he’s clearing $150,000 per year (wild guess), then she’ll get about $5,000-6,000 monthly.  Yep.  She gets half of the egghead’s income because that’s how it works here.

So, let’s just take a year at $7,000 per month.  That’s $84,000.  Plus $225,000 on the house and the couple hundred bucks he spent on the hotel and condoms.  Probably looking at $309,000 thousand dollars.

Divide that by the four times they had sex and you’re looking at about $77,000 per episode.  That’s a lot of dough.  How much is my wife’s vagina worth? I mean, she’s great and all but $77k per?  Yeah no.

Let’s say that he doesn’t have to pay that much in alimony and child support. All in, let’s assume he sends Carrie $4,000 monthly. Still sitting at $48,000 for the first year + half of the house. That’s $273,000 or about $70,000 bucks per fuck. That’s a lot of dough.

I get it. People are unhappy in their marriages. But just go tell your wife you’re unhappy. Still costs you money to get divorced, but when you commit adultery here in Idaho, the faithful spouse has you by the balls.

 

Another day another argument

Couldn’t sleep this morning. Woke up at 4:00 or so and just stared at the window in our bedroom. It was dark last night but there are some streetlights that illuminate our window blinds a bit. I just lie there thinking about how many slats were in the blinds. Could I count them? Would that help me sleep?

Allie moved closer to me and wrapped her arm around me. That may have helped in the past. But now, all I can think about is the nightmare of Allie sleeping with another man named Mark. On March 20th, 2018, I discovered Allie was having an affair with Mark. Since then, I have woken up almost every night at either 3:00 or 4:00 am. Sometimes I can go back to sleep. Sometimes I can’t.

Allie doesn’t like that I wake up and get up. She says it bothers her. Ok. But I am bothered that she’s had her second affair in six years. My problem is that I don’t come to decisions very quickly, especially when the decision is the hardest one I have ever made. Do I stay or do I go?

So last night I woke up. And pondered. What does staying look like? What does divorce look like? Do I want to get divorced? Can I ever trust Allie again? Will I be able to get past the visions in my head of the two of them having sex?

Allie woke up too. Then she starts talking. (always a bad choice at 4:00 am) It isn’t long until we’re arguing about some semantics.  Yesterday she described the affair as a “relationship.” While I agree that it was a relationship, my mind says that you don’t get to have sexual relationships and love relationships with other men unless you’re divorced or single. Once that is the case, then you have relationships. Until then, they’re affairs. And affairs aren’t relationships. They’re fantasy escapes for cowards.

An affair is a sexual relationship, romantic friendship, or passionate attachment between two people without the attached person’s significant other knowing.

Since Allie had all of those things — sexual relationship, romantic friendship and passionate attachment — without me knowing, that is an affair.

Okay. Point made. But she was arguing that the word relationship didn’t matter. It really doesn’t but she gets pretty defensive and will rail on me until I get her point and her side.

I didn’t argue back at all.  Just said that the use of the word had bugged me. Then Allie proceeds to tell me about context and how I assume things, etc. Remember, I only said that the use bothered me.  I didn’t verbalize any further assumptions.

As she argued, I was reminded that this is precisely why I want to divorce. I can apologize, I can be kind, I can give grace, I can try to calmly express my feeling(s) and she goes to effing town on me.

When she took a break, I finally said that this is one of the big things I have to see change in her before I make a decision to commit fully to this marriage.  I have to be able to express my feelings and be safe in that. If I can’t, then I will probably leave.

She said “if you want to leave, then go for it. I don’t want you to and it will suck, but just do it and get it over with.”

Before March 20th, I didn’t want to leave.

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.

 

 

Warning Signs of Affair Vulnerability

  • Unexplained discontent with your spouse
  • Feelings of being trapped in your marriage
  • An overwhelming sense that your needs are not being met
  • A desire to be away from your spouse
  • A reluctance to spend time at home
  • Fantasies about being married to someone else
  • Comparing your marriage to other marriages
  • Attraction to someone of the opposite sex
  • A constant preoccupation with  someone else
  • An unhealthy attachment to a coworker, friend or acquaintance of the opposite sex

The above warning signs come from this article.  Yep, Allie had all of those. Instead of coming to me and conversing, she had an affair. If your wife is in a place like this, do something. It won’t end well.