Went a little outside normal forum etiquette. So, I'll start again:

*big breath* this is going to be a monster.

First post. I'm used to posting, I'm a forum junkie.

I am 32 years old with three children, and we have just passed our 11th wedding anniversary. It was the hardest day of my life...

My wife and I met at the end of our junior year of high school. For me, it was pretty much love at first sight. Something about her drew me to her like nothing I had ever experienced in my young life at that time. I was 17, and she was 16 and had been involved in a horrible situation with a 24 year-old when we met.

We dated for a short while, before my total adoration of her frightened her and she turned me away. Summer passed, and a new school year had began. I did everything I could to ignore her and erase her existence from my memory. She watched me from afar, and resolved to get me back.

We started dating again in November. In January, we celebrated her 18th birthday. My in-laws... well, they were overly liberal, involved in drugs and drinking, and there was a lot of liquor at the birthday party. We both got very intoxicated. Her ex, the aforementioned 24 year-old showed up and her, I, and her brother took off with him, went for a drive, then ended up back at her house. Her mother was at the house the party was at. I passed out. Her ex took her in the other room and took advantage of her in her intoxicated state.

It was painful, but our relationship was new, we were young, and we were both drunk out of our minds. She told me about it, and I told her I could move past it. It wasn't easy, but I did.

A few months later, she was pregnant with our first daughter. She was born November of that year when I had just turned 19, and she was 18.

She moved in with me, and I got a job at a grocery store. I told her at that time that I didn't think that just because we had a child together we should get married, though I did love her completely even then.

I was promoted to checker within a few months, a job which payed well. A little more than 2 years later, she was pregnant again, and we decided to marry. We married September 25th, 1999 - the day after my 21st birthday. To this day it was the happiest day of my life. I was so overtaken with emotion, I could hardly speak my vows.

After our second daughter was born, my wife started becoming a little withdrawn. She was now working full time, and we had two small children, so I understood. She was now not just wife, but a working woman, and a mother. We were doing well, we always had fun and talked, but she was withdrawn with sex and basic affection.

After our second daughter, she also went on Depo for birth control. This was another thing that both she and I had attributed to her withdrawal. She was on Depo for 7 years. During that time, as she withdrew I would fight and pull her out of the murk.

In 2004, we agreed that I should go back to school, and I started back to college while working full time. Going to College is a fairly daunting task, working full time makes it harder, and fighting to keep a marriage happy on top of it makes it all simply exhausting.

In 2006, we decided to have one last child. We always stated we didn't want to have any more after we were 30. Our youngest of three daughters was born in December of 2007.

We now had three children, I was still chipping away at school, and we were both working full time. It was a recipe for disaster.

The weight and stress of school, work, three children, and fighting through my own unmet needs while trying to meet the needs of my wife eventually collapsed on me.

I was not performing well at work and was on the verge of being fired, and I failed all of my classes. I was in a severe depression. School was my ticket for an easier life for myself and my family, so I quit my job. But I had also given up on much more. I no longer had enough "gas" to keep our relationship alive on my own. When I would try to talk to her about things, she started reacting with statements like "Are you in a depression again?"

I was physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. I was suspended from school for a year due to my grades, and I had to get a new job. I spent a month mostly in bed just trying to get my head back up.

I started a new job at minimum wage, and in a few months was working graveyard shift full time. I had worked graveyard on and off for the 10 years I had been at the grocery store, so it wasn't an issue at first. In the fall, I started back to school. In March of 2009, my wife and I took a trip to Las Vegas for a week for our 10th anniversary.

We reconnected very well on that trip. I always felt that we loved each other very much, even though she was not very effective at showing me affection. I had a spark of hope because of that trip.

Back home, things went back to normal, but I still had that hope. In December, I finished my associate's degree.

Then, horror. In early February, we went to a party for my brother-in-law's 50th birthday. My wife and I were drinking. There was a little spat - I told her that I loved her so much that sometimes it hurt. She didn't understand how that works, and I asked her how she thought it could be, she replied "I know that I can be very cold to you."

My wife is a very beautiful woman, and a beautiful person, and has always enjoyed someone flirting with her. I asked her if my adoration was enough, and she stated flatly "No."

At the end of the night, we had an argument, and I heard things no person wants to hear; "I think we married too young, I think we are just together because of the kids." She also brought up male friends she had before we got together (whom she had physical involvement with) and said she felt like I didn't let her have friends.

I was broken. That morning, I tried to examine anything and everything that I was failing to do as a husband and father. That day, I began to change it all. I also started applying to Nursing programs to finish school.

She was shut off. The only time I got any type of emotional reaction from her at all is when I asked her if I should leave.

Two weeks in, she was still shut down and unresponsive. She had even stayed the night with a friend from work to get away. She told me not to call or text, and she wanted me to just let her miss me. She called and texted me some that night, but then left me cold suddenly. One night, I grabbed her phone and looked at her texts to see if she had said anything to anyone. I simply believed our marriage was over and just needed proof.

I saw one text about something possibly happening the night she stayed at her friend's, and a vehement denial.I also noticed a short and simple text, nothing crazy, just something about music. Then curiosity hit me. I got on the computer, and checked the phone records. I had no idea you could see text records.

I took her phone, and put names to numbers. I noticed one name, the name of one of her coworkers popped up constantly. The night she stayed at her friends, it went until 5AM, and picked up again at 9AM.

I confronted her about the texting, I asked her if she had been texting someone a lot, and spending a lot of work time with them. She knew she was caught for that, and didn't deny it. The next night, when I got home from work, I checked her phone again. I saw a text to her sister about me confronting her, and that while I couldn't see what was in the texts, she was "still busted."

I confronted her again. She admitted that they had kissed. She said he tried to kiss her, and she stopped him. But then she followed him later and kissed him.

After this admission, she finally became responsive. Things from her side turned around totally. I was hurt, but I tried to put my best foot forward as much as I could. But I knew it couldn't have just been kissing...

For months I asked if anything else had happened, and she denied it. I was reading anything and everything I could, trying to find help, trying to find answers. I skimmed over MB a few times.

Somehow I knew that if the line had been crossed, it was more than just a kiss. Finally, at the end of July, I somehow found the loose brick in the wall she had built. We were texting back and forth, and I asked her what she needed from me to be happy, she told me "just you," my reply was honestly and faithfulness.

The next day at work, by her account, she was like a zombie. It was time to face up. When I picked her up, she looked exhausted. Then, when we got home, I heard the dreaded words "We need to talk." She finally admitted that they had slept together during lunch breaks at work, though she first made me promise that I wouldn't leave her.

I don't know if it was shock, I don't know if it was because somehow I KNEW something had to have happened, I don't know if my care and love for her overtook everything else at first, but for the first few weeks all I could do was to reassure her, and make sure she was OK.

Then, it finally hit me. Pain, anger, sadness. Through everything my wife had been my rock, even when she wasn't.

When I shut down, there was no longer anyone fighting for our marriage. She had never done it, and didn't know how. She had never had to try for my attention, and didn't know how to show me affection.

A 24 year-old at work started flirting with her, and at the beginning this year started pushing harder and harder, and she went right along with it.

She tells me she feels like she had lost me, and for the most part, she is right. I had fought for so long, that in my mind and heart, I had given up. I stopped fighting, I stopped talking, I stopped trying. When I stopped fighting for my own needs, I stopped meeting hers.

At this point, I don't even know where I'm going any more, but it feels good to get this out SOMEWHERE. Some of our family know just a part of the story, but I haven't really had anywhere to turn with all of this but to her.

Thankfully, he is gone. However, his sister still works with my wife, and my wife's place of work now just serves as a reminder to me.

I am in school, and doing the best I can despite dealing with this at the same time, which makes concentrating very difficult.

I'm 3 months in to knowing the truth, and for the most part I have more good days than bad. My wife is a different person than she has been in a long time.

But, I find myself feeling guilty. I feel guilty because I hurt, because I'm angry. Even on good days, sometimes there is this low hum of sickness in my heart. It's like having a ring in your ear. And sometimes it just builds until it overwhelms me.

I have a relationship many people would envy, but what it took, what it has cost to get here is a price I wish I never had to pay...

"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

"Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons." - Michael Shermer

"Fair speech may hide a foul heart." - Samwise Gamgee LOTR