I discovered this forum several weeks ago and it is by far the most helpful forum I have found. I would like to take this opportunity to describe my own situation that I have been living with for the past few years. I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions you may have.
First off, I must say that I married the woman of my dreams 33 years ago. I have always been faithful to her and would have never strayed for fear of breaking her heart and the risk of losing her. I felt that we were best friends and I always let her know that I loved her.
About 12 years into our marriage we were making love and at the time of her climax she began shouting out another man’s name. I must explain that she was moaning and shouting in such a different way that if she had said my name I would have asked her about it because I would have wanted to know what I was doing right to cause such a passionate response. I decided to be patient about it instead of being angry and confrontational because I felt that the angry approach could cause harm to our relationship. I gave her around 5 minutes to bring up the subject on her own. When she did not mention it I asked her what was up with screaming this guy’s name. At first she denied it ever happened and after I persisted in questioning her about this she then started yelling and screaming at me. Up to this point in our marriage I had never seen her angry before, but this was way beyond angry, she was furious and in a rage. So I decided to drop the subject for awhile and to try again at another calmer time. This calmer time never came.
I thought about it and figured that she had an affair with someone at her work. The name she screamed was the same as her boss’s name and he had a reputation for making the women sleep with him in return for promotions but it was also a common first name and could have just as easily been somebody else who worked there. I just figured that she got involved with somebody who came on to her at work. I took it as a mistake she had made and that we could get past it by working together. This did not affect my love for her, it was just a problem that we needed to work at together.
Every time I mentioned this incident to my wife, she resorted to getting angry again. Over all these years, she never did deny having an affair with this person, she just refused to talk about it. Slowly throughout the years without any progress on resolving this issue I began to get depressed about our situation, it wore me down. I then changed my approach, instead of putting it in terms of her behavior, I put it in terms of how this long unresolved situation is wearing me down. This change seemed to work because one day in the car she started a conversion where totally out of the blue she said, “you know, sometimes when two people work closely together on a project, they can get involved with each other without ever having any intentions of having an affair”. I was floored by her statement and incredibly encouraged that we were finally make some progress towards resolving our situation.
Several months later after no further progress I had a heart to heart conversation with her about how this was affecting me and how we need to solve this situation and get some form of closure so we can get back on with our lives. I’ll never forget it when she said, “You are right, I did it and it was wrong and I apologize”. At this point it was around 15 years since the initial incident and I was grateful for her admission and apology.
Several hours later that evening I thanked her for admitting to her affair. Then she denied that she ever admitted to anything! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, she was denying she admitted to the affair in the identical manner that she denied ever screaming out that other man’s name 15 years earlier.
I was so upset, I couldn’t sleep that evening. In the middle of the night my wife came to me to tell me that she did have an affair, but not the one I think she had. She now claimed that the job related affair never did happen and for me to drop it because she is now going to tell me about this other affair that did happen!
This first affair was with a mutual friend that she is now admitting to started just several of months into our marriage. She initiated the affair, she sought it out. Then she has to add that she never loved me when she married me, she never loved me during most of our 30 years of marriage and she never once felt guilty during all the times that she cheated on me.
I would like to concentrate on the fact that my wife to this day gets upset and defensive whenever I mention the job related affair (that she previously admitted to) and now defiantly denies that it ever happened. She had around 15 years to deny it but never did until just after she admitted to it.
Her position is that when she admitted to the job related affair, she was confused with the affair that she had when we first got married, but I specifically used the employee’s name when speaking to her about our unresolved problem and knew nothing about this much earlier affair. She also asks why she would not be honest about telling the truth about her now denying her job related affair. My answer is that if she lied about a 30 year old affair, why not lie about a 15 year old affair also? My other reasons are that the affair that she is now owning is with somebody now living several states away while the affair she now denies could possibly complicate her current work situation.
There has been absolutely no closure whatsoever in this situation for the past 3 years. The issue I have with the affair with the mutual friend is that since it happened at the start of our marriage, it causes a lot of problems with my perception of what I thought was a happy time in our marriage. I do not care about the details of this affair, but I do deserve an answer as to what was the problem with our marriage for her to initiate a multi year affair while she is newlywed.
Regarding the “Plan A” advice, I have been calm and never resorted to yelling or name calling. I never resorted to exposing her because her mother is 89 years old and does not deserve to hear this stupidity and her aunt would just tell her mother. My side of the family loves my wife and declared that I must not be telling the entire story because nobody would ever do these terrible things without provocation. Regarding the “Plan B” advice, I know that I should have left her at some point during this struggle, but I have been paralyzed by this situation and I always believed that with love and support this situation would correct itself. I now know this will not happen.
I have explained to her that I forgive her for her affairs but there has to be a time we discuss what happened and the reasons for it, especially for starting an affair so early in a marriage, but she refuses to discuss anything. She says that “her brain freezes up” every time she tries to talk about it. I can not believe that she honestly believes that somebody can live the rest of their life with somebody responsible for so much deception without reaching some kind of closure.
She tells me she loves me but how can I believe that when she told me the same thing all of those years when she had these affairs, especially when she is not willing to help reach some kind of closure? If your spouse was to have one affair, you can fool yourself into thinking it was a mistake and everybody makes mistakes and everyone deserves to be forgiven. When your spouse admits to more than one affair, you wonder how many more are there that you do not know about. Eventually you reach the point where you understand that if you want to stay with the person it is not who they were then when they had these affairs but who she is now.
What is maddening about all of this is all the suffering, sleepless nights, depression, anxiety and medication I have had to take to get thru this and she can not be bothered to account for her actions. She holds all the cards in my situation. If she says she slept with somebody 7 times over the course of 3 years, how could I possibly dispute that? It could be 21 times in 5 years for all I know, but the point is that even holding all the cards she still doesn’t make a single effort to explain anything to me.
I’m 55 years old and I’m tired of being treated this way. I have been calm and restrained throughout all of this and it has gotten me absolutely nowhere. She has been nicer to me lately but I feel like I’m being played. To me all of this boils down to respect, do you respect me and our marriage enough to admit your mistakes and explain yourself so that we could possibly achieve some sense of closure? A lot of advice on this site says to go with your gut, my gut says that her low self esteem is killing my low self esteem!
I know I have been an idiot through all of this. I am getting better now and I know I got to get on with the rest of my life either married or single. I have lost all hope with my wife having a change of heart and trying to make things right. I know that if somebody had told me this same story about their life and asked for my opinion I would have said to run, run, run as far away as you can. The problem is that when it is your 33 year marriage, it is difficult to imagine life without her because I will always care for her. There are no children involved and no alcohol or drug addictions.
Thank you for your time.