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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease
Many thanks for the many replies.

To unwritten:

(1) RE: Every situation is different.
What I meant is that when affairs happen, there are many different factors at play: newlyweds vs married 20+ years; kids vs no kids; other prior affairs vs none; alcohol in the picture vs no alcohol; abusive situation vs no abuse. FWIW, my wife & I have been married 20+ years, 3 kids that are late teens; no prior affairs. But another major factor is that I'm in Christian ministry as a vocation. There are some in my situation who might demand I be fired even if I have biblical grounds for divorcing my wife due to the affair. That makes this all the more complicated.


anon, please be assured that 99% of affairs are all alike. Marriages may have different mitigating factors, but affairs are the same and the solution is the same. Your situation is not complicated at all. You are headed to divorce full steam now. Our goal is to save your marriage and stop your enabling actions that are leading to that outcome.

Yours is a garden variety affair that we see every day on this forum.

Quote:
To armymama:

(3) Yes, I need a plan to execute. Not a wish or fleeting hopes. Which materials of Dr Hartley's do you recommend that I read and consider first for my situation?


The plan would be Plan A. This would start with exposure. You must first bring the affair out into the open. Nothing that we tell you to do can overcome your enabling. Affairs thrive on secrecy, so keeping it a secret only serves to enable it. All of your efforts will fail until you kill the affair. Exposure 101

Where did she meet this OM? Does he live/work close by? Do you live in a small community where she would run into him?


Quote:


(4) Yes, her lovebank is currently closed to me. Completely. No, I have no reason to think she is still communicating with the other man. It was a fling. A lot of sexting. Only met him 2x. She never thought it would hurt me if I didn't know (although I noticed that the affair changed her, even before I knew about the affair). This was not the kind of man she would ever marry or have a serious relationship with.

I have no reason to think she is now continuing to contact him.


My suggestion would be to do some super snooping. When an affair partner is threatened, as you did, they typically go further underground. This is why making threats in the absence of exposure is not recommended. It is very ineffective because it is like giving your battle plan to the enemy. They both know how you detected their affair, so it would be so easy to find other ways to communicate.

Is this OM married? Do you know?

Quote:

(5) I'm in Christian ministry. Exposing this could have disastrous effects beyond my marriage. So I'm very hesitant to make a wrong decision about exposing this. (See #1 above) I'm not a hypocrite and don't act like I'm perfect or my marriage is perfect, but I also know that my wife & I are held to a higher standard than others. So yes, in many ways, my situation is different. And this is much the reason I feel trapped with no one I can share this with.


You don't help yourself or your marriage by keeping this a secret. An AFFAIR has disastrous effects on a marriage and secrecy only compounds that toxic effect, as you can see. Exposure is therapeutic. You are not holding to a "higher standard" by keeping this a secret, you are holding to a lower standard.

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"Exposure is very likely to end the affair, lifting the fog that has overcome the unfaithful spouse, helping him or her become truly repentant and willing to put energy and effort into a full marital recovery. In my experience with thousands of couples who struggle with the fallout of infidelity, exposure has been the single most important first step toward recovery. It not only helps end the affair, but it also provides support to the betrayed spouse, giving him or her stamina to hold out for ultimate recovery."



Quote:
Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"The reason for the wide exposure is not to hurt the unfaithful spouse, but rather to end the fantasy. Your husband's secret second life made his affair possible, and the more you can to to make it public, the easier it is for him to see the damage he's doing. Keeping it secret does damage, but few know about it. Making it public helps everyone, including the unfaithful spouse and lover, see the affair for what it really is."


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


MelodyLane #2898113 05/01/17 11:50 AM
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I wanted to emphasize Dr Harley's comments about the therapeutic benefits of exposure. He is a Christian theologian and clinical psychologist who has specialized in saving marriages from infidelity for 50 years.

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"Exposure is very likely to end the affair,lifting the fog that has overcome the unfaithful spouse, helping him or her become truly repentant and willing to put energy and effort into a full marital recovery. In my experience with thousands of couples who struggle with the fallout of infidelity, exposure has been the single most important first step toward recovery. It not only helps end the affair,[size:20pt] but it also provides support to the betrayed spouse, giving him or her stamina to hold out for ultimate recovery."



Quote:
Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
"The reason for the wide exposure is not to hurt the unfaithful spouse, but rather to end the fantasy. Your husband's secret second life made his affair possible, and the more you can to to make it public, the easier it is for him to see the damage he's doing. Keeping it secret does damage, but few know about it. Making it public helps everyone, including the unfaithful spouse and lover, see the affair for what it really is."


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


MelodyLane #2898114 05/01/17 12:00 PM
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What does the Bible say to do about the fruitless works of darkness? The answer is in Ephesians 5:11

http://biblehub.com/ephesians/5-11.htm

MelodyLane taught me that, for what it's worth - she knows what she's talking about.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
MelodyLane #2898115 05/01/17 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted By: MelodyLane
You are headed to divorce full steam now. Our goal is to save your marriage and stop your enabling actions that are leading to that outcome.


How is divorce going to impact your ministry?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
markos #2898117 05/01/17 12:25 PM
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Many thanks again for the follow-up replies. Very grateful because I feel trapped right now.


To markos: thanks. I'll look at that Hartley book specifically.


To unwritten: thanks.

(6) "affair fog." Good way to put it. Yes, the affair really altered my wife's whole outlook on life and towards me. And I had expressed to her (before I discovered it) that I felt like she had changed and she denied it. And then when I discovered the affair, I could see in the weeks and weeks of texts how it matched up with exactly when I noticed her demeanor changing.

But now (as I already explained), the affair is over. So if I expose it further now, it feels like I'm digging up the past in a shameful hurtful kind of way towards her, not that I'm trying to prevent something that is current or ongoing.

I don't think she is trying to have another affair right now, but we're in limbo (as I explained on page 1). She doesn't want to decisively end our marriage and seek her own pursuits. Nor does she want to attempt to rebuild our marriage because she knows she just missed her best chance to have her own independent single life and seek her own pursuits.

(7) I have been quite open with my people in my ministry about my own sins, failures, and shortcomings. But I'm not comfortable at this moment of exposing those of my wife. I don't want to brand her publicly with the scarlet letter. I have always taken the approach to only say and post (on social media) positive things about my wife and kids. I think it would be ugly and out-of-place and hurtful to say or post any of their shortcomings about anything. They already live in a fish bowl more than any of them ever agreed to. But I am quite open about my own sins, failures, and shortcomings.


To MelodyLane: thanks.

(8) RE: Exposure 101.
I read your long post. That seems like the nuclear option in my situation. The affair is already over and in the past. So it feels like if I publicly expose this, it's hurtful and mean-spirited. I've take the approach that public sins should be confessed and exposed publicly. Private sins, privately. Personal sins, personally.

I must admit (and grantd, all of this is new to me... so please forgive me for still thinking through your advice critically), much of what you say in Exposure 101 almost sounds manipulative... publicly forcing her to do something against her will. I keep holding out hope that on her own she will realize the error of her ways and decide for herself to choose to love me. That's why I made the initial post here. Does that ever happen? Is there any chance that she might actually do this? Am I blinded by our past love and now myopic optimism and not in touch with reality with these hopes? (Again, please forgive me for thinking critically through what you are suggesting... I can't afford to make a bad choice with this... you can't really undo exposure.)

(9) Re: OM
She met him in another city 70 miles away. There is virtually no chance that she would accidentally come in contact with him again, unless she put herself intentionally in the position to do so. And now ever since I exposed the affair to her, when she has had to drive that direction, I noticed that she has avoided that whole area. And this used to be her absolute favorite place/city to visit (even before the affair ever started).

(10) Re: snooping.

That's why I asked on the other forum about how to search online dating websites. I would be surprised if she's actually doing that, but then again, almost nothing surprises me now.

Re: Christian ministry and exposure. See my remarks (#7) above.

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To markos:

If you like the way I exposed the affair and texted the OM and then blocked contact between them, then you might appreciate this. On the way home from the airport after our big trip to Australia, our whole family was hungry after the long flight. I intentionally stopped at the restaurant in this other city far from home where my wife had met the OM. None of us except her had ever been there or stopped in this city. It was my subtle way of letting her know, I know what happened here.

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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease
To markos:

If you like the way I exposed the affair and texted the OM and then blocked contact between them,


I thought you hadn't exposed the affair ... telling the OM about the affair is not exposure; he already knows he's having an affair.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease
To markos:

If you like the way I exposed the affair and texted the OM and then blocked contact between them, then you might appreciate this. On the way home from the airport after our big trip to Australia, our whole family was hungry after the long flight. I intentionally stopped at the restaurant in this other city far from home where my wife had met the OM. None of us except her had ever been there or stopped in this city. It was my subtle way of letting her know, I know what happened here.


What I think is good is that you confronted the OM and told him to back off. That is usually a great idea and makes an impression with your wife.

Sending her a subtle message letting her know - not sure that's effective.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease
So it feels like if I publicly expose this, it's hurtful and mean-spirited. I've take the approach that public sins should be confessed and exposed publicly. Private sins, privately. Personal sins, personally.


So your kids should be told, right?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
markos #2898125 05/01/17 12:56 PM
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Is the OM married?

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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease

To MelodyLane: thanks.

(8) RE: Exposure 101.
I read your long post. That seems like the nuclear option in my situation. The affair is already over and in the past. So it feels like if I publicly expose this, it's hurtful and mean-spirited. I've take the approach that public sins should be confessed and exposed publicly. Private sins, privately. Personal sins, personally.


I would not suggest being "hurtful" and "meanspirited" but being loving and therapeutic to your marriage and your wife's outlook. The fact that the affair is supposedly over [which you don't really know] does not change that. Exspoure is the first step towards recovery because it kills the fog that accompanies affairs and prevents a resumption. If the affair has truly ended, which you don't know, exposure will greatly help prevent a resumption.

Is the OM married?

Quote:
I must admit (and grantd, all of this is new to me... so please forgive me for still thinking through your advice critically), much of what you say in Exposure 101 almost sounds manipulative... publicly forcing her to do something against her will.


No, you can't force her to anything. Exposure is not "manipulating" but is simply exposing bad behavior and asking those around you to support your marriage.

This of it like this: An affair is an addiction much like heroin addiction. Is it manipulative to take steps to remove the heroin from your wife's life or is it what a loving a spouse would do? When marriages are restored using these principles, the wayward spouse often thanks her spouse for taking these steps because he/she recognizes the therapeutic effect.

Quote:
I keep holding out hope that on her own she will realize the error of her ways and decide for herself to choose to love me. That's why I made the initial post here. Does that ever happen?


No, that is an unrealistic hope.

Quote:
Is there any chance that she might actually do this? Am I blinded by our past love and now myopic optimism and not in touch with reality with these hopes? (Again, please forgive me for thinking critically through what you are suggesting... I can't afford to make a bad choice with this... you can't really undo exposure.)


I applaud you for asking questions, however, it does no good to ask questions if you are not open to the answers. Keep in mind that you are the least objective person on this thread.

I would not agree you have been thinking critically about this. You have been thinking EMOTIONALLY as evidenced by the frequent use of the word "FEAR" in your posts. You are obviously paralyzed by fear, which is why your situation is not improving. Hope is not a plan; conflict avoidance only creates more conflict.

Quote:
(9) Re: OM
She met him in another city 70 miles away. There is virtually no chance that she would accidentally come in contact with him again, unless she put herself intentionally in the position to do so. And now ever since I exposed the affair to her, when she has had to drive that direction, I noticed that she has avoided that whole area. And this used to be her absolute favorite place/city to visit (even before the affair ever started).


You do know he can drive to your area, right? He is also free to contact your wife anytime because his spouse has not been informed.

Quote:
(10) Re: snooping.

That's why I asked on the other forum about how to search online dating websites. I would be surprised if she's actually doing that, but then again, almost nothing surprises me now.


A good way to find out is to put spyware on her phone, a VAR and a GPS on her car.

Quote:
(7) I have been quite open with my people in my ministry about my own sins, failures, and shortcomings. But I'm not comfortable at this moment of exposing those of my wife.


Our goal is not to make you "comfortable" but to save your marriage. Once again, exposure is the most effective first step towards recovery. Affairs thrive on secrecy, so keeping her secret only helps the affair or the fantasy thrive and grow. Since you have told them how you were snooping, finding a new way would be simple, such as an affair phone, etc.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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The problem with the affair fog, is that it doesn't lift until no contact with the affair partner occurs. Many people come here and say the affair is over, but the fog behavior continues...usually this is because the affair is NOT over and has just gone further underground, or there is some other kind of casual contact that makes the affair fog continue.

Unless you have snooping methods in place to confirm, you don't know the affair is over. And even if she has OM on facebook or other social media, or is still hearing about him from mutual friends....ANY contact will keep her mind in that perpetual state of affair fog and will prohibit you from recovering. Again, if you don't have any snooping methods in place, you won't be able to confirm this.

MelodyLane #2898129 05/01/17 01:02 PM
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Exposure is not vindictive toward your wife - exposure is an intervention designed to save your wife from this affair, a repeat affair, and ultimately from a bad marriage - exposure is the beginning of a new life.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
MelodyLane #2898130 05/01/17 01:07 PM
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I want to add another important point. At my job, when my director asks me how I intend to achieve a specific goal, I can't tell him my plan is to "hope." I have to produce a step by step plan that is likely to lead to the desired outcome.

Marriage is the same. Not having a plan is a plan to fail. As you can see, your plan has not worked.

Most of us posting to you have experienced infidelity in our marriages and are in fully recovered marriages today. We didn't get here by doing nothing.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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I also want to say that it seems your ministry and image come before your marriage. You have an opportunity to save your marriage and keep your family together, but you don't want to take that step because it will tarnish your image. You will have a great image all the way to divorce court...

If you say that it is about protecting your wife's image, you are not really in control of her image and reputation. Any damage done to her reputation is done by having an affair, not by you telling the truth about your life. Do you see that distinction? Her image and reputation is based on her behavior, not you telling friends and family you need help.

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You said in your first post that she disengaged from you 2 years ago, but you just discovered she had an affair a few months ago. That makes me suspect this affair was going on for far longer, or there was another one prior to this. The timelines don't add up as she was exhibiting affair behavior long before this current affair.

How did you discover this current affair? What spyware do you have in place?

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p.s. we have many couples from this forum who survived affairs who are active in the ministry. They teach Marriage Builders classes and are role models for other couples in their churches who are experiencing marriage problems. They are great assets to their churches because they effectively recovered their marriages. They have helped many people. That would never be the case if they had taken your route of secrecy and denial. One of those couples is posting to you on this thread, Markos.

You can be a great asset to your church if you don the shroud of secrecy and take open measures to save your marriage.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Thanks for the continued replies. Helpful advices, questions, and comments. This is all so new to me. It's hard for me to decide what to say or do because I don't know these kinds of situations well enough to know what to expect as intentional or unintentional outcomes.


To markos:

(11) RE: Exposing the affair and the restaurant.
I was exposing to him that I knew about the affair. And I delayed exposing my knowledge of it to my wife until after the big overseas family trip. Going to that restaurant was to let my wife know I knew details, not that I just had suspicions. I knew the next morning was when I would confront her. And I did.

(12) RE: kids knowing of the affair.
I'm still trying to figure out if the kids should know about the affair. If we don't split up nor divorce, I doubt I would want the kids to know. If we do split up, I probably do want them to know otherwise they might think the divorce was all my fault.


To unwritten:
(13) The OM is not married. He evidently was and has a daughter from his first wife. He sounds like someone who enjoys "playing the field" so to speak.

(14) Yes, she declared her disengagement from me 2 years ago. And she gradually put up more and more walls. I can see from our texts 18 months ago when she would still express in minor ways some love and concern for me (heart smiley every once a while). Call me dense, but I honestly didn't realize 2 years ago that she was so determined to end it all. I honestly thought she would realize she had a good thing with me and not destroy it. But as the months rolled on, the distance between us became greater. Finally, in October we got to counseling (stupid mistake on my part not going sooner... but I foolishly thought I could fix our marriage ourselves).

After going to counseling, things got worse. As she expressed her disappointments and frustrations with me, it helped her build more walls. In the process of verbalizing it in counseling, she became more determined to distance herself.

I can track in our phone records exactly when the OM first contacted my wife. And I can see that he tried texting her 13 different times for 2.5 months and she never once responded... until in December, she texted him. Then there was a flurry of texts back and forth throughout January and February (over 900). The physical affair happened in mid-January, but they tried to hook up again in February and March but their schedules never allowed. Our big Australia trip was the end of March, and the day after is when I confronted her.

So I know exactly when, where, and how the affair started. I really have no reason to think there was any prior affair. I can trace the changes in my wife's demeanor and it chronicles exactly with the time stamps from the texts.



To MelodyLane:
I really appreciate you typing out long detailed responses. And I realize you have far more experience with this subject than I.

Please understand, I do respect what you're saying and I'm trying to think through the implications of your advice, because it still seems to me like the nuclear option and once I press that button, I can't undo any damage caused by publicly exposing this. So yes, I'm thinking through what you're saying... just hesitant to make an unretractable decision to do it at the moment.

(15) I am snooping on my wife in a way that she has no idea about. I can track the location of her phone so I know where she is at any time. And I can see the past history of it all. So yeah, I know when she was in that other city and where and everywhere she goes. How do I put spyware on her phone without her knowing? Or VAR? Is that illegal?

Due to our location, there is virtually no chance the OM will visit my wife in our city. And it sounds like he was ticked at her for putting him in a risky situation since he has no idea how I as the husband might react to him. He sounds like a playboy and that he has plenty of other women to pursue in his own area. They have zero mutual friends. Absolutely none, for sure, because I know how, where, & when they first met. And they have met in person only twice.

(16) RE: fears, hopes, wishes... and a plan
All of us have fears, hopes, and wishes. I'm simply try to express mine. No, I do not think any of those are a plan to execute. I'm doing everything possible to show my wife I love her and to wait for her to choose to love me. On the first page, some expressed hope that yes, spouses can turn around but the chances are narrow.

The plan in the back of my mind right now (and I'm still thinking through this), is to expose all of this to her parents when we visit them in June. They live in another state. They don't know of any of this. We will stay with them, and I would like to explain first to her father what all has happened, not just her affair, but also my failures that created a context for my wife to seek someone else. No, I do not think I am to blame for her poor choices, but I could have done a much better job with our marriage so that she would be less likely to seek someone else. I have a feeling that her father and her mother (who have a good marriage) will sit down with both of us and try to get us to work things out. (They did that to her brother in his marriage years ago.)

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Have you installed the Marriage Builders app yet so you can listen to Dr. Harley himself? You can't really make it on your own. Trust me; I know from my own experience.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Originally Posted By: anonymityplease
(12) RE: kids knowing of the affair.
I'm still trying to figure out if the kids should know about the affair. If we don't split up nor divorce, I doubt I would want the kids to know. If we do split up, I probably do want them to know otherwise they might think the divorce was all my fault.


As a minister, do you intend to teach your children how to avoid infidelity?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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