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Now if that's not a click-bait title that'll put butts in the seats, I don't know what is!

Sadly, though, it's true and I figured it's the best place to start in my intro to the forums.

We've been married 17 years and my husband had some indiscretions with his cousin that he admitted to me 3 years ago. The indiscretions themselves happened 10 years ago when I was pregnant with our 2nd. The indiscretions were inappropriate picture taking, phone sex, emotional affair discussions and attempts at a physical relationship that were rebuffed by her. He claims this is all that happened. He also says it was his cousin because they delved into inappropriate situations when younger/teens and it was the easiest/most risk free option.

More needed info: He also had a 16 yr porn addiction (victory over since a move) and spent 10+ yrs working over the road. We're new to the books but have read them all recently. Independent behavior is definitely our biggest issue.

Ok. So... I'm going to try and keep this short for your reading pleasure.

Here are the struggles I've had in the whirlwind since.
1. He lied about it for 10 yrs. I feel like if he'd told me right away it would have been easier than the extended lie. (How do I trust!?).
2. He made/makes excuses where if I had met his needs it wouldn't have happened. Granted, I do have a hand in it obviously but it feels like he's not being accountable/not even sorry.
3. Because it's family it brings it's own challenges. It's harder to break ties than with a work fling, someone at gym etc. We see her ALL. THE TIME. Same town. Same church. Close family. You get the picture.
4. Last year, we were at a breaking point and I was offered a job out of state. I didn't demand that we move but it was definitely not something he wanted. He reluctantly agreed. There were other issues too but distance was definitely needed here. He is definitely still punishing me for the move but a year later, I know that it was our only chance at a way forward. He was quite happy where we were. I was beyond miserable. Now he is miserable. Is this just recompense? Is this the whole get as far away from the OW as possible so justified? 🤔 I'm not actively trying to punish him but in creating an environment without her/family in it feels to him like a punishment. Eternally.
5. I have forgiven him for the infidelity but I struggle with the fact that he lied and lied for so long, how can I trust that's all that happened? The timeline is funny for me which gives me red flags but did he just forget critical pieces because he waited 10 years? Would additional knowledge even help me?
6. Seeing her is painful for me. It brings it all fresh again. (Hence the move) But how much can I realistically ask for when it comes to family functions as far as whether we go or not? Just recompense? Or am I just eternally punishing him?
7. Exposure: This is an old issue, never exposed to anyone. Infidelity has been discussed in counseling but I've left out who it was to protect him. Should exposure happen now? Too late? His family thinks I'm the problem already, they'd see exposure as me just airing his dirty laundry to make him look bad. Kids might make the most sense?

Thanks! ❤

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Welcome to MB and sorry for what has brought you here.

Is this his first cousin by blood?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Yes

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Welcome to MB.

The steps to recover from an affair are the same, whether the OP was a cousin or not. You need:

1. A complete end to the affair. Complete no contact.
2. A change to the conditions that made the affair possible.
3. Transparency going forward, so that you can see each other's communications with other people.
4. An interdependent marriage, where there is no space for a secret second life, and where you meet each other's most important emotional needs and avoid love busters.
5. Exposure of the affair to critical people.

(There is actually a check list that we use that is more detailed than that, but I don't have it to hand. Someone will post it soon.)

The main thing that I can see your husband has not done is to end all contact with his cousin. If he doesn't do this, you, his wife, will never recover. You could achieve this, and exposure at the same time, by telling close family members about the affair, and explaining that you won't be going to family functions if she will be there. Explain also that this is why you are planning to move.

And then actually move.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
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Thanks for the help!

We've been through the checklist. He doesn't agree. We moved anyway a year ago.

Part of the issue (with where this started, honestly) is that the family has a very enmeshed (unhealthy) unit where "you only need each other" so outside friendships are often discouraged. (Which is part of the reason it wasn't someone else.)

The distance has helped me but he feels that I'm just keeping him from family unnecessarily/not forgiving and because it was such an enmeshed unit (seeing fam 4+ times a week) he feels like it is more punishment than "just recompense." I'm aware he is grieving this loss. Understandable. He loses the whole family in this choice.

Because of the close unit, she will be at every family function. Always. And because it's family, I'll effectively be keeping him/the kids from those family functions. Weddings? Funerals? Christmas? It's not just extended family. They are ALL always together. One unit.

Now I personally just want to limit the interactions. Not eliminate. The move has aided this for me greatly where I feel the breathing room I needed. He feels resentment. That I'm just bitter.

This definitely brings it's own special dynamic that a stranger or family friend wouldn't bring and I realize that. Just trying to navigate it the best way possible. For my kids. For me. For us.

Last edited by Isaiah46.4; 01/07/22 04:07 PM.
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Originally Posted by Isaiah46.4
We've been through the checklist. He doesn't agree.
He doesn't agree with what? With any of it?


BW
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2 kids.
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Originally Posted by Isaiah46.4
Just trying to navigate it the best way possible. For my kids. For me. For us.
I just want to add that navigation is not possible when you are treading a narrow path.

The Marriage Builders path to recovery is narrow, and deviation from it will not bring an outcome in which you, the betrayed spouse, recover from the affair, and in which you and your husband fall in love again.

Your husband's impatience with Dr Harley's recommendations, including to move house and to cut contact with his cousin, suggest to me that he is not prioritising you and his marriage. He wants you to get over what he did without his having to change much, and he wants to get on with life as it was. The problem with life as it was is that it led you to where you are now.

Your own desire to "navigate" and to not make demands of your husband suggest to me that you will try and settle for a compromise. If you do, you will never recover from the way that you feel today.

If you both go all in to recover from this affair you will have a happy marriage but if you don't, you won't.


BW
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Originally Posted by SugarCane
Originally Posted by Isaiah46.4
We've been through the checklist. He doesn't agree.
He doesn't agree with what? With any of it?

The exposure, the zero contact, the moving, the fact we may have to limit the amount of family gatherings we attend etc


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