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Old 11-10-2017, 12:38 AM   #1
Mapman
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Default Wife's affair may spell doom for our 20-year marriage

Hi all. First time poster here. I registered with psychcentral after reading several threads and finding the responses to be generally kind, supportive, and sympathetic to peoples' problems. I've seen some people challenging the original posters on how they are thinking, and I appreciate that as well. I'm not here for an echo chamber, just words of thought from all of you.

I found out that my wife of 20 years (we are in our early 50s) is carrying on a phone/email relationship with somebody she dated before we started dating. I found out four days ago because she got a new phone and her private email started being sent to my phone too. The emails were very sexual in nature, and peppered with a lot of "love" talk directed at him. It was devastating to say the least. The emails that I found dated back about 2 months. I decided to check his phone number against our cellphone bills and found that they have been communicating for almost 10 months, since early 2017.

I figured out who the guy was and through google searching determined that he lives all the way across the country, but used to live in my city and still owns a house here. He's married as well, and I know he has applied for a job here in my town, based on their email exchanges.

I needed to talk to somebody to figure out what to do--I was physically shaking and unable to think clearly. Just coincidentally (and fortunately), later that morning I had my regular Monday therapist appointment. I've been seeing my therapist for 3 1/2 years for a variety of issues from my childhood. I told him what I found, and he gave me the courage to confront her about it.

She did not deny anything. She met him in grad school in the early-mid 1990s. She said that she broke it off with him 20+ years ago when she decided to date me exclusively. She confirmed that they hadn't seen each other in person. She told me that this all started after she completed a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat which she has done every year for several years. Basically during that retreat she "realized" that she needed to pursue this relationship with this guy. It's something about some need that she has sexually (to be dominated) and she felt that he was the only person she could pursue this with. They've been talking several times a month for the last 10 months.

I want to tell you all the various feelings I've had since that conversation, but I don't want this to go on overly long. Suffice it to say I have never cried this much in my life. We've had few conversations over the last four days, but during one discussion yesterday she admitted to meeting him at a hotel about 2-3 years into our marriage, so that would have been 18 years ago. They had sex, and that was right after her first experience with Vipassana meditation. I had no idea about this encounter until yesterday.

So here are some of the most salient points that I really need some help with:
  1. We have two kids--one in middle school and the other in high school.
  2. She has told me that she doesn't want to lose me.
  3. She has told me that she needs to work through this. She is not saying that she will stop, and even if she did I would not believe her because her meditation practice is such a huge part of her life.
  4. I believe she has communicated with him since I found out.
  5. I have informed her that I will not participate in sex or any talk having to do with loving each other until I can be certain that this affair is over. That I want to be the only love in her life and refuse to be a sucker.
  6. She has more or less indicated that the fact that I do not practice Vipassana meditation is a hindrance--or at the very least not helpful--to our relationship. Not in a mean way or anything, just very matter-of-factly. More like we have different belief systems.

I asked her that how, in the universe of all the options for dealing with these sexual desires that she has (talking to me about them, marital counseling, etc.) how did she decide her best option was to betray me? Her answer was that she HAD to pay attention to what she was receiving in her Vipassana practice, and that she had tried other options to no avail. This was a clear obfuscation because she had never pursued discussing her desires with me, and we had never seen a counselor about it.

So there you have it. We will be setting up an appointment with a marital counselor in a couple of days, which I am completely open to. But I have to admit that I'm at a point where my goal here is to protect myself and my mental health, and I'm less concerned with saving the marriage. We had a good thing until four days ago and now it just feels shot.

Thanks to anyone who has read through all of this. I really appreciate any thoughts or suggestions folks might have.

p.s. I hope this doesn't come across as an indictment of Vipassana meditation. I do not blame the meditation practice for my wife's choices. Well, maybe I did for a second, but that was early on.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wife's affair may spell doom for our 20-year marriage

I personally suspect the meditation is an excuse. She chose to have an affair. Has she apologised for the hurt she caused you?

'Working through it' seems like an excuse to keep on as before to me. Sorry but her reactions sound like she doesn't care about your feelings.

The counseling should hopefully help you work out what you both want.

Sorry I can't be more encouraging.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:07 AM   #3
Mapman
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She has apologized. She told me she didn’t want to hurt anyone but realizes that she has hurt me. But I don’t know—it feels hollow because she didn’t couple the apology with a commitment to stop contacting him.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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Hello there and welcome to PC.

I am so very sorry to hear what you are going through in your marriage -- that is devastating to say the least. A betrayal as such hurts like hell, so I can only imagine what you are going through. It makes me very angry on your behalf that she did this to you. I have been cheated on, and just recently, so I know how devastating it is. I was shaking too, when I discovered my ex cheating on me.

IF she is unwilling to cease all contact with this man, I would say your only option is a separation. It seems she is seeking something outside the relationship that she feels you cannot give her. It also seems she feels you are not so compatible.

For me, and I don't know about you, but once someone betrays me with physical and/ or emotional cheating, it's over for me. I know it's much more difficult when you have kids, a home and finances involved, on top of a long-term marriage and relationship, but it's so very hard to trust again. You would be constantly on edge and perhaps even wanting to watch over everything she is doing.

And she had sex with him early on in your relationship, and hid all of this from you. She also never even tried to approach YOU with her desires and to try to make it work with you instead. She went outside the marriage. That is a weakness. She should have approached you with this.

Since this is so recent, I am sure you have a lot to process, in so many ways. But your kids are old enough where a separation or divorce, if you're even thinking this way, will not be as harmful to them, in my own opinion and experience.

Again, I am so very sorry for your pain. I wish I could give you a real hug and let you know that it won't be the end of the world if this relationship must end.

Whichever way you choose, I hope you choose what is best and right for YOU.

(((((((Hugs))))))))
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:17 AM   #5
Mapman
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golden_even, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your words. I've been spinning for days now and haven't had an outlet to help me process my feelings since I saw my therapist the morning it all went down. Just getting the affirmation that my feelings are valid means the world to me.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:45 AM   #6
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Mapman, could you fulfill her sexual needs?
If you cannot enjoy intimacy in that form then I would say the relationship cannot be mutually enjoyable.
She has put you in a tough spot, she says she doesn’t want to lose you while not willing to give up her needs (that part can be understood, we all have needs that we want met), which forces you to make the hard choice to break up your family or to stay in an unfair relationship.
Not cool. I can’t give advice because I truly don’t know what I would do, that’s not quite true, I would separate from her but it would cause me a great deal of grief.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReptileInYourHead View Post
Mapman, could you fulfill her sexual needs?
If you cannot enjoy intimacy in that form then I would say the relationship cannot be mutually enjoyable.
She has put you in a tough spot, she says she doesnít want to lose you while not willing to give up her needs (that part can be understood, we all have needs that we want met), which forces you to make the hard choice to break up your family or to stay in an unfair relationship.
Not cool. I canít give advice because I truly donít know what I would do, thatís not quite true, I would separate from her but it would cause me a great deal of grief.
I honestly don't know if I could enjoy it. My head doesn't really go to the dominance/humiliation place when it comes to sex.

Yesterday I mentioned to her (via text) that I need to know that I am the only person in her life, and that she would need to provide me with convincing evidence that that was the case. She addressed this with me this morning, indicating that she feels that she could have more than one love in her life, that that is a difference between me and her, but that would be something we should talk about in marital counseling. I told her that it's a stark difference, potentially an irreconcilable difference.
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Old 11-10-2017, 01:11 PM   #8
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I think if she is suggesting an open marriage then that is probably not what you originally first thought you were entering? Most people have 'exclusion of others' in their vows.

It sounds like you are finding out quite a few things it would have been better to know 20 yrs ago.
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Old 11-10-2017, 01:27 PM   #9
Mapman
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That is indeed true, prefab. And as much as I want to chalk this up to something recent, there is that event that happened a few years after we were married. I appreciate your perspective.

I don't want to jump to conclusions before seeing what counseling reveals. I'm trying to keep an open mind so that staying together is a real option. But I still appreciate the opinions because it will give my fuzzy head some clearer ideas to address in counseling. I need some other brains to help me.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:41 PM   #10
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It sounds to me like she is looking for a challenge and to be pursued. She HAS you and not this other individual who is paying attention to her wooing her and this other individual is probably getting the same ego trip from her even though he is married as well. She wants to feel "desired" and often in a marriage that can fade and a couple can get all about servicing rather than keeping the other partner's ego pacified.

When was the last time you really wooed her? Took her out, told her how hot she is and that you just want to climb on her and devour her?
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