I stumbled across this TED talk completely by accident, and the title obviously interested me. It couldn’t possibly better sum up everything I’ve learned over the past couple of years, in only 20 minutes. After seeing this, I started reading her book Mating in Captivity. In only the first chapter, I made some significant realizations that I had been contemplating since I originally found out about my wife’s affair.
I won’t bother trying to summarize since you can watch for yourself, and I strongly suggest that you do.
After I sent the other guy a mail telling him that I discovered his porn site where he bragged to the world about all the sex he was having with my wife, he promised me a response. I did get one from him a few days later, and I assume that he meant it as a sincere apology.
I am at a loss of word as to what to say to you that might make you feel better, or mend the rift, or bind the wounds. All I can say to you is that I am very, very sorry about my actions and what happened.
Neither of us ever knew or thought what happened would ever happen from the beginning. We were strictly friends and that’s all I’m sure we ever intended it to be. I can’t tell you what day or hour or action changed everything between us.
I can’t change the past and the actions that occurred in the past. I can only say I am sorry.
I do have one question though, why didn’t you say something if you knew?
I know my apology isn’t much to offer, but it’s all I have.
I admit that my first reaction to this was that it did sound sincere. He seemed to be honestly apologizing, and as he says, there’s really nothing more he could have offered me. But the more I thought about it and after I went back to read it again, I wasn’t impressed. His claim of only intending to be friends was just a continuation of his inability to accept responsibility. Apparently, he had the best of intentions, but something beyond his control turned that innocent friendship into an affair.
What really angered me though was that question that he posed to me, which I read that as him challenging my claim that I knew about the sex before I discovered his site. Regardless of his intention with the question, I took the chance to respond.
I’m not sure what compels you to ask that question, or any question of me for that matter. You know infinitely more than I do about what happened over the last couple of years, while I’ve had to work for almost a year just to scrape together the bits of information that I do have. Considering that you were instrumental in actively keeping that information from me, it’s quite ironic that you would send me a message that provides me with no additional insight or personal perspective, but then ask me to satisfy your curiosity. I hope you won’t be offended when I say that I don’t feel any obligation to answer. Everything that I have done over the past year has been with the very specific goal of protecting my family, and [Wife] is the only person who has any right to evaluate my actions.
Still, I feel compelled to answer if for no other reason than to have you finally hear my perspective. I’m sure that I was the topic of various discussions of yours over the past couple of years, and perhaps it’s time that you actually heard something from me instead of about me. Giving a complete explanation would take far too long. But this is also not an answer that I could adequately provide in just a few lines since there were multiple times where I knew more than I let on. So, you’ll have to excuse the length of this mail.
Suffice it to say that from the time that I found out about the affair last July, I have focused on the clear goals of saving my marriage and my family and keeping as much of the drama from our children as possible. My personal well-being, my dignity, and even my sanity have been secondary to the needs of my family. The entire month of August, I kept quiet about what I knew because our children were home from school, and [Wife] and I had little time to be alone. I had no idea how she was going to react, and I was determined to protect our children from such traumatic experiences as volatile arguments between their parents or one of us leaving the home unexpectedly. Those weeks waiting for school to start was the most difficult period of my entire life, but I would repeat it again a countless number of times if I thought that was in the best interest of my children.
I’ll admit to being completely naïve from September to November. I believed that the relationship was nothing more than a friendship and was in the process of winding down. I had to perform a significant amount of self-delusion in order to do that though and had to explicitly ignore a variety of obvious signs. But I was so exhausted from the summer that I chose to believe what I wanted to be true. You were able to take advantage of that and continue the relationship with little change. Thanks to your blog, I now not only have some specific dates but even specific sex acts that were going on while I was performing such mundane acts as cooking dinner for my family or picking up my children from school. If I didn’t already feel humiliated enough at my gullibility, then I certainly do now.
But even under my delusion, it bothered me significantly that you two were still in contact. I had every right to demand that [Wife] cease communication with you based on nothing more than the excessive texting and the history of meetings without my knowledge. But I was focused on the long term health of my wife and my marriage, not on my short term pride. I needed to give [Wife] her space to work things out according to her own time schedule, and we needed to coherently make mutual decisions in the best interest of our marriage and our family. I don’t shy away one bit from my portion of responsibility for the problems in our marriage, and I needed time to make appropriate amends there as well. Demands and ultimatums might have given me some perceived short term power over the situation, but it would do little for the long term health of our marriage.
It was the events of late November that forced me to face reality. When I looked at the phone bills and found that virtually nothing had changed in your relationship, it was obvious that it could no longer continue if [Wife] and I were going to retain any kind of a marriage. I had to risk the resentment of making the demands that I had been avoiding. During those volatile couple of weeks, it became very clear that this was a romantic relationship involving sex. I chose to consciously overlook each of the signs pointing to that though because we had enough to focus on without having to deal with that issue. Whether or not sex was involved, the marriage had clearly been violated, and we had significant work to do in order to restore our trust in one another and the foundation of our marriage. Taking on every issue at once would have been more than either of us could handle. I had every intent of addressing the issue of sex at some point, but only after I felt enough confidence that our relationship had sufficiently progressed in order to confront such a sensitive topic.
You may note that the attitude I’m describing here is the antithesis of the simplistic husband with antiquated views of marriage who wants to own and control his wife, as you portrayed me in your mail in December. But you may be surprised that my actual views about marriage are significantly more complex than those of the caricature that you painted. Considering the other spurious arguments in that mail though, I probably shouldn’t assume that accusation was entirely truthful.
Of course, when I discovered your blog, it was obvious that the issue had to finally be confronted. I thought that I was prepared for the discussion, but in addition to accelerating our timeline, you added an entirely new level of ugliness to it that we’ve been forced to deal with. It’s difficult enough to mentally process the idea of your wife having a sexual affair without your knowledge, but it is another matter entirely to see her portrayed as little more than a prop in support of someone else’s displays of sexual prowess. I’m only glad that I didn’t stumble on your site sooner when we would have been far less prepared to deal with it. I wonder if you ever considered the additional risk that you were putting on our already fragile marriage while you fulfilled your apparent need to publically boast about your sexual conquests. It certainly appears that the fact that [Wife] was a married woman with two daughters and a husband at home desperately trying to work through the complexities of saving his family was secondary in your mind compared to her role as your “FWB”.
I admit that it’s not easy for me to accept your apology. You say that you had no intention of moving beyond a friendship yet your post on [date of the post about the “session” with his “FWB”] portrays someone quite proud of their accomplishment. You’ve had plenty of time over the last several months to consider your actions, yet the photo and posts remained on your blog for more than a year. You only thought to remove them after I discovered the site. It might appear to some that rather than having remorse for your actions, you simply regret your mistakes that led to me finding out about them.
Over the last several months, I’ve built up a level of animosity that I didn’t think I was capable of, only to have it increase further at this latest revelation. But that’s something that I simply don’t want to carry any more. My family needs me to focus on my progression of becoming a better husband and father, and I can’t do that while continuing to expend energy on all that anger. As you stated, there is nothing else that I can reasonably ask from you, so a simple apology will have to suffice.
I doubt that my opinion carries much weight with you so I am under no false impression that it will affect your life much whether I choose to accept your apology or not. For what it’s worth though, I do believe that you are being sincere, and I do accept it. You could have simply chosen not to respond at all, and I respect your integrity for doing so. It will take me time to get over that animosity, but I am committed to doing exactly that.
Assuming that there aren’t any other surprises out there waiting for me, I consider this entire drama closed and am committed to focusing my full attention on moving forward with my wife and my family. I honestly
hope that you are well and ultimately find whatever it is that you’re looking for in life.
I actually lied in that mail. I didn’t think his apology was sincere, and I didn’t accept it. As I stated in the mail, his only real regret was over getting caught. If he had true remorse for his actions, then those posts would have been removed far sooner. If he actually had integrity, he wouldn’t have found pleasure posting photos of a married woman along with condescending comments about her in the first place. But I didn’t need to dwell on that anger. I told him what I wanted to be true, that I was focusing on the positive aspects of rebuilding my marriage as opposed to clinging to the negative aspects of the affair. I needed to put it all in the past.
When you’ve been married for over twenty years, you can identify your wife’s naked body in a photo even if her face isn’t showing. It was just such an image that finally gave me the definitive evidence of my wife’s sexual affair. Finding it on a public web site accompanied by a smug comment by a guy bragging about the sex acts he was performing with her though was obviously something that I had never expected.
I’ve discussed in a few posts how I went along with my wife’s claim that her affair, while inappropriate, didn’t involve sex. Over time, I reached the conclusion that claim couldn’t possibly be true, but I was naively hoping that she would admit it without me dragging it out of her. I knew that we were going to eventually need to confront the issue though because it remained such significant dishonesty between us. My dilemma was that I had given her several opportunities for an admission, but I didn’t have definitive evidence to confront her with. We had plenty to work on in our relationship without getting into a debate.
I’ve worked in technology for my entire career, so I’m more adept than most with computers and the Internet. I won’t divulge the details of how I located the information I did, but suffice it to say that I didn’t use any methods that could be remotely considered hacking. I didn’t access anything that anyone couldn’t have found themselves using a standard Internet search engine. I did start with a critical piece of information that I stumbled on, but I used absolutely no unethical means to obtain that. In fact, the other guy accidentally handed it to me a couple of months after the affair ended.
What that information eventually led me to was a web site that was dedicated to trading of hardcore porn. There were multiple posts each day depicting a variety of sex acts, most shared from other sites but occasionally one submitted by the owner of the site. Some posts were accompanied by a comment along the lines of “Did this with her last night! Fun!” or “Did this with my GF and she absolutely loved it”. They were stock images, but the owner of the site was obviously using them to illustrate sex acts he was performing with his girlfriend.
I suspected that the other guy was the owner of the site, and my wife was the girlfriend (or GF) that he was talking about. I couldn’t confirm that though until I came across that post that I’m sure he’s now wishing he could take back. A simple naked photo of my wife with her head cut off would have been bad enough, but in this photo she was lying on her back with semen splattered across her stomach. The caption with the photo made it even worse.
Happy Birthday to me! My girlfriend this afternoon after wishing me a Happy Birthday. (and the first two spurts went over her head!)
You read that correctly, he was bragging about how far he could ejaculate. I assume that skill is a source of pride among the followers of his blog, but it also fit the theme of his other comments. They weren’t complimentary of my wife as much as they were boasting about himself. He sounded like a teenager trying to impress his buddies in the locker room.
I scrolled through the site noting any date where he described meetings with my wife and cross referenced them with text messages between us and photos that I might have taken that day. I had assumed the times that she was with him, but now I knew the specific sex acts they were performing adding to my humiliation. One post he made a couple of weeks prior to the photo of my wife corroborated part of the timeline she had given me about the affair, and it perfectly illustrates the juvenile and smug tone that permeated his comments. No photo this time, just extensive text.
Had an amazing session with my FWB this morning. It’s been a year since we first started communicating and becoming best friends before we ever got down to the love making part! Why you ask? Cause I was out of state and not physically here!
Two and a half hours later she’s cum at least 25 or more times (no I am not exaggerating), and I finally can’t stand it anymore. I cum so hard it feels like my balls are turning inside out!
All I can say is “WOW!”
I had actually become so used to holding back my suspicion of sex that my initial reaction was to not divulge to my wife what I had discovered. At the very least I wanted the control when we would confront that issue, not have it forced on me like this. It was a completely futile attempt though, and I broke the moment I saw her. I told her that while I had no idea this is how I would get confirmation, I had known for months about the sex. She admitted that she didn’t honestly believe that I had been so naïve as to actually believe the relationship was platonic, but she was also going along with the charade that we had created.
While the site added an entirely new level of ugliness to the affair, I was actually glad the information was out. The sex wasn’t a surprise to me, and now we could confront the affair without dancing around such a significant detail.
At the very least I had to contact the other guy to demand he take the site down. I considered calling him and unleashing my full anger, berating him for his lies that were now fully exposed. I even briefly considered revenge, messaging all of his friends with the address of the site or some other means of publically associating it with him. I ultimately decided though that it was in my best interest to continue to maintain my composure.
If he didn’t feel guilt by my knowledge of the site, nothing I was going to say would change that. My thought was that I could better add to his humiliation by sending him a calm and ultimately condescending message that reinforced my position as the responsible father and husband while he was the one acting with minimal maturity and integrity.
I wrote a long and detailed response to the e-mail that you sent me last December that addressed each of the points your mail included as well as my thoughts about the events that had occurred over the last couple of years. I chose not to send it though because I decided to instead focus my attention on my marriage and family and repairing all the damage that [Wife] and I had caused each other over the last few years.
Since you saw fit to include some condescending advice in your mail to me though, I hope you’ll allow me to provide some advice to you now. If you want to keep your affair with a married woman secret, then you probably shouldn’t post naked pictures of her on the Internet. That’s especially true when her husband makes his living as a computer expert and can locate such resources with minimal information. It may take some time, but information on the Internet always has a way of eventually presenting itself.
You can imagine the shock and hurt that I felt when I learned that [Wife] had a sexual affair. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment a few days ago when I found a picture of my wife’s naked body with your cum strewn across her stomach on your blog called [site name]. My anger obviously increased as I read your smug comment that accompanied the photo and then continued to walk through your blog finding the variety of messages about your “girlfriend” or “GF” or “FWB”. It’s apparent that those are references to [Wife], the woman with whom you claimed to have an innocent and platonic relationship.
I actually knew at the time that you sent me the mail in December that your claim about never having sex was a lie. I may have been blind for a long time about events in my own life and marriage, but I’m not stupid. I have tried over the last several months to confront all of the issues facing [Wife] and me in an honest but manageable fashion, and that was a topic that I wanted to wait until I was sure we were ready for it. Had I known at the time that you were publically boasting about your sexual exploits with my wife and referring to her as your girlfriend (or the more degrading “FWB”), I would have confronted it more immediately.
Be assured that [Wife] and I are the only people aside from yourself who I would think would be able to associate this blog with you, and I have absolutely no intention of sharing this information with anyone. I also don’t make any judgments whatsoever as far as the content there. My only issue is with [Wife] being included in it and having to live with the knowledge that a very private and traumatic portion of our life is being used for others’ sexual entertainment.
I think you’ll understand my request to remove the photo of [Wife] as well as any of your posts that could be construed in any way as referring to her. In case you don’t recall, you posted the picture on [date] with the caption “Happy Birthday to me! My girlfriend this afternoon after wishing me a Happy Birthday. (and the first two spurts went over her head!)”. I think it’s safe to assume that “a tribute to a very special woman” in the title of the blog refers to [Wife] as well, so I hope that you’ll remove that.
The list below details of all of the other posts that I believe were referring to [Wife]. Perhaps there was some other girlfriend (or FWB) that we don’t know about, but I think you’ll understand that we would appreciate these posts and anything else even possibly referring to her in any way removed. I think that’s the least respect that you can show to our family after being an integral part of so much anguish to us.
I followed that with a list of all the posts that appeared to refer to my wife including the date and accompanying comment. I wanted him to have to confront the embarrassment of his own words.
This time I didn’t have to wait long for his response. I got it within an hour of sending my mail.
I’ve complied with your request. All photos save one have been removed.
All photos your email listed save one, were not and should not have ever been construed to be about her.
I will reply to your email. I honestly do not know how or what to say though.
You can tell a lot about a person in how they initially respond to an unexpected traumatic event. He was so used to denying responsibility that his first reaction was to try to convince me that all those comments were about someone else, except for the one that happened to be attached to a photo of my wife. Rather than finally showing some integrity, he continued to lie and avoid responsibility. It gave me quite a bit of insight into his character, or lack thereof.
He did reply back a few days later as he promised. Just like his first mail to me though, that one deserves its own post.
I finished my last post mentioning an e-mail that I received from my wife’s affair guy in response to my messages demanding that he cease all communications. I’m giving that mail and my analysis of it its own post here because of the significant impact it had on me. It’s essentially just a bunch of lies and excuses in an attempt to justify his relationship with my wife. While it initially did little more than further increase my animosity toward him though, I pondered the rationale behind this mail for over a year as it provided me with significant insights that I doubt he intended.
I’m not interested in just bashing or mocking him by posting this but rather trying to analyze his intentions and thoughts behind the affair. That’s not to say that my analysis isn’t derogatory because his mail has a host of inexcusable lies, lame excuses, and unjustified attacks on me. But simplistically assuming that he’s a just bad guy with no integrity and no redeeming qualities of any kind wouldn’t further my understanding of what attracted my wife to the relationship. His actions were inexcusable, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t interested in learning what motivated them.
My apologies for not replying in length to your email but it’s not like I’ve ignored your emails requests. I acknowledged that I received it, you hopefully didn’t lose sleep waiting for my agreement to your “terms and conditions”, etc. etc. I’ve not written for the simple reason that I’ve been extremely busy working on the project in [his new city] and that includes weekly flights for meetings, trying to get organized [a bunch of meaningless information about his job including boasts about the millions of dollars related to the project].
Please don’t take my lack of a reply for assuming that I am “chicken” for not replying. That is the last thing you should think.
I am writing today to let you know that [Wife] is and will ever be an incredibly important part of my life. She has made an incalculable difference in my life and I think I’ve done the same for her AND YOUR life as well. What we had and will always have is an incredibly close friendship. No limits and no bounds to the friendship. I know that might shock you to think that two people of the opposite sex could have a relationship of that sort without sex, but deal with it, as it happens. We could talk about anything and everything and did so. Virtually no topic was off limits though if something was too personal we respected that and didn’t press. She is as good of a best friend as I’ve ever had, more so than my best male friend of 20 plus years. As it’s said “It is what it is.”
I know you’ve come down really hard on [Wife] for the texting she did and she feels like a virtual prisoner in her life now. Well if you can’t communicate with those who live in your house you communicate with those that are your friends. That time when you were out with [Wife] at dinner and she texted me? She texted to say how much fun she was having and how incredible the atmosphere was at [restaurant name]. Why? Because I care about her, and she cared enough about both me and you, to let me know that and me she was having a good time.
I know you feel hurt and betrayed by finding out we are great friends. It’s tough to think that could have a friendship with another person let alone another male. It happens. I would like to think that because of our friendship that you and might become better friends and have a stronger marriage. Marriage is a bitch at the best of times and when communication breaks down its worse. Don’t ever not communicate. But then again don’t ever beat a dead horse. By that I mean you can’t harp over the same thing day after day after day. (Funny the divorced guy giving advise to the married guy – by the way my Wife divorced me as she told me I was an “Economic Liability” as I was unemployed for some four years due to the shit economy – I was good at communication so that wasn’t the issue, but then again with women who knows . . .)
I understand your desire to cut off all communication by and between [Wife] and myself. I think it’s a huge mistake as due to our friendship. I can be a damn good “sounding board” and actually have great advise. I also think it might create a huge rift of resentment between you two. You can’t treat her like property; this isn’t the 1800’s. The more you try to trap something, the more that something wants to escape.
Enough for now. I encourage you to respond, though I doubt you will. That’s fine, as I won’t lose any sleep over not hearing from you.
I only have ever wished and your entire family the very best and know deep in my heart that for a long time now your family has been heading that direction. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, with much health and happiness to all.
He was obviously under the assumption that I still believed the relationship didn’t involve sex. As far as my wife was concerned I was still going along with that claim, but I had pretty much determined it wasn’t remotely believable. One irony in this mail is that his claims about an innocent and platonic relationship only served to further solidify my opinion to the contrary. He was well aware that I knew about the constant daily texting and the lies that my wife had told in order to meet him, and he even brags about what a close relationship the two had. Someone who truly felt innocent would have made more of an effort to acknowledge my perspective and at the very least admit that the relationship looked suspicious. The fact that he was completely defiant was a clear indicator to me of his guilt.
He obviously objected to my calling him a coward as evidenced by his “chicken” comment and the general macho posturing. I stand by that accusation though since he had failed multiple times to respond to me and was still cowardly avoiding any responsibility. What really struck me though was the condescending tone and illogical attack at me. He was accusing me of being an overbearing husband with antiquated views toward marriage, yet I had just spent the previous three months with full knowledge of their relationship, attempting to allow my wife to manage the situation on her own terms. My wife was able to conduct the affair without detection because I was exactly the opposite of his characterization.
I understood the anger toward me though since I had directly attacked his character in the messages he was responding to. Even though I was completely justified in that, he felt the need to strike a similar aggressive tone against me to retain his male pride. Since I had given him no legitimate ammunition to attack though, he had to create this caricature of me wanting to own my wife and making her feel like a prisoner. While it was far from the truth, he needed to portray me as the stereotypical husband acting out of sheer rage in order to assuage his own guilt.
His comments about helping our marriage and being some sort of advisor or “sounding board” initially struck me as absurd to the point of delusional. What I finally realized was that his bad marriage and affairs had left him with an immature view of relationships. He had no children and had been married to an independent woman who supported him for several years while he was out of work. The satisfaction that comes from being a contributing member of a family is something that he had never experienced, and he mistook the intimacy of an affair as the full scope of a relationship. Responsibility in his mind challenged that intimacy as opposed to acting as a foundation for a quality long term relationship.
He fantasized about acting as a sort of mentor to my wife and a proponent of our marriage not only to justify his actions but also to address his desperate need for validation. Intimacy was the area where my wife and I were struggling, and that’s where he felt an expertise. He minimized the value of our family and my role of provider because it was something that he didn’t understand, and certainly a role that he knew he couldn’t fill.
I wrote quite a long response to this mail, but I never sent it to him. I vacillated for weeks about sending it but then determined that if I did, he would feel compelled to respond. I needed to concentrate on rebuilding my marriage, and a never ending war of words with this guy distracted me from that goal. As it turns out though, it wasn’t the last communication we had, although I couldn’t possibly have predicted what came next. I keep promising the details of the definitive evidence I found to determine the affair very much involved sex, and that’s exactly what I’ll write about next.