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Stuck

A few years ago my wife had an affair with my best friend after truly 13 years of being together. We had a marriage that people used to ask how we did it because we were great friends and fun parents. He and I were part of a growing company that caused my wife and I to move the family 4 times in 7 years. He was married as well, and the four of us were really close. For the majority of the friendship, we lived in different states, but tried to get together often. Being part of the same company, I saw him regularly at meetings, and company functions, and would often invite him over for dinner (since we had few local friends).

He lived in SD, and our our final offer to move was to be in LA. We were all very excited, and began to spend every weekend with each other (we have 2 kids, and they had 1 - kids were friends too). After the last move, I got a raise that was enough to allow my wife to be with the kids, and volunteer at their school, something she had always proclaimed she wanted. However, she began to get irritable about it, and snappy toward me. I brought her flowers, and took her on regular dates....none of it worked. She started driving to SD during the day (5 hours there and back) to be with him. She claims that she only went there the first time to have lunch, but oddly failed to mention the trip at all to me, and he was MY friend. She claims that he asked her to meet him at his house, and there he kissed her, she kissed back...rest is history. We got together a few times after this, but they were good at making it seem like nothing, but I look back now and there were clues all over the place.

A couple days later, she bit my head off, and I couldn't take it. I called her from work and said "I am coming home to talk." When I got there, I said, " we have not been ourselves lately and something is WAY off. I would love to ground ourselves and get back to the wonderful marriage that we have enjoyed for 10 years. I feel like you are going to ask me for a divorce..." She replied, "I am..." I lost it! I was a mess. She went into many of her reasons, bad father, glass half-empty guy, horrible boss, and a crappy friend (a lot of other things too that cut deep). After some long conversations, addressing some of her issues with me, and reading a couple of books FAST, I thought I saved us....but, no.

She got progressively meaner, and just kept telling me, "stop doing all of this for me. We are over. I have to move on. I am not happy with you." Then she asked me, "have you ever thought that we got married too young, and that you chose the wrong partner?" I said, "no!", and she replied, "I do". She continued her trips to be with him about 1-2 times a week, and when she went to Vegas with her girlfriends, she brought his t-shirts to sleep in. They began to break the news to my friends slowly that they were going to be together...and the screwed up thing...my own friends congratulated them!!!!???

Meanwhile, I kept talking to my friend on the phone telling him how suicidal I felt, and everything that I was doing to keep my family together. He would just keep cheering me on, and telling me to read books about hard hits in life, and then would tell my wife that I was pathetic and should have done these things years ago.

Anyway...I found out about them 2 days before my 12th wedding anniversary. My wife told me there was no need to celebrate, and that we would just end up in "one of our talks" that she was sick of, and that she would prefer to spend it apart. As I packed to leave town with the kids, she kept typing on her email from her laptop on the side of the bed. I walked by her a few times without doing anything, but finally grabbed the computer, and saw that she was talking to MY FRIEND. She was telling him to not go home before I left so she could talk to him, but that I was taking forever to leave and that she hated me. I flipped! I felt like I was having an out of body experience SERIOUSLY. I barely remember that moment. I punched an inch thick mirror and broke my hand. The trauma helped calm me down. I went to the hospital and called my friend on the way. I told him to break the news to his wife, or I would. He did that night, and I have never seen him again.

He quit my company, moved back east because he was afraid for his life (I have MMA friends in SD and they wanted a piece of him). My wife and I went through the normal stages of recovery, and we have a great friendship, great friends, and still enjoy each other's company. My issue is that after 3 years, I am still struggling with losing my closest friend. I find it hard to have friends now, and I go through crazy mood swings. It won't bother me for weeks, and my wife and I will be doing great...then, one day I wake up wishing I'd stop waking up.

I am stuck and counselors just say, make up your mind to not be stuck...It isn't that easy. My wife and I have only had each other for many years, and he was more like my brother than my friend. He had a very loving, close family that I enjoyed as part of my own. My parents are divorced, and I don't have a tight family. As a result, my friends have always been that to me....but now...
19 Comments Post a Comment
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi.  Wow.  I'm really really sorry.  that is awful and a nightmare.  I wonder what your wife has said for the reason for her cheating and choice of people.  It is a double insult to pick your friend and do this under your nose.  

Getting over something goes better when someone falls on their sword and is so sorry that they can't do enough to make up for it.  Does this describe your wife.

You talk of your friend and he is a rotten human being . . .   but where do things stand with your wife.  

You are mourning the loss of your friend and getting over shock.  That is going to create a lot of painful emotions and is natural under the circumstances.  

Tell us more about what your wife has done to convince you she's now ready to act like a real wife?
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13167_tn?1327197724
I agree with SM,  and think you're blaming the wrong person - you're blaming your friend,  and not your wife who was the one who had vows with you,  and children with you,  and who said she hated you and cheated on you.

I really think to move forward,  and get "unstuck",  you need to recognize who damaged you and deal with that.

I don't know the "backstory" here,  where your friends are congratulating your wife and your best friend on their affair - I think there's the backstory that you also need to deal with and air in the open.

Best wishes.
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1962649_tn?1332448451
how old are you and your wife? you both sound like you have a lot of growing up to do. i think you did get married too young-!!  your "friend" was not a friend to you at all. he was a sh*@-! you are better off without him as a "friend". when people show you who they are the first time, believe them! stay in therapy and maybe get on some medication.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you all for your comments. I know it's hard to get the whole story out on here. Yes, my wife has fallen on her sword, as you say. She has done a lot to prove that she wants to be with me again. She has been very comforting, and has tried to explain what drew her to him, and that she really didn't want to be with him, but that she had made a choice that she couldn't go back on. He is a smooth salesman and kept telling her things that made her feel like he was the only guy she had left due to what had happened, and she agreed. I remember some of the crazy things she said while she was seeing him. When I would talk about the rich history we have together, she would say things like, "but sometimes it's nice for people to not know everything about you. Sometimes that's too much". After the truth came out, she did show remorse and that she wanted to be with me, but I can't get over the memory of her sitting on the floor of the bedroom crying, "he's gone! He was so beautiful." At the time, I was very understanding, and comforted her, but over time that memory has created very painful memories. I know that she has pain from her own past, and grew up in an abusive house, but I knew that about her. I have always been a husband that my friends get upset about because their wives ask why they don't do the things that I did.

As for the friends that congratulated them, one of them was a close friend between my bf, and I. Unfortunately, his wife was the one that got most excited. He said that they really didn't know what to think, but that the two of them (wife and bf), made them believe that this was something that I would be ok with, and that he was in disbelief. The other friend was my wife's bff, and was the wife of a Navy buddy. I now believe she was having her own affair. Unfortunately, her husband cheated on her one night. He repented, and tried to save them, but couldn't. They have since divorced, and my wife has separated all ties due to the lack of support for our marriage.

I think that all of my pain with my wife is from her actions, and the wounds she inflicted with who she had the affair with. She does everything "textbook" now, but it doesn't fix the magic that we once had. It left me feeling like people are ruthless. How do you end up loving someone right under the nose of your husband and father of your kids to the point that you cry when he is gone. I have asked her a million times to show me how she was conflicted, or that she chose me while he was still an option. I know she wants me now that he is no longer an option, but just can't shake that that wasn't the case when he was here. The day I found out, he told her he was done, and that they both had some repairs to do. I guess he was trying to break it off right before I found out from a conversation that I had with him.

I didn't know she was cheating....but, he said to me one day while I was driving home, "man, if my woman didn't want me, I'd be out fast. There are too many women out there to put up with that, and kids are no reason to stay married if your miserable." I said to him, "Well, I have something that I have felt is special, and married her because of what we have ahead of us. I  do agree that you don't stay because of the kids, but because of the kids, you have to try everything before giving up. You owe it to them to not make them come from a broken house...they weren't born into one." He told me later that that was the beginning of the end of the affair because he saw that I was still in love, and that he was damaging something he wanted me to be able to fix. He had hoped that it wouldn't come out, but my wife couldn't do both. She pressed for the divorce and still wanted him....

I'll stop there, I could ramble forever. Thanks for your responses.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, there is something called displaced anger.  You were absolutely betrayed by TWO people.  That was no friend.  But it was your wife who broke the vow as you know.  Trust me, the magic would be just as hard to recover if it were a stranger that she did it with.  

It's hard because you've lost faith in your wife and had the utmost wrong done to you by the person that vowed legally to remain faithful and also lost a friend.  And friends outside of just this threesome as who would want to associate with folks cheering the cheaters on.  

I would allow yourself to feel the anger to your wife as I think it is a heck of a lot easier to place the anger you have for her and the situation back on him.  

Some people make friends to be like family and they certainly can be.  But in the end, they aren't.  You can move on from that guy and other friends.  He was obviously lacking in character and not a real friend of yours.  He's hopefully going to suffer knowing he's a loser his whole life.  Yep, I'm not vindictive but people like that either never feel anything which is sad in its own way or they are never quite right from the actions they've taken in life.  Either way, that is your problem.

your only focus now is repairing your marriage.  And licking your wounds.  Forget the friend.  He wasn't one.  

good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
I TOTALLY get what You are saying.  Of course You realize Your Wife is the one who had vows with You but when Your Spouse has an affair with Your Best Friend, it adds another Dimension to the Pain.  For Your Wife to have an affair with Your Best Friend!! and for Your Best Friend to have an affair with Your Wife!! shows IMMENSE disdain toward You from BOTH of them - and You feel HUGELY betrayed by BOTH.  This much I know is true.  My 1st husband had affairs with friends of mine and both of my Brothers Wives, People I knew and loved.  It was hard, it was very, very hard.  For a long time, a very, very long time.  There are no words to express my pain from many directions.  I understand what You feel about Your "friend"s betrayal as well.
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Avatar_f_tn
P.S.  As I stated last post, I understand and even identify with what You express about Your friend.  Meantime, I also agree with SpecialMom.   You must focus on Your relationship with Your Wife.  She's still a part of Your life and he is not.  Be grateful that he is out of Your life and You will never have to see him again.  I have no contact with the "friends" who had affairs with my husband but my two Brothers are still married to my Sister-in-Laws who betrayed them, betrayed me, betrayed our Children.  I still see them.  We all share Children who are Cousins to One Another and I see them frequently for Family Functions.  I am able to remain kind and polite at all times but (truth be told) I pull this off because of and for the Children and my Brothers (secretly I will FOREVER see them as Dogs).  It's a plus for You to have him out of Your life.

I'm truely sorry that You have to take this journey
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Avatar_m_tn
I hear the two of you for sure. It is really hard to get the precise feelings that I have out, and I know that's part of the issue. I have these confused feelings, and a lot of anger, but I can't express it because my wife doesn't handle it well. We end up in a fight because there is no time machine. She shared with me that she really didn't want to be there, she was scared, but that she is a bit submissive from her abuse as a child. I kind of get it, but not really... he kissed her on the couch, and they had sex in his room. In order to get to the room, you walk by the door, and I always ask her why she didn't leave (that question rings in my head all the time) She just says "I don't know." She says that right after it happened, she felt like crap and just wanted to just go back to being normal again, but that wasn't possible with the guilt. She was afraid of my reaction (I'm a much bigger guy than he is, and grew up in a rough city. He even said that was the biggest reason that he moved so quickly. Although I find it funny that while they were sleeping together no one was afraid of me....interesting)

I want to be able to let him go, but I struggle with it. Sometimes I feel angry that he took everything from me without ever having to fight for it. The ultimate insult of getting my wife to choose him, and my self esteem, my trust, belief in friends, and the innocence of my family life. Then, other times I miss the laughs, the camaraderie, the competitiveness(he won that one), and my happiness. I hear from people sometimes that keep in touch with him, and they say he is happy again (so there goes the misery theory). I laugh though because he has always been this way. He used to ask me all the time about what was going on with my life, but then when I would ask him...everything was great! Couldn't be better. He was always very reserved, unless he was talking to my wife obviously.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, I think that your wife is manipulating your emotions, sorry to say.  She is blaming her childhood a bit for lacking the ability to make a proper decision as an adult.  Doesn't really work like that.  And while she says that she was remorseful, the way she treated you on your anniversary and the email you saw tells you otherwise.  She was IN as much as the guy.  And maybe as she is still playing a bit of the victem and you are still her rescuer, you just can't let yourself fully face what she has done.  I don't want you to end your marriage and am so happy that you are working through it.  I do wish you the best of luck.

But, your anger at your friend is valid but there is more to how your wife has handled things than I think you want to acknowledge deep down.  

I wish you luck and hope that therapy helps you.  Are you in therapy--  both alone and as a couple?
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580755_tn?1357673215
To inteject something that may not be your cup of tea but throwing it out there. Forgivness is the hardest thing to do. But daily we sin which is the worst thing we do and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness and God forgives us. He let his son die so we could be forgiven. So look to that example and never forget but forgive. Forgive the anger, betrayal, lies...everything and your heart will clear.

Like I said this might not be for you but had to at least raise it and suggest it in terms of forgiveness.
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Avatar_m_tn
Vance that is the big question, isn't it? I have always struggled with faith...not saying that it's wrong. I struggle with if I am wrong. My beliefs have gone up and down over the years, and after reading the bible for the first time in my life, I was more confused than ever. As much as I want to believe, I find myself questioning the stories and the continuity. I guess after this I have found myself questioning everything.

My wife has found God, and that makes it worse to me.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been in and out of therapy. I end up getting the same advice that I read in books and it never feels like they dig into my real issues- whatever they may be. I am currently looking for someone that specializes in these issues.

As for my wife, I am sure she could handle things better, but honestly I don't know how. She doesn't try to justify anything with her answers, but to add something that might add some closure. She always says that it is really hard to take the most F'd up decision that I have ever made, and have it make sense to you, when it doesn't make sense to me.

Sometimes I feel like I just want her to stop trying to use the terms from books and therapy and just say, "yes, he was hot, he treated me nice, and I fell in love with him! I treated you like sh!t, and I was enjoying it, at the time. I was enjoying it!!" and not try to give me the answer that makes sense today.....ah! who knows?
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Avatar_f_tn
Again, I agree with SpecialMom - AND I want Your marriage to survive also -IF that's what YOU want!!  (I have little care or concern for what she might want!!)  ( I'm a little mad at her too for breaking her Vows, her trust!!)

I've said this before:  We ALL have baggage - there is dysfunction in ALL Childhoods (ALL Families).  We are ALL born in a "pit" - Some pits are "deeper" than others  but OUR job is to climb out of the "pit" and take responsibility for the adult we CHOOSE to be!!  There is ALWAYS choice!!
I repeat, ALWAYS!!  ALWAYS!!

We really cannot blame our bad choices on our childhoods - or anything else for that matter - we are ALL responsible for our choices - and we are  not takeing responibility when we "blame" it on "something," or somebody else.  Excuses are NOT taking RESPONSIBILITY!!  and this "contributes" to the pain (and the "self blame")  the injured party is feeling.



I
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Avatar_f_tn
Well first off, very, very sorry to hear all that you have been through and still going through.

You said something that is EXACTLY what needs to be done IMO in order for your Wife to really "get better" or for you both to really heal actually.

"Sometimes I feel like I just want her to stop trying to use the terms from books and therapy and just say, "yes, he was hot, he treated me nice, and I fell in love with him! I treated you like sh!t, and I was enjoying it, at the time. I was enjoying it!!" and not try to give me the answer that makes sense today.....ah! who knows?"

IF she does say that, she will then stop making excuses for herself and pretending he had some power over her. No doubt in my mind he was/is a charmer and that she can say in truth,,and guys like this do prey on woman who are weak but she also needs to take full responsibility for herself too. But thats hard because she knows that though it felt and seemed wonderful when it was going on, it was really bad and not wonderful and facing that and knowing your guilty (her) its easier to make some excuse then to "really" own up to it.."Shame" is something that no one wants to feel of course,but until you face it head on you will always carry it with you always or even worse you bury it and your conscience starts to become seared so that you don't feel it, but its still there and will cause issue upon issue if not dealt with.

I don't believe he's the run of the mill adulterer, what I'm 'sensing' is that he is a full fledged Psychopath. Psychopaths are charmers, usually very intelligent, smooth, no conscience, cares only for himself everything else is an act.

And I don't think he broke it off just because you found out, but instead he broke it off because he had no intention of being with your Wife full-time and so IMO, he didn't run to get away from you, but instead from your Wife because she was talking divorce to you and he had no intention of moving her in and if he stuck around she would have expected a life with him which he had no intention of giving her that. Guys like this can't be full-time with the woman they are having the affair with with because most likely while he was with your Wife, she was NOT the only "other" woman. A lot of these guys like him don't leave their Wives or live- in gf. They're not doing it because they love the woman - they love themselves, thats' why they do it. The women are nothing to them but someone to feed their ego and fill their need to conquer.
As far as him not really wanting her,as a matter of fact it wouldn't surprise me if he is still with his Wife, but I don't see where you mentioned whats going on with his Spouse..

And for your Wife to say "he was beautiful." and in front of you no less, she really has serious issues and those issues might have scared this guy too as he probably started to notice them,not that he doesn't have his, but Psychopaths don't see their own issues and thats why he can say he's happy - he hasn't a conscience, so no guilt to make him 'unhappy'.
Believe me I hope your marriage works out... I totally believe in forgiveness but a person must UNDERSTAND what forgiveness is and how it works and why it works, otherwise sometimes in marriages we find that the person is not really forgiving but instead just might be an "enabler"and "enablers need to feel 'needed.' I'm not saying this is the case with you because I don't know you but you know yourself best and can sit and think things through..
I do see that you have such a deep love for your Wife and the anchor in your marriage goes deep into your heart.

But IMO,the only way your Wife will get better is to take responsibility for what she did and that is to admit exactly what she did, which is the paragraph I have up top in quotes which are your words.. You are 100% right in that statement...But I do see her statement about how can she explain the most messed up statement to you if she doesn't understand it as maybe a time to ask her to just admit she liked the attention, he was hot etc. If she does that, I really think both she and you will be on the road to recovery. Confession,then repentance, comes forgiveness, then comes healing and restoration - not a bandaid, but 'surgery.'


I would get into talking about forgiveness,God and the Bible and make an effort to answer any of your questions as I am a Bible believing Christian, but religious discussions are not permitted  on MH, only in user groups. But anytime you have any questions about the bible I'd be more than happy to try to help,,,you could Private Message me if so.
I wish you the best.
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580755_tn?1357673215
As the poster above said about asking her questions I am also here via PM for bible questions, faith questions and everything in that area.
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145992_tn?1341348674
I know all to well how you feel.  My husband had an affair 3 years ago.  The only difference is that it wasn't with a friend.  That is truly a double betrayal, so not only are you mourning the loss of your partner and what she once was to you, but you are mourning the loss of your friend.  It's so easy to say to someone forgive her if you want to make it work.  Forgiveness comes in its own time.  I chose to forgive my husband after almost 2 years and it wasn't forced.  I had faked my own happiness with him for that long.  Pretending I was over the affair but truly wasn't.  My husband did choose to be with me but there were plenty of times when I'm sure he questioned that.  That's what I think hurts the most.  The fact that he had moments where he wondered if life would've been better with her.  I think what's hardest for you is that you feel like you weren't her first choice.  That she only stayed with you because he wasn't an option anymore.  I think that is what eats away at you.  The reason why your wife doesn't give you the answers that you want is because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings.  My husband gives me honest answers NOW when I ask, which I rarely do anymore.  But he knows he can give them to me now because it doesn't eat at my soul like it used to.  Had he told me the real reasons back when the feelings were still raw, well, I probably would've lost it.  Surviving an affair is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  We still struggle with it and I still get angry when I think about it.  Had it been with someone I knew, I don't know if I could've handled that at all.  There are no easy answers here.  I think in time, things will get easier and better if you both are willing to work through this.  The only thing I worry about with you is that you are settling for a life with a woman who isn't going to give you all that you deserve.  I just hope she really realizes what she has and doesn't take you for granted.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you both for your feedback. Just reading that other people understand the pain somehow makes it feel a little soothing.

This is definitely the hardest thing that I have ever done because my feelings waiver constantly. I go from being able to shrug it off and think little about it, to feeling like stepping in front of a bus. I can't seem to understand why. There are times when I realize and understand that he was not a true friend, but then a couple of days later and I will think, "what makes him any different than her? Why is it that she was needing the attention, but he was preying on her? Is that really the case?" I know he has to have some issues with his mom turning gay when he was a teenager. She divorced his dad, and moved in with another woman. She is now with that woman, and always talks about how love knows no boundaries. I guess not even marriage? I'm sure that causes some issues....but it still doesn't give anyone the right to do what he did. As TTinKKerBBell stated above, people still make the choice when they are in that situation. My wife always says that she is submissive in that situation, but I get angry because I see the choice as much earlier in that progression. If she had not gone there in secrecy, there would not have been that choice. She agrees, but then just gets upset because she feels that it is over, and will say "where do you want to go from here?"

Unfortunately I find it hard to stop the questions once they start, and her answers always make me question her thought process. I will often get very angry at the complete disregard for everything "us", or me. I don't understand how someone makes a complete 180 for their partner and parent of their children. This leads to her crying, me crying, and her telling me that she isn't my therapist. She says that she has been honest about the facts, but they feel distant and black and white. It is hard to not feel like she is holding back...just a little...to take the edge off. The details that she shares about the way he treated her, make me really mad that she was throwing it all away for a few words of encouragement, and horrible sex.

myown2, you probably hit a few nails on the head in your response. When my wife and I first started dating she was kind of clingy, but most girls were....so, I didn't think much of it. Unfortunately, her father had abused her when she was about 10 for the better part of a year. Her parents were pretty controlling, and very oddly religious (you know what I mean? Almost everything that you say to them they will thank Jesus...it's a bit odd), anyway they urged her to not date me because I looked a lot older than her (I started losing my hair at about 20, but I am told that I am still an attractive man. I am told that I could pass for a spitting image of Daughtry.) Anyway, she flipped out when I told her that I was going to break up with her to move to AZ. Long(er) story short, she took a bunch of pills from around the house in an apparent suicide attempt, but a bad one. She claims still to this day that she had a migraine from crying, and kept taking stuff to get rid of it, but it made her sick. Her mom assumed the worst, flipped out, and called the ambulance. I do believe most of that story, but I do think it was for the attention. After she got out of the hospital, her dad got drunk and said some really messed up things about her and the abuse he put her through, when she stood up for herself, he beat her....and pretty bad. The cops were called, and her dad went to jail. Her mom blamed her, and told her that since she was over 18, she had to move out.

I decided not to move, but my roommate did. I ended up moving back to my parents house for a short time. In that time, is when the above happened. So, my parents loved her, and invited her to stay with us until she found a place of her own, or whatever. Her parents weren't happy about that, and when they found out about it, they told her that they wouldn't stand for that since we weren't married. After a few weeks of the crap with them, I told her that I wanted her to stay and we would get a place of our own.

We have always gotten along really really well, but we were young. We had some arguments over stupid things, but we grew up pretty fast together. We waited a few years to get married. I told her that if we got married, that I wanted it to be for the right reason, not just because we moved in together. We had a great relationship, and our bond only felt like it got stronger. I was the guy that would randomly drop by her work with flowers just to see that look on her face, and invite her to do things with me and my friends (that backfired!) and all around tried to be a great husband because I wanted our life to always be what neither of us had growing up...parents that loved one another AND the kids. We seemed to have that, but then he started coming around more, and the two of them had a lot in common. I used to even see it, and think how funny it was that my BF and my wife were so much alike. However, I noticed that with all of our friends. The friend always seems to mirror the spouse. I am sure it has something to do with the person they share in common, but they took it as more.

So, myown2, yes she probably has some issues that make her vulnerable and clingy. After moving to LA, I was working a lot, and was under a lot of pressure to get a poor performing office turned around. So, I know that I was working more than I wanted, but it wasn't new. I have worked for start-ups many times and it is no different than what my friend did. We were in similar roles. However, and this is the big however....I used to feel like we had a special connection. I used to admire the way she looked at me, and the things she said to me...now I just feel like she just provides that to whoever is showing her the attention....THAT *****! And now that I have written the next chapter....I'll pause, but it feels good to share...even with people I don't know...since I don't trust too many people these days.
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580755_tn?1357673215
Overall it sounds like the affair was for many reasons that was because of her past. Something she probably never really delt with and still has not delt with. I would say she needs therapy to help her move forward.
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Avatar_m_tn
Really mate. The guy wasn't your friend; he was a guy you hung around with. If that's the closest friend you ever had there is lots better in your life to look forward to. Give other people a chance but don't hope, suss them out. I would be very careful about totally forgiving your wife too. I think you need a dose of self-confidence. Good luck.
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