So last night I found out my wife had an affair

I’ve been on the SDMB for years. I don’t post much, mostly lurk.

Last night my wife left her email open. Things have been so good between us for the past month, it’s like we’ve reconnected after a couple months of some (what I thought) was moderate disconnect. I was actually looking to see if she’d emailed any of her friends to say good things about me ( I tend to be insecure) and found exactly the opposite.

The affair was with an out of town guy that she knows from college and probably got pretty intense from the looks of the emails. They had sex on 3 different occasions between February and May 9. She swears it’s over as of May 20 and emails and phone records back that up.

We have 2 children. She is a great mom. We’ll have been married for 10 years in October.

I’m not going to leave her. That’s not in the cards, and I don’t want to punish her. I just want to forget that this ever happened, but I can’t. The movie in my head won’t stop. It’s like that scene out of High Fidelity where Cusack is rolling around the bed, imagination running wild.

I’m rambling.

I can’t talk to anybody. I’m too embarrassed to talk to my friends and my family would freak out. I want to talk to her, but I don’t believe her. She’s truly sorry. I’m sure of that.

Has anyone else made it through this? I’m sure people have. How?

Looks like you get a free hall pass.

Some useful discussion in this recent thread, with a few links to other similar discussions.

Good luck, don’t make any absolute decisions right away, keep your own and your kids best interest as your primary guiding light.

Not even in the cards. Have absolutely zero desire.

At the risk of sounding like a Dear Abby recording, this sounds like a situation best handled with a counselor. A neutral, uninvolved party trained to listen, ask questions, referee (if needed) and help you work thru it - if nothing else, it can help clear the air and clear your head. I’ve never had to deal with this myself, but I can’t imagine anything, short of my husband dying, would be much worse. Good luck to you as you!

Hon … you REALLY need to get into counseling.

I’ve never been in this situation but I do know couples who managed to move on after an affair.

I’ve agreed to go to counseling. I don’t think I did anything wrong, but I’m not leaving, so I’m going.

Not only Dear Abby…lots of us are on board with this. The affair is only the symptom, and a good counselor will help both of you address the real issue(s) that got to this point in your marriage…if she’s truly sorry, that’s great and all, but you will have trust issues down the road for a while and a counselor will help get the two of you back to trusting each other with good boundaries…in time. Just like any other mental trauma, it stings and hurts at first, but over time with counseling, it does get better if both of you want the marriage to survive, and then thrive.

Similar circumstances happened to me a while back (emotional, not sexual though), but things are better now. Counseling DID help. I wish you luck in the near future.

Thank you. I had absolute trust in her. I shouldn’t have.

All I can say is good luck. I have never been in this situation that I know of. But I know myself. I have total and complete trust in someone until they show they can’t be trusted. I don’t know if I could ever get over that.

I’m sorry for your troubles. I know people who got through affairs and report that it made the marriage stronger in the end, I know that must sound trite. You sound like you’re dealing with it maturely, which is admirable.

Gah. Been there, done that, and just reading your post brought back some nausea.

If you have the means, go for individual counseling in addition to couples’ counseling. You’re going through one of the most difficult things you’ll ever face.

Take care of yourself. You might seek out a psychiatrist for your individual counseling, in case medication needs to be on the table. Watch out for that loop in your head–it can turn into a vicious feedback of insomnia and depression, and at the bottom is a pit I never want to see again.

You’re still in shock, so this may not register for awhile. There are two things you must know to get through this nightmare. First, you are going to have to face up to your culpability for the breakdown of the relationship. You are, in fact, partially or equally to blame for the marriage getting to a point that cheating was an option.

But the second thing you must know and believe is that you are not in any way, shape, form, no way, no how responsible for the affair. When the marriage broke down your wife had tons of options, but she chose the most selfish and destructive course. That’s on her head and her’s alone.

Be good to yourself. Get help. I wish you strength and, eventually, peace.

That wouldn’t be the right thing to do anyway. You may not have done something wrong, but something was wrong in the relationship between you two and would need to change, even without the affair. What she did was certainly wrong, but if you’re going to get through this, you’re both going to have to figure out what it was that wasn’t working, and plan a new approach to that aspect of your relationship. That may well require changes from both of you.

Trust is a funny thing. And as many (including me) can tell you; It’s a lot more difficult when you have to ‘choose’ to trust someone as opposed to it coming naturally.

This is why I never ever read my wife’s emails.

(bolding mine)

I may be misinterpreting what you’ve typed here, but I wanted to make sure you aren’t going into counseling with the mindset that it’s some sort of punishment for you. It’s about your well-being and your ability to go forward in a relationship you want to maintain. There isn’t any inherent implication that you’ve done something wrong just because you’re the one going.

And like I said, if I’ve misinterpreted your meaning there, I apologize. Good luck going forward.

Not even to see if she said anything nice about you to her friends?

Sorry, but that part of the OP is pretty fishy.

Obviously, the toothpaste is out of the tube now and she’s greatly wronged you and your family through her actions so reading her email is definitely the lesser of the two evils, but your posted reason for reading her email just doesn’t pass the sniff test. If you’re going to move forward with counseling and repairing this relationship, you really need to be honest with yourself and her about how the marriage got to the point where she began looking for outside companionship.

Good luck with everything. It’ll be a tough road but you can definitely get through it.

This. Brother, I’d be livid if a girlfriend were reading my email - if I left it open by accident, the appropriate response is to close the browser, and maybe mention that I’d left it open.

Adults have privacy, and every right to it. Something tells me this isn’t the first time you took a rather lackadaisical approach to your wife’s privacy. Things is - even if she had been saying nice things about you, that still would have been none of your business.

It sort of happened to me, but I didn’t find out about until the ship had sailed. That is, seperation was complete to the tune of 3000 miles apart, when I stumbled across an email on the computer we shared when we were together. I wasn’t even looking for it, just literally opened up a doc that I thought was something else and there was all the lovey-dovey shit that was dated about a month after she told me she wanted to take some time apart.

For me, I had mostly come to terms that shit was over, but I was damned infuriated. I talked to family and friends about it, not even thinking that I should be embarrassed to have been cheated on. Maybe I should have been, but I was much more focused on what a shitty fucking person she had been to me than to wallow in my own misery.

Of course, once the depression set in, wallowing was my millieu, as it were, but this too shall pass.

Don’t I know it. Boy was that fucking stupid.