My wife of 10 years, a stay at home mom (SAHM), developed chemistry with the father of my son’s buddy from school in November 2011. He is a stay at home dad. I discovered the chemistry from their emails. She was really remorseful about it.
I recognized maybe I did not give her enough affection. So I gave her more hugs and kisses, more affection. But she was still in her affair. I’d research articles from a Christian website to help her pull herself from affair. I continued to buy her flowers, gifts, chocolates, as usual.
I knew they exchanged emails 6 or 7 times a day, so I joined in the battle. I texted my wife jokes and updates from work, to win her back. That didn’t work. Then I told myself, maybe I should trust her and not get suspicious. So I took the family (with 2 beautiful kids, 8 and 5) on vacations, twice, to help to reconcile, and many more outings during the summer of 2012. At home, I have always helped out with housework and I started doing homework with my elder son, hoping to lighten her workload at home.
That didn’t work neither. It actually developed into a full blown affair with intimacy while I was trying to reconcile. I intercepted an email in November 2012, my wife said “I love you” to the OM. I talked to her immediately — “Do you remember the whose name it is engraved on your ring, and do you still remember this picture that we’re holding our son when he was first born in the hospital?” She replied “Of course, I do.” I hugged her and kissed her, asking her to come back to reality.
For the next few days, I knew they were dating, but I presumed they were talking about cutting off. So I sympathetically asked my wife “ Are you having a hard time?” and “What can I do to help?” Then the next day, I found another email — the OM claimed he had ordered a ring for my wife and my wife declared “…even if it’s a plain wedding band, I’ll still put it on…..you are the man I love and that’s not going to change….”
The affair developed deeper. In December 2012, I asked my wife do you know what you’re doing, she said yes. Nothing changed. In late December, we had another talked, still no help. By then, they’re calling each other husband and wife, promising they’re going to look after each other til they get old.
In January 2013, she asked me why am I being so suspicious and she suggested if we should separate. I told her I’d actually seen a divorce lawyer. She then broke down and cried and begged for forgiveness. She tried to be nice to me, returned gifts to the OM, told her parents her sin (edited version). After couple weeks, I gave in, I told her I’ll try to move forward but she need to cut off all contacts with the OM. I researched Disneyland packages for the family with her. Then after a few days, she tried to contact the OM again. They re-connected, again 4 to 5 emails per day. I discovered she had researched the address of a jewelry store several times. Then eventually, in March 2013, I found this email my wife asked “Hey, what about our ring?” I was totally devastated. The switch for my love for my wife was turned off.
She knew she was busted again. This time, she was even more remorseful, started going to church, going to MC, trying even harder to please me. But my love and trust for her was gone. I told myself not to make any decision while I am emotional, so I waited. She claimed she has not been seeing or contacting the OM, maybe, I don’t know, since she disabled my technology. Plus, now she knows how I track her, she wouldn’t use the same method of communication anyway. One night, she was waving a bible in front of me claiming she is not thinking of the OM anymore. But in her calendar, she has marked down the birthday of the OM, and the date of Nov 26, 2027 where they’re promised to re-connect. I am convinced she is deeply in love with the OM and he will be in her heart forever.
I really want a divorce but she doesn’t want to. Also the kids are very very attached to her because she is stay at home mom. My daughter cuddles in her bed every morning. It’s heart breaking for me to see my daughter push me aside and goes to her mom when I try to tuck her in bed. The kids love to play with me, but when it comes to daily routines, they don’t want me. She wants to be with the kids 24/7, which means I have no private time with the kids.
What should I do Chump Lady? Should I suck it up for the kids? I don’t even want to talk to my wife now, how can I spend the rest of my life with her? Maybe you can help point out if I did anything wrong?
Help you point out what you did wrong? Will do. God bless you, Andre, you’re a super chump. You’re exhibit A of How Not to React to a cheating spouse. Don’t feel bad about it though. Most of us here have made every stupid mistake you did. You’re among chumps. Glad you found us.
Mistake 1. You assumed the affair was because of something you were not giving her. “Maybe I didn’t give her enough affection?” So you up your game there, more hugs and kisses, more presents, more kibbles. And… no surprise. It didn’t work. Why didn’t it work? Because that wasn’t the problem. The problem was HER — her entitlement. Her incessant need for ego kibbles. The affair is about her lack of character and her desire to eat cake (you and the OM). It’s not about something that was “missing” in your marriage. I’m sure you were missing things too — did she sent YOU chocolates? Yeah… I don’t think so.
Mistake 2. You did the “pick me” dance. You competed with the other man. When he sent loving texts, you sent loving texts. Why didn’t that work? See mistake 1 — this isn’t about you (or him) — it’s about maintaining cake (having you both).
Mistake 3. You told yourself “maybe I should trust her.” You felt compelled to trust someone who DEMONSTRATED that they were completely untrustworthy. You assumed this was something about YOU (your inability to trust) versus HER (she is a cheater, and ergo untrustworthy). You doubted your common sense. She needs to EARN your trust, not do some sorry song and dance. That takes years, even with someone trying very hard, it often can never be regained. To think you could trust her so soon was foolish. It was hope over evidence.
Mistake 4. You tried to reason with her, instead of taking action for YOURSELF. When you caught her in a physical affair, you tried to remind her of her bonds to you. You tried to marshall evidence of why your marriage was a good place to be. This is another version of the “pick me” dance. What you needed to ask yourself was — is this marriage good for ME? Is this treatment acceptable? And what am I going to do about it? Talking with her had been exhausted by that point. She had continued to disrespect you — and she felt license to go further. She showed you what she thought of your talk with her actions — she slept with him. When she crossed that line — it was past time for you to lawyer up and leave.
Mistake 5. You let her eat cake. Talk didn’t work and AGAIN she felt license to go even further. Now it’s talk of marriage and rings. The fantasy intensifies. You kept expecting her to rein herself in, when she trampled over every weak objection you’ve had. This is not a person who can be counted on to do the right thing. You only control YOU. Instead of constantly taking her temperature about things “Did you end it?” and “Are you okay?” you should have said “This is completely unacceptable and this is what I’m going to do about it.” See a lawyer. Ask her to move out. You move out. You needed to demonstrate with your actions — not your words — that this was a deal breaker. You did neither, really.
Now then, what to do? Go forward with a divorce. I hope you saved all the evidence of her affair — give it to your lawyer. Tell the OM’s wife what is going on. She deserves to know she’s being a chump, supporting Mr. Stay at Home Dad’s ass. You work out the best custody arrangement you can, 50/50 if possible. You may have to pay her some alimony until she can get on her feet. Again, your lawyer can advise. But whatever you have to pay to get out of this, is worth your self respect and NOT modeling dysfunction to your children. Would you want your children to stay in a marriage like this? Do you want your daughter to grow up to be like her mother? Then stop modeling this shit to them. When people cheat on you — it is abuse. Do NOT accept abuse.
Go let the two stay at home parents have each other. Then see how lovely their fantasy is when they both have to get jobs and there is no one there footing the bills. What’s stay at home daddy there going to buy his ring with? His wife’s paycheck? Fuck ’em. Let them have each other.
Andre, you’ve been a chump. Take your power back! Good luck to you, man.