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Relationship advice Been married 17 years, together for 22. My dad died seven years ago and I started falling into a pretty deep depression. My wife put up with it for about three years and then decided the best way to handle it would be to start dating other men. Between willful ignorance and wishful thinking I was able to ignore it for 3 years. Then she started actually bringing her last boyfriend to my house like he was "just a friend".

My hackles had been up for a long time but I finally decided to no longer ignore what I was picking up on. Last November I asked her if there was anything she needed to tell me. She said no. I told her to unlock her phone and give it to me. She did (hands shaking) and it took about two minutes to find a text from her to yet another guy (who had asked what she was doing) saying she was just laying in bed with this most recent guy. The text was sent in the middle of the day when she was supposed to be at work and only five days before I discovered it.

A little more looking and I found a full-frontal nude pic this guy had sent her several months prior. I also found sexy vids she has recorded but claims she never sent, and a pic of her breasts that she had sent to the guy who had asked her what she was doing in the previous paragraph above.

She finally admitted to it but claimed they had only spent the night together twice and had unsuccessful sex both times (she claims he didn't finish inside her). Did I mention that even though I had a vasectomy 17 years ago she had recently gone on birth control, too? Hello, red flag!

I had also seen texts indicating that he had gone on a particular camping trip with her that she continues to deny. More on that later. She insisted that she had not been physical with anyone besides this one guy.

Anyway, I decided that life without her was unacceptable to me and asked if she wanted to try to fix things. We went into couple's counseling and I went into my own counseling to deal with my depression. Five months after that I got that feeling again and did some checking. She was communicating with this guy again, him using a different Facebook profile (but the pics were him).

When I confronted her about it she admitted to not only talking to him, but seeing him again. We had installed tracking apps on our phones and she said she would just text me that she was in meetings so I wouldn't get suspicious if she didn't answer me, then leave her phone at work and have him pick her up. When I asked her if she had sex with him again she paused for about 15 to 20 seconds before saying no.

I started downloading her Facebook data and asked her if there was anything she needed to tell me before it finished downloading. She said there was a message from her to him about the times they had recently had sex. She then said that she sent those just so he could screenshot them and send them to another girl he was trying to scrape off. I said that there should be messages before or after the one about having sex indicating that this was the plan. She said there weren't. Hmmm.

We scheduled an extra session and talked about this with our counselor. I told her I would be checking her social media periodically. Upon looking at a message thread with one of her friends (I didn't realize how far back it had gone...it kind of jumped as if she had been deleting messages and missed these) I found where she was detailing a pretty romantic (and physical) date with a different guy back in 2015. Remember when she said she hadn't been physical with anyone besides the most recent guy?

I asked her about it and she said it was all made up. It never happened. Then told me that it wasn't actually his place they had gone to but a friend's who he had been doing some work for. Uh, what?

Anyway, I decided to take a look at the Facebook page for the event that she had gone to that I had specifically asked if this guy had gone with her (told you there'd be more later). On that page were two pics of her and this guy in front of her tent at this event. When she got home I asked her again if he had gone with her. When she said no I texted one of the photos to her. Then she claimed he didn't actually stay overnight. Yeah, okay.

Anyway, I'm about fed up. I know there are plenty of couples who get past infidelity and stay together. But how many stay together after it happens again? So far I still feel as if I can't live without her, but I can't trust her one tiny bit, either. I suppose that the longer she goes without getting caught in another adulterous lie the more my trust in her will be repaired, but sometimes it feels as if there's no point.

I'm not looking to find another woman. (She had actually suggested I "even the score" with another woman. I told her that sounded like she wanted me to give her an excuse to end the marriage without putting her in such a bad light.) In fact, if she and I do split up, I'll probably do like my dad did and just stay single for the rest of my life. (Bear in mind with the life expectancy for men in my family, that's less than 20 years from now.)

I'm kind of in a holding pattern right now. Trying to see if it will start feeling better. Trying to see if our marriage really can be repaired. I'm still trying, but I'm not as optimistic as I was before I caught her again.

Thanks for letting me just get this off my chest.

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Hi Physics Enthusiast, I have 17 years of marriage gone by too, so I understand how scary the thought of singledom is. However, you can not now trust your wife, and she has shown contempt for you by her behaviour, not a genuine attempt to be faithful. I couldn’t stay in that situation, knowing that my life partner had chosen someone else. A last ditch attempt to show her I mean business would be a trial separation; she will have to move out to give you space to think about how your life might work without her (and without the daily reminder that she doesn’t respect you).
Good luck, whatever you decide

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I was married 24 years. More years of my life with him, than without. Here's the thing: I'd convinced myself I couldn't live without him, because I was scared. I didn't want o b with him, but my fear of being on my own kept me frozen, and in agony.

Until I simply decided that if I was going to be miserable regardless, then I'd rather be miserable on my own terms. Without the constant suspicion and upheaval. Within a week, I was not even miserable at all, just relieved. Since hen, I've moved to an area I truly love, pursued passions I'd been stifling, made friends I truly enjoy, and even met the love of my life. But even if none of that had happened, I'd still be MUCH happier than I was, believing I needed to stay where I was not wanted nor appreciated.

Whether you actually separate or not, you already have separate lives. Well-being she does, anyway. Sorry, but it's just true. She's already moved on. No reason you shouldn't too. And I don't mean sexually. Move on from a prison of your own making. Stop focusing on her, and start focusing on whatever makes you happy. Before long, you'll be on your own, and wondering why on Earth you ever believed you needed her. If you both just need to keep the financial end of things together for comfort's sake, then call it what it is, and move on emotionally. She's been showing you what you mean to her. Don't let your fear convince you that you have to accept it.

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By your own admission, you were "grief-absent" from involvement with your marriage for 7 years. That's a long time to neglect your partner. She has moved on, provocatively and cruelly, but really, she is not connected anymore to you or the marriage.

Did she stay for financial reasons?


Decide this is going to be a new year for you. See an attorney to find out where you are financially, and then move on. Sorry to be so blunt, but all this was there for you to see, you just couldn't/didn't pay attention. (I hope you are dealing with the depression with therapy and possible medication.)

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Thank you all for your replies.

SusieDQQ: I just found a letter she had written to him back in Jan where she explains that she needs a partner with a paycheck (he has no job, I work for the state) and needs my medical coverage for the multiple issues she has. I'd say that qualifies as staying for financial reasons. Also, Susie, yes, I am seeing a psychotherapist for my own issues and my doctor has me on an antidepressant. We're still tweaking the dosage on the meds, but the therapy is definitely helping.

I'm VERY familiar with divorce paperwork due to my job, and have begun completing the necessary forms. Whether to file them or not, I'm still deciding.

Again, thank you all. It's particularly beneficial to know you're not alone in dealing with something like this.

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She had actually suggested that I "even the score" with another woman. Hmmm... PHYSICS ENTHUSIAST don't give it second thought, complete the divorce documents and divorce. Concerning yourself about what she's doing behind your back sounds very stressful aside from her taking advantage of you for your paycheck and health benefits.

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You can always drop a divorce proceeding at any stage.

You deserve a better marriage. She does too.

Letting go, and being OK with that is the first step.

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Thanks for the input. It's appreciated.

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This is such a sad story. Maybe you did neglect her for a while but you were grieving for your dad and she should have been supporting you - not running round chasing any man who'd look at her! She has destroyed your self esteem and your self respect, and you deserve more than that. It won't be easy but you need her to leave right now. Spend some time rebuilding yourself. Get out and enjoy life again. Do things that bring you pleasure. And eventually - if it feels right for you - you may meet someone else who loves you for who you are NOT what you can pay for. You do not need this destructive woman in your life for a second longer. Be strong

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PHYSICS perhaps my recommendation for not giving second thought to divorce was in haste. Knowing the painstaking drawn out process of divorce separating for now might put thing's in perspective.

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