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My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

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My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby WhoRU » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:55 am

Hi – this is my first post here and it's probably going to be quite long. Sorry to do that. It's almost too embarrassing to post here and I find myself wondering if I'm somehow in a soap opera. Needless to say I'm very worried about where this is all headed! I come from a fairly solid stable background.
I love my wife - but it's not easy!

I'm ~2 years married in a ~4 yr relationship with my wife. I'm middle aged but this is my first marriage – Wife's second. She is a little younger.

The thing is I have recently learned of a huge (I believe) betrayal of trust by my wife and I'm struggling to come to terms with it and what it means for our future together (?) I really do love her – but not sure I can live with this in the background... as well as whatever other demons may be lurking there!

Background:
# We met and started dating after she had been through a nasty breakup (and ultimately: divorce)
# Wife has diagnosed PTSD (with depression) from very nasty teenage trauma – this has led to multiple hospitalizations, suicide attempts, self loathing, alcohol and substance abuse (now ~60 to 80 std drinks per week), promiscuity (at times), fear of abandonment... list goes on. I expect she is probably BPD – going by some quick check lists I have looked at – she fits it to a tee – but not diagnosed that I am aware of. Treatments have included anti-psychs; anti-deps, ECT and EMDR.
# She had been quite open and told me a lot of this early on – and more detail came to light later. I have been so inspired by her survival and strength in getting through so much trauma.
# She has a teenage son who is OK generally but gets little attention or guidance from her.
# With all of that you may well ask – why the hell would I get involved with her? - Well – she is simply a lovely and very charming woman and I fell in love with her. Maybe she charmed me – I don't know. I have no doubt that she loves me too.

The Issue:
Early in our relationship I met her best friend – a guy ('M' with a bunch of his own issues). I thought it was unusual for a woman to have a guy as a bestie – as in my experience one or the other usually develops 'feelings'. I could see they were close but she insisted that they were just friends and there had been no sexual relationship. Pretty sure she offered that up before I even asked - which was maybe a big 'tell' that I missed – as reading that back to myself I know I was incredibly naive! I guess I just needed to trust her.
To cut to the chase – roughly 4 years on: the bestie guy melts down pissed, sends sexy messages to my wife and engages in some stalky behavior while I was away which scared her badly. She then admitted to me (coz she didn't want me to learn from him – she said) – that they had been 'F-buddies' for a time while they were both single and it didn't mean anything and they hadn't slept together for a long time before she met me.

Now I knew that I was marrying someone with an 'interesting' history. And I know that on some level what she did before she met me is her business – but to me this is a huge betrayal and it has rocked my faith in her and in our marriage. It feels fresh and raw just as if she slept with him last week!

The thing is – I had trusted her implicitly and become friends with him. He's a nice guy when not drunk. He actually gave my wife away at my wedding! (as she is in a different country to her family) – and he gave a speech at the reception. We had all been good friends including his wife and I had come to trust him as well. So imagine my shock to learn of the BIG LIE and that the guy who had walked my wife to me down the aisle had been sleeping with her previously... and all that goes with it. It's HUGE! I don't understand how anyone could do that to another person!
And as I said it has rocked my belief in my marriage. I'm wondering now if I can believe anything she says... and I can't get the image of them together out of my head – not to mention the memory of him giving a nice wedding speech knowing full well that I was clueless about their affair!

I feel like I have somehow been scammed! - honestly I believe that I probably would have walked away 4 years ago if I knew then what I know now. BUT having said that – I know she loves me and I'm confident she has not cheated since we have been together.
So maybe there is hope? Is there hope? Really?

So – we have spoken about it a little:
wife says she understands how I feel betrayed and is really sorry.
BUT she essentially just wants me to get over it, forgive her and move on!
She justifies the betrayal this way: she needed to preserve the friendship with him because he was her best friend and the only one she could talk to! (not true – she can talk to me but often does not want to – and I have asked her not to expect to have serious discussions when she is drinking)… and that once she had told that lie she could not go back!
I said that to me, when 'besties' have sex – then that is not 'F-buddies' at all. One or both of them were bound to have deep feelings. ie. Be 'in love' with the other.
Her response was 'not as far as she was concerned – it was just sex'.
I remain certain, because of the intensity of their relationship, that even if she was not in love with him, then he probably was in some way (although married).

All communication with him is now ceased – I am confident of this. BUT I have since found out that their relationship went for much longer than she has so far admitted (on and off across maybe 3 years!) – while he was on and off again with his wife, and also while my wife was dating numerous online dates. - but all before she met me... I think. But how can I be sure?

So – she is still either lying or deluding herself about the reality of their relationship.
BUT I do understand that it was one decision she made soon after we met, and that she felt she could not back out, for fear of losing either her marriage or her best friend or both.

And now the last option seems quite likely. As I said – I'm not sure I want put up with this betrayal and hang around waiting for the next one – all while dealing with her alcoholism and PTSD issues etc.
I am also painfully aware that if I leave her she may attempt to take her own life again. And of course I would not want that. I do love her still and I know she has had an exceptionally painful history.

Phew! - thoughts anyone?
Should I get out and save myself?
Should I stay and give her one chance?
Is there any point?

Thx in advance for any well meaning advice!

... WhoRU
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby WhoRU » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:30 am

Well - a few months on - I'll update just for the 400 or so who have had a look (but not offered any reply).
Short and sweet coz i don't have time to waste talking to nobody :roll:

1. I'm still here & we are still together.
2. I have sought some professional advice to help me see through the fog clearly.
3. Pretty certain there has been no contact with the ex F-buddy/friend.
4. Still not easy but we are trying to move forward and not get stuck in the past.
5. Having said that - if the same issues re-emerge in any major way I think I owe it to myself to move on.

... that's all folks.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby RottenFish » Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:21 pm

This is the first time I read this post since I don't visit the Relationship forum often.

But I'm glad that things have improved since last time you posted.
I do have to give you credit for loving this woman as much as you do, especially with all her baggage. I've dumped people and ended relationships because of the same situation you are in.

Today, I am with a guy for 7 years now, who doesn't have all that baggage and gives me all his love.

However, if things change in the future for you, hopefully you can find someone who doesn't have such a sketchy past.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby BethleftRich » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:09 pm

So sorry you are going through this with your wife. I am in grief counseling now because I left my husband who didn't want to seek treatment for his addictions. It is so difficult, and painful when you love someone, but they have addictions. I stayed in my toxic marriage for only one year, it was stay or get out for my own well being. I did the latter and got out. I wish you much luck, and your wife too! Hope everything works out.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby Aries411 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:27 pm

I think you have to deal with the past, but not ruminate. It seems like you have discussed the situation with your wife already and she said she was sorry about it. Did you feel it was genuine? Do you think she is lying to you now?

Its dangerous to ruminate about her past lies because it causes you un-needed stress and people will tend to blow things out of proportion the more they think about something. If you find her lying and hiding things now, then that would be a bit different. Look at her presently and see if you trust her on a daily basis. If so, I think you will both be fine. I am happy that things have improved but try not to let the past hold you back.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby maxtom » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:04 pm

Aries411 wrote:I think you have to deal with the past, but not ruminate. It seems like you have discussed the situation with your wife already and she said she was sorry about it. Did you feel it was genuine? Do you think she is lying to you now?

Its dangerous to ruminate about her past lies because it causes you un-needed stress and people will tend to blow things out of proportion the more they think about something. If you find her lying and hiding things now, then that would be a bit different. Look at her presently and see if you trust her on a daily basis. If so, I think you will both be fine. I am happy that things have improved but try not to let the past hold you back.


I have a really similar issue in my couple. My wife and I have been married 18 years and we dated 5-6 years before that. We had some rough times as with all couples. She lost her dad which she was very close about 10 years ago. My issue is that I just "discovered" that she had met someone (a guy from England) while she was in Cancun about 10 years ago. I discovered they exchanged emails during 3 years and she went twice on travel to meet him and his group of friends. Of course she lied about the reason of the travels. During those 2 trips, I discovered that she had cheated on me. My issue is that I feel betrayed because had I known at the time (again 10 years ago), I would have ended my marriage then and not have my second child. I have the feeling that the last 10 years have been based on a big lie. Also, during that time, she was "going out with her girlfriends" a lot and she had open accounts to several dating sites. So I really don't go how to move forward aka forget/forgive or confront her. My feelings right now is the same as if I had caught her cheating on me just now. Thoughts? Thanks
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby Aries411 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:09 am

maxtom wrote:My issue is that I feel betrayed because had I known at the time (again 10 years ago), I would have ended my marriage then and not have my second child.


Welcome to the forum maxtom,

That's a tough item to deal with. I have gone through something similar with my wife in relation to broken trust. When I was 1 year into my marriage, just bought a new house and she was a few months pregnant, she found out that I had a gambling problem for the past 17 years. She felt our whole relationship was a lie and that I tricked her into marriage. She wanted to abort the baby, but it was too late and was seriously considering a divorce. I don't know what I said, but I got a second chance. I promised to never gamble again. After 3.5 years, I relapsed and shattered any remaining trust that I built over the past few years. Her trust in me was now pretty much non-existent. However, once again, we talked and eventually she gave me another chance. I have been clean since.

What did I learn from the experience that would relate to you...
- How you feel about your relationships now is the most important. Have they changed and learned from their mistake? Do you want to continue it or end it? Please don't end if you are only focusing on the event 10 years ago. Look at the relationship now and see if you are happy.
- My wife felt that our entire relationship was a lie, but after some therapy, she learned that my feelings were genuine and she knew my heart was in the right place. If she dwelled on that huge lie, she would be stuck in the past the entire time and the only person that would hurt is herself
- From my therapy, I have learned to study mindfulness and to be present. Dwelling on the past (rumination) brings unneeded stress and worrying about the future brings unneeded anxiety to the present. Stay present and look at things now.

From your post, it seems like your wounds are still raw and you need some closure. Although its hard, I would try to have to have a talk with her and discuss how you are feeling and how you are having trouble getting over the incident 10 years ago. I know that it may not make sense, but something I learned in therapy was that people do not cause us pain, it is us who cause us pain.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby maxtom » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:59 pm

Hi Aries411

I would like to thank you for sharing your experience and your kind words. The this is that I have confronted her several times, each time getting a little bit more info. She "confessed" about the emails, the trips and lies surrounding that period although she denies the 2 sexual encounters. I have written evidence that these encounters have occurred and I have shown it to her. For now, I stopped referring back to these events with her because she gets very on the defence. Secretly, I still ruminate hard. I just seem I can't get over it. The sex cheating hurts but my pain is not primarily because of that. It's the fact that I have not been given the "opportunity to choose to continue or end" the relationship at that time.

I feel like I was robbed from my last 10 years of life/marriage. And now, I feel like I'm stuck in a lose-lose situation. I can't dwell on the past, but I would feel "cheap" to divorce for something that occurred 10 years ago and afraid of the consequences on my 2 children. Though, moving forward is like forgiving and forget...and I'm not sure if I can do it.
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Re: My marriage is based on a HUGE lie. What to do?

Postby Aries411 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:30 pm

I think your last paragraph has really described the only options you have. I feel like divorcing now for an event 10 years ago, isn't the right choice and I know you also feel cheated since you didn't have that option 10 years ago. As for your second option, forgive and forget, is so much easier to say than do.

For my wife, she has never forgotten about the incident and I told her not to either. She needs to know I have done this wrong. What is more important is for my wife to know is that I love her now and I will try my best for us to live happily. She also needs to know that I should not be in debt to her for the rest of my life trying to make up for my wrong. It is not a way to live or how a marriage should be. I think she realizes that. As for forgiveness, I don't think that will happen for a long time unless she works on herself. She needs to understand that I wasn't 100% to blame and it was due to circumstances. The reality is that no one is perfect and we can't always expect people to act in the same way we would act. Some have a super strict taboo with cheating, while others might be more lenient. Putting our expectations onto others is our fault and it can lead to a lot of stress on the relationship.
Something that helped us tremendously was couples therapy. They didn't say who was right or wrong, but they helped us understand what was wrong in the way we communicated. It might be worth a try if you are having troubles getting past that incident.
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