Help me decide?
Two days ago my wife had me sit down because she had some information that was going to hurt me. She told me that during our 23 year marriage, she had (past tense) an affair. We are now in 2011, this affair began in 2000 and went strong and heavy for 6 years (physical) and intimately via e-mail and telephone over the following 4 years. She claims it had ended in 2010 and it has been over with for 1.5 years.
She found someone during a business trip in Kansas City, when she was 34 years old, he was 29 and was married to someone who was 29. I was 40 then and am 50 now. During that 10 year period of time our sexual relationship slowed dramatically, she began to see a Psychiatrist, and was placed on anti-depressants. Most likely torn between me and him and now knowing what she should do... eg. divorce, divulge, keep living the secret life, who knows what else. This was a long distance relationship and my wife could not wait for the subsequent annual business trips.
They had slept together over 20 times, at least that what I have been told, it could have been a lot more. They found reasons to meet in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Atlanta and even Flint Michigan.
Well this whole thing came to my attention through her because she was found out by her lover's wife who threatened to inform me if she didn't tell me.
Since then, I have had extreme mixed emotions, and I feel it's extremely ironic that my wife's mind is doing a lot better now that it's off her shoulders, and out in the open and that I now feel I must seek psychiatric counseling.
This person's wife called me to tell me of everything she found out about this affair and to also inform me that her husband left another job because he had an affair with someone else, during the time of his affair with my wife. I feel dirty now like I have now slept with everyone they have both slept with.
I don't know what to do... will time heal. Should I seek professional counseling, should I throw her under the bus (My kids are 21, 18 and 14), should I forgive once and continue as if nothing happened. I have lost total trust in her... can I survive with her not trusting her, do I get out and regroup, and try to find love again, do I do what the wedding vows say and help her?:
"I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live."
She wasn't faithful, She fell in love with this other person and I don't believe I have her unconditional love, if she focused on him, how could my goals have been supported, was I honored and respected? maybe now she's laughing but I am certainly crying.
Damn it! Damn her... Please help me decide the next steps.
About the only thing I can suggest is marriage counseling. Your trust has been broken, and you both will need some honest conversations if you are ever going to build the trust again. I doubt you can do it yourselves.