Wife's First Affair

DrattitJanuary 6, 2013

My wife has had three brief affairs which she tried to keep secret from me. For now, I only want to talk about the first one. It involved a photographer -- a former boyfriend and a very good photographer. There are many details (none involved much "snooping" on my part) of how I discovered her affair.

I try to not be jealous or possessive, to let my wife keep her old friendships and relations with others. She told me her old boyfriend was going through a divorce, and she told me he needed to talk, etc. etc. To make a long story short, this man gave her a book he'd recently published and in it was a tiny tiny photo of a nude woman that did not show the woman's face. I suspected but couldn't prove it was her in the photo until 10 years after the event--never mind how--, when computers made it easy for anyone to examine photographic details by themselves. I then discovered more details and more photos that came from her brief affair with her old boyfriend.

I never "confronted" her with this proof of her infidelity. Everyone's favorite word is "confront." I am not confrontational and don't like to be.

What should I have done a decade after the event? What would you have done?

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amyfiddler

I would talk about about how it hurts.

I don't like the word "confront" either. I do like the words "authenticity" and "clarity."

The time that has passed is irrelevant to your present pain. Not addressing is not the same as forgiving - it is simply cheap forgiveess and avoidant behavior. It creates a wedge - that you are responsible for. I would present this, not as a blaming thing, but as taking responsiblity for your part in never having been truthful with her about your pain.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:34PM
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colleenoz

I'm curious, regardless of when the book was published, why do you assume the nude picture was taken after your wife married you, and not while she was with her ex boyfriend? If it was an old photo, possibly in poor taste to have included it in the book, but not proof of an affair.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 12:57AM
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Drattit

Thank you for replying Amy and Colleen. Without giving exact details, there was something that proved the photo could only have been taken while we were married and that "something" was what made me suspect the model to be her in the first place (aside from the general shape of the figure shown in the photo).

It's been now more than ten years. I don't want to stir up old crap. I was hurt at the time but had no proof, didn't want to sound like a jealous ass braying my suspicions about. But I admit, I felt at the time her explanations were flimsy for the man's two phone calls and his sudden appearance into our lives. In reference to Amy's reply and my responsibility: I wonder if anyone has any idea how I might go about bringing this old thing up again in order to set the record straight with my wife regarding it?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Drattit

Thank you for replying Amy and Colleen. Without giving exact details, there was something that proved the photo could only have been taken while we were married and that "something" was what made me suspect the model to be her in the first place (aside from the general shape of the figure shown in the photo).

It's been now more than ten years. I don't want to stir up old crap. I was hurt at the time but had no proof, didn't want to sound like a jealous ass braying my suspicions about. But I admit, I felt at the time her explanations were flimsy for the man's two phone calls and his sudden appearance into our lives. In reference to Amy's reply and my responsibility: I wonder if anyone has any idea how I might go about bringing this old thing up again in order to set the record straight with my wife regarding it?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:16AM
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colleenoz

Mm. Hard one. If you "don't want to stir up old crap", why do you feel you need to "set the record straight"? Since, as you admit, you had affairs yourself in response to what you felt were your wife's affairs (I'm not disputing that they happened, it may be as you suspected or it may not), it seems to me that neither of you is totally blameless in this.
What would be your purpose in bringing up the affair so long after the event? If you are both happy together now, I don't think it would improve anything, and might start a rift that will take a long time to heal, if ever. If you are not happy, then I would suggest couples counselling where you could bring up the topic in an atmosphere where hopefully things would not get too out of hand and acrimonious, assuming you want to continue with your marriage.
Possibly individual counselling for you would be of benefit in helping you to quantify your feelings about the past and to work through them, in the process deciding if you want to rake it over with your wife or leave it lie.Personally, if I was in your shoes and had got over the hurt, at this late point I'd let it go, if I was otherwise happy in my marriage.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 12:52PM
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mkroopy

Colleenoz - I am confused...you said "Since, as you admit, you had affairs yourself in response to what you felt were your wife's affairs.."

I went back and re-read the OP's original, and follow-up posts several times, and am not seeing this at all. Can you explain where you got this? Was there a deleted post or something? What am I missing here??

OP - I know I am chiming in late here....but I have to ask why only the "first" affair seems of any importance to you? I was in a marriage where my (now) ex wife cheated on me twice, and let me tell you they both were punches in the gut. Why the fixation on the first one?

I know the common (and probably correct) answer is if your marriage is good now and you want to be with her, then there's nothing to be gained by bringing it up. But, I do understand where you are coming from. After my wife's first affair, when we had [supposedly] agreed to stay in the marriage and work on things and all that, when it became clear that she just wanted to sweep it under the rug and never talk about it again, I felt that it was like I was letting her "get away" with it or something. Hard to explain. I guess I felt that she had betrayed me in such a bad way that she should have at least been made to own up to it, discuss it, etc. Not that it would have helped, I get that, just that it did leave me with a feeling of she got off easy, and it was hard to deal with.

Then she did it again and that was it....one time, I could try to understand and forgive, not two.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:22PM
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colleenoz

Sorry mkroopy, it was in a reply drattit posted to "My wife had multiple affairs"; I quote:
>>How did I cope? For one thing, I felt myself superior to her partners and didn't feel much jealousy or shock. I thought she cheated out of vanity--the need to "see" if she was attractive to others. For another, I had felt strongly attracted to other women, and so now I no longer felt guilty about my feelings for other women nor in giving in to those feelings from time to time ...The >>nor in giving in to those feelings from time to time

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 10:04PM
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