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My wife is having an affair, she refuses to attend counselling...help?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Cheating, Marriage problems, Three is a crowd, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 July 2009) 6 Answers - (Newest, 2 July 2009)
A male New Zealand age 51-59, *arl123 writes:

About a week ago I found out my wife was having an affair. We had been married for 24 years and had lived together prior to this for a further 3 years since we were 19. I found out from txts on her phone, she admitted it straight away but said she loved him more than me but would stay with me for the kids sake and his families sake as well for the time being. We have 3 girls, 2 older teenagers and an 8 year old. And he has 2 boys and a girl (all teenagers) and lives in another country. They met 8 months ago at an overseas conference, and then she went to work in his institute for a month in May which was when it turned really serious if you know what I mean. There are 100's if not 1000's of chat messages/txt's documenting this. She has this idea that she could continue to meet him at the occassional offshore conference or holiday together. And I could see someone else so long as I was discrete. Then someday when the kids are old enough they could live together (10years?).

He says his wife hates him, but I am not convinced. My wife mentioned she had seen a recent small hand written note on his office wall that indicated otherwise. Also I have a mutual friend in the same offshore network who was close enough to the action to discretely indicate that other women have been involved with this chap.

3 days after finding out I convinced her to break it off with him. I want her to be happy but I could see this just wasn't going to work and it wouldn't be fair on me. What woman would want someone who is already married, living with his wife, still having sex (no kissing while you're at it thanks)? Pop around the corner for a quick bonk with the girlfriend while the kids are asleep thanks - madness!I still really love her, but part of me thinks is that just because I have never been with another woman and feel insecure? Also it could be extremely damaging on both their careers if this got out.

I am getting counselling this weekend but she refuses to attend. She says I'm too selfish and carry too much baggage. Also she maintains ID locks on her laptop and phone and gets angry when I ask her to take them off. And I think she is still in comm with him which she has to be with her work anyway.

She is a lovely lady but we have drifted apart the last 2-3 years with the teenagers getting older. It's been hard to take holidays with them because all they do is complain and not want to do anything.I have worked so hard around the house (painting, laundry, car maintenance etc), we are both in good jobs, I don't spend excessive hours at work beyond the normal 8-5. We are both very fit and healthy and enjoy the outdoors.We both have high IQ's and perform well in our chosen interests.Help?

View related questions: affair, at work, insecure, kissing

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A male reader, Carl123 New Zealand +, writes (2 July 2009):

Carl123 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for your replies. I think we can all be in that situation where someone comes along who appears to be better than our spouse. It is up to us whether we act on those impulses or maintain barriers that prevent an affair from happening. I myself have been tempted many times in the past but have never acted. I have only just admitted this to her which was very refreshing for both of us. She is the least likely of any woman I know to do something like this, which is probably why she got away with it for so long. I only wish I had been smarter and nailed this months ago - I feel so stupid!

She has never done anything like this before and I don't think it's likely she will do so again - ever. She has acted truthfully in describing how it occurred, we should have fought but haven't. I should have been really angry but wasn't, just sad and dissapointed. Does that mean I don't really love her and am just dependant on her? Certainly she says sex with me is fantastic, much better than with him. And I am in much better physical shape. Everyone wants to be wanted and thought of as special. Maybe it's partly a mid-lefe crisis thing, the need to know that you are still desirable, and it has just got out of control. And you just want to escape the daily grind of dealing with argumentative teenagers. You've justified it in your own mind picking on some flaw in your current spouse to justify your actions.

On the finances side we are both 6 fig earners, me 20% more, so there is little traction for saying she is sponging.

Do I throw away 24 years of marriage because I'm pissed off? Or do I stay and work this out? Or do I discretely have an affair myself to bolster my ego/self-esteem? The kids don't know, I know my 8 year old would be shattered/damaged if Dad moved out. I've seen too many other broken families to want that level of hurt.

I still really get on with her, and although we are no longer intimate we still hold each other.

This is all early days (1 week only) and to some extent we (both of us) are caught up in an emotional rollercoster. As you say she will likely come back when reality hits home, or maybe she is back already, but do I want her back on those terms? Maybe I give it a month and see how I feel, and continue to work on myself.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (2 July 2009):

Your wife is utterly selfish. It seems clear to me that she's trying to make it so that she'll skive off your finances and live on it until she can get together with the man she's having an affair with. She's now simply using you for security.

She told you she loves him more than she does you, if it turns out that he's not all that he was cracked up to be, she'll likely run to you because you're her backup, most probably for her security - do you even wish to be second best?

She's an adult woman she's no child that has to be led by holding hands. Keep the kids and tell her to move out and do whatever she wants and to be held responsible for her actions, you don't need to keep paying for her living and expenses if she doesn't wish to be your wife. You need to be stern!

She thinks that she can take the kids and get together with her other cheating lover? No, don't allow your kids to be a part of something like tha.

Tell her to leave and allow her to make her own mistakes. If she loves another man, and does not even wish to try working on your own marriage, then she doesn’t have the right to live under your roof.

She’ll eventually see that her lover for the sham that he is and realise her own predicament, and she’ll come crawling back to you – for you to decide whether you’ll accept her or not.

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A female reader, Clarke Angelove United States +, writes (2 July 2009):

Your wife is in real trouble and doesn't even know it. She will be willing to do anything to get this man to love her. Even though you think you have been doing everything right... she is the mother, wife, cook, taxi and she just wants to be the passionate lover with no responsibilities. You have got to set a meeting with all of you. No fights just talking. Once your wife sees how he has to respond to his wife she will see his lies. It's easy to love someone when you don't have to wash their underwear.

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A female reader, Clarke Angelove United States +, writes (2 July 2009):

Your wife is in real trouble and doesn't even know it. She will be willing to do anything to get this man to love her. Even though you think you have been doing everything right... she is the mother, wife, cook, taxi and she just wants to be the passionate lover with no responsibilities. You have got to set a meeting with all of you. No fights just talking. Once your wife sees how he has to respond to his wife she will see his lies. It's easy to love someone when you don't have to wash their underwear.

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A male reader, Your friend Australia +, writes (2 July 2009):

Your friend agony auntYou sound a lovely person who had the perfect life and now absolutely devastated and lost for a solution. See the councellor first if there are solutions it will probably come from there as it will give you a chance to offload and get things in perspective which will help you make a more well rounded decision.

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A male reader, galant Mauritius +, writes (2 July 2009):

galant agony auntYour wife admitted that she loved the other man more than you, it means that she prefers other man and you do not seem to interest him anymore. If she breaks up with the man with whom she is currently having an affair, this does not mean that she will try to make it with you again and sooner or later she'll have an affair with some other man. It's true you love her but what kind of man are you to accept a cheating wife who admits that she prefers other men. Don't you have any male ego? What you have lost all your self esteem and ego for the sake of love. All your efforts to bring her back to you will fail simply because she's no more interested in you, she has better sex elsewhere. I know I am being hard but I am only trying to tell you the reality so that you do not waste your time in vain. Leave her, if you are a real man

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