My wife and I have been married for 4 years and together for a total of 10 years. We both met through our professions and fell in love. From both accounts, we’ve had an incredible time together with very few arguments (I would say less than 5-6 in that whole time).
Both my wife are both super active and took a huge interest in this together which built our relationship to being really strong.
3 years ago, our daughter was born and we bought our first place. Things couldn’t have looked any better. My wife took a year off work and spoke to me about loving being a mother and considering having a second (which was a total no go before, she only wanted one). My wife and I decided she would go back to work part time to spend more time at home with my daughter. She was happy with this.
My wife continued to go to work part time but she was unsettled at her workplace and believed she had so much more to offer than the position she was in.
Around a year ago, my wife applied for a very senior role at a new company. I encouraged her to look outside and go for it. My wife is very intelligent but didn’t have the full credentials for this job she was applying for on paper. I told her if she can get an interview, that’s all she will need to shine.
She ended up getting an interview and subsequently won the job. Her package basically doubled what she was on however, she would now be working 5 days a week instead of 4 days one week and 3 days the following week (part time hours). As a condition of that 5 day a week job, one of those days must incorporate Saturdays.
My wife and I went from being off 3-4 days a week together to 1 day a week. I work 10 hour days 4 days a week. We both discussed this at the time and thought we could get through it as it involved a substantial increase in salary and I would stay where I was to look after our daughter more.
During the first 3 months of her new job, a member of the team decided to leave, leaving her in charge of basically two roles. Her job became super busy and she was constantly working back an hour or so a night and was shifting through work emails when she got home. I supported her where I could but I could tell she was busy. During this time I was having a really emotionally draining time at my work and I came home a few times to try to vent to her about it. I could tell she had other things on her mind and she would basically just shrug me off. I felt deeply hurt with this and I would effectively just stone wall any further conversations regarding my feelings and thought I would just keep them to myself (worst possible thing you can do).
My wife approached me in February and said that she is frustrated that I wasn’t helping around the house as much as she is working a lot. She had a fair point and I understood her. I asked her if she still loved me during that conversation and she said yes, of course. I thought this was just a conversation you have when you are a bit angry at work and push it off onto your husband. I began helping with cooking for a few weeks but fell back into not helping as much. I still looked after my daughter, cleaned the house etc (shes always said I am an excellent father) but I just got slack again and stopped cooking.
I ended up buying myself a new computer and getting into video games at night because I felt like that was an escape from reality for me. My wife use to ask me to come to bed and I would say I don’t feel like it and I want to stay up. This lasted for a few months before it stopped. Knowing now, that was a huge sign of disconnect.
In early September, I noticed my wife was super distant. I would talk about future plans or trips and she would say don’t book it as she doesn’t feel like going. I thought that was a bit strange but didn’t think too much into it. Sex leading up to the week before D-Day was drying up and she would always make an excuse not to have it. I remember a few days before D-Day we had sex and it felt so uncomfortable – like she didn’t want to be there. I knew something was up.
A few days later we were in the kitchen and I could definitely see something was wrong. I asked her if she was okay and she just said yes, fine. I kept probing and she looked at me and said “I’m not happy anymore, I don’t love you”. It was at that stage that my whole world I had built with her just shattered. I cried uncontrollably and we went for a drive. I was in a state of total shock. How can it feel so good and then a week before D-Day it doesn’t feel right and she says this? I just didn’t understand.
My wife and I spoke in the car (away from our daughter) for a few hours and she was quite cold about it. She said that she feels like we have grown apart, we are distant and it feels like we are room mates. She stated that she doesn’t think I’m emotionally intelligent enough. She blamed my playing of the computer to be the main reason. I tried to understand her point of view on everything she said and I definitely could see that it could feel the way it does. I pleaded for her to see a Therapist and she agreed, reluctantly. She stated she wanted to make it work for our daughter. I was happy with this as at least it’s something.
I sat back and had a huge self reflection on myself and thought this isn’t the person who I am and it’s definitely not the person I want to be. Having heard my wife say she doesn’t love me anymore was the most painful experience of my life. I cherished my wife and my daughter more than anything on this planet.
For the next 6 weeks, I began my growth as a man and really stepped up. I was cooking nearly every day, keeping the house spotless, completely stopped all social media as I knew this was just pointless scrolling through other people’s lives and began reading a book a day, everything you can imagine on mindfulness, gratitude, love, marriage and everything in between. I began to really see how a marriage needs work all the time and being present in the moment is something I wasn’t doing for 4-5 months. I understood how you can become comfortable and complacent in your marriage and forget about date nights and time together is so important. I began to actively listen to my wife and I was beginning to read her better than I have ever before. I was falling further in love with her during this process, even though she wasn’t giving me much back. I noticed it was strange that she wouldn’t give me any appreciation for anything I do the majority of the time. I wasn’t expecting it, but I thought it was weird she wasn’t giving anything. It felt like I was going around in circles and I tried even harder to get any recognition I could. She would constantly tell me it feels like I’m smothering her with everything I’m doing. I turned it back a few notches but noticed she would get distant even more so I started doing more things again to help.
I wrote her a love letter and left it on the kitchen counter so she saw it when I was at work. It was really nice with some touching information about how we met etc and It was something I don’t usually do but really wanted to. I received a text from her a few hours later that read “I received your letter. Thank you. x”. I couldn’t believe how cold and callous that was. It was like a reply you give to a work colleague, not your husband and best friend of 9 and a half years.
My wife and I began seeing a counsellor, both together and individually. My counsellor of 30 years was shocked with the progress I was making in such a short period of time and really saw how much I was growing as a man. My wife also saw it but didn’t really note it.
During the 6 week period I noticed my wife was becoming obsessive with her phone. It would be face down where ever she goes and she would take it with her anywhere in the house. I began to get really suspicious as I knew this wasn’t her at all. One day I observed a message from her boss come through on WhatsApp while she was showing me a video on the phone. My wife must have messaged him and said “I’ll give you a call later” and he replied with a “thumbs up” emoji. She flicked the message away really quickly which I thought was odd. About 15 mins later I was standing near her and observed her WhatsApp recent contact conversations and didn’t see her boss’s name on there. She must have deleted it.
I began adding things up more and more. I would notice my wife and I really connecting for a few days while we were at home and then she would go for a run with her boss after work and she would come back being really distant and cold. She put it down to good days and bad days, but I knew something was off.
One day she was going to have a shower and I saw her plug her phone on charge and turn her phone off while she was in the shower. Once she got out of the shower, she picked up her phone and said “Oh my phone must have automatically turned off”. I knew she was lying. I confronted her in the kitchen of our house about this and she went completely white, like she saw a ghost. She sat stunned for a few seconds and said “I turned it off as I didn’t want you to see the messages to my best friend about us”. This best friend I knew that she was close to. I don’t know why, but my gut was telling me her facial expressions didn’t add up to the crime, but I asked her flat out if she’s having an affair and she completely denied it.
Two days before D-Day, my wife invited me to a black tie work dinner which included some really high profile people. She told me she wanted me to see her work and to see what its all about. I have been asking for an invite to one of these events for a long time and finally got one. I was excited. My wife told me that we shouldn’t be physical at the event as its a black tie and was inappropriate. I chalked this up as not wanted to look unprofessional and as we were having problems, I understood her predicament.
A day before D-Day, my wife and I attended the black tie dinner. I was seated on a table with most of her collogues who she introduced to me. I noticed her boss was seated on another table and I found it strange that she didn’t introduce me as they go for runs together once a week and she talks about him infrequently at home.
Whilst the presentations were on, I noticed my wife was constantly looking over her shoulder trying to make eye contact with her boss. It was persistent and reminded me of what I did when I first met my wife, it’s that first part of the love process which you are infatuated with each other. I looked at her boss out the corner of my eye and noticed him doing the same thing. When he made eye contact with her, he made eye contact with me and looked away really fast. My wife would then look at me and ask if my dinner was okay. I knew this was a sign of guilt and something was going on. I continued with the night, not wanting to spoil it in front of her colleagues. At the conclusion of the dinner on the way home, I put it on my wife that something wasn’t right with her boss. She didn’t deny anything emphatically straight away which made me even more sure. She just said I’m seeing things. I went home and explained I think shes having an emotional affair or more with her boss. She said that she enjoyed his company and that she likes and cares for him but tried to play dumb and say whats an emotional affair? I knew my wife was intelligent and she knew what that was. We finished the night talking.
D-Day – Next day she went to work. When she was about to finish work, she messaged me saying she’s going to go have a few drinks after work with her work colleagues (she had began doing this a lot in the last 6 months which is totally out of character). My daughter was constantly saying “Mummy not coming home” or “Mummy at work”. She was noticing it and she wasn’t even three yet. Anyway, my wife said she was going to have a drink or two and then come home quickly. I said sure, go ahead.
My wife ended up coming home 4 hours later and told me she had a good time before hitting the showers. I asked her who she was out with and she told me about 3-4 colleagues and her boss. I thought that was so strange she would go out with him in a group setting after I just told her what I suspected. Whilst she was in the shower, I checked her phone. I noticed that there was no conversation with her boss however she had a message she had written to her boss that she hadn’t sent yet which read “I love you too. I just know you’re not in a great spot”.
My whole world just collapsed. My wife was telling her boss she loved him. I just couldn’t believe it. The last 6 weeks since she told me she doesn’t love me I was doing so much stuff right and she was just luring me on, knowing she is falling in love with someone else. I always thought everything I was doing was falling on defs ears, which was so surprising as she said if I made these changes in February when had the discussion that she would be more in love with me now.
I confronted her about it and she was just expression less. The first thing she could say was “Why are you going through my phone?”. I was so stunned I just didn’t know how to comprehend my feelings. I was pacing up and down the house and firing questions at her left, right and center. My wife told me it was an emotional connection only and was happening for around 3 months. My wife knew if the relationship came out she would lose her job at work as it’s a massive conflict of interest but she continued anyway.
I told her to get out that night and she left for her friends. I was still trying to process everything. How could she do this to me? How can you do this to anyone? We’ve had 9 beautiful years without any troubles and you do this? I’m at home minding your daughter while you progress your career and you just shit on me? I was struggling big time.
My emotions were running high but I knew I still loved her so much. I knew the person she became in the last 3-4 months was not the person who she was. My wife has never been a liar, deceitful or liked going out drinking after work. Her boss had taken advantage of her vulnerabilities and told her what she wanted to hear while she wasn’t getting that emotion met at home.
For the next few days, I was devastated and hurt but I knew I wanted it to work, not only for my daughter, but for everything we had built together over 10 years. I also knew the person she turned her into wasn’t the person she was.
I took my wedding band off and she noticed. I told her I took it off as you hurt me and it didn’t feel like the ring meant anything right now. My wife was still wearing her rings and through guilt, took hers off the next day and put them in her bedside draw.
We talked a lot and she told me that she hated herself for doing what she did and felt disgusted she could tell someone she’s only had an emotional connection with that she loved them. I told her everything he was telling you is infatuation and not love, he was telling you what you wanted to hear when you were missing it at home. She kept asking me if I understood how it got to this point and I would get really angry at it. I told her I understood how it can be a perfect storm of a number of things but I’ll never justify what you did.
My wife and I didn’t get much sleep in the next few days. I was at home looking after our daughter and she was sleeping on a friends couch.
4 days after D-Day and my wife came home and we had a long conversation. She was totally exhausted and looked like death. I told her to sleep in our bed tonight and I would sleep on the couch so she can get some sleep. She agreed. Before she went to bed my wife continued to apologies and said she needs to know in herself why she did what she did. I told her that people make mistakes, although I can’t ever justify what you have done and my trust with you has been torn to shreds, people do make mistakes. We aren’t perfect. My wife said she had stopped all text and phone conversation with her boss and is only seeing him at work on a professional level when she has too with other colleagues, so maybe twice a week for 10-15 mins.
My wife said she is still confused with her feelings and has felt overwhelmed the last 7 weeks. I told her that’s because she has been emotionally connecting with her boss outside the marriage and then coming home and seeing her husband make huge improvements but not giving him any credit for it. I told her I can imagine how mentally draining that is. My wife explained to me that she was happy with our life before she had this affair but wondered if she was truly happy. She told me for once she put herself first and that’s part of the reason she did this. I told her that she has always put others before herself since I’ve known her, and that she does this because thats what makes her happy. I said as soon as you put yourself first in front of everything else, look what has happened? You’ve lost all your core beliefs and morals and had an affair with someone. I told her that she is doing exactly what her mother did to her father 4 years earlier. During that time, she told me she couldn’t believe what her mother did and that she never wants to be her mum…and here we are.
A few days later my wife came around before I got home and took our daughter out for dinner. I got home and I noticed her rings were not in the draw where they had been sitting for a few days and I thought she must have them on. She got home a bit later and I noticed her rings were on. When she wasn’t around my daughter I told her it was nice she has her rings back on and she looked at me and smiled and said you don’t have yours on. I took this as a good sign that the few days away was affecting her and she was starting to realize what she had done. I went out to play some squash and came back a few hours later. I hugged her and then looked her in the eyes and said “I love you”, before I could say anything else she said “I love you, too”. For the first time I felt it was genuine. Whenever I said this in the past she wouldn’t reply or she would say “You know I care for you”. This signified a positive step forward.
We sat down and I just listened to her. She told me she looked at a few places to stay for a bit longer to clear her head but was upset at how crap they were and that home was comfortable. My wife indicated she needed space for 3-4 weeks to evaluate everything that she has done without having everyone in her ear. My wife has always been a person that likes her own space to think and I could clearly see she was getting bombarded from our close family, myself and her friends. My wife said she needed time to see why her feelings for her boss were strong and if it was infatuation or was it something more. I agreed that time apart would be good. Even though I still love her so much, I wanted her to have a clear mind before we move forward with the marriage. I want her to realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and that what she had at home, a family, means more to her than an emotional affair with her boss.