Chapter 5 - Q&A - Learning the details
This is my blog about how our marriage survived my wife's affair. Please start with "First Post" below.
On Monday morning, 2 days after D-day, we had a counseling session. I started out angry with the counselor. My wife and I had both visited with him individually over the past year and we had seen him together. Largely, at least it seemed to me, the sessions were about what I could do to help my wife be satisfied. Now, I learned that the counselor had known my wife was having an affair.
My anger was misplaced. I am now quite certain that he was very blunt with her during their individual sessions, and he was ethically prohibited from telling me. He had encouraged her to tell me, but that was all he could do. Still, I felt like I had been played a fool, spinning my wheels and jumping through hoops for a year, when if I had known the truth we could have been addressing a different issue.
I got those feelings off my chest and we were then steered to the matter at hand. The counselor began by assuring us that we could get past this, with a lot of help and very hard work. Then I got to vent. He said -- to both of us -- that it was important that my wife understand the pain she had caused and that the affair would dominate our thoughts and therapy in the short run, and I had to understand that in due time we would need to return to issues in our marriage where we shared fault and that helped create an environment where an affair was more likely to take place. He also said that I needed the truth, the whole truth.
We made a deal. Wife agreed to answer my questions about the affair truthfully, however painful. I agreed that I would have limited time -- so many days -- to raise such questions, and after that time I would not ask her any more sordid details.
Two things were mose shocking. One was that there had been other relationships. None of those had been sexual, but she admitted that she had gotten closer to a couple of other guys than was proper. She wasn't ready yet to categorize them as emotional affairs, but they were.
Second, in the only detail about sexual practices I wanted to know, it had included oral. That bothered me on a completely different level. It just seemed more intimate, violative.
I learned the whens and wheres, their routines. When it started, how long it had gone on, that sort of thing.
I would not have been able to go on without getting these answers, but getting into the dirty details made me just disgusted with my wife. For a while I saw her as dirty and could hardly bear to look at her. I started wondering if this was huge mistake and if I could ever have any respect for her again. Those feelings faded over time, but it still affects me. I do not see my wife as spoiled any more -- on the contrary, she is pure. She has repented and has been forgiven by God and by me. But, our sex life today has a lid on it. Just an example, I would not want her to talk dirty in bed because it would remind me too much of who she used to be.
For the next few weeks, I bounced back and forth between fury and self-loathing. I was so angry at her, at the other guy, at God, at the world, at myself -- it consumed me. Then I would feel not angry, but almost understanding. That thought process went like this -- She cheated, so I must be a loser. And if I'm such a loser, no wonder she cheated. I just don't have what it takes.
I've never been a big guy. Since college I've bounced between 140 and 150 pounds. Over the next 8 weeks I dropped to 125 pounds and a 29 inch waist. My frailty only increased my conviction that I was not sexy, not attractive, not loved, and not a man.