Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.
The real issue is that your husband is cheating on you---slowly revealing the details of it. Whether he and the co-worker had sex may be immaterial because it is clearly an emotional affair ('of the heart'). He was doing sexual/emotional things with another woman that he promised he would only do with you when you agreed to marry. Also, when a man confides to female coworkers that he is having a rough spot in his marriage this is often an advertisement that he is open to the idea of receiving 'female consolation' from someone other than his wife.
So it is a good thing you are going to counseling to try to repair this marriage. You are not stupid and in all probability, put all of the clues together in a proper and accurate manner. Almost no man will outright tell the truth about what really happens in these situations, but will fudge, maybe disclose enough to appease their wife and affirm her fears, but knowing that they have to admit to at least some things in order to quiet their discontent. What sorts of things are you now working on in couples therapy? Is there a specific question I can answer for you?
Nonsense, of course he had an emotional affair. Giving other women backrubs, offering to do it in one's motel room is cheating. How do you know? He would NEVER consider doing these behaviors with you present!!! If the woman needed a backrub, there are licensed massage therapists at every hotel who will do a better job than a co-worker. Also, if it was purely innocent, he would have offered to do the backrub in public, down by the swimming pool or gym area----not in a hotel room.
The best test of what constitutes cheating with another women? Saying or doing things you would not be proud to have your spouse see you do with someone else. Certainly, you will never know whether he had sex with the co-worker. he won't divulge any more details of what happened. It was clear that he didn't want other co-workers to know they were spending one-on-one time together, and attempted to keep this fact a secret. In summary, as I said before, you are most certainly not naive and stupid; you are sensitive to picking up obvious clues when something isn't right; you have sound intuition, and you put together accurately the fact that he was doing things with another woman he would NEVER have wanted you to know he did. You are also smart enough to realize that you will never know how far the relationship went. I think a key worry of yours is whether it is continuing, however, is it not? A rule of thumb to follow if of course, to not base future trust on anything your husband says, but on what he DOES. In other words, if he is going to win back your trust, it would seem that he has to engage in enough trustworthy behavior to convince you over the next couple of years that he is worthy of your trust---he has to earn your trust through his actions. What sorts of actions would, to your satisfaction, help to prove he is trustworthy? For instance, some women would place high value on what could be called 'transparency' actions i.e., no secret accounts, passwords, subscriptions, web site memberships, money management, etc. Everything is 100% open to review and discussion with one's spouse. No more one-on-one trips for business; the guy takes his wife along instead, or there are always three along on the trip with the men or the women rooming together, and with all non-work contacts being group contacts/activities e.g., dinners, meals, etc. I think you see what I'm getting at. If a man is sincere in trying to build trust, he won't balk terrifically at these behaviors. A guy who wants to maintain privacy and cheating "options" will fight such suggestions, and displace the 'blame'onto the spouse i.e., they refusing to try to trust, are being unreasonable, are invading my 'personal space' excessively, etc. What do you think?
The real issue is part of me wants to move forward with my husband but I am not able to until I feel I have been told the truth. But how will I ever know if I have all the facts?
You probably won't ever know the truth, unfortunately. But, I realize I'm just offering you words here----there will come a point where you will realize for yourself that you may never know whether there is more to the story than what he has told you. What the heck do you do with that quandry? This is a very big conflict for you. I think you'd like to 'move forward' on the one hand, but on the other, on what basis can you move forward if you don't know the truth? I think this is the main conflict you are experiencing---rolling around in your head, is it not? I understand how frustrated you probably feel because you experienced him lying in the midst of his episode of the misbehavior. I hope you can take some time to have an internal 'debate' with yourself about this conflict---one train of thought says, 'you'll never know the truth so if you want the marriage to continue, you'd better move on; and the conflicting train of thought says, 'for my emotional and mentlal well-being, I've just got to know the truth or I don't know if I can 'move on'!" How are you struggling to reconcile this conflictt? What is happening inside your head about this? What do you think?
First, if there is a 'smoking gun' to be found, it will be in the text messages he deleted. You should talk to the internet service provider and try to get copies of the text messages for the 1-2 weeks prior to his last business trip, as well as the week afterward. If his work pays his cell service, you may be out of luck, but might still insist that your husband have the service provider mail the deleted texts to you directly from their offices. Service providers will tell you they can' retrieve deleted text messages but believe me, they can; you can tell them you'll pay them a fee if necessary to retrieve them. Talk to upper supervisors, and management at the cell phone offices if necessary to get some action.
I got your last two posts and upon reading them, wish to spend some time thinking about them before I respond again. I'll write back tonight or tomorrow a.m., if that is o.k. with you.
Also wanted you to know that when I'm with him, I feel like I still love him most times as long as we are not talking about the issues. Then we fight like cats and dogs. But I have to admit, I feel better when we are together doing regular things. I feel that he is trying to move us forward, together as quickly as possible. I do not sense that he is continuing the cheating or is conflicted about her at this point. And my checking of emails, etc. is lining up with what he tells me now.
Some items of concern...after the business trip, his admin assistant has transferred to another department. He says her reason was "she didn't feel like part of the team". I know and like her and don't suspect any trouble there but I believe if he was having an affair she would know because she does his expense reports, travel booking, etc. and she seems pretty perceptive to me. Also, the affair co-worker just asked to be transferred as well. He says her reasons are it would make life easier for HIM (she knows I'm upset, but he says she thinks what happened is no big deal) and she has to work with some difficult people in her current job.
Some other random facts: a month or two before the trip, he told me that she was being a pain, very needy (work wise). Shortly after that, he said she told him she has an illness and that she has about 4 years to live. I really hadn't had a bad thought about her until he told me this. I just thought she sounded like an overly ambitious or possibly manipulative person, but I also thought it could be true. I had forgotten about it but he brought it up the day before the trip, saying sometimes he wondered if she was playing him but if he doubted her, he'd look callous. rambling on...
Hello Just wanted to give you an update....I was miraculasly able to find a few texts on my husbands phone from several months ago. Even though they were deleted, I could see about 5 texts from her during their trip together. Of course, nothing definitive and I couldn't see what he had written back, but didn't look good either. The night I saw was the last night they were away and at this point with other co-workers. I had previously seen an email where she had said "sorry about last night" and when I questioned my husband he said it was because he had gone back to the hotel and she was texting him to stay out and have drinks with a few of them. The texts from her said, "He left" "You suck" "Actually u dont suck. You are awesome. Thank you. I really mean that." "Im in my room" "She was awful" "Huh, what means alot to u? Saving u from the beast."
So, cant really tell anything but nervous about her saying she was in her room. I tried not to say anything but blurted out that I had seen these in our counseling yesterday. He just shrugs his shoulders and has a quick nonsensical explantion for everything, or says he cant remember.
Its clear he will never tell me the truth so I guess I have try to stop dwelling on it. I am praying that God will guide me in the right path to take. I don't feel he is doing anything now, just obsessed at getting the truth from him about what happened. Making myself sick over this.
His explanations are that he probably asked her where she was and she simply answered I'm in my room. But the thing is that was never part of his original story. He had said she had texted him from the bar. My husband said I called him that nght, which makes me really upset if I'm the "she" they are refering to when they make the later 'awfu'l and 'beast' comments. But I doubt it because we didn't argue at all.
What I told the counselor yesterday, is all these wouldn't even concern me that much if he didn't tell me he was in this state of despair over our relationship. that he wasn't sure if he had married the wrong person, etc.and invited someone to his room. That combined with all this stuff is the problem.
We had each met with our counselor alone before meeting him together. When we are together, my husband said, "I'm not sure this is going to work" to the counselor a few times. Makes me wonder if he was told to definitely not tell me the details or that he did something sexual. I can see that there is a school of thought that this makes recovery worse. But I made it crystal clear to both of them that I need to know the truth to move on. I told them I was going to a different counselor on my own to sort this out and our counselor said, "Be careful because they will only hear one side of the story." I was a bit offended because I believe I am quoting my husband's words exactly. Made me feel like they both think I read into things too much - my husband always tells me that but I have other situations where I was totally right after he poopoo-ed my intuition.
The most maddening thing to me know is that he expects me to believe that he meant nothing more than a backrub. He insists that's the truth. I have a hard time not getting angry with him when he keeps saying that. Oh and by the way, he had told me he was a bit embarrassed the night they went out alone because he looked like he was with a prostitute!! She was dressed in high heeled boots and a short skirt. Clearly she had flirtation on her mind as well. He also told me a co-worker had commented that she has changed her work attire from conservative to boots/short skirts. So yes, people have noticed for sure.
Thanks for the advice. I will do that and just get on with my own life. It's time. I decided not to hire a detective or anything like that - I'm going to spend the money on myself instead!!
Hello Dr. Michael - So many months later and as I re-read the situation above I realize that I am still stuck. I went to counseling myself, my husband went maybe 3 times to his own counselor and we went to maybe 4 sessions with another couples counselor and I went to 3 or 4 alone with the couples counselor. You were accurate in saying that he is slowly revealing the details...but painfully slow. After 5 months, he finally admitted, "Of course, the thought of sex crossed my mind" about his inviting his co-worker back to his hotel room. Then when I wanted to talk further about that he would shut down, saying he never said that, or that he doesn't show remorse because I attack him (verbally).
In the mean time, his father passed away after a long illness, and I was able to support him through that. It was like taking a break from all our issues and me just being nice to him. He is still my husband, so I try to be as loving as I can but it's not easy.
The trouble with the couples couseling was he was so stressed out about leaving work to go. I didn't feel like we were making any progress because of this, so I said that I would go if he arranged the appointments so he wouldn't feel stressed. I even offered to find an evening hours counselor and get a babsitter. He has not done anything.
Essentially, he is frustrated with me for still being mad about this. I told him it's not resolved for me. He still works with her but they don't travel together anymore, due to him re-arranging her work responsibilities. There will be a team overnight meeting for a few days in a few weeks which they will both attend.
My problem is, I need complete honesty from him and I know I'm not getting it. This changes how I feel about him. How I view his character and what he is capabale of doing. I wish I could say I understand, he just desperately wants to save his marriage, but I can't. He insists there was no affair, no sexual contact. The couples counselor did tell me, after our first session together, there was definitely denial and indiscretions in play here, because he's seen it a million times.
As I re-read the orginal thread, the most painful thing was when you said, "you are smart enough to realize that you may never know what really happened". I can tell you for sure, I am not smart enough. The fact that I don't know what really happened bothers me tremendously. The idea that my husband possibly did have sex with someone else and has chosen not to tell me, hurts me to this day.
Please be blunt if you have any advice for me. Thanks.