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After I had moved from Florida to Nashville and moved in with, got engaged to, but prior to getting married to, my wife, she revealed that the night before I moved in she had driven over to this same man's apartment and engaged in oral sex with him. She apologized profusely claiming it was just because she was nervous about me moving in and she had been drinking. Although I was greatly disappointed I accepted this as I genuinely believed she was someone I wanted to spend my life with. I made it clear that no further contact with this man was acceptable. If this relationship with this man continued even after we were engaged then that for me is a relationship killer. That to me means it is all built on lies. Had she revealed she had slept with this man after the first incident I would have definitely walked away. I just can't accept her making this claim in anger as there is too much bad history attached to him.
I see what you're saying. Thank you for the history. That makes a difference. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to tell if what she blurted out is the truth or if it was simply meant to hurt you in the course of a discussion. Although I think that the latter is possible depending on how she was reacting to the content of the discussion. If this has been a recurring "argument" during your marriage and she didn't want to talk about it anymore, she may have reacted rashly and said something inflammatory just to get under your skin.
If this were the case, would you find it agreeable to keep the marriage intact with the understanding that the issue is forever closed? Have the past 20+ years been relatively good/stable or is this just "the straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak?
Well, as noxious as it is, I think that it's possible. Sometimes, if someone is very upset (even if they're not showing it externally) they'll lash out with what they know will hurt most. It doesn't make it right - - - or even acceptable - but it happens. Whatever the reason, it sounds like it hurt you deeply. And, while it sounds like she reacted in bitter anger, is it possible that she is hurting too?
I don't know. I'm just guessing, but carrying a wound around for 22 years must be difficult on a marriage. My hope for the both of you is that maybe you can get past the numbness and anger to the softness that's underneath. What I know for a fact is that you must really love and care about this woman to be so moved by the words she uttered.