I'm looking for advice from those of you
First time was a long time ago, '95, and although looking back his behavior was speaking volumes, I was taken totally by surprise.
1) How did you first suspect your spouse was cheating?
First he was moody and distant. He'd stare off into space a lot, other times he would blow up at me over something small, or really no reason at all. And when he would blow up at me, he would say some things that were just pretty nasty. Attitude, and he was disrespectful. At the time I chalked it up to other things that were going on (we'd had deaths in the family, he'd lost his job, etc).
The first thing I noticed though that was a real tip-off to cheating was he would glance at the clock before he was "going to the store to pick up something for dinner", as if he was timing when he was going. He was. He had met her in the store, and was timing it so he could see her there (she was married too).
Then, we had prepaid cell phones at the time, and he was needing minutes added to his a lot more often than it seemed he should have. Not long after this I started watching him more carefully and also noticed that when he would come back from the store, he would set the food on the counter and then go straight into the bathroom.
2) How did you choose to confirm your suspicions?
What's weird is, I didn't really. I started making plans to get myself ready to kick him out. I started working even harder at growing the small business I had recently started and increasing my income, and just watched him for a bit at the same time. I thought about following him a couple of times when he "went to the store" but never did. Part of it was I couldn't think up some excuse to tell my teen daughter about where I was going, and I think part of it was I was afraid of what I might see. So instead, I started getting myself set up to be on my own, and planned to confront him (and throw him out) when I was ready.
But, it didn't go quite the way I planned. I ended up not being able to hold my tongue, and when I blurted out and asked him if he was cheating, he didn't even answer it one way or the other. Just said he "wasn't happy", and walked out. I was stunned, but it also told me all I really needed to know. About 2 1/2 months after he left we both were in attendance at the same family wedding, and some people at the reception told me some things that gave me more proof. He showed up the next day at my house and confessed without me even confronting him with what I knew (it's like he figured that I knew for sure then). When he started to tell me he made one lame attempt at saying he had this "friend"... I gave him a look where it was obvious I wasn't buying it, and he pretty quickly started spilling the truth. Or at least, part of the truth.
3) Did you ask to know the details?
I didn't ask all that much that night, because we were separated, and a lot of it just didn't matter to me then. There was still a lot that he wouldn't have told me anyway because he was trying to hide her identity from me because she was married and he was afraid I would tell her husband. He did tell me enough though, about what she was "like", where it was obvious to me that he was involved in a messy situation (nothing but trouble). And enough where I had suspicions that the OW was lying to him and playing him (and she was). At the time I basically just told him, "nice mess you've gotten yourself into", and told him maybe he ought to get his act together for his daughter's sake, because he was a train wreck.
We remained separated and I started cutting contact with him as much as humanly possible. I was doing it for myself because I felt I needed to for my own well-being, but a side effect turned out to be, it shocked him and basically gave him a kick in the pants. When I started proceeding towards divorce, and I didn't want HIM anymore... it finally hit him that I wasn't going to be in his life. Only as the mother of his child, and I wasn't even going to be his "friend". So about 2 months after the night he confessed, he sort of "woke up" and dumped the OW, even though I wouldn't have anything to do with him. He started trying to get his act together, and he apologized to me, and tried to make amends enough so we could be civil because of our daughter. And he was regretting what he had done BIG TIME. How he had thrown everything away for nothing.
We started talking more to make peace and for closure. In that time I asked for some details because I just wanted to piece the story together for myself. To try to figure out what had been behind some of the things he had done that had seemed really bizarre to me at the time. Throughout the course of the conversations we had over 2 months it started to head to where we might reconcile. Before I would even agree to try to do that, I told him that I wanted honest answers to anything and everything I might ask. I got the details about most things around that time, and was still asking about littler things even for a few months after that, as one question would lead to another, or I would think of something I hadn't asked yet.
Now about 2 and a half years later I feel pretty confident in saying that he had told me pretty much everything, except for one thing he had chosen to omit that I found out later (at about 10 months into rebuilding). He hadn't told me that he had also almost slept with a second woman that he had gotten really drunk with at a bar, right around the same time that things had gotten sexual with the "main" OW.
4) If so, do you regret knowing the details or did it help you heal?
For me, there are some things that have "haunted" me a bit about knowing the details, but it's like I can't imagine it having gone any other way. I don't think I could have handled the "NOT knowing". I think that would have driven me crazy. I did actually hold back for awhile on asking the details about the sex, because for awhile I knew I wasn't ready to hear it. But it got to the point where every time WE were having sex, I would be wondering "Did he do this with her?", etc, and I finally felt I had to ask him. Some things weren't as bad as I had imagined, and some things were hard to hear, and do still affect us to this day (sorry if this is TMI, but there's one position that I still can't even think about doing with him, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to).
But anyway, knowing some of the details (not necessarily about the sex, but other things, like their conversations, etc), did help me to figure out what was going on with HIM at the time. It helped me to understand WHY, and helped me to understand how he could do this, as much as I'll ever be able to understand it. I think that helped in the "forgiveness department", helped me to feel more secure in some ways, and helped point the direction to what we could change to improve our relationship.
I think it's really a very individual thing about how many details we might feel we need, but for me, it was like I had to know in order to know exactly what I was dealing with.
5) Was there anything you would have done differently?
My first thought was maybe I would have actually jumped in the car and followed him when I contemplated doing that, or maybe kicked his butt out sooner. But really, I know that I did the best I could at the time. I wasn't ready to see him with another woman at the time, and if I ever HAD actually seen him with her like that, maybe I wouldn't have been able to rebuild with him. I do wish that I had been the one to kick him out rather than him walking out, because I think that really hit my self-esteem HARD when he did that. But I also know that I wasn't really ready at the time to do that yet either. I needed time to prepare myself.
So really, the only thing I can say with certainty that I wish I had done differently, was to have put myself first and worried about myself more, a long time ago. I wish I hadn't given in to him so much in the past (even before the affair), wish I hadn't settled for less than I should have had from him, and wish I had paid more attention to my OWN life, where I might have had more things in it that were mine no matter what, that I would have whether he was in my life or not.
That is something that I have changed, and do NOW. Now it's like, if he were to stop treating me as he should, or if he became something negative in my life rather than bringing something positive to it, I can easily picture myself telling him to just go. I can picture what my life would be like without him, and I know I would be just fine. I wish I'd had that, or had done that for myself a whole lot sooner.
I found out about the A 3 years after it occurred. The former ow wanted to get back together with my husband and he said no and when he said no she got angry and put letters about the A on my car and all my neighbors cars.
3.Did you ask to know the details? I asked for the all the details and do not regret learning them. There are others here who did not want the details and it only caused pain for them. For me however, it has been a great help to know everything.My feeling was as long as I did not know everything it was 'their little secret'. I could not be sure he was not fantasizing about her in the shower. So by knowing everything and discussing everything, it's all out in the open.
It was an OA so the clues were LOTS of time spent online including coming to bed hours after I turned in.
"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." Herb Stein