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'I just found out that my wife cheated on me back in 2008 when we were dating.' UPDATED

'I just found out that my wife cheated on me back in 2008 when we were dating.' UPDATED


What would you do if you found out about a spouse's past transgression? Would you walk it off, or end things right there?

That is the question one man asked the internet in a popular post on the True Off My Chest subreddit. He wrote:

"I (39/m) just found out that my wife (41/f) cheated on me back in 2008 when we were dating."

First things first, I have no plans to divorce my wife. I’m not so much seeking advice as I am just trying to vent because this hurts like a mother f#$ker and I’m not sure to whom else I can turn to in order to get this off my chest.

An old friend of my wife, whom we have not seen in years, reached out to me last night and emailed me screen caps of some email exchanges they had at the time that detailed a fling my wife had with a other man back while we were still dating long distance. She said she wanted to clear her conscience after all this time, but I was still skeptical at first.

It took place in the two months leading up to me moving in with her. She definitely had s*x with the guy at least once and they went on several dates. I logged into her email at about 2 AM this morning and verified that these emails were real and I found some more emails she sent to another friend with more of her details and feelings.

We’ve both grown a lot since then, our marriage has been truly great, but reading some of the s#$t she said back then just gutted me. She said she knew what she was doing was “wrong” though she didn’t necessarily feel guilt.

She said that she loved the way I made her feel when we were together, but she got really lonely when I left and that she had made up her mind to basically live like she was single for the 3 weeks each month that I wasn’t there. Hell, she even kicked around the idea of breaking up with me to pursue a relationship with the other guy.

Like I said, we currently have a great marriage and I have zero intention of pursing a divorce, I’m not even sure I’m going to confront her about it because it was so long ago. That said, this has really punched me in the gut and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this kind of hurt. Thanks for listening to me and letting me vent, Reddit.

Redditors had a lot to say in response.

Fun_Concrete_7844 wrote:

Divorce would be on the table for me. How can you trust that nothing is happening now? You really can't.

OP responded:

If I find evidence of infidelity since then, then yes, it will likely lead to divorce. However, there was nothing else I could find after searching through her email and social media. It has shaken my trust in my wife, but I’m not ready to throw an amazing life that we have built together over this.

Deck196 wrote:

If she’s a solid partner to you, and you trust her, then you shouldn’t go through that hurt alone. I think you should bring it up, discuss it and really let her know how it makes you feel. If you just push it down and try to bear it alone, it will eat you up and you’ll grow to resent her without giving her a chance to work through it with you.

I’m not suggesting divorce, but I am suggesting you openly discuss everything. If you discuss, you’ll either become stronger for it, with nothing hidden and feelings shared—or you’ll decide you can’t, and that’s something too. Hard to have a marriage with something this heavy going on unspoken.

OP responded:

Everything you said is correct. Thank you for helping me see that.

Clonez91 wrote:

I would print out the old email conversations and save the digitals to a separate folder just in case. Though you may fully trust her now, the fact is at one point in your relationship she felt comfortable having s*x with another man and hiding it from you for over a decade.

It’s very possible that she has not done anything like that since, but it does beg the question if she did it then, can she do it now? Personally, I would sit her down and tell her that I know she cheated on me and I’m giving her one chance to come clean to see if we can save our relationship.

If she has cheated more recently, she may confess to it right there and then you’d have your answer. If she confesses to the older time, great, you have your confession and can work through it. If she denies it then you have your answer on if you can trust her to be truthful.

djnato10 wrote:

I’m with this one. If she cheated once I’d have a tough time trusting her unless there was a real in depth conversation about all of this. You can have a great marriage when you don’t know such devastating news, personally I’m not sure how I would move forward not saying anything at all.

Constant-Pudding555 wrote:

You guys are really crazy downvoting everything that doesn't align with divorce or making a mess out of things. Being toxic never helped anyone, especially when OP has already said divorce was out of the question. All relationships are different. Get over it.

Five days later, OP shared an update.

I got back home on Sunday after a weekend work meeting that was out of state. I asked her if we could talk, and I told her that I knew she had cheated on me. She held back tears as she confessed that she had, indeed, carried on a brief relationship with another man while we were dating, shortly before I had moved states and we had moved in together.

I asked her if there were any other times, and she said no. I have faith in her when says this, because I gave no time frame and she corroborated what I found. I then asked why she kept it from me for so long, and she said she knew how adamant I was that I would never forgive a cheater (I had also been cheated on in college by a long-time GF), and she knew it would destroy both me and our relationship.

She then asked for my forgiveness, if I could ever forgive her, and I told her that I already had. She cried even more when I told her that I the last thing I want is a divorce, because I still love her more than anything in the world and I’m not willing to throw everything we have away for something that happened 16 years ago.

I said that while I love her, I am still very hurt because all of this is new for me and my trust in her is a little shaken for having kept this from me for so long. She understood, she offered to let me go through her DM’s, her email, and her texts to prove nothing else had gone on.

I declined, because I have known all of her passwords and how to unlock her phone and she has never jealously guarded her devices. We can also track one another’s devices and she has never been somewhere she shouldn’t be when I have checked. Finally, I asked why.

She said she didn’t have a clear answer why and she still wasn’t totally sure, but she was going through a very self-destructive time in her life (this was already known to me) and, when this guy came pursuing her hard, it as one more terrible decision in a string of terrible life decisions she had made over the previous year.

We embraced and cried, she apologized again, and I told her how much she meant to me. I told her it would take time for me to process all of this and that I would be going through counseling, and that I want us to attend marriage counseling for at least a little while, but that I was still madly in love with her.

Then she asked me how I found out, and I told her about how her old “friend” had reached out to me and dropped the news, which caused me to check her emails and corroborate this information.

Apparently they had a pretty serious falling out a while back after my wife had loaned the friend a good amount of money after the friend’s husband had took everything and left her high and dry (this money came from her discretionary account, not our shared account.

Yes, we both have discretionary accounts. No, I do not worry about what she does with her own money. Yes, I knew about the loan). Instead of using the money to get back on her feet, her friend had used it for really expensive, unneeded stuff and a vacation with some other girlfriends. Needless to say my wife was pissed, she asked for her money back, and it led to a big fight.

They have barely spoken since, and this will probably officially end their relationship as my wife thinks this could be payback for cutting off her friend.

I have my first session with a new therapist later this week. We have a session with a marriage counselor next week.

I am hopeful that we will come through this ordeal just as strong as we were before. To those who offered me genuine advice, thank you. While I was not necessarily looking for advice when I first posted, there was some sage wisdom in some of your words and it really helped me. Thank you, again.

The internet was deeply invested in the update.

LeoPhoenix93 wrote:

You gotta do what makes you happy, but make sure you don’t rug sweep all your emotions, the hurt, & betrayal just to keep everything status quo or make sure your wife’s happy. That won’t end well.

SoupyStain wrote:

If she's kept this hidden for so long, if she was able to be SO selfish without a care in the world. Look, I always accuse Reddit of being too dump/divorce-happy, "minor issue? DIVORCE THE PERSON!", etc etc. But I don't think that this is a minor issue. How can you trust this person? What guarantee do you have that she isn't doing it again?

What if you have a 3 month business trip and she 'feels lonely' again? I mean, you do you... but cheaters don't change. But sure, you are happy being a doormat, can deal with the betrayal and can, somehow, trust least confront her about her. Maybe take some time to digest it better and come up with a way to bring it up, and make damn sure that she can convince you that you can trust her now.

Because, bud, I was cheated on by the same person multiple times, and I kept giving her chances and she never changed, she always cared only about getting the cake and eating it too.... and it sounds like your case too.

ChiWhiteSox247 wrote:

Well you sir handled this maturely and about how I would. Yeah it hurts but I also see the side where it was 08 and it was before you were married. Wish you two the best.

Spirited_Complex_903 wrote:

Well I'm really glad that you and your wife are processing it the way that you are at this time. I wish you and your wife all the best and processing this and all the best in your future. May all your years together be happy and peaceful and surrounded by good and caring people. With regards to her "friend" who sent you that email to "clear her conscience":

I'm blown away that she wanted to clear her conscience by telling you that your wife had cheated on you before your marriage yet she didn't want to clear her OWN conscience by apologizing to your wife for misusing the funds that were lent to her and/or by paying back the large debt to your wife. Smh.

That seeming 'friend' is most probably jealous of the relationship that you have with your wife and wanted to throw a sharp knife of discord into your marriage. It had nothing to do with conscience.

Hopefully, OP and his wife are able to move forward from this with full trust and mutual understanding.

Sources: Reddit
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