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“My Husband’s Mistress Confronted Me”

A little over two years ago, I discovered that I was pregnant with my boyfriend’s baby. We were both incredibly excited and a few weeks later, he proposed. The wedding was this past summer, and everything about it was perfect. However, a month later, I received a long and detailed message on Facebook from a woman who said she had started dating my husband a few weeks after he began dating me, and that he didn’t break off their relationship until he found out about my pregnancy. She said that she knew about me the whole time. She also sent a link to an amateur adult website where there were pictures and videos of my now husband engaging in sexual activity with her and various other females during the first two years of our relationship. I confronted him, and he admitted that he had been seeing her. He apologized and said that he didn’t know just how much he loved me until I told him that I was pregnant. He claims to have not cheated on me at all since we found out we were having a baby, and I am inclined to believe him because the last day that he signed onto the website was a few days before to the baby news. I’ve tried to forgive him, telling myself that the past is the past and I shouldn’t hold it against him since he has been faithful and amazing for the last two years. Still though, I can’t help but feel that I would have ended the engagement if I had found out about this sooner. What would you do, Wendy? — Two Timed Wife

Oh, no doubt, I would have ended my engagement if some chick showed me evidence that my fiancé had been boinking her — and others! — while he was dating me. I just couldn’t marry someone I no longer trusted — someone who had been so blatantly disrespectful. But that’s me, and it’s not even your situation anyway since you weren’t afforded the luxury — if you can call it that — of knowing the truth about your husband before you married him.

But, maybe that’s actually a good thing. You have a child together, after all, and it seems things have been good for the last two years. Although, if your husband’s one-time mistress confronted you only a month after the wedding, which was this past summer, have things really been “amazing” since then? If so, great! Good for you for forgiving your husband and doing your best to move on. But if you’re finding that forgiveness and trust are a challenge now, you’re allowed to be angry. Just because you have reason to believe your husband has been faithful for two years doesn’t mean you can’t get mad that he once lived a secret life in which he cheated and lied. And if you’re feeling angry and hurt, don’t push those emotions away. You need to deal with them or they’re going to come up again and again, poisoning your relationship a little at a time. Talk to your husband about how you’re feeling. Better yet, find a marriage counselor you can speak to together to help process your hurt feelings and develop tools for effectively handling anger and trust issues in your relationship in the future. If you deal with all this in a healthy manner, it may actually bring you closer together rather than pull you apart.

My boyfriend’s younger years were wild, and he has a pretty extensive criminal record to show for it, including prison time.  Although some of the consequences of his past irresponsibility will follow him forever (e.g., limited career opportunities), he’s been an honorable, hardworking, and law-abiding citizen for as long as I’ve known him.  My mom and sister, whom I talk to all the time, were very skeptical when I first told them about his past, but after months of hearing about our relationship and his character, and meeting him a few times, they seem to respect and genuinely like him.  But they both warned me from the beginning not to tell my conservative dad and stepmom about the skeletons in his closet.

It’s been two years now, he and I live together, and I still haven’t told my dad and stepmom about his past.  They seem to have a favorable impression of him so far, but they live far away and have only met him once during these two years.  I feel guilty about keeping such a big secret from them for so long, it’s awkward having to tiptoe around their questions about his history, and it’s hard to do so without lying or looking like I don’t know anything about the person I share my life with.  I want to tell them and just deal with however they react, but my mom and sister still insist that they never need to know because it’s in the past and it will only become less important as time goes on.  What do you think? — Keeping His Secret

I agree with your mom and sister. The past will become less important as time goes on, and there’s no reason your dad and stepmom need to know your boyfriend’s private business — especially if they are judgmental types. So what if there are things about his history that seem mysterious to them? It doesn’t affect their relationship or their lives. All they need to know is that their daughter is happy and with a man who loves her and treats her well. That your other family members have accepted your boyfriend, even with the knowledge of his “extensive criminal record,” and have such a favorable impression of him, should be enough validation for you that you’ve made a decent choice. Beyond that, it’s probably time you realized you don’t need your parent’s blessing on everything and there are some things that should probably be kept private, for the good and protection of everyone.

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avatar cdj0815 January 25, 2011, 3:38 pm

I agree with Wendy on both accounts:

LW1. Keep working on forgiveness. Get counselling together and individually. You are definitely going to need help dealing with the past.

LW2. With time, his past will not mean so much. As long as they see that you are happy with him, usually his past will not mean so much.

avatar Laurel January 25, 2011, 3:44 pm

I really what prompted the mistress to tell LW1 now, instead of when the affair ended.

avatar Laurel January 25, 2011, 3:44 pm

*I really wonder…

(headdesk)

avatar Katy January 25, 2011, 4:15 pm

Hell hath no fury such as a mistress scorned.

avatar Lumpieza January 26, 2011, 11:31 am

My thoughts exactly.

avatar AnitaBath January 25, 2011, 3:59 pm

I think the mistress is just now coming forward because she’s angry that the husband is happy and seemingly got away scot free.

I think if the woman is able to get over her anger and hurt, it seems like it would be a healthy relationship from here on out, especially if he’s been “wonderful” the past two years like she’s said.

avatar 2_J January 25, 2011, 4:00 pm

I have to agree with Laurel. I assume you two were engaged for a little while before you two got married, so maybe it is possible that the other woman had tried to get back into his life somehow or see/talk to him and he told her that he was now married with a child and did not wish to continue any kind of comunication with…which in turn probably made the other woman upset and jealous. I say this because in the letter it states that she actually knew about TTW the whole time, which to me means that she continued to be with this guy on the hopes of her actually becoming “theone” for him and when it didn’t happen that way she decided to ruin what he has now and hurt his wife. Have to wonder how she was able to find TTW? i’m thinking somehow, some way, she is able to contact the husband.

Just a thought

avatar WatersEdge January 25, 2011, 4:07 pm

LW1- I think for me to rebuild trust, I’d want to know what made him stop cheating. HOW did the pregnancy make him realize that he loves you? Why did he think it was ok to cheat on a girlfriend? Did he not think you guys were exclusive for some reason? Is he one of those people who think that cheating in a marriage is worse than cheating when dating? (I disagree, but not the point). How does he know that he won’t do that again? What about when things get really hard, as all relationships do at times?

My husband did some things early on while dating that I knew about and that I had to work to forgive him for. Understanding how his mentality changed over the course of our relationship has helped a lot. I definitely believe that people can grow and change, if they want to, so I’m glad Wendy said to work through it.

avatar AnitaBath January 25, 2011, 4:12 pm

I think the mistress just now came forward because she’s still bitter and angry and the husband appears happy and seems to have forgotten about her.

Random, but I’ve tried posting some comments with the website portion of my comment info filled in, and none of them have posted, only comments where I leave the website blank :(

Dear Wendy Wendy January 25, 2011, 4:20 pm

Let me check things out and see if I can fix that. Bear with me; I’m running this site on my own and am learning this tech stuff as I go…

avatar thefabulousmzm January 25, 2011, 6:33 pm

You’re running this yourself? Go ahead girl! After a while it’s gonna get too popular though, you’re gonna need some help. Which is a good thing!

Dear Wendy Wendy January 25, 2011, 6:45 pm

I say I’m running this “by myself,” but I’m actually getting lots of help from Drew, my husband. I didn’t mean to overlook all his support. Unfortunately, neither of us has much tech expertise…

Dear Wendy Wendy January 25, 2011, 5:01 pm

I think i fixed it so you can log-in with your website url. You may need to log out and log back in for it to work.

avatar AnitaBath January 25, 2011, 5:21 pm

Thanks!

avatar HelloJello January 25, 2011, 4:12 pm

LW2 – I agree with Wendy. Lots of people do things in their teen years that seem a complete departure from who they are as adults. What is important is that he makes you happy and treats you right, and doesn’t engage in activities that change YOUR opinion of him now. That’s what is relevant to your father and stepmother.

avatar ArtsyGirl January 25, 2011, 4:17 pm

LW1 – Seriously seek some professional help for your relationship. It sounds like your husband has been a model SO to you for the last two years, but I can understand that the foundations of your relationship has been rocked in a serious way. I would state that he needed to visit a marriage counselor and attempt to figure out why he needed to be so sexually adventurous especially in the decades of HIV and STIs. On that note I would seriously get tested just in case.

LW2 – Do Not Tell Your Father! Does you BFs past have anything to do with your relationship now? NO. Is it likely your father or step mother (who live out of state) will find out about his past without you mentioning it? No. Let sleeping dogs lie, and if it becomes absolutely necessary to tell them – say if your boyfriend is going to be profiled on television, your father wants to offer him a job, etc – then you can address it at that time. If you feel compelled to tell your father and step mother you are just inviting drama and I am thinking not taking your BF’s feelings into consideration. I imagine he is tired about his past cropping up in his current life, especially if he is trying to be a better more mature person.

avatar maru January 25, 2011, 4:34 pm

congrats on your new site!!!! i only ever read you, jessica and sometimes ami so i can skip to the good part now :) great advice as usual, its so sad when really trusting people suddenly get a really good reason to be skeptical of others. i always wish i could be naturally trusting as this sometimes causes problems in my relationships or at least in my head lol.

avatar Katy January 25, 2011, 4:38 pm

It’s such a strange phenomena isn’t it?
I haven’t had a whole lot of relevant experience with this but it did happen to me,
and I feel like it’s a story you hear a lot- not always facebook, but phone calls, texts, etc-
the other woman bringing the indiscretion to the attention of the significant other and I always wonder if it’s a revenge tactic or a need for conscience clearing, or maybe even an attempt to do what they can to make the man available and subsequently- theirs.
When it happened to me, about 9 months ago actually, I was living with EE (Evil Ex)-
we had been living together for three years and had recently moved back to our hometown and into a new apartment,
which meant co-signing a new lease, co paying new furniture- etc, etc.
We had actually moved home with the intention of getting married this coming spring and “settling down”–He was working for a car dealership as an internet sales manager and often had to attend sales conferences out of state. He had a last minute one come up in manhattan, he ended up taking my paycheck with him to cover the expenses of the trip when he left for the 3 day weekend conference… The whole time he was gone we spoke on the phone, maybe 3 times a day, texted sporadically- didn’t think twice about it.
He got home late Monday night, with flowers and we made dinner together and martini’s
– I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and grabbed his jacket on the way out instead of mine- mostly because it was closest to the door and because he always kept a lighter in the breast pocket, outside trying to pull the jacket on and simultaneously light up I fumbled in his pocket for the light and instead pulled out an empty condom wrapper. And some pretty lengthy bar tabs. From Martha’s Vineyard. For Saturday night, when he was supposed to be in NYC.! Literally, as I was standing there holding the condom wrapper trying to configure all the 100000’s of lies I had been told for just the past week and what it really meant, my cell phone started ringing from a number I didn’t recognize, I kept hitting ignore but it just kept ringing. When I picked up, it was a girl who I knew as a casual acquaintance but not someone I knew well. She had just gotten back from the getaway with evil ex and couldn’t wait for things to progress on their own anymore- to her credit, she did sound mildly tortured. She wanted me to know that she and Evil Ex had been dating for 6 months, that she was aware of me and that we lived together but that she was tired of sharing. She wanted to let me know that they were a really good match and was asking me to please just bow out quietly so they could be together “for real”….. After confronting him, I was more than happy to oblige.

She actually might have been right. They moved in together, into our apartment, right after I left- and ended up moving to Utah together a few months later when a job opportunity came up for her. From the smiles on the facebook pictures and the cheery emails he sends me, they are quite happy.

LW1- I can’t even imagine just how hurt and how hard it must be, especially given the fact that the man is your husband and the father of your child. I have nothing but respect and empathy for you, sistah- and I hope you remember first and foremost to take really good care of yourself while you’re facing all of this. You owe it not only to yourself to make sure you are keeping yourself strong and healthy in anyway possible- but of course to your child too. It totally blows but Wendy is so so right- just maybe in your case there could be a lot of light on the either side of this.

avatar AnitaBath January 25, 2011, 4:46 pm

That’s horrible!

I think there are numerous reasons the “mistresses” will get in contact with the woman. Sometimes it’s out of revenge or spite, sometimes it’s because they feel they have a duty to let her know, and sometimes it’s like in your case where they’ll ask you to leave. Though, I gotta admit, I haven’t ever actually heard of that one happening before.

avatar TheOtherMe January 26, 2011, 10:51 am

@ AB: Most likely it’s a revenge type situation, it’s usually after the lover has broken off the relationship. Strangely there seemed to be no problem with the “sense of duty” during the affair.

avatar ArtsyGirl January 25, 2011, 7:52 pm

Katy – So sorry that you went through all of that. I can only imagine you are better off without him, sounds like he has no decency and respect. I am sure one of them will stray eventually since it is difficult to change behavior especially when it was so blatant on their part. What type of woman actively pursues a man who she knows is in a committed relationship?

avatar delilahgem January 26, 2011, 10:32 am

I honestly can’t imagine. That would definitely have to feel like your world was unraveling, at least in the beginning.

avatar Natasha Kingston January 26, 2011, 12:17 pm

Holy crap. I never understand why women want to be with men who are two-timing someone else. What makes them think they are so special that he won’t do it to them too?

avatar cdj0815 January 27, 2011, 3:09 pm

Katy you are one helluva woman. I definitely admire you. That’s a lot of time to put in a relationship and find out that he had been cheating for a 6 months. But you seem to be dealing with it well. If I ever have to deal with something like this, I hope I am as mature and rational as you were. He would have been wearing a frying pan, and I am normally not a violent person.

avatar Diana January 25, 2011, 4:38 pm

LW2- def agree with most of the others– don’t tell them. i’m going through a similar situation with not telling my parents things about my SO that are in his past. i want their approval, but i’m a grown a@@ woman and i don’t need my parents’ approval… say it with me!

becboo84 BecBoo84 January 25, 2011, 4:52 pm

@LW1: I hope, for the sake of your child, you are able to forgive and move. I know that I would probably be unable to, but definitely get to a marriage counselor stat.

becboo84 BecBoo84 January 26, 2011, 10:26 am

*forgive and move on

avatar absurdfiction January 25, 2011, 4:54 pm

So happy to follow you over to your new website, Wendy! I totally agree with your advice (as usual), just wanted to drop in with some encouraging words for your new endeavor. :)

Dear Wendy Wendy January 25, 2011, 5:00 pm

Thank you!

mandalee amandalee January 25, 2011, 6:36 pm

I have to say LW1 I found the whole cheating scenario with your now husband to be kind of terrible. I think there are forms of cheating that can be worked through, but I have to say you would be a stronger person than me to forgive this, even though it would be beneficial to your child to have you two together. Also- did this woman post these videos online, or was it something that he did ages ago? I am just bothered that this cheating was over an extended period of time and involved multiple females, not just the clearly jealous woman who outted him. Also, if you got pregnant during this time not due to some malfunction in birth control but due to not using any, I would worry about someone willing to subject me to various STDs.

Having said that, if he truly is a changed man and you love him enough to work through all the difficult issues that will come up, I wish you the best of luck. They always say it’s harder to forgive and move on, but I’m sure it’s also freeing.

avatar BeccaAnne January 25, 2011, 8:38 pm

1. Go get therapy with your husband, you’ll either learn to forgive or learn that you are unable to.
2. None of your dad’s beeswax! Not really your mom’s or sister’s either. Helpful tool: the phrase, “Oh, you know, this that and the other thing”

avatar theresa January 26, 2011, 2:34 am

First of all I’d like to congratulate Wendy for setting up your own website =) I have been a loyal follower of your advise column ever since I first read the article of yours published on CNN.com.I come from Malaysia, a country across the Pacific Ocean ;)

LW1,
If I were you I don’t think I can ever forgive him.However, since you said that he has been a wonderful husband & father to your child, you should really try to forgive him.You don’t need to forget about the past. Instead of trying to forget (which i think it’s impossible), you should try to figure how to work things out.I am totally agree with dear Wendy n the rest of the readers that you should discuss with your husband over this matter & then consult a marriage consultant.i am here sincerely wish you happiness in life.

LW 2,
It’s you and your life.You don’t need to explain everything to everyone.Everyone has his history & we shouldn’t look back.How he was cannot define who he is today.

sobriquet sobriquet January 26, 2011, 11:03 am

Love the site, Wendy! I’m a long time fan and usually only wandered over to TF to read your columns. I’m so excited they have their own website now!

LW1- Ugh, I’m a bit disgusted that the mistress came forward after all this time. They’re married! This would have been valuable information *before* they tied the knot. Bringing up the past at this point is almost cruel. Marriage counseling is definitely the way to go in order to rebuild trust.

LW2- They don’t need to know anything about your boyfriend’s past, but if you feel like they MUST know, why doesn’t your boyfriend tell them? In person, the next time you are all together. That way he can look your dad in the eyes and tell him that he’s reformed.

avatar bostonpupgal January 26, 2011, 12:44 pm

LW1,
I just want to tell you I was one of the “fortunate” ones who found out right before the wedding, and I called it off immediately. I understand exactly how you’re feeling right now, the hurt can seem unbearable.

Serious counseling for both of you is a great place to start, plus complete STD testing for you and your baby. Only you can decide in time if you can trust him, or if he even deserves trust.

I can tell you from experience moving on was the best thing I ever did.I am stronger, happier, and more complete than I ever could have been. The doubts, the tears, the wondering why I wasn’t ‘enough’, it all left when I walked out the door and was able to realize what happened was absolutely not my fault, just like it wasn’t yours. My amazing boyfriend of 2 years proposed to me over New Years, and we are planning a wonderful wedding and a future built on mutual love, trust, and fidelity, which I would have never gotten had I stayed with my ex.

bittergaymark bitter gay mark January 26, 2011, 3:34 pm

I just hope the husband STAYS faithful…and the boyfriend STAYS law abiding… Two big IFs in my opinion… For it has largely been my experience that leopards often APPEAR to change their spots…much more commonly than they actually do.

avatar cdj0815 January 27, 2011, 3:13 pm

Sad to say, but I agree with you bitter gay mark. My experience is the same as well.