For a bit of background, I'm 27 and my wife is 26. I'll refer to her as L through this post. We've been together since we we're 18 and been married just over a year. I had a couple of relationships before her that lasted a few months each, and she only ever had one relationship before me, and that was the only person she was ever intimate with.
We moved in together just after 2 years of dating. We've never really had any problems throughout our relationship, nothing ever went stale, and we've always been that couple that ever says are the 'perfect couple'. The flame never really burnt out, we talk and text as much now as we did when we met, if not more. We call each other on every commute to work and pretty much text all day. We're completely in sync with each other.
Around 3 years ago, I went on a night out with a few friends, got completely drunk, and ended up kissing another woman and doing a few more things with her. It was when the woman told me she wanted to have sex with me that it hit me what I was doing. I instantly sobered up and walked away. I went home, showered, and slept on the sofa that night.
The next morning it was obvious to L that something wasn't right, I told her pretty much straight away what had happened, and how sorry I was and that I completely understand if she couldn't be with me anymore. That I would do anything for her to stay with me, but that I'd also make the break up as easy as possible on her if she wanted it to end. I said i'd move out and sort out all of the bills and just completely take all the pressure off of her. She decided to give me another chance.
There weren't any ground rules or anything set by her, so I opted to give up my 'privilege' of being trusted to go out on my own. From then on, I would never go out with friends without her, apart from the occasional meal which I'd always be back early from. It's important to note that none of this was her idea. I just wanted to do the right thing and never give her reason to think I'd do the same again.
Fast forward 3 years, to Jan 2018. We've been married for 6 months, and our troubled past seems to be but forgotten by her. I still live with regret day to day, but dont let it affect the marriage. L is starting a new job at the end of January and we've just moved into a new house. My friends are planning a weekend trip away to London, but I don't even mention it to L, as I've kept my promise of not going out without her for 3 years. L finds out from my friends partners about this trip and approaches me, saying she can't believe that I was that serious about my promise that I didn't even mention the trip to her. She says its time to move on, and that she trusts me and that I should go away for the weekend in February. I agree to go and we leave it at that. The end of January comes and L has been in her new job for a week. She has to go on a training course for 3 days which is 80 miles away, so she will be staying away for 2 nights. This is roughly 2 or 3 weeks before I'm due to go away.
She drives to the area where the course is due to take place, and as usual we talk pretty much the whole commute on the phone. She checks into the hotel and goes to the course, where she meets other new starter from all over the country. We speak all day as usual until she arrives back to the hotel. When she gets to the hotel she calls me and says a few of them are going out for a meal and some drinks. She said none of the females on the course want to go out, so it will be her and 4 guys and asks if its ok. Obviously I say it's fine as she's always been a very trustworthy and innocent woman. I tell her to have a nice time and that i'll speak to her later, she tells me she will text throughout the night and call me when shes back at the hotel.
We don't text all that night and it gets to 12am (it's a work night and she never stays out late). I call her, she answers and shes in a bar with these 4 guys, saying shes being looked after and that everything is fine, and she will call me when she leaves. She never calls, I go to bed and call her the next morning.
She answers the phone around 7am, apologizes for not calling to say shes back, I tell her how worried I was that she was with 4 strangers shes only known for one day, and allowed herself to get so drunk with them, on her own without anyone she knows. Tell her that anything could have happened to her and all that usual stuff. She says she knows and cries saying shes a terrible wife and that I deserve better. I ask her whats wrong and she just says her behavior was stupid lastnight and that she should have called. I tell her its ok and that I love her and then I go to work.
For pretty much the first time in our relationship we barely text that day while I'm at work and shes on the course. She puts it down to being tired from the night before. She goes out for another meal after that day on the course, but is back at the room by 10pm, calls me for 5 minutes and then says she is exhausted from the night before and needs sleep. So we both go to bed and dont talk until the morning.
The next day she texts a few time on her course, but says she is rushing to complete the work so she can come home to me sooner. She completes the course and drives back and arrives home roughly the same time as me. We are talking and we both know that were on edge because of that night out she has. I say "Look, if anything happened, we all make mistakes, I know that most of all, it's fine, just tell me" She denies anything happened, shouts at me saying how she isn't a cheat and I shouldn't judge her by my standards and all that. I say how out of character she was and still is, and we have out first argument of our 6 month long marriage, and our first argument for years pretty much.
After that it's all fine. Its 2 weeks until i'm due to go to london for the weekend, and we're back to how we used to be, i.e. calling and texting all day. Life is exactly as it was. In those to weeks, we seem a lot closer than usual (which neither of us thought we could possibly get closer) we celebrate valentines day and my birthday and no further issues arise.
2 weeks later, I'm packing my bag friday morning, ready to leave with my friends at lunch. Say goodbye to L, but we text while i'm on the train ride down. Me and my friends have our first night out, and I have my first night out in over 3 years and really enjoy it. I call L when i'm back at the the room, we have a huge heart to heart, I tell her how much I love and miss her, and that I've never really let it go what I did, she tells me she never thinks about it. I tell her truthfully that there hasn't been a day where I havent thought about it and that I beat myself up every day for hurting her. She tells me she wishes I'd have opened up to her and we kind of drift of topic and talk about our lives until I fall asleep.
Nothing significant happens the next days, me and friends get ready for 2nd night out. As we're drinking, I come to sudden realization that I'm not enjoying my weekend away as much as I enjoy my time with L on weekends, sitting on sofa watching films. I'm tipsy, but I tell my friends and they understand. I go back to my room early, grab my things and jump on a train home that night, leaving my friends in London. I try to call L to tell her, but shes not answering. I fall asleep on train and wake up at my stop. Get a taxi home and that's when our problems really start.
I get home and our house is empty. Can't get a hold of L and start to worry. I figure something is going on but don't really have anyone to turn to. I lay away all night until she comes home around 9pm Sunday morning. L doesn't know I'm home as I'm not due back until the afternoon but I confront her at the door with her overnight bag. She looks like shes seen a ghost, stumbles on her words and says shes stayed with her parents the night. I snatch the bag away and look inside and find an unopened pack of condoms. I just asked her what happened, she doesn't tell me but we argue for hours, and then I finally get it out of her that a guy from the course came down to our local city, booked a hotel room with her and they had a night out and unprotected sex. This hits me like a tonne of bricks, and I'm off work for the next week or so with stress and anxiety.
Within that week a really start to talk about our lives, and she profusely apologizes, and says she never quite forgave what I did and felt like she needed to get back, and now she says she knows how I feel after hurting her, and that its the worst feeling in the world. Obviously its rocky, but we make it work as we did when it was me that cheated on L. I get back into work for a few days and things seem to be coming back to normal.
After being back at work a few days, I start to get my head straight. Have doubts about L but know that we love eachother a lot. I tell her i have trust issues, she says it's fine, and that nothing has changed, that her phone is still always available and never hidden just like before. We carry on just as we did, but with the occasional out pour of guilt and crying from L
After being back at work for a week, and getting back on track with L, she swears it was a one time thing and that she hasn't spoke to him since. From now on I'll call him H. One day, i'm in work and I suddenly get the urge to check her online phone record. I see that on that morning she has contacted a strange number. I check the number on facebook and its H. I go back through the records from the weekend I went away until that date (which was around the middle of march) and find out she has contacted H 3 times since the night she cheated on me with him when I was away with friends. I get up and walk out of work and drive straight home to her, as its her day off. Tell her what I've found and she repeatedly denies it until I show it her in black and white. She breaks down saying how sorry she is, that she doesnt know who she is becoming, that she never wanted to see him again, she was just talking to him to make herself feel less ty. I continue to dig, saying I've called him when I haven't, saying he told me they did things she said they didnt do (oral) she cries saying its true, I asked why she didn't tell me and she said she was ashamed and didn't want it to be real. Said she was scared of losing me.
I lose it and call her mom, i don't know why, we have never been close, but I call her and tell her everything. She is the first person to know that either of us have cheated. All 3 of us speak all day on and eventually me and L work it out. I tell her that she is not to talk to him again and she agrees. They won't ever have to see eachother at work as he is over 100 miles away from us and they would just never be in the same area again.
Another 2 or 3 weeks go by. By now I'm not my usual self, me and L and still talking as we usually do, but I'm starting to ask about what happened, she tells me nothing else happened. I ask about the course, she says nothing happened. She says he wasn't there that night she went out and didn't call. over those 2 weeks I keep hinting saying it's ok if something happened on the course but she never came clean. The most she admitted too was that he was actually there on that night out, but he went home early.
After that I'm like a dog with a scent, i know something has gone on and I keep digging. One night I tell her I've spoken to H and that he said something happened on the course. She believes me again and confesses that kissed and ended up back in his room on the first night, but only had minor sexual contact, not sex. Says she didn't speak to him the rest of the course. We argue all night and don't talk next day.
I get home from work the following day and tell her I've told him what she told me (I never spoke to H and never will) and told her he said more happened. I just basically keep calling her bluff, as she never admits to anything. Eventually after a load of nagging on my part, she says just him and her went out that first night, there were never 4 guys. They went back to his room and did stuff but no sex, she spoke to him the next day on the course, went out with him for a meal then went back to her room, when she called me and went to sleep. But he turned up at her room and they had another night together. I then find out that between the course and the night I knew she cheated, they spoke most days. It's important to note, none of this information was readily given. I was always reassuring and gave her plenty of chances to come clean, but in the end it was all dragged out of her through calling her bluff.
From the point I saw her come back to the hotel, I finally had all the information by the end of March/beginning of April. All in all it took around 5 or 6 weeks to come out I cant remember.
Since then, I've gotten pretty close to my mother in law, and shes been the one reassuring me. I dont see her often it's all over text. But for that last few months me and L have been great, closer than ever. Her mom has been there for both of us, but has recently said its time to put it all behind us now. Which I think we are doing a pretty good job of.
My only issue is that I wonder, will she ever do this again? It was so not like her, and it scares me how much she can lie and deceive. I've fully accepted that it was my fault, as I cheated first. But we seem to be in a really good place now, neither of us drink when we're out unless were together, and both of our phones are always available to the other. Although we've both gotten out of the habit of checking up on eachother, as we want to forger this.
Basically, I missed all the warning signs the first time round. Would the signs be different if she did it again? Or do some people actually learn from their mistakes? Or does she seem to have just covered her own back and not have the sort of guilt I did?
Thank you, and sorry for the long read.