My wife (32F) and I (30M) got married in September 2018 after being together for 3 years. Right before our honeymoon, we bought a house together in VA, and after we got back, pooled our remaining money and time to completely redo her old starter home in MD and sold that in early 2019.
We both work full time jobs in Virginia. I make pretty good money, she makes even better money. My wife, let’s call her Katie, decided to pursue an MBA and started last fall. She had an educational trust that her parents started for her, and therefore didn’t ask me for any financial assistance. However, because I saw how time consuming the MBA was on top of her already large professional workload, I took it upon myself to take care of everything related to our still relatively new home - including dealing with contractors, managing all our bills, maintaining the house, taking care of our dog, purchasing/assembling furniture, yard work, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and hosting/entertaining her family that insisted on coming over at least 2 weekends every month.
Lately, Katie had been unhappy with our relationship, complaining that I wasn’t spending enough quality time with her and not making her feel wanted. I tried to argue several times that between her work and studies, and my work and home responsibilities, that there simply wasn’t very much time to spend together in general (we would frequently not even get to eat dinner until 9:00 or 10:00 at night, and I would either need to bring her a meal to her home office, or we would quickly eat together, and she would return to schoolwork to study or percolate in group projects/session). She would argue back that the things I was doing around the house were simply my responsibility as a husband, and that while she “appreciated it,” it didn’t count towards me trying to maintain or build our relationship. We’d also been arguing a lot about other things, and combined with the lack of free time, would be intimate maybe once a month.
But after one particularly emotional (and drunken) conversation - about 3 or 4 weeks ago now - I vowed that despite what I already thought was prioritizing her needs, that I would go even further. I began to take off work (I, unlike her, still had to go in during Covid), or go in late/leave early, stopped seeing friends, skipped workouts, and would even wait until she was occupied with something else to even take a shower, all so I could spend as much available time as possible with her between her obligations. As a result, things seemed to be slightly improving between us.
And now we arrive at last Wednesday. As per usual, I was making dinner for us. We have a tablet in the kitchen that I primarily use for recipes. As I was finishing up, the tablet began pinging nonstop, and I checked out what was happening. As it turns out, the tablet is linked to her google credentials, and I first saw an ongoing hangouts conversation between Katie and a friend, discussing what to do about “someone’s wife” who had come to our house that day while I was at work. Scrolling through the conversation history, I found more about Katie’s lack of feelings for me, and the longing and dreaming to instead be with some guy, who we’ll call Luke.
Physically shaking at this point, I decided to venture away from Hangouts and open her Gmail, where I found several emails, going as far back as March, between her and Luke, calling each other “babe,” “sweetheart,” and “my love.”
Unsure about what to do next, I first took screenshots of everything I could find, then stepped outside to call the only person with law experience that I knew, an executive at my company who I’d become friends with. He advised that I immediately confront her, but first call someone to come over to the house to act as a witness, in case things became physical, or if she might later try to claim they did. So I had a friend over in about 20 minutes, I confronted Katie, and she confessed to the relationship and admitted that they had been intimate several times over the past 4 months, both at hotels and in our home.
Now completely distraught, I tried to maintain my composure, and asked her to leave. She stayed at a hotel for two nights, then despite my protest, came home on Friday, stating this was her house too. She insisted on talking when she returned, and not having a witness this time, I decided to record the entire conversation on my phone. She tried to reiterate that she had been unhappy, but despite that, had been reaching out to her friends and mother about suggestions and resources she could use to help our relationship (even though I had suggested counseling in the past, but she refused). She tried to tell me that she made a mistake, that she had already broken it off with Luke a week ago, that I was the only person she wanted to spend her life with, and the only reason she hadn’t told me about it was because her friends had advised her not to. She also said that if we truly love each other, that divorce was a mistake, and that we should be able to get through anything. I replied that love is worthless without trust, and then said that if she insists on staying here, to please stay in the guest room. Obviously free usage of her home office and the guest bathroom, but to please stay out of our bedroom/bathroom unless telling me first.
So now I’m here. Sitting in my house alone with just my dog. Her and her aunt/uncle/cousins are currently at our neighbors house for a bbq (they don’t know about what she did). I can’t bear to go over there because I don’t want to talk to or even look at Katie, much less pretend in front of a bunch of people that nothing happened. 90% of me wants to get a divorce, but despite her feelings, I was very happy with the life we were building. We had even been talking about being pregnant by this time next year. But no matter what I decide to do, I know I don’t want to make that decision without getting more information about what I can do, what might end up happening if we proceed, and I definitely want to talk to a few VA lawyers to protect myself. We only have one joint account with less than $20k in it, and the only asset we share is our house.
So that’s it. I’m sorry for writing so much. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. And I would really appreciate any and all insight, suggestions, or advice. I just feel completely destroyed, empty, and alone. Please help me.
Edit: I am absolutely stunned and overwhelmed by the level of support you all have shown me. I truly can’t believe that all of would take the time to offer your advice, kindness, and wisdom to an absolute stranger. I am doing my best to read every one of your replies, and from the bottom of my somewhat shattered heart, thank you. This has been an unbelievable light in the darkest time of my life.
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