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You knew this was a secret non-monogamous relationship.In your longer letter, you go on to say ‘it never became sexual’, ‘it didn’t mean anything’, ‘I feel like I’m being punished for something I didn’t even do’ and that your wife ‘accused’ you of ‘having an affair’.In such cases additional help through therapy or mediation may be beneficial.It is also worth remembering that dealing with an affair can take time, not least to find ways to communicate and rebuild trust.Being able to talk through what happened with people taking responsibility for their actions while avoiding blame can be a very tall order - one that is not always welcome when a relationship is in crisis and where those who have been hurt may simultaneously want to both shame and stay with their spouse.People can get stuck in situations where they deny problems exist or refuse to forgive a partner.You should look for a therapist who’ll encourage you both to be assertive, confident and to take responsibility for your actions rather than encouraging disclosure without any sense of how that will help you heal the relationship.It is fine to speak to several therapists while you find one that suits you both best.
If you intend to stay together having a sense of what you would like your relationship to become can be a good incentive to work through issues with honesty and compassion.
Somehow my wife found out and accused me of having an affair. Have you both considered if this relationship is really what you want? How do you feel about separation either temporarily while you address issues, or permanently?
She left me for a while to live with her parents but came back when I told her how I loved her and didn’t want a divorce. I feel like I’m being punished for something I didn’t even do and I don’t know how we can move on. If all conversations currently lead to arguments it may be worth finding other ways to talk about issues – perhaps writing down how you feel, taking it in turns while one talks and the other actively listens, or having several short and time limited conversations rather than one big talk or arguments with no apparent end point.
Relationship therapy can help you both individually and together – to think about what happened, find more effective ways to communicate about how this has affected you, to give voice to unpleasant feelings and emotions, and to look for ways forward (if this is what you both still want).
Your wife may well have questions about what happened that she wants answers to, which you may or may not be willing or able to provide.
Together or individually you may want to use the following resources to reflect on your relationship and find more effective ways to communicate: Meg Barker’s book Rewriting the Rules (particularly Chapters 6-9) The Couple Connection has forums, resources and a helpline (free) you may want to use individually or together.