Advice - adultery, divorce, co-habitant, and reinvestigation

Hello, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read my post. I am in need of some respectful advice and direction. I’ll try to keep it brief.

  • I am a federal employee with an active TS (no SCI, no poly). I moved from Washington DC to the Greater Bay Area.

  • No drug use, no financial issues, no criminal history, no foreign contacts, etc

  • Married at 23, bad decision, we lived with my family at home. Wife didn’t work, her choice. I am currently in my early 30’s.

  • I moved to the Bay Area in summer 2017 because my wife moved from DC to the Bay Area in 2014 (where she is originally from) to attend a doctoral program. It took awhile to find a job I qualified for, but took a long time to go from a Secret to TS clearance with the backlog, a hiring freeze, shutdown in 2016, etc.

  • During that time period while we were bicoastal, I engaged in extramarital affairs. I realized I made a mistake in getting married, and at the time, didn’t know if I would ever get a job in California, or even if I wanted to move there. My wife was insistent saying she would not move back to DC.

  • Six months after moving, she discovered my affairs via old emails, texts, etc on my personal laptop. Another three or four months later, I moved out. Date of separation July 2018.

  • For the last two years I have been living on my own, and have not filed for divorce. Reason being cost, and attempting to come to a divorce agreement together including spousal support on our own without going to court, involving lawyer, etc. So far, that isn’t going well. If/when an investigator talks to her, she will provide the details of my affair. She knows that this may have a negative outcome for me, including losing my job. She has accused me of committing adultery, a crime in multiple states (but rarely prosecuted). Also, While living on my own, I dated around a bit, but nothing serious.

  • Jan 2019, I met someone, and we grew close over the years. I have not told her or her friends that I am married and filing for a divorce. I moved in with her in Feb 2020, and are living together in a house with roommates. From what I researched, we would be classified as cohabitants as we share a bed, romance, etc. She believes I moved out here for work, but is in the dark about my past relationship.

I have a lot of questions, and in need of direction.

For example, my reinvestigation is due in two years. Will the affairs in 2014 - 2017 result in losing my clearance?

Will my co-habitant and/or roommates be interviewed or called as references?

Should I break up and move out on my own again?

I do not access TS or Secret information. I don’t have access to any high side email, etc. My job duties do not require access, and I do not forsee myself using it in my job anytime soon. We do not have a SCIF onsite. I may end up getting access to a SECRET-level information.

Should I ask for a clearance downgrade to Secret? Would that prolong the date of my reinvestigation?

By late 2021, would the automated background checks be in place and not require these sorts of subject interviews?

Should I seek a position outside the government? This would be a last resort.

Once I submit the paperwork for the divorce, I will notify my boss and FSO, and will keep them updated accordingly.

i know BIs look at the person as a whole, but this is an area where I exercised poor judgement and I think it may be very detrimental to my future.

Again, any advice or information would be very helpful. Thank you.

Be honest, list spouse, tell them you are separated. List cohabitation and her/his info. Be prepared to speak to having had affairs. Doing so…greatly reduces risk anyone can blackmail you, to include soon to be ex spouse. Other than that I really don’t think it harms you, or diminished you in the eyes of the government. Morality is a moving target and hard to nail down. We all have our own value system.

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The risk for blackmail is typically if they are secret and you would not want others to find out.

EG foreign operative finds out you’re having an affair and threatens to tell your spouse/boss/priest/whoever unless you give the foreign operative classified materials.

Being forthright and honest in the clearance process mitigates the risk from the USG side, but if your current partner doesn’t know, the risk is not totally eliminated

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You are welcome. Honesty always works best and not being afraid to discreetly disclose the situation takes away the power from anyone wanting to get classified info from you.

Sorry, but “my girlfriend has zero clue about my wife” is like Blackmail 101. Time to come clean with everyone.


Gotta tell the girlfriend about the wife !!! Your FSO should also be told about your current romantic cohabitant, they are reportable just as foreign contacts are.
Your divorce/affair story is a very common one and if it caused a “loss of a clearance” there wouldn’t be very many people able to maintain a clearance.


I like your first option is to break up with the girlfriend and move out.

Made me laugh.

Divorce and adultry are usually not show stoppers but man your decision making process seems pretty flawed.

And yes, good chance at least one of your roommates gets interviewed.