It sounds like your wife has issues with needing attention, but if it is to work for you both you BOTH need to work really hard, her more so than you now, she needs to prove to you she is willing to change and YOU need to make it clear that if she does it again that is IT, (if you try to work it out, anyway).
She needs to know you're serious so be honest with her, don't make threats that you don't carry out etc.
Mostly for now you need to be good to yourself and have a really long think. If you can find a counsellor to talk to for support for you, that would also help. Try and find someone who specialises in relationship issues.
There are no right or wrong answers here. To stay or go is a personal decision; one is no more the right answer than the other.
Often BS's are hell bent on making their marriage work no-matter the cost, and far too often that cost is exceedingly high.
Is this the way to go? Who knows? Then there are those for which infidelity is an automatic deal breaker and end the relationship upon discovery. Is this the way to go? Again who knows?
If moving on is something you want to consider, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, then explore this option. Consult a lawyer, so you know what this option entails. Think about how you would survive on your own.
I advise seeking family counseling in the area of separation for your children. Please know, when handled correctly, most children do well overtime. Considering this option does not mean you have to take it, educating yourself so you can make the best decision is always a good idea.
There is nothing at all wrong with choosing the alternative to reconciliation. This is not a failure.
Infidelity is a major crime against a person and a marriage and a very real consequence of such a horrible decision is the loss of the marriage.
Feelings are never right or wrong - they just are.
I am concerned that your wife's behavior does not indicate regret or remorse. She has selfishly had numerous affairs at the risk of her marriage and her family. What were the consequences laid out if she cheated again?
She hasn't changed because she hasn't had to. You have forgiven her each time.
I know this is hard and I am sorry you are going through this again. No one deserves this.
PLEASE get your wife to IC. Get your own IC and then if you see behavior change THEN consider MC.
Good luck and know that we are all here for you. Keep moving. One day at a time.
[This message edited by 1Faith at 2:59 PM, April 29th (Monday)]
Forgiveness is something that has to be earned. What is your wife doing to prove she will never ever go down this path again? Is she seeking counseling, something inside her is seeking validation or attention or whatever it is she is getting from her multiple affairs.
The consensus here it that it takes 2-5 years to move through this nightmare, is SHE willing to do the work to give your marriage 200%? Never room for three in a marriage.
There are couples on this site who have reconciled after multiple affairs....but, and that's a BIG but, the wayward spouse was truly remorseful and willing to do whatever it took to save the marriage and help their betrayed spouse feel safe again.
I am going to bump up two great reads for newbies, one called Tactical Primer, the other Before You Say Reconcile. Excellent guides.
In order to even consider reconciliation, your wife must be completely transparent giving you access to everything, phone, cell records, online email accounts, facebook, you understand. Accountable for her whereabouts at all times. It is a tall order but in order to save the marriage, she must lose herself temporarily.
I think consulting an attorney is good advice, doesn't mean you need to file but just to understand where you stand in case the marriage really begins to fall apart. You have five children, one parent must have their best interests at heart.
Please, both of you get tested for STDs asap.
Post as often as you need to, the members here are always willing to lend an ear or give advice....we have all been through this living hell, so we completely understand as we have walked in your shoes.
No need to make any hasty decisions, remember any baby steps forward will depend on the actions of your wife...her words are meaningless, cheaters lie. Her actions will speak volume.
[This message edited by annb at 3:21 PM, April 29th (Monday)]
Is she truthful, honest and open in other parts of her life, or is deception a pattern that spills over into marital fidelity?
I firmly believe there are basically two categories of cheaters: one for whom cheating is an abberation and one for whom cheating is merely a manifestation of who they are.
The first type may have gotten caught up in an affair due to life circumstances, crisis or other things that made an affair a choice they saw as attractive. These types of cheaters are usually deeply ashamed, remorseful and because cheating is not in their DNA, they are often willing to put in the extremely hard work to repair the damage their actions have caused.
The other type is more difficult because being deceptive is a large part of WHO THEY ARE. They lie about other things, not just about the affair. They fudge expense reports, cheat on their taxes and grossly exaggerate things to their friends. For this type of person, change is much more difficult because they are having rebuild more than a series of ill-considered and stupid decisions--they are having to rebuild WHO THEY ARE.
Needless to say, I am a big believer in Type 1 being a good candidate for reconciliation and Type 2 being much less so.
I agree with looking at actions, but I also believe that looking at a person's past behaviors is a good indication of what their future ones might be. Serial cheaters have a much larger problem than just cheating--they tend to be deceptive and secretive and hide large parts of their lives away from their partners. Having been with a person like this, I can honestly say that they usually do not make good candidates for reconciling.
I think you have to look at serial cheating as a much larger problem, unfortunately.