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dbellanon posted 5/28/2013 07:12 AM

Hello everyone. As background, my original story can be found here:

In that first post, I mentioned that my wife had agreed to a month-long trial, but that I was fairly sure that her heart wasn't in it, and I was right. It has only been a few weeks, but I think that we have both reached the end of our ropes. Forcing herself to put effort into the marriage was just stressing her out further and made her all the more bitter about the situation. As for me, I don't have any desire to continue to torture her by making her stay, nor any desire to continue to torture myself by continuing to put my heart on the line for her.

But just when I think I'm finally ready to let her go, I am tortured by thoughts of my daughter. I don't know how I'm going to face her and tell her what is happening. She is 3 years old. I can only imagine the uncomprehending look on her face, as she asks, almost casually "why?" and I have to come up with some bullshit happy-sounding explanation. She may not comprehend divorce, but she knows that she wants both of us together. She's always talking about how she likes doing things as a family. If she could comprehend what was going on, I know what she would want.

Even though I know it's not my fault, I feel like such a monumental failure for not being able to deliver to her the best when it comes to family. The fact that it is out of my hands makes it all the worse. She didn't do anything to deserve this. She deserves better.

If I had the opportunity, I would still go through hell to save my family, to save for her a whole existence and not the fractured hell of divorce, but it's out of my hands.

I really thought for a moment that I was strong enough to do this. I'm not.

Ashland13 posted 5/28/2013 07:34 AM

Dear Bellanon,

So very sorry to hear the painful things you are going through...for what it's worth, I and many others are living similar horrible experiences.

It seems that we share some of life's broken goals, for I lived my life working daily to create a traditional or old-fashioned style home and life for my "family", while STBXH was living his own extremely bizarre and non-traditional life-style.

Yes, as I witness our daughter's pain at each parting with her father, my heart finds a place for another crack in it...just when I thought there was not room for more.

How much to tell her has always been an issue with us. While I am not a fan of trickling truth down in bits for most situations and adults, when it's a child, I feel differently. A disagreement we had for a time (it's quiet now as other things go on) has been how much to tell her of her father's activities.

I have taken the stance that she is not old enough to learn of OW and OW junior, as I think our daughter is already crushed and trying to hang on to her sanity and what's left of her life. He wanted to bombard through, as he does in life and just sort of gush everything out at once to her...except that he's never around nowadays to help clean up the messes.


For what it's worth, what we-I-came up with to tell her and did not do it without advice from my lawyer and counselor, is that Daddy had problems that he couldn't work out at home and he didn't like he could be here with us any more. He tried to work with mommy but too many grown up problems have come to fix.

And left it at that. It wasn't easy because what was important to me was that she not think I wanted him gone but a shred of innocence be left about it for her.

When STBXH finally said he wanted a separation, it was to go crawling back to OW and not actually work on "himself" or M. I'm sorry that your month-long trial isn't working. I think sometimes people decide they are done but don't have the courage to tell their spouse-that's what happened here, though he told many other people while I didn't know.

I wish you luck during this hard time.

Ashland13 posted 5/28/2013 07:37 AM

Correction: he didn't think he could live here anymore.

And P.S. FWIW, the only people who wanted our daughter to have all the information were STBXH and a family member who sought revenge for what he did.

She wanted to ruin things between him and our daughter, thus eliminating the life-long perceived competition between them.

tryingagain74 posted 5/28/2013 14:26 PM

Sorry you're here, but welcome to a very supportive board that has helped me in more ways that I could have ever imagined.

While your DD does deserve better, it's not your fault. She deserves better from your WW, not from you. You can't be a thoughtful, effective parent (IMHO) when you're neck-deep in the quagmire of an A. Your WW stopped putting her energy into your family and started directing it toward the A and her own selfish desires, and it sounds like that hasn't changed.

It takes a great amount of strength and courage to decide that a D is the best option. We've been taught since the cradle that a D is shameful, that the couple breaking up didn't give the relationship a real chance, etc. On the contrary, I think that the stronger thing to do (when dealing with a remorseless WS) is to leave. You're modeling self-respect for your DD. You're taking her out of an unhealthy environment where she'd learn that it's okay to treat your spouse like garbage and that it's normal for there to be tension/constant arguing/lack of affection, etc. in the relationship.

You ARE going through hell to save your family-- your family is you and your DD. One of the first people I told about the A said to me that her mom stayed with her serial cheating dad, and it was a miserable existence for her. She said that she wished her mother had dumped him long ago, and she says that she's been in therapy since the age of 16 because of it. It really screwed her up when it came to relationships. Those remarks hit me like a ton of bricks, and I realized that I had to get a D not just for me but for my three kids. Instead of watching me being treated like a doormat, they've seen me start a new and healthier family life for them and for me. When they some day learn the truth about what STBX did, they'll know that their mother was a strong woman who didn't tolerate their dad's abusive behavior, and she walked away from the mess he had created, keeping her self-respect and dignity intact. Hopefully, they'll learn to apply that same self-respect and dignity to their own relationships, and they will also have the courage to walk away from any future relationships that are unhealthy in their lives.

I know how you feel-- I worried that I was failing my kids as well. It takes a little time to step back and see the bigger picture, but eventually, you will feel no doubt as to whether or not you made the right decision for your DD AND for you.


[This message edited by tryingagain74 at 2:29 PM, May 28th (Tuesday)]

tabitha95 posted 5/28/2013 14:45 PM

My heart breaks for my boys, but the atmosphere in our "family" home wasn't healthy. The tension was strangling all of us emotionally.

Nature_Girl posted 5/28/2013 15:15 PM

I'm so sorry. Most of us here with young children have been where you are now, trying valiantly to hold the marriage together for the sake of the children. At some point we've had to reach acceptance that it's better for the children to be FROM a broken home than still living IN a broken home.

My family WAS broken. We are healing now. You and your daughter are also a family. You will heal. It will hurt more than you can even imagine right now. But you'll heal.

SBB posted 5/29/2013 06:17 AM

I was so strong that I put up with unbelievable bullshit in the M. Things that no child should ever have had to witness or live through.

Just the tension alone was enough to do untold damage. Of course I only see this now that I am far away from it. At the time I too was willing to sacrifice myself to save my family.

It doesn't work. You can't fix an M on your own, betrayal or no betrayal.

Your daughter is 3. If you're OK she'll be OK. You will be OK.

Put your energy into you and your daughter.

dbellanon posted 5/29/2013 07:28 AM

Our anniversary was on Saturday. We went out to dinner. Our last date. Our marriage lasted 6 years, almost to the day.

The truth is that our home environment wasn't caustic. Even now, we're mostly civil. It's just that my wife is, and has been, unhappy, and she can't see herself ever being happy with me again.

And I can't convince her that this isn't true, and so I have to let her go.

SBB posted 5/29/2013 09:24 AM

What is interesting is that I knew I wasn't happy but it didn't seem so bad most of the time. In hindsight it really was.

When things were easy we seemed so good together. As soon as they got a little bit hard (ie: normal, real life, grown up stuff) it all fell apart. That is no way to live. It was all peripheral - we were fine and 'happy' as long as we didn't rely on each other for anything meaningful.

You're only very new here. My home was not shouty nor violent but my husband was cold, distant, moody and a misery to be around most of the time. A part of my FOO is to beam sunlight on the good bits and ignore the bad bits. I'm so good at it that I did it for 5 long years. Maybe more.

You could not have found a wife on the planet who was more unhappy, more unfulfilled and more unappreciated and unloved than I was. Yet I didn't cheat.

They don't cheat because they're unhappy with us - they cheat because they loathe themselves.

For some it turns out to be an exit affair. They choose the cowards way out.

I know you're hurting and in some shock right now. I was bewildered for some time.

Once the BS fog lifts you'll see things differently. I promise you it won't always hurt this bad.

Keep reading, keep posting. We've all been there friend.


7yrsflushed posted 5/29/2013 09:39 AM

What strongbutbroken said.

The "she is unhappy stuff" has absolutely NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with her. My M was also "stable" and "good" but my STBXWW somehow was unhappy as well and oddly enough even after she stopped her A's, the last of which was a 3 yr LTA, she was still unhappy. I say this to let you know that it was never your job to make your WW happy. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness. Our spouses and those around us can complement or detract some from our happiness but ultimately your happiness is your own responsiblity. Some of us learn good coping mechanisms for dealing with life and some don't. Having an A to deal with unhappiness is one of those bad coping mechanisms.

I too came to the conclusion that the kids will be much better off coming from a broken home than living in one. Also it's still early for you so be kind to yourself. The more you detach the better you will feel. Keep postign and reading. Even if your M is ending it doesn't define you. You define you so make sure you keep working throught he pain and get to the other side.

Long Gone posted 5/29/2013 11:06 AM

She never unfogged from the sound of it.....

feels fully justified....


dbellanon posted 5/29/2013 15:40 PM

I tend to be something of an idealist when it comes to love and marriage. Was I always treated the best in our relationship? Certainly not. Even when her treatment of me reached its nadir, after she had cheated on me and dragged me through the mud, I still refused to renounce her and tried everything I could to save our marriage. I never would have contemplated divorce, even if it were obvious to me that there were greener pastures somewhere else. To me, being husband and wife means being family, and it should be no easier to divorce your spouse than to disown a child.

A part of me does wonder, though, whether I will be better off in the end. Perhaps it won't be better than it could have been if we had both been equally committed to improving our marriage, but the fact is that she wasn't. She likes to speak as if she has tirelessly been trying to improve our union since the beginning, but all she really talks about are the ways in which she complained about me not meeting her needs. While those complaints need to be taken seriously, it still leaves the fact that she was focusing on herself, not on the marriage. And by the time she reached her point-of-no-return, she had no interest in doing what was necessary to make things better for us. She just wanted to get out.

So with all that in mind, maybe I am better off without her. This would be an easier pill to swallow if our divorce didn't mean breaking up the life of a little girl, but still, it may be true.

They don't cheat because they're unhappy with us - they cheat because they loathe themselves.

I'm not sure I know how to make sense of this statement. Maybe you could elaborate. I see a lot of things in my wife's behavior, but I'm not sure if self-loathing is one of them.

Nevertheless, I have accepted that there probably was nothing that I could have done to stop this, either he affair or the divorce. That's not to say that I did everything I could have done to reinforce our marriage and protect it from damage. Far from it. But the circumstances and mental attitudes that led her to this decision, whatever they were, would most certainly have been present no matter what.

She likes to think that her affair was just a symptom of how bad our marriage had gotten. And maybe, in a sense, she is right. But she bears the blame for that as well. Is it possible for someone to be a "good enough husband" for his wife not to have an affair? I don't even know what that would mean.

SBB posted 5/29/2013 16:56 PM

Infidelity is not about sex - it is an attempt to fill a big gaping hole in oneself.

IMO it is an act of self harm on a subconscious level. Not that it hurts them but its a disastrous attempt to quieten the "I'm not worthy" soundtrack that bounces around their head.

Someone who does this does not to it because they do not value their spouse/partner 'enough' or because their spouse/partner is not 'good enough' but because they themselves are not good enough.

There is nothing in the world I could have done to prevent my husband from cheating - he was ALWAYS going to cheat on his wife. It is how he is built. Escape to a shiny land of unicorns and rainbows when things get even a little bit hard.

Given there was nothing I could do to stop it it follows that there was nothing I could do to make him cheat either. This is all about them, friend - them and whatever the hell is wrong inside their minds. Absolutely zero to do with us.

I had a shit husband - one of the worst. I spent years convincing myself it wasn't really as bad as it felt. I thought everyone else thought he was great too. Turns out everyone saw what was going on - the abuse starts way before the first betrayal. They unplug from the M way before their first betrayal.

Its kind of weird that we don't see it when its happening - I chose not to see it.

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