It starts differently to most peoples. Towards the beginning of 2010, I was incredibly stupid. I formed an emotional relationship with a girl online. I didn't really even realise what was going on until the light was shined on it, and it all came out on Valentines of 2011. I have no excuse. I was a fool, and a horrible person. I paid for my stupidity. My wife was devastated. The people that knew her response even suggested that she went too far, but I could never think that. I hated myself. She tore up wedding photos, was violent and destructive. It was horrible. I ended it right away, spent hours talking and answering every question she had, opened up my email and cancelled my facebook page.
For the next 6 months, I paid for my mistake in a big way. For the year after that, I did everything that I could to turn myself around, to show her that I was a good guy who did a bad thing. Then, at the end of 2011, she got a job offer to move abroad. We didn't really discuss it, but I wanted to support her career, and she wanted to move forwards. She moved to the other side of the world, with the view that I would sort out our home and join her. At that point, things were OK. They were not perfect, and the past did still come up some times, but we were moving on together.
The year and a half that we were apart was difficult. I visited her just a few months after she moved, for Christmas 2011 and New Year 2012. I returned home alone at the beginning of January, 2012. After that, things changed. Because of the past, Valentines had always been a difficult time for us, but 2012 was worse than normal. She suddenly became distant. I put it down to the gap between us. She withdrew a lot, refusing to call or talk to me some times, saying that there was no point talking about her day as I wouldn't understand. Around April 2012, I checked her email (we had access to each others after the issues) to find that she had created a second Skype account and not told me. I confronted her. She said that she did it to provoke me. I asked if there were any others. She said no. A few days later I found a third. She changed her email password to lock me out of it.
She never called me. I mean never. In the 18 months that we were apart, she didn't call me once. We would arrange to be on Skype at the same time, and she would answer my call (most of the time) but she never reached out. She came over in August 2012 for a visit, which was filled with shopping and criticising how I lived without her.
At the beginning of this year, I finally got a job and made plans to join her. In the middle of March, only a few days before signing my new work contract, a good friend of mine took me aside, and asked if I knew that my wife was having an affair. I was devastated. I guess that I knew deep down, but had managed to convince myself that it couldn't be that.
I confronted her. She didn't deny it. She said that it had started on Valentines 2012 and so had been going on for just over a year. I had no idea what to do. I don't remember much about this time. I do remember saying that we needed time without contact, so we could both work out what we wanted. I expected her to contact me after a few days to say that she wanted our marriage. That didn't happen.
After almost a week, I contacted her. I said that I wanted to work on us still, that I wanted my new job, but that she would have to end things with him right away. She agreed, and did so.
The following weeks were hell. She gave me access to her Skype accounts, which I closed. I already had access to her Facebook and I got her eMail access again. Looking at her email turned up a chat log from her mobile. It covered the first four months of their relationship. It destroyed me. It showed that she met him the day before Valentines, and that their sexual relationship started very quickly. It showed that she told her family about him, and they either supported her or stayed quiet. It showed that she lied when she said that she was 'busy' or 'visiting a friend'. It contained messages that I had been crying out for from her for the entire 18 months, that she had refused me and sent to him. It contained comments about their intimate life. Worst, it contained conversations that they had about me, about how she had been trying to be distant to dissuade me from moving over there, about how he had been in the apartment that she had got for us (and had my name on the rental contract) when I called, and about how they had worked together against me. Apparently, I was the last to know about it. Not only had she told my friend (who had told her to tell me, and pulled me aside to let me know when it was clear that this wouldn't happen before I signed a new work contract) and her family, but most of her friends and old colleagues from work knew. It also showed that she had told him that she had intended to start divorce procedings with me on her recent visit, but hadn't gone through with it.
For weeks I was a mess, not knowing what to do. In the end, I decided that I had to go through with my move. If I didn't, this event and this person would be responsible for destroying my marriage and most likely my career in a single shot.
Its now four months later. We live together, but we are apart. We stay in the same apartment that they shared, but we sleep separately. We don't fight, I don't have the energy or desire for this. We barely have any contact, but things are not terrible. We talk and laugh. We are good flatmates. Nothing more.
He is causing problems. He has tried to call her two or three times a week for the last two months or more. He has created a new Facebook page and filled it with pictures of them together and messages of love. She says that she has only answered one call that he made, yesterday, to shout at him about the Facebook pictures.
I have no idea what the future holds for me. I bounce between wanting to just make my marriage work, to wanting to move out and start with someone new, to finding someone for a temporary release just like she did. I have had no support, no companionship, no contact on any level with anyone in 18 months. I am alone in a foreign country, leaving my home and family and old job behind. My father was diagnosed with cancer a month ago. Its contained and his prospects are good (otherwise I probably would have never moved away, despite my parents wishes) but its not easy to leave that behind.
I feel under pressure to make a decision. I cant look at her without thinking about how totally she has betrayed me right now. She has not shown any remorse or regret about what she did. Even she admits that she probably should regret it more than she does. She says that she doesn't find me attractive at all right now. Maybe that's a product of living apart for 18 months. Maybe that's a sign that there is nothing worth saving any more. She isn't proud of what she did. I can see this. She appears to have cut off all contact with him, aside from the recent event over the photos. She makes all the right moves, we watch movies together, eat and cook together, talk about our day together. But, there is a distance there that feels more than the physical gap we had from different countries. I cant move past what she has done, the fact that it took less than 2 months for our 11 year relationship to be worthless, that she built a new life with another guy, met his family, took trips with him, lived together, worked against me and told her family about him. I have a constant battle every day, between my need for some kind of human support, emotional and physical, and my feelings of distrust and betrayal and the pain. I feel like if I don't make some kind of a decision soon, people will assume that I have made one to stay with her (they may even have assumed that already). But, I have no-where else to go, and I know no-one else here. I just have no idea what I want right now. I cant see a time ever in the future that I will trust her again, knowing that we could be two months away from divorce at any time (even though she says that it wont happen again and she has lost the anger that she felt at my foolishness in the past). Part of me wants so much to start again with someone new. The other part knows that this is a romantic vision and that its not that easy (and I don't meet people easily in the first place) and that I shouldn't just give up on a marriage like this after fighting so hard for so long just to be in the same country.
She seems in no hurry to reconnect. She doesn't try to push any physical side, doesn't apologise and hasn't even really told me that she even wants this marriage.
I have no clue what to do, and so I try to get through one day at a time, focussing on my new job. I rationalise it by saying that either I will meet someone new first, or she will try to patch things up. I don't know which of those I hope will happen. I held our relationship together for years. I have told her that I wont do that any more, and if she doesn't work on it, it will die. But, I have no idea what I expect of her. Whatever she does, it cannot be enough to make up for what she did. So, how can I expect her realistically to make that effort?
[This message edited by Ixion at 12:06 PM, July 16th (Tuesday)]
My first recommmendations to you are to read in the healing library up there on the left side of your page. Next check out the "madHatters" thread in the I can relate section. This is for relationships that have dealt with infidelity on both sides, and may give you more insight.
Basically you need to decide what you want and need to make this work. Then present those needs to her. If she can meet them then you two can really start the hard work of R. However if you don't think that you can or want to R then you can start heading down the path to D. I would suggest you see an attorney though to find out what your right are. It sounds like there aren't any children and that will make things easier for sure.
You don't have to make any decisions today, tomorrow or next week. Focus on you. Make sure you are eating, staying hydrated, and getting sleep. If you aren't then see a Dr for a little chemical support (antidepressants, or antianxiety meds).
Keep posting, we are here to offer and share our support and experiences.
On the one hand my wife is making all the right moves. She seems to want to move on, appears to have cut all contact (aside from one recent 'chat') and is 'back' to how she was before all of this happened.
On the other hand, it happened. I can never forget what she did, and the betrayal, and what that says about our relationship. She seems to want to move on without really dealing with it, to pretend that it didnt happen. I dont know how my experience fits in the grand scheme, but to me it feels horrible, one of the worst things that one person can do to another. Not just the affair, but the preparation for their future, bringing him into her family and her into his, even to the point that they would have taken a holiday together last month with his family if I had not found out.
How does anyone move on from that? Part of me believes that she would not do this again, but that doesnt change the past. And with him still hanging around, I cant forget what happened.
I am struggling to deal with the fact that the woman that I married, and the marriage itself, is gone. In its place are new things, and as I have changed a lot over all this too, I am finding it difficult to work out it what has replaced my past is what I want for my future.
I realised today that I have been doing the 180 mostly without ever realising it, but just because that is how I feel. I paid for my past significantly. I did everything that I could to prove to both my wife and myself that this wasnt me, it was a mistake. But, now she says that I need to be a better person than she is, and not obsess over her phone messages (when he sends her messages two or three times a week insulting me).
How do you decide which direction to jump? How do you know what the 'right' decision is? How can you know what is best for your future, between the broken and the unknown?
I didn't move out there. We tried to work out R before i got there and it was just too much. He wanted me to get a sublet and then he wasn't sure if he wanted to R, etc etc. I 180/NCed him and I haven't heard from him since. In some ways I admire that you still went out there and are trying. I've had moments of doubt that I didn't "fight".
Gently, I see some of our relationship in you guys insofar as you seem to be addressing your problems to a degree, but not taking next steps. I'd encourage you to be really proactive about getting counseling and setting boundaries and expectations for each other. Right now it almost sounds like you are just an observer in all of this... You're watching to see if she keeps the OM at arms length and, in the meantime, you debate having your own affair.
This is stuff the two of you should be addressing together, IMHO.
Perhaps others will have more specific, constructive advice. All I know from my example is that I wanted him to be engaged and proactive in our healing process and he was passive and indecisive. I hate that we are no longer together, but I didn't want to prolong a R that was on shaky ground... I think in that case you probably just end up back at square one eventually.
There are days when I feel that moving out was a huge mistake - actually, at several points every day I feel this - so I guess that whatever route someone takes, the regret and doubt will always be there. If I hadn't have moved, I would be simply waving goodbye, and never knowing for real. Only hindsight will tell me if I have done the right thing.
I will say that having made the move puts you right in the middle of 'their' world. Living in 'their' place, you view everyday objects with total suspicion. I am afraid of anything that I didn't buy or bring with me myself, hesitant to use the shower gel on the shelf in case its 'his' and I smell like 'him'.
Thank you for your message on being proactive. I guess that you are right. At the moment, I am a passenger in this. But, I cant commit to any counselling until we have made a decision to work on us. And, I cant make that decision until the OM is out of the picture, and my wife shows some kind of remorse and understanding over what she has done. I think that lies in our future, if we get to that stage at all.
We are still talking. We had a good open chat tonight about our needs and expectations. Neither of us knows what the future holds.
I feel like I cant make a decision on what I want until she decides first. She was the one who betrayed. If she decides its over then I can walk away. If she decides that she wants to work on us, then I can see how I feel about that. It feels a selfish stand to take, but without any sign from her about what she wants, I cant really think about a future or how I feel about it.
[This message edited by Ixion at 12:24 PM, July 17th (Wednesday)]
I just saw that you posted that you are feeling numb to this process. I'm worried that may be a sign you need more ownership in the decision...
Plus, to be honest, I have been doing half of it anyway. The reality is that I am too tired to make much of an effort, we don't talk about the future because its so uncertain and I am simply not as invested in the relationship right now.
I wish that I could take more ownership to be honest. But, I just don't know what I want right now, and either of the two potential solutions feels like an avalanche of issues and problems - whether it is wrestling with reconciliation, or going through the trauma of divorce and dividing up the house and finances. Both of those potential solutions bring me out in cold panic right now. Maybe I am just in the 'denial' stage....
Yes it sounds likeyou are kind of doing it now.
Until you figure out what you want it's tough to lay down any real demand and expectations. If you know what you want...like ifyou said in a perfect world I would like XYZ to happen and then I feel we can R. then you need to lay down XYZ and a requirement of R'ing, and if she balks then you have an answer. If she is in agreement, you also need to tell her there are no guarantees. Even with that. Time is a nasty four letter word, but it is true. It allows us to gain distance and perspective in moving forward from this.
I dont know what would make me feel that it was enough right now. And her attitude after makes me just give up wanting to try.