New member, occasional reader....done being desperate and in limbo. I am at a turning point in my relationship with my wife. The story is long and spans years and I will try to sum it up efficiently.
(Note: After writing this post I came back here to apologize for it not being short or efficient...Sorry for it not being short or efficient...but keep reading! Yay!)
We have been married for over 8 years. We have two children, 3 and 6. She stays at home with the children and I work a 12 hour night shift 6am-6pm.
My wife comes from a different country (this was not a citizenship ploy, never even had those fears) where she was finishing university for her chosen career (she has wanted this career for as long as she can remember). When we met, she was finishing up a summer work trip here in the United States and had to return home to finish the last 2 years of her university. We fell in love almost instantly and a few months after she left, I quit my job and went to be with her there. I spent three months with her and we got married. I came back to the US and she stayed. For the next year, she traveled to be with me for summer and winter breaks. After graduating she moved here permanently, leaving behind her chosen career, friends and family to begin a life with me.
Our life was wonderful and our first son was born 2 years into our marriage. We were awesome together for the first year of his life.
My wife has SAD (seasonal affective disorder), we know this now, but didn't then, and she slowly became lifeless and depressed during a particularly dreary year (she only felt alive in the summertime). She became overly critical of me, getting upset at the smallest thing I did. This wore on me and I withdrew. Our marriage was beginning to show signs of stress that, in hindsight, could have been handled with therapy.
Summer 2009 (seeing this written down....I had to pause for a few minutes to get over how long it has been).
Through some friends she met OM. He owned a restaurant and, funny enough, the restaurant was what she fell in love with. It had a beautiful outdoor seating area that was like a fairy garden and she does love her gardens. She would go there often at night to sit and sip a drink in the garden and meet people . I had been there with her a few times and it seemed safe and as I had trusted her without question, I had no worries. I also was pretty deep in my withdrawal from her that I really didn't care. Of course...beautiful woman....beautiful setting....late nights and constant exposure....she began to fall for the OM.
He is older than her (21 years...wow), successful business owner (and owner of her favorite retreat). He was also a major player and he pushed every one of her buttons, enticing her with the glittery night life he was a part of. She fell for it, hook, line and sinker. To this day she describes those months as if she was mesmerized (but she does take full responsibility for what occurred).
I digress. She came to me shortly after she began having feelings for him and actually told me she thought she may be falling in love with him. My reaction was less than.... well here is pretty much the conversation.
Her: I think I'm falling for OM.
Her: Yeah, falling.
Me: I don't think you should see him anymore....or whatever.
Her: I can handle it, don't worry, it'll go away.
And that was it. Instead of rushing to the guys door, telling him to keep away from my wife, standing up for her (and me!), I turned a blind eye. She gave me an opportunity to stop her and I was in a place where I didn't care. I know I let her down and I took responsibility for that part of it later.
Pardon my use of the word, but I was a pussycat and proceeded to remain one for the next 4 years.
I discovered the actual PA only a month or so after that (09/05/09 DD#1). She fully admitted it and we decided to reconcile. Seriously, I wish I had put any amount of thought into doing a little bit of frickin' research on how to reconcile. But I didn't(neither of us did anything right, no MC, no NC, for someone who researches every detail before purchasing a product, I decided to wing it...go me). I cared but was lost in this inner turmoil. She insisted she needed the restaurant garden in her life and.....wait, here you go:
Her: I love you and want to be with you...BUT I need to keep going to the garden and hanging out with people.
Me: But you'll be around OM.
Me: Whatev's. Just pick me, K?
I was not really so ambivalent but, yes, I let her hash out her feelings for the two of us. I remained as strong as I could for her, regaining some of my manhood, but still faltering occasionally. My pestering and his advances drove her to a very dark depression and suicide (attempted...yes). Twice. Once while pregnant with #2 (just an exploratory wrist cutting, barely drew blood). Oh yeah, #2 was conceived late spring 2009, we didn't find out till midsummer and...yes...he's mine, looks just like me and doesn't share the genetic color variation of OM.
This continued until December 2010 when she tried to take her life for a second time. At that point, reality smacked me upside the head. I arranged for her to go to IC and her transformation over the next few months was miraculous. During her therapy I was strong and supportive and she has often thanked me for helping her through the darkest time of her life. She went from this dead thing wandering around the house to the bright fairy I had always known.
She chose me (I've seen her therapy records) and began to see OM for the scumbag he was. She actually began to feel pity for him because he became obsessed with her. He would follow her around whenever he saw her. This Lothario actually cried...wait skipping ahead.
My turn. After years of trying to prop her up, and being strong emotionally for her, I cracked. I became the zombie. So I entered IC. My therapist helped me through the worst and her remorse for the affair and her truthfulness about the OM from there on helped me come out. This recovery fell apart when I came home from work one morning and she wasn't there. I know she liked this spot at the beach and drove there. Imagine my surprise when I see OM's car parked next to hers. I stormed onto the beach and saw them hugging.
(Disclaimer: it has been pointed out to me by another member that the following section makes it seem as though I am making light of violence against my wife. I assure you this is not the case. I do not condone violence and I am truly sorry for the actions I took against her that day. This has been addressed with her and in IC and MC.)
He didn't see me coming and my rage put him on the ground (actually it was a flailing wild punch, but it did connect a bit and he did fall down! Yay!) and then he ran away. Who da man now! Yeah....this guy. In my anger I slapped her, put my hands around her neck and pushed her to the sand, while saying some very not nice things. This, I am not proud of. Side note, I am not a violent person, I never touched her before this moment and have never done it since. Although I did jokingly tell her I would punch her when she wouldn't stop poking me and she didn't and I punched her leg. Which hurt for two days. She could barely walk. Seriously, I couldn't charlie horse worth a damn in grade school but now, when I'm not trying, I push a knuckle through her muscle. I digress...
I left her there on the beach and drove home. Her phone GPS was enabled and I followed her throughout the day. She walked....and walked....and...seriously, no lie, she walked along the beach through 4 towns over the course of 15 hours, the last two hours in a raging thunderstorm. I tried calling but she wouldn't pick up. She eventually responded and I went to get her.
She was broken, not because she was “caught” but because she thought she lost me. She explained and I verified. He followed her to the beach from a friends party that evening. She asked him to leave and he started blubbering and crying (there it is!) and professing his love and she told him that she was with me and that was that. She was consoling him, not making out with him. She never spoke with him, texted, had any contact with him again. I verified. Often.
From this point forward OM no longer refers to the guy above.
Affair #2 (one strung into the other....I consider them in my head a single long stupid event).
This is now say December 2011.
Life with me was hard for the next few months but she tried. And she was slowly becoming my wife again. Beginning to show affection, reaching out. I was dealing with a lot of conflicting emotions and lingering depression. IC took it away but we never did MC (huge mistake).
She met a guy who helped her with a drawing for a project she wanted to propose to the town we live in. Artist type. Business owner (seriously with the f'ing business owners). Seriously, he's a nice guy. (He actually helped me with their first separation and admitted to me what they did was wrong and, get this, he showed me remorse. Yeah, wierd. Ahead of myself...) I met him, hung out a few times. They began a friendship that started off innocent. I was still on alert and trust wasn't fully rebuilt and I monitored. Phone records, I had access to texts, deleted or not, location. And slowly I watched their relationship progress into an emotional affair. From the end of February to mid summer when it heated up.
And this time I spoke out right away. But she blew me off with the usual EA rug sweeping. And as their relationship progressed ours regressed. We had never reconnected and it was easier for her to fall into this, I'm not condoning it, I just get it. She pulled away from me emotionally I got more and more paranoid, more and more insistent she end it. But she placated me with “just friends” and even though I knew what was happening I pussycatted out again. Until the end of November 2012 when I found deleted texts about I can feel your breath and I want to feel you and well, yeah....
I freaked out and demanded she end it and she's all...
Her: But he's just a friend and it doesn't mean anything, and those words for us is only like writing poetry and..and he's my only real friend and I gave up so much for you to come here, my career and my friends and my family and you want me to get rid of my only friend....cry cry cry.
Me: Yeah, get rid of him.
Me: buh-bye to him!
It took her a few weeks to break it off but she did. And I monitored and I verified and (btw she's not too bright in the tech department so no hidden phones or anything) watched and she joined back in our relationship although she wouldn't show me much affection and would not admit to any wrongdoing or show any remorse. She'd barely participate in MC but I gave her time.
And then in April 2013 she sent him a message. And then a few weeks later he sent her one. Brief converstations. Nothing interesting. And since it was sporadic I didn't protest too loudly. And we talked and she has begun to show me more and more affection, slowly, I can actually feel the love from her. But still no admission, still no remorse. But I'm still cautious and still wary. And then in May she fired the text machine back up and I immediately stepped in.
Now, understand, I'm a sucker for this girl. She does all the things WS say, you'd let me have a friend if you understood me, I can't believe YOU'd act like this. And I fell for it. But only briefly (okay two months but after 4 years, it's brief).
07/21/13 : 10 days ago I told her I want him out of our life and that she needs to own up to what she's done. It got late with no resolution so we postponed the end of the conversation.
07/22/13 - 07/26/13 : I had the week off from work. We had a wonderful week together and with the children. Went to water parks, the beach, six flags. There was just the 4 of us and we had a blast. I didn't want to talk.
07/27/13 : I'm in a funk all day and she's ignoring it. As I'm leaving for work she starts acting pissy because I'm upset. I tell her I'm upset because we have unfinished business. We need to finish talking but now is not the time. Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It's off to work I go....
07/28/13 : While I'm at work I see she has taken a trip to where he works nights tending a bar. Of course this bar has a beautiful garden (f'ing hate gardens now). She turned her phone off so I didn't find this out till she was leaving well after the bar's closing time. Watching her drive she stops for a bit, starts up again. By now I know she stopped to text him. With the delay in text and call usage hitting the website, I can't confirm, but I know. She starts driving again and I watch her pull into the town where he lives. Down towards his house. She parks in the lot across from his house. The lot has beach access. I watch her phone wander onto the beach.
I head to the office, emergency at home, gotta go. Where she is now is over an hour away from me. By the time I get near our house, still a ˝ hour from where she was, I see she's left and is heading home. I wait for her. 2:00am she pulls in.
Her: What are you doing home? Is everything okay?
Me: I can't take this any more, let's go somewhere and talk.
Her: I can barely stay awake, I have to sleep.
Me: So be it....(meow)
I get in the car and drive to the beach where she just was. Smokes: check, Flashlight: check, Channeling Native American Indian tracker: f'ing check. I stalk out onto the beach and honestly, seriously, 100% I know they're her footsteps, pick up her trail. Comparing the locations where I saw her GPS I'm lead right to where she sat on the beach and there is only her footsteps going there and back. The mark where she put down her purse. The ring where she put her juice bottle. At least I know she wasn't with him. I checked her texts that morning and confirmed he didn't have time to see her and also wouldn't spend time with her at the bar. Left her a note telling her to wake me up when she gets up because we are talking.
07/29/13 : She wakes me up. We talk. I can't have him in our life, you won't own up to what you did, it will just happen again. Him or Me, D I V O R C E (it rhymes if you spell out divorce!). Same story. She listens, I think it may be sinking in. She needs time to gather her thoughts. Fine, two days, we talk. Downloaded a copy of Not “Just Friends” onto the ipad and asked her to read at least Part I.
07/30/13 : She tried to see him because she is dealing with some other drama that I wasn't really receptive to although she did try to talk to me about it. From her text messages, I got that he stood her up, no show.
Tonight, 07/31/13, after we put the kids to bed we are having the last conversation about this OM that we will have with him in our life. I plan on taking her to the beach where we had our first conversation. Where we fell in love. I think it's a fitting place to have what is potentially our last conversation. After tonight, either he is gone.....or I am.
I am SO VERY SORRY this is like a short novel but once I started writing I couldn't stop and it was therapeutic.
I realize I've been dealing with a lot for 4 years. But I also realize that neither of us dealt with it correctly or with any knowledge of how to reconcile. We punched around in the dark and hit a couple times but missed a whole lot.
I hope you can tell from my writing but I've become very centered. I'm not angry. I'm not upset, I'm not depressed, I'm just done. Either she wakes up or I walk out. And in case anyone feels like bringing this up, It doesn't matter if the EA went PA (I'm on the fence over whether I think it did, there just isn't any real evidence), the damage is done, the admission of a PA wouldn't make me feel any different, just answer a question.
Thank you for reading this. Thoughts? Advice? See you soon.
PS: In case anyone was wondering, my MIL lives with us so the kids are being watched while she gallivants around.