As horrible as it was to see her name on that list, I was encouraged by several things. He actually sent me the list! He didn't need to; I didn't know he'd even get a list. I wouldn't have known (his work/computers are classified) that she was EVER on the trip unless he spoke up. I'd asked him before (but didn't make a big deal about it) if she might be attending but he could never answer because of NC. So the fact that he sent me the list the morning he got it went a long way in restoring my trust. It's a baby step for most, but it's one of the few ways he can be transparent considering the nature of his work.
I asked if we could talk about it, when he was ready (a condition we've agreed to in MC). He said sure. He then--about 10 minutes later--sent another e-mail stating that he must go (he's in charge) and that he wasn't going to exclude her from any of the activities but that, within that framework, there were lots of points we could talk about.
I responded that I'd never ask him not to go, that I knew how much it meant to him, and that I'd never expect him to be rude-although in my fantasy he spits in her face. :)
Last night, he came home quiet, but sweet and loving and vulnerable. That's not my husband, usually. I think he's considering, for the first time, how really hard this must be for me and appreciating, maybe also for the first time, my composure under the circumstances.
What helped me is this thought: if they re-connect, then our reconciliation is doomed and my path forward is clear. It's not what I want, but it allows for no uncertainty (which is sometimes nice in this "I wonder what that means" environment of translating every action my fWS makes). It's a miserable, long test to sit through, but I have no options.
My question is what to say, what boundaries to set, during our upcoming conversation? I feel like asking him to sit at different tables, never being alone with her, avoiding conversation with her would be pointless. How would I know if he did or if he didn't? And, quite frankly, if he's going to cheat again, he's going to. Right? Not sitting at the dinner table with her isn't going to keep them from hopping in bed together. Unfortunately, I have no control over his heart or his actions.
So I'm leaning toward the high road. I'd like to ask him to simply respect my position--as his wife of 22 years, as the mother of his 4 children, as the woman who has welcomed him back with open arms and who has not broadcast his sins to his family or his friends--and to tell me the truth this time. Just that. The truth.
I've asked him before why he didn't just leave me/us last summer before breaking his vows but I don't even know if he knows. That's probably why the truth is so important to me now. If he chooses her on this trip, then he unchooses me. Without his confession, there's no way, though, to know what choice he's made. If we're going to be over, I want it to be as dignified and drama-free as possible.
So . . . suggestions? Am I even close to dealing with this situation in a manner that's positive for our relationship and for my personal emotional health?
Ripped - big hugs to you. I couldn't do this. You are an inspiration!
And, since I'm 16 years older than the OW, one of my (or my only?) strengths IS my maturity. Gotta make the most of what I have that she might not. :) or is that :( ?
You're right, he'll cheat if he wants to, clearly. But this is the point where you guys make a united front about how you are going to jointly protect this marriage, your feelings, his reactions, etc. etc. If you just leave it up to "respect me as your wife and mother of your kids" then that leaves it open for a great deal of interpretation, inappropriate contact that seemed "respectful" at the time, hurt feelings, poor decisions (which he's clearly demonstrated he has a knack for). This is the time to sit down and set very clear expectations, and to put dots on your i's and cross all those t's.
And I have a feeling that you'll regret that "when he's ready to talk" thing.... what if he just chooses not to be ready? That just sounds bad IMO, you're the one with the hurt feelings and pain and anguish, yet you're waiting for the WS to be ready to talk about it? Shivers up my spine.
It is a personal decision if they are going to go to a bar and drink or stay on the path they have chosen.
I know it will be hell for you when he is gone, but I think you are handling it with grace, dignity, and compassion for your husband's position. It has got to be uncomfortable for him also.
No wayward EVER thinks of the endless complications that an affair causes.
Hopefully he will call and text you often while on the trip. Hugs.
What a wonderful, expressive post. I am proud of your strength and maturity. You have figured this out.
I am with Rachel on this one. I would almost want to print out this entire post and hand it to him without any omissions. I say this because I am really gifted with written word but really struggle at speaking them. You know your situation the best but from the sounds of it your communication skills have quadrupled in the last little while and so has your respect for each other. I think your hubby would be over the moon to have such an honest look into your heart and your mind.
I personally would be going with my hubby. That's because he has traveled for 20 years for work and he owes me the pleasure of it but also I would want to show the OW just exactly how far the two of us have come as a couple. That I don't have to sneak around behind closed doors to keep the attention and love of my husband. I would get great strength from just walking into a room where she was with my hand on his arm and a big smile on my face.
[This message edited by TxsT at 12:24 PM, August 2nd (Friday)]
Through thick and thin we will survive but he gets only one shot at it!
If I had to deal with that, I think I'd want to set a boundary of 'no personal conversation' and 'no being alone with ow'.
OK conversation would be limited to business (i.e. projects) and activities on the trip. Forbidden topics would be something like 'the past and the future, except WRT ongoing projects and things coming out of the trip' - but it's hard to define this effectively....
It's great that your H seems to be stepping up to his responsibilities for R here.
I can see now where setting boundaries--of what I consider cheating--might be helpful. Drawing up a united front might be a great tool for us both and won't leave any room for misinterpretation. He might think my idea of "reconnect" is a PA when, actually, it's anything beyond mere public politeness. If he were to shun or ignore her, it would be bad. But I want as close to NC as possible. And we could discuss what that means.
Also, they're going where no cell phone service is available. Weird, huh? But true. So I could ask for frequent e-mail communication from the lodging area. A daily update on how the partial-NC is going.
With the classified nature of his work, going with him is simply not an option. Even if that wasn't the case, I think going with both of them would simply be demeaning. I'd feel it was all for show and, instead of having fun, I think it'd be spending a lot of money on an act. The money (that doesn't exist anyway) would be better spent on a vacation with just the two of us. To rebuild. Does that make sense?
Don't get me wrong, my bff and I occasionally indulge in creative brain-storming ways to humiliate/hurt the OW. Until "her," I could honestly say "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." Whatever "that" might be. Now, though, I can't say that. Although I must forgive her, for my sake, I'm just not there yet. The hatred keeps me strong. One way or another, I will "win"--whether I end up with or without him. In general, I'm a very non-competitive person, but in this, I refuse to lose my self-respect. I refuse to lose. Period. And, yes, I'd LOVE for her to see us someday perfectly comfortable in our love for each other and my forgiveness of him.
Like many of you, I'm much better at expressing emotion when I have a backspace and a delete key. I might just print this out for him. Thanks for the suggestion. All of them! :)
With classified things there is usually no cell phone coverage....they purposely block it. Pretty standard actually.
I also agree with the comments you made about not wanting to spend the money on "a show". Once again you are showing your growth and maturity. We just took one of the trips you described together and it was so, so helpful in creating new good memories to use as thought blocking when the bad ones rear their ugly heads!!!
There is only one comment I don't understand.....why do you feel you have to forgive the OW????? The only two people that need your forgiveness are 1...your hubby for the A and 2....yourself...for the things you could have done better before the A. SHE does not need or deserve any forgiveness.
I have said this many times, and like you I am not a vengeful person, but if I was able to create a situation where she and I went into a room and I was the only one ever to come out the other door legally....I AM ALL IN.
Now in my case the OW is a narcissistic, delusional predator which I will discuss one day in a new thread. But for now all I can say is she better NEVER cross my path in a dark alley.
Honestly, it feels good to be back in my pre-baby (except for c-section scars) body. No small part of the push to get that back was hating her for whatever role she played in my husband's actions/pursuit, hating her for so heartlessly, so willingly planning to rip up my family, hating her for thinking she COULD compete with me. While attractive, she can't hold a candle to me. That sounds mean and petty, but it gives me strength when I need it. So I'm using that. I'm using every tool available to repair my shredded self-esteem. And there's a certain satisfaction in turning her into a mere tool.
So I'm far from forgiveness. I get the dark alley business. I'd pull every manure-colored hair from her head, handful by handful. But someday, I know I'll have to get past that for my own growth as a woman. Chronic bitterness and hatred of her will make me weak and will diminish me in all ways I think important.
That's my guide. Making changes that help ME or my kids. If they help him or my M--that's a nice bonus--but they have to be for me first and foremost.
[This message edited by RippedSoul at 2:53 PM, August 2nd (Friday)]
I think I'd want to set a boundary of 'no personal conversation' and 'no being alone with ow'.
This. My FWH and OW work together nearly every day, and these are the boundaries.
I just re read one of your comments in your original post and have a question for you...
Do you ever wish your WH would have just come clean at the start of the A and left??? My WH's A was 4 years long and I have often told him that I think he would have been far less cruel to me if he would have done just that.
My WH doesn't know why he stayed with me either. it is a small nag at the back of my mind and I hope someday he will be able to honestly tell me. For now I think it was just the easy way out....keep both lines in the water. But that really shows how low my self esteem is now doesn't it?
Just rambling....I am sorry
For the record I don't like this idea that we need to forgive ourselves for "the things you (we) could have done better before the A". It implies that somehow our part in our M or the state of our M is responsible for the A. This is simply not true. Our WS are broken people. The A has nothing to do with the M or us. We cannot afford to tell ourselves the same lies or perpetuate the same fantasy that allowed the A to happen in the first place.
We are in R.
In our last conversation about it, he said he was waiting for a job opportunity that would open up in our home state, HER home state, that would allow him to move us back home, near family/support system, before dropping the bomb. In a sick sort of way, that was considerate. Still messed up, though.
That same night, after talking for several hours, we slept. At 3:00 a.m., I awoke and compiled a list of dozens more questions I have for him. It's funny how answers beget questions. I wonder if THAT will ever end.