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When will enough be enough for me?

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84CF posted 8/6/2013 00:04 AM

Ugh. Don't even read this. I'm basically crying into the void here. Thanks for giving me a space to do it...

D-Day -- this one, at least -- was in the second week of June.

She and I have been together for 12 years, married for 4. Non-monogamy has never been okay in our relationship. I have been clear about my need for this from the beginning, and I have never failed to hold up my side of the bargain. She cheated on me once very early in our relationship. She did it again, far more seriously, in the third year. Each time it was with a man from a previous relationship. After the second time, I almost left but did not. She entered into intense therapy to try to resolve childhood traumas. We went to counseling. I agreed to try to move forward. We married in year 8.

Last spring (2012), I discovered that she had begun exchanging inappropriately warm messages with yet another old boyfriend (her first boyfriend). The messages were not sexual, but deeply emotional, and most importantly she hid them from me. I confronted her. I thought we were past this kind of thing and couldn't believe that she had allowed it to enter into our lives after so much time. She said that I had every right to be upset and that it was a wake-up call for her. She said that she would make sure that I knew about any contact, that she would be more aware of maintaining lines, that it truly was just a rekindling of a friendship and old patterns of communicating, but nothing more.

In June of this year, one year later, I discovered a new truth. It turns out that one week after telling me last spring that she never wanted me to worry, that she was deeply sorry for reviving deep pain from early in our relationship, that she would do anything to protect me and us, that she would never hide anything more from me again, she opened a secret email account and continued corresponding with this guy. She travels during the summers for work to the place where this guy lives. She met with the guy and they began a full-on PA.

I did not know. There was fuzzy time during the weeks that she was traveling, but not so out of the ordinary that I grew overly suspicious. When I asked her about it, she gaslighted me, saying that she hadn't heard anything from the guy since the spring, that I needed to trust her, etc. I should have known.

After effectively spending a good portion of summer 2012 together, they continued their email correspondence in fall 2012 and then met for another secret rendezvous in January 2013, this time in the city where we live. I was told that she had a weekend work trip. It turns out to have been a getaway with this guy.

The email correspondence continued through this spring (2013). The trauma of last spring plus a thousand little inconsistencies had made me increasingly suspicious, increasingly crazy. Completely out of my mind and fed up with the gut feeling that something was not right, I finally searched for more correspondence and found it.

When I confronted her, she told me everything. At first it was reluctant, but then it all gushed out. She gave me access to the secret email account. She stopped corresponding as far as I know.

She made the decision to travel again for work during this summer, and thus we have been basically separated for a month and a half. We talk everyday, often for several hours. She says she wants to try to repair things with me. She says that she has cut off all contact with the guy. She says that she wants to go into addiction therapy (for impulse control, not substance abuse), having gained new insights into her own issues through all of this. She says she wants me and our relationship, if we can mend it. She says she cannot believe that this all happened.

Me? I am still reeling. I feel awful pretty much all the time. I have a wife whom I deeply love and sincerely wish to be happy. I have a wife with whom I am unbelievably angry. I have a wife toward whom I am unbelievably resentful. I have a wife whom I absolutely, positively do not trust. I have a wife who I believe does, in fact, love me and does, in fact, want to be in our marriage. But I do not trust that she will ever be able to do it.

I am able to state all of this very clearly to her and to myself, yet I am painfully unable to give up hope that she might be able to figure it out. I know, at least, that I would be a fool to continue in such a marriage unless I am guaranteed that I will never find myself here again, that I am guaranteed to receive the love and respect that I deserve. I know that such guarantees are not really possible. I would advise anyone else that they are impossible.

Yet I cannot just say "it's over." And so I am stuck. When is enough enough? I feel so weak. So ashamed by my weakness. Yet I cannot fully close the door yet. She says she wants to try and I love her. Yet I don't know how to get back to solid ground from where I am.

If you have read this far, thanks for doing so. Is there any possibility for me to secure guarantees that she will never do anything of this sort again? I cannot take a leap of faith this time. It just seems like such a terrible, terrible, terrible waste.

PhantomLimb posted 8/6/2013 00:14 AM


I'm still pretty new here, too... and a pretty foggy BS... so I will let the veterans give more thorough advice...

That said, as someone who read the entire post and cares deeply for others who are going through what I'm going through... my initial response is, no, she isn't capable of being who you need her to be. And you deserve much better than that.

I'm really sorry you are going through this. But know you aren't "weak." Having the strength to love people despite their faults isn't weakness. It's shows the strength of your character. You just need to make sure that you don't let that strength become a vice by not pulling yourself out of a situation that is becoming increasingly toxic for you.

Trust me, you can't save her. She has to do it for herself.

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 12:14 AM, August 6th (Tuesday)]

Josephine01 posted 8/6/2013 00:22 AM

84CF ((((((HUGS)))))))))))))

I am so sorry that you find yourself in this position again. I wish I could give you some hope for your relationship. There will be people along soon to advise you. I just want you to know that I feel your pain and that you have been heard and I read the whole thing.

I wish you success in becoming happy with or without your WW.

To answer your question, I don't think there are any guarantees when it comes to WS. Most of the time one needs to follow their gut. It sounds like you know what that is telling you to do. I know this is hard. It is the worst hurt that I have experienced so far. But you can get through it. This site is full of people just like you. Check out the healing library to the left of the screen

You will find strength. Are you in IC? This seems like it would be a positive step to help yourself.

As I lived in denial for a long time, I can relate a little bit to your situation.

lovelymrsm posted 8/6/2013 00:26 AM

I am so proud of you for writing this post. I just started posting tonight also. I just joined SI after our 5th dday.
I understand your pain. I'm living it too. There are amazing things in the healing library that have helped me understand my feelings and start healing.
Keep posting and reading

gonnabe2016 posted 8/6/2013 08:40 AM

I'm seeing a pattern here....

She says she wants to try to repair things with me. She says that she has cut off all contact with the guy. She says that she wants to go into addiction therapy (for impulse control, not substance abuse), having gained new insights into her own issues through all of this. She says she wants me and our relationship,

She says she wants to try and I love her.

"She says she wants...." = pretty words right now.
Words that you will use to hold on to hope....but they really are nothing but a waste of oxygen and time right now.
She says that she has cut off all contact with the guy.

Well, she said that she had stopped contact last year.....and she was lying, right? So she thinks that you should just believe her....why?
She says she cannot believe that this all happened.

Really. Well, how incredibly 'passive' of her. *This* would not have happened if *she* hadn't been an active participant.

She is not some small little rowboat at the mercy of the high seas.
She is an adult woman with free will and the ability to make choices for herself.

See here's the deal....I want to get good grades. I want my kids to eat healthy. I want clean toilets. The caveat is this: No matter how badly I 'want' something, it usually takes ACTION on my part in order to make it happen. My toilets are not just going to magically clean themselves just because I 'want' them to, kwim?

My stbx was all 'talk' and no 'action.' It was frustrating and stupid. I told him one day: You're like the guy that says that he wants $1M, but then just sits on the couch all day, watching ESPN in your underwear, while bitching that you're not a millionaire yet.

Your WW is a serial-cheater.....which is not an automatic 'toss her aside' because I do believe that people can change. However, the person has to REALLY want to change and be very, very pro-active in taking the steps necessary for that change to occur. That person has to be committed to the change.

You are not a weak person for allowing your WW a chance to change.
After reading your story, I think you might be served well to detach from her a bit because based on what I read.....the odds are way more likely that she will be a repeat offender because her cycle seems to be that she gets caught and does 'just enough' to hold on to the relationship, and then starts up again. She seems to be unable to consider the effects of her behavior on you and your relationship.

And I'll bet that the whole "this is a wake-up call for me" line won't work on you this time, right?

Enough will be enough for you.....when enough becomes enough for you.
Some people reach 'enough' very quickly, and others take longer. And some never get there.

[This message edited by gonnabe2016 at 8:52 AM, August 6th (Tuesday)]

84CF posted 8/7/2013 20:47 PM

Thank you for your time and thoughts, everyone.

PhantomLimb: no, I can't save her. I just am not sure why part of me obviously still thinks that she will save herself and change the behaviors.

Jose: yes, I am in IC. It was the first call I made after finding out.

Lovely: hang in there.

Gonnabe: yes, definitely a pattern that I am trying to break. It's very hard for me to say, finally, no more chances. But I think that may have to be the outcome here. As I said, I cannot and will not take a leap of faith. I just wish there were some other way.

Ugh. Who needs all of this. I cannot believe that I am back here again. Have to concentrate on the fact that it's actually a new place to be, not an old one.

Thanks again, everyone.

Lionne posted 8/8/2013 00:00 AM

Gonnabe hit the nail...actions. You'll will never "get over this." But you can learn to live with it, you can repair your life you can live a new normal. Your wife has to do most of the heavy lifting.
There book HOW TO HELP YOUR SPOUSE HEAL FROM AN AFFAIR is short and sweet and lays out her job pretty clearly. She needs to take those steps, work that program carefully and diligently until, well, until you don't need her to anymore. That could take years. So be it.
Hugs. Post here, too. We listen.

TrustGone posted 8/8/2013 00:49 AM

I am sorry you find yourself here, but it is a great place to let your feelings show without judgement. I know you love your wife, that is obvious or you wouldn't still be trying to hold on. The truth of the matter is she checked out of the marriage a long time ago. They all have pretty words after they get caught, but it's the actions that really tell how sincere they really are. She choose to leave again for the summer. That says alot for how committed she is to the marriage. If she was truely remorseful she would be home trying to fix herself and the marriage instead of taking off for the summer. She knows what she did before while seperated, why would she do it again right after another DDay?? It sounds like she may be regretful for her latest A, but not remorseful. There is a big difference in the two.
She sounds like she is a serial cheater and you can't fix that. Only she can fix herself and it doesn't sound like she put a lot of effort into that.

I am sure this is not what you want to hear, but I am being truthful. I lived for over 20 years with a serial cheater. He was always sorry after the fact, then after a while he would do it again. I finally got enough and filed for D. Then I married another guy who I thought would never even think of cheating, but he also cheated on me for 3yrs, which I am currently dealing with.

Only you can say when enough is enough. You are the only one that can say what you are willing to put up with and for how long. Being a BS over and over again drains the life out of you until you wind up hating not only the WS, but also yourself for putting up with it and thinking they will eventually change and realize the hurt they are inflicting on you. So far I haven't really seen the remorse from either of my WH's. They both say they loved me and they are sorry, but after awhile it is just words that mean nothing anymore.

I think you know what you have to do and it hurts so bad to have to do it, but you have to save yourself. You are the only one that can control how your life turns out. Do you want to continue to be cheated on? Do you want her telling you she loves you as she is heading out the door to met another man? Do you want to continue to live through this kind of pain? Do you want her to continue to lie and manipulate you? Do you want her to throw you crumbs everytime she cheats to keep you as her back-up plan? Please read up on the 180 and start implementing it. It will help you detach enough to think about what you really want in life. (((HUGS)))

84CF posted 8/10/2013 08:17 AM

Really hurting today.

She is slated to return to my city in 10 days. The question is whether she returns home. I hear essentially two things from her: 1) she wants to return to try to work things out -- give it one year, she says; 2) she also says that she does not know what she wants.

I can't tell what this means. I told her that no amount of work on our marriage was going to fix the lying and cheating. I am not perfect, and I'm sure that I could learn to be an even better communicator in our marriage, etc. But I also have no control over whether she lies to me and cheats on me, and I refuse to take responsibility for that. Those are her problems that only she can solve, and unless she is willing to recognize that and actually do something about it, there is no chance of a happy marriage for both of us.

I just feel so awful. To anyone out there: Am I wrong in my thinking here? Any recommended adjustments/further thoughts?

womaninflux posted 8/10/2013 08:25 AM

Your posts say a lot about what SHE wants. What do YOU want?

Also, have you considered the possibility that she is a love/sex addict with intimacy disorder? It certainly sounds like she is. You should do an internet search (there are a lot of helpful websites with info on this addiction) and see if some of her behaviors are in line with this issue.

jjct posted 8/10/2013 08:30 AM

You are absolutely correct about:

no amount of work on our marriage was going to fix the lying and cheating.

She doesn't know what she wants?
That's a weak attempt to reel you in to "fix it for her" mode.

Whatever you do - just take care of you. ok?

doggiediva posted 8/10/2013 08:46 AM

As was previously said only you will know when enough is enough..In the meantime working on you ensures that you will find direction and clarity in this mess.
My thoughts and prayers are with you that you won't be stuck in M or in house separation longer than you want to be because of finances(like me)when you do get the clarity of knowing when enough is enough..

Wishing you strength and peace

84CF posted 8/10/2013 08:53 AM

Thanks, womaninflux and jjct and doggiediva.

What do I want? 1) Truly, I want peace and well-being. 2) However, I also still want her to get it together so that I can be with her and still have #1. It's very difficult for me to give up on #2 when I believe that part of her wants that, too, even though my gut knows that my giving up is likely the only outcome here.

I'm not so lost that I can't see how my thinking is problematic here, but I'm trying to be honest about where I am.

[This message edited by 84CF at 8:54 AM, August 10th (Saturday)]

gonnabe2016 posted 8/10/2013 09:52 AM

It's very hard for me to say, finally, no more chances. But I think that may have to be the outcome here. As I said, I cannot and will not take a leap of faith. I just wish there were some other way

Over the last 3 years, I kept giving stbx 'chances.' Chance after chance after chance. And he blew every single one until I was forced to look at the situation and see that there was NO scenario in which staying with him was palatable. It actually got to the point where hearing him say "I want to...", or "I'm going to...", or even "I'm sorry...." became very strong triggers for me and I would shut down instantly when I heard them because we'd BEEN through that song & dance before and I knew that the final move ended up with him dropping me on the floor instead of helping me to land gracefully on my feet.
I also still want her to get it together so that I can be with her

I hear ya. BTDT. And it's very, very hard to 'let go' when your spouse is *saying* the 'right' things to you. But until SHE sees that she needs to 'get it together' for herSELF and starts actually taking steps to work on just have to look at her and know that she is still that *same* person regardless of the drivel that is coming from her mouth.
Last Week:
She says she wants me and our relationship, if we can mend it
But Now:
return to try to work things out -- give it one year, she says; 2) she also says that she does not know what she wants

TBH, there is not too much worse than hearing your serial-cheating spouse tell you that s/he isn't 'sure' of what s/he wants and it really is a ticket to the LimboLand/More Cheating train for you. (Pssst --> that destination sucks. I don't recommend it.)

And like jj, I get the impression that she is expecting you to be the one to 'fix this' and make it work......( and FYI, I tried that one too, and ended up in the previously mentioned sucky destination)

Brandon808 posted 8/10/2013 09:55 AM

I apologize for the bluntness but your WW is broken.
You cannot fix her because she does not want to be fixed.
She feeds on this drama, this conflict. She has shown it to be a consistent pattern...the only consistent pattern.

Separate from her until she genuinely gets help on her own. Get IC for yourself and be prepared to lose the M in order to (perhaps) save it.

StrongerOne posted 8/10/2013 13:03 PM

84cf, you are getting great advice here, and lots of support. I'm going to be super blunt -- because you need to take care of yourself. Get std testing immediately. Don't have sex w your wife until she gets tested and you get the results directly from her doc. If you do have sex w her, use protection.

catlover50 posted 8/10/2013 15:20 PM


Your WW needs to be doing everything in her power to fix herself and then win YOU back. Anything short of a heroic effort is wasting your time IMHO. You are not getting anything close to that at this time.

She knows you. She knows what she has to lose. You have nothing to prove. She does.

Make her fight for you. If it takes months of separation for her to get it, fine-- you will be busy getting your strength back and working on you. If she never gets it then she's not worth it!!! YOU are the prize, and should not have to convince her of that.

So sorry you have to deal with this nightmare.

fallingquickly posted 8/10/2013 15:46 PM

Hugs 84CF,


But I also have no control over whether she lies to me and cheats on me, and I refuse to take responsibility for that.

is an important realization you have made.

I had two DDs and some TT after that. He continued to cheat after the first DD. Like you, I wanted to believe him and believe in him. I found out it had been going on for years, at least his trying to pick up women. I now believe there is more that I don't know, but it truly doesn't matter anymore. I came to the conclusion that things were not going to change. Oddly, for me, that realization occurred with a relatively small thing. A refusal to answer an unimportant personal question and then finding out that he was hiding an activity I would not have been mad about if he had told me in the first place.

There will come a point where you know things aren't going to change. Sometimes we hang on for a long time working our butts off to facilitate that change. I held out for over two years. That was after years of alcoholism and bad treatment. I am mostly at peace with it but I also have doubts at times. It's not like a switch flips. It's more like the scales tip too far one way and they just keep going.

I truly mourn what could have been. However, that just wasn't what was really happening. He was leading a different life than I with different values and morals.

Think it through. Think for yourself if this is what you really want. Are you staying because of who you want her to be or who she really is?

84CF posted 8/10/2013 20:07 PM

Wow. Just, wow.

So, there has been fuzzy time in the last week and today I found strange credit card charges. I called her on it, and she had explanations. Then I called her on another bit and caught her in a big lie about where she said she was this afternoon.

"Why are you still lying to me?" I said.

"I don't know," she replied.

"You've been seeing him?"


"You need to find a new place to live," I said. And I hung up.

This is really going to hurt in the morning. I'm in complete shock. What is the point of lying to me at this moment? So, so sad. At least I know.

[This message edited by 84CF at 8:07 PM, August 10th (Saturday)]

OK now posted 8/10/2013 20:50 PM

Your wife sounds like she is addicted to the high of cheating relationships and there is little to no chance she will stop. I believe she is waiting for you to do the dirty work of ending the marriage and she keeps giving you reason after reason to do so.

Its sad and painful but you have to file and begin the process of terminating your relationship. She's a selfish liar who cannot be trusted and she has little respect for you or your marriage.

Let her go. There is a better future out there.

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