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.
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)]
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.
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 that she has cut off all contact with the guy.
She says she cannot believe that this all happened.
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)]
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
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.
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)))
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?
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.
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?
Wishing you strength and peace
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)]
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
I also still want her to get it together so that I can be with her
She says she wants me and our relationship, if we can mend it
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
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)
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.
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.
But I also have no control over whether she lies to me and cheats on me, and I refuse to take responsibility for that.
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?
I saw him, I could not unsee him. -StrongButBroken
There came a point when it was too painful to love him, so I stopped.
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)]
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.