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Should I end my 17 years of marriage?

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AlanC posted 8/15/2013 21:55 PM

I stumbled to this site after doing a google search on surviving infidelity...

I have read some great articles that somewhat fit my situation, but nonetheless, each person's situation is different, and I am at a lost as to what I should do. Let me describe what had happened thus far.

I have been married for 17 years. We have no kids (my wife doesn't want any). We both have fairly successful career and while we are not rich by any means, we earn enough to not have to worry about money and can pretty much buy whatever we want or go wherever we want to go for vacation.

Within this relationship, my wife is the aggressive, strong minded person. She is the type that will not listen to other people's advice until she can convince herself that the advice be taken. I am more passive, an analytical person. I like to consider all options before taking action. I consider we are a good team -- she pushes me forward with her go-getter mentality, while I pulled her back a bit so she wouldn't ram into a brick wall at full-speed.

In our friends' eyes, we are a loving model couple. We hardly argue, and our goals in life are fairly compatible. I thought I have found the perfect wife to spend the rest of my life with.

Yet the horrific event (affair) came to light about 3 years ago. About 6 years ago, my wife went from working for somebody else, to a small business owner. Unfortunately, her new business did not start off well, as she was sued for breach of contract (caused by a rogue real estate agent lying about contract terms) and lost. Into our lives come this lawyer. Throughout this lawsuit, my wife has spent a great deal of time with him. At the beginning, there was no attraction between the two. However, overtime that turns to affection to each other and I caught them exchanging love messages to each other.

I confronted my wife about 3 years ago, whom then said she felt sorry and tried to end the relationship. Yet, as the articles in this website well stated -- an affair is an addiction. To my wife, she does not see an affair as wrong (being stubborn/head-strong) and we began a long 2-year "cat-and-mouse" game. Being analytical, I can typically sense when something is wrong and being analytical I can usually find means to discover what was wrong. She would ask "how did you find out I was seeing the lawyer?" If I told her my means, she would change her communication scheme. If I told her I can look into her email box, she changed to phone texting. When I told her I looked into her phone records, she then switch to phone calls with a different phone. When I said I found her in a hotel through GPS tracking of her phone, she stopped carrying her phone when she went meet the lawyer. I know invading her privacy through the above means is wrong, but I cannot stop thinking about where she is because of her constantly breaking her "promise".

We have gone to marriage therapy, but that was of no help. She reaction was that "I am uncomfortable to reveal my private life to a complete stranger. How can she provide advice with these 1 hour sessions when she knows very little about us?".

I have talked civilly with this lawyer lover privately on several occasions. He is divorced, and openly express to me that he loves my wife. But at the same time he feels like crap for ruining an otherwise a good marriage. He is the one that told me to go seek marriage counseling, as he said my wife is attracted to him because something is missing in my marriage. He said (and I agreed) if the root cause (He asked me "Is it because you are bad in bed? You ignored her? You don't offer support when she's down?") of my wife's attraction to him is not fixed in my marriage, even if he backs out my wife will just go seek another relationship. When I told him I plan to move out (separation), he would tell me to not do that because he said he tried that in his marriage and didn't work. Innate feelings tell me he is not a total jerk, but at the same time given his profession, I don't know if he is just a natural sweet-talker.

I tried to ask my wife what we should improve to reignite our love, and she said I am already a very caring, perfect husband that any wife dreams to have.

Since my wife couldn't provide me with any clues, I try to examine what is wrong in my marriage, and I conclude it might be due to our boring lifestyle -- we have a very small social circle. Besides work, my wife does not find anything to be interesting and she has no hobbies. Despite being a good husband, I can see how she gets attracted to a guy that expresses care for her, that is from a different cultural background, and can carry a different type of intellectual discussion (talks about law). She also mentioned she is attracted to his scent (he's a Persian) that I don't have (both my wife and I are Asians).

She understands that her relationship with him will not go very far, because of the lifestyle (he's much more active) and cultural differences. But she also confided that she likes the fact that he does not need any commitment from her (in my viewpoint, of course he doesn't since he is the lover), whereas I have been demanding commitment from her (of course I need to, being a husband). Yet, every time we argue because of her continual relationship with him, when I push her to make a decision, the eventual overcome is always
1) She will not back down from my demand of her stop seeing this lawyer
2) If I insist on 1), that we should separate
3) We both cried a lot that night
4) The next day, we wanted to reconcile and I would give it another chance
Cycle rinsed and repeat.

Lately, I finally was able to convince her to be more active. We started dating once a week, and we started the process of doing charity work so life is not as boring. I think we are much happier in the past 6 months.

Yet I am taking a mental toll -- because she continues to talk and see this lawyer. My wife's wish is for me to let her passion to this lawyer fade and die a natural death. Whereas in my viewpoint, I have exercised enough tolerance (2 years!! more than 10 times of her lying/breaking promises) that I am at this breakpoint myself. I am driving myself crazy when she is away from home -- is she really working or is she seeing this lawyer? I admit I am obsess in thinking about her. I am still in love with her and I really wanted her. Yet the thought of her not able to do a clean-cut cutoff drives me nuts.

I am a very confused man right now. Should I end the relationship because we cannot agree on how to save this marriage:
1) With this lawyer being one of the few friends she has, she WILL NOT give up in stop seeing this man
2) I want to have the assurance that she is over with this guy and wants her to "commit", which is met with the response "I will try my best".
And this disagreement is driving me crazy mentally.

Yet, I can see she is trying, and I think we are making some progress... I don't know how long my sanity can hold...

Should I just separate and go with Plan B? She already asked if we can remain friends if we separate, but accordingly to Plan B, I should stop contacting her until she changes her stance in our relationship. Yet, I know her business needs my help -- I am her handyman, and IT support. I know she will need me to fix something sooner or later. Should I not help her if she ask? That will just destroy all the love units that I have created thus far in doing Plan A...

Any opinions and advice you can provide is most appreciated.

A very confused AlanC

P.S. Pardon my disorganized thoughts

Brandon808 posted 8/15/2013 22:25 PM

AlanC, sorry you're here. I'm going to cut to the chase and say this...

My wife's wish is for me to let her passion to this lawyer fade and die a natural death. the dealbreaker right there. R cannot happen while she's actively in the A. Her "wish" is solely about what she wants and is completely devoid of any empathy towards the pain it causes you. So the question is do you want to continue in a marriage with a woman who can look her husband in the eye and essentially say "I don't care how much it hurts you. I want to keep doing this and you should be ok with it until I decided I don't want to do this anymore."

Detach and seek legal advice. Protect yourself first because you are the only one in this relationship who will look out for you. Your WW, who is showing no true remorse at all at this point, will either see she is about to truly lose her M and see real consequences to her actions or she'll continue to choose her "wishes".

Twentyplus posted 8/15/2013 22:27 PM

Welcome. You are among friends.

Others more experienced in this will come along to say more.

With very short time to reply my 1st thought for you is pls go to the library on left & read about "the 180." Alan, the 180 is for you.

I wish you better days ahead.

FeelsSoRight posted 8/15/2013 22:28 PM


If you are ok with having 3 people in marriage, by all means stay with her.

If you are not, you need to separate, and probably divorce. If you do so, you should not be her handy-man, her IT guy or anything else since you don't have any other obligation to her. She can support herself. You have no kids to stay in contact for.

If she has not cut all ties with this lawyer (aka the OM) by now, she is not going to do so.

Since you are a new member, I would recommend you read in the "Library" which is in the menu list at the top left of your page. Many great articles from those who have been there, done that.

kansas1968 posted 8/15/2013 22:35 PM

I am going to agree with Brandon. No reconcilliation is possible in the situation that you are in now. She deserves no right to privacy. She is a liar and a cheater and is using you for a floor mat. You can decide if you want three people in your bedroom, or you can decide that you don't want that. If you don't, then you strike up a relationship with your own lawyer, business only of course!
It is time to take away her comfy little set-up.
Why would she end this relationship. She is a cake-eater and has it all, while you have nothing.

You deserve more than this, and you deserve someone who respects and loves you. Start protecting yourself financially, see and attorney, and do a 180. Do not try and improve this marriage until no contact is met and you have all passwords to mail accts, phones, etc.
Like I say, she has lost her right to privacy. That went right out the window with the trust that she destroyed.
She is using you in the most dispicable way and I am so, so, sorry. I cannot believe how cruel some people can be.

Jospehine85 posted 8/15/2013 22:51 PM


You are currently in a open marriage and you don't want to be. Your wife has no incentive to change that as it has already become the norm.

Your wife is having an affair, not because anything is missing in your marriage, but because she likes the attention and ego strokes she is getting from the lawyer.

If your wife's affair with the lawyer dies "a natural death", she will simply move on to a new affair. In fact, this affair will probably die when a new affair starts first.

I am sorry Alan but I would say "Yes, end your marriage".

5454real posted 8/15/2013 22:58 PM

my wife is the aggressive, strong minded person. She is the type that will not listen to other people's advice until she can convince herself that the advice be taken.

With this lawyer being one of the few friends she has, she WILL NOT give up in stop seeing this man

Unless and until you are ok with three in the marriage, you're left with one option.

Yet, I know her business needs my help -- I am her handyman, and IT support. I know she will need me to fix something sooner or later. Should I not help her if she ask?

To be honest, it sounds as if you are her Plan B.

I'm sorry to be so blunt. However, she is showing you exactly who she is and how much regard(none) she has for you or your feelings.

My advice? Run!

Strength brother. She is a complete Narcissist. Please read in and see if you can't find your wife.

Sorry you had to find us, glad you're here.

LosferWords posted 8/15/2013 23:01 PM

Hello, and welcome to SI, AlanC.

The circumstances that brought you here are awful, but I'm glad you found us.

You'll find a great deal of support and advice here. A good place to start is the Healing Library in the upper left corner of the page.

A book I would highly recommend is Not "Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. Many affairs start and continue under the false ruse of a "friendship".

I agree with others, that the only way to move forward in this relationship is for your wife to cut ties with the other man, and go NC (no contact) on him. From that point on, it is still an uphill battle, but the marriage can be saved if that happens, and your wife is willing to put in some work on herself.

Please keep posting and reading out here. I really think you'll get a lot from this site.

Take care.

sisoon posted 8/16/2013 10:20 AM

I read your sitch the same way others do - your W is in an open M, and you want to be in a monogamous M.

Your W is cheating for her own reasons, not because of anything you did or did not do. If she was bored, it was up to her to get unbored, and there are innumerable ways she could have done that without cheating. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR W'S DECISIONS TO CHEAT.

You asked a question. What answer do you want? She's treated you horribly. If you want to end your M, I think that's great - go for it.

If you really want to R, your W needs to be NC, transparent, and honest. She needs to be willing to do the hard work of changing, which means, IMO, IC and MC. But she's unwilling to go NC, so R is impossible - at least any R that meets both your desires and your W's.

If you want R and your W doesn't, the 180 is your best bet. The 180 helps you find your strengths, accept S or D, and thrive. Sometimes when a BS does the 180, the WS wakes up, and that could happen to you and your W, but that's not the purpose of the 180 at all.

Accept this: your M is over, and there's is only a small chance that it can be rebuilt.

WRT being her handyman/IT person/etc. - if you value your mental health, maybe you could continue in this role if she pays you market rates, but I think it would be a lot better for you if you gave her some recommendations for people who earn their livings as handymen or providing IT support for small businesses. Even better, if she asks for help, just say 'No.'

I 2nd the recommendation of NOT "Just Friends". Get it and read it ASAP. You might ask your W to read it, too.

Also, in the I Can Relate forum, there's a thread by and for Betrayed Men that you might find helpful.

Good luck - every individual is different, but if your read the Healing Library (start with the FAQs) and posts on SI, you'll see there are some general principles that you can use.

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:23 AM, August 16th (Friday)]

kiki1 posted 8/16/2013 11:54 AM


What an awful position to be in.

I'm sorry, but i dont think you can repair your marriage if your wife wants to keep her boyfriend.

I would second everyone here. You will have to detach and start the 180.

Forget about the marriage and focus on you.

I'm sorry Alan

AlanC posted 8/16/2013 15:37 PM

Thanks for all the replies and the care given to a stranger (me). I have the Not Just Friends and have read it myself.

I want my wife to read it too but she reluctantly only read the first couple chapters.

All signs lead to R is not possible -- she might say she wants R but unwilling to be NC means she want to keep her current lifestyle more than she wants R to work out.

To this day, I still believe in many traditional values:
-- Til death do us part
-- All problems can be fixed with time and effort
-- Deep down inside I want my M to be like father accepting a prodigal son

Yet, I do realize not everyone's values are the same, and I should learn to accept moving on and healing by myself.

sisoon posted 8/16/2013 16:48 PM

Alan, I don't think any BS would quarrel with your values - just with your analysis. Your M can be fixed if both of you do the work, but it takes 2, and only one of you is willing to do the work. So...

Take care of yourself. Post your questions, vents, and comments. Read the Healing Library - lots of good stuff, lots of stuff that is thought-provoking. Read Fun & Games, especially Stupid Picture Friday. Meet the people of the D/S forum.

Know that you can get through this and thrive.

LosferWords posted 8/16/2013 17:40 PM

There are no strangers here, Alan. You became part of this awesome club that nobody wants to have to join the minute you signed up here.

Your values are very closely in alignment with my values as well. Those values have been a reminder from time to time as to why I am still working through things with my wife.

One of the hardest things to deal with when healing from infidelity is acceptance. A big part of that is accepting that you can't control the outcome of what your wife does, or ultimately how your marriage does or does not resolve itself.

The one thing you can control, however, is your own healing, and your own actions. That's why it is so critical to take care of yourself at this particular time. That's what the 180 is about as well, if you are interested in going that route.

Whatever path(s) you choose, we're here for you.

Take care.

AlanC posted 8/16/2013 18:05 PM

Sisoon and LosferWords, thanks for the encouragement.

I do realize:-
1) It takes 2 to tango
2) It doesn't matter how strong-minded a person is. Despite an addict recognizing she has an addiction problem, but continues to allow the sin-of-choice to be placed in front of her on a frequent basis, it is only a matter of time before she caves in.
3) Given #2 above, the strongest-minded WS may be faithful 99 out of 100 temptations, but 1 Betrayal is a betrayal.

I need to start to think what MAKES ME happy. Clearly continuing to compromise towards her terms ("I will my best to R, but I cannot do NC. That's a deal breaker for me.") makes me unhappy.

LosferWords posted 8/16/2013 18:11 PM

I can tell you are a smart man, Alan. Whatever the outcome, I have confidence that you are going to come out of this stronger than ever.

I'm glad to see you having this change of focus where you are turning inward, and doing what makes you happy. Maybe your wife will see you moving forward with positive changes and come out of her fog. Maybe not. Either way, you come out ahead from where you were.

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