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Do my self-criticisms make my WWs recovery more difficult?

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lloyddobler posted 10/23/2013 04:10 AM

Another question here. WW and I are trying to find a MC and both of us are also committed to IC (sheíd been going up until a year or two ago; Iíve done several years of therapy, but havenít been in any IC for about eight years), and the sooner the better as far as Iím concerned. I am confident that WW really does feel remorseful and wants to stay within the terms we agreed to post DDay. But I donít have the luxury of these clear, uncertain terms to tide ME over to a point where I can rely on some kind of third voice for mediation other than this forum (which I am incredibly grateful I came acrossÖ among other things I surely would have totally foobared the DDay and confrontation over the affair if I hadnít found some really helpful advice as things began to unfoldóin fact, as will become clear, I was well on my way to doing almost everything wrong before I found this site).

One part of the problem is the situation surrounding the discovery. Iíll try to shorten this as much as I can, but Iím so confused that I donít even know how to tell the story. I hope youíll bear with me though, because I could really use some help.

Recently (last six months) Iíd been aware of growing problems in our marriage (of nine yearsóweíve been together for more than twelve). Some of this was familiar since there were elements in common with problems back in 2010. Back then, I was a total pain in the ass for my spouse to live with. Stressed out at work, hyper-critical (thatís the FOO I have to bearÖ kind of a perfectionist, and trained well by my parents to be a critical hard-edged person with unreasonably high standards for myself andÖ though I try not to be overbearing with others have certainly been guilty of this on a number of occasionsÖ I just try to monitor the best I can, but I definitely slip up at home when Iím upset), unhappy, contemplating divorce because I couldnít see how the marriage was doing either of us any good. We had a few fights. I talked to a couple of friends and got some good advice. And so I decided to do something. I ended up doing something like what 180 calls for under different circumstancesódecided to be unpredictableÖ decided not to express annoyance but, rather, gratitude for my spouse, no matter what. This was good. We got ourselves back on track. I was happier. She was happier. And soon there werenít even so many things going on that I was even annoyed by.

So, skipping a great number of details (and many seem important, but it will just take too long), I nevertheless still have to add a couple other pre-D-Day items. We decided to have a kid, and we were overjoyed when we did. What a great family unit we made! Our beautiful son was born in Aug. 2012, about two years after having climbed out of the biggest valley in our relationship. But as we moved into April/May 2013 (I think my WW and I have different views about the timeline here, BTW), my stress-level at work was super high, I wasnít making time for my wife, but I was making time once or twice a week to go out drinking, and I was beginning to get cranky again. I was doing pretty well as a father (if that can be done while still being a lousy spouse); I work days, my wife works evenings, so the time I had for being a father alone with my son was (and still is) roughly equal to hers for being a mother alone with himóand I quickly learned to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE spending time with my sonóit was as if going home to watch him while my wife was at work was a vacation from both workÖ and, I guess, from my marriage. The summer was especially rough, though. By then, I was feeling very unloved and unappreciated. Wasnít sure why. Was it the new kid? Was it the new stressors in her work or mine? Was it nothing more than the predictable result of my own crappy behavior? In any case, I handled the not feeling loved in a way guaranteed to make it worse but becoming sullen and passive aggressive around my spouse, particularly from July until just this last weekend.

Now, skipping forward a little, early in October I initiated a conversation about this and said I wanted to work on some thingsÖ wanted things to be better for both of us, wanted to stop doing things that were hurting both of us but also wanted to feel loved again. We resolved to continue talking about this, but then there were a couple of rough work weeks for both of us. Finally last weekend comes into view, and the 19th is her birthday, her work schedule had lightened up, and mine two. Kismet. Looked like a great opportunity to spend a good birthday with my wife, then have a heart to heart and talk about a way forward on Sun. 20th. That was my plan. I was going to try to hold myself accountable for my contributions to our problems, listen more than I talked, talk about some ways I thought Iíd be able to be a better husband.

But then, instead, irony happened. This next bit is already a little fuzzy for me, and Iím not sure why my memory of how all this went down is so messed up (I have a sneaking suspicion that I started lying to myself right away and then got so twisted around that I canít even remember the truth anymore). I was going to buy a new iPhone for my wife for her birthday on Friday the 18th. But the upshot is that I read some text messages between my WW and the AP the morning before I went ahead with the previously formed plan to buy the damn phoneÖ the part I canít remember is why I was looking at her old phone to begin withÖ I think it had something to do with getting the new phone for her, but Iím honestly not sure.

Well, anyway, I didnít read many of these text messages because I was feeling guilty about invading her privacy. And the messages that I read in the morning (as I recall), did, I confess, set off alarm bells, but they werenít anything too over the top. The APís wife (OBS, right? Öall these abbreviations Iím having to learn!) had died about a month ago from cancer (a really, really awful storyÖ truly awful even without adding in the part about the long-term, long-distance PA between my wife and the AP during the period she was slowly succumbing to the illnessÖ oh, and the AP has a young DD), and he was a high school friend of my wife, so the messages definitely seemed a little inappropriate but I guess I was able to lie to myself and think of them as an attempt to comfort the grieving spouse/father/friend (and they were that, even if they also were evidence of an affair... sheesh!). But as Iím wrapping the presents for my wifeís birthday Friday, I start to pay more attention the alarm bells in my head, and so I check the Skype message log and Facebook. Now I really do know, though Iím still feeling guilty about looking, so I donít actually read all of it and donít have a clear timeline or even any certainty that this is PA (not that it matteredóit was clearly a long-term, intimate EA, and it wouldnít have made any difference at all to me whether, by actually reading the rest of the messages later, I could have confirmed this as a PA, to boot).

But in a spectacular display of denial or something of the sort (I guess), I decided I just need to get through her birthday so we can talk about this, all as planned (right?) for Sunday anyway. So even though my blood pressure is now literally 155/100 (normally 120/70, but I wasnít feeling right, so I actually checked!), that night, when my wife gets home from work (around midnight, so itís now officially the 19th and her birthday), I welcome her home, give her the birthday presents, help her set up the new phone, tell her Iím not feeling well and about my blood pressure (how do you more experienced users access the emoticons? Iíd like to put the eye-rolling one in right here), and we go to bed. I didnít sleep much, of courseÖ. Who could with blood pressure like that!

The next morning, I get up early with my son (DS, right?) so that Mommy can sleep in on her birthday, and I begin reading her text messages on her old phone. Now her birthday is about to become a personal disaster for both of us, but I plow on furtively gathering more and more information about the affair throughout the day (Mommy and son go to the park for a while). Feeling sicker and sicker to the point that I lie on the sofa more or less catatonic for a few minutes around 4 PM, my WW and I have this charming exchange with each other:

WW: are you OK?

Me: No. Iím not at all OK. But letís talk about it tomorrowÖ. (I really want that eye-rolling thing now!)

We go out to dinner with DS and another married couple that we each count among our close friends (my wife and our two friends seemed to have a reasonably good time a dinner despite the fact that I didnít eat and didnít say much for nearly the whole dinner). Then, mercifully, I come home with DS while she goes out for some drinks, and I have some time to try to figure all this out, finish finding just about everything I think there is to find on the computer as well as on the old iPhone, which has kept all the old text messages, discover this forum, find some good advice on what to do next. Donít sleep that nightÖ pacing around the house confused, dazed, angry, hurt, etc. DS wakes up around 6 AM to be fed and then, mercifully, goes back to sleep. So thatís when WW and I have our talk.

Now here, then, is the timeline for the Aóit started in 2010, just about the time Iím beginning to think seriously about whether and how to fix our marriage. It continues right through the period where I think weíve rebuilt our relationship to the point that it is stronger than ever, to the point where we decide to have a kid. It continues over a period of time where we grieve over a miscarriage and bond over that and have an even stronger relationship. And it carries into the second (successful) pregnancy (thereís no risk of paternity issues with the AP, here, by the wayÖ the PA is going on during this time, but the long distance arrangements donít match up in the calendar with our sonís conceptionÖ these events are several months apart). Things seem to have gotten considerably more intense in the affair in late June right up through D-Day (I was out of the country for a couple weeks for work at the end of June; the APís wife was in the last stages of her cancer over the summer months).

SoÖ Iíve read a lot of stories on the site over the last few days. There are so many here that are heartwrenching. And so many that are so much more awful than mine. Or maybe Iím just not all that good at looking at my own problems... thereís obvious evidence of this in the story I just told, after all. A lot of these stories (mine included) are so complicated that they couldnít even have been conjured up by Thomas Hardy.

Anyway, Iím really struggling with what to do about my hope for a recovery. Obviously I still have to work on all the issues in me that make me a lousy husband. But I have no idea how to do that now that I also think that my WWís affair must have had a lot to do with a situation I was pinning on myself (thereís that FOO coming back into thisÖ not that I think the affair was my fault, but that I was so focused on my own failures that I was completely clueless about the affair and even tried not to believe it). I guess Iíve read enough to know that this kind of self-doubt is pretty common in BSs.

I suppose Iím going to have to work on those things that make me a lousy husband because they are things that Iím going to have to work on to be healthy even if my marriage doesnít survive. These arenít just flaws in me insofar as I am a spouse, in other words. But I also, very concretely, wonder how much I should involve my WW in the process of sorting out which things in me need work. Weíve had a few conversations about this past summer, and Iím starting to feel more than a little annoyed that the conversations have tended to swing back around to the fact that she didnít feel loved by me these last few months and that she thinks my passive aggressive way of trying to say I donít feel loved has been especially unhelpful. Yes. Well, of course thatís all true! Thatís why, even before I found out about the affair I had resolved to begin working on that stuff.

What do you think? What am I doing wrong here (I mean, I know Iíve got at least a couple things wrong)? I do know that Iíve got to own my shit, but should I just work on that on my own and not try to figure out how that relates to my marriage? Is being open to criticism from my WW a bad move in this situation? And since Iím not willing to reject criticisms that seem valid to me, do I make my wifeís recovery more difficult by giving her an easy way to avoid confronting what sheís done? If so, what am I supposed to do in reconciliation?

Also, this is NOT the person I thought I was married to. Deceptive and selfish? Iíve spent my life in the presence of crappy people. In my professional life, probably half the people I work with have a major personality disorder. I knew my wife is capable of crippling self-denial and self-loathing. But how is it that I missed that this might result in this particular form of self-destructive behavior?

WellÖ itís very, very late. Iím supposed to be watching my diet, drinking water, getting some sleep. I know. Blood pressure is still high but has come done into a range that is far less worrisome. But I have lost weight and I havenít been sleeping.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I hope you can give me some pointers (at least one of you occasionally resorts to 2x4s... I think I already whacked myself a few times in the above, but don't be shy in letting me know if there's something colossally stupid that I'm doing out of some special kind of ignorance). Sorry I couldnít keep it shorter and still figure out what I needed to askÖ just easier tonight to write more than it is to write less. Sorry, too, that I didnít really figure out what to ask anyway.

Edit Nov. 9, 2013: As my more recent signature shows, there's more to the story than is detailed above. Another D-Day yesterday. Having read so many other posts here in the last three weeks, I see just how common my story is. Feh.

[This message edited by lloyddobler at 8:52 PM, November 9th (Saturday)]

summerain posted 10/23/2013 04:24 AM

What do you think? What am I doing wrong here (I mean, I know Iíve got at least a couple things wrong)? I do know that Iíve got to own my shit, but should I just work on that on my own and not try to figure out how that relates to my marriage? Is being open to criticism from my WW a bad move in this situation? And since Iím not willing to reject criticisms that seem valid to me, do I make my wifeís recovery more difficult by giving her an easy way to avoid confronting what sheís done? If so, what am I supposed to do in reconciliation?

Great questions

You are what 5 days out? You need a plan because that's the type of person you are. That's okay

1. get some individual counselling
2. Is she still in contact with him
3. Do you want to reconcile? I think early in the process which way you're leaning towards is a huge indicator. No point in having a gaping wound and just putting a bandage on it. Figure out what you truly feel underneath the shame etc
4. you access the little faces underneath 'submit message' and click on them. You can also highlight text and click the side pannel 'bold' etc
5. In terms of denial well I had huge denial for about six months. Infact I told my best friend about it and her boyfriend 'that I knew' and told them I confronted him (didn't actually confront him) I knew who the two girls were. I just convinced myself that it didn't happen and routinely 'forgot about it'


you did better than me!

This is a great first post. You have your head screwed on really tight.

painfulpast posted 10/23/2013 05:02 AM

Wow - that's a lot of background. thank you. It helps to have a clear picture.

You seem to be looking for what you did to cause this. The answer is nothing, nothing at all. If your wife was unhappy she should have discussed it with you. She should have gone to counseling. She should have done any number of hundreds of options. Instead she chose to cheat. This is her issue, not yours.

Once she entered that affair 'fog' she was gone and that was that. I'm not saying you were perfect - no one is - but that doesn't excuse or justify cheating. The bottom line is this - your wife was in an EA and she liked it.

If you're wondering what you did wrong, ask what OBS did. What was it? Her cancer? Did that make her H cheat? That poor woman discovered she had a deadly disease, went through all of the painful and sickening treatment, and he continued to cheat on her. If that won't make a person stop, then I have to ask you what it is you think you could have done? No, the affair fog is thick and if a person doesn't want out then they'll stay in it.

Right now isn't the time to worry about how to fix things. It's been 3 days? Maybe 4? Right now you need to focus on what your wife is saying, and you need to make sure that the affair has ended.

You discussed a great deal about you, how you discovered her A, what your life was like up until DDay. What is missing is her reaction to your discovery. Did she deny? Did she admit? Did she contact him and tell him it was over? And how do you know it is over?

There are only a few affair stories. Most people in an affair think their affair is 'special', that they are 'different', and that other people in affairs are selfish, but they are simply 'in love'. It's bull**** and there is nothing special about your spouse's affair. But as long as she thinks it is special, she will stay involved.

Now, you cannot nice your wife into fidelity. She knows you're willing to work to improve your marriage. She knows you love your son, and that you take care of him. She still cheated. And again, OM's BS was dying, and he still cheated.

I cannot stress enough - nothing you did or did not do caused this.

You cannot nice her into fidelity. You cannot fix your marriage as long as she is still involved in the affair. She needs to end all contact with OM, forever. Until she is willing to do that, there is nothing you can do. All the gifts, housework, vacations and days with the girls will do nothing. She needs to be 100% focused on your M and her - why she felt that cheating was an appropriate answer to what she perceied were her problems.

I will say this - what kind of dog is OM? What kind of man has a dying wife, a wife that he goes through each step of cancer with, and he continues to cheat the entire time? Her OM is unbelievably selfish. The problem is, in your wife's eyes this is a sign of his love for her. He couldn't let her go. I"m sure your W comforted him during some of the more trying times of his W's cancer. How sweet right? That he turned to his girlfriend for comfort about his dying wife.

As is often said, in order to save your marriage, you must be willing to let it go. The longer you stay and allow her to continue to cheat, the worse her love for him will become. Cheating spouses, once discovered, will generally see the spouse that waits for them to 'decide' what to do as weak and needy - not attractive qualities. They will tell the AP about the BS's efforts. They will discuss how 'he doesn't understand' and it can actually draw them closer.

So what works? Well, not always, but more often than not, informing your WS that if the A does not end NOW, you are leaving and will file for divorce. No, it isn't what you want. The truth is right now you don't know what you want. You're in shock really. This person you loved and trusted has betrayed you in terrible ways. You need time to fully absorb that before acting.

So why does informing the WS that the BS is leaving often end the A? Because the WS generally never intended to leave the M. Right now, there have been no consequences for your WS. She has her happy home and she has her romance. Sadly these aren't the same.

Cheaters are selfish - all of them. Yes, your wife too. Cheaters are selfish. They want to have their cake and eat it too. If you take away the cake, she will feel pain. If you let her know that you will not stand by and wait, and that you aren't an option to anyone, then she must choose. If you waver, she will continue along her path. She won't like your pain, but her selfishness will beat your pain, hands down.

She as faced no consequences. You must force her to see that the consequence of her continued cheating is divorce. Anything less tells her that she can continue down this path.

Read the stories here and on other boards. Read how many times being 'nice' or 'understanding' ended the A. See the number of spouses that tried that and saw their spouse pull away faster than they thought possible. And see the stories of BSs that informed the WS that they were done, and how quickly the WS needed to decide, right then, what was important. Please don't think your wife is different, or your marriage is. Your wife is a cheater, and your M has been hit by infidelity. That's that. That is the story.

You must learn all you can about the A. When, where, why, etc. You should ask your wife to write a timeline of the A with the details. How it started, how and where it became a PA, what does she want now?

Also, if possible, try to find out if they had plans to be together officially after his wife passed. That may be their plan - give it enough time for him to acceptably be with someone else after the passing of his wife, and then they could be together. I hope that isn't the case, but it may be what's been discussed.

So, what was your wife's reaction to you knowing? How do you know it's over? What evidence have you gathered so far? You should be gathering as much as you can. There is a real possibility of divorce. You need to have all the evidence in the world to prove your WW's infidelity.

I'm sorry you're in this position, Boyddobler. I'm sorry you're realizing the betrayal that's occurred in your life. I'm sorry you're realizing that the person you believed you would spend your life with, that you believed would never hurt you, has ripped your world apart. It's terrible. Right now it's already physically affecting you. I'd recommend visiting a Dr. for some anti-anxiety meds possibly.

Continue with the plan for IC. Discovering what in your WW is broken cn be a starting point.

We're here for you BD. Please know you aren't alone.

lloyddobler posted 10/23/2013 05:11 AM

Thanks, Lauren.

1) Working on options for both MC and IC.

2) No, or at least I don't think so. I really regret letting her talk me into establishing NC over the phone... and, worse, in a call while I wasn't present to hear even her end of the conversation. I didn't realize how paranoid I was going to get about this (and I guess there are plenty of WS's who aren't sincere or who can't manage to keep their promises). But I'm so used to trusting my wife that, even with this evidence of major betrayal, I thought I'd be OK with letting her call. And as much as I hate the affair, I do feel really sorry for the circumstances that the AP is in with a young daughter and recently deceased spouse. I couldn't wish that on anyone. Oh well. Now I'm just going to have to look at this as an opportunity for my WW to decide whether she is going to be as committed to NC as she said... and anyway, even if she'd written a letter, nothing actually could stop her from breaking NC and being secretive about it in the future.

3) Yes. I think so. I want the family to be more than the sum of the parts. We actually make pretty good partners... even did during most of the time she was having the affair. I know that must sound crazy since I'm writing as a new member of the club nobody wants to be a member of. Also, divorce with our 14 month old in the mix just seems too difficult to me. He's always going to have us both for parents. I don't see how separating us is going to make things any better for him. We might be lousy spouses, but we're each pretty good parents under this arrangement. Maybe this is too shortsighted, though?

4) Oh. Duh. Thanks!

5) Thanks for sharing that with me. I'm frankly amazed about how this is turning into an activity of self-discovery for me. For instance, I didn't know I had such amazing skills () in the art of self-deception.

As for my head being screwed on tight... right now I actually simply feel a bit light-headed. Time to get some juice and a nap before pulling myself together for work. It's all part of my fantastic new voyage of self discovery!

Thanks so much for your response.

summerain posted 10/23/2013 05:16 AM

no problems.

I am a bit concerned as you are about this 'NC' call?

I guess we don't know that this has occurred at all. I think that it may be helpful for you to write a list of what you will find unacceptable behaviour in the future to your wife.

Total dealbreakers. E.g cheating would probably be one right?

I just worry that you may be getting a little trampled by her, because you are scared of her leaving. The time of being 'nice' and a 'good spouse' is over. It's time for you to lay down the law, succinctly. Inform her on how to build back trust.

all passwords, no going out she stays with you etc

stronger08 posted 10/23/2013 05:17 AM

Lloyd, while its very commendable that you accept your short comings and want to work on them. Please do not comingle them with her A. They are 2 totally separate issues IMO. If you open the door to mixing marital and affair behaviors your only giving her the perfect opportunity to blame shift. Don't paint a great big target on yourself. Because its only going to make things worse. No matter what kind of H your were. It was, is and never will be an excuse for her cheating. She had choices to make and she chose to have an A. Its often said here that marital issues are 50/50 when doling out blame. But the choice to have an A is 100% on the WS. I happen to adhere to that doctrine. While R is a heavy burden carried by both parties you must keep in mind that coming to terms and dealing with the A must be her priority. Unless she gets to the bottom of what entitled her to think an A was the answer, the rest is moot. The A must be dealt with first. Then if you decide to R the rest will come into play. Keep in mind that you had nothing to do with her A. Do not under any circumstances mix one problem with another. I wish you peace my brother.

lloyddobler posted 10/23/2013 05:39 AM

Thanks, painfulpast.

I think WW is remorseful. What I've read in other posts is that some WSs express regret in a manipulative way. That's possible in my WW's case, but it would be out of character for her (I know, I know... I also thought the affair was ought of character for her, but that happened). But I mean that she just doesn't tend to have a manipulative streak. I don't have a lot of experience dealing with betrayal so might not be able to understand it or see how I might inadvertently be facilitating it even after insisting that it stop. But there have been plenty of grade A manipulators in my life, and I've developed a pretty good nose for that particular scent. WW isn't my favorite person in the world right now, and I don't trust her to care about my feelings as much as she evidently does about hers, but I can see that she feels terrible about what she's done and doesn't want to feel that way any more. To be honest, I think she's more than a little relieved that I found out.

As for the evidence, everything is incontrovertible. She hasn't denied, rationalized, or gaslighted. I haven't asked her to put it all in her own words for me (my understanding is that this is almost certainly something a competent MC will require), but she hasn't contradicted a single thing I've asserted, nor has she demanded to see my evidence.

She seemed very perplexed when I asked if she had been making plans to divorce me to be with the OM. Said she had been more or less fantasizing about it, and I pointed out that even though my state is a no fault state, there wasn't a judge around that would allow her to move that far away without giving up custody. That brought her up short. So a fantasy of a plan. Worrisome to me? Of course. But while I've said that I'm willing to try reconciliation, I would do so only under my terms--NC, no expectation of privacy, MC, etc.--and that I wasn't going to make any promises.

Still, I certainly appreciate the cautionary note. Obviously, I've already begun to manipulate myself (as I said, I've had a lot of those in my life, so I guess I picked up a few tricks, even if only to use them against myself in this context!) into a kind of co-dependent perspective on how to begin reconciliation. Thanks for encouraging me to be more positively self-oriented. I will try.

lloyddobler posted 10/23/2013 05:55 AM

Thanks, again, Lauren. And thanks Stronger.

Right. So I wrote a moment ago that WW hasn't "denied, rationalized, or gaslighted," but you're right about the blameshifting.

I don't think of myself as a doormat (and my terms were clear), but maybe I'm encouraging her to do so by working on my short comings with her when, as far as our joint efforts are concerned, we should actually be working on hers first. Or something like that, anyway.

OK. So that will be the main point of conversation today... no more talking about what I've done wrong. I'll work on that stuff with my IC and, for the time being, on my own terms, but we have to focus for a while on the betrayal and its ramifications for how we understand one another.

Am I hearing what you all are saying correctly?

painfulpast posted 10/23/2013 05:56 AM

She seemed very perplexed when I asked if she had been making plans to divorce me to be with the OM. Said she had been more or less fantasizing about it, and I pointed out that even though my state is a no fault state, there wasn't a judge around that would allow her to move that far away without giving up custody. That brought her up short. So a fantasy of a plan. Worrisome to me? Of course. But while I've said that I'm willing to try reconciliation, I would do so only under my terms--NC, no expectation of privacy, MC, etc.--and that I wasn't going to make any promises.

Be very careful with this. There are literally thousands of horror stories where a spouse did just that - left. I've heard of too many tales where one spouse takes the child and leaves - just leaves - and sets up residency in another state. This is very easy actually. Almost immediately upon arrival, they file for custody in the new state, and since they are there, they can win. It's happened to a lot more people than you'd think.

You may want to speak to a lawyer pronto to see what you can do to ensure that she cannot do this.

In the cases I read, some were able to finally get some relief, but this was usually after a year or two without their child.

Please don't think your wife isn't manipulative or capable of such a thing. Every single person has thought that about their spouse, and here we all are. She has been manipulating you since she started her A. You aren't used to looking for any other behavior from her. I hope for your sake that you are right - but please don't use the past as any indication of what she is or isn't thinking, or what she is and isn't capable of.

I know what you are thinking - that I don't know your wife and you do. Well, a week ago I would have said that anyone, including your wife, is capable of cheating, and you would have told me I was crazy.

Again, you are used to thinking of your wife with these terms: honest, loving, caring, loyal, strong. She isn't any of those things right now, not one. She is going to go into self preservation mode.

If she is to continue to talk to him, it will go mch deeper underground. She will be more careful with her texting. She will sneak a new phone. I've even read one case where the WS claimed they were remorseful. They were doing everything right. Except they weren't. They weren't even in IC. They would 'leave' for their IC appointment and really go and call or visit AP. Cheaters are extremely deceptive. Don't underestimate your wife in this arena.

Again, I sincerely hope I"m wring. I hope that your wife is the exception. That she is the person that has already learned that being dishonest isn't for her. Given the length of this affair, and the fact that OM's BS was very sick and subsequently died, and neither of them felt bad enough to end the affair tells me that there is something to be very worried about.

As far as evidence, it isn't about you knowing. It is about proving in court. Even in no fault states, most judges will consider infidelity when deciding on a great many things. Please, gather hard evidence. Screen shots, phone records, You may wich very much that you had them later.

One last plea - please, do NOT underestimate your wife's ability to lie and manipulate. You've seen what she is capable of. You must stop thinking of her in terms of the person you thought you knew, and instead look closely at the person in front of you.

Again, good luck. You can do this.

Blobette posted 10/23/2013 07:40 AM

I see a bit of myself in you -- I am hyper-critical of myself, a perfectionist, relentlessly "fair-minded", always try to see the other person's POV... Kind of a PITA to live with sometimes.

Whatever. Our partners know this about us, and they can use it against us. Not always, and not even intentionally -- but it's so much easier focusing on what another person does wrong than honestly confronting what's going on inside of yourself. Especially when the other person is such a willing punching bag!

It sounds like you have been more than open to addressing your own behavior and issues in the marriage throughout. SHE hasn't taken you up on this. SHE wasn't doing HER part. SHE chose to escape whatever issues you have by having an A. And people in an A, BY DEFINITION, are not reliable narrators with respect to what's going on in a marriage. They have a profound psychological incentive to interpret the M as flawed. Their behaviors then make this happen. They exacerbate the problem.

My WH was always essentially kind to me -- talked to me often during the day, said ILY frequently, was physically affectionate... and yet... I grew increasingly irritated with him. Only in retrospect can I see that he was emotionally detached, and I was reacting to that, so our interactions became more and more snippy. (And he now owns all of this himself.) So was I a bitch? Or did he make me one?

It is tempting for us perfectionist types to focus on ourselves. We can control ourselves and fix ourselves (or at least try). Our partners, OTOH... Suddently they are this frightening person who we really don't know.

So PLEASE, whenever you are tempted to think about your issues (which you should explore with your IC), try to flip it to your WW. WTF was SHE thinking? How on earth did SHE justify her behavior? What things did SHE do to sabotague the M? What personal demons led her to do this horrible, hurtful, nasty thing?

Yup, bag the self-criticism for now.

Good luck, and strength to you.

lloyddobler posted 10/23/2013 17:42 PM

Please don't think your wife isn't manipulative or capable of such a thing. Every single person has thought that about their spouse, and here we all are. She has been manipulating you since she started her A.

OK. Totally fair point, painfulpast. In fact, I said this to WW today in trying to articulate more clearly one of my conditions for even thinking about reconciliation. I said that I had never thought of her as a manipulative person but that we have to confront the fact that having an affair for three years is intrinsically manipulative behavior. Thanks for the wake up call.

And to Blobette--yes, that's it precisely. Thanks for being a more truthful mirror for me to see myself. I am a total PITA sometimes (and sometimes for long stretches of time). But you're right. So I'll "own my shit" on the passive aggressiveness and overbearing hyper-critical behavior (I have been a little better listener at work, on the other hand, and that IS a good thing... may it continue!), but I won't allow this to be an issue of discussion that facilitates blame shifting about the fraud that created a situation in which it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference how I was behaving anyway. Thank you. That was the other part of the conditions for working on the R that I made a little clearer today.

[This message edited by lloyddobler at 5:45 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]

morethantrying posted 10/23/2013 18:00 PM

sorry that I didn't read all the details of your story but I found Michele Weiner-Davis's book and advise great help especially in the beginning. There is also phone counseling available which is still helping me greatly. Also John Gottman's book 7 principles for making marriage work are great too and if you can afford it one of his couple's weekends are well worth it and a combination of these two greatly helped me and us and got our marriage back on does take TIME...I remember thinking in the beginning how I wished it was already 1 year down the road....just be prepared to know it will take time but it is well worth it to work it all out and come to having a very happy marriage...Oh, John Gottmann has books, AND videos, too, for those who cannot make it to the couples weekend so that is a cheaper alternative and he deals with the issue of how kids can make stuff difficult!!. YOU WIL MAKE IT

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