I have been doing a lot of soul searching today.
Here's my story:
I am 29 and have been with my wife nearly 10 years. We married 18 months ago, I love(d) her and thought she would never ever be capable of an A.
D-day was Christmas Eve. We were staying with my parents for the holidays and we were at my brothers having Xmas drinks, as is the case she drank too much. We arrived home at my parents and she started crying, she said she couldn't go on any more and had fallen in love with some else. She had a one night stand with someone 3 months ago which she continued with into a affair, she spent last weekend with him rather than at a work weekend she had lied to me about. She had been texting him for months and I am sure this is not even the full story. I was in disbelief, complete shock, and asked more and questions but didn't really get straight answers. She still loved me, she didn't want to hurt me she said. After a night of zero sleep I started to forgive her, and I said if she could tell me she wanted to R and she could stay or if she couldn't commit to that she should leave and go her parents immediately (Xmas day morning). She left.
My parents got up and found me completely broken down. I have never cried so much. 2 days later and I am starting to get strength, I have no appetite but I am eating and trying to exercise. I told her I wanted space to try to process what has happened. Within hours of leaving she was trying to contact me to explain she had made a terrible mistake. I have spoke to her briefly today for he first time to tell her again to stop contacting me and leave me alone, I will speak to her when I am ready. I have turned my phone off.
I am trying to not reach decisions but this event has made me take a long hard look at her behaviour of the last 10 years. She has been abusing alcohol for the last year, I wouldn't call her an alcoholic but she drinks more days than not, I have asked her to stop several times due to her behaviour and this has not been listened to.
Early on in our relationship she, I believe with no way of me proving, lied to me about several thing to, I believe, manipulate me - she said she had cancer, she said she had abortion. And finally, not a lie, but she threatened to hurt herself when a year into our relationship I asked for a separation. I refused to question these things and be honest with myself about her unacceptable behaviour.
I know the easy option is to get back with her, she is pleading for R and is showing remorse. However I am thinking more and more that I have never done anything to make her behaviour acceptable and I cannot commit my future to someone who has broken my trust and lied to me to manipulate my emotions. It is hard to stop loving her and all I want is to wake up from this nightmare with everything normal again.
I feel a weak, stupid man however I am gaing strength from the thought of a new start. We have no children together. We have a life we built quite far away from my family and friends so the thought of going back to work and trying to resolve losing the house, our possessions and a divorce is horrifying to me. I'd like some practical advice on how people have coped with going through this before.
Thanks in advance.
she is pleading for R and is showing remorse
You listed a lot of other issues you've been experiencing with your WW. It sounds very similar to what I went through. Do NOT take her back yet. Give yourself some time. Get into IC. Take some time for yourself.
I definitely don't think I am ready to take her back, but as I said the thought of rebuilding my life terrifies me.
You make a good point about her, now that people know what she has done it is regret she is feeling.
[This message edited by NotFixable at 10:55 AM, December 27th (Friday)]
Nowhere left to go but up!
I definitely don't think I am ready to take her back, but as I said the thought of rebuilding my life terrifies me.
I'm going to say some really blunt things here, so forgive me in advance:
You are dealing with a woman that has lied about cancer (very sick imo), an abortion and has had at least one affair that you know of. It wasn't a 'one night stand' that turned into an affair - she met someone, slept with them immediately, and continued to do so. I have to wonder how many 'one night stands' she had that just went away afterwards.
You do not have children. Yes, you have a life, a home, etc. Leaving all of that and starting over is scary - very scary. But it is an option at this time, and you could walk away clean and be completely done. If you stay, and have children with her, and she continues her lying and destructive ways, you are tied to her for life, and you have children that now come from a broken home and have a mother with some serious issues.
Which is scarier?
"You can't fix a broken man, but he can break you"
You need help, and you will find it there.
She IS an alcoholic, you just don't recognize it yet, no maybe about it.
Take this quiz, as if you were her, and recognize that it is valid.
she said she had cancer, she said she had abortion. And finally, not a lie, but she threatened to hurt herself when a year into our relationship
Did she tell you about the abuse she has had, about the childhood that was so messed up that she hasn't told anyone? People who do these things are really messed up.
You cannot save her, only she can do that. She may make you feel like a KISA (knight in shining armor), but you are not. Thus far you are just collateral damage while she continues her self destruction. She needs to stop drinking get serious counseling, and then, only if she survives long enough to understand why she does what she does should she be in any type of relationship.
I am on day 5 now and feel myself getting stronger and stronger every day.
She has tried to contact me every day despite me requesting her to respect my wishes and leave me alone, I will speak to her when I am ready. This ignorance of my request makes me think she has no idea of the pain she has inflicted.
The point about the lying, manipulation and alcoholism are really starting to hit home with me.
Thankfully my family have been very supportive and have tried to be completely non-judgemental, which I can tell has been very hard for them. I have a few close friends who have been keeping me positive too.
My concern at the moment is quite the opposite to what a lot of people have dealt with on here, I seem to be not thinking about the A and locking it away at the back of my head. I am starting to wonder if I am even feeling relieved that this happened so that I can have a fresh start?!!
Will update again in a few days. I have no plans to speak to her again for at least another week or so.
feeling relieved that this happened so that I can have a fresh start
Your story parallels mine.
You are quicker on the uptake than I was, and that's good. Real good brother!
Let me tell you, you are going to love your fresh start.
Keep on moving through your fear.
Consult with a lawyer, get started.
You're in a good place. We *get it* & we got your back.
I know the easy option is to get back with her
Actually nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m not going to tell you whether to divorce or reconcile, but I do think you should know your (likely) path once you decide one or the other. The numbers and timeframes I state below are based on commonly accepted norms that have been confirmed with research. As with all human behavior there are exceptions but these are the averages. For the record – I tend to be pro-reconciliation.
Reconcile and you are looking at two years before you feel like you are “over” the affair. “Over” as in it no longer is the major factor in your marriage. The affair never disappears and never goes – it’s always there – but if you work constructively at R then at the two year mark it’s no longer the main issue. [BTW – I believe marriages CAN fully reconcile from infidelity. This site is proof of that. It’s founded, hosted and managed by a couple that dealt with infidelity. There are several couples that contribute both here on SI that have successfully dealt with infidelity].
Reconcile and you need professional help. OK – people can do this alone but that’s like setting a broken bone by yourself. It’s harder, takes longer and you probably will have to reset it several times. Professional help is expensive and hard. You need to pay an marriage counselor and an individual counselor. They will both assign tough tasks you need to fulfil. So maybe 8-12 months from now you might not need them so much but you will still have to make conscious decisions on how to improve your marriage.
Keep in mind that’s not how to improve your marriage because of the affair – it’s more how to improve your marriage despite the affair. The IC is there to deal with why your wife felt a need for another man, the MC is there to help you two deal with her actions and how to improve your relationship so she seeks within the marriage what she sought outside it.
Reconcile and your path to personal recovery is hand-in-hand with her path. She stops – you stop. She stumbles – you fall.
Reconcile and she has to start by dealing with her drinking. Is she an alcoholic? No way for me to know, but either she’s an alcoholic and must abstain completely (as well as deal with her need to drink) or she has a drinking issue that needs to be dealt with. Very many of us here on SI think that reconciling with an alcoholic isn’t possible until the alcoholism in in check.
OK – See what lies ahead? It’s a lot of work and it’s going to cut deep into your pocket. Granted you could cut some corners. You could get a preacher or church-nominated counselor to guide you regarding the MC. Your wife could do extremely active 12 step work in lieu of IC. She could totally commit to AA and you to Al Anon and receive a bunch of help and advice. But chances are that will only increase the time R takes.
Positives? Well… if you both commit to it then you get the pleasure of working towards a goal together. There is an old misconception that marriages can improve after infidelity. That’s total bull. Marriages can and tend to improve if reconciliation is taken seriously because a bunch load of issues are dealt with. Communications, expectations, goals, aims… all these issues become clearer. But each and every step could have been taken WITHOUT the infidelity setting it in motion.
OK – so what happens if you divorce?
Well… Considering you don’t have kids…
2-4 months of hassle where you divide your debts and assets. The extent and pain being controlled by how sensibly you two approach this. Like spending three weeks arguing over the CD collection or having expensive attorneys argue over the lawn-mower.
6-12 months where you feel totally and utterly miserable.
Followed by 6-8 months of acceptance but still feeling blue.
Followed by… relief.
R is 24 months – D is 18.
R you don’t control – D you can control.
R you combine self-recovery with relationship recovery.
D you focus solely on yourself.
So NO! The easy option is NOT to go back to her. The easy option is to divorce.
Have I told you I am pro reconciliation?
Well… I hope this post doesn’t put you off R. What I fear is that by “getting back with her” you mean the most common mistake people dealing with infidelity make: Finding a way to cohabit without dealing with the issues. Short-term that’s the “easiest” but it’s also doomed to fail.
Thanks for the continued support.
I think I have had enough time and space to clear my mind, I am going to end my relationship with her. I have a hard road ahead and I am not looking forward to the conversation with her, but I believe I know my mind and cannot forgive her or rebuild the broken trust.
I am going to speak to her face to face on Tuesday, it will be the first time I've seen her since d-day. It's going to be tough but I will get through this and look forward to my new life.
Wish me luck and I will update again shortly.