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Could change everything about myself, but never be new again

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Maverick1998 posted 1/3/2014 18:45 PM

It’s been a few weeks since I found out about my wife’s affair, but I chose not to share what was happening with anyone. I’ve read through a few books (Divorce Busting, After the Affair, Not “Just Friends”), but am starting to get overwhelmed by the amount of information and wanted to solicit some other opinions.

Here goes…forgive the extended introduction, but I felt that the pattern was important to establish.

My wife and I have been married for 5 years, but had been dating on and off (mostly on) since she was a senior in high school (about 7 years) after meeting at a mutual summer job. The last time things between us were officially on hold was towards the end of college when she said that she wanted to see other people for a while to make sure that I was the right one for her. It was a bitter pill to swallow but seemed reasonable at the time. After a few months she came back and things were good again.

We both graduated from college and I went to graduate school out-of-state. It was only a few hours away and I made a point to drive back many times during the semester and every weekend during the summer. Towards the end of the program she started getting a bit distant, not being around for phone calls, going out with new “friends”. During one of the visits I took her computer off screensaver (it wasn’t meant to be intentional snooping, just casual curiosity) and found her email open. In the inbox were several responses from a Craigslist ad she’d posted, literally saying, “If you take care of me I’ll take care of you.” There was also a message from one of her friends saying that he had to break off the relationship because his wife was growing suspicious. I confronted her with this information and was tearfully told that she wanted to take advantage of her youth while she still had it…she felt that women are seen as less desirable the older they get. She said that she was ashamed of what she’d done and would understand if I didn’t want to be with her anymore. I said that I’d try to understand and that we would get past it.

I finished grad school and we moved in together. Two years later we get married and move into a home we had bought/built in a new subdivision. Two years after that we were pregnant with our daughter. During those first four years together there was a lot of adaption between two people who in the past had avoided cohabitating with others were suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar situation. The biggest point of friction was her being incredibly messy and me being a neat freak. It felt a little like exposure therapy from h*ll, but eventually we reached an equilibrium. There were other things that we argued about, but nothing that seem out of the ordinary even now.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, another coworker from that high school summer job returned to the area and got in touch with my wife. The pregnancy was hard on my wife and she didn’t bond with our daughter right away. At first the former coworker would come over to the house to visit, but as my daughter took to a bottle, my wife began going over to his house. I trusted her and thought it was just an opportunity for her to get away from the stresses of being a new parent. When they started doing things together, I just chalked it up to the two of them having common interests different than what my wife and I shared. Over time she started spending the night, telling me that they tended to stay up later than me and the baby and didn’t like being out that late on the road.

After our daughter was moved to her own room, my wife asked that I sleep in the guest room since I snored and kicked, keeping her up all night. I agreed, since that way we both would be able to finally get some sleep. Since that move we have only had sex once, and that was 2.5 years ago. Over that time physical contact has dried up to the point where she actively asks that I not touch her (that started a few months ago). After our daughter would be put down for the night, she would immediately go to her room and get on the phone with someone (who I now know to be the OM). That started about two years ago. At first I thought it was just her needing some space and that she would eventually come around. I convinced myself that I was being distrustful and that I should have more faith in my wife, even as I sat on the stairs and listened to her laughing on the phone. After that first year of this I asked her if anything was happening between her and the OM…naturally she said no. This pattern of being lukewarm but unaffectionate during the week with the family and disappearing for the weekend continued through this past summer.

Towards the end of the summer she started considering plastic surgery (breast enhancement and liposuction) to the tune of $10,000. It would put a dent in our financials, but not something that was beyond our reach, so I agreed and supported her through the recovery. The OM was supposed to pick her up from the surgery and drive her home, but suddenly the two of them had a falling out and disappeared for several months, only to return as if nothing happened (and with his return so did the routine of disappearing each weekend).

11/16/13 - I confronted her a bit more aggressively about what was happening between her and the OM. She emphatically denied the accusation and said that she was nearly to the point of just not caring what I thought anymore. She didn’t feel any chemistry between us anymore and the only thing we had in common at that point was our daughter. She still loved me, but it was more as like a brother or uncle, which was why she had asked that I stop touching her. Later on she texted (presumably while at the OM’s house) saying that she just isn’t happy with life and not sure what she can do.

12/8/13 - I knew I needed to find proof and that I would find it on her phone, but she and it are inseparable. The only other option I saw was to hack her laptop login, copy the backup for her iPhone, and extract the data from the file. I ended up finding incriminating photos and texts (some of them quite explicit), one set from before the “break-up” and another set after, both of which showed that the relationship was/is ongoing.

12/9/13 – I was looking through the pages of texts from the earlier set of texts when my wife came in and asked what I was working on (assuming it was something for the office). I couldn’t help myself and showed her what I found. We had a fairly calm and frank conversation about things – she admitted that it was going on and claimed that it had been broken off during the break. At this point they were just friends. She called me out for violating her trust by snooping on her laptop and for having horrible timing since the next week we were starting a 14-day cruise with our daughter, during which time we wouldn’t be able to do anything about our situation. She made it a point to say that even though I knew about the affair and it was over (as she claimed), it didn’t change anything that was said the previous month (i.e. no chemistry, little in common). She also demanded that I delete the file.

During that last week prior to the vacation I told her that I wouldn’t try to snoop again, but that I’d hope she’d be more forthcoming in the future. I also said that to hopefully build some trust in the meantime, I unlocked my laptop if she ever wanted to use it.

The following day she confronted me with having saved the second set of texts after which we had another discussion. She admitted that things got kicked off again, but that the reason why the OM had broken things off with her was because she refused to leave me. When I asked if she honestly saw a future with the OM, she said that she didn’t…he was too messed up financially to ever be compatible. She reiterated that she’s torn between being stuck in a boring marriage or leaving it to play the field, but hurt a lot of people in the process. She agreed that after we returned from the cruise she would go to speak with a therapist to figure out what she wanted to do. We both agreed not to take any extreme actions that couldn’t be undone in the future.

The cruise went okay, going from lukewarm to friendly over the days. It wasn’t until the last few nights that things turned. She suddenly decided to start staying out late at night, leaving me in the cabin with our daughter. At that point I was still having problems staying asleep (this starting after the discovery) and was running on 3-4 hours per night. The second night when she hadn’t returned by 1am I went out looking for her and found her chatting with some guy in a bar. We saw each other, waved, and I went back to the room…she quickly followed. My blood was up, so I told her I was going out for a walk and came back an hour later. Things were a bit cooler the last two days after that.

Things have been fairly amicable since coming home, although discussions aren’t in the ballpark of intimate and this no-touching policy is aggressively enforced. I asked if she had looked into finding a counselor yet and she agreed to find someone after the weekend (since most offices would be closed anyway)…I did lose some points for agitating her about the therapist.

My takeaway from all this has been that my wife is anxious about committing to a long-term monogamous relationship for fear of missing out on something potentially better (especially as she just turned 30 a few days ago). She doesn’t see the transition of a high-chemistry relationship into a stable and day-to-day low-chemistry relationship as a positive thing. I’m hoping that the correct therapist might help her in figuring out what direction to go…if it happens to be back my way, hopefully we’ll be able to repair the relationship.

My question for the community is basically the same everyone else asks…now what?

…and my sincere apologies for the length. I’ve been holding back too much too long and it felt good to finally communicate it to someone else.

unfound posted 1/3/2014 19:33 PM

Welcome to SI Maverick1998. It is kinda cathartic to write it all out, isn't it?

It sounds like your wife is lacking in maturity and boundaries. A good IC can help, but only if she is willing and motivated (self) to go all in and do the hard work that will be involved.

What now? Now is time to focus on yourself. Figure out what your boundaries are in order to stay in this M, and how you will defend them if they are crossed. You don't have to make any decisions right now...right now you can take in her actions and see if she is willing to do what is necessary for you to remain in the M and get your feet underneath you so you can be healthy enough that you will be okay no matter what.

Again, welcome. You've found a great place to be.

stronger08 posted 1/3/2014 19:33 PM

Right now you have no relationship with her at all. Your only in her life because you have the financial means to keep her in a lifestyle she has become accustomed to. I know this is a tough one and I'm sorry for saying this, but you really need to get a DNA test on your daughter to make sure the child is yours. From what you have posted it sounds like she had this problem before the M. And most likely she has continued with the behaviors throughout it as well. Therefore you cant trust anything she tells you as being fact, including the paternity of the child. And if you want any shot at happiness you must come down hard about the situation. Demand that she stop seeing the OM, demand that she seek IC to find out why she behaves as she does, demand that NC with OM in any way, shape or form is to continue. If she cant not or will not comply you have no other choice but to D her. She must also be 100% transparent with her life. Privacy goes out the window when she is cheating. She also must verify that she is in compliance with your wishes. If she balks at your request don't hesitate to pull that trigger on the D. Don't make idle threats when dealing with infidelity. Cut her off financially, emotionally and alike. She is playing you right now and if the OM is that important to her let him have her. But he gets all of the bullshit that goes with her. You have some tough decisions to make. But for your own sanity and health drop that hammer down hard now. Good luck bro. Keep posting and reading.

Tearsoflove posted 1/3/2014 19:58 PM


You have never had a normal marriage. I don't know why you would accept the arrangements she has forced you into but I can assure you that a real marriage involves intimacy and affection. Your wife has issues that I'm not sure even therapy will get to the bottom of. But one thing is certain, she is definitely using you for a financial lifestyle and because you have allowed her to do what very few married people would put up with.

The nights spent with a male friend, the no touching rule, the lack of sex, the constant need for validation from other men, all these things just don't occur in true marriages. I'm sure you must love her to have accepted this treatment for so long but I just can't understand why. I agree that you need a paternity test for your daughter and you need to seriously consider if this is what you want from your marriage for the rest of your life. You could be happy with a woman who gives you the mutual love and respect you deserve or you can accept sleeping in a separate room and not being touched while your wife is whoring around with who knows how many other guys. How this woman could think she deserves any trust or privacy is beyond me.

[This message edited by Tearsoflove at 4:20 AM, January 4th (Saturday)]

Maverick1998 posted 1/3/2014 21:41 PM

Thanks everyone for the comments. I suspect that responses like these will be the feedback I need to keep myself grounded in the near future.

I had never considered a paternity test and would be honestly be surprised if my daughter wasn’t actually mine, but for how inexpensive they are it wouldn’t be a bad idea…if only just to close that avenue of potential doubt.

My greatest concern over taking any hurried responses is the potential fallout that would land on my daughter’s shoulders. I’ve basically been the one who raised her since she’s become cognizant, but if I take a hard stance I only have three options: A. quit my job, find one closer, and tell my WS to move out until she figures out where she’s going, B. completely upheave my daughter’s life and move somewhere else, potentially just temporarily, or C. move out and leave my daughter with an unattached mother.

Stronger08: I completely agree that whatever her issue is, it was present before the M. I think that the newness of moving into a new home, furnishing, etc. was enough to keep her riding high on the excitement wave. Once the baby came, though, it wasn’t as exciting as she had thought…it was actually a little exhausting and downright boring at times.

Tearsoflove: It felt like a normal marriage at first. We were best friends, and good companions in many ways. The transition from high- to low-chemistry was rough and neither of us was ready or mature enough to handle it. We went to a counselor recommended by our employer’s EAP (we’re both federal), but he turned out to prefer psychoanalysis rather than cognitive or SBT, so after one session of “tell me about your childhoods” we gave up on him. I think that was the turning point…we could see the drift but didn’t know where to find the tools to stop it. I think had we known that not all therapists are created equal we may have shopped around or even paid outright for someone more to our liking…and things may have been different. I put up with her behavior for so long because I had gradually grown to depend on her for some things (cue the “grow a pair and man up” comments). I was scared of losing the person who I had been my best friend for so many years…I was scared of facing the reality that I knew was behind the curtain if I would only just peek. I tolerate it at this point because I feel that I owe it to my daughter do my best to determine whether the marriage is salvageable.

She has at least agreed to see a therapist…I can wait to see if she’ll follow through. The last year was incredibly rough on me. Trying to wrangle a 2-year old while muddling through a rollercoaster of depressions effectively ended up isolating me from most of my friends. I could do a lot of hand-wringing about the past, but it’s not very productive at this point. While I wait to see what her next move is, I’ve been reconnecting with my friends, visiting old employers (I might need a favorable reference soon), and ultimately trying to rebuild a life that could survive on its own.

crazynot posted 1/4/2014 03:09 AM

I think you are short-changing yourself in your idea of what a relationship or a marriage can be. I know this because I spent 24 years in a marriage to a man who loved me and was in many ways the perfect husband and later father, but for whom, after a year or two of being together, I felt no passion or 'chemistry'. I found sex a chore and gradually manoeuvred things so that, after our two children, we ended up having 10 years with no sort of intimacy, after which he went off and found someone else. He HAD cheated after our first year of marriage too, but by then I had got sex down to once every few weeks.

I used to meet friends when we were in our second decade of marriage who still had nightly sex with their spouses and I found this incredible.

Since breaking up with my husband I have met someone else. After almost 4 years the 'chemistry' is still there and I believe it always will be. Although I am now 52 a relationship without intense physical and emotional intimacy is not for me.

Even if your wife could stop being the incredibly selfish, amoral person she sounds to be, I seriously doubt if this is the partnership you want to spend your life in. You sound like an amazing Dad, and I'm sure you always will be. Your daughter shouldn't hate to grow up in a home with two adults in a passionless marriage. It makes kids worried and puzzled - I should know.

Maverick1998 posted 1/4/2014 04:44 AM

Last night she made a comment about wanting to get an eye lift - she felt her age was starting to show with drooping eye brows. I asked who would be paying for that? You don't get to behave badly and keep expecting the family to support this. It obviously cut a bit since she gave a snarky comment about it later that night.

I know that she has a problem and regardless of how we end up will need professional help resolving it if there's any hope for meaningful happiness in her future. Maybe I'm clinging on to those first few years of marriage when things were good, but here's what confuses me about the situation...
- she still wears her wedding ring
- she talks about us going to her cousins wedding (who was just engaged and isn't getting married for at least a year)
- she was talking about future vacations together on the last one

She seems to have some idea that a future relationship is possible, but I'm waiting to see if that's the route she pursues and if she's willing to put in the work to get there.

Lola88 posted 1/4/2014 05:04 AM

I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation Maverick but I have to say I think your wife is using - and abusing - you.

It seems she wants to be seen as married to you, with you bankrolling her "improvements" while she treats you with disdain, occasionally throwing you crumbs to keep you interested.

You deserve so more more and so does your daughter. You sound like an amazing dad and you still would be even out of the marriage. Please don't sell yourself short, she is doing enough of that for you. I hate to be hard on you but you are allowing her to treat you this way - stop it now or suffer it until she finally finds someone else - she doesn't appear to respect you at all and will move on if this continues. (((Hugs)))

Merlin posted 1/4/2014 07:26 AM

You have been one of the most agreeable and accommodating husbands I have ever heard of.

How's that going for you, your family and your marriage?

If you don't mind being lied to, cheated on and abused, keep doing what you're doing.

Otherwise, set some standards and expectations based upon values and live your life by them and let people around you know that there are things you will do in the name of love and family and things you will neither do nor tolerate.

Justgreatnews posted 1/4/2014 08:04 AM

Gotta say this woman seems close to unfixable.

Things are very messed up, and she seems to care about not one thing in the world except herself. You've assumed all the crucial parenting responsibilities, which is laudable, but further enables her to focus on herself.

A very unenviable situation. You deserve better.

Edith posted 1/4/2014 08:05 AM

Hey Maverick,
So sorry you are going through this.

In my opinion, the issue should not be whether SHE wants to stay married. She is having her cake and eating it too! She has the "perfect" arrangement, you bankrolling her slutty lifestyle and taking care of your daughter. The issue is what do YOU want? I'm so sorry, but you deserve more.

I agree with others and would also suggest that you NOT go to MC with this woman (at least not yet). In my experience, it caused more pain because my H was not only lying to me but also to the therapists.

I would also implement the 180 on her and choke off the flow of $$ for all but vital expenditures. Self improvement is great, but please do it for yourself. You cannot change her.

Take care.


Maverick1998 posted 1/4/2014 09:49 AM

When it comes to financials, we're both federal employees, earning exactly the same pay (and moving up in the scale at the same time every few years). She has earned additional money this past year through focus groups, surveys, market studies, etc, but all too often during the little time we got to spend together as a family. I always assumed that it was going into the family pool, but she claims she earned it, so it's hers. It was enough to pay for the plastic surgery, so as far as she's concerned she paid for it herself.

I was thinking a lot last night and this morning about all the comments so far. I agree that the current situation isn't sustainable and that my trying to win her back by being accommodating has only served to allow her to take advantage of me further.

We already had been pretty much bare bones until the surgery...we were paying off the house. Now instead of extra payments we're just plugging into savings. It's not so much financial support that she gets from me...I take care of the house, most of the chores (the latter point goes back to being a neat freak), the rental property, track the finances. I also give the illusion to family and friends that things are okay.

The way I see it, a true 180 from this would be to withdraw that support. Her parents have a condo not far from us (her dad works in our area sometimes, so they keep it for that and visits)...right now it's unoccupied. I'm sure they wouldn't mind me staying there for a while, especially if I mention that their daughter and I are having problems. Forcing her to face the consequences of her actions and a little bit of reality could be good for both of us. Let the OM play husband and father if he wants. His first marriage didnt work out, maybe my wife will realize why.

Maverick1998 posted 1/4/2014 10:17 AM

...or maybe pulling that particular trigger right now is too soon. I've dealt with it for all this time, what is another few weeks to see what develops if she actually goes to therapy.

Merlin posted 1/4/2014 11:04 AM


Why should you move out, even temporarily.

That's a very bad idea for your family and legally as well.

Think carefully before you act.

Many many people do in-house 180s. You should start there.

Get her out. She's the one blowing everything up and acting as if there are no consequences.

She does this because you allow her to experience no consequences for her behavior and so it grows worse and worse - a big part of that by your own hand

Stop that!

You've given her way too much ground already.

[This message edited by Merlin at 11:05 AM, January 4th (Saturday)]

Maverick1998 posted 1/4/2014 11:38 AM

What I keep coming across in books and forums is to wait until emotions have stabilized a bit before taking any drastic actions. Moving out is probably as reactionary a decision as transferring to our Portland office, quitting and looking for work closer, or any of the other dramatic changes I've considered.

The problem with having her move out is that my commute is two hours one-way. I can pick up my daughter from daycare at the end of the day, but there is no way I could accommodate drop-off. I don't see very many viable ways to get her out of the house, short of either changing jobs or changing daycare.

I suppose a 180 is the best course at this point. The rules are pretty consistent with what I've been doing so far...I just need to tighten up on my occasional snark.

If I can't leave without jeopardizing my legal position in the future and can't logistically ask her to leave, what other consequences are there if she refuses to break things off with the OM? Stay the course and see what develops?

toomanyregrets posted 1/4/2014 11:59 AM

Contact your lawyer ASAP.
You need to know your rights in case you decide to D.

k94ever posted 1/4/2014 12:04 PM

Maverick, have you seen a lawyer yet?

It sounds like your WS has absolutely no respect for you. Why would you want to stay with someone who is using you as a paycheck?

How old is she that she's already hopping on the plastic surgery boat? And it really sounds like she's stuck in trying to stay young and youthfull looking.


Merlin posted 1/4/2014 12:17 PM

Staying the course has delivered you here Mav.

Execute as full a 180 as you can while still living in the same house.

With kids that means talking about them when necessary. That and money (as well as where she sleeps whole in the house is about all you have to do.

Use texts when you can. 140 characters keeps things tight.

Until she gets that her actions are ending your marriage and your family, nothing much good can happen.

RippedSoul posted 1/4/2014 12:39 PM

I agree with all the other posters here. What I wanted to throw out, that might be new, is that you are not trapped into having your WW continue to live with you. Instead, you could consider hiring a nanny or a "father's" helper. My 20-year-old has always loved babysitting and now that she's in college (but living at home), she is even more in demand. You could find someone like her to come into your home for an hour or so each morning (after you leave but before daycare opens) and to drop your DD off each morning.

For my daughter's first nanny position, her employer found her by going to Starbuck's, seeing a nice, responsible, well-dressed young man and asking him if his girlfriend was willing to babysit for her. She was new in town and knew no one. Now, that's not exactly the safest route, but since this woman was going to be home all the time (especially at the beginning) and just needed help with her little one while unpacking, it wasn't as bad as it sounded. My daughter's employers now are a couple she met at church. Word-of-mouth is a great way to find someone. Church is, too. Or maybe you have friends/acquaintances with a child that age who is responsible enough to care for a child but young enough not to have her own dependents or another full-time gig.

Maverick1998 posted 1/4/2014 12:58 PM

What I keep coming across in books and forums is to wait until emotions have stabilized a bit before taking any drastic actions. Moving out is probably as reactionary a decision as transferring to our Portland office, quitting and looking for work closer, or any of the other dramatic changes I've considered.

The problem with having her move out is that my commute is two hours one-way. I can pick up my daughter from daycare at the end of the day, but there is no way I could accommodate drop-off. I don't see very many viable ways to get her out of the house, short of either changing jobs or changing daycare.

I suppose a 180 is the best course at this point. The rules are pretty consistent with what I've been doing so far...I just need to tighten up on my occasional snark.

If I can't leave without jeopardizing my legal position in the future and can't logistically ask her to leave, what other consequences are there if she refuses to break things off with the OM? Stay the course and see what develops?

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