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How long to wait out ambivalence

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kamster posted 1/8/2014 14:00 PM

Confronted my wife of 23 yrs on Christmas night and discovered she has been cheating on me. Two months physically and a year or more emotionally.
I am crushed. She has suspended her affair while she determines her future. So my pain is being compounded by her ambivalence towards reconciling with me or moving on. We have three kids. Our marriage have definitely been resting in a place without deep love, passion and intimacy, for which I am equally to blame. She states she still loves me. But has a deep love for the OP. We are both seeing spate therapists. I believe that I really want to fix the marriage. Her ambivalence causes me continued and heightened pain
I feel like I am in a holding pattern while she determines the future. Two questions:
1. How do I know that I do truly love her and not simply feeling emotions of losing familiarity and the family unit?
2. How long can I expect the ambivalence to last?
am trying to be patient and give her the space to decide what is truly in her heart.
Any advice or thoughts are very appreciated.

atsenaotie posted 1/8/2014 14:22 PM

Hey kamster,

Welcome to SI. Sorry you are here, but you could not have found a better place considering. You may be equally to blame for the M being without deep love and passion, but she is 100% to blame for responding to that with an A. Her A is about what is broken inside of her, it has nothing to do with you. Also, people to not betray and cheat on people that they love. She is saying she loves you to string you along while she considers her choices.

1. How do I know that I do truly love her and not simply feeling emotions of losing familiarity and the family unit?

I suspect that that this is actually the case. I felt this too in the early period after dday. Then I began to question how I could love someone who had lied and cheated on me. How I could love a person who clearly did not (at least at that time) love me. As you get through the shock and numbness of dday, and move towards acceptance and healing you will learn the answer to this question.

2. How long can I expect the ambivalence to last?

As long as you allow it. Frankly, I would make the decision for her. Tell her that as much as you loved her, and are willing to work on the M with her, that you cannot be a third leg on a triangle, and that she should go to be with her OM.

In the meantime, you should make an appoitment with an attorney or two to discuss what separation and D will be like in your state. This is not to say you need to move forward with D now, but you should know the facts. Find out what you can do to start shielding some of your money from her.

Take care of yourself and your kids during this period. Eat and drink water, exercise is good for dealing with stress. The healing library (yellow box upper left corner of screen) has a lot of good information. The books Not Just Friends by Glass and Sexual Detours by Hines are very good to help you to understand affairs and how to heal from them.

If the OM is married, notify the other BS of the A.

Keep posting and reading here on SI.

[This message edited by atsenaotie at 2:53 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]

Simple posted 1/8/2014 14:45 PM

IMHO you're not the one that should be waiting. Please read through here. I'll bump some of the threads for you. I think at this point the focus should be on you and your healing. Start the 180 and focus on you. Be strong for your kids. Don't let her make the decision for your happiness and your life. Make that decision for yourself.

ZedLeppelin posted 1/8/2014 22:06 PM

A cheater has suspended an affair. How noble. How gracious. Us mere mortals should go on a pilgrimage in her honor.

I am pro-marriage, but an extremely effective method of shocking a cheating partner out of their affair fog is to file for divorce. This does NOT mean that you have your mind made up about divorce. The divorce process takes a long time, and in that time you can judge whether or not she has shown enough remorse to reconcile.

Either way, your old marriage is dead. You can either build a new one with her, or move on and find a woman that actually loves you.

1) Adopt 180.
2) Do not fund her affair. Your money should only go to what the household needs.
3) If the other man has a girlfriend or wife, contact them and inform them.
4) Tell your wife to pack her bags and go to her boyfriend.

Do not use your children as an excuse. Children will be much happier in two loving households than a toxic one.

She has to win YOU back, not the other way around. File for divorce and get some self-respect.

headdesk posted 1/9/2014 03:20 AM

If you try to be nice and considerate she's use that. She won't take it as the true gifts that they are. She'll just abuse them.

She's on the fence hey? Shove her right the heck off. Him or you. It's best to see a lawyer first so you know what's what. That way she can't use your fears - you'll know what the laws say.

Figure out that if you do want to consider to try R, what are your requirements. Stick to them. Some good examples are no contact with the other man (at all. even texts. even 'as closure'. nothing but a letter or text saying 'never contact me again' and then zip), individual counseling (for her, though you probably could use it now too for support) and STI testing.

Look after yourself. It is hard on every part of you. Don't forget to eat and drink even if you're not interested in doing so - try ensure if you really cannot eat a thing.

stronger08 posted 1/9/2014 04:51 AM

This approach is going to get you nothing but more misery. And you my friend did nothing to cause her to cheat. She had many choices to make and she chose to be a coward and lie and cheat behind your back. Do not sit back while she decides what she wants to do. Your best approach is to tell her that she eithers stops this A now, does the hard work needed to earn back your love and trust or she needs to go. You can not allow her to live in a gray area of you and her lover. This must be a black and white decision. There can be no deals, compromises or mutual settlements. Its either him or you. And don't be afraid that she will choose him. Because right now you have already lost her. If she wants him send her packing to him. That includes everything emotional, financial etc. Trust me this scumbag don't want her. He wants no strings attached sex while you sit home taking care of business. She is in a delusional state with this guy. You must show her the harsh reality that comes with having an A. That means expose, divorce and all the consequences that come along with it. Don't be a schmuck doing nothing while she makes a fool out of you. I'm a firm believer that people can and do change. But without consequence for ones actions there is no motivation to change. You need to accept that she is already gone and move to protect yourself. She can come along if she follows your requirements for R or she can hit the road. All you have left now is your dignity, don't allow her to take that as well. A firm stance now will save you future pain and suffering. Trust me I know as I went down the same road you are on. If I could do it all over again I would heed my own advice. I'm sorry your here my man. But this is a great place to be given the circumstance. These kind folks know what they are saying. They saved my life and you need to allow that same offer. Please keep posting and reading. Welcome brother.

Follow Led Zeps advice. He is spot on with a strategy that works. Don't discount the power of being firm. Self preservation is the most important thing right now.

[This message edited by stronger08 at 4:53 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]

OK now posted 1/9/2014 05:58 AM

She has suspended her affair while she determines her future.

I would doubt this very much. The WS is a disciple of cake-eating; they have their marriage, a haven for the children with financial security; and they have their passionate love affair/romantic fantasy.
This affair has simply gone underground. They still meet and have sex and your WW will string you along with this suspension garbage for ever, if she can get away with it.

I would investigate and prove she is still meeting with him; he has her heart, love and loyalty and there is none for you; your marriage is just a convenience. Having shown she is still meeting with OM I would file for divorce and ask her to move out. Tell all the family, friends and basically all the people in your joint lives. This may shock her into true NC, but pressure on the OM is a more likely bet. If you can get him to dump her then she has nowhere to go with her romantic fantasy.

Either way I would not show anger and hostility; conflict will assuage her guilt and help her to justify her affair. Make it difficult for her to junk her marriage while making preparations for divorce.

Blobette posted 1/9/2014 06:28 AM

I'm so sorry you're here, and I'm afraid you might be overwhelmed by the responses. The key thing to get here is a power shift: right now it's all about her and her "choice". This part of what we call here "the wayward mindset" - that they are the center of attention, and it's their happiness that matters most. This needs to shift to a "remorseful mindset" - an awareness of the terrible terrible pain they're causing others and what losers they are to engage in an affair. And, especially at the beginning - an awareness that THEY CAN LOSE EVERYTHING. They need "shock and awe" - the realization that this can really, really mess up their lives.

They need to win YOU back, not vice versa. They are cheating scum, and you are the loyal, loving BETRAYED partner.

Right now you wife is still in fantasyland. The genius of SI is that we don't let you, the BS, get sucked into that fantasy. She needs a bit of cold, harsh reality.

I know this is a hard thing to do. Many people have a rage stage, which really helps.

Good luck.

wonderpets posted 1/9/2014 06:29 AM

The posters above are spot on. Just to agree with the above, I seriously doubt she has suspended the affair.

Assume most of what she says is a lie, or an incomplete truth. That is the truth in a vast majority of the cases here.

Hurthalo posted 1/9/2014 06:37 AM

Quote this figure at her; empirical evidence (Dr Shirley Glass of 'Not Just Friends' fame will attest) proves that just 10% of WS end up leaving to be with their AP. Of that 10%, only ~10% are with their AP 12 months later.

The question for her is, 'do you and your AP feel lucky honey? Do you have a special kind of love that has never been seen before by all of humanity??'

TheAgonyOfIt posted 1/9/2014 10:17 AM

Hi. I am so very sorry you find yourself here and for your very painful situation!

How do I know that I do truly love her and not simply feeling emotions of losing familiarity and the family unit

Great question. Hard question but perceptive. Of course no one knows how to figure that out when in the throes of beytayal, but in my case my attempts to R with my WS were mostly about a deep but not fully conscious desire to go back to the loving couple we were years ago. In my case that couple was long, long gone and never real anyway. It was a fantasy that unraveled over the years and I didn't want to give up. I also realized that my incredible feelings of hurt after Dday were really and truly not because I loved him or even appreciated most of his qualities, but overwhelmingly ego was beaten to hell because he was mine, how could he actually feel for someone else etc.

Others have given you important and practical advice. It'sa lot of feelings to sort out. Know that you will gain clarity and the power really is not hers. They all said it really well....just adding my own little illustration.

So sorry for your pain . And the deep love for her OP, it's a fantasy. It's not really real.

kamster posted 1/9/2014 20:27 PM

Thank you all for helping a stranger with such compassion and wisdom. A lot of passionate responses. a lot to think about and deal with. This is helping already.
Big thanks.

mandan66 posted 1/9/2014 22:06 PM

Kamster brother--
Hard truths you are getting here, but they are truths. As was said earlier, ZepLed was spot on. My XWW said and did the exact same as yours. But it took me 6 months to find this site; believe me, if I could do it over, I would have taken a meat cleaver to my marriage the second I found out the truth.
As to the kids---they will be just fine, as long as you show them YOU are a role model, with the correct values. Protect yourself, and them. If some day down the road your WW wants to grow up and be part of the equation, that's fine. But until then, just like you would (hopefully) tell your children: horrible choices mean bigtime consequences. Period.

kamster posted 1/10/2014 11:00 AM

I know all this is solid advice. Why is it so hard for me to throw away the last 23 years. I keep having flash backs of all the good times. I know what has to be done here but I find it so hard to cut her loose. I still love her. She is in the fog. I strongly believe our current discussion are open and honest. She has no contact with the OP. We have realized that we are no longer in deep love with each other, but we do have love for each other if that makes sense. My desired outcome is to fix the marriage and fall back in love. Unfortunately she has found that love with another. She is in the process of figuring out if she wants to rebuild our relationship or move on to where she has found happiness. I know its an illusion. She is truly conflicted and seeing a therapist to help her through the thought process. Should I not at least give her 2-3 days to collect her thoughts? in case she comes around real soon.
What kills me the most is the thought of my kids experiencing deep pain. Despite the A, the kids are experiencing a deeply loving and happy life.
My 13 old daughter just hit puberty and already going through a great deal of emotional upheaval. This will devastate her. My little ones are in family heaven. I can't bare the thought of what is coming their way. We live in an extended family situation where the kids get a lot of love and support from live in grand parents. My wife happens to be the prime bread winner. Financial and living adjustments don't really scare me as long as the kids are not impacted.
Sorry for the jumbled rant. Just need some help dealing with the kid situation.

OK now posted 1/10/2014 21:20 PM

You may have slightly misinterpreted the advice given. We are not necessarily advising you to end the marriage, far from it. Its just that your wife needs to be jolted into reality; see what harm she will do to the children and the extended family.

Your wife would love to keep her marriage [haven for the children and financial security] and the OM. If you are correct and she is not currently seeing the OM then her decision will probably be to remain married for the sake of the kids. I doubt the OM will want to take on another man's family anyway.

The trouble is, after deliberating for sometime she may decide to remain married and see the OM; moving out a few years down the line when the kids are older. This puts you in a hellish limbo, which you need to avoid if possible.

You need to 'force' her to choose reconciliation, and one way is to threaten divorce; anything to avoid years of her cake-eating. I can only warn you of the very likely possibility she will not give up either the OM or her marriage. Initiating divorce proceedings is a statement from you that you will not be cuckolded for years to come. She must choose reconciliation or the marriage is over.

You are essentially trying to manouver her into genuine reconciliation using the children's security and well-being as the overwhelming reason; she would be gone otherwise. The rest is up to you both.

Abbondad posted 1/11/2014 06:37 AM

The posters above are spot on. Just to agree with the above, I seriously doubt she has suspended the affair.
Assume most of what she says is a lie, or an incomplete truth. That is the truth in a vast majority of the cases here.


I am sorry for your pain. I can only agree with the agreers. Your story is my story--so far. I let myself wait while she "made up her mind."

It was a year of sheer hell for me. Please don't let it go any further, because it more than likely will. Act. Demand respect. Yes, you love her as everyone here loved their spouses, but her actions demonstrate no love for you. Is this the love you deserve?

Like the others, I am not telling you to end your marriage. I did not want mine to end. That's why I struggled for so long. I hope for true remorse to come from your wife and for the two of you to reconcile and move on to a new life, a new partnership--one based on respect and trust.

Please listen to all the advice here. I did not. And it cost me dearly.

You have strength you do not yet realize you possess. Act decisively, and NOW. Do NOT put up with this for one moment longer.

Wishing you strength...

Skan posted 1/11/2014 12:08 PM

Why is it so hard for me to throw away the last 23 years.

You didn't. She threw it away. You were in the same, flat marriage. You chose to remain faithful. She didn't. She made the decision, and mark my words, it was a deliberate choice, not a "mistake," to go outside of your marriage to seek another man. There were countless other choices that she could have made ranging from, talking to you, asking for MC, divorcing you, etc. But her decision was to choose to betray you with OM.

Not making a decision IS a decision. It's a decision to make you Plan B. Its a decision to keep her options open because you will take care of business at home. It's a decision to make her marriage open to a third person, if not at this very instant, then some time in the future when she choses to betray you again. There is only one choice that you should tolerate, and that is that she is going to commit to you, the marriage, and her family 100%. Any other "choice" should be treated with the contempt it deserves, as being UNTILMATELY disrespectful of you, your marriage, AND your children.

Love is never enough. It really isn't. If it were, this site would only have about 50 members. Love is an action, a choice. And right now, no matter what words are coming out of her mouth, she is not choosing that for you. Words are useless. Actions are the only true indicators of intent. Her actions do not say that she values her marriage. Listen to those actions.

Come back often for support. We are all here for you.

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