I understand your worry for your children but staying with their mother is not the right answer for you OR them. Do you have evidence/is NJ a fault state? Consult with attorneys, move some money into a separate account, get your ducks in a row and file. Maybe find an attorney who specializes in family law for fathers re: child custody. Just because you are the man does not mean anymore that you can't have custody; get informed and present the best possible case to protect your role in your children's life.
Really, no one will be happy if you continue in this way. You can sell the marital home and downsize, and guess what? Your WW can learn to support herself. She was capable of using you as a meal ticket these years so I wouldn't be crying any tears about her viability on the job market. You reap what you sow in her case.
You sound like a great guy and can find someone better.
[This message edited by norabird at 11:59 PM, February 6th (Thursday)]
She said things like, I didnt say happy birthday to her until I got home from work that night (I leave at 6 am when everyone else is sleeping) and I didnt complement her like her boyfriend did and the kicker, I devoted all my time to the kids!
The truth is, there is NO justification for an affair. Nothing you did, said, didn't do, didn't say, etc. - NOTHING made her do what she did. She made deliberate choices to lie and betray you. The affairs are entirely on her.
You would be well-served to find out what you could expect as far as custody and finances if you were to file for divorce. As I understand it, NJ is a rough state for divorce laws, but you really need to do the research yourself. Get a consultation with a divorce lawyer. Find out where you stand.
Sending you strength. ((((stuckinNJagain))))
“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”
― Pema Chödrön
Please don't let her put any of her excuses on you, and that's what they are, excuses. She's trying to justify, in her own mind, that she is completely in the right in doing what she did. The proper thing to do would have been for her to go to you and talk to you about the issues. She's a grown woman. Adults are supposed to communicate with each other.
I second what NIK said. Go see a lawyer. There's no harm in gathering information. No one says you have to file right away. Just get your ducks in a row. Work on healing yourself and continue to take care of the kids. They are going to need you.
Sending you strength and (((HUGS))) to get through this.
Post often, it helps.
It is obvious how much you love your kids. One thing that helped me when I was trying to decide R or D was a question posed by my brother...to be answered when your children reached adulthood....
Could you sit your (adult) child down and say, "I did everything in my power to save the marriage, but was unable to do so."
If your answer is no, it may be worth some soul searching. If your answer is yes, try this thought on....
It is better to be FROM a broken home than IN one.
Obviously this is a very personal decision and one only you can answer. Sending you some peace as you wade through this hell.
I don't know if my chicken will ever become an eagle. But rest assured, I'm going to be a phoenix. Nevermind that I am still in the ashes stage of the process.
So sorry you are here. Your kids obviously love you a lot. They will remember back at these days and see someone who stood by them. But if you let your WW walk all over you, they will remember a spineless coward. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF!!!!
The biggest mistake that I see you've made is not exposing affair #1. Exposure is the single biggest weapon you have to prevent this from happening again. It sounds like you have not yet exposed to OM's wife yet. Especially to people who are close to your WW (family, friends, religious leaders, your parents, her parents). I would tell the kids too in simple language that they can understand. Don't lie to your kids, they will respect you later.
The second mistake you made was not insisting on 100% no contact between your WW and OM. The fact that you both saw the OM occasionally makes true R impossible. So if you decide to R a second time, NO CONTACT needs to be a cornerstone of your plan.
The third thing is that you allowed toxic friends to continually influence your WW. You have to draw a line in the sand: friends who are PRO-marriage or ANTI-marriage. If you decide to R, then you need to cut-off all contact with these toxic influences from your WW.
Your kids are the primary concern, and I'm glad that you are thinking about them. Your kids will respect you more in the long-run if you stand up for yourself and stop letting your WW walk all over you. Don't worry about the effect of lifestyle changes on them. Living in this type of situation is no way to teach kids how to be married. I personally would RUN to the divorce attorney and file immediately. NJ is a no-fault state, but you will be able to mention infidelity in the D papers.
Once you expose, it may or may not get back to your kids. If your WW is truly interested in saving the marriage, then she will keep the A secret from your kids. If she is not interested in saving the marriage, then there is no point anyway because the kids will eventually find out. KEEPING THIS FROM YOUR KIDS WILL HARM THEM IN THE LONG RUN. The reason is that they would much rather hear from your lips what happened instead of hearing about it from the gossip train.
I suggest to expose to only close friends and family who you both trust. People who are likely to have the most impact on your WW. Perhaps this is a religious leader, your parents, your siblings, her siblings, etc.
The best way to expose to these close friends is via email, FB, snail mail or even a simple phone call. Best to set to release all of the exposure on the same day. Keep it short and sweet. Explain that you recently found evidence that your WW was having an A and that this is not the first time it happened. You want their help in keeping the marriage intact and want them to use their influence with WW to come back to the marriage. Then state if they want more proof to contact you. A wave of sympathy will then come over you. Exposed people will then contact WW to ask her side of the story. She will be blind sided and try to deny. They will then believe you. If you keep this to only close friends and family they are unlikely to tell your kids. However I can't guarantee that the kids won't find out. But it may be the best if they do find out anyway.
Don't warn ahead of time that you will expose to OM or WW, simply do it. Warning or threatening ahead of time gives them opportunity to synchronize their stories to paint you as the crazy person.
Best of luck, I'm rooting for you man.
[This message edited by kalimata at 6:50 AM, February 20th (Thursday)]
Your situation highlights one of the difficulties about reacting to WS adultery. If you are devastated and angry and this anger is maintained for more than a few weeks, the WS often gives up and turns away from the marriage [again!]. Conflict reappears and so can another affair - often with the same affair partner.
Often seems like the BS just can't win. Swallow the adultery without too much complaint, or expect more of the same. Basically sums up what happened to you.
Seeing a therapist sounds like another great next step. After that, consult with a lawyer and figure out what the practical side of D looks like.
You can do this. You are strong enough and deserve to have the future you choose for yourself, whatever it may be.
Did not disclosing to family cause affairs #2, 3, or whatever number? In my opinion---no. She cheated again...and will continue to do so...until she has the desire to put in the hard work to discover her root issues. While you can demand that she go to IC, it won't make a difference unless she wants to go.
Personally, with your current state of indifference, I would do (2) things:
First, please read, re-read, and re-read again yearsofpain25's posts. He really helps add the perspective from the childrens' viewpoint. Not that others here don't, but his story has really driven home how infidelity impacts the entire family....especially children.
The other point is to use your indifference to your healing advantage. Although you do not feel this way, you are at a point that many newly betrayed members strive to reach. We are often too paralyzed by fear in the early days to act in our best interests---and you are way beyond that point. Yet, you are not beyond the point of POSSIBLE reconciliation.
So, keep positioning yourself like you currently are doing. Inform family, if that is what you wish. See a lawyer, and learn your rights(my brother is divorcing after 30 years of marriage, and I agree with others that NJ can be terribly biased...although that is not always the case). But it definitely helps to gather knowledge.
All the while---WATCH YOUR WIFE. See if she is making wholesale changes, without your insistence. See if she can become the woman that you fell in love with years ago. Who knows---maybe she can turn it around. Maybe you still won't be interested. But with your indifference, you may have the choice to divorce or re-commit.
On a side note--after my last D-day, I was hellbent on divorce. No one was going to stop me. And I told my WW that she sure as hell better fix herself, because with or without me, she was going to have to be a productive mother and member of society.
And she did. Without my influence, because I was working on exit strategy, she dug deep, and found her old self. She was a good person for way longer than she was a bad one, and works hard to this day to keep herself in line. And I am still here....BY MY CHOICE.
I am not telling you to stay or go. Just to make the healthiest choice for YOU---because that is what your children will see and feel as they grow---a father who stood up for what was right.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day: 9/18/09 D-Day#2: 2/19/10 The Marriage Killer: 6/6/11
Heading for D