So here's my story. What ever advice or help any one can give will be accepted and welcomed.
We are a British couple, who left the UK to become expats about 8 years ago for various reasons including living life to the full, exploring new lands and cultures and for my DH to move on his career in the oil and gas field. We are aged 42 (me) and 48 (him) and we have 3 kids - DS 15, DS 13 and DD 8. I gave up my career to become what's known as a trailing spouse. We have been married for 19 years. We have lived in the Far East for 2 years, the Middle East for 3 years and we are now back again in the Far East where we have been for 18 months.
When we were in the Middle East, we slipped into a real roommates situation. Snapping at one another, little intimacy, and not much happiness. At that point I discovered that my dh had been in contact with his first girlfriend through Facebook. I discovered this, told him I didn't like it (not the contact as such, but that he had been secretive about it). I didn't give it too much thought though as we were in the Middle East, and she lived in Germany (she's British but is married to a German bloke). My dh then got a new job back in the Far East, more money, great career move etc, so we were then caught up in the excitement of another move.
So we returned, settled in, but it was clear that my DH was not engaged. He was present in body, but not in mind. He was disengaged from me, the kids, our life, making new friends. Finally last year in about April I confronted him - what's the matter? What is going on? He admitted he wasn't sure he loved me, but that there was no one else. I believed him. We agreed we would work at trying to reconnect. The summer came and I left for my long anticipated trip back home to visit family and friends. He remained, but did come for a weeks visit later in the summer to see his family. All summer I was worried, couldn't stop thinking about the state of my marriage, etc. my family had a big gathering which he couldn't come to as he was on a business trip to Paris of all places, imagine flying all that way then returning back to Asia only to the come back again for his family visit! But there we are, that's the expat life and business trips. I missed him terribly at my family reunion, thinking how close he was in Paris.
On our return back in sept last year it was clear that nothing had changed. I was trying really hard, but zip. I then got caught up in my family life with the kids, school, my own projects and various visitors. Over Xmas we had great friends come and visit and my pal advised me to tackle Chris again. So I did - we went out for dinner, and I gave him an ultimatum, as in we have to do something we can't just keep going on. He again denied there being anyone else. I then did some research, found a counsellor I liked the sound of and emailed dh asking that we visit him, and if he wasn't interested then that in itself was a sign that he wasn't interested in investing any more time or effort in our marriage.
That evening was D Day. Tues 14th jan - exactly a month ago.
I asked him what he thought of my email, and he finally confessed - he was in love with another woman. I felt like I was dying. Who?? It turns out it's his ex. They were each other's first loves when they were 17, They had continued their intense electronic relationship that had started I the Middle East and had met in reality only twice - the first just over a year ago when he went on a business trip to London and she flew in from Germany,and the second, yes you guessed it, when he was in Paris last summer on business.
On paper it was a ludicrous story. He kept repeating that he loved her, they want to be together but couldn't say when (she's married with a family), couldn't say where, couldn't explain any practicalities. Anyway, he did then agree that he would come to counselling to see if there was any hope, and stated that they had no plans to meet in the near future. He agreed to keep an open mind.
Counselling was hard. But I felt we were making progress despite that she was still on the scene. But then I grew suspicious - he had a weeks long trip coming up in Singapore - she wouldn't fly all that way for a meet surely? So I asked him - denial. But my gut said something else. So I checked his mobile phone and found messages , photos, adolescent declarations of love, etc etc. and proof that they were planning on meeting in Singapore in 2 weeks. Rather than have it out with him there and then, I waited till we were in the safety of the counsellors office. Of course he couldn't deny it. That was then a deal breaker for me, so I then asked him to move out. He did so,so of course we then had to explain to our kids why. Terrible.
But then there's a twist! Our counsellor had said that often when the sh@t hits the fan, the third party ends it. Oh no says DH,we love each other. But sure enough, as soon as she hears that I've chucked him out, and our kids know and all our families know, she ended it. He never saw it coming.
So the current situation is that my DH is still living out but is visiting at the weekends. He is seeing his own counsellor as he himself is heartbroken (so he thinks). I believe he's been in the Fog as it's described here on the forum, and he's waking up slowly. He wants to reconcile but is not 100% committed as such as he still has feelings for her. He s suffering from guilt, but not full blown remorse yet. There is no more contact between them. He is not promising a rosy ending, just that he is committed to trying to find me again. I also understand that it's unrealistic of me to expect him to come running back to me with declarations of love after he has been in an intense electronic relationship with her for such a long time. In the meantime we have reconnected physically through hysterical bonding, and we are having regular date nights.
All sounds pretty promising - but is he what I want? Can I ever trust him again? Do I really want him as my life partner? He is a stranger to me in so many ways now. Im very confused.
The thought of being a single parent, moving back home, setting up a new life, financial worries, etc etc - very scary. Or a man that at the moment I'm feeling scorn and indifference towards. Altho last week it was desperate determination, and a deep rooted love. Are my fluctuating feelings normal? Help!
BS me 41
WH 42 his whore was my friend
Married 24 years
Finally finding R?
3 kids 3 grand kids
DDay 1 -Jan 2 2014
DDay 2 -Feb 20 2014 A went underground fo
Your feelings are going to be all over the place for a long while. Whether you R (reconcile) or end the M. There is no way of going around the healing process, only through. This takes years. I went into a rage when I realized he had sentenced me to years of this crazy making ride. I will tell you this, that while you embark on this journey you will find many others here, who can help you by listening, sometimes with great advice, or to simply provide some words of comfort and commiseration.
He is not promising a rosy ending, just that he is committed to trying to find me again.
No wonder you feel unsure. Two words that make no sense when they appear next to one another are "try and committed"
I'm hoping you have already found The Healing Library to the left. That's a the place to start. There are plenty of resources there to help you get your thoughts organized, and understand some of the different thoughts and processing you may face.
He wants to reconcile but is not 100% committed as such as he still has feelings for her.
Reconciliation will require him to be 100% committed. Not 90% or 99%...100% . R is hard. It's work and it requires REAL commitment, not the brand he has shown thus far. Part of that commitment will be on him, to fix HIS issues. Not your issues (that will be your job) but HIS.
One of the major stumbling blocks I have found as an expat, is the type of counseling that is available. Particularly where infidelity is concerned.
As a BS you have zero responsibility for his decision to cheat.
Even if the M was piss poor, cheating is not a way to fix issues. He had other options, why did he choose, selfishness, deception and destruction as a means to fix these "problems"? Remember that you were in the same M and you did not choose an A...you asked for counseling.
I am gathering that while you were both in counseling he was already active in the A. Counseling was useless at the time, as he was in an active state of deception You were working with an inauthentic partner.
The problem is the not and was not the M, even if the M had problems. The choice to cheat is his failure, not yours or that of the M.
Many counselors mix those issues together and view the A as a symptom of Marriage problems. For you to recover and be healthy and for him to FULLY own his poor decision making and coping mechanisms, (get healthy himself) he must be willing to accept full responsibility for the A. If you can find a counselor that fully understands ownership of each individual's behavior, it would be of great benefit to your reconciliation effort. I'm a little concerned that his counseling sounds focused on his "broken heart". I am hoping this isn't the kind of IC, that blames external forces for internal weakness. Hopefully you can get some idea of his progress based on how he views these topics.
I do hope you have some great counseling resources where you are.
The good news is that no matter the outcome...you can and will be OK. Lots of us have worked our way through to various stages of healing, with or without reconciliation.
1) I would expose to the OW's husband. While it appears that you have already exposed to your kids, I would enlarge the # of people who know. Expose to everyone who are close friends and who he has respect for (your parents, his parents, religious leader, etc). ESPECIALLY OW's husband. The affair will be dead in its tracks. If you DON'T EXPOSE to OWH then she or your WH will secretly try to make contact again.
2) I would hold off on marital counselling until you are sure NC is in place. Make him stew a bit and feel like he is going to lose everything. Make him draft up a formal written NC letter and send it to her in your presence.
3) No more FB or other social media for your WH. He needs to give you all the passwords and you should check them periodically. Insist that he gets a new email address (one that blocks out messages from OW)
4) He needs a new cell phone, and has to block out OW's number.
Overall it sounds as if your husband is still in the fog, but realizes he has made a mistake. Give it some more time before deciding what you want to do. If he does show TRUE REMORSE and makes huge changes, then it might be worth a chance to R with him.
Best of luck. Keep posting.
[This message edited by kalimata at 11:05 AM, February 18th (Tuesday)]
Once his 'soul mate' decided she didn't want him anymore, he's now suddenly 'willing' to attempt reconciliation with you?
You honestly need to ask yourself a question. Had your husband's OW NOT dumped him cold after D-Day when reality bit her square in the face, where do you think your husband would be right now?
The answer to that question is what should guide you when trying to decide if you want to reconcile. I honestly think you're opening yourself up to a world of pain if you allow yourself to be his Plan B, Teabelly.
Please think long and hard.
Then think long and hard again.
Bloody Hell! This makes me so angry for you!!!!
Life is not measured by the breaths we take
but by the moments that take our breath away.
I suppose my situation is slightly different than most due to the fact that I am a expat,and this situation is happening to me whilst I am living in a foreign country, away from my family and home friends, and I'm a 13 hour flight away from my home country. My expat friends are like my family though so the support I'm getting from them is amazing. I do feel very alone though. My phone bill is huge!
One immediate decision I have made is to remain in this country for at least another year, so my oldest son can finish his crucial GCSE exams. He's half way through at the moment, and the international school he's at is amazing. If I were to return home this summer then he would have to drop a year and start over. Not the end of the world, but with a family break up, a move back to a new school, plus have to start over I think is asking too much of him. So this way, I am here for another 14 months or so. The kids can continue to see their dad on a regular basis, and we can continue on the tentative reconciliation path we have started - you never know, it may become much firmer and stronger as time goes on. Are all, D day was only a month ago, and already so much has happened.
I think that during this time it will be much clearer for me about my feelings for my WH, and if a reconciliation is looking like it might work. If not then ill return home next summer. Then my WH would only see the kids maybe once, max twice a year as he would remain overseas.
I do agree that at the moment I am the consolation prize for my WH. But already I am noticing his thoughts of her are diminishing, and the dawning realisation that he is standing at the edge of the precipice, facing losing his family and being alone with nothing but regret and debt. We will see. At the moment I am certain that he doesn't deserve me. But I'm also determined not to just give up on our shared 20 year history so quickly and easily, as well as our kids. This extra time will be telling. And I do feel that I am in control at the moment - he's the one living out in a crappy apartment, I'm the one living in our lovely home, with our possessions and kids around me.
But it's a roller coaster ride of hell, and although this morning I'm feeling quite strong, I know for a fact that later on I'll be a blubbering mess again! I will be posting again, what a support you all are, thank you so much x
Also many cheaters set up the scenario where they manipulate and make the marriage distance and withdraw so they can justify their cheating.. don't let him revise your marital history. This is entirely his fault and in reality had nothing to do with your M.
[This message edited by whattheh at 5:15 PM, February 18th (Tuesday)]
I like your plan for the immediate future. Just make sure your husband doesn't think the decision to reconcile is purely his; make it plain that you are strongly considering leaving even if he develops sudden remorse. You have to give him the feeling he is standing on the scaffold wondering if the executioner is going to open the trapdoor. He shouldn't have so little respect for you that he assumes that you will reconcile no matter what. Hysterical bonding often gives that impression.
I do feel that I am in control at the moment - he's the one living out in a crappy apartment, I'm the one living in our lovely home, with our possessions and kids around me
If he can accept responsibility the way he should, maybe he can work his way toward deserving you. You deserve 100%, and even then you may find it's not good enough.
I think the 14 month timeframe is excellent. That's a good amount of time for you get a sense of how committed he is.
Keep reading and really getting a sense of who owns what in this situation before you make decisions. There is a ton of information here, and you may find that you are owning things that are not yours and he is passing you things that are his.
You sound like you have done a fair amount of processing already. Keep at it! Recovering from an A is complicated, and reconciliation is even more so, as we don't have any control over the choices of our WS.
I'm 4.5 years from DDay, and I still learn from the wisdom of the people on this site. Our R has survived a separation of 6 time zones, for the better part of 1.5 years. So it can be done, it's just a ton of work. Me working on myself, and he on himself and then us as a team. But I believe the majority of the work to repair the A damage fell on my Fwh. I had to repair the damage done to me. And then we could get down to the business of strengthening the M as a whole. This will be an ongoing process without an end.
R can happen with two fully committed partners willing to do ALL that is necessary.