We have been married for 7 years, together for 15. We have 2 young children, a daughter (5) and a son (3). At time of disclosure we had been trying for a 3rd child for over a year.
On Dec 27/13, after putting our children to bed, my husband told me he wasn't happy in our marriage, he no longer had feelings for me and that he had "almost" had an affair. I asked him if he wanted to go to counseling or if he was planning to leave. He said he wanted to work on things but was clear that it was for the kids and that he didn't know if it was possible for him to have feelings for me again. I was shocked just from this initial bit of information, I knew our relationship had issues for a while. I had asked him to go to counseling after our son was born. I was struggling with the lack of help at home, the lack of conversation or affection, but he refused, he said counseling doesn't work. So I accepted that for now he wasn't ready, but that we loved each other enough to get through it, I never dreamed of going outside the marriage and trusted him completely.
After going for an hour long walk with the dog, I came back and asked about what "almost" meant. He said that he'd known the OW for 2 years and had been attracted to her, but had only been seeing her for about a month. He said he has feelings for her but it hadn't gone past kissing. I asked him to stop seeing her, he said he would. I asked him if it was someone from work, he said it was.
So the next day we booked an appointment with counsellor for the following week. She wasn't specifically a marriage counsellor but I figured we needed to start somewhere.
I also told him I was going to go through and get rid of the baby stuff we'd been saving, since we wouldn't need it anymore. This upset him but I told him there was no way I'd bring another child into such an unstable relationship. It broke my heart to get rid of those things, but I had to, it was a reminder of my false sense of security and of my hope for the future that now wouldn't come true.
We began counseling but she seemed more focused on how he was feeling about our relationship and didn't really even touch on the affair. But at that point even I wasn't sure that's what it was.
Then a week later, I unplugged his phone from the charger and a message notification popped up: "thanks for your help today, I am thinking of you always." It was the OW. I texted her back, just asking her not to contact him again, then I deleted her contact info from his phone. I confronted him. I asked him how he could be working on our relationship if he is still in contact with her. He apologized, but was angry I deleted her info, he said it should have been his choice and that I had no right to make that decision for him. Next counseling session (week later) I found out he was still talking to her, the counsellor seemed just as surprised and suggested that he should stop contact with the OW (after I had stormed out of session).
At home I told him he could leave or stay, but if he stayed he had to be committed to our relationship and if not he should leave now. He stayed and over the next few weeks I watched him mope around the house, lose weight, wouldn't look me in the eyes, very moody. That is when I realized the extent of emotional involvement of the A; he was grieving, he loved her. Then I received the phone bill indicating almost 400 min of conversation to her number over a 3 week period. My heart broke again.
I needed to know everything, where they went, what exactly happened. He said they didn't go out outside of work except for 2 days before Christmas he went gift shopping with her for her 8 year old son. They had kissed for a while in the car. He planned to start a sexual relationship with her but the next day a friend of his from work, (who's wife had an affair and left him for someone else), confronted him and urged him to work on his marriage.
I was upset but ok, until the next day when I was looking at the rocking horse he had brought home for the kids for Christmas. He said a woman at work had given it to him for the kids because her son had out grown it and she wanted to give it to someone who would take care of it because it meant a lot to her since her son loved it so much. It dawned on me that it was from the OW, I asked him and he admitted it was. This hurt me more than anything, how dare he bring a gift from her for our children into our house? All of our Christmas pictures of the kids have either them riding it or it in the background. I spent my lunch break at work deleting pictures of my children at Christmas.
After that I began to push away, I needed him to show me he wanted to make this work. I felt so far I'd put in all the effort only to be getting nowhere. I felt sick every time he went to work because it felt like he was just going to her. So I told him I needed him to start looking for another job. Even if he wasn't talking to her, he sees her everyday so it felt like it wasn't over between them, it felt like it was just on hold in case our marriage doesn't work out. I also said if he didn't want to find a new job, we should start a trial separation because it's too hard for me to deal with day in day out.
After a couple weeks of him not even showing interest in starting to look for another job, I asked him why. He said he didn't want to quit. He liked his job there and if he quit it would just be to buy himself more time with the kids and he would resent me for asking him to quit. So I asked him if he was done trying to work on things and he said yes. He said he tried but he still doesn't have feelings for me and even though he hasn't been in contact with her because he was trying to keep our family together, he can't stop thinking about her. He left last night. I asked if this is a trial separation, he said he doesn't know.
I am so angry. 15 years of commitment to him and I get 2 1/2 months of trying to work on our relationship?! He feels so strongly after 1 month (supposedly) with someone else that he is willing to let go of someone who has loved him unconditionally AND throw his family away?
We have an appointment with a new counsellor ( an actual marriage therapist) the day after tomorrow. I made the appointment almost 2 weeks ago, he says he will still go. Not getting my hopes up though, would take a miracle at this point to salvage this.
Any experiences with trial separation? Anyone that it has helped? Just feel like there's nothing else I can really do at this point.
[This message edited by trying2makesense at 2:01 PM, March 11th (Tuesday)]