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Should I let her go?

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anothermoron posted 5/5/2014 19:24 PM

1-4 months ago I admitted my cheating to my wife. I say 1-4 months because it took me that long to tell the whole truth. I'd cheated on her 15 times over the past five years. I was convinced she'd been cheating on me, and used that as an excuse to cheat on her.
In December I found out that I'd been totally wrong about the cheating and I made my confessions over the following 4 months. I've been in therapy (one of the most difficult things has been coming to terms with what a monster I've been) and I've been a changed man since December. In many ways, my wife and I relate to each other better than ever, physically and emotionally.
But I've scarred her very badly. She is ambivalent on the question of divorce. If we didn't have kids, she'd certainly have divorced me by now. We have fun as a family, but all too often a shadow passes over her and I see what I've done to her. She's dabbled with getting a lawyer to initiate a divorce. Somehow, she can't quite bring herself to pull the trigger, at least not yet.
This is really a question for betrayed spouses, both those who stuck with it and those who got out: should I let her go? She can't bring herself to divorce me while she sees me trying so hard, and while she sees how much I want to fix things. But no matter how hard I try, how much I fix myself, I might never be able to make her as happy as she could be with someone else. So what do I do? Do I need to just grow up and organise the divorce for her? It's the last thing I want, but I dont want to consign her to a life of unhappiness.

ButterflyGirl posted 5/5/2014 19:45 PM

I wouldn't suggest organizing the divorce for her. I think she needs to control that, figuring out what she wants out of it. I would let her see a lawyer if she wants so she knows her options.. Knowledge is power, and she should feel she has some power here. Don't take her getting some advice as filing and making a decision. I saw many lawyers before getting the nerve to file. Let her know she can make her own decisions and do what is best for her..

I also think organizing the divorce could be subconsciously telling her you want out..

I would advise you to continue being as understanding and humble as possible. Don't stress too much about what the future holds. Just do the best you can and be the best person you can every single day. Even if she leaves you, decide right now you are going to keep bettering yourself and be dedicated to being a good role model for your kids..

Kajem posted 5/5/2014 19:49 PM

Warning 2x4 coming gently.

The wisdom around here for the BS is " you'll know when your done." I don't think you need to be making decisions for your wife.

It's incredibly difficult to R. If you can't do it, or you want to end your marriage then make YOUR decision to divorce. But don't assume you know what she wants.


No12turn2 posted 5/5/2014 21:12 PM

Didn't you make the mistake of assuming already?

RomanticInnocenc posted 5/5/2014 22:52 PM

Ummm, only if you want to reinforce to her that she means nothing. If you want to R your job is to do everything you can to reassure her that she is what you want, that you aren't running from the pain of what you have caused and that you can and will support her through it and put your own selfish needs behind you!! Her job is to work out what is best for her. In terms of the marriage, unless you want out, it should be her choice how or when it ends! My WH tends to do a lot of assuming too, STOP IT!! Talk to your wife, tell her how you are feeling, reassure her that you want this marriage to work and are prepared to do whatever it takes to make it so. Then tell her that you understand if she still decides she needs to divorce, but until she tells you she wants absolutely nothing to do with you, you are going to fight for her!

Ostrich80 posted 5/6/2014 00:24 AM

If my ws had told me what your suggesting, I would assume he was looking for a way out. Just keep doing your best at R. It may take time or she may decide later she wants a D. You should give her more credit for being able to decide on her own.

sunvalley posted 5/6/2014 00:53 AM

I am going through similar right now. My H is doing everything right but I still have my grieving process to deal with. As much as I struggle daily with my own decision to stay or question if Id be happier elsewhere at times, I would never want to see him take action for me. My self doubts are just that...doubts and fears. I would anticipate that there not too many people in our position who feel comfortable or safe with their decision to stay with the person who did this to them, even if they are remorsefuland changed. Over time and with regained trust hopefully the doubt and fear will fade. In the meantime what she needs from you is 100% commitment to stand by her, unless either of your feelings about R change. Dont make deciaions for her. Even if they are graceful and compassionate reasons, I doubt she would see them as such. For me personally this has created self doubt and insecurities Ive never had before and anytime we get into a fight about R interpret his comments about me possibly being happier without him as him looking for a way out. I know he isnt but its my insecurity that tells me this.

CantSeeInTheDark posted 5/6/2014 01:18 AM

Hell. No.

As a BW I would just take that as he wanted out.

You've already given her a lot to deal with. You need to be patient now and let her process what's happened.

If you love her, and are genuine about R, keep making the effort.

SBB posted 5/6/2014 01:52 AM

If you're doing the work just to win her back - let her go.

If you can't face what you've done and her knowing about and reminding you about it by wanting to talk about it A LOT - let her go.

R is not for the faint hearted. I'm astonished that anyone can achieve it. If you don't think you're up for it then let her go. R is a gift you both give to each other. The WS does do most of the heavy lifting for the first year or two but the success stories are where both end up working hard at to together.

You have to do the work for you. You have to want R for you. Not to save your M or to not lose your wife and intact family. But because YOU want to heal yourself.

Even if she wants S/D you still need to do the work to fix you so you're never in this situation again.

Your problems won't go away if you divorce her. They'll follow you into the next relationship and the next and the next.

This low self esteem would be a major red flag for me as Xs lack of self esteem it is one of the factors that led him to betray me and betray himself in the first place.

Do not presume to know what is in her heart. You don't.

anothermoron posted 5/6/2014 15:57 PM

Thanks all. I'm grateful for your advice. Somehow keeps my spirits up to hear others in similar positions.

hardtimesinlife posted 5/6/2014 20:17 PM

I am glad everyone else has said what I wanted to say.
One thing that sticks out to me in your post is that you cheated 15 times because you thought she was cheating on you. That is your "why". If I was your wife the first thing I would want to know is that you are no longer playing "tit for tat". No pun intended.
Your wife is probably wondering when you will get it in your head that she is cheating again and when you will just have to go out and even up the score.

And 1-4 months is a nanosecond in terms of her recovery from this trauma. It takes years for most BS's unless they feel they need to pretend to be over it so that their WS doesn't pull another rug out from under them.

I know that had nothing to do with your question but it has been bothering me all day. I hope you can find the real "why" that led you to cheat because "she did it first" is, as you said, just the excuse you used. The "why" is extremely important to the BS because by fixing the why she can start to trust that it isn't going to happen again. The "why" is usually buried much deeper and probably has something to do with low self esteem, self doubt (evident in this post) and maybe foo issues. I hope the best for both of you.

Melian40 posted 5/7/2014 16:24 PM

My husband said to me the same things. He was almost sure that I was cheating on him because our intimacy had been decreased during that time.
So, according to my WH, if I didn't have sex with him, it should have been someone else in my life.
But let's say you suspected your wife was having an affair. Did you dig to find out for sure? There are a lot of ways to catch a cheater once you suspect them.
I think my WH assumed, or deep down he wanted me to cheat on him so he could justify his cheating..(?)

maimed posted 5/8/2014 14:54 PM

Speaking as a BS, organizing divorce preceding's, "for her" would just be taking another piece of control of her life away from her. Infidelity has a way of making us feel "out of control" in every aspect of everything. Be patient with her and don't presume that you know what is going on in her mind, ambivalence is a coping mechanism, for me anyway.

lostlove7 posted 5/8/2014 15:39 PM

It took me two months to tell the whole truth to my BS, so i understand. My husband is constantly telling me that he wants me to organize/start the divorce process...I want to do all that i can to help him heal but I also know that i want to fight for him. I don't want to do give him another reason/show him that I want out of this relationship (by filing). If you truly want to stay: keep pushing forward, keep fighting, and stay strong.

libertyrocks posted 5/8/2014 16:04 PM

It took me 15 months to S and file for D. I tried and tried, but I got 15 months of TT, false R, and the 10 OW is just what I know about.

My answer is I don't think she knows yet. I will share my experience and will not judge you. I told myself to sacrifice and do it for the kids. But, I couldn't do it any longer, not for myself and inevitably for my kids and STBXH. It was horrible living in a state of not wanting to ruin my sons' lives, but at the same time, not accepting and eventually showing sons cheating is not an acceptable form of treatment or how to be treated. I'm setting the example for them.

With you, it's a little different, you felt bad enough to tell her. I had to find EVERYTHING out for over a year. He never felt bad enough to tell me anything on his own. sad. I would have forgiven him if he would have come to me. But, lying for another 15 months of trying to R and 3 years of him secretly cheating on me. I cannot and will not accept that treatment. I would rather have my boys come from a broken home than live in one.

Good luck, sweetie. I know you still hurt and this is very hard for you, too.

I, too, can recall that dark shadow. When we were doing family things, having fun, then a song comes on the radio, or I see a hotel and get triggers. It's not a way to live. It was like death for me. Death of our marriage and death of our vows, trust, my whole life, myself, everything that I knew was all a lie.

soconfusednow posted 5/8/2014 16:50 PM

I believe ambivalence is the norm for a BS.

Do I need to just grow up and organise the divorce for her?
What you need to organize is R, if that's what you really want. Ask what she needs & give 110%. If she doesn't know what she needs do your best to be there for her through all the emotions, especially the bad ones, unless she asks for distance.

Have you read How to Help Your Spouse Heal From an Affair? It may be helpful.

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