I have been lurking on this site for 109 days and have finally decided to take the plunge and share my story as a BS in the hopes that I am able to gain some clarity as well as assist (hopefully!) the masses going through the same idiocy. We were a younger couple and were together for 2.5 years prior to D-day. No kids, no financial obligations, no reason to not completely start over except that I truly love the potential of her. That being said I will settle for NO LESS than the potential I fell in love with, one drop less and I will be gone.
Who I am
I am a business process analyst in charge of my company's process improvement initiative. I am extremely analytical and reason rules my world. I am excruciatingly detail oriented and my core values are Reason, Equity/Justice, Integrity above all else. I was raised in a very stable home where kindness and love were highly reinforced, but communication was not always the strongest as issues that caused conflict were generally swept under the rug. The other negative FOO I’ve discovered is I had external validation issues when entering the relationship which stem from perfectionism driven into me at a young age (lovingly), by my well-meaning SAHM.
Who she is
She is a bank manager who is capable of compassion where applicable. Nurturing tends to rule her world more than any other descriptor. She was raised in a completely broken home which included abuse (physical, mental, sexual), where her mother was engaging in affairs and eventually abandoned the family when she was really young never to be seen again. She was shuffled from house to house and in and out of foster care for most of her childhood.
Who he was
Zero fucks were given; they always affair down and this case is no different. He was a tool for her own broken coping mechanisms.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of it, a rough timetable of affair events goes as such. Towards the end of December her AP had been pursuing her for months and I had warned her about it since she was open to sharing any and all work stories (I later found out she always had a crush on him and her twisted curiosity set out to see if this was true). A few days prior to Christmas, she began to let the OM in emotionally and shared secretive texts with him unbeknownst to me. The day after Christmas she went to meet him for the first time and they shared their first kiss but nothing more. Three days later everything went completely physical and fully culminated. On New Year’s Eve, she made one small comment that sent alarm bells ringing and whereas before I was blindly trusting, I began to gather my thoughts and pursue the truth. On the third of January she met the OM and ended the physical aspect of the relationship stating she wanted to be with me (he had asked her to choose). On the 6th of January (DDay #1) I confronted her naively and she eventually admitted to an emotional affair, at the same time she claimed to go NC with the OM which I hadn’t specifically requested. However at this point things still did not add up in my mind and after much inner turmoil and thinking I requested further information. On the 23rd (DDay #2) she gave me full access to everything which allowed me to verify my worst fears, that the EA was in fact a PA. I calmly called her best friend and told her that my WGF would need a place to stay and asked if she could house her temporarily until my WGF could move out completely. Without getting any further details on the where/when/how many etc, we separated, and have been broken up since. Since then, I have dug and dug and dug to no avail and found nothing else. She TT’ed once to admit that a week into our relationship she slept with her ex, which although purely vile, was something I never would have considered to ask let alone been able to verify and demonstrated her commitment to moving forward with honesty, integrity and transparency.
Since D-Day #2
She currently lives in my house still, in a separate room, and is (from what I’ve read at least), about as remorseful as they come or the most skilled liar / manipulator ever witnessed. The following is a list of things (in no particular order) she has done on her own without me saying a word on what I needed:
• She changed her phone number that day to help ensure NC
• She searched for a new job ferociously to no avail. The moment a transfer became available, she seized it and will be starting at the new location at the end of this month. AP was a customer at the bank who she saw infrequently and always hid from.
She has been 100% transparent at all times about when her AP comes into the branch. In addition she has given me access to literally every facet of her life, prints off timecards, sends pictures of locations, installed GPS. I can literally account for every minute of her life since DDay#2 although this is not a role I wish to take on.
• She purchased the standard books and read (some of them). Now she spends most of her time on SI instead, posting, reading, note taking and discussing findings/posts.
• She has attempted communication on a level I have not ever seen from her (although there were a few trickle truths in the beginning, I believe I finally have the entire story of her emotional journey through the process)
• She began IC and has been deeply investigating the why as well as attempting to resolve her entire and tragic childhood which has always been swept under the rug (SLA, CSAB, Codependency, Abandonment, etc. etc. etc.). In addition she is attending CoDa meetings twice a week to supplement this counseling and is searching for SLA meetings to go to as well.
• She has written an exhaustive list of what she wants to heal about herself as well as me (although I'm sure more will come up as IC continues) and has implemented a Kanban board solution for tackling these things efficiently.
• She has paid for my IC as well which is a financial burden on her especially given her unsure financial future.
• She has openly and honestly apologized to her closest family (I did not disclose to them what occurred) as well as mine in addition to my best friend (really more like my brother).
• She has consistently affirmed (and actioned) that I am the one and she will make every sacrifice possible to rectify the choices she made and ensure that she stays miles away from the slippery slope forevermore.
• She continually tries to make me feel appreciated and loved by (including but not limited to) leaving thoughtful notes, surprising me with snack packs for work, communicating even the deepest darkest of her thoughts, following me to all my sporting events/massaging any aches I have afterwards, etc.
• She is very understanding of timeframes revolving around this and states that no matter how long it takes she is not going to give up or pressure me to make decisions or do any sort of R or MC before I am ready to (if I'm ever ready to which she knows).
• She owns the choices 100%, she even states that pre-affair she had no reason to stray and that she was blind and unappreciative (I’m no angel, and I realize that I indeed COULD have been a FAR better BF)
• She is pushing for hysterical bonding daily, multiple times a day, all day and she hungers to do anything else she can physically for me such as massaging any aches and pains (love language number 2 is physical touch, which is something she’s never hit on strongly).
She has offered and pushed for a polygraph (although at first she was against it). She continues to push for this almost daily as a way to prove there are no TT’s lurking. I will eventually do this but for now I’m sorting through the best questions to ask.
I had set a rough timeline in my head of 1 year before any final decision while under the guise of in house separation and four months out this is getting tricky. In my mind if she quit before the year was up or slowed down her own self growth/change, then she was not a partner I wanted, and I could easily walk knowing that to be with her, would be settling for less than I desired. My initial plan was to climb my own mountain and find myself again which I believe I have done marvelously (albeit obtaining approximately 14 PhD’s in infidelity from reading ad nauseam). At this point I feel I am very far along the path of understanding the affair, understanding my role (or complete lack thereof), and understanding my self-worth (which I habitually tied up in my job/girlfriend/family/friends/whatever due to my perfectionist nature). In addition I have had grieved the loss of innocence, the loss of dreams, and the loss of stability/safety which I had always naively taken for granted. Currently I sit in limbo as I believe 4 months do not show a changed person worthy of R, not even remotely; however limbo is murder for me, it is sucking the life out of me. I am an extremely decisive person and waiting 8 months is about the opposite of the way I’d handle any other major life issue. This is something I will eventually have to overcome and find an acceptable compromise within myself to.
Question 1: With the back story out of the way, I’ve got a pretty specific question and would love to hear all opinions/viewpoints on this. Since DDay#2 she has been excruciatingly transparent except for last night. While we were out with some friends she suddenly became upset and started furiously texting someone. At the time I quickly glanced over and she hid her phone. I decided rather than make a large scene I would wait until we were alone to see what was actually up. This ate away at me as it was a red flag and definitively affair behavior. Once we had a moment alone I explained this, and she immediately regretted what she had done, handed me her phone (which I was able to verify as “clean” e.g. no emails sent, no texts, no secret apps installed/deleted, only harmless venting to her friend about the conversation at the table). So in the end while I know that there is no secret affair going on, the behavior triggered me for the last 15 minutes we were out with friends until we had a moment to clear it up. Is this standard? How would you handle this?
Question 2: I do not want to play watch dog for life, those are shackles I refuse to wear and a prison I refuse to be a part of. I had considered the possibility of a yearly polygraph consisting of one question and one question alone, “have you had any physical or emotional affairs since January 23, 2014). I feel this would enable me to release the outcome which forces me to be a watchdog, let her know once and for all that she WILL be caught if ever this happens again, and give us a chance to rebuild a measure of trust. Fail once and no questions asked I walk away. This is a brief overview of my thoughts on the question posed but I’d be curious as to anyone else’s experiences.
Any additional thoughts/advice would be very welcome, and I am exceedingly thankful for the “club” we never wished to join so to speak. The collective wisdom here is/has been truly a lifesaver.
Is this standard
A yearly polygraph would not be a relationship that many would want to be in. It is either full trust or why bother.
You will regain the trust again as long as she doesnt do anything else.
I think it is more important that she learn boundaries and learn why in the world she allowed this to happen in the first place, if she hasnt already learned.
As for the yearly poly, im sure she would welcome it. She's of the stance, anything it takes and that an honest person has nothing to hide. From my perspective it appears that at the end of the day it always ends in trust but verify. This would release me of the majority of the verify side of things, I could always look if theres a gut instinct that I need to but I would no longer need to daily if that makes sense.
It really does sound like she is trying very hard, you've described a level of remorse and understanding that we seldom see from a WS so soon after DDay (assuming of course that it is genuine remorse).
I don't know about trusting a polygraph unless there is a reason or other evidence.
This has knocked innocence away for good. You know now that you will never just blindly trust anyone again 100%. That's just part of the result of the shitstorm of infidelity. Accept it. I see a young woman who is badly broken not by her own doing, but by the crappy environment in which she was raised. She had NO real coping skills, and sought out the attentions of other because she could. Based on what you have shared about her upbringing I would guess that she probably never really believed in heart and soul that you were the real deal and would stick it out.
She has to learn her why, and she has to learn how to deal with that why if it ever comes up again. She so far is doing really well with that work. I disagree with your strong stance on being separated. If you are seeing the work, and she is making progress, having intimacy, and time together can help you both heal and progress much more quickly than doing it alone. She needs to feel that bond, and that you love her despite her choices at this point. You can also benefit from knowing she cares enough to do whatever you see fit for R to be successful.
You will trigger, and it will suck. You will trigger in a month, you will trigger at a year, and surprise surprise you might even trigger 5 years from now. But the thing is you have distance on it, and you will have the support of your partner to help you through it. Triggers are like vampires, and the longer you keep them locked in the dark the bigger, meaner, and badder they seem. When you drag them into the daylight and both of you poke at it with a Garlic coated dagger the sooner you can kill it.
As for playing watchdog, let me ask you this. When she was up to no good, didn't her demeanor change, didn't you know something was up? Few of us are totally blindsided by the A. There are behavior changes, there are mood swings, there are times of anxiety and less love and attention, and almost a ridiculous level of blame to when the world isn't perfect.
When you see any of THOSE behaviors again, you will go on high alert. You have the knowledge and experience of having BTDT at this point, and will be able to pick up on subtle changes should she EVER choose to do this again. YOU don't have to be a watchdog. You will know. You also know and have made the hard decision anything less than 100% from her and you are done. So let it go, and enjoy being together when it's good. Reward yourself, and each other for the hard work you are doing.
It's ok to have some happy and good times. I can honestly tell you when I saw the changes in my spouse once he really got it, I embraced the good times. I enjoyed them for what they were. Sure there are crappy days mixed in, but man did it feel good to have a wonderful day now and again after those first horrible months of R.
Don't punish yourself by attempting to punish her. She is doing the work. Be glad for it.
You both seem to making strides, and healing. You keep doing the work, you will make it.
Since WSO has done all of these things apparently without being asked, one might fairly conclude that she is also a student of this site.
All,this is great. Except, why did she have this short affair? I see that she's searching for the answer to this among many other childhood issues. A good sign, but no guarantee against an encore performance should some stressors appear in her life later.
There is a thread or two here explaining very well how even after trust is restored, the relationship is never exactly the same. Some mathematician even explained that while the hurt and distrust approach zero over time, they can never reach zero (I recall something like that from calculus or physics--I forget which). So, you may have to ask yourself a question -- can you accept less than 100% of what you had pre-A? That is my very long answer to your first issue.
A second question is raised. Why did the affair end so abruptly? While Mozart wrote "Le Donna e mobile" for some opera of his, WSO doesn't seem to be the fickle type, so he didn't write it with her in mind. Maybe she realized the very poor risk/benefit ratio in continuing it? Perhaps you already know the answer to this. Even years later, I regret not asking my now wife how and why a premarital affair with a MM ended. It was before I knew her, but that nagging question has remained.
[This message edited by Schadenfreude at 2:15 PM, May 13th (Tuesday)]
Tushnurse, her mentor from childhood who is a wonderful lady surmised the same thing you did when you stated
she probably never really believed in heart and soul that you were the real deal and would stick it out.
With that being said, being separated in my mind is a necessary step on a few different fronts. First and foremost, as of this moment I do not feel safe. I want to feel safe, I want to believe but I cannot. This stems back to an incident last summer where I first began to see the scope of broken when she physically hit me and subsequently volunteered for counseling. I took a strong stance on that issue but after seeing progress from approximately six weeks of counseling, I relaxed and let safety wash back over me. The end result of this was she stopped counseling, stopped doing the work, stopped investigating her past and now we are at this horrible juncture. This leaves me at a critical place in time where I WANT to feel safe and believe in her but due to past experience I am exceedingly hesitant to put both feet in. We do share intimacy on more levels than we ever have and I do believe we have a much stronger bond than before. I also am very aware that she is completely and utterly baffled by my response and that she is still even a part of my life. This was not the reaction she was expecting and to her it feels very out of the normal.
I guess what it comes down to, for pretty much all intents and purposes we still act like we're together, she lives under the same roof, we share all the meals, she goes everywhere I go, she's present at all family functions, etc. For me the mental distinction of knowing I'm safe lies in being "alone" for now and focusing on me. In addition I have always clung to the idea that infidelity is a deal breaker and in fact I still DO feel the same way. I am not opposed to striking a new deal, with a new person and a new future though, and I am (impatiently, but forcing myself to be patiently) waiting for that day to arrive.
With regards to the watchdog, I do believe I would sense in a matter of days again if she was heading down a slippery slope and it would signify the end. I hope I am not punishing her, I consistently thank her for all of her hard work (to the point she tells me to stop because she doesn't deserve it), and am when applicable telling her how proud I am that she has continued striving for change. One major behavior pre-A was that she was a quitter and would give up anything at the slightest inclination of difficulty. The fact that she is still here, working harder even than she did on day one marvels me but at this stage I am still very much in self protection mode.
Schadenfreude, while I have a few PhD's (hopefully nobody took that serious!), you all have a far greater knowledge and much more wisdom than I do and I am thankful for the time you all take to guide others. The why's behind her affair run deep and it is truly sad that parents and "loved ones" can damage a young child in so many ways. Without going into heavy detail the fact that she has survived the CSAb, mental/physical abuse from her grandma, the abandonment from her parents, the continual shuffle from house to house and the complete lack of love shown by anyone in her life is a small miracle. Her why's are rooted somewhere in there, and have led to the usual suspects (symptoms) of selfishness, external validation, poor coping skills, etc.
With regards to accepting less than 100% of what I had before, if you were referring to trust I am fine with being in a trust but verify (when necessary) relationship. That is who I am now and I am happy with that. One aspect that I am currently working on is reversing the verify then trust mindset I am in currently. While it is by no means out of the ordinary at this stage, I am very aware that the persistence of this behavior is not conducive to any healthy relationship. If you were referring to accepting less than 100% of what I had before, I will not. We were on the fast track to a very very miserable existence and I was settling for the breadcrumbs of what I believed I had (she was a master at doing the minimum). On the flip side I was very shut off and non communicative and this was not healthy either. Mutual resentment was built on many levels and was never discussed. These are a few of the issues prior to the affair and the shit I have to own although this in absolutely no way justifies her atrocious choices. With that being said, I will not accept less than 100% of what I believe we are worth irregardless of what we had prior to the affair.
As for the short affair ending so abruptly; she "ended" it on the 3rd (before I had found out) but within three days she was set to see him again and I do not believe that it would have ended organically. Even my discovery of an existing affair (believed EA) merely drove it underground to emails. Only my subsequent confirmation that it was in fact a PA finally established verifiable NC and the beginning of a new path. Not the most ideal of ends however as she is driven by fear in life, I am less than shocked.
Thank you all again for your time and consideration and any 2x4's I may need :)
I disagree with your strong stance on being separated. If you are seeing the work, and she is making progress, having intimacy, and time together can help you both heal and progress much more quickly than doing it alone. She needs to feel that bond, and that you love her despite her choices at this point. You can also benefit from knowing she cares enough to do whatever you see fit for R to be successful.
There is a HUGE difference between limbo and self-imposed limbo. Yes, I know that you are protecting yourself, but eventually, you need to take that leap of faith. Putting a definitive timeline on that is not necessarily a constructive choice.
I am a pretty analytical person myself. The problem is, it is the emotional bond that we are talking about here. Logic only goes so far. For example--when I got past the initial shock of D-day, I laid out my plans in a very definitive plan of execution--(1) IC for her. (2) After signs of remorse, then IC for me...while she continues her own IC. (3) After I felt comfortable, we would attend MC. (4) The infidelity had to be addressed first and foremost. (5) After I felt that the infidelity had been addressed to my satisfaction, then I would put my head on the chopping block in MC...and discuss ALL marital issues.
Sounded like a good plan to me, but I learned that things RARELY go as planned....hence more D-days.
The bottom line was, when I saw...and FELT...that my WW was committed, it was then that I started to let my guard down a little. Then a little more...and so on. If you look at my signature line, it still states that I am "heading for D"---because that is EXACTLY where I was before my WW started doing the real work.
MN, you basically have suffered acute PSTD. Most of us have. Like tushnurse said, that naïve innocence is gone forever. Your relationship will NEVER be the same. But it can be satisfying and productive---but you will have to do your part. While it may seem unfair that you have to make yourself vulnerable all over again, it will eventually need to happen, if you want this relationship to thrive.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
Acceptance the Marriage is over: 7/2/14
Heading for D
My WW is like this and it's a dangerous an destructive pattern.
At some point, if you want reconciliation, you have to transition from this remorse phase and back into the equality of a marriage.
So the question is whether you'll ever think of her as an equal again. She sounds awfully young, and your marriage awfully short. Is this worth saving, or are you both better off starting over?
Polygraphs? Sounds humiliating to me. Her texting behavior? From your description, I'd almost wonder if she were your daughter rather than your wife. What role do you see in for her in a marriage, moving forward?
I'd listen to tushnurse about the value of transitioning back to married. Because from this:
That being said I will settle for NO LESS than the potential I fell in love with, one drop less and I will be gone.
She sounds like a commodity on an exchange. No one can live up to this, and she will resent you in time.
If I told my wife I fell in love with her potential, she'd just laugh at me. You're idealizing her, and for now, she's on board because she likes the idea of being filled with potential. But little failures are inevitable (not infidelities - those are giant failures) in any relationship, and no one can live under a Sword of Damocles.
Another thing that concerns me is your analytical approach in the decision making process. While I fully encourage everyone to make fully informed decisions based on fact, you seem to take that to the next level. There comes a time when you have all the information needed. It has been processed logically and you have to make a choice. Yet in making that choice one also needs to consult with their heart. The questions of can I forgive, can I get over this, can we make this better etc. certainly come into play. And those questions must be answered by you in the most honest and thought out process. It requires both the heart and mind working in unison to make a decision. You my friend seem to have the mind part down pat. But I don't feel your heart has been consulted enough in this matter. R is a huge leap of faith that requires as much of an emotional investment as it does the physical effort. Keep in mind that there is no quantitative data available to make this choice. When it comes down to it, its just you following your heart with much consultation from the mind. So looking for stats, percentages etc. are just a waste of time. You cant mathematically solve this problem, nor can you fully understand it simply by way of reason.
So I guess the actual question before you is simple. Can you move forward and R with your WW ? Take the numbers off the table and answer the question with as much input from your heart as you have your mind. In the end it comes down to love. Is there enough love left to rebuild what has been destroyed ? And if your as smart as I think you are, you do understand that love can not be quantified. Its not something that can be dissected and understood. Love is something that must be felt. Is that feeling still there after all of this ? If so you may have a shot at rebuilding. If not, its best to toss in the towel and move on. I hope you find these answers and make a decision that is proper and helpful to your life. Good luck my man.
@blindsided14 – I do not believe I am trying to rescue her or fix her. This came up in an early counseling session and I am very aware that she is the only person capable of doing that. In addition I am fully ready to accept that there is the possibility she cannot (this is diminishing rapidly) and that I will have to walk away. As for creating drama to get my attention, this conversation has come up on numerous occasions and light was shed in a recent CoDa meeting that this is a typical pattern of codependency used to shield the codependent from intimacy. In my situation this is absolutely applicable as the drama would come at the peaks of our interaction when vulnerability and intimacy were running their highest. It is by no means resolved but at least it is in the light now and can be worked on.
@RSN – I view us as equals at this point, we are both broken in varying manners and to varying degrees, but we both have vastly different things to offer each other. My strengths are her weaknesses and vice versa. I live in the mind, she lives in the heart so to speak and we teach each other many things in this regard. In addition we both make the other want to and strive to be a better human being. What we had is definitely worth saving, to put it simply her weirdness matches mine in a way I would be unlikely to find again. It’s like we are two peas in a pod. The humiliation aspect is definitely not something I’d considered and it has given me much more to consider WRT continual polygraphs. For me it was a logical decision and the heart was not consulted on this matter. As for viewing her like a commodity on an exchange, I do not agree. I was unclear on what the “potential” (poorly phrased) I fell in love with was, but it is no different than other BS’s. Searching for someone who is 100% what you want and perfect all the time is a fool’s errand, at best we find 70% but we need to make sure that 70% is what counts. What I am unwilling to settle for is non-radical honesty, poor coping skills, selfishness, impulsive actions etc. We are human, we all fall down at times and have struggles, how we choose to deal with these is what really defines a person and this was more what I was aiming at.
@stronger08 – What amazes me is I have made literally 0 requests of her since D-Day. I have let her know where my lines are and she has found these solutions on her own, she has committed to them on her own, and she continues to follow through on her own. This is an excellent example of the “potential” (for lack of better word) that I seek from her. Her coping skills and honesty are flying high at this point. While the age also bothers me, I realize now that fidelity is not a default setting for many people and given her checkered past it was not a matter of if this was going to happen, but when. While I’ll never be happy that it came to this, some of us need a catalyst in life to wake up and become the person we’re destined to be (for me it was a DUI and my extremely poor handling of my father’s cancer/recovery). With my own hard lessons in life (nowhere near the amount of pain she’s been forced to trod through), I realize that if she takes a similar path to the one I took WRT to my own catalysts, our future is bright. A reformed cheater is a safer bet than an unknown new partner.
In the beginning when I found out, I understood that my heart and mind had to align on any decision I made which is what kept me around. My heart was saying “but you love her dearly and she really has some amazing qualities” while my mind was screaming “no, don’t be a fool, she’s shown you who she is, get out now”. Now I’m at a stage where it is not only those two, but also my intuition or gut as well. My mind is saying “if this is true and not all an act, then this is where you’re meant to be, give it time and enjoy what you have today before making any choices”, my heart is still saying what it was before and now my intuition is chiming in that “it is too soon to tell, but the future looks promising”. The alignment has begun and as long as her path remains true, I can see where it IS going. At some point it will be a leap of faith, but it is one that I am rapidly approaching and willing to do (even though this is so very much against my nature). When you say there is no quantitative data available to make this choice, I completely agree which is why my heart and my gut need to come along as well. The love is still there, when I wake up there is nobody I’d rather talk to, when I go to bed there is nobody I’d rather dream about. When something frustrating, fun, interesting or otherwise happens there is nobody I’d rather share it with. I believe I can move forward with her but am not ready quite yet.