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Divorce threats as a safety net

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anothermoron posted 5/23/2014 11:34 AM

I had to go to a work thing. Bought a smartphone and installed life360 because I thought that would help my wife. But my wife took umbrage at the purchase (she didnt want me to have a smartphone because I used to use mine to look at porn, sex ads) and at me going to the event. So she filled out some papers for divorce yesterday (the morning of the event). I went straight home to talk to her. She was pretty clear we're getting divorced. But she often takes a step like this when she feels threatened (e.g. a month ago there was pressure on me to visit clients in Asia so I asked if she could come with me, and that resulted in a visit to a lawyer). And just before I left to go back to work, she confessed to being a pathological liar (me thinking she was cheating because of the lies was a part of what allowed me to cheat, although thats no excuse).
Anyway, long story short. Does anyone have experience with the use of lawyer meetings/legal stuff/discussion of divorce as a kind of safety net? Like "my WS is about to do something that could make me anxious, so i will threaten divorce and that will make me feel calmer"? I know I sound like a bit of a coldhearted dick here, just trying to be concise and clear to see if anyone else has experienced this...

notperfect5 posted 5/23/2014 12:55 PM

Well, my wife uses them from time to time. She has had an emotional affair with another man for some time and is still in denial that she is doing anything wrong.

From time to time she will get extremely upset with me and threaten divorce and then a few days later she will be concerned about really trivial things-- like cleaning out the garage and me being able to park my car in the garage.

Sometimes I ask myself, "how can I possibly be concerned about being able to park in the garage, when you have just asked a lawyer to draw up divorce papers?". I wonder if there is not some twin that is stuffed in the closet that comes out and swaps. Perhaps she is going through a serious mid life crisis and really needs more attention. I really am confused and perplexed at how one day she is loving on me like crazy and then something upsets her and then BAM! I'm being asked to get out of the house and leave the family--very strange. It is truly like riding a roller coaster of emotions.

Perhaps there are other things she is worried about and that is a way to vent her frustration.

So, I don't have any answers for you other than go to marriage counseling and go over it in a neutral setting that is less confrontational.

Good Luck!

anothermoron posted 5/23/2014 13:00 PM

Thanks. Yeah she doesnt want to do marriage councelling. we tried it 6 months ago and the councillor advised me (in an IC session) not to tell my wife about certain infidelities. That all came out, and it left a bad taste in her mouth.
Im totally the one in the wrong here (I cheated on my wife). But i do often feel as though, like you say, there are two of her. one who wants a happy marriage, the other who wants to punish me, hurt me, and ultimately divorce me. when im on my way home from work, i feel extremely anxious about which one is going to be there waiting for me...

Darkness Falls posted 5/23/2014 15:18 PM

I think threats of divorce as a means of control is a form of manipulation.

I wonder what would happen if a WS threatens to have another A every time the BS does something they don't like.

Sorry, I'm in a sarcastic mood today.

I just think the divorce card should only be played if it's a dealbreaker and the D-seeking spouse is done. JMO. That's not to say divorce can never be mentioned or discussed as a possibility...but to pull out papers every time spouse does something you don't like? Manipulation and control.

painfulpast posted 5/23/2014 16:07 PM

I wonder what would happen if a WS threatens to have another A every time the BS does something they don't like.

I think the difference here is that divorce is the known dissolution of a relationship. If one person is saying they want that, then they are effectively ending the relationship.

An affair is one person betraying another. Using it as a 'punishment' or a 'threat' is, well, nevermind.

I don't think that one spouse should threaten divorce if things aren't exactly as they like. To me, it's a scared person that is so afraid of being hurt again, and they have no clue how to express that fear so instead they run to simply get away from the entire possibility.

numb&dumb posted 5/23/2014 16:15 PM

I recognize some parts of that. I really think that when you start to feel unsafe for your W and she believes you will lie to her again, your W reacts and says that she needs to protect herself. Hey I get that. Lies are what kill the relationship trying for R. If I had to guess I would say that your W still has a lot of fear and is trying to manage that by, "letting go of the outcome."

I don't know how long ago Dday was for you, but earlier on when a BS does not feel secure in the relationship (or fears a repeat of Dday), it is always on your mind as an option, but you only act on it when you don't see another way. It is a "last resort." The nuclear option. Fear rules and safety is the goal at any cost.

Just existing without showing what you are thinking or feeling is stressful enough, seemingly small things can push it over the edge.It isn't conducive to saving the M if you are walking around crying or raging at your WS all the time. Again the fear is that will push you away. The pain on Dday and shortly after is so severe that you would do anything to get respite from it.

When I was like this I often told my W that we are "one argument away from a D." I meant it. I thought that something that was just going to keep hurting me over and over again was something I had to get away from. Why try to fix something with someone who has shown hew deep they can hurt you ? It might not be worth the risk or the time and effort needed. Cut your losses and try to move on. It still sucks, but being the one to D a WS restores some of that power or balance. It is the actions that makes sense and has justifications behind it. To be quite honest most new BS feel that their power has been taken from them by someone they "trusted." Past tense on purpose. Trust is important.

Today my M is better, but I keep enough detachment to keep myself safe, just in case. If one of the boundaries I established is broken, my first thought is going to be to go see my lawyer. The papers are still there and I could have them filed in less than a day. Served the next day. I know I can fall back on it. Having a plan give me some comfort.

I don't talk about it much anymore, but my W knows about it and I know about it. It isn't a means of control it is a means to protect myself from being caught unprepared again. My situation isn't about controlling my W, it is about being in control of MY future and MY decision whether she is part of my future or not. It is after all my life and only I get a vote on how I am going to live it.

The you and me forever thing was broken it can never be regained in this M or in any future ones I may have if we D. The hard fact is that she is optional in my future for the rest of our lives. This was always true before Dday, but I didn't see or consider it. I see it now and it will always be an "option." At the present I am happy. She has changed and fixed enough of the broken parts that I see it worth staying. People can change, but it isn't always for the better either.

Plan for the worse and hope for the best. I don't fear that anymore because I have a plan physically and emotionally to handle the worst case scenario (another Dday). Even years into R you still have to decide to choose it and fight the thought, "Maybe something that you have to work so hard at isn't worth the effort." Maybe not everyday, but often enough that you still protect yourself from someone who hurt you worse than you've ever been hurt before.

Not trying to call you out or anything, but just being honest and hopefully giving you some valuable insight into why your W is doing this.

Talk to her about it. Ask her why does she react with the nuclear option each time. How are you helping to curb her worst fears and show that she could ever trust again.

Fear and lack of trust are what she is living with everyday. She has just got better at not showing it lately. Anger too. Anger feels better than fear for some reason. Secondary emotion Anger. Lots of fear and pain feeding it too.

Take care. Best of luck in your journey.

cdnmommy posted 5/23/2014 23:03 PM

I just think the divorce card should only be played if it's a dealbreaker and the D-seeking spouse is done. JMO. That's not to say divorce can never be mentioned or discussed as a possibility...but to pull out papers every time spouse does something you don't like? Manipulation and control.

If I'm reading correctly, anothermoron's BW is barely a month out from the last of the trickle truth of several affairs. I would be surprised if she has it together enough to be trying to manipulate him. At that early stage I switched to flight mode at least daily, and while I didn't threaten divorce, it was never far from my mind.

I think the comment about being two people is far more accurate. I recall hoping for a successful R but then seemingly without warning wanting to scrap it all. I did feel like I was of two minds much of the time, and even I didn't know which one would dominate at any given time.

anothermoron (I really have a hard time calling you that!) I think it might be helpful to not focus on what she is trying to accomplish with her threats, since it may very well be she doesn't know, and consider instead what they represent. That she is hurting, does not feel safe, and needs you to empathize and respond.

SlowUptake posted 5/24/2014 06:50 AM

But i do often feel as though, like you say, there are two of her. one who wants a happy marriage, the other who wants to punish me, hurt me, and ultimately divorce me. when im on my way home from work, i feel extremely anxious about which one is going to be there waiting for me...

Welcome to the consequences of cheating. The 'roller coaster' is a wild and long ride, make sure your strapped in tight.

I would imagine your BS wonders who it is that comes home from work.
The man she married or the cheater he became.

It cuts both ways.

Sparkle0504 posted 5/24/2014 11:45 AM

To me, it's a scared person that is so afraid of being hurt again, and they have no clue how to express that fear so instead they run to simply get away from the entire possibility.

This^^^

I swing from one day to the next not feeling safe because of my SAWS's behaviour. When I'm not feeling safe, I ask myself "do I really want to put myself through this for even one more day?" The urge to run is huge. It's me trying to protect myself. Personally, if my WH had a job where he went away on business, we would not still be married. It's hard enough not knowing what he's doing right under my nose.

The last time he bought a new smartfone, he used it to act out.

[This message edited by Sparkle0504 at 12:40 PM, May 24th (Saturday)]

cantaccept posted 5/24/2014 12:20 PM

"The man she married or the cheater he became"

This one sentence seems to sum it all up for me. Who is he now? Who is the real man? Who will he choose to be?

He has been both, so now, how can you possibly know which one will he will choose to be.

The brain seems to swing back and forth. I hear his words, see that he wants to change. Can he? Can he sustain it? Will that "cheater" return?

Having seen both parts it is hard to trust that it can really be safe again.

I agree that divorce should not be used as a threat but I do understand how the fear would prompt you to use it. It feels as if it is the only control that you have left over your life.

I think all you can do so early in this journey is to support her, validate her expressing this. Maybe tell her that if ultimately that is what she needs you will support her. Also, if you are totally committed to helping her and are willing to go through the long process of healing, let her know clearly, that you do not want divorce and want your marriage.

Sparkle0504 posted 5/24/2014 12:37 PM

Thank you Cantaccept - you worded it far better than me lol.

What I meant to say, is that I would never use the threat of divorce to manipulate, I threaten it, because I am feeling, well, threatened!

anothermoron posted 5/24/2014 23:13 PM

Thanks, I appreciate your help. We talked more about this this evening. She wants the divorce, together with a custody agreement, but then she wants to continue living together and coparenting. So it would mean that if anything happened to make things truly intolerable (eg if the cheater returned) ending things would be a quick and seamless process. I get it. It makes sense. It's not a nice feeling, but it's the best thing for her, and it's a logical way to provide her with more of a safety net. I know I cant complain, but I feel as though I'm going to be in this purgatory for a long, long time...

cdnmommy posted 5/25/2014 17:40 PM

I know I cant complain, but I feel as though I'm going to be in this purgatory for a long, long time...

I would expect that's true. How do you feel about a 2-5 year timeline? Because the quicker you accept that will be the case the easier it will be to get on with the healing.

RegretsTillIDie posted 5/25/2014 21:27 PM

I know I donít know all the facts around your situation but from what I can tell you are the cheater (as I am). How your wife responds and tries to cope with this reality is not yours to judge. You caused the issue so own it. Decide if you are going to be the man and husband she expected you to be and support her. Youíve had your fling. If you want to save your marriage not itís time for you to be there and support her Ė no matter what.

anothermoron posted 5/27/2014 13:22 PM

cdnmommy - a 2-5 year timeline would be fine, but I dont think I have that long. She wants to get divorced and then stay cohabiting/coparenting until our youngest is a bit older. Having the divorce already in place means she could throw me out if the situation became intolerable for her. So yeah, it's definitely purgatory. And I'm trying pretty hard to be the guy i want to me. Sometimes her anger makes it difficult to keep forging ahead. But I got us into this mess. Argh. I looked at our old pictures on facebook this morning. Can't believe I did all this.

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