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mamajen00 posted 6/22/2014 16:41 PM

I'll keep the background simple and straight to the point. My husband reached out to a friend that he grew up with and dated briefly for three months before we got together. They hadn't spoke in almost a decade. They began communicating via email in November and by December they were talking on the phone daily, sometimes more than once a day, sometimes for HOURS a time. He was feeling unhappy in our marriage but never communicated his unhappiness with me. He had expressed a desire to increase our frequency of lovemaking but never once told me he was unhappy.

At the same time, my dad who was battling cancer for two years, was at the end of his journey, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer and I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. (Lots of heavy stuff for me.). Regardless, my husband was involved in an emotional affair (long distance) for months without my knowledge. I have always been trusting and non-controlling. I don't get paper phone bills and never checked the online statement. Never had the urge to look at his phone. Never mistrusted him ever. In late February, he finally told me that he was "miserable, unhappy, soul-less, felt confined, restricted, wanted to be free". It was so out of the blue. I recommended couple's counseling immediately but he refused. I started going to individual's counseling the next week to figure out how I participated in his unhappiness. For the next several weeks, we would communicate often about his unhappiness. He said he was miserable for years but didn't want to burden me with his feelings while I was going through so much other stuff. He still refused couple's counseling. Was saying he wasn't sure if he wanted to work on the marriage or end it.

In early April, he said he needed to go to the mainland (we live in Hawaii) to "get away, clear his head, figure things out". I supported his decision completely. I even booked the plane tickets, rental car, etc. We didn't have money budgeted for this trip but I figured maybe a short time away could help him get grounded and go with the intent of figuring things out.

Well, he certainly had intentions, but the wrong ones. He purposely went back to him hometown because the other woman was going there as well for her grandmother's funeral. She was going without her husband but with her two small children. It's no surprise what happened next. Their emotional affair turned into a physical affair for the last three days they were together.

Upon his return, I asked if he was able to sort things out and he was really uncooperative. Saying I was demanding and controlling, etc. I went out to dinner with my best friend whom I had been talking with about the situation all along and she mentioned that the words he was using and the adjectives he was using to describe the way he was feeling and to describe me were words that he has never used before. She said it sounded like words coming from someone else's mouth. She mentioned that I should ask him if he was involved with another woman. I was shocked, taken aback. He would never do that. He comes from a solid, loving family. No divorce in his family lineage anywhere. He grew up in the south, with good morals and ethics. Anyway, I asked him when I got home from dinner and he got mad. "How dare you ask me that?!! How insulting!!". And that was that. About ten days later, after we had put our son to bed, he came in the bedroom and said, "Remember when you asked me if I was interested in another woman? Well, I wasn't being fully honest. I was unfaithful a little with xxx."

I was devastated. I told him to cut contact. He said he would. The next day, he said he cut contact and it was over. He agreed to couple's counseling. A week later, I decided to look at the phone bill and he had told her to call him on his work number which is connected to his regular cell number, so it is all on the same bill. I was, again, devastated. I called the woman to ask her to please back off to give my family space. She said she didn't owe me anything. I bagged up all of my husband's stuff and put it in the driveway. I told him to get out. He wouldn't leave. He said half the house is his. He said he didn't have money to go anywhere. He wound up borrowing money from his parents and got his own place.

He remained in contact with the woman heavily for the next couple of weeks. I spoke to her husband. He said he had known about it for months. Had called my husband several times to ask him to back off. "We are just friends". He said he read the emails they exchanged and they were very hurtful. "We are in love. We are soul mates. Our kids should be joined together as one family. We deserve happiness. Our spouse's don't understand us." We started couple's counseling. My husband said he didn't know if he could love me again. He had built a wall of resentment and wasn't sure if he could break it down. He said he was miserable for years. That he didn't understand the true meaning of marriage. That he felt restricted and confined. That he told me he needed more but I never gave it to him. On and on.

I allowed him to continue to emotional affair for a few more weeks, all the while he remained a part of my and my son's daily life. Hanging out at the house all the time, going to the beach together, going to parties together, eating dinner with us, coming and going as he pleases.

This was until two days ago. In our last couple's counseling session I read a letter that I composed. It said that our marriage could travel two paths. One in which we work together to rebuild a better, more loving marriage. Or one in which we transition out of the marriage. But in order for either of these paths to be pursued contact with the woman MUST be severed. If he chooses to cut contact then we can continue therapy and start healing (because these past few weeks have been pointless in that he was still involved with the other woman). If he chooses not to cut contact, then for my emotional well being I will set up boundaries. No contact with me, a schedule for our son, no family outings, all bills separated, and no coming to the house without permission. I gave him one week to decide. This Wednesday at our next session, he is to tell me what he decides. I will wait on the fence not a day longer. My emotional and physical well being and that of my son is more important than waiting for him to decide.

Question is: The way that he says he feels, is it just a justification in his head for having the affair? Is it from the fog? I don't discredit that he was probably unhappy, but "miserable" and for "years"? That's not how I remember our marriage! If he agrees to cut contact with the other woman, how long do I wait to see if he is willing to work on our marriage? How do I know he has really cut contact? If he doesn't cut contact, how long do I stay separated with the boundaries in place before seeking a divorce? Is he faced with a rocky bump in the marriage and wanting to run away because it's easier than working it out and facing the tornado that he selfishly created?

MovingUpward posted 6/22/2014 17:05 PM

Welcome. I'm sorry you had to seek out help on infidelity. You have found a great community here and I hope you'll find answers to help you along.

His being "miserable" is being tempered with the feelings of the affair. Remember that the affair contained no responsibilities outside of the relationship. No need for them to discuss food, rent, kids, etc. unfortunately the responsibilities are seen as tied to the marriage.

How much time should you give give? I feel that as long as you see him making an effort and there is movement toward healing that you'll not be concerned. It is when you get to feeling stuck or he isn't going to work on his issue that the feelings to divorce will rise. Let your gut tell you when it is time to go or stay. This is a decision that you will have to live with not. Some reach a point of deciding quicker than others but as long as you wait to the point where you are ok with the decision is when you should make it.

How do you know if he is still out of contact? You verify as much as you can. That is all you can do.

Oh top of couples counseling it would be wise for your husband to do some individual counseling on addressing why he thought it was ok to cheat. If he avoids this whose to say you won't see a repeat down the road because he is turning a blind eye to the issue.

Gemstone posted 6/22/2014 19:10 PM

Of course he wasn't miserable and unhappy for years
All marriages have periods when things are not as great but all WS rewrite history. Being miserable for years gives them justification, in their eyes, for looking outside the marriage for some 'ego stroking'
they need to make excuses for their choices. You're to blame, you weren't loving enough, you didn't have enough time for them, you were too busy, we didn't have sex enough. The list goes on and is all RUBBISH !!!!!!
Yes you may have been 50% responsible for the condition of your marriage but he and he alone is 100% responsible for his choice to go elsewhere instead of communicating with you.
No contact needs to be immediate. Just keep checking, if he doesn't stop the contact you can get the ball rolling for D. This may be a wake up call for him and you can always stop the D if he is remorseful
Stay strong ((((()))))

mamajen00 posted 6/22/2014 21:40 PM

Should I try to explain to him that his memory of our history together is re-created in his mind? Or leave that for him to discover on his own. He still won't go to an IC. When he asks advice of family and friends, he goes back to his old standby, "I've been miserable for years. Don't I deserve to be happy? Doesn't our son deserve to see two happy parents?". There was never fighting or arguing in our home. Never a sense of two unhappy parents.

betrayedpregnant posted 6/22/2014 21:56 PM

Hi mamajen. Sorry you are in this mess. Your husband doesn't sound like he has an ounce of remorse right now. He is rewriting history because deep in is heart he knows what he's doing is so wrong, he does need to justify it somehow. You need to put your foot down and let him know you will not be waiting around for him to come to his senses. You need to put yourself and your child first, because your husband sure isn't doing it.

Didact posted 6/22/2014 22:54 PM

I don't think at this point you can change WS perception. Rewriting marital history is done (in my opinion) over time and not intentionally. If he works on himself, that change will come over time. You can't negotiate, beg, or reason to get him to see it-- they have to want it. No one is less patient and tried harder than me. It doesn't work.

Even if you could, dealing with the "why" is far down the road compared with dealing with no contact. Get a light shined on this affair, stop it so that the fog can start to clear.

Good luck

mamajen00 posted 6/23/2014 11:36 AM

Thank you for your advice. It really helps me understand what's happening. Last night when my husband dropped our son off at the house, he again insisted that the way he is feeling has NOTHING to do with OW. He's been unhappy for years and is tired of feeling that way. He deserves happiness, he said. Could he really have been that unhappy and this is why he's close to wanting a D? If it was years of unhappiness wouldn't he have sought out an A long ago? I told him to cut contact or I will instill strict boundaries and limitations for my own emotional well being. He will share his answer on Thursday at our next MC. I'm pretty sure he's going to say no. Then what do I do after the boundaries are in place? I plan on taking care of me and my son. But do I wait and ask him again in a month?

Schadenfreude posted 6/23/2014 11:50 AM

He dropped the ball. Let him pick it up and run with it. You don't keep asking him if he's changed his attitude. It looks like begging, which comes across as weak and needy.

Have you read The Healing Library? Its in the yellow box above Dr. Phil's face. Especially check out FAQ for BS section.

And, there's a thread here titled 20/20 Hindsight What I'd Do Differently (or something like that) that is another outline of the early days post DDay.

Scroll around and also find the threads marked with targets. They are really good. (Start at the beginning as most of the posts are "bump" just to keep the thread near the beginning of JFO.)

What I meant by his turn to pick up the ball and run with it is that unless and until shows signs of remorse, instead of self-pity, you'll be doing a lot of work and worry with little chance of a satisfactory outcome (whether R or D). The worst place to be is in Limbo where you're neither R'ing or D'ing and the future is wholly clouded and gray (not that you see many actual days like that in Hawaii). You do not want to remain in Limbo.

Read these threads and really think about them before taking any further action with WH.

Red Sox Nation posted 6/23/2014 12:16 PM

You sound like you have an excellent idea of how this should work. You're willing to offer him an attempt at reconciliation. You're not willing to share him with another woman. You have boundaries. You're prepared to be strong, even though this hurts like nothing else.

You're doing all the work, though. If you outline what he needs to do, and he's interested in the comforts marriage provides, he might agree and go through the motions you outline, but it won't be real reconciliation.

If he wants to be married, the outline has to come from him. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here. I wouldn't put too much stock in what he says at your next session regardless. His actions and what comes from within him, without prompting or your outlines, will tell you far more about where he is.

Limbo is especially terrible, sadly.

tushnurse posted 6/23/2014 13:01 PM

Welcome - Mamajen, it sounds like you have your act together, much more so than many of us when we first arrive here, and you are lucky that way.

Now to answer all your questions.

The way that he says he feels, is it just a justification in his head for having the affair? Is it from the fog? I don't discredit that he was probably unhappy, but "miserable" and for "years"? That's not how I remember our marriage!

Nope He wasn't miserable this is a unique thing that happens to WS's, they rewrite the marital history to make what they are doing ok. To give validation to their crappy choices, and horrible behavior. It's also very selfish, and self centered thinking.

If he agrees to cut contact with the other woman, how long do I wait to see if he is willing to work on our marriage?

You Don't wait. YOU give him a list of demand/expectations, with clearly outlined consequences, any failure to follow any of them, you act on the outlined consequences.

How do I know he has really cut contact?

You don't, but your gut will. Listen to it, don't listen to his words, rather watch his actions. I would also recommend a keylogger on any shared devices, and a VAR in any place he spends time alone (ie his car). I know you said he isn't staying at home, so this may be tricky.

If he doesn't cut contact, how long do I stay separated with the boundaries in place before seeking a divorce?

DO NOT WAIT. In fact go see a divorce attorney before your next MC session if possible. The fact that he knew you couldn't kick him out, tells me he has been given advice legally speaking already. See the D attorney, find out rights, obligations, and rules in your state. Then if it seems appropriate go ahead and fill out the filing paperwork and if he balks at MC. FILE. This takes the control back, and puts you in a position of power.
Right now he really hasn't had any consequence of his action. He gets to play happy family when he chooses, and then he gets to go play single guy too. That shit needs to end ASAP.

Is he faced with a rocky bump in the marriage and wanting to run away because it's easier than working it out and facing the tornado that he selfishly created?

Possibly. For some people the A is a dealbreaker, not just for the one betrayed, but for the Wayward as well. They choose to leave because they know that they can't do the hard work to heal themselves and fix their M. If he is a conflict avoider, that may be the case.

Let him know you are willing, but that you aren't always going to waiting with the door unlocked, and your arms wide open.

In the meantime make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eating, Hydrating, Sleeping. Get tested for STI's too. It sucks, but it is the harsh reality of the situation. You don't know OW's story or history, your H could be god only knows how many in a long line of F'd up relationships with this woman.

Keep reading, keep posting.

(((and strength)))

doggiediva posted 6/23/2014 13:27 PM

I may sound bitter by writing this.. I don't care...Sometimes my days are productive by nothing other than helping somebody in the same mess I am in..

Go ahead and divorce him..If possible, put a separation agreement in place that is sustainable/ satisfactory to you..

If or when he is remorseful you can date again..When he has worked on himself and has more enlightenment into what he has done...

But don't remarry him or marry somebody else without having protected yourself legally first...

Always be ready to walk away from a marriage or long term relationship without ruining your whole livelihood..

Skan posted 6/23/2014 17:16 PM

Hey there. Frankly, I would show up at the MCs office with divorce papers in hand and, if he did not commit 100% to the marriage, agree to go completely NC with her, hand over to you all of his passwords for every electronic device that he has, and agree to go to IC, I'd serve him. Because right now, he is doing the absolute minimum that he needs to do to stay in the house. He's not remorseful. He's a sulky baby, pissed off that he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and claiming that you starved him for years and years which is the only reason that he had to try to steal from his family and the betrayed family of his OW.

You can't reconcile with someone like that. And until he truly displays remorse vice sulky regret, going to MC and planning for a life including him, is a waste of your time and money. One way or the other, I would end this drama of Will He or Won't He fence sitting.

And, unfortunately, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a complete HIV/STD screening, including the follow-up appointments. Because no matter what he said, he's almost certainly put your health at risk by his screwing around. I'm so sorry.

mamajen00 posted 6/23/2014 22:32 PM

Thank you so much to everyone that has replied!! It's so therapeutic for me to hear input from all of you who completely understand what I'm going through. I did have a consult with the best divorce attorney on the island. I borrowed money for her up cost divorce proceeding fees. It is in my personal bank account waiting to go when I feel I've had enough. I'm still really at a loss as to why he would choose a long distance phone relationship over being with his family and salvaging out marriage. I've updated you all earlier but Thursday is the day that I take control back of this mess. If he refuses to do NC then I will proceed with the 180 plan like some of you have recommended and there will be strict boundaries put into place. I won't wait for the fog to clear too much longer after that. I'm done being taken advantage of, lied to, and deceived. Question: I spoke to my MIL the day after he told me about the A (which was mid April). I haven't spoken to her since. WH says she wants to remain neutral and offers no advice. Should I touch base with her? I truly love her as my own mom. But she hasn't reached out to me at all. Not to see how I'm doing, how her grandson is holding up, nothing. Can anything really become of WH and OW's relationship halfway across the globe both with kids to support and jobs to commit to? I mean it's absolutely crazy!!

Jduff posted 6/24/2014 11:11 AM

Should I touch base with her? I truly love her as my own mom. But she hasn't reached out to me at all. Not to see how I'm doing, how her grandson is holding up, nothing.

Just remember that blood is thicker than water. In a majority of our own situations the in laws tend to lean on the side of their wayward family member, despite how shitty he/she becomes.

Do what YOU need to do that is best for you and your kids. Let the strength in your actions speak for you. When it gets to legal proceedings of D, family tend to take sides. Be wary and careful what you say to in laws. It could be used against you.

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