It's with great trepidation that I move to this forum, first from JFO to General, looking longingly to Reconciliation, and finally arriving here.
I'm sure many of you have followed my threads. As I peer over the cliff, urged on by the great people who've supported me in the other forums, I am reaching out here for encouragement. I love my wife despite her actions (kick me),I want more than anything to keep my family intact, but I feel at the most ready I have been to take that scary plunge. I feel like an unmasculine fool to admit it, but I am scared to death of being alone without my wife who, prior to the hell she has out me through, was (I thought) my soulmate, and of course our intact family, which has brought me the greatest contentment I have known since my own family, all of whom are gone.
Any happy stories of newfound love in middle age would especially be appreciated, even after this hell. I have learned so much about what a healthy relationship really is through this trial by fire and I know I have so much to give to someone who deserves me.
(Responders to my other threads are of course more than welcome to chime in)
Thank you in advance!
I was married for 19 years when I found evidence of what I believed to be his third affair (and what I later confirmed to be his fourth or more). Kicked him out pronto--I had had it with his philandering, blameshifting, deceptive and NPD ways (he is a diagnosed narcissist).
Started dating WAAAAAY too early (I recommend taking a long time to get used to being single) and had the predictable results. Be prepared--that first post separation/divorce relationship ending can be VERY rough.
FINALLY divorced nearly 4 years after the last D-day (divorcing a narcissist is its own circle of hell), got a very good settlement and continued to adjust to singlehood, having a couple more relationships that didn't work out, etc. It's par for the course--I don't regret a lot of it because I really learned a lot about myself.
Probably the BEST thing I did for myself was to audition for (and be accepted into) a professional chorale. I have a musical bent and had been singing since I was very small. I studied voice (and other instruments) off and on, but this gave me a huge focus that was all MINE! Ten years later and I am STILL singing with them and LOVING every minute of it. My group really helped me get my feet under me and gave me a purpose and a mission outside of my career and my kids. It was good for my kids to see me energized and excited about something like this, and they were (and still are) very supportive. In fact, my oldest sang with us for a season.
So, about three years ago, I pondered answering a personals ad on Chemistry.com. He seemed to be too athletic for me (I'm not a couch potato, but he is an avid bicyclist). But I decided what the hell and reached out to him.
We have been a couple ever since. Happy as the day is long, content, not living together (we each enjoy our independence and autonomy) but a couple.
We vacation together, go on weekend trips, go antiquing, salvage yard hunting, attend concerts and just hang out together. We are happily in love and very content with the way things are.
We are 51 and 62.
My advice (for what it is worth):
Don't get too wrapped around the axle about coupling up. Get healthy, find something that works for you that is healthy (like my singing) and socialize in groups and with other like-minded singles.
Don't compare yourself to the ex. They are on their own broken and rocky path.
Cherish the time with your kids, but also pamper yourself when they are not with you.
Learn to be content with your own company and to be happy in solitude. When we attach out of neediness or loneliness, we make very bad decisions.
My SO (fondly named Garage Door Man or GDM) attended a series of meetings at a local hospital designed for "men in transition." They emphasized things like not delving into work as an escape (which is exactly what GDM did), not using alcohol or drugs as an escape (fortunately not a problem for him) seeking balance, and not dating for a year. He followed all of that advice (for the most part) and was rewarded (?) with me.
IC is helpful and recommended.
Oh, and you will enjoy the story of what happened to my ex. It's a good one.
My ex ended up with the OW, at least for a time. He moved into her house and financed its renovation. He bought her an expensive automobile. She didn't like sailing, so he bought an expensive motoryacht. I think she had a pretty intimate relationship with his checkbook.
Anyway, he came into a sizable inheritance and bought a house and moved them all into this house (she had two kids--both under 5 when she started the affair--she's a keeper to be sure).
She had a brother who is a convicted felon and a meth addict. Apparently, my ex felt like playing Mr. Generous and had him as a houseguest (around my kids--yikes!).
Right around the time they split up, the ex's identity was "stolen." When he was finally caught by the police in Arizona (we live in New England) he had my identity and that of my two children. I feel strongly that the OW (TwatWaffle) had given her brother all of this information.
So now my ex had to give up the big house, moved to another house (he has moved 5 times in 10 years--stability anyone?), the expensive 38' motoryacht blew an engine and is not operable (but he still has to pay a sizeable note on it monthly, as well as storage fees and insurance, he has no girlfriend (told the last girlfriend the trust about what happened in the marriage and she skated, lost his job last year and, oh, darn, has to pay a sizeable chunk to his ex-wife in alimony.
Karma came and came and came.
But when it finally did come . . . I had stopped waiting for it.
Cat has given you some of the most solid advice I've ever read on this forum or any other. Please take it to heart.
Also, don't worry about finding love again. When you are ready, it will find you. And if you follow Cat's advice and love doesn't find you, you won't care because you will still be happy with your own self and your own life.
I've followed your story and I admire you for finally sticking your toe in the water here. Your children are lucky you are putting them and their needs first.
((((((HUGS))))))) to you. You'll get through this!
But detachment and the drive to make my new life work has shown me a couple of things. I was caught in a toxic marriage... only the distance of time has shown that to me...he was bringing me down and I had no idea. I don't need him to feel fulfilled and happy. I don't need him to create a sense of family with my Teslet.
I am alone (single) and I am okay. I have no urge to date at the moment...I am enjoying being autonomous.
It was a long and painful road to get here. It's worth going through the pain. I can honestly tell you I am the haapiest that I've been in 10 years.
Go peer in on the NB forum. There are lots of stories about new love, heartbreak, new careers, lost jobs, grand adventures, epic failures, ect. Life does go on. It can go on quite well with a lot of good things.
I am 42. I am happily involved in an almost 3 year relationship. It is a much healthier relationship than I had in my M. I loved my X and fought hard for a long time to fix our M. It takes two people to R though.
I'm 5 years from Dday. Life is good right now. It has been hard. It will be hard again. Now, its just life. I like it a lot.
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler
Read and reread catwoman's post. She is very wise.
I'm almost 17 months out from D-Day and nearly a year out from my divorce being final.
Like many here, I thought that XWH was my soulmate, and I was insanely happy with him. We'd made plans for our 50th wedding anniversary, even though it was nearly 40 years in the future. We were together, forever.
The kicker? I am now so much happier single than I was with him. I never would have believed it, even a year ago.
I did some dating, but I'm taking some time off right now as I'm getting to do exactly what I want to do and loving (pretty much) every minute of it!
I have a lot of older friends, in their 60s-90s. Many of them found love in their 50s or later. Absolutely no need to rush anything. You need to figure out who you are as a single person. I bet you're pretty awesome! And someday, some lady will recognize that, treat you properly, and you'll be amazed at what a relationship can be!
Married: 11 years, no kids
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
I tried for 9 months to keep my family intact. Ultimately, the advice given here rings true. WHY want someone that doesn't CLEARLY want you? Of course, as soon as it appears I might have moved on, WH is suddenly much more interested in what I'm doing.
It's too late, though. I'm not filing anytime soon (it would be silly financially) but...as my attorney says...I can just live my life and do what I want.
So that's what I'm doing. I have a date tomorrow night. I have two tiny kids and I'm 37 but...I still look young and I'm athletic and I can keep a conversation going. It's not going to go anywhere because I'm so NOT ready to date but...he knows that and it will be fine. Just get out there and hang out with your friends and remember who YOU are without your wife. Chances are you're a pretty fun person and you just have to get back in tune with yourself.
This horrific-ness kills your self-esteem. It doesn't happen overnight...but work on getting it back. Do a few things that make you proud of yourself. Be extra kind to your kids. Be proud of your parenting. Do something nice for your friends. Baby steps lead to ultimate happiness. :)
I'm still on a rocky road and constantly take 4 steps forward and then a HUGE leap back (it doesn't help that WH isn't begging to come back but won't let go either) but I'm on the right path to recovery and a better life. You'll get there as well. :)
I can't remember how old your kids are but one thing that helps me is remembering that my WH walked out on a 3 and 1 year old. What kind of person does that? Not someone I need to be with, that's for sure.
Hope all that helped. Hugs to you!
D and NB for me have been rough. I will not kid you. My xWH ruined me financially. And I learned just yesterday that he's running around telling people "well, I was a bad man, but I did right by cayc and really helped her out with the D and paid for things". God, I'd laugh if I hadn't just maxed out my credit cards paying this years taxes.
I am now truly and totally alone. I have no family. We did not have children. I recently moved to another country away from friends. I do have many many friends, but they are spread out all over the world so it's friendship by email, FB, skype etc.
I'm a low energy introvert who is exhausted by people, and can get very negative and judgey when I am. I hate meeting new people. I hate having to talk about myself. Online dating has been an exercise in meeting whiney men who are infuriated that I don't want to sleep with them. Meeting someone is a priority for me because I am so very alone, which is why I even bother with the OLD thing. Some of the activities others might suggest are not an option for me because I live in a city that still routinely has military roadblocks so my freedom of movement, while not restricted, is definitely circumscribed. One of my colleagues was killed over the weekend due to the city's violence level.
You just read all that and thought, wtf cayc, that's what you call motivation to D? I'm running right back to General now to try and work this out with my con-artist wife. Lol.
I can also tell you that I am not unhappy. I am not depressed. I am not confused. I am not so focused on someone else wondering why they are doing what they are doing, why they are treating me so poorly. I don't wake up every morning thinking, what I am I doing wrong now? I was emotionally abused to within an inch of my life, and now I am not. I've given myself a pass on not being as "woot woot look at my NB" like others are because what I came from was a text book model of abuse and victim clinging to the abuser.
And now I am not. And it is wonderful. And there is hope. That's what D and NB have brought me: hope. And it is revelatory.
[This message edited by cayc at 7:30 AM, April 26th (Friday)]
As far as unmasculine to admit the things you did in this post, I disagree. It's very manly and brave to be honest and authentic.
What do you like to do?
What are some healthy recreational things YOU like to do that you may have put aside for x ? Now is the time to rediscover yourself, or take up a new hobby, go back to school, etc.
Use this time for self improvement. Be the best Abandondad you can be. She is no longer part of the equation.
I move freely between S/D, NB, General, JFO - avoid R like the plague and only open wayward when there's an interesting topic title on the Forums listing.
I have a revolutionary suggestion for you for your next relationship.... you brother. YOU.
Has anyone suggested you have a peek in the codependant thread?
I know lots of people who feel 'incomplete' without an other. They are not all co-dependant but I can honestly say every single one of them has lots of work to do in terms of coping mechanisms.
I'll complete myself - its a lifelong journey and one that I'm enjoying thoroughly. When the time comes it would be nice to be found by someone who will complement me and I them. I want them to add their colour to my already colourful life - I want to add my colour to theirs.
our intact family, which has brought me the greatest contentment I have known since my own family,
Your family not intact friend. Not since this stuff has gone on. I played happy families ever since my first baby was born. I wasn't happy. I was just in an intact family. Intact made me happy. But it wasn't really intact. I wasn't really happy.
Didn't matter - I still liked playing happy families. It gave me comfort.
I realised in IC this was a coping mechanism from my childhood. I could drown out all of the ugly and zone in on the crumbs of beauty. No matter what was happening around me or to me. It is how I survived some very difficult times.
But its not living - its surviving.
You shouldn't stay in your M to keep an intact family. You shouldn't stay in your M because you're afraid of being alone. You shouldn't stay in your M because you need someone to give that love to.
You have someone that needs that love - its you. Your kids.
I say these things as much to the me fresh out of DD as I say them to you.
The limbo, gaslighting, cake eating, blameshifting, agonising hell you're going through right now is faaaaar worse than walking away. Faaar worse than being alone.
Learn to love you Abbondad. Your kids are watching you to see how to love themselves. They're watching you to see what behaviour they should tolerate from another. They're watching you to see how someone copes in a crisis. How they carry themselves when they hit rock bottom and how they crawl out of that hole.
They are learning from you every day friend.
I was married just shy of 24 years to what I thought was my best friend. He had a MLC affair with a much younger co-worker. We had one Dday where he told me he thought he was in love with her.
I thought he had lost his mind. It was so out of character. Then after a false R, I had a second Dday and learned that they had traveled to a work conference together.
I tried everything I knew to convince him that this was just some crazy fantasy, but he was CERTAIN that he was in love. He filed for D. Three months later it was final.
Six months after that his relationship with OW crashed and burned. He tried to come back. But he had hurt me too much. I had walked through the fire and come out on the other side a changed person and I could NOT go back.
Since then I have had one relationship that I jumped into too soon - it caused me a lot more pain, but I learned a lot and grew some more. I have dated a few men.
Now 8 years after the D, and I'm in a relationship with a wonderful man. We are considering moving in together. He treats me the way a woman should be treated. I am valued and cherished. I am 52 and he just turned 65. We are having the time of our lives!
Sending strength and peace.
Don't compare yourself to the ex. They are on their own broken and rocky path.
This^^^ is what I needed to hear today.
I am really doing great, but I know financially he is going to do alot better. They are going to get to go on the vacations I wanted to go on and get the house I always wanted.
But, if I am really honest, he aggravatedt the hell out of me, always groping me, and always looking at other women.
I am on an entirely different path,,, it is the path of a quality person. He is on a different path. He walked out the door on his children one night for his friend's wife. He is a loser and now, 16 months out from DDAY I can finally see it. Someone here said, Time doesn't make things better, it's the WORK you put into yourself during this time....
Remember all of us wanted our marriages to work out.
Welcome to a great place. There is a wealth of wisdom here to help you negotiate the shoals over the next weeks and months.
You are worth a new beginning. Don't ever forget that.
Once you hop off her Crazy Train you won't believe how sweet life can be.
Will it be hard sometimes? Hell yeah.
But also very rewarding. You get a clean slate, get to figure out what you want to do with your life.
Did you abandon favourite activities when you got married? Revisit them.
Did you shut out old friends as your wife became your sole focus? Go out and find them.
The best advice you'll get here is to take at least a year off just to get comfortable in your own skin. Focus on your relationship with your kids -- they will need you just as much as you need them.
Big hugs. You can do this. We've got your back.
I found SI about a year ago. I really wish it had been a lot earlier. Don't know if you know this, but the moniker I picked is factual. Five long term relationships that have ended with five different women being unfaithful. I know people can have bad luck, but really?
With the wonderful guidance given here, I was able to pierce my own fog and realize that it was me. I was the one picking broken women. I didn't/couldn't consider myself to be a success without a SO by my side to complete me/my family. I was scared to do it alone. Unfortunately, I wound up dragging my son along with me. Lord knows what he picked up with regards to commitment. I got primary physical custody when he was 2. He's now 23.
The best advice I can give? Fix you first. Yep, its scary. You have to take care of those kids though. Keep them as your primary focus until, as stated earlier, you're comfortable in your own skin. Fix yourself so that the next relationship you enter isn't one you enter because 'she completes me' . Find someone who complements you.
Wait a while. Enjoy the kids. Work on you. At least a year.
Don't wind up going five for five for real. Just once is painful enough.
Eta FWW is not the XW.
I'm learning to hate auto correct
[This message edited by 5454real at 8:45 AM, April 27th (Saturday)]
The similarities between you and I are almost scary to me. The thing is I'm way further down the road than you are yet here I am again. It's why I keep reaching out to you because I believe if you continue to do things the way you had been, you too will be back here in the (near?) future. This is hard enough once. Wanna go through it twice? Or more?!!!
That said, being here doesn't necessarily spell the end for you guys. In fact, I firmly believe if there is ANY hope for you both it's that you have to show your WW how seriously done you are with her games and how ready you are to move on without her. Being here is a great first step in the right direction, IMHO. I said it before but I'll say it one more time for you...hoping it sinks in....you need to absolutely convince your WW that you are DONE, D.O.N.E. with this. You will not be there for her to run back to when things aren't going her way over in unicorn fart land and she's using you to threaten her AP with. You NEED to show her that she may have already damaged this M beyond repair already. Until she's amply sure that's she's pushed you too far and you're not only ready to move on but you've already started down the path, this will just continue for you....of that I'm sure. She needs to understand that her M is flatlined already and that she is at a crossroads NOW....either she does anything and everything she can to save the M and to make you feel safe again or she chooses the AP (or someone else). Abbondad....you being here is the right choice and you need to continue down this path until (if?) she gets it through her head how serious this is and she really, truly enters panic mode and the onus is on her to do everything in her power to WIN YOU BACK. Any other action on her part will just constitute further pain for you down the road, because she will continue to cake-eat.
I hope you don't mind me posting this again Abbondad and how lengthy it is too. I just see how much you've endured already and like I said, the similarities between you and I are striking. If I had someone giving me the advice you've been getting - and I followed it - I firmly believe I wouldn't be here again. I hope I can help contribute towards saving you that future....because it doesn't get any easier with experience brother
To try and get back on topic....I too suggest you stay away from dating and just concentrate on yourself only...and your kids. Take a year off minimum and focus on what makes you happy. If you have no idea what that is, do your best to discover new things, interests, etc. This time around I jumped over to NB after only a few months from Dday and thought I was ready to strike up a new R and turns out I wasn't. I even signed up (and paid!) for some memberships on OLD only to deactivate them after a week or two. I've even, much to my surprise, had some women hitting on me but I've politely let them know I'm taking some me time. I'm not ready for another R. 1) My STBXWW would use it against me 2) It would be hugely unfair to any new lady I'd date 3) I've spent most of my life in a R....I need to discover who I am as an individual. Once I've hopefully achieved that, and if I find another woman that we mutually want to share these experiences with, I'll consider dating again....but to be fair to myself and to any potential new romance, I need to take some time to get my head right and to process what's happened and to grieve my old M. You do too.
I really wish you the best Abbondad and you sound like a really great guy so keep your chin up and keep putting one foot in front of the other....eventually you'll get somewhere