Her choice in OM is terrible btw, not only is he dabbling with a married woman, he is also having others on the side as well. I can't see this ending well - he wasn't "into" her enough to be "exclusive" with her - he was already looking elsewhere. He sounds like a player. And yes, that whole exclusive thing is just revolting, given she is a married woman. Hello???
There's always light at the end of the tunnel, just pray it's not a train.
I know it seems counterintuitive. She's checked out of the marriage, she blames you for all this, yet she's holding back what she feels are the worst details, the details that will paint her in a bad light. The thing is, subconsciously or consciously, she still wants you as a back-up. And, more than that, she still wants to look as good as possible in your eyes. If she tells you the worst, or what she feels you feel is the worst, she runs the risk of being rejected BY YOU, rather than being able to reject you herself.... and then come back if things don't work out with OM, or in single life.
Unfortunately I know of what I speak.
Before I joined here, on my first D-Day, my WH was not committed to our marriage. He said things like, "It was over when I did it," "I don't love you anymore," "I don't want to waste my time in this marriage." OUCH. He even went so far as to start planning who would take what possessions and asked me who should go to the courthouse to file for D!!!!
During ALL of that drama, while he was telling me I brought it all upon myself, while he was insisting that he didn't want to be with me, didn't love me.... He continued to insist he'd "only" cheated on me with one other woman.
Once we were in R and he felt confident in our marriage again, I found out that was only 25% true -- he cheated on me with three other women. Why wouldn't he tell me that on the initial D-Day, when he apparently despised me, didn't care about my feelings, didn't love me, was ready to leave, etc?
You're not dealing with logical circumstances, so logic does not apply.
All we know -- all of us, everyone here -- is that almost every single cheater minimizes the truth during the initial "D-Day." I can't think of anyone here who has not experienced a second confession.
[This message edited by mysticpenguin at 11:29 PM, May 17th (Friday)]
So instead of cursing her, I told her that I loved her, and that even this did not change my resolve to save our marriage.
Don't tell her that you love her. For one thing, gently, she isn't very lovable right now. But, mainly, this is trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Think about it, this attention-craving dysfunctional woman has not one - but TWO men vying for her "love". You and the bullshit-feeding affair guy. This actually makes her feel of more value and makes her feel justified in what she is doing.
She reaffirmed to me that she did not love me, and wanted a separation.
I got this bullshit too. All this is - is her giving herself a mental quickie-divorce as well as a mental permission-slip to start having sex with other men. Problem is, she isn't informing you of her new mentally single status as well as not giving you the same permission to have sex with other women. Gee, why not honey?
But whenever I hinted at my opinion of her lover, she rebuffed me, saying that I had no right to judge his character without knowing him.
Fuck. That. Shit.
I don't know you, her, or him - but I know for certainty that this man your wife is involved with is a worthless piece of shit. He's not worth a squirt of piss. He's doing something to you and your family that he would NEVER want anyone to do to him - and he knows it every moment he is doing it. He should do the world a favor and jump in front of a speeding train. Good-fucking-riddance. One less shitbag that doesn't care what his fucked up behavior does to the lives of little children.
What a strange situation to be in, but I had to acknowledge, painful though it was, that at the moment, she had a stronger emotional connection to him than she did to me, and that this reaction, though terrible and misguided, was natural.
Yes, of course, she HAS to delude herself into thinking it's the love of fucking legends in order to mask the reality that it is pure fucking shit. The shittier it is, the "stronger" the emotional connection. Trust me, your wife also knows very well that she is doing something to you that she would never, ever, under any circumstances want you to do to her. She has to bury that reality under a huge pile of delusional soulmate bullshit.
Listen, I know this is difficult to imagine doing right now but the best move you could make would be to IMMEDIATELY file for, and start following through with a divorce. It is the ONLY clear message that will get across. The only action she will not be able to rationalize away. It will send the clear message that you are not going to fuck around with this Jerry Springer bullshit. It sends the message that you value yourself more than her dysfunctional gamesmanship. It will also raise your value in her eyes yet simultaneously send the message that her value to you has plummeted - she will really not like that.
No one was more gone than my STBXWW. She thought her affair guy could walk on fucking water - up until I filed for divorce. Then, I got the call tearfully asking if we could reconcile and saying she was willing to do anything for a second chance.
Listen, I know this is difficult to imagine doing right now but the best move you could make would be to IMMEDIATELY file for, and start following through with a divorce. It is the ONLY clear message that will get across.
^^^^This - listen to it. I was in your exact situation a year ago, and I should have done this. Everyone told me to, I knew I should, but I tried to "nice" my WW back into our M. FAIL FAIL FAIL.
See a lawyer, in person, get a business card. Leave it on the counter at home. get the process started to protect yourself.
One more thing, put 100% of your mental energy into parenting. Your WW is in the fog and likely checked out from your DD as well. Your DD needs you to be there for her emotionally. Get sleep, eat well, exercise, and get into IC or find a good friend to confide in. Take control of this situation completely.
She has agreed that we will take a month in which we will do our absolute best to try and be good spouses to one another. If it goes encouragingly, we'll consider another month. I think there's a high probability it won't do any good, and even a high probability she's not even sincere about it, but it's a month that we would have to be living together anyway. What do I have to lose? Do I risk even more heartbreak at the end? Absolutely. Do I need to be preparing for divorce during that time? Definitely. But I don't think that I gain anything by serving divorce papers now as opposed to a month from now. I won't gain more peace of mind. I'll just wonder all the time whether I made a mistake. Whatever happens, I don't want to be the one to end it. And if in the end, she does divorce me, then it's all on her. She's the one who refused to work on the marriage. She's the one who cheated on me. She's the one who wouldn't forgive me and give me a second chance when I was willing to forgive and work on recovering from the worst betrayal imaginable. And I can walk away with as clean a conscience as is possible in a situation like this.
Somehow, I still love her, and what is love if not mercy and forgiveness, and redemption. What is love if not being willing to put yourself through hell for someone, even someone who doesnít deserve it?
I don't believe she has any interest in being married to me with an affair on the side. Her determination to get out of this marriage tells me that much, so if she does show any indication of wanting to reconcile, I'd be inclined to believe her.
As far as being able to trust her goes, that's another question entirely, but the truth is that I'm going to be dealing with trust issues one way or another. I never thought this could happen to me, and It's likely that I would carry that disillusionment with me into any future marriage. I don't think she was a dishonest or untrustworthy person from the beginning, and I'd be dealing with the fear that anyone else I married could turn out the same way no matter how promising the start. So somehow, I need to learn to trust again. If I can do that through trying to heal with my own wife, then I want to do that. If not, then I'll do my best on my own.
She has acknowledged that the affair was wrong, but this is not the same as an apology or repentance.
Why, then, are you offering her the gift of reconciliation? What has she done to earn it?
But I don't think that I gain anything by serving divorce papers now as opposed to a month from now.
You do. She is going to use this month to cake-eat, and you are sweetening the deal. She gets a sweet, repentant husband at home, trying desperately to win her back (and, tell me, who is the prize? is it her... or is it you? Think about this, please), and I am 100% sure she is still stringing OM along on the side, experiencing that carefree limerance love that appears in the early months of a new relationship... a relationship in which there is no morning breath, no mortgage talk, no arguments over socks that don't walk themselves to the hamper. To save the marriage, you must be willing to lose it.
Your old wife -- the wife you fell in love with, the wife who loved and respected you -- is gone. Look at the person you are dealing with now.. the person painting you as a monster while she stomps on your trust, the person manipulating you into taking all the blame when she's been having an affair. Do you really want to be with this person?
Please hear me: If you allow her to spit in your face (by having the affair and shifting nearly all blame onto your shoulders), and then YOU grovel to get HER back, she will NEVER respect you, and you will certainly lose the marriage -- maybe not now, but you will lose it, and probably to another man.
You bring up some good points. And if I need to be disabused of my illusions one by one, I suppose that's the way it might have to be. I'm not going to maintain this stance at all costs.
I should note though that I do not think that she is trying to cake-eat. She told me that she broke off the affair, and I believe her. Why? Because she told me that she broke it off to work on getting out of the marriage, not to stay in it. Doesn't seem like the lie someone would tell if she wanted to have both of us. No. I am fairly certain she wants to get out of our marriage as soon as possible so that she can have a "legitimate" relationship with this guy.
That doesn't exactly help my case, I know, but consider this:
The fact is that I had been trying for weeks to get her to agree to some sort of "trial period," maybe six months to a year (this is before I found out about the affair), and only just now did she agree to a month (which we all know is too short to really make progress), and only, it seemed, because we were stuck with each other for that long anyway. At no point in this process have I gotten the impression that she is just telling me what I want to hear, considering that she has conceded essentially no ground to me in this entire process (except for, at last, this one month). It's not hard to trust that someone is being honest when all they are giving you is bad news.
You say that to save the marriage, I have to be willing to lose it. I hate to admit it, but this is probably right. I also know that I'm just not there yet. God help me, I'm just not willing. I'm close, but I'm not there.
I do know that no matter what, I need to find a way to stand up for myself.
You are very well written, and convey a true sense of being traumatized, lied to, deceived, betrayed and emotionally abused by your WW.
Unfortunately, I can say that most all of us have "been there". And if it means anything, what you're going through is, sadly, 100% "normal". In fact, I felt incredibly reminiscent of my own story when I read yours.
That being said, I can say that if there was one thing I could have done differently when I was going through the pain and abuse from my WW's A, I would have tried to find resources (e.g., SI.com, books, etc.). I didn't know those existed for this particular subject matter, and for some reason, having little to no experience with affairs, I thought my situation was unique, for some screwed up reason. It wasn't until after my 5th DDay that I found SI.com and started reaching out for support.
So, comparatively speaking, you're off to a better start than I was, at least.
What I can say is that SI.com is full of MANY people who have "been there", as well as a wealth of incredibly helpful knowledge in the Healing Library. I strongly encourage you to read up on the 180 guide, and follow it as much as you realistically can. It may seem counter-intuitive to do so, but trust me, it will be your savior during these troubling times.
I want to echo what many have said in that there is absolutely NOTHING you did that resulted in your WW engaging in destructive A-like behavior. That is 100% on her, and hers to own the rest of her life. You ARE, however, equally responsible for any shortcomings or failings within your M, but I see that you've already acknowledged that, so that is good.
In addition, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to "convince" your WW to stop having an A, or to "choose you". After all, you truly are worth more than having to "convince" someone to be with you. And although you may not see it now, there are TONS of incredibly not-fucked-up women out there who would be thrilled and honored to be with you, and not betray you, backstab you, deceive you, or emotionally abuse you.
Folks who engage in such behaviors must dehumanize their victims in order to engage in and continue with such devastating behavior. It is a SICKNESS (just like, say, compulsive gambling, sex addition, etc.). There is no "cure" you can provide. If they want to get better, they have to not be "sick" anymore. And they get better only by being smashed over the head with a reality sledgehammer.
If you continue to try to have your WW "see the light", you will only be subjecting yourself to continued abuse and pain. The best thing you can do is distance yourself from her, start protecting your mind and body, and get your house in order so that you can think clearly and rationally. You see, this can be thought of like war. She is the enemy, in this case, and has a HUGE head start on you. She has forged an army, detached emotionally and physically from you, and has sought refuge with what sounds to be a degenerate OM. My WW did the same thing. She had a HUGE head start on me, and I had to scramble to catch up, which I was months behind on. She had built a web of lies, many of which involved dehumanizing me, and demonizing me to friends and family. All of which I had no idea about.
If you want to come out of this with your integrity, sense of self worth ,and overall, in a better place within yourself, you MUST stop blaming yourself for her A. You must pull yourself up by your bootstraps and accept that your WW put you and your family in grave danger, and that she is NOT the person you thought she was all these years. In her current state, she truly is your enemy, and is on track to destroying you and your family if you don't fight back and fight for what's right.
Giving her a month to "think about it" is absolutely asinine. She should have 24 hours, IMO, and that's being generous. You see, she is still calling the shots, and she no longer has that luxury. She is trying to control and manipulate her. She wants her cake and wants to eat it to. If I were you, I would give her an ultimatum. I would firmly draw a bottom line, instructing her that she must leave the house, as that is not a place for emotional abuse and betrayal of your family, as those behaviors simply will not be tolerated. Tell her that YOU will decide if you want to be with her again, but that she does need to leave until you've determined how you want to move forward. I would immediately contact an attorney and find out your options, of which there are MANY. WSs look VERY bad in the eyes of family court judges and juries, especially when the extent of their betrayal is as deep as you've described it. But man, seriously, take control here, and tell her she isn't welcomed there, and needs to leave. It is up to HER to figure out what she is going to do. She should have thought about this, and had a plan, prior to betraying you. Don't provide anything for her. After all, is she providing anything for you? No? Well, meet her equally and provide for her what she is providing for you. Let's see if her AP will let her move in with him (HAHA! That is HIGHLY unlikely to happen, or if it does, it'll last, say, 2 weeks?).
If she is going to wake up from her "fog", it's only going to be when you push her away. Otherwise, she is simply being a cake-eater. What incentive does she have to end the emotional abuse and trauma if she knows you're simply going to be sitting there waiting for her to "come around"? Again, it sounds irrational to people like us, but remember, you are dealing with a VERY ILL PERSON.
Lastly, do everything you can to collect evidence about her A. Screenshots from her computer, txt messages, etc. You may need this later! (Note: PM me for other tips and methods of investigating her. Sadly, I've learned a LOT of them, and had them taught to me, and don't want to give WSs any new material to strengthen their defenses by posting opening in SI.com, so again, PM, if interested in more of these things you can do).
Be strong, take care of yourself and your family. You've found a safe place. Keep on fighting!
This is coming from everyone who has been in the same pickle as you are. I thought I was different too, that I can fix my husband by myself. That there is some good inside him that still loves me. What a waste of time that was!
Now that I am finally starting to detach I feel free and now seeing the myriad of opportunities ahead of me. I can plan a future with my children and make new memories with them. My husband now sees me in a different light and the confusion on his face is highly amusing. He's now trying to nice me back to my former dutiful and grovelling self but wait.... he's still with the OW.
Please take heed and don't waste another month, not even a day on fixing your wife. As long as the OM is in the picture you can't. Quick and decisive action is what you need.
Good luck !
If you have not already done so, please consult an attorney.
Read up on the 180. It is found in the Healing Library under the FAQ for Betrayed Spouses.
If she really wants a separation, then do the following:
- Take half the money in any and all joint accounts and put in your name only.
- Continue paying for any joint obligations you have.
- Remove her from any credit cards she is a authorized user. Typically the card was opened up in your name and she was authorized to use the card.
- Freeze any accounts you have as joint. You don't want to fund her attorney or her affair
- Remove yourself from any accounts where you are the authorized user she opened up
- If she has any bills you are currently paying, stop. Cell phone for example.
- Discontinue any marriage counseling. You are just wasting money and it will serve no use until she is faced with the decision to attempt reconciliation.
- Keep all evidence in a safe location (your office, with your attorney, etc.).
- Consider purchasing a voice activated recorder. Keep it with you at all times you are talking with her. It may not be admissible in court, but it may help you in the case she gets backed into a corner and fabricates any lies against you.
Let her know you are serious. You will not put up with her behavior. This will let you feel like you have some control in the process. Might not be able to control the outcome, but it will give you strength.
Eat. Sleep. Exercise. Drink plenty of water. Spend quality time with your daughter and focus on her.
I'm sorry you had to find us and for your situation but please heed the advice here.
The 180 is a mechanism for you, for helping you to detach and to focus on the here and now, and on yourself. Read and read again. Absorb and adopt it as your mantra. Follow it despite your pain and anguish. It will serve you well.
You cannot control her or anything she does, the situation or the outcome. You can only protect yourself. This is your priority.
Welcome to the club no-one wants to join. We are here for you.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone (Johnny Nash)
Those who stir the shit soup get to lick the spoon!
She started demonizing me before she began the affair (and again, some of her criticisms of me were legitimate). I know this because of the e-mails that I read. So she used her demonization of me and her general impression that her marriage was on the rocks to justify the affair, rather than demonizing me to justify it after the affair began (though I am sure that the two reinforced each other once the affair began). This is one of the reasons, I think, that her stance towards me hasn't changed. Since all of her problems with me came before the affair, she doesn't think that the fact that she had the affair really changes whether or not she should get out of our marriage. In fact, the fact that now we both know that wrongs have been done on both sides, it's all the more reason to get out, in her mind. She doesn't love me, and I shouldn't love her, so let's just quit. That's how she sees it.
[This message edited by dbellanon at 5:28 PM, May 12th (Sunday)]
How sure are you on the A timing. Usually the demonizing starts after the affair has started. The WS does this to justify their behavior to themselves after they have already stepped out.
Please heed the advice you are getting here. Their is an enormous amount of wisdom here. Most everyone has BTDT and are giving you the benefit of the things that in retrospect they now realize they did wrong. Sending you strength.
Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then --- Bob Seger
Not sure it makes all that much of a difference. I'm sure that her opinion of me worsened once the affair began, even though it was pretty bad to begin with.
The fact is that she has badly bungled absolutely everything about this process, beginning with not telling me when she began to feel seriously unhappy in our marriage. There were months and months during which, if I had known this, we could have gone to counseling and begun to reconcile. But then she told me too late after she already made up her mind, and had already begun an affair with another man. That's what pisses me off so much about it, that there was a window of time when this could have been fixed. I don't believe that the world is divided into "cheaters" and "loyals." I think that everyone has a different capacity for infidelity, and some of them won't even know it until they're put in a situation where it's possible. I'm fairly certain my capacity is 0, especially now, since I wouldn't wish what I'm going through on my worst enemy, but I don't think that my wife is a 10, someone who was bound to get around to it sooner or later no matter what. This didn't have to happen, and some serious "preventative medicine" in our marriage probably could have deflected this outcome.
She sabotaged our chances first by keeping her dissatisfaction to herself (though she'd say that she's been trying to get through to me for years), and then sabotaged them further by cheating, and then sabotaged them further by lying about it, and trying to keep herself in the lovely moral glow of being the "wronged spouse." There is not a single thing that she has done right since this began. I'm not sure it matters if the chicken or the egg came first.
If it does come to divorce, I'm not anticipating a legal battle. She wants to separate amicably, and she was saying that even before I found out about the affair, so she's not just saying it because she knows that I could use the affair against her. Equal division of property and joint custody is what she has in mind, and I honestly don't have a good reason not to give it to her... at least I don't think. She's a good mother... Well, okay, I'm not so sure I'd go that far given the potential of this whole mess to harm her child, but I should say that I'm not afraid to share custody with her (although if OM becomes involved, I might change my mind. I do not want him involved in my child's life), and I know that it would be cruel to try to cut her out of our daughter's life.
She knows that I am a good father. That's the one thing about me that she hasn't criticized, and she knows that a legal battle would financially drain both of us and leave nothing for our daughter at all (Did I mention my wife is a graduate student? We don't have a lot of money). All this to say that I don't think I'll be fighting her in court. But I do need to find a lawyer nonetheless.
Anyone have advice about how to track down a good one?
Just Let Them Go
The end result?
The end result is to respect yourself in the end,
let go of the people that don't value you or respect you.
That is the end result.
The quickest way to get a cheating spouse back is to let them go with a smile on your face wishing them the best in life and hoping that everything works out in their relationship with their affair partner.
Seriously, the quickest way to get them back.
Nothing else works better or quicker.
Let them go.
Agree with them and their feelings,
"you should be with the OM, I hope he makes you happy, good bye"
Wouldn't that be true love?
If you really loved your spouse,
and wanted them to have what they really want in life which is the other person they're in love with,
wouldn't letting them go be the approach if you really love them?
Why focus on the affair or the drama associated with it?
Just let them go. Give them their freedom.
You can take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror everyday and improve yourself but do it for you, not for someone else, the changes will never stick when it's done for someone else, do it for your benefit and you will probably make those changes last much longer if not indefinitely - because it's for your benefit and you realize the importance and value in that benefit because YOU are involved.
I will never tell someone to change to entice a WAW back when she's been cheating on him. I don't care how bad a marriage, there is never an excuse for cheating. That is a personal decision that someone makes to cheat on their spouse. If a marriage is really bad, leave, get a divorce, speak up to your spouse and tell them flat out "this marriage sucks and if things don't change I'm going to leave you and find someone better" and if things don't improve, leave that person.
But cheating, no excuses.
Think about cheating.
A wayward spouse who cheats on their spouse goes behind their back, secretly, telling lies, feeling guilty, getting angry at their spouse for getting in the way of their fantasies but never owning up to their actions, never admitting what they're doing. If a person who cheats on their spouse felt justified in their actions, why hide and go behind their spouses backs when they start cheating, why lie, why make up excuses about late nights at work and going to a friends place and sleeping over because they drank too much and any other such nonsense?
Deep down, the cheating spouse knows there is something inherently wrong with their actions otherwise they wouldn't lie about their actions and hide what they're doing.
Fighting the affair? For what reason?
To compete with the OM or OW for your spouse?
What message does that communicate to your wayward spouse?
They have lots of value and you have none because now you have to compete with another person for their love? Competing with your wayward spouse's affair partner never works, it just prolongs an ugly drama filled process.
And for your last point,
The easiest way to show you will not tolerate cheating in your relationship is to let that person go. That is the easiest and most effective way to show this.
"Look wife/husband, I won't be in an open relationship with you, I won't give you X number of days, weeks, months to make your mind, if you really feel like you need to sit on the fence on this decision and can't decide between your affair partner and me well I will make the decision for you, you can be with them because I'm no longer an option. I love you and wish you a good life with them and hope it works out for you because it didn't work out for us. Now the best thing we can do for each other is to make this process as graceful and peaceful as possible for us and our children, I'll contact a lawyer/mediator and get started on the process of our legal separation/divorce."
You give them what they want.
You don't fight them on this issue.
You agree with their feelings,
they want to be with the other person, fine they should be with the other person, let them be with the other person.
You will never convince a person to change their feelings with your arguments and logic. You can not find one member on this website in a situation where they are dealing with infidelity where they got their spouse to change their mind about how they feel about their affair partner.
You can't say "don't love them, love me instead",
you can't say "look at me, I'm better in every way compared to your affair partner, pick me instead of them",
you can't say "you took marriage vows, you promised to love me"
I agree, you don't have to make it easy for your wayward spouse to have an affair, but when you let them go, "lovingly detach", you don't have to worry about making it easy for them. It's no longer your concern, they can have you or them but not both and not at the same time and since they've chosen to have an affair, they've made their choice, there is no profit in fighting that decision. Let them go and move on with your life, that is the quickest, easiest way to get them back.
You definitely don't support them financially and enable them, that would be weak, wussy, clingy, insecure behavior - something in you telling you that you need to support them financially while they're having an affair, hoping they'll realize how nice you are and come back to you.
Just let them go, have them move out or you move out and live a good life without them.
The path to salvation is narrow, and as difficult to walk as the razor's edge
Btw - welcome, sorry you're here - and the advice you've been given is spot on. I foresee that in the next 30 days you will experience such anguish and soul-crushing despair because of your wife's attitude that you will look back and ask why you didn't 180 her ass and take a hard line. But if it happens (I truly hope you come through with your self-esteem intact) but if it happens, we'll be here to help you through. We understand - most of us delayed the tough-love until we learned the hard way. We're here for you every step of the way.
Yep.... Run, Forest, RUN ! (I really like that advice.)