I'm not sure it matters if the chicken or the egg came first.
This is absolutely the case, dBellanon. The relevance of "when" your WW started unraveling is a moot point, although the stats say that it was right around the time of the start of the affair, despite what she may say. I see clarity coming to you already which is awesome. It's something that I wish I had much earlier in my situation.
"I can fill the flask up, but can't get past us
I'm in the storm, staying strong, but can't get back up"
I'm not willing to give up on loving her, and I'm not willing to give up on our marriage.
But I'm not going to be a doormat anymore.
I will give it the month, but only if she ends the affair PERMANENTLY. None of this "I'm breaking off the affair until I can get out of my marriage" crap. No contact. Accountability. These are the terms I am setting. And I had better see some goddamn remorse, some sort of indication that she can actually evaluate her actions clearly.
I've been afraid to set ultimatums because I have been afraid that she will take those ultimatums and run and then I will have lost her forever. And that's probably true. There's a strong likelihood that this will happen. But there's a strong likelihood that she will leave after the month is over anyway, and I won't have done her or myself any good by letting her walk all over me.
I will make sure she knows that whatever I do in the next month, I do because I love her and believe in our marriage, and not because I think I need to earn her love or approval. And if she reneges on the month, then so be it. So help me, I'm terrified of that outcome, but I just can't be in this position anymore.
What did she do to me? I feel like I'm finally waking up and realizing how badly my self esteem has been damaged.
"Diamonds aren't a girl's best friend, freedom is."
The month-long trial is on. She seems willing to give it as much as she can, which at this point, is not so much emotional investment as it is just time. We've basically doubled our therapy schedule. It's not at all the right way to do it. We need more time, but she wants to move out on July 1st, and she's not budging.
As far as the affair goes, it did come out that "no sex," really just means "no penetration." I believe her on this, but at this point I don't think it matters. It's a pencil-thin distinction and it doesn't make it any less painful, or make we wish I could kick the asshole in the balls any less.
The worst part is that she's not really sorry for the affair. She can acknowledge that what she did was ethically wrong, but she doesn't feel remorseful about it. In her words, "It's hard to feel bad about something that made me feel good." The affair met needs of hers that she felt were not being met. It did something good for her, she thinks, even if it was wrong.
And of course, I can't make her feel sorry for it, even though she should. It's a bunch of narcissistic bullshit. There's a reason why the goodness of an action isn't determined by how it makes you feel, but rather by how it affects others. But she's so far from feeling empathy for me that I don't think it makes a difference.
I feel like I'm incredibly confused as to where I am. On the one hand, having a month of being all-in might, just might have a snowball's chance in hell of changing some small thing about the way she is feeling. And if there's a chance, it feels like it's worth it. On the other hand, it still feels like her underlying determination to end the marriage warrants a 180 on my part.
So do I go all-in and invest myself fully, or do I detach? Is it possible to do both?
At the same time, I don't want us to leave each other now and simply crystallize the images we have of each other. If we leave the marriage now, she will always be a cheater in my eyes, and I will always be the neglectful and emotionally abusive husband. We will never get to live down our reputations with one another because we never will have had the chance to be anything else to one another. But we will still have to face each other every week and be reminded of the things that ended our marriage.
So I suppose that since she's giving me a month to try to change her view of me, I suppose I'm giving her time as well, perhaps to come to a place of remorse, or something... I feel that if we leave now, I will never forgive her, and I'll have to live with this disgust that I feel over her betrayal forever.
I have a very hard time believing that the person I have gotten to know through reading your heartfelt words was ever emotionally abusive to his wife.
I think your wife may be twisting what happened in your marriage and making you feel responsible for her feelings because she is seriously f*cked up. You seem to be an approachable, introspective and understanding guy. Emotional abuse? That's what she is doing to you.
I will always be the neglectful and emotionally abusive husband
Whether this is true or not, it is NOT the reason she cheated. My H gave his excuse for cheating because I interrupted him when he was talking. So I hope you can wrap your head around the fact that the cheating is ALL on her.
Dude, please pull out the 180 and implement it like yesterday. Wishing you strength.
And yeah, I do feel abused in all of this, and I don't deserve it. But somehow, I'd like her to at least be able to see that I'm not the monster she has created in her own head, even if it's not enough for her to turn around.
Right after DDay for me, I went to the Dr. for anxiety. He did a lot of tests and one of the things he found was that my testosterone was extremely low. Please don't think I am suggesting you "man up" or anything, this is a common ailment. Well three weeks later I seem to have my old swagger back and I have a new energy and "badass' attitude I used to have when younger. This has helped me to look at things logically and to be confident in my decisions and desire to get out there and start a new life. Hope this helps!
One things for sure unless your wife realizes that you both bear responsibility for the state of your marriage and you are not the monster she has come to portray you as, there is no hope. Right now she is so arrogant, convinced you deserve every morsel of grief she has handed out. There is no possibility of reconciliation with this attitude and I agree with other posters, let her go; maybe she will come to her senses later, maybe not. Either way you may have moved on in the meantime; thats the risk your wife will have to take.
What you describe is very, very much like what I just spent the last year doing. I'm a betrayed wife who had a mirror-image of what you describe happen.
STBXH/Perv had already fully detatched himself from our 17 year marriage and 20 year relationship for quite a long while, but never told his wife. It was exactly as you describe, so that when he finally spoke of an MC he already knew he wanted to live with OW but wanted to pretend he was doing the "right" exit. He never spoke of wanting MC prior to knowing OW.
I worked myself sick to give chances and "fix" this awful list of supposed problems that only half-existed. He was mad about coffee, for one? but never, ever told me. Just held it all in and maybe had a list somewhere.
So I write this about my story to say that I can completely, absolutely relate to what you are trying to do. And I commend you for giving your M so much energy. But ...I hate to say but...it will really, seriously take its toll on you emotionally and physically if she isn't in it wholeheartedly, too. I'm sorry to say that, but it happened here and to one or two other couples we/I know.
I wish you tremendous luck and hope that what you want to happen will happen. I hope she's really let go of OM and not pulling your leg-that happened here many times, even while looking me right in the face.
I'm sorry to say that I did frown when I read about her and OM "Miscommunicating about being exclusive", because...she's married to you!!!
The times, they are'a changin'! -Bob Dylan
It's the most awful thing to live with...I did have the guts recently to remind him that he did it and not me. No reply came, lol.
Thank you for getting it...I'm starting to!
In her words, "It's hard to feel bad about something that made me feel good."
I wonder if she would agree with the assertion: "it's ok to hurt others, as long as your behavior makes you feel good" ? If yes, she needs some counseling, IMHO.
The problem with counselors is that it's not their job to pass moral judgment. Our couples' counselor very cautiously chose her words when she said something along the lines of, "I think you realize that this was not the most healthy way of..." or something like that. In my mind of course, I was thinking, "Yeah. Just like ripping out someone's tongue is an unhealthy way of dealing with anger." It's an understatement of monumental proportions. But of course, she was just being professional.
Others in her life expressed concern about the morality of what she was doing, and about whether it was a healthy thing for her, but to my knowledge, I don't think anyone ever brought up the hurt and trauma it would cause me. I'm not sure why. Maybe because they thought I wouldn't find out. Maybe because had been so demonized that it didn't seem like my feelings mattered. I don't know. But it is troubling.
I guess that wasn't very professional of her.... But it was good for me to hear.
XWH#1 was having an EA?PA with an 18yr old. He said I couldn't tell him who he could be friends with. That is the day I walked away from my 20+yr marriage that had been filled with affairs and abuse. OW left him right after I filed for D. By that time I no longer wanted him back in my life. I had spent weeks detaching from the marriage. The reason I say this is sometimes you have to let them go. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't. When I told WH#2 after DDay#2 that I was through, he could have her, I wished him much happiness in his new relationship. He looked scared as hell and said he didn't want OW, he wanted me. As I told him I am not an option that you can just want one day and not want the next. Leave me in peace if you don't want to commit to our marriage. If you think she will make you happy, then leave and be with her. He is still here and is now starting to try R.
It is true sometimes you have to let them go in order to keep them. My two marriages turned out totally different, so there is no guarantees either way. You have to get to a place in your own mind that you deserve to be loved and if she doesn't want to be the one to do that then you are better off without her. You are no ones second choice and you are not a floor mat. Don't let her treat you like one, EVER!!!