We built that world, one day at a time over the next 19 years. We traveled, lived in a variety of cities, took new and more exciting jobs, had our three wonderful children, bought a house, joined a church and went about living our lives. And it was mostly perfect. I used to have conversations with myself about how happy our live made us and how I knew, deep down inside, I just KNEW that I was lucky to have my wife at my side and that I would be happy forever.
But it was easy for me, because at some point in the process my second world snuck in. What seemed so simple at first, just a little harmless flirting, a few dinners, became a LTA that expanded MY world while taking AWAY from the world I had built with my wife. Hindsight is 20/20 and I know now that I was dismantling my wifeís world one day at a time as a result of my A, until on DDay it finally exploded entirely. There is no world left any longer for either of us.
We use the words ďreconciliationĒ and ďrebuildingĒ as if to imagine there is something that still remains to work from. There isnít. By the time the dust has settled from the bomb I exploded, weíre not going to be the same people Ė weíre already not the same people and itís only been 6 months. We havenít talked in half a year outside of a tenuous monthly MC session where we confirm weíre not getting divorced yet. The kids now know their parents are two different units with no expectation that we get back together (not to be confused with them HOPING we get back together). And of course, I no longer live at home. Nothing reminds me more how much damage I have caused then sleeping under a different roof from my family.
So itís pretty gloomy and the prognosis is not good. My wifeís pain is getting worse and she no longer can even look at me for the few words weíll exchange during changeover at the house Ė forget about anything resembling actually communication or even functional co-parenting. I have good days and bad and I struggle to imagine the amount of pain she is in. I try and conceive something like 10X of my worst pain, but I fear that doesnít even come close. My wife tells me often in MC that my LTA has cast an irreversible doubt on every minute of our life together. Every single second of our relationship, including the walk we took 19 years ago, is regarded as a lie to my wife. How can anyone recover from such a thing? Better yet a couple? A family?
So hope is getting tougher to find, but the fact still remains that I love my wife. She is the same beautiful, independent, magical, hard-working, humorous woman I feel in love with so long ago and have built a world with. I canít imagine ever loving another woman as no one even comes close and yes, she is worth waiting for, no matter how long it takes. But if Iím honest, I thought there would be more to grasp onto at this stage. Something small to fuel my hope, anything, like a weekly meal with the kids, an email telling me about her job search, or even a brief text thanking me for babysitting one of these many nights. But nothing comes and nothing is coming, so all I am left with is prayer. And so every night and every morning I pray for my wife to find peace in any form it will bring her.
I needed to share because all I have left really is praying for hope daily. Sincerely, PFH.
I haven't gone back and looked at your other posts, but this one feels so...detached. Like you're describing something that "happened." What I'm missing here is:
What are you doing to make yourself a safe partner? To your wife, or to a future partner?
What are you doing to figure out why you felt the need to sneak away from your mostly-perfect life?
What actions are you taking to be a good, or better, father to your boys?
How do you feel? Sad, angry, guilty...?
all I have left really is praying for hope daily
Maybe. But the Lord helps those who helps themselves. I'm not saying you're just sitting around hoping and praying, I'm asking you...what are you doing to get to the bottom of your damage, and fix it?
I know you are catholic and so I encourage you to look up St. Monica. She prayed for her son's conversion for 17 years before it happened, even when other priests felt it was a hopeless endeavor. May her story give you hope and the strength to persevere.
God be with us all.
In terms of me being a safe partner and a better husband: I established NC with the OW immediately after dday. I wrote a NC letter with my wife, who then mailed it. I turned over all finances to my wife, bank accounts, statements, online access, etc. This continues to be an important part of my wifeís safety since I am the sole breadwinner and it scares her to be dependent on me (she literally tells me how much she hates it and breaks down in tears in MC). I turned over all passwords to social, email, airline accounts. I turned over my PC and phone passwords and have a GPS tracker on my phone. I track every penny I spend and submit a weekly expense report to my wife. I took over a number of household chores, e.g. all grocery shopping, paying the nanny, dog food. At her request, I ended four close friendships who were not friends to the marriage. And probably most important but most painful, I moved out at 5 weeks after dday when she asked for a separation. This was augmented with her also asking for NC between us other than emails regarding the kids, finances or the house.
Iím living my life in complete transparency and my wife has reiterated numerous times in MC that there is nothing else I can do to provide her more safety in this situation.
In terms of me being a better father: I took over sole parenting of our three boys on the weekends. I arrive at the house Sat and Sun at dawn, before they get up, and I leave in the evening after I put them to bed and my wife tells me she is headed home. This means I have learned how to cook, as in addition to the weekends I get one evening with them during the week, so Iím responsible to put 8 meals a week together for them. This was a major source of stress early on and now has become a part of my personal growth which I treasure. I do all homework with them throughout the weekend and manage all their activities, getting them to/fro mass, music class, sports class and social activities. This means, across the three of them, my Saturdays are spent either in the kitchen or in the car driving them (not a complaint at all, just the reality of single parenting). My wife has been emotionally unable to travel with us, so I took the kids alone on our annual ski vacation and then again, I took them alone for our annual Spring Break trip. And perhaps something odd to mention, but I also clip their nails. As a parent who works 60 hours a week I honestly never considered my childrenís fingernails since that was one of many things my wife just handled. Now they spend most of their non-school time with me and itís one more little thing I cherish thatís come out of this disaster.
In terms of me becoming a better person: Iím in IC three times a week, every Mon, Tues and Wed morning and I can say without any reservation that it has saved my life. Mental health is nothing to mess with, the brain is the most complicated device on the planet, and without IC I would have lost myself long ago through this process. But itís work and it hurts. About 1 month in I finally understood ďfeel it to heal itĒ as I was regularly breaking down in my sessions talking about some of the trauma and abuse I went through as a kid. On top of this I spend every Friday with my Priest. He was the first person I saw after dday and the man has seen me in my darkest hour. Iíve cried buckets with him as Iíve repented and unlike IC, he is a very pragmatic voice in my recovery, keeping me honest, keeping me humble and keeping me realistic (heís seen a lot of divorces like everyone). I stopped drinking on dday because while Iím not sure if I had a problem, it certainly wasnít going to make things any better. Finally, Iím quitting my job. My A happened at work and while important to my wife, itís perhaps more important to me to have a clean start in a new company. It took me 6 months to find an acceptable job for me and my family (my wife put requirements on the search as well) but itís done and I start in July.
So what do I know from all this? I know itís going to be okay no matter how it turns out. I couldnít say that before, but now I know itís true. The children will be okay as theyíre doing great through the separation. Neither D or R will be easy, but I'm emotionally strong enough to survive. I have a support network, I have the tools I need and Iím open about whatever future God has in store.
What do I want from all this? This is a different question, because what I want is a chance to keep my family together. Sometimes in MC when we discuss my progress my wife will shout at me ďso what do you want, a MEDAL!?!Ē Iíve never been able to respond to that because sheís right. Why did I have to destroy SO MUCH in order to become a better person? But Iíve thought about it a lot and all I really want is a chance. There is no guarantee we can ever work as a couple again, but from my side there is so much here worth saving I will always want to try. Time will tell how my wife feels and the only for certain is she needs more time; luckily I have a lot of that to give.
And youíre right about my tone. Yesterday was one of the tough days and Iím sure I was sounding removedÖI was certainly feeling it.