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She Needs Me To Forgive Her

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LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 12:23 PM

So, to make it brief, I am a 37 year old factory supervisor. I have been married to my wife for nine years and we have a son who is my adopted son and hers by birth from a previous relationship. Up until our D-day, June 2, 2015, we had a really good and enjoyable marriage.

I found out through a neighbor that a guy had been coming over to our house two or three times a week while I was at work. I took a day off from work and faked going to work the next day and traded cars with my buddy so that I could stake out my house from down the street. Sure enough, about ten that morning a guy in a truck drove into my driveway and walked right in the front door. I waited for about fifteen minutes, drove up to across the street from my house, and walked in. I caught them on the couch together and I chased the guy out on to the lawn and proceeded to beat him up. My wife called the cops, I got hauled to jail in front of the neighbors, and I spent the rest of the day locked up. The Judge let me out later that evening and I got off with a misdemeanor assault and a fine.

So I kicked my wife out and she stayed with her parents. I filed for divorce but later on I dropped it because I didn't want to share custody of our son. Later, I let her move back around January 2016. The first year was dodgy. I bought a new bed immediately after D-day, but I would not let her sleep with me. For that first year she slept on the couch.

We went to some marriage counseling that my company paid for but it was a bunch of crap. The therapist basically laid the blame for her cheating on me. Blah blah blah. You all know how it goes. So after the third session I never went back.

It took me a long time to get to where I could have sex with her again, because I found her repellant, but I was able to do it when I decided to basically throw any expectation of intimacy out the window. So now we just have sex. It is really good, hot sex, but just sex. I don't feel any love with it.

She acts remorseful and sorry and is always fawning over me and basically does whatever she thinks she needs to do to get me to like her again and trust her again. I told her it is not happening. I will live with her as kindly and nicely as I can and I will work hard to continue giving her and our son a solid home. I don't fight with her, I don't belittle her or cut her down, and she still gets to be a stay at home mom and not work. She got off pretty good I would say. But she has this need for me to forgive her for what she did and I told her that was not going to happen. I told her she needs to ask God for forgiveness, ask her son and family for forgiveness, and forgive herself. But she is not getting it from me.

I don't hold the affair over her head anymore. I don't call her whore or slut. And I have made it clear that she can leave me whenever she wants to because, to me, the marriage is dead. Of course this makes her wail and cry and carry on. It's always a big stage production, but I just cannot feel anything for her. Not hatred, not love, not desire, nothing.

So how do I get her to accept that I am no longer in love with her and I have no desire to forgive. I like the marriage as it is now, which is basically two friends who happen to be married and live together. I can go on this way until our son leaves home, but she wants more, and I cannot give her any more. Has anyone been in my shoes? I don't really know what it is I am looking for. Maybe just some empathy.

sewardak posted 9/12/2017 12:25 PM

"I don't hold the affair over her head anymore. And I have made it clear ..., to me, the marriage is dead."

that is still holding the affair over her head. just divorce then.

Darkness Falls posted 9/12/2017 12:30 PM

It sounds like it's simply a dealbreaker for you and that is 100% valid. But I do agree that you two need to divorce. You don't necessarily need to pull the plug yourself; hopefully she will. But it's not a sustainable situation.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 12:43 PM

By not holding it over her head, what I mean is I do not constantly throw the affair in her face. Before she nmove back in we had long talks and I told her what her affair did to me. She saw it happening. The weight loss, the depression, the anger. She saw me go through all of it. Then one day about six months later it just kind of ended. It was like something snapped and shut off in my head, like someone pulled a breaker switch. It was peculiar. But fter that day I looked at her and no longer felt anything.

I still like her as a person and I enjoy her company. We co-parent well, we get along pretty well and we still go out and have fun times as a family. But I just don't have the passion for her that I used to. Why does that mean the marriage has to end? Why can't we just have a companionship marriage where we have similar goals and co-parent our son? What is wrong with that?

Why am I expected to forgive? What is so special about forgiveness and why is it so important to cheaters?

Darkness Falls posted 9/12/2017 12:46 PM

You CAN have that kind of marriage, if you're both in agreement. But it sounds as though you aren't.

You don't have to forgive. And it's not important to all cheaters---I personally don't care if my husband "forgives" me or not---but if it's important to HER, that's just as valid a feeling as the fact that you can't.

Which is why you're incompatible post-affair.

CantSleepCantEat posted 9/12/2017 13:11 PM

Your current situation is what my BH talks about, sometimes, as the best I can hope for (except that we do not have any children). He's said he can think of me as a friend, but not as a partner. I'm sure it's hard for her to hear, if she's wanting or hoping for more. It sounds to me like she hasn't fully accepted that the affair irreversibly changed your relationship, or what the new version looks like.

Like DarknessFalls said, there isn't anything wrong with a companionship marriage, but any time two people in a relationship are on different pages, it's not sustainable.

If you are both immovable, then it's probably best to call it quits so you can both pursue something that meets your needs.

You say that she can leave you whenever she wants, but also that you like the marriage as it is now -- if she left, would you be upset to lose it?

deephurt posted 9/12/2017 13:24 PM

I agree there is no need to forgive. I don't forgive my wh and probably never will. I don't think about it and it certainly doesn't take up any head space.

The problem for you but is that it sounds like she needs it.
I agree with you that she needs to find a way to forgive herself. I think that's what she really needs

I also went through what you went through. My. Rain kinda just snapped. I was feeling so much pain and felt at the end of my rope and my mind just shut down. I went from crying almost hysterically to calm and dead inside. My therapist said it was a defense mechanism. It helps protect you. I will also tell you that is was temporary for me. I found i had no feeling for anything except our son. Everything and everyone else was emotionless.

That is what I believe in si they call the plain of lethal flatness.

Your feelings for her may return and they may not. This may be a deal breaker and you may change your mind. I wouldn't rush anything and just live life day by day. Tell her not to put pressure on you for forgiveness it for the return of your love.
Just go on as is and see what happens. If she can't handle it the way it is, she can file. If you decide you aren't happy with the situation, you can file. Don't rush anything. Just see how it goes. If you are happy with the status quo, then leave it as is.
You can always d, if and when you want to.

I dont see any need for you to make a decision right now.

It takes years to recover. Years.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 13:31 PM

You say that she can leave you whenever she wants, but also that you like the marriage as it is now -- if she left, would you be upset to lose it?

That is a fair question. The answer is no. On an emotional level I do not think it would affect me. However, I want to keep primary custody of our son, and that is where it goes dodgy for me. I don't want to share him. I adopted him because I fell in love with him and wanted to be his dad, not necessarily to take the burden off her. Of course at that time she was not cheating (I think) so it was a very easy decision to adopt him.

I will let her go and give her a divorce if she gives me primary custody and he lives with me. If she won't do that and asks for 50/50 custody I will fight the divorce.

I want my son to have a stable home for the remainder of what is left of his childhood. After he leaves home, then I would most likely let her go if she wanted to. Right now she does not want to go, so I am not forcing the issue. She is content and we really do get along well. But every two or three weeks she goes through a brief patch where she beats herself up and gets down and comes to me asking me to go to counseling with her to see if I can re-grow my husbandly feelings for her.

The thing is I do care for her greatly. And I guess I do love her...sort of like a brother loves his sister. But as for romantic love I just cannot stoke the fire. It's as if someone poured water in the fireplace.

I must sound like a total jerk to you all.

MalibuBayBreeze posted 9/12/2017 13:42 PM

IMO you never have to forgive her. I'll never forgive my WH. He could beg for forgiveness til his knees are bloody, which won't happen anyway, and I still wouldn't. How could I? To me forgiveness is almost saying it's ok, you fucked up royally but I'll be the bigger person and forgive you for turning my world upside down.

Screw that.

As far as the living arrangement you describe I don't see anything wrong with it if it's what you want and are comfortable with. I get what you are saying about living like friends, room mates even. Your feelings towards her have changed yet you still can have a good time together. I feel the same, though there are days my WH can be a prick and I could choke him. Yet for the most part we can laugh and talk and spend time together. I was thinking last night that I could give him the ILYBINILWY speech. I'll always love him no matter how this turns out but I'm not head over heels anymore. Maybe he shouldn't have had a LTA with a married woman. Kinda makes it impossible for me to feel the same anymore.

Sex is not the same. When we have it its good but there's no emotion for me anymore.

Do what makes you happy. You and only you know what your circumstances are and what you can or cannot handle. Whether D or R or coasting along in a more platonic relationship is up to you. But it is about YOU now, remember that.

On a side note, I love that you kicked the AP's ass. I'd take a misdemeanor offense to be able to kick MOW's ass. I know that is generally not encouraged here, but for me I say good for you.

Darkness Falls posted 9/12/2017 13:45 PM

I will let her go and give her a divorce if she gives me primary custody and he lives with me. If she won't do that and asks for 50/50 custody I will fight the divorce.

I think this is rather unrealistic. 50/50 is the norm in many if not most places and these days there isn't much "fighting" a divorce---if a spouse wants a divorce in the USA, it's granted.

sewardak posted 9/12/2017 13:52 PM

she also gets to decide if she wants to be in a marriage where her spouse isn't in love with her. i guess you've told her you're not, which is completely within your realm. so you're both kind of at a standoff. i wouldn't want to be in the marriage you're describing.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 13:56 PM

deephurt you and I went through our pain exactly the same way. It was like one day I was suicidal and then BOOM...it just ended and I came out of it quickly. I gave up on the outcome and I just made the decision I was going to live for myself and my son and not worry about what she was up to. That was the day the romantic love died. Interestingly, the day I stopped grieving and started living my life again was when she started getting more interested about coming home.

MalibuBayBreeze
you and I might be fraternal twins, because what you describe is our situation now. 95% of the time she and I get along superbly. I would even go so far as to say that, quantitatively, it is a better marital relationship now in that there is more parity between us. We are accountable to one another for our time and whereabouts. We track our finances together much better now. She is holding up her end of housekeeping and parenting, and then I make sure to step up and do the every-day things she needs done. I was not a perfect husband before her affair, but I am trying to be a better marital partner. But I am not doing it out of romantic love. I am doing it to make sure that the family unit is functioning strong and that my son has a good foundation.

As for the sex, I no longer worry about pleasing her. I just sort of objectify her and use her, and, believe it or not, she likes it better that way and enjoys it more. I think that's why she enjoyed sex with her lover, because he didn't get bogged down in the affection part of sex. I learned the hard way that she does not equate sex with love. So I no longer try to make love to her. I take charge and enjoy myself and just kind of treat her body like a playground. It sounds horrible but she seems to like it more this way, when I'm dominant. Does that make sense?

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 13:58 PM

I think this is rather unrealistic. 50/50 is the norm in many if not most places and these days there isn't much "fighting" a divorce---if a spouse wants a divorce in the USA, it's granted.

Yeah I know. But I will still fight the divorce and make her show cause and fight it every step of the way. I don't care if it drags the divorce out until my son is 18.

[This message edited by LivingWithPain at 2:04 PM, September 12th (Tuesday)]

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 14:03 PM

she also gets to decide if she wants to be in a marriage where her spouse isn't in love with her. i guess you've told her you're not, which is completely within your realm. so you're both kind of at a standoff. i wouldn't want to be in the marriage you're describing.

She gets treated very well by me and enjoys all the perks of a very comfortable life. She has a husband who treats her well, loves her son and would never cheat on her or humiliate her publicly the way she did me.

All the love I showed her must not have been all that important for her, since she brought another man into my house over twenty times to screw him on our bed and couch. I mean, why is my love so important to her now? I ask her that question and she cannot give me a good answer.

[This message edited by LivingWithPain at 2:04 PM, September 12th (Tuesday)]

josiep posted 9/12/2017 14:07 PM

Just keep in mind that as the adoptive father, you could possibly come out on the short end of it if she decides she can't live like this any longer and files for divorce. Not saying that would be the case but you might want to talk to an attorney and find out.

And, as previous posters have said, just keep on keeping on and see where it goes. But I would add that you might benefit from trying to keep your heart open because you never know, your love for her might regenerate and that would be a very good thing for all of you.

Wishing ou all the best

Minnesota posted 9/12/2017 14:11 PM

You don't sound like a total jerk. But you do sound like someone who has been hurt pretty bad.

And you sound like someone who doesn't need things to be sugar coated.

Forgiveness isn't about the other person. It's about your own freedom. You don't have to forgive her. But at some point, it won't matter. You say you're not holding it over her head, but kind of you are. You're withholding your commitment to her because of her affair. And withholding forgiveness. And nobody blames you for that. There are consequences for what she did, and your loss of passion for her, or interest in her is part of the consequences. But forgiveness doesn't mean that what she did was ok. The favorite explanation I have for forgiveness is thinking of it like a debt. - And cancelling the debt. Forgiveness means she doesn't owe you anything anymore. And it means that you no longer hold her responsible for your feelings/actions/responses etc. (or lack of)

You say you don't feel anything for your wife. Not hatred. Not love. Not passion. Nothing.- but then later you go on to describe a fondness for her and enjoying her company. It might be worth going to see a therapist to help you define what you feel and what you want and where you want this to go. (I tend to agree with those people that say your marriage, in its current form is unsustainable.)

I'm sure you love your son. But his mother is also important to him. And he needs her, too. You will always be his dad. What is best for him? Not necessarily what makes you feel ok. That's what's important. If you TRULY believe that full time custody is in his best interest, then ok.

And what are you wanting to model for your son? Is it ok for him to have a marriage when he's an adult where a key ingredient is missing?

I believe that to a degree, love is a choice. You don't have to love her. But I believe that just because you don't "feel" it right now, doesn't mean you couldn't later. And again, I"m not saying you should. But it might be possible to do so if you wanted to. Maybe.

You're in a tough place, but it sounds like you are intact. The fact that you ask the question about forgiving her, though, to me says that you're not satisfied with the situation in its current form. There are a lot of options. And we support you no matter which one you choose.

Skan posted 9/12/2017 14:26 PM

If to you, her affair was a deal-breaker and you are content, for the time being, to co-parent and live as essentially friends with benefits, then that's OK. There is nothing wrong with you feeling that way, and periodically re-analyzing the life that you're living, and changing it up if you need to by either divorcing, or seeking to fully reconcile with your WW. You can only control yourself, no one else. You're not required to forgive and definitely not required to forget or rugsweep. You may find that you come out of this lethal plain of flatness at some point, and if/when you do, then you can re-evaluate at that point.

If your WW is not happy with the arrangement, then it's up to her to change what she can change, which all has to do with herself. At a minimum, she should probably seek IC and work on becoming the best and most insightful person that she can, for her own personal growth. And if she decides that she can't go on living in this manner, then she needs to decide what to do about it separate, divorce, or bite the bullet for x-amount of time. Just as she cannot drive or dictate your healing, you cannot do the same for her. She's going to have to make her own decision as to what she can and cannot tolerate in essentially a marriage of convenience. But that's her journey and her responsibility, not yours.

What is so special about forgiveness and why is it so important to cheaters?

Darned good question and one that has many answers. For some cheaters, forgiveness means putting an end to The Betrayal, and moving on. For some it means that it's almost a free pass you did a bad thing, but it's ok now, because I forgive you. For some who are truly remorseful, it means that the person who they betrayed has been able to come to a place of peace, with or without the cheater, and has been able to heal. For some it means that the relationship itself has been healed, or properly mourned, and a new partnership/marriage has been forged. It's an individual thing, ranging from the purely selfish to the opening of a hand to set free. And that should be something that your WW and an IC seek to understand. Why is it so important to her and what, exactly, does she think that "forgiveness" means.

Keep posting for support. We're all here for you.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 14:29 PM

Just keep in mind that as the adoptive father, you could possibly come out on the short end of it if she decides she can't live like this any longer and files for divorce. Not saying that would be the case but you might want to talk to an attorney and find out.

Back when I filed for divorce I went through this ad museum with my attorney. I know what to expect and what kind of fight I would be in for. The adoption aspect doesn't really mean anything in my state. When adoption goes through it is non-retractable and the adoptive parent is treated as if they were the biological parent.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 14:31 PM

Minnesota thank you for your thoughtful response. I will mull over what you have written very carefully. You have given me a lot to consider.

LivingWithPain posted 9/12/2017 14:33 PM

You're not required to forgive and definitely not required to forget or rugsweep. You may find that you come out of this lethal plain of flatness at some point, and if/when you do, then you can re-evaluate at that point.
If your WW is not happy with the arrangement, then it's up to her to change what she can change, which all has to do with herself. At a minimum, she should probably seek IC and work on becoming the best and most insightful person that she can, for her own personal growth. And if she decides that she can't go on living in this manner, then she needs to decide what to do about it separate, divorce, or bite the bullet for x-amount of time. Just as she cannot drive or dictate your healing, you cannot do the same for her. She's going to have to make her own decision as to what she can and cannot tolerate in essentially a marriage of convenience. But that's her journey and her responsibility, not yours.


Skan this is almost word for word what I told her. Her pastor told her the same thing, after his entreaties did not work on me.

[This message edited by LivingWithPain at 2:34 PM, September 12th (Tuesday)]

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