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allspent posted 4/20/2018 14:19 PM

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie.

I'm actually a bit over a month into my lovely escapade, and I've lurked here and there, but this is the first time I felt up to posting my story. Sorry for the wall of text, I don't know how to tell this briefly.

My wife and I have been together for 12 years, married for 7, and have a 4.5 year old at home. I did not think our relationship was troubled; maybe a bit routine at times, but lots was working. Trust has never been a problem for us, and I always felt proud of that. She's pretty and gregarious and attracts the regular attention of other men, but all it did was make me happy for her, and there was never any reason to be suspicious.

No need to go into how I put it together, but she's not a very sneaky person. When I confronted her, she admitted to the affair. She didn't seem particularly sad or remorseful, and mostly seemed to be upset that I had found out before she "decided what to do."

She is very much in the "affair fog" I see mentioned a lot. Everything she has done has been rationalized: she's revised history to make our relationship seem to pale in comparison to the new man, and he inspires her in ways I never did or can. Instead of being about the new man, it's about her independence. She's the one making hard sacrifices, because she's stayed with our family instead of just leaving right away. She objects if I even call it an affair, because it's just so much more than that to her. And somehow she thinks because it's emotional AND physical, it doesn't count because affairs are just supposed to be about sex.

It was awful for me at first, and it mostly resulted in her just trying to avoid me. When we talked, she usually got angry at me for being angry or suspicious of her. She was very much into deceiving me, but rarely lied when confronted, and instead just got angry at the confrontation. When she asked for time to work through her feelings, I stipulated that she had to stop seeing him while she did it. She agreed, but then saw him anyway and got mad when I caught her. Getting mad at me for being upset is a major reoccurring theme.

The only "rule" of mine that she's really agreed to is to not have sex with him while we're working through this. I'm reasonably confident she's holding to that, at least for now. But they message each other constantly, she sends selfies of herself from our family outings, and she sees him twice a week (he's her personal trainer).

We're currently in a major fence sitting phase. As long as I don't ever bring up how it hurts me and act normal, she's distant but friendly. Things like eye contact are elusive, and intimacy is obviously non-existent.

At this point you might be asking why I haven't left her, or played any of the hardball rules I see discussed a lot, like setting ultimatums or telling others (the trainer also has a partner with whom he has a small child, and she doesn't know, and my wife's boss and all her coworkers go to him as well).

The thing is, we live in her country, and they have some rather sexist ideas of family life. Specifically, the courts here award sole custody to the mother 90-95% of the time. It isn't hyperbole to say that, unless she goes to prison or becomes addicted to drugs, she can do anything she wants to me and then take our daughter away and never let me see her again. When I pushed too hard once on how she was hurting me, she gently let slip that she was well aware she could take our daughter away. And my daughter is my favorite little person in the whole world.

So, I'm trapped. I can't play hardball with her, I can't storm out, I can't tell her what I really think about the cruel, selfish things she's doing. Because without her good will, I lose my daughter. I'm also isolated, because we're in her country and all my contacts are either mutual friends or her family.

My feeling right now is that she's making a slow exit from our marriage. We've already discussed separation, though we haven't moved to that yet. I see no sign she's going to stay with me (and yes, I went through a "pick me" dance phase). And I have to let her do it as slowly and painfully as possible, because at least then maybe she'll have some guilt that will play in favor of me seeing my daughter...

I went through a few weeks of feeling completely crushed by everything. Wrestling with my inability to make this stop happening, my complete lack of power over anything, the fact that I love my wife despite it all and would reconcile if she would try... but she doesn't really try. I've gotten a bit better, and started a vigorous exercise routine, which has helped. I've also really tried to embrace the saying that "holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." It helps some of the time, but I still wrestle constantly with the sentiment I copied from another post here by WithMyEyesOpen:

"I want to be able to forgive and forget.
BUT
I don't want to forgive and forget. If I forgive and forget, it makes what he did 'okay'. He doesn't pay for what he did"

And every few days or so I descend into a pit of despair where I can't stop thinking about how everything is terrible.

Anyway, If you've made it this far, thanks for hearing me out.

[This message edited by allspent at 2:26 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

Tron posted 4/20/2018 14:30 PM

So sorry you are having to go through this.

She isn't remorseful in the least, isn't interested in working on the M, has no respect for you and does not share your values. Not much you can do except expose her far and wide, lawyer up and proceed with D.

What country are you in and can infidelity have any impact on the D or custody arrangements? If so, get all the evidence you can and fight for the best outcome possible.

allspent posted 4/20/2018 14:35 PM

Unfortunately everything she's done has absolute zero effect on custody. What it does is reduce the amount of money I would have to pay in support, which I couldn't honestly care less about. I've been told it's even worse since I'm a foreigner and she's a native. Basically there's no way I come out of the courts with anything like justice here.

And no, I'm not exaggerating on that at all.

[This message edited by allspent at 2:36 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

GuyInColorado posted 4/20/2018 14:51 PM

Divorce her. Do you really need us to tell you this? Grow some balls and get angry. Blow up her world. Blow up his world.

Custody of your child is the least of your worries. Deal with that when the time comes. Does she even want custody? Sounds like a kid 90% of the time will interfere with her fantasy world. Use her fog to benefit you. Get an attorney to draft up a 50/50 custody that she agrees to or else.

Get her off everything you can. Split your finances immediately. Time to go to war and stop being a doormat.

You aren't trapped.

I see my kids 50% of the time and pay $1k/m to my ex wife. Worth every penny. My kids still love me.

[This message edited by GuyInColorado at 2:54 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

ISurvived7734 posted 4/20/2018 14:51 PM

Yes, this very much sounds like an "exit affair". I strongly urge you to accept that your marriage is over and begin focusing on your personal recovery from this horrible betrayal.

First move is to establish some physical distance between you and your WW. One of you should leave the family home ASAP. When you see a divorce lawyer ask them the best way to accomplish this separation and, of course, file for divorce. Stop all contact with her that is not directly related to logistical things concerning your child or the divorce. Nothing else - nothing. You need to begin (or continue) the process of emotionally detaching from her. It's the only thing that will break you out of the "BS Fog" and begin to see her for who she really is and that your life beyond marriage to her is not nearly as scary as you thought it would be.

Next, find a counselor or clergy or a close friend and start talking about this. Nothing is more important than talking with a trusted third-party to work through your feelings.

Know that she is probably lying about everything. We see sad stories like yours all the time and we have learned a few things that are pretty much always true. Assume your WW and her boyfriend are still having regular sex because the likelihood of that is 99.9%. Assume that her affair has been going on much longer than she will admit to, her feelings are much deeper than she will admit to, and the sex has much more often than she will admit to.

Unfortunately everything she's done has absolute zero effect on custody. What it does is reduce the amount of money I would have to pay in support, which I couldn't honestly care less about.
These are real issues that have real solutions. All men are prisoners of "the inertia of life" to one degree or another and their first reaction is to try to get their life back to the way it "used to be". Breaking free from that emotional trap is difficult, but men do it all the time. The first thing you need to do is realize that this old life you are trying to get back wasn't nearly as good as your mind is making it out to be now. All it was was comfortable because of the routine you settled into. Honestly look at your old life - was it really that great? And now that your wife is openly cheating on you do you really want to protect the way you are living? End this shit and stop being afraid of the unknown. One year from now you will look back at this and wonder why you put up with her shit at all. Move forward with your life for your sake.

[This message edited by ISurvived7734 at 3:00 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

goalong posted 4/20/2018 14:58 PM

Inform the owners of the gym. Take a srong stance. The more you are laid back the more she enjoy cheating. They already had sex. Lot of trainers are predators inform his GF or wife. Do not stay back. Otherwise you continue to suffer. As you can see she has no care or you, even less than a person who may meet you on the road. So get angry look after your affairs and do not get repeatedly victimized. Do 180. The forst time you knoew you suffered that is enough. When cheaters feel the BS has resolve they get panicked. This affair has no depth the pos is using her for sex

allspent posted 4/20/2018 15:03 PM

Unfortunately yes, she absolutely wants our daughter.

The things you're saying sound nice. A big part of me would love to blow everything up.

I'm not sure why custody would be the least of my worries though. Are you not believing me when I say she'll get sole custody no matter what? I consulted with an attorney who specializes in international divorce and custody the very first day I found out, and that was the thing she made clear right up front.

As satisfying as it would be to stop being a doormat, the price would literally be my daughter.

[This message edited by allspent at 3:06 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

GuyInColorado posted 4/20/2018 15:06 PM

Well, if that is the case, then you need to start getting creative. How does this backwards country feel about mothers using illegal drugs? Yes, get creative. Time to go to war.

kgcolonel posted 4/20/2018 15:19 PM

Allspent, first, I am very sorry you have joined this great support group....that said, let's explore a couple of things:

1. You say that you're reluctant to expose because it may accelerate the split....I get that but if you don't fight and blowing up the affair is likely the only shot you have (I don't want to be cruel but that is reality) all you're doing is staying in misery / infidelity. Your reluctance is due to the fear of losing custody of your child.

2. If you stay on your current course, she's going to work her way out of your life per her current course and still get the full custody and you lose custody.

So either way, custody is not a battle you're going win either way. So...what do you do? Fight for the Marriage...not by the Pick Me Dance but by whatever means you have. Since you're disadvantaged by the laws in the country you're in, use what you do have....knowledge.

Gain proof that the OM's partner/spouse can't refute and package it up and have it delivered. Also do the same with her boss with regard to the trainer....odds are the PT will drop your WW as soon as light hits the affair.

Also you at least won't be sitting on the sidelines doing nothing watching your wife and child disappear. That's where you are now....it's a losing equation you're with at the current state.

Please take this as supportive advice and not criticism as time is of the essence.

KG

Dismayed2012 posted 4/20/2018 15:25 PM

Okay 'AllSpent', I've read your story and I get what you're dealing with.

If you don't want to or can't D for fear of losing your child, etc. then you're going to have to learn to live with what your WW is doing. In order to live with what your WW is doing, you need to make a drastic shift in your thinking. You have experienced the fact that the 'pick me' game makes you a loser. You have to deal with the fact that your WW is not remorseful and is still having sex with her f*ckbuddy. You also have to deal with the fact that she thinks that you are a loser; she thinks that you are a wimp; she thinks that you are weak; she thinks that you aren't worth her effort; she thinks that she can push you around.

Okay, now that we've established the facts, you must internalize them and realize that the woman you thought you married was a dream; a fiction; possibly a swindler if she pretended to be anything other than what she's now revealing to you. You've been duped into thinking that you had a forever partner.

There's no point in getting mad. There's no point in getting even. Neither of those are going to help you. What you need to do is read about the 180 in the Healing Library on this site and implement it with prejudice. Implement it, not to win her back, but to win your sanity back. Stop talking to her about her affair; stop giving her control. You've got to let go of what was never there; your dreamy idealization of who you thought she was. She's not your friend, she's not your lover, and she's not anyone that you knew. You've got to get your head to a place of indifference.

Look out on what you want you life to be in 5 or 10 years. Don't add your WW into the picture; this is about just you and what you want. What do you want to accomplish and be in 5 to 10 years. Set a goal and set milestones for yourself on the way to that goal. If you want, while you're heading toward your goal/s, bring your child and WW along, that's fine but you don't change or adjust your goals for them. This isn't selfish. This is what being a man is. You climb mountains and you reach summits; you don't stop the climb because of someone else's behaviors. Move in a direction and don't allow your WW or anyone else to hinder you. If your WW decides that you're now more attractive because, though you're still married, you're indifferent to her and you're moving on without her, then that's fine but don't let her ever distract you again. Take command of your life; don't relinquish it to anyone. It's your life and there aren't enough years left in it to be fawning over a woman who isn't worth your time. You're the man; you're the prize. Take back control of your life. Stop letting your WW affect you negatively. And remember that no one in your situation is trapped unless they want to be.

Edit: I forgot to mention...don't have sex with the woman unless you have protection on and don't ever, ever get her pregnant again. Learn from your mistakes.

[This message edited by Dismayed2012 at 3:34 PM, April 20th (Friday)]

Chili posted 4/20/2018 15:29 PM

Ok - so there's zero relief for Fathers where you are? Is it 100% legal and physical custody that is awarded to the women? You would get no visitation with your daughter? It is hard for me to believe because it seems really really unfair. Your only choice if you want to be in your daughter's life is to keep putting up with this shitstorm. Eeek.

And you say this:

As satisfying as it would be to stop being a doormat

If you're not thinking about divorce, then what do you think you might like to do? There have to be other options than just taking whatever she dishes out.

I'm betting not one person here wants to see you be a doormat. But if she's continuing an affair right under your nose, that is a really really emtionally-dangerous place to be for very long.

Tell us how we can help within the framework of where you live and what you might want to do.

tikismom posted 4/20/2018 15:34 PM

Can you share some more dynamics on where you live vs where you are from? Is your daughter a citizen of the current country, your country, or both? Anything you can do to get rights in your home country? I dont know anything about this, just trying to brainstorm.

And I am listening to you when you say you feel trapped because you would lose your daughter if you divorce, that matters a lot & I am happy to see a man fighting to have the right to have his daughter. What did your lawyer suggest?

allspent posted 4/20/2018 15:37 PM

1. You say that you're reluctant to expose because it may accelerate the split....I get that but if you don't fight and blowing up the affair is likely the only shot you have (I don't want to be cruel but that is reality) all you're doing is staying in misery / infidelity. Your reluctance is due to the fear of losing custody of your child.

2. If you stay on your current course, she's going to work her way out of your life per her current course and still get the full custody and you lose custody.

Hey kgcolonel, thanks for your thoughts. I'm actually not worried about accelerating the split. The only thing I have working for me right now is that she actually is feeling some guilt, even though it's not enough to stop her from being generally awful.

We discussed separation the other day, and she initially wanted to split time with our daughter 50/50. After quite a bit of discussion where I impressed upon her that it wasn't fair, because she was the one initiating all of this, she agreed to more like 4-5 days out of every week with me. This is still tentative, and it raises the question of whether I can trust her when she says anything at all, but understand the alternative I keep mentioning - she absolute has the power to take 100% of our daughter's time.

So really, I can't defend myself against the posters who have suggested I'm being a doormat. She's getting away with murder, and isn't sorry.

I'm basically holding a scale every day, and on one side is how much I would like to get justice and not be treated like this, and the other is how much I want to see my daughter before she's an adult.

I haven't found any middle ground yet.

allspent posted 4/20/2018 15:44 PM

Can you share some more dynamics on where you live vs where you are from? Is your daughter a citizen of the current country, your country, or both? Anything you can do to get rights in your home country? I dont know anything about this, just trying to brainstorm.

And I am listening to you when you say you feel trapped because you would lose your daughter if you divorce, that matters a lot & I am happy to see a man fighting to have the right to have his daughter. What did your lawyer suggest?

Hey tikismom, sure. I'm in central europe - sorry I'm trying not to get more specific, because I know these forums can be searched. This is also why I'm leaving out legal details where possible.

All three of us are US citizens now, and my daughter and wife (should I use scare quotes here? probably) are dual citizens here. I'm out of luck when it comes to US laws, because we've been in this country just long enough to establish habitual residence - meaning if I tried to keep her out of this country then I would lose in court under the Hague convention on child abduction, and then be guaranteed to never see her again. It also means the courts here have jurisdiction over any other courts, regardless of what I do.

tikismom posted 4/20/2018 15:52 PM

Hey tikismom, sure. I'm in central europe - sorry I'm trying not to get more specific, because I know these forums can be searched. This is also why I'm leaving out legal details where possible.

All three of us are US citizens now, and my daughter and wife (should I use scare quotes here? probably) are dual citizens here. I'm out of luck when it comes to US laws, because we've been in this country just long enough to establish habitual residence - meaning if I tried to keep her out of this country then I would lose in court under the Hague convention on child abduction, and then be guaranteed to never see her again. It also means the courts here have jurisdiction over any other courts, regardless of what I do.

No, that ok. Don't share what you don't feel comfortable with. I was more interested in the dynamics of the country which you said would award 100% custody over finding out what country it is. I'm surprised any country will do this. However, I will say I am pretty certain I will get 100% custody (WH would get visitation) should we divorce due to his work schedule, but that a different matter.

I feel for you, I really do. Are you looking for advice or just to vent? Its hard when people are saying to D, when you know you will lose your child. To me, thats not realistic, & no one would live with that decision but you.

sisoon posted 4/20/2018 15:53 PM

A few thoughts ...

1) The state of your M had nothing to do with your W's cheating. There's nothing your did or didn't do to cause her to cheat. She cheated because of her own issues.

It's really important for you to recognize that.

2) From what you say, she's still in her A. Your options are few and far between.

3) Do you want your daughter, or do you want your W back, too? The thing is, R is out of the question with a WS who is still in the A.

You say you've been lurking. Have you read/considered/worked on 'the Simplified 180'? This is better than the 180 document, IMO, because the 180 document has a lot of internal contradictions. For The Simplified 180, see http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=598080.

The 180 is not aimed at manipulating a remorseful WS back into the M ... but with as few options as you have, you might try it out.

Very seriously: do you want your W back? IMO, you need to know the answer whether or not it's feasible. It makes no sense to expend effort considering R if you just plain don't want it.

4) How do you see your sitch evolving? At this point, I see the following options:

a) You're so intent on staying with your daughter that you live with a W who cheats. Your life sucks.

b) Your W decides to file for D irrespective of anything you do. You lose your daughter. Your life sucks.

c) Your W realizes she is fucked up, becomes remorseful and you R successfully.

d) Your W realizes she is fucked up, becomes remorseful, but fails to stay the course, and your R ends in a) or b).

5) How feasible is it to emigrate from where you are now?

6) I do think you need to act in your own best interests, but I don't see how leading with anger is likely to get you what you want. JMO, of course.

allspent posted 4/20/2018 15:58 PM

Ok - so there's zero relief for Fathers where you are? Is it 100% legal and physical custody that is awarded to the women? You would get no visitation with your daughter? It is hard for me to believe because it seems really really unfair. Your only choice if you want to be in your daughter's life is to keep putting up with this shitstorm. Eeek.

Yeah, the country in question has actually faced several cases in the EU court of human rights over this. Maybe I could end up there if things go terribly, but by the time a case like that gets resolved my daughter will probably virtually be an adult anyway.

It's very cultural though, I'm realizing more and more - no one here seems to think fathers are as important as mothers. The guy she's cheating with, who has a child, just assumes he's leaving his child behind in order to pursue their relationship. Even fathers just seem to assume mothers get the children, more often than not.

It's actually been a perpetual source of friction between me and my mother-in-law, and we've had multiple fights over the years where she would just try to overrule me on stuff with my daughter, and clearly thought she knew best. I always thought it was just her, but I'm beginning to realize it's most people here.

She's waffling on separation, because I'm sure this situation works fine for her as long as I stay in line. So I'm thinking of trying to force separation in as mild a way as possible. Because you're right, putting up with this for an extended period will probably break me eventually, one way or another.

As for help, I'm not sure I can be helped! But honestly, it's nice to have people try.

Chili posted 4/20/2018 16:12 PM

Ok - well - as far as immediate steps, let's walk through this potential separation thing.

Could you have an attorney there draft a contract of terms for separation that would be enforceable?

Covering very specific visitation schedules (like all the way down to "pick-up is at 3:00 pm at school"), financial obligations, holidays, healthcare, debt, etc.

From what you've said, she's already waffling on specifics in this non-existent separation plan.

I suspect you would need a very clear agreement for this to work at all.

BUT...do you think it would do YOU some good to at least get this part done?

Get her out so you can get space and her literally out of your face?

allspent posted 4/20/2018 16:15 PM

One thing I've really wrestled with is whether I should tell the guy she's cheating with's partner (I really need to brush up on my SI acronyms...). Maybe you guys can help me with that.

I don't know this woman at all, but I do know he's still hiding the affair from her. My wife defended her initial hiding of the affair from me by saying it was for the best, because she didn't know if it meant anything, and she didn't want to burden me with it (I can feel everyone's eyes rolling already, I know). I feel very passionately about this being awful - she tried to completely strip me of any agency in deciding literally the rest of my life. His partner deserves to know.

But... this seems like a sure way to make my wife retaliate, and the only pain point I have left is my daughter.

I was thinking of trying to do it anonymously though. Still risky, but *I* would want to know if it were me...

Chili posted 4/20/2018 16:21 PM

Get ready for a flurry of responses from people who think the other Betrayed Spouse (BS) - or partner or SO deserves to know and that you should reveal it to them.

I'm in that camp too. It took me a minute to figure out the best way to do it myself - but you have a lot of options that are honest, decent, and kind.

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