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A frightening stranger to me...

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Newbeginnings24 posted 9/8/2019 14:42 PM

I found out 8 weeks ago that my partner of 15 years (husband for 7) would like to leave me as he has had Ďa light bulb momentí and feels it is time for him to move on. He tell me that he still loves me, finds me attractive and cares very much for me. He has disclosed that he has started to have feelings for a work colleague and if he is right in this marriage then this shouldnít occur. He has also confessed to cheating on me twice during our time together. He reports to want to have the opportunity to release Ďhis demonsí and feels he can do this with his new interest.
Over the past 8 weeks I have been in complete immobilised grief, devastation and anxiety. I find myself searching for answers that I feel I will never get. We have both agreed that our 15 years have been amazing and we were both happy. However, he now feels he has to act on his feelings for another woman. I find myself going over and over why he would do this. We have a small child who doesnít deserve a daddy who has had enough and wants something different all of a sudden.
He has reported that there was nothing wrong with me in the marriage and I have been perfect. Im am amazing person and mummy, but he wants to pursue something different. He has refused to give it a go and see if we can work on things. We are seeking support from Relate counselling but he has agreed to this for my benefit only.
He assured me that he wasnít leaving me for her and that things are complicated with her. However, he sees her at every opportunity he can and has become a frightening stranger to me. I am finding it all very confusing and cruel. I am unable to build any trust with him, as he is unable to see the complete shock and devastation he has caused.
Please could someone shed some light and advise me?

BearlyBreathing posted 9/8/2019 15:05 PM

Hi NB24 and sorry you had to find us.

That itís not about you is actually true. Heís selfish and has most likely already been cheating for a while. All this ďrelease my demonsĒ bullshit is just saying he wants to believe in fairytales and unicorns. He is broken, immature, and a lying jerk.

Your reactions are totally normal. This is a true TRAUMA. You need to take care of yourself and donít pressure yourself to make any kind of decision until the shock wears off.

1) STD testing now. Do not have sex with him unless both of you are tested and he shows you the results. Cheaters are liars, as you are finding out...

2) eat healthily, drink lots of water, get some exercise and sleep. Drink protein shakes if tood is tough right now. See your doctor if you are having too much trouble sleeping or with anxiety. You need a clear head to deal with this and take care of your child, and these will help. Avoid alcohol.

3) see a lawyer or three to understand your situation and all possible outcomes. You dont have to file for divorce, but Knowledge is Power. Know your rights, how to protect yourself and your child. Many offer free consultations.

4) you need support. Many of us used individual counseling (ic) and it can help you navigate this roller coaster. Who do you have IRL? A best friend, sister, parent, clergymen... you need a safe space and outlet.

5) the healing library here on SI - upper left in yellow box. Read and absorb. Post and Read othersí stories. You are not alone.

6) remember this is 100% his doing. He is broken and thereís nothing you could have done or not done.

I am sorry you are here, and I know you are hurting. Hereís a cyber hug ((((hugs)))) for you.

Weekends can be slow, but others will be along.

You WILL get through this. I promise.

The1stWife posted 9/8/2019 15:09 PM

I am so sorry. Sorry you are facing this crisis.

I suggest you find a good counselor for you. Not marriage counseling but someone who can support YOU through this emotionally charged roller coaster ride.

BTW he IS leaving you for the OW.

Also heís cheated in the past more than once? Not a good candidate for a Husband (unfortunately). However he can be a great H if he wants to change. . Beyond him wanting to change - he wonít.

Also he is behaving like a typical cheater. Like someone you donít know. Selfish. Delusional. Consumed with the OW and the Affair.

You are probably struggling to try to reason with him. That wonít work. He does not want to hear it and will not listen. Been there done that (BTDT).

Keep posting. You will get support and great advice. Sorry you had to join us. Please know we will do what we can to support you.

Some will come along and tell you to D him or get a lawyer or go no contact. All good suggestions but it is up to you to decide how to proceed. It is based on our own experience and the mistakes we made.

I can tell you ďthe pick me danceĒ doesnít work. You will try hard to be a better wife etc. and you will try to please him to turn this around. Unfortunately it doesnít work. The more clingy you are - the more it annoys the Cheating spouse. You want to be supportive. But it has the opposite effect. It drives them further away fir some reason.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 3:11 PM, September 8th (Sunday)]

EllieKMAS posted 9/8/2019 15:29 PM

Hi NB24. I am so very sorry you are dealing with this and had to find SI, but so very glad you did. This spoke to me a lot because I heard a lot of the same crap from my stbxWH - about how I was "great" and "wonderful" and on and on and on. But this is the same person that did this monstrous thing, then said to me "When are you going to get past this?" with a straight face. And told me in the weeks after DDay1 that he was now polyamorous and he was "going to have meaningful romatic relationships (including sex) with other women" and that I needed to "find a way to deal with that". SMH SMH. And the part about "if he was right in the marriage then it shouldn't have happened"... wow. My douchhole said almost the same exact words to me to justify his bullshit too. And that is exactly what all of the words you said you've heard from him are - weak justifications for a super shitty decision on his part.
(PS, I did indeed find a way to "deal with it". His shit is in the garage, locks have been changed, and we are filing for divorce this Tuesday, 4 days shy of our 6th anniversary)

Please read BBs post above - all very good advice. Especially the STD testing and eating and hydrating right now. I know how disorienting all this is and it is easy to let that stuff slide, so please (even if you have to set a timer to do it) make sure to eat a little and drink plenty of water.

One thing I will add to this - please read up on the 180 in the healing library. Of all of the shit I dealt with/did/did not do with my situation, my biggest regret BY FAR is not doing a 180 immediately on DDay1. Please understand that it is not a punishment, but instead a way for you to healthily detach so you can give yourself the space you need to decide what YOU want. And just my opinion here, but it is way too soon for any type of counseling/relationship help. All that is doing at this point is wasting your time and energy. Your energy needs to be on yourself and your child right now.

has become a frightening stranger to me. I am finding it all very confusing and cruel. I am unable to build any trust with him, as he is unable to see the complete shock and devastation he has caused.

Truer words have never been spoken honey. He is completely unable to see your pain because he has his head so far up his ass. Infidelity is the worst thing a spouse/SO can do to their partner IMHO - because as you know from your own experience, it is a CHOICE. It is HIS choice and you are being made to deal with it because he is a selfish entitled asshat. And he has shattered your trust with his juvenile shenaninigans, so don't you feel like you have to justify in any way being unable to build any trust with him. This was his shitty decision and has nothing to do with you.

My heart aches for you - this is the worst club to be thrown into.


Odonna posted 9/8/2019 15:32 PM

The bad news is that this looks like an ďexit affair,Ē in which case the M is unsalvageable. The good news is that he told you upfront and does not appear to be lying now (although he clearly did during the past affairs). You have the horrible pain of being rejected even though a ďperfectĒ wife. But you luckily will miss the horror of suspicion, limbo, and false reconciliation followed by more D-Days.

All you can do is focus on your own well-being and start to detach from him. Read about the 180 in the Healing Library, which will help you in this process. The M may be over but you can work toward a new goal of good co-parenting.

I am really sad for you. But do take some solace in knowing; the not-knowing is just plain awful.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/8/2019 16:02 PM

Thank you so much for your replies. I have lots of friends and family who are being so supportive. They will definitely get me through this. My work colleagues are also great. I will read the 180 in the healing library. Iíve bought myself a book to try and understand reasons for infidelity and moving on from the betrayal and deceit.
It was sad to read the ďexit affairĒ post. Despite me being fully aware my marriage is over. Not only because that decision appears to have been made for me. But if it hadnít then I would of had to make the same decision for my own happiness and that of my daughter. She needs to see a strong mummy/woman growing up to prevent this from happening to her. What message would I be giving her if I even considered working on things. What is there to work on?! He has obliterated all our foundations. I find it almost humorous when he describes our future state. Family holidays, unavoidable deep connection, everything we already had but not the romantic aspect. In this he is child like and extremely naive.
I have spent the last 7 weeks thinking heís lost the plot (because we were so happy and there werenít any warnings signs) but I have realised in the last week that I need to put some distance between us and let him experience the stark realisation of his actions and what our future contact will look like. I am deeply in love with him and cannot move on Ďbeing friendsí. If I canít have all of him then I donít want any of him.
Weeks leading up to him telling me we renewed and fixed our mortgage for 5 years, bought a campervan and booked 3 holidays. He wants to now control my decisions moving forward. I moved to be close to his family but after this there is nothing keeping me there. I do work locally and have lots of friend near by, but home is only 30 mins away and a place I now need to be to rebuild and focus on me and my daughter. I canít help but think that he wants everything to just slot into place. Like someone said unicorns and fairytales. But far beyond reality.

EllieKMAS posted 9/8/2019 16:25 PM

NB24 - you sound like a pretty amazing lady! And a very strong mummy for your lucky daughter!

Everything you said is absolutely the truth.

my marriage is over.

Even if you ultimately decide to try R (reconciliation), yes. The marriage you did have is over either way.

I find it almost humorous when he describes our future state. Family holidays, unavoidable deep connection, everything we already had but not the romantic aspect. In this he is child like and extremely naive.

Yes this. YES THIS. This is some cake-eating bullshit right here. And sadly not unique. Mine did this too and I struggled with it, but glad you really seem to see it way more clearly than I did at first.

I canít help but think that he wants everything to just slot into place. Like someone said unicorns and fairytales. But far beyond reality.

That is precisely what he is wanting. Because then he doesn't have to have any big boy consequences for his toddler-esque "I-want-I-want" attitude right now.

I have spent the last 7 weeks thinking heís lost the plot

For all intents and purposes he has. WS's (wandering spouses) that are in the fog are really mentally out to lunch. Some of them come back and some of them don't. Only time tells that story. Also as an aside, I love british turns of phrase... lost the plot

You sound like you are in a really good mental place right now and that is amazing. But believe me when I say that you will have many ups and downs. Don't beat yourself up if you are heartbroken and wanting him back tomorrow. Or if you want to cover him in honey and throw him dick first onto an anthill. I was all over the place for several months after DDay, so just be kind to yourself.

All the hugs!

[This message edited by EllieKMAS at 4:26 PM, September 8th (Sunday)]

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/8/2019 16:38 PM

Thanks Ellie. The honey sounds like a great idea. I have come a long way in the last week. The penny has finally dropped. I had this inner confidence that I would wake up and start to fight, but wasnít sure when it would occur. But I am all too aware of the rollercoaster I am now on. I spend my mornings crying and feeling that my future has been stolen. But then I think I have been let go and itís time to fly. I have lost 2 stone and look better than I ever have. So many people who arenít aware of my situation have said I look amazing.
I am accessing counselling through work and the lady is fantastic . She seems to Ďget meí and my situation. She spends our sessions acknowledging my feelings, progress and qualities. She appreciates that I want to escape with dignity with my head held high. Iíve been dedicated to my husband for 15 years and he has been my world. I will continue to act with integrity and get the better of him.

EllieKMAS posted 9/8/2019 16:50 PM

Oh I am glad you are in counseling NB24. And glad that you found one that's a good fit.

I will continue to act with integrity and get the better of him.

You don't have to 'get' the better of him; you've already got it. By a very long way.

allusions posted 9/8/2019 17:13 PM


he has started to have feelings for a work colleague

He reports to want to have the opportunity to release Ďhis demonsí and feels he can do this with his new interest

he wants to pursue something different.

he sees her at every opportunity he can

contradict this:

He assured me that he wasnít leaving me for her

Anything that spews from his mouth right now is utter nonsense. Protect yourself. Get tested for STDs. See a lawyer.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/9/2019 01:01 AM

Here, here about the asshole bit. Itís a shame it took me 15 years to realise he was one. But I am young and hopefully will have the opportunity to be happier and be able to trust another. Heís done me a favour in all of this, even though I canít appreciate that yet. I need to distance myself and start to take some control back. He doesnít deserve to have me available to him for his security, heís given that up 8 weeks ago when he made his decision. It just makes it hard after we have been so close for so long. We were best friends and did everything together. We were that couple in our friendship group that everyone aspired to be like. We didnít fight, we had intimacy, enjoyed time together and appeared to want the same things in life. Itís like a bid for freedom. We were together since 16 and heís never had another girlfriend. I canít help but think he thinks the grass is greener and he canít understand that marriages mature.
My friend told me that he is the problem and heís taking the problem with him. Which put things into perspective, I just want their relationship to fail. Not to have him back but for the satisfaction. Heís already trying to self preserve himself around this, I think sheís completely in control. There are so many complexities to their relationship already. She lives over 200 miles away, their relationship has been built on lies, she isnít maternal and doesnít want children (not sure how this will help his relationship with our daughter) and he line manages her. Putting all that into consideration what does that say about me and what he actually thought about our marriage. Leaving me/his whole life for what ifs. Heís infatuated with her and needs her to feel better.

LostWillow posted 9/9/2019 01:57 AM

I am impressed by your strength and clarity so soon after Dday and while still in such trauma and pain.

Yes you will be better and built a happy life for you and your daughter.

Yes, distance from WH. Get your plans in action. Start your new life away from such a looser.

heartbroken_kk posted 9/9/2019 09:50 AM

Have you considered reporting their affair to his employer. This is actually a form of sexual harassment for a manager to be shagging someone who reports to him.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/9/2019 10:54 AM

No I havenít considered reporting it. It would give me great satisfaction but in the long term could potentially ruin his career which will in turn impact on my daughter. He deserves everything that is coming to him. But I am going to get on with my life and be aware when it does, which will be enough. Iíve read lots of the articles on here and they explain things so well. Theyíre a great way to aid recovery and put things into perspective. Donít get me wrong if he came back crying Iím not sure what I would actually say. But I am beginning to not like him very much. I donít miss him or feel like I need him for security. I have always been very independent and managed the whole house. So the thought of starting a fresh in that field doesnít scare me. I just need to stay strong on the decisions I make for the future. Iím unsure what sort of relationship we will have long term but that will be clearer in the future. I realise that I need to be the one in control because he doesnít like that and he actually needs me more than I needed him.

burninghouse posted 9/9/2019 11:29 AM

Sorry you are here, but this is an excellent place to receive support.

You are handling this horrific experience very well, with clarity and strength. You are on one crazy roller coaster ride for sure. It does get better and smooth out with time and self-care. BearlyBreathing has given excellent advice.

Like you and others have said, his actions stem from a place of extreme selfishness, cowardice, and emotional immaturity. His excuses are beyond lame, and don't forget that cheaters lie meaning they also lie to themselves. Your friend couldn't be more right in saying he is the problem and he's taking the problem with him - so true! It's also highly likely that his new 'relationship' that's built on a quicksand of lies, deceit, and destruction of others(!) will fail. He has not done any work on himself, he's letting his 'demons' run the show, he's living in a fantasy la-la land, and he has no integrity. He may think he does by offering you some bullshit reasons (which are so lame!) but how can he have any shred of integrity? It's impossible. As far as releasing his demons, those nasties will be with him until he can truly face himself and what he's done.

It's uncanny, I could have written your post nearly word-for-word. WH left after 15 years of a good M for AP who lives very far away. He said almost the exact same things to me on D-day, and that day I also found out this was not his first A! What you said about him now being a frightening stranger, that you find this very confusing and cruel, the lack of trust with him, and his inability to see the complete shock and devastation he has caused -- you took the words right out of my mouth! I can completely relate. You are not alone in this.

Keep doing what you are doing, getting support from family and friends, seeing your IC who sounds great, and doing all the self-care. Go easy on yourself, and don't let yourself forget that none of this is on you - it's entirely on him. Please make sure you are protected legally and financially. Sounds like you are taking the high road in all of this, which will benefit you and your child in the long run. You're going to get through this mess.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/9/2019 15:28 PM

Thanks burninghouse. Youíre right about the roller coaster. I have just got back from our joint counselling. I was able to stay strong and get my point across. Explain why I wanted distance between us and if I couldnít have all of him then I wanted nothing. Heís lost his right to that now by choosing her (which he still says he hasnít). The counsellor acknowledged that I was distancing myself from him for self preservation and to prevent continued hurting. However, she also asked if I was doing it to punish him. What the hell?! I was an emotional wreck last time but today the roles where reversed. The stark realisation of what his decision may mean has sparked his emotional roller coaster. It was hard not to hug him, as he was so clearly upset and hurting. He still remains firm on his decision. I canít but feel that heís doing it to prove a point.

Masa posted 9/9/2019 15:38 PM

NB24, wow your story is so similar to mine. You sound like such a wonderful, strong woman and being proactive about it all. I found the Ďexit affairí came with itís own set of trauma that I never had a full disclosure and my H refused to answer any questions about the affair so at night I have nightmares about the situation and I think itís my mind trying to process it all. She was a coworker (who lives 150 miles away) and Iíve often pulled up the email address of his boss to expose the affair but then thought of the consequences of him losing his job and what it would mean for our children.
I havenít really got anymore advice to add, youíve had some great starting points already, but just wanted to send you love and strength and to let you know you arenít alone in this.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/9/2019 16:03 PM

Thanks Masa. Iím sorry to hear that you also experienced an Ďexit affairí. When you read up on them they are failings in the making but so devastating in their affects on a marriage. They almost devalue everything it stood for. I enjoy the times when I feel in control and happy but still donít want any of this to happen. Itís a strange feeling. Iíve read up on Ďthe fogí they can be in. My husband has definitely been there. Itís nice to see some raw emotion at times. A small confirmation that he is still human. I have accepted that everything I now see, him, our house, his family and our joint dreams have been destroyed and I have to rebuild a new future. I am comfortable on my own now. When he first told me I was keen to fill that gap but I am so thankful I havenít and I will get over this by myself and be emotionally stable and at my best for a new relationship when that may come.

burninghouse posted 9/10/2019 00:30 AM

(((Newbeginnings))) I so admire your strength. I have read lots of accounts here on SI that marriage counseling in the beginning - when the WS is not fully remorseful and therefore not ready to reconcile - can be highly problematic. The idea is that you work with an MC after the cheater has worked on themselves with their own IC, or at the least when they are in the right mental/emotional place to do so, meaning they are truly showing remorse for their behavior and actions.

In my case, I found this to be so true. WH was extremely reluctant (before I found out about his affairs) to go to MC, but he agreed to go just once for my sake only. When we went, he blamed me for all kinds of things (stupid things, but I stupidly took the blame), and the response from the counselor was terrible. I had a huge WTF!? moment much like you. Based on my experience with MC and the accounts from others here on SI, I would never recommend this route until the cheater is truly on board with reconciliation, again meaning there are solid signs of remorse and/or they are working to find out why they did what they did.

I am so sorry to say that it does sounds like an exit affair, but you are putting the ball in his court and staying strong. This says a ton about you as a person and will benefit you in the long run, no matter what happens with your M. He is a broken, selfish, incomplete person to do this to you and to his family.

I'm glad you did not hug him although this shows what a caring person you are. It's difficult because the loving feelings towards the WS do not just go away. We are wired for connection, and it's confusing and destabilizing, to say the least. I can tell you this, he LIED to you saying he is not leaving because of her. Almost everything he has said to you is a pattern that I recognize in my WH, and many others have been down this same road. Every situation is highly individual, but for sure there are patterns. Keep reading the stories here on SI, and you will see. For me seeing that there are patterns has been helpful in terms of everything being so highly disorienting and trying to wrap my mind around what happened.

You are doing everything right. Stay strong and when the roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil hits the lows, remember that it will come back up. It always does, and you will have good moments and good days. For me, remembering this was a biggie. You have tons of support here, and you are not alone.

Newbeginnings24 posted 9/10/2019 00:41 AM

God I feel terrible this morning. Why are the mornings so hard? I am constantly going over our counselling session and thinking about all the things the lady said. She told me his new relationship had nothing to do with me as a wasnít part of it or him anymore. Well we have a child together, weíre still married and he wants to see me a lot of the time when he isnít with her. I just want to fast forward, get the house sorted, be in a good place emotionally and see what the future brings. I still feel like we will be pulled back together. This is such a cruel thought for my heart. People even say it to me. He will change his mind, he canít see how he feels for you right now but he will when the excitement of his new relationship wears off. He said during the counselling that the easiest thing would of been to stay with me and not leave and address his issues. It is so difficult to stabilise your mind at times when he has the answers but you need to walk away to stop these questions coming back.

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