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Wife of almost ten years is emotionally cheating on me

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This0is0Fine posted 1/3/2020 13:35 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:05 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/3/2020 13:50 PM

She was looking for new jobs and apartments yesterday though. Realizing she would need one or the other.

It just doesn't seem like you've got a lot to work with here. Not really remorseful and still walking around with a weird sense of entitlement for her really bad moral choices.

PassThis posted 1/3/2020 15:29 PM

A lot of it is driven by fear of change, her mother's death by suicide after a divorce with her father (because her mother felt no worth outside the marriage). She claims that making a job change she doesn't want to do for the relationship is too much of a sacrifice of self.

None of the factors which cause her fear are related to you or your marriage. Was there trouble in paradise before her affair? If her mother's suicide is a factor, it would seem that she would be trying to eliminate divorce from her worries. (Yea, it would have been way better had she thought about that before letting herself be smitten by OM.) She is broken. She needs to fix herself in IC. Finding out why she doesn't want the job change is the challenge. I have already written why I don't think a job change is any "sacrifice of "self"". I hope that her reluctance to change jobs is not really her trying to maintain contact with OM. Obviously, that would be a major setback as she would be still be digging her hole of infidelity. If she is picking her career ("self") over the marriage, this is another shit sandwich. Again, I hope she can get her head out of her fog and on right PDQ.

Sending strength and support.

WilliamM posted 1/3/2020 15:34 PM

Be straight up with her. Say, "You don't want to get a new job because you are still having an affair with that POS and he is more important to you than I am or our marriage". Tell she leaves you no choice but to seek divorce. Sadly, I wonder if this guy is coaching thing her and in her head. If you want to, consider informing HR about their affair.

Robert22205https posted 1/3/2020 16:14 PM

She claims that making a job change she doesn't want to do for the relationship is too much of a sacrifice of self.

Translation: Changing jobs (to help save your marriage) is too much work.

Among other things, cheaters are selfish & entitled - and are reluctant to accept responsibility for their behavior/decisions.

Changing jobs is a consequence of her decision to have an affair.

Westway posted 1/3/2020 16:21 PM

This0is0Fine, have you ever stopped to consider that your WW just doesn't want to be married anymore?

nekonamida posted 1/3/2020 16:22 PM

I'm just going to be honest - she doesn't value your marriage much. Certainly no where near as much as you do. She may not have wanted out per say but it's ridiculous that finding a new job is her line in the sand. If she spent even 1 hr a day for a week sending out resumes and took another 30 minutes out of her day for an interview, she'd get a new job. Even less if she wasn't particularly picky.

This isn't some huge, life changing request you're making. This isn't even getting a new house level of frustration and change. It's a job and people get new jobs all the time without much hassle. Sorry to say but this is how little she values the marriage if a few hours of her time and a bite of humble pie is too much for her.

This0is0Fine posted 1/3/2020 16:50 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:06 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/4/2020 02:17 AM

The meeting with the lawyer was an unfortunate eye opener. I will get screwed pretty much no matter what unless my wife chooses to be conciliatory and agree to terms less than what she would be owed by law.

Unfortunately this is known as divorce rape. Antiquated divorce laws still favor women over men even though women can be financially independent now.

Still, it isnít getting screwed if it gets you away from a selfish entitled emotional vampire.

M1965 posted 1/4/2020 10:21 AM


Leaving aside the debate that could rage about the nature of your wife's 'self' and the improvement it could use, what solutions has she offered to repair the damage she has done?

One person cannot fix a marriage, no matter how hard they work, but a lot of betrayed spouses attempt to do that exact thing. So has your wife suggested any plan for how to improve things, or does she just think carrying on as if nothing happened is the way to handle things?

No our marriage was not fundamentally broken before the is really a "crime of opportunity" type affair that occurred as a slippery slope of bonding over trauma she didn't feel comfortable sharing with me (she hadn't talked about her mother's death still affecting her to me for months, and had a big breakdown in front of him when they were on travel).

That offers some interesting insight about the different ways you and your wife perceived the marriage. For you, it was all fine, no problems, rolling along nicely. And yet your wife isolated herself and did not talk to you about a problem that was affecting her for months.

Have you discussed why she isolated herself and did not feel comfortable confiding in you? Logically, the person most adults would turn to would be the people they are close to; either their spouse/partner, or a good friend.

Do you think your wife is emotionally repressed or a person who lives behind a facade? And is she having any individual counseling? It sounds like both of you are financially solvent enough for her to be doing that, and she really needs to be digging deeply into who she thinks she is, what gives her validation as a person, why her mother's death is still so unresolved for her, and why she did not share that with you.

These two statements are intriguing:

A lot of it is driven by fear of change, her mother's death by suicide after a divorce with her father (because her mother felt no worth outside the marriage).

Aside from the "losing part of herself" reasoning is she was brought in as the first back office person on a total team of 13 and now is running a back office of ten or so people on a team of over 80. She feels like she is building something of value and doesn't want to quit before they finish this rapid growth period.

So your wife's mother killed herself because she felt no self-worth outside of her marriage, and your wife is prioritizing the 'something of value' in her job that makes her feel a sense of self-worth outside of the marriage. There is a kind of logic to that, isn't there?

Given the fact that her mother made her marriage more important than herself and her continued life, is it possible that your wife is trying to protect herself from the same thing by making herself - and her 'self' - more important than the marriage, and finding validation and self-worth in something unrelated to the marriage?

I think the two of you should discuss that, because her mother's death had a big impact on her, and the circumstances of it may be controlling your wife's thinking in relation to her own marriage and how important it should be to her.

In essence, is her mind-set "I am not going to make the marriage more important than me, because my mother did that, and it killed her"?

Ask her if she sees destroying the marriage as a way to save or protect herself as an individual.

Now, none of that justifies her affair, but for both of you I think it is definitely worth investigating whether the reason for her mother's suicide fundamentally changed your wife's attitude to the marriage, and gave her negative feelings about it, which might be why she did not discuss those feelings and issues with you. See what she says.

Edited to add:

A salient question to ask would be this:

Are you deliberately trying to destroy the marriage so that you can prove to yourself that you can survive without it?

I can see why many people think the business of preserving her 'self' sounds like utter bullshit, but your mother-in-law's suicide may well have made survival in and out of a marriage an existential matter for your wife.

Perhaps another question to ask is whether the suicide made your wife feel like she had no identity outside of the marriage, just like her mother felt.

[This message edited by M1965 at 2:03 PM, January 4th (Saturday)]

This0is0Fine posted 1/4/2020 17:15 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:06 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

anoldlion posted 1/4/2020 19:35 PM

What is making her change jobs really going to accomplish? I have been on SI for four years and I have read dozens of threads where the husband of a wife, caught in an affair at work, is automatically advised, by other men, to make her quit her job. Like this is a sure way to stop all affairs in their tracks. But in that same amount of time I can't remember where a wife made the same demand on her husband when he was caught in affair at work. For those that don't agree with this then direct me to three threads where the wife demanded the husband quit his job. I guess the concept is if the WW doesn't see her AP at work then the affair is stopped. Guess what? If she wants to continue the affair then making her change jobs is inconsequential. She will just continue outside the job. And if she does change jobs there will be men at that job that may hit on her also. Making a spouse quit their job is a punishment for and not a consequence of cheating. Besides, if you can't have a little trust then the best option is to divorce. I've read where a BS will say, "It will take years or I may never trust my spouse again." If there is no trust at all then it is best to call it quits on the marriage. Why stay? I will tell you one thing that demanding she quit her job will accomplish. It will cause a mountain of resentment from her which will likely leech into the marriage along with the memory of the affair. If you don't trust her to do her job, and stay emotionally and physically away from the AP, then your best bet is to see a lawyer and start over with someone else. My 2 cents worth. I do wish you well.

M1965 posted 1/4/2020 19:38 PM

As I have said before in the thread, she has been in continuous IC since we've met more or less for generalized anxiety disorder. She has it pretty well controlled.

Apologies for my laziness in asking a question that you had already answered. So, pretty much from the get go, you have been aware that your wife is a little more 'fragile/vulnerable' than the average woman, and that she herself is very aware of it.

Please do not think I write that lightly, or in a patronising way. Quite the opposite. Given her mother's suicide, it is possible that her mother was equally prone to heightened anxiety, which could be why your wife had concerns about succumbing to the same thing herself.

Agreed to necessary and reported business contact only, gave me her phone for recovery, unlocked her accounts, gave me tracking on phone and car. She also agreed to the polygraph but I haven't scheduled it. She has said she is so sorry, that what she has done was very wrong, that she won't do it again, and has just been very honest (apparently) about her thoughts and feelings.

She had looked for jobs early on, then was protesting, and is looking at jobs again.

In fairness, the only reason you are aware of the EA is because your wife admitted it. While she should never have done any of it, her admission does suggest that she does have a conscience about what she does, and that she knew she had done wrong.

I know that you must feel as punched in the nuts as every man who has found out that his 'angel' has strayed, but when you ponder the question of whether you should stay or go, at least you know that your wife did understand that what she did was wrong, and when she accepted that, she told you about it.

I am going to run counter to the 'tar and feather the cheat' mentality - which the judgmental part of me totally understands because of what happened to me - and suggest you ask her what she needs from you.

That is not you doing the infamous 'pick me' dance; rather, it is an attempt to get her to open up to you in the way she should have when she was so traumatised about her mother's suicide.

We talked about the questions you raised and she was not destroying the marriage on purpose to prove a point, but her stubborness on the job has a lot to do with it. According to her. Then we rehashed the whole why timeline of everything again with that lens and she agrees it probably impacted her decisions in ways she didn't fully understand at the time.

Escapism and avoidance was probably more of a factor in your wife's actions than she understood at the time, or fully understands now. If your wife has been in IC for anxiety since you met her (and therefore probably before you met her), her mother's suicide must have really had a big impact on her, not only as the loss of a loved one, but as a picture of her own potential future.

It is perfectly understandable why you would feel like you should kick her to the curb. If you did that, people would not argue with it. However, there are many people who work towards reconciliation and succeed because they believe that their wayward spouses can do better.

Given that you had a disappointing meeting with a lawyer about what divorce would look like, would it be worth giving your wife a six month probationary period to prove what she says before you press the button and kick off divorce proceedings?

I am fifty-four years old now, and what I know now is that human beings spend their whole lives growing. When I was twenty-one I thought I was fully grown, and that was it. The years that have passed since then have taught me how wrong that assumption was. Is it possible that your wife can have learnt from the bad choices she made, and warrant being given a period to prove that to you?

Robert22205https posted 1/5/2020 18:41 PM

Push ahead with the polygraph asap.

Marz posted 1/5/2020 18:52 PM

One person cannot fix a marriage, no matter how hard they work, but a lot of betrayed spouses attempt to do that exact thing.

Wise advice.

steadychevy posted 1/6/2020 05:46 AM

Your WW has been in treatment for as long as you've known her and still cheated on you. This is with years of treatment that supposedly should have been helping her deal with whatever her problems were. Since she must have went into treatment of her own free will and kept it up she was aware she had issues to deal with. In spite of the treatment and her knowledge of needing the treatment she cheated anyway. What will more years of treatment provide? What will happen the next time there is a major negative event in her life?

Push ahead with the polygraph asap

Dismayed2012 posted 1/6/2020 10:07 AM

So all's well until the next 'opportunity'?

Sorry about your situation This. I'd have a hard time staying married to her or even being in the same room with her given that your WW has been mentally broken the entire marriage and even with counseling is still unstable enough to cheat. She's a time-bomb just waiting for the next 'opportunity' to go off again. Ugh.

You know what you can live with. I'd definitely recommend a poly as soon as possible to ensure that she's not lying about the extent of her cheating. I'd also recommend that you decide what your line-in-the-sand will be if she fails the poly. Take a financial beating in the divorce or take a mental beating and an early death living with a cheater for the rest of your life.

I wish the best for you.

This0is0Fine posted 1/6/2020 16:51 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 1:06 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Westway posted 1/7/2020 12:38 PM

Ask yourself if she is the best you can do. Is she?

I can't believe that if you think she is.

PassThis posted 1/7/2020 14:53 PM


Since your wife has significant issues from her past, originating before your relationship, it is imperative that she works those issues out with IC. Your posts indicate that you believe those issues (significantly?) contributed to your current situation wrt infidelity. As long as she does not continue to act on any thoughts of betrayal to you, I think it is proper to provide loving support ("in sickness and in health") to her while she makes a genuine effort to "fix herself".

I do think, however, that your support for her should be somewhat conditional upon her passing the polygraph. You should do this asap to eliminate the possibility that she has lied to you regarding the level of her betrayal and whether or not she has gone beyond the point of no return for you. Any continued lie would rise to the level of ongoing betrayal. It would be a double betrayal if she would accept your support wrt her issues after she had more than "hand holding" with the OM and then maintained her lie about it.

Assuming she passes the polygraph, while she is working out her issues and fixing herself, you are the only, and best, person to decide, day by day, if she is doing the effort and making the progress which is sufficient for you to stay with her, to be her husband. Hopefully, she can fix what is broken with her and her issues can be left in the past. Being a husband means that you have to suffer (due to empathy out of love) along with your wife. In some cases, as often reported on this site, you have to suffer even if her problem is self-inflicted and has hurt you as well. If you get to the point where you assessment is "no", that she does not qualify for a husband's support, then you absolutely should do what you need to do.

Your posts indicate that you have been in this state on infidelity for three months. It will probably take much more time to identify/treat/repair her issues and to repair the collateral damage which has occurred to your marriage. As long as you can still love her and she can show you (remorse/acts of love/etc.) that she truly cares for you and is 100% committed to your marriage, I do not think that this is the right time for you to walk away or just even add to her insecurity. Of course, if additional negative information emerges, my opinion could well be reversed.

For the record, she did deliberate acts to cheat on you and hide her actions (until she confessed), caused by her many, many choices she made which, by themselves, were each a betrayal to you, and she must be 100% responsible for her actions.

In risk terms, the risk event has occurred. It is time to mitigate, repair, and take actions to lessen the severity of the current loss and to lessen/prevent future events and their severities. After those actions have been performed, your risk analysis is a Bayesian process of evaluating whether to stay on the risk, given that an event has happened, AND that risk avoidance measures HAVE been implemented. You will then make your decision whether it is OK with you to stay on the risk because the risk (your marriage) still benefits (each person and in proper proportion) everyone involved.

Sending hope, strength, support.

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