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Wife of almost ten years is emotionally cheating on me

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Dismayed2012 posted 1/15/2020 12:48 PM

Sorry, but I call bullsh*t on the 'counselor's' saying this has to do with grief over the mother. Your wife has shown that marriage is not something she holds dear. This started long before the mother passed away. The counselors are being led in a direction by their own bias. This has nothing to do with her mother other than the fact that she's learned behaviors from her mother that she's now acting out. Your wife has deep issues; possibly unfixable ones. She chose to cheat on you with full knowledge that it was wrong. She also doesn't want to take a poly which outright shows that she's still lying to you; possibly because you might ask if she's ever cheated with anyone. By taking the pressure off of her you only prolong your own agony. Enforce those things that you need to have done in order to get resolution in your own mind and stop yourself from waiting any longer because every day that you delay is another two days shorter your life becomes. Emotional limbo shortens life span. Either divorce or reconcile but get resolution as quickly as possible. As always I wish the best for you.

PassThis posted 1/15/2020 12:49 PM


You posted your most recent post while I was in process of making my post.

I think that the therapist's take on your wife's issues provides a positive basis upon which to continue your path toward reconciliation.

Her recent actions wrt her job are very positive and your unselfish concerns and response to do things for the right reasons and at the right time, are admirable. She should see how unselfish you are and that you truly have her best interest in mind.

I agree with Thumos in that her resignation should be a one sentence statement that tenders notice. She should NOT include anything else. I am speaking as a former C-level, Board-level executive of significant businesses. If she has to disclose to management specifics, do it privately with HR.

Net, net: good on both of you.

[This message edited by PassThis at 12:50 PM, January 15th (Wednesday)]

BeyondRage posted 1/15/2020 12:51 PM

Your problem is no closer to being solved . In your first few posts you stated if she fucked him you were done and 21 pages in not this you are no closer to finding that out. Doesn’t mean you can’t reconcile and change your mind but how do you do that wondering

No job change
No polygraph
Weekend ghosting
Entitled to have affair

You can rationalize the week end bull shit any way you want to. If she just needed some time to herself she still could have told you where she was and verified it in a number of ways and she could have responded to your texts . There is NO excuse for that at all unless you want to delude yourself

She has you totally backed in to a corner to either suck it up and live with it for one reason. And that is she does not believe you will divorce her over this.
And it is more dangerous because of her sense of entitlement to have an affair. Why not another one if you piss her off in the future

This0is0Fine posted 1/15/2020 14:10 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:58 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/15/2020 15:47 PM

I don't buy the line that something has to be fundamentally broken with the marriage before the affair or for the affair to happen.

This is a key point. I have contended for a while that -- considering 50 percent of marriages end in divorce -- it doesn't stand to reason that adultery is happening in mostly bad marriages. If half of all marriages end in divorce, are half of all marriages bad? No way.

Similarly, estimates of infidelity in American marriages range as high as 40 percent -- with women having reached parity with men for infidelity.

So, in fact, I think it's more the case that infidelity seems to be happening in mostly good marriages, or marriages that would have been considered good in yesteryear (and I'm not using "good" here to mean "mediocre" -- I mean "good"). Every marriage has problems and challenges -- that's the definition of a long-term partnership. These marriages could be taken from "good" to "great" but instead one partner elects to make a series of deliberate and shitty choices that blows up a good thing.

Remorseful waywards almost always seem to have an epiphany at some point when they stop trying to falsely and retroactively rewrite the history of the marriage to portray it in the worst possible light -- and they start grieving what they destroyed. They often start saying things like "I was lazy in the marriage and I could have done more." It's almost as if at some point the wayward and betrayed trade places in their emotional mindset and viewpoints about the marriage.

As I mentioned before, let's say I do the polygraph. She fails. Does that prove she did have sex? No. It proves she failed the polygraph. She'll continue to deny. She passes. Does it prove she didn't have sex? No. It proves she passed the polygraph.

As I mentioned before, I'm in somewhat the same boat with you -- a little later on the trajectory. I failed to push forward with a polygraph early on (oh how I wish I'd done one right after D-Day) and only finally got one nearly three years out about three weeks ago right before Christmas. My wife failed - "definitive fail" "deception indicated." My WW is claiming her anxiety caused her to fail. This is possible, but not probable. Here's why: The day after she failed, my WW offered to take the poly again. That afternoon, I said I'd take her up on the offer and schedule a new one, she got a deer in the headlights look and began backpedaling furiously. You've gotta watch their behavior around the polygraph, and your wife has given you every reason to believe she's lying.

Should I keep forcing her to do things I never imagined I would ask of her prior to getting married?

You're not forcing her to do anything. Don't think of it that way. You're simply asserting your own inner integrity. If she wants to stay married to you, she'll need to do things and step up. But you're not exactly forcing her to walk across hot coals here. Also, try to think of it this way: Anything and everything should be on the table now. What do you want in a wife? As traumatic as this is, it's also an opportunity to get a new kind of marriage you want on your terms. This is marriage 2.0 if you decide to reconcile, it should be on your terms, not hers.

What good does it do to keep pressing on her about the details over and over again?

Only you get to decide the utility of this. I would say from my standpoint that it assures you that you are not moving forward with her under false pretenses. If you do move forward under false pretenses, you will know it in your soul and she'll know it too. And it won't work. For her sake and for yours, she needs to come clean. If she doesn't,you stand a good chance of landing in limbo like me. And that's hell, my friend.

What good does it do to set any boundaries or force her to give concessions if she is just going to cheat again with OM or someone else?

The boundaries are for you. They're your boundaries. If she crosses them, she'll know what the cost is.

When she was in the fog, she saw these actions as reasonable because she believed she could manage a friendship without it getting romantic, but she now recognizes them as boundary breaking betrayals of trust that furthered her emotional connection with the OM.

Gently, I think you need to wrap your head around the idea that your WW is still very much in the fog. You reported to us a whole spate of rationalizations and justifications and her expression of entitlement to cheat just a few short days ago. What's changed in that timespan?

This0is0Fine posted 1/15/2020 16:30 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:58 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/15/2020 17:25 PM

I haven't heard "I love you but I'm not in love with you."

I never heard that either. I did hear a lot of subtle and not so subtle things that in retrospect were just as gobsmacking as the cliches once I really started to think about them and reflect. You will mostly likely hit that phase, too. I would estimate you’re not even really at the cold anger phase, and when that hits, hoo boy.

My wife also never was having an “exit” affair — and she was desperate for me to stay after D-Day. That may not matter to you in the long run, so take your time and don’t feel pressured into agreeing to reconcile with someone you might judge to be a bad fit for you later.

I think it’s positive that she’s doing exercises with you from “Not Just Friends” and the like. That said, she’s also exhibiting some extremely wayward behaviors. So proceed with caution.

This0is0Fine posted 1/17/2020 14:39 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:59 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Robert22205https posted 1/17/2020 14:54 PM

Instead of framing the polygraph results as 'proof', reframe the prospect of taking the test an 'opportunity' for your wife to confess.

Your wife should be ashamed of herself. Just scheduling a polygraph test alone is an opportunity for your wife to face the consequences of her behavior (i.e., that her husband can no longer believe or trust her because her 'word' is no good).

This0is0Fine posted 1/17/2020 15:00 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:59 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

Thumos posted 1/17/2020 15:03 PM

My wife has communicated contact that she has had at work with OM related to work and the reasons for the contact (all of which has been virtual, not in person). I am of course worried that the boundaries will break down, she will reopen a personal window with him and that will be that. I will address it if the time comes. This is of course the reason NC, true NC is better.

A VAR would help you ensure she's being truthful here. I can't remember if you got one or not. I would not put a VAR in the category of "if I need this, we're done anyway." It's in the "trust but verify" category. Easy to set up.

She hasn't scheduled the polygraph, which isn't a deal breaker for me but just a point of information.

I don't think she will do this until you force the issue. Just a prediction. You will probably be the one who needs to set it up.

I told her from my end it looks like an alcoholic proving how great they are at staying sober by carrying around a flask they never drink from. If she takes a sip, that's it.

That's actually a perfect analogy, bc there are lots of cases of WW's trying to "white knuckle" it and failing.

now really understanding this is a year+ recovery timeline

More like 3-5 years, and your WW hasn't been able to get that clock started bc she's still got her head up her ass. And that's just recovery for you. Reconciliation can take much longer.

This0is0Fine posted 1/17/2020 15:27 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:59 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

HellFire posted 1/17/2020 15:33 PM

Put the var in her car. Do not tell her about it.

You're assuming the only possible contact would be at work.

She may very well have a burner phone,and talking to him in her car. Or using any number of call apps that she downloads when she leaves,and deletes on the way home.

Because you have backed down on the poly, expect her to push back on any of your requirements that she doesn't agree with. You drew a line, she crossed it, and there's been no consequences. She will cross more lines..because she knows she can.

farsidejunky posted 1/17/2020 16:05 PM

Why do you keep believing her words when her actions say the opposite?

MickeyBill2016 posted 1/17/2020 16:12 PM

To be perfectly clear about this, my decisions do not hinge on the poly alone. It's just another factor in my decision making. I don't doubt your prediction.

IMO the poly is sort of a bit of theatre. Some people say they are not reliable (usually an instant expert when they are asked to take a poly), some corporations and government entities use them. Probably not as a 100% yes or no but more as another tool to squeeze the truth...

It may be too late I dunno but the threat of a poly often brings the good old parking lot confession, there is a thread here about a parking lot confession and then another confession to the operator of the poly machine. I don't recall if she failed or not.

Instead of waffling on the poly either forget it forever or take her to a pre arranged appointment without telling her...her reaction may tell you more than the test. She may blow her stack say "why don;t you trust me, I have been telling you the truth!!" Or she may do it and pass...

It's not the end all for the problems in your M , just another brick in the wall.

Sharkman posted 1/17/2020 16:22 PM

We are just concerned for you.

To draw an analogy, she just killed someone in a drunk driving accident. Now, if that were me, I’d be in AA and praying to any god who would listen to me. Her response has been to say
I’ll only have two beers before driving from now on’.

Both can work, but one is orders of magnitude more risky. You just need to counterbalance your actions against plausible risk scenarios. Weirder things have happened, and it’s different when you’re in the drivers seat.

You may need to get a little angry.

M1965 posted 1/17/2020 16:29 PM

...we are at a bit of an impasse on the new job/true NC.

I apologise if this sounds negative at a time that we all know is damn hard for you, but what reasons does your wife have to cut contact with her AP, change jobs, or schedule a polygraph?

She knows she doesn't have to do any of that, and she has nothing to gain personally by doing those things. They all impact her in ways she deems negative. If she doesn't do them, she doesn't suffer. The person taking the hit is you, not her.

If she is unwilling to do any of the things you have asked for now, so close to her affair, there is no chance of her suddenly waking up in six months' time and doing them. In fact, she will be able to say that you have survived for six months without her doing them, so it is clear they were never needed in the first place.

I get a feeling she wants a redemption story where she is able to maintain her boundaries this time, I told her from my end it looks like an alcoholic proving how great they are at staying sober by carrying around a flask they never drink from. If she takes a sip, that's it.

I caution you against projecting too many of your own thoughts onto her actions - or significant lack of them - to put them into an acceptable light. Many of us have done that and learned the hard way. If she did not specifically state that as her aim, it may well not be. It may simply be that she is doing the absolute bare minimum that she thinks she can get away with, because she knows she can.

I am of course worried that the boundaries will break down, she will reopen a personal window with him and that will be that. I will address it if the time comes.

She opened her hotel room door to her affair partner and the only reason you know about it is because she told you. Do you have any independent means of verifying the nature of her contact with her AP, or where they both are at any given time?

She talked to one of her friends that was cheated on and reconciled with her WH. It seems like she was able to take in her friends feelings on cheating better than my own. That kinda sucks she doesn't seem to absorb what I'm telling her, but it gave her a better sense of what I'm going through and what the path to recovery looks like (now really understanding this is a year+ recovery timeline, not me forgiving and forgetting tomorrow).

You have said that your wife is not very good at taking responsibility for her negative actions, because she does not want to feel badly about herself. I think she ignores a lot of what you say because if she listens to it and absorbs it, it means she has to feel bad about herself. If she listens to her betrayed friend's feelings, she can absorb them much more easily, because she is not responsible for them, and does not have to feel badly about herself because of them.

The same is true with her desire for a world that does not disapprove of her actions. No matter what she does, if anyone has to feel bad because of her actions or suffer consequences as a result, she is determined it should not be her.

Essentially, she wants to live with a total lack of accountability, and actively refuses to implement any actions that imply or infer that she does accept responsibility/accountability for any pain or damage she has caused.

It means that the people around her are going to have to act as shock-absorbers in human form whenever she causes a train wreck, which is borne out by this...

I'm bizarrely emotionally resilient

In some ways that is good, but you must be careful that your emotional detachment does not become an enabler for your wife's unaccountability / irresponsibility, because you will be setting yourself up for a very bumpy, bruising ride in life.

Honestly, it may be working against me to be able to push past my emotions (fear and anger). I don't know. Are these emotions useful? They strike me as a waste of time. I can simply act when future information arrives.

I don't want to give you a hard time, but why will the next time be any different to this time? Your wife has no deadlines, no actions to take, and she is still in touch with her affair partner. And yet next time there will be an immediate and decisive nuclear blast. Not this time though, because this time is not important, and definitely not an ideal opportunity to demand accountability and proof via her actions that your wife understands that what she did was unacceptable and should not be repeated.

TIF, if you are emotionally detached/avoidant, and your wife is emotionally unaccountable/irresponsible, who is going to set boundaries within the relationship? People are not suggesting that you get angry or fearful for the hell of it. The point of those strong emotions is that they can motivate you to show your wife what you will and will not accept, and to motivate her to prove to you why you should remain with her, and why she will not do something reckless like this again.

And the reason people are suggesting that is for your own protection.

Your wife wants unaccountability. You are not holding her to account. Is that healthy, or is it - by not changing that dynamic - laying the foundation for the misadventure?

Sorry, TIF. I am only saying this stuff because I am concerned about you, and I do not want to see you sleepwalking into another train wreck. Your wife seems to be doing whatever she wants, but what do you really want?

This0is0Fine posted 1/17/2020 17:17 PM

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:59 PM, September 16th (Wednesday)]

PassThis posted 1/17/2020 17:28 PM


I am encouraged by your update where you state, "Things are currently looking up", even if it is "of sorts."

I see positives:

1. Your wife communicated contact that she had at work with OM related to work and the reasons for the contact. (maintaing your terms of NC)

2. She is looking at jobs daily. It is some effort.

3. You seem to be under better control regarding anger, leading to arguments. That makes for a better environment for progress. new job/true NC. I get a feeling she wants a redemption story where she is able to maintain her boundaries this time,

4. What a great analogy: "I told her from my end it looks like an alcoholic proving how great they are at staying sober by carrying around a flask they never drink from."

5. She is talking to friends who are supportive of your marriage. Of course she is able to take in her friends feelings on cheating better than your own. She views her friends as objective, or maybe even as being on her side. She believes, unlike you, they have no skin in the game and that their interest is only in what is best for her. At this moment, you are a protagonist in the drama (which is better than being an antagonist).

6. She now really understanding this is a year+ recovery timeline, not me forgiving and forgetting tomorrow.

This positive momentum was due to your discussions, decisions, actions, and behavior.


1. WS's who are in limerence, or addicted, to the OM or the affair typically do not get over the OM and their feelings at the drop of a hat. It takes some time until they get out of their affair fog and "get their heads out of their butts".

2. It takes time, in some cases years, for WS's to get figure out, and then to fix, their whys.

3. Your wife's situation is complicated by her FOO issues (mother and grandmother both committing suicide), her longtime general anxiety disorder, her longtime inability to make decisions in a reasonable length of time (paralysis by indecision), and her current concern over her individual "identity".

4. It is typically stated in this forum that the WS has to do the work, not the BS; to first heal themselves, then work on the marriage. She is seeing IC, and seeking out friends for support and advice. For her, that may be real progress. So far she has always gotten good advice from her friends and they have convinced her to accept your requests as reasonable.

5. The 180 is a strategic process of detachment. The suggested attitude to exhibit during the 180 is "indifference". Any suggestion that you keep pressuring her and making demands seems contradictory. She needs to pursue the marriage and you. Your actions during this period is primarilly to observe. Of course, if she crosses a red line, you must do what you must do.

6. Does she still think that "she is bad," rather that "what she did was bad?" This goes to the issue of remorse versus shame/regret.


1. What are her current feelings toward OM?

2. What are her current expressions (words or actions) about her feeling for you?

3. Has she provided any additional insight into her generalized objections to the responsibilities related to being married? Does she still not accept that her identity can include "wife" as not controlling aspect of her identity or in contradiction to other parts of her identity?

4. Is she still considered a ""Fragile, tortured soul who is confused and cannot find her way," rather than a WB?

5. Does she still think that "she is bad," rather than "what she did was bad?" This goes toward seeing if she is developing remorse to replace shame/regret.

Final take:

I see your wife as truly fragile due to her her many long-term issues. If something is fragile, and bent, you do not try to force it back into its proper shape, else you will destroy it. You have to be patient and work with it gently to fix it. You may, if you love her enough to offset her recent "bad acts", you might decide even to keep her with a few dents remaining (but not related to infidelity), rather than throwing her away.

Recovery toward reconciliation/forgiveness takes typically 2-5 years. In your case, it could be assumed that a speedy track is not expected. Given that, it sees IMHO that progress is sufficient as to let the process continue. You have clearly stated your red lines and what consequences you will impose if those lines are crossed.

I think the issue about the credibility of a polygraph should not be a focus point. What is important is her attitude toward the polygraph. She should be chomping at the bit to prove her story, to increase her credibility, and to improve your piece of mind. Her reluctance to schedule, therefore, is of some concern to me. She has vacillated about her willingness (her indecision issue showing?). I hope that she comes around to voluntarily offer to take a polygraph. That would be a sign of good faith that should be considered as credible. She would go a long way toward settling the "extent of affair ".

It should be expected that she should show indecision about her job change. You must judge her progress accordingly.

As always, just my thought/suggestions based upon limited knowledge. Please take what is helpful and leave the rest.

Sending strength and support.

[This message edited by PassThis at 5:29 PM, January 17th (Friday)]

HellFire posted 1/17/2020 17:50 PM

She just needs to do that on terms where she doesn't feel I'm destroying her for it.

In the meantime, she is well aware that her continuing with this job, and OM being a co-worker that she must have some contact with, is destroying you,and further destroying the marriage.

And she's ok with that.

Her feelings are more important than yours.

And,you're right. The passive,nice approach never seems to work. All it does is enable the wife to continue to hurt her husband. As you can see.

The betrayed husbands who have the most success at reconciliation have been decisive, assertive, and refuse to tolerate one more instance of abuse.

[This message edited by HellFire at 5:52 PM, January 17th (Friday)]

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