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My Story

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cainsite posted 1/20/2020 14:34 PM

My wife and I got married in 1999.
She comes from a background of divorce and has always seemed to hold that as an option. Whenever things got tough she would throw that out as Plan A.
As our marriage went on I found out more about her background. Divorce- her parents, her grandparents. Open Infidelity - her parents, her grandparents as well as other family members. As well as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Fast Forward to 2004, my wife would always tell me how she would not care if I cheated on her. I did not like it, hit was hurtful. I was young and stupid and did not understand how complex this all was.
I told her on a car ride one night that I had a sexual encounter with our babysitter (which I did not) to show her she would be upset. (Stupid I know). After I got the reaction, I explained that it was not true, that I just did it to prove that she would care if I was unfaithful. It was a big fight, but it blew over and I though that was it.

She used this as a justification for starting and emotion affair on facebook with an old high school friend. That turned physical when she flew home for a visit. This was very hard emotionally for me. She blamed me for the affair and wanted a divorced, wanted to leave. I wanted to hold it together for our young daughter. I did not want her to have the same childhood as my wife. I love my daughter very much and would do anything to protect her.

To add emotional baggage around this time my wife got pregnant again. With the current status of the marriage I did not want to bring another child into the equation. My wife had an abortion. I did not "force" my wife to have an abortion. I told her at the end of the day it was her decision but I was not happy with bringing another child into the unstable situation. She went through with it but still resents me for it.

Instead of dealing with the affair I swept it under the rug, with the thought of "Just wait until your daughter goes to college". I became numb to my marriage and my wife. I see now this only made problems worse in the long run.

Fast forward to 2009
My wife claimed to be sexually assaulted by her supervisor at work. She got the police and company involved. No criminal action was taken and the Supervisor was fired from the company. Emotionally hard on both of us, got some details trickle truthed on me. Found out it was not just one time but multiple times. Aspects of the story did not add up to me. It feels like maybe another affair that went out of her control? With her background of being sexually assaulted as a child I think maybe she has some issues when responding appropriately when approached by men sexually, I don't know. I do know it felt wrong to push her and blame her if she was the victim. Again swept under the rug.

Fast forward to October 2019
Wife admitted to being in a 5 year long emotional affair that turn physical in 2019. Same type of scenario it was a co-worker that exposed himself. No sexual contact at the time, some how after that they became friends and things escalated.

This time I will not sweep it under the rug. I am going to deal with it.
I am trying R.
I understand all the baggage my wife has, she has work to do. She seems regretful sometimes remorseful. She has been forth coming with details, answered all my questions. Seems to have gone "No Contact". But there is so much water under the bridge now I don't know if we can "drain the swamp" so to speak.
I understand my role, in being distant and ignoring this behavior has lead me here. But just now after reading and hearing other's stories understand that her behavior is not my fault. The affairs are not my fault.

That is my story.
Currently going to an Infidelity Support group.
Reading, Learning, trying to improve myself.
Looking for an IC.
Any feedback would be appreciated.

[This message edited by cainsite at 3:11 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

Marz posted 1/20/2020 14:58 PM

Nope itís not your fault.

In these situations the one who wants the marriage most is at a serious disadvantage. You canít control her or make her do a thing.

Google serial cheater. FOO issues run deep. I doubt you know what youíre dealing with yet.

[This message edited by Marz at 2:58 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2020 15:08 PM

It sounds like you really want to work this out still, even though your daughter is much older now. And that's your choice, of course. But even though it sounds like you're doing good work with your own IC, the cheating is on your WW. You can't do her work for her. She's the one who has to dig deep, find the flaws in her character, and make changes. Nothing you did (or didn't do) caused her to betray her own stated value system. Yet she's done so repeatedly. You don't control that. She does. She has to want to change, more than anything, more even than keeping the marriage to the extent that she wants that change even if you leave.

You're not a bad guy if you decide you're done. It's excruciatingly intrusive work on the part of a WS who wants to heal. They've got to find the gap between what they say they believe and what they actually do, and then they've got to mercilessly pull out the faulty wiring and consistently build on their new-found values. Not everyone can do it.

cainsite posted 1/20/2020 15:15 PM

I think that is something I need to work on.
I don't like to see myself as a victim, I don't like to think that I can't fix the problem. I have tried to "fix it" for almost 20 years and the results are not there. I need to let go of the outcome.

She has gone to IC herself over the years, but I suspect she has not been 100% honest with her IC (I don't think she told her IC she was engaged in an affair) and has refused to discuss any of the childhood sexual abuse.

When I bring up anything referencing her childhood there is a lot of defensiveness, blame shifting, and even a little gas lighting telling me I'm the one with problems. It's very difficult

[This message edited by cainsite at 3:19 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2020 15:28 PM

She's telling you she's not willing to work. Meanwhile, here you are.. still waiting for her to pull her head out of her hindquarters. But you know what lets a WS know you're tired of waiting and that you mean business? ...when you hand her your attorney's contact information.

I know that sounds harsh, but you can't MAKE anyone do anything. You only control you and what YOU are willing to tolerate from a prospective mate. Chances are, you're still young enough to get a lot more out of life. As you've said, you've been beating your head against this wall for twenty years now. What is that you want for YOURSELF in the next twenty?

cainsite posted 1/20/2020 15:35 PM

Thanks ChamomileTea,
I guess the problem is I'm an optimist.
There is enough there where I can see a good future.
Be good grandparents for any grandchildren we are blessed with. Retirement. When things are good, they are good. But when they are not, well you know the rest.

She is adamant in her thinking that I am in charge of her self-esteem, self worth, validation.
But I know that comes from within and her FOO issues have fucked that all up.

ChamomileTea posted 1/20/2020 15:42 PM

Well, just throwing spaghetti on the wall here, but your WW is apparently NOT getting anything done with her current IC. If she was, you wouldn't have caught her in yet another affair this past year. What you might do is hire a new MC (marriage counselor), one you've carefully interviewed beforehand. That way, your WW can't lie and present herself as a non-cheater. The litmus test for the new MC is whether they believe adultery is a marital problem or a character problem. Reject any who blame the marriage. Cheating is 100% on the cheater. It's a character problem. You have to be really strong with an MC and never accept any version of blame-shifting done in therapy to follow you home though.

Once you've established with an MC who is willing to deal with the adultery, you can then request a referral for your WW to see a like-minded IC, hopefully one she can't bullshit.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 3:43 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

Cooley2here posted 1/20/2020 16:05 PM

I was given permission to recommend this YouTube. It is Marilyn van Derbur. She was Miss America in the 50s. She was molested by her father for years and it nearly destroyed her. Now she spends her time consulting with victims. Her talk is so powerful. She has several on YouTube but the one I recommend is where she is seated in front of a green plant. It is what your wife needs to see to understand why sex abuse is so destructive to anyone, but particularly to a child. I suggest you watch it as well.
I do not make excuses for her cheating. Ever. She knows right from wrong. What it might do is give her the tools to ask for help.

fooled13years posted 1/21/2020 07:27 AM

There is no doubt that you have done some things and handled certain situations badly. So have I and every other person in the world.

That does not make what she has done permissible.

To go into a marriage with the thought that if it doesn't work out or if things get too tough we will simply divorce is a recipe for disaster.

She comes from a background of divorce

It only takes 1 generation to break the chain.

Nothing you have done made her cheat on you. NOTHING!

sorryforeverythi posted 1/21/2020 08:39 AM

I am so sorry that you had to come here, its not a great place to have to come to but it's a great place for help.

I too am an optimist and the trouble we have is we are way to trusting.
The cheated on the babysitter was just plain stupid, almost juvinelle but its in the past.

This woman that you are so fond of seems to be able to get into situations at work where men feel comfortable enough to hit on her, flash their junk and do whatever.

She has probably been cheating on you all along.

The thing about cheaters are they are liars, the thing about optimists is we want to believe what they are saying so we rationalize what ever they say and put on a filter of "oh, that makes sense" from my perspective she is a very unhappy person and I doubt she is even honest with her therapist.

I am in the anti-reconciliation camp, when you burn a bridge, its gone, nothing remains and she needs to get help.

You can't fix her.

She has to fix herself and it looks like she doesn't want to.

Read the Healing Library but more importantly take an honest look at all the crap that has happened while you were with her. You will see somethings you don't want to see.

Dump her and move on. Take care of your daughter and yourself. You are only setting yourself up for multiple ddays in the future because she will cheat again.

I know all the emotions you are going through but the most important decision, after coming here honestly, is deciding I was done. My ex might be done with me as well and I have gone strict no contact but what she does doesn't matter, what I do does.
If you want to have a cheating spouse for the rest of the time you are with her that is your choice,

but everyone here deserves better,

know that and

feel it.

cainsite posted 1/21/2020 08:43 AM

Thanks for that fooled13years.

When we got married I was young and dumb.
I wish I would have known this would be so hard.
I wish I would have had an idea how deep FOO issues go and how much they effect a person. I feel like it has taken this long to find out who my wife really is.

sorryforeverythi posted 1/21/2020 08:51 AM

Don't beat yourself up. Cheaters are really good at lying, and when you get good at lying, you get really good at lying.

You can look at it a few ways. Your perception of the past is shattered. You are trying to understand what happened.

What I told myself is if you get bad data in you make bad decisions. You can't fault yourself for believing the lies you had no reason to not trust her. That's why we pair bond, to be in a trusting/loving relationship.

Making decisions based on bad data doesn't mean the past is all lost. It means you made the best decisions you could based on the information you had. That is something you shouldn't be upset about.

Look back on the past and see you did your best. You loved her and tried.

She didn't.

Read all you can. Read until you are tired of reading about it and then read it again. There are a lot of resources on line and here.


You will get past this I promise. You are at the bottom of a deep well, there are handholds for you to grab to climb out so grab them.

Once you are out, you will fall back in, over and over, you will find over time, the well isn't so deep and the hand holds are easier to grasp.

It sucks but time is the only thing that will truly make the pain stop but it does stop.

[This message edited by sorryforeverythi at 8:53 AM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

Smillie posted 1/21/2020 09:07 AM

That's great that you are doing a lot of leg-work. You seem like you are really going full out to do a proper reconciliation. Just out of intererest...what is she doing?

rugswept posted 1/21/2020 09:30 AM

This WW is a serial cheater, always finds a reason why it happened to justify her actions.

She appears incurable. After all that has happened, that you aware of, I do not think she'll ever be faithful to you. She is incapable of it.

Do what is best for you and your daughter. If you can live with this WW going off on affairs for the rest of your life, then that is your decision.

There is no indication, anywhere, that anything will ever change. I'm big on R but this WW is one of those women with serious personal issues that enables her to justify her hideous actions.

cainsite posted 1/21/2020 09:47 AM

Re: Smillie
Just out of intererest...what is she doing?

Well she has agreed to go to the support group with me. (although she is the only WW there and does not seem to like facing the Betrayed Spouses, she gets angry)
She has opened up a little about her family and childhood.
She has been exercising and getting physically active again, we are working on a better diet.

But really she just spends a lot of time either being angry or sad.

I think if I lead the way with IC, she would follow.

Smillie posted 1/21/2020 09:54 AM

You can't do the leg-work for her or use her past to excuse her. She has to earn reconciliation.

SlapNutsABingo posted 1/21/2020 10:02 AM

You said you don't want to rug sweep this time, when are you going to stop doing this? She is doing very little because she has gotten away with doing just that, before.

She needs to be in IC yesterday, needs to be reading everything possible on infidelity, needs to be watching every Affair Recovery video possible on YouTube, etc, etc,

[This message edited by SlapNutsABingo at 10:03 AM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

JS84 posted 1/21/2020 11:08 AM

Going to reiterate what a couple of others have said, it sounds like you're making her do the work more than she's trying to do it herself. She needs to be the one to take the initiative. Otherwise nothing is going to change.

There's being an optimist and then there's wishful thinking. Based on what you've told us, you sound like you're engaged a bit more with the latter I'm sorry to say.

Like someone else said, and after reading through threads like this for years I agree, the best way to let your spouse know you're serious is to hand them divorce papers.

Letting go of the outcome means you shouldn't be trying to help her steer the wheel of her own life while trying to drive your own. Especially when all of her tires are blown, the brakes are grinding, the oil is non-existent and it's covered in bird shit.

Your wife is not going to be motivated to change for herself or for you if you constantly have to hold her hand trying to lead the way to fixing herself and your marriage.

She needs to know you're willing to walk away, that she could lose her marriage, and that she needs to stop taking you for granted. All your actions do is tell her the opposite. She can lie for years, cheat multiple times for years, set conditions on HER terms, and not only won't you leave you'll try to find ways to repair the damage SHE caused while SHE mopes. Why should she change? Sounds like she has it pretty good.

Do you see the problem here?? And being willing to lose the marriage doesn't mean you have to want to lose it or even that you will in the end, but still you have to be willing to lose it. You don't sound like you're there yet. Which is fine. But you have to ask yourself when is enough going to be enough??

[This message edited by JS84 at 11:14 AM, January 21st (Tuesday)]

DoinBettr posted 1/21/2020 11:44 AM

This time I will not sweep it under the rug. I am going to deal with it.
I am trying R.
I understand all the baggage my wife has, she has work to do. She seems regretful sometimes remorseful. She has been forth coming with details, answered all my questions. Seems to have gone "No Contact". But there is so much water under the bridge now I don't know if we can "drain the swamp" so to speak.

The 2 bold segments contradict each other. If you aren't rug sweeping this time, you shouldn't be making any decisions yet.
You should be stating you are open to reconciliation, but she has to show you what SHE will do differently to make this repeated offense not an option.
Having a rough child hood does not justify behaving badly in the present.
It just outlines that you have some demons and should have built some defenses against those taking over your life. I speak from experience.
Hold her accountable to fix this marriage. Pull away and tell her its time for her to actively show you she wants you in the marriage. If you cling to her right after she messes up, all she can do is give you a hug and false promises she won't do this again. She doesn't even know what the consequences would look like so she doesn't know why she would stop.
If it happened again in 2 months, would you start out by saying you want to reconcile?
Good luck.

squid posted 1/21/2020 12:17 PM

The problem I see is that you are leading the efforts in R. And that is not how this should go. She is doing the bare minimum to essentially get you off her back so she can go back and enjoy the things you provide while she leaves the door open for another new AP. And apparently you can tolerate this.

You need to start valuing yourself. Do not accept another second of her blatant disrespect for you. Seriously, lawyer up and file. If that doesn't at least perk up her ears then at least you'll be one step closer to getting out of infidelity.

She's got a shit-ton of work she needs to do on herself, but she's shown you that she wants to do none of it. So what you'll get for probably the next year is you suggesting videos and sites and books and IC's, etc. and her grudgingly following your lead. Meanwhile, you'll be stuck in Infidelity Police mode waiting for the other shoe to drop because she has done nothing to re-gain your trust.

If she's not willing to dig deep then the rest of your marriage will be sheer torture because you will always know down deep what she's capable of doing and that she'll always find a way to justify it.

Also, do you want your marriage to be the model of what your daughter sees as a healthy relationship? Sure, some couples reconcile. But only when both are equally and 100% devoted to process.

Talk to an attorney today. Get the ball rolling. Show your daughter was strength looks like. Right now you're a doormat. Sorry for the 2x4. But I was in your shoes once. Had I done things differently, I would have shown my XWW divorce papers the moment I knew of the A. Instead I languished for a year trying to get her to go to IC to read books, the whole 9 yards. I did all the leg work. 2 years later we divorced.

Serial cheaters are a different breed. Cut your losses, my friend. Don't fall victim to the sunk-cost fallacy. I think if you look closely at your marriage you'll find a history of her justifying crappy, disrespectful behavior. Time for those rose-colored glasses to come off.

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