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How to move on

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JamesL posted 4/26/2020 18:21 PM

Brand new to the group.
And hoping to find some support.

Everywhere I search I just find videos and guidelines how to get back my wife with all sorts of different methods.But none that help me move on.

My wife has been cheating on me with someone 10 years younger (heís 25)
We have a 2 soon to be 3 year old daughter

She never has taken responsibility, and refused couples counseling. She told me she needed time and space. So I left in October. By December she has been taking the new guy to family Christmas parties and told me recently she loves him.

My brain is smart enough to realize Iím being disrespected, I deserve better, and I need to move on.
My heart wants to try to work it out.

I feel if I canít fight this alone. Giving her space, not talking about it, not trying to reconcile as a couple. It just feels like a waiting game until divorce is filed.

Any tips on how to move on?
Iíve done the focus on myself piece, Iíve done counseling to understand a lot. Made some big changes. But I see my wife daily because we alternate days with my daughter. So sheís constantly in my life, even for a fleeting moment.

I havenít done any reach out about ďusĒ since December.

Sorry for the ramble.
Any suggestions would be appreciated

Okokok posted 4/26/2020 18:43 PM

Hi JamesL, glad you found this place. Sucks to be here, but this really is the best place to be for what you're looking for.

I want to say that my exWW (ex-Wayward Wife) did the exact same thing at the exact same age with the exact same age AP (affair partner). Kids the same age as your daughter. Let me guess: the AP works with her, too?

Can you tell us a little more about the background? How did you find out? Where are you living now relative to WW? What is your parenting schedule like?

Big ones: have either of you filed for divorce? Is the AP married, and have you exposed to OBS (the other betrayed spouse)? If they work together, did you expose to work?

These things can help kill an affair. However, from what you've described here, it sounds like they're already living openly as boyfriend and girlfriend. Is that right?

~

Regarding healing and moving on, I'll assume you're headed toward divorce.

To start: read everything in the Healing Library on the left. Everything that applies to you.

Second: keep posting here. Talk it out. There is a lot of collective wisdom here.

Third: here's a list of stuff in no particular order:

-- stop checking her social media, ever

-- start exercising. Get exercise every day.

-- do things that make you feel confident, like getting new clothes, a new haircut, growing a beard, shaving a beard, getting new cologne, etc.

-- get a stupid game on your phone and play that

-- get into your hobbies. Pick up an old one or start a new one.

-- focus on your kid. She's awesome and the true love of your life. Embrace that.

-- Recognize that stable, single dads with dad bods are actually pretty sexy out there in the thirty- and forty-something dating markets. Seriously. Just think about that, and maybe just envision a future where there are other women interested in you. Because there are!

~

That's all just a start. Again, give us a little more context and maybe we can give better advice.

FYI, I was exactly where you are now about three years ago. This divorce has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life, and when I see exWW now, I can hardly believe I was ever connected or even attracted to this woman. And I was absolutely head-over-heals in love.

Hard to see now, but there is likely a big breath of fresh air in your future.

JamesL posted 4/26/2020 19:07 PM

Thanks for the input!

Some quick background.

I found out the day after Fatherís Day, on a trip I took the family on. When I took a family photo with her phone I found nude photos of her I never saw.
The sort of work together. Sheís a cop and heís a tow truck driver. Heís not in any other relationship. And truthfully, if not for my daughter, I would have approached him in person. But my fear of losing my daughter has kept me in line.

Iíve blocked her on social media
Due to my career Iím working out routinely anyway
Iím now gaming like a mad man to pass the time and void when Iím not working.

I got a place 20 minutes up north of my house for drop off purposes. We split it 50/50 two days a week per, and we alternate weekends

Whatís been my hold up is I couldnít wrap my head around why she cheated. And never was willing to try and work it out.
There was no emotional/physical abuse
No drinking
No gambling
Just two adults trying to raise a kid and work opposite schedules. We became distant, but not hearing her want to try to work it out is what confuses me

The1stWife posted 4/26/2020 19:34 PM

Please donít waste your efforts in trying to figure out ďwhyĒ she cheated.

Just know she made the choice to cheat and it has nothing to do with you or anything you did or did not do.

You are doing all you can to focus on your child. Thatís a good thing. You have your attention in the right place.

Nothing you can do to repair your broken STBXW or fix the marriage if sheís not willing.

You will heal from this. It just takes time. But I think you are in the right path.

Phoenix1 posted 4/26/2020 20:01 PM

Welcome, James.

Oh, the infamous "why" question! Many of us were stuck on that (raising hand). You are a rational human being wanting a rational answer to a rational question. Seems easy enough. Unfortunately, the reality is you may never get an answer, and accepting that is one of the keys to moving forward.

The reality is that she is broken inside. What she rationalizes to herself to justify her actions will likely leave your head spinning. WS (wayward spouses) go through a lot of mental gymnastics to justify their choices. But it's all bullshit. You could have been the best looking, best built, most intelligent, sex god on the planet and it wouldn't have made any difference because it is not about you at all. It is all about her and her inner brokenness.

You may one day get an actual answer, but it will likely leave you with more of a, "Wait, what??" I got one of those and it just made me shake my head. You cannot make sense out of nonsense because you aren't wired the same way. Accepting that, along with everything else you are doing, will help tremendously.

You may want to read up on Parallel Parenting as well.

Marz posted 4/26/2020 21:18 PM

Is there a waiting period to file for D? If not file now.

No contact is your only good option.

Communicate by text or email, child or business only. Never answer a phone call direct. Limit pick ups/drop offs to 3 minutes with zero engagement. Keep everything separate. Holidays, birthdays etc. you have your time, she has hers. Nothing together. Upfront it maybe awkward but how awkward is her cheating? Time will fix the rest.

Have you spoken to an attorney? Leaving the home without proper paperwork filed could be very detrimental to you.

Marz posted 4/26/2020 21:19 PM

She never has taken responsibility, and refused couples counseling. She told me she needed time and space.

This is for her to focus on her other man with you out of the way.

Marz posted 4/26/2020 21:21 PM

Any tips on how to move on?
Iíve done the focus on myself piece, Iíve done counseling to understand a lot. Made some big changes. But I see my wife daily because we alternate days with my daughter. So sheís constantly in my life, even for a fleeting moment.

Sheís openly cheating. You donít have to talk with her. You do have a choice here.

Pickup or drop off your daughter then leave.

JamesL posted 4/26/2020 21:22 PM

Thank you to all the responses so far.
How depressing to think she is ďbrokenĒ inside.

Hopefully time will heal, itís been almost a year since the initial
Finding of the cheating and almost 7 months separated.
Even the thought sheís internally struggling makes me want to care for her. What a twisted swerve.

I feel the logical step is to file once this pandemic is over. But for my daughters sake, I want to be able to tell her I tried everything. (Which is why I never filed before this mess happened in the world)
But it sheís in love, Iím not interested in looking foolish anymore.

Marz posted 4/26/2020 21:33 PM

At this time you are keeping yourself in limbo. No one can do that but you.

Your wayward wife is a very typical if somewhat brazen cheater, there is nothing special about her at all. Read the boards some. Youíll see itís basically the same story over and over.

The worst thing you can do is nothing. Youíre perhaps living on hopium that sheíll ďget itĒ? You are the one who doesnít ďget itĒ.

This is who she is, was and probably always will be. You like many either overlooked it or ignored it before.

Go online download and read ď No More Mr NiceguyĒ by glover
Itís a free pdf and short. It should help you.

The only one who can keep you where you are is you. Stop making excuses and file. You have no future with someone like this.

Marz posted 4/26/2020 21:37 PM

Even the thought sheís internally struggling makes me want to care for her. What a twisted swerve.

Bud, sheís openly dating. Doesnít sound like sheís struggling at all. Currently you are doing everything she wants. Giving her space and time to spend with her new boyfriend, etc.

Stop being naive. This was a very conscious decision she made. Evidently she likes it fine she sure hasnít stopped has she? I might add all at your expense too.

After a year you should wake up.

[This message edited by Marz at 9:39 PM, April 26th (Sunday)]

JamesL posted 4/26/2020 21:49 PM

Marz youíre right!
What great advice....althouuuuuugh youíre acting more as a peanut gallery.

Iím well aware I need to move on. Which is why Iím seeking advice from people who have been in my shoes. Things they did, steps they took.

Coming over the top to attempt to point out ďwhat Iím missingĒ or ďdude wake upĒ Iím sorry ďbroĒ but thatís just useless intel and helps no one.

Plenty of other threads to troll. Iím looking for constructive feedback. Not backseat driver stuff

Phoenix1 posted 4/26/2020 21:50 PM

Even the thought sheís internally struggling makes me want to care for her. What a twisted swerve.

Read about codependency. That may help you understand these thoughts.

lettingo posted 4/26/2020 23:32 PM

Hi JamesL

Sorry you are here. I wanted to just respond to let you know I understand how you are feeling. I wish there was an easy answer to this. For me, it just took a long, long time.

I was fully invested in my marriage and family like most betrayed spouses (BS) are. It is so hard to stop asking the "why" questions. I still have days where I let my mind go there. But like Phoenix said, even if you get the why, it won't really be a good reason. There is never a good reason to do such a selfish awful thing. Especially to the person you vowed to love and cherish for the rest of your life.

What has helped me is mostly ...

** Selfcare
** Seeing who your WS really is, not who you imagined them to be.
** NC as much as possible
** Made a list of all the things I knew to be true. All the lies he told me, etc. Each time I felt lost, sad, or weak, I read the list.
** Accepting that my WS did not love me, maybe never really did, maybe not even capable of real love.
** Radicle self-love. Realizing that I deserved someone who treated me with the same level of love and compassion that I gave to them.
** Accepting that nothing I could say or do, could change my WS or turn them (back) into a half-decent human being.
** God - for me my faith was a big help

Letting go is hard. Moving on takes time. But the first step is to decide what you want to do. If you have decided on D, filing will be a big step towards moving on.

OwningItNow posted 4/27/2020 00:04 AM

7 months separated?

But for my daughters sake, I want to be able to tell her I tried everything.

So, what is the 'trying' that is happening now? She asked for time to think about what she wants to do? And are you hoping she will tire of this guy or realize? Just trying to be clear on the last 7 months.

She never has taken responsibility, and refused couples counseling.

And so, how is she giving you hope for 7 months? By not filing already? Has she made any move toward wanting or fixing the marriage?

Even the thought sheís internally struggling makes me want to care for her. What a twisted swerve.

Has this been a pattern in your relationship, cutting her slack and wanting to help her rather than standing up for yourself? Has she been immature, irresponsible, or selfish prior to this?

I only ask all of those questions to fully assess where you two are at. A lot of people here have put up with a lot of crap, for a variety of unhealthy reasons. So we do get it. But 7 months of watching her date and bring this guy to family gatherings without filing for D shows an insanely high tolerance for poor treatment. That's some pretty humiliating stuff, and yet you are struggling to stand up for your own human dignity. (Not a dig, just true.) I agree with Phoenix that looking into Codependency would really help you understand some facets of yourself.

I do understand your value on marriage and parenting and your daughter's happiness, but no child would want to witness their father humiliated like this by their mother. At a certain point (which may have already passed), you do have the right to matter, to say, "Unacceptable," and value yourself in this mess.

You do matter.
Trust me, add 15 years to your daughter's life and ask her what she wants you to do. She would unequivocally say, "Don't let her treat you like that. It's not right."

Have you talked to your family? Hers? Friends? Put your own story out there? She has most likely been rewriting your marriage and bad mouthing you. I'm not telling you to file, but I am saying that it is time to start standing up for yourself. You matter. The truth matters. And yes, these things do matter more than your marriage. This is abuse, James. We would never want you to tolerate abuse just to keep a marriage going.

Good luck to you.

The1stWife posted 4/27/2020 06:31 AM

I too was in your shoes and trying to desperately save my marriage.

You can tell your daughter you did everything you could and gave it your best effort. But unfortunately it was not what her mother wanted and she made other choices so the marriage was over.

And you were left with no other choice but to D.

Itís the truth. Itís what your daughter will understand as you provide consistency in her life.

Moving on is a slow process in some cases. But you have to stop feeling guilty for the choices you are being forced to make. I understand how you feel. I was in that same place.

Until it came down to me and my sanity and happiness or him.

I chose me. You should too.

Okokok posted 4/27/2020 07:35 AM

Iíve blocked her on social media
Due to my career Iím working out routinely anyway
Iím now gaming like a mad man to pass the time and void when Iím not working.

I got a place 20 minutes up north of my house for drop off purposes. We split it 50/50 two days a week per, and we alternate weekends

All of this sounds great and like you're on the right track. Do you find that you're still having conversations/discussions/arguments with her about your "relationship"? Or is that pretty much over and you're pretty detached?

By the way, I'd say there's about a 2% chance that this 25yo guy will ride off into the sunset forever with a 35yo mother of two. Sure, it happens, but generally eventually the novelty fades, and the guy's 25.

But that's not me advocating you wait for that. In my case, it took a couple years before AP peaced out. By that point, I looked back on the version of me that would have taken WW back and honestly couldn't believe how I ever thought I'd be able to make that work.

Since you have time on your hands, I don't see why you would wait until the pandemic is over. Get that divorce paperwork, speak to a lawyer, and file now.

Don't be scared of that process; even if there's something inside you that feels like it's the wrong move, just remember that *filing* for divorce is not the same as *getting* a divorce. That process will take months/years, and it can be stopped at any time.

Again, speaking from a very similar experience, if you do that, you will likely find that several things start going better for you than they have in the last several months. Surprisingly so.

JamesL posted 4/27/2020 08:23 AM

To answer a few questions that have been asked.

The time apart was for her to work on her. Without the affair we would already have an uphill battle.
She was battling depression and anxiety. She wasnít getting where she wanted to at work. She felt her family was excluding her. And her friends grew apart from her.
On top of all that, she had a hoarding problem. Which is where her and I had some issues.

Sheís been seeing a counselor.

She continues to act friendly, wanting to tell me stuff outside of our daughters life. There isnít any signs of hope, which is why I am seeking to move on.

She has been immensely immature in the past with her family, and friends. Never with me. Her hoarding issues was the one piece that truly got us on a rift. And I tried to be forward with it, as she recognized it was a problem. And started seeing help.
But at that point she felt like we grew apart over a lot of the struggles we had with the house situation.

To sum it up.
Even if she came back RIGHT NOW. Begged for forgiveness, I am having trouble even thinking where we would even begin to pick up the mess. I know I wouldnít rush back in without counseling.

So because I canít even answer what to do if she came back, itís why I know I have to walk away.

Iíve went on dates, women approach me. Yet deep down I keep going:

ďWhy do I still love my wife, after all this?Ē
I just assumed. Lifting heavy, pushing hard at work, going to counseling, hanging with friends, reclaiming hobbies, talking to to women, would somehow get me over the hump.

As scattered as this is. Iíve talked to friends and family. They all promote not to give up. My family because divorce had a big negative role in our lives. My friends, because they donít think sheís thinking rationally and needs help.

Again, canít thank you guys enough. Iíve taken bits of everyoneís comments and will apply them immediately.

Okokok posted 4/27/2020 08:51 AM

They all promote not to give up. My family because divorce had a big negative role in our lives. My friends, because they donít think sheís thinking rationally and needs help.

The problem with this is how counterintuitive the actions necessary are. Most of us didn't want to "give up," but eventually realized that sharing our wife with another man was literally impossible. That our wives already "gave up."

When you literally sit and wait; take no action beyond discussing, begging, pleading, hoping, waiting, trying to be nice, allowing your wife to have a boyfriend while you hope beyond all hope that she comes back...that's *actually* giving up. Soooooo hard for a BS to see that on their own. But those are the behaviors only serve to support and continue the affair.

Doing the 180 (seriously working on it and DOING it) and filing for divorce are actually the things that *don't* support and reinforce the affair. AKA, they are *the* things that have any semblance of "not giving up."

Weird, huh?

~

I'm not suggesting that you're waiting around hoping beyond all hope that your wife will come back. Nor am I suggesting that it would be easy or even possible for you to take her back after all she's done. That would be a long, hard life.

But do not fool yourself into thinking that giving more time, waiting a little longer, being extra nice and having those conversations is somehow *good* for the situation. It's not. Just look at your last seven months.

Iíve went on dates, women approach me. Yet deep down I keep going:

ďWhy do I still love my wife, after all this?Ē

It does take time. And the timeline is different for everyone.

I just assumed. Lifting heavy, pushing hard at work, going to counseling, hanging with friends, reclaiming hobbies, talking to to women, would somehow get me over the hump

These things are all very helpful. But they aren't magic. Keep plugging away at all of this. You'll get there eventually.

Again, really doing the 180 and filing for divorce are things that will help you immensely.

betrayedafter20 posted 4/27/2020 10:12 AM

James, you sound like a great guy and I"m sorry you are stuck in this place. I can relate. I still love my stupid WH too - but I have a feeling both of us down the line will look at them differently.

I'm following your thread because I too would like to know how to move on - I keep going to WH emotionally for comfort and validation - WHY?? frustrated with myself. I'm sure you feel the same way. "I really was a great spouse, how could this have happened??"

It is not your fault. Some gaping hole in her soul will not be fulfilled by you or anyone else, she doesn't love herself enough for that to happen. And until she does all the work, she probably will do the same thing to the AP down the line.

I understand your desire to "fix" her. It's codependency. I am that way too. My WH came from another country and his family was poor and he didn't have a proper father figure. His mother married three times. His stepfather was a closet heroin addict and his mother is needy and self absorbed. When I met him, he was still finalizing the divorce with his first wife whom had a 1-1/2 year old daughter.

He refuses to see how that may have affected our relationship. I spent 20 years thinking if I was a good enough wife and "counselor" he would be happy and consequently so would I. I saw him as this little boy that needed comfort and had been abandoned - I could help make him "better" and then he would be a great husband. What?? The question is - why was I attracted to this man in the first place? I mean he looked good and had some charm, - but I knew right away he was very broken. Yet I was attracted, not deterred.

We need to take that energy and fix ourselves. Of course we feel sorry for them. Because we are hurting too. We need that comfort, so we try and provide it for someone else. Everyone is broken to some degree.

IMHO, it's our purpose to work on ourselves, instead of distracting ourselves with other's issues. Figure out why we chose this kind of a partner. There were signals, we missed them. Or, we chose to ignore them. Learn how to watch for the signals. What can we do differently next time?

Read some books. Codependency No More. Women Who Love too Much (not just for women!)

You can tell your daughter you did everything you could and gave it your best effort. But unfortunately it was not what her mother wanted and she made other choices so the marriage was over.
And you were left with no other choice but to D.

What 1stWife says here, so well put. I always appreciate her advice, she is a very valuable contributor here especially given her journey. We can learn from her experience. She knows what the signals are and when to move on, can provide insights on how.

I think you are on your way. This is the hardest stuff ever. You are doing a lot of healthy things already - better than me - I'm not exercising but eating and drinking too much instead. Keep up the good work. I'm cheering for you.

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