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23 years of marriage

Flower07 posted 5/6/2020 07:11 AM

Iíd like to hear from people who have been married for 20 plus years. Iíve been married for 23 years ( 3 college age children)& my husband told me heís been having an affair for close to 2 years with a woman 20 years younger & just getting out of drug rehab.. he said he was done w affair. Then in March (1 month after telling me about affair) I found a burner phone in his car w love messages, pictures, etc so we separated. He says he wants to work things out and is done w her. But he will not give me passwords to his email, or go on life 360 so I know where he is. I just donít trust him any more & feel like he is still talking to her. We tried counseling.. but doesnít seem to be helping. Heís not remorseful or fighting for me to take him back. He is either still cheating, or too stubborn to give in to my requests or just done w our marriage. We had a good marriage, friends, family, etc.. My questions are how after 23 years do I start my life all over again? Do I file for divorce or let him do it since this was his fault? How can he just go on so easily while I am hurting so much?

TheLostOne2020 posted 5/6/2020 07:23 AM

I'm not sure if I count. I've been with my WW for 21 years, married for 16. I found out on New Year's that she'd been physically cheating for 2 years (EA for 5) with an unemployed loser ex High School boyfriend.

My WW waffled for a few weeks - saying all sorts of shit, making promises she wouldn't keep, etc. I'm working on the separation now. I hope to be out of here by the end of May..

Your WW is not remorseful. He's probably still in the fog. If I were you, I would file for divorce. I know it's not easy but you will be happier, IMO, than if you stay.

He can do it easily because he's an egocentric asshole. He's not thinking about you. It hurts, big time, I realize, to discover that your spouse is willing to traumatize you in order to get some ego kibbles.

Bigger posted 5/6/2020 10:20 AM

First off Ė it doesnít work that way that the one in fault has to file. If anything, the one with the biggest interest should file. Filing first has some limited benefits, MAINLY in controlling the initial speed of the process.
In your case your husband has little if any interest in filing. HeckÖ reading your posts it doesnít even sound like you want to fileÖ

The difference between your WH and you is this IMHO:
Heís OK with the present situation. Yes, a little drama at home, but heís got another woman pining for him and all the drama and excitement. He does not think you will leave or that there is any threat to his safe, nice environment. If he were to file, then nothing would happenÖ He would delay for as long as he could. Chances are he could use that time to move things aroundÖ like take out loans on his 401, dispose of assets and so on. Not in his character? WellÖ is cheating in his character?

You on the other hand are feeling shocked. You werenít expecting this. You expected calmer years ahead with less stress, less workÖ You donít WANT to divorce. But do you want to share your husband with this woman? IMHO your best interest IF THIS ENDS IN DIVORCE are based on the situation as it is NOW.

I think it can be a powerful moment when and if you can make him realize that some things in marriage are not negotiable. Based on your last post on JFO he claims to be in R without any accountability. Yet you have found burner-phones and so. Itís like a heroin addict claiming to be dry and yet you find a syringe in his pocket.
If you had an attorney help you evaluate what divorce would look like Ė even a very broad-stroke picture Ė Iím guessing part of the fear of D would lift off your shoulders. That in turn empowers you to confront him and to stick to your demands for the non-negotiable aspects of the marriage.

IMHO itís not necessary that you file before confronting him. But it is necessary that you yourself are clear on what you can and what you canít accept. I am a great believer in free will. There is nothing compelling your husband to cheat other than HIS decision to do so. It might be feeding some ego-kibbles or some need or semi-addiction (why I asked about his addiction history in the other thread). But at the end of the day the ONLY reason he should not cheat is because he wants to be faithful to you. Same for you Ė It should be YOUR free choice to remain in the marriage. If the marriage is not the way you envision it and you donít think you two can make it that way then it should be your decision to leave it. Be prepared to reach that decision and be VERY clear how you will act once there.
Telling him you want a divorce isnít the correct thing to do, but rather tell him that you are divorcing him and be prepared to visit with an attorney and file, knowing already more-or-less how things will end.

Justsomeguy posted 5/6/2020 10:54 AM

How do you start over after 23 years? Currently, I am S moving through D. Dday was 3 and 4 years ago and we have been S almost 2 years. I am in my 50's and was terrified of starting over. I'm not going to lie to you. It's going to be tough. I remember the first week my kids stayed at my apartment. When it came time to send them to their mother, I just closed the door and sobbed. This 2asnt the life I had planned or wanted. I had worked so hard to make a good life for my family and it turned to shit.

Here is the flip side. I am sad, and I mean a lot. There are things I hate about being alone. One of those is sleeping alone, but once I fall asleep, it's better. Its just the going to bed that is tough. But my heart doesn't break every single day. I don't have to look at my WW every day and picture what she did experience the things she did to humiliate me over and over. I am no longer under the weight of infidelity and that is GLORIOUS!

I have a mug in my cupboard that I bought for my place. Emblazoned on it is one word, "Peace". Although I feel sad and lonely, I also feel peace and security and safety and all of those other things gs that I knew I would never ever feel again with my WW. I might manage some sort of coexisting, but never that safety and security that I so need in a relationship.

I know its scary starting over but scary and exciting are very similar emotions. Your life is going to look different getting out of infidelity, but isn't that good? Is being in it meeting any of your needs? Being single isn't that bad, it just takes some getting use to. The ranger is that you might enjoy it too much and not want to enter another relationship.

My piece of advice is simply this. Do want you want to do. Don't do something just because you are afraid of the other thing.

Justsomeguy posted 5/6/2020 10:55 AM

Duplicate post

[This message edited by Justsomeguy at 10:55 AM, May 6th (Wednesday)]

BrokenheartedUK posted 5/6/2020 11:11 AM

I completely understand your terror at starting over. I was completely blindsided and unprepared on DDay. It happened about 4 days after our 18th wedding anniversary.

But... I spent another 13 months of the most agonizing, heartbreaking, soul destroying and ultimately futile time trying to keep the family together. My Ex, like yours is now, said he had ended it and had NC, but when I undeleted texts on his phone, that was a total lie. You can NOT R with someone unwilling to give up the AP. It's impossible. He's still in the A, he's telling you he's still in the A, and acting on that information you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

For me filing was hugely empowering. You don't need to ask him, just seek legal advice and retain a good lawyer and get the process started. It will protect your joint assets and your mental health. Get IC for yourself to process. Be honest with your children about what's going on though it goes against our instincts to do that as mothers.

I know that this is a scary, painful time, but I'm now six years out, my children are thriving, I'm training for an amazing job, I have an awesome SO and you will be okay. None of this is what we signed up for, but this is the hand you are dealt. How you play that is down to you. Stop letting your WS dictate terms to you, this is your life, define how you want to live it.

And to answer your question more directly: he's going on with his life as it was because he hasn't had any consequences for his choices. And the truth is, many WSs really don't get the consequences until they are already happening. He's delusional that he thinks that this will work out with the AP (oh and she sounds like an awesome option ) but that's not your problem. What is your problem is taking back some control of your life by seeking legal advice and start to initiate divorce proceedings.

The1stWife posted 5/6/2020 11:15 AM

You need to financially protect yourself no matter what you do - divorce or separate or reconcile.

He may lose all common sense and decide to shower her with money and gifts etc. - money that is yours. Do not allow it.

tushnurse posted 5/6/2020 13:42 PM

Welcome to the best club you never wanted to join.

Your H is comfortable w/ his current situation, so something has to change - he is getting what he wants from you and her. That's not cool. Does that mean you D it could, but it also doesn't mean it happens tomorrow. This takes some time.

I would encourage you to read the healing library, do an over the phone consultation w/ an attorney. Get a good understanding of the differences between S and D, and what both look like for you, and what your financial situation would be for either.

As far as your H goes, if you are interested in attempting to rebuild and reconcile you need to show him you are unwilling to accept the status quo. Big actions from you will have some impact on him, but they will also give you some strength, and peace of mind. I remember that constant upset and turmoil I felt in the early days after Dday. It was awful. But when I finally found my voice and stood up for what I needed, and wanted, man did things change.

I would tell him he is no longer welcome in your home until he can prove he is NC, has a clean STD test, and has enrolled himself into therapy to understand why he threw it all away, and continues to not be sure on what he wants.

If you are done, then be done, call a couple of good attorneys, get some consults, and file. Tell him you will only communicate w/ him about financial stuff and things to do w/ the kids. Then do your best to stick to it.

Listen there isn't a right or wrong choice in this, but it is definitely a traumatic time, and you are normal to feel lost, hurt, heartbroken, overwhelmed, and also hopeful, and confused, especially if he is giving your drips and drops or what you need. That is why No contact and the 180 is such a powerful tool for you. It gives you some distance, and will prevent him from confusing you, and giving you what we refer to as the most powerful drug around - Hopeium. Hopeium is that little bit to make you doubt your decisions. Don't believe it, don't fall for it. He has chosen to lie to you, and abuse you (yes affiars are highly abusive) for 2 years. Not only did he do that, but he found someone closer to your kids ages, than yours to do it with. He is a broken person, and until that broken person is willing to own what he has done, there is no hope.

Figure out some boundaries. Set them, and know you stumble a few times, that's ok. We are here to support you no matter the path you choose.
Also stop worrying about "being alone". Being alone can be a really good thing. It can heal you and you are going to find a level of peace and happiness that you didn't know was possible as you navigate this shitstorm.

Now for the other things I tell every newbie. Go get full STD testing, that means a pelvic exam and bloodwork. No worries, the OB/GYN's office sees this all the time, they will be kind, and understanding. Find out that you are healthy.
Secondly when there if you are not sleeping or struggling w/ eating, talk to the Dr about it. A lot of us needed a little help to get through this, some of us took meds, some of us see a therapist, a lot of us do both. But it is time for you to make YOU your #1 priority.

I also want you to start doing something kind for yourself every single day. A long walk w/ your favorite tunes blaring, a hot bath, w/ a good book, and once a week do something really nice for yourself. Go get food from your favorite restaurant, go meet a friend (hopefully soon) for a few drinks or dinner. Get a new cut or color that is sassy and makes you feel strong. Rely on your network of friends and family to support and help you through this.

Keep reading here, keep posting. We will help you through it.

(((And Strength))))

Flower07 posted 5/6/2020 14:05 PM

Thank you for all the replies.. I feel so lost, and your words are encouraging. I just want to be ok & get through this for myself & my kids. When people find out, it will be shocking. We looked like the perfect family w the perfect marriage.. I never knew he was not happy. Yes, the past 2 years- he was very distant .. & I even asked if there was someone else & he denied it. I believed him- had no reason not to.. he was home when I got home from work( bc he saw her during the day) always answered my calls or called me right back ..we went to dinner w friends, shopped, took walks together .. never saw this coming! By him not giving me access to his phone or acting remorseful just confirms that he is still talking to her or biding his time til I give up & contact lawyer so he doesnít look like bad guy. I guess Iím hesitant to call lawyer first bc I feel like heís the one who made this choice - he should be man enough to just admit he wants a divorce. Iím sure the next year or so will really suck! I just want to feel normal again.. my kids are so supportive and so is my family & close friends . I just never felt so confused , rejected, sad & alone in my life. It helps that people on this forum can relate and can give some advice .. I thank you!

nekonamida posted 5/6/2020 14:54 PM

I never knew he was not happy. Yes, the past 2 years- he was very distant ..

He may not have been unhappy either. And if he's saying he was now, it may still be a lie. I'm betting if you think back, you can remember multiple times that he acted happy. Maybe even times he said he was happy. Birthdays, holidays, your kids' milestones, vacations. Just about every WS out there says they were unhappy despite putting on an award winning level rise of acting happy when they were supposedly depressed for years. It's not true. It's him re-writing the marriage to come up with a "good" excuse for the A.

Distance is common in a WS who invests so much in an AP and it has nothing to do with happiness. Sometimes WSes become so wrapped up in fantasy land with AP, returning to their BS begins to feel like cheating. Could've been guilt. Could've been OW interrogating him about how your marriage was behind the scenes. Could just be the realization that real life, AKA your marriage, didn't smell as good as 100% genuine synthetic unicorn farts in Affair Land. It doesn't mean his A has anything to do with you or your marriage.

Phoenix1 posted 5/6/2020 14:54 PM

after 23 years do I start my life all over again?

Face your fears, know you can have a terrific life, and decide the unknown future is better than the known present. Read the Fear vs Reality thread pinned to the top of this forum.

Do I file for divorce or let him do it since this was his fault?

If D is where you think you are heading, talk to an attorney to see what you can expect in your state. Then quietly get your ducks in a row. Knowledge is power.

Had I waited for Xhole to file, we would still be married. He wanted nothing more than to cake eat - doting family at home and secret life on the side. I took control of my life, kicked him out, and told him we were divorcing. I didn't care if I was "the bad guy" because I had too much respect for myself to live a lie.

How can he just go on so easily while I am hurting so much?

Very easily, actually. Some people have a black hole as a soul.

Only you can decide if you've had enough, but don't let length of marriage keep you in a place that is unhealthy for you. FWIW, Xhole and I were together for almost 30 years. I'm sad my marriage wasn't what I thought it was and my envisioned future growing old together wasn't meant to be, but I wouldn't go back to that toxic relationship for any reason.

It is also worth mentioning that if you file while the WS feels somewhat bad about causing it, they may be a little more agreeable with the settlement. That was the case for me.

First and foremost, talk to an attorney (or two, or three) and educate yourself.

TheLostOne2020 posted 5/6/2020 16:45 PM

Flower07

Thank you for all the replies.. I feel so lost, and your words are encouraging. I just want to be ok & get through this for myself & my kids. When people find out, it will be shocking. We looked like the perfect family w the perfect marriage..

That's what happened when my WW's affair came out. Everyone was shocked and most of them were mad at my WW. A good chunk of people are no longer talking to her because of it.

I never knew he was not happy. Yes, the past 2 years- he was very distant ..

Who says he wasn't happy? People have affairs for all sorts of reasons but the fundamental issue is a lack of morals and principles on the part of the WW. Sometimes affairs have literally zero to do with the betrayed. It sucks because we're punished for their screwed up morality. We develop trust issues, self esteem problems, etc. None of which are because of anything we did.

& I even asked if there was someone else & he denied it. I believed him- had no reason not to.. he was home when I got home from work( bc he saw her during the day) always answered my calls or called me right back ..we went to dinner w friends, shopped, took walks together .. never saw this coming! By him not giving me access to his phone or acting remorseful just confirms that he is still talking to her or biding his time til I give up & contact lawyer so he doesnít look like bad guy.

He can think whatever he wants to think - he is the bad guy and there's no way he's not. He's lied to you and betrayed you. He's taken deliberate actions he knew would hurt you and traumatize you. Him not contacting a lawyer is for his safety - not to make him look like a good guy.

He's not a good guy.

I guess Iím hesitant to call lawyer first bc I feel like heís the one who made this choice - he should be man enough to just admit he wants a divorce.

I can understand that, but realize that he's fully happy to continue to abuse you. It only stops when you decide it has to stop. He wasn't man enough to tell you he was stepping out. He wasn't man enough to be honest. He's not going to be man enough to call the lawyer.

Iím sure the next year or so will really suck! I just want to feel normal again.. my kids are so supportive and so is my family & close friends . I just never felt so confused , rejected, sad & alone in my life. It helps that people on this forum can relate and can give some advice .. I thank you!

I'm sorry you feel that way - I've felt that way too. It sucks. What the WW puts us through is truly horrible and they do so without any remorse. If I were you I would get out of that and divorce him.

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