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separation anxiety, new level of pain?

lbh50 posted 6/21/2020 16:33 PM

Almost 3 months after Dday, all this time she kept telling me that she does not love me anymore and that she CANNOT break it with the AP, she's in love with him, he means so much to her, he's the only one who understands her etc. and (conveniently) he's also essential for her career which also means so much to her.. (surely more than our marriage)

..After many fights trying to convince her that she should leave this household if she wants to continue the affair, after she tried to make me to agree with in-house separation instead, because she claimed she *has to* to live in this house because she loves this house but especially because of "the children" (in particular the younger one who's still in high school)..

..After she tried to convince the children that she should stay.. after they replied that they also feel like I do, that she cannot live in the same house while working with the AP so closely while she's in love with him .. She finally accepted to move out, instead of giving him up (which for her also means ruining her career). She signed the lease for an apartment nearby (so the children can visit her anytime, she said), she's moving out on Wednesday. I agreed to help her with the move.

So yeah, after she saw that even the kids won't defend her stay here, she proposed this one year "trial separation" and she said she's still "confused" about the whole situation but she "promised" to the children that she is not in fact continuing the affair as long as the AP is still married.. (cue collective eye roll).

So she's packing her stuff now for the move. I see she's taking a lot of stuff with her from the household, she's really getting ready to start her life alone and enjoy it too. She also lined up the bottles of wine we had in the pantry to take them with her (she bought them for herself, I don't really care about drinking but she enjoys a glass once in a while by herself). It feels like she can use the sparkling wine to celebrate her newfound freedom, probably with the AP, one of these evenings. She tells me she's going to use some of the wine for her next book club meeting. Wow, life goes on so easily for her. She's a fighter and a survivor (she lived by herself before, when she came here as a foreign student).

So I know that for her there is a bright side to the move, despite her tears now -- she can continue her affair with the AP even at "her new place", it's making it easier for them, as long as the AP is still married. And I know I was getting in her way these years while she was having the affair, we'd have fights as I felt her slipping away and being insincere, she was distant and unaffectionate with me and I was getting jealous about how "close" she was with the AP (she kept saying they were just very good friends, and that they had many professional reasons to be so close etc. "for work"). During our fights she was sometimes saying how she cannot live with me anymore, she would rather just leave me and go "live by herself" (no mention about the children). Now I know why. But she is still in denial about the real reason for that urge to be away from me. I was in the way of her affair. Since Dday she tried the same narrative many times -- that she just wanted to be alone because our relationship is "toxic" to her, but somehow that has nothing to do with her affair! Really? She still claims she just wanted to live by herself, not with him (since he still hasn't divorced his wife, of course; so I guess she just wanted to be his mistress without me being so annoying about it..).

So now I am thinking she in fact got her earlier wish. She avoided a messy divorce and she's just going to live by herself, without her "toxic" and "controlling" husband, just like she wanted. And continue to be the AP's mistress -- I have no doubts about that, despite her lies about the contrary (she lied for so many years, why stop now, without the nosy husband around to catch them again).

I am looking at her packing her stuff for the move, she often stops to sob, blow her nose etc. When I ask her why she is crying -- she's telling me it's because she is "forced" to leave her home that she loves so much, and her children of course.. And she claims she is forced by me to leave, it was never her choice (so that's another reason for her to feel sad, defeated, and obviously the victim here). She's being playing the victim card all these years while she was screwing around with her professional sugar daddy.

The worst part is that despite of all I know about how she is, about what she did, I am so terribly sad to see her go -- also knowing that she's going to continue the affair and all, I see this as the moment of our actual, final breakup. It's the breakup getting real, actualized. I had to go into the basement to cry a few times these days, seeing her packing makes me feel devastated, I even feel for her suffering(even though I know she does not care about leaving me, but just about leaving her house and the kids behind). Clearly some part of me still loves her, I still do not want to "lose" her physically from the house, even though I know she's been long lost and gone otherwise. I'm *that* addicted to her presence, after so many years together.

But mainly I dread the moment she is just not going to be in the house, no longer feel her presence here in our home, as broken as that has been lately. In a few days it will happen and it feels like I am contemplating an imminent death. Of course, it's the physical death of our relationship, which has been brain dead for years.

Today I was looking at the shopping list for the household for this week and I started crying again -- I always put there some things that only she wanted -- her favorite cookies or fruits etc. Even after Dday I was doing that, out of habit and because I still cared about her. Even after Dday we shared and discussed that shopping list because we shared the household. This will stop in a few days.

It's the first Father's Day when I already feel like a single dad. Next month is also our wedding anniversary, 28 years ago. I'll be 50 in February, probably celebrating it alone with my children - while my wife will be in her own apartment.

I am so weak, I need help to detach from her, to move on. How?! The therapist did not seem to be of much help so far (maybe I haven't found the right therapist).

Separation hasn't even started and I already feel defeated, I feel like I just want to beg her to stay. Which of course would be idiotic because I fought so much lately just for this moment, for her to leave if she does not want to *really* cease her affair and reconcile with her family. I cannot imagine life without her, even though I know it's better for me to be away from her now, that she is my (emotional) enemy -- that I need room to heal, to become independent.

I got over the Dday somehow, it's been a nightmare but I can function again, at least partially. But now I feel it's a new threshold, this separation is the actual breakup, that all is now definitely lost. I won't see her in the house, or at dinner or going for a walk with the dog. We won't discuss the shopping list and all these mundane things that were part of the fabric of our shared life. How to cope with the impending moment of separation and the first days after that? How did others do it? What helps?

I do work out a bit sometimes in the basement but that's barely helping. I cannot watch TV shows or movies, everything is triggering. Now that she is about to leave for good, I feel like the whole world is triggering, reminding me that she's leaving my world for good, that I'll be alone in this world. I miss her so much already and she hasn't even left the house yet, she's just getting ready.

Hurtingnconfused posted 6/21/2020 18:34 PM

I too am right there. Missing my cheating ex. We’d play “slug bug” and I see one go by and it’s like a kick in the gut.

My sister told me that I wouldn’t allow someone to treat my best friend or one of my kids this way. I wouldn’t allow someone to not even offer the basics of human kindness... rather they/HE went out of his way to inflict pain. So why am I less, that it's ok to treat me this way? And it’s true, you and I don’t deserve this and why should we accept less than what we’d offer ANY other human.

I am not less and neither are you

sam59 posted 6/21/2020 20:05 PM

Have you exposed the affair to HR ?

Have you exposed the affair to the AP's wife ?

When you came here you were given this advice and you were afraid to do it.

I am truly sorry for the pain you and your children are suffering but you have some control and you choose not to use it.

Why let your wife and AP control everything

traicionada posted 6/21/2020 20:45 PM

What do you think therapy isn't helping? What are your current therapy goals?

lbh50 posted 6/21/2020 21:30 PM

They do not control everything. They just broke our family. As a mother, I believe her suffering is real, to see that even her kids are telling her to go away at this time because she cannot be trusted. She could not control that, as much as she wanted to stay in the house while continuing their adultery, they clearly failed there. It's true that the AP does not seem to suffer at all, he just seem to be a selfish, entitled asshole. But that's HER problem now, she chose him. He allegedly said he wants to tell everything to his wife and join the WW. Good luck with that.

I cannot undo or repair what they broke by making a public scandal out of it. Ruining my wife's career, making her lose her job will not bring back her love for me, will not make our family whole again. Instead that would just bring more damage, more destruction of other lives -- likely that would also include my children's college dreams etc. I also personally know the staff and students whose professional lives would also be severely impacted by that scandal. Professionally I don't think the AP is inept, just ethically challenged when it comes to this kind of inappropriate affair with my wife. I resent him for that, of course, but I still grant him some professional credit.

We are past that. I do not want to rehash that. I just want to move on with my life. WW is moving out. She loves him, she does not love me -- I cannot change these facts by blowing them up (especially the "W does not love me" part, I surely cannot force her to love me by destroying her professionally).

I did protect myself about my own path forward (found a new job, consulted employment lawyers etc.).

We are done with that part. She's not coming back, or if she were to come back just because her career is over and she has nowhere else to go.. that's not love, it's just survival instinct and I do not really want that now.

I just want to move on. Detach from her. Please help me with that, if you can. They are no longer controlling my life except through these painful echoes of my former attraction/dependency (or desperate clinging?) to my spouse. I'd like to focus on extinguishing those now.

lbh50 posted 6/21/2020 21:39 PM

What do you think therapy isn't helping? What are your current therapy goals?

Good question. I don't think those have been clearly established or maybe not well pursued? I did mention to my therapist when we started that I'd like her to help me cope with this terrible loss. I ended up spending most of my sessions so far telling her about my messy situation, describing the latest fights or reactions I got from my WW. Time flies, the session is up. I guess I am talking too much. We started recently discussing some CBT patterns of problematic thinking.. But emotionally those are not very helpful, to me at least. Maybe more time is needed..

ChamomileTea posted 6/21/2020 21:54 PM

I am so weak, I need help to detach from her, to move on. How?! The therapist did not seem to be of much help so far (maybe I haven't found the right therapist).

No Contact. No contact is your best friend when it comes to detaching. No contact = no new hurts.
Of course, complete NC is tricky with kids. Your WW understands fully well that she has injured you though, so tell her straight up that you're done dealing with all her crap and limit her to an email address. Let her know that you'll only respond to matters which involve parenting or financial decisions. Other than that, you don't want to hear from her.

Consider filing for divorce rather than tolerating a prolonged separation. Although, in some states, one year of separation is required before filing, so if that's what you're doing, carry on. Make the distinction in your mind though that this thing is OVER. Start thinking of yourself as SINGLE... meaning that YOU are also a free agent at this point.

Redecorate your home and remove her previous influence from it. Your home is your haven. It should reflect YOUR taste at this point, not be a constant reminder of your ex. Start with your sleeping space and work out from there.

Get some exercise and some hobbies. Spend time doing things that YOU enjoy as well as trying some new things. Light exercise will help to improve your depression too, so do your best to work it into your schedule.

Get a makeover. New haircut, new clothes, change your cologne, etc. You are MAKING a new man, so don't be afraid to try on some different looks.

Don't forget to read for pleasure. Put away the old self-help books and read the classics, or science fiction, or whatever puts a smile on your face.

Find a new genre and put some music on. I get it. I couldn't listen to music for a full year after DDay. Everything was triggering. Then one day, I heard this old big band number on an overhead speaker somewhere while I was out shopping. I put "big band" into pandora, and voila!...... music I could enjoy without triggering. If that's too much, try Japanese Koto. It's very soothing.

Forgive yourself. Truly. It's important. You made mistakes, not only in your marriage but during the fallout after DDay. But cut yourself some slack. No one gets an operator's manual handed to them with their marriage certificate. And NO ONE is ever prepared for the pain and confusion of being cheated on. You did what you thought was best at the time.

Remember that in order to successfully detach, you've got to WANT it. Part of that impetus can come from allowing yourself to really SEE the toxicity of your STBX. What she has done to you is unconscionable. Seriously. She's not a nice person. Nice people don't cheat on their spouse for a decade. Nice people don't fuck other people's spouses either. You can't keep your ex on a pedestal. So, there's what you're getting away from... but there's also what you're looking forward to.

Reframe the narrative. Instead of losing an old life and an old wife... you're moving into a new period of FREEDOM. Have you ever had the freedom to do what you want? ..to design your own space, eat what you like, go where you like? You can travel, meet new people, etc. And eventually, when you meet someone you want to get to know better, you're free to act on that.

It's not something a person wants to hear when they're broken-hearted and depressed, but.... life truly can be whatever you make it. You've been living in an abusive situation for a long time, but that abuse ends when you say it does.

Strength to you.


[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 9:56 PM, June 21st (Sunday)]

lbh50 posted 6/21/2020 23:21 PM

Thank you ChamomileTea for your encouraging words and thoughtful advice.

I think I covered a few of the things you mentioned during these 3 months since Dday, and I do manage to see her more objectively now.

Rationally, cognitively I'm almost there -- I see I do not really love the woman she is now, intellectually I despise the way she trusts the AP as if he's the wisest man on earth. He isn't, clearly, and for her to continue to trust him so blindly and see him like "such a great guy" makes her rather dumb in my eyes (and also disgusting, considering..).

But the emotional part is the problem, I feel somehow stuck there in the past, still liking and missing her, even physically (or maybe mostly physically, now that I know I lost her? I'm confused about my own feelings now).

And now that she's leaving I feel like I'm taking a step backward on that emotional level, like I am losing most of the progress I thought I made in that regard, somehow (!). It's as if it was easier to not miss her when I saw her around, angry or sad for the wrong reasons and she was proving again and again that she does not want to take any responsibility for what she did and she keeps doing. Proving to me that she is a rather ugly, selfish person now, inside. Now I'll imagine her alone and suffering in her apartment and I fear I'll idealize her again. Or go the other way, imagine her there making love with the AP in her apartment and then I get those painful echoes of betrayal again, mind movies etc. Either way, it feels like the separation might bring a regression there.

The "total NC" part is going to be hard. We already agreed to an "open door" policy due to the kids -- kids can visit her anytime at her new place, she can also come over anytime (but she should announce first), in order to visit her children, or maybe even just to tend to her garden (she planted some tomatoes earlier this year). I do not want to deny her any of that. But I can still avoid her when she comes over, so that might not be such a big deal I guess.

Reinventing myself surely helps though I am not sure if I am doing it right. The sorrow is at times paralyzing, I sometimes feel like an irredeemable loser (and that's why she found a better man). I lost 54 pounds since Dday, my children and unfortunately even my WW complimented me on my new look (I was seriously overweight before, I still have more pounds to shed before I get to a really healthy weight). It's easy to lose weight when you don't feel like eating. I'm not really starving myself either, so it's not that bad (I could still play tennis for 2 hours without fainting so I guess I'm OK).

Reframe the narrative. Instead of losing an old life and an old wife... you're moving into a new period of FREEDOM.

Thank you for that positive thought. In the same vein a dear online friend (also a member of this forum) told me these days to even enjoy the freedom of the little things, like rearranging the furniture how I want it, now that she's no longer here to impose her self-proclaimed superior sense of 'Feng shui'.

Thank you again for the many good ideas there.

Justsomeguy posted 6/21/2020 23:53 PM

You need to set some boundaries and right now. Close that open door policy, like yesterday. I made it clear to the kids that their mother was never to step foot in my place. The kids can come and go, but she stays outside. I've no interest in mingling anything. I do this for my health and sanity. Even after 3 years, her A still takes up too much real estate in my head. Dont need more.

You need to find a way to detach from her. Sounds like a new therapist might be in order if this one isnt helping. And if you missed the house, send her a photo. Actions actually do have consequences...

ChamomileTea posted 6/22/2020 02:38 AM

The "total NC" part is going to be hard. We already agreed to an "open door" policy due to the kids -- kids can visit her anytime at her new place, she can also come over anytime (but she should announce first), in order to visit her children, or maybe even just to tend to her garden (she planted some tomatoes earlier this year). I do not want to deny her any of that. But I can still avoid her when she comes over, so that might not be such a big deal I guess.

Ugh. I can't even imagine. Maybe you felt like you had to accommodate that in order to get her out of the house, but it's really going to set back your healing. Your safe space needs to be... well, safe. And I know it's early days and you probably can't imagine having a life, let alone having a date, but one day you're not going to want your ex-wife trampling through your life like a bull in a china shop.

How old are your kids? I had thought they were teens. I mean, it's one thing for really young children trying to adjust to an unknown dynamic. It's something else for youngsters who are almost grown and who understand what's going on. I'm not expecting that they should be overly involved in their mother's treachery, neither supporting nor excoriating her for it. But you're still modeling future behavior for them, and part of that is modeling BOUNDARIES. You wouldn't expect them to allow a spouse to abuse and cheat on them without defending themselves. And sometimes self-defense is a simple as saying "I don't want to see you anymore". Why would you not deserve at least as much as you would want them to have if they were going through what you're going through?

Your kids are watching how you handle this. They're learning from your example, what to do, what not to do. This is something we seldom teach our children at home but they're learning just the same. You have an opportunity to SHOW them how a person can set boundaries with toxic people and how to do it with grace. You shouldn't have to hide in your bedroom in order to avoid your ex. She should RESPECT your privacy. She's the one who wanted out. That's what refusing to give up your boyfriend when you're married means.

Anyway, maybe you feel like you have to agree to this for the time being. I dunno. If that's the case, look in the Healing Library for articles on the 180 and implement it hard whenever she comes over. Don't make her comfortable. Don't offer to let her stay for dinner. Don't allow her to chit-chat with you, etc. If she's there to see the kids, well... there they are. Go see them. Your STBX needs to understand that she can't have a husband *AND* a boyfriend. So, don't slip into the husband role with her AT ALL. If her car breaks down or her sink leaks, she's got a phone book. YOU are no longer responsible for her comfort or her welfare. She fired you from that job. You don't have to be mean, and you don't have to be nasty. But you ARE modeling behavior for your kids, and they need to see your boundaries or they won't learn to have any in their own future relationships.

Reinventing myself surely helps though I am not sure if I am doing it right. The sorrow is at times paralyzing, I sometimes feel like an irredeemable loser (and that's why she found a better man).

The first and BEST thing you can do for yourself is to SQUASH YOUR INNER CRITIC. You can do that by challenging any negative self-talk, ie. "feel like a irredeemable loser" and "that's why she found a better man". First, you note that those things are categorically UNTRUE, so you're correcting the inner critic. You're NOT a "loser" and that home-wrecking shitstain is NOT a "better man". Next, you list all the reasons why. You've had lots of successes in your life, list them, one by one. List all the reasons why POSUM is an inferior human being, how he has no honor, no character, how he uses his so-called "success" to make victims of other people.

This is basic cognitive behavioral therapy. The inner critic runs roughshod over you when you don't answer back. But he's always got it wrong and no facts to back up his claims. Don't let him talk to you that way. Challenge him. Point out the untruth, support your case.

Next... self-compassion. If you've studied any Buddist method, you understand that compassion is a key point. And that compassion MUST extend to YOU. You have to be gentle with yourself and treat yourself with loving kindness. You've been through a lot and you need a friend. BE YOUR FRIEND. The caveat here is to be self-compassionate while avoiding self-pity. It's easy to fall into that trap. But you can tell the difference because self-compassion builds you UP. Self-pity tears you DOWN. If you're experiencing self-pity, you'll hear the drone of your inner critic. Self-compassion is more like the encouragement of your inner cheerleader.

I lost 54 pounds since Dday, my children and unfortunately even my WW complimented me on my new look (I was seriously overweight before, I still have more pounds to shed before I get to a really healthy weight). It's easy to lose weight when you don't feel like eating. I'm not really starving myself either, so it's not that bad (I could still play tennis for 2 hours without fainting so I guess I'm OK).

The infidelity diet is heinous. It makes you feel so sick, believe me, I know. I lost 20 pounds in the first month, and was so sick I finally reported to my doctor for stress management. I'd have divorced my WH on the spot if I thought that it would make that queasy, hollow, pain in my stomach go away. But, like you, I still had some weight to lose, so I downloaded a fitness app, myfitnesspal, and went to town on it. Lost a bunch, but more than that, it became something of a hobby too. Note that you need other things to focus around right now, and a good app offers more than just calorie-counting. There's fitness, recipes, support, etc. I also got way into new ways of cooking and preparing food, particularly asian and mediterranean dishes, so I tried a lot of new things. This new relationship with food can also be something you model for the kids. And it will nurture the New You.

squid posted 6/22/2020 13:05 PM

The problem is that you are still doing a version of the Pick Me Dance. You are trying to nice her back. Even though you likely know in your head this is truly over, in your heart you are hoping for her to have a change of heart and coming running back to you.

It never happens.

Even if it does, can you honestly see yourself taking her back after really looking at the level of disrespect she has for you and your children?

They do not control everything. They just broke our family. As a mother, I believe her suffering is real, to see that even her kids are telling her to go away at this time because she cannot be trusted. She could not control that, as much as she wanted to stay in the house while continuing their adultery, they clearly failed there.

She absolutely could have controlled how much she was hurting you and your kids by leveling up and being a decent person who puts her family above her selfish wants.

You need to change the narrative here. You have liberated you and your kids from an extremely toxic person. She is a terrible wife and a terrible mother. No good mom would hurt her kids or her kids' dad like she did. AND CONTINUES TO DO.

I still think you are protecting her. Do your families know what she's doing? I hope you took some of the legal advice that was offered to you in JFO.

You need to designate your house an asshole-free zone. That is your safe space. If she wants to spend time with her kids then it should be done at her place on her time.

Just file already. Rip off the band aid. This prolonged separation is all for her convenience and is just further setting you up to be Plan B.

Value yourself, bro.

Tigersrule77 posted 6/22/2020 15:05 PM

Wow, lbh, i'm sorry to be blunt, but you are a real pushover. The woman lied to you and cheated on you for quite some time and you seem to want to ignore betrayal. As much as your STBXWW doesn't want any consequences for her actions, you seem to be very accomodating to that. OK, she's moving out to have easier access to her AP. But she can stop by whenever she wants, hang out in the garden, maybe cook dinner for her and the kids. Maybe stick around and watch tv.

If you were my friend, I would be shaking you right now. Seriously. You will NEVER be able to detach like that. You are going to kill yourself with HOPIUM.

How do you heal? As others said, go NC, file for D, stop talking to your WW about anything other than the D or your children. Don't buy her stuff at the grocery store.

All indications are that you have not accepted that your M is over. Until you accept that, you are NOT going to heal!

Evertrying posted 6/23/2020 17:50 PM

Wait til' she moves out and the AP doesn't do the same and leave his wife,,,,
Classic affair behavior.

Carissima posted 6/24/2020 01:00 AM

I notice you didn't answer the part about telling the OBS.

I remember your story, you actually have the AP a choice to tell his wife the truth and leave her for your wife or you'd tell her. That's not happened, instead your wife's setting up a nice little meeting place for them. Don't you think it's time you kept your word and told his wife?

What was it? Something like a 10 year affair? This woman needs to know like immediately.

blahblahblahe posted 6/24/2020 10:33 AM

There is an expression.

"What you want is irrelevant, what you have chosen is at hand."

YOU HAVE CHOSEN to place yourself at the mercy of your "wife" and her lover. Never allow those who care nothing for you to have influence in your life or decisions.

Perhaps reading a little Nietzsche...

squid posted 6/24/2020 10:34 AM

You’re too worried about not rocking the boat. The boat’s toast and already sunk.

If I remember correctly, they were grooming you to lead you to slaughter.

As everyone was telling you in JFO, telling the OBS isn’t about revenge. It’s about what is right.

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