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Still working through stuff

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CompletelyAlone posted 6/30/2020 09:20 AM

OK, so this is just a rant, because I have no one to talk to and I need to let it out a bit. I don't know the various abbreviations all that well, so forgive me if I'm a little wordy.

Anyway, my story goes like this... my wife and I have been together since high school and married for 18 years. We're both in our early 40s now and have two kids, a pre-teen and a teenager. About 4 years ago, I picked up on signs that she was having an affair. After much gaslighting and eventually being caught (with help from this community), she admitted to it and after more than a year of counseling with an excellent therapist, I guess you can say we've successfully reconciled.

Through this whole ordeal, I did a lot of work on me. Lost a ton of weight, exercise frequently, and have gradually rebuilt my self-esteem. Our marriage is better than it had been, though in recent years, things have cooled off a bit. I have no doubt that much of it is due to my on-going, quiet struggle. I still ruminate on certain events, have bad dreams, and just have a general sense of grief, anger and injustice over the whole thing.

I am a very loyal person, probably to a fault. In my entire adult life, I've never so much as flirted with another woman. I find the thought of it to be reprehensible and I wouldn't ever want to put anyone through what I've gone through. And yet, I often wonder what might have been had I seen her affair as an opportunity to change the course of my life. I frequently feel a pang of regret that I didn't just end it back then. I feel like by this point, my life could have been in a much better place had I started over then.

Four years ago, I guess I just wasn't strong enough to leave. And now that I am, I can't help but think that the time to do anything about it has passed. The timing is particularly bad with the kids coming into their most emotionally vulnerable years. I can't even imagine the devastation to them, especially given everything else going on in the world at the moment.

Anyway, not really looking for advice, more or less just need to vent to people who I'm sure can relate.

Westway posted 6/30/2020 09:44 AM

You made the decision you did. There is no right or wrong about it. I give you kudos for wanting to stick around for the kids, but think about what your kids are seeing.

Kids are way more discerning about things than we give them credit for, and don't kid yourself: they can tell if you are unhappy, or if you are being treated disrespectfully. What is worse, letting them see you exist in a miserable marriage or showing them that two adults can part amicably with as little drama as possible?

If you are miserable I can guarantee you your FWW is also.

CompletelyAlone posted 6/30/2020 10:04 AM

You made the decision you did. There is no right or wrong about it. I give you kudos for wanting to stick around for the kids, but think about what your kids are seeing.
Kids are way more discerning about things than we give them credit for, and don't kid yourself: they can tell if you are unhappy, or if you are being treated disrespectfully. What is worse, letting them see you exist in a miserable marriage or showing them that two adults can part amicably with as little drama as possible?

If you are miserable I can guarantee you your FWW is also.

I appreciate the insight and in particular your comments about there being no right or wrong decision.

All I can say is that it felt like the right decision at the time, and probably for at least the first couple of years following D-Day. I guess I had successfully repressed this feeling of resentment, but it festered and won't stop nagging me. I wonder if it will get better, or if it's a sign that this is simply a fatal wound to our relationship, that try as I might, will not heal.

Stevesn posted 6/30/2020 10:21 AM

You may have seen me say this many times on this site. Clarity and honesty. Communication. Thatís the only way to have a successful relationship, or if necessary, work to end one.

If you agreed to reconciliation and rebuilding then you agreed to being open and honest. Itís not just her as the WS that is required to follow that requirement.

So if you are feeling this way, you need to sit down and discuss it. Stating and reviewing your needs in the relationship is part of the commitment. Tell her what you are looking for. Perhaps sheís looking for the same thing. Perhaps not.

If you and she cannot get on the same page, then perhaps itís time to start discussing how to gracefully end the marriage so you can each find what you truly need.

Oldwounds posted 6/30/2020 10:29 AM

I guess I had successfully repressed this feeling of resentment, but it festered and won't stop nagging me. I wonder if it will get better, or if it's a sign that this is simply a fatal wound to our relationship, that try as I might, will not heal.

At least you're being honest with yourself about the resentment.

Hell, I don't know if a majority of betrayed ever get beyond resentment. What you're feeling is extremely common.

But I don't think grin and bear it (or trying to) is reconciliation either.

Most important, I don't think it's ever too late to change direction in life to get to a better place. You just have to decide what that better place looks like and make it happen. Whether you work on ditching the resentment or you choose to move on altogether.

For me, I understood there is no way to balance the injustice, so I focused on what my wife and I could do to make our lives together better in the now. We don't ignore the past, we just don't live there.

Whichever way you go, I wouldn't stay just to placate the kids (but I understand why people make that choice as well).

hikingout posted 6/30/2020 10:34 AM

I am the ww in my situation.

As I read this a couple of things came to mind.

One, if my husband felt this way, I would want to talk about it. Sometimes just plainly airing how you feel can take some of the power out of it. And, just because you talk about it doesn't mean it has to already be decided, in fact it would be better if it wasn't. And, if airing it out doesn't start to help, it's never too late to revisit divorce. We are 3 years out, and I know the other shoe may drop and I might find that it was just broken beyond repair.

I will be very honest with you in that some of what you are saying is a logic most of us who cheated used. Which is, maybe I don't want this after all, but I am keeping that to myself to fester. That whatever I am feeling he would do nothing about and my choices are between keeping it to myself or getting a divorce. That cowardice continued into cheating, which I do understand you are not contemplating that.

Do you see how that is probably not a good way to go? I would at least give it an opportunity to be aired out and worked through. And, just because she gave you an "out" those years ago doesn't mean that "out" doesn't exist today. It sounds like you need to be the "good guy" at whatever cost. I think that points at some work you can still do in seeing that is not helpful thinking in actually moving forward and solving this issue.

I believe people stop talking about the affair too early sometimes and that ends up making the BS feel stifled because they don't want to have to bring it up. That it would look like you are never going to forgive or something. The truth is this is a big trauma to overcome and if your marriage is going to survive it, then it still needs to come up and be discussed...we don't talk about it every day, but I don't think there is a week that goes by that we don't check in on things. Sometimes that's not heavily about the affair, but it would be naive of me to think that isn't still a factor.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:37 AM, June 30th (Tuesday)]

Justsomeguy posted 6/30/2020 11:48 AM

It doesn't sound to me like you are truly reconciled. It sounds like you have stuffed things deep down inside of you and now they are working their way out. It also sounds like you feel guilty about this as if you might have misrepresented yourself to you WW.

Infidelity is a traumatic event that rocks us to the core. None of us went to "How to React to Getting Cheated on School", so there is no way to prepare for it. Yes, there is a ton of advice out there, but we usually don't access it until much later, after the event and after we have made many mistakes. Maybe they are more repair manuals rather than guides. When you read many of the stories from SI members her who are going through a Dday with a second partner, it reads like the account of a veteran in a new war. It's hard, but they have the skills to navigate it much more effectively.

There is no statute of limitations on infidelity. Your WW gave up everything when she chose to have an A. You may decide, hey, I gave it my best shot but it was too much to carry. Thanks for the effort and have a good life.

At least you win exit the relationship with honour and dignity, some things that are worth holding on to.

fooled13years posted 6/30/2020 12:10 PM

I wrote this to another person struggling with a similar situation

There is no statute of limitation on reacting to infidelity

You felt like sticking it out but should you change your mind then perhaps it is time to do something else.

You might find some useful information should you read posts by waitedwaytoolong who chose not to leave until 5 years later.

CompletelyAlone posted 6/30/2020 12:21 PM

I've read through everyone's replies and can't tell you how much I appreciate your insight. I wish I would have posted this thread sooner as I've been mulling through these feelings myself now for a while and I definitely needed some fresh perspective.

I have really just stopped talking about the affair with her and obviously that's a mistake. Seems like some difficult conversations are warranted. Thank you for sharing your insight.

survrus posted 6/30/2020 15:21 PM

CA,

I think the OM being 20 years older than her is a difficult pill to swallow.

OM3 was a fricken WWII vet in my case and an old player, the fact that my W was taken in by an obvious con man makes me wonder how much I can trust her with anything.

Did your WW write out a detailed timeline for the affair and did she take a polygraph, does your gut tell you she is still hiding significant details?

Does the OM still work for the same company?

CompletelyAlone posted 6/30/2020 16:03 PM

I think the OM being 20 years older than her is a difficult pill to swallow.

Indeed. And I believe his behavior was predatory. I do not believe this was his first A.


Did your WW write out a detailed timeline for the affair and did she take a polygraph, does your gut tell you she is still hiding significant details?

I know the timeline. I have a good idea of the activities, but no, I didn't request specific detail as I'd rather not know. I'm fairly certain she'd provide if I asked. That said, I'd rather not be playing movies in my head -- I had enough of that early on. A polygraph wasn't necessary as full disclosure (to the extent I requested) was eventually made.


Does the OM still work for the same company?

He does not.

waitedwaytoolong posted 6/30/2020 16:24 PM

I get exactly how you are feeling. It was the same situation for me. I thought by not talking about it, things would magically get better. It doesnít work that way. I stewed quietly until one day it all came bubbling up after festering for 5 years. By then my resentment was so great there was no coming back from it.

It sounds like you are satisfied with what you know. Did she do anything to make amends other than stop the affair? One of the things that built on my resentment was in my mind, she got to have her affair, kept her marriage, and suffered no consequences. I know that isnít completely true as she had a husband that would never feel the same about her ever again.

She put you thru the ringer. What has she done? Did she quit her job, tell your family what she did? Anything that doesnít leave you just holding the bag of shit she created?

I will echo what Steven said, itís like a pressure cooker that if the steam isnít let out, it will ultimately explode. If I have any regrets itís not telling her how how was feeling

pam4him posted 6/30/2020 20:30 PM

So sorry for the struggle. First, Kudos on going to therapy and trying to keep the marriage strong. Second, it sounds a bit like it would help if you had some additional individual counseling. I still hear some hurt in your post, that perhaps your still kind of stuck in the past. Kind of like a mild form of PTSD. It could help you find some clarity and focus. Prayers for peace, strength and guidance on your journey.

survrus posted 6/30/2020 21:14 PM

CA,

Did you confront the OM in person, I met with OM1 in person and our meeting was cut short, but it did help me understand a few things, notably OM1s character to a degree.

Also you might want to expose OM more widely to his kids, grandkids etc. When OMs walk away untouched it burns.

Butforthegrace posted 7/1/2020 06:17 AM

In August of 2016, you asked your WW to deliver a firm NC communication to the AP, and she told you she was not ready to break things off with him. This is what you said in your post:

This tells me that she is not truly remorseful

A "Captain Obvious" comment comes to mind, but really it's more than that. Above you indicate you never asked for a detailed timeline, for example, because you didn't want to have mind movies. This is highly unusual, especially for betrayed men.

Your posts also suggest that you haven't had a lot of long, hard conversations with her about the A.

You don't have a lot of posts, but the sum total of all of them suggest that you have rug-swept this. My personal impression is that you are not nor have not ever been in R, at all. It's your choice of course. Many married couples remain married after infidelity without actually reconciling. My observation is that this is almost always due to fear on the part of the betrayed spouse.

It's never too late to D. Waitedwaytoolong did it 5 years after Dday. Your WW rubbed your face in her A and dragged you through hell. There is not a single post by you (again, in fairness, you haven't posted much) that describes anything resembling actual remorse from her.

As to the kids, the younger they are at the time of divorce, the better. My observation is that the worst time for parents to divorce, from a kid's perspective, is between the ages of about 16-21.

As to parenthood after D, you will remain their father after D. You will spend as much time with them as you wish. And most important, you will no longer be modeling a dysfunctional, infidelity-stained version of marriage for them to copy when they are grown. They do best if their father is happy and healthy.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 1:21 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 7/1/2020 07:31 AM

One of the great things about free will is that you can always change your mind. It's ok to say, many years later, that you tried. You did your best. It's just not working for you. You do need to be open and honest with your W about how you are feeling. That, imo, is the first step to finding the best solution.

As to the ruminating thoughts, you may have some lingering ptsd symptoms. Have you done any trauma specific therapy? EMDR is a good one to try. It worked wonders for me after almost 4 years of feeling like I wasn't making any progress.

fooled13years posted 7/1/2020 13:15 PM

CompletelyAlone, If you know the details you wish to know now then that is fine.

I know the timeline

There are some here that now wished they had more details but enough time had passed and the details have been lost.
I have a good idea of the activities, but no, I didn't request specific detail as I'd rather not know

Just something to think about; some BSs have asked for 2 separate written time lines, one that contains facts only and the other contains all the gory details.
I'm fairly certain

Go to the source as you know what happens should you simply assume something.

sisoon posted 7/1/2020 18:05 PM

It looks like you are avoiding the necessary conflict by keeping your anger bottled up.

I can't see much in the way of positive outcomes from bottling up your anger. I can't see staying with a partner under those conditions.

If you talk about your anger, it's possible you can build an M that serves both of you well. OTOH, if your W is still unremorseful, you'll know it and act accordingly.

There are a lot of ways of processing anger. I think a good IC could help.

In any case, I think it's positive that you're looking for ways to process your pain out of your body, whatever happens with your M.

I urge you to focus on your healing. Put aside, for the moment, how you'll resolve your M.

[This message edited by sisoon at 6:06 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

The1stWife posted 7/2/2020 05:00 AM

I donít know if you should sacrifice and stay in an unhappy or so-so marriage for your kids.

I can tell you that kids of D can survive and do well. They can get past the initial trauma if the parents are there to protect her support and love. Both parents.

People who wait to the kids are in college to D cause more damage. If the child or children are away from home at college, then they have no support on how to deal with the news. Many kids end up returning home and dropping out of school.

They are alone in a new place and suffer the pain and heartbreak solo. Many cannot survive it without support.

Think about your choices and make the best one for you and your family. Staying for the kids is not always the answer.

nekonamida posted 7/2/2020 19:00 PM

And I believe his behavior was predatory.

Gently, unless he sexually assaulted her, your WW was not a victim. There is never a shortage of AP to toss some meaningless compliments around in order to maybe get sex and attention, male or female. There's nothing predatory about that if your WW chose to go along with it. So unless there was any indication of a situation where your WW did not give consent, your thinking will have to shift on this and place the burden of responsibility exactly where it should go - on your WW. OM could have been any chump with a pick up line. It was on your WW to ignore him.

What has your WW been doing since 2016? Did you ever get confirmation of NC? Did she ever open her devices and accounts to you to build up some trust? Did she see an IC and truly address why she chose to cheat? Has she taken steps to ensure that she is now a safe partner who won't cheat?

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