You asked us for our experiences in this and mine is more complicated as a MH. So in September 2019, my wife says that she is done and wants a divorce. I don't remember the exact time, but I had been NC with my EA AP for a few months at that point, but on Labor Day weekend I had taken a trip to a friends place for a concert I had been really drunk and I broke NC (not an excuse, but I didn't remember doing it at all). So when I came home, she confronted me about the NC break and I didn't handle it well and I'm sure I tried to lie or minimize it. For me, as a WH, that was the wake up that I was done with this whole thing. Made all the wrong mistakes. I had a business trip for later that month and so I pushed us hard to get into a couples counselor and I heard some things that I really didn't want to hear, but they were true and I thought we were making some progress.
Fast forward to a Friday night in mid October 2019 and after being invited to hang out with our neighbors after we put our son to bed, she stays around there for only a little while before she stormed off to the house. Predictably, I chased her home, not knowing what was going on and confronted her. She once again gave me the, "let's go our separate ways and divorce" speech and I didn't understand that, I had been really working hard on myself, I had maintained NC and I had been lurking here and learning about what my betrayal had been doing. As I remember it, when we had this second divorce conversation deep into the night, We were about two weeks from a 15 day trip to Europe for my work and then a little just us time in Paris and Barcelona. We were leaving our 9 year old son with her sister, who lived with us at the time. I was really looking forward to that trip, a chance for us to get away from everything at home and find a way to reconnect. The first few days of the trip went good, while I worked up in central Italy, she got to tour around Rome and the Vatican for a day and I felt good about our direction.
Our last day/night in Barcelona we did "how to make paella" class and it came with a "how to make sangria" class and we had a lot of fun with a few other couples eating and drinking. We ended up with another couple in the class going out to a couple of bars late into the night. We were having fun at the club dancing and enjoying the night when her sister back in the US reached out that there was an issue with our son not listening to his aunt. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but next thing I know she storms out of the club and didn't want to be anywhere near me. She walked at 3:00 AM from one side of Barcelona to the other and it was cold. I hailed a taxi and got back to where we were staying before she did. I was very worried because she didn't respond to any messages, calls and I had no idea where either of us were in a foreign city. When she got back and we got to our room, she once again told me that it was over. This time she meant business and wasn't going back. She was at that moment putting a $1200 plane ticket in her cart and going home at sunrise and leaving me to spend the next few days in Paris alone. I took her phone away from her and kept her from making that stupid decision and when we both sobered up in the morning, she was still looking to go home, but I was able to talk her off the ledge and to relax, that things were going to be fine with our son. I had back in September 2019 closed my Instagram account, because while I wasn't using it to have any affairs, she didn't like that I followed mostly women and most of the women were local from the gym I worked out at. So on this trip, her reasoning for being done was that when she went through my phone she found that I was still looking occasionally at a few women's Instagram. So again, she was right to call me on it, as it was going back on my word of being done with Instagram, if I'm finding a way around it. At this point, it was the week before Thanksgiving when we got back home to the US.
On December 3rd or 4th, 2019, that is when my world came crashing down. I came upstairs to bed and tried to make a move and get closer with her and she freaked out on me and told me not to touch her. She then proceeded what felt like the longest conversation of my life. She told me that she had made her final decision and that I wasn't talking her out of it this time, she was done and we were divorcing. She cited my cheating as the reason, and while I had been NC and was not in any active affair, in retrospect I was keeping secrets from her and not being true to my word. At the time, all I could think was, this makes no sense, I've been NC for 3 months, I haven't even thought of my AP and I don't want any other partners, the timing made no sense of it. That night she went downstairs and slept in the guest bedroom. She began sleeping downstairs and wanting her space and she was dead serious. I started doing then what we call around here as the "pick me dance" but I didn't even know that is what it was called and I didn't know that I was "in competition". In our initial discussions, because my brother and his new bride were coming to visit us for Christmas that year, a trip we were all excited about, we agreed to wait to start the process after the first of the year. We spent a lot of time in December trying to figure out the future and how it was going to look. I joined SI at some point there and began to get my suspicions as I read more and more here. I was already at that point in full on save the marriage mode. When my brother and his wife came to visit, she returned to the bedroom but this woman erected a barrier of pillows so massive. It was miserable. My brother and his wife picked up on things pretty quick, and ended their trip early and bailed because of the awkwardness. To this day I feel awful and like I owe a debt to both him and his wife for this shit.
When my wife had been sleeping in the downstairs guest room, our son woke up with a night terror and came looking for mommy and what made it worse is that she wasn't in bed with me like she always had been and he was inconsolable at first, couldn't understand where she was. Her sister woke up with me that night and when we both told her about it that next day, she relucted and came back to the bedroom. But after my brother and his wife left, she went into full agenda mode. It was NYE 2019, she forced me to tell our son that we were going to be sleeping in separate rooms from now on and that he wasn't going to see us together anymore and that eventually we were going to move to separate houses. This broke the poor kid, but he had been seeing the boiling tensions over the previous weeks and probably knew it was coming. She did this so that she could justify moving out of the master bedroom completely. In the weeks before, she had gotten to the point where she started locking the bathroom and bedroom door when she showered because "you don't need to see me naked, you got your AP for that" blah blah blah. I was pissed because the bedroom and bathroom were mine as well and when I need something, I will be damned if I'm going to let a locked door stop me. I just grabbed my tools and removed the locks on both doors, replacing them with a handle that couldn't be locked. She moved out of the bedroom and in part of the pick me portion, I bought her a TV and a bed for that room. I even went to the lengths of hanging the TV on the wall for her.
Why is all this important? Well, she wanted space apart from me and I didn't want her to leave. I was so stunned when I came home from work one day in early January and every trace of her from our master bedroom was gone. She had moved to another room in the house and she was completely gone. The next month was hell, but I was really at at total loss, I even followed the advice here and went and saw a couple attorneys. I broke down with the one attorney and was a ball of tears, because none of it made any sense. I was in twice weekly therapy at that point, had really been doing work on myself. I remember it well, there had been a guy a few years prior that she had an EA with when we first moved to Florida. His name had come up in recent conversations and it was really bothering me. I was deciding to take back my power, from a therapy session, I met up with my wife and son at a school function on a Saturday afternoon. There her and I stood in a light rain talking and I told her that if she was going to live under my roof any longer, she had until the next day to end conversation with him or move out that I was not going to have my own wife disrespecting me like that under our roof. I made it clear that she was out on her ass with almost nothing at that point and I didn't care where she went, but our son and I would be fine. Things got heated, but she even agreed to move out. So later that evening, deep into the night she finally came clean that she had been having not only an EA with him that never stopped, but some 15 months or so prior it had gone from EA to PA. One of the first things that I learned was that that Dec 3 or 4th (I'm not remembering which day it was), lover boy had been in town and he came by the house that day for an afternoon romp session in our bed. If I took myself back to that night, I remember noticing that the bedsheets were freshly washed, which was a little strange for my wife to do midweek, we typically did that on a weekend because our king sized comforter took multiple cycles and constant babying to get fully dry.
Suddenly, months and months of things made sense. Sure, I had been a bad WH, but all along, I was a BH as well and I just didn't know it. It was still a few months before she moved back into the master bedroom. We moved here in July 2022 and when we moved out of that house, there were still a number of things that she had left in the other side of the house that she never even brought back, partially because during the pandemic I used the bedroom as the home office and she used that other room to get ready for work and so she kept clothes and stuff in that room to not disturb my work meetings and not risk also being on camera, etc. However, it wasn't until we had everything kind of back in one place in our new home that I felt like my wife moved all the way back in. So it can certainly take time, and do it at the pace you feel best suits you.