This right here is spot on.
The eight most feared words used together in the English language: We need to talk. Th
The emails would be a deal-breaker for me. I made him toss anything from her or that reminded him about the A immediately. Did she let you read them? Did you ask? If you don't want to that's one thing but if she says no that's an issue.
She also refuses to delete all the old emails from the A between her and the AP
She uses them to feed her "addiction" to the OM.
Until these emails repulse her she isn't R worthy or remorseful.She needs to be disgusted by her actions, by the A, not hold onto it like it was a wonderful time in her life. It destroyed you, but it doesn't bother her enough to deflate the balloon ? hmmmm. kinda telling, isn't it?
She needs to have NC. No contact includes fantasy thinking about the A. Fooling herself into the continued belief that what they had was special.
I am sorry, she isn't there.
It can take time, but if she is holding on that time will never come. She needs to quit, go cold turkey. Remove him from her life, including happy bullshit thoughts.
You are not able to rebuild your marriage while there are 3 people in it and right now, there are. Her fantasy will destroy any hopes of true R.
If I were you I would make deleting the emails a condition to R, throw away all A evidence. Trinkets...whatever she has.
I am sorry for your continued pain.
[This message edited by karmahappens at 10:57 PM, February 21st (Friday)]
The refusal to delete emails is a massive red flag.
When you're not around, when you're not looking, she's going into those emails and she's reliving all those "feel good" emotions from the A. She's smiling when she reads that paragraph of him telling her about the time he first laid eyes on her and how it made him feel. She's keeping the fantasy and romance going. She is keeping the affair alive. It stays at the front of her mind. It's a hit for her. She's not given up the drug, therefore she's not sobering up.
She's not NC. Physically? Yes. Mentally? Crap no. Not even close. And that is feeding her defensiveness. She continues to romanticize him in her mind so your questions piss her off. She's still protect him cause he's still her hero.
You are not safe, nor are you in real R my friend. There is no "weaning" one's self off the AP. Cold turkey. Now. It's the only way. Some people believe in this "weaning" off of NC. It's bull. You wouldn't tell an alcoholic to have just one beer instead of ten would you? No. You'd tell them to not have a single drop. Why would an affair partner be any different?
Make it a condition. If she wants a shot at R, she must delete them and go full NC, or face D papers.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?
You may need them as evidence, to double check timelines, dig deeper into more questions, etc.
If she refuses to delete those emails she isn't even trying. Telling you to take a deep breath and be patient is bullshit.
That isn't anything remotely like commitment.
This is infidelity. She isn't going to have a seizure from detox. Remorse will look like her trying to be patient for YOU.
Honestly, I don't know how you can talk about her caring about the AP so much without challenging her on that. I say this because my H went through the same thing, and now at over a year out, I am having a constant struggle with this. Maybe it's the difference between male and female BS here, as I've heard that love is the biggest source of pain for betrayed women (which is certainly true for me) and sex is the hardest for betrayed men to manage.
Here's the thing about remorse; she may think fondly of a time or something with her AP, but when she is remorseful, those thoughts will be overshadowed by the horror and tragedy of her actions with the AP.
It kills me, absolutely kills me, to hear anything positive about the AP from my H, but I know they felt 'in love' for their 2+ year affair. I think that I had to accept (which many people here disagree with) that they did feel love, that it was as 'real' as any feeling can be when they were in it. What I had to work really hard at was helping my H understand the following things;
-Whether I discovered it or not, it was always the worst act toward his wife and children that he has ever committed. He held on to a 'wish' that I had never found out and that he could have just ended it and managed the shame himself for a long time, but that did NOT cut it for me. I needed him to face the pain of shame and admit that it was horrible whether or not I found out. In the same way that we teach our two boys to act responsibly even when they are out of sight and ear shot of their parents.
-When he thought about something positive they did, a 'trigger', I asked him to think about what I was doing at the same time, what was happening in my life parallel to those 'good memories' he was having. That's something that he fought hard, because it was very difficult for him to face in himself. He stated early on when he was in the thick of his fog that 'if he felt bad for me, who was left to feel bad for him'. It sounds horrible, and it was, but I want you to know that he was honest with me about his feelings for the AP as well, and struggled with whether or not he loved me or her the most. We only stayed together for our kids in the beginning, and that fog took about 4 months to even begin to fade. I'm counting 4 months from the second dday (when I discovered there had still been text contact and confronted the OW and my H). NOt until ALL contact and paraphernalia of the AP was totally removed from our lives to any healing, R, or progress begin. It was also when this happened that 'the gloves came off' so to speak on my end, and I think my fog lifted.
I was so afraid in the beginning, so in shock, so willing to take absolutely anything to give my family and my children a chance - it would easily be described as desperate. I would say that listening to my WS describe his love and relationship with his AP was abusive to my soul. But, it was part of our journey, so it is what it is. We still have discussions about my feelings, and I'm still not positive if I can live with this forever, but I hope I can. I hope my H continues to show true remorse, but I don't know. I do know that I have a choice, that my H has a choice.
Lately, I feel like (and I really don't know if this is true), the evidence that makes me believe he is remorseful is that now he is concerned about my fidelity. We are both transparent about everything, and he has had a lot of requests for me lately (proof of location etc.). When we talked about it recently, he shared with me that his A has scared him, that he realised how easy it is to happen, and that he often thinks 'why wouldn't my wife connect with someone else and have an A, look how I've treated her', and he's scared. If nothing else, that lets me know that his mind is in our M now, and not on the AP.
That's what you need. You need to remove the AP from your marriage. There is no way for you to move forward, no hope for a real reconciliation until the AP is removed completely - including emails and anything else. If she is able to do this, you WILL see a difference. You will see a change in your conversations, her thinking, her fog, and her treatment of you.
I know you say you trust her about not looking at the emails, but, honestly, she doesn't deserve trust yet. You should not be trusting her, she should be working to prove that she is trustworthy by doing everything you need or want. I spent the first months recovering from shock, but then my work in IC and journaling was to believe, really believe, that my kids and I would survive if the M did not. I had to take some legal action (names on documents) to make myself feel secure and to let H know that I would not accept any more abuse in the form of his A. And I had to mean it, if you don't really mean it, it holds no power.
I think, at 6 months out, you need to take the gloves off and prepare yourself for either outcome. I think you need to decide firmly what you need from her, and communicate it concisely and clearly. I wrote out a contract and had my H sign it, and carry it with him in his wallet. I laid out clear consequences for specific actions (things like; any contact with AP, list of ways, and he must leave our home and M. Lies by omission will count etc.). And also, I mean it.
She may have to work through some feelings for the AP, but that should be done with her IC, NOT with you. I felt in the early days like I was supporting my H through a break-up, and it was disgusting. It still disgusts me today, my work is in keeping my mind in the present and not festering on the horror of those days.
Be good to yourself, and do what's right for you.
BH and I are only 3 weeks out from D-Day and I am truly disgusted by my actions. I would not want to think fondly of any of it, I only want to think of my H and my marriage constantly. It is my only desire.
Does the A or the AP cross my mind still? Of course, but I dismiss it as quickly as it appears because I am full of shame and remorse and 100% of my energy goes into my H and our marriage and the R process.
It didn't come out on D-day like I would have expected but within a day or two, it hit me pretty hard. I knew right then I what I wanted and needed and nothing else matters.
We have a very long and very bumpy, difficult road ahead. I have moments where it the thought of giving up enters my mind because it is so hard, but I push that thought out and think about how to help my H through this pain that was MY fault. He deserves nothing less than my best effort at all times.
I feel extremely grateful and fortunate to have a second chance and refuse to allow anything in my power to mess it up. I know there will not be another one if I screw up.
I don't think my BH could handle me telling him I'm not over the AP or that I refuse to delete something tied to the AP.
She needs to make the M and your healing the priority.
When I discovered my H's affair, the OW's husband insisted on NC immediately. That lasted three weeks, and two weeks after my H broke NC, he told me and showed me the emails he'd been exchanging with OW. It took another month before he decided on his own to end things.
I was thrilled, but knew that my H still had a few "trinkets" from the A. A small gift she'd given him, a book they read together, a letter she'd written him, plus songs on our computer that were "their" songs. I waited to see if my H would get rid of this stuff on his own. He didn't, and I believe that 98% of him honestly just forgot about it (he's always been that kind of person) but 2% of him just wasn't quite ready to let go. So about five weeks after he said goodbye to her, I asked him to get rid of all of the stuff. He said he'd do it, and he did. Then two months later, I was syncing something on iTunes and realized that their songs were still on an old iPad we never use. So H and I went through iTunes and all of our devices, song by song, to make doubly sure EVERYTHING was gone.
The point of this story is that even with a H that is remorseful and doing the best he can to show it, it still took a few months to get rid of everything. I was ok with that at the time because I know my husband is like this with everything, so I really didn't consider it a conscious or unconscious way of his keeping her in his thoughts. Even so, the pain I now feel as a result is far more than I expected. All of that getting rid of gifts and letters and songs happened months ago, and I realize that in some ways, it extended the duration of time in which I felt like he was being unfaithful. Didn't see that at the time, but now I think I caused myself to feel extra pain and to delay the healing. And this was with a H who was totally willing to get rid of everything.
So, for your own sake, insist that she delete the emails. And be there when she does it. Or do it for her. So you have no question about whether she secretly hid them or sent them to a secret email account. Hoping the best for you.
What they are saying is that there can be no remorse until your wife goes full NC with the OM and stops all the feel-goods associated with the A.
So long as she is still talking about how great he was and hanging onto old emails, this is NOT going to happen. NC means no emotional contact as well. No romanticizing about the A, daydreaming fondly about the OM, etc. No hanging onto emails for sentimental reasons.
She sounds like she is still in A fog, and unfortunately, it sounds like you are easing her path.
Kick her off the fence. She may never hit true remorse until she sees what she stands to lose: you, and your M.
[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 7:34 PM, February 23rd (Sunday)]
I think you are asking if she is in a permanent state of semi-fogginess since she is holding on the the emails and the idea that it was a "happy" time in her life. To me this shows that she is still partly stuck in the fantasy of the situation, and not seeing reality. We have no way to know if that is permanent or not.
My H said some truly awful stuff in the first, foggy days. He even said some not-so-great stuff a month or two out. I would say real remorse crept in over time. . .starting at about 6 weeks, and really getting stronger all the time.
I do feel you are enabling her with those emails. They have to go. Also, I hope she is in therapy, because it is concerning that she feels it was a happy time in her life. My H, who similarly thought he was "in love" with the AP, now thinks of those days as his darkest, lowest moments. The fact that your wife still hold them up is concerning and shows she is not in touch with your reality. And since she is married to you, that is what I'd be concerned about.
I edit, therefore I am.
His withdrawal from her has been painfully slow. After his confession, he had more or less NC with her for 3 months. Then, in the lead-up to a joint trip between their two companies, they re-connected (not physically). He has always had boundary issues with pretty women, yet he has never understood why this would be a problem. He couldn't see why--if they were both "over" each other and committed to working on their marriages--they couldn't be friends.
About 8 months after he confessed, I sneaked onto his phone and found the texts they'd sent each other while I took my "turn" driving to our home state for a family wedding. I took pictures of the texts. I didn't want him to know how I knew they were back in touch, so I asked him to unlock his phone and let me see who he'd been texting on the drive. He refused. So I TOOK his precious, classified phone and slept with it. Technically, I'm not supposed to touch it. But, technically, he's not supposed to break laws, either--like pay for prostitutes. When I shared that logic with him the next morning, he unlocked his phone for me.
The texts weren't sexual; they were his version of friendly (which is somewhat flirtatious). "I miss your laughter." "You rock." Etcetera. But I was angrier than I've maybe ever been with him. Why couldn't he let go? Why couldn't he leave her behind? I called her his "cumdumpster" and because I don't curse, he flinched at that one. I explained that there was no room for 3 in our M and that I DESPISED her. If he had wanted her for a friend, he needed to have observed boundaries. Since he chose not to, he no longer had a choice. She had to go. Completely.
That's also when we--his family members--got taken off the non-classified phone, the phone he bought to contact his hookers, and put onto the work phone (the one SHE--the ultimate whore) had been on. He spent the day-long drive home transferring contacts. Things were tense for that next month. I didn't trust him at all and was hypersensitive. It was horrible--just like going back to the very beginning!
But he stopped texting her. Every once in awhile (he's an addict, remember), he's confessed to me that he's e-mailed her something. He has to see her on an every-other month basis and their groups hang out together (so high schoolish!). But on his last trip, last week, he told me that when they saw each other, they both said hello and smiled, but that was all. And when he decideded to stay behind and not eat lunch with the "group," she asked him if he was coming. He declined. I think--with that move--he FINALLY cut the strings. It shouldn't thrill me so much, but it did. He did it on his own. He knew (from past conversations with me) that it worried me, that it bothered me, that it pushed his recovery back, and he finally did it.
So it can happen. And it can be worth it. I can tell you, though, that if certain things hadn't been happening on the homefront--measurable-to-me progress--I'd not have been so patient. So while your WS may not be completely remorseful yet, if she's doing some things right, you can afford to wait a bit. You could also force the issue. Some things I've forced; some things I've been patient about. Allowing him to get there himself--however slowly--has been the most rewarding for me.
[This message edited by RippedSoul at 7:31 PM, February 25th (Tuesday)]
He immediately broke all ties to anything that had to do with AP except his job and she ran away from that after 1 encounter. All texts and emails were gone.
I think the beginning of his true remorse came after I outed AP to her spouse and her response....she was below the belt and a true other woman which he did not think she was capable of. The fog of perfection began to lift and he began to see what her for what she really wanted and her lies. That was 3 to 4 months after Dday but remorse is a process to me and at 8 to 10 months after Dday, WS was truly remorseful along with regretful of his stupidity.
Hanging on to emails is a red flag for me....she is still in that fog of something.