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Perfect on Paper - Wife left me for her abusive ex-boyfriend

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Hold2win posted 2/17/2019 09:23 AM

Here’s the backstory:

I’m 31, she’s 27. We have been married for five years and together for eight years. I still love my STBX wife very much.

She started talking about wanting a separation or space apart during the summer of 2018. This was a reasonable request and I’ll tell you why. We have been in nursing school working towards getting our bachelor’s degrees together since 2016. We have lived in a studio apartment together since 2012. Basically, we were together 24/7, doing everything together nearly all the time. There were some exceptions to this: one of us would go do our own thing, but that was few and far between.

In any case, the first time that she brought up needing space, we talked about it and her only option to stay somewhere else was her parents house. She does not feel comfortable there, and didn’t like that idea. Next, we talked about marriage counseling. We found out that marriage counseling is really expensive and is way out of our student budget.

She told me some of the issues between us that were bothering her back then. We had little discussions about disagreements too often—both of us would get hung up on the small things.

She said that I was controlling and gave me three examples: I told her when ahe could and could not buy things, she felt like she always needed my permission. The second was that I pushed her too often to go to the gym and eat well. The third was that she felt like I spoke to her like her father, telling her what to do.

Well, the first two I had trouble with because she always wanted me to control our finances and budget. I had to budget our money so that we would have enough to get us through school from 2016-2019’s summer. As far as the gym thing, she asked me specifically to push her and motivate her to be healthier. When I asked her about these two points, she said that I did too much.

Now, talking to her like her father, well I am guilty of that. I thought that I knew better and did not allow her enough autonomy. I wasn’t crazy about telling her what to do, but I can see that I did it often enough to cause issues. Being together and doing literally everything together is really tough.


The marriage:

We were very happy. She told me and everyone else that she loved me more than anything, that she was happy, she told people about our plans for the future. She would draw happy pictures of us doing things in the present and future. Our sex life was great, she told me that I gave her the best sex she has experienced. Other people often called our relationship their “goals.” Strangers would pay our bill at bars and restaurants (this has happened three times).

Together, we worked as a team to go from poor backgrounds to getting our loves together. We motivated wach other to be better. We both graduate from nursing school in May 2019.

Once we graduate, we will have much more time apart aka “space.” We will have separate experiences to talk about instead of shared experiences. We will have plently of money to go out and do the things we enjoy and have been lacking. We won’t be so burdened with stress from school, financial issues, and being together all the time. We would regain our individuality.

The near-present:

The real trouble started at the end of December 2018. She has been trying to make new, close friends, but her attempts were not successful. She doesn’t talk to her old friends due to burned bridges and issues.

She asked me if she could reach out to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Reasons included were that they had a “good friendship” before they dated, and he was the only person from her past that was willing to be friends with her. Naturally, I said no, that is a bad idea. She did it anyway, telling me that I have to let her make her own descisions.

That reconnection of a friendship quickly turned into an emotional affair. I felt something was off immediately and we fought about her ending this thing with him.

Well, three weeks later, near the end of January, she told me she was separating and moving in with her parents to give us space. She said she had fallen out of love with me and she wanted to figure herself out. I was devastated—she left that same day with a lot of her clothes.

Her parents reached out to me and we talked. It turned out that she moved in with her abusive ex that day, and didn’t talk to her parents until the next day. She also lied to them and only told us that she separated with me but nothing else.

I spoke with my sbtx a few days after she left to get the truth out of her. She told me she moved in with him, slept with him, and that we were over for good.

I moved out of my apartment to stay with family. I have a lot of support from my friends and family. All of her family also supports me, and they are not happy with her, to the point of cutting her out. Her past relationship with this abusive ex-boyfriend has caused her emotional and physical trauma (once leading to a hospital visit).

The present:

We spoke again after 18 days. She told me that she left because we don’t have a “spark” any more, and ahe can’t see me in her future. She told me that our relationship was “perfect on paper,” and that I treated her very well. But she now says she was not in love with me for two whole years. Well, she showed me and everyone we know otherwise.

Then she told me that this whole breakup is her fault and that she “deserves whatever bad things are coming to [her].” She has told our mutual friends that ahe feels lonley because none of her/our frienda and family are supporting her. I think it is obvious why no one is supporting her: she cheated on her loving husband and left for her abusive ex.

She says she didn’t cheat on me. She has it in her mind that because she said she wants a separation and THEN slept with him on the same day (and moved in with him) makes it not cheating. You tell me.

She says she loves him and is happy.

The future:

I am experiencing PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks. I trusted her and gave her my entire heart. I wish that we could have worked these issues out earlier if she had just told me what they were and how serious they were. I wish we could fix it now—but I know that it isn’t possible.

We were so close to accomplishing our goal of getting a degree together and having a great life. Now I have to see her at school and feel heartbroken all over again, each time I see her.

Adding to the sadness for me, is that she was my best friend. Right now, I think that is what I miss the most.


Thanks for reading my story. I wrote it as well as I could given the circumstances.


Update 02/18/2019:

Feelings of acceptance came a few days ago, but again replaced with wanting her back. Hopes of reconcilliation if only she would do the required work—more than unlikely to happen, I know. Memories and hope are crushing.
If you have any advice for me, please help.

[This message edited by Hold2win at 7:33 AM, February 18th (Monday)]

The1stWife posted 2/17/2019 10:01 AM

This is very painful yo read and heartbreaking to live through.
Please know you will recover from this.

I don’t know if you will Divorce or Reconcile. But for now it is good to be separated so you don’t have to watch her cheating right in front of you.

Read up on the 180 - it will help you. The Healing Library in the upper left corner here will help you.

Know you did nothing wrong. Ever. No matter what she says nothing you did or did not do caused her to cheat. No matter what she says. Most cheaters behave this way. It’s called rewriting the Marriage. And it’s done to justify the Affair.

Don’t fall into her trap. Don’t believe most of what she says b/c shevwill say anything right now to blame others and not take responsibility for her cheating.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 10:03 AM, February 17th (Sunday)]

Hold2win posted 2/17/2019 10:12 AM

@the1stwife: thank you for your support. I will look up the healing library 180 section right now.

I am battling with it not being my fault—I know it’s not my fault but my emotions are saying otherwise. I’m slowly getting better.

Thanksgiving2016 posted 2/17/2019 10:16 AM

Do not let your school suffer.

Jduff posted 2/17/2019 10:30 AM

Sorry you had to go through all of that with your WW, Hold2win. Be glad to know you are in good company with those who truly understand what you are going through.

She says she didn’t cheat on me. She has it in her mind that because she said she wants a separation and THEN slept with him on the same day (and moved in with him) makes it not cheating. You tell me.

You are correct. It is cheating on her part. She is rationalizing to avoid the shame and guilt. All her family and friends see this as well, which is why they are detached from her.

Here's the truth, Hold2win. We've all been through the similar relationship cycle where the limerance stage does off (typically lasts 2 to 3 years) and things start to settle in and become routine. My wife did the same with her weight issues, asking me to hide the sweets but she kept buying them. She also had me do the budget as well and when I tell her about how we need to watch our spending for certain weeks she took that as me being controlling, too. Bottom line, your WW and my XW and any other wife, GF, partner that pulls this kind of blame shifting of personal responsibility to their spouse or partner is a big red flag. Do not take any if her personal failures on to your own shoulders. She was the one that was supposed to Adult-the-fuck-up and manage her own flaws, not transfer them on to you then blame you for not managing and improving them.

Now, you have learned one of the most often played card of a wayward. Whenever they say they need "space", it means they want to go explore other people. It isn't ever to "figure things out". That's what counseling is for. I think there is much more to her story than she is willing to tell you.

Look, going to college is a challenge in it of itself alongside with making a marriage work. Some people can handle it, like you, and some people cannot, like your WW. She is showing you who she is, a person that when put under great personal stress is willing to betray her own self and her own principals in order to escape a tough situation rather than meet it head on and deal with it. For as long as you have been in that marriage to give her support, have her back, be her "wingman" in life through thick and thin she is proving to you she cannot reciprocate that support back to you. When people show you the first time who they are, especially when those times get tough, believe them.

At 31 you are still very young. With your nursing degree nearly complete you will have a bright future ahead of you. I won't tell you to reconcile or divorce your WW but I will say that at 27 she still sounds like she has a lot of growing up to do (hence, her seeing you as a father figure). She sounds like she has some deep personal FOO issues to work out. A lot of baggage that came to the surface as a result of stress of college.

Detach from her and take care of you. Ask a the questions you have about infidelity. There lots of good answers in the healing library link to the left of this page. You should start there. To answer or affirm one of your questions: are you to blame for her affair? Absolutely not. Her cheating is all on her and that is pretty much what all of here on this site agree on. It is a choice, not a result of some action.

Hold2win posted 2/17/2019 10:47 AM


Thank you so much for your response. I can tell that you really took the time to read my story and thought about your responses. Your support means everything to me.

TimSC posted 2/17/2019 10:50 AM

She cheated emotionally when she contacted XBF against your advice.

She cheated physically when she had sex with him.

This is so blatant and cold and unfeeling. It is hard to grasp that it happened so fast. First contact to moving in together in 3 weeks?

She must have been in contact with him longer than that which means she has been lying to you for a while now.

180 and try to ignore her at school.

Get an attorney to see what your options are.

hcsv posted 2/17/2019 11:20 AM

Keep up with school. Dont give her the satisfaction of knowing you arent strong enough to get through this AND stay in school to the end.

I know first hand how intense nursing school is. Throw yourself into it, get it done for yourself.

I'm sorry you are going through this, take care of yourself. You lived your truth, she has not.

NoOptTo posted 2/17/2019 11:39 AM

Being married and both in college is challenging. I know your separated. Now you need to look after your self. You both do not have much in way of assets. File for divorce. Get her to sign it quickly, and move on with your life. It is going to stink having to see her in school for the next few months, but consider your self luck that this has happened now when you both have nothing of value. The medical field is ripe with infidelity. With the issues she has, and the freedom once you both graduate, she would found someone she will be working with to have a fling with. And that would of cost you more to separate once you have a house and maybe kids..... you dodged a bullet my friend. I know it sounds harsh, and your suffering now, you will will better off without her.

Go no contact with her, only email her stuff pertaining to your divorce. Concentrate on your studies, ignore her at school. Protect your money, separate your finances. Track her spending. Get a legal separation so anything she spends you will not be liable to pay back. Wish you well.

GoldenR posted 2/17/2019 11:55 AM

I'm sorry this happened to you. It really sucks.

Better now than later. No kids. No house. Minimal finances tied together.

Count your blessings.

Jameson1977 posted 2/17/2019 12:11 PM

Hold2win, welcome and I'm sorry this is happening to you.

None of this is your fault. It would appear the EA started pong before she wanted to reach out to her ex. You are so close to finishing school, dig in and focus on finishing. I know it will be very hard given all the emotions you are going through, but very important (I know how hard nursing school is, my WW is one).

It might not seem like it, but her doing this now when separating finances and "stuff" is relatively easy, when compared to kids, mortgage, etc.

She has shown her true colors. I dont know either of you, but leaving and moving in with an abusive ex the same day is crazy. You know her problems are not because of you. She's broken.

hiddenMist posted 2/17/2019 12:32 PM

I'm so sorry you find yourself here. I'm the same age as you and recently divorced myself.

I understand you're likely paralyzed by shock because this is a trauma that is still very fresh.

Please understand that this is who she is. She's not confused or a victim. She should have never put herself ina position like this-especially after you told her you were uncomfortable with reaching out to him.
I'm envisioning her trying to come back after the butterflies and sweet promises wear off or when he starts getting ugly with her. As others have pointed out-this is valuable info to have now. If being stressed from college and marriage sends her to another man's bed, how on Earth will she cope with motherhood, owning a home, illness and all the other things that make life tricky?

Also - I'd recommend getting tested just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately, these things are usually going on for longer than we're initially led to believe.

Again, I'm very sorry.

sisoon posted 2/17/2019 12:40 PM

Still married, so this is cheating. Separating doesn't end an M - that requires D.

I suggest some reading for you. I reco starting with Compare your W's actions to those recommended by the author.

Also, at the bottom of the first and top of the 2nd page of this forum you'll see a number of posts with target or 'bull's eye' symbols next to them. I recommend reading those, too, even though they're sort of focused on R.

I also recommend talking to your advisor about your sitch. You may need the school to cut you some slack, and a good advisor can help with that. (I would hope the slack would involve allowing more time to absorb the material, not cutting down on the material you need to master....)

keptmyword posted 2/17/2019 13:02 PM

We know how you feel - we really, honestly do know the anguish, confusion, fear, despair, and heartbreak from this kind of betrayal.

First and foremost, her behavior, decisions, and betrayal have NOTHING to do with you or your marriage.

It was nothing about what you did or did not do, or about what you said or did not say.

There is no issue, problem, or “rough-patch” in any marriage/relationship that renders an adult, married woman incapable from knowing fundamental right from wrong.

I can tell you it is extremely difficult to reconcile from this kind of betrayal.

The subsequent lack of trust makes it basically impossible to have any sort of relationship and the rate of repeat behavior at some point years down the line is very high.

It’s not impossible but extremely difficult with tremendous emotional toll and potentially very little in return.

In my perspective, as difficult as it may be to believe right now, she has given you a gift.

She has given you the gift of a view into the future.

She has given you the gift of being able to relieve yourself of a future divorce involving various mutual assets, homes, finances, and the worst, most painful aspect of all - children.

If you think the pain and anguish are horrific now, multiply that by 1000 when children are involved.

That was, hands down, thee most painful aspect of me divorcing my adulterous ex-wife.

You do not have to worry about that at all - and that is a wonderful gift.

Ask yourself this - Would you want this woman to be a mother to your children?

Would you want this woman to role model this kind of behavior, such as betraying them and their father to submit to an abusive ex-boyfriend?

Wow, I can’t think of a more shitty lesson to a daughter.

“Hey sweetie, boys that beat you up are good and men that treat you well are not good.”

In time, you will look back and say, “Holy shit, I am so fortunate I got out of that marriage when I did.

It’s very painful right now and that is normal.

It WILL pass.

But, in time, you will be glad you are no longer with this adulterous time-bomb.

You sound like a good guy - best of luck to you whatever you decide.

BBBD posted 2/17/2019 13:07 PM

There is no secret formula.
You be brave
You say no more
You end it
You suffer
You heal
You walk toward freedom"

Krieger posted 2/17/2019 13:07 PM

There is nothing that I am going to say that will make any of this better. You know where this is headed and you will be riding an emotional rollercoaster for a while. Personally, I recommend that you break all contact except what is necessary for legal reasons. It will still suck, but you won't be pouring salt into your own wounds.

As for being friends, I don't see anything a good friend would do in her behavior. She has done nothing but lie and cheat on you, these are not the actions of a best friend. No she is not your friend, buddy or pal and the sooner you accept this the better.

You have to complete your training and certification, that is priority number one. Second you need to take the legal steps necessary to dissolve the legal relationship. Thirdly, go find a job and start living the rewarding life that you deserve.

Marz posted 2/17/2019 13:46 PM

Definition of friend = loyal, honest and trustworthy

ShutterHappy posted 2/17/2019 13:46 PM


Decent adults marry, have ups and downs, sometimes argue, make up... Sometimes it doesn’t work out and divorce ensues. A grieving period follows then searching for a new relationship starts. That’s life.

Your WW was married to you on Monday, decided she needed space on Tuesday and ended up in the exBF that day. That’s not normal and it’s not the behavior of a sane spouse.

Kindly, your story of her needing space because you spend a lot of time together doesn’t hold water. If she needs a break, she can go visit her parent for the weekend.

As a loving, caring, faithful husband, you are the prize. While she lives her fairy life with her ex BF, you should detach (the 180), and consult with a lawyer. R is not possible when your WW lives eith her boyfriend. Cut all communication with her, and move out of infidelity without her.

Oh and by the way, my WW behaved similarly to yours, so I know how hard it is. And I did everything wrong. But you have SI to help you. you have to remove yourself from this situation and get out of infidelity.

Marriagesucks posted 2/17/2019 14:06 PM

She told me that our relationship was “perfect on paper,” and that I treated her very well.
Yet she is now living with an 'abusive XBF'. I would almost bet the farm that this became a PA long BEFORE she first started talking to you about wanting a separation. Be prepared somewhere in the near... to not so distant future for your WW to come back crying about how she made a mistake.

You need to think long and hard to whether you would want someone in your life that could so easily throw you away. She is NOT your friend.

Cooley2here posted 2/17/2019 14:07 PM

She talked about the “spark”. Believe it or not people can get addicted to violence if it provides a spark for them. Her relationship with her ex sounds fraught with danger to her but you can’t do anything about that. You can move on. Use IC to vent and your family and friends to help you move on.
Keep studying. You are going to meet some great people in your future.

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