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FallenStars posted 3/7/2019 09:42 AM

I wouldn't say I just found out, it happened two days after Christmas but I didn't know where else to post. My husband and I have been together for 18 years, married for 9. We have two kids, 7 and 5. I caught him last year (2017) exchanging hundreds of text messages with a coworker, none of which I actually got to see, only the log from the cell phone company. I confronted him about it, told him I wanted a divorce then but we got through it (or so I thought) and stayed together.

Fast forward to two days after Christmas. We'd had another family over and were all hanging out, playing games and having some drinks. H passes out and my curiosity gets the better of me and I check his phone because I'm still paranoid from the last time. Come to find out he has an encrypted facebook conversation with a different coworker, one that's 12 years younger than him, has a child and is recently or still in the process of getting divorced and someone he trained at work.

Sent her a few messages pretending to be him, she calls him baby, tells me about how she's lying in bed thinking about him.. same old story. I confront him, he says they're just friends but he cares about her. She says she's in love with him, he says he's not in love with her. I don't even know now how it happened but we agreed to try to work through things and see if we can get past everything, he says he will cut off all contact with her outside of work (they're on the same shift, because of course they are). I pour my heart and soul into trying to get things to work, being what he needs and still holding down everything with the house, he doesn't show the same effort. I drive myself crazy every single day trying to find out what he's doing or who he's talking to and we fight and I cry for two months.

Long story short I find out he never cut off contact, he just hid it better. He took off work for Valentine's Day (I will now forever hate this holiday) and spent it with her, though he claims they still haven't had sex. That same day I had written out a long love note to him, telling him all the things I love about him and how I want them forever.

Right now we are "separated" which I put in quotes because we are still living under the same roof. I don't have anywhere to go to take the kids and he still hasn't told his family what is going on in order to be able to stay with one of them. He keeps telling me he doesn't know what he wants (to stay together or divorce) and foolishly I still want to be together. We've been together since I was 19, he's all I've ever known. I lost all of my friends over the years so he is 1/3 of my entire world. Everything we own is stuff we bought together, things to make our life together and a life for our children.

We had another long talk last night about the future and he says he still doesn't know what he wants. That we have been so unhappy together for so long (and he's right, we haven't been in a good place for at least a couple of years, partly due to my untreated depression and anxiety which I have now sought treatment for) that he's not sure he can ever get past the resentment that he's carrying for me.

I don't want to do the pick me dance but I so desperately don't want to lose the only man I've ever loved, everything I've worked so hard for and change the lives of my children forever that I don't know what else to do. I know it never works and I'm probably just causing myself more hurt but I want so badly for him to realize what a mistake divorcing would be and that we could be happy together again if we were both willing to put in the work. He says he's not sure he wants to try and that at some point you have to accept that we're not meant to be. But he also tells me he still loves me and cares about me and isn't sure he wants to divorce.

I know I'm rambling at this point and I apologize. This hole in my heart is all-consuming and I can't eat or sleep. I'm managing to keep a happy face on until the kids are in bed and then fall apart either after they're asleep or in my car on the way to work. I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally and surviving on adrenaline alone at this point. My H works nights so 90% of the kid related responsibility falls to me.

Where do I go from here? I obviously can't make him choose me, and I'm not sure I could ever get past the heartache he's caused me. I'm terrified to lose him and yet not sure I want to keep him. I would love to go to counseling but we can't afford it, especially if we split. I won't be able to afford the house or the van we bought last year by myself, and we make similar salaries so I won't be receiving alimony if we do split. Everything in my life is a giant question mark and I can't see a path forward and it is killing me.

Thank you for reading. I'm so sorry a place like this is needed but relieved to find a place where people will understand exactly what I'm going through. My family tries to help and understand but I will be the first to get divorced if we go that way so it's all new ground.

max2018 posted 3/7/2019 09:54 AM

1- std tests make sure you are healthy and safe

2- Divorce attorney, you need to know your options

3- exposure

4- you need to get a support system for you and the kids and you need

5- he needs to move out to where it's not your problem

6 - inform the OBS


GoldenR posted 3/7/2019 10:00 AM

Never allow yourself to be "just an option" to someone.

If you want to stay together, you'll fm have to play hardball with him, bc right now, he's cake-eating and loving every minute of it.

Don't wait for him to tell anyone. YOU need to do the exposing! To his family, to your family and to their workplace. Oh, sure, he will get pissed, tell you it's over bc you did that. THEY ALL SAY THAT. Do not let it bother you.

To save your marriage, you have to be willing to loseor.

oldtruck posted 3/7/2019 10:01 AM

You need to tell WH parents and siblings, OWH and
parents, HR dept and the CEO at work. This way the
HR dept cannot try to bury this.

This affair will not end if the WH and OW are allowed
to work together. There must be total NC between them.

Exposure is the most effective tool to end an affair.
Exposure does not work when you tell a WS before you
do it. It does not work if you use it as a threat.
Because all that does is warn the WS and the OW before
you expose. Exposure needs to be done all on the
day as close together as possible.

Affairs never end without NC.

cocoplus5nuts posted 3/7/2019 10:04 AM

I'm so sorry you are here.

It seems like you rugswept his first A. Hence, why he felt ok having another. She's calling him, "baby," and talking about bed stuff, and the were together on Valentine's day? They have almist certainly had physical contact.

If you want to try R, you need to be ready and willing to end your M. He needs to come completely clean about everything going on now and from before. Polygraph. He needs to take full responsibility for what he's done regardless of what else might have been happening in your M. You've been in the same M and you didn't cheat.

Out him to everyone. If you want him to leave and he won't tell his family, then you tell them. If either of the OWs have SOs, tell them.

My fwh told me early on that he didn't know if he wanted to stay married to me. I couldn't believe it. How dare he after I was still there after finding out he had cheated! I didn't stay for him, though. I didn't rugsweep. I didn't let up on him. He eventually got his head out of his ass.

But, you've got to be willing to lose it to save it. Unless you're fine with rugsweeping again and having him cheat yet again.

squid posted 3/7/2019 10:11 AM


First, welcome to SI. Very sorry you've found us.

Very gently, you've already lost him. He's gone. He's off in the fantasy land of rainbow-shitting unicorns. He's only thinking about himself right now.

You now must only think of yourself and your kids. I'll echo what max2018 already advised.

Consult an attorney, YESTERDAY. Have him served ASAP.

Expose him to his family and friends and call alert his company's HR of his inappropriate relationship. Tell the OBS. Affairs thrive in secrecy. Time to bring it out into the light.

He needs a heavy dose of realty to snap him out of the fantasy.

Make copies of all evidence and store them in a safe place. Try to get screenshots, if possible.

Read about the 180 in the Healing Library (little yellow box, upper left of this page) and implement it. NO MORE LOVE LETTERS!!

He's fence-sitting. Time to knock him off the fence. Nothing would wake him up more than divorce papers. If he gets his head out of his ass then you can call the process off. Otherwise, you'd be on a solid path to getting out of infidelity.

You have to be willing to lose the marriage in order to save it.

You have to act decisively. Find your anger and your strength and stay there.

You've got this.

[This message edited by squid at 10:12 AM, March 7th, 2019 (Thursday)]

Buster123 posted 3/7/2019 10:13 AM

I don't want to do the pick me dance but I so desperately don't want to lose the only man I've ever loved

You've already lost him, all you can do now is see if you can shock him back to reality, he's now a proven cheater and a liar, please get tested for STDs ASAP, consult an attorney and file for D without warning, have him served at work for maximum impact, and blow up his world, EXPOSE his A with ALL family and close friends, again don't warn him about it, just do it, if D papers and full exposure don't shock him back to reality, nothing will, if so, just let D run its course and get out of infidelity, your children deserve much better, he will have to pay child support, consult an attorney ASAP.

FallenStars posted 3/7/2019 10:17 AM

I already had an std panel run, came out totally clean thank goodness. He took that as evidence that he didn't have sex with her, I'm not buying it.

I met with a divorce attorney and ended up really not getting a good feeling from him. He told me I'd probably have to end up filing bankruptcy and just scared me more than reassured me or made me feel confident in my choices. I have a recommendation from my boss for another, going to give him a try.

As for outing him to his work, I'm honestly scared he'll get fired and we'll lose his income and the insurance. I feel like that would be gambling with my children's livelihood and I don't think I can do that.

Thank you so much for responding. I have been very nervous to put all of this out somewhere.

Bigger posted 3/7/2019 10:21 AM

Sorry you must join the worst club anyone would want to be in. Glad you found us though, because despite everything this site might be the best thing for you in your present situation.

To me it sounds like you are giving him a lot of leeway.

First: Donít place too much emphasis on his comments about being unhappy for years and all that. Itís called rewriting marital history and itís a classical justification tool. Itís a lot easier to claim you were unhappy and therefore you had to have an affair rather than admit you were stupid and therefore you had an affair.

What he wants isnít relevant except where it impacts you. What is more important IMHO being what YOU want. One way to realize what you want it by also considering what you do not want. I guess you do not want a cheating husband. I guess you donít want to share him with another woman. I guess you canít accept turning a blind eye and pretending you donít notice the scratches on his back or the scent of perfume on his clothes. I guess you WANT a husband.

Right now, he isnít that husband. Heís offering you something else. His actions now (assuming heís pouting and wondering what his next steps ought to be) are telling you that maybeÖ just MAYBEÖ he might settle for you, but only if you are more compliant, sexually active or whatever. Right now, HE thinks HE has the power. HE can choose the next steps.

Take that power away from him:

ďHusband. I am sorry you have been unhappy for years. I do think you should have talked to me about it rather than put effort into breaking your vows and seeking solace outside the marriage. But itís your choice. Just like itís my decision not to settle for any compromises regarding fidelity and marriage. I refuse to share you.
You are totally 100% free to date OW, be with OW, move in with OWÖ whatever. But not as my husband.
Until and unless you tell me very clearly and accept some reasonable conditions needed to assure me that you want this marriage I am simply assuming you have committed to the affair. I am getting out of infidelity Ė with or without you.

I absolve you of all expected marital roles, just like I am not thinking of you as my husband any more. I will start the formal process of terminating our marriage. There are rules and laws in place that should ensure we both get a fair deal. I donít plan on being confrontational, but I will make sure my rights are protected.

And then you go file your nails or watch Grayís Anatomy.
If he starts telling you that he had to cheat because you have bad breath (or whatever excuse he uses) your stock reply to all his accusations: ďI am sorry you feel that way. If we were working on our marriage we could investigate that issue, but since you are committed to your affair itís not really necessary.Ē

If he starts talking divorce details: ďI am too emotionally attached to this marriage to deal sensibly with divorce. I will ask my attorney to investigate these issuesĒ.

You then openly talk to stakeholders of the marriage about the affair:
ďMIL/Mom/DadÖ Jack is having an affair with [place name of OW here. Make it real]. He was also having an affair with another woman at work last year. Jack isnít willing to end his affair or meet the conditions I need to feel assured the affair is over. I refuse to share my husband and am seeking a divorce. I would appreciate any effort you can make to help us through this rough periodĒ

Start the process of ending the marriage. Like the in-house separation? Itís not realistic. Start offering solutions. Like why doesnít he move in with OW?

Set him TOTALLY free. I put the odds at 9/10 that he wonít be willing to let go of you. But YOU must force his hand and create the conditions conductive to him either jumping on the R wagon OR allowing you to get out of this marriage.

Both R and D are good outcomes from infidelity. Remaining where you areÖ thatís the worst outcome.

childofcheater posted 3/7/2019 10:28 AM

You already are doing the "pick me dance" by allowing him to be undecided. I know it hurts but his indecision is his decision. There's a saying here that you have to be willing to lose the marriage to save the marriage. It sounds like u aren't there yet and that's ok. But this won't stop until u say it does. Right now he gets u at home doing everything and he gets to have a GF and trust me they had sex. We are here for you. I understand u have to do this on your own time.

Marie2792 posted 3/7/2019 10:45 AM

Welcome to the club no one wants to join. You are smog good, experienced folks here. A few things stand out to me about your situation.

First, take back your power. He shouldnít be wondering if he wants to stay or go. If you allow him to stay thatís a gift he has to earn and appreciate.

Second, absolutely out him to your parents, his parents, siblings. Make him accountable.

Third, take care of yourself (should be first). Get checked for stds and since you are prone to depression, talks to your therapist and donít be afraid to ask for medication help.

This is the hardest thing to do with a remorseful spouse. Your husband isnít remorseful yet. Working with the Ow should not be continued if he accepts your gift of reconciliation. He needs to got to therapy as well to learn what is broken inside of him so he prevents it from happening again.

You donít need to do the pick me dance. You are already the better woman than the OW.

nekonamida posted 3/7/2019 10:52 AM

I think you're doing a good job of taking steps to get out of infidelity.

Check out the 180 and follow it. Don't ask him anymore about whether he wants to commit to the marriage or not. Even if he says he's undecided, his actions are telling you that he's choosing the OW by continuing to date her. You didn't sign up for an open marriage so he knows if he chooses her outright, you won't stick around but he's hoping you will stay if he says he's "unsure", "confused", and doesn't want D. This is called cake eating and it's not going to end on its own. He'll keep the gravy train going as long as possible so treat this like you're going to D and if he comes around and drops the OW, you can slow things down, stop them, and consider R.

The1stWife posted 3/7/2019 11:14 AM


Bigger is spot on. Read and re-read all the suggestions made by Bigger and a few others.

I did all of the things you did and ended up with a second DDay while I thought we were reconciling. Same OW so the Affair never ended.

I heard the ILYBNILWY speech. I heard he ďdidnít know what he wanted ď. I also heard the ďI want a DivorceĒ line one too many times.

After 6 months of false reconciliation I had enough and decided to D him. I restored my power and took back control of my life and future. I told my H (after being a doormat all of our marriage and this was not his first Affair) that he no longer had any control over me, kids or my life. He could no longer make any decisions about us.

And that, my friend, was the bottom for him. He knew it.

I had my plan B in place and I was executing. I had money, he had to leave, kids and I were staying in house, 180 big time, etc etc.

And to this day I have not done his laundry in 5 years.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 12:37 PM, March 7th (Thursday)]

max2018 posted 3/7/2019 11:33 AM

for outing him to his work, I'm honestly scared he'll get fired and we'll lose his income and the insurance. I feel like that would be gambling with my children's livelihood and I don't think I can do that.

That will be a great card to use later

Bigger posted 3/7/2019 12:11 PM

You do realize that if heís working on the same shifts as his OW then itís inevitable either he or the OW changes jobs if the marriage is to survive?

Reconciliation requires total NC. There are occasional instances of reconciliation where affair partners work together, but they are rare and seldom really work out.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 3/7/2019 12:16 PM

What everyone here is saying is true and the sooner you can think of it this way the better:

1) are you okay with your M going on like it is RIGHT NOW.

Think about that long and hard. How long can you carry on with someone who says they arenít sure about you? Until you get to a decision about that you will stay in some form of where you are right now....or maybe eventually he will leave anyway. Those are really your only options right now. There are people who stay in this situation for ever. Some of them post on here. I did it for about a year myself so I know itís not an easy choice. When and if you get past this questions and the answer becomes ďI canít do this anymoreĒ the answer to question two gets a tiny bit easier. Getting to this point is like standing at the edge of a plane with a parachute strapped to your back when youíve never been or never wanted to skydive before. Terrifying. Eventually most of us on here reach the point where we decide to jump because the plane is just teetering along on the edge of disaster anyway and it doesnít feel much safer to stay in it. Once you decide you have to get out of it you will ask yourself the next question.

2). How can I make leaving this relationship better for me if when I jump he doesnít follow?

This is the planning stage and usually revolves around finances for you (and your kids if you have them) and where you will live, what you will do, etc. once you have a plan in place which may mean you can leave immediately or you may have to stay and get your ďducks in a rowĒ so to speak. When youíre ready you can deal with question 3. During this time you do your best to detach and focus on you and the rest of your familyís future. This part sometimes is hard. For me after dday 2 it was surprisingly easy. You may decide to share this with your WS or you may keep it to yourself. Either way when you decide you donít want to live the life youíre living now you will need to take this step.

3) Put your own plan into action and tell your WS that you arenít sticking around in the hell limbo youíre in now. This is the ďdont Be afraid to lose your marriageĒ phase and itís the single most important thing Iíve learned on SI. The reason why itís the most important is partially because your WS isnít going to magically (or ever) snap back to what things were before and also because your old marriage is dead. Youíve already lost it. This in more AA terms is the acceptance phase. So you tell your WS that you are doing xy and z and they can try to convince you to bring them along (or maybe by then you donít want them to follow) and then you can see what they do, if indeed you even care then.

There are more steps but for your purposes these are the most important for you. You are still in step one and unfortunately until you donít want to be in step one or your WS decides to leave the marriage, this is where yo will stay. I also know this I not what you want to hear. I didnít want to hear it and a lot of others here are the same. Other people who had come before us gave us the same advice and we ignored it and ended up stuck in step one for a lot longer than we needed to.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 1:29 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]

allusions posted 3/7/2019 12:45 PM

I pour my heart and soul into trying to get things to work, being what he needs and still holding down everything with the house, he doesn't show the same effort.
This is doing the pick-me dance.

My advice is the same as what others have given. Make yourself and your children a priority. Since the lawyer you saw gave you information that wasn't very positive, go see one or two other lawyers and see what they say.

FallenStars posted 3/7/2019 15:21 PM

I'm not ok with the way things are now. I don't want to spend my life with someone that may or may not want me. I don't want my kids to think this is what a marriage looks like. I know I can't do this anymore, I'm just terrified to take the leap that confirms the end of everything I've known for the last 18 years.

I am having trouble finding the words to express how I feel.

tikismom posted 3/7/2019 15:34 PM

Hi Fallen,

I am so sorry you have to be here, but glad you have found SI. I can relate to you in many ways due to some commonalities (our ages, how long we have been together & married, 2 young kids) Not that any of that really matters, but I certainly relate to how you are feeling.

I wrote & deleted my response a couple times because I'm not sure it would be helpful or not. I can say that I wish I did things differently (& I know its not too late for me to still do that) & I know how scary it is, but if he says he doesn't know what he wants, believe him. Even if he stays, it could turn into years of indecisiveness as it seems to be in my case. I would take a very firm stance & not allow him to make the calls here.

The1stWife posted 3/9/2019 07:08 AM

Iím sorry you are the only one fighting for your marriage.

I was in your exact shoes after 25 years of marriage and being together 30 years.

After 6 months of his waffling back and forth with ďI want a DivorceĒ and the next day him asking me to take him back - at some point I had enough.

I decided I was no longer going to be a doormat.

And I made a decision for him. A decision for me that I was going to have some self respect and not let a lying cheater decide my future. I was getting out of infidelity.

Iím not saying you have to D him. But you need to make your happiness a priority. Not him. Not your marriage.

You need to make some tough decisions. You need to protect yourself from his indecisiveness. Read up on the 180.

And a good counselor is a top priority for you. Not a marriage counselor but a good counselor to support you and help you navigate this emotional roller coaster called infidelity.

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