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Coming to terms with reality

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fareast posted 5/19/2019 08:02 AM


You sound a bit frustrated with the feedback you have received. You have received a diversity of opinion, and some of it may seem harsh, but all of it is intended for your benefit from people who have been there. Take the advice you can use and leave the rest. I think much of the feedback has tried to get you to realize your WW was an active participant in the A, and not just an innocent bystander, and also to warn you to not jump into wanting to R too quickly. Time is your ally and will tell you if your WW has the capacity to be remorseful and earn your trust.

But I agree with The1stWife that it appears your WW has started to take steps down the right path. She has exposed herself to others including her parents, which could not have been easy. You indicated that she did finally come clean to you. It sounds like she is feeling ashamed knowing she has been played by a user. This is not uncommon. The healing path for both of you is not linear. There are gains and setbacks. You know your WW better than any of us. You indicated she was a broken person from a prior relationship. You understand that you canít fix her. She needs to seek help to do that on her own.

You are in control here. You get to decide whether the M continues. The path to D and R run parallel for a long way. If ultimately after consideration and observing her behavior you determine she is not remorseful and her A was a dealbreaker for you then file for D and be done with it. If she continues to take the right steps and works on her own brokenness, and begins to realize how much pain she has caused you then you might consider R. You decide. You do you. You establish the boundaries you need to see from her to make you feel safe and to reestablish your M. Good luck.

Trdd posted 5/19/2019 08:48 AM

I agree with the post above that you sound frustrated with many of the comments that have been posted here. I do think that in some fashion everybody means well, but I also think it is Justified to get frustrated at times here on SI. Many people post through their personal experience which was both terribly painful and from which their marriage never recovered. So they are sharing advice from that lens of their own experience. Some of that advice is very thoughtful and well-written. Sometimes, it can come across as blunt and harsh.

But there are a number of people here who have invaluable guidance for you. You just have to be able to sort through it to find the guidance that fits your personal situation and your personal desires.

What I hear you saying is that you want to save your marriage. You still love your wife. And goodness, there is nothing wrong with that! There are plenty of people who have shared their stories here and many others who have never found this site that have reconciled and continued their marriage successfully. If that is what you choose to do, then it is certainly possible.

The issue is that to successfully reconcile after infidelity there are a number of things that must happen. And one of the major things you have to avoid is rug sweeping. I believe people read a few of your earliest posts and interpreted them that you might be tempted to rug sweep. Since then you have shared more of what has happened and that isn't what is happening between you and your wife. The fact that other people in your life know, like her friends and her parents, is a great step forward for the marriage. And it sounds like she is getting IC as well as the two of you are now enrolled in MC. Those are additional great steps forward so you should feel good about that if your intent is still to reconcile.

And there are predators out there and it definitely seems as if this guy at the gym is one of them. I hope he gets his just reward but I wouldn't advise being the one to give it to him. It is perfectly normal to be angry, frustrated and I know that I would be tempted to do something both illegal and stupid to exact my revenge. But life has a way of coming around and biting people like this guy and you don't want to end up being the one punished for a moment of Revenge. You will always Harbor some degree of anger toward this guy but it will fade a bit over time. The emotion and pain does lesson and perhaps Karma will come and visit him in some way and you'll hear about it and feel just that much better.

Your wife is in IC, how is it going for her? The people who have done the best here at this site work really hard to understand how they could have gotten into a place where they were unfaithful. And yes, when there was a predator it makes it that much easier to fall into a trap. But that does not dismiss the need for her to uncover her own flaws that made her susceptible. Would you say she has found true remorse at this point? Do you feel like she is actively trying to heal you and save the marriage? Or is she still in a bit of a fog?

You have gotten a lot of advice about the 180 and not jumping toward reconciliation too quickly. It is perfectly fine to want to reconcile but you do need to realize that she has to be held accountable to do this difficult work of self-reflection and changing what she can so that she makes herself safe again for you and the marriage. It really sounds like you have started on this path but keep up your strength and stay the course. You give the gift of wanting to reconcile to her but she has to, over months and years, do the hard work of fixing herself and helping to heal you. I am not sure if people specifically recommended two of the best books out there yet but if they haven't, she needs to read How to Heal your Spouse and Not just Friends, at a minimum.

ChamomileTea posted 5/19/2019 10:17 AM

So far what I get from most people,
Is thereís something wrong with my wife, she is a cheater always has been and she will always be one .I might as well just give up now get a divorce, leave my kids and find someone better.

So there no chance for healing, no chance to rebuild my marriage and the 10 years of my life have just been a waste of time.

The trust is gone and this can never be repaired.
So I blame her for everything and the pos shit is just some horny dude who got lucky.


My life is over and Iím the only one who loses.
Forgiveness doesnít exists and my marriage canít be saved.

There are lots of folks here in R. I'm one of them. I don't bother myself with "forgiveness". Frankly, some things are unforgivable. What my WH did was unforgivable. But what I can do though is to recognize that some debts just aren't collectible. What could my fWH possibly offer me that is equal to the emotional agony he caused me? So, I've written off the debt.

But this is not a JFO strategy. This is only AFTER the WS has taken full responsibility for his actions, after he's examined and corrected his wayward thought process, and after he's been able to consistently demonstrate the change. Attempts to fast-track the process might not give you as good a result because you won't feel secure within the relationship. Does that make sense to you?

It probably feels like you're just spinning your wheels, but the process takes TIME... time for you to process the betrayal emotionally, and time for your WW to explore her faulty reasoning, make repairs, and prove her changes.

Hang in there, OP. Take what you need and leave the rest.

hadji posted 5/19/2019 11:53 AM


Did you read any of our replied man? Your marriage can be saved. I'd even go ahead and say, for the sake of your kids, it should be saved. But you cannot save it by trying to control the outcome or doing the work for your wife. Your stability of your marriage was destroyed by your wife. If she does not work hard to get it back, she WILL NOT understand the value of what was once almost lost and she WILL ALWAYS have the cheater's mindset.

She should work a million times harder than you do to save this marriage. If she does not, or even if she just works only as hard as you do, then you will never build a stronger marriage, but you will have rather rugswept and given her the mindset that she can live her life like before with all her FOO issues and her entitled thought process and you will always be there to save things.

Seriously mate. Read again. We don't want you to R or D. We want you to persevere and survive.

Unwillingdoormat posted 5/19/2019 19:50 PM

Thanks for the comments, Iím trying my best to get my head around things and some truths are hard to swallow.

One question I keep asking myself is.

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of anouther man, what did he expect to happen.

Surely if one meets someone new the should end the relationship there in to pursue the new one. Why put others around at risk of being hurt.

Iím so confused.

Marz posted 5/19/2019 20:15 PM

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of anouther man, what did he expect to happen.

You nor anyone else was a second thought in this. An affair trumps everything.

Most will not fully commit until they're sure. They tend to keep a plan B for backup.

Keep reading you need the knowledge

ChamomileTea posted 5/19/2019 20:15 PM

For some, they simply don't believe they'll be caught. I know it sounds crazy, but their line of thought simply never entertains the idea that they'll be discovered. They figure, what we don't know won't hurt us. Some even rationalize that they'll be better partners if they take a little faux happiness for themselves.

Others become so enamored of the AP, the adrenaline and hormones, that they simply don't care if they get caught. They rationalize that they'll be fine with ending their current relationship. They fantasize about moving on with the AP. It's not until it all blows up in their face that they panic and realize that they're leaving too much behind.

There are all sorts of rationalizations cheaters use to justify their affairs. Some are hostile, passive-aggressive and punishing their BS. Some are telling themselves their mate doesn't love them anyway so they rationalize that it's victimless crime. Some get wound up in self-pity and entitlement scenarios, believing that their needs aren't being met. Some affairs are monkey-branching and attempted monkey-branching. Some are true exit affairs, where the cheater burns the bridge behind them. Many types of affairs.

Have you read Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass? If not, I'd recommend it for both you and your WW. The author does a great job of explaining affair types, but her "walls and windows" technique for learning appropriate boundaries is just excellent.

Marz posted 5/19/2019 20:18 PM

Your marriage can be save

Maybe, maybe not. No one knows that for sure at this time.

Proceed carefully. You don't want to go through this again like a lot on here do.

[This message edited by Marz at 9:20 PM, May 19th (Sunday)]

The1stWife posted 5/19/2019 20:54 PM

If I was here on SI at the time of my Hís Affair they would have given me the advice to get a D or leave him etc.- rightly so I might add. On paper he would not be a candidate for reconciliation.

Instead I had DDay2 and false reconciliation and heard ILYBNILWY and ďI want a DĒ during nine months of his affair.

It took hard work and commitment but we have happily reconciled. Against the odds.

I know the odds were against us and very few couples survive but we did.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 8:22 AM, May 20th (Monday)]

M1965 posted 5/19/2019 21:28 PM


One question I keep asking myself is.

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of another man, what did he expect to happen.

Surely if one meets someone new the should end the relationship there in to pursue the new one. Why put others around at risk of being hurt.

Iím so confused.

I understand why you are asking those questions, but you will never find a satisfactory answer for them because people who begin affairs suspend rational thinking, and have no end-game in their plans.

Think of it this way: when a person first injects heroin into their body, are they thinking about what life as a drug addict will be like, or how they are going to wean themselves off the drug? Or are they thinking no further than how they are going to feel when their first hit gets into their bloodstream?

We all know it is the latter. All that matters is the next hit.

If people always thought things through, how many people would inject drugs or embark on an affair thinking, "What could possibly go wrong with this? Surely only good things can come of this decision"?

You are framing this as if your wife had a well thought out plan. Affairs are about the complete absence of a well thought out plan! They are pure self-indulgence. They are like buying five tubs of Haagen-Daazs ice cream and eating all of them in one session, with no thinking about getting fat because that would spoil the enjoyment.

It is only when you can no longer fit into your jeans that you will think, "Yeah...That ice cream thing was probably a dumb idea". It is the same with affairs. People only think about their decisions rationally afterwards.

As for your wife's affair partner, he is simply a player. Or maybe you should see him as a fisherman, which is how I see male players. Just as a fisherman identifies a part of a river where fish tend to congregate, a player identifies places where vulnerable women are likely to congregate.

For your wife's AP, a gym is like a big fish tank, with a constant conveyor belt of self-doubting fresh fish being fed into it. And like a fisherman, he regularly casts his hook and bait into the water to see which fish bite. It really is like the old phrase, "Shooting fish in a barrel".

Think about it; most women who go to a gym are doing it because they have concerns about their appearance or health. Their very presence there shouts, "I lack self-confidence, and feel like I need to improve".

If you want to 'play' women, gyms are probably the most perfect hunting ground to find targets, because every woman who shows up is saying she feels bad about herself.

It is absolute child's play to manipulate a woman who feels bad about herself by paying her compliments and making her feel like she is fascinating and sexy. And because she feels bad about herself, she is desperate for the bullshit that is being peddled to her. She believes what is said to her because she needs to feel better about herself.

If you can make a woman who doubts her attractiveness love herself, she will love you for it, and she will become hooked on the drug you are supplying, because she needs that good feeling in the same way that a drug addict needs their next hit.

If you are a selfish scumbag, this knowledge can be ruthlessly exploited. Time after time after time. You just look for a certain type of woman who has lost her sense of self worth. Once you find her, you can play her like a violin.

Where your wife's affair partner falls down is in how he exits from the exploitation. In an ideal situation, a player identifies a prospective target by asking questions. He then opens his heart - yeah, like he has one - about problems in his marriage, and how his wife does not understand him.

Oh, he is such a troubled, suffering soul, so in need of help and attention from a woman who is more caring and perceptive than his horrible shrew of a wife.

And if he is lucky, his target rises to the bait. She will save him. She will help him.

Instead of realising that she is being played, the target willingly becomes emotionally invested in the fiction that she has been sold. Perhaps by being the saviour of a poor tormented man, she can manifest all that is best in her as a woman...

And the player is oh so grateful, and encourages and thanks her. And before long...Well, we know exactly where this goes.

If your wife's AP was better at what he does, he would have started and conducted the affair along time-proven lines. Towards the end, he would have put on a great act of feeling like he hated himself, and that he really should try and save his marriage for the sake of his children, whom he loves more than life itself.

What female affair partner could argue with that? In fact, they may even admire their affair partner for his nobility, totally ignoring how questionable his decision to have an affair because they want to feel like they were so attractive that he had no choice.

He was an innocent moth, drawn to their flame.

A really good player will make a woman feel like she has a power over him that he cannot resist, while in reality he is exploiting her with complete contempt and disrespect. The predator turns himself into the victim, and the woman buys into the nonsense because she wants to believe that she has the power to mesmerise and overwhelm a man.

And what a 'rush' that idea gives her. And why wouldn't it?

A really good player will beg his victim to let him go, putting the power into the hands of the person he has been manipulating. Your wife's AP failed to end the affair as smoothly as this. That is why your wife started asking if it was 'just physical'. What she does not realise is that she was a total dupe, who was played by a carnival huckster.

Women who have been played struggle to accept that fact because acceptance requires them to let go of the self love that was generated by the bullshit their affair partner gave them. And who wants to lose that feeling?

A smart man does not focus on making a woman love him; he focuses on making her love herself. If he can achieve that, she will love him for it, and will want to keep him in her life.

The sad thing is that loads of good, decent men do not understand that, but loads of absolute scumbags do.

In your position, as your wife struggles to accept that she was exploited and played while believing that she was making wise decisions, the way forwards depends on what you want. If you want to save the marriage and remain with your wife, you will need to lead your wife back to a place where she can feel good about herself.

That is 100% counter-intuitive, isn't it? Why would the betrayed partner expend a second to try and make their betrayer feel good about themselves? It makes no sense. And yet, if you want reconcile, what good will come from branding a wayward spouse as a piece of garbage?

If you want to reconcile, a good attitude would be, "I believe you can be better than this, but it is up to you to prove that to me".

That provides both opportunity and encouragement, if a wayward spouse is looking for them.

Figure out what you need, tell your wife, and leave her to prove whether or not she can achieve it, and whether or not she wants to. And if she makes progress, let her know that you recognise it. That will be good for both of you.

numb&dumb posted 5/20/2019 13:17 PM

Why didn't she D you before pursuing this with OM?

She did not want a D then and likely doesn't want one now. That is something a lot of BS miss. Our WS never wanted to leave us. We offer too much and meet two many needs they have. Often we are the givers in the relationship and they being the takers. The problem is that no amount of taking will ever satisfy them.

The issue is that most WS can't get enough validation to ever fill the hole that inside of them. That is the real issue. Combine that with selfishness and violia you've got a broken wayward who will trade everything they have for extra validation. Unfortunately they find that doesn't make them feel any better. Now they have a made a terrible choice and can't take it back. They hurt the very people who they are dependent on to keep giving to shore up their fragile egos.

It is why I explain that despite their being a lot of pain there is also opportunity.

First things first. What is your W planning to do to change her thought process that this was an acceptable choice to make ?

As I said earlier. The issue isn't you or the M. It is her and until she can address those character deficits you can't rebuild your M.

Have you thought about IC as well ?

[This message edited by numb&dumb at 1:18 PM, May 20th (Monday)]

GoldenR posted 5/20/2019 16:23 PM

Edit: dont wanna threadjack

[This message edited by GoldenR at 4:37 PM, May 20th (Monday)]

RocketRaccoon posted 5/20/2019 23:39 PM

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of anouther man, what did he expect to happen.

If you have a quick gander over to the WW forums, you will see a common theme pop-up. They did not think about anything except themselves. Consequences rarely factored into their decisions (not mistakes, as affairs are a series of decisions that are made over a length of time).

Surely if one meets someone new the should end the relationship there in to pursue the new one. Why put others around at risk of being hurt.

You are thinking rationally. The mindset of a wayward is rarely rational.

Iím so confused.

And so you would be, as you will not be able to truly understand the wayward way of thinking.

CincyKid posted 5/21/2019 08:18 AM

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of anouther man, what did he expect to happen.

Surely if one meets someone new the should end the relationship there in to pursue the new one. Why put others around at risk of being hurt.

Easy to explain. Itís called monkey branching. Think about how monkeys move through trees. They make sure theyíve reached a safe secure branch in front of them before they let go of the branch behind them. That way if the branch they reach for turns out not to be safe or secure they can swing back to safety because they were still holding onto the old branch.

I fear this is what your wife was doing. The OM was that new branch in front of her. You were that safe stable branch she had hung onto for a long time.

In this case the new branch turned out to be unsafe. The OM did not want a life with your wife. If he had she would have let go of your branch. Her questions to him about his intentions was her testing that new branch. As I said before, if that branch would have been safe, sheíd already be gone. Instead she let it go and is hanging on to the old safe branch. You.

Google it if you want. Monkey branching. The question is are you willing to be the safe branch every time she reaches out looking for newer seemingly more exciting branches?

[This message edited by CincyKid at 8:19 AM, May 21st (Tuesday)]

LivingWithPain posted 5/21/2019 11:59 AM

What did they both think was going to happen when it all came out, why didnít she leave me before climbing into the bed of anouther man, what did he expect to happen.

What the other posters have told you is spot on.

I would also add that in every affair, the fantasy the wayward is living often blinds them to reality. With the OM, your WW is living a fantasy relationship where there are no bills, no mortgages, no whiny children, no husband who argues or disagrees with her. She and her affair partner put on an act for one another. They become whatever the other person wants them to be...with no strings attached.

The affair is like a safe, warm, cozy cocoon that your WW felt comfortable existing in, and while in that cocoon you never even factored into her decisions.

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