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New Member - Still Confused

Bor9455 posted 1/22/2020 14:54 PM

Hello, all. I was introduced to this forum by my therapist who I'm seeing for my IC. Before I came to see him the first time, we spoke on the phone for 10-15 minutes briefly about my situation and he recommended. I was a lurker for a few weeks and finally got the courage to register and post, so please bear with me.

I've learned a lot of the "lingo" around here, but please help if I've read things wrong or misinterpreted something. With that being said, while I am certainly a WH, I am also a BH, which I believe makes me the "madhatter" that I've seen here and there around SI.

We were married in May 2010 and have one son born later in October 2010. Our relationship has always been a little unique in that my wife was here in the USA on a student visa from a Central American Country when I met her. When we were expecting, we had been engaged to marry for about 6 months prior to marrying, but it was done to protect our unborn child and his mother from having to leave the country after her graduation in August 2010. That aspect has always played a big role in our lives. Because of it, when we first got married, I was the only spouse (as a native born US citizen) eligible to work, which meant that my role was to provide for the family while my wife was a largely stay at home mom for the first few years of our marriage. On and off through the years, my wife has worked part time jobs as a waitress, in retail and some clerical/supervisory work running kids play places.

I was offered a great job in 2013 out of state, where we relocated from Nebraska (my home state/"our" home state) to Alabama. The transition was tough moving to a place where she didn't know anyone, but I knew some my "new" the colleagues as I had worked them in Nebraska previously. My wife connected with my colleagues wives and when we purchased our dream home in Alabama, met some great neighbors and my wife was able to develop a really healthy and stable social circle of other moms and women closer to her age. In 2016, when my company announced that they were closing their facility in North Carolina, we all knew that the sister site in Alabama was the next on the chopping block. As fate/luck would have it, through my networking, I found a job in of all places Miami, FL which was a great opportunity for my career with a pay where she could once again return to at the time as she stated, her desired role as a stay-at-home mom to our now 6 year old son. We deliberated on the decision, taking two separate "recruiting" style trips on my organization's dime to get a feel for Miami and see if it is where we really wanted to raise our son, live, etc. When we weighed the options of job prospects in our area in Alabama versus a job offer, we made the move that most people would have made and went with the "sure thing" (sure thing in that it was a job vs the hypothetical job I could find around that area).

That all occurred in late 2016, which is where everything for us took a dive south. Despite us sitting down together to make the decision, shortly after moving here my wife told me she was miserable here. She had at one point told me how much she missed our next door neighbor's wife, because they had become best friends. I really missed those neighbors too, probably the best we've ever had, and to boot they had two young boys one the same age and the other a year younger than our son. So we could get the boys together in our yards and let them run wild while we visited. So my wife desperately missed that opportunity for socializing with adults. She became a stay-at-home in a new city to her overnight and did not handle it well. Adding insult to injury, our son was now enrolled in full time kindergarten, whereas in Alabama his days were half-days and she had a job there, so she began to have a lot of free time around the house alone during the day. The good news was that some of the office manager stuff she did in Alabama she could do remotely in Miami from our home office, so she kept herself somewhat busy with that.

Rubbing salt in the wound, when I started my new job, the company had just received some major sanctions from a government regulatory body, and my team was directly involved with the response and remediation of our quality system to address these issues. Not to bore anyone with the details, but this required a couple of months of grueling schedules of 12 hours in the office and another few hours each evening on my laptop working remotely. Really November 2016 until March 2017 was a blur in my memory. I was working hard and it took a toll on my body and of course my marriage. My wife was miserable in this new city, she certainly felt alone and abandoned by my schedule. I'm not saying that there weren't good moments in there, and we did also take some good family time out of there, but I'm certain that early 2017 is where things were just out of whack.

Things calmed down at work towards the back half of 2017, but by August 2017 I had noticed that my wife was really off for her. I remember because August 2017 is when I a friend (future EA Partner) from my old Spanish Language forum and I started talking to "catch up" about things via Facebook. I remember telling her about how my wife just wasn't the same, etc etc, and the discussions never started out as anything other than friendly conversation.

The night that I "caught" my wife with what turned out to be her EA was in early November 2017. I had been a tad bit suspicious but while on the family computer under her user account to pay some bills, she received some inappropriate iMessages. I was irate and livid about it all. I don't think she knew about it right away, but I think she suspected it. That night I called my best friend and vented to him and he talked me into confronting her about the whole thing. To her credit, I confronted her that evening and she came clean about the whole thing. Of course, while I was confronting her, it was the ultimate hypocrisy because only a few weeks prior to that, my conversations with my friend took a turn from friendly banter to a full blown EA. My wife remembers it as shortly before Christmas in 2017, I can't remember the exact date, but almost an inverse happened, she was on the computer under my account for something or rather, and my AP sent some explicit messages which my wife saw. When I came home from work that night, she confronted me and I came clean about what had happened. So our dueling affairs of 2017 had finally been exposed. Not that it makes it any better, but both of our AP lived far away, hers on the other coast and mine in another country, so these relationships never went beyond phone calls, sexting, etc.

Looking back on it today, the biggest mistake we both made is not reaching out to any third party for any help. We had always resolved things as a couple, and we agreed that we were going to do it in this instance. Plus, when we explored counseling/marriage coaching options in our area it was very expensive and so we figured to go it alone. That was most certainly one of our most serious mistakes. Without structure/ground rules or any plan, we tried to rebuild our relationship in any manner of ways. We never initiated "no contact" with either AP. My wife says today that if she had asked me to go NC that I never would've gone along with it, and I have to admit at that point in time she was probably right.

The not going NC did neither of us any good. We both certainly pulled back on talking to our APs for a good stretch of 2018. At some point in 2018, her AP got bored/frustrated and stopped keeping up with her. The woman that I was corresponding with would be all over the place. For months I would never hear anything and then she would frantically be messaging me/calling me and I would tell my wife. She was all over the place. At some point in 2018 when I did block her on Facebook and WhatsApp, she began to go through the trouble of creating a new Facebook Profile to contact me. That seemed to have happened every few weeks or month until early 2019.

In April 2019, this same woman's new alias messaged me while I was traveling for business. I had been at a business dinner and certainly had one too many glasses of scotch. I hadn't spoken to her in months and that night I talked with her for a few hours. It wasn't good on my part, because it started out as innocent and friendly but ended up in an explicit place. I remember the next day waking up and looking at my phone in total disgust at what my drunk self did the night before. I chalked it up to being really drunk and went ahead and deleted the WhatsApp messages. Little did I know that my wife had a copy of the whole WhatsApp chat and had seen much of the messages that were sent back and forth. She knew about the whole thing.

I come home from my trip and she didn't mention anything. About a week went by and I had completely forgotten about my one night of indiscretion. I had a corporate fun run event that she participated in with my office. After the event there is food and drinks, we had a great night. It was a great night as a couple, or so I thought. We went to a bar close to our house for a night cap, and she confronted me right then and there about the issue from the previous week. This is the one time with her that I didn't come clean. I lied and covered my tracks. I may have told her a partial or half truth in there, but it doesn't matter, she knew the details and I lied to her face about the whole thing. That night, she demanded a NC once and for all with this woman. I obliged her, we blocked her, deleted all her messages, etc from my phone. Since she didn't tell me what she knew, I figured that this NC was my get out of jail card if you will.

Fast forward to September 2019, after traveling to a concert with two college buddies for Labor Day, I come home to find my wife confronting me about the events in April 2019. She was upset and distraught. We talked deep into the night that week and decided to go see a marriage coach that had came recommended by a colleague. We went to the first session in early September 2019, he was a good guy to work with, but in retrospect his toolkit wasn't ready to deal with the trauma and hurt that she was wallowing in and had been for months.

We practiced the things that he taught us, we had some of the deepest and most honest conversations we had ever had in our marriage. She had given me 4 things that she wanted me to work on, and I gave her 4 items as well. Mine were helping around the house more, being more attentive and engaged with our son, being available for listening and conversations and being more giving with the non-sexual physical gestures (hugs, kisses, cuddles, etc). I think since September she has run the washing machine just a few times, the dishwasher a little more (but rarely unloaded it) and I've begun to cook meals 2/7 nights a week despite her being a stay-at-home. I wasn't perfect or anything, but I was consistently working to help her and meet her needs around the house and in the ways she asked. One of the things that the coach and I both had noted is that she had been wanting some of these things from me for almost a decade but had never spoken up and asked for them. She wanted me to be more helpful around the house but never asked. She at times even got angry with me on how I would load the dishwasher or fold clothes through the years. So if that doesn't discourage me from helping, I don't know what would.

So now we get to December 4, 2019. We were laying in bed, her just coming off a bout with the stomach bug the few days prior. It was a Wednesday night, I had just come home from the gym and she told me that she is done, our relationship is done and that there is no going back. Her final "answer".

So here is where my post title of "Still Confused" is really coming from. As far as I know, there was no trigger for this decision on that particular day. She has said in subsequent conversations that she was annoyed with me or something along those lines that day.

Since that time, she spent about a 10 days playing a game of sleeping in our guest room, but waking up before our son in the AM so she could return to the master bedroom and keep up a charade. When he woke up in the middle of the night terrified and unable to find her, after telling her in the AM, she returned to the master bedroom that night for the next month. In early January, she had a break and snapped at me. She needed her own "space" and was annoyed to be in the master bedroom with me. Mind you I hadn't kicked her out or done anything, she did all of this on her own. She has now moved out into a guest bedroom and taken up the guest bathroom. Has been there for a few weeks. We have peace in the home to an extent. A lot has changed, because of course we had to tell our son that we were changing our sleeping arrangements.

We've continued to have some great conversations about our relationship and discussing a lot we are both processing, as if we were in the steps of reconciliation. She has brought up divorce from time to time, but she hasn't spoken with an attorney or taken any steps towards that. She seems content in the guest room arrangement that currently exists. I have noticed that over time, in our discussions about whatever “us” is these days her language has gone from definitive we are “done” to a “we’ll see” and “no one knows” our future. She has even begun to slowly return small acts of affection such as hugs and pats on the small of the back, etc. She says that we are “done” and that the things I’m changing as a result of the IC are for “yourself and our son” and that “I never asked for those changes” despite the fact that she literally asked for these things.

So things are a mess, I get mixed signals from her on a lot things. We still work together as partners and parents in every arena. We sat down and paid the bills the other day like we always have done for years. We watched our regular show together, albeit on separate couches this time. We have even gone to the movie together as a pseudo “date” night type situation. So I guess I don’t even know what to make of all this. She seems to be fine and content with this “new” arrangement but I’ve been clear that I’m not. I’m respecting her request for time and space and I most certainly want to resume our work on reconciliation that we were working on, prior to her calling it all off in an abrupt fashion. So what say those in the audience, is this perhaps a phase that will eventually pass? Because her actions say one thing and her words are also all over the place anymore these days. Heck, while I was typing this out she gave me a call about something and was her cheerful self and planned for us to sit down and discuss something further.

JBWD posted 1/22/2020 16:48 PM

If I understand the nuance correctly, since your betrayals were simultaneous, you’re not a MH. I understand a MH as one who RESPONDS to discovery by searching for an external relationship to cope with the mindf&#k of DDay.

As such, caution on doing what you’re doing here, which is painting yourself as a victim. You highlight that you fell short on your end of the “makeup” tasks while indirectly stating that her evaluation of this was unreasonable. I’m guessing here that she lined up your four and knocked them out, and you’re just leaving that out because that would support a narrative other than “this is her fault.”

Most telling is the WhatsApp piece of this- No matter how drunk you were, you continued to betray her and furthered that betrayal by lying and hoping it’d go away.

Now you’re reaping what you’ve sown. I can tell you that our scenarios sound somewhat similar, and where you are is likely best described as limbo. Those further along can tell you about how it feels, but you’ve got to learn about yourself. There’s a lot of blameshifting here and the bottom line is you chose this. You can tell her all day you don’t want this path, but if you can’t make yourself a better person and a safer partner it ain’t gonna happen. It might be a phase, but regardless you killed the M, and there might not be another one behind it.

Become a better you- In the face of uncertainty all you control is you.

IHatePickingName posted 1/22/2020 18:05 PM

I have been told MH is defined as someone who is both a WS and a BS. It doesnt matter the order of the affairs. Both partners are madhatters. And it is very typical for one person to identify more as a BS and the other as a WS. It doesnt detract from the MH title.

Welcome. I am a MH too.

Bor9455 posted 1/24/2020 13:35 PM


You are right and I appreciate your feedback. In a sense, there are ways in which I am a victim because I have been deeply hurt by her behavior. In recent conversations with each other, she has even touched a little on the hurt that she has left in the wake of this all. I've been clear in my communication that I'm not blaming her or accusing her, because I'm responsible for my affair.

I certainly wasn't consistent every single day with the tasks she asked of me. Some of that was due to my work travel, I can't be responsible for loading/unloading the dishwasher when I'm three states away working. I recognize today that I could have done better, but even she has mentioned that she did notice the changes in my behavior and perhaps judged it too harshly. On the other side of things, she knows that her track record with the items I asked of her wasn't strong either. I think an honest and fair assessment is that while these "acts" we both gave each other are loving acts that show each other kindness and caring, neither of us gave it enough effort. Additionally speaking, my wife and I are not going to reconcile our marriage with getting chores done around the house and cuddling more on the couch at night. The reality is that without dealing with the bigger issues in the relationship, those little acts of service or non-sexual touches mean little to nothing.

With a family history of alcoholism, I've been spending a lot of time in my IC and reflection time going over my drinking behaviors over the year. I know that some in the community would say that if you've ever had a blackout moment that you are an alcoholic (believe me, I've encountered those folks through Alanon we worked with my dad and brother). My wife doesn't even believe that alcohol is an issue, because she has never seen it become an issue. All that being said, I've made a firm commitment to being sober, aside from the occasional beer/wine with family meal. I'm not going out with friends after work on Thursday/Friday afternoon. I'm not going out with anyone in the evenings on the weekends to the local scene. The scene at those place is nothing that I want and I recognize that drinking is a risk behavior for me that I only want to do in safety of the family.

This limbo situation is certainly very tough. I've turned myself over to my spiritual relationship with God and been focusing on my IC and the work that he has given me. I had two sessions of IC this week as we touched on a nerve with regards to my infidelity and I really wanted to get to the bottom of things. Last night, I asked my wife to talk and I told her about the three themes that are clear about myself that lead me to being susceptible to cheating and ultimately what lead me to my AP and kept me coming back for more. I now have tangible things that I understand about myself that I didn't before and a plan of how I'm going to work on bettering myself in those areas for the benefit of myself as a person, father and husband. I noticed a change in my wife's body language, her facial expression was almost a smile and even her tone for the 15-20 minutes after this. This is far from over, I'm really in my eyes just beginning to scratch the surface, but I'm not longer terrified that I will relapse, as I know the things I've implemented are going to keep me on the right path.

My wife and I talked late into the evening last night and while she has been pretty reserved and pulled back, she revealed additional resentments from our marriage to me. I could have gotten mad or defensive, and believe me, my instinct was to challenge them, but I recognize that she is 100% right. I've been a pretty crappy dad to our son, and that has really eaten her up for years. She has never told me she felt that way until yesterday. She also revealed that seeing us connect over the last two months has warmed her heart, and she hopes that our bond grows stronger. She sees changes that I've made, and they are only the beginning, because my past is my past, and I'm resolved to leave that guy in the dust.

I am still working on the IC and will continue, because for whatever reason during a 10 year marriage I was asleep and not actively involved in our relationship. In turn, my wife seeing my distance and disconnect found a way to disconnect herself and meet her needs outside of our relationship.

As we talked deep into the night, she remained firm that she is at this time not interested in trying to work on our marriage. Of course it hurts, but I understand it and most importantly understand that it is my fault she feels that way. She has nevertheless given me an incredible gift, a chance to at the very least have a fresh start with our son. This relationship with him will only grow stronger, because she has taken a job that requires me to watch him some evenings a week and weekends, so by default I have to step up as a parent and I truly feel ready for the challenge.

So yes, the limbo is awful. I hate this feeling of our relationship being in a holding pattern. We aren't reconciling or even working on anything about our relationship and she has said she is leaning towards divorce, but we aren't careening towards that either (not that I want a divorce). I cannot control her at all, which is probably one of silliest revelations that I've had in this whole process. I had deluded myself into thinking that I could will her to do something in our relationship and not only was that never true, it was manipulative and hurtful to her along the way.

I can only work on myself, as she has a front row seat to everything (separated in different bedrooms) and hope that over time she will see my commitment to myself and our son as something that she can trust and ultimately reconsider giving me a shot again.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 1/25/2020 09:41 AM

If I understand the nuance correctly, since your betrayals were simultaneous, you’re not a MH. I understand a MH as one who RESPONDS to discovery by searching for an external relationship to cope with the mindf&#k of DDay.

JBWD, this interpretation is actually incorrect. IHatePickingName has it right that being a madhatter is when you are both a betrayed spouse and a wayward spouse in the same marriage. It does not matter what circumstances that it has occurred, be it a revenge affair or at different points in the marriage.

JBWD posted 1/25/2020 11:16 AM

Gotcha WOES, thank you.

Bor9455 posted 1/30/2020 20:14 PM

So we are currently living through an in-house separation now going on a month. It is certainly the strangest time of my life and one in which I’m unsure how to operate. I’ve been supportive of my BS and listening to her needs and supporting them. I know that is important to her as she out of the blue thanked me via text for really working hard to listen and try and understand everything she is going through.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been in IC in the last few sessions that were intense, we were able to dive into my past and personal reasons for the affair. Sitting Dian with my BS and giving her those answers was something that I saw elicit s change in her posture and body language. Even her tone was markedly different for the next few days.

Here we sit on a limbo situation. She says that she wants no part of R and that she thinks she wants a Divorce a few weeks ago, but hasn’t mentioned that word in awhile. I get the mixed signals from her. After we took our son out for dinner and a drink or two with some of her friends, she stayed out with them while I took our son home to get him to bed. About an hour later, she texts me and invited me to join up with her and her friends for drinks. I went out with them and we stayed out until very late. She ended up getting drunk and a little sassy mouthed towards me, but I’ve been working hard at not reacting to these little flare ups.

So the next night, she had planned to have folks over, but with her late night and hangover, they agreed to go to a friends nearby apartment to play cards, smoke hookah and relax. Once again, she invited me to come with and I had a few drinks. It was a nice night out, my first in the few months since she asked to end our pseudo R. She had been avoidant of all physical contact and since late last week she hasn’t been quite the same on that front. I’ve mostly been leaving her alone too.

Seen quite a shift in her as of yet, but still unsure if that means we have any chance of possible R. I’ve been working quite hard in IC and I’ve also been taking a hard look at the relato who I’ve had with our son. Been spending a lot more time with him and the family in the evenings. So at the very least being a better dad, man and husband is something I will take of this goes to R.

I don’t know what to make of this limbo situation. She doesn’t want to work on things at all, but sometimes what she says seems like coded language and she talks about “dating her” before jumping back into the deep end. That is what she claims she said to our MC in September. I reached out to him
And at no point did she say that in Which him or I remember (he took detailed notes of our sessions). So here I sit just going to keep focusing on me and our son, but I am hopeful that we can eventually see our way to an actual attempt at R. It’s hard to see what could happen at this point.

Zugzwang posted 2/1/2020 09:24 AM

Have you addressed the real whys to cheating for yourself? Other than just focusing on the marriage or using the marriage as the catalyst? From reading it just seems like you two white-knuckled and put a band-aid on yet never cleaned the wound. Which would be the characters involved in the marriage.

Why did you cheat?

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