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When to walk away, or forgive.

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WastedTime12 posted 2/4/2020 19:53 PM

I gotta chime in here, the cheating is on your wife, the drinking is on you. You do need to know what really happened if you want to build trust but I absolutely agree that you were having an affair with the bottle for nine years. You were giving your attention and time to it, not to the family so your wife, if she had better coping skills, should have divorced you (not had an affair). Only you can answer if you want to try to reconcile. I will say it is very hard living with an alcoholic and nine years is a long time. I only lasted five years.
The alcohol and the affair are separate issues that would need to be worked through and it would take time and hard work from both of y’all. The question is, is the marriage something you both are willing to work on and can you both work on fixing yourselves at the same time.

Good luck either way

Beachwalker posted 2/4/2020 20:34 PM

Evertrying and I have a similar story. My D-day was 9-10-17, just 9 days after hers. We are also 2 years and 4 months past D-day and we are NOT closer than ever. My WS has not yet totally owned what she has done. She is still playing the victim card, and now that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer that card has become her favorite to play.

Someone else posted a comment (I wish I could remember who to give them credit) that really hit home with me. Paraphrasing, they said that the problem isn’t confined to being able to forgive that WS, but to be able to live with the person who inflicted all this pain and trauma upon you, and live with them for the rest of your life. That was something that hadn’t occurred to me.

The BW of my WW’s favorite AP is working it out with her H, and she said they, like Evertrying and her H, are working it out and are closer than ever. As you have read, some have said they would just burn all the wagons and ride the horses back to town. Had I realized this about my wife when we were newly married with no kids (and been smarter), I would have done the same thing. But the pool isn’t so clear when you have kids and many years of memories swimming around in the matter.

I think you need to take time to let your brain settle down before making your final decision. As others have said, there’s no reason to hurry – time is on your side, not hers. When you feel you have weighed all the information (Do you have all the information you want/need? Is your spouse truly remorseful and working very hard to find the root cause of why she gave herself permission to violate her marriage promise? Has she been transparent in every aspect? And the list goes on….), decide what to do and put it into motion. This is a very important decision, so make it wisely.

FuglyUnicorn posted 2/5/2020 15:16 PM

My wife is walking around the house acting as if everything is completely normal. I wish there was a method of kicking her ass to the curb that would not impact the kids

sorryforeverythi posted 2/5/2020 15:37 PM

Sadly there isn't. But divorce would do it. The kids are now in a toxic environment.

That doesn't bode well for their future.

If you are doing all of this for them either forgive her and forget it happened or divorce her and get your kids into a space were the toxicity is gone then they can start healing.

[This message edited by sorryforeverythi at 3:37 PM, February 5th (Wednesday)]

SaddestDad posted 2/5/2020 15:38 PM

My wife is walking around the house acting as if everything is completely normal. I wish there was a method of kicking her ass to the curb that would not impact the kids

Such a mentality this soon out before the rage stage... don't waste each others' time by trying to"get over it" for the sake of preventing pain from the kids.

Them seeing you get enraged, potentially fall off the wagon & having vindictiveness in each direction will cause more unknown pain for everyone involved.

Are either of the two of you emotionally capable to provide a nurturing environment for your children - together and/or solo?

Thumos posted 2/5/2020 16:06 PM

You have summarized your thinking very well and your gut instincts thus far have not led you astray. Continue listening to your gut. I will say that this …

For the other folks, how did you find the courage to forgive and continue the relationship whether they earned it or not?

Is a false dichotomy -- to think you have to forgive and stay. It's not an either/or proposition. You can forgive and stay or forgive and divorce. It's a cliché, but forgiveness is for you, not her.

So you don't have to and should not link or couple or yolk "forgiveness" to staying

Also, do not put pressure on yourself to "forgive" -- especially this early. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on betrayed spouses to forgive, forgive, forgive. All of this when you've suddenly, without any prelude or warning, been thrust into one of the worst crises and worst traumas you'll ever face in your entire life.

One thing I've learned is that forgiveness, for most people, especially if you've been betrayed, is a process -- not a sudden dramatic Hollywood epiphany. Forgiveness will take time, and may in fact come more easily if you are not with her.

I'm not suggesting you either R or D. You'll need to take time for yourself to really examine and decide these things.

Gently, I will say you are being given the classic "bag of tricks" WW's and WH's tend to deploy. You've had trickle truth and minimization and now your WW suddenly wants to "reconcile" with you after she blew you off for months and had a physical relationship with another man under your nose and in spite of your objections to her inappropriate behavior. I agree with others here - you were her plan B. When Plan A fell apart, she came running back to you.

I can also tell you I'm 3 years out from D-Day -- with "only one" alleged instance of sex by my WW -- and this shit doesn't get a lot better very quickly. The trauma lasts for years. Years. The anger comes and goes and grows white hot and icy cold at intermittent periods. The grief is profound. The confusion, sadness, depression, isolation, feelings of emasculation will drive you to your knees. And in the midst of all of that you've got a WW who will pressure you to "forgive" and embrace a new life with her. It will be f'ing hard. Harder than probably many things you've ever done.

Thumos posted 2/5/2020 16:11 PM

they said that the problem isn’t confined to being able to forgive that WS, but to be able to live with the person who inflicted all this pain and trauma upon you, and live with them for the rest of your life.

This right here. I always say you are not obligated to shackle yourself to the source of your pain.

I am at year 3 and it has taken me a good amount of time to process everything that has happened to me. But I am very close to simply wanting to be done.

EllieKMAS posted 2/5/2020 16:33 PM

OK I'll flip this around. From what you posted in your first post:

I was a neglectful partner and shitty father of our 2 girls (now 3 and 11). My longest periods of sobriety were 3 months at a time. My last slip, I had my epiphany how bad I was hurting my family. If I wanted to truly tell them I was sorry, I would show it to them by not drinking again. I have since put 105% effort into identifying triggers, and channeling through healthy outlets. This sobriety is so very rewarding at this stage as I see not only emotional, but physical benefits.
So you 1) recognized that your behavior was having a negative impact on others (causing hurt), 2) recognized that saying sorry was not enough - you needed to SHOW you were sorry through your actions, 3) are working on developing healthy coping skills and mechanisms so you don't fall back on your unhealthy ones. In other words - you are behaving like a sane and rational adult! Taking accountability for yourself and responsibility for your behaviors.

Look no one here can tell you when YOU say when in your situation - that part is up to you. But I will echo what Thumos said - forgiveness really doesn't have anything to do with your ww after all is said and done. Forgiveness is for YOU. Whether you stay or go, there are going to be ramifications for you and your WW and your kids though. That really can't be helped.

IMHO, you should consider working a program or exploring some addiction counseling for yourself so that you can get some good IRL support in your corner during this time. SI is great and you will often find support here, but nothing beat having a real buddy to talk to.

Lionne posted 2/5/2020 17:11 PM

There are an awful lot of excellent and sometimes contradictory posts in this thread. I hope you can sift through and take the advice that best suits you.
One thing that your story screamed to me is the phrase "addiction is a family disease." She is profoundly damaged by your addiction and continued to be affected by your recovery work that probably takes you to meetings, therapy, etc. or at least takes you into your own head as you process new ways of thinking. She may be lonely, traumatized, confused.
Medicating her pain by cheating is not acceptable. It's wrong, it's damaging to the whole family, it's never justified. It may explain some of her "whys" the identification of which are necessary for her.
You had no justification for excessive drinking that caused you to disengage, to love that substance more than your kids, your wife, yourself.
Family therapy is needed here. Along with individual therapy.
Reconciliation is always possible. Hard work that takes a long time and needs to look at the whole picture.
Don't let yourself blame your addiction on her behavior, or your childhood or career. Don't let her blame her cheating on you and your drinking. You both made shitty choices.

Booyah posted 2/5/2020 17:46 PM

"I wish there was a way to kick her to the curb without impacting the kids".

How about this.

You divorce her with a caveat. After the divorce the two of you can date and if you feel like over time she's truly remorseful and you also have the facts you'll entertain remarrying her.

Freeme posted 2/6/2020 04:31 AM

It sounds like you are in a kind of limbo. You aren't able to forgive because you don't know the extent of what you are forgiving. Other posters have rewritten the letter at the link below to suit their own needs. Joseph's Letter - https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/healing_library/confrontation/joseph.asp

What she needs to understand is that if you try to reconcile and work on building back trust and find out their is more it will feel like a whole new Dday. All trust will be gone and it will kill any further chance of reconcile.

Lot's of times the WW believes that if they are "good" going forward they will rebuild that trust. They don't realize that past omissions/or lies kill that trust also.

Good luck

Newlifeisgreat posted 2/6/2020 05:40 AM

Booyah nailed it!

KingofNothing posted 2/6/2020 11:43 AM


Such a mentality this soon out before the rage stage... don't waste each others' time by trying to"get over it" for the sake of preventing pain from the kids.

He's right. You only think you are angry now. Pretty soon, it's going to kick in just how betrayed you were and your anger will be all consuming. Brother, I have been there. Many of us have. Do not waste that manic energy on explosions and throwing things. Learn the trick of focusing the energy on something useful, like interviewing a good attorney.

FuglyUnicorn posted 2/6/2020 14:52 PM

We had been seeing a counselor since September. Granted, she was not fully honest with the counselor until Monday, when we talked about the sexual encounter. Prior to that, he was just "someone that exhibited signs of liking her".

As for no remorse being shown, things had changed since the other night. Talking with our counselor this morning, I can see that her emotional queues and mine are not on the same wave length. We are going to up our sessions to twice a week and recap how everything is looking in a month or so.

I have been listening to a lot of vidoes of affair survivor on youtube. I have to say that a lot of it is very comforting and makes a lot of sense in the midst of all the confusion that I feel.

I especially like the video talking about taking the recovery process prior to a decision process in layers. This not only lets me process what I am feeling, but gives the unfaithful time to learn from the overall process of what they were lacking, what they had sought, and other mistakes which had been made. All in all, it lets me learn more about myself and process my feelings. This also will make it easier to come to a decision based upon if she has any real remorse.

Westway posted 2/6/2020 15:55 PM

She's lying. Plain and simple. Counseling is a waste of time when you have an unrepentant cheater. Take the money you are spending on the counselor and tell your WW you are setting up a polygraph for her to take. See how she responds to that.

Kintsugi posted 2/7/2020 10:55 AM

I was drinking with the fear that divorce is certain. She says that she can forgive and forget my past and is asking for another chance.

FuglyU, the drinking part of our stories are very similar but minus the kids. I drank to cope with longstanding emotional pain and fear and it got worse over time. I didn't seem to have any outward consequences as I functioned seemingly through life fine, except for how it impacted my ex-WW. Her father was an alcoholic and she internalized every opening of a beer can coming to resent me for it. I can say in my situation, minus the dinking, I did try to be a good husband asking her to do things, show her affection, etc., but I often got shot down and the ever-present push-pull typical of a narcissist was always in play. There always seemed to be a wall there. In many ways I was a good partner. My drinking may have impacted her, but I was emotionally and mentally abused for years. I drank to hurt her. I drank to hurt myself. I drank to mask pain and fear. The more I drank, the more the push-pull took place, and vice-versa. In retrospect, it was pretty toxic and mentally and physically unhealthy all the way around. Writing this it sounds much worse than it was at the time because we had a lot of good times too, no different than any other couple. But I was always there for her, and supportive even with the drinking. But I did love her deeply, or at least I thought it was love. Co-dependence is a whole other discussion.

My role in the martial mess has been the hardest thing to deal with, to understand and come to terms with. In attempted R as I wrestled with the drinking issue, the WW blame shifted the drinking to minimize her infidelity. My wife being a serial cheater was my hitting bottom so I thought. She was very convincing. Her position was that she wouldn't have cheated if I hadn't been drinking. I accepted this for awhile. Readings in AA seemed to support this as well. This site taught me differently however. Fact is she cheated on every person she's been in a relationship with. WE met as part of infidelity. So, no my drinking didn't cause her infidelity she would have done it regardless; my drinking was the reason du jour and if it wasn't my drinking it would have been something else. Her former husband didn't drink at all. Deep inside of me, MY fear was she would do it to me - and she did - many many times. I learned infidelity hurt people and while clearly not perfect in the marriage, I never cheated on her. She didn't learn that lesson.

Her comparing your drinking to her infidelity is apples and oranges. If she blame shifts this, you're in for some trouble down the road and she is clearly not remorseful in doing so. It wasn't until I pushed back on this notion did R unravel to include her defensiveness coming to light as well as inability to meet some very basic criteria to try to get to tomorrow. She was too busy asking how long I would require her to take a polygraph 20 years from now, or need a tracking device on her car. Yep, her denials seem reasonable under normal circumstance, but she couldn't accept these were FAR from normal circumstances.

Good luck my friend.

[This message edited by Kintsugi at 9:19 AM, February 10th (Monday)]

DBFool2019 posted 2/7/2020 11:37 AM

Sorry you have to be here man,

December - Trainer starts dating a woman at gym that my wife knows. Wife is furious. Wife lets me know that trainer requested nude photos of her during this time frame. Wife finds new trainer. I let her know that I want to report him, but she needs to tell me what all these red flags are between the two. She claims that he is just slime ball.
January - Wife has phone-call / argument with trainer. She ends the convo, and refers to him as a lowlife at this point. She says a handful of things that leads me to believe that there was more between them, but on that same very day she tells me very intimately "I will do what it takes to earn your trust back".

At the gym that you both joined. This is rough.

Deserta posted 2/7/2020 12:24 PM

I lived with an alcoholic stepfather for many years and I caution you not to downplay the damage you have done to her for the last 9 years. Yes, she should have divorced you first and it doesn't excuse an affair.

She has had 9 years to fall out of love with you, so she's trying to make amends for her affair and try to love you again at the same time. I feel you should give a little more weight to the fact that you made her life hell for a long time. Alcoholics seldom realize the damage they have done, even after sobriety has been attained.

Tseratievig posted 2/7/2020 14:31 PM

I have been listening to a lot of vidoes of affair survivor on youtube.
Please avoid the ones hosted by Esther Perel.

FuglyUnicorn posted 2/7/2020 23:44 PM

It is such an odd thing to wake up to. The immediate thought when I wake up is please tell me that was a dream. I immediately feel the hunger in my stomach, which tells me that it is as real as the day before, and the day before. I hate it. I hate it so much, and for someone I have known my entire life it shatters me to think that they not only did it, but want to console me because they themselves had been through it before with their own partners.

I went to bed last night thinking that there was no way in hell that this is going to work. I cannot let myself become someone who is constantly checking in on someone because I cannot trust them. As I wake up this morning, I have a complete change of view on the world and think that this is something that perhaps we can get past. There shouldnt be a reason I cannot forgive my wife for a mistake. Then, the reality strikes that this was not a one time mistake, this mistake went on and in secret for almost three months, along with with the mistake of their "friendship" for the next 5 while we were in counseling.

I feel sick.

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