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It's been about 4 months. It's going "well".

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ChamomileTea posted 9/17/2020 11:37 AM

What am I supposed to be doing? What does a reconciled marriage look like?

I've been in R for over five years, and at four months out, I was about where you are now. 180 isn't necessary unless you're dealing with a recalcitrant WS. Extra "space" won't stop the drumbeat of rumination going on in your head. You should still be giving good consideration to self-care, making sure you're eating, sleeping, avoiding alcohol, etc. When you're sure the cheating is over, the lines of communication with your WW should be fully open. You should be working very hard to accept that none of this was your fault and that you didn't have any control over it.

Optimally, both you and your WW should have your own IC. She should be working on her broken character, and you should be working on overcoming the trauma you've experienced, so your IC should be trained in infidelity and trauma. Look for one who is capable of doing EMDR with you (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). This will help manage your worst triggers. For BOTH therapists, the litmus test at hire is "Do you believe that cheating is a character problem or a marital problem?" Go with the ones who tell you quickly that it's about character. You want to avoid "unmet needs" therapists because that model of therapy is a bunch of hogwash which tries to make us responsible for other people's choices. Read together through a copy of What Makes Love Last; How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman.

You're still early days. You're going to feel wobbly for a long time, and that's just part of the process. There are basically four choices after an infidelity is revealed:
1) Reconciliation
2) Trying for Reconciliation
3) Trying for Divorce
4) Divorce
You're at #2 Trying for R, and it's okay if you plant your feet in that space and make it your own. It's okay for you to continue working on connection with your WS, with one caveat... she needs to be working very hard on repairing what's broken in her character which allowed her to say "yes" to cheating. Rome wasn't built in a day and she doesn't have to be perfect, but she does have to be working and making progress. Remember that choosing where you stand today doesn't mean forever. You might change your mind, you might not. For right now, you're just owning your space and working the problem in front of you. Life is fluid, not static, and TIME changes our perspective and thus our decisions. You're doing fine.

sisoon posted 9/17/2020 15:46 PM

I get the feeling from a lot of posts on this board, and it's understandable, that some assume only the words being written are the entire story.
You're right. We all can make that mistake.

I am basically looking for help to save this marriage, not to kill it.
You can't save your M alone. R requires work from you, but it requires even more work from your W, who has to change herself from cheater to good partner.

R takes 2. You cannot change your W - either she is or will become a good candidate for R or she won't. You get to choose how long you will wait, but she gets to choose to work for R, not work for R, or pretend to work for R.

Give up trying to control the outcome. Go for the best outcome you can get - that may be D.

3 years from now will be about the time you find yourself in what is called the "Plane of Lethal Flatness".
Sure, if one or both of you don't do your work. In fact, if you find yourself feeling flat for a long period of time, one or both of you aren't doing your work. At that point, you can get going on R or on D.

This suggests that there is no reconciliation, is that what you are saying?
R = M, IMO. Part of M, and part of R, is doing things for each other, evoking good feelings and pleasure, lots of pleasure, I hope.

But life also calls for resolving issues, and that's a giant part of R. The issues can be trivial - peas of string beans for dinner - and some are not.

You have to deal with the fact that R pretty much requires you to let your W get away with her A. That's actually a mixed bag, if your W is a good candidate for R. I know my W got more than a little pleasure from her sick relationship, but she also has to deal with the fact that she got that pleasure by failing as a human being and as a professional.

But she had sex with more people after we got married than I did, and I like sex.

My resolution is that I chose to honor my vows, and she didn't. I had many chances to cheat; I chose not to. In retrospect, I'm still happy I chose not to. That's not a character flaw.

Some people refuse to accept their WSes' As. That's not a character flaw, either. And it's not a character flaw if it takes you a long time to figure out you will/will not accept the A.

Did your W use her A to attack you? Did she want to hurt you? If she did, you have to figure out how you'll deal with the attack.

Do you feel she somehow emasculated you. I did - and I looked down, saw I was still whole, and then realized everything worked on d-day the way it did before d-day. I was able to deal with 'emasculation' easily. But how will you deal with it, if you get the thought?

Do you have requirements for R? What are they? Has your W signed on? Will she satisfy them? How's she doing?

If you don't have observable requirements for R, how will you know if you're on track or not?

What's your vision of your M? What's your W's? Are there conflicts? Can you resolve the conflicts? Do you even want to do the work needed to resolve the conflicts?

How sexually compatible are you? HB is one thing, but it usually ends. To R, you need to surface conflicts and resolve them. Sex is often hard to bring up.

Etc., etc., etc.

IOW, you report bonding with pleasure and service to each other. That's the relatively easy part of R.

Just keep yourself aware that R also has some very hard parts.

Oh - yeah - I don;t want to discourage you. R can be beyond rewarding.

src9043 posted 9/17/2020 19:33 PM

Sounds like she had an 18-month affair with the son of her girlfriend. If that is correct, that borders on perversion. Sounds like it stopped because they got sloppy. I could maybe see one or two times hooking up then realizing the idiocy of the whole thing, but 18 months and evidently it would have continued but for the fact she was busted. I am a BS and was gaslighted and cheated upon during most of my 10-year marriage. I have a very low tolerance for any shenanigans in marriage at this point. I had such contempt for my ex-wife during much of the marriage, it was easy to pull the plug. I may not be the right person to give you advice, but you are asking yourself to swallow a hell of a lot. I know what I would do, but you will have to figure it out for yourself. It won't be easy. It is something you will never forget and it will leave a scar. If it is too big you will be miserable. I wish you the best. Take care of yourself and chidren if you have any. You owe her nothing. One last point. Are you certain she never cheated on you before?

[This message edited by src9043 at 7:41 PM, September 17th (Thursday)]

The1stWife posted 9/18/2020 08:30 AM

Time is your best ally here. You wonít feel the same in 4 months from now if your wife continues to be doing everything she can to make amends.

Healing is a long slow process unfortunately. Everyone heals at a different rate.

You need to process all the stages ó anger, grief, resentment etc to fully heal. I felt at times I should D my H Because my anger was at its peak.

But my H understood it all and stuck by me. Your cheating spouse can only help you heal so much and the rest is on you. Just like a broken bone - if you donít go to the doctor and do everything possible to help yourself ó you will not fully heal. Your broken bone will mend but maybe not in the right position and it will cause long term pain. Itís not fully healed correctly.

Have patience. At 4 months it sounds like you are making progress - albeit slow itís not a straight path.

Unsure2019 posted 9/18/2020 16:54 PM


Welcome back. I wish it were under different circumstances, but youíre for sure in the right place. I remember your first thread very well, and now pieced together with this thread, I have some comments and thoughts for you.

If I remember right, when you initially confronted your WW, she gave you the ILYBINILWY speech and then left for the night. The next morning she texted you and said she was a POS and she wanted to save the M. Fast forward to this thread. Your WW and OM decided to set up a bogus OM and then obviously lied to you about it for a period of time. Youíve never said, but it doesnít appear you ever got to the bottom of either of these events. So what happened that first night? Thereís a good chance that OM wasnít ready to go all in and all of a sudden youíre plan B. Then when they set up a bogus OM story, they could easily have been planning to cool it for a while and then go underground. Again, it appears you were a plan B option.

You also mentioned that your WW isnít having to pay a price for her A. You havenít gone into detail about what, if any consequences youíve imposed on her. At a minimum, you should be demanding the following.

1. She should write out a very, very detailed timeline that includes how she felt about you, OM and herself at each stage of the A., and, if you can take it, details about the sexual side of the affair. I would have her read it out loud to you when itís completed. This has a way of sometimes getting it to sink in what they actually did to you and the M.

2. She should immediately get in into IC and work on digging deeply about her whyís. Itís incredibly important that the counselor she/you pick have a primary focus and experience with infidelity.

3. Have her download Linda MacDonaldís book How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair and read it and then discuss it with you.

4. She needs to get a full panel STD test, and she should be the one to set it up Ė again this drives home the point of what she actually did and who she put at risk.

If she resists any of these or keeps putting them off, she is not a good candidate for R. On the other hand, if she embraces all of these and becomes the perfect W, you still have a very long and painful journey ahead of you. Wishing the best for you.

particle posted 9/19/2020 10:01 AM

I am reading everything just so everyone knows. When I post, I am usually in a bad state of mind, I leave things out, get mixed up or just rant. So again, I hope everyone understands if some things get a bit jumbled. I also hesitated to post all the "exact" details in case it comes back to haunt me in some way.


1. I requested she do this, she did, it was painful. She had a breakdown reading it, but we got to the end.
2. She is in IC (finally). We haven't discussed her results, but she has said some things that I believe the IC is putting into her head like "mid life crisis". I am on the fence about telling her to find someone else but I did tell her that was bullshit and not an excuse or reason or a "why", she agreed. With my experience with mine, my confidence in therapists is very low.
3. I will.
4. Already done, for both of us and I've seen the results.

I did eventually get to the bottom of all events, it took more digital digging and some mental trickery but it all came out, not shared here until now. I "understand" all the extra deception.

As someone already figured out, not that I made it hard, this was a particular known young person, the person was a virgin at the time, totally legal age and adult (not at all pedo like), just an older virgin than average. One of the obvious reasons for the sham OM was this. His mother and I had some conversations about this entire ordeal. So STD's are not really a concern, although I still plan to have them done again in a few months.

His mother is not at all pleased and has made it her mission to get "revenge" whatever that means. So she tells me everything. If he leaves the house, she texts me. Weird huh? Apparently he's got a girlfriend now, his mom knows her, she comes over, is in "love" with her yadda yadda and again I have my wife tracked to the nines, so there is absolutely no possible way, other than burner phones they could be in contact. His mother even checks the phone records to see if they call each other at her work. I am not at all concerned that they will ever see each other again. But there are ways...

The kicker, she also put a tracker in HIS car and she said she will contact me if he ever goes into the city where she works during a weekday. (lol, she's mad)

For what it's worth, she does things now that she used to do. She gets "pretty" for me, dresses up, she has dumped all the oversized lazy shirts, thrown out and bought new underwear and clothes, rubs and scratches my back, runs her fingers through my hair. She's affectionate without provocation and it feels organic. I am not saying these things are absolute signs or anything but I feel "loved" as much as I can right now. It could be an act, I am clearly not as capable of determining deception as I thought I was, but still.

My issue is that I feel she is doing everything right but I am still (and I understand this will happen for a long long time) having severe and painful episodes. My goal in posting here was just to find out how long this might last if everything continues as it is and nothing else happens and if it is truly possible for me to be happy again. Has anyone truly reconciled?

I just want to reiterate that I am not blind, I am not pretending, I understand 100% my wife has severe character flaws I either ignored or couldn't see. She is not the person I married.

My backstory also plays into my desire to make this work regardless. My mother did the same thing to my father (me at 9) and kicked him out only to have anther man move in a week later. He was abusive and controlling where I believed my father to be superman. This created an intense hatred for my mother that persisted until she passed. I left at a young age and fended for myself way before any child should ever have to and it led to a tough life. I have sons, I do not want them to live their lives as I did mine in any capacity. It wasn't healthy. My oldest knows, he doesn't know any details at all but he knows what she did, it is affecting him. We talk all the time, he is such a great young man. He is an adult, the other is close, and doesn't know, so sticking this out a bit longer to see where it goes is where I am at right now. My children and their happiness and stability mean more to me than anything.

Just being able to write things down and have caring people respond also helps tremendously.

longsadstory1952 posted 9/19/2020 11:11 AM

Please hear me and absorb what I am going to tell you.

You need to get legal advice. The way you describe your wifeís seduction of a virgin youngster still living at home, and the promises of revenge screams a potential civil action for invasion of family privacy and infliction of emotional distress. And seduction is a tort in many states.

Your homeowners insurance will not cover intentional misconduct.

You have to know that the young mans psyche will have been permanently affected.

Your wife did not have an affair in any accepted sense. Iím not sure what you call it, but it can certainly be portrayed as abuse of an innocent by a scheming cold eyed vamp.

So please, take this seriously.

ETA. The statute of limitations is 2 years or more, and moving will not protect you. And if there is any hint of the guy being developmentally or emotionally disabled before the ďaffairĒ she may have criminal exposure. And finally, depending on how much the mom wants to push it, adultery and fornication is still a crime in most states. Iím sure you get it.

[This message edited by longsadstory1952 at 11:18 AM, September 19th (Saturday)]

Oldwounds posted 9/19/2020 11:49 AM

My goal in posting here was just to find out how long this might last if everything continues as it is and nothing else happens and if it is truly possible for me to be happy again. Has anyone truly reconciled?

It can sound trite this early in, but yes, you can truly be happy again. But, as it is with all other aspects of life, your happiness is on you. It does take the dreaded 2-5 years to recover from the trauma of infidelityó but those first steps are important.

It sounds like youíre on your way to understanding the marriage isnít to blame, and youíre not to blame. However, it still takes a long time to fully realize that. Lotís of second guessing as you learn to trust yourself again.

When you get to that moment, when you get your swagger back ó the moment you know youíre good with or without this relationship ó is when the truly happy can happen.

As to ďtruly reconciledĒ ó thatís a different deal.

Thatís the part that takes two people being all in. And you canít be all in until you get your feet back underneath you, and start to heal yourself enough to know what you want.

At that point, it takes some hard evidence that your WS is doing the work to be a better, safer partner, who doesnít need the validation of others and wants to be all in on the marriage.

I wish there were short cuts. I wish it didnít take so long to heal. Wishing doesnít work either.

I can tell you Iím happier than Iíve been in decades. My marriage is far stronger than it was. All that is despite the horror show of infidelity. I would have preferred far different circumstances to get here, but that isnít how life works.

Itís still early on, but youíll find your way. You will. We all do at some point.

Unsure2019 posted 9/19/2020 14:08 PM


Thanks for clarifying your story and telling the steps youíve taken. Youíve done a great job and are ahead of a lot of BSes that initially come here.

Just remember going forward that granting your WW R is a gift. Do not rush into it until her actions show that she is all in and can be a safe partner for you. Stay strong and know that this will be a long process. It can has a good ending if you both are willing to do the work.

ChamomileTea posted 9/19/2020 14:59 PM

2. She is in IC (finally). We haven't discussed her results, but she has said some things that I believe the IC is putting into her head like "mid life crisis". I am on the fence about telling her to find someone else but I did tell her that was bullshit and not an excuse or reason or a "why", she agreed. With my experience with mine, my confidence in therapists is very low.

You have a vested interest in what kind of progress she makes in therapy, so yeah.. I'd say get off the fence and insist on discussion, and if you feel like this therapist is barking up the wrong tree, get the HIPAA signed and talk to him/her. I'm not a licensed therapist but I can tell you plainly that "midlife crisis" isn't a good enough answer. Lots of people get into a midlife funk, some even act out it, some cheat. But what your WW did seems like a much deeper malfunction. Not only did she transgress against you, but against her friend, and against the typical instincts of mothers. More like some kind of a Mrs. Robinson type thing. There are elements of control and possibly even hyper-sexuality. That kind of thing can track back to earlier sexual abuse or social rejections in the formative years, or who knows what. It's not typical affair behavior though.

I would recommend that you have her dig deeper. Obviously, she needs to work on her character (core values + boundaries), but when grown women go after inexperienced youngsters, there's probably something that needs to be rooted out in psychotherapy. You can't R with a sick person. R requires two healthy partners.

outofsorts posted 9/19/2020 16:06 PM

My issue is that I feel she is doing everything right but I am still (and I understand this will happen for a long long time) having severe and painful episodes. My goal in posting here was just to find out how long this might last if everything continues as it is and nothing else happens and if it is truly possible for me to be happy again.

This is basically my situation. At around 8 months out I remember saying in MC "I feel like everything is going as well as it possibly could and yet it's still terrible."

I'm 19 months out now and doing so much better than I was and our relationship is healing as well. There are so many ups and downs. But more ups and fewer downs as time passes. The past month or two in particular I feel like I am making really great progress. Still sucks though.

I don't feel healed yet but I feel better and I feel optimistic.

R or D if you keep working on healing you will get there eventually. It's not a fun journey but it does get easier.

fiestyredhead posted 9/19/2020 17:16 PM

Your story sounds almost exactly what we have been going through. Now we are a year out...I still have the Mind movies a few times a day but I am able to control my anxiety by thinking about how remorseful my DH is.
I screamed at him the entire first four months :( Now we are able to sit down and talk about the affair and how it has affected our lives.
At four months, I was still in the bed about 16 hours a day and gained 40 lbs. Now we are all on a eating plan and going to the gym together.
Our marriage is AMAZING now! The sex is mind blowing, conversations continue throughout the day, every day. He calls me "my love" with practically every sentence. Cries when I cry...basically the husband I always wanted.
Now I still have bad days but they are MUCH less frequent.
We have been married 24 years and I would marry him again even after all of this. He is my lifetime love. You are not have offered the dear gift of forgiveness and it is being reciprocated. Don't question the good stuff.
And give it are on the right path.

HopefulTelephone posted 9/21/2020 01:11 AM

This is blatant predatory behavior and it disturbs me to no end that only a couple of people have actually picked up on that.

particle posted 9/21/2020 04:24 AM

A couple of you are reading this the wrong way.

Virgin doesn't mean little boy, nor does it mean developmentally disabled. An upset mother does not mean a little boy. The OM in question is a fully functioning and legal adult who just happens to be living at home. The mother is upset over not seeing it, being conned and betrayed, just like me. That is all. Please stop with the legal and "disturbing" stuff.

ChamomileTea posted 9/21/2020 12:32 PM

Legal can be as young as 18, and if your WW has been "best friends" with this woman for 21 years, she would have most likely known this OM since he was indeed a child. Strictly legal doesn't mean she shouldn't have had some moral conflict with that.

Your concern in this particular thread isn't about that, I get it. But part of learning to be secure with a WS again is feeling like they are willing and able to remediate what went wrong in their character which allowed them to cheat. You have to know they get it and that they've made real and lasting changes. Otherwise, you're stuck in those feelings of insecurity and limbo. Your WW can't just look at this like a garden-variety affair and blame it on "midlife crisis". She broke boundaries with you, with her friend, and with a maternal brand of empathy which should have been there and should have stopped her cold. Where was that empathy? THAT's what the psychotherapy should determine and hopefully remediate.

The midlife crisis excuse is going to deal with her self-esteem or lack thereof. And sure, lots of people cheat in the midlife. But where did your WW's empathy go? My WS had managed to eliminate his empathy for me, and truly that just goes with the mental gymnastics they utilize to give themselves permission to cheat. But he had 30 years of unresolved resentments and whatnot to build his excuses with. There's typically a certain amount of demonization going on in order to chain a WS's conscience. What could your WW's best friend have possibly done to give her enough fodder for the pretzel logic required of having a sexual affair with her son for 18 months? Where did she stash the maternal empathy which should have stopped her?

You DO have some say about whether you believe your WW's treatment plan is getting the job done. It's not enough for her to go to therapy if she's not making real progress, working on hard questions, and doing the painfully humbling introspective work she needs to do. You need to know where she went wrong and what she's doing to correct it.

EllieKMAS posted 9/21/2020 12:56 PM

My issue is that I feel she is doing everything right but I am still (and I understand this will happen for a long long time) having severe and painful episodes. My goal in posting here was just to find out how long this might last if everything continues as it is and nothing else happens and if it is truly possible for me to be happy again.
You're 3-4 months out. The rollercoaster of 'severe and painful episodes' will be going on for a while. This does not imply there is anything wrong with you - infidelity is unfathomably traumatizing. Those episodes are just your brain grappling with itself to make sense of everything.

As far as how long it takes.... It takes however long it takes. I know that's a very unsatisfying answer, but it's the truth. SI regularly touts the 2-5 years. I am rollin up on 2 years since dday1, been D'd for almost a year, and I STILL have days that I struggle. Far fewer bad days than I had 4 months in, but still there. But it is possible to be happy again. The more you work on your own healing, the more you take back your control of your own happiness. That's a process too, so be kind to yourself about it.

Ultimately too, the A may just be a deal-breaker for you. It doesn't matter how 'right' she might be doing anything, that trust might not come back and that is okay. And it's okay if it takes time for you to figure all that out.

As far as her AP goes. I get that he was of legal age and not disabled, but the fact that this is a person she has known since birth... that is disturbing to me. I don't blame the AP's mom for being wigged out about it.

There's typically a certain amount of demonization going on in order to chain a WS's conscience. What could your WW's best friend have possibly done to give her enough fodder for the pretzel logic required of having a sexual affair with her son for 18 months? Where did she stash the maternal empathy which should have stopped her?
What CT said. There's something particularly sordid in this situation. Just my 0.02.

particle posted 9/21/2020 14:30 PM

I am fully cognizant and aware of the sordid nature.

I do not want to defend her at all, however, the person involved was not in the same household for the majority of his life. It is not a literal "watched him grow up" kind of thing. If it were, well that would have been beyond salvaging and disturbing. Best friends also does not mean they hung out every day. It wasn't that. I HATE that I feel like I have to defend this indefensible action. Please drop this aspect of it, please...

Like I mentioned before, some details are slightly changed to keep this from blowing back on me in any way. We're also slightly different ages than I originally mentioned in my original post, again, for privacy concerns. I have giving more of a general feel of the exact details.

I really appreciate all the words and the help but let's keep it on track, for me and about me, as much as possible.

longsadstory1952 posted 9/22/2020 09:07 AM

Ok. Then go back to my first post. It seems like both of you are floundering about looking for explanations.

The first issue is whether you can somehow live with this. Itís too early to be definite but you are going to prolong getting to this central question if you are not in individual counseling. Find someone better but just do it.

Do you feel she is getting to her issues? Or is she acting the role of the good spouse. As I said early on, that is not going to last. If she is not in intense therapy than nothing will be resolved. Itís good that she is showing some level of remorse but her behavior so far is that of a person who is mortified that she has been caught in admittedly reprehensible acts. She has a lot to make up for beyond what is normally seen here. So is she doing this on her own or are you having to push her?

Moving could be a good thing in that it will let the steam bleed from the pressure cooker, but as she throws herself into her new life far away from the mess she made, you are going to be looking for some sign that she is fixing herself. If she is not doing what you need there will be much resentment.

So do what you can before the move to begin getting to some level of understanding.

ETA. As others have pointed out a midlife crisis will not do as to the why. Head this off now. There is something else going on here, based upon deep issues. Do you have a clue what they might be?

[This message edited by longsadstory1952 at 9:17 AM, September 22nd (Tuesday)]

Unsure2019 posted 9/22/2020 13:06 PM


Just a couple of thoughts for you. When a post or suggestion resonates with you, youíll most likely see a number of similar posts. There are always going to be posts that are either out of bounds or are an outlier. Youíll see it many times here Ė ďJust take what you need and leave the rest.:Ē

Also, there are two older threads that come to mind that are just excellent examples of WWís who were/are doing the work.

The first is from Walloped. He has two long threads, but it be worth your time to just read his posts for some great insight on what a WW should be doing. Below is a link to both of those threads. Mrs. Walloped also had a thread on here that discussed in detail what she was doing. I donít have the link to her thread, but if youíre interested, someone here could probably get it for you. They both post on here from time to time, and have very valuable insight.

Just to put it in perspective, if I remember right, even after three or four years, while having made huge progress, Walloped felt he still wasnít fully Red. Just a reminder that if you choose R, it's going to be long road back for both of you.

The other Thread is from Beyond Rage. Again, I donít have that link, but if you ask for help, you could probably get it too. Both Beyond Rage and his WW were almost text book in how they dealt with it.

Good luck and stay strong.

Hippo16 posted 9/22/2020 17:50 PM


Read over your threads - wondering if anyone suggested your wife read "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass - thinking that may be how this mess started.

then it happened - well - your wife has some development issues with what would be termed "good morals" - that aside from all the self (SAHM?) justification.

another read -

How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair
by Linda McDonald

you should read them also

perspective on the trip you are working on with making your marriage survive:

You are on the Serengeti Plain and are intent on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Problem is you can't see Mt. Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti. You have a long hike and when you finally trek the 400 kilometers you will be standing at the foot of an almost 5900 meters high mountain. After a couple hundred kilometers of trekking you will start to see the mountain in the far distance.

So, the intent is easy to state - doing so will be a very arduous accomplishment requiring a lot of patience, resources, and time. Along the way a lot of things will become necessary for which you may have not been prepared to pay for or do.

Good Luck on your trip.

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