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Living like roommates, new red lines?

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EAPTSD posted 9/29/2020 14:30 PM

D-day was 4 years ago, and recently a couple of things sunk in:

1) Another A is waaaaay more likely than R.
2) Another A wouldnít be a dealbreaker, Iím staying for the kids and as long as we can effectively co-parent, I donít really care or respect my WW enough to care what she thinks of me romantically. Jealousy isnít something that even registers anymore, because I find myself uninterested in her affection.

This ainít the dream, but I feel better and safer detached.

I also know that thereís no such thing as a clean and healthy A, that itís a self-destructive impulse that will drag us down with her. When it does I am prepared to set and enforce hard boundaries including D, but for the moment things are mostly good.

For those also hanging on with little hope of R, what are your dealbreakers?

fooled13years posted 9/29/2020 14:47 PM

EAPTSD,
I am not sure how we might help you.

You state you have been living as roommates for the last 4 years, you believe your WW is much more likely to have another A, another A would not be a deal breaker as you are staying for the kids.

Then you says that when she does cheat then you will set boundaries and ask what the deal breaker were for other BSs.

Can you describe what you are asking so that you are not inundated with advice that does not pertain to what you are asking?

KingRat posted 9/29/2020 14:49 PM

I'm with fooled and was typing same response. I don't know how you can simultaneously be done but not done.

crazyblindsided posted 9/29/2020 15:07 PM

I was in limbo for years thinking similarly to what you are describing. I believe my STBX was most likely cheating but I no longer cared or wanted to snoop. I wasn't thriving though and often depressed. Being in limbo is not easy. What finally gave me the push I needed was how my STBX was treating me and I could no longer stay because it was affecting my mental health.

annanew posted 9/29/2020 15:30 PM

Is your WW aware that you are not reconciled and that it's not in the cards?

I think it's hard to set boundaries and dealbreakers if you are not on the same page. And dealbreakers are a bit meaningless if you haven't communicated them (within reason).

I think what you've decided is totally fine - don't get me wrong. I even think it's fine to have gone 4 years without knowing or communicated whether you wanted to R. But if you truly know you are done and are just coparenting, I do think it's important to tell your WW. If your kids still have 5 years in the house, for example, you would be living with your WW (and having sex with her?) under false pretenses for a full 5 years. That's a long time. I think her assumption will be that there is no problem, that you have reconciled. At what point does that lie become so big that you are no longer on moral highground, that's the question to ask yourself.

After you have that conversation, then you can figure out what the rules are.

EAPTSD posted 9/29/2020 15:55 PM

I was just curious if anyone else is in this sort of limbo. What I value in having my WW under the same roof wouldnít disappear if found out she was chatting with some guy for a couple hours a night after the kids go to bed, that is who I understand my WW to be even if she isnít actively doing it right now. What we had is broken and I personally donít see a big difference between not fixing it and having another EA.

I can remember feeling anxious and heartbroken about the possibility, but I just donít any more.

At the same time, I am trying to be realistic about what I expect the future to look like, and itís harder to identify what would make me leave. Neglecting our kids, lying about spending, being verbally abusive in front of the kids, those are things that would get that ball rolling.

If no one else is in this position, thatís OK too, just seeing if anyone else is there.

Darkness Falls posted 9/29/2020 16:43 PM

Iím there, but as the WS.

I think another A would cause my H to divorce (againówe already divorced after the one I had in 2009). Iím sure abuse of the kids would be a reason. Abusive of himóprobably a reason, although thatíd be pretty dumb of me since heís a man and could clock me, so.

I donít know what else his dealbreakers would be. We donít communicate, so Iíd have no way of knowing.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 4:44 PM, September 29th (Tuesday)]

EAPTSD posted 9/29/2020 17:06 PM

Is your WW aware that you are not reconciled and that it's not in the cards?

Sheís aware that I do not think she is a safe partner. R is absolutely on the table from me, I just donít think itís all that likely that she is willing to do the work and she knows I feel this way. Last round of MC was in January of this year, same defensiveness and shame spiral and promises to change that never pan out as the previous times.

having sex with her?) under false pretenses for a full 5 years

Havenít had sex for over a year, I have little to no desire for physical intimacy when there is no emotional intimacy. Iíve said as much many times. I am not interested in an unreformed cheater and I donít see change.

I canít speak for her, but my experience is that she has had a series of revelations that justify her previous lack of initiative in recovery work, only to repeat the pattern of not doing it.

It really does not come up that much these days, as I have stopped bringing it up.

OwningItNow posted 9/29/2020 17:19 PM

I recommend honesty with her, but I suppose it's not completely required. The most likely outcome is that she will find someone else at some point. It could cause a lot of drama, especially if she wants a D, so why not discuss this first?

In my experience, marriages like yours are ticking time bombs--one person doesn't want to do the work and the other knows it but won't leave. Eventually shit hits the fan, one way or the other. Plus, the kids pick up on the antagonistic vibes.

My former IC would call this the most dysfunctional and dangerous dynamic, not because of the in-house separation but because of the zero boundaries and zero consequences. Essentially you are agreeing to not care what she does without telling her, but you are open to R. Which means you absolutely do and will care what she does, so she's not free to do as she wants. It's a minefield of conflict avoidance, dishonesty, and future drama.

Go for it.
But it will probably blow up eventually. And the kids will suffer with the lack of warmth. Mine did.

BentandBroken posted 9/30/2020 09:04 AM

Gently, is this the example you want to set for your kids? You want them to think yours is a normal healthy marriage? That would be my deal breaker. What exactly do you mean when you say you're staying for the kids?

And don't you want a healthy fulfilling relationship for yourself? Again, gently, do you love yourself enough to know you deserve it? What message are you sending to your children about your worth?

Unhinged posted 9/30/2020 09:23 AM

Are you really asking us how much more shit you "should" put up with?

At some point, I suppose, you're just going to have to decide for yourself whether putting up with your wife is worth the price of seeing your kids everyday.

Butforthegrace posted 9/30/2020 09:29 AM

I reckon you've considered this, but I'd remind you that she is an independent actor. At some point it's likely she will reach a point where she no longer wishes to remain in a marriage in which she is viewed with distrust and feels unloved. At that point, she will likely divorce you.

In other words, you only control 50% of the possible divorce-related decisions.

hikingout posted 9/30/2020 09:41 AM

In my experience, marriages like yours are ticking time bombs--one person doesn't want to do the work and the other knows it but won't leave. Eventually shit hits the fan, one way or the other. Plus, the kids pick up on the antagonistic vibes.

My former IC would call this the most dysfunctional and dangerous dynamic, not because of the in-house separation but because of the zero boundaries and zero consequences. Essentially you are agreeing to not care what she does without telling her, but you are open to R. Which means you absolutely do and will care what she does, so she's not free to do as she wants. It's a minefield of conflict avoidance, dishonesty, and future drama.

I reckon you've considered this, but I'd remind you that she is an independent actor. At some point it's likely she will reach a point where she no longer wishes to remain in a marriage in which she is viewed with distrust and feels unloved. At that point, she will likely divorce you.

These pretty well summarize my thoughts as I have read what you wrote.

As the WS, I am going to say people do not change in comfort. Change is almost always precipitated by ones own desire to change.

As I read your post and replies, I have to ask myself why is she so comfortable in this situation? A year without physical intimacy in the absence of my husband being ill or unable for reasons not related to me - I don't think I would make it. It's not that I am some crazy sex fiend, but physical affection is very high on my love languages. So, I have to think - is it just low on hers. Has it always been? That is one area that would make me extremely uncomfortable and it wouldn't take a month into that before I was assessing that situation.

Then you look at the idea that your husband doesn't think you are a safe partner.

In my estimation as a WS, the reason she is married is not the reasons you want from a spouse. Is it that she can not financially support herself? What is your estimation as to why she hasn't left? She needs you for something else than the person on earth she is supposed to cherish the most, what is it?

Four years is a long time to wait for this to get better. I fear one day you will eventually find yourself divorced, relieved, and realized how much life you gave up for this.

survrus posted 9/30/2020 10:20 AM

EAPTSD,

Given that you are there for your children, I think an important one is that your WW allows you to research whatever EA or PA partner she gets involved with.

This is to vet if they are a obvious danger to your children.

Do you believe your WW is a serial cheater?

sisoon posted 9/30/2020 10:23 AM

You saying lying about money would cause you to leave. How about 'lying about anything' as a reason to leave?

What are you getting out of your life now?

Do you want to teach your kids to live life the way you do?

Do you think your kids don't realize something is off? Do you think they don't blame themselves?

I know it's difficult to change oneself, but you say you're staying for your kids, and I'm not sure I believe you.

The reason I doubt you is that you write some insightful posts about others, but you don't seem to be using your insight on yourself.

That's meant as feedback, not as criticism. My hope is that my questions and comment lead you to look inside and figure out how to thrive.

fooled13years posted 9/30/2020 11:16 AM

EAPTSD,

If no one else is in this position, thatís OK too, just seeing if anyone else is there.

I just checked and did not find it, but, there used to be a section in "I can relate" devoted to those who are in limbo.

Perhaps someone can bump that so that you can post there. You may find yourself among kindred spirits there.

crazyblindsided posted 9/30/2020 12:41 PM

Also don't be surprised if she turns around and blames you for giving up. That's how my STBX is painting the whole situation since I left.

nekonamida posted 9/30/2020 12:43 PM

EAPTSD, there are a few people who can't or won't D in a similar situation as you. DrgnHeart is one of them and her thread in General titled "Childish but felt good!" has a long discussion on it right now about doing exactly what you want to do so I'm going to give you similar advice.

First, you have to be BRUTALLY honest with yourself about the situation. I can see that you're not there yet because:

Another A wouldnít be a dealbreaker
When it does I am prepared to set and enforce hard boundaries including D

This completely contradicts itself. Either you WILL or you WON'T file for D in the event of another A. Don't threaten in order to get R. Don't bluff. Decide sooner rather than later that an A either WILL or WON'T result in papers being filed and be prepared to stand by it. If it's not a deal breaker, it's not so that means you no longer have any leverage to use when bargaining with your WW for R. If she doesn't know this, she will very quickly find it out when you threaten, she has the A anyways, and you don't file. So don't even pretend like this is a potential consequence for her unless you are dead set on making it one.

What I value in having my WW under the same roof wouldnít disappear if found out she was chatting with some guy for a couple hours a night after the kids go to bed, that is who I understand my WW to be even if she isnít actively doing it right now.

I want you to notice something - what you described is the ABSOLUTE BEST case scenario if your WW was to cheat again and it doesn't matter at all that this was what her first EA was like. Escalation is the norm. Have you even thought about what you would do if the guy was local and she was sneaking off to rendezvous with him? Has it occurred to you that there is a very good chance that any EA she has could culminate in her separating, moving in with OM, and sending you D papers? This idea that you have in your head about what it might be like if she cheated again needs to be yanked back down to reality and examined. Would you still feel nothing if she was going on dates, giving OM #2 compliments, gifts, and avoiding any physical intimacy with you in order to stay faithful to him? How about if she makes plans to run off and leave you holding the bag? What if she intends to leave the kids with you or worse, take them with her to a far away place that would make co-parenting extremely difficult for you?

You need to LOOK at all of the possibilities and risks you will face if you allow things to slide into a new DDay otherwise you will leave you and your children vulnerable to her selfish whims when the time comes. I don't know how much you read here but there are tons of examples of WSes who played the long game, hid assets, spun lies to friends and family, filed false DV charges, and absolutely wrecked their BS's life in a D or attempted to like Vonbock's STBX who tried to get him to help her buy a new house for her and OM by saying it was a business opportunity. Yes, they are not the majority but they are common enough that sometimes you really can't predict what your WW will be capable of with a savvy and scheming OM in her ear encouraging her to set them up with the best life possible regardless of what it does to you. We get a new BS with a WS who at least attempts to blindside them in order to get a better D outcome once every couple of months. They are not rare enough to be ruled out just because your WW didn't stoop that far low yet with her EA.

Which brings me to my next point: See a lawyer for a consult. Be honest that you don't want to D but a D might still happen and be initiated by your WW in the future regardless of what you want. Know what you would be entitled to. Know what to do if you come home to an empty house, all of your furniture gone, and a note from her saying she's left you for Joe Schmoe. Create a new bank account that she doesn't have access to and put a few grands of "Oh Shit" money in case you need a lawyer on retainer ASAP. Because if you really do wind up with an ABSOLUTE WORST case scenario and one of the many things explored above does happen, it is MUCH more difficult for you to track down the time, resources, and energy to get this going while the clock is already ticking. Time will make the difference when it comes to safely avoiding having your kids taken away and not seeing them for 6 months due to an apathetic police force and slow courtrooms.

For your own sanity:

Get an IC. Nail down your deal breakers. Make your escape plan. And also importantly - start treating your WW FULLY like a roommate. No more hugs, kisses, cuddles, or holding hands. If it would be weird to do with someone you live with and don't even like that much, you don't do it with her. No more spending time together unless it is STRICTLY for the kids. Send a CLEAR and STRONG message to her that her refusal to follow through on what was promised means that she is no longer entitled to your love and affection as a spouse. Read up on the 180 and follow it.

When she tried to hug you, say no and move away from her. When she tries to kiss you, say no and turn your cheek. If she goes to hold your hand, you move your hand away. And when she asks why, choose something like this to say: "I'm not interested in being anything more than a roommate to you. If you book and attend 3 IC sessions, I might be more interested in discussing it." "I'm not feeling it right now. If you read "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair", I might be more open to hugs and kisses." Choose anything she's promised you and repeat it any and every time she asks. She will either do the thing you want her to or give up entirely and stop bothering you for husbandly affection she has not earned. NEVER promise anything. Always keep it vague. If she reads a book and you still don't feel like changing your relationship past that of a roommate, pick a new promise she hasn't fulfilled and use that instead.

If you DO NOT do this, a couple of things happen. The first is that your WW has zero motivation to do anything differently. She has her EA, gets to make all the false promises she wants, and you still toss her love and affection from time to time. She doesn't HAVE to do anything because you're still here, being her husband. So what if you don't sleep with her anymore? She clearly could care less maybe because she's getting her needs met in other ways. Maybe that's porn, erotic novels, a toy, and/or a new OM. Point being - a year is long enough to know that she isn't really missing the sex so you need to start cutting out whatever else is enough for her to think it's okay to keep sitting back and allowing limbo to progress. Make being married while refusing to R less comfortable for her.

For you - it stops the cycle you have found yourself in which is: things improve a little, you get a hit of hopium for R, nothing changes, you get a disappointment crash. If you stop allowing for anything in the marriage to go back to normal, if you cut out everything that makes a marriage a marriage aside from a piece of paper, you will stop the hopium-disapointment cycle AND you will care less and less about what she is doing and how she feels about it. Then if and when a new DDay comes, you will be able to safely enact a consequence/get out of infidelity/not care because it's not really a deal breaker. You will also be able to stand strong if she does break of your non-negotiable lines in the sand because again, you will not care if she gets upset or sad or begs for you to reconsider in part because you gave her a clear road map to R, you showed her what she was missing out on, you warned her of what would happen if she did not comply, and she still did it to herself. You will no longer be responsible in any way for the consequence of the marriage ending and she will have no one else to blame but herself.

I'm going to be honest with you - I don't think choosing to do this is healthy or should be recommended. It's going to be extremely difficult and I can tell that you're not quite where you want to be yet. You're not as detached as you seem to think when you're still holding out some hope for R and can't even picture your WW going PA with potential OM #2 or running off on you. You're still in a bit of denial if you don't realize that choosing limbo is also choosing to completely remove your ability to take control of your marriage and life for as long as you remain here and after infidelity, this is almost always a long, drawn out road to D covered in glass that you will have to inch over on your stomach. People who are here are aware that what they are doing is painful and it's a choice they are making because the trade off of staying in the M to enrich other aspects of their life is worth it and D would completely ruin it. Staying in a situation like this is the equivalent of slowing down a train crash when you are on the train so that you have more time to process and feel every terrible thing that's about to happen to you which is why when people in limbo like this do eventually D, they highly regret wasting time elongating their own pain for the exact same outcome. This doesn't mean you can't still try it out until you work on yourself enough to be able to either push through until your kids are old enough for you to feel comfortable with D or a D gets handed to you but don't delude yourself into thinking that you will remain contentedly numb for the rest of your life in limbo with no new DDays or without your WW deciding she can do better for herself than live in this hell alongside you. She may put on a brave face because the aftermath of DDay is still sort of fresh but her tolerance for unhappiness is lower than yours by default and her patience will run out. Shake yourself out of it and make a plan for your future.

EAPTSD posted 10/1/2020 11:51 AM

Thanks for all the replies, I also didnít see a ďlimboĒ ICR thread, so I posted a this under General looking to give and receive support for others who may find themselves in a similar boat.

A couple points/clarifications

Iíve been open and honest about where I am throughout the process, and once I realized that breaking NC was no longer something I was prepared to D over, I said as much. WW has been adamant that she has no interest in an A of any kind at the moment and over my years of snooping I havenít seen anything that contradicts that. Iíve stopped snooping because I havenít seen other indicators either that I remember being associated with shady and unexplained activity.

It hasnít been like this always, weíve done EMSO, Gottmann, love languages; MC, IC, read Not Just Friends, Linda MacdDonald; etc. Both of our children are under 3, conceived after D-day. Things may change once they are older, but for now all that relationship work has paid off in better communication, conflict resolution, division of labor, and teamwork. To the extent that I have stopped bring up the A and the lack of urgency in recovery work, things are better and I am able to laugh and enjoy time spent together and she respects my wishes about no kissing, cuddling, romantic gestures of any kind.

I have an escape plan, assets in my name, supportive friends and family who are prepared to step in and help any way they can. I am not a martyr for my kids, I enjoy spending time with them and despite my fears and anxieties, my WW is a committed and engaged mother to our very young children. I donít know that will always be the case as the children grow older, but it has been a pleasant surprise thus far.

I have to ask myself why is she so comfortable in this situation?
....

In my estimation as a WS, the reason she is married is not the reasons you want from a spouse. Is it that she can not financially support herself? What is your estimation as to why she hasn't left?

I can speculate, but am not sure. On a surface level, the past few years have been spent either pregnant or raising young children and transitioning to new medications as her diagnosis has changed multiple times, most recently settling on BP2. Even a little bit of denial and this looks somewhat normal to everyone but me; she has cut ties with most people who knew about and supported her A.

Deeper down she is 100% reliant on my income and has never had a career to speak of, terrified of being outed to her family as a failure, terrified of becoming her mother who had an exit affair and is now on disability and a burden. Convinced that no one would be interested in her as anything other than a hookup. As for stability and support., I believe she sees me as the best she can get.

At the deepest level, I believe she is terrified of intimacy, filled with self-loathing to the extent that she believes no one including herself would ever love and accept her if she were truly vulnerable, and finds a shallow attachment the most comforting. I recognize much of this in myself and see how we entered our marriage with dysfunction.

Since D-day I have been ready to work through this, healing myself and ready to see evidence that she is too. I have not seen it and it has given me a sense of peace to articulate it that I am letting this go.


SnowToArmPits posted 10/1/2020 18:18 PM

she respects my wishes about no kissing, cuddling, romantic gestures of any kind.

Your thinking seems strange here. You choose and want to be married to a wife who under your orders cannot kiss, cuddle or be romantic with you. That gives you a lot of control over your relationship that you didn't have when she was fooling around. Seems like an unsatisfying, empty existence.

Either try turning that around 180 degrees and try for a romantic marriage again, or divorce and let both of you move on. Life's too short for the kind of marriage you have. You're only 33.

[This message edited by SnowToArmPits at 6:19 PM, October 1st (Thursday)]

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