Mr Fibble, this is only my second post on SF but I have been following for some months, and have followed both your threads closely.
This site has been helpful to me in navigating my own 20 year + relationship recently, and to start to challenge what I can now describe as my wife’s wayward thinking and behaviour (short of sexual infidelity, I think). She was withdrawing sexually, withdrawing money, making large purchases she was keeping from me, wavering, basically heading on a path inconsistent with marriage. I was beside myself with worry two months ago, and am now just somewhat shaken. I hope, but can’t be sure, we will make it.
Background - My parents had a protracted divorce following an affair by my father, my father married the AP, her children became my step-siblings, my parents were both alcoholics, my father was high functioning alcoholic and medico but gave the grog away eventually, he passed away of cancer 6 years ago. I loved him but he was hit and miss as a father.
One thing I am proud of, the 3 children from 2 original families (6 all up - we were neighborhood friends pre affair) have partnered and remained with their partners. It’s a kind of solidarity to send a mutual f**k you message, through our stability, to our parents, signaling that the disorder our parents caused us all was unnecessary. There is dignity in it.
My mother remained a complete mess until she was about 70, was an ineffective parent and wasted the best years of her life. We kids had to deal with that, with no help from my father. She was worse without him, even if he was marginally better without her perhaps.
I love my older bother and sister but our family basically ended when I was13 and nothing took its place. Life became harder, poorer, unhappier, and less secure. My father did what suited him and we had no choice. We went our own ways mostly. In my situation, stepmother / AP created a veneer of family life, but we were left with few of the benefits a traditional family would have brought us, social, emotional or financial.
We had wonderful grandmothers though, I owe them my sanity and success. I am a law partner, still married (phew) and two children, 10 and 14.
You might guess that my parents’ divorce still has ripples which effect me in subtle ways at age 47. The sense of loss was profound and permanent despite whatever gloss adults tend to put on these things. It changed my world view. I was left with a lot of ‘what if’s’.
The experience and my love for my own children shapes how I handled my most recent difficulties. I am aware that it might put me at risk of manipulation too, however.
Sorry to thread jack.
My point is, I think you are smart and capable of compassionate insight, patience and delaying immediate gratification.
You can probably wait to make the best decision available to you (whatever that is) rather than making a worse decision which will give you short term psychological ease.
I perceive that some of the wiser heads on SI have stepped back to give you time to know your own mind and to not encourage you in one direction (D) or another (R). Check the thread history and see if you agree.
The decisions you make now will affect other lives deeply, and your own. I know that you have thought hard and deeply before deciding on D and that you will continue to do what you can for your children.
If your wife was still sneaking around I would have no hesitation in blowing it up.
With my apologies for sticking my nose in your business, and maybe affecting your genuine and hard-won resolve, I ask, could there be another way.?
Some have suggested divorce, then maybe reconcile. With no disrespect, that seems unappealing to me. But what about a trial separation and trial co-parenting with a mutual promise of emotional and sexual fidelity for six months, then make the permanent decision? It will get you free from some of the hysteria and help your children adjust. It need not be pergatory, you have the intellectual, emotional and ethical ware with all to manage it, if you want to. It will give you both a last chance to make it work on terms acceptable to you, or not.
Again, I haven’t really earned my stripes on this site. What I am saying may go against other equally well-meant advice, and perhaps better advice. I hope I don’t offend you or get the moderators! Noses out of joint.
What I do bring us the experience of a life scarred by infidelity, which has caused me to have my own views, and I have been tested by a recent scare to my own marriage. I am against selfishness, and am at least moderately anti-divorce, but had to imagine the prospect of divorce recently and think through the implications.
I hope good things come to you and your family, whichever path you take.