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My Wife Had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair, Part II

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:03 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

I think she can do those things. They are not so hard.

I think she will convince herself she loves you. It is the easiest path for her now. I think, if it is to help, that I have done this also. My children are happy and so am I mostly. My husband has sex with other women. I have no choice to leave. When I first read these messages it made me sad that I cannot leave and so many people have the choice. But I am better now. I wonder, what if the choice is what makes you upset? If I had to make a choice maybe I would be sad, but I cannot so I live with my reality and it is mostly good. I can chose to be sad and angry but it will not help anyone.

If you want to stay and be happy, I think that is a choice you can make.

I worry that I express poorly my thoughts, but please believe that I am considered intelligent. I am educated which is rare for us but no one is around me now to fix my writing.

Thank you again for writing and please don’t feel like the language barrier is an issue at all—I understand you perfectly.

And I’m deeply saddened by your situation—while there may be comfort in feeling as though you don’t have a choice, it’s horrible to be treated the way you are. You certainly deserve better as you’re taking on a tremendous health risk to continue having sex with your husband while he is being unfaithful.

And I agree with you that if I set clear expectations, I can be happy with my wife. It’s difficult to process because when we are not discussing the affair/affair timeframe, she has been largely wonderful to me and to be around. When she messes up, it’s always related to how she is processing the affair—so if I stop talking about it, we’re very happy together; but I can’t do that as long as I know she has it so backwards in her head. I need to know she’s working on it.

It’s also a weird feeling to know that if I just stop taking about it, everything is fine (rug sweeping)—I’m very opposed to doing that, but as you’ve pointed out, I understand the allure. It’s a conflict I want to explore more in CT.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738373
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:09 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

You’re not going to like what I write next.

Your wife is the type of person who in the last ten years could have had other affairs. Do not be surprised if she cracks and let’s it all out to alleviate the guilt and relieve herself of the stress. To lift the pressure off her shoulders and to hell with the consequences that may come from you.

We agree she is absolutely the type who could have. We also agree that based on the facts, it’s objectively more likely than not that she did. What I’m telling you is that I have a high degree of confidence that she did not.

And to be clear, if I was in your shoes and someone else on the internet wrote what I just did, I’d shake my head and think "that poor fool…" just as you’re doing now. I don’t know how to resolve that gap in understanding though—I very much trust my gut on this while accepting I could be a fool.

One interesting note also is how her love for me clearly faded in the last couple of years (pandemic timeframe). In all of my digging, I looked back at communications from 15~ years ago. She had such puppy dog love for me that disappeared recently—so many less sweet emails just to say she loved me, etc.

It’s so obvious now, looking back, that she became entirely disconnected from me recently—I just ignored it all.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738375
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:32 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Dr., one thing that I continue to read is, you two start discussing the A, she gets defensive and starts to look for reasons to justify her shitty behaviour, you, rightly so, get upset, then she admits she’s was wrong and apologizes. Rinse/repeat.

I went through similar issues with my WW, except my WW never tried to justify her A by bringing up marriage issues we had/have. Mine simply continued to hold back truth trying to control the situation. Problem is, I know my WW too well. I knew she was lying, so all that time wasted on discussions just made me more and more angry and we never made any progress.

Now, as others have mentioned, a WS isn’t going to change with the flip of a switch, but there should be progress. Words, apologies, etc. is not progress. She is able to get her punches in, you get upset, then she apologizes, but has she shown you any concrete actions that demonstrate that she is putting in the work?

My WW kept telling me she was doing a lot of work. When I asked what she was doing, she came up with a bunch of simple things she has done, really very simple things a lot of WS’s talk about (access to phone, email, check-in’s, etc.), but when pressed, she really didn’t have anything to demonstrate that she was working on her issues.

I believe I mentioned it on your JFO post, but when I asked how much effort my WW put into throwing her BFF’s baby shower compared to working on herself and our relationship, she realized that she really wasn’t putting in much effort at all.

The cycle you describe is spot on and I plan to discuss at CT today (we scheduled an emergency session after the other night...). When we're not talking about the affair and our previous marriage, she's been wonderful and supportive of me--but if we dig in, she eventually lowers the mask and shows her lack of empathy.

As for the word she's doing, it's hard to measure, but one thing has been finances: she's putting more money in our joint account and the kids college accounts, lowering her access to liquid dollars. She could still get a credit card and develop debt again, but there's nothing I can (or want) to do to prevent that. I just have to take her effort as an honest approach for her to fix her impulsive spending.

She's also been attempting to reverse the damage she created with her family by badmouthing me--it's a hard thing to unwind, but she seems to be putting in effort.

Lastly, she's been really open and fun sexually. I understand it's still HB, but I can't criticize her until it drops off.

As for her showing true remorse for what she did, I don't think she's there yet. She has to really unpack her character flaws in IC and she hasn't been at it long enough--but as long as she's still committed to going, I can't fault her for not trying.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738378
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:13 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

DrS,

A few pages back you had mentioned how she lies effortlessly or something similar, and that you didn't want to pursue that at the present. You had bigger fish to fry, so to speak. I am of the opinion that there are no big issues/decisions in life. Everything is a multitude of little choices. I think her ease of lying is worthy of attention. This could be some productive work in counseling that may not be as likely to cause a shame spiral, and therefore easier for your wife to deal with/focus on, yet still yield good progress.

If the counselor starts with say, the last time she felt she needed to lie to you but instead chose to be truthful, then the probing can expand to the last time she yielded to the urge and did lie to you - no matter how small - then expand from there. The reasons for those smaller incidents are most likely the same reasons for lying about the drinking, spending, flirting etc. and could be worked on in a productive way. Maybe something to explore. All the best to you.

So we spent a lot of time on her desire to lie often at Wednesday's CT session--it's rooted in her fear of conflict with me (my WW claims). I saw your post last night and decided to ask her when the last time she lied to me was--she thought about it for a few minutes and then told me [daughter's haircut].

I asked her how much her hair dresser charged to do my daughter's hair (she's three years old) and my wife told me $40. I thought that was reasonable (no idea if it is lol). She went and it was $60, but she never circled back with me on the topic to tell me. I asked why and she said she just didn't think about it--that she didn't think of it as a lie really. I told her I disagreed and we discussed and she understood and agreed to be transparent.

Those are the little lies I'm referring to when I say there are bigger fish to fry, but I agree it's a major underlying issue and I'll keep pushing on it.

We also discussed the topic of flirting and her interactions with other men. In the past, I had no issue with her flirting--I somewhat liked it; I thought it was fun and sexy if she'd report back to me about other guy hitting on her.

The affair changed all that as she demonstrated an ability to cross the line. I dug into a few examples with her:

AP: Throughout the fall, as the flirting accelerated, she never once mentioned it to me (only noting him because he often was difficult to work with--clearly as a cover for how she really felt about him).

Boy on Plane: She was flying to Florida for a convention and had a flirting conversation with a younger guy (late-20s) at the airport. She had a text exchange with her mom where she talked about him being cute and flirty with her. Her mom told her it was a good opportunity to get a free glass of wine on the flight. He gave her his business card, but she didn't have hers on her--her mom said it was for the best as he'd clearly not be calling her for business--they both joked how she didn't need another man in her life. She never mentioned it to me.

Guy at Convention: She told me about a guy hitting on her while she was at her booth at a convention--we were texting in really time and joking about it--also a younger guy (she's into younger guys), but he ultimately moved on to flirting with a college girl at a nearby booth.

Another man on PTA: The guy who was flirting with all the mom's on the PTA and the only other man on PTA (aside from AP). He had lengthy in person conversations and Facebook chats with her where they talked about my wife's work and he complimented how pretty she was. He also gave her his number and texted her--my wife told OBS she had to delete the "hey" he sent her just in case I saw it--thinking I'd be mad.

I tried to dig into all four of those examples to understand why she told me one and not the others. With AP, she claims it was because she needed to protect that relationship from me because she felt a spark early and new something could happen. With the other PTA guy, she was afraid it would increase my level of alertness about her life on the PTA and didn't want me to give more attention to her affair with AP. As or the other two, she's unsure why she told me about one and not the other--my guess is she was talking to me at the time of one and her mom at the time of the other and it was just a coincidence.

Bottom-line though, her nature of harmless flirting is now a problem as she's very capable of crossing the line--and in the moment, justifying it easily. If she justified the madness of her affair (married guy who lived a couple of miles from us and she worked with), she could justify almost anything. How easy would it be for her to be on a work trip and go back to a hotel room with a guy for a ONS thinking it'd be impossible for me to ever know?

She recognizes my obvious concerns and says she will be more guarded about her flirting now--I don't believe her and it's not something I can reliably check on though.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738380
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:13 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Update:

So just a note--my wife has tried to register to post on SI with three emails--she gets the immediate email that tells her it will take up to 24 hours, but never a follow-up email approving her. I thought it was bull shit, so I did one for her (third email) yesterday and she still hasn't been approved. Unsure what's happening, but she said she'll post once it's cleared.

Also, I had a 40 minute conversation with her sister yesterday. Of note, the sister, unlike the mom, has been largely in the dark on what's going on--all she knows is that my wife was having sex with someone else and has been in a very dark place dealing with fallout the last 2.5 months--she knows nothing else. Her sister also has plenty of her own issues, as noted earlier, so my wife reached out to her about tips on "spiraling" last week and it concerned her sister--that led to her sister's texts the other day trying to make her feel better about herself.

The phone call went well--she was upfront with me saying she strongly was not on her sister's side, but felt a need to generally support her because she's far away and was concerned about her. I gave her a very brief overview of what was going on--the spending, drinking, and some details into how horrendous the affair was (unprotected anal sex, etc.). She was horrified and wasn't sure what to do or how to interact with my wife, who has not been willing to get into any of the details with her family (she's clearly too ashamed).

The call went well and I resolved my anger toward her (she really is a very sweet person and I don't think she meant to hurt me at all). I also pushed for my wife to talk more openly with her as it would be a way better outlet than her mother.

I felt awkward making the call, but I'm glad I did. It also made me think a talk with the mom would make sense too--though her sins are less forgivable. I get the sense she'd be apologetic to me though--and if she's not, I'm just back where I am now anyway. I plan to raise it at CT today and see what feedback I get.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 1:28 PM, Friday, June 3rd]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738381
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 2:04 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

I think you are now getting down to the nuts and bolts of what drives your wife. Somewhere in her childhood it became much easier to lie and sneak around than it was to try to be out in the open with her parents. She might think she had a happy childhood but you have to look at everyone’s basic personality before you can make a decision whether that’s right or wrong. If your wife was born with a somewhat timid personality then even a mild rebuke from a parent could set her on the trail of lying. If she was born with a strong personality she would not have a need to lie. She would just take her licks and keep on going. I think she genuinely needs some intensive therapy including EMDR, to find out what’s driving her from early childhood. That’s the engine that’s running her life and she doesn’t know it and it is beyond either you to fix. It’s all under the surface. In fact it’s so subconscious that she’s never aware why she keeps doing the things she does. She needs some sort of validation that she brags about people flirting with her. I have never heard anyone do that unless they were very damaged.

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 2:06 PM, Friday, June 3rd]

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3396   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8738418
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 2:15 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Dr you post so often I'll have to combine somethings. . .not saying it is wrong. . .It is actually very good you keep posting. Keep it up.

You are focusing way too much on your wife and not yourself. I would ask your CT what books she recomnends your wife to read. All you have shared about CT it sounds more like IC than MC.

MC was a disaster for me. I literally walked out of the middle of a session. We never did MC again. We both spent time in IC and it worked so much better for us. We both had things to work on individually and the debrief discussions after where the marriage benefitted most.

My earlier comment that set your wife off seems to be closer to the truth than not.

The parent child dynamic and other co-dependency issues are likely best addressed in therapy. My sitch that was done in IC where the two ICs were allowed to collaborate. It made us both uneasy, but in hindsight it was invaluable.

FWIW you can ask all counselors to coordinate and share insights if you sign a waiver. Just like with medical
issues, second opinions, can be valuable foe you and your therapists. Although it might be harder with three.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5034   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8738419
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 3:35 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

I think you are now getting down to the nuts and bolts of what drives your wife. Somewhere in her childhood it became much easier to lie and sneak around than it was to try to be out in the open with her parents. She might think she had a happy childhood but you have to look at everyone’s basic personality before you can make a decision whether that’s right or wrong. If your wife was born with a somewhat timid personality then even a mild rebuke from a parent could set her on the trail of lying. If she was born with a strong personality she would not have a need to lie. She would just take her licks and keep on going. I think she genuinely needs some intensive therapy including EMDR, to find out what’s driving her from early childhood. That’s the engine that’s running her life and she doesn’t know it and it is beyond either you to fix. It’s all under the surface. In fact it’s so subconscious that she’s never aware why she keeps doing the things she does. She needs some sort of validation that she brags about people flirting with her. I have never heard anyone do that unless they were very damaged.

She has spoken about exactly that: she was scared of disappointing her father, so she'd lie to him. But she would always tell her mom the truth, who would be more compassionate. She then brought that dynamic into our marriage, lying to me and confiding in her mother.

She's identified the issue and seems to know it's wrong, but I don't see that she's clear on how to fix it.

As for the flirting, she certainly requires external validation, especially from men. She has the feeling of being unattractive, especially to younger guys, and it hurts her self-esteem. The issue is why she needs younger guys to find her attractive to begin with--and I have no idea where that comes from.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738473
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 3:58 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Dr you post so often I'll have to combine somethings. . .not saying it is wrong. . .It is actually very good you keep posting. Keep it up.

I love writing, and in turn, love posting here. I do need to be better in my rapid responses though as I look back at myself as a ping pong ball arguing opposing points too often. If someone calls my wife a horrible whore, I feel a need to defend her; if they tell me I deserve blame, I feel like pointing out that my wife's a horrible whore lol. Ultimately, you're all random people I'll never meet providing a vast array of different perspectives and it's a lot to take in (I'm receiving hundreds of thoughts from people analyzing what I'm doing; it's a unique psychological position for a non-celebrity). I've resolved to attempt to read a post and let it marinate a bit before coming back later, reading it again, and responding.

You are focusing way too much on your wife and not yourself. I would ask your CT what books she recomnends your wife to read. All you have shared about CT it sounds more like IC than MC.

The focus has been largely on my wife, so you're right--it's like she's doing IC in front of me often. I don't know if that's intentional or not--there have been times the CT has challenged me and I've been appreciative, and others where I pushed back. It's possible the CT just doesn't think I'm ready to explore our marriage issues until my wife is able to identify and accept her personal issues.

The CT began last session with the point that she really understands the source of my anger now--that I'm incredibly frustrated by my wife acknowledging her issues and then not having the self-awareness to not repeat them over and over. It's the point of my wife agreeing with things she doesn't agree with and it's keeping us in the first phase of this: identifying the problems. Every time we identify a problem and agree to it, we're back discussing the same problem again after my wife's mask slips.

MC was a disaster for me. I literally walked out of the middle of a session. We never did MC again. We both spent time in IC and it worked so much better for us. We both had things to work on individually and the debrief discussions after where the marriage benefitted most.

I'm never one to walk away. If I feel the CT is wrong on something, I push back swiftly and relentlessly--I force the conflict in the moment. It's happened a few times, but the only time I'd say it blew up a bit was when the CT was referencing how hurtful the word "whore" was (in reference to my wife being labelled by someone on this thread as a whore).

I pointed out that the CT might find it hurtful--either personally or as her group identity of being a woman--but the word itself was not hurtful. It's just a word. The hurt comes with what she was personally attaching to it. I challenged her that by avoiding specific labels (narcissist was the other word), we're doing a disservice to the conversation. Instead we should be unpacking what those words represent and if the traits that define them are appropriate.

No one *wants* to be defined as a whore, but by definition, my wife was acting as a promiscuous and immoral person--she was a whore whether one likes the word or not.

The point is, of course I was right and the CT, to her credit, acknowledged that she had let her personal feelings cloud the discussion. When she raised her voice and challenged me, telling me that "whore" was an insult, etc., I could have walked out and thought to myself she's an idiot who is incapable of controlling her emotions, but I didn't. It was an opportunity to open the conversation wider rather than just shut it down.

It's also worth noting that both my wife and I are also in IC, which is allowing us to go deeper on personal issues. We're using the MC largely for issues of the day.

My earlier comment that set your wife off seems to be closer to the truth than not.

The parent child dynamic and other co-dependency issues are likely best addressed in therapy. My sitch that was done in IC where the two ICs were allowed to collaborate. It made us both uneasy, but in hindsight it was invaluable.

FWIW you can ask all counselors to coordinate and share insights if you sign a waiver. Just like with medical

issues, second opinions, can be valuable foe you and your therapists. Although it might be harder with three.

Initially, my wife's IC and the CT were collaborating, but my wife moved on to a new IC and that hasn't been setup. I agree it would be good for them all to communicate with each other (at least I think that makes sense), so I can raise that suggestion.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 4:01 PM, Friday, June 3rd]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738481
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:05 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

A few pages back, you claim you control the outcome. You are lying to yourself.

You can decide to D, R, or wait. You can not R alone. Even if you enter R as a partnership, you can not guarantee that you will R permanently. You can file for D alone, but your W can really eff up the process for years, so you can't even D alone.

You have written that you want certain things from your W, like choosing to control her spending and - this is gigantic - choosing to tell the truth (stopping the lies really isn't enough). You have absolutely zero control over whether she makes those changes. For example, if she chooses to make those changes for you, when things get tough she's all too likely to blame you, build up resentments, and rebel again.

You say you're not rug-sweeping. IDK about that, but ... I don't read about your struggles with your feelings. I don't read about your struggles with your decision - complaints about your W do not constitute struggles with your decision. I don't read about your digging into your wants. I don't read about self-examination. I don't read about your dealing with your own resentments about your W's behavior over the years. I don't read about the blows to your self-esteem or your sense of manhood, I don't read about querying yourself to deal with your internal barriers to R, D, and gathering more info. If you're doing these things, great. If not, you're doing some rug-sweeping.

Don't get me wrong. Your W doesn't look to me like a good candidate for R. But focusing on her won't heal you. And I still think you're focusing on her as a way of avoiding dealing with your own issues.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:07 PM, Friday, June 3rd]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27435   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8738485
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Lalala12 ( new member #79196) posted at 4:19 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

The issue is why she needs younger guys to find her attractive to begin with--and I have no idea where that comes from.

Don't men feel validated in having younger women hitting on them? It makes her feel young again, I think it's pretty simple. Immaturity and general low self esteem make the rest.

Glad the call with the sister went well. Was your wife aware that you would call her? IMO you should have done this together or at least planned it together, as a team. Perhaps you can address the talk with her mum together. They need to see you united in this.

If you made peace with the sister and she understood the real situation, hopefully she can now be the right kind of support for your wife. Someone who would call her out on her bs but who can also love her not matter what and this can help her rebuild her self worth. I think this is important for both of you, she needs to find the strenght to look herself in the mirror and instead of spiraling into shame, to work towards real change.

posts: 15   ·   registered: Jul. 29th, 2021
id 8738493
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:23 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

@sisoon - I have no issue with your "2x4s," but when I read your posts I *feel* like there's a fundamental misunderstanding between how I feel and what you're writing about me. I will do my best to unpack all of your points as best I can.

A few pages back, you claim you control the outcome. You are lying to yourself.

You can decide to D, R, or wait. You can not R alone. Even if you enter R as a partnership, you can not guarantee that you will R permanently. You can file for D alone, but your W can really eff up the process for years, so you can't even D alone.

I agree that I don't have control over a successful R--in fact it's why I feel divorce is the safer option for me if my sole goal is probable happiness. If I D, it's all on me to better myself through IC and find a partner who loves and respects me. I think I have a high likelihood of success if I take that path; and if I fail, I will deserve the blame. If I stay and try R, I'm at the "whim of a madman" (Speed reference :P).

Regardless, I have control of *the decision* to attempt R. It's on me to either attempt it or not as my wife is committed to it. In turn, I also have control over D as I can file tomorrow and my wife will sign the papers. We have a prenup in place and my wife has made no suggestion of complicating the process (I suppose she could, but I am not overly concerned about it in the moment). I also would be completely shocked if she moved to D me at any point in the near future (and if I'm being truly honest, I don't think she would ever file).

You have written that you want certain things from your W, like choosing to control her spending and - this is gigantic - choosing to tell the truth (stopping the lies really isn't enough). You have absolutely zero control over whether she makes those changes. For example, if she chooses to make those changes for you, when things get tough she's all too likely to blame you, build up resentments, and rebel again.

Exactly. I'm not sure where you think there's disagreement. I do not want to control her spending as I think it will lead to resentment (and it's annoying). I do not want her to lie to me and it's on her to correct that. I have zero control in those areas and it's partially why R is scary.

You say you're not rug-sweeping. IDK about that, but ... I don't read about your struggles with your feelings. I don't read about your struggles with your decision - complaints about your W do not constitute struggles with your decision. I don't read about your digging into your wants. I don't read about self-examination. I don't read about your dealing with your own resentments about your W's behavior over the years. I don't read about the blows to your self-esteem or your sense of manhood, I don't read about querying yourself to deal with your internal barriers to R, D, and gathering more info. If you're doing these things, great. If not, you're doing some rug-sweeping.

Here's the part that really confuses me. I *feel* like I've been tremendously open about my struggles and desires. I *feel* like I've been tremendously open about my conflict in D vs. R. I *feel* like I've been tremendously open about my resentments toward how my WW treated our sex life.

I understand I've written a lot, so the portion of what I write about may not be an accurate ratio reflection of what I'm thinking about (there's a flow to the threads and some of the topics are dictated by where you all steer it)--but I find it unfair to read that I'm not being open about all those things. I'm sharing my cuckold fetish with an internet message board--I'm naked in the wind here, brother!

I expect a different relationship with my wife should we R. I need her to stop lying, blame-shifting and constantly framing herself as a victim. I need her to communicate with me openly (as I communicate with her). I need her to be open-minded sexually so we can explore our sexuality and desires rather than shaming them into hidden corners of our mind. And lastly, I need her to truly take full blame for her actions rather than the lip-service I've been getting--her agreeing that it's her fault but then later slipping in a jab about what I did wrong.

I need to believe she's capable of all of those things before I attempt R and I will need her to do all of those things for me to consider R a success.

Don't get me wrong. Your W doesn't look to me like a good candidate for R. But focusing on her won't heal you. And I still think you're focusing on her as a way of avoiding dealing with your own issues.

I am focusing on me in IC in addition to at various points in my threads. I'm not interested in avoiding my issues, but I acknowledge that my wife's issues are the major conflict at this specific moment in time (the limbo stage before R or D).

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 6:17 PM, Friday, June 3rd]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738516
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:45 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Don't men feel validated in having younger women hitting on them? It makes her feel young again, I think it's pretty simple. Immaturity and general low self esteem make the rest.

It could certainly be as simple as wanting to feel young. I personally don't find it better for young women to hit on me--I'd say any woman flirting is appreciated; perhaps the only factor of interest is how attractive the woman is. For my wife, an old, attractive man hitting on her would disgust her, but a college guy turns her on. I can't relate to the specific age-related aspect of it, but I don't speak for all men.

I'd also note that my wife has always been this way. When she was 20, she hooked up with a boy three years younger that her sister was really into--she was a college girl interested in a high school boy; not to mention the betrayal of her sister.

Again, it could all just be as simple as wanting to feel young.

Glad the call with the sister went well. Was your wife aware that you would call her? IMO you should have done this together or at least planned it together, as a team. Perhaps you can address the talk with her mum together. They need to see you united in this.

If you made peace with the sister and she understood the real situation, hopefully she can now be the right kind of support for your wife. Someone who would call her out on her bs but who can also love her not matter what and this can help her rebuild her self worth. I think this is important for both of you, she needs to find the strenght to look herself in the mirror and instead of spiraling into shame, to work towards real change.

My wife was well aware we were going to speak. Truthfully, I'd have preferred not talk at all and just have my wife explain it all to her sister, but my wife is too embarrassed to talk openly about her issues with her family. She's always felt pressure to be the perfect child due to her sister's vast issues, so her failure now is a big weight for her. Coming clean with her family about how grand her failure was is more than she's willing to do right now. But I'll keep gently pushing her to try.

I'm not certain how to handle the mom, but again, I'm leaning toward just calling her myself (with my wife's awareness). I think my wife being present would be too uncomfortable for her. But I still haven't decided if I should do that or not.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738517
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 6:32 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

My wife was well aware we were going to speak. Truthfully, I'd have preferred not talk at all and just have my wife explain it all to her sister, but my wife is too embarrassed to talk openly about her issues with her family.

Incoming 2x4 - This is doing the work for her. NOT good. I don't care how ashamed or embarrassed or whatever she is until you say you must to do this for me, for us, she isn't going to do it, and as such isn't learning that the world won't fall off its axis by doing the things that make her uncomfortable, and learning to reset her own boundaries and expectations of self.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 22 & 25
Married for 30 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 19439   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8738520
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truthsetmefree ( member #7168) posted at 6:32 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

DrS - FWIW, I largely agree with sisoon’s last two posts. It’s what I see also - though I want to make a very clear caveat that what I see you doing is also VERY common in the early days. It’s the irony of healing from infidelity whether you are a WS or BS…the coping skills you’ve used to stay safe are often even more triggered when facing such a traumatic disruption.

I also get how it’s confusing to you. Without any justification or absolution, can you understand why your wife is struggling with this aspect? It’s hard just to bring subconscious things into awareness. Much less change then.

I get the sense that you are extremely analytical. Largely a wonderful skill - but it can be a trap door at times…especially if you are also skilled at articulation. You frequently "win"…but it can be a crusher when it comes to connection or even the bigger picture. An example of this is the "whore" interaction you described with the MC. You may have attained the usage of a certain word….but was that at the sacrifice of exploring and obtaining a deeper connection with/understanding of your wife? Why was the semantics more important? (That’s a much deeper question than it may seem on the surface.)

This is why I’ve tried to advise you that this experience is about much more than R or D. I know that can feel like the million dollar question when you are entering this arena. It’s what we all focus on initially - and there are plenty of posters that will correlate their own experiences and make predictions for your future - as well as to give you direct advice on the R or D question. None of that is without its own merit. This is, after all, a process for each of us and we travel the journey at our own pace. But for those is us that have been here longer, traveling longer, we have gained an understanding that this is really a journey into our own selves. Where we don’t just look at and try to solve what seems the most obvious conflict (our spouses) but we instead use that conflict to look at what’s going on inside us (feelings, fears, past correlations, coping strategies, etc). It’s why many of us are still processing years after the R or D question has been answered.

You get to determine your ultimate goal from this experience - and you can decide that at any time. If it stays at simply R or D then you are going to be in this limbo until something big hits the kill switch or you just become exhausted. That can be a long ride so you had best tighten your belt and settle in. (Or you can jump now and risk a lather, rinse, repeat scenario in your next relationship.)

The other option is to determine that you are going to use this experience to willingly make this whole thing about connecting with yourself. That no matter the outcome of your marriage, you will come out of this with more self-awareness and a more whole person as a result of it. We all have to make this decision at some point for the experience to have any real purpose. It’s the only exchange that makes it worth going through it.

I think not making this choice is really what’s at the root of your largest struggle. It’s why you see moving forward to involve extremes (ie, R or random tinder hookups).

Intentionality plays a HUGE role in HOW we experience our experiences. So whether you choose to prioritize "going deeper" or simply focus on R or D, setting (and committing to) your intention (outside of external variables) will help. I see you as behaving in ways to try to force this decision (which currently seems to be R or D) - but because you haven’t set an intention outside of variables, your behavior/reaction both moves you forward in some cases but backwards in others. In other words, you’re not in or out - not even in your own mind with your desire (clouded by fear).

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ Augustine of Hippo

posts: 8870   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2005
id 8738521
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TheWorldYouWant ( member #78447) posted at 6:44 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Continuous lying is an abusive control tactic. It's not just a way to avoid conflict; it's a way to maintain power over the intimate partner and control the situation. It's a way to remain independent and "free" rather than submitting to partnership. True partnership requires honesty and transparency and a willingness to negotiate in good faith; when a person is consistently dishonest, hides even inconsequential information, and acts independently, then they are not in true partnership.

I recommend you check out Dr. Omar Minwalla's work on "Integrity Abuse Disorder" and cheating. I don't think all of his work applies to your wife, but the integrity abuse disorder stuff absolutely does. You're being continuously abused by your wife's lies. It's not as innocent as it seems; she's not just doing it to not have conflict, she's doing it to get her way and maintain power and control. It's habitual for her because it WORKS, and she's been doing it her entire life in order to control people around her. She lied about you and your marriage in order to control her mom's and sister's reactions to her cheating, so she could have the validation she wanted. She has lied to you throughout your relationship. She probably lies at work, too.

My STBXWH has the same issue with continuous lying, refusal to be transparent, "forgetting" important information, and acting with complete independence. It has affected our sexual relationship (because he's a cheater), our financial situation, and every aspect of our life together. I am not sure he can change his habitual lying. It's the reason I'm divorcing him. I just can't stand to live anymore with someone who won't bring their whole self to the relationship, and who insists on maintaining their own power in this way. He does it both to avoid conflict AND to get his own way, without me knowing it. It's secret, covert abuse and it's a truly horrific way to treat a partner.

posts: 105   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2021
id 8738522
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 7:15 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

I think my wife being present would be too uncomfortable for her.

um, WTF who cares? This is doing the work for her.

It IS uncomfortable. She did some crazy embarrassing shit. She also embarrassed the hell out of you by shit talking about all of it too her mom. But she can't handle listening to you tell the truth or you know, actually telling the truth????? This is definitely a 2x4 because WTF. Why is ok with you that it is too hard for her to do something like actually face what she DID. She wasn't too embarrassed to do it, but she is too embarrassed to talk about it and has to hide behind you, the victim here?

I don't see how any of this is helpful or will lead to progress. You are enabling her to NOT face what she has done.

posts: 286   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8738527
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CuriousObserver ( member #78743) posted at 7:45 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

She's identified the issue and seems to know it's wrong, but I don't see that she's clear on how to fix it.

Wrong behavior is corrected (fixed) first, when we become aware of it (She's identified the issue and seems to know it's wrong) and secondly, we make a CHOICE to change it - regardless of the personal cost. Thirdly, we determine, no, we commit ourselves, to confessing our wrong behavior immediately when we become aware that we did it. Eventually, we become aware the moment BEFORE we act. Even then, sometimes we will still choose to act wrongly. This is where the commitment to confessing our wrong actions is pivotal. Because it is extremely uncomfortable to confess to the person you wronged. That becomes the motivation for changed behavoir.

When I was a young man I noticed that I would unconsciously cuss and swear like a sailor, except when near my mom. I reasoned that if I can turn it off near my mom, I could turn it off period (I admit I have backslidden some tongue ). So I began this process with my speech, stopping a conversation and admitting to the person I was conversing with, that what I just said was wrong and evidence of not only my inability to communicate effectively, but also my desire to look important in other people's eyes and that I was sorry and will strive to do better. When I absolutely committed myself to this process I only had to bear that humiliation a couple of times before I caught myself before I failed. It was the confession of my motivation that was most embarrassing.

When you have to return and confess to stealing from your employer, it becomes a strong motivation to never do it again. Ask me how I know. When you have to confess to your spouse that you minimized or omitted information from them because you are intimidated by them and do not have the confidence to stand up to them and argue for your position because you are afraid of them, it becomes the motivation to change. Ask me how I know. If I am committed to confessing it anyway, it becomes much less embarrassing to just do the right thing.

This is why I think she can make real progress working on even the smallest of these incidents. All the best to you.

Listen to their words but believe their actions.
The power of a lie is that it is believed to be truth.

posts: 170   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2021   ·   location: USA
id 8738529
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:09 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Incoming 2x4 - This is doing the work for her. NOT good. I don't care how ashamed or embarrassed or whatever she is until you say you must to do this for me, for us, she isn't going to do it, and as such isn't learning that the world won't fall off its axis by doing the things that make her uncomfortable, and learning to reset her own boundaries and expectations of self.

um, WTF who cares? This is doing the work for her.

It IS uncomfortable. She did some crazy embarrassing shit. She also embarrassed the hell out of you by shit talking about all of it too her mom. But she can't handle listening to you tell the truth or you know, actually telling the truth????? This is definitely a 2x4 because WTF. Why is ok with you that it is too hard for her to do something like actually face what she DID. She wasn't too embarrassed to do it, but she is too embarrassed to talk about it and has to hide behind you, the victim here?

I don't see how any of this is helpful or will lead to progress. You are enabling her to NOT face what she has done.

@tushnurse and @clouds777 - I agree with you both. She's not capable of coming clean and being honest with her family right now. I could force her to do it, but I envision that path going poorly.

As for me doing it *for* her, I didn't--I did it for me. I hate unresolved conflict. I was pissed at her sister and it was taking up space in my brain. I spoke with her sister and it resolved that anger--it's entirely gone. The conversation had a direct benefit to me and that's why I had it.

I haven't had the conversation with the mom yet because I'm less confident it will go as well. I think I will eventually though.

Ideally she would have had these conversations with her family already and I plan to keep pushing her to have them, but I need her to want to do them--I don't want to control her behavior so she just adds it to the pile of resentment.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738544
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:21 PM on Friday, June 3rd, 2022

I get the sense that you are extremely analytical. Largely a wonderful skill - but it can be a trap door at times…especially if you are also skilled at articulation. You frequently "win"…but it can be a crusher when it comes to connection or even the bigger picture. An example of this is the "whore" interaction you described with the MC. You may have attained the usage of a certain word….but was that at the sacrifice of exploring and obtaining a deeper connection with/understanding of your wife? Why was the semantics more important? (That’s a much deeper question than it may seem on the surface.)

I disagree here. My wife was hurt by the use of the word "whore" and the MC defended her because she agreed that it was a hurtful word and she should feel insulted. The takeaway from it was that "internet people are mean for insulting my wife."

Bull shit. The takeaway should have been: why did the word upset my wife? Does she think she acted like a whore? Why does she think that? Hell, why did she act that way? In no way should we be discussing mean people on the internet or how a word is inherently mean--it's valueless and, in my view, ignorant. My push back was to open the conversation to those other topics rather than leaving it at a dead end--as though the discussion shouldn't be explored because my wife was hurt by a label/word.

This is why I’ve tried to advise you that this experience is about much more than R or D. I know that can feel like the million dollar question when you are entering this arena. It’s what we all focus on initially - and there are plenty of posters that will correlate their own experiences and make predictions for your future - as well as to give you direct advice on the R or D question. None of that is without its own merit. This is, after all, a process for each of us and we travel the journey at our own pace. But for those is us that have been here longer, traveling longer, we have gained an understanding that this is really a journey into our own selves. Where we don’t just look at and try to solve what seems the most obvious conflict (our spouses) but we instead use that conflict to look at what’s going on inside us (feelings, fears, past correlations, coping strategies, etc). It’s why many of us are still processing years after the R or D question has been answered.

You get to determine your ultimate goal from this experience - and you can decide that at any time. If it stays at simply R or D then you are going to be in this limbo until something big hits the kill switch or you just become exhausted. That can be a long ride so you had best tighten your belt and settle in. (Or you can jump now and risk a lather, rinse, repeat scenario in your next relationship.)

I don't think I'm looking for a big event to determine R or D. I'm looking for her to extend olive branches to win back trust and for her to demonstrate she is capable of remorse and empathy. I need to see those behavioral changes before I commit to R. I agree with everyone that it's going to take her years to resolve her issues--that's what R will be for--but if I don't see more from her, I don't want to embark on a journey that I feel will likely fail.

That's where D comes into play--if we get to a point later this year where I'm in the same spot as I am now in feeling she's incapable of change, I need the conviction to pull the plug and run away from her.

I do agree with you that while this is happening, I can still improve myself. And I will. I talk about that least in this thread largely because I feel like I need less feedback on that. I'm very critical of myself and I have an IC to assist--in many ways I know what I need to do and it's just a matter of me doing it. I'm working on that all the time, so none of this time is being wasted. Even if I D, my journey is still the same going forward.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738546
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