I understand why you want to take a time out from the volatile interactions you've been having with her, but because of that volatility, it was predictable that this evening would go sideways. If you aren't ready for that, don't go.
Agreed; we should not have gone to the dinner. I suggested not going, but she pushed back and I caved. Truthfully, it's hard to know how to act--should we be forcing ourselves to go out? Sometimes it pays off and we have a lovely time; other times it's a disaster; and other times it's probably meaningless. It's a judgement call and we both made a bad judgement on June 2.
Part of you knew that having a fun evening would require rugsweeping, and you resented it, even though this dinner was apparently your idea. What you wrote next wasn't meant to get your thoughts out of the way, it was to put those thoughts at the forefront of her mind. And while it's fair to remind her that her marriage is hanging by a thread, it's also not conducive to a relaxing evening.
Yes, fun nights out now absolutely require rug-sweeping--seemingly no way around that.
I disagree about your framing of the email. The email was written as a positive gesture, focused on my primary goal being a successful R and my potential willingness to rug sweep my issues with her parents if we attempted R and that's what she wanted. The email was my olive branch after a really hard MC session for her. Within the lengthy email, I did include a line about how divorce had a higher probability of leading to my happiness than R (considering how awful things have gone thus far)--that point was not a new revelation in the email and it only setup the following point that in spite of that, I still wanted to see if R could work because I felt our best outcome was a loving relationship with each other. My wife ignored everything else in the very positive email to focus on that single negative sentence. It was unfair of her to do and it is unfair of you to double down on it now.
Again, I really recommend that you not set yourselves up for failure this way. It is too soon (it may always be too soon) to have a genuine date night on the home turf of the affair. If you need to reclaim it, that's a different kind of venture, and you shouldn't expect it to be a roaring success.
Again, we agree. You're spot on. We never should have went to that dinner--we set ourselves up to fail.
You were hours out from reminding her that divorce was probably your best shot at happiness and that she was going to need to do some very challenging and unpleasant things for you to be willing to consider R. Then you both got dressed up and went out in public. I'm not surprised that neither of you knew what to say.
Again, we agree. Though your point about divorce being my happiness is very unfair. That was not the point of the email. I would share the email to demonstrate that, but I've decided to try to keep some of our correspondence private. All I can note, if it's of any value, is that the MC agrees that my wife unfairly put a negative spin on the email--however, she also noted that in my wife's mental state, it can be very difficult to comprehend complex emails and she can be in a frame of mind to focus on negativity.
Bottom-line, I do not believe the email was the issue--the issue was the dinner that we should not have gone too. We both felt badly and my wife drank a lot of alcohol to cope with feeling so poorly--it was a recipe for disaster.
In the middle of a fancy restaurant, you pressed her to deconstruct her traumatic childhood. That's what you think is the right time and place for such a conversation? I'm surprised she'd be receptive to discussing something so vulnerable in that venue. But fine, let's say she was...
I did not press her. I led by referencing my issue with her in-laws and my willingness to bridge that divide if needed. She then opened up about her childhood, ultimately focusing in a bit on her sister. We had been at the restaurant for a bit and it was the only thing she seemed she wanted to talk about--all other topics were dead ends quickly. I was not looking to dig into it, but it happened organically once she engaged.
If you press her to dig into her FOO, and she tells you for the first time in your marriage that her sister was molested by a family member, silence your fucking phone. Don't start a conversation like that and then act like it's not worthy of your undivided attention. I don't care if the discussion in that exact moment wasn't heavily loaded. The phone should have been off before you asked. And if you aren't in a time or place where you can silence it, for whatever reason, don't have the conversation until you are. I would have been very upset if my BH checked his texts in the middle of that disclosure.
She did not tell me for the first time that her sister was "molested"--it was an incident I've been well aware of. And it's not like she was mid-sentence talking about child abuse when I grabbed my phone. Your negative framing on all of this is not the 2x4 you're hoping for--it's largely comical because you're suspending reality so drastically to try to make your points.
And if your point is that I should have had my phone nicely tucked in my pocket all dinner, then we agree. 100%. There's no reason I should have been on my phone at all, even for a moment. You can make that point without misrepresenting what happened (I was there; I know what happened).
Except she didn't say that. She didn't say anything about justification for cheating. She said that what you did in that moment made her feel devalued and deprioritized and that this is a trend with you. You asked her to be vulnerable, she did so, and you checked your phone and thought you could "dive right back in." You can't just put a conversation like that on pause, and she was, IMO, right to tell you so. This made you feel defensive, and you put words in her mouth and blamed her for using them.
She absolutely used it as a justification for cheating. She has said early on that a primary driver for having an affair is that she has felt isolated and unvalidated by me in our marriage. We've moved on to that with her agreeing that her decision to have the affair was all on her--full blame. The problem is she doesn't actually believe that still. She doesn't grasp the idea that her choice to have an affair is entirely her fault.
So the moment at dinner, after I went on my phone, was to bring up a point six years ago that I was on my phone during dinner (it's not random that she took an example from six years ago to make her point as I don't typically make a point of going to dinner and sitting on my phone). She then pointed out that me being on my phone is an example of how I would make her feel isolated in our marriage. So no, she did not literally say: "I cheated on you because you were on your phone too much," but indirectly that's exactly what she said. She was using my phone use as a justification for cheating--and she acknowledges that, so it seems pointless to debate it with a stranger online now (but I'm an idiot with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon). She agrees that the MC session, the text from her sister and the alcohol put her in a very defensive and negative mindset.
I also should emphasis the very obvious projecting from her. Whatever my poor phone use habits are, hers are 10x worse. Her issues with her phone don't defend mine at all, but perspective for you from afar is probably important.
You've mentioned the cost of dinner a few times. It's not relevant. If you can spend money on her genuinely without resenting it or thinking it entitles you to something, that's great, but otherwise, don't spend it at all.
You're right, I shouldn't have noted the cost as it's not really relevant and I don't resent spending money on her. In my mind it was just to point out what a waste of money it was to have such a bad night--again reenforcing we shouldn't have gone.
I also should point out she has been picking up a lot of the bills post-DDay as an olive branch to me--she knows I'm hurt about all the money she spent on AP. So yea, no issue with the cost at all, in terms of our relationship.
Your wife is a human being under enormous stress. The stress is of her own making, but if you think that makes it easier to manage, I can tell you from experience that it does not. She handled things imperfectly. You both did. It won't be the last time, either. The dynamic between you is fucked up and needs to be torn down to its foundations. If you can't tolerate that, then divorce really is your best option.
You're a WW, so I understand you defending my wife as you relate to her situation. But your reframing and twisting of reality doesn't actually change anything. My wife did a horrible thing, so squaring it away as we're both imperfect beings is incredibly hollow. Us both making mistakes in our handling of June 2 doesn't leave us with a clean slate--her mistakes that night were more grievous. But that's ok. I don't need everything to be balanced; I am still here because I want to support my wife and achieve an outcome we can both be happy and proud of. But those mistakes are tallying up and taking our marriage in a doomed direction--she has to recognize it and address it immediately.
You seem to be under the impression that therapy is taking your wife in for a tune up. You bring her in, the CT tells her she's a piece of shit, she realizes that her perspective is entirely wrong, and she hopefully mends her ways.
You're right. I do feel that way. If me, the CT and her fired IC and her current IC can't get the message through, I guess that's that.
Challenges to abusive language directed at her by your support group, one that you are pressing her to join, are "valueless and ignorant" because they don't fit that paradigm.
IMO, the only mistake the CT made was backing down. She's not there to enable your WW, but she's also not there as your mouthpiece. Your IC is for you. Her IC is for her. Your CT is for both of you, on behalf of the marriage, which is why most people here advise against CT this early on. After all, you're not trying to save your marriage; you're trying to assess whether you even want to try to save it. That's fine, it's exactly where you should be at this stage, but it makes CT a useless exercise. If you're going to have it, you should expect that sometimes, she's going to agree with your wife. If you can intimidate her into backing down, she's not going to be very effective.
The CT backed down because she was wrong. It had nothing to do with our marriage--she was wrong because she was allowing her feelings on how a word made her feel derail a conversation in the session. I was ok with all of it--I enjoyed the conflict.
This is a common misperception about the Wayward forum too, btw. Yes, we call out fellow WS out on our bullshit, but we do not exist to force recalcitrant WS into the mold their BS would like. We exist to help each other heal and make better choices. If you send your WW there, prepare for her to hear viewpoints that do not align with your own.
You--who I find bizarrely disingenuous throughout much of your post--could be her one and sole mentor on this site and I'd still be ok with her posting here. I do not fear opinions, perspectives or information. What will be will be.
I also should add, I know nothing about your personal situation--the details of your affair or how things turned out for you. I hope you don't find my responses offensive or dismissive--I enjoyed reading your post as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to analyze my perception of events the other night. Ultimately, I think your tone is off, not mine, but it's likely valuable nonetheless.
[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 6:11 PM, Saturday, June 4th]