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OK. Who’s ready for drama.

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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 10:08 PM on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

I'm sorry that she's putting you through this but you've done the right thing.

I was in your shoes once upon a time. My soulmate, the girl of my dreams, the light of my life, all of that, was seeking attention online. It's the same old story - sharing pictures, "harmless flirting," sexual innuendo, and meanwhile caring less and less about how I felt about her inappropriate behavior.

I told her that I wasn't comfortable with it and got the standard, "you're trying to control me" response. So I stood back and trusted that it was just a phase that she was going through. Eventually she would see that it was all empty and meaningless. Someone would show her their true colors and she would wake up. We had "true love" and she would never, ever cross any real boundaries.

But we weren't special. That was all a delusion. She followed the same path as so many others and cheated. So often when they pursue that cheap thrill of external validation they get hooked. What starts out as a "slippery slope" ends up as a grueling uphill climb over jagged rocks filled with lies and deceit just for a little more of that sweet, sweet thrill. It's impossible to say whether that's where your WW is, or whether she'll ever go there. But she's on course.

You have a right to decide what behaviors you will accept in a relationship with someone that you have committed your life to. You have a right to insist that such a commitment requires love, honesty, and fidelity from your partner. It sounds like you are getting none of those things.

Me: 62, BS -- Her: 61, FWS -- Dday: 11/15/03 -- Married 37 yrs -- Reconciled

posts: 523   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8754250

pureheartkit ( member #62345) posted at 7:53 AM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Yup, she's addicted to the thrill of her adoring online audience. Sacrificing real love for the drooling admiration of the internet. There may be one in particular who knows.

I would say she quits it all right now. Cold turkey. No chats, no texts, no pin up pictures. She tells you everything she's been doing. All the photos, the texts, everything. She's lost in the selfishness. Hurting you because she just wants to. In a few years no one's going to want to look anymore. Right now she's having a fantasy. Too bad she's lost her head. My ws ow was the same way. Giddy on cheap compliments. Of course she can't find her feelings....they got pushed aside by her enormous ego. She comes down to earth now. Tell her this won't stand. No decent married woman acts like this and doesn't care if she neglects and abuses her husband. What has she to say for herself?

Bla bla bla.....cheater me me.....poor me I need to feel special.

I deserve xyz......Nonsense! This wife has it all but wants even more. Spoiled and entitled. Don't indulge this brat any more. She will take and take until you are hollowed out or she leaves you. She will keep it up until you tell her it all ends. Yes all of it. Then see what she does. That will show you if you have a marriage or not.

Thank you everyone for your wisdom and healing.

posts: 2565   ·   registered: Jan. 19th, 2018
id 8754311

fareast ( Moderator #61555) posted at 1:59 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

I agree with those who say you should detach. The more you try to change her mind the more you look weak and clingy. You need not be nasty or mean. I would advise focusing on you. Get out with friends. Enjoy your hobbies. Be there for your children. Get yourself in great shape. It helps your self image and is good for you. She is just a coparent. Take her at her word. She has left the M. Her loss. You are the prize. This has a dual positive advantage. It helps you move along with your healing after her betrayal. Also, she might notice and question what she is losing, although that is not likely. A lot of good things happen when you value yourself. You deserve better.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3740   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8754326

 Lonelyinlove2 (original poster new member #80620) posted at 3:26 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Tue afternoon/Sleepless night and a very sad and tearful night from both of us realizing the relationship has just ran it’s coarse and she was no longer able to give me what I need. My Wed work day was spent in my head soul searching and picturing what things were going to look like going forward. She had a busy work day as well and we had a few non related and we had the usual handful of texts backs and forth through the day but nothing really about the state of our relationship.

I came in after work and went downstairs to work exercise for a couple hours and when I came up she had made dinner and was on the couch as I approached to give her a quick hug and she responded by pulling me back and giving a long deep meaningful feeling hug as if to say sorry. No words have been spoken but there were a couple other signs of affection throughout the night the she initiated. We payed on the bed and watched our show (peaky blinders) for a bit and it felt so different. I am usually laying there just waiting for some sign of love and literally keeping score and building resentment when nothing happens unless I initiate. After just a few meaningful hugs and feeling like she was actually present in the room I no longer felt I needed to count the hugs and kisses (or lack there of).

Still nothing has been spoken and those convos are always initiated by me so I don’t expect one unless I initiate but to be honest I really do not even care if I get any apology or feel the need to make her the bad guy. Her phone behavior is back to how it used to be when she barely even knew where it was 90% of the time. I know that I can get in my head about. Well you don’t know what she’s doing when we are not together and there now way she can just do a 180 that fast but why the heck would I do that when it really feels like she is trying. She has never been one for wanting to have these super deep conversations, that’s usually my roll which is strange because it’s as though our roles are reversed from how most male/female relationships go. So I am not going to force some sort of formal apology when things are going in the right direction.

Thanks for all the support and advice. Hopefully optimistic.

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2022   ·   location: Eastern WA
id 8754338

MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 3:34 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Careful riding the waves of her leaning in/pulling back see-saw-ing. My experience with my H is that vulnerability or loving kindness gets dangled long enough to get re-engaged, but is then pulled back once the response (re-enmeshment) is achieved.

Maybe this isn't the case with her and she genuinely is turning a corner. Time will tell. If she's serious about doing the work, she'll get into IC or start getting herself into all the youtube and books she can about what's going on in her head. I did both and I still do both and I'm likely never going to be without IC on some level or self-learning for the rest of my life. Whatever isn't growing is dying.

I'm working on doing neutral behavior while my H is figuring himself out. Engaging in "pick me" is a form of manipulation/ controlling the outcome and I feel like I'm finally JUST starting to get that. You can't manipulate her into the kind of W you want. She has to want to change for herself. I'm afraid all the "good feels" you're getting right now for her niceness is more accepting of the crumbs so she can go right back to starving you. Approach/withdrawal is a common tactic for those avoidant of intimacy.

It seems from your posts that she is intimacy avoidant- she doesn't start deep conversations, rarely apologizes and rarely shows deep affection for you.

Do you want to live the rest of your life with someone who manipulates you with crumbs of affection/intimacy? Is that enough for you to make a fulfilling M out of?

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1136   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8754341

HarryD ( member #72423) posted at 4:15 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Unfortunately you really don’t know your wife’s end game. Find her soul mate and live happily ever after
OR try to keep her house, friends, family, husband. Social place in her world. And just have a PA. With her new lover. Of the month.
I have see mens woman who had affair on the husband, with no attention to leave the marriage, / husband/ kids.
Just meet up once a week had there fun time,

posts: 126   ·   registered: Dec. 30th, 2019   ·   location: NY
id 8754349

 Lonelyinlove2 (original poster new member #80620) posted at 4:15 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

I get what you are saying and I am not saying whew that was close one and accepting that everything is gonna be perfect. But, I also know that if I can’t give her some credit I will just be the one burning this down. She has never been one to have those deep conversations and that has been how she has been since the beginning. It’s almost like stage fright lol. But like I said. That’s always been that way. I also believe that due o that it has sharpened my intuition and my gut usually tells me everything I need to know and she can not disguise that. I do however tend to create something in my head that is usually based on a few facts that I overcatstrophise into something bigger than what it is the longer I just keep it bottled up inside. I do understand that the pull of whatever she has going on inside her head and her phone has a strong pull but if I can’t give her some trust and believe she is trying I am 100% certain I will force her into going the wrong direction.

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2022   ·   location: Eastern WA
id 8754350

MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 4:21 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022


I'm sensing a lot of enmeshment here. The way you're speaking about your relationship, it sounds like what I thought before doing my own work.

You're worried that if you do x, she will do y and you will blow up the M and be alone. It's good to give her credit where it is due. HOWEVER, don't give her too much.

Intuition is all well and good. The whole "gut tells me what I need to know" is a good barometer for when there's bullshit going on. HOWEVER, it's NOT your job to have to dig/infer into what your WW is not telling you. She needs to tell you what is going on. That is her job. How can you have a relationship with someone who refuses to openly relate? You're doing her work for her.

I struggle with these things too, which is why I can relate so much to your thread here. It's something I am working on actively now and helpful to me too to have a reminder of where I was and where I'm trying to go.

Stop doing her work. She needs to tell you what is going on in HER. You need to stop caring about her reaction to your withdrawal.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1136   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8754352

Solarchick ( member #80222) posted at 6:07 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

I was in a similar situation as your wife. I was in an OK marriage, but things weren't perfect. We had our issues, to be sure, but this is about you and not me, so I won't go into them. We were just kind of chugging along. I was 53, post-menopausal, have thyroid issues, was doing OK financially, and thought I was fairly happy. I was working and staying 650 miles from my now ex-husband, but because I am a FBS (former betrayed spouse), cheating on him was never an option for me. I went home about 6 times a year, so we weren't anything but physically separated; we were both active in the marriage (mostly - see more details below). The plan was for him to retire down here, and we had even picked out a neighborhood and a house we would eventually buy.

Then my dad got cancer and died. I don't know what inside of me changed, but seeing him pass with so much still on his to-do list changed something in me. It was kind of a get busy living or get busy dying kind of thing. I had been wondering from time to time if I was going to keep my marriage going, and dad's passing, and my now-ex's lack of support while all that went on made my decision clear.

But I didn't go on Reddit, or online dating, or did anything else until I had a discussion with my then-husband about my feelings about our marriage. The conversation wasn't at all like I expected it to be. I started out by asking him why we were still married. After all, that physical distance was a challenging situation, and we were both pretty OK with it. He shocked me by replying, "I'm not sure." And then we had a straightforward conversation about how we were going to end the marriage. It was so very undramatic. The whole separating our stuff and relationship and divorce process was undramatic. We're OK now, and he even asks me for dating advice, which I find pretty amusing.

I think it was because we were both very up-front and honest about the whole thing.

This is NOT the approach your wife has been taking to this. I just wanted to give you some perspective.

Other similarities: I lost 25 lbs when I knew the marriage was over. Partly because I changed thyroid meds and started eating to accommodate my condition, and partly because my mother remarked that I had a nice figure FOR MY AGE. F^CK THAT! I wanted a nice figure regardless of my age. Not for the attention, but for ME. I started going to the gym and got healthy. And I felt so much better.

Obviously, with the distance, I didn't have the opportunity to get physical with my then-husband that often. Seriously, like twice in the last four years of our marriage. I wasn't even sure that my parts were still in good working order. But, and stop reading here if you have hang-ups about women talking bluntly about their bodies, because it's about to get real, but since I have finished menopause, my body reacts to stimulation at levels I've never experienced before IN MY LIFE. Sex is amazing now. I've had a few good dating relationships in the past year, and wowzers, the sex is great! So, understand that maybe your wife is going through the same thing, so if you want to keep her focus on you, do whatever it is you need to do to be able to keep up. Learn new things, get more adventurous, and take it to the next level.

I hope I gave you some perspective on what she may be going through, and provided you with some information to compare and contrast between a woman that may have infidelity tendencies and one that definitely does NOT.

Do I think your marriage is doomed? I just don't know. Do I think she's in the consideration mode I was? Definitely. But all I can do is recommend that you be up-front and honest and see where it goes. Y'all have a history, a LOT of history together. Y'all should be best friends by now. It's OK, if she agrees that it's worth working on and she agrees that you're still best friends, to ask her for what she wants in a man, and work your damnedest to be that guy.

There is the possibility for marriage 2.0 with your wife. You just both have to want it. And you need to be brave enough to ask her if she does.

Me: BW, 57, two awesome grown sons. Remarried in 2010. That lasted 11 years.WXH: Not even a blip on my radar anymore. I'm glad he's messing up the OW's life now and leaving me alone. D (with cause) in 2004.

posts: 153   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Charleston, SC
id 8754375

 Lonelyinlove2 (original poster new member #80620) posted at 7:38 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Solarchick. Thank you for sharing. I have been waiting to hear from someone just like you. The perspective from betrayed men is valuable and I appreciate all views but my goal is to understand and hopefully fix this, not punish her for something that has a lot to do with human nature. I get that it’s the acting on the desires that is the problem and she and I both know that this is not healthy but things are still in a very salvageable place but also somewhat fragile place that I can destroy any odds of bringing back. Some of the things that I have done as far as accusing her of things that I suspect are just a s wrong as what she is doing and justified or not it’s not the right way to bring her back. I don’t have to be "right" and prove that she is "wrong". I would be perfectly fine wiping the slate clean and just working on US. I would love anymore advice or insight you have.

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2022   ·   location: Eastern WA
id 8754397

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 8:57 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Before you try working on Marriage 2.0, you need to find out the truth about her online

we were both very up-front and honest about the whole thing.

This is NOT the approach your wife has been taking to this

You would do well to understand this. Your wife is not in the same position as solarchick was.

The problem isn't your wife's attention to her appearance. It's her lack of attention towards you. And the chatting with men online.

[This message edited by HellFire at 8:58 PM, Thursday, September 8th]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6159   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8754408

blahblahblahe ( member #62231) posted at 10:09 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

The OP's wife has most likely been doing a fair bit more than chatting online. She may have done a little of the math and concluded that being a single parent with a divided income was not conducive to her dalliances or her activities being gazetted into the open.

All she is doing is taking it underground until the household calms a bit, nothing has changed. Lacing fingers didn't change a thing, and while you have an interest in listening to the WW's here, make no mistake, your wife is not even in the same galaxy as the ones who have responded to this thread. I cannot even imagine how this must feel with it being so obvious (my XW at least attempted to hide her actions, poorly but she still tried) you cannot "nice/woo or cajole her return note when she throws you a cookie, she is buying time and peace, nothing more, nothing less.....

Your WW is in one or more active affair/s either long distance or with someone from her office where time would not be so obvious. If you look, you shall find the truth, but I suspect you really don't want to find that particular truth.

posts: 319   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2018   ·   location: Europe and USA
id 8754426

 Lonelyinlove2 (original poster new member #80620) posted at 12:15 AM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Dang. You all have a real knack for not letting a guy put on his rose colored glasses and bury his head in the sand on optimism beach and hope it can be saved. Lol.

I really am listening and I see what you are saying. I keep trying to convince myself it’s just a phase.

[This message edited by Lonelyinlove2 at 12:16 AM, Friday, September 9th]

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2022   ·   location: Eastern WA
id 8754445

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:15 AM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Know what happens when you pretend your spouse isnt cheating?

They keep cheating.

Infidelity isn't a "phase." Or "human nature." It's like a drug. Not only does it destroy everyone around you,it destroys the cheater.

If she were shooting up heroin, would you look the other way,and try to nice her out of it?

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6159   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8754451

Solarchick ( member #80222) posted at 6:02 AM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Ok LIL, you asked for insights, so here's what I've got. Sorry if they're harsh, but I'm NOT going to gaslight you.

Online flirting, especially after years without the rush of hormones that you get when you're at the start of something new, or have the possibility of starting something new, is highly intoxicating. When I got back out there via OLD (online dating), man was that a RUSH! It was like a long drink of water after years of being in a desert and not even realizing you've been thirsty for a long time. Is it something you can compete with? Sorry, but no.

Suddenly I was the hot new thing, and I hadn't been hot or new for over 10 years. What an ego stroke it was, and I had a LOT of fun flirting online. But after a short time, it gets old and frustrating when you realize most men are dogs that only want to get you into the sack. You feel objectified and diminished as a person, because most men have no problem treating women like sex objects. Are you a better option than that? DEFINITELY.

But realize that she's going to have to go through that before she wises up. She may become addicted to the high and not mind being objectified. A lot of waywards do. (My XWH is still addicted to the high of the chase, and I doubt he'll ever change.) But if she's smart, she won't take that shit for long, and you become a very viable option to her again.

Keep your side of the street clean from here on out. If you've done or said things out of fear and frustration that you regret, apologize. Don't explain why; that'll just make you seem weak. Just show her that you're a man of integrity and you will always treat her with the respect she deserves (even if her actions in the current situation don't necessarily warrant that respect). She's the mother of your children and not a complete shit show (that anyone but she can prove right now), so treat her with the same respect you would if she wasn't pulling these shenanigans.

For God's sake, stop telling her how important she is to you and that you love her and all of that mushy crap. It's only not pathetic if you're sure she's 1000% into hearing that kind of romance. SACK UP and be a man. A cautious man that'll do anything in his power to protect himself.

Stop complementing her. Your compliments don't mean anything to her. And they make you seem weak. Stop doing sweet things. They don't mean anything to her and they make you seem weak. Just KNOCK IT OFF and do nice things for yourself. Be as kind and thoughtful of yourself as you've been to her. YOU are now your #1. Your boys are your #2. Take your boys to the next big game, and leave her at home. If she complains about being excluded, reply that you and the boys need some male bonding time. It has nothing to do with her.

Stop worrying about how you'll rebuild if it all goes into the crapper. Yeah, I hear it; it's easier said than done. But realize that you're capable, and intelligent, and bring a lot to the table to a potential new partner when you're not busy being a basket case panicking over the loss of one woman. You know what? If it comes to that, you'll rebuild your life because there is no other option. It'll suck BAD for a while, but you will do it. I had a hell of a lot less when it came my time to do it, and I got through it. You can too.

I know this is completely counter-intuitive, and it's already been said a bunch of different ways in this thread, but you need to pull away from her.

This is just an idea that I haven't thought all the way through, so take it with a heavy dose of skepticism: If you're going to discuss something with her, tell her that you think it may be best for you to separate for a while so you both get time and space to think and process. No contact outside of co-parenting. No playing house any more. But you refuse to be in a marriage where both partners aren't sure they want to be 100% in on. And since she's not all in, she has to be the one to go. Her reaction will be very telling.

Let her know that this is what you need in order to possibly build a new relationship with her, which is really the only chance you see of this whole thing working out. Tell her you'd like to give it X months (come up with a number there) and then you can check back with each other to see if you'd be interested in dating and starting a new relationship with each other. Then STOP TALKING and see what she has to say.

And for God's sake, stop thinking that it's way too late to be starting over. I'm 56, and having the absolute best time of my life right now. My future is so full of possibilities! (And I'm hoping that those include the 6'4" hottie that I'm dating and soooo very into.)

You will be OK, regardless of how it turns out. This will not break you unless you want it to, so knock off the self-pity and get going.

Me: BW, 57, two awesome grown sons. Remarried in 2010. That lasted 11 years.WXH: Not even a blip on my radar anymore. I'm glad he's messing up the OW's life now and leaving me alone. D (with cause) in 2004.

posts: 153   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Charleston, SC
id 8754478

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 10:35 AM on Friday, September 9th, 2022


I’m going to give you the benefit of my experience.

My H admitted his affair. Came home and told me one night. He met someone else. Ten days later I get the ILYBNILWY speech (I love you but not in love with you) and he wants a D.

I was not aware of this site so I made every mistake.

Tried too hard. That annoyed him. Cried in front of him. That annoyed him. Told him I loved him. That annoyed him. Tried to be supportive. That annoyed him.

I watched as he had his affair practically in front of me.

Finally dday2 rolls around. However this time I was prepared with a very well done plan B /exit strategy. Something I had "just in case". For 6 months I believed we were reconciling yet he was still cheating.

I had enough. I told him (very calmly) I was D him.

Game changer.

It’s been 9 years and we are happy. However I now have more control and power b/c he knows I’m not putting up with anything. Just recently we had a huge blow out and I told him I was moving out. I will not live with drama - period. He knew I wasn’t kidding.

My H is not my top priority. He was for 25 years until he decided to cheat. I am my #1 priority now.

It’s been 9! Years and I still don’t do his laundry or errands. And he doesn’t complain. Ever.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 10:37 AM, Friday, September 9th]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13692   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8754481

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:25 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Don't accept being her Plan B. There is no honor,integrity, or self respect in that.

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6159   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8754522

 Lonelyinlove2 (original poster new member #80620) posted at 3:07 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

Thank you all!

Solarchick. You have a way with words that really hits home.

posts: 20   ·   registered: Aug. 22nd, 2022   ·   location: Eastern WA
id 8754561

Solarchick ( member #80222) posted at 3:57 PM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

LIL, I hope I am being of any help whatsoever.

Finally, that degree in Communications is paying off! laugh

Me: BW, 57, two awesome grown sons. Remarried in 2010. That lasted 11 years.WXH: Not even a blip on my radar anymore. I'm glad he's messing up the OW's life now and leaving me alone. D (with cause) in 2004.

posts: 153   ·   registered: Apr. 11th, 2022   ·   location: Charleston, SC
id 8754590

HarryD ( member #72423) posted at 2:59 PM on Sunday, September 11th, 2022

You know. It’s one thing for your wife to have an affair. It’s another for another man who is willing to take her and her kids to start a new life. Push comes to shove they will dump her and her baggage. They don’t want to support her and pay for her kids.
She then will realize no really wants her but for sex. She will come running back to you. To keep her life ie you supporting her and her life

posts: 126   ·   registered: Dec. 30th, 2019   ·   location: NY
id 8754812
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