"Welcome, to Leyland Brothers world....."
That made me laugh on a Monday morning! Proper blast from the past. While I am in a laughing mood, I will pick up on the anaologies which I have enjoyed...
I am currently in the car with the kids and my wife. Not only is it hot outside, there are about 50 angry drop bears who are looking to ravage my family. Now as an absolute unit I could probably take out most of them, and my wife a few, but I just can't imagine my kids making it through the drop bear battle (you should see the razor sharp claws on these buggers).
There is enough petrol to make it to when it gets dark, cools down and the drop bears revert to their cuddly koala alter egos.
There is a chance that we still won't make it if we wait till dark, but I would rather wait for now and see. Leaving the car now is guaranteed to kill the family. Waiting could still kill the family but at least there is a chance.
So yes, there is an impasse at the moment. My last couple of posts were in a pretty bad state which I guess can overstate where my mental state is. I am actually in a pretty clear place about the whole situation. I will recap a few points and then focus on Hurthalos contribution (Halo - I read your story and there are a lot of similarities with a few subtle differences. I may well PM you and already feel like if you are in London for work again you should let me know as we would have a lot to chat about!)
When my wife spoke to the other guy she told him I knew, but not that I always knew. The physical side is done. It was probably done after the second time anyway but it is done now. She is gutted that it happened at all, as it was me giving my agreement that prompted her to initiate it. That was the biggest mistake I have made in my life.
To be completely clear as this has got a bit lost. I said I would rather she didn't do it. I said this over and over. But as the other option was splitting up, I managed to get myself into a mindset where I WAS OK with it. We had such a long text back and forth when she went away the first time and I was totally cool with everything. It was only in the days and weeks afterwards that my mindset changed. If I hadn't said she should go for it, she wasn't going to tell him how she felt about him. I screwed up. I am not excusing her for getting into that mindset in the first place or the way she has shown a lack of empathy for me changing my mind but that is a separate issue, and one that I am deeply considering.
But this is the big difference to Halo's situation. It wasn't hypothetical, I agreed. It may not have been my preffered outcome, but I did agree. I can't take that back and I have to take into account that my wife has done things she can't take back, feels awful about it and wishes they didn't happen.
BUT in saying that, I am deeply, deeply uncomfortable with the fact that she thinks she has done nothing wrong. Our arguments while away show that she is not going to change that mindset and so I am now done with arguing. I am hoping that IC can help her with this. This is part of the biding my time.
She is going to see the other guy this week. I have agreed to this. There was not closure by calling the day after my ultimatum. As I had agreed I never expected her to call him, I always thought she would want to see him face to face. For this I give her credit and am not surprised there has been extra contact. It needs closure. There won't be any physical contact. She wants to know why he never told his wife that he was seeing her. This should give her closure and either way I can tell her that I don't want her seeing him again. She won't want to if he is not going to tell his wife anything and that will be that. This is likely. If he claims that he would tell his wife then I will say I am not happy anyway and then the next decisions need to be made.
Remember I said earlier that we have always been very liberal with no jealousy in letting the other do whatever. This was a step too far but trying to "control" each other just wouldn't work. This is why I need to let her get her own closure. I do know how this would read to many though.
I will not be telling the OBS. Sorry to disappoint people. Based on the conversation last week it would end our marriage immediately. That shouldn't be the case but it is so I need to focus on my kids. Having made the mistake of agreeing I do agree with everyone that this part is just as much my fault as anyone else and for that I feel awful. I guess I thought that plenty of people have affairs, it is over quickly and that is that. Most advice I see for someone that cheats briefly and then ends it is to save the pain from your other half and I kind of feel that is the case here. It happened twice and after the closure this week then it will be done. But I really do hear where everyone is coming from. But saying something at this point blows up mine and my kids life while (analogy) I am still waiting for the drop bears to disperse.
I am focussing on myself. Arguments on holiday aside I am sleeping better, had another night out with mates on Saturday after getting back, going to a concert tonight. Have plenty of good things coming up.
Now, Hurthalo's first post really grabbed me as you may expect. Will focus on a few bits.
1. Your wife does not respect you. She might love you, but she doesn't respect you. She likely has huge gaps in her psyche that her or your love for you won't fill.
I am struggling to argue with this as I unpack everything. Someone else said about the impasse - bare in mind the first chat with me was still only about 10 weeks ago. This has all escalated incredibly quickly so I need to take stock. Someone else asked if it feels like she ever properly loved me. I do wonder. She loved our life together, that's for sure. But after kids things definitely changed when life got more "boring". But I also think that it isn't just me that she is struggling with, it is the mundanity of life. This is the bit I can relate to and when I agreed I was thinking that the whole idea does sound pretty great and I would possibly like the same opportunity while not breaking up the family. This is where our situations are different, and because there hasn't been any lies (about physical stuff anyway) we may still have a chance.
2. Accordingly, your wife ticks all the boxes of a grandiose narcissist, a closet narc at worst. 'I NEED(ED) THIS', 'THIS LOVE IS DIFFERENT', 'MY SITUATION IS UNIQUE' are all standard responses from narcissists. An affair is a way to get narcissistic supply (or simply, attention). It's a disorder. Who knows why she's like that? Bad parents, abandonment issues, the need for validation from other men? Either way, you will never compete with it.
3. Point 1 & 2 is reinforced by the fact that she has NO empathy for you.
Please watch a video by a Dr Ramani on YouTube titled 'Narcissism and Infidelity: Why do narcissists cheat and how do they get away with it?', it may open your eyes.
I haven't had a chance to watch the video yet but listened to a podcast with her while out for a walk yesterday and it made some good points. She has always had confidence issues (despite being objectively gorgeous). I am coming to realise that I will never be enough for her (not sure anyone will) so need to decide how to cope with that realisation.
Our holiday was in one of our favourite places doing one of our favourite things with the kids and neither of us can imagine not doing that moving forward. It is tough.
Secondly, your wife has been having an affair for years. It didn't start when she told you she wanted to 'try it out'; 99.9% chance that the polyamorous/I need this affair line was crafted to retrospectively validate her feelings and seek permission to be a philanderer under a sheer veil of credibility. This isn't a unique situation, in fact back when my ex-WW and I were together, we hosted one of her friends for a drink one night who spent an hour in tears on our lounge because her husband had an affair and came home and told her that 'he thought he was polyamorous' and that 'he thought he had too much love just to share with one person.' In retrospect, the fact that my ex-wife sat there with a barely concealed mask of disgust while I told our sobbing friend that I thought her husband's lame poly excuse was b/s (I didn't know she was having an affair at that point), was telling.
I genuinely believe (sorry) that there was no wrongdoing UNTIL about 6 months ago. There has been an emotional affair since then but her refusal to accept that term is a real problem. As I said earlier it seems arguing about it is now pointless. She needs to take some responsibility and I hope that IC will help there.
SHe's ignored you and has kept sleeping with a married man.
She stopped sleeping with him as soon as I asked. She wasn't happy, and rightly or wrongly I empathise. She has done something she can never ever take back to our marriage when she had my blessing, and it didn't have the chance to fizzle out of its own accord. Again, this doesn't make any of this right but she is just as concerned as I am that the marriage could be broken now when if she had just cut it off with him herself we would be in a better situation. She didn't, I gave my approval and here we are.
I get the feeling the biggest thing holding you back is the kids. Trust me brother, I NEVER wanted to be a part-time Dad, and it is one of the biggest things I remain angry about. BUT, life with my kids every other week without ending up in hospital due to the anxiety of living in infidelity (you can read all about that fun in my story - amusingly I had no idea my wife was cheating on me when I got admittted to ER with a panic attack that I thought was a heart attack - but it's funny how the body evidently keeps score) or wondering who my wife is sleeping with beats staying in infidelity with someone who treats you as a person of convenience and a backstop rather than a husband. I have gotten massive in the gym, I do my own hobbies, I cook the food I like...and my kids are happy. We are going to the pool in literally 10 minutes after I get off the computer, we went to the movies yesterday and had a ball!
Yep, absolutely. We do OK financially but our lives would be in relative ruin if we split up. I know that can't be a reason for staying together but it in my mind gives me more reason to stay in that car (analogy) for as long as possible before I brave that murderous crowd of cuddly monsters.
In regards to you and what an alternate future might look like, I want you to know that there are an absolute treasure-trove of women out there who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Being expected to be a bystander to your wife's fantasises of f%$#ing a married man is not normal. Now this might sound conceited, but I want you to understand what your future might entail. When I broke up with my wife, I dipped my foot into Tinder/Bumble/online dating. At exactly ZERO point did any woman scoff at me having three kids. In fact I was told on a few dates, 'I think a man who looks after his kids is very attractive.' I was routinely messaged by people 7-10 years junior to me.
My single female friends of the same age? Sadly, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. They get messaged by guys in their 50s looking for easy sex. It's not fair, but there it is. That's what your wife might have to look forward to. I am now dating a stunning woman 8 years my junior who genuinely loves getting to know my girls (and we are taking it VERY slowly in that regard.) I just got back from a week in Fiji with her. While I don't care anymore, I heard through the grapevine that my ex didn't take me moving on very well, went on a month of leave at very short notice, and actually went off the grid for a week accordingly. By all accounts, she's not doing well mentally. And neither should she be.
This is really helpful to read, thanks so much. Another difference between us is at the moment I do want the best for my wife. Whether that is with me or not I am not sure but I don't have hatred for her. We have gone about things in a stupid and naive way and she probably doesn't love me or respect me in the way she should but I am trying to be practical about what is next. Throwing her under a bus is not good for her or for me, and especially not for the kids.
That ended up a bit of an essay! I hope I covered people's questions since I last wrote but let me know if I missed anything. I have my next IC session tomorrow and plan to focus on how I have ended up being codependent without realising it (this experience has hammered that home - I was so independent before we met!)
It is possible that there won't be a huge amount to add for a bit but right now there are plenty of provisions and water in my analogy of a car, I realised there was a jerry can in the boot so there is enough air con. The kids are OK and my wife and I are getting on. I will decide when it is time to open the door and brave what is outside....