This is my first post and I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but here I am.
Married 42 years (we were both young) with 4 grown children and 8 grandkids.
Wife moved out January 2019, saying she needed time and space to recover from burnout due to expending so much energy on our adult son with mild but permanent disabilities. Said I was not present enough and I put career ahead of her and our son's needs.
We are financially in very good shape due to the fruits of my labor and lack of hedonic creep on both our parts.
The details of how we got to this point are very complex and probably beyond the scope of this introductory post. Suffice it to say, I know that I took a lot for granted but I was never unfaithful.
I was blindsided by her decision to separate and immediately did some deep soul searching and started working with a personal therapist (found a good one after two others sucked).
I also asked wife to start couples therapy, which she refused for several months until relenting in July 2019. We tried one therapist, who sucked. We then found present therapist, who has been better but far from perfect in my opinion. He seems to spend majority of most sessions trying to get wife to talk about her feelings and not much time on relationship repair. But I digress.
I have worked on my issues and have clearly stated my goal of reconciliation. Wife has continued to say she doesn't know what she wants but does not want a divorce. Ironically, due to a career change (retired from very busy surgical practice), we run a business together and still interact nearly every day. I have learned to keep my personal feelings in check at work, and (although difficult for a while) that aspect has been tolerable for me.
I was a trusting chump for the first two years of our separation. I asked repeatedly if there was anyone else in her life, or if she was having any extramarital relationships, and she repeatedly said, "No, absolutely not. I'm working on myself." However, the inconsistencies piled up and I finally broke down my denial/hopefulness enough to do some basic investigation. She told me the password to her phone in passing and I memorized it. At the first opportunity, I opened her texts and found the details that devastated me. She had multiple sexual partners over the first year of separation, including an active affair at the time she left me (with a salesman who called on our business).
I confronted her with my findings shortly later (after an emergency phone session with my therapist for coaching). No surprise, she denied until she knew that what I knew was irrefutable. She then tried to call me out for violating her privacy!
The next couples session was spent with her trying to find out just how much I knew (I didn't show my hand completely but was resolute) and then explaining why she did what she did (justifying).
My wife has sworn that she has not had any extramarital relations since we started couples therapy. I have chosen not to challenge her, because I have no proof to the contrary, but I remain very skeptical and vigilant for any suspicious signs.
Now comes the hard part (maybe because I make it so). As I read over what I have written, and reflect about other things I have not mentioned, I think that I have been a total chump in many ways. However, I also know that I still am very much in love with my wife. Therefore, I have been very patient with her indecisiveness and refusal to recommit to our marriage. I have always believed in my marriage vows. I have resolved to not give up on our partnership until I feel that I have done everything I could to save it. That time is just about here. Since my discovery, she has developed an extreme interest in security of all phone and online accounts. She now has a Proton email account and tight phone security. She has said that she will never let me see her phone again, and that it's not my business what is on her phone or computer.
Wife has also been very adamant in feeling that she does not want to come across as the "Bad Guy" in our marital troubles. I think that is why she doesn't have the courage to say she wants a divorce. Ironically, our adult children have their own opinions of our situation, and she has no control over this! I have been very mindful NOT to share with them (or anyone else for that matter) the details of our situation. But our kids have experienced their own untruthfulness from her and have seen the drastic behavior change on her part.
I guess I'm mostly venting here, but also looking for support and advice from any men who have been in a similar situation. I think I have to cut bait, and I do not think it has been fear that has kept me in my marriage. I have been very loyal but also quite naive. I plan to give her an ultimatum soon, and if she is not willing to commit completely to us, then I will serve her the divorce papers.
Thanks ahead of time for any feedback.