I read back through some of your earlier posts to remind myself what was going on in your situation. In other words, what we know, what we don’t know and what has happened so far. I know that you STBX WW’s words can cut at you sometimes, as they would anyone.
Correct me if I am wrong, but here is what happened in your normal, everyday history:
1.) You indicated that throughout your relationship your STBEX WW had hormonal swings that were really bad, but that she returned to what you perceived as normal often.
2.) She likely had a preoccupation with beauty (the eyebrows comment reminded me of that) throughout your relationship.
3.) She had a horrific childhood and likely never dealt with that thoroughly.
4.) She likely was a decent mother on the days she was “there.”
5.) She was frequently sexual with you.
Again, correct me if I am wrong, but these are the most recent events:
1.) Her doctors changed her longstanding medication for Bi-Polar disorder.
2.) Following this change in medication, she somehow found a person convicted of sexual offenses and quickly began an affair that she hid from you. She took wildly dangerous steps in curating this affair and had unprotected sex with this man.
3.) When this man went to jail on a new charge, she pivoted to thinking she would become a “cam girl” and illegally sell weed to support her lifestyle. She utilized marital funds to contact this man while he was incarcerated.
4.) She then had the bright idea that she was going to run a halfway house for ex convicts that were being released – all while having custody of your children.
5.) She found another man who was doing drugs, a religious person, became deeply religious, had this man around your children, and then was beaten with them in the house.
6.) She’s begun drinking and smoking in the house.
7.) She lied to a court of law when sworn to tell the truth about events that were easily disprovable.
8.) She is blowing up your email and other sources calling you a jerk for not letting her see her children on a schedule that she demands (not what the court orders).
These to me are the main points.
On these boards, we frequently think of our own stories and correlate them to the ones on here, and vice versa. I didn’t share my story when it was going on, but there are some similarities in yours (like all of ours).
Had you asked me a year before D-Day if my own EXWW was cheating on me I would have called you crazy. I would have said “I’ve been with her more than a decade, I know her and I would know if something like that was going on.” I would have said “where would she find the time? She works and then she comes home, there are no gaps in her schedule.” I would have said, “If she felt that way then she would just leave.” I started to suspect about a year before D-Day, but nothing concrete. When I finally found out, the picture became a LITTLE bit clearer.
I was married about your same amount of time. I was about the same age. I, too, had a WW with some mental health issues (though not the same ones).
What I found out was that likely the entire marriage was a lie. Years and years. At least two LTAs that I knew of that both spanned years.
I tried to reconcile. I really, really wanted it to work. I had very strong feelings for my ex and could not imagine losing her.
I had a plan that included no contact and a polygraph test – I needed to know the truth and I needed to see progress towards something better. I thought my plan was entirely reasonable. It nearly killed me, but I really wanted it to work out. I loved her.
About six months into whatever you could consider reconciliation, she crossed the line I put down – in effect, she called my bluff. It came out that she was still in contact with the OM and she refused to take a polygraph test. What that meant is that I would never know the truth; and I couldn’t fathom how the truth could have possibly been darker than what I already knew. It was then I knew, no matter how much I wanted to make it work, that I had to divorce for both of our sakes. Nothing would change. The truth was important to me. Keeping the line on my word when no-contact was violated was important to me; it was really if she respected me.
I still struggle with it, and I expect I always will in some form.
I bring this up to show you that when we are convinced of one truth prior to DDay, it is very difficult to accept that there is an entirely alternate reality that is the real truth.
I always found it useful to step outside and give yourself the advice that you would give your buddy if he told you this story. I also like to reverse roles for clarity.
In my case, the advice would be, “dude, she doesn’t love you. She wants you to divorce her but she can’t come out and say it. That’s why she keeps crossing the lines.” In my case, with the polygraph being withdrawn, it would have been “she’s worried about humiliation now and doesn’t realize how important it is for you to know the truth? She’s blown other dudes and come home and kissed you and your kid. Humiliation is nothing here.” In my case, I had to ask myself, “what would she have done in the same situation?” I think she would have divorced me without a second thought.
In your case, any friend of yours would probably say to run, in some form or fashion. Like I’ve said repeatedly, she’s dangerous. Now, that’s easy for a friend to say. They are not invested in your relationship… but anyone that hears that their WW is sleeping with a convicted sex offender… you know what anyone outside would say. Yikes.
In the law, there are two areas of criminal liability that bear on some things in court when crimes are charged: competency and insanity.
Competency is if the person can even understand what is going on in court. Do they know what the judge does, the prosecutor, the defense attorney? Can they assist in their own defense? If they can’t then they get treatment until they can understand what is going on.
Insanity is if, at the time of the crime, the person could control themselves. I.e. they knew what they were doing was wrong, but couldn’t help it. Or that they didn’t even know what they were doing. This theory of the law has been around forever, but it takes many different forms and has changed over the years. Generally, if you didn’t know what you were doing then you might go to get mental health treatment rather than go to jail.
Let’s assume that your STBEXWW had a mental break following the change in her medication. Did she know what she was doing was “wrong”? I would argue that, yes, she knew. She had the presence of mind to lie about it afterward. Could she resist it? I couldn’t know. The tricky thing with mental illness is that people do some really strange things that don’t seem to make sense and don’t have a discernable rationality but that are related to the mental illness. Without the mental illness, then they would do different things.
Right now, it does not appear to show that your STBEXWW is “competent” in that she just does not get it. She does not see her own culpability in this situation; she just knows that things have changed and she blames you for the changes that matter to her.
People that have been betrayed often think that they were the best at marriage, and that the other person is ‘evil.’ That is true in some cases. I don’t see my ex as ‘evil’ even though I probably should. I think that she never really wanted to be married, had extremely poor coping and communications mechanisms, and did things that hurt me. She probably thought she could get her “needs” met and I would never find out – everyone would be happy. Was I great in marriage? Probably not. I’m no saint. It’s such a complicated stew of stuff. Did my ex know what she was doing was wrong? Yes. Did my ex know what she did would likely end in the end of our relationship? Yes. When I said I would give her another shot, did she know that having continued contact and refusing a lie detector would result in me divorcing her? She should have, I told her it would. There was likely a part of her that wanted it to happen.
Your STBXWW knows these things too. She knows having drug addicted convicts convicted of sex offenses around her children might result in something bad. She just can’t help it. She is not able to face what has happened.
Turn it around: If you suddenly started having affairs with convicts and women that did drugs around your kids, what would she have done? I can’t answer that, but I think she would have been concerned about the kids and gotten you away from them until it was safe.
The sad truth with mental illness is that there’s no way to see inside the mind of the person you love and make sense of it because you don’t have the same framework to understand why they are doing the things they are doing. It’s the same with an addict. You can have feelings for them, you can want them to get better, but you can’t force them to do so. You also have to look at your safety when dealing with the situation.
The things she wrote show that she has absolutely no self awareness of the situation that she has created. She has not even started to face that part. She is on a tear and lashing out, but she hasn’t reached a place where she can take stock of what’s happened. That may be a long time coming.
What you need to do – the attitude to take on – is to know that you did the best for your kids. That’s all you can control. You want her to get better, but that’s a choice she has to make. Do not think of this as revenge (as might be in all of our hearts occasionally). The three lives that you are taking care of now are the real victims here, and if you look at it as revenge it will just hurt them more. What you want is for them to have a SAFE relationship with their mother once she gets well.
Also know that her being SAFE might take a long time. It might require a medication change. It might require counseling. It might require drug treatment. The court is in charge of telling you when she is safe. You may have a position and it’s your job to bring the information to the court, but the court has that job to say when something is safe. It will likely seem too soon when the Court believes she is safe enough for visits and some form of custody. Or, she might go completely off the deep end and never be safe in the court’s eyes. We can’t know – that’s up to you and your lawyer and the courts.
The goal, again, is that your STBEXWW gets healthy, she then has a healthy relationship with the children and helps you co-parent.
I will end saying this, as this is too long as it is… I doubt you know the whole truth of her stepping outside the marriage. I could be wrong, but, were I a betting man, I would bet on other instances of this. The preoccupation with beauty, the severity of this situation, the childhood trauma, the craziness of life in the early years, her repeated attempts to get you back with sex… these lead me to believe that she views physical intimacy as transactional – it does not have a relation to emotional connection. This mindset is one of those things that makes cheating more likely. Again, I could be wrong.
Likewise, certain forms of bi-polar can be progressive – meaning that it gets worse over time. Even if this is the first time, it might not be the last even if she did get help.
Again, you have my sympathy. This is certainly a really hard situation to go through and you are handling it with great resolve – even though it probably doesn’t feel like it. Keep acting like how you want to be seen. Don’t get into a victim mindset. Don’t define yourself by this. Just know that you have to keep going and do what is best for the kids on all fronts.
The emails are noise. Keep them. File them. Share them with your attorney. Do not respond unless your attorney tells you to. What she says in there is more likely related to the mental illness than reality.
Again, not legal advice. Only do what your attorney tells you to do.