Interesting choice of name. It does seem to me that you are rushing through this pretty quickly, possibly because you want to feel like ‘the crisis is over’. I get that; everyone here wished things could be better instantly.
The trouble is, there are stages that need to be worked through and completed before you can go on to the next stage, and rushing through them all at the same time carries the risk that real change will not happen.
I apologize if it seems like I am giving you a hard time. I am trying to get you to see that what you are doing is not in your best interest, particularly not at this point in time.
As WS has expressed a deep desire (as far as I can tell) to try to rebuild, I said that I would cancel the divorce solicitor appointment, that she did not have to tell the kids today, and that she could come back home…
There are a lot of contradictions between your words, your actions, and your feelings.
You say that you are angry and tense, and that you do not believe a word your wife says. And yet you cancelled the divorce consultation because of what your wife said, and you told her she can come home immediately. So how angry and disbelieving are you?
Your words say one thing, but your actions say you trust her completely, and it only took a few words for her to talk her way out of divorce. What signals do you think that sent to her?
Do not cancel that appointment.
Cancelling the appointment so quickly tells your wife that she is safe and fine before she has done even one hundredth of the work she needs to complete before you can feel confident that she has really changed, and may be a safe life partner for you.
The divorce consultation was not for your wife. It was for you. It will give you an idea of what divorce would look like and cost, and that is something that you need to know, because nothing about your wife and her potential future actions can be treated with any confidence.
And going for the consultation reinforces to your wife that you were not kidding about divorce, and that it is still a potential outcome if she does not change her ways.
Keep that appointment, and get the information.
Having the consultation is not the same as initiating divorce proceedings; it is just a consultation. There are plenty of people here who have started divorce proceedings and then stopped them after several months.
Depending on your location, divorce could take more than a year, possibly closer to two, so there is plenty of time to call one off at any point.
Also, although opinion is divided about how effective they are, it would be worth asking your wife is she would consent to drawing up a post-nuptial agreement. Her response will be enlightening for you, and it is another thing that you can talk through in your consultation.
Seriously, for your own protection, and the protection of your kids, you need to have that consultation and get the important information it will provide.
I asked WS if she had completed the timeline. She had. It's a fairly dry recounting of the facts, but it's a start, and it can be refined.
The basic timeline is good, but it sounds like it is lacking in the information that is really going to indicate why your wife acted the way she did, and that is all the emotional motivations of the affair, and the psychological rewards that your wife got from her actions. That is the stuff that she is going to have to explore in depth and at length, if she really is committed to changing to become a safe life partner for you.
She is going to have to explore whether she got off on the deception, or being ‘bad’, or if she has some kind of sexual addiction. The posting of that Instagram profile picture and the circumstances in which it was taken suggests that she enjoy secrets, and she needs to explain why she chose that particular picture and what she got out of doing that.
As another member said, the fact that your wife threatened her affair partner that if they did not get together she would go on Tinder – and she even started a Tinder account – indicates that she is manipulative and was the aggressor in the affair. She needs to fully explain that and account for it, because if she does not, she cannot fix it.
You said that you found a morning-after contraceptive pill in your wife’s bag that simply disappeared at the same time that she was having sex with her affair partner. That suggests that he did not wear a condom, which means that she was exposing herself and you to whatever diseases her AP may have been incubating.
Very stupid, and very risky. Your wife needs to account for why she did that, and explore whether she gets off on taking risks.
She has found a MC for us to see together. I did not suggest this, and this was done on her own initiative. She had spoken to a friend who has been through something similar (though as a BS, not a WS), and she (the friend, lets call her 'Z') said that MC worked very well.
Be very, very careful that there is absolutely no blame for your wife’s actions put on you or the marriage. The marriage did not cheat; your wife did. And even while you knew the affair was active, your wife was looking you in the eyes and telling you that she loved you, loved the marriage, and loved everything that you had.
If those things were true, why has she scheduled sessions to fix a marriage she herself described as close to perfect? The marriage is not where the problems here lie; they lie in your wife, and her enjoyment of risk and deception.
I didn't shout or act out violently, but I was seething with frustration and rage. I cooked tea for us both.
If there is one thing that you need to get from individual counselling, it is to find a way to honestly communicate your true feelings. You have a right to your feelings, and not expressing them honestly benefits no-one.
You were seething with frustration and rage, but you suppressed those feelings and acted in a way that masked them, and then you cooked dinner for your wife.
freefaller, why do you put so much pressure on yourself to be a nice guy?
If I had to guess, I imagine that is how you were brought up. Be nice, be polite, don’t shout, never express your anger, internalize it, and then turn it on yourself. Even if you have been abused, you do not allow yourself to express your feelings to the people who have abused you and rip them a proverbial new one. You have to be nice. Be calm. Make dinner. Go for a run.
That is not written as any kind of criticism, but out of genuine concern for your well-being. Bottling all of that crap up is not healthy for you, and if you are hurt or angry, there are times when it is good to let other people know that.
I am not saying that you should start expressing your angst with a baseball bat – that is going too far in the other direction! – but I really hope your individual counsellor can help you find ways to feel more comfortable with expressing your true feelings and stop beating yourself up for having them.
She's in work today, and I feel really anxious. I ask her bunch of questions, so I must sound like a paranoid loon.
You see, there’s an example. You express your anxiety and insecurity – perfectly understandable after what has happened – and you put it in a negative light. Honestly, freefaller, everyone feels that insecure after infidelity, and for good reason.
Like others here, I feel it is a bit too early in your process for marriage counselling, but you can try it and see how it goes. The real areas where progress needs to be made is in individual counselling.
Your wife has an awful lot of work to do on why she was comfortable being so deceptive and taking stupid risks with unprotected sex with a man who could have been a walking biohazard, why she established a support team for her cheating, and why she ignored your anxiety and unhappiness and instead focused on herself.
Your individual counsellor can help you get through the worst of the moods swings, and help you to feel more comfortable with expressing your true feelings rather than burying anything negative and then feeling angry with yourself.
You are a good man, freefaller, and you need to stop beating yourself up. Your wife did this because of her, not because of you.