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Heartbroken ...

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Venus1 posted 1/22/2021 16:55 PM

Affair fog, never heard of it! But makes SO MUCH SENSE!

The OW has told him for two months how 'wonderful and perfect' he is (like The1stWife says), making him feel wanted and special. However, she doesn't come home to him at night. There is zero accountability to being in a relationship. Fantasy is 'perfect', but perfection doesn't exist in reality. It's amazing how it prevents him from seeing all the good that is right in front of him.

Ironically, the past three weeks he has done things around the house that I've asked him to do the past few months. He's taken the pile of donation stuff to Good Will, painted the vent covers for the bathroom, organize the garage, etc. All things I suggested we do together or things I quite frankly didn't have time to do myself. He even cut / washed the dogs without me asking.

Why couldn't he do that when we were under the same roof? He says he has the time to 'focus' when I'm not at the house. What a crock! He didn't do those things the past two months because he was sexting and prioritizing the OW and being on that website, instead of spending time with me and prioritizing our marriage.

@ChamomileTea - "Your marriage is dead."
This is a very tough realization that I've had this week. That my marriage as I know it doesn't exist anymore. It's been bombed with a nuclear explosion and I'm sifting through the rubble and it is so incredibly heartbreaking. I'm not perfect, but I was a good wife and I have been 'all in' for this marriage. Even if we do R, it will be marriage 2.0, not what I thought we had.

As this affair happened out of state from where we live, it's taken me the last 3 weeks to discover the OBS full name. Next step is finding the phone number. Do you recommend a text or a call? Text allows me to send pictures of messages, a phone call doesn't. I don't have an address yet either.

I've decided to not respond to his messages and to start distancing using the 180 technique. Such a foreign concept to me ... but I'm trying! I guess I'm getting to that point where I feel that until he has a bit of a wakeup call, each conversation will feel like a stab in the back. While he has started answering a lot of my questions and been very forthcoming, it ends in the blaming somehow. I guess if he doesn't know if he wants to be married and kinda wants to 'do his own thing', fine. Distance will give me time to work on myself a little while. Think as an 'I' instead of a 'we' for a change.

While I know I'm doing what I need to do only 3 weeks out (eg, IC, exercising, eating healthy), I'm so incredibly exhausted all the time. Work is a good distraction, but my body aches all the time, I have sunken eyes and a constant ache in my chest. I look at myself in the mirror and don't recognize who I am. And I feel very lost because I can't help but question my self-identity, sense of safety and security, etc.

Is this what grief feels like? Is it normal to physically feel this 'ill'?

ChamomileTea posted 1/22/2021 18:35 PM

Is this what grief feels like? Is it normal to physically feel this 'ill'?

Unfortunately, yes, it's totally normal. I remember a few months past my own DDay, I was so sick to my stomach, constantly queasy, that I'd have divorced my WH on the spot if I'd thought it would stop. I finally broke down and went to my medical doctor for stress management. Pain is pain. There's no mechanism for your brain to differentiate between physical pain/threat and emotional pain/threat. There's a really good book about trauma called, The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk you might read. In it, he explains how the brain's activity affects the body. The amygdala (fight, flight, freeze) is only very loosely in contact with the pre-frontal cortex (logic), so you can't TALK yourself out of trauma. The post-trauma amygdala are often kind of stuck on high-alert, hyper-sensitive and triggering anxiety by causing frequent startles. It's almost like some invisible person screams "Boo!" in your ear a couple hundred times a day. You're flooded with adrenaline and cortisol, neurotransmitters fail to provide steady output, hormones get out of whack. Next thing you know, you've got a pretty bad depression going on. I like to think that if cheaters really understood how bad the reaction would be, how visceral, they wouldn't go through with it.

Anyway, it's NOT your imagination. Your body is going through something. That's why we recommend really good self-care.

Next step is finding the phone number. Do you recommend a text or a call? Text allows me to send pictures of messages, a phone call doesn't. I don't have an address yet either.

Bear in mind that texts can be intercepted and that it's best if the OW doesn't find out what you're up to. That way, she doesn't have time to make up a story or accuse you of being crazy. The OBS might not answer your call though. I don't' know about you, but I don't take calls from unknown numbers. You might text and keep the information back until you can talk on the phone. Something like: "Please call me at this number. I have information about your wife and my husband that I would like to share with you". Make sure you include her name or her photo so it doesn't look like a spammed message. Make sure you DO NOT transmit any nude photos. You don't want to get arrested on a revenge porn charge.

I know it doesn't feel like it, but you're going to get through this. Everyone here was once where you are now, and we've made it. So will you. It's going to be hard for awhile, a long while actually. But the pain is FINITE and TEMPORARY.

((big hugs))


ETA: Be prepared for your WH to go ballistic when he finds out you've exposed to the OBS. It's not unusual for cheaters to get really angry about that. Just remember that those who leave were always going to. Nothing we do (or don't do) makes a difference when it comes to that. Also that blame-shifting is typical for the exit affair. Underlying the adultery, your WH either deeply wants to leave or he deeply wants to stay. The truth of it is hidden under the fantasy. Once the fantasy is removed, the truth usually reveals itself. Many BS who are victimized by the "exit affair" end up feeling like they bungled the recovery. But this is illusion. There's no recovery to bungle in an exit drama. So, don't buy into any blame-shifting you hear. Cheating is ALWAYS about the cheater. If it's not an exit affair, chances are he'll still blow up or be passive-aggressive angry, but he won't make a permanent end of the marriage.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 6:50 PM, January 22nd (Friday)]

The1stWife posted 1/22/2021 20:15 PM

Please be prepared for this situation.

You call the OBS and the cheating wife decides to end the affair and try to reconcile with her betrayed H.

Your cheating H decide to try to reconcile with you b/c now heís alone. He doesnít like it. Heís miserable. Heís processing his love and how he ďmade a mistakeĒ.

Donít allow him to waltz in the door like nothing happened. Thatís called rug sweeping. Avoiding the issues ó huge mistake. Most likely he will cheat again because there were no consequences for him.

Venus1 posted 1/24/2021 19:13 PM

It's been three weeks and one day since confronting my WS. I'm better than D-1, but still angry and heartbroken.

I learned that J is still has an account on the website ... instead of deleting his profile, he merely changed his username (assuming I would search under the original user name). While J says he isn't talking to 'her' and hasn't been on the website in two weeks, with a profile he can still chat with 'her' via the website IM / chat, and I have no way of verifying if he is or isn't. As a reminder, I've been staying with my parents at night and on the weekend to have some space, and don't have access to his phone, computer, etc.

How can he still have an account on that website?
He has to see how much this has destroyed me. But, the lies ... they keep coming. I'm quickly learning that it isn't an affair that ruins a marriage, it's the behaviors following confrontation of the affair that ruins a marriage. His behavior just keeps digging the knife deeper and deeper into my heart. And I'm not even at home right now.

I'm really starting to miss home and want to go back. The intent was to go home where I stay in the master bedroom and he in the spare room while we both get IC and work on things. But, given this new information, how do I sleep in one room, while he sleeps in the next room, while potentially texting or IM'ing the OW on this site? One part of me wants to throw his stuff on the lawn and tell him to get the hell out! The other part of me doesn't want to make a rash decision without thinking everything through.

I've kept my distance the past few days, Not speaking or texting him since Thursday. And I haven't heard a word. My assumption is that he is enjoying his freedom, doing what he wants, when he wants to do it, with whomever he wants to do it with. It's painful to have the realization that he might be enjoying that space ... and quite frankly just doesn't want me.

I keep asking myself, how is this my life? How did I not see this coming? How is it that only one month ago I thought my husband was happy and we had the same dreams and goals? Truth is I have done nothing but support him, love him, care for him for 16 years. I have been a good wife. Faithful, lived my vows, and put his happiness first. Now I just feel like it was all a lie.

ChamomileTea posted 1/25/2021 02:22 AM

How can he still have an account on that website?
He has to see how much this has destroyed me. But, the lies ... they keep coming.

I'm so sorry. I know the pain you're going through. Hell, we all do. We've all been there asking ourselves HOW our WS could do it, how can they not see us, how can they not care? But they don't. The cheater is caught up in their affair fantasy, fully focused on the AP, and oblivious to the carnage they're creating.

You've only got two choices really. You can either allow this situation to play out in it's own time, or you can splash him in the face with an ice cold dose of REALITY. Call the OW's betrayed husband, expose her for the cheater she is, commit yourself to the 180, get an attorney, and show this guy that you aren't playing. Reality either wakes them up or pushes them out. Either way, you're liberated from this slow-motion train wreck.

R works best when the WS is chasing their BS down and begging for another chance, not the other way around. Not that I'm predicting that this is what will happen, but I've seen so many women here who were too afraid to rock the boat get left anyway. It's an excruciatingly painful process. with hope offered and withdrawn over and over again. Cheaters who are going to leave will ALWAYS eventually leave. They just do it on their own timetable and at their own comfort.. and at their BS's emotional expense.

Affair fantasies can feel very real to the cheater. But in many cases, once exposure happens, the cheater runs home and will do damned near anything to save their home deal. You don't know that the OW isn't one such. She might be busily chatting your WH up this week but who knows what her response to exposure will be. She might dump your WH on the spot. And you might not be able to see what apps and whatnot your WH is using, but who knows? Her BH might have a tighter lockdown than what's available to you.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not trying to push you into anything you aren't ready for. I just truly believe that if I hadn't made my own WH's options very stark, he'd have kept on cheating. He was quite carried away in his fantasy and with all the future-faking it entailed. If asked during his affair if it was an "exit affair", I suspect he'd have said "yes". When put to the actual choice though, he was willing to do whatever it took to stay. It's just really hard to tell who's who until the fantasy bubble is popped. At that point, leavers will get gone, and stayers will try to plaster themselves to their BS like a second skin.

Just know that no matter how this pans out, you're going to be okay. Believe it. We're all so much stronger than we ever thought.

BigBlueEyes posted 1/25/2021 08:18 AM

Iím so sorry you are hurting & in pain.

Honestly you canít reconcile with a remorseless husband, you also canít save a marriage single handed.

The only way to stop this is by taking control of your situation.

My ex had a ONS, he was not sorry, not remorseful, continued blame shifting, then months later I found he had an account on some swinging site, all hell broke loose, I filed very soon after.

As long as you do nothing...nothing will change.
He will carry on doing whatever he wants because he can.

If you want to go home, tell him to take a hike & YOU go home!! You get to decide your future & your decisions not him.

& please tell the OBS they really do need to know.

Venus1 posted 1/26/2021 02:07 AM

"You've only got two choices really. You can either allow this situation to play out in it's own time, or you can splash him in the face with an ice cold dose of REALITY."

@ChamomileTea - I'm starting to learn this -- slowly but surely. And I'm getting closer and closer to feeling emotionally / mentally strong enough to give J a dose of reality. My IC and discussions with a lawyer have made me feel more empowered, and I'm starting to remember that I deserve so much better than this! Why did I forget that this past month?

Don't get me wrong, I'm still devastated. I just see a little more clearly that he is 100% responsible for the affair ... that it wasn't me! And his behavior since I confronted him is just pathetic. He's living in his 'affair fog' while I'm dealing with grief, loss of self-esteem, etc.
But, he's the broken one. I'm fine with accepting responsibility for my portion of our marital issues, but until he takes responsibility for what he's done and is truly remorseful, there isn't much I can do except stand up for myself and what I want. Might take me months to figure out what I want, but 'one-day-at-a-time', right?

The 180 has really helped me regain some focus the past few days too. I've taken off a few days from checking the phone records, the website, the accounts, etc., because as everyone says, likely the affair hasn't stopped yet (eg, it's gone underground) and I can't trust him until he starts earning that trust. I also can't control his actions these first few weeks and months -- he will continue to do what he is going to do. As BigBlueEyes said, I can't R with a non-remorseful husband or a husband that won't accept responsibility. So, continuing to distance myself a little and gain control over the things I can control, is going to really help. But, this is a day-by-day thing for me too since I'm naturally a 'caregiver'.

And you know what's ironic? My sister-in-law (who knows what's going on) said J told her last night that he hadn't heard much from me the past 4-5 days. That it wasn't like me to not reach out everyday. 180 maybe providing an initial baby dose of reality. That's right -- me emotionally distancing myself, not being totally available to you -- you are missing me a little, aren't you J? Your wife won't be there to support you, to love you, to care for you like she has the last 16 years -- that's what you wanted right? To be alone?

And when I do feel strong enough, and I ask him to leave the house and get an apartment, I know he will be shocked! But, I'll be able to tell him that this was his choice. His decision. And these are the consequences of his actions.

[This message edited by Venus1 at 2:13 AM, January 26th (Tuesday)]

The1stWife posted 1/26/2021 04:43 AM

And when I do feel strong enough, and I ask him to leave the house and get an apartment, I know he will be shocked! But, I'll be able to tell him that this was his choice. His decision. And these are the consequences of his actions.

Something the cheater never thinks about. Consequences.

Hang in there. You are doing the right thing.

Venus1 posted 1/26/2021 14:05 PM

@The1stWife - you are so right! I don't think my husband has the slightest clue as to what he has given up by having an affair. I know I'm a good wife, I know I've been supportive and been there for him, I know that I've loved him unconditionally and been faithful. He will loose all of that.

I just don't understand how this happened overnight for me. How did I not see this coming? I mean, he's been looking for apartments these past three weeks and essentially thinks that life will be better without me in it. A month ago I thought things were so different!

BigBlueEyes posted 1/26/2021 15:04 PM

Venus,

Taking one day at a time is IMHO the best thing you can possibly do under these circumstances.

Take that empowered feeling & build on it, use it to gain strength & knowledge navigating through this process.

Continue on in looking after yourself, I know itís hard but believe me itís very rewarding.

Doesnít matter if you hadnít been the perfect wife, there is no excuse for infidelity.
I always find it so bizarre how a WS rewrites the matrimonial history...so quick to lay blame on the other spouse


ChamomileTea posted 1/26/2021 16:48 PM

I'm getting closer and closer to feeling emotionally / mentally strong enough to give J a dose of reality. My IC and discussions with a lawyer have made me feel more empowered, and I'm starting to remember that I deserve so much better than this! Why did I forget that this past month?

It's shock. We're taken so completely by surprise because this kind of behavior is something we never imagined our spouse could be capable of. Here's this stranger wearing your dear one's face. It's impossible, but also undeniable. The conflict in our brains of trying to reconcile these two images nearly paralyzes us. Totally normal reaction. You're not an outlier. We've all been there.

I'm glad you've seen an attorney. It's so important to protect yourself. You're doing well to have done that. Pragmatism is so terribly difficult when one is dealing with such a shock, but it's also necessary. Where are you on building a support network for yourself? Have you reached out to a few key family members or friends? How about IC? And what are your thoughts at this point on informing the OBS?

I know that one probably feels really scary. Remember though that you don't have to do anything you aren't ready for or comfortable with. Breaking up this affair sooner rather than later though can put options back in your hands. While there's no guarantee the OBS won't kick the OW to the curb, it's possible that he won't. Even hesitation on the part of the OW might be enough to wake your WH out of his affair fog.

I'm not saying that there's a clear method to save the marriage. As I've said before, I truly believe that cheaters fall into two categories, those who deeply want to leave and those who deeply want to stay. We can't know who is who until the affair fog is swept away. My point is that your fear, albeit typical and normal to the situation, is doing you no great service. Leavers will leave and stayers will stay, but neither happens until the affair is dragged out into the light of day and exposed for the skeezy cheating it is. After that, the cheaters have nowhere to go. They either cling together or they split apart. As an "affair" though, it's over. The fantasy can't continue. Real life has intruded.

Anyway, think about it. No one can push you into doing something you're not ready to do, nor should they. You are in the driver's seat and it's YOUR decision. Do keep up your self-care. See a doctor if you're having trouble eating and sleeping.

((big hugs))

Venus1 posted 1/31/2021 03:05 AM

Dose of reality for WH

Tuesday my WH confirmed that he wanted to be alone to 'do his own thing' and to 'figure out what else is out there' for awhile. That right now what he really wants is to separate. So, we agreed to meet up this afternoon to discuss the logistics of the separation and his moving out of the house.

I spent the past four days going through finances, writing down what I thought was 'fair', and even highlighted options, thinking of course that we could have an adult conversation about it and make some compromises. I pulled a spreadsheet together showing what the finances looked like as well and tried splitting things as close to 50/50 as possible. But, my 3 year old husband showed up and had a temper tantrum the whole conversation.

I started sharing what my expectations of the separation are, ie, we take the next 6 months to go to IC and figure out what we individually want, keep honest/transparent/respectful communication (since he's been blaming and so cruel since confrontation), and he end the affair and not be on the website he met the OW on. He agreed, but made the comment that he just doesn't want me 'tracking his every move'. I clarified that we should talk about what transparent means at a later time, but these were non-negotiable.

I then changed the subject and said I wanted him to be out of the house by 13Feb before he leaves for yet another 8 day trip out of state for work (same place as the OW). That he's put me in a position where I can't come home and it's been 4 weeks since he's confronted me and asked for a separation, but hasn't done anything about it. I also specified that he needed to move all of his stuff (eg, not just his clothes / toiletries, but his office, the garage stuff, etc.). He has a side business, so the office / garage piece is pretty big, but I let him know that I need a safe place to heal from all this trauma.

He got so angry at me for asking him to move everything and to move out in 2 weeks. He said 'I should be able to come here on the weekends and work in the garage'. When told him no, he said 'if you make me move the garage stuff out, you will cost me my business, but I guess that is ok with you because you never supported me or my business anyway'. Can you say 'holly blame game Batman'! I told him he could rent a place with a garage and transport his stuff over there, and that's when he countered with 'I can't afford it. And if I move my things out of here, I'm never coming back'.

I then brought up my thoughts about how to share the dogs between our places, how we should get separate bank accounts to manage individual finances and maintain a joint account for joint bills (eg, car insurance payments, cell bill, etc.), that the business expenses should be maintained by him, and I pulled up my spreadsheet. The spreadsheet included a suggestion to split our disposable savings 50/50 to support the financial burden, any tax refunds we get we split 50/50 to support the financial burden, etc. When he saw the numbers, he flipped out and told me 'oh so now you are going to financially break me too, huh? that's so kind of you to do that! maybe I'll get a lawyer and take you to the cleaners.' I make more than him, so this is a real concern. But, the difference between what we both would contribute was only an $800 difference, pretty 'kind' of me given the circumstances.

He started yelling and told me that he wants to give me, the dogs, the house, my family all up so he can just move and start fresh. That he can't stand to look at me because I'm such a horrible person. That I'm impossible to talk to or reason with. Can you say 'deflection' much? Of course I told him if what would make him happy is to move out of state and give everything up, then he should. Then he proceeded to take off his wedding ring, slam it on the dining room table (putting a dent into the oak), before throwing it across the room and saying 'f*** you'. and then he says, 'you know, I've lost my brother because of you, so thanks for that too.' His brother and sister found out about what happened, and I guess his brother called him on it over a phone conversation they had last night.

I am incredibly proud of myself for not being a doormat anymore and communicating clearly what my expectations are. That I took control back and let him know that what he's done to break our marriage is unacceptable and I won't allow him to treat me how he's been treating me. That this is what he wanted, so he needed to suck it up a little and figure it out.

I think he was shocked ...

when I was in the car driving away, I had the realization that he is so lost and conflicted internally that he can't even see clearly. That he's broken, and expecting me to be there to catch him. That he very likely feeling ashamed and every time he sees or talks to me, he feels like shit. That he hasn't accepted responsibility whatsoever for his behaviors, because he kept blaming, blaming, blaming.

This 'dose of reality' really shook him to the core today. And I do worry about how he's doing after I left. But, I think he might actually see the consequences of his actions now.

Why couldn't he have just come clean, been truly remorseful, started being honest, etc. after confrontation? I sort of feel that affairs don't always ruin marriages, it is the behaviors following confrontation that does. And he's been mean, blaming, not accepting responsibility, continuing contact with the OW, etc. Friggin' affair fog! Ugh.

But what a waste -- so many marriages ending this way because the WH can't accept responsibility!

ChamomileTea posted 1/31/2021 04:05 AM

Why couldn't he have just come clean, been truly remorseful, started being honest, etc. after confrontation? I sort of feel that affairs don't always ruin marriages, it is the behaviors following confrontation that does. And he's been mean, blaming, not accepting responsibility, continuing contact with the OW, etc. Friggin' affair fog! Ugh.

It's because he's still in the affair. You can tell by the way he's claiming he wants "to be alone to 'do his own thing' and to 'figure out what else is out there' for awhile" and also by the way he gave you the runaround on transparency. The usual plan is to park the BS in "separation" mode and then test drive the OW to see if she's a soft enough place to land. And of course, if he gets caught again, it's "hey, we were separated". You've put him on notice that you won't be "parked". You won't be waiting around and keeping the bills paid and the home fires burning while he explores. Childish tantrums at this point are a given. They're the norm. You're popping holes in his fantasy balloon, and well done! We all know how hard it is to stand up to a cheater with the bit in his teeth, but you did it and you did it remarkably well.

Cheating is a narcissistic act, and narcissists have three methods of manipulation at their disposal... charm, self-pity, and rage. These are the tools he'll use to try to change your mind. Be ready for them. Identify them as manipulation. Once you see them for what they are, it's much easier to step back, refer to your boundaries, and go back to your 180. Pointing and laughing are, as always, optional.

You've told him your expectations. He'll most likely try to get around you, but put your game face on and stick with what you've said. He'll say "let's try my plan". You'll say, "no, we've already got a plan".

You did great. I know it's hard to be the adult in the room when your heart is breaking. But he's NOT feeling "ashamed" or feeling "like shit". If he was, you'd see a change in his behavior to reflect it. What he is most likely feeling is thwarted and angry because REALITY is intruding on his fantasy life, hence all the blaming. Notice it's not his fault for being a skeezy cheater that his brother has lost respect for him. To his mind, it's your fault because you told the brother. Do you see the size of the disconnect he's got going? This is TYPICAL. Cheaters are utterly predictable. So much so that often here at SI, we refer to an imaginary "Cheater's Handbook". The behavior is rote. So, try to resist the urge to project your own feelings, meaning what YOU would be feeling if you were in his shoes. He's not you. If he was, he wouldn't be doing any of this. Watch his ACTIONS. Let his words bounce off like water on a duck's back.

((big hugs))

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 4:15 AM, January 31st (Sunday)]

DanielJK posted 1/31/2021 06:17 AM

ChamomileTea has given some great advice. She has the wayward mind pegged.

I'll just add my own experience if I may.

if I move my things out of here, I'm never coming back

That's an empty threat. When I had discussions with my WW she would threaten to find another place to stay hoping I would say "oh no, please don't leave." And I often did. When it finally came time to file for divorce I asked her to move out. She said "no, it's my house too." Funny how the attitude changed.

I think it's great that you can see right through the crap he is throwing at you.

Stay strong. Don't stand for being treated this way. You are on your way out of infidelity.

Freeme posted 1/31/2021 06:57 AM

I think his big plans were to cake eat for as long as he can. He doesn't want a divorce because of his safty net but he also didn't want to give up OW soooo... his plan was/is to keep both with a seperation. You called his bluff by treating the seperation similar to a divorce. He could very well be thinking about how easily it will be for you to divorce him after a six month seperation that follows your plan...espicially if you catch him cheating with OW again...
He was talking nonsense... Lost his brother because of YOU!!! You were speaking the truth. He's having trouble with his brother because he cheated...

I had the realization that he is so lost and conflicted internally that he can't even see clearly. That he's broken, and expecting me to be there to catch him. That he very likely feeling ashamed and every time he sees or talks to me, he feels like shit. That he hasn't accepted responsibility whatsoever for his behaviors, because he kept blaming, blaming, blaming.

I agree with this but I also think it has to do with his plan of keeping you and the OW... and seeing that plan failing. I don't think he ever though he could lose you in the process. Please stay strong and continue to move forward. Personally, I don't think seperations are good for the marriage. If you want to fix them you need to be together but... I understand that you aren't ready to divorce him and your trying to create a "Real" seperation. If you go this route make sure to stick to it. What I've seen happen in these situations is that the WS continues to "date" while "working" on their marriage with the BS, lying, manipulateing, pretending... It's easier for the WS because they are harder to keep tabs on when they are living seperate. I think you know this.

Keep strong, and good job.

The1stWife posted 1/31/2021 08:52 AM

Limbo. His plan was to maintain living in limbo as long as possible. He believed you would be there to support him ďno matter whatď.

Itís all part of the ďcheaters handbookď. This is very typical cheater behavior.

Iím glad you stood up for yourself otherwise 6 months from now you would be in the same position as you are right now. Remaining married while watching your spouse cheat. And that is just unacceptable.

Iím sorry itís come to this but at least you were prepared. Itís funny (not really) how you are giving him his freedom to go and do what he wants. Exactly what he wanted - a separation.

But yet he blames you for giving him what he wanted. Ohhhhhh riiight - it wasnít a separation on his terms. How dare you!!

[This message edited by The1stWife at 8:53 AM, January 31st (Sunday)]

Venus1 posted 2/1/2021 23:14 PM

You called his bluff by treating the separation similar to a divorce.

100% right! And he didn't see it coming. Standing up for myself and telling him that I refuse to be treated that way was a big wakeup call!

Even though he said he wanted to separate and be alone on confrontation day, I was in such shock that I didn't quite process it. But, after four weeks of no remorse, the continual blaming, him still interacting with the OW, etc., I strongly felt that I needed to call his bluff and pop some holes in that affair balloon he is living in. If you want to be alone and don't know if you want to be married, then here is your chance. You are asking for a separation, so let's separate. But, don't expect me to help pay for it or to be around in 6 months when you figure it out. I'm going to work on myself the next few months, and who knows what I will discover about what I want in this marriage moving forward.

Itís funny (not really) how you are giving him his freedom to go and do what he wants. Exactly what he wanted - a separation. But yet he blames you for giving him what he wanted. Ohhhhhh riiight - it wasnít a separation on his terms. How dare you!!

Right!? The nerve of him to say that! Plus, blaming me for 'loosing his brother' and his other problems -- what a joke!

His plan was to maintain living in limbo as long as possible. He believed you would be there to support him ďno matter whatď.

I didn't realize this until our discussion Saturday. He has no idea how I'm feeling (can't put himself in my shoes) and how limbo is what is further destroying our relationship.

The truth is that I've always been there for him, always had his back, taken care of the dogs, the cooking, the house, etc. so he can work on his business. Now I won't be there. Now, he does say that since I've been at my parents that he feels less stressed. That he thought he would be more devastated by being apart. But, he will miss me eventually when the fantasy wears off.

[This message edited by Venus1 at 11:22 PM, February 1st (Monday)]

Venus1 posted 2/2/2021 00:15 AM

So, my WH wrote me an email this evening -- it was kind and more reasonable than Saturday's discussions for sure! But, I'd need some opinions on some of the things he said.

"I am not seeing anyone, I'm not planning on making a bachelor pad to do things with random people. I really want to focus on my company and myself right now and figure it all out."

How do you build trust with someone when you are living separately? Because of the affair, I feel like I can't trust anything in this statement or anything he says really. On the flip side, I hope he is realizing that he needs to work on himself and make changes over time, and he doesn't want to just sow his wild oats during this separation. He can leverage the separation to focus on what is broken in him. I just still don't understand why he feels he can't do these things with me, as I've always supported him, and how I build that trust over time. Right now I'm too angry to even go down that path yet, and being apart for awhile will be important, but eventually I hope I can forgive and build trust.

"I want my friend back to start with, if we end up with more than that and reconcile, that would be great. But our interactions are unhealthy and we need clarity."

What makes me so mad about this statement is that this is unhealthy for me, not him. He had an affair and it wasn't 'unhealthy' until I confronted him about it. I mean don't get me wrong, I would love to repair our friendship at minimum. It just feel like there is a major lack of responsibility for the affair still and he needs this 'clarity', when the reality is that I need clarity on what I want moving forward out of this marriage.

"I feel now more than ever that our separation is extremely important ... I really can't stand being at the house much more at the moment."

If he can't stand being at the house, why hasn't he moved out already!? He's in a panic because I gave him a day to be out by, and is upset because I want him to take everything with him. But, he can't stand the house and can't stay in the same place as me, so is this just manipulation to just make me feel bad for him and his situation? Want his cake and eat it too? thought he could keep me in limbo forever?

I'm so proud of myself for saying 'NO'! You crossed the line this time. No more.

My brother said something to me yesterday that really resonated with me. He said my WH is always seeking the 'next best thing', whether it be the next best job or the next best car. He's been restless. That he puts his happiness outward into material things, instead of looking internally for it. And as a result, he will never be happy and never be at peace.

Looking back at the last 2-3 years when we've had so much trauma in our lives, I've looked internally and my WH has looked externally. Emersed himself in work and pulled away from me. But, that just snowballed and that's why he 'hates' everything. I see it now! The affair is yet another example of that. Not that the AP is the 'next best thing', but he was looking for something that would give him that 'thrill' of the next best thing. ie, looking for what else could be out there for him that is better than me.

As a result, I not only see how selfish my WH is now, but I've lost respect for him. It is so difficult to learn this ... and I feel very foolish for not seeing it 2 years ago!

For those of you who have reconciled, is separation and time apart really healing?

ChamomileTea posted 2/2/2021 01:45 AM

For those of you who have reconciled, is separation and time apart really healing?

No. I don't think it is. Experts do agree that couples who are actively damaging their prospects for recovery due to a lack of self-control by one or both parties are better off to separate while getting counseling. This would be in cases where there's violence or verbal abuse. Otherwise, the general rule is that the longer a separation persists, the more likely it is to become permanent. Consider this as well... there are only four outcomes for a couple who engaged in a therapeutic separation and three three of them end in divorce/permanent separation:
1) Both parties miss the marriage and go back to it.
2) Neither party misses the marriage. Marriage ends.
3) The wife misses the marriage but the husband doesn't. Marriage ends.
4 The husband misses the marriage but the wife doesn't. Marriage ends.

Personally, I don't like calling WS's liars based on what we've read online, but having said that, I would be hard-pressed to believe that the affair has ended. Due to his continued intransigence, I'd guess that he's either still cheating or that it was an exit affair and he's wanting the bachelor lifestyle. It's just not unusual to see cheaters trying to manipulate their way out of the marriage.

"Let's be friends" is TYPICAL. Cheaters don't like to think of themselves as horrible people. They like to believe they're splendid people who just went about it wrong. And if you're not mad at them, no one else should be either, right? "Friendship" after betrayal means that no one really got hurt and the split is in the best interest of everyone involved. You see how that works? No victims, no need for changing one's spots or feeling like a jerk.

I'll be honest with you. In my own situation, married 30+ years on DDay, I told my WH straight up that we were getting a divorce, that I didn't want to hear the details, he could split the banking, and I'd find us a lawyer. It took him less than a week to figure out that's not what he wanted and to ask me for time. I gave him thirty days, provided there was no contact with OW, but just like you've noticed, there's that whole "external validation" kettle of fish. My WH couldn't stand the idea that the OW would be mad, so he was trying the "let her down easy" method behind my back. Once I caught on, he had about thirty seconds to decide if he was "all in" or "all out". I'd had enough. I wasn't playing. It wasn't a game or a tactic. I was DONE.

Cheaters want us to think they're "confused", that they don't know what they want. But just like a toddler can choose whether they want the red one or the blue one, so too can a cheater. It's about limiting the options. Presenting a very stark contrast between choices. I was NOT going to "be his friend". I was NOT going to consign myself to a dusty shelf and wait for his royal pronouncement about MY future. I was NOT going to accept less than I deserved in settlement. And if he chose "all out", that's exactly what I meant. He would get NOTHING from me ever again, not a word and certainly not any kind of favors. Anyway, he must've seen blood in my eye because it didn't take him the full thirty seconds to say he was "all in" and then to ghost the OW completely and on that spot.

We have a saying around here... "You have to be prepared to lose the marriage in order to have a chance at saving it". What that means is that you can't make these kind of ultimatums unless you're truly prepared to walk. I was.

At the end of your post, you said you've lost respect for him. And that's NORMAL. Most of us didn't think our WS was even capable of the savage disrespect and lack of character it takes to cheat. One of the dirty little secrets of R though is even if things go well, as well as can be imagined, and long after you've rebuilt some functional form of trust... you're still going to be working on that respect component. It's so hard to get that back. My point is, that you have less to fear than you might think by making your WH's choices very stark. If he doesn't come through for you, what you're losing is a skeezy cheater who you would never be able to respect again anyway because he wouldn't even TRY to be a better person.

My advice would be to tell him that you can get better friends, friends who DON'T stab you in the back, and that if he wants a separation, he needs to be out when you say and take all his shit with him. You've given him an answer about this. And his manipulation channel is set to "Charm with a side of Sad-Sausage". It's not fair for him to make YOU responsible for keeping all his belongings safe and intact just so he can come at you later and say he's got items missing or broken. Further, if he wants out badly enough and you're working a settlement agreement, chances are his haste will cause him to take less. And since you make more money than he does, that might be a good thing.

I'm sorry you're going through all this. Try to remember though that it's a temporary state of being. Your life will get better, either with him or without him.

((hugs))

Hedwig posted 2/2/2021 01:49 AM

Venus1, you are doing amazing! I am in absolute AWE of how you're handling this. By staying at your parents for a month and implementing the 180 after his continuous blameshifting, you have given yourself the clarity to hit him with some cold hard facts about what separation looks like.

I love the way you said your "3 year old husband decided to have a tantrum". He showed even more ugly when presented with the truth.

You see how he is backpedalling in his last e-mail? Don't believe a WORD he says. He is al saying this in an effort to keep whatever benefit he still can keep.

I think he's going to start groveling and apologizing and promising to be better in the foreseeable future. Do not believe this. Don't let your guard down. It is actions you want to see, not words! Again, don't believe anything he says once he starts to see what he's really about to lose. They promise heaven on earth in that phase but they WILL break that promise as soon as they think they're out of the doghouse.

Have you contacted the OBS already? This will give him another dose of reality and consequences!

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