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Is divorce the right thing to do?

JoshQ posted 2/8/2021 14:35 PM

You can read my story on here. It's quite long and ive created quite the list of infidelities.

My question is is it time to divorce? Its a very difficult thing to do and I almost did it last night, but I didn't. I'm not sure I can ever be the man that she needs me to be. I'm finding myself to be very frustrated with the situation. I'm far more frustrated than I am compassionate towards her. I am feeling emotionless at this point. Please help.

hikingout posted 2/8/2021 14:56 PM

I did not read all your other posts, but I at least read your introduction.

My feeling is know what you want.

As a WS, we have already shown them they are not important to us. After all, we clearly did not factor them in on our decisions. We have to devalue them and dehumanize them in order to do that. So, any type of willingness to give them up out of some mislead belief we "should do the right thing and divorce them" is just going to be seen as a way of politely saying "You are right, I am not going to fight for you, you are not important enough".

So, if you don't feel we are up for the challenge of being better, then maybe the answer is yes, divorce is the right thing.

If it's more you can't be vulnerable to her, then don't make the offer. Choose to be vulnerable instead.

I think we can't try and force our will or manipulate the outcome. But this is the time to make your desires known and then show up every day demonstrating your behavior is going to match your desire.

Sounds like you may have a porn addiction, so you would be right to seek a diagnosis/treatment plan for that. Get into therapy as well. I would go into it not knowing whether it will save your relationship or not, but knowing it is the time to change yourself regardless. These issues will follow you around and ruin more relationships in the future. If you focus on working on yourself, and stay authentic to the process, I think everything else will fall into place. It may not be the way you want it to fall into place (meaning you may not save this relationship), but it will eventually show to you it was worth your time and effort.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:57 PM, February 8th (Monday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 2/8/2021 15:16 PM

I'm not sure I can ever be the man that she needs me to be

I don't have the answer to that one, but I think you are asking the wrong question.

Regardless of the outcome of your M, you need to ask yourself this:

How can I be the man I want to be?

I think you are starting to try to grasp onto that concept, and to begin to work on yourself. It takes time. And you will have setbacks along the way. But you're doing this for yourself first and foremost.

As you work on yourself you can start to become a better partner, spouse, parent, etc.

DaddyDom posted 2/8/2021 16:04 PM

Great advice so far. I'd like to add this...


Seriously, just allow yourself a little time and a little grace to see what happens. You are SO early in this process, and if you don't mind a personal observation, you seem panicky as hell. Not that you don't have a right or a reason to be, but right now, it is doing you no good, and leading to even more poorly thought out decisions and reactions. You made enough bad decisions when you chose to cheat. Let's not repeat those same practices now, okay?

Has she left the relationship yet? If not, why do you think that is? Doesn't she, as the victim here, have every right and reason in the whole world to dump you and go live her life however she chooses? And yet her choice, thus far anyway, is to try and R? What I'm trying to say here is this... If she has the willingness and the desire to try and make it work, despite the undeserved and overwhelming pain she is in, then what is your excuse for leaving? You've barely even started and you are already discussing throwing in the towel! Do that, and yes you free her from wasting her time and life reconnecting with a cheater AND a quitter. But that also means that YOU do not improve. And so nothing will change. You will not change. In that case, there is nothing stopping you from continuing to be an untrustworthy and unsafe person, for yourself and others. It honestly fixes nothing, it is yet one more dodge of accountability and responsibility. I know this is just my opinion, but it seems like you owe her more than that. You kicked her to the curb every time you had an affair... now when the time comes to put in the effort and show her you are more than that... don't make her feel tossed aside again. How horrible to put the thought in her head that she is unlovable and unworthy, and then to spike that thought in deep by giving up without any real, sustained, consistent effort. Even if you don't think you owe it to her for some reason, you should at least owe yourself a better life.

The following is an exact quote from a letter my wife wrote to me. She said it well, and I think it is something that you need to ask yourself.

This journey never ends. It is perpetual for as long as we are on the right side of the dirt. How do you want to be remembered? Do you want folks to say, poor guy, he had his demons even though he tried? Or do you want folks to say I want to emulate him because despite the horrific adversity he faced and the years it haunted him, he made us all look up to him? He is someone that I wish I could be.

Who do you want to be Josh? Not for her, not for me or anyone else, who do YOU want to be? And why aren't you BEING that person?

Here is a little exercise I'd like to suggest for you. Get a piece of paper and a pen(cil). Make two columns. Label one column, "WHO I AM" and the other column, "WHO I AM NOT". And then fill in the columns honestly. Go as far as you need to. Mine ended up being a few pages long :) Do not restrict your columns to just infidelity! This is about ALL of you.

e.g. I AM a generous person
I AM good at my job
I AM trustworthy with money
I AM someone who cheats on his spouse
I AM creative

I AM NOT a thief
I AM NOT honest with others at all times
I AM NOT someone who thinks of others when making a decision
I AM NOT able to take care of myself without help

When you are done, you have a blueprint of yourself, of who you are, today, right now.

Now, what are you not happy about with your blueprint? For example, if you wrote, "I am not an honest person", are you happy with being that way? If not, then... what are you going to do about it?
If you wrote, "I am someone who cheats on his spouse", are you okay with that? Are you proud of being that person? If not, then... what are you going to do about it?

Go through it, and start to make changes. You don't have to change all at once, but change what you can, when you can. Some will be easier than others. But all are worth it. And when you are done making those changes in your life, you WILL be someone you like more, someone you love more, and someone you respect more. And as a special added bonus, you will also be giving your spouse some possible reasons for staying. Nothing changes if nothing changes. So change.

Common experience says that it takes 2-5 years just to begin the process of R. You are how far in? Again, give yourself some grace and some time. Some things in this world take TIME and EFFORT to heal, and you can't substitute, diminish or eliminate either of those things. So set some goals and make some effort, and you will feel better about yourself, and the whole situation, when you have something to hang your hat on that you are proud of. Now go be someone better.

NeverWillAgain posted 2/8/2021 18:08 PM

I think you need to ask yourself a different question. Do I ever want to be in a relationship? You are a toxic partner, we all are/were at one point. So, you divorce. What about the next poor woman who decides on you? She's in for a world of grief as well. You need to think about why you want to divorce? Did she tell you she wants one?

If you ever want to be happy, you need to solve this problem. I think DaddyDom gave you a good outline to get a gauge on yourself. HikingOut made a good suggestion on being vulnerable with your wife. It will help you and your relationship as well as your wife. If you don't know what that means, I understand. Read, ask here, but dig.

Divorce is just a quick solution to your current situation, but it won't fix you. It will only let you hurt another person and another after that.

I went to counseling for a year after my affair. I told my wife "I went out for sex, but it wasn't about sex." I knew that was the truth, but I didn't know what it meant. I really didn't care about sex like I thought. I wanted the external validation from someone willing to drop everything to be with me when I had a minute of time. I didn't realize that it was all due to my insecurities. You need to find the same reasons, so you can finally take them on and release yourself from their grip. I wish you well. You will gain compassion toward your wife as you reflect on yourself.

foreverlabeled posted 2/9/2021 05:51 AM

Did something happen? What became so frustrating that your response was divorce?

A difficult part of this whole process is persevering even when things are difficult.
I just want to encourage myself and others to keep going and to do everything you can to heal your marriage even when it gets tough.
These are your words. I think its important for you to try and be optimistic in these situations it gives one hope, but I'm not sure most are prepared for what it actually takes to recover and repair.

I think you live very much still on the surface. Divorce is a quick fix, its avoidance on your part.

JBWD posted 2/10/2021 08:18 AM

I'm not sure I can ever be the man that she needs me to be.

You likely won’t know that for a bit. Right now you DEFINITELY aren’t. Doesn’t mean you lack a capacity for change. Also doesn’t mean she necessarily DOES have a capacity for change. Her recovery from this trauma may take A LONG TIME.

So all the flailing you’re suffering (I think a lot of us here did, me included) is doing nothing but inducing more friction on you and her. You really can’t try to ascertain that question now. You can be the person you want to be, and you can keep faith that that person will be someone worth rebuilding with.

But you can’t control what she needs or wants.

Everyone here gets to this at their own point- It took me 2 years of hoping that “not divorcing” meant “glimmer of potential” before I realized that denial was doing me harm.

All this to say that you should really worry about you. Reacting to how she views/feels is going to be a challenge. You likely do yourself more good by committing to steadfast growth that will resonate with her than with trying to cue off of her.

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