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10 weeks out, any advice?

Rebuilding1218 posted 2/22/2021 12:44 PM

We are 10 weeks out from D Day. I have been with my wife for over 10 years. We have 3 children together. I cheated on her for the better part of 7 years. I found online casual discreet sex through craigslist and more recently double list. On D Day, I accidentally texted my wife something sexual and out of context that was not meant for her. I came 100% clean on D day and told her everything and gave her total access to the apps I had used. I have probably slept with around 25 women since we have been together. She has not left me yet. She tells our marriage counselor that she is only giving this a chance because of our children. She says that if I make her decide to stay or go today, she is gone. We have started a trial separation. My wife and I have always worked opposite schedules during the week. I work daytime and her nights. Typically, we are only together on weekends. She wants us to be apart on weekends for the next 6 weekends. This is extremely hard for me, but our MC and my IC tell me to give her space. My wife has always had a lot of guy friends and I have always had low self esteem and insecurity regarding this. Throughout our marriage she would only have sex with me after multiple alcoholic drinks. I was sure she was finding sexual satisfaction outside of our marriage. I created a lot of false realities to justify my monstrous behaviors. Last week, I went through her Facebook messages and she has had an online relationship with an old friend of hers who is living in China. She told me it has only been going on since she found out about my cheating, which I believe. She has also talked about our marriage issues with other guy friends of hers. My wife is beautiful, and I am not on her level physically. I am completely at fault for this disaster. I am constantly struggling with Shame, Sadness, and Intense Anger. I wonder how long I must wait until she decides if she will stay or go. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? I am in constant fear that I will lose her heart for good to another man. I know I deserve to lose her, but I will do everything possible not to. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated!

hikingout posted 2/22/2021 13:58 PM

I wonder how long I must wait until she decides if she will stay or go. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? I am in constant fear that I will lose her heart for good to another man. I know I deserve to lose her, but I will do everything possible not to. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated!

Fellow WS here. My affair was almost 4 years ago.

It could take her years to decide. And, she could decide one thing now (like staying) and then find 2 years down the road that she isn't staying.

Almost your entire marriage has been a lie, it's going to take her 4-6 months to even move past shock, and then likely it's going to escalate towards anger.

It will help you greatly to learn to not to try and control the outcome or her. You have no control in this other than over yourself. So, here is what you do (and ultimately it can help you get to the outcome you want so much right now - but even without that it's going to make you a better person and spouse even if it's for a subsequent marriage)

1. Figure out your Whys and Hows. Whys are things internal to you. They become your "work on" list. I heard several things on your "work on list" in this first post. Hows are how were you so comfortable in a double life. You will find some of those hows come to you as you explore you FOO (family of origin). There are lots of coping pieces we learn when we are growing up that can serve for good or bad based on the decisions we make.

2. Read how to help your spouse heal from infidelity. It's a quick read, and something you may find you need to read several times over the next year or two.

3. Continue IC. Journal. Talk here.

4. Answer her honestly. Always. No more lying from this point.

5. Focus on working on yourself and read everything you can get your hands on. Lots of podcasts out there as well if you are not a big reader.

I will say this is going to be difficult for her to get over - 7 of the 10 years you have had a double life. You need to realize that's going to take a lot to reconcile for her, because it's made her life a giant lie. You had 7 years of decisions there, she's not going to reach a decision in 7 days or 7 months.

I would actually say the shorter time she takes to make a decision will be worse for you. If you feel like she should take all the time she needs, that does give you time to create a better track record and work on yourself. I do not think you want her to choose tomorrow because I do not see how that decision will be to stay.

I do think she should not have any relationships until she decides about this one but I do not think you are in a place to make a lot of demands.

Throughout our marriage she would only have sex with me after multiple alcoholic drinks.

I tend to think she may have sensed you were not a safe place for her, but wasn't able to put her finger on it to articulate it.

[This message edited by hikingout at 1:59 PM, February 22nd (Monday)]

MrCleanSlate posted 2/22/2021 14:02 PM

Advice...Stop trying to blame shift.

Take a few deep breaths and really try to grasp what is going on with you. You can only fix yourself.

Look up the first pinned post at the top of the Wayward forum. It may help you get a start.


thatbpguy posted 2/22/2021 14:36 PM

As always, H.O. hits the nail on the head.

Not to me mean, but start thinking of life without her. What will you do to make yourself better? To stop the womanizing? To be a safe person- especially for your children?

She will do what she will do. But you need to rebuild yourself regardless. Otherwise, it will just get worse.

gmc94 posted 2/22/2021 18:20 PM

BW here and no stop sign (you may want to add one to avoid harsh comments). If you really did come completely clean on dday, I applaud you. That is something that most WS (wayward spouses) fail at miserably, and TT (trickle truth, or not coming clean) does unimaginable harm on top of the infidelity.

My WH was engaged in one form of an A or another for our entire M. It is a HUGE trauma to learn your life is a complete lie. Every BS is different, but there is a pretty significant % (judging from SI and all the books I've read) of BS who feel that every memory is now tainted. It's like waking up and realizing you've been living in an alternate reality. It is for me. I don't say this to shame you, but to try and help you really see the level of damage this is. You can look at it and tell yourself what a monster you are, OR you can try and see it from her perspective and deal with your shame on your time.

You will have to work on managing your shame, in order to find some space to see & hear and understand your BW's trauma (and I'd not be a bit surprised if she ends up with a PTSD Dx herself).

The other thing is that what you describe could very well be sex addiction (aka SA here on SI - takes a bit to learn the acronyms). I would highly recommend you seek an IC to evaluate for that. The 'gold' standard (so to speak) is a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist), but they can be hard to find and often don't take insurance. Ideally, you would find someone that works from the relational betrayal model. And you don't have to be an SA in order to avail yourself of the specialized training possessed by a CSAT. Same goes for your BW.

Most folks on SI would not recommend MC, at least not until both the WS and BS have some solid healing under their belts (shame for you, trauma response for her would be the first thing). This is bc MC is to work on the M and the M is not the crisis here - the infidelity is. And, as I believe you've said, you are 100% responsible for that, not the M and not anything your BW did - or did not - do. If you were unhappy, there are a million other, healthy, respectful choices you could have made.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair, by Linda MacDonald. I'm told you can find a PDF of it for free online. It's a pretty short read (took me an afternoon), and I really wish it had been the 1st book I read after dday.
IMO, anything by Esther Perel or Mira Kirshenbaum should be avoided. And if your IC/MC suggests that, RUN and find another IC.

I wonder how long I must wait until she decides if she will stay or go
While I'm confident this is probably really haunting you, it's the WRONG question.

The question to ask is how long YOU will wait to make real CHANGE in YOURSELF. You've already wasted 7 years and perhaps your M. You MUST drive the bus for your own healing. That means taking initiative (and coming to SI is a wonderful step - I really hope you stick with us, as it's hard AF to begin with and you will hear a lot of things that are painful, but I truly believe the waywards - and the BSs - here can help you in this journey of healing and change).

It means getting and reading How to Help Your Spouse, and then reading it again (heck, Im the betrayed and read it several times during year 1). It's learning about and figuring out how to manage the shame and self loathing. And it's figuring out the all-important EMPATHY - not just for your BW and your kids, but for YOU, bc YOU want to be a person who can empathize even with the folks you have harmed more than you will ever be able to imagine. A book my WH's CSAT recomended on this front is Help.Her.Heal by Carol Sheets.

It will likely mean learning about trauma and how to support your BW during her triggers and mind movies and all the other horrifying consequences we can experience... and doing it with empathy rather than turning it back on to your own shame.

And while this is super daunting and hard right now, when you think about it, every single minute and every ounce of energy you spend working on yourself in the wake of this crisis will yield exponential results for you and your life, irrespective of what happens in your M. That work will make you a better parent and a better partner in ways that go well beyond your M. Living in shame, avoiding the hard truths, deceiving yourself, etc. will do the exact opposite.

anyhow, I wish you the best and I hope that you continue to come to SI, it's the best "club' that no one ever wants to join. You will get some harsh words and some advice that may piss you off big time. That's OK.

Godspeed.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 6:24 PM, February 22nd, 2021 (Monday)]

JoshQ posted 2/23/2021 09:59 AM

I have to agree with Hiking Out. You have a lot of work and reflection that you need to do for yourself. I have very similar self esteem problems. I feel I am not on the same attraction level as my wife, but I also realized that there is a reason that she fell in love with me, and I her. This must be the same for you two. You gotta look deep in yourself and find out why you feel these insecurities. They could stem from any point in your life including your childhood experiences. It is your job to find out why and then address these issues in whatever way you have to.

Now, I will say this: In a book that I am reading the author states that it is best that until a given time neither of you should even consider outside relationships. Right now you two are deciding whether you want to stay together, so anything that would work against that, for the time being, should not be considered. And as much as you have messed up, I don't think it is ridiculous to ask that form her. She can leave, but if she wants to try to make it work, then that is something that is going to be necessary. Now, I wouldn't demand it, but I would rather have a conversation about it if she be willing. And if not, then in a safe space with a marriage counselor.

sisoon posted 2/23/2021 12:43 PM

Throughout our marriage she would only have sex with me after multiple alcoholic drinks.

I tend to think she may have sensed you were not a safe place for her, but wasn't able to put her finger on it to articulate it.

That could be what's going on, but I wonder if the problem is deeper than that.

I absolutely agree that the 2 most important parts of recovering as a WS are 1) coming clean and 2) working on yourself so that you won't cheat again (which IMO usually means getting your self-love into the healthy range, since I believe a person who loves themself may leave, but won't cheat).

But needing alcohol to have sex with one's spouse - that's not healthy at all. Your W is hiding something, and I think MC is a good place to ask what she's hiding.

If y W needed to numb herself with booze before having sex with me, I'd feel awful about myself and my M, and I would not experience sex as an act of love. Again, I might leave under those conditios, but I hope I wouldn't cheat.

To stay together you need to know what is really going on, and reality can be unpleasant.

crazyblindsided posted 2/23/2021 13:13 PM

Throughout our marriage she would only have sex with me after multiple alcoholic drinks.

I tend to think she may have sensed you were not a safe place for her, but wasn't able to put her finger on it to articulate it.

I had to have alcohol to enjoy sex with my STBX too and I believe it was because of the A's he has had. Our dead bedroom was because I sensed something was wrong as well... turns out he was unfaithful the whole M.

Hiking Out made stellar points. Definitely let go of the outcome as you cannot control that. Keep working on yourself.

prissy4lyfe posted 2/23/2021 13:36 PM

She is hiding something...really?

It's just as likely..someone who can detach to the point of having non discriminate sex for years is mostly abusive in several other areas.

How about she had to get drunk to sleep with her abuser that society/marriage vows tells her she has too.


Hiding something...denotes that she is being deceitful. When MORE THAN LIKELY she was numbing herself to the abuse she has endured over the years

gmc94 posted 2/23/2021 15:39 PM

Our dead bedroom was because I sensed something was wrong as well... turns out he was unfaithful the whole M.
Me too, exactly the same sitch.

And I gotta say, I'm kind of amazed that folks are focusing on what his BW is doing, and pretty much mum about this part:

I cheated on her for the better part of 7 years. I found online casual discreet sex through craigslist and more recently double list. .... I have probably slept with around 25 women since we have been together.

His wife having male friends is irrelevant to his choices.
His self esteem was for HIM to figure out
And his wife not feeling safe is, IMHO (or from my personal experience) likely a result of HIS detaching in order to allow himself to feed his infidelity.

Rebuilding1218 posted 2/23/2021 18:13 PM

It's just as likely..someone who can detach to the point of having non discriminate sex for years is mostly abusive in several other areas.

I lived a dark double life, and committed ultimate betrayal. I believed I was able to compartmentalize my terrible secret, but in retrospect I'm sure I always carried it with me. I did abuse her with my unfaithful behavior, but I was am not an abusive type of person otherwise. It is not my nature.

I tend to think she may have sensed you were not a safe place for her, but wasn't able to put her finger on it to articulate it.

That is what she has said recently when I asked her with our MC. I am sure there is a lot of truth to this. Anytime I would look into her eyes I'm sure she sensed deeply hidden betrayal. I know I felt guilt.

Since coming clean I am able to truly look into her eyes and see the hurt I have caused. I am not a dumb person, but I never was able to realize the destruction I could cause. Splitting up the family and losing the person in the world who cared for me most.

I never thought I would truly come clean. I figured if I was caught I could lie my way out or say it was a one time thing. I was very calculated about discretion and would never let any emotion enter my secret life. It was only sex to me.

My father lived a long life of lies and deceit. He burned his own children in so many ways. This is not an excuse for what I did. He is currently dying in his mid-70s. He has never acknowledged or apologized for all the lies, stealing, and despair he caused. I know that I did not want to be on my death bed harboring lies and secrets.

This was the reason I told her everything.

These forums on this site have been really helpful and I am glad I found it. I am not offended by hearing the opinions of people that have been impacted by betrayal. Best of luck to all.

HellFire posted 2/23/2021 18:47 PM

I did abuse her with my unfaithful behavior, but I was am not an abusive type of person otherwise. It is not my nature.

I think,in time,you will be able to admit how abusive serial cheating is.

You have abused her mentally, emotionally, and sexually.

Infidelity is a form of extreme abuse.

Many waywards want to balk at believing they sexually abused their spouse. Consider that she wouldn't have given consent,had she known you were risking her life. She did not consent to having sex with a man who was having sex with other women.

It's absolutely sexual abuse.


I also question if you told her "100%" of the truth. That's very,very rare.

Is your wife a member? If not,suggest she sign up. She needs the suppprt.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:48 PM, February 23rd (Tuesday)]

prissy4lyfe posted 2/23/2021 21:23 PM

And comments like sisoons (she is hiding something) can allow abusers to distance themselves/justify their abuse.

I assure you that you abused your wife. I'm sure there were cold shoulders, easily determined lies, emotional withdrawing, withholding of affection, lost time, skipped holidays/special times, etc.

Abuse is more than hitting or yelling.

You are an abuser...you just chose a different method than your father.

RealityBlows posted 2/24/2021 14:50 PM

Yes, did she begin to detach from you intimately (requiring alcohol) on or around the point, seven years ago, when you considered looking elsewhere? Where did the underpinnings of detachment start? If it was with her, did you give her the opportunity to fix things at the moment of emerging detachment or, did you let it progress, through deferred maintenance, without timely and healthful intervention, to the point you decided to “remedy” with cheating? When you invoke cheating as a remedy, you’re only caring for ‘yourself’ at your spouse’s expense and, it’s not a true remedy but only an addictive analgesic that numbs your pain while exacerbating hers. A vicious cycle ensues as you progressively grow further apart and your marriage is neglected. A marriage is a living organism that requires careful maintenance, timely intervention and nurturing.

If the underpinnings of detachment began with you, you may find that they are pinned to the fundamental reasons why you decided to cheat, cheat vs finding a more rational way through.

[This message edited by RealityBlows at 3:09 PM, February 24th (Wednesday)]

BluerThanBlue posted 2/24/2021 20:38 PM

Why are you entitled to have sex with over 2 dozen women (which is probably about half of the actual number) for the majority of your marriage but your wife isn't allowed a few weekends to herself and the support of friends during a horrifically painful and traumatic time? Do you assume that she is just as faithless as you are?

Why did your wife need to get drunk in order to have sex with you? Were you attentive, loving, and responsive to her needs both in and outside the bedroom? Or were you focused entirely on your own pleasure, unwilling to show affection outside the context of sex, perhaps pressuring her into acts that were outside of her comfort zone?

Why are you more worried about losing her to another man than you are upset over the incredible pain that you have wrought upon her and your children, the latter of whom you only mention as an after thought?

Do you believe that your wife is her own person who is deserving of respect, or is she just an object you own, existing only to serve your needs?

[This message edited by BluerThanBlue at 8:44 PM, February 24th (Wednesday)]

Unhinged posted 2/26/2021 09:04 AM

It was only sex to me.
Really? You betrayed your wife and family, sacrificed your integrity and honor, only for sex? I think if you dig a little deeper (a lot deeper), you're going to find out that there's a lot more going on with you.

I did abuse her with my unfaithful behavior, but I was am not an abusive type of person otherwise. It is not my nature.
Think again, brother. Being abusive is, indeed, in your nature, no matter how desperately you'd like to compartmentalize it. Have the courage to face that reality.

aprilfool1985 posted 2/28/2021 08:34 AM

The episodes of the Helping Couples Heal podcast featuring Dr Omar Minwalla explore the idea of infidelity as abuse. He distinguishes the sexual components from the ethical components.

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