Friend – how you got to this place isn’t really important. Your wife could have asked for separation, divorce or change but the decision to cheat was never a good or logical one.
The therapist? I guess he realizes that if your wife isn’t committed or doesn’t even want to commit then spending time on relationship isn’t going to work.
I think infidelity can only be dealt with from a stance of reality.
The reality is that one person cannot create a marriage. One person can possibly create conditions conductive to a marriage, but at some point both need to commit.
The reality is that both can agree to how the marriage should be. Like your wife doesn’t want a divorce. Well… throughout the ages it’s been common for one or both spouses to have affairs, live apart and even openly flaunt their AP while both remain married. If I recall my history former French president Mitterrand coffin was followed at his televised public funeral by his wife and children with her, and then a few feet back his mistress and children with her. Maybe something like that would be OK with both of you?
Or maybe you want a more traditional one-man-one-woman sort of marriage… It’s totally your call, only if I refer to the first statement one person can’t create a marriage. If you two can’t find the compromise that you both need then maybe it’s time to call it a day.
That’s not a bad thing. It’s probably not how you envisioned your life and how things would go, but IMHO being out of infidelity ALWAYS trumps being in infidelity. No matter how you get there. If you two can’t find the compromise to reconcile then divorce isn’t the worst outcome.
Compromise is seen as a four letter word by many. I’m not talking "compromise" as in allow her to have lovers, but rather the compromises made along the path of reconciliation. Basically fixing some of the things that got you to this place.
OK – Reality…
The reality is she’s having an affair and you two are quasi-married and your financial, business, and personal lives are entwined to various levels.
Totally irrespective of how this ends the first step I would take in your shoes is this:
Schedule a meeting with your attorney to better understand how a financial untwining would look.
Look at this the same eyes as if you learned First Aid. It’s not as if you plan to walk about town looking for people needing CPR or Heimlich’s or whatever. It’s a precaution. It’s to know what you are dealing with IF this goes that path.
You want to know what rights you have, what to expect and so on.
Maybe even meet with your accountant. Have a clear view of the value of your business, the property, the savings… Once again – not because you are intent on divorcing but so you better know what you are dealing with.
Spend some time to consider what you want.
You state you are near the end of the line for waiting for this relationship. OK – where do you want to be in 6 months? Or 12 months? Look at a couple of things: I’m guessing 48 years marriage and all that – maybe retired? Would you want the business? Sell it? Build it? What about your wife? Want to remain married no matter what? What if she’s still secretive about her phone and can’t account for her time last evening? What if you divorce or the situation remains unchanged – want to see your ex at work every day? Some can, some can’t… But give yourself time to think things through.
Try to envision the worst-case scenario. I venture the worst case might be to be still married but your wife still possibly seeing someone else.
Once you have the worst case you can think of less-bad situations that might eventually get you out of infidelity.
Many will tell you to file and expose. Well… so will I but in milder and smaller steps…
At the next MC session consider saying something along these lines:
"Wife. I love you and envisioned spending my life with you. However I have realized there is something worse than losing you and that is sharing you. What you offer me now isn’t a marriage as I define and want marriage. I can accept that I made mistakes in the past, but this is not how I want to go forward. I want you to be happy and since it’s clear you don’t see happiness with me and because I don’t want to share my wife then I have accepted our marriage is over.
There is no rush. There are processes, laws and rules that will ensure we are both treated fairly as far as the business aspect of ending our marriage is concerned. We can take our time but I am moving to end my emotional attachment to you and our financial attachments to each other.
This isn’t what I wanted, but even less do I want what is going on now. If you were to ask me to work on our marriage I would reconsider, but for that to happen you need to let me know very clearly and several serious changes need to be made, including the total truth, accountability and openness followed by clear actions."
And then go hum a tune and make a sandwich.
No need for more discussions. No need to go into the details of who gets the Ford and who drives the Mazda.
If she goes into some "You were too occupied…" rant your standard answer to ALL arguments is along the lines of I am sorry you feel that way. If we were working on our marriage this would be addressed in MC, but since we are divorcing there is no need to go into this" and then walk away.
As far as the kids… The truth is always best, but there isn’t need to prove anything or give details.
"Mom and I are divorcing. I am the driving force for why we are taking that step, but one of the major reasons I am not willing to compromise the vows of our marriage".