she has come up with this story that she has felt unfulfilled for a while. I told her I can’t believe I didn’t know she was so unhappy and miserable in our relationship. She said she wasn’t unhappy… our relationship was good, we were best friends, she does love me, our sex was good… but she was unfulfilled.
I asked what was missing and she said "the passion". She said she has tried to give me hints along the way and was waiting for me to try
Sorry you're here. Unfortunately nothing new. Literally nothing new. Could have been said by a thousand wayward wives before her.
It's all nonsense, too. Notice, she expected you to read her mind? Humans can't read minds. But even this mind-reading story is nonsense. It's either complete fabulism or a huge exaggeration of whatever was actually going on in her mind. She needs a justification, so she's rewriting history.
She hit the 7 year itch (approximately) and now has decided her "fulfillment" (Notice that word) lies elsewhere. She's in looking-for-Mr.-Goodbar mode and this rarely turns out well for betrayed husbands who try to fix it or wait around for a wayward woman to get their head out of their ass (it rarely turns out well for wayward women, either, but it can take a long time for an unfaithful man or woman to figure out they are douchebags who made terrible choices).
The "unfulfilled" line is a version of "I've been unhaaaapy for years." It's a form of rewriting the history of the marriage in order to provide her with a retroactive justification for immoral choices.
"The passion is missing." - What this means is that she's immature and seeking validation from other men is a way of "filling" a void that exists within herself. Even if she were to come around later and snap out of the fantasy fog she's in, she's now revealed herself as a deeply unstable person unsuitable for life partnership.
This is all because of herself.
Because of who she is.
Not because of externals she is trying to use to rationalize.
She has shown you precisely who she is.
Now the struggle will be whether you believe her and act on the empirical information she is showing you.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Your first concern should be your mental and physical health, and the wellbeing of your children. Prioritize these over everything else. Put your wife way, way down on the priority list. She has knocked herself off the pedestal you had her on, so there's no reason to try to put her up there again.
I understand fully the hesitation to divorce. My DDAY with my WW was nearly 5 years ago, although I had a DDAY 2 a little more than a year and a half ago. I am not divorced. I am not separated. I allowed my WW to trickle truth, blameshifting, foot drag on truth, and push rugsweeping for several years. It's no way to live. Don't do this.
2. Consider now that you know about her duplicity, her schemes to have another man penetrate her, that you have been subjected to adulterous acts that are a form of abuse. A very pernicious form of abuse and very damaging to the person who is on the receiving end of it. The lies and gaslighting. Placing your physical health at substantial risk from STD's. That's willful neglect and abuse. So ask: What would you advise another person to do who has been placed in an unsafe situation of abuse?
-How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair (a short book that will demonstrate to you the contrast between your WW and a remorseful wayward spouse -- perhaps your WW has it in her to do what the book recommends, but it sounds doubtful. This book will help you see what real reconciliation should look like. Accept nothing less.)
-Cheating in a Nutshell (another short book that details the storm now happening in your mind and body -- and how you can think about it and cope with it)
-No More Mr. Nice Guy (another short book that could assist you in spotting areas where you might be falling into "nice guy" feedback loops and thinking traps)
-The Way of the Superior Man (another short book to re-center your own masculinity and purpose, which should be independent of your now tarnished wife)
All of these books can each be read in a day.
4. I would also set up an appointment with a divorce attorney (consults now usually cost about $500) so that you can better understand the divorce process. It makes the abstract instead concrete and helped me begin planning what a divorce would look like. It also helps you better understand D (divorce) vs. R (reconciliation) and makes your decision making a bit more clear whatever you decide to do.
IMPORTANT: It sounds like your WW is already checked out and views this as an exit affair. It's important in this situation for you to get ahead of this now, and put yourself in the driver's seat. So consider filing as soon as you can before she does.
5. I would schedule an appointment with a betrayal trauma specialist for individual counseling if you can find one in your area. You have been subjected to dire and severe betrayal trauma, among the worst experiences a human can endure. You need help.
6. Tell her immediate family -- this isn't for revenge. It is to expose the fantasy of the affair to reality, and to prevent her from further gaslighting you by lying to her family about how you "were just growing apart."
7. If the OM (Other man) has a girlfriend, then find that out and expose the affair to her as well.
8. Start carrying a VAR in your pocket to record all interactions with your WW. Now that she's decided to act out a silly fantasy with the OM and leave you, she may try to foment a false domestic violence charge against you to gain an upper hand in the custody fight over your kids. A VAR will protect you to some extent from false charges.
[This message edited by Thumos at 11:17 PM, Tuesday, September 21st]