I guess I should update on my story to date. Afraid it is probably not what most would like to hear.
Up to last Friday, I had my mind set on divorce. Things came to a head that night after we had both had individual sessions with out marriage counsellor. I had stated in that meeting that I was done with the marriage and wanted out. The MC accepted this, but was not very affirming or validating really. The only thing I got out of it was her belief that an open marriage was impossible under the circumstances, as I had told her that I believed that my wife was going to use MC as a way to push for one (she has stated this to her AP), and that for any reconciliation to occur, AP would have to be out of the picture. Also, since her coworkers/friends have been enabling my wife's activities, their friendship would probably need to be reconsidered as they could not be considered friends to the marriage.
My wife had her session two days later. She started by bringing the MC a bouquet of flowers. Seems like a but of a manipulative trick to me, but I guess she did make space in her schedule for us. Whatever. My wife gets home two hours later - I had gotten only one hour - and says her session went very well. Apparently, the MC said that my wife was "fairly justified" in having the affair and that she should maintain contact with AP. I told her to go away and slept in the basement.
The following morning she comes down and gives me the tears and runs the guilt trip about giving up on the marriage. Goddamn it, but I folded and committed to working with her on it. Keep in mind, nothing has changed as far as her story, or stance on anything that has happened here. Nothing. She continues to say we both committed infidelity, and that it was me who drove her to it, etc. Saturday and Sunday were good, until Sunday evening she comes to me and says she wants to see AP on wednesday at the bar for a drink because she has some questions for him. I say no, not happy about that. She tells me the MC told her she could stay in contact with him as he is "good support". Riiiight. SO, thinking, well if she is going to persist, may as well give her the rope she needs to hang herself with.
I think that part of her reluctance to divorce right now also stems from the fact that she is the higher income earner. I have seen messages from her coworkers sending her job postings for me and saying things like "these could be very useful to us". When I asked my wife what that meant, she said they meant of us - as in her and I - yet the messages make clear that "us" refers to her and her coworkers. I think she may just be looking to get me into a higher paying job so that she would not be on the hook for child support, etc.
AP is not vaxxed so cannot go to the bars. I catch their text conversation and the thing that stands out to me is she tells him she needs to talk to him about "procedures, not feelings". What procedures, exactly? She has stated in the past that both her and AP want to do it all over again, so right away I start thinking that DDay #2 is right around the corner. But because he is not vaxxed their meeting doesn't go ahead.
However, on Thursday she is late coming home from work. I check the location of her phone and she has stopped at his house. She tells me she is late because someone had a big announcement at work. AP was not home, but she dropped a letter off at his house. I haven't been able to find out the contents of the letter, but it seems to be of some importance, because she keeps talking about it with her friends, and she tells AP that "the ball is now in your court". Frankly, I think this letter is her last ditch attempt to get him to open up to a more serious relationship with her. He has yet to respond, and her mood shows how she feels about this. She is also texting her friends and asking things like "does this mean it's all over", etc. Clearly there is more to her feelings for her AP than she lets on. Remember, she has previously written sappy love poetry about him, but insists that they are "just words on a page" and mean nothing.
But there a more clues to her feelings. She texted him this week to have him send pictures of him in his "sexy" coveralls. Now all of a sudden, she wants me to wear coveralls during sex! Also, her musical tastes have changed to match his. Previously anytime I would change the radio to the hard rock/metal station, she would change it and say "I hate the (name of station)". Now she is listening to it on the ride to and from work. Downloading and listening to NIN and Five Finger Death Punch, etc. - all music that I have never heard her listening to. Strange no? The amount of mental space and energy she is devoting to this guy goes way beyond "just friends".
I have given this relationship sincere effort this week doing all the things she has stated she wants to see from me. But she gave me two days, before getting into contact with AP, and continuing to try and monkey branch to him. So far, he hasn't responded to her letter. She did find one of my spyware apps on her phone this weekend and removed it. But redundancy. So maybe she will get complacent thinking that her texting is now secure.
Insofar as reconciliation goes, my feelings for her have definitely cooled. I guess I still love her, in some way, but it just isn't what it was before. I still find myself anxious and tense around her, but am trying, I guess. But she clearly is not putting the effort it in, but is a pretty good faker. I guess about what you would expect from a cheater.
Right now, I guess reconciliation is being driven mostly by the kids and the fact that I hate the idea of putting them through a divorce and also by financial considerations. I could probably make it on my own with my relatively low wage, but the margin would be thin - very thin. Nonetheless, this marriage almost certainly has an expiry date. At least I can tell the kids that I tried, even though my commitment to it is paper thin.
I am still working in the background on divorce. Gathering documents, which is complicated by the fact that some of the documents have to come from her. The other things is that her friends are making me out to be sneaky and dangerous, as in potentially violent. As such, I am taking steps to prevent these sorts of accusations such as moving my firearms offsite so that they cannot be used as pretext to evict me from the home or for a restraining order. That, and I need to sit down this week with a mortgage broker to see just what I could potentially qualify for.
Her father is also now involved and giving her a lot of really bad outdated advice on divorce and custody. He has planted in her mind the idea that I would have to walk away with nothing. Both him and her agree that she would go for full custody of the kids and that I would have to walk away from the house without even so much as the equity in the house or the property. He says that he would "allow" me to visit the kids occasionally. Sorry grandpa, but that may be how it worked in 1979 when your wife divorced you for cheating on her (while pregnant, no less), but things have changed since. Marital property, equity in the house, and custody are now 50/50 more or less by default unless they can prove abuse, neglect, or some other grave misdeed.
My wife says that her grounds for going for full custody would be my low income, and my - by her diagnosis only - PTSD from Afghanistan. I have never sought treatment for PTSD because I have never suffered from PTSD arising from my experience in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, my wife says so, so I guess I must have it! Right? That's how it works, isn't it? Right. Again, the potential for an accusation of violence is high here as well.
Anyhow, I am struggling with some really dark feelings of negative self worth right now for caving to this instead of just straight up telling her to hit the bricks. I feel like a dupe, although I told her straight up that I still can't really accept her story. She says the text messages were well written, but that's the problem, they are too well written. And I have caught her in so many lies that I can't accept her explanation at face value. But I have allowed myself to give her the benefit of the doubt. She certainly has done a masterful job of planting those seeds of doubt. And I hate her for it.
I guess that's it for now. Any advice on how to deal with this would be appreciated. I feel like I have painted myself into a corner here. Probably because I have. FML.