Despite the fact that my wife is cheating on me, despite the fact that her A (along with her words and actions surrounding it) has broken my heart into a million pieces, every one of those pieces of my shattered heart still loves her unconditionally. That's the thing about unconditional love...it doesn't have any requirements of the person being loved. It just is, it cannot be broken, it cannot be lost, it cannot be denied, it doesn't end because the person you love doesn't love you back, it doesn't diminish when you're hurt or betrayed.
I hope that you can understand that, dear reader, and accept that this is the reason why our lives have crossed here, yours and mine. Because that's where my story with my wife begins: When I fell in love with her, I was 15 years old. It was as if God himself opened the door to my heart, put her inside, closed the door and sealed it, and then said "there you go, she's yours to love, make sure that you always do."
I feel really bad for you, Holdfast. Really, I do. You sound like such a nice guy, and certainly so much MORE than what your WW deserves. Here's the problem though.. there's no such thing as "unconditional love", not among human animals anyway. We can say our love for our newborn children is "unconditional". It's also biologically programmed, and even then, adult children ARE capable of making you stop loving them. It's not as rare as it sounds either. As human beings, there's only so much we can take. It might be unimaginable to you now, but if your WW continues to hurt you, you're going to stop loving her. You're not an exception to that rule. None of us are.
Here's what happens... We really only have one tool in our arsenal to keep a WS from continuing to hurt us, and that's our absolute refusal to continue the relationship if they won't stop. That's it. One tool. And we choose when to deploy it. The problem with waiting too late is that the WS starts getting really comfortable without us. They're easing their way out of the relationship and into another one. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen it now, and everyone at SI posting the same thing.. "take action!", but the BS is simply too paralyzed and frightened of losing the marriage to do anything. Next thing you know, the WS has broken through the last of their inhibitions about leaving and they're GONE.
People aren't trying to be mean or unkind. What they're trying to do is educate you as to where the dangers are in your plan. The only way your WW doesn't leave you, as things stand today, is if the OM is somehow inferior to whatever it is she's trying to accomplish. She's absolutely certain that she's not going to lose you by test-driving the OM. She's got no incentive to stop. So, what's different in what we typically recommend to people is that a tough stance tends to wake a foggy WS up quickly. They are NOT allowed to get comfortable test-driving an AP. They know that if they don't straighten up and fly right, they're going to lose their home dynamic. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But it's in the BS's control, not the WS's.
When I caught my fWH cheating, he'd been going on Craigslist meeting and sleeping with other women for about nine months. There were several women and various levels of emotional attachment. He actually featured himself to be in love with one of them and they were planning on being together, etc. etc. Then, I found out. I went straight to D. In fact, I told him I didn't even want to hear the details. I'd find us a lawyer and he could separate the banking. I was done.. and I meant it. I went on and did the 180 before I even knew what it was. After about a week, my WH came to ME asking for a month to prove he could be trusted. We'd been married over 30 years; I wasn't in any particular hurry. So, I said 'yes', and before that 30 days was over, I caught him back in contact with that last OW, trying the ol' let-her-down-gently maneuver because he just couldn't stand that she was mad at him. At that point, he had a choice, either "all in" or "all out", and not later on in the nebulous future, but right there and then. He ghosted the OW, came clean, and committed himself to R.
Of course that doesn't happen for everyone. But there's a certain amount of "shock'n awe" in place that can potentially wake a WS up out of their limerence. After my confrontation with him on DDay, my fWH was sure that we were done. He had even sat there agreeing with me that it was for the best. Then, he ran off to the guest room to text the OW, but sometime before the next morning, he had done the math. He wasn't just losing me, although that's a big part of it after 30 years together, he was losing half of everything he'd ever worked for, half the retirement account he'd worked so hard to build, ALL of his children's respect, his self-respect, the respect of family, friends, and acquaintance. Hell, he wouldn't have even been able to keep his dog. It's this SUDDEN onset of reality that can break through the WS's fantasy. It's like a big balloon going "pop!".
No one here is trying to be mean. Even pointing out that cheating and destroying a family is "horrible" parenting isn't designed to be cruel. The fact is, that's some really terrible parenting, not only the destruction of the family dynamic, but modeling betrayal to the kids... betrayal.
That's incomprehensible to me, but pointing it out isn't about being mean. It's about shining a light on what's happening so that you will see the need to take action.
I think you're under the impression that what you're doing is the safest course, but from what I've seen, it's not. Allowing the WS to test-drive the other relationship at your expense allows them to ease their way out of the marriage at their own speed and comfort. They are unimpeded by the onslaught of sudden reality. The fantasy remains intact.
Anyway, those are some thoughts. I really do think you're going to have to do it your own way because I don't think you're ready to accept anything else. I just don't want you to feel put off by all the "tough love" advice, like it's just bitter or mean or whatever. You're really going to need a place where you can get support 24/7 and you'll also need to get a good support network together in real life. You can talk to your IC of course, but you'll also want to identify some key family members and friends who you can rely on. If you haven't already, make an appointment with your medical doctor to talk about stress management and also to get STD testing. Most of us really do end up needing a good support network to get through it.
We all know the pain you're going through, and frankly, it's likely to get worse before it gets better. But it WILL get better. You just have to believe it will. We're all living proof.
Strength to you as you process.
[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 1:21 AM, Monday, October 4th]