Sleeping with others before even starting the process for D in my mind is cheating. While you may not have been the best partner, your wife in sleeping with others was not your fault. There's a right way to get out of a relationship and part of that is putting the old relationship behind you before starting another. That's only fair to all involved and avoids situations like you and your wife now find yourself.
This is how I feel. I have told her that even if we were getting divorced her speed in going to other people is concerning.
You're not reconciled. Reconciliation takes years. You are both going to need help to navigate this.
There are some positives in her actions. She disclosed willingly. But there are some red flags that need to be addressed. The rapidness of the sex after the separation for one. Even waywards with the best intentions minimize their actions to try and avoid the cost of those actions to them and their relationships. This is always counterproductive when new information finally emerges.
Yeah we went through a little bit of trickle truth. I have since grilled her to the n-th degree and believe I have the full story. It was incredibly damaging that she didn't tell 100% of the truth up front. She tried using a "we were separated and I was acting on my own and I don't have to tell you anything" defense.
This was the plan all along. Waywards typically have candidates in mind before the separation talk. Even without sex there was likely some flirting or emotional bonding going on before June.
This is 100% confirmed. One of the guys she slept with is an ex-boyfriend who she was seeing in an emotional affair before I left. This is the part that I think makes our story a bit different/interesting. She plainly states that once she started hanging around him she realized our marriage was going nowhere and that we didn't have the basic ingredients to continue anymore. She doesn't try to deny any of this, just says that our relationship was so fucked up that she had to end it because once she saw it was possible to not be miserable she couldn't accept being miserable.
I asked if she intended to sleep with this guy before kicking me out. She says no, but as soon as she did he basically begged for a chance and declared his love. She says she told him he could date casually but she wasn't going to be with him for anything long term. She slept with him while dating others (and sleeping with one of those). Once she decided to get back with me this ex-boyfriend apparently was super crushed and upset because he feels led along even though he is the idiot who made himself a rebound and slept with a married woman.
Is this truly the reason or was she still interested in exploring her new found singleness?
For what it's worth, in retrospect and in some verification I have from others I do believe that when she stopped talking to me she intended to divorce. She moved all of my stuff into a storage unit so I could get it without interacting with her.
Single life isn't what she thought it was.
Perhaps. I am still trying to figure this one out. I do believe it is a bit of cold calculus, but it might not all be bad for me. Her story is that she has and does love me intensely. That I was always the one she wanted to be with. That she was utterly crushed once it seemed we had to divorce. She does say she behaved immaturely and in a way she is not proud of in that "divorce". She says that she saw me as toxic and not a good candidate for long-term. We are younger (late-20s and mid-30s) and with no kids and she started to see I would not be able to raise a kid with her with my depression.
The "good" part is that from the emails I was sending her when we weren't talking she saw a glimmer of hope. She describes a moment in which she saw that she could take a risk that my change was real and if it could lead to us having a chance at being together she wanted to take it. Her behavior since does seem to corroborate this. There have been almost daily exclamations and even tears of joy at my change in behavior post-depression (which is indeed drastic).
That's the only way that you will be able to start to believe that this isn't true and move forward with a true reconciliation. What you've done so far is rug sweep. Past experience tells us that this only delays the failure of the relationship until enough resentment and anger builds to destroy what's left. Your marriage, as good as it seems right now, has a ticking bomb built into it. Both of you need to stop pretending it doesn't and work on defusing it.
Acknowledged. This is what we're working on.
The whole thing was planned from the get go. Separation, enjoy some sex with randos, come back home. Say "We were separated!" until the end of time.
I'm not so sure of that. I think she snapped. From her own words and reports of others she was near admitting herself to a hospital for suicidality once we split. Her reactions in that space were clearly not the best and she admits that.
I think the crux of my case might be my depression. I actually agree with her that if I didn't change our relationship was never going to succeed. I also admit that it never would have been healthy for us to have kids in that situation which was something we were trying to get to. I also admit that she begged me to change for years and in particular in the last year before separation she gave me written and verbal warnings that if I didn't change we would divorce.
The speed of separation, infidelity, and reunion is mind-boggling. But so is the complete 180 I made in my own mental health during that time. I have referred to it as a miracle because it feels like one. Previous to the split I was already suicidal for years, constant low energy and refusal to participate in new things, constantly dipping out on things she wanted to do. I avoided us having meals together, us hanging out with friends together, us trying new activities, etc. I also would roll my eyes at her and blame her for it when she would try to make progress.
After the depression lifted I saw how much I had been missing out on in life. I wanted nothing more than to make up for lost time and have as much fun, laughter, meals together, mutual friends, activities, etc. as possible that we had not been having before. This is where we have been at for a few months now and we both love it.
She admits that she has a hard time squaring what she did and the depths of her wanting to divorce with where we are at now. She says she didn't think it was possible I would change since she begged for it for years.
Good luck with whatever you choose. But if things get bad again and you "separate" again, without a legal separation, without actually filing for divorce, and she sleeps around again, well, don't be surprised.
She has set the boundaries. You have to be the "good boy" version of you that provides for her and doesn't "project" your depression on to her. As soon as you stop meeting her needs. Don't be surprised you find yourself sleeping on a buddy's couch and someone else sleeping with her. I mean, she has to take care of herself during that separation! She doesn't know for sure you are going to get better. Besides, it worked out just fine last time.
Of course this scares me. I have asked her many times since reunion in what cases this could happen again. She says that I had years of warnings including written warnings (which is true). She says if we were ever headed that direction again I would get the warnings again. Also she says I don't have to be perfect or not depressed, just that I can't blame her for it. What she means by "project" is me telling her that if she had done X or not done Y I would be happy and all of my unhappiness was therefore her fault. That was pretty mean of me to be fair. I can't imagine how draining it must be to live with a suicidal partner for years and when you probe at it they tell you it is all your fault.
Because she already had these orbiters waiting in the wings. It is not only possible, but plausible that she'd already slept with them before she jolted you with the moving-out demand. She gaslit you then and is likely gaslighting you now. The way you are writing about this doesn't sound like reconciliation, but rather a "just found out" situation in which you are still in shock from betrayal trauma (abuse).
Yeah, a part of me does still wonder about if she slept with the ex before I left. I may never really know. I do agree I am still traumatized by it. My head is still spinning from the betrayal for sure.
Because you were cheated on in the usual way. My WW invoked an in-home separation to cow me so she could plow ahead with her affair which was then ongoing. Very common. Nothing original here. Your WW has basically engineered a script in which she's the good guy and this is all your fault.
She's not the good guy. She's the really, really bad guy. And this is not your fault.
You're only a few months out from learning about her betrayal. It takes years to heal from betrayal trauma.
EDIT TO ADD: When the first phase of shock wears off, you are likely going to see what we're saying is true and you will go through many phases of grief. You need an individual counselor who has expertise in betrayal trauma.
I guess that's what I'm, trying to figure out right now as the initial shock is getting to the end point (it's been about 3 months since I found out). I do have an IC who is great.
Hopefully my replies add more context to this story and why it feels so confusing and complicated.
If I was truly being an asshole to her for years can I complain if the relationship blew up?
If I have found a way to not be an asshole (depression treatment) can I just be happy with that and move on?
Can I trust her distinction that she is not prone to cheating but admittedly prone to sleeping around after she decides a relationship is over and that she wants a redo on this one?