I was hoping there would be more support for this type of situation and wondered how other women got through the mental anguish part while trying to save something they love.
This comment stuck out to me. Can you turn it around and ask yourself how you can help your now WH with his mental anguish?
First of all, you didn't mention how many men you slept with during your affair season. I really do think that this is part of your puzzle that you aren't sharing here with all of us on SI. In fact, I've noticed that you keep avoiding this question. And also this I'm pretty sure of, that your response can give us more insight into why your now WH is so emotionally distraught and so heartbroken. 💔 I honestly believe your now WH is completely heartbroken and lost because of your infidelities. Not blaming, just stating a fact.
I am really surprised that OP here on SI have said, well your affairs were five years ago, so therefore... so therefore what? He never healed and neither have you - from whatever caused you to think it was okay to make these decisions to seek outside validation in the first place.
Everyone knows (or should know) that healing doesn't have a timeline. I am a ways out from my DWH abusive lifestyle and death (WH passed away one year and 8 months ago) and I completely expect my emotional and heart pain to last a very long time, probably on some level for the rest of my life. Your now WH is grieving too, you know. And acceptance is part of his grieving process too. I think he is avoiding his grief by using the other women to buffer the emotional pain that you caused him. IMO, this is key right here, he has not grieved the death of his marriage caused by your infidelities. And is instead using the other woman to dull his emotional pain and broken heart.
Neither of you obviously have done the work and healed from this. And sometimes the BS never heals and your WH may desperately be trying to numb the pain he is feeling by sleeping with the OW because he may not know how to get away from the pain you caused to him (and your two kid's). And he also can't leave you for the same reasons that you don't want to leave him.
I think he is very stuck and wants out of the marriage. When he is telling you how much he loves you and then spends time with the OW, his actions are very telling. IMO, he is telling you that he loves you so much but the pain is so unbearable and deep that he can't be with you in the same way anymore. And he is only tolerating you now as much as he can possibly handle.
I think it's too late for a future with your WH now that so much damage has been done. Again, be honest, how many men did you sleep with? In my situation, I believe that my deceased WH slept with at least 10 OW but I am pretty sure that there were more. His sleeping with other women and also having longterm affairs has broken me.
I can now look back and know in my heart that my DWH destroyed our marriage. He destroyed it. Period. I don't care why he felt he had to do what he did. Doesn't matter to me anymore. Nothing will justify why my DWH did it. Actually I do know why he chose his path but really doesn't matter here concerning your thread. Maybe this is how your WH feels too.
I think he wants out desperately and not because he doesn't love you but because you represent the person who destroyed his love for you, his trust in you, friendship,
the foundation of what a marriage is supposed to represent, and anything else you may want to add. And this right here I believe to be the truth.
He is on the fence because something deep down inside of him still keeps him coming back to you or the home but maybe he just hasn't figured it out yet how to move on from you yet. Maybe the kids are what keeps him coming back? And maybe the others are right, he can't just jump for same reasons that you have described but is slowly working himself away from you. And personally I don't blame him. And I also know that you don't blame him either.
I also desperately tried to keep my DWH around dispite who he really was. And in his mind he also thought I was cheating on him. But I never cheated on him. Wasn't who I ever was. From the moment I laid eyes on my DWH, I was done with other men. I was in lust with my WH. Lol Even today I struggle with the thought of meeting someone new because I was so faithful to him.
So with that said, my DWH justified his cheating just as yours is doing. Remember, you gave up the MC once she said that you both had a fighting chance to recover and R but in essence you and you WH swept everything under the rug and went on with your daily lives as usual and as if nothing had ever happened. I know you said that you worked on yourself but also feel you didn't help him to heal from the excruciating pain that you caused to him.
I have ptsd for life. My brain is damaged because I stuck it out with my DWH. My heart is still broken from his infidelities and his eventual death. I have pretty bad days and I still reach out for help on SI when I am having bad moments and need that little boost. I tried to "save" him from himself and for my kids sake too because I wanted them to have the father that they deserved. At that point, it wasn't so much about me anymore.
I lost complete trust in my husband. I wanted to believe it would come back but never did. When I look back at my situation, I can now say that I quit enjoying being around him because I lost 100% trust in him, as I am sure that the both of you are now dealing with. IMO, the two of you are holding on by a thread until the string snaps. That is all that is left in your marriage and your bond with him is very weak.
Knowing what I know now, once someone cheats, the marriage is forever not the same and sometimes we hang onto what isn't meant to be anymore because we are fearful. I know that I was very afraid to go it alone for the exact same reasons that you are experiencing.
We don't want to give up the comforts of familiarity. We don't want to break the family up or to change the environment we've become so accustomed to. Our shame and embarrassment controls us. We don't want others to know the truth of who we really are, not that perfect family with the yellow house and nice white picket fence afterall.
I totally get what you are experiencing but also remember that you are living a complete lie and you also are encouraging your kids to live that lie whether you think they know or not. You said that your kid's are 16 and 19 years old? Oh that's right, you mentioned that they have mental problems. Are their problems related to you and your husband's issues?
My two cents. You don't have to get up and leave your home and your WH but can't you work on establishing some kind of independence from him? I mean unless you actually believe that you can live this way and accept your WH terms unconditionally, can't you at least work to have some autonomy? Like maybe go to the gym by yourself, go spend time with your girlfriends? Maybe change things up a bit and established some independence from him? Maybe not cook dinner for the night or when he is planning to come home to spend time with you, tell him all good but you have plans and you will be spending the evening out with so and so. Go take a trip without him?
Sounds like you are already playing it cool, why not try something else while you are stuck in limbo?
I just don't think that what is currently going on can last forever. I think someone within the family unit is going to snap. My son snapped and moved out asap. Although he didn't verbally express his reasoning, he moved out as quickly as he could because of the drama and chaos my DWH caused.
One last thing, what is your value system? To me it sounds like you are okay with having an open marriage, so I say what's the problem then? I don't believe in that lifestyle because I also believe it eventually leads to a dead-end but that is my opinion.
I know that you are a good person, I can feel it. Maybe take some advice from me and others and really begin to work on yourself. Try using some of my suggestions stated above, like getting a little bit of your own life going. Work towards your independence and at a slow pace is fine. Begin to value yourself a little more than you have been doing. Stay honest and true as long as the two of you are together. Work to develop confidence in yourself. These are the things if there is any chance at all to put your marriage back on a better path for you, your WH and your kid's, that are going to be the secret to your new success in yourself and your family unit.
I hope that you will accept some of my advice and from others too.
[This message edited by Hurtmyheart at 2:56 AM, Tuesday, November 9th]