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Complicated relationship

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Sofarsogood ( member #71991) posted at 7:35 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

I can understand your reasoning because I can see the newness rubbing off when you wh is faced with 4 kids, and the other responsibilities that would go with it. What concerns me is when this affair runs it's course (which is usually the predictable outcome) will he continue to look outside your marriage? I encourage you to look deep inside yourself and decide if this is the way you want to live. If you're considering an open marriage, will you be able to reap the benefits of that as well? Do you want to live that way? Reflect on what you truly want in your relationship regardless of your children. You'd be surprised at what they can adapt to when both their parents are in a good place.

posts: 298   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8697076
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Walkthestorm ( member #72157) posted at 8:09 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

OP, please explore some of these things with your IC:

Co-dependancy: This to me explains why your identity is so strongly tied to his. It also explains the fear you feel of loosing him and why you are bargaining with him on accepting opening up your marriage even if you don't want to. Talk to your therapist how you can break the cycle of co-dependancy.

Guilt and shame: two of the hardest things remorseful waywards need to overcome. In your case it hinders you from having compassion towards yourself and affects how you measure your self worth. Your self-esteem is at the bottom and you need to relearn to love yourself again.

Main goal: what is your main goal with your marriage? To stay married at all costs or to have an authentic marriage? To get out of infidelity no matter if you reconcile or divorce? What are your boundries and are those boundries healthy?

Also also:

Prioritize your health: whatever you choose to do, you need to protect your mental and physical health. If you have trouble sleeping ask for sleeping aids, eat healthy foods and stay hydrated. Give your brain a rest every day from this madness. You can do it by physical activity or by meditating.

Educate yourself and prepare: Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Get your ducks in a row and make a plan that you can execute at any time. This can mean separating finances, seeing 3 lawyers to learning what a divorce may look like for you, prioritizing paying off joint debts etc.

Get a STD screening: chances are they are having unprotected sex no matter what he tells you. He is putting your health at risk here.


Tell someone you trust
: you need a wise friend in real life who can support you. It can also be a family member. When you are in this mess alone it's hard to see things objectivly. You need someone to ground you.

Hugs OP!

posts: 89   ·   registered: Nov. 26th, 2019
id 8697083
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 8:46 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

Thank you @walkthestorm and @sofarsogood. I know I have a long way to go for myself and I do believe co-dependency is an issue. I'm just trying to ride this out one day at a time. For now, this is all I'm capable of. I take the little nuggets of love he gives me (big nuggets really) and I feel so much better. Sounds unhealthy reading it after I write it. I don't know. A lot of work needs to be done on both sides and with us.

It's strange. I now look back on our marriage and wonder if it was ever genuine? Is that normal? I wonder if any of it was real. Were we really meant to be together? He saved me from an abusive relationship. We were friends for a year before he told me he loved me.

She's the same person I was then and he's trying to save her. Is that a god complex or something? He's always been like that. Wants to be that knight in shining armor for everyone. This is just the first time he's done it with a woman other than me. It's like he's attracted to that challenge.

I'm a challenge! lol...why aren't I enough? I was having a bad day today and called him. He made me laugh and said he loved me and can't wait to see me and the kids tonight after work. He's picking us up dinner. He's not a bad guy. He's just got himself wrapped up in something that got out of his control and now he's following what his feelings that tell him this love is real.

I don't know. I really appreciate everyone's advice and it has given me some perspective. I know I asked a lot of questions above but curious to see how you all felt.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697093
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Walkthestorm ( member #72157) posted at 9:41 PM on Friday, November 5th, 2021

From your latest post these things stand out to me:

1.Now I understand your dynamic a bit better and I strongly encourage you to work on your co-dependant issues. I believe this will be your key to freedom and boost your confidence in your own ability to rely on your self and make your own choices.

2.You are making exuses for him. Good people don't intentionally hurt other people, especially the once they claim to love barf . Emotionally or physically. He is perhaps way over his head in limerance but he still has a functioning logical brain and is fully capable of distinguishing right from wrong. He is also capable to choose not to hurt you.

3. I get that some people have the knight in shining armour complex (I do to some extent) and it does not necessarely need to be a bad thing depending on how you make use of it. There are number of ways people with this complex can fill their need to help others other than 'saving' romantic interests. For example they can voulenteer for a cause they believe in, they can be a mentor to a troubled kid or find a way to help refugees or others in need. When it comes to personal relationships though I firmy believe that noone can or should try to fix/save anyone. The OW does not need him to fix her. That is her job. Just like it is your job to fix you, not his.

4. What is heartbreaking to see is that you are passive in how you are handeling this, almost paralyzed by fear. You are bargaining and settling for 'nuggets' of 'love'. By going this route you are giving away your power and you are letting your fate rest in the hands of others. I see that this most probably stems from co-dependancy issues as well. If you work on breaking co-dependancy many more paths of possibilities will be open to you and you will be receptive to explore them. If I was in your shoes I would make it a mission and a priority to work hard to break co-dependancy. Educate yourself about it to start with and discuss it with your IC.

posts: 89   ·   registered: Nov. 26th, 2019
id 8697105
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 1:44 AM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

My gut tells me that had you never cheated he wouldn’t be in this A. Whether it’s conscious or subconscious, he’s acting out on his latent resentment.

I believe deep down you know this to be true. BS react in different ways years down the line.

The party line says that your husbands A is unacceptable. Two wrongs don’t make a right. How could he do this to me after I’ve changed so much - of course after I had my fun with multiple men. Ah yes, but please don’t forget, I wasn’t right in the head at the time. But now I’m great and boy do I love my husband now.

I’m not saying your husband’s A should be acceptable. Instead, I’m saying that no WS should be surprised by any BS actions, whether it’s days, months, or many years down the line.

How many here have said that so many WW’s are shocked when their BH expresses discontent, want to relitigate their WW affair years down the road, or move to D. But I thought we were good. He should never have agreed to R if he wasn’t going to hold up his end of the R bargain.

R is a gift that a BS bestow upon a WS. However, it’s a gift with conditions. Can one of those conditions be that the BS has the right to decide to change the rules of R? Should any WS expect 100 percent certainty that their BS will okay by the agreed upon rules of R down the line?

One thing is for sure, your husband expected 100 percent fidelity from you when you got married. That’s probably the only definitive statement one can make right now in your situation.

But you already know all of this. Isn’t this why you’re being so patient?

posts: 210   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8697158
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 12:53 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@Dude67 yes you are absolutely right about everything you said. I am being patient because I love him and I know how much I hurt him. I will continue to fight for this, for us, until it’s absolutely clear that he won’t be able to get past what I did. I am grateful that he’s entering MC with me. Willing to give us one last shot. I just don’t know how successful it will be with someone else in the picture.

For instance, last night was great! We had amazing sex, watched tv, cuddled, laughed together and then he went to bed and texted with her for an hour talking about how much he loves her.

I’m confused by his actions. They are def not showing that he wants to leave me yet he says he does.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697209
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 1:04 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

To me, it really doesn’t appear that he plans to leave you for this woman. Soon enough, she will have moved away

The bigger problem is that there could be a next woman. But couldn’t that be said of you as well? What 100 percent guarantee can you make to yourself, or to your husband, that you won’t ever cheat again?

This is why I definitely think MC at this point could be helpful. If your husband is harboring resentment, which I’m guessing he does, it really needs to be addressed in counseling.

A wife’s affair permanently changes a man’s outlook about his wife (in the negative of course), assuming they stay together. After your A, he never looked at you the same. This is simply fact, and you can’t alter this, no matter how much love you show him. Just know this.

posts: 210   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8697210
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forgettableDad ( member #72192) posted at 1:10 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

I will continue to fight for this, for us, until it’s absolutely clear that he won’t be able to get past what I did

The question isn't whether he can get past what you've done. The question is whether he wants to take responsibility and own his own abusive behavior.

You can't fight for an "us" by yourself. Your husband needs to put on his big boys pants and make a decision whether he wants to be with you or her. And if he can't make that the decision right now, which is a legitimate place to be in, distance is a good option. But you owe him nothing in terms of patience and staying in an abusive place anymore than he owed you a chance to build together after your infidelity.

But once a decision is made, stay or go, flipping on it is a sign of instability. Therapy can help to develop tools against that.

posts: 280   ·   registered: Dec. 1st, 2019
id 8697212
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 1:23 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@Dude67 I wish his plan wasn’t to leave but he’s told me it was before all the truth got told. He only agreed to stay if he could still see her. We are reevaluating the frequency of that on Mon as it’s been too much too fast for me to handle. I feel like they dove in headfirst and even though he thinks this is love it’s not. He doesn’t hold himself in high regard and this girl strokes his ego every day and it means more coming from her than me.

I’m praying and hoping beyond hope the MC works and he can find his way back to loving to me.

@forgettableDad, the word abuse feels strong to me but I am in pain with his whole relationship being in my face and him telling me she holds the cards. I’m looking forward to the MC and I’m so grateful we were able to find someone so quickly.

@Buck said a lot of horrible things about me but he’s not wrong about any of it. I was a terrible person and what I did to him was awful. I beat myself up every day. I just wish he would have told me about the resentment long ago so we could have worked on it together before things got out of hand. Even he says he’s sorry for that and not being honest.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697214
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 1:27 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

If your husband has a KISA complex, then you really are harming yourself and your family by pretending that what he's doing is acceptable. She has four kids that she apparently doesn't have to take care of herself. What possible reason does she have not to add a fifth with your husband, to bind him to her forever and "prove" she needs him more than you do?

You're telling us that he's attracted to vulnerability. He's not reading your tolerance as weakness. He's convincing himself that it proves you're strong enough to manage sharing him. His reality is completely backwards. The longer you wait this out, the more convinced he will become that it would be cruel to leave her instead of cruel to you.

Sincerely, I have personal experience with this thought pattern. I didn't carry on a sexual affair under my BH's nose, but I blew through the boundaries of a consensually open relationship and then refused to go NC because I felt guilty towards the OM. My BH's tolerance of my one-foot-in, one-foot-out bullshit was the worst and most psychologically damaging decision of his life.

Just as limerence has untethered your WH from reality, codependency has untethered you from yours, and you have no idea how badly and deeply you are allowing him to hurt you by waiting this out.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 1:31 PM, Saturday, November 6th]

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8697216
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 1:30 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

OP, you have a lot more power in this situation than you realize.

Your very existence is enabling his extramarital relationship to thrive. He doesn’t have to go through the day to day drudgery of life with her. He doesn’t have to deal with supporting her kids or being a stepfather because most of the time he shows up after they’re in bed. His interactions with her kids are probably pleasant because they’re limited. He has just enough freedom to build his romance with her but not enough for it to become burdensome.

So play your trump card: "This situation is intolerable. If you want to be in a relationship with another woman, then you can’t be my husband. This is nonnegotiable."

Do not let him throw your affair in your face. If he does, your response is, "My affair ended and I committed to our marriage. If you can’t do the same, then we need to divorce."

As you predict, he may leave. And when then happens he will be confronted with the reality of life with his mistress (and all the stress that entails) and dividing his time and energy between 2 families. I would say there’s a 50/50 chance that the shine wears off his affair and he comes back.

But if he doesn’t then you have saved yourself years of misery.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 603   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8697217
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:32 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

It's absolutely abuse. Infidelity is abuse. Rubbing your face in it is abuse.

He gets to have his side piece, and come home and be a family man. That's bullshit.

What you did was abuse. It was also years ago,you were remorseful, and you've done the work. He chose to stay. That means he should have worked on acceptance, and getting through what you did. Instead, he is now doing what you did.

You say you've changed,but you are still a liar. You are lying to your kids. How old are they? Most kids know a whole lot more than they let on. They know you are lying to them. They deserve to know what's going on with their family. In an age appropriate manner.

He is using you as Plan B. And you have sex with him every day? So you are choosing to expose yourself to whatever possible stds this woman has. Come on. You're smarter than that.

If the only reason he still uses you for sex,and pretends to be a family man and comes home sometimes, is because you allow him to fuck another woman, then he's already gone. You are only further debasing yourself.

He says he loves you. This is a lie. Love is an action. His actions have nothing to do with love.

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:34 PM, Saturday, November 6th]

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8697218
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 1:43 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@Bluerthanblue, the thing is she doesn’t have her kids. They live down in North Carolina with her parents. What they are experiencing isn’t real due to the current circumstances. There are no kids running around at all and they are kind of living this "vacation life" when they are together.

In the texts I’ve read between them, they talk about their kids with each other but they never talk about me. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

@Hellfire our kids are 16 and 19. They both have mental health issues. The oldest isn’t able to do anything right now while we are trying to get meds straight. The oldest does know something is up. I’ve told her we are going to MC but it’s not for her to worry and even if things don’t work out it will be ok. I can’t tell them the truth about what is going on right now cause they can’t handle it where they are at.

He is using condoms with her. I know no one believes that but it was a non-negotiable thing for me and he told me he has no desire to complicate things further. Could he be lying? Sure but he’s been honest about everything since all this blew up and I found out the truth.

I love him! I know I’m probably not having what someone would call a normal reaction to the situation. But I fucked up too and I owe him the same compassion and understanding he tried to give to me. The only difference is I immediately knew I wanted to stay in the marriage but for him he’s not sure. He’s has said there is a chance we could work out. I’m hanging my hopes on that.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697220
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 1:47 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@BraveSirRobin, he will leave if I put my foot down and ask him to stop seeing her. That’s non-negotiable for him. The frequency is something we are trying to figure out cause I’m obviously struggling with it. I struggle with all of it. She’s texting him at times when we are together as a family and I’ve repeatedly that she respect the boundaries that were agreed upon. In his texts he doesn’t reinforce that but I’m hoping he does when he talks to her.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697221
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 2:07 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

I know no one believes that but it was a non-negotiable thing for me

Like him not falling in love with her? Or him not texting during family time?

You have no non-negotiables. You're proving that to him every day.

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2379   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8697223
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 2:22 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

I work in family systems. That’s a real thing. I might give too much info but I think it might help both you and your husband.
It does not matter how long you knew him or how long you dated him before you get married. The contract that you signed, which is the marriage license, changed every single thing. One of you might have thought oh my gosh why did I do this and the other one might think finally I’ve got it situated. Both of you might think one way or the other. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that contract changed everything. All of the little secrets and rules that you grew up with, that he grew up with, now come into play. Because they have been a part of your life, all of your life, you don’t recognize them and neither does he but they are what controls you. What controls you are the way you were treated as a child, the same with him. What controls you are the many, many unspoken rules you lived by. The same with him. Now these rules are butting up against each other. At some point, once the honeymoon stage is gone, and it goes away rapidly in marriage, you two set out to try to work together to make your marriage work. Then something went awry. You looked outside your marriage contract for a reason. It might be that you just are not designed to be married. It might be much more subtle than that and you brought a lot of fear of abandonment with you. That usually means the person who has that fear does the abandoning first to give them unrecognized need for control. Childhood is all about having the power, or the sense of it, over yourself. In a healthy family that power is gradually ceded over to the child until they’re standing on their own 2 feet as an adult. If the family was toxic or chaotic that doesn’t happen. Whatever it was caused it to drive you right out of your marriage looking for something. As crazy as it might sound to your husband this had nothing to do with him. It was going to happen with whoever you married because you have some sort of fear of losing control. What happened is you did lose control, you threw it away.Your husband now has it and he doesn’t know what to do with it because you broke the contract. So, he is a man, what do you men do when nothing else works….they turn to their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and sex. Now he considers himself in love with this other woman. I can tell you it’s probably the first time since you cheated on him that he has felt like himself again. He feels desirable, he feels in control and he feels happy. He doesn’t have any other focus right now and just wants to feel the joy of not being sad. Family systems mean that that they stay in homeostasis to be happy. That means mother and father are both healthy in how they deal with stress and each other and kids and extended family and work and health. You get the picture. Being in any relationship is work. You get up every day and make the decision to be thoughtful and kind to the people in your life. You should wake up and make sure you don’t harm them so that it cannot be repaired. When you lost track of that and turned away from your husband you damaged him. Look at the responses all over this forum from men who have been hurt. The amount of anger that shows up here daily could probably send electricity to a city. That’s how painful it is to anyone to be cheated on. Now, I am picking up something in your posts that might, might not, be true. You are "allowing" this breakup of your marriage because it is what your subconscious has feared all along and getting it over with will, at least, relieve the stress of constantly worrying about it even though you don’t consciously recognize it.

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

posts: 3109   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8697225
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 2:35 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@Cooley2here wow…that is some great insight. Yes I have always feared him leaving me and especially after my A. I don’t consider this the "breakup of a marriage". Not yet. I’m considering his feelings and what he’s going through. What you said about his current happiness I feel is true. It makes me sad that he is so happy with her and can’t be with me but that is my doing. The moments when we are intimate, cuddling, laughing…he does have happy moments with me but clearly overall she is is like a drug to him right now and he can’t let that go.

My hope is that with MC he can find that way to be happy with me again. She is the first woman that has shown him attention since we met that quarter century ago. He also allowed that attention to happen. I feel like he wasn’t carrying himself as a married man and it opened the door for her. He tells me all the time that the only difference between her and me is she hasn’t hurt him. It’s all my fault I know that. I just want us to work out somehow. I know I may be grasping for something that is no longer there but I don’t know if my heart can take truly losing him. Not just for me but our family unit.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697226
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 keljpvs (original poster member #79553) posted at 2:45 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

@Cooley2here do you think we can work this out? Is it possible to build something new and better. I know we can’t be what we were as that marriage is over but I had thought we rose from the ashes. Obviously I was wrong but I want to make it good again.

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posts: 58   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: Fredericksburg,VA
id 8697227
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 3:35 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

First,it's highly unlikely he isbusing condoms every time,if at all.

And what about oral sex? That's almost never done with a condom. And what about when he performs oral on her. He comes home and kisses you. Sorry to be so crass, but that's what's happening here.

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8697233
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 3:53 PM on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

Kel, I have no way of knowing how this will go. All I tried to do is give you some insight about what might have driven you to get validation outside of your marriage. I read somewhere that cheating, for some people, is all about keeping a secret because it gives then a feeling of control. It’s actually a house of cards because it can fall at any time.

I think info from men might help you. In the end your husband has found validation in someone else. If he begins to live with her the end of the honeymoon stage might send him back home but I think you need to be realistic about how damaged the two of you are.

I hope things work out. I also think IC is very important to your future health and decision making.

[This message edited by Cooley2here at 3:54 PM, Saturday, November 6th]

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

posts: 3109   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8697234
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