I'm not going to condone her affair, however, by your own account:
1) You are an abuser
I used it as a free pass to emotionally abuse her.
2) You are self-centered and self-absorbed
I didn't listen.
3) You rug-sweep problems
I've always rationalized it by saying we're emotional people and this is just the way we'll always be.
4) You are immature enough to have walked away from marriage counseling because you weren't getting laid
After about 8 sessions, I decided to call it quits because we still weren't being intimate.
5) You prioritized spending money on a wedding (the party) instead of spending it on the relationship. (the intimacy)
6) Instead of discussing your feelings, you beat up her self esteem.
I've gotten so angry with her over the last year or so that I've said and done so many rotten, awful things to her to make her feel like I no longer loved her.
7) You ignored her.
I haven't gotten her a birthday present in two years.
8) You demeaned her, and basically challenged her to leave you
I've told her we're just staying together for our son.
9) You've intentionally inflicted tremendous pain on her
I've done everything I can to hurt her as bad as I can while she's largely been respectful towards me.
10) You've manipulated her
I've taken advantage of the fact that I know she'd never leave because it would cut time with our son in half.
You've gone from not loving her to needing to be pushed into being reminded that you cared about her, to truly loving her.
She tried, and tried, and tried, to get me to love her and I just wouldn't do it
I want to stay. I want to win her back. Why did I have to push her to something like this to remind me how much I care about her?
I truly love her and want her to be happy.
Can you read that and believe that know what love is? Or do you not like to lose to the competition or perhaps even not want to lose your punching bag.
What would you tell a friend who described a relationship like this? Would you tell him he can fix it by being
the best damn partner I can be over the next few months?
Or would you recognize that the person outlined above has serious emotional and attachment issues. Maybe that's the result of close family deaths, maybe it's underlying personality issues. But either way, that person has no business being in a relationship until he fixes himself - because an emotionally-stunted abuser cannot be a good partner, or a good father. Abusers don't spread love, they spread trauma.
The next few months are going to be about healing for us both individually and as a couple.
I'd recommend a six-month trial separation in which you focus on nothing but doing some seriously difficult therapy looking at your core wounds and trying to figure out why your moral compass allows you to treat anyone, let alone your wife and the mother of your child, in the way that you treated her. Take a copy of your post to your first appointment.
As for your wife, she should spend that time figuring out why she's co-dependent and whether her relationship with you is based on trauma bonding and what else she has going on, that allowed her to break her vows. And if she has full or nearly full custody of your son, then you'll find out if she comes back into the relationship because she wants it to work, or because you manipulated her to be there.
Maybe, if you work really hard, in six months you'll have a wee bit of insight, maybe even enough to reconcile, but dealing with your issues so you can be a healthy partner and father will likely take years.
[This message edited by BlackRaven at 6:35 AM, Saturday, December 18th]