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General :
Possible Separation/Divorce years later

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 FamilyMan75 (original poster member #65715) posted at 3:44 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

There hasn’t been any more infidelity just to put that out there.

But the past year has been really difficult for both my wife and I. Both as individuals and for our marriage. The state of our marriage right now could be of lingering effects from the years of infidelity, but I don’t believe it’s the direct effect.

It seems like lately my wife and I are just not connecting. I’ve noticed over the past six months especially that we have been pulling away from one another. My wife has made a lot of effort to try and make time for her and I, with restrictions being lifted we have begun to make more of an effort to go out and do stuff. We had started to attend marriage counseling but after a few sessions, we stopped because we felt we were doing everything they were suggesting to try.

Last night we had a discussion that both of us have been dreading. We both admit that we aren’t happy. We are simply living like roommates and when we do spend time together, or have sex it feels forced. We aren’t sure where to go from here, neither of us wants to get a divorce, but we also agree we can’t just wait forever.

I’m thinking about possibly suggesting a trial separation. We had one back in 2018 initiated by my wife, which brought us back together.

I love her very much, and just hope we can find our way back to each other.

Me: 47 WW: 36 (serial cheater)T: 17 M: 14 3DDs: 14, 4, 3 Reconciled

posts: 479   ·   registered: Aug. 5th, 2018
id 8709519
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 4:17 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

FamilyMan75, first and foremost, I want to acknowledge how hard you worked to keep your family intact and your near-saintly capacity for love, grace, and compassion that you have demonstrated toward your wife. Furthermore, your wife deserves a measure of commendation for how she has worked on herself to be a better person and a safe partner. I actually think its a testament to how much your wife has grown and improved as a person that she can simply admit to you that she is unhappy and that the relationship isn't working for her. In the past, she would've avoided the difficult conversation and sought out a "soft place to land" instead.

But I think it is clear to you and your wife that your relationship has run its course. I think what's holding her back from pulling the plug is that she probably feels like she owes you for all the chances you've given her and all the hell she put you through. And its probably likely that you don't want to take the initiative and file because you love her, you literally define yourself a "family man," you don't want to feel like you've failed, and you probably don't want to give your mother and everyone else who has been unsupportive of your reconciliation the satisfaction of "I told you so."

I don't think another trial separation is a good idea. The most important reason is that it creates a lot of emotional turmoil and instability for your children. They don't deserve to be put through the rollercoaster ride of makeups and breakups. The second reason is that your anxiety during this trial separation is going to go through the roof. You're going to constantly worry about what she's doing and who she is with, which is completely justifiable considering that your wife has never been single. All of her relationships overlapped. Lastly, your wife initiated the last trial separation but she only came back to you after you pursued her and convinced her to come back. I suspect that the same exact thing would happen again... you would chase after her, she would come back (even if she has reservations about it), and then you would find yourself in the same situation that you're in now.

For as long as you are able to live peacefully and have honest, rational discussions, stay together until you decide upon and are willing to commit to a definitive course of action (divorce or keeping the marriage).

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 8709527
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 4:45 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

When did she return to work?

posts: 3874   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8709536
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 FamilyMan75 (original poster member #65715) posted at 4:49 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

When did she return to work?

She returned to work last May part-time.

Me: 47 WW: 36 (serial cheater)T: 17 M: 14 3DDs: 14, 4, 3 Reconciled

posts: 479   ·   registered: Aug. 5th, 2018
id 8709537
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Amilliondreams ( member #69387) posted at 4:59 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

For what it's worth, my marriage counselor once asked me what did my husband and I have?( in relation to what's keeping us together) At the time I hated him deeply because it was right after dd and all I could muster up was, "kids and a shared history. " She had said that shared history, or time together was an important foundation as long as it didn't have abusive elements. Prior to the affair it didn't.
I keep saying that to myself when things feel like we are going through the motions. We are in a similar state as you guys. We do love eachother, but we have such resentments that keep resurging that they lead us to poor choices in what we say or do to eachother- and how we say it as well. We've had the I'm not happy talk but acknowledge that our unhappy moments are less than the happy ones, although each unhappy one feels so much more powerful than each happy one.
Emotions for me are really hard to understand. I have so many of them that I get flooded easily. I try my hardest to keep my head 'ahead' of my heart and more present. I have lists, charts I refer to, I journal, I write here and several other places to keep myself grounded and reminding myself that despite those bad unhappy moments there are still such unadorned good ones.
I've conquered absolutely zero bad swings, they resurface, but I have succeeded in getting myself out of those sprirals of self hate and hate for him and unhappiness in general and to keep me ruled by my head. At least for now, it's working until we can heal in a more traditional pattern. Im told extensive time is still a part of this.
Bottom line, whether because we are stubborn or whatever, we keep acknowledging our love and we do not want to end our marriage.
I dont think its a matter of waiting forever. Saying it like that makes it feel like you guys are acknowledging an inevitable end and are waiting on it. Can you maybe explore why you may have that feeling? And ask her as well? Yeah, we've had the time/sex together felt forced moments too ( still probably will) but sometimes after those small questions we have the most connectivity and greatest sex imaginable. I just try to remind myself and him that when it's dark eventually we will cycle back to that light and it'll be worth any 'vanilla' forced moments.
I hope something here helps in some way. But we are all learning together ❤

posts: 223   ·   registered: Jan. 9th, 2019
id 8709542
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PSTI ( member #53103) posted at 6:38 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

My counselor told me once that feeling disconnected is more of a signal than a response. Once we notice it, it tends to be our actions that cement what happens next. You can lean into your relationship, or you can shrug and keep feeling disconnected and wait passively for something to happen. Most of the time it's waiting for a heroic gesture from your partner or else just continuing to drift.

But if you guys genuinely are leaning in, and it sounds like you are, and you're trying to connect emotionally and it's not working over time? I'd have to agree that maybe it sounds like the relationship has run its course.

What do you think a trial separation would accomplish? It's not like you can start rebuilding and healing because you are still tied to each other. Do you have specific goals or reasons why you'd choose this?

Every healthy relationship will have periods where one partner or the other is drifting out of sync, for any number of reasons. But they should be short lived as the partners put effort into strengthening their connection (since we're assuming they have the emotional intelligence to not only discuss it with each other but to agree to work at the issue together). If this is going on for a year or more, and marriage counseling isn't helping?

Maybe it's time to cut your losses.

Me: BW, my xH left me & DS after a 14 year marriage for the AP in 2014.

Happily remarried and in an open/polyamorous relationship. DH (married 3 years) & DBF (dating 2 years). Cohabitating happily all together!! <3

posts: 745   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2016
id 8709581
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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 6:48 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Every morning I wake up and choose my life.

Every single day.

I wake up, appreciate another day on the planet and figure out what I want from the day.

I'm not going to suggest you stay one day longer than you have to.

I think the only reason my R is working, is because my wife and I choose each other every day, and aim for connection whenever we can.

However, if I wake up one morning and my M isn't what it needs to be, and I've exhausted all my resources on the relationship, I am perfectly happy walking out the front door.

Infidelity causes so much damage, there is nothing wrong with seeking a path forward alone.

Actually, a standard my wife observed long ago is that yes, relationships are hard, but they shouldn't be THAT hard.

So, when it gets hard, we examine where we're hitting the mark and where we're not and most important, if the work is WORTH it.

Don't be hard on you if you're done.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

posts: 4269   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2016   ·   location: PNW. The adventure continues.
id 8709584
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 6:59 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Out of all the MC stuff for just improving the marriage, and the communication (which seems actually pretty good in your case) "Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work" by Gottman has been quite valuable.

Drifting apart is often a matter of just not "turning toward" your spouse often, at small opportunities. Also, building up the "positive sentiment override" is really important for the health of the relationship.

If you've already used this book, I think you are somewhat prepared to understand where your marriage weaknesses are, and that perhaps there is no solution at this point.

I wish you the best of luck moving forward.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1648   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8709585
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 7:26 PM on Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Do you really see this related to past infidelity?

Right now, the pandemic has been like a wet blanket for hundreds of millions of people. My wife and I have felt it, for sure. How much might be coming from that?

posts: 441   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8709590
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secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 2:20 PM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

Is there anything else going on? Not infidelity related, but life related.

I'm a year younger than you. We have 4 kids 4-17.

The tactical needs required to get through the day are enormous, when taking into account being in a pandemic and dealing with extended family. I barely even have time to sit and relax for 30 minutes on a Saturday. If I can't even fill my well, I can't even worry about my marriage.

I also don't have sex with my husband if we're not connecting. We just f*ck, and it makes me feel cheap and used. We snuggle, hold hands, etc. But have to stay away from that. Otherwise, we'll just get into a negative cycle.

posts: 1049   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2017
id 8710147
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cheatingwho ( member #37407) posted at 4:45 PM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

It happens, my profile makes it seem like infidelity is the only reason my marriage ended, but there was A LOT more to it. Things I only recently accepted in myself and things I am only now starting to share here.

ME: Non-binary and Queer (pronouns are they/them/theirs)
HIM: Irrelevant
Divorced- 01/2015
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1 living kidbit (DS-22), 2 in heavenStill you wonder who's cheating who and whose being true

posts: 258   ·   registered: Nov. 7th, 2012   ·   location: New York City
id 8710166
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 FamilyMan75 (original poster member #65715) posted at 7:58 PM on Sunday, January 16th, 2022

For both of us sex feels really cheap right now. It almost feels like we are both suffocating, and it hasn't improved since I returned back to the office from working from home. It also seems like my relationships in general are suffering. Things with my mother are still estranged. My teenager daughter and I but heads left and right, which is to be expected. I just wish my marriage wasn't in the shitters too. It's depressing.

Me: 47 WW: 36 (serial cheater)T: 17 M: 14 3DDs: 14, 4, 3 Reconciled

posts: 479   ·   registered: Aug. 5th, 2018
id 8710191
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 7:50 PM on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Are you and your wife fighting or do things just feel stagnant? Are you sure your marriage is in the shitter or are you both just in a bit or a funk at the moment?

The reason I ask this is because your descriptions of the problem are really vague. It’s hard to give you advice or help you find a diagnosis when we don’t really understand the symptoms.

Is it possible that because your marriage has always been characterized by extreme highs and lows that you’re just not used to what a steady plateau of "just being" feels like? I’m using "your" in the plural here because I think this applies to both you and your wife.

Even in the best of marriages (now that I’m in a healthy one) there are periods when we feel close and periods when we feel more distant, depending on what’s going on internally or externally that might not even be related to the marriage.

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 8710682
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 8:20 PM on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Believe it or not you are having a midlife crisis. You’re the perfect age for it and circumstances make it impossible not to have it. The good thing is you’re not cheating which a lot of people do at this point. Look at what’s causing all of this. Actually make a list and have her make a list and then sit down and talk about them. There may be things that you two can work out together but I’m guessing underneath the surface there is a ton of resentment and both of you are trying very hard not to acknowledge it. Well as you know keeping things hidden isn’t working and because of the situation you’re in secrets keep you from having a relationship. You need to talk about all the shit that was done to you. Frustrations at work, frustrations with the kids, just frustrations at life generally. Midlife crises occur when all of our hopes and dreams have been stomped on. Think about the problems you’re having with your daughter, you’ve dealt with this horrible pandemic and you and your wife have never gotten out of whatever put you in the situation in the first place. That needs to be addressed. I can tell you one thing about dealing with a teenager. Nature is making it necessary for them to want to pull away from you and stand on their own 2 feet but they don’t have the skills to do it. So they have an attitude. That will go away with age but right now all you can say is a bad mouthing kid in front of you. Pick your battles with her. You and your wife have moved into a phase of marriage where any romantic feelings are probably long past. You can still have a loving, sexual relationship if you understand that this is life. We don’t really have a Hollywood life, most of us.

I think waking up every day with gratitude is gonna make it much better for you because you have to do it every day until it becomes a habit. Then spend part of every day being thankful……..but first get rid of resentment. You can’t change the past but you have a lot power over the future.

When someone walks away let them go
TD Jakes

posts: 3109   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8710686
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 10:59 PM on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

The problem with having this drama history is that when things finally settle down, there's this big void in your life where all the drama was. You're already doing all the stuff that MC's suggest and frankly, you guys have had a lot of counseling. Go do something crazy. Take a trip. Run a marathon. Make an interstate move. Buy a boat. Gamble in Vegas. Find something that you can both look forward to and go do it. And when you're done... put something else new and fun and crazy on the calendar.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

{edited for typos.. again}

posts: 4886   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8710708
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