So as expected, we had another big talk last night—for the first time since my return from Italy, she wasn’t defensive at all; no deflections or demands. We covered a lot, much of which came from this thread yesterday:
1. Finding her voice in conversation on affair vs. building our new relationship—she needs to better identify when to stand up for herself.
- I made the point that the conversations about the affair and the ones about our new relationship are different. When we talk about the affair, she should have no demands or grounds to stake—and it’s being made harder because when I talk about the affair, she moves convo to past resentments unrelated to affair. She agreed entirely and said she would stop doing that—she did not do it all last night.
2. Resentment discussion must stop—painting blame on me instead of exploring her awful/vindictive actions. Setting herself up for an exit from me.
- I explained that using resentment as her reason for the affair was bullshit. How I resented her for lots of stuff, but didn’t have sex with anyone else. Her choice to have the affair was an awful, immoral decision she and she alone made. She agreed and recommitted her full responsibly for the affair.
3. Issues with OBS—is it a sign of me dismissing her views in a discussion like the past or an obvious example of her lack of empathy for me by even requesting I stop talking with her?
- This one is still an issue. She understands my perspective: that I don’t think she should have an opinion on this and that I want to keep OBS in my life. She is still unhappy with it, but will accept it—she just wants to discuss in therapy as she needs tools on how to deal with it so she isn’t always breaking down. Interestingly enough, she brought up what was said in this thread: that she recognized she was getting a taste of her own medicine—she was hurt that OBS and I are talking about her behind her back and that’s exactly what my wife was doing to me with AP.
4. Probe into exit affair; thoughts in Dec.
1) She needs to be honest with herself and you regarding whether she really wanted to leave you before and during the affair. I think her actions badmouthing you to her family were related to that as it was a way to grease the skids for her leaving.
2) She really needs to work on herself, whether she remains with you or someone else, otherwise you or her next partner will continue to experience a wall and a divide with her.
Doc, If I'm correct (and I'm not saying I am) about number 1 just above, then number two doesn't matter for you. If she wanted to leave you before and during her affair, she'll reach that point again once she's stabilized from this affair crap so number 2 won't matter for you.
- Based on EmergingLady’s post, I dug back into her intentions in Dec. I was able to confirm all of that.
In mid/late Dec., she arrived at a conclusion that our marriage was likely "doomed" and she was preparing for it to end at some point. She began an affair with another man and was badmouthing me to people in her life (especially her mother) for two reasons: to justify the affair in her own head and lay the groundwork for a likely separation from me.
By late January, she recognized that AP was not her future. She’s now in a weird spot, where she is having sex with two men and neither one she sees a future with. She continued the affair as an escape from her life and continued badmouthing me.
By mid-Feb through mid-March, she began to question if her marriage with me was really over. She now saw the grass was not greener with another man. She was still deeply unhappy and began to think that her relationship with me wouldn’t end. She didn’t change course with the affair or badmouthing me.
Then on March 15 I found out. She thought I’d just leave her, but despite how awful the reveal played out, I kept sitting there with her, day after day. My commitment to her and my vulnerability floored her and sent her spiraling into a depression she is still in now. She can’t believe what she did and can’t look herself in the mirror—all she knows is that she wants to be with me and is dedicated to fighting to prove that to me and win me back.
Thus far, I’d say she’s not doing a great job at it, and she recognizes that and it’s greatly upsetting to her. She feels like she is self-sabotaging and needs to figure out how to stop doing it before it’s too late and she loses me.
Long story short, I’m a bit torn. On one hand, I recognize what EmergingLady said: that she arrived at the decision to move on from me once and likely will again. On the other hand, I recognize that in her journey away from me, she learned a lot about herself and feels like she now has an opportunity to course correct her life. Is that not possible?
[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 10:42 AM, Monday, April 25th]