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Just Found Out :
My Wife had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 4:25 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

I find it interesting that you call what she's been doing.."bending the truth." Rather than call it "lying."

Why is that?

That was a deliberate choice of words on my part for this instance, but we can apply it wider too.

In this instance, I don't believe she (or him) ever consciously thought about running off with the other and establishing a a long-term romantic partnership. So it's not a lie to say that she "never considered running off with AP."

My point is that she was open to that possibility developing in the early part of their physical relationship--to which she agrees that if things developed differently, he may have ended up being her out from the marriage.

I think things like that can happen on occasion, where it's not a bold-face lie, but instead the absence of the full truth on a topic.

Another example would be with her initial decision to forgo condoms. The first hotel stay, he fucks her twice with condoms. Then things start heating up for a third round and he goes in unprotected. He pulls out and finishes on her and they're both aware of what happened. He asks if it's ok and she says, sure, a long as you pull out.

There's a lot to unpack there--the truth is that she was in the throws of passion, caught up in the moment, felt trust for him and an emotional bond, and decided not to protest when he inserted himself in unprotected. From that point on, having done it once unprotected, she justified in her head continuing unprotected in future interactions. That all makes sense to me--but for her to admit that so callously would be hurtful to her husband, so instead she'd say something like: "I jut wasn't thinking at the time."

That's kind of true, but not the whole truth--it's bending the truth to provide a more sanitized version for me to digest.

I don't want that--and I've been clear with her that I don't want it. And anytime I sense it, I call it out and I'll continue to do so. I explained to her that I need the complete truth as it's the only bridge back to her becoming my wife again.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733555
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:56 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

What consequences am I expected to levy on her? I made my list of "demands" at the start and she’s followed them.

The only legal consequences that can be levied is to D. When I had to make the choice, I though D would punish me as well as my W, and I didn't want to add to my own hurt unless I had to. R has worked out ...um... in part because my W has met my requirements for R, which consisted of observable behavior that shows she changed from cheater to good partner. Which Drs is also doing, from what he has posted.

That doesn't mean R will work for Drs and MrsDrs. It does mean he's taking at least some of the right steps.

Besides, consequences - by which people apparently mean 'punishment' - do not have a great record of success. In infidelity, it's more like hoping '2 wrongs make a right'.

How about you drill down into just this ONE thing, your sense that she's bending (uh, that means lying) words to get around (uh, that means lying) the devastating truth.

The problem is that WSes lie to themselves before they lie to their BSes. The question is whether MrsDrs sees the truth before Drs loses patience.

Well, having her take a poly would be one example, a small one, of a consequence of her choices and actions. She won't want to.

I'm not a fan of polys, but I do see them as useful when there's a question of whether the subject is or is not telling the truth - a yes/no question. It can also be useful if a recipient of an answer believes an obvious lie - if the question requires a yes/no answer. If there are nuances, polys are useless.

But why in heavens name would one suggest a poly when the listener already knows the potential subject is lying? Suggesting a poly under those conditions says to me that the proponent of the poly is listening to something in their own head, not to the OP.

BTW, Drs, My W told me she never intended to leave, and I have no doubt she was telling the truth - except that she did leave, every time she thought about, talked with, or was in the presence of ow and when she was too tired to go out with me because of her A. I'm not sure intentions matter at all.

I assume like everyone else, you both took vows to Love, Honor, protect, cherish … foresaking all others. She pretty much broke each and every one of those vows. So is she still married to you after her cheating?

 I think severability plays a part here. Some of us think violation of one vow doesn't negate the others; others think it does.

She should be the one driving her actions to atone for what she did to you and her family. Not following a script that you lay out.

Yes and no.

It's not sufficient for R if one partner is following a script blindly with the goal of R.

OTOH, IMO, the BS and WS need to agree on what behavior will further R and what will be an obstacle, and the partners need to meet those requirements for R and the M to continue. Not meeting requirements is a good reason to modify behavior, modify the requirements, of D.

You need to be doing what you need to do to heal yourself. Not the marriage or relationship. Let go of that outcome and do what needs to be done to fix you. She should be the one driving her actions to atone for what she did to you and her family. Not following a script that you lay out. You both need to concentrate on your own healing and becoming better people.

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Right fucking on.

I think Drs is on track to recover (which is different from R) only if he's taking care of his thoughts, feelings, and health.

Drs, You need to process your grief, anger, fear, and shame out of your body. If you let your proclivity for analysis keep you from that task, you're doing yourself a great disservice.

Meeting your requirements is a way to prevent adding to your already immense pain. It in no way helps with the pain of the infidelity itself. I hope you realize that and are taking action to heal.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:05 PM, Wednesday, May 4th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27082   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8733561
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:31 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Hi again

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately when I reflect on your story. I’m looking for your thoughts on this Doc. I’m hoping not to make this a whole threadjack as I can start a separate thread to do that philosophically if I or others want. But was wondering in the context of your wife’s infidelity what it means to you?

What breaks the bonds of a marriage? If you have a marriage contract signed and filed, are you truly still married if one of the participants truly shits all over the vows that are behind that piece of paper? What truly makes a marriage no longer real? Is it only if it is legally ended? What if it is morally, ethically or emotionally ended? Do you still consider yourself married? Do you consider HER married after what she has done.

I assume like everyone else, you both took vows to Love, Honor, protect, cherish … foresaking all others. She pretty much broke each and every one of those vows. So is she still married to you after her cheating? The things she did with the POSOM in cars and hotel rooms are pretty standardly accepted actions that are reserved for the sanctity of a loving partner.

And the emotional injury they caused you is something people would go to prison for if they perpetrated the same in physical form against their spouse.

So, after all that, while you might say you consider yourself married as you didn’t break your vows, do you consider her still married to you? Or do you strictly go by the legal sense of the institution?

Because if it were me, one ramification I would be laying on a spouse who acted for several months as callously as yours did in so many ways would be to tell her:

"While we may still have a piece of paper, a legal document, that says we are married, your cheating has ended the vows that truly made us life partners. And because of that, I want to tell you, that while I have committed, for me, not you, to try and build something new with you, right now at this moment and for the last month since discovery, I DO NOT CONSIDER YOU TO BE MY WIFE. I have no wife. I had one. She is gone. You are a person of importance and Interest to me, but not a wife.

Someday you may hold that place in my life again. But not now. I can’t have that after what you have done. And that breaks my heart. "

That would be my position Doc. I’m interested in yours. People have been talking about ramifications for her for her cheating. To me that would be a big and meaningful one. I would probably take off my ring if it were me. Not sure if you have. And I’d tell her that I didn’t think she deserved to wear hers until you had someday built something new and she had proved herself to finally be a worthy partner.

But short of actually filing for divorce, which you don’t appear willing to do right now, that is what I would be communicating to my wife if she had done what yours unfortunately chose to do.

Take care.

I think she ended our marriage in a practical sense. Most marriages exist on the premise of unwavering faithfulness and commitment. Essentially, you can't be in a marriage if you don't trust your partner not to betray you. Up until Jan. 20 (when I caught her up late on her phone and it seemed suspicious), I never considered my wife could cheat on me--it legitimately was not a possibility. Following Jan. 20, I no longer felt that way, but didn't *want* to think she could cheat on me. Having felt both things recently, I can tell you there's a big difference.

You need to be able to trust that no matter what happens in a relationship, your spouse isn't going anywhere--you can yell or fight, but at the end of the day, your spouse is stuck with you to the bitter end. And only under that premise do you have the leeway to think, communicate and improve the marriage. If you're constantly in fear your spouse is cheating or about to divorce you, it will of course change your behavior and close you off further from him/her.

So now that faith in her is gone for me--if she sat me down tomorrow and told me she wants a divorce, I'd be surprised of course, but I couldn't pretend it wasn't a possibility like I felt every day before Jan. 20. So we're no longer tethered to each other until the bitter end and there's no way to ever get back the blind trust I used to have for her.

So in my mind, it leaves me with one path if I want to reconcile: I need to believe we are each others best friends and confidants. I need to believe we're in a genuine partnership with open communication and no walls. That's why I need only the harsh truth from her now--anything less means there's no way out of this hole together.

Edit: Re: My wedding ring. This one requires a bit of context. A few years ago I stopped wearing it daily--in cold months it would fall off my finger (I lost it for a couple of days once) and in warm months it would get uncomfortable. I ended up only wearing it when we'd go out together at night, etc., but stopped wearing it to my office essentially--my wife didn't care (and I've pressed her on that since).

Then the pandemic hit and we were home all day, so I wore it even less.

My wife wore hers every day when she went out (work or otherwise) until Dec. 17, when she went to the PTA party and eventually was kissed by AP. I didn't notice she stopped wearing it entirely during the affair.

I wore mine again once a week after my D-Day as a show of faith in our relationship on my first day back at my office, but I haven't worn it since--my wife has worn hers every day since D-Day.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 6:12 PM, Wednesday, May 4th]

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733565
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:45 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

The problem is that WSes lie to themselves before they lie to their BSes. The question is whether MrsDrs sees the truth before Drs loses patience.

That is so important to recognize and it really hit me last night. I was pushing her on things she had accepted differently in her own mind months ago. I was asking her to re-write her own truth and it led her to breakdown when she realized I was right.


Drs, You need to process your grief, anger, fear, and shame out of your body. If you let your proclivity for analysis keep you from that task, you're doing yourself a great disservice.

That is something I'm very conscious of and our CT is often reminding me of. It's a balance for me. I think my analysis is allowing me to heal in my own way, but you're right that I can't let it interfere with my processing of emotions. Right now for example, I just finished a few days of deep analysis while largely ignoring my emotions and I recognize the pendulum has to now swing the other way and I need to explore how it all makes me feel. I will be making an effort to be less prosecutorial over the next few days so I can first deal with what I've uncovered.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733570
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 5:55 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Drs one question. Has your wife ever been evaluated on her mental health?

Some the things you describe your wife doing in her A (Risk taking, overpending, self medicating,etc.) all point to a deeper problem. Is it possible she is Bi-polar or something in that cluster?

Please read up on it. She seems to be displaying more that one marker that points to needing an evaluation done by Pdoc. Sometimes our spouse's pathology during their A won't get better without proper treatment. I would not be surprised if your counselors did not bring this up. FWIW if they don't they likely are not doing either of you any favors and just like cashing checks. KWIM?

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5001   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8733571
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:10 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Drs one question. Has your wife ever been evaluated on her mental health?

Some the things you describe your wife doing in her A (Risk taking, overspending, self medicating, etc.) all point to a deeper problem. Is it possible she is Bi-polar or something in that cluster?

Please read up on it. She seems to be displaying more that one marker that points to needing an evaluation done by Pdoc. Sometimes our spouse's pathology during their A won't get better without proper treatment. I would not be surprised if your counselors did not bring this up. FWIW if they don't they likely are not doing either of you any favors and just like cashing checks. KWIM?

So about 10 years ago, she saw a therapist following a car accident and he suggested that she needed anti-anxiety medication. My wife was opposed to taking it and the visits to that IC did not go well--she found her own behavioral treatments for anxiety that worked for her.

If you're asking me, I don't think she is bi-polar, but what the hell do I know? I don't see her fall into unexplainable depressions or have significant mood swings (though I saw some of that during the affair).

Our CT hasn't suggested anything of the sort either--and AFAIK, her IC hasn't suggested medication for her yet.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733572
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 8:09 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

My wife had an a EA/PA and lied to me about it fir three years. In the many hours of counseling it was suggested that my W see a psychiatrist. Her IC actually suggested it.

All I am offering it as a suggestion. Once my W did get evaluated and got more specialized help our R really started. I did a shit-ton of therapy too, but her end needed more specialized treatment. Not everyone responds to talk therapy.

The A could be a one off for her. Actually I hope that is the case here for you. If this more of a pattern: risk taking behavior, reckless spending, out of character for days at one time, etc. These periods are followed by deep depression and extreme remorse for those actions . . .It might be time to ask your counselors what they think about that.

FWIW. My overall point being to try different counselors and methods if you see progress stalling or no progress at all.

As I said I hope I am wrong. I just wish soneone had pointed out things like This when I was in your shoes. It would have saved me a lot of time, money ans sanity.

Dday 8/31/11. EA/PA. Lied to for 3 years.

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5001   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8733585
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 8:22 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

My wife had an a EA/PA and lied to me about it fir three years. In the many hours of counseling it was suggested that my W see a psychiatrist. Her IC actually suggested it.

All I am offering it as a suggestion. Once my W did get evaluated and got more specialized help our R really started. I did a shit-ton of therapy too, but her end needed more specialized treatment. Not everyone responds to talk therapy.

The A could be a one off for her. Actually I hope that is the case here for you. If this more of a pattern: risk taking behavior, reckless spending, out of character for days at one time, etc. These periods are followed by deep depression and extreme remorse for those actions . . .It might be time to ask your counselors what they think about that.

FWIW. My overall point being to try different counselors and methods if you see progress stalling or no progress at all.

As I said I hope I am wrong. I just wish someone had pointed out things like This when I was in your shoes. It would have saved me a lot of time, money and sanity.

Thank you for that.

I strongly suspect this was a one-off, mid-life crisis event for my wife and she's going to be on the straight and narrow from here on out. But as many have noticed about me throughout this thread, I trust my gut, but always verify. I will stay relentless on this and call out anything I see. If I feel she's becoming complacent--or even worse--showing any signs of mental illness, I won't hesitate to act.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 9:23 PM, Wednesday, May 4th]

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733589
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 9:10 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

I think she ended our marriage in a practical sense. Most marriages exist on the premise of unwavering faithfulness and commitment. Essentially, you can't be in a marriage if you don't trust your partner not to betray you.

Thanks for your response. Have you told her this? It’s not as direct as saying "I no longer consider you my wife after what you have done. You will have to earn that title back in my eyes", but what you wrote IS meaningful and important for her to know.

For those who have said there haven’t been any ramifications, explicitly stating the above is to me, quite real.

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3389   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8733596
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:22 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Thanks for your response. Have you told her this? It’s not as direct as saying "I no longer consider you my wife after what you have done. You will have to earn that title back in my eyes", but what you wrote IS meaningful and important for her to know.

For those who have said there haven’t been any ramifications, explicitly stating the above is to me, quite real.

I've absolutely told her--I've told her I don't consider her my wife right now and she has a long road to earn back that privilege. Truthfully, there's not much I've written in this thread that I haven't shared with her directly--I've used this thread to either get my thoughts in order before I talk with her or get my thoughts out after I've talked with her. I've found it very helpful in both regards--and the collective feedback has been wonderful.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733597
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DoinBettr ( member #71209) posted at 10:57 PM on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

I already did that actually. She's going through it now to highlight what she disagrees with. I'll report back with her response though.


I told you to do this a while ago.
She needs to do the same!
She needs to write out how you felt before and after the affair. Did you see how it helped you define that she was a monster during the affair? It will take some work, but your WW needs to see that. Then she has to choose to be someone entirely different. Because she is sickened by who she was before.
You are finding your anger now. Be aware of what makes you mad and talk about it in CT. I haven't heard about you going to CT and talking about your anger at the sex. Also that you are angry you know you are plan B. Then your WW can talk about how she will try to rebuild your trust and show she respects you. Even more since you are giving her a second chance she absolutely doesn't deserve.
Get her to write that letter before she gives you back her's adjusted. She needs to show you she can empathize with you. My wife seemed like a narcist too until she was forced to consider I actually have feelings. That she wasn't the only one in the relationship.

posts: 701   ·   registered: Aug. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8733612
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 9:33 AM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Don't have any advice to contribute, just an observation.

I was pushing her on things she had accepted differently in her own mind months ago. I was asking her to re-write her own truth and it led her to breakdown when she realized I was right.


Is this exacerbating her resentment of you (that she cannot 'win' against you)? By 'pushing' her, is she going to use this as another example to build up resentment?

It does look like you are caught up in a quandary; by getting her to think deeper, she feels that she cannot win, as she 'knows' you are right, thereby driving her into a spiral of helplessness/anxiety/depression/shame. On the other hand, if you do not get her to face her wayward thinking, then nothing can go forward.

One of the toughest tasks you two have, is to get back that initial 'balance' you had when you first met, where the two opposites can coexist. Then the next task is to figure out how to maintain that balance and make it flourish, so that the relationship can grow and improve. Chaos and Order, working together.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 968   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:43 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

I told you to do this a while ago.
She needs to do the same!
She needs to write out how you felt before and after the affair.

So we did this awhile back at your suggestion. I didn’t find it too helpful unfortunately. Everything she wrote was fine and accurate, but it just felt like she was parroting all the things I told her back to me. I felt no depth in her words.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733663
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 2:23 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Is this exacerbating her resentment of you (that she cannot 'win' against you)? By 'pushing' her, is she going to use this as another example to build up resentment?

It does look like you are caught up in a quandary; by getting her to think deeper, she feels that she cannot win, as she 'knows' you are right, thereby driving her into a spiral of helplessness/anxiety/depression/shame. On the other hand, if you do not get her to face her wayward thinking, then nothing can go forward.

One of the toughest tasks you two have, is to get back that initial 'balance' you had when you first met, where the two opposites can coexist. Then the next task is to figure out how to maintain that balance and make it flourish, so that the relationship can grow and improve. Chaos and Order, working together.

One thing I find uncanny about this community is the amount of times a comment comes at the precisely relevant time. I came to this conclusion late last night after pushing her on something she was very uncomfortable trying to rationalize. She became angry quickly and I realized it’s because I’m leading her to hard truths she can’t get to on her own.

I’ve seen how much more productive it is when one of the therapists gets her someplace instead. As you point out, it’s a hard spot for me to be in because I feel so powerless to progress us along.

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733671
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DoinBettr ( member #71209) posted at 3:29 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Everything she wrote was fine and accurate, but it just felt like she was parroting all the things I told her back to me. I felt no depth in her words.

See, I think you aren't seeing empathy from her. You should ask her to write how you feel. How she thinks you should be feeling and how you feel now. If she is parroting, is that perhaps because you haven't explained how you feel? Why doesn't she pickup on things deeper inside you? It is most likely a 50/50 kind of problem. Just because you focus a lot on her improvement and less on how she is giving you improvement.

She should also write out why you haven't divorced. This will show you where her hope in fixing the marriage lies. It also shows her where her hope is, so she either keeps eating those shit sandwiches or starts talking about what being divorced looks like. I am trying to give you an understanding of the platform she is building to become a better person. Sure, the negative is pushing her, but what is the positive? What is she fighting for?

The next thing I know works is you 2 should write out the last time (whole day) you think both of you were happy together in the marriage. Then the other person says whether they really were happy during that whole day or if there were parts they didn't like. Be specific about exact thoughts and times that made people unhappy! Then you 2 talk about why each person really wasn't happy during those times in those days that should by all outward appearances be happy. I did this and found out my wife is incredibly pessimistic and would worry about things that had nothing to do with our marriage (1 of 50+ friends didn't wish her happy birthday 2 weeks earlier ruined her whole day, even though 49 people did) and put them on me. My wife found out she was looking for reasons to be unhappy and she was the real reason she was ever unhappy. That I had nothing to do with it and was trying my best to fix things and she only saw the negative. She actually hated/resented how I didn't care how most people thought about me. I cared more about why my wife was unhappy, tried to fix it and was angry/sad later, which created a vicious cycle of me trying to figure out how to fix her and her finding new things to break.

I have had friends do those 2 "tests" and they should show how you each see the other person and either don't understand them at all or misunderstand them. You 2 misunderstand and devalue each other in some way. So, identify exactly how. Then start to build how you respect, trust(trust the other person isn't going to just leave ASAP without at least a conversation), and show love to each other. Then try to understand each other.

If she can't see how she was so terrible and needs to hate who she was, turn it around and mention one of her friends. Then talk through how she would feel if you were having the affair.

Lastly, have you 2 talked about what divorce looks like? Make it a reality and see how it is worse than the current situation. Maybe even take your 3 outcomes you discussed and add in 3 for yourself.

1: You reconcile but resent her the rest of the marriage trying to white knuckle it. Go with rug sweeping and your wife white knuckles as well. Until the kids leave and someone explodes on either side.

2: You reconcile, then cheat back because you get mad at her and see her breaking the boundaries as resetting them.

3: You reconcile, everything is great, but you continue to have triggers, anger issues, zero trust, but move forward because you choose her.

There will be darkness ahead no matter the way through. So this lets you find hope. She needs hope as well.

Maybe do another exercise I did which was write out 50 reasons we choose each other. Did you do that one too? How did that go?

[This message edited by DoinBettr at 4:40 PM, Thursday, May 5th]

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 7:03 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

See, I think you aren't seeing empathy from her. You should ask her to write how you feel. How she thinks you should be feeling and how you feel now. If she is parroting, is that perhaps because you haven't explained how you feel? Why doesn't she pickup on things deeper inside you? It is most likely a 50/50 kind of problem. Just because you focus a lot on her improvement and less on how she is giving you improvement.

She should also write out why you haven't divorced. This will show you where her hope in fixing the marriage lies. It also shows her where her hope is, so she either keeps eating those shit sandwiches or starts talking about what being divorced looks like. I am trying to give you an understanding of the platform she is building to become a better person. Sure, the negative is pushing her, but what is the positive? What is she fighting for?

The next thing I know works is you 2 should write out the last time (whole day) you think both of you were happy together in the marriage. Then the other person says whether they really were happy during that whole day or if there were parts they didn't like. Be specific about exact thoughts and times that made people unhappy! Then you 2 talk about why each person really wasn't happy during those times in those days that should by all outward appearances be happy. I did this and found out my wife is incredibly pessimistic and would worry about things that had nothing to do with our marriage (1 of 50+ friends didn't wish her happy birthday 2 weeks earlier ruined her whole day, even though 49 people did) and put them on me. My wife found out she was looking for reasons to be unhappy and she was the real reason she was ever unhappy. That I had nothing to do with it and was trying my best to fix things and she only saw the negative. She actually hated/resented how I didn't care how most people thought about me. I cared more about why my wife was unhappy, tried to fix it and was angry/sad later, which created a vicious cycle of me trying to figure out how to fix her and her finding new things to break.

I have had friends do those 2 "tests" and they should show how you each see the other person and either don't understand them at all or misunderstand them. You 2 misunderstand and devalue each other in some way. So, identify exactly how. Then start to build how you respect, trust(trust the other person isn't going to just leave ASAP without at least a conversation), and show love to each other. Then try to understand each other.

If she can't see how she was so terrible and needs to hate who she was, turn it around and mention one of her friends. Then talk through how she would feel if you were having the affair.

Lastly, have you 2 talked about what divorce looks like? Make it a reality and see how it is worse than the current situation. Maybe even take your 3 outcomes you discussed and add in 3 for yourself.

1: You reconcile but resent her the rest of the marriage trying to white knuckle it. Go with rug sweeping and your wife white knuckles as well. Until the kids leave and someone explodes on either side.

2: You reconcile, then cheat back because you get mad at her and see her breaking the boundaries as resetting them.

3: You reconcile, everything is great, but you continue to have triggers, anger issues, zero trust, but move forward because you choose her.

There will be darkness ahead no matter the way through. So this lets you find hope. She needs hope as well.

Maybe do another exercise I did which was write out 50 reasons we choose each other. Did you do that one too? How did that go?

That's a lot to digest. Thank you. I like many of your suggestions.

My wife is going to work on the exercise of explaining how I should feel and how I do feel. We're then both going to attempt to write about the other's last happy day (that's a really hard one for me to try to pinpoint right now knowing how unhappy she has been).

As for my potential paths, I don't think #1 or #2 are realistic options for me. I don't think I'll white knuckle this for the kids--it will require my wife's commitment to resolve her many issues--and that's what she's trying to do now. As for me cheating, I just don't see it happening. The OBS has again reached out to me with her desire to "have our own fun"--I feel bad rejecting it outright, but I'm convinced it will only make my life harder. If that feeling changes, I suspect I'd talk about it with my wife and likely end our relationship.

The third option does seem possible. I don't currently see an end in sight to my pain and triggers. So while the prospect of happiness with her gives me resolve, I do worry I could be signing up for a lifetime of intermittent unhappiness.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 7:04 PM, Thursday, May 5th]

Me: BH, 37
Her: WW, 37
DDay: March 15, 2022

posts: 304   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8733708
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 7:18 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

She became angry quickly and I realized it’s because I’m leading her to hard truths she can’t get to on her own.

Why is she angry quickly? Is she angry that you are calling her out? Is she angry that she can't figure anything out on her own? How did she communicate that she was angry? Has she acknowledged how much patience will be required of her if you are to actually attempt to reconcile? Is she directly acknowledging that she is still lying, because she obviously is still lying or trying to.

I am having a hard time imagining what she could legitimately be getting angry about here since she is not demonstrating empathy, even with you basically spoonfeeding her.

posts: 221   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8733710
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ButAnyway ( member #79085) posted at 7:29 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

From reading your thread, it is clear you have no intention of removing yourself from this M. Your WW has shown you exactly who she is with what would be multiple character flawed deal-breakers for most, and you continue to try to mold her into something she simply IS NOT.

Given the above, it appears to me your efforts would better used towards ACCEPTANCE of what IS, rather that what you wish it would be. The former sucks, but the latter is soul crushing and never ending.

posts: 101   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8733711
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tarduck ( new member #79063) posted at 8:24 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Dr S, I think you are working too hard on this. I also think that will never change. Do you really want to do this forever?

posts: 6   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2021   ·   location: Oregon
id 8733719
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KindaCold ( new member #72107) posted at 8:39 PM on Thursday, May 5th, 2022

I would be curious to see how things would be progressing if you stopped cold all hysterical bonding for at least one month. This is a tool that she is using, and you're eating it up. I think it's clogging the pipes. Let's see how she reacts when you're not intimately embroiled.

posts: 1   ·   registered: Nov. 18th, 2019
id 8733724
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