Thank you to all who have kindly given your advice and opinions. Fully appreciated.
I realize that my reason for staying is not healthy, of course. That's why I have to work through it with my IC. I have been in IC since a few days after DD. I was never one to believe in therapy but I'm glad I got help as early as I could. He has just started IC recently and we will start MC in a week or so. The reason why we're only going into MC now is because I've told him the past few months that I don't want to rush into MC since I was undecided to even want to R. He has been asking for us to do MC for a while now, as we're obviously not on the same page. I find that a WS, unless very much in tune with the BS's emotions, cannot possibly understand the pain and trauma that comes with the shitstorm they've created. I'm hoping that his IC will kick him into position but he's barely had a couple of sessions. So it's still too soon. He initially thought he didn't need IC, although he was open to it. I often wish that he would one day, in whatever way possible, experience what I've gone through plus a million times more.
In addition to the kids and money, my main reason to R is definitely spite. Since I'm responsible for 99% of anything in the household, I have all the access to the finances. I'm the one who's in charge of where the money goes in and out of. Heck I know how much he's earning and when his paycheck comes in better than he does. I file his income tax for him every single year. He's never had to do it. I think that he's taken for granted that I'm capable of doing everything for him, hence he never had to worry about anything. I take care of the kids 100%. The kids thrive because of me. Leak on a ceiling at home? I call the plumber. Heck usually if a problem like that comes in and he's traveling (and usually that's how it is fml), I would have already sorted everything out by the time he came back from his work travels. When he came home, I let him rest because it's tiring being the sole breadwinner, i know. I was a considerate wife. Not the easiest going but considerate nonetheless. He knows I run the house well and he doesnt have to do anything. And looking back, this is my fault. I enabled him. I took over and did everything because I've always thought he was incompetent and can't do anything right. For me, if I want something done right, I'll have to do it myself. Hence I do everything. Up to the extent that I started to have anxiety in the past 2 years. Up to the extent that he has the freaking time to go out there to cheat since he was so free. I was too busy doing everything and didn't even notice. And hence, this is the part which is super hard to swallow because I've done so fucking much for everyone. And yet, this is the thanks I get. So, no more. I'm putting myself first now. I want to make myself happy and I want to punish, because that is what I want to do now. I started drum lessons 3 months ago because I've always wanted to do that since I was a teen but have put it off because hey, family first. I bought that pair of designer sneakers I've wanted since 2018, which I never bought because well, it's too expensive. I will start a new course in a few months. In fact, I was thinking of taking up Family Law just to know exactly how things work, how I can manipulate and get things in my favor if I D. Now I just do what I want. Yes these may be temporary forms of happiness but heck, I do what I can to cope for now. Self care is my motto this year. Anything else can come after.
I've spoken to a few lawyers in the last few months. I know my options. I took all the legal advice into consideration before I even had that light click in my head at the 3rd month. That light which said to R, to punish. Apart from the things I've mentioned in the earlier posts, I think of things like if I were to D and if he were to start a new family for example, how fair would it be for my kids? He wouldn't be able to give as much, both monetarily and affections. They'd have to share. Why should I let that happen? He doesn't deserve anything good in life. He put me through hell. I'm taking him with me.
And oh, he's definitely only sorry now that he's caught. Even though the A ended in 2019, he told me in all honesty that he would have brought it to the grave had I not found out. That's why I feel like everything has been a farce since 2019. I've gone through periods of asking myself how the fuck can he go on like four family vacations in 2019 with us while he was very much in the A. How the fuck does he even come back and look at us in the eye when he would sneak around and build this mountain of lies around me when he was cheating. How how how. I've since, thanks to SI, learned that it was compartmentalization. And I'll leave it at that. That and him being a fucked up assholic loser. I still can't accept that this has happened though. Still coming to terms with how he could do this to us. He was never a good enough husband and I've always told him to be a better father than husband. He started to be better during covid since he had to spend a lot of time at home with the kids and I. But too little too late now that it has come to this. The kids are much closer to him now since covid happened though. But I've always thought that if there was cheating, it would have been in the early years prior to kids. Never thought that he could do this shit to the kids especially. In fact, I'm furious that he did this to the kids more than the fact that he had the balls to do this to me. I think I probably had a tighter rein when it was just the 2 of us. With kids and life after that, I let go since I was so busy all the time. That's when it happened. I didn't see it coming at all. He has always been someone with morals. That was the man I married. So I didn't see it coming, didnt think he was capable of this shit, didnt think he'd have the balls. But now I know all he's been is a hypocrite all along. I call him out for it all the time now. And if it wasn't for the fact that I plan to R, I would have exposed him to all our friends and family. No one knows for now except for his cousin and a close friend of mine. I hate that. I hate that others still think highly of him, oh such a good father, a good husband. They don't know what a fucking hypocrite he is.
Many things I haven't been able to bring myself to do since DD. I haven't worn my wedding band. I haven't done his laundry for him, as petty as that is. I let him do it himself. I have stopped being considerate. He comes home from travel and needs his rest? I used to make sure the kids play quietly so he can have a better rest. Now I couldn't care less if they scream and shout or if he can sleep with all that. I used to tell him to sleep and not have to wake up early to prep the kids for school. I'd do it. He does it now without my asking, even if he just came home from traveling. I used to take it upon myself to do every shitty little thing, cleaning the kids school shoes weekly for example. Now I ask him to do it. Cooking? You're back from work now, you do it. Kids need to get fed, you do it. Dishes need to be washed, I don't even have to say it anymore now. He does it. Even though he used to help here and there pre DD, now I make it a point to have him do everything. He was too free, I told him. So free back then, with so little to do but work in his job, that's why he had the time to pursue a fucking A. Minor repairs around the house, I used to do it. Now he does and if anyone needs to be called in, I tell him to do it. I used to do every little thing and I know now that's why I was so fucking burned out. I refuse to do everything now and as much as I still think he's incompetent, I am letting go and letting him handle all the shit. I need to loosen up in order to be kind to myself. He said he wants to make it up to the family, this is what he has to start doing. Heck these are things that any good H should be doing all along. I was too blind, stupid and considerate for my own good to have taken charge of everything.
As for being a safe partner since DD.. he voluntarily had his number changed. A number he has had for 20 years. We went through his entire phone book on his phone and deleted many contacts. Contacts that include friends of both genders that I never liked or weren't relevant. He deleted all forms of social media even though he was never active. But I wanted him to do it just the same. I have access to all his emails, I can look at his phone whenever I want. Even then, I still put a spy program in
there without his knowledge just to be sure. As I manage the finances, I have access to all his bank accounts.
We have come to an agreement that he will have not have any casual conversations with any female coworkers, nothing other than for work. If he has to add any new numbers to his phone, he needs to tell me. I check periodically too. I used to warn him to not be too nice to others, he's always trying too hard with his Mr Nice Guy persona and wants to help everyone. He liked to hang out with coworkers. I told him that would get him into trouble one day. It did. It happened just the way I feared it would. He never listened to me for all the 19 years I've known him. Now that it has happened, he's paying for it by having to keep to himself, sending me pictures, updates, video calling me and have me randomly check on him when he's away. He has to walk on eggshells now around me. When he's not traveling, he stays home and does the chores I've written above. He sends the kids to school and other classes. Or we go out with the kids to do things they like. We go for morning walks, something we started doing a lot of since last year prior to DD. But I find that now if I do walk with him, it's generally filled with tension. The last 2 hour walk we had, we walked silently, speaking only when he asked if I wanted some water. So these days I prefer to do my walks alone, listening to my music by myself, thinking my own thoughts (like wishing him and AP dead ) and having a nice breakfast at a Cafe before I go home to my tainted life. I never used to do all this. Now I do. Self care, you know. I gotta start somewhere. Next month I will be going for a beach vacation with my own extended family. With my kids as well. I don't want him to come along. So he won't, on the pretext of not being able to take days off. Which is also true. But I am going to try and make sure the kids and I are going to enjoy ourselves because we deserve it. My kids are my life and the only good thing which came out of my marriage. They shouldn't have to go through all the shit he's put us through. They are innocent. We will enjoy ourselves without him.
Although he has done all the above to be a safe partner, I feel like he hasn't done enough to win me back. He said he would do all he can right after DD. I've told him from the start he needs to apologize for what he has done and reassure me each time I trigger or have thoughts. He did that for a while and these days, he does little of that. I'm hoping his IC will kick him into place with regards to that. I used to make him kneel in front of me to apologize, that went on for about a month. Then I found no pleasure anymore in seeing him do that. The way I see it, he should be groveling at my feet and appreciate that I'm still here after the hell he put me through. But I don't feel like he's appreciative enough. Hence I drill that into his head every other day, I scold, I insult, I get very angry. I think by the start of the 4th month, a tide turned in me and I was in a completely different stage. I was just very angry and the anger really consumed me. I am still working through that in IC. I am better now than 2 weeks ago. But the appearance of AP on the travel roster with him really took me back many steps. I think if I were any weaker mentally, I would have done a lot worse. Maybe cut myself or jump down a building. But I know my worth and I'm more responsible than that.
So through IC, I've also come to realize that maybe he hasn't been able to do much for me, with the apologies and reassurances, because I've been throwing insults. Because of my anger. My IC said that as much as I think he's deserving of it, no one likes to be reprimanded everytime they come home from work or just out of the blue. But well, that's how I operate these days. I just let it go when I feel the need to. I don't want to tolerate anymore. I don't want to be considerate anymore. Not for now anyway. IC says it's not sustainable. My friend said H will just break one day and might say fuck everything and we would go back to square one. Or we could get a D. But I'd like to think that if that happens, I'm all ready for it. I know it'd be ugly too because I'm going to go all out. But until then, if he wants to stick around, this is what he has to take from me. Honestly I don't even know if anything he ever does anymore will be enough. So like I said, I'm just gonna focus on myself while I try to live with this marriage out of spite.
Crazyblindsided, you are right. This is a deal breaker for me. I would have walked if I didn't have kids. But it's not so easy when I put everything into consideration. Mix all of that with the spite I have in me now, R seems to be the way to go. But I could still very well D. In the meantime, I need to plan thoroughly should D happens. I already know most of what I need to do through the
legal advice I've sought. My only problem now is how do I live with all of these emotions and ensure I can do this without breaking down myself first if I R. That's my challenge. Because as much as I've learned to handle the triggers better now in my 5th month, there are days when it's still insufferable. There are bad days when I ruminate and make things worse. And there are days when AP unexpectedly gets on the roster I see all of your points about him changing jobs and I've already gotten him to do that, to look around in the first few weeks after DD. It's just not feasible now. Not yet anyway. We got hit hard by covid and we're barely recovering financially now. I handle the finances. I know. So as much as I want him to quit, I have to be realistic. And as much as I get fucked up by the fact that AP is traveling with him, I just have to do all I can to know that he's not up to anything again. Hence the random video calls. It is very hard on me, that's why I posted in here the day it happened. But now that it has happened and I see things clearer, it could have very well been a test for him to see how he handled the situation. To be fair, and since I have no evidence of any wrongdoing this time, I'd say that he did all he could to ensure that the message got across to AP that she is nothing to him now. He avoided contact and kept to himself. They are not on the same team per se. So they don't have to work very closely. But hey, with all this hypervigilance, of course that's not enough for me. I will keep watching him regardless. It gets tiring and I shouldn't even have to do this shit had he not cheated but I do what I can to cope for now. It's sad and it hurts and I'm angry, but I try. And I'm thankful that I have the SI community because no one can empathize better than the people in here.
Long rant, sorry. I do find that it helps when I write everything down though. Thank you all once again for your kind responses. I appreciate all of it.