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Reconciliation :
Five Years Later and Still Struggling ...


 Dechirant (original poster new member #69531) posted at 5:14 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

I've been a member of SI for 5 years and although I've wanted to post numerous times I always hesitated. I had issues with the OBS (now ex-husband of the AP) stalking me physically and on social media - even here on SI. Thankfully that situation has been resolved and so I finally feel safe to share. I apologize in advance for the long post...

It's been 5 years since my world blew up when I found out my WH had been involved in a PA for nearly 2 years. It was the OBS who contacted me after he discovered the cheating. My WH has never voluntarily confessed to any of his behaviors, only coming clean when confronted with irrefutable evidence and even then it's been years of trickle truth. What I believed to be one PA and another EA with a co-worker turned into a long history of visits to strip clubs and lap dances when he traveled on business, sexting with women he met during his business trips, as well as EAs with multiple co-workers/"friends" over the years. And these are only the incidents I was able to discover and confront him with. I don't believe he has had another PA since 2017, and he's been in IC for 5 years. He believes he's completely changed and is nothing like the man he used to be - swears he'd never have another affair. But other hurtful behaviors have continued. We've done MC off and on over the years, generally after another bit of trickle truth comes out or he gets drunk and does something selfish and hurtful. He promises again he gets it, that he never intends to hurt me, and that he loves me. WH always puts on a great performance of being remorseful when we're with the marriage counselor and I'm always told I need to forgive him, move on, and choose the marriage.

Alcohol fuels a lot of WH's bad choices and we've argued about his drinking for years. His therapist doesn't think WH has a drinking problem but an "unhealthy relationship with alcohol related to his anxiety"; meaning he gets anxious in a social situation and needs the alcohol to be the fun, confident, outgoing guy all his friends think he is. Although he has cut back quite a bit since his peak during the PA, he continues to get together with his buddies and drink at least once a month. In February, he got drunk at a party we were attending and groped one of the waitresses as well as a recently divorced female "friend" - all of it right in front of me. It was completely humiliating! He claims he doesn't remember doing any of that because he was drunk but apologized and said he wouldn't do it again. I've caught him driving drunk on several occasions and the last time was 2 years ago and I told him if he did it again, I was done with him. Of course, he did it again a month ago. He denies he was "really drunk" but agreed if he had been pulled over, he would have "probably" been over the legal limit. To him, it wasn't a big deal and he didn't think he'd done anything wrong. I was so angry I packed his bag, told him to get out, and called him an Uber. He cried and begged me not to throw him out, but I told him again to get out. He out of the house for the rest of that weekend but constantly called and texted and begged me to let him come home. I let him back in the house late that Sunday. He told me he finally gets it and he'll never do it again. I don't believe him at all.

I'm just so broken, but mostly angry. Angry at myself for letting him hurt me again. Angry at myself for putting up with his crap all these years. I don't trust him and I'm disgusted with myself for rolling over yet again. After 34 years of marriage, I feel hopeless, alone, and desperately unhappy, but also fearful of starting over again. WH acts like everything is great between us and has become incredibly clingy and emotionally needy since I kicked him out. I can hardly breathe without him standing over me telling me how much he loves me. WH can be very sweet and charming when he wants to be but at his core he is incredibly selfish and self-centered. Yeah, he loves me so much he had multiple affairs and breaks every promise and vow he's ever made to me.

Initially, I stayed in the marriage because I didn't want his greedy AP to get her hands on our money and we still had our youngest 2 kids in college. WH is very successful in his career and I stayed home to raise our 4 kids because he was constantly traveling for his job. For several years he lived on the West coast during the week and came home every other weekend. The perfect set up to keep his affair and other inappropriate activities hidden. He no longer travels as much, because of Covid he now manages most of his work from the local office. I'm finally back working, just part-time, but I'm happy with my job and the people I work with are great. I have a therapist I see once a month and I think even he is frustrated with me and my inability to move forward one way or another. It feel like my only options are to leave him or I move forward and commit to being an active part of the marriage.

I just feel adrift with no direction. Can I really ask for a divorce 5 years later? I'm so pissed I just didn't bite the bullet and divorce him five years ago. I'm stuck and would appreciate any perspective others may have. Thanks for listening.

posts: 1   ·   registered: Jan. 23rd, 2019   ·   location: Midwest
id 8733981

grubs ( member #77165) posted at 6:44 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

Any spouse can at any point determine that the M isn't working for them and take steps to end it. Even those not tainted by infidelity. If this isn't working for you, and he really doesn't appear to be trying that hard, then you should take steps in that direction? Have you spoken to an attorney to see what a divorce in your case looks like? You're working now, do you have your own banking account? Credit Card? Car in your name? It's time to start putting things in place to allow you to leave.

FWIW five years seems to be the point where many BS decide that really this was a deal breaker or to stop fooling themselves in a false R. In other words, you're right on schedule with them. Personally I think you would have been within your rights to require him to stop drinking all together. If he can't control his behavior when drinking, which he admits to as he claims it as a defense, than he shouldn't be drinking at all.

[This message edited by grubs at 6:45 PM, Friday, May 6th]

posts: 1122   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
id 8733993

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:46 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

My reading is that it's happening right now, so I don't understand why you say '5 years later'.

He's still drinking. He's still using alcohol as his excuse. He's still withholding the full truth - at least you have to fear that he's still withholding, since once TT starts, you can't know when it ends.

Have you talked with 2-3 D lawyers to find out what would happen? My bet is that you'd walk away with enough money to live a comfortable life, and that's on top of ending the lies, the walking on eggshells, the uncertainty, the constant self-doubt....

Is there anything joyful in your staying? What do you hope to get from him by staying? How likely are you to get what you want?

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: 27110   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8733995

secondtime ( member #58162) posted at 8:48 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

Have you considered Al-Anon? CoDA?

You can do whatever you like. Ask for a divorce now, or 3 years from now. Depending on the state you live in, you may not even need to divorce. I'm likely going the legal separation route, if it ever comes to that. This way, my husband (the WS and partial SAHP)) will still be covered under my health insurance.

Honestly, I wouldn't rush into a divorce yet, only because you aren't following through on the boundaries you set.

Gently, I think you need to try something else to figure out how to focus on yourself and get yourself strong.

I don't think the therapy once a month is working. Is it the right kind of therapy for you?

I'm not saying that divorce won't ease your situation. But, it's not going to fix everything. You still need to do your work.

[This message edited by secondtime at 8:49 PM, Friday, May 6th]

posts: 1062   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2017
id 8734012

getbusyliving ( member #71058) posted at 11:29 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

Sorry this is a bit of a novel but so much of what you have said resonated with me. I am also five years out and my partner and I are separated but still in the same house with all the financials. He has gone to IC but still broke a ground rule last year which was he lied to me and I found out. We also have been going to MC. So for the past four months, he has gone to a new IC to really dig deep as to how he can fix him. Meanwhile I have been focussing on me and my children, grandchild and working on my own recovery and resilience. Finally doing the 180 on him, which is what I wished I had done after dd1 five years ago (wish I had found this site). I stopped drinking for health reasons 4 or so years ago and my WH decided to reduce and then stopped drinking alcohol. That has certainly made a difference to our mental health. We have separate rooms which was the first for me since 1986! I love it tbh as it is my little sanctuary where I can sit here in complete privacy. If we do split for good, financially we are both going to be badly off as the money, house would all be split 50/50 in my country and housing costs here are astronomical - both owning and renting. Many years ago, my WH left me to have a "break" from our marriage and also being a parent really (and I found out years later to have sex with other women). That was when I had a teenager and two small children but picked up more work and have always worked since so that I could be financially independent if he did it again. Instead of leaving, he had multiple PA and an EA as well as sex workers. So getting even part-time work is a great idea, have your own bank account. While we shared bank accounts, we had our own but WH was incredibly sneaky with money during his affairs. Things like buying petrol to look like he had filled up his car but actually getting cash out or paying for groceries with our christmas card money but getting one grocery item and cash out with our eftpos card. Things you don't really notice as it looks normal. He got a few thousand dollars that way. Now we have a visa card which we both use for this stuff (so can't take cash out) and we both have "pocket money" that we put away into our own accounts. WH used to have a lot of money go into his private account (that I can now see if I want to) but this was reduced right down after DD2 given he was not spending it on what he told me he was - ie bills. So even if you have knowledge of your finances, keep a close eye on them. My rule is that DH has to tell me about what he intends to buy if it is our joint money and it needs to be something for us - eg the house, holiday etc. He still slips up with this, and this is one of the trust things he has to work through if we are to get back together again. It is about us feeling safe. When I read your story, I just felt how unsafe you are right now and that you need to have a plan for you. I was horrified that your WH sexually assaulted two women in front of you - he is likely to continue to do so until he finally gets arrested. There is a lot of great advice here that will be applicable to you with your divorce procedures in the USA and I read about alimony for ex spouses, you definitely could at least explore that as part of your plan. But at least decide to just focus on your recovery and you, it is never to late to do that. The other thing for me, is that rather than think I wasted five years, I can with my hand on my heart know that I really tried to make our marriage work these last five years and if it is over, there will be no regrets on my part. I also have given up drinking, done my own healing work, went through and survived cancer, job redundancy and then another job loss on top of finding out about the affairs. I also have one of my adult children living two doors from me with lots of time with my awesome grandson. I bet there are many achievements that you can acknowledge, no matter how small that you can layer down as a foundation for your next planning steps. There is a saying we use here which is "kia kaha". It basically translates to "stand strong" and is all about us being resilient when going through tough shit or challenges. Kia kaha Dechirant smile

BS:54 (me). WS:54. together 30 yrs on DD1 March 2017.

TT /lies until DD2 July 2017OL,P, EA, Sex workers.

Dates known: 1991, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2017.

posts: 63   ·   registered: Jul. 21st, 2019   ·   location: Aotearoa /NZ
id 8734027

Buster123 ( member #65551) posted at 11:36 PM on Friday, May 6th, 2022

I'm just so broken, but mostly angry. Angry at myself for letting him hurt me again. Angry at myself for putting up with his crap all these years. I don't trust him and I'm disgusted with myself for rolling over yet again. After 34 years of marriage, I feel hopeless, alone, and desperately unhappy, but also fearful of starting over again.

You don't need his permission to file for D, contact a D attorney and end this farce of a M, your WH is an unrepentant/unremorseful alcoholic and serial cheater, you have already endured a lot, life's too short, you deserve so much better than this proven alcoholic serial cheater and liar, don't forget to get tested for STDs/STIs, yes he's been playing russian roulette with your health, some STDs/STIs could remain dormant for years.

Based on what you posted your children are grown, contact an attorney file for D and get out of infidelity, after such a long M and him being the breadwinner you're likely entitled to spousal support/alimony, not to mention half of all marital assets, again check with your attorney for verification, don't waste more precious time, act now.

posts: 2589   ·   registered: Jul. 22nd, 2018
id 8734029

ShockedAndShattered ( new member #79685) posted at 1:19 AM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022

I am so sorry you are going through this. Don't be angry with yourself. You wanted to see the good in him and looked at things through hope's glasses. Good people tend to try to see the good. Trickle truth is so damaging. It's like starting at square one again. You are stronger than you realize. Please don't give up on yourself. You deserve to be respected. You deserve to be happy. It's never too late to file for divorce. Wishing you all the best.

BS(me):42 WH:43 Married 3 years @ 1st DD
DDay 1- 9/11/2021 EA 5+ yrs & lies TT
DDay 2- 9/23/2021 EA 2+ years & lies TT
DDay 3- 10/17/2021 EAs 1.5 yrs/5+ yrs
DDay 4- 04/11/2022 Confirmed PA w/1 EA
Currently in R

posts: 19   ·   registered: Dec. 17th, 2021
id 8734044

outofsorts ( member #70701) posted at 3:54 AM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022

Hi Dechirant,

First of all I am so sorry that you have gone through all of this. I'm sure the past five years must have been horrific for you....

Advice I've read multiple times on this site is watch their behavior, not their words (note, I am terrible at this I always want to believe what people say).

Given what your husband has done over the past five years, do you think you will ever be in a place where you could trust and feel safe with him?

I think you have an additional option: you could do the 180 and focus on yourself. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to do to heal - regardless of what your husband does or does not do. You already have a great first step in finding a job that you like. Are there hobbies you want to take up? Volunteer work? Perhaps try therapy more often or maybe a different therapist may be in order. I would also suggest going to a divorce lawyer to find out what a divorce may look like in your situation, knowledge is power.

Please continue to post here as needed. (((hugs)))

Me(BW): 40WH: 40 Married 7 years, together 20.
Dday 2/22/19 Reconciling

posts: 398   ·   registered: Jun. 4th, 2019
id 8734056

jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 5:40 PM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022

I just feel adrift with no direction. Can I really ask for a divorce 5 years later? I'm so pissed I just didn't bite the bullet and divorce him five years ago. I'm stuck and would appreciate any perspective others may have. Thanks for listening.

First things first--you don't have to ask for divorce. You don't need his permission....if you want to divorce, then you simply file to get the ball rolling.

But that really leads us to the heart of this--What do you REALLY want? Do you want out? Do you want more wholehearted changes from your husband? WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE 'COMPLETE' AGAIN?

I can tell you this, being that I am much further out--any issues that I have today are with myself. I have a feeling you are bothered considerably by your lack of action 5 years ago. I know that I am. But you know what? A boatload of us did not handle things the way that we wanted initially. What we can do is make the decisions that we want to make today without the confusion and initial trauma when we are closer to our original Ddays. So maybe a way for you to feel less adrift today is to really ask yourself what you want....within reason. No time machines; no brain transplants. Don't be afraid to take action.

Maybe you want a temporary separation to see if you are more content without your husband. If so, tell him just that. Maybe you have decided that you can no longer tolerate his drinking. If so, let him know. It will be his decision if he wants to stop, but at least he will know what the consequence will be if he decides to keep drinking(you leaving). We all have choices. Right now, your husband seems content with his, while obviously, you are not.

Dichirant, I can tell you that the one thing that really keeps me grounded today is that I am confident that I will stay, or leave, if I choose to do so. I am staying because I want to stay, but feel certain that I will leave if I choose to do so. I'm in a long marriage like yourself, but that will not be a factor, AT ALL, if I want out. There will be no more floundering around like in our early days. Maybe this is what you need to find your direction--certainty in your decision-making going forward. When you feel you are where you are today because you choose so, it will keep you heading to where you want to be, which I am assuming, is being comfortable in your own skin. When you can look at yourself in the mirror, and you KNOW you are okay with the person looking back, it helps a lot.

2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4013   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8734099

qwert ( new member #57498) posted at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 7th, 2022

You might want to try Alanon, Codependents Anonymous, or Adult Children of Alcoholics. They all helped me work through my wife’s affair. And more specifically, my issues from growing up in dysfunction. I had to focus on myself and my triggers. I had to see why I was making the decisions I was making in my life.

posts: 34   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Los Angeles
id 8734108
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