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New Here: Four Months Out from D-Day

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 Putnik (original poster new member #80297) posted at 11:32 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I've been lurking here since shortly after D-Day, which was a little over 4 months ago, and am finally comfortable posting some of my story.

I discovered an EA when I caught my WW texting with someone. There was something about the way she was texting and how . . . happy and contented . . . she looked while she was doing it (she was sitting right next to me). "No way that's a woman," I thought. [This is where I can confirm what I'd later read so much of here: ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT.] I felt something wasn't right -- she was always on the phone -- and, in fact, it was very far from right. Trust. Your. Gut. It's not just "if there's smoke, there's fire." When it comes to suspicion of infidelity, I think it's more like, "If there's smoke, your house has already burned down."

So the next day I looked at WW's phone, which I had never done in 25+ years of marriage. Yep; that's an EA. No doubt about it. After checking phone bills (first time doing that, too), I confronted her, but not until after I outed the affair to the OBS. I didn't know the AP or the OBS, but they (like WW) are somewhat high-profile people. Making contact with OBS was easy. The AP/OBS were, like us, a long-time married couple with school-age kids.

On confrontation, I got a bunch of defensive, minimizing "he's just a friend" nonsense and other cheater-handbook garbage from WW. It was plain there was more to it. Two days later, WW admitted to a year-long PA that that had ended about 4 years earlier. WW had kept a lengthy, detailed recounting of the affair that she gave to me. All the sordid when/where/what details were memorialized in her own writing. Getting a timeline -- and a whole lot more detail, unfortunately -- about the PA was pretty easy. The PA was the best sex WW had ever had. Of course they didn't ever use protection. After discovering the PA, I outed that to the OBS, too. (I've been tested since DD.)

After WW and AP "broke up" (her euphemism for no longer having sex with him) at his initiative "to work on his marriage" because AP's wife had caught him in inappropriate on-line conversation with yet another woman, WW and AP continued the EA uninterrupted: exchanging pictures of the kids, talking every day by phone and text, sharing workout and diet routines . . . all the intimacy that belonged in a marriage, WW continued to take elsewhere. Just as the PA was the best sex ever, the EA was the deepest emotional connection WW had ever felt. It doesn't appear that they made plans for a future together, but WW wrote that they'd find each other some day if one of them decided to "blow their life up" and leave their marriage. WW even wished I'd die (peacefully while doing something I loved; how sweet of her) so that she and AP could be together. WW fantasized about her and AP raising our children and living happily ever after. WW told AP she loved him, and would do so forever, no matter what.

WW and AP became coworkers after the EA began. The then 4-month-old EA turned into a PA when WW "interviewed" AP for this job. Yes, my WW gave a couch interview (his couch) to a man she then hired and directly supervised for years. Shortly after D-Day, I demanded that WW disclose the inappropriate relationship and the pertinent details of it to her employer. She did. Her employer rug-swept it: A week after it was disclosed, WW got a one-paragraph letter in her employee file that said she violated the employer's fraternization policy. WW and AP still work together for the same employer. She no longer supervises him and they have no reason or occasion to ever be in contact at work or otherwise. 

WW wrote a NC letter to AP soon after disclosure, with copies mailed to each of his addresses. I watched her write it, seal it, and mail it. I don't have reason to think they've been in contact since she got caught, but given the length of the affair and the depth of the feelings, . . . I'm skeptical. I feel like no one goes from "I hope my husband dies so we can be together" to observing NC just like that. Except, my WW insists, she does. The A is either done or it's underground and she hasn't been caught again. I think it's the former, but . . . only she (and the AP) would know for certain.

As an aside and FWIW, they definitely affair down. WW and AP are good-looking professionals with sterling gold reputations but they gave the absolute worst in and of themselves to the other. Selfish people using and being used to make themselves feel good on the cheap: no investment, no commitment, nothing real or genuine. Just ego-stroking and validation of something that should not be validated. It's sad and pathetic. I'm still disgusted and outraged by it and the hurt is real -- it's not as incendiary as it was in the immediate aftermath of D-Day -- but I can see and feel that this guy and that relationship (and the "great" sex and the "deep" connection) are all just fantasy bullshit. WW was in love with herself, not AP. She used him; he used her. Just sad. I think WW is beginning to understand this now: "I wasn't in love with him. I thought I was, but I was really in love with myself."

WW has friends who knew of the A. One of them -- a co-worker -- even encouraged it before it began. These are intellectuals who managed to dress the A up as some kind of post-feminist empowerment thing. (Just barf -- there's nothing empowering about being a selfish asshole or intentionally hurting other people.) WW says other friends disapproved but these supposedly "disapproving" people didn't say anything to me about it. Several of these women I had thought were friends of mine. One was even bridesmaid of ours.

Among my boundaries -- which I wrote down and gave to WW a few weeks post-D-Day -- was NC with any of these people she'd betrayed me to or who knew of the affair before I did. I don't feel that these relationships are safe for me. They weren't friends of the marriage, but rather just more boundary crossing relationships and I'm not ok with boundary crossing whether there's sex involved or not. WW has mostly complied with this boundary. She's not happy with it and I doubt that it'll last. She'd said several times, in the immediate aftermath of discovery, that if she had to pick her friends or me, she'd pick the friends. Whether she's changed her view, or whether she's just stopped saying that because she knows not to or because she's now taken the friendships underground . . . add it to the long list of things I just don't know right now.

During discovery, I learned that WW had cheated on me (PA) while we were dating exclusively, 30 years ago. I'd suspected that at the time and had confronted her but she'd always denied it. I had never felt she was truthful. She'd written this AP a NC letter after I told her not to talk to him ever again during the first year of our marriage. He made contact by email about 10 years later. I then told her that if she continued the relationship, I'd divorce her. Another 15 years passed and -- the month before WW was caught in the present EA/PA, this old flame made contact with her yet again by email. WW encouraged it -- "I want to get to know you," etc. I forwarded the entire correspondence to that guy's wife (he's married with small kids). WW doesn't agree that this relationship was an "affair" because there was no sex and no desire for sex. I feel otherwise, especially since there was sex previously (that she'd hidden and lied about). I don't believe in "Once a cheater, always a cheater," but I think "Once an affair partner, always an affair partner" is a rational, healthy mindset.

WW has been in weekly IC since D-Day plus one month. I have refused MC -- too soon; there isn't any "marriage" to counsel at present, among other reasons frequently read here. I've seen an IC twice; not helpful. I need to find someone who specializes in trauma and trauma recovery. I have been reading extensively here. Reading books. Listening to podcasts. And doing some writing to help me process and organize my thoughts, goals, plans, etc. SI has been a tremendous resource and I've spent hours here reading and learning. I am so thankful for all of you and the information and advice present here. Truly, a sanity-saver. You folks are wise guides on a dark night traveling a path I never thought I'd be on.

WW wants R. It's been rocky but more often than not, I feel like she's answered my questions and has been honest and has said she will continue to answer any questions I have anytime, and will do so truthfully. She's in counseling. She's reading. She's triaged most other aspects of her life to focus on me and our marriage and our family (the kids know). I think I probably have most of the details of the affair -- and the PA/EA from 30 years ago that just resurfaced -- that I want and that I'm going to get from her or through the sleuthing that I've done and am willing to do. She's been present in a way she hasn't been for years. She still muffs it, all the time, by focusing on herself, acting selfish, wanting to be in control of the outcome, . . . she's got decades of old behaviors and patterns (and avoidance and entitlement and lack of empathy) to unlearn and reprogram. But I feel like this month was better than last month, and that was better than the month before. So I've been sticking around so far. But I'm fearful that she'll quit or opt for "easy" since those have been her go-to behaviors -- avoid; hide; escapism; fantasy -- whenever she feels stress or anxiety. I feel a lack of long-term commitment, like she'll heal enough to the point where she says something like, "I should have never done what I did and it was wrong. What I should have done was tell you I no longer want this marriage and file for divorce. So I'm doing that now." Like to her, "I'll never betray you again," can be satisfied both through true R or by D. I think she'd see her opting for D as her healing journey continues as "telling the truth," and not as further betrayal and trauma. I'm not extending grace just so she can have a safe space to fix herself and a smoother exit.

WW is still in the marital home -- NC and boundary observance are nonnegotiable for that remaining the case -- but that's been both good and bad. Good in that it makes life logistics easier, sure, but mainly because I've been able to see and experience what I thought were genuine remorse and contrition on a few occasions. That's been really important to me; if I didn't see and feel her doing the work and if I didn't have some glimpses of her horror at what she did and the pain it inflicted on me, then we'd definitely D. can see her doing her work and trying and that helps keep R on the table. But it's bad in that . . . there are more opportunities for conflict and her doing her work and me doing mine and us trying to live and parent together at the same time . . . it's a lot. Is my own healing not on the path it should be on because I've got her doing her work, sometimes badly, right in front of me? Most likely.

I'm still working on what I want. Right now I feel like I need to be more "safe" to process my hurt and trauma so I can move more into figuring out where I'm at on R vs. D -- e.g., can I accept what she did? Can I forgive? Do I want to invest further in this relationship? It sounds cold but, frankly, is this worth it? I'm taking a risk -- a HUGE risk -- and there's a shit-ton of work and changes in behavior/moral compass/character that she's got to do. Mostly, I could use a thoughtful, kind ear and a virtual hug. And some small sense of thinking that some poor bastard like me might read this someday and find something in it that's affirming or helpful in some small way.

Thank you for reading. I'll take anything y'all got. And thank you again for being here for me, even though you never knew you were.

posts: 1   ·   registered: May. 6th, 2022
id 8734436
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20yrsagoBS ( member #55272) posted at 11:44 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I’m worried for you.


The Cheaters lie, lie, lie

They make it appear that they are contrite and suddenly all in! But, usually they’re still lying, conniving, and managing to blame us for their need to continue


I don’t recommend reconciliation to anyone once I discovered my WH lied to me for 30 years so he didn’t have to own his shit


I believe they hate us. They certainly don’t respect us


My question is why?

BW, 54 WH 53 When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas

posts: 2161   ·   registered: Sep. 21st, 2016   ·   location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
id 8734438
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 12:09 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Sorry that you find yourself here sir. It is a place that no one ever dreams they are going to have to deal with when the walk down the aisle with their bride/groom. I don't wish this hell upon my enemies...well maybe that isn't totally true, but you get the point.

It is really all about what you want at this point. We only get one life. Might as well enjoy it and live yours to its fullest. If you feel that her affair is a dealbreaker for you, you can just go ahead and legally complete the separation that she started when she cheated. It also seems like your wife has been a serial cheater, given that in the time you've been exclusive with her, she has cheated on you multiple times. The whole thing about not having sex is just minimizing a betrayal. Windows and walls from Not Just Friends, and she most certainly didn't put up a wall to protect the two of you and keep them outside of the window.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 207   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8734442
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fareast ( Guide #61555) posted at 12:56 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Very sorry you find yourself here but you will receive good support. Use this place to vent when you need. We have all been there. You might also try journaling as you travel the infidelity rollercoaster. It sometimes helps to reflect and process the emotions by journaling. Keep trying to find a good trauma specialist. It can make a difference.

Many have said, that getting stronger and having a plan and resources to know you will be fine no matter what path you choose, can bring you some peace of mind. What are your priorities for finances, housing, family relations and the steps to secure those priorities. In other words: always value yourself.

Take care of you. Notice that I have not mentioned anything about your WW. Because this is for you to survive infidelity.

You have done many very wise things such as exposure to the OBS, and not doing the “pick me dance”. These steps you have taken do indeed help lay out a future where you can move forward whether you R or D. Time is your ally. Good luck.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 3123   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8734451
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 12:58 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

WW even wished I'd die (peacefully while doing something I loved; how sweet of her) so that she and AP could be together. WW fantasized about her and AP raising our children and living happily ever after.

It's your life, but for me, and I suspect for a lot of others, there would be no reconciliation after learning that. It shows a lack of love, lack of empathy, and total self-centeredness. Aside from the personal and relationship implications of wishing you were dead, she didn't even consider the effect such an event would have on her children. OP, I know it was a "fantasy", but even I would never fantasize about my royal PITA, verbally abusive cheater ex dying, and the reason is because my son needs him as a father. There are some fantasies that decent people simply don't entertain, and I'm not talking about sex.

I also could never bring myself to be intimate with a partner again, knowing that he had wanted, however fleetingly, for me to be dead, so he could go off with his mistress and raise my children with her. Sex (for me at least) requires vulnerability, and I could never again be vulnerable with someone who I knew had felt that way about me.

[This message edited by morningglory at 1:06 AM, Tuesday, May 10th]

posts: 173   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8734452
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 1:14 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

I believe they hate us. They certainly don’t respect us

My question is why?

I suspect that a lot of WWs were never really in love with their partner, but instead got together with them and went through the motions & said the devoted words, for their own reasons. Those reasons can include regular access to sex, the prestige of marriage, wanting to have children, simply not wanting to be alone at a time that no one else had come along, etc.

In the WW's eyes, the BS is good enough for the WW's secret purpose, but not good enough to warrant real devotion and fidelity. And if exposure happens, if consequences happen, if boundaries are then created, the WW becomes very angry and secretly blames the BS for not staying in his or her lane.

[This message edited by morningglory at 9:01 AM, Tuesday, May 10th]

posts: 173   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8734454
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Grieving ( member #79540) posted at 1:30 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

I’m so very sorry you’re here and dealing with this.

Two things stood out to me in your story. One thing is that from an outsider’s perspective, I don’t think there’s any way to know at this point whether she’s committed to you, to truth, and to reconciliation. The fact that she cheated more than once, cheated and lied long term, and had so little moral compass that she wished you dead and saw herself raising your kids with her AP doesn’t bode well, in my opinion.

The other thing that stands out is that this seems like it would be an emotional deal-breaker for many/most people. As in, I think even people who initially wanted reconciliation in your shoes may come to realize that they just can’t emotionally get past a betrayal of this magnitude to reconnect in a meaningful way to their spouse.

Both of these things are probably going to take a while to figure out, and I don’t think you can rush them. In the meantime, focus on your own well-being over and above the marriage. Again, I’m so very sorry.

posts: 132   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2021
id 8734459
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 1:32 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Putnik

First thing I suggest is start planning your life going forward.

The present your spouse has given you - can ruin your health. Look after yourself.

I'm guessing you are in your early 50s or so and kids out of the house?

Best get legal counsel for your situation and ready a plan for legal separation and/or making it permanent.

You will get a slew of posts soon and some will provide a lot of useful information especially whether or not your
spouse is worth the work you will have to do if you stay together.

First order of the day is "cheaters lie" - repeat that to yourself many times.

You now have an unwelcome memory to store for the rest of your life.. How to do that varies with everyone. We here who are posting have shared the soul-crushing pain in our chest from the revelation we have been betrayed and only time will diminish the hurt. Find someone or two with whom you can converse and "chew" on what has happened to you and work on your thoughts. IC can help - for $$$ - a good friend would be better.

Blunt question - are you sure your kids are "yours?" A journal is nice but I have known of a person who appears to be practicing for Mills & Boon. Trust? nah Verify? for sure

Give yourself plenty of time to figure out your future direction. Right now I bet your brains are going towards every point on the compass.

Know that first order of business is getting out of infidelity. From your story, I see you just getting to the train station.

Some family history and family status may help others comment more precisely.

There are threads of people who found out and stayed and others who bailed. Ask if you want a suggestion or two - reading their threads can be educational as you can see how they dealt with the blows of betrayal and also the help provided by folks posting to their threads.

I suggest you re-visit your profile page and put a check in the "pm" box. Some folks can be more candid posting to you directly and you may share information you do not want to post in your thread.

Is or has your spouse started working on any reading regarding getting out of her mindset?
"How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" would be a good start.
A bit late but can also help is "Not Just Friends" - Shirley Glass
For you - "Cheating in a Nutshell" - will help you "swallow" the reason why she chose her path.

Since you have posted in General Forum - Wayward Spouse can post and some of the women here can spot lies and
"smoke and mirror" words instantly. Pay attention to them when the join your thread.

Whether any of us stayed together or separated should only be a concern if we can relate why we made our choices.
Those that "came clean" on their own - slightly better chance of them sorting out their crap. You had to snoop to find out
and also find yourself cheated on decades ago. There is a thread in "I Can Relate" forum for those who found out years later. Might find something useful there.

One question we here are thinking to ourselves - "Why would you want to stay with this person?"

Sad to see you here - folks here can assist you in walking this path you must - but didn't choose.

Not Just Friends

posts: 629   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8734460
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asc1226 ( member #75363) posted at 4:33 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

The A is either done or it's underground and she hasn't been caught again. I think it's the former, but . . . only she (and the AP) would know for certain.

She'd said several times, in the immediate aftermath of discovery, that if she had to pick her friends or me, she'd pick the friends. Whether she's changed her view, or whether she's just stopped saying that because she knows not to or because she's now taken the friendships underground . . . add it to the long list of things I just don't know right now.

If you’ve been lurking here my suggestion won’t be a surprise. Have her write a timeline for the premarital affair and the recent EA with that AP. Tell her if there’s anything missing from her journal to include it, as well as any other EA’s, PA’s, one night stands or any other inappropriate behavior since you’ve been a couple. Tell her it will be verified with a polygraph along with the questions in the quote box.

If she refuses, no need to invest any more of your life with her.

I make edits, words is hard

posts: 439   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8734477
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 5:18 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

But I'm fearful that she'll quit or opt for "easy" since those have been her go-to behaviors -- avoid; hide; escapism; fantasy -- whenever she feels stress or anxiety.


Oh, she'll quite likely try that, and probably more than once. That's the way her brain is currently programmed and it's going to take time and real effort to change it, and even if she's truly on board for that, she'll fall into her bad habits a few times before she gets it right. R is not straightforward or without its ups and downs. The trick, I think, is to get your own boundaries in order so that when your WS messes up, you've got a pretty clear idea of what you will and will not tolerate. If you are confident in where you've set the goal posts, you're not going to be susceptible to her trying to shift them.

Is my own healing not on the path it should be on because I've got her doing her work, sometimes badly, right in front of me?


I actually think that if R is still a possibility, it's a good thing. If one or both of you were having too much trouble managing your emotions, meaning verbal or even physical abuse of the other, than separation would be in order. Otherwise, the little bits of comfort you get from knowing where she is, observing her remorse, and seeing her engage the healing process are invaluable to R. WS's fail a lot at all of that at first, but the ones who are worthy of R eventually start getting it right. You are positioned well to see whether or not that's happening.

I'm still working on what I want. Right now I feel like I need to be more "safe" to process my hurt and trauma so I can move more into figuring out where I'm at on R vs. D -- e.g., can I accept what she did? Can I forgive? Do I want to invest further in this relationship? It sounds cold but, frankly, is this worth it? I'm taking a risk -- a HUGE risk -- and there's a shit-ton of work and changes in behavior/moral compass/character that she's got to do.


No cheater is owed a second chance. No matter how caught up they are in their fantasies or with their own grand selves, they KNOW the risks.. and they make active choices, hundreds and thousands of choices, to do their dirt. Personally, I think it's a really important part of healing to explore the D path, even if you're pretty certain you want R. You're only four months in, but later on, it's going to become really important for you to take ownership of the choices you'll have made by then. And IME, that's what helps us to shake of the role of victim which has been foisted upon us. People say it facetiously, but there's some truth to the saying that "in R we go from victim to volunteer". I think it's kind of meant as an insult, but instead... I embrace it. There's freedom in knowing that you decide where to plant your feet, and later on, that's going to be important to you. So, don't feel bad about weighing your options. Your WW forfeited the marriage when she cheated. It's up to you do decide whether you want to sign back on again.

Whatever you decide, you've come to a good place here at SI. Do check out The Healing Library if you haven't done already. Lots of good stuff in there. Strength to you as you process.

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

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5429   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8734485
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 1:06 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Your life will improve as you heal. It's not fast but it does happen. Please prioritize getting a new counselor and taking care of yourself daily. Are you exercising? Doing activities that are for your benefit?

You said "It sounds cold but, frankly, is this worth it?" That is not cold at all, that's reality. That's what she created by betraying you. It is no reflection on you that you feel that way; she betrayed the marriage, she did the damage and it is natural and appropriate to question your commitment to any future relationship with her. No sober minded person would hold it against you if you pulled the plug on R.

One thing about the "friends" imo, anyone actively condoning the A needs to go, as you've demanded. But I think friends who told her it was wrong but did not tell you about the A may be in a different category. If they were actively trying to influence her to end the A then they may be ok. Yes, they probably should have done more but it is not an easy spot to be in and the best strategy to end a friend's A is not going to be very clear. It's a gray area. Someone who told her once that having an A is wrong but then listened to the details without much complaint is not good. But someone who put up real effort to influence for saving the marriage, but failed, may be ok.

posts: 576   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 1:51 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

I'm sorry you find yourself here. It's plain that you've been doing a lot of reading and self-educating on this and perhaps other infidelity forums. I can see you poised with your clipboard and your checklist at the ready. And yet your post literally roars to me about a giant "forest/trees" issue infused in your approach to this. The way in which you seem to be methodically and painstakingly crafting the simulacrum of R brings to mind the replica car culture in Thailand, where craftsmen will painstakingly recreate, for example, a Lamborghini Aventador built on the chassis and engine and drivetrain of a budget Mitsubishi. Their craftsmanship and attention to detail is breathtaking. To an untrained eye, one is touching and beholding and sitting in, even driving, a Lambo. They even mount giant turbos on the little Mitsubishi engine, giving it banshee horsepower once spooled up to proper RPM. Yet at its core, under the fancy body work and plush leather seats, it's a used Mitsubishi, pushed beyond its limits by too much turbo charging.

You don't say how old you/your WW/your kids are. Since she cheated on you 30 years ago, since you've been married 25+ years, and since you have school-aged kids, I'm assuming you met young, possibly even as teens. Were you two first-and-onlies when you met and wed? I reckon you must now be in your 50's (but is it 50'ish, early 50's, or late 50's?), and that your WW is the same or close in age to you. If your kids are school aged, I'm assuming you had them relatively late in life, like in your later 30's. That is, you were in a relationship, either dating or married, for many years before kids, with a wife you believed had already cheated on you once and whom you didn't trust. Why the late child decision? I'm asking these questions because I feel a distinct sunk cost issue infused in your relationship decisions with your WW, though you facially disavow this when you question whether you want to invest further into the relationship. That's not a criticism, by the way, just an observation. Many of us men feel, rightly or wrongly, that we are "failures" if our marriages end in divorce. Even worse if they end in divorce resulting from a wife's infidelity. Some of us remain stubbornly invested in marriages way beyond their shelf life because of this (often unspoken and unrecognized) inner voice. It's especially true, I think, where the marriage springs from a relationship that started in younger years, as a possible result of which we have few (or none) other serious relationship experiences to draw from.

By the way, you don't say how her EA with the AP began. How did they meet?

You also don't describe what the OBS has said to you.

Most important, your post describes almost nothing in terms of your WW's actions and words in the wake of Dday. Here is what you do say about her:

But I'm fearful that she'll quit or opt for "easy" since those have been her go-to behaviors -- avoid; hide; escapism; fantasy -- whenever she feels stress or anxiety. I feel a lack of long-term commitment, like she'll heal enough to the point where she says something like, "I should have never done what I did and it was wrong. What I should have done was tell you I no longer want this marriage and file for divorce. So I'm doing that now." Like to her, "I'll never betray you again," can be satisfied both through true R or by D. I think she'd see her opting for D as her healing journey continues as "telling the truth," and not as further betrayal and trauma. I'm not extending grace just so she can have a safe space to fix herself and a smoother exit.

My friend, I think you realize your WW is a shyte human. You describe her as a "good-looking professionals with sterling gold reputation". You don't say what profession she is in, but often individuals who are highly successful professionals (from an economic perspective) are Type A Machiavellian type people. Not nice individuals.

As an aside, I'd advise you to back off messing with her work. If you divorce her, you want her earning as much as possible. It will make things way better for you financially. And if you divorce, you won't care that she still works with the AP (if you're telling yourself that they are 100% NC at work, you're kidding yourself, btw).

But I digress. Traits that yield professional success are often traits that are anathema to marital success, especially in the wake of infidelity. Most important, the one trait that, above all others, is critical to successful R is empathy. Empathy is also the one trait that high-achieving professionals often lack. To that end, I noted that you say this:

but mainly because I've been able to see and experience what I thought were genuine remorse and contrition on a few occasions.

Nope. Genuine remorse is grounded in empathy. She either has empathy, or not. Maybe you perceive that empathy in her is something that is sputtering to a reluctant start, like the sound of one's lawn mower starting for the first time after a freezing winter out in the shed, but I frankly don't hear in your post any real expectation that, after you fiddle with the choke for a bit, your WW's empathy motor will warm up and settle into a steady, reliable hum. Instead, I hear you describing yourself as a marriage cop, imposing rules that she facially abides for the nonces, biding your time as she bides hers. You're not in a marriage at present; you're in detente. A giant portion of her interpersonal nexus of connectivity is infused with aiding, abetting, or at least supporting her infidelity. You are demanding that she self-amputate, but how much can a human be expected to self-amputate, under duress, before she rebels? Here is what you tell us:

She's not happy with it and I doubt that it'll last. She'd said several times, in the immediate aftermath of discovery, that if she had to pick her friends or me, she'd pick the friends.

Dude, when a WW tells you who she is, believe her. She has uttered, out loud, a wish that you were dead. WW's who haven't yet asked for D don't say hurtful things like this unless they mean them. By far, the truest thing in your post is the following:

I feel a lack of long-term commitment, like she'll heal enough to the point where she says something like, "I should have never done what I did and it was wrong. What I should have done was tell you I no longer want this marriage and file for divorce. So I'm doing that now." Like to her, "I'll never betray you again," can be satisfied both through true R or by D.

If you've been reading here as long as you say, you know that one of the over-arching mantras is "trust your gut". You've been married to her or in a relationship with her for 30 or so years. More than half her life. You know quite a lot about her, including the depths of horrible behavior and deception she is capable of. She has been actively cheating on you, and lying to you, for over 5 years, arguably longer given the intermittent but steady presence of AP1 throughout your entire marriage.

The other thing you have probably seen if you've been reading here long enough is the repeated warning to newly minted BH's to stay off the hopium pipe. Hopium is the drug most commonly abused by newly minted BH's. We micro-analyze every breath, syllable, facial gesture of our WW, searching desperately for a flash of kindness, of affection, of love. We become like a dog who has been scolded, desperate for any affirmation of affection. Your post reeks of it:

Good in that it makes life logistics easier, sure, but mainly because I've been able to see and experience what I thought were genuine remorse and contrition on a few occasions. That's been really important to me; if I didn't see and feel her doing the work and if I didn't have some glimpses of her horror at what she did and the pain it inflicted on me, then we'd definitely D. can see her doing her work and trying and that helps keep R on the table. But it's bad in that . . . there are more opportunities for conflict and her doing her work and me doing mine and us trying to live and parent together at the same time . . . it's a lot. Is my own healing not on the path it should be on because I've got her doing her work, sometimes badly, right in front of me? Most likely.

"A few occasions." "Glimpses." "I've got her doing her work." Meanwhile, underneath all of that, you fundamentally mistrust her. My brother, there is no way you can build a successful long term relationship with a partner whom you do not trust.

What I sense is that, without admitting it to yourself, you are desperately trying to control the outcome. If there is any takeaway from this forum at all, it is that you must, absolutely without question, let go of the outcome. You must remain true to yourself, because if you lose yourself in this process, you lose everything. "Don't set yourself on fire to keep somebody else warm", it is often said. Fundamentally, your inner core is telling you she isn't worthy of your trust. The one thing said here more than any other thing is that if you want a chance to save the marriage, you must be ready to lose it. Your marriage as it existed previous was shyte in any event. Do you really want to save it?

Here is the message you should be giving her: "WW, I have read and seen what you have said about AP2, and I am of course aware that you are still in contact with AP1. I'm also aware that many of your friends believe you would be better off with AP2 than with me, or at least you'd be better off without me. I want you to know that I love you and am devoted to you and our family. Bottom line, I want nothing more than for you to be happy. It's clear that you are most happy when you are interacting with AP2. I could see it written all over your face when I watched you exchanging texts with him. You smiled in ways you have never smiled with me. I want you to know you are free to spend time with AP2, or AP1, or your affair-enabling friends, as much and as often as you want. I am done imposing rules or injecting energy into an attempt to R. But I won't share you. So as you pursue your preferred life, I will take steps to end our marriage. If you wish to remain married to me, I'm willing to hear your plan to change yourself into a person I can trust, into a person who can convince me she truly loves and cherishes me. At present you are not that person. I wish you nothing but the best."

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 9:30 PM, Wednesday, May 11th]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3913   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8734509
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 3:26 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Putnik:

Butforthegrace has posted many things for you to digest.

You should read and read again.


and I ask again: One question we here are thinking to ourselves - "Why would you want to stay with this person?"

Not Just Friends

posts: 629   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8734521
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 3:47 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

She’s a serial cheater who has utterly devalued you and wished you were dead. That is really all you need to know.

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4594   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8734526
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:28 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

...because I've got her doing her work....

I think you're trying to control the outcome and everything in between now and the outcome.

If your W is doing work only to avoid D, I don't think R is likely. You've sort of boxed her in, and she may think she has no options. R needs to be chosen freely; if it isn't it's lilely to fail. If your W is with you because she in unaware of her power, what happens when she becomes aware of it?

genuine remorse

IMO, R requires her to be motivated to do the next right thing. If it doesn't come from within her, she probably won't sustain it.

The problem is that it takes a long time for remorse to become a habit.

I feel a lack of long-term commitment, like she'll heal enough to the point where she says something like, "I should have never done what I did and it was wrong. What I should have done was tell you I no longer want this marriage and file for divorce. So I'm doing that now." Like to her, "I'll never betray you again," can be satisfied both through true R or by D.

Yup. That's always a risk. Again, it takes time to heal, and it takes time for infidelity to get resolved. Be yourself. Heal yourself. Let the chips fall where they may.

She’s a serial cheater who has utterly devalued you...

IMO, your value is undiminished. She devalues herself. What she has done says nothing about you except that she couldn't maintain a good relationship with you. It's very difficult to keep feeling OK about oneself when one's partner has cheated, but that's a quirk of our brains. Your W failed; you didn't.

and wished you were dead.

  ...and said she'd pick her friends over you. What makes you think she wants R? What makes you want R with her? (Those are real questions that IMO you need to answer, at least for yourself. Typing the answers out may help .

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 8734529
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 5:04 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

IMO, your value is undiminished. She devalues herself. What she has done says nothing about you except that she couldn't maintain a good relationship with you.

Correct and excellent point. My point was that the WW doesn’t value him. He’s worth far more and I hope he comes into his worth.

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4594   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8734531
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 7:07 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

It’s bad enough that she’s a cheater. One can decide whether that’s a dealbreaker or not.

But to memorialize on paper, as well as vocalize to AP, a sincere wish for your death; to me that should be an automatic deal breaker. There’s no taking that back snd no amount of R in the world which can repair things.

posts: 402   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
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src9043 ( member #75367) posted at 7:54 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Like many here, I suffered through the pain of betrayal. For me, reconciliation will never ever again be an option. I tried it with my ex-wife and all I bought was six more years of misery. Your wife is a serial cheater. She has shown you no respect. She fantasized with her AP about your death. I repeat, she fantasized about your death with the AP. Do you really still desire to stay with this person? She can't love you if she wished that you would die. Finally, she now states that she would pick her friends over you. Ugh. Another kick to the gut. To put it bluntly, she isn't much of a catch. Throw her back from where you found her.

You are all that matters at this point. I can't imagine how all of this crap can be turned around. You were her security blanket and that is about it. She should be crawling on her knees to save the marriage at this juncture. I don't think she is close to doing that. Even if she did, why would you believe her?

Given the length of your marriage, financial entanglements must be significant. Nevertheless, do not let that be the hook that keeps you in this relationship.

You've been double-crossed for years by someone who should have had your back. Return the favor by filing for divorce. The process can always be halted if you decide to work on reconciliation before it becomes final. But, honestly, do you really want to be with someone who wished you dead so she could run off with her AP? My god, she put it in writing. To top it all off, she has reconnected with her first AP. Enough already.

Rely on friends and family for support. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Stay the hell away from your WW. Believe me, she simply is unworthy.

[This message edited by src9043 at 8:16 PM, Tuesday, May 10th]

posts: 622   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 7:55 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

She does not love or respect you for you. She manufactures thise things because of what you provide for her.

Honestly I have had a lot of anger directed at my W over the course of our R, but I never wished her dead.

What does she say about that now? I am really sorry, man. That stands out as one of the most callous statements she could say and honestly if she cared about you or your children even a little bit she would not entertain thoightsike that. She is not safe for you or your children. She has an empty space where her heart should be. Do you really want to stay married to someone like that?

Be careful. She is selfish and devious. Combined with the lack of normalish morals and no loyalty. . .Be careful. I'd carry a VAR while you are home. Considering her behavior to date I would not be surprised if the idea of a false DV charge entered her head.

Last, but not least, she told you that she would pick her friends over you and Divorce you. Which tells me your thoughts about biding her time before filing are spot on.

I am really sorry. I think you should talk to an attorney about seperation leading to a D. You will be much happier in the long run.

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

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5002   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8734556
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farsidejunky ( member #49392) posted at 8:45 PM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Putnik:

I'm sorry you are going through this.

Honest question for you: what would it take for you to decide to refuse reconciliation?

I ask this because she has cheated on you three times with two men, wished you were dead, told you that her friends are more important to her than you are, and is clearly balking at your conditions for reconciliation. From my purview, you have a spouse that sees this situation as something she has to reluctantly endure to save the marriage, as opposed to someone who is so grateful for the opportunity to reconcile that she offers to do these things on her own.

So again: what would it take for you to decide to refuse reconciliation?

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

-Maya Angelou

posts: 594   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2015   ·   location: Tennessee
id 8734565
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