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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 3:40 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

My regret is that I let my H get away with his first 4 year Emotional Affair.

He would not admit anything.

It was rugswept, never mentioned and buried.

Second affair (wherein he was planning to D me) — I knew I could not let that one just go by and let him get away with it.

I stood up for myself at every turn. 9 years later and I am glad I did. For both me (personally) and our marriage.

My H showed true remorse from Dday2 and even to this day, every so often apologized for his affair and what he did.

I think you are doing the right thing by setting expectations (for yourself) and not backing down. If he doesn’t want to be transparent and honest and go to counseling and address ALL his issues, then you have to either accept this is the best you will get from him (little to no change) or Divorce or Separate.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12120   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8736824
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:19 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

I'm sorry you qualify for membership in SI. Pre-covid, we used to have g2gs - real life get togethers - in people's homes. They were very freeform and ranged from parties to peer group therapy. I mention them because I attended a number of them, and I know first hand that we are a group of strong, caring people. In joining us, you show strength and caring, too.

We are also a diverse group. I'll demonstrate some of that by saying that I think your initial tactics have been wise. My W's ap tried to get into our building on d-day, and I made my W stay in our apartment. I took her car keys away, and kept them away for weeks. I wish I hadn't done either. If I had left her free to act, I'd have gotten more evidence that she was truly done with her A. It might have made my decision to R easier.

In your case, your H has shown he's not ready to end his A. That forces you to impose consequences. You're insisting that he enter therapy. IMO, that's a good move. (I'd add to qualifiers, BTW: 1) that he take as one goal for his IC to change from betrayer to good partner; and 2) that he sign a release that allows his IC to talk with you about his goals and progress.)

IMO, the ONLY way he will become a good partner is to dig deep and break down the internal barriers that allowed him to betray himself and you and your child. He'll be the prime beneficiary of that work, but it will benefit everyone he knows, and the closer you are, the more benefit you'll get.

But your best bet by far is to focus on therapy being your deal breaker. He may need to go through a few therapists to find the right one, but he has to keep moving, and he has to show changed behavior for R to succeed.

You choose your deal breakers. IC is a good one. It's OK for ending his A to be one. It's OK for you to decide to D unless he quickly comes to believe that he's in an A and has to go NC with his ap. It's OK for you to D unless he starts to initiate sex, despite his work problems (which may in fact be very real).

Your deal breakers are up to you. The thing is this: if you decide something is a deal breaker, you have to invoke the consequence if he doesn't step up.

It's not because 'consequences' keep someone on the straight and narrow. In fact, if his self-esteem is low and/or he hates himself, he wants the negative consequence.

Rather, the consequence is important because each of us has to set boundaries beyond which we will not go. We need to impose the consequences we set in order to build and maintain our own self-respect.

I think I've written this post as a know-it-all moralizing SOB. That's obviously part of me. Rest assured that I know most of life is not one way or another; there are variations and shadings in every sitch.

So have some faith in yourself to find your way through this to surviving and thriving, and know that one guy with lots of experience in life thinks you're taking some very good steps. It's just that no one is always right. blush

And also know that you can make mistakes and recover from them....

[This message edited by SI Staff at 5:23 PM, Tuesday, May 24th]

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: 27292   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8736840
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BeingNaive ( member #30652) posted at 6:26 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

I sincerely hope you do not let his threats of suicide deter you. My ex actually attempted it and I lived in fear for another 18yrs. He would always threaten because he knew I would shut up, which is what he wanted. I wish I could go back to that young girl and call 911 every time he threatened. The few times I tried, he would then say "Do it and I'll really give them something to find". You would think I would have picked up on the fact that it showed he wasn't serious, but I was just so afraid.

Please, please. Do not be me.

posts: 273   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8736851
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 6:37 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

You are taking the best possible path in an awful situation. Honestly laying down your requirements, boundaries and needs and then moving on without him until he actually fulfills them is the only way you will find a path to happiness again. Whether or not he joins you on that journey is up to him. Make sure he knows you are not waiting around to find out. You are in control. Not him.

Best of luck.

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: 3412   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8736854
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NotInMyLife ( member #67728) posted at 7:49 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

used her for attention and serotonin because he was stressed at work.

Umm...that's the purpose of SSRI antidepressant medication. Adding his suicide threats to mix, he's definitely a candidate for therapy.

He said he would break contact with her if I wanted and I told him I wasn't going to make him do that partially because I was curious to see if it would happen again and also because I figured that after seeing my pain he wouldn't want to speak to her anymore.

You see how that's working out. No contact with the AP is first requirement to affair recovery. Your husband has put the onus on you to get his started. That's not acceptable. There is no good reason for him to have any private discourse with her--none at all.

Your husband is not remorseful and he's made it clear that he isn't willing to prioritize on his marriage and family. Work with your counselor and work a plan to put your dysfunctional marriage behind you.

posts: 152   ·   registered: Nov. 3rd, 2018
id 8736870
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Beachwalker ( member #70472) posted at 9:04 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

alittlestitious:

He said he would break contact with her if I wanted and I told him I wasn't going to make him do that partially because I was curious to see if it would happen again and also because I figured that after seeing my pain he wouldn't want to speak to her anymore.


It appears to me he made his choice: "I want to keep my wife AND my side piece." Is that ok with you? It sounds like it isn't. So, like others have suggested, see a lawyer and begin moving down the path of D. It may shake him awake -- it may not. He needs to understand you are not going to share him and that was the promise he made to you on your wedding day. No "take-backs"!

You will discover more about who he really is as this progresses. You will learn more about yourself, as well. You have already found you can establish boundaries and confront him with uncomfortable issues. Well done! Don't get weak-kneed and begin to compromise. This won't be easy, but you're strong!

You have loving, smart, experienced people here giving you their advice and opinions, and sharing their experiences. We all want you to have a healthy life, with or without this guy. Take what advice works for you and set the rest aside. Who knows? It might come in handy one day!

posts: 297   ·   registered: May. 4th, 2019   ·   location: US
id 8736892
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 9:42 PM on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

It really baffles me how cheaters can share so many traits across the board. My H said he didn't want to do counseling just to be called a POS, and I tried to assure him that's not what they do. But this is a deal breaker for me, so if he won't go then it's time to look into D. I don't want this toxicity for me, but I especially don't want it for my daughter.

Very good. You are wise not to back down on that. It's not an arbitrary demand, not my any means. Your WS is NOT a safe partner right now, and he won't be a safe partner for you until/unless he remediates his poor character. He needs to figure out what his REAL core values are and he needs to build meaningful boundaries to protect them.

To put it another way, he can hang onto his toxic shame or he can hang onto you and his current family dynamic.. but not both.

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: 5639   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8736909
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BellaLee ( member #58324) posted at 1:04 AM on Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Hi @alittlestitious I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this situation in your marriage and I can imagine how difficult it must be for you.
I think deep down you know what is going on with your H is not healthy for your marriage irrespective of his excuses.
It's good that you have decided to share how you feel about the situation and not continue to rug sweep it. Your H might indeed have issues that he needs to resolve but what he's doing is and indulging in with this friend is more detrimental.

An important question I think you need to ask your H is if he's still fully committed to your marriage.
I know you said in the past both of you had counselling together, and was wondering if you think that helped you at the time. I also think counselling for your H will be beneficial and I hope he does come to that realization himself.

I want to encourage you to remember that you're worthy of love that can be trusted.

posts: 206   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2017
id 8737569
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BlackRaven ( member #74607) posted at 3:56 AM on Saturday, May 28th, 2022

alittlestitious

I'm very sorry you are going through this. But take this from someone whose marriage blew up after nearly 30 years: don't let this continue on without him in serious therapy, and the two of you in marriage counseling (I recommend the Gottman method) until you feel secure and trusting in your marriage. It's so easy to give them a pass.

Have you read the book "Not Just Friends" by Shirley P Glass. I recommend it. It's focused a lot on coworkers but a lot of it sounds applicable here.

Using sex for serotonin when stressed is no different than getting drunk or high when stressed. It's a sign of unhealthy coping mechanisms. So is threatening suicide (which raises flags for me of a personality disorder.) You are never responsible for how another person responds, even with suicide. Adults take ownership of their own feelings and actions.

Also, you write "For him it just felt like porn." I suggest you read up on porn addiction and see if any of it fits.

It's pretty clear that he's immature and emotionally anorexic. Do you want that, and a sexless marriage, for another 30 years? Do you want your child to be raised by someone who is healthy or someone who can't manage stress, and who is so insecure that he's afraid of hurting a friend - a friend who crossed the line knowing he was married - while ignoring the feelings of his wife?

posts: 321   ·   registered: Jun. 17th, 2020
id 8737579
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 4:30 AM on Saturday, May 28th, 2022

Two years into your marriage and he's cheating on you and your sex life with him is almost non-existent. This means he is not in love with you. Get a divorce. He will never be a loving or safe partner to you.

posts: 358   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8737581
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:30 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

It's bee a few weeks since you posted, Alittlestiteous. I'm wondering if you're still with us and whether your WH accepted therapy? It's not unusual for it to take a couple of weeks to get it booked. Are you doing okay?

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: 5639   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8739966
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