Love is not the only thing to consider. The problem is not love, but boundaries.
Many WS claim they love their BS even during the A. So, "love" does not prevent them from having an affair.
Today I feel like you're wondering: "Does she really love me? Does she really want to commit in R?"
That sounds like "her love will prevent her to have another A".
Instead, ask yourself, "What boundaries did she install that will lead her to do the right decision next time? Even if she doesn't love you in a few years. No love doesn't mean no respect.
Ask her "why would you not cheat on me tomorrow?"
If she answers "because I love you"
then you reply "so what will happen if you don't love me?"
If she answers "because this is not who I am anymore"
then she may be R candidate
I'm happy to do that, but I don't think her not having an affair again is my criteria for R. I want to be happy; I want her to be happy. I want her to love and respect me and I want her to feel loved and respected by me. I want us to have transparent, open communication on all topics. I'm shooting for the stars on this new relationship because anything less doesn't feel worth it.
She has a way to go to becoming someone worthy of R and most of that has nothing to do with her infidelity. She really needs a better IC. You've had these discussions with her about her father right? How receptive was she to that tie then? Would I be right in speculation that in her family appearances are what matter? That's where this is coming from. She doesn't accept that appearances and what others think is not as important as fixing the brokenness a part of which is hyper-vigilence on appearances over doing the right thing.
She's right in that we are all internet strangers seeing her and her actions through the limited lense of your words. We're also tainted by our own tramas and histories. While that does mean that anything we speculate can be incorrect, that doesn't discount that there can be some real truth from our experience and more distant perspective. I'd poke at why this particular line of thought upset her so much in the "The Lady doth protest too much" manner.
I'll second the caution of projecting the Wallops onto your situation. While I see similarities but there are some important differences. Emotionally at least MrsWalloped transgressed much less so there was less to redeem herself from and MrWalloped had less to heal from. I get the impression that MrsWalloped was all in to save the M from dday on even though she did stumble a bit. I'd say Walloped had D on the table much more than you do. Your WW on the other hand doubled down on AP and you've been more focused on fixing your WW than healing yourself.
It's early for both of you. You're both going to stumble again over the next year. Several times. It will get worse before it gets better. As long as you still wake up wanting to R, keep moving forward. Watch your WW's actions to ensure she's moving forward with you. One way or the other eventually you'll find the path you need to follow and be at peace with that.
I agree she has a long way to go and it has little to do with her infidelity--that's my issue to deal with; her problems were festering long before the affair.
I don't think that her family is focused on appearances, but they go to great lengths to avoid conflict--so perhaps yes? It just has always seemed to me it's less about appearances and more that they don't have the stomach for any discomfort; and conflict is all about discomfort. I do at times feel like she's trying to convince me she's trying without actually trying. And I also think she's genuinely lost and doesn't know how to try. She needs a new IC for sure and she's making that swap tomorrow. She needs someone who will force her to dig--her current IC kept trying to prevent her from digging, noting that it would just lead her down a long rabbit hole. It's a confusing line of thought for someone dedicating their life to psychoanalysis.
I'm not sure I agree with your perspective on Mrs. Walloped. She told her AP that she loved him; she wandered the streets of NYC holding hands and eating out with him; she had sex with him dozens of times--multiple times each week--freely walked naked around his apartment. She was flat out dating her AP and felt like she was falling in love with him. My wife was her AP's whore. And it's very clear that's exactly what he thought about her. And he was done with her the moment I found out because it increased his risk of OBS finding out. It's also clear that my wife's feelings for him never matured near love--I think their relationship was more a reflection of her bad feelings for me--she wanted an out, any out. Within days my wife had no feelings for AP at all--and I believe her--there's been no attempt to contact each other and truthfully, I doubt she'd contact him if I divorced her tomorrow.
I’ll point out, and this might be technical, but Mrs walloped post D day and through analysis never actually fell in love with her AP. She thought she loved him during the A but later realized she fell in love with the fantasy not the person. The AP never really loved her. He was a serial cheater in false R with his wife at the time.
Your WW also now, like mrs walloped, realizes that she never loved her AP. She simply didn’t love you. Both mr and Mrs walloped agreed that had they not had young children (I think two five year olds, two teenagers, and one young adult who had just gotten married), he would have divorced her in a heartbeat. The resentment Mrs walloped developed for her husband I believe started from him not getting involved in planning their daughter’s wedding, but of course that must have just scratched the surface.
Your children are young as well. There is another excellent thread out there right now about when is the best time to D one’s WS - when the kids are young or just out of the house at 18.
If you didn’t have young children would your thought process be different regarding D? Of course, this also has to be going through your WWs mind - that she fears becoming a single mom. What percent do you think she’s staying because you have young kids compared to her new found love for you?
Plus there’s the loyalty factor. You’re loyal snd she’s not. Kids leave the house at 18 and docs’ WW decides that she loves Doc but is not in love with him - classic cliche. Then she moves to D.
Of course, there’s that potential outcome, but because you don’t want your kids to grow up in a two parent household I assume the risk of this occurring is worth it?
Kids are a major factor in all of this obviously. My parents divorced the day I left for college at 18 (youngest sibling)--I don't have negative feelings from my childhood, but I knew they were unhappy. I'll need to dig deeper into it in IC though (maybe I have repressed feelings I'm not aware of). I feel like it was better for me them staying together for my behalf, but I can't gauge how much better. I do feel that strong pull to do the same for my children, especially if we can maintain a relatively happy household. My youngest is only three though, so that's a long time to white knuckle my way to an eventual divorce.
On her end, my gut is she's more fearful of that. Right now, she's still relatively young and hot, so she can leverage her beauty to find a new mate. At the age of 50~, she'd lose leverage.
My instinct at first was I'd have divorced immediately if not for the kids. I said that and I believed it. I'm less sure now. I feel it's been valuable for me personally to go through all this pain and gather all these additional facts. I don't know if I could have walked with so many unanswered questions regardless. Again though, on her end, if not for the kids, I think she'd have left me, though she's a relatively weak person and I still think she'd be looking for a monkey branch to a new relationship first. But again, it's all relative because without the strain of children, it's unlikely our marriage would have broken this significantly--certainly not blaming them, just pointing out the obvious added stress of raising children vs. what our marriage was pre-kids.
Lastly, I think my wife is currently staying for me, not the kids. I think she's more afraid of being without a partner than being a single mom. I also have begun to understand her perspective on the emotional swing she's gone through--she went from feeling we had zero emotional connection and I didn't love her to now feeling more emotionally connected to me than ever before and knowing for certain I love her.
You asked her not to read the thread. She did. She is supposed to rebuild trust and respect what you need or want to heal, but she doesn't actually care about that. She wants what she wants when she wants it. Of course she is going to decide she knows best because people on your thread are making her out to be the villain here. She believes she is the victim.
She knew you were feeling bad and white knuckling through a birthday celebration that she didn't deserve. But you did it for your kids. And yet, it isn't good enough.
She is defensive at every opportunity and feels entitled to have her comfort over yours. She has no shame is raising her voice or minimizing your hurt to bring her own hurt to center stage. She is the star of her own show at all times. It is incredibly immature.
I mean, she is SHOWING you she isn't ready for R and she is also showing you she isn't actually afraid to lose you. She feels entitled to R. She may say the right words but her actions do not show empathy or humility. You are good at explaining away her bad behavior but there really is no excuse. She is a grown woman.
I'm sorry she isn't stepping up for you. I don't think she believes you that d is actually on the table.
Her betrayal reading the thread hurt me, but you're right that it falls along the lines of historically selfish behavior. I didn't even dig into how much it bothered me because her immature reaction to the daddy issues post made me so livid it out-weighed everything else. And she claims she knows she's the villain, but I don't think she believes it.
And she's clearly not ready for R, even though she's pleading for it. That's why I'm in limbo. I struggle with whether or not she's afraid of losing me or not. I think she is, but I sense that it comes in waves for her. So perhaps you're right, she'll have a moment fearful of D, lose her mind thinking it's about to come, but then on the whole, feel relatively safe after it doesn't.
It's really hard for me to interpret that though because I also feel like she's been mentally preparing for me to D her and trying to put herself in a mindset where it doesn't break her completely. She's said to me numerous times that she thinks I'm going to eventually divorce her, I'm just warming myself up to the idea. Maybe she's right? I hope if that was the case I'd be more self-aware of it--it also may prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy from her.
[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 5:57 PM, Wednesday, May 25th]