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My Wife Had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair, Part II

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:55 PM on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

Curiosity has become a big part of my healing journey. Mostly examining thoughts and actions, and asking, Why? For example, if you viewed your early partners as objects, why? Avoiding an emotional connection? Purely physical? Why was that? What emotions and fears are present, like fear of failure, shame, inadequacy? etc etc…. I’m not looking for actual answers here - just saying this could be an opportunity to use your mature perspective to assess the reasoning of your younger self.

I suspect the reason is that I had just gotten my heart crushed at 18 by the girl I was infatuated with my entire adolescence. I suspect I didn't want to get hurt again. It took years before I opened up emotionally to a woman again, so those early sexual relationships were me keeping women at a safe distance.

Here too… I’m guessing this was off the top of your head, which is a great start re what to do about it, and it will be interesting to explore additional options too, when you have the energy for it. And please don’t bury it - it could be in your life for a reason. Perhaps now, your goal is to have your sexuality feel "healthy" to you, however you define it. Whatever your goal is, how do you want to get there? Again, no need to answer here.

As I was healing, I regained a sense of clarity and purpose by being curious and compassionate about my thoughts, then setting and achieving goals for my life… concrete steps during a time that felt so abstract and chaotic. I promise I won’t keep going on about it, but learning more about my inner workings saved my sanity at a time when I wasn’t sure how to get back on my feet. I understand and respect that you’ll develop your own plan and process as you clarify your path. Hang in there, man…. you really are doing great.

Reading this gave me a bit of perspective. Truthfully, my wife has made me feel horrible about my kink our entire relationship--why? Forget that she wasn't into it; why couldn't she show the generosity to do it for me on occasion (like telling me an old sex story). I had to bury it from her because she made me feel ashamed of it.

Admittedly, now is an awkward time to explore it, but it's probably something I'm going to need to do at some point.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8737975
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PowerWithin ( new member #80349) posted at 10:13 PM on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

Forget that she wasn't into it; why couldn't she show the generosity to do it for me on occasion (like telling me an old sex story). I had to bury it from her because she made me feel ashamed of it.

From my perspective, the "why" to explore here is why do you want it to happen in the first place? See what happens if you keep the focus entirely on you, not however she does or doesn’t respond.

For example, the teenage girl rejected you and that sounds like it was really painful, understandably. And… you had the option of not pursuing her friends, or not feeling the need to protect yourself emotionally... Why did you allow yourself to get infatuated with her when she was treating you poorly? I know you were a teen, and teen brains are all over the place… but other teens might have handled it differently. Not that you did anything “wrong”… just consider why you didn’t choose other options, like dropping her and going after someone who wasn’t out of reach… Peel back the layers, past the external reasons related to other people’s actions or inactions. Where did that come from inside you? No need to answer here. I’m not trying to badger you at all…. Please tell me to stop anytime. :)

[This message edited by PowerWithin at 10:25 PM, Tuesday, May 31st]

Currently in R.
"The next time there’s no ground to stand on, don’t consider it an obstacle. Consider it a stroke of good luck." - Pema Chödrön

posts: 32   ·   registered: May. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Midwest
id 8737979
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Mene ( member #64377) posted at 12:59 AM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Perhaps your wife made you feel ashamed about the story because she’s self projecting. Her sexual history is not smooth sailing either. Look into her relationship with her father for clues. How she engages with him. Was sex a taboo subject for her parents?

I think now you’re both vulnerable is a very good time to open up. Let it all out. Tell her what you want and encourage her to do the same. Doing so will bring you closer. And don’t be surprised what she may share. Or at least don’t cringe if you don’t like it. Let her share. Encourage her. You may get her opening up more when she feels safe (don’t be judgmental even if she says she likes to humiliate you; that’s likely her lashing out at her father, but you’re taking the hits).

[This message edited by Mene at 1:03 AM, Wednesday, June 1st]

Life wasn’t meant to be fair...

posts: 854   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2018   ·   location: Cyberland
id 8737994
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Mene ( member #64377) posted at 1:12 AM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

If a married couple can’t share their inner most sexual thoughts and desires, it becomes a barrier in developing an intimate, safe relationship.

This was a problem for you. She didn’t want to hear those desires you have and you became distant and sought it online.

If she said to you I’m becoming attracted to this cop and was upfront with you it would helped you address the issue and both of you would have worked together to understand why this is the case. She would have been telegraphing that she isn’t receiving the intimacy from you and is seeking it elsewhere. Alarm bells would have gone off and you both could have addressed this. The alternative happened and you’re experience the fallout.

I strongly believe every couple before marrying should do counselling with relationship experts to help them develop tools to address when they become distant, to talk about issues and resolve them. If I had the power everyone in the US would have to undergo a course with their fiancé to provide them with these coping tools beyond the wedding day.

[This message edited by Mene at 1:14 AM, Wednesday, June 1st]

Life wasn’t meant to be fair...

posts: 854   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2018   ·   location: Cyberland
id 8737997
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 1:36 AM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Doc - I’m wondering if you think that your WW isn’t doing better because she knows that divorce is anathema to you?

You post that you would prefer R, but that D is not off the table if your WW doesn’t fix herself. Assuming deep down that this is what you truly believe, does your WW truly believe and comprehend that D is a potential outcome in the end?

Or, do you think deep down she thinks that you will eventually R, even if things aren’t perfect, so she knows she can do the minimum plus 1?

posts: 442   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8738000
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sillyoldsod ( member #43649) posted at 12:32 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Now, as to why that seed planted and if it was part of FOO issues, I have no idea.

I'm sorry to go somewhat off topic DrS but I find your personal kink disclosures fascinating. It's great to be able to discuss this really deep stuff with total strangers in an adult way, even we'd all rather not have to do it on an infidelity forum.
As strange and embarrassing as it is, infidelity itself planted that seed in me! I've mentioned before the concept of the 'eroticisation of fear'. I'm now extremely fortunate in having a compassionate wife who I can openly discuss this stuff with. It's a mindf@ck to be sure! blush

I hope you'll keep us updated as to how IC goes in this respect.

Perhaps the better question is what to do about it? I have no doubt something made me the way I am--but now what? I'd prefer the kink not run my life anymore, especially now in the aftermath of the affair. I'm not sure if I should try to embrace it with my wife and explore it together or just try to keep it buried inside me. A part of me wonders if I can explore it in a healthy way with her I can prevent it from flaring up in unhealthy ways; but maybe that's naïve--maybe it'll just get worse if I do that.

Assuming you did reconcile with your WW wouldn't exploring this her just end up throwing more fuel on a can of worms? grin
It's not as if she was into that specific kink in the first place.

I've never met a sociopath I didn't like.

posts: 675   ·   registered: Jun. 7th, 2014   ·   location: UK
id 8738051
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:36 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

From my perspective, the "why" to explore here is why do you want it to happen in the first place? See what happens if you keep the focus entirely on you, not however she does or doesn’t respond.

For example, the teenage girl rejected you and that sounds like it was really painful, understandably. And… you had the option of not pursuing her friends, or not feeling the need to protect yourself emotionally... Why did you allow yourself to get infatuated with her when she was treating you poorly? I know you were a teen, and teen brains are all over the place… but other teens might have handled it differently. Not that you did anything "wrong"… just consider why you didn’t choose other options, like dropping her and going after someone who wasn’t out of reach… Peel back the layers, past the external reasons related to other people’s actions or inactions. Where did that come from inside you? No need to answer here.

Regarding the teenage girl, I was infatuated with her my entire adolescence and she was three years younger than me. I don't think she treated me poorly all along--she was just a little girl who had no idea what to do with any of her emotions and I was way too passive to make a real move. We went from exchanging glances to me putting my arm around her while watching a movie--and at the time, that was a big deal! What if she rejected my arm? What if her brother saw and lost his shit? It's hard to remember how timid one is at such a young age--a few years later I was casually having sex with people minutes after meeting them. Life comes at you fast.

As for why her? It's because she was the only show in town! I was a nerdish/loser who went to an all boy private school--she was almost literally the only interaction I had with a girl in my age range. I don't recall if I mentioned it, but my senior year of high school one of her close friends, who was more aggressive, came after me hard (my first kiss and the first girl who touched my penis--and later on, I lost my virginity to her)--but at the time I told her to back off basically--because my heart belonged to my friend's younger sister. I was young and naive and I thought I found true love lol.

Then after she broke my heart, my world crashed down and I wanted revenge. I changed everything about myself--hair, clothing, bought contacts, started lifting--I went from nerd to hot college guy my first summer back from college and then I proceeded to sleep with all her friends. Partially because she deserved it, but also just because I could. It was like discovering a super power all of a sudden getting so much interest from girls.

You ask your self why I reacted that way--it was because I was a 18-19 year old male lol. Granted, not everyone would have, but looking back it seems like a relatively normal reaction (even if morally questionable).

I’m not trying to badger you at all…. Please tell me to stop anytime. :)

Please stop asking me to ask you to stop lol. Fire away! :)

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 1:38 PM, Wednesday, June 1st]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738059
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PowerWithin ( new member #80349) posted at 3:33 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Please stop asking me to ask you to stop lol. Fire away! :)

You got it! :)

It’s a process of peeling back your thinking, layer by layer, until you reach a core truth that has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s just you seeing yourself with objective clarity and gratitude. Often, you’ll know you’re there when you suddenly feel empowered and you think, "Whoa….. I never thought of it that way before at all…. I see the value of that experience now, and I understand what it was teaching me."

I’m applying this approach to the teen experience you shared because it seems like a key event for you - causing you to change how you presented yourself to others, both in appearance and conduct. But you can of course do this with anything you’ve ever experienced, big or small.

and then I proceeded to sleep with all her friends. Partially because she deserved it, but also just because I could.

Try deleting "she deserved it" and substitute something like "I wanted revenge for my pain" or whatever was true for you. Replace "she" with "I". Then become curious and non-judgmental about your thoughts: what purpose did revenge have for you? Why did revenge seem like the path that felt right? What were your other options at the time? What was happening inside your heart or mind? One key for me is…. From your mature perspective, if you could help your teen self then, how would you counsel him? Encourage him? Guide him?


You ask your self why I reacted that way--it was because I was a 18-19 year old male lol. Granted, not everyone would have, but looking back it seems like a relatively normal reaction (even if morally questionable).

Same response as above. Not stopping your introspection at deeming it developmentally acceptable when compared to others, but delving into where did all of it come from for *you* ?

Many may disagree with me, and that’s fine… we all have our own systems of beliefs. Mine includes attachment theory - that the way we form intimate connections as teens and adults arises directly from our first bond with our parents or caregivers. And if we tend to form relationships that are not very secure, it isn’t that our parents did anything wrong. Most often, they are just acting in accord with their own upbringing. Across generations, our attachment patterns are so ingrained, we only see them when we become aware of their existence. And when we do, it can help us understand why we often select partners who eventually treat us in ways that are similar to how one or both of our parents treated us.

Currently in R.
"The next time there’s no ground to stand on, don’t consider it an obstacle. Consider it a stroke of good luck." - Pema Chödrön

posts: 32   ·   registered: May. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Midwest
id 8738065
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 4:51 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

I proceeded to sleep with all her friends. Partially because she deserved it

She was 15 years old and not interested in you. How does sleeping with her friends hurt her, and why did she "deserve" it if it did?

WW/BW

posts: 2736   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8738070
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numb&dumb ( member #28542) posted at 5:19 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

-I'm just trying to see a world where I'm no longer sad looking at her.

This has more to do with you and your healing. Continue with IC. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

What I did to create a measure of normalcy for us and our family is that I gave myself three monyhs where I agreed to make no permanent decisions. All options would be explored by me, including a D. In that time I expected several things from my wife. Refusal or not doing them was grounds for a divorce.

Shortly after that common understanding my wife acted similar to yours. She did the bare minimum and went through the motions.

When exploring options I met with my attorney. He sent me a bill (Attorney I had used in the past). My wife got the mail that day and asked me what it was. I reminded her that while I was not making any immediate decisions I was keeping everything on the table.

Deer in headlights did not do it justice. She heard me and agreed when we discussed it, but did not believe I was still considering a D.

Sadly too many WS hear what they want to hear and believe. It was how they were able to rationalize their choice to have and continue an A.

Now my intention in talking to an Attorney was 100 to understand what a D would look like for me. My W's reaction was not intended, but was a major step forward it realizing I was deaking with someone that had powerful self delusional skill that was still in the fog. The fog began to clear shortly afterwards. It pushed her to really jump into therapy and start her healing process.

I know this isn't at forefront of your mind, but she hurt herself just as bad, if not worse, than she hurt you and your children.

You are too new to get this yet, but your wife is broken. If she had married someone else she would have cheated on them too. It was a hard pill for me rmto swallow, but I was collateral damage caused by her brokeness. That elicits strong opinions sometimes, but it de-personalizes the action for me.

Keep reading and posting.

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

Bring it, life. I am ready for you.

posts: 5020   ·   registered: May. 17th, 2010
id 8738074
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

know this isn't at forefront of your mind, but she hurt herself just as bad, if not worse, than she hurt you and your children.

You are too new to get this yet, but your wife is broken. If she had married someone else she would have cheated on them too. It was a hard pill for me rmto swallow, but I was collateral damage caused by her brokeness. That elicits strong opinions sometimes, but it de-personalizes the action for me.

I think it will certainly take some time to really digest and feel this, but this is 100 percent spot on.

WS have a lot of the same characteristics. And inevitably if you read many experiences on both sides of the coin on this site the experience of the affair for a ws is pretty predictable. Dr. Frank Pittman has written a lot of articles about romantic infidelity and the responses of a ws in an affair is so predictable that it completely diffuses any notion the ws is finding anything special in their AP. Affairs are about self adulation, having an audience, pretending to be someone you are not, and dopamine hits.

You can even look at who most ws cheat with- the choices almost always elicit a head scratch because the ap is always a lesser person than the bs in so many ways.

She needs to figure out why she did this, the reasons can’t be about you or your relationship. They are internal to her. When she figured that out it’s like a to do list of what she needs to work on in order to conduct her life differently and with respect. I would never want to blow up my life now because I have figured out my relationship with myself. This is the work your wife needs in order to bring authenticity and honor into her life in a way she could never do this again.

Takes time and lots of effort.

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6083   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8738079
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:06 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Perhaps your wife made you feel ashamed about the story because she’s self projecting. Her sexual history is not smooth sailing either. Look into her relationship with her father for clues. How she engages with him. Was sex a taboo subject for her parents?

I think now you’re both vulnerable is a very good time to open up. Let it all out. Tell her what you want and encourage her to do the same. Doing so will bring you closer. And don’t be surprised what she may share. Or at least don’t cringe if you don’t like it. Let her share. Encourage her. You may get her opening up more when she feels safe (don’t be judgmental even if she says she likes to humiliate you; that’s likely her lashing out at her father, but you’re taking the hits).

**

If a married couple can’t share their inner most sexual thoughts and desires, it becomes a barrier in developing an intimate, safe relationship.

This was a problem for you. She didn’t want to hear those desires you have and you became distant and sought it online.

If she said to you I’m becoming attracted to this cop and was upfront with you it would helped you address the issue and both of you would have worked together to understand why this is the case. She would have been telegraphing that she isn’t receiving the intimacy from you and is seeking it elsewhere. Alarm bells would have gone off and you both could have addressed this. The alternative happened and you’re experience the fallout.

I strongly believe every couple before marrying should do counselling with relationship experts to help them develop tools to address when they become distant, to talk about issues and resolve them. If I had the power everyone in the US would have to undergo a course with their fiancé to provide them with these coping tools beyond the wedding day.

We're on the same page. I think it's the only way forward with her--if there's a way at all. Neither of us were satisfied with our old sex life for a variety of reasons and that's not a relationship I want to be in. I feel so foolish for spending so much of my life trapped in that.

And I agree with you on counselling for new couples. If I learn nothing else from this it will be to push my children to explore couples therapy before marriage.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738080
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:11 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Doc - I’m wondering if you think that your WW isn’t doing better because she knows that divorce is anathema to you?

You post that you would prefer R, but that D is not off the table if your WW doesn’t fix herself. Assuming deep down that this is what you truly believe, does your WW truly believe and comprehend that D is a potential outcome in the end?

Or, do you think deep down she thinks that you will eventually R, even if things aren’t perfect, so she knows she can do the minimum plus 1?

I think it comes in waves for her--on many occasions she's spiraled into feeling that I was about to divorce her (or that I'm just waiting X amount of time to then divorce her). I don't think she sees a path out of this where we R and she doesn't change; and again, you have to understand it's not just me hounding her, our MC has been fairly direct and brutal with her--we just had another session today and it was nonstop judgement on my wife. She left the session feeling like she was a broken person; like she never learned how to be an adult--she is carrying deep sadness and is largely disgusted with herself.

It's enough to give me hope that she'll wake up, but the more I see of her the more I realize it's not a matter of her just flipping a switch--she's trying to overhaul how her brain works.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738081
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:17 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

I'm sorry to go somewhat off topic DrS but I find your personal kink disclosures fascinating. It's great to be able to discuss this really deep stuff with total strangers in an adult way, even we'd all rather not have to do it on an infidelity forum.
As strange and embarrassing as it is, infidelity itself planted that seed in me! I've mentioned before the concept of the 'eroticisation of fear'. I'm now extremely fortunate in having a compassionate wife who I can openly discuss this stuff with. It's a mindf@ck to be sure! blush

I hope you'll keep us updated as to how IC goes in this respect.

Assuming you did reconcile with your WW wouldn't exploring this her just end up throwing more fuel on a can of worms? grin
It's not as if she was into that specific kink in the first place.

I'm glad to open up and it's good to see you and some others doing the same. And I find my kink fascinating too--from an intellectual perspective. Why does such objectively weird shit turn me on? I have no idea if it would be a good or bad thing to explore further with my wife, but there's a part of me that feels like there's not much to lose at this point.

I'm already willing to walk away, so if I've decided to hang around at least a little longer to give her a shot, why not explore everything on my mind? In some ways, pushing her to participate in my twisted fetish could be a fair test of her resolve to be a true partner to me.

As for my IC session yesterday, I didn't get through all my romantic/sexual background stuff yet to really dig into the topic. Hopefully next time.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738082
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:31 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Try deleting "she deserved it" and substitute something like "I wanted revenge for my pain" or whatever was true for you. Replace "she" with "I". Then become curious and non-judgmental about your thoughts: what purpose did revenge have for you? Why did revenge seem like the path that felt right? What were your other options at the time? What was happening inside your heart or mind? One key for me is…. From your mature perspective, if you could help your teen self then, how would you counsel him? Encourage him? Guide him?

She was 15 years old and not interested in you. How does sleeping with her friends hurt her, and why did she "deserve" it if it did?

Of course she didn't deserve it--apologies--I just meant in my mind at the time I felt she deserved it.

Also, to be clear, I wasn't necessarily seeking these women out to sleep with them--the truth is they were seeking me. Her friends were all a little into me during high school, and that was when I was the nerd with the combover lol. When I came back from college that first year, they were tripping over each other to hook up with me. I had just lost my virginity that spring (to one of the girls), so this was all new to me and now I had half-a-dozen teenage girls throwing themselves at me.

In my mind, I was taking satisfaction in it because they were *her* friends and she was very aware of what was happening. And at that point she was interested in me too, but I was done with her, so it went from her getting my undivided puppy-dog love to me both uninterested in her and having sex with her friends. It felt great in that moment--years of pent up frustration over my unrequited love blowing up in her face--it was a massive power swing and ego boost.

As for it's importance in my life, I'd agree it was significant. It was the start of my sexual ascension. I went from being the loser who couldn't talk to girls to sleeping with new girls all the time. Combine that with my obsession with weight lifting at that point in my life and my ego was on a rocket ship. By the time I got to my Jr. year of college, I was having sex with one of the hottest girls in our class (while my wife, also very hot, was pining for my attention and throwing herself at me)--I felt like I was on top of the world in terms of women--but it all happened incredibly fast so it's bizarre to reflect on.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738088
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:37 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

This has more to do with you and your healing. Continue with IC. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

What I did to create a measure of normalcy for us and our family is that I gave myself three monyhs where I agreed to make no permanent decisions. All options would be explored by me, including a D. In that time I expected several things from my wife. Refusal or not doing them was grounds for a divorce.

Shortly after that common understanding my wife acted similar to yours. She did the bare minimum and went through the motions.

When exploring options I met with my attorney. He sent me a bill (Attorney I had used in the past). My wife got the mail that day and asked me what it was. I reminded her that while I was not making any immediate decisions I was keeping everything on the table.

Deer in headlights did not do it justice. She heard me and agreed when we discussed it, but did not believe I was still considering a D.

Sadly too many WS hear what they want to hear and believe. It was how they were able to rationalize their choice to have and continue an A.

Now my intention in talking to an Attorney was 100 to understand what a D would look like for me. My W's reaction was not intended, but was a major step forward it realizing I was deaking with someone that had powerful self delusional skill that was still in the fog. The fog began to clear shortly afterwards. It pushed her to really jump into therapy and start her healing process.

I know this isn't at forefront of your mind, but she hurt herself just as bad, if not worse, than she hurt you and your children.

You are too new to get this yet, but your wife is broken. If she had married someone else she would have cheated on them too. It was a hard pill for me rmto swallow, but I was collateral damage caused by her brokeness. That elicits strong opinions sometimes, but it de-personalizes the action for me.

Keep reading and posting.

Thanks for that post. And I am considering doing exactly that with my lawyer to make this as real as possible for her. At the same time, I genuinely think she gets it now. I sat down with her on Friday and had a very serious conversation about how I thought divorce was becoming likely and I needed to be assured if it happens, it won't be a surprise to her. Like you, I was worried that the reality of divorce really hadn't worked its way into her brain. I *think* it has now.

As for her brokenness, I'm all the way there now. And that's entirely thanks to the MC sessions--just us talking there and then the horror on the MC's face has made me realize I was far too forgiving of her behavior our entire marriage. And again, it's not just the affair, it's her path to process all discussions/conflict, it's her hidden spending and drinking, etc. It's just so much stuff.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 6:43 PM, Wednesday, June 1st]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738091
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farsidejunky ( member #49392) posted at 9:52 PM on Wednesday, June 1st, 2022

Gently, Dr. S, but even if she does "get it" as you say, it doesn't mean she can adapt. Plenty of people understand yet lack the ability to actually act upon that understanding with any meaningful change.

Two questions for you, and feel free to not answer they are personal, with potentially large ramifications.

1. I know you love your wife, but do you really like her? You spend a lot of time discussing these character traits/flaws, and I understand you are in pain. But all pain aside, do you like her? Because it often times sounds, from your posts, that you do not.

2. Forgive me if this was covered early in your thread, but your wife exhibits many traits common with victims of childhood sexual assault. I would even further opine that her behavior pattern has similarities with someone who experienced CSA at that hands of a family member. Has she ever experienced this?

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

-Maya Angelou

posts: 606   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2015   ·   location: Tennessee
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 1:55 AM on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

once a day there’s a big red flag

Read Cheating in a Nutshell by Tamara and Wayne Mitchell. It will help you get some perspective on this.

Then, get a divorce. I'm sorry, but it's clear she doesn't love or respect you. That is a reflection on her, not you. You deserve better and can get better if you leave her. As a man, you'll have the upper hand in the middle-aged dating world.

posts: 348   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 10:43 AM on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

Update: A Very Rough Night

So the last couple of days have taken a negative turn—atmosphere-wise—largely due to the discussion of my MIL and me potentially not seeing her family again; but also the recent lie reveal about the silly exbf non-incident in 2009.

My sister had secured reservations a few days ago at a good new restaurant and couldn’t go, so I thought I’d take my wife out to dinner and we’d hopefully lighten things up a bit.

Yesterday began with a CT session that was very hard on my wife. I was very critical of my wife’s behavior during the marriage and the CT echoed them to her as problematic. We spent a good deal of time talking about her secretive spending, and again, the CT was very hard on her. The session more or less cast her as a child and me sick of parenting her.

We left the session and I had to drive her to the train. I thought it went well, as it was all stuff she needed to hear, but I also recognized that she might be having a rough time processing it. I probed a bit to see how she felt and she told me she felt lost, like she had no identity anymore—she said she really had no idea who she was and felt like someone who had never learned how to be a decent human and functional adult.

I sat supportive listening, without much to say—honestly, it seemed like a fair assessment of what I saw. I mean it’s not all that bad, she has positive qualities too obviously, but overall that’s how I feel about her in light of the affair and everything else.

By mid-afternoon I decided to write my wife an email. I knew I’d be meeting her for dinner in a few hours and I thought I’d get some of my thoughts down on paper rather than bog down the dinner with conversation on this stuff.

I led my email pointing out that the highest probability for happiness for me was to separate (which I think is true), but also noted that I still believed we had a shot to develop a genuinely great relationship that we could be proud of and could act as an important model for our children—that could be peak happiness for both of us.

I went on to add that if we set out to achieve that relationship through R, I couldn’t care less about her parents—I’d be willing to bite the bullet and smile and nod all so she could be happy. I feel like forgiving her family would be a good gesture from me to show I was serious in developing the relationship with her that I want.

And lastly, I talked about how I expected more from her on my sexual kinks and that I needed her to be more open with me rather than make me feel ashamed.

She emailed back, largely confused, thinking my point about divorce being safest for me meant that’s what I wanted to do. She was also appreciative about the potential offer with her parents and said it wasn’t necessary and told me she was very willing to be more open with my fetishes and felt awful for making me feel ashamed.

I tried to clarify my point about divorce being safer but she didn’t understand what I meant still.

I drove to meet her for dinner (about a block from the parking garage she would meet AP) and I was still feeling largely negative about our status, but was trying to pep talk myself into being positive at dinner. I arrived and she was seemingly doing the same—fake smiles so we can both pretend all is fine.

The dinner atmosphere turned negative quickly, her giving a 100-yard stare into the distance and me not knowing what to say or do really. I tried to dig in a bit with her about her childhood, again probing if there were any repressed issues. She was receptive to the conversation and we began to chat about it—it led us off to a separate conversation about how her younger sister has multiple negative teenage-year incidents with men, including one in the family. My wife also mentioned how great her sister was to talk with, noting they had a texting exchange earlier.

During the conversation my phone was blowing up—there was a bit of a work emergency developing and I was getting texts and emails from my boss and the CEO. I politely apologized to my wife for the interruption and I took 30~ seconds to read what was happening just in case I got a call from my CEO.

I then turned back to my wife, apologized again, and tried to dive back into the conversation. She told me earlier in the day a Facebook memory came up on her phone from 2016 when I took her out to a nice dinner—she recalled how excited she was, got her hair done and dressed up, but then at the dinner I was on my phone the entire night. I apologized that had happened, but told her I had no recollection of it, wondering if there was a work emergency or something that night (I honestly have no memory of what she is referring to and don’t recall ever being on my phone for an entire dinner).

She told me I did the same thing tonight by getting distracted with my phone, and also cited me recently being on my phone during a movie with our kids (that’s true—I was posting on SI a couple of weeks ago while I sat on couch next to my children watching a kids movie).

She then added that I’m often not present and it was not all on her that she felt so isolated in our marriage. (Note: She has made a point twice in the last couple of days that she has felt she uses her phone too much and is making an active attempt to be more “present”—her accusation against me felt like projecting, though I’m sure like everyone I wish I was on my phone less.)

So I paused for a bit to figure out what was happening: it seemed like she was picking a fight with me over my 30 second phone use for a work emergency at dinner and applying it to me making her feel isolated in our marriage—that leading her to cheat. It was a strange accusation considering she literally spent the affair sitting next to me on the couch watching movies while she was actively trying to make another man cum from her phone.

I got angry, but stayed controlled. I began to point out how absurd what she was doing was and saw her defensiveness engage, so I bailed on the conversation entirely. Spent most of rest of dinner in silence, I paid the large bill, for which she thanked me, then we quietly took a long walk to the car and long drive home.

We got home fairly late and went right up to bed. I told her what she did was wholly unfair: again explaining that I’m completely devastated right now and she’s picking an unnecessary fight with me at dinner. She apologized, said I was right, but quickly added that I do use my phone too much at times.

I paused again and tried to put myself in her shoes to understand if it was even conceivable that she could still be pressing me on this issue right now, with any thought to how I felt and knowing how high tensions were between us. I arrived at the conclusion that she is literally incapable of empathy and responded to her with: "I think we should separate."

She blurted out: "You’ve just been waiting to say that!" and she ran upset out of the bedroom and downstairs.

I sat in bed for a bit collecting my thoughts—the night was just weird. She hasn’t tried blame-shifting to that extreme in a long time (weeks?) and to me it felt like it came out of nowhere. I began to wonder if she had talked to someone during the day; it was like she had this entitlement in her voice that came from somewhere else—again, her being the victim on a topic we had already long established she was not a victim.

I went downstairs and asked to see her phone (she was crying hysterically)—I knew she spoke with her sister, so at a minimum, I wanted to read that conversation.

In mid-afternoon they had a text exchange—my wife reached out telling her sister she felt so lost after the CT session. Her sister came on STRONG: "You didn’t fail…none of this is your fault…you were carrying the entire marriage on your shoulders…marriage is supposed to be a partnership…you’re the only one trying to save the marriage now and fight for it…etc."

It was all the crazy shit my wife was saying immediately after DDay—coincidentally when her mother and sister were still here visiting and my wife was talking to them.

My wife didn’t respond to any of the sister’s craziness, but I lost my shit reading it and reaffirmed I was done and went back upstairs. My wife followed a few minutes later and showed me her phone; a text back to her sister just then in which she told her sister she was the one who was wrong and it was all her fault and that I’ve been great—all the bad things she had said about me were lies to mislead her and her mom.

I can’t say I cared much about the text, I was in disbelief that my wife managed to feel emboldened from her chat and was attempting to push back at me when our marriage was in such a tenuous spot. I told her it’s clear she really feels that way—that I’m stuck imagining her being bent over and fucked by another guy and she has the callousness to pick a fight with me about the cause of her isolation while I’m taking her out to dinner. I told her I felt trapped in hell and saw no way out with her crazy behavior—to which she responded, "then we should just get a divorce."

I have to be honest, divorce still didn’t feel real in that moment and she immediately apologized and backtracked on saying it (of course, in her defensiveness pointing out that I said it first—she is such a child it hurts my brain).

She then spent a while apologizing to me for everything while she cried. She told me she has felt me slipping away from her every day and she doesn’t know how to talk to me—she feels like she just keeps fucking things up and saying the wrong thing. She also echoed how genuinely lost she feels as a person right now and wants to talk with me about it but doesn’t want to make everything about her. And lastly, she reaffirmed that she can’t imagine life without me and she will do anything to make this work (which again is entirely opposite to her behavior at dinner).

I calmly listened, asking pointed questions at times. She is still dealing with a cold and had taken NightQuill, so I suggested she sleep. I cuddled into her and cried for a bit while she slept, as I’ve been doing on and off all night.

I feel like this has all gotten away from me. I wonder, for those who have gotten divorced, is this what the end looks like? I’m a movie buff and I feel like I’ve seen this stage before—the anger, loss of control, skidding into a void just before a couple calls it quits.

A part of me thinks I should really end it, that it’s only going to get worse until it ultimately ends anyway. But another part of me thinks last night was entirely stupid and such an unacceptably insignificant ending to a 17-year relationship. I’ve been sitting up in bed all night, kids sleeping in the adjacent rooms, thinking how absurd it is to end a marriage over my wife being influenced by her toxic family. Alternatively, I can’t be in this spot writing these forum posts a year from now—10 years from now.

I’m lost. In HellFire’s words, I think now is the time for the "Hail Mary," pushing for her to post on this website. She needs guidance from someone other than her family or this thing has no shot.

Edit: BTW, I think I have reached a point where I hate my wife’s family more than I love my wife.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 11:05 AM, Thursday, June 2nd]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738196
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 11:11 AM on Thursday, June 2nd, 2022

1. I know you love your wife, but do you really like her? You spend a lot of time discussing these character traits/flaws, and I understand you are in pain. But all pain aside, do you like her? Because it often times sounds, from your posts, that you do not.

This is a hard post to respond to now, but the answer is yes. I fell for how carefree and compassionate she is—I feel those are the two traits I wish I had more of and she gave me a great balance. I love her smile, her light touches, her displays of love and affection. I love seeing her interact with my children. I love spending time alone with her—there’s never any pressure, it just feels easy—she can find a positive in most activities while I’m often wishing I was back at home. It’s a classic yin-yang relationship.

2. Forgive me if this was covered early in your thread, but your wife exhibits many traits common with victims of childhood sexual assault. I would even further opine that her behavior pattern has similarities with someone who experienced CSA at that hands of a family member. Has she ever experienced this?

I’ve probed on this, including last night. She has no memory of any sexual incident as a child.

Read Cheating in a Nutshell by Tamara and Wayne Mitchell. It will help you get some perspective on this.

Then, get a divorce. I'm sorry, but it's clear she doesn't love or respect you. That is a reflection on her, not you. You deserve better and can get better if you leave her. As a man, you'll have the upper hand in the middle-aged dating world.

I ordered the book, but I may not have time to read it before the divorce. We’ll see what today brings though.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 11:21 AM, Thursday, June 2nd]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 607   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8738198
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