So an update on today and I'll respond to some posts.
My wife and I had an email exchange; it began with a very raw email from me about how I felt about her behavior last night and this morning. She responded apologetically and we went back and forth a couple of times. I stopped responding as I found her emails to be a bit hollow--it's just the same words to give me comfort, but then they dissolve when we talk and her mask comes off.
It led her down an emotional rabbit hole this afternoon, with her sending me several unanswered emails, pleading with me that she is all in and will do anything to prove it and she is terrified I'm about to leave her. Essentially, she told me there would be no more bull shit. So we'll see how tonight goes as I'd like to talk with her.
I also had my first IC session. It was good. I liked the therapist. She challenged me a couple of times and I liked that; I'm going to see her again next week.
Interestingly, of the points she made, one she seemed fairly confident about. She doesn't think my wife would have ever left me. Instead, she thinks she falsely convinced herself of that once the affair began, but she never would have went through with it, especially with AP not being a longterm kind of guy and her unlikely to want to be alone. It's interesting because that's what my wife said initially and I didn't believe it--I feel like I may have forced the narrative that she wanted to leave me for AP. my IC--and my wife--both immediately had the feedback that the AP isn't the guy wives leave their husbands for; he's the guy wives see when they want a romantic spark in their lives.
My IC thought the most likely ending to the affair was AP dumping my wife once he got bored with her. I don't know if that's most likely or not, but it's very plausible.
Anyway, she gave me clarity on something my wife has been telling me all along--I'm doing too much to force narratives that may not be real all in the name of defining what happened. I need to be more open-minded--but in some ways it's harder to accept that this is all just fun sex for my wife and she was badmouthing me out of guilt for what she was doing. The "exit affair" idea may just be me forcing something that isn't there. I don't think it makes things much better, but it's something I need to be more self-aware about.
Well, I imagine she’s awake. And if she reads this thread too, I will add that SI is great because when one reads a ton of stories here, they are replete with frightening similarities. The reasons people choose to cheat are NEVER unique. It’s weak esteem, and/or FOO issues or unresolved resentment or a combination of all those things.
Infidelity is indefensible. It fixes nothing. It cures nothing. It helps no one.
Again, I mentioned no one wants to be the villain. Unless we’re sociopaths, we look to be accepted by other human beings.
Part of the defense for my wife was — she feared I would only see the lesser version of her, the one who made all the shitty choices.
My wife didn’t know all in would be enough. And she was right to be concerned. Sometimes all in is NOT enough.
That said, on my part, once I got there (2 years into recovery) was to let her know I absolutely saw the good in her and recognized the work she was doing to be a better, safer partner.
I was able to do that once she dropped the endless excuses for her bad choices.
Challenge your wife on the half-assed answers all WS seem to use at one point or another - "I didn’t think you loved/needed/wanted me." Or the dreaded "Love you but not IN love with you" line that’s near universal.
Easier to see a path once the defenses give way to reason. As in, there is no defense for cheating.
Thanks for that. I think my wife sees that nothing good came from it and I don't think it's something she'd do again. I do worry how authentic her love for me is, but I'll see how she shows it in the coming days.
I think you are falling into a trap that many of us do soon after dday. We feel an urgent sense to make a decision - D or R - and if it’s the latter, it has to be even better than it was before.
It’s not hard to understand why that would be a focus. It’s two-fold: We think we can mitigate the damage already done - either by getting out of it sooner or fast-forwarding into the reconciliation. AND the only way we can justify a reconciliation (and therefore internally accept something that was likely previously completely unacceptable) is if we come out with something even better. This is what puts an urgency on us and the need to somehow grab the reins and control the outcome - whatever it may be. As I’ve tried to point out in earlier posts, this is all a more internal battle than it seems.
Infidelity is a crack if the foundation of our entire worlds. It’s why you see so many of us STILL processing things years later - regardless of the outcomes of our marriages. You can’t bypass how this foundational crack subsequently affects all the other life ideals you had. You intuitively understand this when you say things like you did in a previous post (reconciliation vs a bunch of tinder hookups). It’s because you cannot really foresee how this plays out so your mind is trying to create scenarios to fill in that gap.
You can try to read the "tea leaves" - everything from how you WW behaves in any situation to the individual experiences we have each had. It’s not that you won’t still gleam some information. But it’s in the process of assimilation of LOTS of that info where you will find YOUR story - your answers, your path forward. It’s a process. The decision for D or R is really irrelevant at this point - it can even be a distraction that serves to only give you an illusion of control.
I may be reading your posts incorrectly…but I sense this real urgency in all of them. I understand that completely so there’s no judgment from me. I do think it’s one reason why you have generated so many responses (compared to other newbies). That’s not a bad thing when it comes to the information gathering…but it is also a snake that can eat its own tail (in that the urgency and the responses to that urgency creates more need for control - which you don’t have and that only creates more urgency. Make sense?)
Having been here a long time and having also eaten much of my own tail, the thing that I can tell you that seems to be a common regret (regardless of marital outcome) is that so much of our lives were lost in this process. We focus so much time and energy on decisions to not have future regrets that that actually becomes the regret. From my own experience this is the most absolute and resounding warning I can give you…to be aware of what you may be trading in each of these moments. You’re early in this…things do genuinely feel that urgent. But realize that ultimately the reins you are holding may actually lead to the bit that is in YOUR mouth.
Since I’ve now said all that then I should have advice. So here it is…and take it for what it’s worth (bearing in mind that it’s also free laugh ). Slow down. Be ok without having answers or direction yet. Allow this to unfold as it is and without trying to control it. Become an observer instead of a master. Open up your intentions to let this experience just teach you - and in ways or matters you might not expect. Focus more on what’s going on inside of you rather than just external to you…realize this may be the means and let go of the end. Pay attention to everything else that may be passing you by - those things really matter too. You have no choice but to go through this experience - this is the bit. Let go of the reins and the experience will be much kinder to you. ❤️
Of course you're right. As my mother often told me growing up, I have no patience. So this is that vice on steroids. It comes in waves for me--I spiral. I feel like R has no definitive answer, but D does--so there's this urge inside me to pull to D because that's the only way to resolve this issue. I appreciate your post. I need to breathe.
Rereading your summary is very painful for me.
My wife was on a similar timeline but I discovered a few days after the first kiss. It was certainly her intent to continue in this direction.
My fWW definitely avoided real accountability for a year. She gave me the things I asked for materially (tracking, electronic transparency, and my own poor decision to accept work only contact with report out). She didn't put in a big leadership level of effort though. Mostly because I put up with it instead of being well and truly ready to walk out most of the time.
It all changed when divorce looked like the only realistic option to me. And not overnight, but over a month or so she put in real work and started showing real remorse and understanding.
It's still relatively early for you and some things have gone in the right direction. She needs to lead the repair efforts or you will get worn to the bone.
I'm sorry my story was a trigger for you.
The point of discovery is indeed a mind-fuck. I thought about it yesterday, on her birthday--I bet she'd have been blowing AP in his car after work while I was home making her dinner. It's hard manage those thoughts because I can't blame her for things she didn't do, even though they were likely.
It seems today our email exchange struck her on a deeper level. I could be foolish, but I'm expecting her to make a big effort from her going forward.
Dr., while I agree with others about her reaction to the daddy issues post, this scenario is why I don’t believe it is beneficial for couples to be posting on SI, especially so soon after dday.
I suspect she is reading everything you and others post so she can get some insight into your thoughts, not for a good reason, but to try to obtain some kind of advantage….knowledge is power.
This is your place to use as a sounding board, journal, whatever you want to call it. Now, she will likely continue to read and try to use the information gained her to her advantage.
Another thing that I’ve noticed in your posts lately, she screws up (most WS’s do continually after dday), gets angry and deflects, then apologizes to you after. Same with my WW. Mine was trying to control everything and did more damage to our marriage than if she had simply been honest with me from the get go.
My WW posted on SI…..once lol. After dday 2 or maybe 3, I mentioned again that she might get good advice from the other WS’s here. And yes, she would probably read things that were hard to hear.
My WW’s one and only post was written very well, seemed to be from the heart, but I learned afterwards that she was still holding back information and truth from me. The replies to her post were genuine and kind.
I also asked my WW to read MrsWalloped post as I felt there were a lot of similarities. My WW couldn’t even make it past one page of posts before she said it was too much. I was really disappointed in her that she couldn’t even read more than one page.
I believe (and may be wrong) but MrsWalloped agreed to not read MrWalloped’s thread. She eventually did and had a breakdown after reading both his comments and others.
The first 6 months after dday were certainly the worst for both of us. My WW attempted suicide, she continued to try to manage the situation, and I was drunk half the time after work, which made things much worse. This is a really tough period after dday. Your WW has a lot of work to do on herself. Yes, there are a lot of marital issues, there are in any marriage, but right now, she needs to put in the effort (not just writing and talking with you) to address her issues, then maybe sometime down the road, you and her can address marital and family issues.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, it took an ultimatum from me to my WW to get her off her ass and into therapy to address her underlying issues. She is a healthier person now, but without that ultimatum, she wouldn’t have made the changes needed. Ultimately, the changes made her a better person, a better mom and better wife, all good things, but she didn’t recognize this until long after starting intensive IC.
I received conflicting advice about sharing this site with her and ultimately decided if she could get help here, it was worth it. She's spending a lot of time reading through posts and articles here--the cost is my privacy, but truthfully, there's nothing I'm writing that I won't say to her face and there's been nothing I've stopped myself from writing because she might see it.
I think that deep down she knows that she isn't doing as much as she could be and her focus is far too often on herself and not on you/healing. My XWBF would make references to what was really going on behind the scenes all the time as in acknowledging that he was treating me very poorly even though I was unaware of it. I think even she can see that her continued selfishness is really screwing up R and she isn't ready to change soon enough to stop it.
She can be so sweet and compassionate and then the ugly parts of her character shine through and it all resets.
The thing about selfish and manipulative people is that they are often sweet and compassionate between bouts of horrible behavior. Otherwise, who would want to put up with them? Would you have stayed if she was selfish and mean all the time? Doesn't seem like it. So she has to be sweet and compassionate at least some of the time but when the mask slips, the ugly parts come out. This isn't special or exemplary behavior that she can turn on the charm and even keep it going for days/weeks/months. It's exactly what to expect. Even the most dangerous, violent, and abusive people I've ever met are capable of that otherwise they would be hermits that no one likes or wants to be around. They would never have a partner if they couldn't keep it under wraps for months and some times years. Yet some how all of them have spouses, children, careers, and at least a couple of die hard supporters no matter what they do even if the exes, family members, and children have all left and stopped talking to them.
IME, the defensiveness and growing pains of possibly moving towards R aren't unusual or indicative of how things will end in your case. It's reading your posts after you requested her not to, starting an argument about it, and attempting to get you to stop posting here that is the biggest red flag. This is part of your support system now. This will become part of your healing journey to some extent. Telling you to stop is completely antithetical to your healing when you believe it helps you. It takes a special kind of selfishness to ask a partner that they have hurt and devastated to this level to stop reaching out for support just because it involves negative words said about them. IME couples who deal with this don't tend to make it through R because a BS can't heal when the WS keeps wanting to dictate their healing. Arguing about it and restricting it will only make D look like a better way towards healing to the BS.
It's interesting. She texted me today an article I shared with her about regaining trust during the week of DDay. She re-read it and recalled her reaction when she first read it two months ago--she thought going along with the advice meant she would be my doormat the rest of her life. She thought it was the opposite of what she wanted--her self-esteem was shit, so giving everything to me seemed horrible to her. She read it today and said she had the opposite reaction. She "gets it" now. She wants to be there for me and do anything I need to heal. I could be wrong, but it may be the first time she has authentically empathized with me.
Granted, it happened in the same day she became upset with me posting on this website--and that's whole-heartedly selfish (and absurd). So I have skepticism, but we'll see how she reacts in person tonight and I'll go from there.
Thank you all for the feedback!
[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 10:45 PM, Wednesday, May 25th]