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

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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 11:46 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Doc - your comment about being in a foxhole with a traitor is common. However, I would at the same time ask you to consider this: would your opinion change if you were sharing a foxhole on the front line with a fellow soldier was was experiencing battle fatigue?

This battle fatigued soldier is no longer able to function as a fighting entity and is putting both your life and your unit’s lives at risk. The soldier’s illness is responsible for this of course. Five hours before, however, he was a fully functioning soldier. And, two weeks from now, after having been taken off the front line for rest snd treatment, he returns to the unit a functioning soldier again.

posts: 442   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8739158
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:19 PM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Doc - your comment about being in a foxhole with a traitor is common. However, I would at the same time ask you to consider this: would your opinion change if you were sharing a foxhole on the front line with a fellow soldier was was experiencing battle fatigue?

This battle fatigued soldier is no longer able to function as a fighting entity and is putting both your life and your unit’s lives at risk. The soldier’s illness is responsible for this of course. Five hours before, however, he was a fully functioning soldier. And, two weeks from now, after having been taken off the front line for rest snd treatment, he returns to the unit a functioning soldier again.

I perhaps missed the point, but are you relating her affair to being closer to battle fatigue than betrayal? It seems like that’s a far stretch.

She actively destroyed me and my family unit—that’s a bit different than catching a cold and getting sleepy.

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 8739161
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 1:13 PM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Doc,
‘Not Just Friends’ is really good.
It’s great your wife is reading it.
The windows and walls metaphor is useful.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

posts: 138   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8739169
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 2:39 PM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

The point I was trying to make is that your WW has a personality disorder. That existing personality disorder was worse during her A. Hopefully her personality order is temporary, meaning that with intense IC and time she will recover. Same thing with the battle fatigued soldier. Both have the ability to recover and return to operation as a satisfactorily functioning wife and soldier.

posts: 442   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8739176
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Sometimesiamlost ( new member #80208) posted at 7:53 PM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Sorry Doc,

The mods said to no cross-pollinate threads, so apologize.

[This message edited by Sometimesiamlost at 9:10 PM, Wednesday, June 8th]

posts: 3   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2022
id 8739216
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:47 AM on Thursday, June 9th, 2022

The point I was trying to make is that your WW has a personality disorder. That existing personality disorder was worse during her A. Hopefully her personality order is temporary, meaning that with intense IC and time she will recover. Same thing with the battle fatigued soldier. Both have the ability to recover and return to operation as a satisfactorily functioning wife and soldier.

I know you’re right and I appreciate the framing.

Today was a bit sad again for the first half, though I had a good evening. I played chess with my son on one of those giant chess boards, had a great dinner, then goofed around with my kids before they went to bed.

I still feel really abnormal doing it all, and the moments I don’t feel abnormal are weird—maybe I don’t want her to think me being happy is forgiveness? It’s all a lot to process.

Regardless, I’m going to bed tonight in a good frame of mind. She has been on her best behavior and reading her book every chance she can—none of my sadness bouts have been her fault.

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 8739256
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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 3:41 PM on Friday, June 10th, 2022

Correction, all of your sadness bouts has been her fault. She has just not done anything immediate to contribute to them.

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

posts: 257   ·   registered: Mar. 22nd, 2020   ·   location: South-Africa
id 8739587
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 5:26 PM on Friday, June 10th, 2022

It is normal to not want her to mistake moments of normalcy for forgiveness. In Your case,you'd be hyper aware since she hasn't given you any reason to think her efforts are sincere but rather an effort to get out of trouble. Which is what you're afraid of.

Also, your sadness is her fault. Just because she can behave for a day or two after you told her you wanted to separate doesn't mean what you're going through isn't her fault. A toddler can also behave for a little while after getting in trouble.

posts: 271   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8739641
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:37 PM on Friday, June 10th, 2022

I am good with knowing that a BH's sadness is caused by the WS. I just don't know what good blaming does, unless it leads to knowing that one's sadness may not be a problem at all, and if it is a problem, it's the BS's.

Sadness is a normal consequence of being betrayed. Accept it, and ride the wave.

And know that sadness is part of every sentient being's life. Hell, I'm sad that my bike has a click somewhere. I haven't figured out where it's coming from, so I can't fix it. (I'm also grieving for a lot of other things that are going on that are more important than a click on a bicycle.)

Living means feeling - mad, sad, glad, sca(re)d, ashamed, desiring, loving.... Can't get away from them, and there's no need to. Sometimes one can use help in dealing with them ... but they're inescapable, so we might as well accept them.

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: 27290   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8739648
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:30 AM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Yes, certainly all of the sadness bouts are 100% her fault—literally. I just meant she has been exceptional all trip, so there’s nothing immediately problematic to report back on. And obviously I’ve been mostly highlighting the bad over the good throughout my threads.

But I agree with Clouds. Anyone can play a part—especially when I have written thousands of words and spent hundreds of hours talking with her to ensure she knows exactly what I’m looking for her to do. That’s what made all her fuckups so confusing—how could she make those mistakes with the spotlight on her? So now that she’s acting flawlessly, I just think it’s the baseline—it’s precisely how she should be acting.

There was one contrite moment from her though. Last night before bed, she cried quietly to herself (I don’t think she knew I noticed). She cleaned herself up in the bathroom and came back to see I was actually still awake, so she leaned in and said: "Thank you. Thank you for letting me come on this trip."

It hit her hard how crazy her life would be had I just walked away at the start. She is unmistakably happy to still be in this relationship.

And I know I should be happy about that—it’s what I want, right? But I’m really not thrilled. I’m not looking for her to think I’m giving and charitable: that I can forgive her—I haven’t forgiven her. I’m looking for her to recognize that her brain is all together broken and she needs to want nothing more than to fix it. I still don’t *feel* that.

I feel like she’s just horrified by her mistake—and perhaps that’s enough to ensure it never happens again, but what if it’s not? I need her to never cheat again because she knows in her soul it’s immoral and destructive; nothing more than an outlet for her broken mind—not just because it’s shameful and she doesn’t want to feel this bad again. Her feeling so badly about this does nearly nothing for me.

We head home from vacation tomorrow. She has two IC sessions coming this week and I feel like that’s the best place for her to be. I want her to keep digging.

I am trying to schedule two sessions of my own as well—I still have a list of issues I haven’t gotten over since the start of this mess: questions I keep asking and receiving unsatisfactory answers. So I need to keep exploring those. I want to get out of this funk I’m in.

A part of me feels like this trip could be a turning point in that the worst is behind us (in terms of fights)—but another part of me feels like I’ve been here before and we’re still just one bad night from it all being blown to hell. I think I need to see if she can extend this "exceptional" behavior to when we’re back at home.

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 1:33 AM, Saturday, June 11th]

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 8739705
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BeyondRage ( member #71328) posted at 2:41 PM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Dr.

I feel like she’s just horrified by her mistake—and perhaps that’s enough to ensure it never happens again, but what if it’s not? I need her to never cheat again because she knows in her soul it’s immoral and destructive; nothing more than an outlet for her broken mind—not just because it’s shameful and she doesn’t want to feel this bad again. Her feeling so

You may not like this, but until you accept that there is NOTHING you can do or she can do that will absolutely 100% guarantee that she will never do it again you will never be able to put this behind you. No amount of therapy, no amount of boundaries, no agreements, no words, etc can do anything but increase your odds that it will not happen again. Most of the people on here never thought it could happen in the first place. That last stage of the grief process called ACCEPTANCE is probably the most difficult. Unfortunately, some will immediately classify that as "eating the shit sandwich" and accepting it, but quite frankly no matter how you slice it if you stay married that is what occurs in one form or another.

You have analyzed every conversation over and over with her and you are looking for some lightning bolt that will guarantee that it is safe and you will never have to worry about it again. I just do not believe that that will happen. What you have to do is live in your own skin knowing there is nothing you can do that will ever stop her from meeting a man she is attracted to and rationalizing in some way acting on it if she wants to. I think you just have to believe you have actually survived infidelity once and if heaven forbid it happens again you are not going to be destroyed. if you reach that stage you will be happy with her.

I am not advising you to just drop what you are doing and all of the paths you are taking but in the end it will still all boil down to a decision that is not 100% guaranteed.

Best wishes

Me- 49M
WW- 48F
Kids- 23,21,20,18 all female
https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=640592

posts: 501   ·   registered: Aug. 19th, 2019   ·   location: Southeast USA
id 8739729
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Tanner ( member #72235) posted at 3:08 PM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

I feel like she’s just horrified by her mistake—and perhaps that’s enough to ensure it never happens again, but what if it’s not?

We BS will never know for sure, I would almost bet my retirement savings my W would never cheat again, but almost means it’s still a gamble, not a sure bet.

The WS can become the perfect loyal spouse, but we will always remember what they are capable of.

[This message edited by Tanner at 10:36 PM, Saturday, June 11th]

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R
BH 55 WW 48 M 31 years, 4 kids 2 grown 2 grandkids

posts: 1498   ·   registered: Dec. 5th, 2019   ·   location: Texas DFW
id 8739731
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:23 PM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Not cheating again is nothing. There are many ways to betray, yet you are talking only about this one. You need to protect against more than her fucking some other person.

You are still focusing on her. What do you want? Waht are your deal killers? What do you need from her to R? What do you need to do to heal.

Do not come back with 'I've told her what to do.' That doesn't help you at all. Do not come back with 'I don't know if she can do what I need?' If she can't, you know what you need to do.

What do you want? What do you need? What are your deal killers? How will you know if what you get is meeting your requirements or not?

Where are you? Where do you want to be? What do you need to do to get there? What do you need from others to get there?

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: 27290   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8739734
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:19 AM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

You are still focusing on her. What do you want? Waht are your deal killers? What do you need from her to R? What do you need to do to heal.

You’re right. I spiraled a bit the last few days and today was the worst—profound and endless pain, divorce, suicide (not really, just fleeting thoughts). It was nothing she did recently; it was just me trying to accept the "shit sandwich" and my body rejecting it.

One of the things I requested early on in my "terms" was she be open and available sexually. And thus far, she seemingly has been—though there have been routine moments where I’ve felt the rejection of our past relationship. She’ll make it clear she’s not interested before ultimately pushing to do it.

Tonight led us down an interesting rabbit hole. It was early, but I haven’t really slept in a long time, so I said I was going up to bed. She asked if she could come up with me and read in bed while I slept (her book Not Just Friends). I joked, "If you come to bed, I’m going to want to fool around with you."

She responded: "Ugh, well you can’t touch my boobs, but I guess we can play." (She noted last night she was getting her period soon, so she is never in the mood to be intimate the week before her period).

Nothing wrong with not touching her boobs and she was still amenable to go fool around, but it gave me that familiar feeling of starting off an intimate session on a negative tone. It was her making it clear that she’d do it, but it was only for my benefit. To her, the idea of just doing it without letting me know that is impossible.

It led to a longer discussion about what we expected from our new sex life. I explained that I had a lot going on in my head: anger that she was always sexually available for AP and so often unavailable for me combined with her negativity on occasion. It seemed like an open and available sex life was something she agreed to without agreeing too.

And to be clear, it wasn’t about her boob comment at all—tonight was more me forcing the issue because on numerous occasions post-DDay I’ve felt an intimate session was forced on her part.

So I asked her why she felt like she needed to have complete control over our sex life—and why if she wasn’t in the mood, she had to make me feel bad about it. She said the alternative made her feel used—she asked if she was just never allowed to say no to being intimate.

I thought about it—and that seemed absurd. Of course she could say no. But I was unable to make her see the difference between what she was doing and that.

But then I thought more.

If I wasn’t in the mood, but she was, I’d always lend her a hand or a mouth to help her out. Not common for me to not be in the mood, but I have countless examples of me getting her off after I’ve had my orgasm—and as any guy can tell you, that’s the furthest from the "mood" a guy can be. But in any of those moments, it’s not about me, it’s about her.

So maybe I *don’t* want her to say no at all. Maybe I want her to meet me halfway in those moments she isn’t in the mood (which can be often)—hell, offer a hand as I would to her—make it fun rather than depressing and forced.

Perhaps I’m being unreasonable, but it is certainly what I want. I’m miserable all day every day trying to accept this post-affair reality. What relationship am I fighting for? It is starting to feel like the same one with all the problems that led to the affair.

And selfishly, I at least expect her to now be available sexually—but as she explained, she doesn’t feel comfortable always saying yes to do something. But I’ve been on this road before and it leads to sex 20x a year. And that was in my early 30s—who knows what happens as we age.

So again, I haven’t slept in days and I feel like I am developing a personality disorder with how often my moods change, but what precisely am I fighting for? I feel like a best case scenario is the same relationship I was in earlier, except now everything is worse because of the affair trauma.

I also feel like I really need to try to sleep, so I’m going to leave it there tonight. This post likely won’t make sense when I read it again in the morning…

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 8739820
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toota ( new member #80060) posted at 6:21 AM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

I feel like a best case scenario is the same relationship I was in earlier, except now everything is worse because of the affair trauma.

Been a long time lurker and follower of both your threads Doc, so let me ask you this:

What if Mrs. S in all honesty had asked for D at the end of November 2021 (with the unmentioned intention of bedding The Sherriff of Bangkok when ink was dry on the dotted lines). Would you still, considering the state of the marriage at that time and your (quasi non-existent) sex life stick it out for the kids and memories of a marriage, or would you have sought out separation for your own sense of self, seeing that your 17 year relationship had withered to a naught?

If you WANTED to stick your boots in at that point, you would have to provide a bulletproof reason to yourself and to Mrs. S saying why trudging forth at that point made sense other than sunk-cost fallacy. The more natural conclusion would be to assess the pros and cons where at THAT moment; the cons (strictly in your marital relationship - not involving the kids) seemed to outweigh or at least equal the pros, and the trend was not reassuring. Given your frustration at her conduct (sexually and otherwise) and without any deficit inducing event in the marital relationship having occurred yet (hence that particular time-frame), it's more natural to assume you would come to a mutually agreed upon D albeit protected by your pre-nup.

Now with the watershed of the affair behind, your are functionally at the same decision point, albeit weighted greatly by her A and more importantly, her particular choices for herself and AP during the A. Note that NONE of these choices involved, concerned you or planned for your fulfilment in any way, then or in the future. Implying that minus your prodding, your sex life would have continued to be the same post discovery as it was before, as you seem to have quoted.

Which brings me back to my question... if you would have chosen D in the hypothetical situation above, how really far from it are you now? If you had devised a logical plan to convince yourself (and Mrs D) to stay in the marriage in spite of her preparedness to leave (no affair yet), what would it have looked like? What would it have been then other than staying for the kids?

Does that plan in its core still hold up now? If not, then it answers a very big part of why it makes no sense to stanch an already hemorrhaging gash that's already lost too much blood.

[This message edited by toota at 6:23 AM, Sunday, June 12th]

posts: 1   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2022
id 8739823
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Mamabear312 ( member #59811) posted at 6:29 AM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

I think your views on sex and partnership would benefit from a deep dive with your IC. No, someone should never have sex they aren’t wholly enthusiastic about. They shouldn’t feel badly about not wanting sex or not wanting to "offer a hand." Things start to feel coercive really fast when there’s a sense of obligation. YOU shouldn’t do sexual things for your wife when you’re not in the mood. Adults in true partnership respect each other’s no’s and "I don’t feel like it" and figure out other ways to be intimate (or use their own hand… or toy).

Affairs obviously mess with healthy sexual relationships because of the "you owe me because you did X with AP"… which has always struck me as a sure fire way to further damage a marriage. I sure don’t want my partner doing sexual things with me out of guilt, obligation, or evening of a score. But this seems to be something many male BS’s feel entitled to, like they’re reclaiming some property or sense of masculinity. If you step back and look at it, it’s really just toxic and gross.

The problem for you may be that you and your wife currently don’t have any other ways to be intimate, so sex is holding it together. I disagree with your MC that you shouldn’t stop having sex all together— it clouds your judgment, makes you prone to rug sweeping behaviors, and gives you both a false sense of intimacy… which falls away the second you start to try to engage meaningfully, which just leads to further disillusionment.

Doc, so many of your posts include:

She did X. It was wrong and messed up because Y.

We talked. I was so calm and patient and explained to her why she was wrong, what she needs to do different, and how she should be moving forward.

She apologized and agreed.

Rinse and repeat.

But here’s the thing. Your wife has been clear she is LOST. She doesn’t know how to adult. She has no idea who she is. She may lie because X or spend money because Y but she’s also only 2 months into this journey and I don’t believe for a second she’s tackled her whys. She just yesses you because maybe you are right, but also you feeling like she might know her why makes you feel better for a few hours or days after these talks.

You can talk to her and she can lose her shit and then write you a nice apology, but damn,
this woman doesn’t have a sense of self, so none of this will stick (as you’re seeing).

The reason many of us have recommended separating is because it lets you both work on your own selves. She can’t fuck things up with you constantly if you’re not there. And if she’s not constantly in the talk/lie/get defensive/agree with whatever you tell her about why she’s doing it/apologize cycle then maybe she’ll have some space to DO THE ACTUAL WORK she needs to do.

And then again, maybe she won’t. But what you’re doing isn’t working. You’re in a vicious cycle and it’s spiraling.

Along the same lines, please stop marriage counseling. I said this in your first thread and others have said it too. It’s not helping. It’s simply a pile on to why your wife sucks, additional lectures about why she’s a failure, and additional things she needs to do to save the marriage. The marriage can’t be a patient until she’s in a better place with some sense of who she is as an adult moving through the world. A sense of self one cannot make lasting and meaningful changes to their behavior.

You’d like her behavior to change and for her insight to follow. Sometimes this works, for sure. This is very very very clearly not working for your wife. She need intense therapy (EFT or Somatic Experiencing or EMDR) to even get to a place where marriage therapy has a chance to work.

And to R, you’d have to be willing to wait for this work to happen. And to back off. Like, actually back off, and be quiet and not push your narratives and be open to hearing hers as she does the work. You’d have to examine your analytical and dominate nature and truly understand the positives and challenges you yourself bring into relationships. To this point, you’ve been unwilling to do that and seem to think your marriage is over if you separate. I don’t think that’s true, it’s all in the framing of the separation and I challenge you to look at your own belief systems about that. Distance only = done if you both make it that way.

Now, to be clear, you obviously don’t owe her a thing. A separation would be sad and hard for you on top of the affair trauma. If you don’t want that added trauma or work of a separation, so be it.

I think the reason you’re starting to get push back in your thread is because you’re talking to a bunch of people with extensive knowledge of this journey you’re on. We’ve made similar decisions and lived the consequences. And we’re starting to watch you do the same thing over and over and over and then wonder why the results are the same. We care about you and it’s painful to watch you dig your heels in and continue on your analytic, dominant, "I’ll fix her", heels dug in approach to R when it’s clearly not working. We just want to help you see it differently and move forward to healing yourself, with the hopes your marriage can eventually be saved too, if that’s what you end up wanting.

posts: 87   ·   registered: Jul. 24th, 2017
id 8739824
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:54 PM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

Another all-nighter unfortunately--I couldn't sleep with my mind racing from last night. I suspect I'll need to take some actual drugs today so I can be functional for the coming work week.

I re-read my post from last night and I wasn't very clear at all, but there's a lot to dig into in the posts from toota and Mamabear, so I'll do my best to clarify in the process of responding.


What if Mrs. S in all honesty had asked for D at the end of November 2021 (with the unmentioned intention of bedding The Sherriff of Bangkok when ink was dry on the dotted lines). Would you still, considering the state of the marriage at that time and your (quasi non-existent) sex life stick it out for the kids and memories of a marriage, or would you have sought out separation for your own sense of self, seeing that your 17 year relationship had withered to a naught?

I'd have thought she was insane to bring D to the table without ever first raising an issue with me to discuss. On my end, sex was an issue, but it was really the only thing of significance in my mind and I attempted to discuss it with her all the time. For her, all her anger and resentments were bottled up and I had no idea they were issues, so if she wanted to D on those grounds because she was so unhappy, it would have come entirely out of left field for me: not one talk, no counseling, nothing--just gone. It would have felt like an act of war on our family and I would have needed to understand WTF was happening.

Now, let's say her response was simply that she fell for someone else and wanted to monkey branch to a relationship with him; that she had been unhappy for a long time and the marriage couldn't be saved in her view. Well ok, that would have sucked horribly, but it would have been the end. It'd have been her choice to leave and I'd have mentally moved on by now hopefully.

And she could say the same thing now and it would end the marriage immediately, but she wants to R, so it's on me to either attempt R with her or walk and that's where I've been.

I think your views on sex and partnership would benefit from a deep dive with your IC. No, someone should never have sex they aren’t wholly enthusiastic about. They shouldn’t feel badly about not wanting sex or not wanting to "offer a hand." Things start to feel coercive really fast when there’s a sense of obligation. YOU shouldn’t do sexual things for your wife when you’re not in the mood. Adults in true partnership respect each other’s no’s and "I don’t feel like it" and figure out other ways to be intimate (or use their own hand… or toy).

My point is that I've never felt coerced, I felt like it was always an opportunity to show generosity and love for my partner. She's my wife--I want her to be happy--so giving 10 minutes of my time to make her feel good feels great. So after spending my entire adult relationship in a negative sex life, this appears to be a valid time to examine my future. And I understand mileage may vary and not everyone will share my view--and that's ok. I'm just sharing how I view my partner and how I'd like my partner to view me.

Affairs obviously mess with healthy sexual relationships because of the "you owe me because you did X with AP"… which has always struck me as a sure fire way to further damage a marriage. I sure don’t want my partner doing sexual things with me out of guilt, obligation, or evening of a score. But this seems to be something many male BS’s feel entitled to, like they’re reclaiming some property or sense of masculinity. If you step back and look at it, it’s really just toxic and gross.

We disagree here, but again, that's ok. I think she does owe me. But again, that's somewhat separate from my point--which is that I want her to want to be generous and loving sexually. I don't want to be in a toxic relationship where she owes me sex whenever I want it--that's not a marriage I'm interested in. Again, these are my terms, so they don't have to be universal. Both you and my wife can agree to disagree with me and that's ok. I just need her to tell me exactly what she wants so I can make an informed decision on my future.

The problem for you may be that you and your wife currently don’t have any other ways to be intimate, so sex is holding it together. I disagree with your MC that you shouldn’t stop having sex all together— it clouds your judgment, makes you prone to rug sweeping behaviors, and gives you both a false sense of intimacy… which falls away the second you start to try to engage meaningfully, which just leads to further disillusionment.

Doc, so many of your posts include:

She did X. It was wrong and messed up because Y.

We talked. I was so calm and patient and explained to her why she was wrong, what she needs to do different, and how she should be moving forward.

She apologized and agreed.

Rinse and repeat.

But here’s the thing. Your wife has been clear she is LOST. She doesn’t know how to adult. She has no idea who she is. She may lie because X or spend money because Y but she’s also only 2 months into this journey and I don’t believe for a second she’s tackled her whys. She just yesses you because maybe you are right, but also you feeling like she might know her why makes you feel better for a few hours or days after these talks.

You can talk to her and she can lose her shit and then write you a nice apology, but damn,
this woman doesn’t have a sense of self, so none of this will stick (as you’re seeing).

The reason many of us have recommended separating is because it lets you both work on your own selves. She can’t fuck things up with you constantly if you’re not there. And if she’s not constantly in the talk/lie/get defensive/agree with whatever you tell her about why she’s doing it/apologize cycle then maybe she’ll have some space to DO THE ACTUAL WORK she needs to do.

And then again, maybe she won’t. But what you’re doing isn’t working. You’re in a vicious cycle and it’s spiraling.

Along the same lines, please stop marriage counseling. I said this in your first thread and others have said it too. It’s not helping. It’s simply a pile on to why your wife sucks, additional lectures about why she’s a failure, and additional things she needs to do to save the marriage. The marriage can’t be a patient until she’s in a better place with some sense of who she is as an adult moving through the world. A sense of self one cannot make lasting and meaningful changes to their behavior.

You’d like her behavior to change and for her insight to follow. Sometimes this works, for sure. This is very very very clearly not working for your wife. She need intense therapy (EFT or Somatic Experiencing or EMDR) to even get to a place where marriage therapy has a chance to work.

And to R, you’d have to be willing to wait for this work to happen. And to back off. Like, actually back off, and be quiet and not push your narratives and be open to hearing hers as she does the work. You’d have to examine your analytical and dominate nature and truly understand the positives and challenges you yourself bring into relationships. To this point, you’ve been unwilling to do that and seem to think your marriage is over if you separate. I don’t think that’s true, it’s all in the framing of the separation and I challenge you to look at your own belief systems about that. Distance only = done if you both make it that way.

Now, to be clear, you obviously don’t owe her a thing. A separation would be sad and hard for you on top of the affair trauma. If you don’t want that added trauma or work of a separation, so be it.

I think the reason you’re starting to get push back in your thread is because you’re talking to a bunch of people with extensive knowledge of this journey you’re on. We’ve made similar decisions and lived the consequences. And we’re starting to watch you do the same thing over and over and over and then wonder why the results are the same. We care about you and it’s painful to watch you dig your heels in and continue on your analytic, dominant, "I’ll fix her", heels dug in approach to R when it’s clearly not working. We just want to help you see it differently and move forward to healing yourself, with the hopes your marriage can eventually be saved too, if that’s what you end up wanting.

Your advice is to stop having sex, separate and stop going to MC. I don't think it's bad advice. I think that advice taken all together is better than a la carte, and maybe that's the road I take. I agree that the path I'm on is unproductive.

I'm unsure what to actually do though if I take that path. Do I file for D? Do I sell the house? Or do I ask her to move out and stay here with the kids temporarily?

And then once we do any of that, we have to tell everyone what's happening--keep in mind, my father and sister, who I am VERY close with, still don't know about the A. And that's purely because I think it worsens odds at R without any benefit. With your advice, all of that comes to the sunlight, so I need to make sure we have a locked in plan should we move that direction.

I'm getting close to it though, so perhaps those discussions begin soon.

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 8739834
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:08 PM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

I also thought I’d add that we did not resolve the sex talk—punted it for tonight. I don’t see much wiggle room to compromise, so we’ll see how it goes.

A big issue has been her agreeing to things she doesn’t agree with all so she can maintain this limbo. I can’t go on like this though.

I also plan to re-affirm my requirements for reconciliation (all things she’s already agreed to and largely broken over the last three months). I understand she won’t be perfect and mistakes will happen, but I can’t keep going around the same circle. I also understand some of you may find some or all of my asks to be unfair—that’s ok too. I need to establish some boundaries if I ever plan to figure out if I’m capable of attempting R.

My Requirements for Reconciliation:

1. Take 100% blame for the affair and dedicate your immediate future to healing me from the trauma you caused me (through IC, find your whys so I can feel you’re a emotionally and physically safe partner for me again).

2. No more defensiveness or attacks on me for unrelated issues; address conflict in a timely-manner to avoid any need for passive aggressive behavior or longterm resentment. Do not allow conflict on one topic to affect the rest of our life together.

3. Open and honest communication; no more lying. Build back your trustworthiness.

4. Proactive transparency on all external communication, electronic devices and activities outside of our home. Respect me in all communications; no more badmouthing me on any topic, with any person, for any reason.

5. No more impulse spending. All large purchases for either of us are discussed together with a built-in desire to conserve money. Marriage/Children > Self.

6. Sex:
-Sexually open to new experiences and exploring our interests/kinks.
-Sexually available to each other (virtually always).
-Remove negativity from our sexual interactions.
-Initiate sexual activity more frequently.

7. Be proactive in solving issues in our marriage; i.e. If you want to take a vacation on a beach, put in the effort to plan for it (both logistically and financially).

8. Do not agree to things that you do not agree with.

**

Also of note, here’s a list of things I discussed with her last night. Things I need her to dig in on during IC so I can feel safe with her again:

Emotional Safety: If this was sudden and impulsive—and she just got caught up in a whirlwind that led her to a hotel room on Jan. 4—how do I feel comfortable it won’t happen again? And if that’s what it was, how can she justify extending PA out for three months in a dirty parking garage? How could she have gone to that second hotel stay on Feb. 24? In no way was Feb. 24 her being impulsive—it was pre-meditated and planned for a month.

Physical Safety: Unprotected sex with AP and then increased sexual interaction with me—how do I forgive that assault on my health? What would she have done if she caught a STI? What would she have done if she got pregnant?

Cruel Disrespect:
-Nude photo to me from hotel room on Feb. 24 so that I could masterbate to it before her AP showed up to fuck her all night.
-Sexting him while sitting next to me on couch during evenings throughout A.
-Swallowing his cum and then kissing me and our children hello shortly after.
-Telling another man he was a superior lover to me.

Her Words: what do her words mean—if she can say "I love you" to me during the affair and now, what does it mean to her? What should it mean to me? The bad mouthing of me during the affair was very real—now it was a mistake?

Delusion/Fantasy: She was willing to destroy her relationship with me and her children. She thought her unhappiness, entirely driven by herself, would resolve by destroying all the relationships with the people who loved her. Jumping in bed with someone new (lesser by any standard I can evaluate) was more logical to her than introspection, a conversation with me, changing her job, etc. That’s a terrifying level of delusion.

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 8739859
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farsidejunky ( member #49392) posted at 5:42 PM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

I also plan to re-affirm my requirements for reconciliation (all things she’s already agreed to and largely broken over the last three months). I understand she won’t be perfect and mistakes will happen, but I can’t keep going around the same circle. I also understand some of you may find some or all of my asks to be unfair—that’s ok too. I need to establish some boundaries if I ever plan to figure out if I’m capable of attempting R.

Why? Really...why?

How many times have you told her...or reaffirmed...or rereaffirmed (you get the point) what you need for R? She KNOWS what you need for R. Telling her again (or again again) is simply telling her, via actions (or lack of them as it were) that your boundaries aren't really boundaries at all.

Your problem isn't with your establishment of boundaries. Your problem is with the consequences of crossing your boundaries.

In other words: "Stop...or I will say 'stop' again."

Your consequences for crossing your boundaries are nothing more than saber rattling; empty threats from someone who is so desperate for reconciliation that they are scared to actually hold their WW accountable out of a legitimate fear that she will fail...as she has done time, and time, and time again.

Dr. S, if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.

Look, dude. I don't envy your position. I know you are hurting. I am not trying to pile on to you. But you MUST have consequences for her crossing your boundaries. It needs to be painful for her cross them. The only way people change is when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change. Otherwise, they will often seek the path of least resistance, which is clearly your WW's modus operandi.

ETA: Before you reaffirm anything, GET SOME SLEEP. Nothing good comes from deep conversation when you are sleep deprived.

[This message edited by farsidejunky at 5:44 PM, Sunday, June 12th]

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

-Maya Angelou

posts: 606   ·   registered: Aug. 30th, 2015   ·   location: Tennessee
id 8739866
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:49 PM on Sunday, June 12th, 2022

dedicate your immediate future to healing me from the trauma you caused me (through IC, find your whys so I can feel you’re a emotionally and physically safe partner for me again).

In the first place, she can't heal you; that's work you have to do for yourself. Requiring her to dedicate herself to something she can't ever do is guaranteeing failure. It also takes energy away from the work your W needs to do in IC - heal herself.

I imagine you feel something similar to a big hole inside you caused by her A. She can't fill it up, just as her A, her spending, her drinking, her passive-aggressive stuff, her defensiveness can't fill up the hole she feels inside her (or whatever metaphor she uses).

You won't heal until you take responsibility for yourself and your own healing.

No more defensiveness or attacks on me for unrelated issues; address conflict in a timely-manner to avoid any need for passive aggressive behavior or longterm resentment. Do not allow conflict on one topic to affect the rest of our life together.

You're trying to prevent pain. A much better approach is to act to maximize effectiveness, or some such wording.

address conflict in a timely-manner

That's a good requirement. I think it's potentially counter-productive to limit it with reasons, because the one you list are not the only negative outcomes of not bringing up issues as soon as they're recognized. Besides, the simpler the requirement, the easier it is to meet.

All the rest of that paragraph is an attempt to control her thinking and feeling. It won't work, and it's not necessary.

Personally, I like this formulation better: Bring up issues as soon as you recognize them. But that's me. You have to word it in a way that's meaningful to you and your W.

*****

Note that my comments are aimed at making R successful. R is not the only potentially good outcome.

*****

I don't understand your negative reaction to your W's comment about her breasts. If they hurt, don't you want to know?

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: 27290   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8739870
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