Hikingout, thank you for your posts. It was insightful to read. I'll do my best to respond.
The best perspective I can give you is a wayward spouse doesn't just go from being the person who just callously cheated to someone who is a phenomenal healthy spouse. Four months is nothing in personal change or growth. Both people upon DDAY are disoriented for a long period of time. You are likely still in the shock phase, or not far from that.
It'll actually be three months on Wednesday, and your point echoes others in that we're still incredibly early. I think it's fair to say I'm still in the shock phase and move around from anger, disgust and depression.
You may not be willing to wait to see what she does. I have no idea if it's appropriate for you to wait or not, so much goes into this answer. Right now, it's natural as the BS to be basing your opinions on the day, the hour, the minute you are in. After all, there is faith in little else, understandably.
I'm willing to wait. Ultimately, I like to imagine a world where we can R. I just have to believe R is possible.
It would be my advice that for most couples letting go of the outcome for some period of time can be truly helpful. You are in a tremendous amount of pain, things may not be clear for some time. Pressuring yourself for a decision based on daily data is not helping towards your clarity.
That's exactly what I keep doing: daily data. It's a rollercoaster of awful. I haven't figured out to just be--to just be in the moment and let time pass. I don't feel pressure to make a decision on D or R though, but I do feel helpless wandering in limbo. And my lack of commitment for R is very much messing with my wife, who feels like she's walking on egg shells because at any moment she thinks I'll D her. I try to explain that just like I'm unwilling to impulsively R, I'm also unwilling to impulsively D; but I also understand why she may feel that way at times because of the negative spirals her comments and actions can sometimes lead us down.
At four months out, I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground. I was filled with shame, guilt, and depression. WS get their dopamine hits from the affair and withdrawal from that is not a controllable reaction outside of trying to get proffessional help, start to read a bit to understand where we are, etc. She has little to offer you that she wasn't offering while she was in the affair itself - take that in.
But, as withdrawal starts to subside, and she has the room to take in what is happening, she may very well reach remorse. You can R with a remorseful spouse if that is your desire. I am not trying to talk you into that, I don't think you should even really be thinking you are trying to R right now. Make a bit of space for yourself and make some requirements for her to work towards.
She has my requirements, which we've discussed for months. I just posted them in this thread yesterday and I'll repost here:
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.
-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.
The sex, yes, of course you want a spouse that wants you. Yes. You are looking for proof of life here. At this stage, H and I were in hyperbonding. It was a manipulation on my part. I didn't understand that then, but I do now. Your wife has spent her entire time in her affair brainwashing herself. That's not going to unwind overnight. On top of that the guilt, shame, and depression doesn't make us exactly feel we are sexually peaking. Instead, we are overthinking continuously. Hard for a woman to let go in that state, but that has nothing to do with your desirability. Looking to her for that at this point is an exercise in self-punishment.
I am not saying it should be that way, or stay that way, but sex drive and depression don't go well hand and hand. I 150% understand why you are taking it as further rejection. I truly have no issue with a BS saying during reconciliation "here is what I want to see in our marriage for me to be happy moving forward" and saying they want more sex out of the new marriage they are creating.
This is a big point of contention for us right now. She feels our sex right now is not a manipulation on her part and she's hurt and offended by any insinuation that it is. Logically, I feel like it must be, though admittedly I wish I were wrong. As *everyone* seems to agree, my wife has a horribly unhealthy relationship with sex and she is painfully unaware of it.
And that's an interesting point on me looking to be desired and finding only depression instead. You're almost certainly right, but I'm not sure how to deal with that.
What I AM saying is you can't create a new marriage with someone who is in early stages of grief, and the other who has a lot of work to do on themselves. If you want a new marriage with her, or even not with her, you are still going to be spending the foreseeable future trying to heal. Same thing for her. If you want to change a marriage you have to change the components. Her component is broken, and no matter how hard she works, it will still be broken for a while. Some folks here believe that's a cop out. I have been there, she has damaged herself significantly with her actions and she will have to repair some of that before you can even start judging whether she can or can't do it.
People keep saying that to me, so I know it must have value; I'm just not sure how to act on it. I'm going to IC in the hopes that I heal from the trauma, but I'm also still living with my wife, the source of my trauma. I've given her what I need from her and let's just be fair and say it hasn't gone exceptionally well. Our MC seems to think she can't do much better right now, so I then just need to deal with it, which is what I'm doing. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to change.
Both of you should go to IC, forget MC until she is remorseful, you are only wasting your time and money and it's often proven to be more detrimental. Repair the parts and then see if those parts can work together to create a working engine. Since you have children you have to do that even if you aren't going to stay married because for the foreseeable future you are going to need to be a working engine for your kids.
That's been the prevailing advice on the forum. The issue is we both like the MC and going does seem to help. We raised with her the idea of one of us keeping her on as an IC and stopping MC, but she strongly advised against that. She said MC and dual IC is the best path.
The one negative to it is it seems my wife often looks at MC as a chance to convince a third party that she's right. Anytime a conflict arises, she will eagerly point out that she wants to discuss it in MC so that the MC can tell her she's right and I'm wrong. It never quite happens that way and it's like my wife is dejected from it. I keep trying to convince her that none of this is about winning a fight against me, but she very clearly can't grasp that. I have no doubt that the next MC session will be her trying to get sympathy on my sex requirement--but ultimately I don't see the point of any of it. Regardless of the MC's opinion on it, my view won't change.
Ultimately, I'm not sure how to handle it. I think if I push to cancel MC, my wife would take it as a sign that I'm leaning toward D and she'd shut down further. Everything is her trying to figure out what I'm going to do so she can protect herself.
In an affair, we are really just trying to "win". We are so inauthentic because we are just chasing validation. We know how to get the validation, and it's all just a show. Trust me, if your wife left and had a relationship with the AP the picture would change 100 percent.
Prior to my affair, into my affair, and for about 6 months after my affair I essentially had sexual dysfunction. You talking about not being able to masturbate...I was completely unable to finish most of the time outside of a few times with my husband after the A. Any excitement/finishing in the A was completely stupid.
That will be controversial especially among some of the men here, but I don't want to hear it. It's how it was. When you numb your bad feelings, you numb your good feelings.
I suspect that is true, but I don't see that it changes anything. If she could muster the inauthentic behavior for AP, it should be a minimum with me. Ideally, it would be authentic, but if she's incapable of that right now, so be it.
Additional post below:
Sorry for the additional post. I had one additional thought. It is it easy for you to believe your wife uses sex transactionally with you, or as a tool for her own power. And (while normal) you have a harder time believing it was the same with the AP?
It’s because of the fervor maybe, but I doubt it was any less transactional or manipulative with him. Not looking to debate, just pointing it out as possibility. Doesn’t make it any better either, I realize, but it might at least begin to sort her mindset.
I think she used the tools that she thought would work to get whatever it was she was seeking?
I do think it was transactional with AP--she never loved him and I have no doubt about that (maybe I'm naive though). My point is he got the better end of the transaction lol. I had years of humiliation and emasculation and he got three months of kinky fun.
I don't understand the view that I should continue feeling rejected by her because calling it out is only going to force her to pretend further. Why is it not possible for her to hear the words coming out of my mouth and adjust her behavior to be a loving wife? I can't relate to the level of broken you're ascribing to her.
I'm not ok feeling worse than I do already eating this shit sandwich, so it means I want her to do everything in her power to make me feel better about it.
[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 7:56 PM, Monday, June 13th]