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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 12:25 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Steven, thank you for the post. All things for me to keep in mind, but at this point I’m going to attempt the course I’ve started. For now, I’m just going to remove the conversations from my life for a bit (outside of MC). I’ll see how it goes and then re-evaluate.

**

As an update on last night, I went to see Paul McCartney with my mom and sister (my mom had connections to get incredible seats and the show was phenomenal).

As we were entering the arena, OBS texted me to let me know she was us at my son’s school event the other day and we didn’t see her. It was her first time seeing my WW and she got triggered. We exchanged a few texts as I was getting to my seat and I felt horribly that she had to deal with that (I wouldn’t have gone to it had I known it wasn’t only for my son’s grade).

Then I got to the seats and I was sitting next to Paul Rudd and Bobby Canavale (Whoopi Goldberg right in front of us) and they were both awesome. Paul was kind enough to let me get a picture so I could tell my son I knew Antman. I shared the photo around, including to my WW (in the interest of transparency, I also wanted to let her know OBS reached out to me and we exchanged a few texts).

I quickly forgot about the affair and I was living in the moment—really happy at my decision to try to separate emotionally. I felt free and just could enjoy the concert.

Interestingly, my WW sent me a text 30-40 minutes in—a provocative photo of her in the bath, wishing I was there. I didn’t respond and just went back to enjoying the concert.

At first I was a bit disappointed she sent it—it felt like a combination of her wanting to get my attention back through sex and remind me of her when I was having fun without her. And I’m sure those were major factors.

But I also thought about it from her perspective and how scared and alone she feels right now. She doesn’t know what to do or how to act. It could have been her genuine attempt to connect and make me feel loved.

Ultimately, I think distancing myself from her emotions is going to be exactly the thing she needs right now—I just hope she can find her feet.

Anyway, the concert was incredible. During "Let It Be" my mother leaned in and gave me a big long hug. I almost cried. It was a memorable moment.

Springsteen also showed up to do a Glory Days duet—the whole concert was exactly what I needed to clear my head a bit. I know I need to keep doing things without my WW; I just want to do it in a way that she doesn’t take it as me being passive aggressive to her, as that is very much not my intention. I know I can’t control how she interprets anything though.

So MC is shortly and as always, there won’t be any shortage of things to discuss.

Thank you again for all the recent posts—I really appreciate all the support. I thought of you guys a bit last night—it was my first time being really happy since DDay and I owe a lot of it to this great community (even the ones of you who have been mean to me lol :P).

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 12:28 PM, Friday, June 17th]

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 8740590
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 1:40 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Your concert sounded amazing!!

You can see the value of becoming a bit more independent. It’s not five out of spite but more fir self preservation.

I hope your spouse gets that. If not, then as you stated, you cannot control how she perceives things.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12110   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8740599
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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 1:42 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Glad you were able to disconnect (somewhat) and have a memorable time.

She doesn’t know what to do or how to act. It could have been her genuine attempt to connect and make me feel loved.

Ultimately, I think distancing myself from her emotions is going to be exactly the thing she needs right now—I just hope she can find her feet.

Honestly this is why I’m advocating for a real separation with no MC while you each work on yourselves. In doing so she won’t have to wonder if she should try to connect with you or send you provocative communications or make moves in a sexual or intimate way. It will be off the table for a set amount of time with a targeted checkpoint to decide if you are each ready to try and truly start building something new.

Just my perspective. Keep it in your back pocket and bring it out if and when you think you could be ready to approach things differently.

Good luck in MC.

[This message edited by Stevesn at 1:43 PM, Friday, June 17th]

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3410   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8740600
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 3:34 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

What an amazing event! Wow. And so happy for you that you had a nice night.

You asked how you survive the time while waiting for life to get figured out, and it's just like this: one day, one moment, one crisis, one joy at a time. I'm glad you had some of the joy. You deserve it. And you will survive.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5555   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8740676
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 6:28 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

We had an intense MC session, but we both got a lot of our feelings off our chest. I went over the various recent issues and we discussed our different view points on them. The MC was again fairly hard on my WW for her interpretations of events and my behavior--not being dismissive of her, but just asking her to try harder to see my perspective. Ultimately, the MC felt that while my wife can't be expected to be perfect, she was doing a lot of harm in rebuilding trust and that is hurting any future marriage.

I gave my temporary solution, which was to separate from engaging with my wife's emotional issues/spirals--I explained that my engagement wasn't helping her and it was hurting me. I recognized I can't fix her or even help her and I need to step back for my own sake. My bottom-line was that I needed my wife to focus on her IC sessions and bring her issues there instead of to me. The MC agreed.

For my WW, she viewed my decision to detach on her issues as a lack of compassion from me, so I explained very clearly why it was so important to me and that I would be rooting hard for her to make progress on her issues with her IC from the sidelines--that I couldn't be the one to help her right now. My WW came around to understanding (I think).

I also expressed that I often felt uncomfortable in situations with my wife outside of our house (our vacations, dinners and certainly school events). I made it clear that I needed to at least temporarily cut back on those and instead do some of those things without her (like the concert last night). Both the MC and my WW understood and agreed. I understand we will still be in already committed situations together, but it's important for me to feel like my WW won't be punitive or passive aggressive if her instinct is that I'm slighting her.

I need to be able to disengage entirely from her deep-seated emotional issues and have freedom to live my life without her in social situations at times--and that she should feel comfortable exploring her own self and hobbies, etc.

I felt like it was an important session and the MC had some good feedback for my WW. I left a little concerned because I wasn't sure how my WW would react--there were times when it was clear the MC heard both our sides and turned her critical attention to my WW. That happens almost exclusively, and I know my wife can sometimes feel judged and attacked, so I was worried the session was less productive than I thought. As my wife admits, I'm better at verbalizing my thoughts and constructing arguments than she is, so I know at times she feels overwhelmed going head-to-head with me in disagreements--so sometimes when we leave a session she'll think I "won" because of the gap in our communication skills, not based on the merit of what actually happened.

But we talked on the car ride home a bit and I was pleasantly surprised at my wife's framing. She told me that she needed to stop trying to control the outcome (I'm getting so sick of hearing that phrase lol). She is so fearful that I'm going to leave her that her anxiety is overwhelming her often. She recognizes that she needs to let go and understand she has no control of that--and she wants to do that. She wants to find her own identity so she can feel comfortable with her life regardless of if I leave or try to R.

She also wants to stop relying on me to help her deal with emotions she keeps digging up. She wants to use her IC and her mom and sister as sounding boards. We discussed that a bit and she agreed she'd be careful in what she shares with her family to ensure she protects our relationship.

I thought those were all positive things to hear. I don't think she understands the road she has in front of her, but I can't say that's unwilling to walk it. She's doing therapy 3x a week and as the MC said to her: "It's clear to me that you want to change and are just struggling with how to do it."

Overall, I feel good right now. I'm hopeful we can carry these good vibes through the weekend and into her work trip next week where we'll get some built-in space from each other.

Lastly, I'm starting to see what I'm going to need to do differently in any future relationship with her, should we manage to try to R. I feel like the last three months have given me a blue print to the way her brain works. I don't know that my actions were wrong before, but I certainly didn't do myself any favors. With her self-esteem clearly so low, there are so many more easy ways to help make her feel comfortable and appreciated. I know I can do better at providing her with the validation she was looking for outside the marriage. And even if we don't work out, that's an obvious learning moment for me in any future relationship I have.

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 8740738
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Never2late ( member #79079) posted at 7:33 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Doc, that actually sounds like a positive update.

posts: 56   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8740746
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 8:05 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Doc, that actually sounds like a positive update.

Wait five minutes. laugh

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 8740755
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clouds777 ( member #72442) posted at 8:12 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

It does sound like you're learning a lot. We all learn the most by doing things wrong the first time. Lol.

However, hold firmly to your decision NO MATTER WHAT SHE DOES. If she lashes out or tries to get your attention or bait you into lose lose conversions, ignore. Just say no thank you and do not engage. Every time. Don't respond d, don't participate, dont have pity. It's easy for her to agree now, but let's see what she does when you actually do what you say you're going to do. Don't give in and be her support or you will just continue spinning in circles. You know this from experience now. It is TRULY her time to sink or swim, and you can't help her.

I'm kind of shocked that she says she will get support from her mom and sister though. That doesn't seek like it would help at all.

posts: 271   ·   registered: Jan. 1st, 2020
id 8740756
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:38 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

I'm kind of shocked that she says she will get support from her mom and sister though. That doesn't seek like it would help at all.

I’m cautiously optimistic on that; especially with her sister, who understanding my WW’s issues with seeing outside herself at times. The biggest issue has been my WW’s unwillingness to open up about her deep issues and fears—if she does, I think her sister will be a calming, helpful influence. Her mom is trying her best, but she’s less equipped and very angry right now.

My WW only wants to rely on them if she’s had a particularly rough or revealing IC session and needs a sounding board. Her focus is now on IC—*everyone* agrees on that.

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 8740769
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 10:32 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

Wait five minutes.


laugh laugh laugh

I like the path you are on, Dr. There will be missteps (change isn't completely linear), but when you get more comfortable in your new thinking and responses, you'll simply regroup and get back with the plan (trying not to react or fix her, etc.). Some therapists like the "When your dance moves change, hers will HAVE TO change as well" analogy, but it's fitting here. If you keep practicing your new dance moves, she'll be forced to 'dance a healthier dance' as well.

Keep on keeping on!

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5555   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8740774
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 11:58 AM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

One rather easy thing your wife could do is resume posting on her own thread so she can get advice that will actually help her… instead of using SI merely as a tool for getting intel about your thoughts and the advice you’re getting.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 781   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8740806
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3peatkid ( new member #79235) posted at 12:40 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

What a great update doc. The concert + MC sesh sounds like things are moving in a good direction for you. I hope these good vibes carry on !

posts: 2   ·   registered: Aug. 4th, 2021
id 8740808
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 7:14 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

THIS

One rather easy thing your wife could do is resume posting on her own thread so she can get advice that will actually help her… instead of using SI merely as a tool for getting intel about your thoughts and the advice you’re getting.

posts: 4386   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8740858
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 9:12 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

One rather easy thing your wife could do is resume posting on her own thread so she can get advice that will actually help her… instead of using SI merely as a tool for getting intel about your thoughts and the advice you’re getting.

No chance of that in the near future; she is going cold turkey from the site for now. And considering the events of the last week, it’s hard for me to argue it’s not for the best. She really couldn’t handle reading the comments—and her getting upset over this site became a major point of conflict.

I need to lower the temperature in the room and give her the space to work on herself, so no more advice from me on how she can fix herself—she’s beyond my abilities to fix.

That said, I’ve adopted a much more positive attitude and I’m removing those "how are you feeling?" conversations that terrified me. I’m spending more time with kids and family, and my time spent with my WW has been all positive the last few days.

Of course, the critical issue I recognize is that I have no way of knowing her progress without digging in again, but I think it’s safe to say I can give it a rest for a few weeks. I’m also hoping this can last for a bit so our MC session isn’t just going over all the crazy shit from the last week. Even in IC now, I can truly focus entirely on me.

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 8740863
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 9:20 PM on Saturday, June 18th, 2022

She couldn’t handle the comments she received on the WW side or reading the comments in your thread?

If the former, then if the site isn’t helping her, she should take a break. But if the latter, she needs to just not read your threads and focus on getting advice from other people who walked in her shoes.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 781   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8740864
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 12:16 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Of course, the critical issue I recognize is that I have no way of knowing her progress without digging in again

True. But, you can also learn a fair amount by watching her actions from a distance.

If I was to focus on the negatives, the two things that stand out are (1) her reaction to this site, and (2) the almost immediate pleasantness that your wife has had with you(and thus you with her) as soon as you backed off the issues at hand. It screams conflict avoidance, and as long as you 'drop the temperature', she responds better. From the outside looking in, that seems more like a person who wants to get back into their comfort zone ASAP.

But as you already know, you can't/shouldn't just focus on the negatives. It's the whole package that needs to be viewed and judged, and only time is going to give you those answers. I don't think that you will need too much time to see what direction that she is heading.....what's most important is if she takes the right paths on her own.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4029   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8740890
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:51 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

She couldn’t handle the comments she received on the WW side or reading the comments in your thread?

If the former, then if the site isn’t helping her, she should take a break. But if the latter, she needs to just not read your threads and focus on getting advice from other people who walked in her shoes.

Her issues were specific to my thread; of course logically she should just stay out of it and keep doing her own. She wasn’t able to do that though—so she’s just writing off the entire thing now. I suspect at some point she’ll be back to her thread, but she needs time away.

Things have been going well. We have talked a bit here and there and I’ve been ready to bail at the first sign of trouble. But she’s been largely fine and rational. I do see some progress in her thinking on various topics, but I recognize that’s because she’s largely volunteering it rather than me pulling it out.

I’ll be going to a play next Thursday without her and I got the sense her instinct was to get upset, but she didn’t. Instead she took her IC’s advice and is looking for hobbies and activities of her own—she’s thinking of going to an art class. She’s also looking to take the kids to see her parents sooner than August.

I’m hoping to make it through Father’s Day without incident, then she leaves on her work trip early tomorrow 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 8740900
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 2:32 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

The question is whether your WW has developed an understanding of healthy boundaries before embarking on any new outside hobbies snd activities.

It’s not sufficient for her to go to an art class, for example, find herself in a situation where a man is flirting with her, she starts going down that path, then suddenly realizes she shouldn’t because having another affair would be too painful for her.

Proper behavior would be through doing the work she recognizes proper boundaries up front, and not engage in that unhealthy behavior, not because of potentially negative consequences for her, but because she’s become a healthy person with strong boundaries.

There’s a big difference between the two, snd there’s no way your WW is even close to being the latter.

posts: 442   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8740902
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sundance ( member #72129) posted at 3:10 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

That said, I’ve adopted a much more positive attitude and I’m removing those "how are you feeling?" conversations that terrified me. I’m spending more time with kids and family, and my time spent with my WW has been all positive the last few days.

this is so encouraging, and makes me so happy to read! good for you, drstrangelove.

happy father's day! i hope you have a pleasant day with your family!

Rusty: You scared?
Linus: You suicidal?
Rusty: Only in the morning.

posts: 127   ·   registered: Nov. 21st, 2019   ·   location: USA
id 8740905
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 3:45 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

That was the advice of the MC--if the priority is our marriage, I can't be "intimate" with a third party in talking about the affair or my current feelings. I think that's fair. I challenged myself to ask why I really reached out to OBS. I *think* it was because I felt so alone. I really wanted to know if she felt the same--I was looking to know what her life had been like the last several weeks as I felt like I could relate to her better than anyone.

What I should have done was walked into the other room and told my wife I had an urge to text OBS and then discussed that urge with her. So that's on me and I can do better.


Agreed. Nor should you be the sounding board for OBS. So then, why did this happen?

As we were entering the arena, OBS texted me to let me know she was us at my son’s school event the other day and we didn’t see her. It was her first time seeing my WW and she got triggered. We exchanged a few texts as I was getting to my seat and I felt horribly that she had to deal with that (I wouldn’t have gone to it had I known it wasn’t only for my son’s grade).


You are still acting as the emotional support for a woman who actively propositioned you, after conceding that such a connection was inappropriate and needs to stop. And yes, I'm aware that you told your wife about the conversation. If your WW breaks another agreement with you, will telling you she did it make the transgression ok?

Next time the OBS texts, respond that as long as you are considering reconciliation with your wife, you cannot speak with her other than to confirm past factual details of the affair. If she can't respect that limitation, stop answering her texts at all.

WW/BW

posts: 2736   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8740907
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