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Personal hell

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 tornapart2010 (original poster new member #82337) posted at 7:50 AM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I've probably written and re-written the start to this post 10 times. Sorry if it's not particularly well written but im not in the best of places right now.

Married for 10 years. She is... was my everything. The only person that i've ever met that I have ever wanted to spend my life with. I wasn't the perfect husband... I know this. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve and tend to bury my emotions, but I was fighting that. I had trouble with some aspects of intimacy that related to past trauma... but I was trying to be a better man! I love my family so much. Rightly or wrongly I've linked a lot of my happiness and self worth to my family unit.

COVID restrictions were hard on her. Right before it hit she had left a job under bad circumstances that hurt her greatly (there was some bullying and general nastiness involved) and she found herself stuck at home and unable to financially contribute. I was still in work and was able to keep us afloat financically but her self esteem was hit hard despite me giving what assurances and support that I could. When the restricitions were eased she started to get involved with a local youth organisation. I was all for it! It played to her strengths, it was something that she sincerely loved and was good at and so I threw all of my support behind her! She got more involved and started going on organised weekends away with the kids... and this is where everything felt like it went to hell


I've always pointed to that first weekend away as when everything changed. She came home afterward and she was distant, standoffish. I asked what was up and she assured me that nothing was the matter so I left it. She started going on nights out with the other guys involved in the org and again I thought great, no problem, so happy she's making new friends! The nights out became more frequent and the distance between us felt like it grew. It got to the point where I broke down, told her that it felt like she was drifting away. Even specifically told her that it felt like everything had changed after that first weekend away. She told me that nothing had changed. I was breaking my heart to her and she said reassuring words, but was cold about it? Like it annoyed her to be having the conversation.

She disengaged more and more - not just from me but from other things. It was at the point where I was the only one in work, while also being responsible for all household chores and anything else that, frankly, she didn't see as a fun thing to do.
The weekends away continued and so did the nights out with her starting to arrive back home later in the AM. I asked myself if she was cheating and I utterly hated myself for even having that thought. My general mood changed - I became short tempered with our son at times. I pathetically craved the few times that she showed me affection.

Fast foward to January and the night before our son's birthday party (which was happening before lunch time next day). She announced her intention to go out on the night before the event and I made the point that being out 'till 3-4am in the morning wasn't exactly a good idea given that we had a lot to do. She agreed, acted like I was nagging but still agreed and said she'd be home at a reasonable time. I wake up 5:30am next morning and she isn't home. I check for a text message - nothing. I called her, a couple of times and she eventually answered. I ask her if everything is ok, maybe a bit more frantic that I should have been but I was worred, and she blows me off. Tells me that that she was having trouble getting a taxi so she's sitting in someones house waiting for one, and then she hangs up on me (she later claimed that I hung up on her). Hours pass, she eventually gets home and I, probably wrongly, blow my lid at her. I tell her that if she was struggling to get home then it would have taken nothing at all to drop me a quick text message so that I wouldn't worry. She agrees, she nods and smiles but I can tell it's just that y'know? Saying the right thing just to end the conversation. She takes herself off to bed for a few hours and I attend to the usual morning chores to get them out of the way before the party prep. Eventualy she levers her arse out of bed and proceeds to sit in her usual smoking spot, glued to her phone. After a time we started getting things ready for the party, loading cars and the like, and I happen to walk past kitchen bench and notice that she's left her phone there, unlocked. It was a surreal moment, telling myself that I was an awful person while my hand reached out towards the phone, swiped down to see notifications and saw that first whatsapp message. Without going into too much detail it was very VERY obvious what had been going on and where she had been that night.

At this point it's a blur. It was like temporary insanity. I marched into the other room and slammed my fist down on the table and shouted 'who the f*** is [name]'? She froze, she tried to shrug it off, she denied, she said some really clichéd things (even had the gall to be offended when my response to 'I didn't mean it to happen' was 'what, did you trip and fall on it?'). Her Dad was there and heard everything. I walked out of the house and I kept walking... I dont think that I had a thought in my head other than 'get far away from this'. I missed my son's birthday party, something that i'm deeply ashamed of, but how the hell could I go and plaster a smile on my face after what I had just found? I was utterly destroyed.
My father-in-law kept things going for the sake of my son and the party still happened, though it goes without saying that my boy was upset that im not there. FIL confronts my wife. My mother-in-law confronts my wife. They both tear her a new one.
Anyway, fast forward a bit - I end up home after she begs me to come back. I apologise to my son and beg for his forgiveness, not just for the party but for all the times that I had been short with him recently. I feel like the complete arsehole.

We talk, she begs, we cry. She admits that this other person is someone from the youth org (remember that first weekend away that I mentioned earlier?). I lay out the terms for me to even consider moving forward one of which is she can have absolutely nothing to do with this person and never be voluntarily in a position where she would interact with him - which would mean giving up the org. She goes to bed and I eventually pass out on the couch. The next morning we talk again and she's hesitating about agreeing to my terms because she doesn't want to give up the org. I lose my cool, why should it even be a hard decision? How dare she put this other thing above our marriage? She rings her parents begging and sobbing asking them what she should do and her mother again tears her a new one. Tells her that I should throw everything of hers out of the front door and kick her out. I somehow end up in the car with her father and he's trying to keep me from having a full blown meltdown (he is one of my favourite people!) He takes me home, I walk in and she looks crushed. She tells me that she agrees to my terms and wants us to try to move forward. I say that I appreciate that it's going to be hard for her to give up the youth org but it's not a situation of my making right? I tell her that she needs to appreciate that the process of healing is likely going to span years and she says that she understands this.

The next few weeks are hard, I can tell she doesn't know what to say or do which I can somewhat understand? Where is the manual for this stuff? I blow at least once, how the could she do this etc? and we keep talking it out. However, the entire time she's moping around, shoulders sloped, because she can longer work with the kids. I can empathise with this to an extent y'know, I don't like to see her in pain but still... a bit of perspective please? She's given up something that she did for less than two years whereas i've had my entired worldview shattered. It's hardly comparable!

So that was the start of this year. Things did feel like they got better, if only a little. I could never shake the feeling that she is only half-engaged with the relationship and that there was some very obvious general resentment on her part about what she had had to give up. I reiterated several times that while I empathised about the fact that she had to give up something that she very much loved, it was a condition that she agreed to in order to move forward with our relationship. She argued that I should be able to seperate her working with the kids from the fact that this person would be involved and I shot that down. I asked her if the situation was reversed did she really think that she would be able to accept my continued interaction with the person that I had cheated with? She started to say she would be able to - I shot that down as well.
At more positive times we talked about building something new, hopefully something better and I told her what I needed to get there. I told her that I need to be made to feel safe, secure, wanted... things that you never think that you'd have to say out loud? We go on trips away together. Once outside a train station she grabs a hold of me and kisses me and in that moment its bliss.

She gets a new job in the care sector. It's a perfect fit for her however it's a lot of hours per week and our son struggles with seeing her less - but as it gives her fulfilment we work with it.

I'm sure that some of you are thinking that this guy is a spineless dick. Why on earth did he not just kick her out and have done with it? Why did he swallow so many spoonfulls of s***? Well, beyond my feelings for my wife there is my son. I have a little boy who is the most sweet, kind, sensitive and pure soul that you can imagine. At times i've thought about what it would be like to have the 'parents are splitting up' conversation with him and I get a picture of his little face in my head, of what it would do to him and my mind just recoils from it. When I found out what was going on (D-day is what you call it right?) the thought of what it would do to me little boy if we split up was very much a part of why I went back so quickly. Somebody will likely tell me why that's wrong and unhealthy but there you go.

Last week she seemed down again and even more disengaged than usual and I ask her what's wrong. You guessed it, she's down about having had to give up working with the kids again. I try to empathise but I've had enough. The truncated version of events is that I get emotional, angry even, ask how the we are ever going to move on if she is always going to have one foot in the past? Also, I don't need regular indirect reminders of this other persons existence!

We go back and forth, there's tears and then she drops the bombshell - the words 'I don't think that I want this anymore'. I lost my head a little, called her self absorbed, selfish asked how the f could she keep doing things like this to someone she claims to love?

This is where I am now. I talked about the situation with my FIL and he worries about his grandson and thinks that we should try to keep things going, basicaly a sham marriage, until we both believe that our son is emotionally stable enough to handle the situation. Part of me sees the sense in this (for my son's sake), the very angry part of me wants to very publicly blow the lid off of this entire situation (but I know that would hurt my boy). I've pulled no punches and told her exactly what she has done to me but now it feels like im at the bottom of this pit that she's dug for me... she says that she's sad that im being cold towards her? What did she expect?

I'm sitting alone at home writing this. I feel hollowed out. My self esteem and sense of worth is so low as to barely be worth mentioning. I'm flip-flopping between extreme sadness, anger and the need to make sure that my son never gets hurt by this again. I'm haunted by the memory of the person that I spent so many years with and would give anything to have that person back. I'm absolutely sure that I could have been better, done more as a husband... but i'm not yet so broken as to think that any of that justifies what she did.

How do people put one foot in front of the other in situations like this? How do people who cheat on those that they claim to love not realise what a perfectly constructed hell that they create for them?

The worst part? I still sincerely love my wife
F*** me right?

posts: 3   ·   registered: Nov. 8th, 2022
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 9:05 AM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I read the entire post and understand where you are. The pain you are in right now is horrific. We have all been there.

The good news is that you will heal and survive this. However the healing process is slow and oftentimes it is frustrating. Just know that you are responsible for healing yourself as much as your cheating spouse is responsible

I strongly suggest that you consider counseling for yourself. Not marriage counseling as you are not ready for that. But find a counselor who can support you and help you make decisions about your marriage.

Now regarding your wife. I am hoping you can reconcile and stay happily married. Yes you will need to rebuild your marriage especially after it has been hit with infidelity. It can be done as long as both parties are 100% invested in saving the marriage.

Here is the sticking point. Your wife is NOT upset about having to leave the organization as much as having to leave the guy she had the affair with. The fact that she keeps mentioning it shows she doesn’t get it and is still trying to get her own way to meet her SELFISH needs.

She’s still emotionally connected to the other man (OM).

That’s not a good sign.

My H was the same way after dday1. Trying to get me to "understand" so he could still have contact with the OW (other woman).

It seems as though your wife is very sad about losing the OM — not for the trauma and pain she caused you.

There are some good books and podcasts to help you. But right now your wife needs to get her head out of the sand and start doing some thing towards healing you and the marriage etc.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12792   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 1:35 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Good morning, welcome to SI, the best club no one wants to join.

Gently, it doesn't seem as though your wife is remorseful, she should be doing everything possible to repair the damage she has done to your marriage. It also sounds like she is pining for her affair partner as well. Frankly, I wouldn't trust a word out of her mouth right now.

How do you know the affair ended? If they are in close proximity, it's possible the affair went underground. Do you know who the affair partner is? Is he married? If so, his wife deserves to know her husband is a lying POS.

My husband had an affair with a co-worker who lived across the country. He traveled a great deal for work, they had an online affair for probably 2 years and met up once in a hotel. Just prior to their second rendezvous, I discovered the affair. He threw her under the bus in a nanosecond and never looked back.

Needless to say, my husband could never travel to her site again. I insisted he find another job, and he did, took several months but actually found a better job with little traveling. It was very painful for him as he had been with that company 25 years, but he did what I needed him to do. My WH was also involved in karate for 37 years at that point, his passion since he was a young boy. He ran his own dojo part-time, I insisted he give it up, he did so willingly, a sign of true remorse to focus on the marriage and the family. He gave me passwords to everything, including his work emails and voicemails. He was accountable for his whereabouts at all times. He stopped socializing on the job, and kept interactions with women strictly professional. Never again in a meeting with a woman one-on-one. Put a tracker on his phone so I would know where he was at all times. A bit extreme? Yes, but he understood it was what I needed to feel safe.

Please seek out counseling for yourself. We have all walked in your shoes and understand the raw emotions of rage and anger. The person who was supposed to have our backs stabbed it repeatedly.

Please don't sweep her actions under the rug and never ever accept blame for her cheating. She owns this mess.

I'm sure others will be along shortly. Post as often as you need to.

posts: 11668   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 2:18 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Your story really breaks my heart, it feels like what might be coming my way if I’m unlucky. Your wife doesn’t seem to have any sense of the gravity of what she’s done. I see similar tendencies in my WW, which then drives them to think and act like a victim. Like a gambling addict who secretly gambled away a fortune and then complains about not having a nice car. It’s soul sucking, be careful.

posts: 119   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 3:29 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

So sorry you are here torn. Infidelity is horrendous, painful and destructive.

Couple of thoughts:

Your negative self talk ("I know I wasn't perfect," "I probably shouldn't have done that," doesn't serve you or the situation right now. Your self esteem has taken a massive hit and in that state, we tend to make it worse by berating ourselves. It's a vicious cycle. The thing is, you did not, in any way, cause your wife to stray. Her choice. Your reaction to it was perfectly normal and reasonable. You are not the bad guy here. Work on improving your self talk. Take a few minutes every day and remind yourself of your good qualities, your strengths and whatever you accomplished that day. Spending time with people who love you can also help. Do so.

Gently, your wife is not pining for the org. She's pining for her affair partner. I can almost guarantee that. That's why she values her time there above her marriage.

It's very (sadly!) common for affairs to go deeper underground when discovered. There is a good chance she has continued contact with him. Either way (contact or no), she is missing him. In that state, you aren't much to her except an annoyance,

Believe who she is right now. She emotionally and sexually left you. She's telling you she doesn't want to be there anymore. Believe her. This is how she feels.

My suggestion would be to give her what she wants. She wants the freedom to pursue her AP, let her go. You cannot tolerate staying married to someone who abuses you in this way and has made it clear in actions that she is not interested in your marriage anymore. You simply can't. Ask her to move out. If that's not an option, separate bedrooms and you go grey rock. Focus on your mental health and your son's well being. Lean into family and friends. Give her the rope she is asking for. Odds are very high she'll hang herself with it, one way or the other.

posts: 279   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 3:48 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Your Son

I suspect your son knows more than you think he does, and I suspect he's hurting. I, too, don't see remorse in your W, as you describe her, especially if she's serious about splitting. Here's the thing though:

Your son will never be ready for a D. It will be a terrible blow whenever it comes.

And avoiding a D that should come won't help much - in that case, your son will have to deal with day-to-day tensions and regular blow-ups that will inevitably come.

IOW, if D is in the cards for you, the earlier it comes, the better for your son.

You

What you say about yourself - loving your W, focused on the A and your M and your future, not knowing what to do, low self-esteem, flip-flopping between grief and anger - is normal. No schools prepares us to be betrayed., and being betrayed is traumatic. Being traumatized, above all, hurts. And it truly disorients the victim.

Te normality of your feelings and thoughts really do mean you are likely to heal. Most of us have healed. Healing oneself is a human ability. You're human. You can have faith in yourself to heal.

It's not easy; it's just doable. Many of us use ICs to help us process the feelings and the constant bombardment from conflicting thoughts that keep us disoriented. A good IC can help. A good clergy-person or friend can help. But you have to find someone good.

IMO, MIL/FIL are reliable allies for you only up to a point. They have ties to your W that they simply can't have with you. My reco is to find your own person - even an IC recommended by MIL/FIL can be OK, because they are required to keep what you say to themselves.

Your W

I have no idea what's going on with her, but I bet the following is true:
She didn't cheat because of issues with you or your M.
She cheated because of her own issues.
It's not you.
It's her.

IMO, all WSes need a good IC to get help changing themselves from cheaters to good partners. But they can make that change only if they want to and if they are willing to do the work.

AT this point, you don't see that in her - all you see is a desire not to D. Only time will provide the evidence you need to make a good guess about her ability to R.

Reconciliation

You have to heal yourself. Only you know the exact pain points inside you. Only you know what healing you need and want. Your healing is your task.

The same goes for your W - she has to heal herself.

In R, you give emotional support to each other, but it always comes down to: you heal you; your WS heals your WS; together you heal your M - but that requires healing yourselves.

What to do

My reco is to give yourself time to make the best decision you can. Consider all your options - D, R, sticking for your son, sticking for financial reasons, sticking to gather more data....

Whatever you do, though, my reco is to do it mindfully. Understand your reasons. If you choose something out of fear, work on the fear and make a new choice when you got the fear managed.

You can't control your W. You can't control your M. You can control yourself and your actions.

And if you choose one resolution and find it's not working out as you expected, you can usually change what you're doing.

For what to look for in your W, since you still love her, check out https://survivinginfidelity.com/topics/324250/things-that-every-ws-needs-to-know/.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 3:53 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

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: 27872   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 3:59 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I'm sorry you find yourself here. The club nobody wants to join. I can tell you are in a great deal of pain.

First advice is to take care of yourself. Hydrate. Exercise as much as you can. Remember to eat. Stay off the booze.

Second advice. You're barely 9 or so months from Dday. Your wildly fluctuating emotion, your sense that you are flailing about without direction, that's all normal. It's so normal, it has a nickname: "The Roller Coaster." In your case, based on what you describe, your WW has not shown any real remorse nor empathy, and in fact she has done things that suggest she herself may be questioning her commitment to the marriage. I point this out because you will likely be experiencing the roller coaster for some time.

By the way, that feeling of "I love my wife", you should examine that. Every newly minted BH feels that for a time. Part of the process of taking one step at a time is figuring out that the wife you think you love doesn't exist in real life. She's a figment of your imagination. The real life wife is a liar and a sneak who will break her wedding vows for shitty reasons revolving around a shallow desire for some sort of affirmation. Her affair is utterly cliche in that regard, rather sad and tawdry. How can you even like a person who would betray her husband and son in this way, much less love her?

Which leads me to my third point. Go to The Healing Library on this site and read about The 180. Try to implement this into your life. The 180 is NOT a punishment for your WW. It is a tool to give yourself some psychological space, so you can try to find your heart's truth. Along with that, you might seek individual counseling.

Fourth: stay away from marital counseling. It cannot possibly do any good given where your WW's head is at right now. There is a book that is considered the Bible of affair recovery: "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair." It's by Linda MacDonald. It's not a long book. It is intended mainly as a guide book for the cheater, but it's helpful for the betrayed to read it, because it can provide you with a template of what a truly remorseful WW would look and act like. It can let you figure out whether your WW has empathy and/or remorse.

Finally, keep in mind that the main goal of this site is to help you get yourself out of infidelity. For most BH's, the choice is really binary at some point: divorce, or remain married. Remaining unhappily married to a cheater who has little or no remorse nor empathy is not a viable option. Essentially, you would be modeling for your son an example of marriage that is unhealthy for him.

To that end, I would strongly suggest you pay for an hour of time with a good divorce lawyer. This is not to file a divorce. Rather, this is simply to get a clear understanding of what divorce would look like for you, both during and after the process. Information is your ally. You can't make informed choices without fully understanding those choices. I leave it to you to decide whether you tell your WW that you are seeking legal advice, but in general I think the best route for a newly minted BH is radical honesty. There's no gambit nor "gotcha" she could obtain by herself running out and getting a lawyer. Divorce in most states is pretty cut and dried.

One more thing: If the AP is married, you should quietly, on your own, without first telling your WW, reach out to his wife (the OBW), introduce yourself, and inform her of what you know. Ask her what she knows. There have been a ton of posters here who have found the OBW to be a valuable ally and sounding board as they go through this awful process.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:09 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

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LegsWideShut ( member #80302) posted at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I tried the sham of a marriage route myself. Did not last long, though I did figure out after she moved back out that she was simply waiting for the AP to get an apartment.
In the short term if its to help get the son ready to know mom and dad are not going to live together, thats up to you totally. Our son was near 2, and I tried to deal with that sham marriage.I barely held on during the short time she was back in my house. As much as I love my son, it was hell, every time she opened her mouth I thought "Is there any way she'd keep that thing shut?" or I simply snapped at her. Since she was just there for a temporary roof over her head, asking her to get out didnt bother her at all.
I dont think I had a moment when I wasn't angry with her in there. When she was out, I felt alright, the moment she returned I became my usual Pepto-Bismalaholic.

So even if you had a sham marriage she would still be longing for her AP, and most likely still having their time together, which would make things harder for you to some degree.

posts: 90   ·   registered: May. 9th, 2022   ·   location: New England
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 6:10 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

First of all:
This is your marriage, not your FIL or MIL marriage. You do what you think is best for YOUR marriage. There is never a "good" time to tell kids. Doesn’t matter if your son is 4 or 14 it will always impact him. I guess we can all agree that in an IDEAL world it’s best for a child to grow up in a loving and respectful environment as close to the "norm" of his society, and for us that’s a mom-and-dad environment. However, if you two are at loggerheads and there is more distrust and disrespect between you and his mom… its no longer a "respectful" environment. The often quoted "it’s better to be from a broken family than be in a broken family" holds true. What research strongly supports is that kids from parents that are consistent in their parenting, fair and respectful are the ones that thrive – whether said parents are married or single not the big issue. It’s how you act, not the person you sleep with.

Second: At least twice in your post you proclaim your love for your wife and how she’s your everything and all that… Friend – do you really think that emotion is unique to you? Do you think the people that post here don’t all love their cheating spouse? Love isn’t enough… its an emotion that only thrives in a healthy way if it goes both ways. I challenge you to define what you want in a marriage. If the thought of losing your wife is so hard – if that is the absolute wort thing that can happen – well… the solution is easy…
If you truly think not having your wife is the end of the world, then simply let her have her days in the org and her nights with her lover.
There! Everyone some-sort of happy. You are happy that you have your "wife" and a "marriage", she happy that she has her lover.
Friend – if that doesn’t sound too good then really rethink how far your "love" should steer you.

It’s sort-of like if your dream home caught fire. You could mourn the house while it burned but it would still burn. You could try sitting in your favorite couch pretending the flames aren’t there but that isn’t going to last. Your "love" for your wife and your kid are both great reasons to try to reconcile, but reconciliation does NOT mean learn to live with an ongoing affair.

I also want to point out that to-date you have been trying to do something that seldom works: Controlling your wife and telling her how to act, and then you respond to her actions. What I suggest will turn that around: You only control what you can control, and that is YOU. If she wants this marriage, then it’s on her to act accordingly. If she doesn’t… well… its better to know NOW than maybe after the next kid or the bigger house or whatever.

Our collective wisdom here on SI supports that infidelity is fantasy.
Your wife has this fantasy about the good she’s doing and her role in the youth org. She has this fantasy about OM. When the affair was stopped, she’s "sacrificing" herself for the good of the pure white-knight lover. Alas – our love is not meant to be and all that. In another life we would ride into the sunset, but the mean ogre and my family are keeping me locked in this tower.
BREAK THAT FANTASY!

What breaks fantasy? Reality.

Make her fantasy a reality and suddenly, she sees the brown spots in the White Knights armor. The pony becomes a donkey. The tower safety rather than prison.

My suggestion is this. Tell your wife something along these lines:

"Wife. I love you and would be willing to do a lot to make this marriage work. I think our child deserves that we try, but I also realize we can’t raise him in a toxic environment with no respect and loving. I have had an epiphany. I have realized that even though I hate the thought of losing you that I did so the moment you decided to have an affair. I have also realized that although I fear and hate the thought of not having you then even worse is the knowledge that I am – at best – SHARING you. I do not share my wife.

You are totally free to go back to the Youth Org despite knowing that I associate it with your infidelity. You are totally free to be with your lover. You can openly date him – don’t need to hide behind YC activities. You can move in with him, talk to him, phone him, stay overnight with him and create a new life with him.
BUT NOT AS MY WIFE

It would be a kindness and in good taste to be discreet about it in my presence and I demand that you keep him away from our son, but you are totally free to decide your next steps. What I do know is that I absolve you of any obligations and expectations a husband has to his wife, and I remove myself from the same towards you. There is a formal process (divorce) and that takes time and needs to address all sorts of issues, but if we are sensible, we can get through that with minimal pain. There are laws and regulations that should guarantee us both a fair deal.

If you have any wish to save our marriage, then you need to let me know clearly and in an unequivocal way. You would also need to convince me with actions and deeds that you are being sincere. It’s totally your call, but I am content with our marriage being over, and the further I get along in the formal process the less open I will be to return."

And then go make yourself a sandwich or get a beer or go clean the car or whatever. You have said what needs to be said.
If she comes back with some argument:
"You didn’t show me attention" or whatever…
Stock reply: I am sorry you feel that way. If we were working on our marriage this would need to be addressed but seeing as how you have chosen your infidelity there isn’t any gain in discussing this.

This answer should cover EVERYTHING. You don’t initiate arguments, because until and unless she asks for the marriage you simply assume the affair is ongoing and she’s headed out of the marriage.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 11139   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8764212
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LegsWideShut ( member #80302) posted at 6:37 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

This ^.

posts: 90   ·   registered: May. 9th, 2022   ·   location: New England
id 8764217
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:48 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

So she would rather "work with the kids," than be married.

Sounds like the other man is still around.

Did you tell his wife?

She's done nothing to become a safe partner.

You aren't wrong.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:48 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

posts: 4852   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8764218
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 8:17 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Wow. Sorry you are here brother. Sounds like your wife’s head is suffering from a prolonged residency up her rectal cavity. Doctors may tell that conditions like this can be permanent.

In all seriousness, I would be clear with her that it’s time to find herself a paying job a place to live . Get her out of the house. Let her know if she wants to go have youth org men she is free to do so, but the gravy train is over. Work on detaching from her and get your head clear. Hell, maybe she could run to her parents’ place for awhile. Anywhere but your house. She isn’t worthy and hasn’t earned it. That house was for your wife and she is only that now in legal title, but no other practical way.

Your in-laws sound greatly supportive now, but they are only in it for the grandkids, so don’t be shocked when they choose her over you. Better to not involve them if at all possible.

Be kind to yourself, you didn’t do anything wrong here. Apologizing to the son is a nice gesture but you didn’t miss his birthday party just willy nilly, your WW caused that. She betrayed her son and her whole family, not just you. Time she should’ve spent with her husbands, her parents or her children were stolen from those people so that she could chase her AP. This ends when you say it ends. Stop doing chores around the house, stop helping her with things. Detach and start living as roommates. That means no more physical touch, no more acts of love, no folding the laundry or helping around the house for things that aren’t you or your son.

Myself - BH & WH - 35 years (05/24/1985)Her - BW & WW - 34 years (05/25/1986)<P>D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 268   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
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TheRedQueen ( new member #57851) posted at 10:48 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

Fair disclaimer - I’m still in that hell, almost ten years on, so you know what I say? Leave, push her out the door even, she’s not sorry and she’s not making the effort. You can’t make her change, but I believe eventually you can recover from the betrayal.

I have kids myself, we even had another one in the years in between look and they miss nothing of what goes on. A small upset now might just be better than the years of tears, shouting, closed doors and barely functioning parents that mine have seen.

I guess what I’m saying is if I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have begged him to stay. But I also know I probably wouldn’t have listened to anyone telling me to let him go as he was my world.

[This message edited by TheRedQueen at 10:49 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Me - BW (40) Him - WH (42) 2 Teenagers, 1 Younger Child

D-Day Feb 2016 + .. Most recent D-Day Nov 2021

Still married, not feeling it.....

posts: 17   ·   registered: Mar. 15th, 2017   ·   location: Australia
id 8764238
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 11:19 PM on Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

I could never shake the feeling that she is only half-engaged with the relationship and that there was some very obvious general resentment on her part about what she had had to give up. I reiterated several times that while I empathised about the fact that she had to give up something that she very much loved, it was a condition that she agreed to in order to move forward with our relationship. She argued that I should be able to seperate her working with the kids from the fact that this person would be involved and I shot that down. I asked her if the situation was reversed did she really think that she would be able to accept my continued interaction with the person that I had cheated with? She started to say she would be able to - I shot that down as well.

I think your instincts were correct. She wasn't there for the reconciliation, she was there to keep the status quo going. That bit there where she was unable to put herself in your shoes tells us that she's got no empathy for how her perfidy has damaged you. If there was remorse, there would be empathy. So, what I think happened is that she got busted cheating and wasn't really sorry for it. She just wanted to keep her home deal going, just like what your FIL is suggesting now.

It's up to you if you want to do that. Some people do. They prioritize what they get from the arrangement without the expectation of love and romance. Where you'd be banging your head on the wall though would be accepting continued domesticity with an unrepentant cheater while expecting the relationship to be satisfying. It won't be. That doesn't happen with a partner who's not sorry. Even waiting them out in the hopes that they'll do better at some point won't end up being satisfying because by the time an unrepentant cheater turns it around, the love is usually gone. Too much damage, too much water under the bridge. You just don't respect or care about them anymore.

In my personal experience, what worked was basically shock and awe. I was DONE on dday. After thirty years of marriage, I didn't want to hear the details, didn't want to argue about his rationalizations, I was out. I told him I'd find us a lawyer and he could split the banking. "See ya!" He gave me his best hangdog look and agreed that it would be for the best before bolting to the guest room to frantically text the OW du jour.

What was interesting though was that a week later, he was all about me giving him a chance to prove that he could be trusted, thirty days to turn it around. I agreed. I had more than three decades invested. Thirty days wasn't going to break me. Of course, I caught him a few weeks later breaking contact in some bizarre kind of "let her down gently" communications because he just couldn't stand to be the bad guy at which point he had about thirty seconds to be "all in" or "all out". I was DONE playing and he knew it. He ghosted the OW from that point on.

I do think that more often than not the WS doesn't take us seriously until we're actually serious. When we value the marriage more than the cheater does, they've got all the power. We take that power back with our willingness to walk away. To prefer NONE rather than half a loaf. It's not a bluff or a gambit. We're just not willing to compromise with adultery or to settle with some kind of "dry drunk" who hasn't resolved their issues but rather is "white-knuckling" their cheating sobriety. What's the point of reconciling with someone who has had no growth in their character, whose integrity is still rotten?

My advice is to really think about whether or not you're capable of compromising with your WW's unrepentant perfidy. Studies show that kids typically do fine so long as they have at least ONE sane parent. He won't thank you later for making a martyr out of yourself in his name. He'll want a happy dad who loves him. That's all he'll care about in the long run.

ETA:

She is... was my everything

I just want to build out a little from what Bigger said about this. IME dealing with my own situation and spending many years studying on the subject, there's kind of a kneejerk reaction to being the victim of an intimate betrayal that lends itself to the continuance of the status quo. We're devastated on dday and the feeling that we've never loved our WS more seems to persist for a very, very long time. When the primary relationship is threatened, our instinct is often to hold onto it, to guard it zealously. The status quo has never been more important to us.

Here's the deal though... feelings aren't facts. They just aren't. Sometimes our feelings are more about the trauma of abandonment than about the actual person. I'm NOT saying you don't love your wife. Of course you do. All I'm saying is that there's this frenetic energy attached to our feelings in so many cases which stems from our fear of losing the relationship and it kind of augments our perception of that love. Try not to let it freak you out more than it already has. You do get back to normal either way you go, R or D.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 11:58 PM, Tuesday, November 8th]

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6167   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8764243
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 2:24 AM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Tornapart,

Very sorry to hear this.

This is a very difficult detail to get over, by that I mean an affair which starts because of some kind of kids activities.

I think the greatest ugliness of it is that the OM types who use these childrens organizations to pick up women work hard to appear decent and caring. They understand that women like people who like their kids. I was always uneasy when my W went to various kids activities.

posts: 1232   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8764262
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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 12:20 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Sorry for your pain.

She's pining for the posom. It sounds like it was a long term affair and she cant get him out of her head. After almost a year of attempted r, if this isnt enough to spur strong action, what is? Inform the posom's betrayed wife ASAP. See a lawyer to understand your options right away. Check all her devices for an ongoing affair.

What has she done to fix her issues in the past year? Individual counseling? Extensive reading about infidelity? Or did she just get another job and sweep the rest under the rug?

posts: 697   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8764285
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 4:53 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

Torn

For all sorts of terrible reasons Youth Organizations tend to be extremely careful with single-male employees and/or volunteers. It’s a sad reflection of our society.
My daughter is a teacher and she had to go through a vetting process, both to get licensed and when she applied for a job. Her male friend had to do the same, and although nothing was said it was very clear that his check was a lot more thorough. It’s not fair or nice, but it is what it is and considering the damage abuse causes I’m fine with this little part of gender-inequality.

Now – I’m not suggesting the OM is a predator and/or a threat to the safety of the youths in the organization, but GENERALLY these organizations are family-focused and reputation sensitive. They don’t want scandal and mayhem within their ranks.
I’m also making an assumption… the OM is either a parent (and therefore very likely married) or an employee. Granted he might be a single dad, but it’s doubtful that the YO would be positive towards things like this happening under their umbrella.

There is a behavior or rule the vast majority here on SI support. That is exposing the affair.
We can have all sorts of reasons for exposure, ranging from it being morally the right thing to do to revenge. Personally I advocate exposure because it can be one of the best tools to END infidelity.
First of all it ends the fantasy.
If OM is married then exposure to his wife brings her into the picture. In 9 out of 10 instances where a married man is exposed they dump the AP and try to save their marriage.
If you were to follow my advice above your wife will have gotten the following message:
From you: Do what you want because I don’t share my toothbrush or my wife. If you want this marriage you better be very clear about it and only on your own free will. Do that and MAYBE I can be convinced.
From OM: She was nothing. It was only for the sex. It’s YOU (Wife) that is my everything.

Somehow being refused and kicked to the curb is a really effective mood-killer.

I’m not suggesting you take out a billboard or shout from the roof. But let OM wife know (if he has one) and let someone on the board of the YO know. You don’t expect action, you aren’t demanding OM be fired or whatever. Its just you want them to know that what you thought was a family-oriented org is being used to create chaos in your family.
If people ask you say yes, you two are probably divorcing and yes, it’s because of her affair with Jack Doe. Name him, name them, call it for what it is.

I’m guessing your wife will go ballistic. She will tell you it’s childish and the end of any chance you had to reconcile. I’m also guessing your FIL will get angry. Shame the family and all that.
Jut be clear on two things. This isn’t done to shame. If they feel shame then it’s not because of what you say, but because of what she did. The second is that exposure doesn’t make reconciliation impossible, but ongoing infidelity mentality does. End the infidelity and MAYBE your wife might be open for true reconciliation. If anything – exposure makes reconciliation possible.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 11139   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8764315
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Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 6:16 PM on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

What Bigger said:

If anything – exposure makes reconciliation possible.

btw - first time I have read of this assessment regarding "exposure."

- Should be repeatedly emphasized to all who visit here after experiencing infidelity.

I think it is very RARE that the cheaters or (euphemism) 'waywards' won't be shaken out of their fantasy tree when they receive such attention.


Edit to add: Look up

WALLOPED

member and read his first thread - he did a Yoeman's job in exposing the infidelity.

[This message edited by Hippo16 at 6:18 PM, Wednesday, November 9th]

Not Just Friends

posts: 686   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8764331
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 2:40 AM on Friday, November 11th, 2022

If her priority was working with kids then she would not have used that program to find an affair buddy and spend time with him on organized weekends away.

You haven’t ruined her passion for working with kids. SHE did. I can’t help but to wonder how much of her focus was on the kids versus her side piece romance.

We make choices with our actions and if her higher interest were the kids then she would acted accordingly. She didn’t and that says something about her. She is the person who enmeshed herself, her boyfriend and the org not you.

She poisoned that avenue all by herself. The loss of trust is a consequence of her behavior. Whining about what SHE lost certainly doesn’t engender a lot of faith that she’s working on herself.

She can work with kids in another capacity in another program. She can raise money for the program. She just can’t galavant off on weekends. Too bad so sad.

You can’t R by yourself. While her parents seem to be supportive of her being accountable. She isn’t.

She doesn’t get it or seem interested trying to get it. You can’t talk her into it.

Focus on your healing and be the best dad you can be and think about if you want to continue to partner in life with this selfish child.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3504   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8764573
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Butforthegrace ( member #63264) posted at 2:24 PM on Friday, November 11th, 2022

Tornapart, any updates?

"The wicked man flees when no one chases."

posts: 3986   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2018   ·   location: Midwest
id 8764660
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