Well, I figured I would come back and just update everyone, thank everyone, tell everyone they were right, and just admit I’m another statistic of "you should have listened to everyone".
I know the last few posts in this thread were me being ignorant and lost, I felt like I was going crazy and the only thing that would stop it would be to continue to talk to her and fight for "us".
What ended up happening was we did go on that vacation on 12/5. She was on her phone a bit (since she was actively "dating" and was open about it with me). It of course hurt and had me questioning what the hell I was doing on vacation with my WIFE while she talked to who knows how many other guys. Overall the vacation went well, obviously requiring me to bury my head in the sand about what was happening and what I really wanted and COULD put up with vs what I told her I could handle (the dating).
We got back a few days later and I started sleeping at her place every night, basically living there. I kept telling her my one big line in the sand was no more AP, and she said they barely talked and all they really did was fight about how she was hanging out with me again. 12/15 she told me she was going to meet up with AP and exchange their stuff and cut off all ties, which happened.
During December we had multiple talks about the future and she was basically pretty honest and said she had no clue what she wanted, that she liked dating but also still loved me and what we had/have. I (stupidly) was grasping at any straws possible still, since it *FELT* like the pain of knowing she's dating but at least I’m still sleeping their every night (still had my foot in the door, so to speak) was less than the pain of her being gone completely. Obviously this was a very ignorant way to look at it, but my emotions were in control. I even went as far as to say I would be open to an open marriage *of some sort, at some point in the future*,if that meant I could still have her (this leads into what comes later). I know that it was the ultimate chump move on my part to even suggest it, but I guess that was me.
December carried into January, and I noticed she was on her phone less and less, and being more and more lovey to me and talking about a lot of future things like having a baby and buying a house. I was STILL keeping my head in the sand though, as she never outright said she was done with other guys and wanted to be exclusive again. My best friend/main support person would pester me daily to directly question her to make sure we were on the same page, but I didn’t want to know, to be honest, things SEEMED to be going in my favor and I didn’t want to ruin that.
Sometime mid-January I got up the courage to ask her if she was still talking to other people or dating. She told me she wasn’t on dating apps anymore and she wasn’t dating, but she did have one guy that she had been talking to for a few months but they just had good conversations and they never went anywhere romantically so they were just friends (I know, I know).
So December to February seemed like a solid, slow progression from "I want to date and IDK What I want at all" to more like "let’s have a baby soon, I love the life we have now" while albeit still having some red flags I chose to ignore, like she didn’t want to put the wedding rings back on yet, and didn’t want to add me back on social media accounts etc. "yet" as she would say. I pressured her on why a few times but she just said "idk I just don’t right now"
Feb 12th comes along. Her daughter (10yo) is with me at my work waiting for her to get out of work and pick her up to spend the day with her. I know she gets out at 12 but she didn’t show up to pick up her daughter until 2. Right when she gets to my work, she says "hey can you come outside and talk please?". I follow her nervously and immediately notice a huge hickey on her neck. She says "so, I was just wondering how we should go about this open relationship thing, because I want to pursue it…I personally would like a don’t ask, don’t tell policy, where you can do what you want and I do what I want and at most we just let each other know if we won’t be home for dinner or something".
I was obviously taken by surprise. I first focused on the fact that she (obviously) had already started this open relationship. I told her the most we had talked about an open anything was when I said SOME TYPE of open relationship at SOME POINT in the future. I told her that it was ridiculous that after the affair and all the lying 8 months ago, that she thought it would be okay to take action FIRST and ask me if it was OK AFTER. Absolutely ridiculous. She agreed and apologized, but her thoughts were all over the place. She blurted out "well maybe we jumped into this too soon then", but then followed it with "I really want to be with you, I’m sorry, I will go to couples therapy with you right away, we will get through this together, I promise".
The conversation ended there. The more I thought about it the more angry I got. Her daughter (who she only sees 1 weekend per month) was waiting for her, and I was babysitting her basically, and she thought taking an hour or two to make out with another guy was appropriate.
Once again I know you all will say I should have RAN the other way at this point (and probably many other points in this post so far) but, as before, I buried my head in the sand saying "well at least she said she will get through this together, she still didn’t leave me"
So we had a big talk the next day, and she basically said she was feeling like she didn’t know what she wanted again, and that she felt similar about this guy as she did about AP, where she didn’t think she could stop talking to him and was attached to him, but also that she really wanted us to work out, and wanted to go to therapy to "learn to detach from him" and she wanted to avoid another "conflict of conscience" (her term for lying and cheating/affair). . I told her that seemed logical and that I appreciated her honesty this time but that the only way she would detach from him is going NC, she said she wanted to talk to a therapist about it but would *try* to.
So even with all these negative things going on, I still kept telling myself "they key is that she’s being honest now. What hurt so much before was the lies and betrayal, now she’s being honest".
So the next day, Valentine’s Day, we had a dinner reservation for 3PM. One thing about STBX is that she is SUPER punctual. She HATES being late for anything and is usually at least 10 minutes early to anything she has an appointment for. She had class until 12 that day. I was sitting at the apartment when she called me at 2:45 saying she’s sorry she was late, she had stopped at her work to talk to her friend and lost track of time. It’s pretty obvious what it really was now, but at the time I said alright, no problem babe, just get home quick. We ended up being 30 minutes to dinner. I did not question her again about why she was late, I didn’t want to know or confirm she was once again lying to me.
So 2/14 to 2/23 she seemed to go back to "normal", yet I STILL wasn’t asking her the direct questions like "are you still talking to this guy?". As you can all see I have a giant problem with being ignorant, I guess. 2/23 my buddy calls me up and says "hey, I just saw your wife with some dude in her car in (town)". I call her and she forwards my call, then texts me "hey I’m on the phone with my boss I’ll call you back." My heart dropped. There it was. A confirmed lie, once again. Liars Lie, Cheaters Cheat kept repeating in my head.
She eventually called me back and I once again tried to give her a chance to admit it, I asked her how her day was and what she talked about with her boss and if she did anything after work, she said no, she was just leaving work now actually, and then, possible out of guilt, got really sweet and asked me if I wanted a special dinner tonight or anything. I told her no thanks, and waited for her to get home.
She got home and I immediately said "so I know you were with that guy today, and you lied about it, what the fuck? I thought we had the talk about this?" Her response was "we did, and I told you I was going to *try* to distance myself from him, but that obviously didn’t work". So I said it’s not really even that you were with him, it’s that you LIED TO ME ABOUT IT. You were doing so well with being open and honest, what made you start hiding it? She said "I guess I’m just a selfish person, I didn’t want you to leave and I knew you would if you knew. I can’t stop talking to this guy, but I want to, I just need to get help and need some time to figure this out, it’s obviously not healthy if I can talk about having a baby with you and about our future while I also have feelings for another person to the point where I’m attached to them, I’m sorry for trying to cake eat again"
So with her having admitted all of that, I packed all of my stuff and moved back into my place. The last thing she said to me was "I’m going to get an emergency session at my therapist, I want us to work, I really do, I just need some space, from both of you".
That was Thursday Night. Friday goes by, nothing. Saturday, nothing. Sunday, nothing. My buddy says he once again saw her with that guy on Saturday morning. I know she works 4am to 12pm on Saturdays so she apparently called out to spend the day with him. I couldn’t take the anxiety from now knowing what was going on and called her on Sunday. Her attitude was completely different, basically saying "All I do is hurt you, everyone is telling you to run away from me, so you should. I don’t even know if I’m happy with you. I’m very confused and it’s not fair to you, all I do it hurt you, We just need a clean break".
So for once you’d all probably agree with something she said. But me being me, I didn’t agree. I told her that’s bullshit and she should be fighting for us just like I have been for the past 8 months. That once again she’s in Limerence and addicted to the honeymoon phase with this guy and is going to throw away something great for some guy she barely knows. I spend maybe an hour on the phone telling her all the reasons to not give up on us (stupid, I know), this ended in her saying she needed a few days to think.
So Tuesday, 2/28, she sends me this text, once again flip flopping from her attitude in the phone call
"Hey. So I applied to a few more placed to be a patient. I’m hoping to do individual counseling and then some couples sessions. Clearly I have something to work on. I miss you a lot. I do need more time though. Which is something I know you don’t want to hear. I want you to know that this isn’t just me replacing you again, I’m really trying to understand my feelings and why I feel like I can’t stop this. I promise soon we will meet and talk. I know you’re lost and hurting and it hurts me so bad I have passive thoughts (about suicide) again. I love you so very much. You aren’t replaceable. I’m just a little broken and lost myself. Hold on a little longer please. I love you and one day hope to be someone you’re proud of again"
So that text obviously got my hopes way up. She hadn’t seemed that adamant about getting help and "being someone I’m proud of again" in a long time. I still told her I am not doing the waiting game or pick me dance and we needed to meet up to talk SOON since I wanted to know what was going on. She told me we could meet tomorrow.
So we meet up, and ONCE AGAIN her mood had flip flopped from the message to "I really don’t know what I want, I don’t know what I’m doing, I really can’t stop talking to this guy, but I want to try to at least" I told her once again I’m not doing the pick me dance and I need a solid plan in place, not "IDK what I’m doing".
She once again told me she would try extra hard to get into therapy and keep me updated. She called me a few days later on 3/3 to tell me she got approved for acute therapy and was starting on 3/14. I told her that was great to hear but that I still couldn’t and wouldn’t do the pick me dance, so if she was still talking to this other guy that we couldn’t talk.
This is when something weird happened. She suddenly started to say how right I was about how she was chasing honeymoon feelings, how she was in the fog again, how she was just chasing male validation because her father never loved her. She asked me to go to dinner that night. I told her I would but only if she could confidently tell me she wasn’t going to see or talk to the other guy, and she said she wouldn’t. She continued being extremely lovey to me for the next few days, asking me to pick out lingerie for her to wear for me, sending me a lot of *those* types of pics, calling and texting me a lot, had me buy concert tickets for a future event, and even started saying "I love you" again (We hadn’t been saying "love" since the affair in November). She even showed me a meme she said she was going to try and live her life by now, which said something along the lines of "don’t chase the chemicals, chase character, don’t chase the sparks, the slow burning fire will always be there" etc. etc. Basically saying to stop chasing the Limerence drugs and realize what she had with me was enough.
This really made me happy as it seemed like something just "clicked" in her head finally. So we spent 3/3 to 3/7 in our own little honeymoon phase, I slept there a few times, she kept saying she was excited for her therapy appointment and eventual couples sessions and kept being SUPER lovey.
3/7 came and I went to surprise her with Starbucks early in the morning. I went to open her apt door but hear her talking. I listened in and realized she was on speakerphone with a guy. The first thing I heard was her say "I already let you c*m in me a bunch of times hehehe" and him saying "and we both enjoyed it didn’t we!" to which she said "yes, yes we did".
I slumped down to the ground like in a movie. I listened for a few more minutes. She talked to him just like she talked to me. She laughed the way she used to laugh with me, she made the cute noises and used the cute words she did with me, she said she missed him, how cute he was. I heard him ask her what she was up to (we had plans to go out) and she said nothing and that she had just passed out last night (she was with me) and realized she was lying to and playing him too.
I left. I wanted to barge in the door and start yelling so he knew, but I was so angry I just left. She messaged me a little later on acting normal, actually sent me a few lingerie pics asking me to pick one out for her to wear. I checked her call logs (something I hadn’t done since Dday) and saw she had been calling him every day since the "hickey day" on 2/12. Whenever she wasn’t with me she was on the phone with him, even when she was texting me pics or saying she missed me, she was on the phone with him. I messaged her and told her I had to come over and talk. She said no, and that she didn’t want a big talk today, blah blah. I said sorry, it has to be today.
I get there and she obviously knew something was up and was in her "apathetic" mood she used so much during the affair, post DD. I sat on her bed and started crying and she basically said "Ugh, do we have to do this today, of ALL days, I just wanted to relax and do my homework". I said well, your husband of 8 years is sitting in front of you crying, I didn’t know there was a specific day reserved for this". She sighed and said "OK, what's up".
I told her about what I heard earlier when I came to surprise her and that I looked at the logs and saw she was doing. She tried to gaslight me and said she was FURIOUS that I invaded her privacy like that. I told her to not even bother gas lighting. I told her she was furious she got caught and furious that she’s now in a awkward and uncomfortable conversation, not that I invaded her privacy. I asked her how the FUCK could she spend this past week love bombing me into oblivion, basically making more of an effort than she had since leaving me for AP 8 months ago, while also getting even closer to this guy? I asked her, what was your plan this time? Were you just waiting until you knew which one you were going to pick? Were you just cake eating again? She said she was on the fence about which one to pick, and that yes, she’s just a fucked up broken, extremely selfish person who clearly needs mental help. I once again asked why there was a need for tripling down on the love and future planning and telling me you realized this and that, when you clearly had NO intention of stopping things with this other guy? She just kept saying " I don’t know" and "I’m just fucked up, this is why everyone is telling you to run"
I asked her what her plan was now that I caught her, and she said she is going to see where things go with this guy. I knew she was having trouble with her bills as I was helping her with them, and I asked if she was going to move him in too, almost as a joke, and she said "I don’t know" and looked down. I asked her why I wasn’t enough. She said she didn’t know, that was I the perfect husband now, that I fixed all my flaws from our past marriage that made her unhappy, and that maybe it was a sign that maybe I just wasn’t her type anymore, that people change and she realized that she goes for the heavily tattooed bad boy types now (AP was and this guy is) while I hate tattoos and have nothing like a "bad boy" attitude, that she never felt the "dangerous love" for me that she felt for her ex-fiancé (who died and is how we met) or for AP from the first affair, that maybe we just grew apart and were different people now who wanted different things. I told her that is all fine and dandy EXCEPT what the fuck was the past 3 months and ESPECIALLY this past week then? It really seemed like you had an epiphany and started love bombing me but you were talking to him the whole fucking time. She just kept saying she wished she had answers for me, that I deserved so much better than her, that she’s just a mental basket case, that she DID mean all the things she said to me over the past week, but also has feelings for this other guy, and yes it was super selfish of her to lie to me to keep me around until she knew If they would work out of not, but it’s what happened and she can’t take it back, and that’s why we needed to just say goodbye for good.
So in the matter of 2 weeks she went from "just run away from me" to " I just need time" to "I don’t know what I want" to "I love you so much I can’t wait for our future family" and finally to "he’s probably moving in, we need to say goodbye".
I don’t need you all to tell me she’s clearly messed up in the head and needs serious help, but admitting that fact to myself, that my loving, faithful wife of 8 years is now this complete heartless monster, is destroying me inside. This is the second time she picked another guy over me and "left" me for him, while stringing me along the whole time.
I spend a LOT of time in my head over the past three months convincing myself that I’m intelligent enough to KNOW that she’s different, that our story is different from all the others on SI and infidelity groups, that I’m smart enough to KNOW this an exception to the rule that liars lie and cheaters cheat, but now I’m realizing that was just me grasping at straws, looking for that temporary fix to the immense pain of losing her. It hurts so badly, now even more than before as this is the second betrayal, and of course if I had just listened to all of you I would already be three months into healing, but I feel like I’m at square one.
I guess something to take away from this for anyone in my position is read my last paragraph above a few times. Yes there are some rare cases where the story doesn’t follow the usual narrative, but don’t convince yourself you are that one. Play it safe, and also don’t bury your head in the sand like I did to avoid seeing/hearing things you don’t want to, it might temporarily postpone the hurt, but it will just hurt more later.
I’m currently just waiting for the signed divorce papers to show up in my mailbox and I’m proceeded without delay in that regard, we’ve said our goodbyes after that last conversation above on 3/7 and I know my only road now is to stay NC and just try and heal as best as I can. I start IC next week as well.
As much as I ignored all of the advice on here, I really do and did appreciate it, just re-reading all the replies in hindsight makes me wonder why I couldn’t listen before, but here I am.