Regarding telling the other BS, perhaps an opportunity will emerge but for now it's understandable not doing it.
The Three Marriage Enigmas book I mentioned describes this cycle that is common for marriages:
1) Wife's sex drive diminishes post marriage. Some pretty quickly, others years later after kids etc. It is common for this to happen, not all women will experience this but a huge % do. She doesn't understand that it is natural, tries to deal with it but sex life decreases nonetheless.
2) Husband, consciously or subconsciously, interprets this as not being loved as much as many men's love language is through physical, sexual means. The man thus starts to pay less attention to affection oriented actions which are commonly the wife's love language. All the things you did when you were dating, slowly get minimized. So now we have both partners love language being diminished. And intimacy is strained by this dynamic along with life pressures like kids, work. As this spiral continues lower and lower, both partners are susceptible to affairs. Really susceptible if their boundaries are poor.
3) In your case, posom comes along saying the right things, listening, praising, paying attention etc. That starts to fill the need of more attention for your wife, it slowly strokes her love language. The particularly cruel part is that it also may often reignite the sex drive of the wife. So now she is there thinking I no longer am attracted to my husband but I am to this guy. Does that mean I love him? Like, true love? And many women (and men) may fall for this dynamic. Thus the fog, limerance, doubts about the husband and true love etc etc.
I found this helpful and it may be the trap that your WW has fallen into. Naming traps is helpful in combatting them. Just as defining what real love is and is not. Knowing that passion rises and falls and work is required to maintain it. All that is natural. She is fretting that prince charming is going to slip away from her. The reality is that a common marital dynamic got a hold of her and almost anyone who listened, praised etc might well have been her 'prince charming' at that moment in time. We see that happen frequently here at SI, former WW saying their AP was not really that special in hindsight and that they can't believe they were so swept up in them. Your WW's posom may be handsome or he may not, with her poor boundaries she likely would have been swept up by anyone who paid close attention to her emotionally. And we know that a lot of guys are just out looking for sex. So they will say what needs to be said to get a woman in bed.
Hope everyone had a good weekend. Thanks for the book recommendations, I have ordered some of them. This passage in particular I think is a very good summarisation of our situation. As I have said throughout there are things that I have definitely done wrong - I am not trying to say I am to blame for the current situation but I shoulder half of the blame for our relationship getting to here. I listened to a powerful podcast yesterday with Matthew Fray and have his book "This is how your marriage ends" arriving today which I will report back on. In the podcast when he said his marriage ending meant the 14 years of childhood he had left turned to 7 instantly it really hit me.
My wife and I have spoken a lot over the weekend. Neither of us want to lose the boys (or each other for that matter). The lack of attraction is obviously an issue and we are going to work on that. Though she is hurting about me pulling the pin, she gets it and was on her way to getting to that point anyway. She knows that our "agreement" was never going to work longer term. She wishes she had the chance to get to this point herself but knows how much it was hurting me.
I am under no illusions that her feelings for him may never go away and we will cross that bridge when we come to it, but I am hopeful that with that element out of the picture we can start mending (which we should have done in the first place without being so naive to think that this could have worked).
I am also under no illusions that having an "agreement" makes this all OK. There are clearly deep issues in our marriage for it to have gotten to this point.
"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are."
You have had this terrible situation dumped on you and you have never encountered this before. Therefore, you are acting on your emotions trying to make sense of everything, not with your rational thought.
My suggestion is to give yourself 30 to 60 days (about two months) before you come to any sort of decision. Give yourself time for your emotions to calm down and time for the rational part of your brain to take over.
For instance, you have said that you will try to stay married for the sake of your children and I understand that thought. Now whenever that thought enters your mind tell yourself that you are going to table that thought for the time being. Tell yourself that you will revisit that thought in 30 to 60 days (about 2 months). At that time, you will see if it still makes sense.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you continue the soft 180 and just observe your wife as closely as possible. Right now, you are seeing someone who you never thought existed. The person you thought you married would never hurt you the way this person has hurt you. Just try to observe her as objectively as you can for the next 30 to 60 days (about 2 months). If you can do that, I can almost guarantee you that at the end of that period you will not regard her the same as you do at this moment. Certainly not how you viewed her before all this quagmire was introduced into your marriage.
As much as you humanly can, try to make rational decisions regarding your life and your children’s lives. Make those decisions with as little emotion as possible.
One other thing. I have read that each time someone has intimate sex they form a stronger bond with that person. Each time your wife has sex with him she is strengthening that bond. Unless something really shakes your wife out of her limerence soon she may feel so attached to him that she will never come back to you in the way you hope.
Thanks for this, this is kind of my current thinking. We will see what happens over the next period of time and whether we think we can reconcile for the sake of the boys. This is both ways, I have told her this last couple of months has made me question everything. She has also admitted that having sex with the other guy has strengthened their bond which was a mistake. She was naive in thinking it could just be on the side and not impact her feelings for me.
We are both much clearer than we were a week ago though which is a good thing. Just need some time to process now.