HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 4:12 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
If she's blaming the marriage she is not safe. Demands on or about you is laughable.
Are you in IC?
Mr. Kite ( member #28840) posted at 4:34 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
However it sounds like she has list of demands etc of how she wants me to be and our marriage to be.
Wow, the selfishness! It should be the other way around. You have two daughters but she's only concerned about her own happiness, not yours or theirs.
I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what not to do.
lrpprl ( member #80538) posted at 4:36 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
She has no right to make any demands of you after what she has done. She needs to work on herself. She is the one at fault, not you. She had one foot out the door and almost had both feet out the door.
She is not showing any remorse. She needs to find an individual counselor who will help her drill down and get to find the real reasons why she cheated on you. Not the superficial ones she now says caused her to cheat.
Do you possess any superpowers? Do you really think that you have the power to cause her to cheat? You really can't get anybody to do anything except by threat of force. Think about that for awhile.
Sure you have flaws. Everyone does. You should work on your flaws and try to improve each and every day. But, you had absolutely nothing to do with her cheating. Please don't accept any blame. You both have blame for the marriage. But her cheating is 100% on her and no one else.
Sounds like she does not like to accept responsibility for her actions. Unless she accepts responsibility and accountability for not only her cheating, but also for her part in creating a crappy marriage, then marriage counseling is out of the question at this time. A few months down the road after you both have had extensive counseling and healing, then marriage counseling is a possibility. But a lot of healing has to happen first.
Start doing the "Soft 180". You need to realize that "You Are The Prize" and she is lucky to have you. Until she begins to see how much damage and hurt she caused you, she has no remorse. With no remorse there can be no true reconciliation. Sure, you two can sweep everything under the rug and pretend everything is okay. But do you really want to live this way? It will be only a matter of time before she starts back up with her AP or maybe someone else.
One question... you say she has some demands of you. Has she always been this way and has she always got everything she ever wanted in your marriage? Something to think about.
annb ( member #22386) posted at 4:49 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
However it sounds like she has list of demands etc of how she wants me to be and our marriage to be
Um, no, she broke the marriage with her cheating, SHE needs to do the work to fix it.
Sounds as if she is blaming you, hell no, she's a grown adult, she owns her actions.
My WH pulled the same crap right after D-Day. If "I" would have (fill in the blanks), he wouldn't have cheated.
That thinking lasted just a few days, probably would have been shorter, but the shock held me back from thinking clearly, then I hit
him with the harsh reality of his betrayal.
Marriage counseling should be put on the back burner for several months until she gets her sh*t together.
How can you be certain she has cut off contact? Her words are meaningless, stay vigilant. Burner phone, snapchat, etc.
Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 4:51 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
Wow, your wife is delusional and entitled. She cheats, is not sure, makes demands. Return her list of demands with divorce papers. Most likely she will come back to reality.
Don’t waste your time ,energy doing counseling with her. She has no remorse.
BallofAnxiety ( member #82853) posted at 5:05 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
I am an attorney - that being said my personal/non-legal opinion here is to also check with an attorney re moving out of the house. It is safer to ask the WS to move out until you have something settled/know your rights.
Also an attorney and also my personal/non-legal opinion.
In my state, once a spouse leaves the home it becomes domestic criminal trespass to attempt to re-enter.
ONS 2006; 1 year+ A (DDay 1/2023).Separated and divorcing.
sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:41 PM on Tuesday, July 18th, 2023
R is a process of building an M that serves you both (and your kids). Your WS needs to be an active participant in defining that M, so expressing what she wants makes sense to me, all other things being equal. But ...
You get to define what you want in your M. Comparing the 2 lists of desires should be enlightening - if they're similar (or if they become similar through discussion), you have a chance of R. If they're too dissimilar, you aren't well matched, and splitting might be your best course of action.
You owe it to yourself to define what you want from your W to keep R on track. TNH, I think BSes must have R requirements, including: 1) honesty - no more lies, ever, answers all questions; 2) IC for WS with a goal of changing from cheater to good partner; 3) transparency - access to electronics, keeps you informed of activities, companions, and location at virtually all times; 4) NC; 5) MC when you want it; 6) IC for you if you want it.
if your WS has a long list of changes they want you to make, it's probable that they are blaming you for their A. If that's the source of your WS's list of changes, they're not yet a good candidate for R, because blameshifting is a giant red flag.
For your WS to be a good candidate for R, they need to be honest with themself and you, and that means taking responsibility for their own decision to cheat. Nothing you did or didn't do made them cheat. A decent partner who wants their partner to change asks for the changes and splits if the changes don't satisfy. A decent partner doesn't think ,'I wish my partner were more romantic, but since they aren't, I'll find someone on the side.'
If you have an interest in R, my reco is to stop the 180 and communicate as much as possible. Talk about requirements for R to find out if your visions for your M are similar enough.
Asks lots of questions to determine if your WS is committed to 100% honesty - no more lies.
Observe your WS to see if they change.
If R is entirely off the table for you, keep up the 180.
I've used more words for R than for D because R is complex, not because I think it's a better choice.
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.
Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 5:07 AM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
If interested in trying to R, helpful resources are the books Not Just Friends and How to Help your Spouse Heal from your Affair. She needs to shift her mindset and these may help. I say that because i think she is clueless about what she has done and the damage she has caused. These books will help her see it if she will commit to read them.
In her mind she most likely has a story that goes like this.... our marriage has devolved to taking care of the kids and going to work. We are equally to blame for this. Yes, it's true that I flirted some with my old HS boyfriend and got a bit carried away. Yes, I stepped over the line but we never did anything physical about it so it wasn't really that big a deal. Not even a real affair. I wouldn't have even done it if our marriage was better so let's just work to fix us and hopefully we survive. Besides, I am choosing to work on our marriage and that should make you happy, that's what you want, right?
Now, all sorts of things may be at the root of that type of mindset. For one, I believe most people do not realize how deep a wound betrayal causes and that goes doubly for "just an EA". Second, almost all waywards rationalize their behavior, who wants to willingly accept they are the villain of the story they created? Third, conflating marital problems with a rationale for infidelity is common even among non-waywards. The books will help her see these flawed mindsets. Or other reading or research can help too of course.
Mene ( member #64377) posted at 6:45 AM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
Life wasn’t meant to be fair...
Stillconfused2022 ( member #82457) posted at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
I agree that she is delusional - but honestly almost all wayward spouses sound that way. She will not show remorse until there has been enough time without exposure to the AP. It sucks to be the marriage police but honestly you are dealing with an addict. I would make sure there is No Contact. Because, she is going to say there is no contact but they almost always find ways to connect. It’s like having a suicidal child—she can’t be left alone. Plus - on the off chance you want to work it out with her - you need to protect your marriage from further damage. Every additional action she takes (sending ILYs, secretly meeting, etc.) is just going to make it harder to recover.
The wayward spouse’s lack of remorse is so offensive. But, this is what it is. She made a massive error and even if she is perfect in recovery you are going to have a ton of work to do to heal. As everyone else has said…absolutely nothing you did caused her to make this choice. The question is not why was she unhappy, the question is why did she deal with being unhappy by taking a sledgehammer to her family’s life. It will take her a looooong time to get this.
It seems to me that more of the women than the men come up with all kinds of nonsense romantic reasons for their actions. This pattern is so consistent that I think all of the baloney romance thoughts they come up with are really woven out of thin air. Thankfully my husband didn’t do that - it seems like a lot of the men don’t - but for me hearing about their « feelings » would be crushing. Obviously the whole thing is crushing. I am just trying to say that if you hear or read that romantic stuff from your wife, have courage, most likely it is just a bunch of bunk to help her justify in her mind that she isn’t a terrible person.
Until she gets out of the « fog » or whatever you want to call it, you just need to look at this path as a job. You know your goals. Get out of infidelity fully, with total certainty, protect your heart, and then when you notice some signs she is returning to being a normal person again, see if there is anything you can work with to recover. If not you’re going to have to cut her loose.
So sorry you are dealing with this!
crazycatlady ( member #12849) posted at 3:54 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
HARD 180. She needs to be on her knees begging you. She needs to realize she has lost all negotiable rights. Go cold, see an attorney, and have papers ready to serve.
Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.
William Shakespeare "All's Well That Ends Well"
D-Day: Nov 30, 2006
"For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night."
Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 4:24 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
My EXWW claimed to have been unhappy for a long time. She was dissatisfied with me asa H and felt she could have done better, when atvthe beginning, she could not believe she got a quality guy like me. I guess familiarity breeds contempt.
After Dday, I got every excuse in the book, from ILYBINILWY to I was seduced. She even claim that I was abusive and kept her under my thumb. When I asked her how, she stormed out, saying I always had to be right. She behaved like a petulant child and thus ensured the end of our M.
Now that over 5 years have passed, I am doing well, while her life has gone to shit. She is stuck in a toxic situationship with a guy she used to call creepy. He looks homeless.
I'm certain that she will never admit this, but relatives have told me that she deeply regrets what she did (to herself and he living situation). In every metric possible, her life is much worse than when we were M.
Wayards often make impulsive decisions and then seek to retroactively justify their choices so as to make them seem rational and reasonable. Like drowning victims, they thrash about, look for one excuse after another, desperately trying to find that one thing that will help them survive. It's almost, IMHO, an animal response.
The question is, can your WW emerge from this? Mine never did in any meaningful way. No amount of IC was ever going to convince her that she was not the real victim in this situation.
My solution. Divorce. Best damn choice I ever made.
Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.
5Decades ( new member #83504) posted at 6:25 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
I’m going to come at this from the recovery point of view.
I agree with seeing the attorney and protecting yourself, and not moving out.
Let’s think through the idea of the WW giving a list of things she wants in the marriage.
I don’t see that as a terrible thing. Rather than looking at it as a list of "demands", could you view it as a wish list - her idea of what a better marriage would look like to her?
If you look at her list, are there things on it that you actually agree with?
Are there things that make you angry? Look closely at those, because sometimes the things that make us angry are pushing a spot in us that hits close to a truth about ourselves that we don’t want to face.
Are there things you used to do, but for one reason or another don’t do anymore?
Does each item lead the marriage to a better place, or not?
Also, it might help to make a list of your own and give it to her. Make sure you list the things you actually agree with off of her list. Those items are a place to start in terms of moving toward mending the relationship.
She made a choice to cheat. While she is currently remaining in a fairly selfish frame of mind, you can take the lead and push toward her understanding of your needs by responding this way.
I would also leave a link to the book How to Help Your Spouse Heal in an email to her.
The fog is thick right now, but there may be hope. She has told you she wants to fix it. She may have no idea how, too much pride, or many other hindrances in the way right now.
After 20 years, it’s worth a try?
ThisIsSoLonely ( Guide #64418) posted at 8:28 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
I am little confused on the 180 process. She told me that she ended with the AP that she wants to try to repair our marriage. However it sounds like she has list of demands etc of how she wants me to be and our marriage to be. She says we should get therapist and marriage counselor to work our issues.
Do I stop the 180 process because she ended with the AP? I see no remorse in her eyes though.
First - as everyone has said, her claiming she wants to work on repairing the relationship and that the A is over isn't any reason to just let your guard down. How do I know this??? Personal experience.
In house separation is HARD. It is hard to maintain the boundaries you set. It is hard to stop communicating with the WS about things that are not helpful to you. It is hard to not want to buy into their (what at this stage of the process is likely mostly) bullshit. It is hard to know when to trust your gut. It is hard not to get emotionally overloaded (be it anger, sadness, paranoia, anxiety, etc). It is just insanely hard.
My WH was going to move out for a bit after we had decided to separate as I was not in the financial position to do so (and did not want to take anything from him to do it just so he could hold it against me later) but COVID happened and finding a rental was pretty much impossible. During that 1 year of being stuck together on reduced work schedules I often did not hold to the 180 - and the result was that things got really really really ugly between us for awhile, and then it was like a collective decision to talk and talk and talk, and then when COVID ended, I left and he decided to go to IC. After all that time I could tell he was mentally still not ready for R, and after all that time, neither was I. I got stronger as he recognized his own weaknesses...but I don't think that would have happened if not for COVID and our basically working 33% of normal and having no where to go the rest of the time but to the same house with only each other. So the lack of 180 helped me (and him) in the long run, but it was INCREDIBLY hard, and undoubtedly, it only resulted the way it did due to the unique timing. I don't recommend it.
I may go a bit against the grain here, but I am willing to go in the direction that WS does get to set some rules/bring up issues about your marriage going forward - you don't get to just make demands forever because she cheated IF you stay together...but, but, but....the time for her to do that is NOT NOW. She needs to understand, 100%, that right now you need to feel SAFE with her. That she has demolished your trust, so until you decide that you are willing to try to R with her, the only focus for her should be doing whatever it takes that will allow you to decide IF YOU WANT TO TRY TO R. In other words, you need to be clear with her that unless you get to that point, there is no point in discussing all the issues she had with your marriage before d-day, as if you don't trust her enough to proceed/if she hasn't made you feel safe enough with her that you want to try to proceed, all that is just hot air.
Easier said then done I know, but right now, you are attempting to negotiate with a marital terrorist. Don't engage in that.
Tell her what you need and if she is unable/unwilling to respect that in light of the person she has been and likely still is, you know what you need to do.
You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Act accordingly.
Constantly editing posts: usually due to sticky keys on my laptop or additional thoughts
The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 10:16 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
In short order I believe that cheaters have very similar MOs.
✅ Unhappy in the marriage
✅ Don’t know what they want after Dday
✅ Cheater needs time to sort things out
✅ Make unreasonable demands of the BS
✅ Many cheaters are not remorseful
While the BS may be desperate to save the marriage they are making some critical mistakes. Giving in to the cheater is one.
Doing the "pick me" dance just allows the cheater to continue to inflict pain on the BS.
The 180 is there for a reason. I know it seems illogical to the BS (as many fear it will send the cheater running to the AP) but it really is the best solution.
First it gets you out of having to watch the affair.
Second it protects you.
Third it can restore your power in the Marriage if the cheater is afraid the BS will run out on the cheater.
A BS cannot continue to be mistreated and abused by the cheater. I allowed it for months. Looking back it was a mistake.
But by dday2 I wised up and refused to allow myself to play the cheater’s game.
Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.
lrpprl ( member #80538) posted at 11:39 PM on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
Back when I was in the workforce handling negotiations was part of my job description. I read several books and attended some seminars in "Win-Win" negotiations.
The one thing that stood out to me back then and it still does today is this... The Person Who Has the Least to Lose Holds the Most Power.
I have seen that play out time and time again. I demonstrated it to my son 40 years ago when I went with him to help him purchase his first auto. When the car salesman and the manager said they were offering us their best deal and could not go any lower, I told my son out loud, "Let's go. We can do better someplace else." By the time we had walked out to my car the manager was following us and saying that they would throw in the A/C for free. As I recall it was about $600 on the MSRP sticker. That was on top of all the rebates, etc they had already offered.
The problem that every betrayed spouse has when they first discover they have been played is that they almost always go into the "pick me dance" mode. They just discovered that they had all their control taken away by their cheating spouse. To get some control back they start thinking if I do this or if I do that this cheater will love me again. If I had been more romantic, etc. I could have "Affair Proofed" my marriage. They think that is what they will do. It only succeeds in driving their spouse further away. What they are really trying to do is gain back some control in their lives... some power.
Now some have told you to forget doing the 180 and they stated their reasons, which are legitimate. However, I personally feel, especially in your situation where you wife stated she was on the fence choosing between you and her scumbag POS, that because the way the 180 was designed it would help you more than anything else. Sure, you two can make lists and compare them, etc. But, can you really trust her to keep up her side of the bargain? What evidence do you have that you can now trust her? She has shown that she can be deceitful, right?
The 180 will let you take back some control. Go back over the 33 behaviors of the 180 that you will find in the Healing Library under the Betrayed Spouse FAQ. You will not see any behaviors that tells you to be mean, ignore her, etc. It tells you to be cheerful and pleasant around her. Have those necessary conversations with her, but no more unless it is about your reconciliation. What the 180 does is show you the way to get back your control over yourself. The 180 will tell her that you intend to live your own life regardless of the circumstances Because You are Taking Control of You.
These past couple of years I have been reading about the Stoicism philosophy of life. The one thing I learned early on in my study is the early Stoics taught that the only person you have control over is yourself. That is all. They taught that a person needs to recognize on a moment to moment basis those things under their control and change those if necessary. They also need to recognize those things that are outside of their control and let those go. The Serenity Prayer in recovery programs is a great example.
You can't make your wife love you. You can't make her become honest. All you can do is be the best you that you can be at any given moment. That is the way to live our best life.
Bigger has a great byline on his posts from one of those Stoics, Epictetus, on happiness.
Anyway, either use the 180 or don't use the 180. None of we anonymous readers will ever know. That is your decision and yours alone. We can only give you our opinions.
[This message edited by lrpprl at 4:05 PM, Thursday, July 20th]
Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:26 AM on Thursday, July 20th, 2023
Lrpprl, I 100% agree. Often who controls the money has the power which is why a stay at home parent needs an income from the spouse to invest. Then if the stuff hits the fan the bs has a nest egg.
Also, if you have been raised by parents like mine you will bend over backwards to keep the peace because having strong public opinions is rude. So to get past that barrier is tough and I actually had to practice in the car driving toward a tense meeting. I finally learned that it is perfectly ok to just say NO…with no explanation and no excuse. Just NO.
Please realize that her rights should never infringe on yours. It takes an unbelievable amount of struggle to overturn habits formed by being in a marriage. Those habits usually begin before the ink is dry on the marriage license. One spouse falls out of the honeymoon stage before the other and the bs is so blindsided their loved one is looking at them with clear eyes, and sometimes critically, that they abase themselves trying to get that golden glow back. It will never happen and the bs better be prepared to find their own boundaries. No relationship is worth begging for crumbs.
When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis
Browsing41 ( new member #72237) posted at 1:31 PM on Thursday, July 20th, 2023
Just be honest with her. Tell her you are going to need time and space to process all this. You are basically still in shock at this point.
ThisIsSoLonely ( Guide #64418) posted at 7:16 PM on Thursday, July 20th, 2023
Just to clarify - to the extent my post was understood as advising not doing the 180 - that is not what I mean. I meant: 1) the 180 is HARD, especially if you are in an extended in-house separation setting, and 2) if OP can send your WS packing (as opposed to you leaving the marital home) that would be better (and emotionally easier IMO).
You are the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Act accordingly.
Constantly editing posts: usually due to sticky keys on my laptop or additional thoughts
CoderMom ( member #66033) posted at 4:47 AM on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023
It is possible, but will take lots of hard work and time and counseling possibly. No quick fix.