Hi, WW here and fully reconciled.
I actually think it’s not ww or wh, it’s more the type of cheater you are dealing with.
There are ws’s who are purely in it for physical. Perhaps there are more men than women in this category but I don’t think there is the disparity one might think. Usually these are the cake eaters.
I unconsciously was having an exit affair. I wanted to blow up my marriage because I was so miserable. But it took the roof blowing off for me to realize I was miserable because of me- I didn’t speak up, I felt like I couldn’t effect change, and a lot of that was just having poor relationship, coping, and communication skills. It actually ended up having little to do with his side of the marriage and more to do with the false feedback he was getting from me and my perfectionist, people pleasing ways.
But what happens regardless of the type of affair sometimes addiction becomes part of it. Hits of dopamine is what the addiction is to just like a gambling or shopping addiction. You can see the devastation it’s causing but by then you think that means the ap is the cause rather than your brain.
I was your wife in a lot of ways. It was a hard climb out. The best thing you can do in this situation is focus on you. What you need, what you want. Be firm with her and your boundaries. That feels terrifying when you don’t want to loose someone but your wife can’t see you as a soft place to fall right now. She needs to feel the severity of the situation. I don’t mean become abusive or mean (not that you would) but to grow some firm boundaries and maintain them.
Unfortunately the only reason someone pulls themselves out of addiction is they are at rock bottom. There is no comfortable place for them to be. They have no choice but to change.
You can’t control what that is. You can only control what you will subject yourself to. It sounds like her time in comfort is up. She needs to make the next steps. IC, reading, journaling. There is nothing that would stop her from trying to find the answers within herself.
Reconciliation happens after recovery and neither of you have reached that plateau yet. Recovery for her should look like she is working her ass off to work on herself. For you it looks like knowing you will be fine either way and you are going to remain focused on your needs and wants and are willing to put space there for your own protection. As long as you are there to coddle her she experiences no loss from her addiction.
If she does the work, she maybe worth while to work on reconciliation. But she isn’t doing her part and you can’t do it for both of you. She needs to see clearly she wants and needs to get this to the other side.
[This message edited by hikingout at 4:14 PM, Thursday, September 7th]