Bob - interesting ideas. I'm not sure about forgiveness. She would have to stop doing damage before I could truly forgive. Given that our last blow-up over her Myspace page was about 2 weeks ago, I'm not sure that she's truly stopped yet. I've just quit "snooping" and asking questions.
I "could" forgive if I move on and distance myself. But that would be for more selfish reasons.
This is the time for Being Selfish! BE SELFISH. Protect yourself from further abuse. If you can't take exceptionally good care of yourself how are you going to take care of those that are dependent upon you. Make yourself Number 1 in your life.
With six months separation you are delaying your Judgement and it's a Judgement you have to make that will affect the rest of your life.
In six months I can more or less guarantee you that you will Know if she has or hasn't in your words "stopped doing damage".
You cannot change your wife, forget about that stuff. Only your wife can change herself. In six months time you will know if she has or hasn't changed herself. If she has, then you can look at the changes and see if they're acceptable to you or not.
Bob - just to clarify....I don't think I can forgive her if she's around, hurting me.
If she was gone, the forgiveness would be for me to heal my own soul and be able to move forward. To rid myself of the resentment. It would likely be internal - not sure I would tell her she was forgiven - it wouldn't be to make her feel better.
And I have to admit that my first instinct is that 6 more months of "limbo" sounds like hell. I understand your point - its kind of what I've been doing - and I'm not sure if I can do it much longer.
Another thing that's crossed my mind - she's trying to buy some time and get closer to me and the kids so that she'll eventually have a better shot at custody. Not sure if I'm right. And if I am right, maybe that's OK. I'm not dying to be a single dad - I just want what's best for my kids. If my wife can refocus herself and at least become a better parent, then custody wouldn't be such a large issue. I wish my kids had a stronger female presence in their lives - and hope they feel there is unconditional love there. So maybe she'll become a better parent even if she never becomes a better wife.
Getting real tired of the roller coaster.
Have a chance for a day off tomorrow. Part of me thinks it would be a good chance to "talk" to my wife. But a much larger part thinks I'll just take it off and not tell anyone.
There is absolutely no need to tell the other person they are forgiven, no need at all. In fact it can bring further abuse if you tell the other person you’ve forgiven them. Usually the abuse comes in the form of denial “I didn’t do anything” or minimising “You’re so sensitive, you shouldn’t feel that way” which is just another form of denial of the impact of what they have done. Those words come from people who a) have no empathy and b) do not accept responsibility for their behaviour.
Forgiveness is for you and you alone. For you, forgiving prevents you from becoming one of “life’s victims” and a bitter and resentful person, there are many of those around. They are truly toxic people.
You have a massive trust issue with your wife which is exceptionally understandable. If you stay with her and if you don’t get forced through this loop yet again in a year or twos time, I reckon your distrust will last for at least another ten years. That’s the real crop for us in these situations.
“Getting real tired of the roller coaster”. That was me, I got off the bloody thing. But unlike you I didn’t have dependent children at the time. I did have to go through this stuff at the time I had dependent children so I do truly know what it’s like. I didn’t want my sons to be brought up without me, so I got through it one way or another.
Take your day off. Treat yourself. Go hike up a mountain, walk through a forest, get yourself away from all that you know. Pray for yourself in whatever form your prayers come, pray for peace and harmony in your life. Answers will come to you.
Nice Guy - I am in exactly the same situation right now. My H had an affair, claims he ended it, but he is still deep in affair fog and is playing the victim. We have separated, he is staying on a friend's floor or in another friend's basement. He sees the kids a couple times a week.
I am a wreck. I have committed to this marriage, but he hasn't. And each time I talk to him, it becomes more clear that he has changed into someone I do not know. He has made NO attempts at reconciliation. He thinks he can be a good dad on his own, which is unlikely, since I have done EVERYTHING for this man for 17 years.
My anger is starting to build. I hate what he has done to me and our family. I hate that he has disrespected me and lied to me more times than I can count. I hate the person he has become. It is easier for me to deal with when I don't see or talk to him for a couple of days. But every time I get a text or call, or he stops in to see the boys, I'm right back at square one. I feel like a loser because I can't yet bring myself to kick him to the curb. I'm not afraid to be alone - I have an incredible support system, which includes his family. I just want my marriage back. But each day that goes by, I see that he does not want me.
I've been working out a lot to help with the stress. It helps a little. But the nights are rough. I think I'm in the Depression stage of DABDA. But maybe that means that Acceptance is right around the corner and I can fully understand that he made these terrible choices and I am better off without him. He is "that" guy - the cheater, the liar. He is not the guy I married.
I have been in touch with an attorney, but even his advice was to wait awhile until the emotions settle. I know I can't rush into divorce, especially for the sake of my children, but I want this pain to end!
I feel for you, Nice Guy. We didn't deserve this. Best of luck to you.
Wanting to start from a completely clean slate is very indicative that she will not look inside herself, see where she went wrong and take responsibility for her actions and the pain they caused you. It means she will never be remorseful for her abusive actions, you will not see remorse from her. And because she is avoiding feeling the pain of her actions she is ever so likely to repeat the whole thing over again.
It’s very easy to see why that is not tolerable for you.
If it was me I would email her my "short list" of what is needed for me to even consider going to counseling. If she isn't going to be transparent, or address the past at all, then counseling is just a tactic to see if she can get a therapist to convince you to make concessions that you have no interest in.
I have found that when I briefly state my intentions, then firmly begin to execute THAT is when I get the best response. Maybe she will fold the day before the papers are finalized. Maybe never. But she is most likely to behave best if she believes NG means business. She has interpreted his patience to date as weakness.
Originally Posted by nice777guy
I'm pissed again - didn't take long. Apparently things she did 2 weeks ago are completely off limits for discussion. She truly wants a "clean slate". I don't think its humanly possible on my part.
Still waiting on a time and date for that therapy session...
Still looking around town for the billboards...
And her friend has COMPLETELY assured her that she will get 50/50 custody. If her friend was a lawyer, I'd give a ****. For now, I'll stick with MEM's very effective "I disagree".
Oh - and I'm childish for sending information to her Mother. Well - she wants me to believe that I am anyway. Seems much more childish to me to DATE when you are MARRIED. But hey, what do I know.
The kids at dinner did actually say that Mom has not been using her laptop much lately - some days not at all. That's good news.
I agree you have been totally consistent. And you have defined and enforced a good set of boundaries. And you should feel good about that - really good. The guy you were 24 months ago is completely different than the guy you are now.
With that said she still believes in her heart that she can have you back whenever she wants. I am not saying that is true. I am saying it is what she believes. And until THAT changes, you are deadlocked. And I am not suggesting a hard line in the sand. Just a steady relentless move towards legal termination. It may be that AFTER you divorce she comes back to you and says "I really messed up - can I have a second chance". Or it may be that your determination simply causes her to treat you better post divorce - and that is very important as you will interact a lot via the kids.
Suffice to say that despite all your growth, her treatment of you continues to be far far below what you find acceptable. This stance that anything older than 2 weeks is out of bounds reflects a frightening lack of respect. It also raises the question of her very recent behavior.
At this point two things will create an environment without ambiguity. Filing papers and going to limited communication.
Originally Posted by nice777guy
MEM - only thing I would say is that I've been incredibly consistent and repetitious about what I need. She knows what needs to be done - at least in my eyes. No need to send her any more lists.
But - agreeing again - divorce papers may be the only way to truly put some reality back into this situation.
You're supposed to feel hurt and anger. You're mourning the death of a relationship that was important to you. It gets better and you can use the new arrangement as an opportunity for you to work on "you", concentrate on the kids, etc. You've probably wasted enough of your life doing battle. You could write out your text messages and just delete them. You get some of the same therapeutic benefit but without the police showing up at your house talking to you about stalking.
Turnera - don't we all want things that we know are bad for us? And yes - I do still want her, and I want my life set back to where it was a year ago.
Spent some good quality time together over the weekend - with and without the kids - and it felt good.
She has agreed to go back to see our therapist Tomorrow night.
IF she started making the proper changes going forward (very, very big IF) - how important is it to deal with the past? She claims to want a "clean slate" - and I totally understand - she just wants to gloss over all the hurt she's caused. She doesn't want to help clean up the mess she's made.
I think its completely unreasonable and very unhealthy - for the marriage and for myself - to just let it all go and try to move forward while acting as if everything is OK.
But I have to admit, it would be tempting to give it a shot - tempting to TRY and ingore the last year like a bad dream - IF she did the right things going forward.
How important are the apologies? What do I gain by asking her questions about what has already happened - whether a week ago or a year ago? Does she need to tell me EVERYTHING - or only go into further detail about the things that I've found or have strong suspicions about?
Just thinking out loud - looking for some input - and some "connection" from people who understand.
Status is somewhere in between Bargaining and Depression right now - leaning heavily towards Depression. Focus and energy at work has improved slightly - but I go home and feel like I've hit a brick wall.
she just wants to gloss over all the hurt she's caused. She doesn't want to help clean up the mess she's made.
This just proves that she is still as selfish as ever. She doesn't care if she is hurting YOU. She is just protecting HERSELF.
My view - and IMO it has been proved right over and over and over in all the years I've been helping people - is that if a cheater does NOT approach reconciliation with 100% humility, your marriage is doomed.
What does humility look like? It looks like total embarrassment. Ability to see what YOU are going through and discuss it to prove it. Willingness and ability to OWN her actions, to be ashamed of them, to speak them out loud and tell you that she is a heel and a jerk and selfish and that she wants to change.
It's selfishness that allowed her to be this way - until she's at the point where she SEES that, and doesn't LIKE what she sees, she will be just a thought away from cheating again and again, and you will never have a moment's peace.
Hold strong. WAIT her out.
Honestly, she needs to hit rock bottom. She needs to be a quivering mass of sorrow and pain and embarrassment and questioning why she did what she did.
If she can't reach that, you should never trust her.
Heard Dr. Phil say recently that the best predictor of future behavior is relevant, recent behavior.
I've had a tendency of dominating our therapy sessions. Tomorrow night I'm planning to simply say that I think this "clean slate" thing is totally bogus and selfish. Expect my wife to make 100 excuses - to which I will try to calmly respond "I disagree" and ask the therapist - "What do you think?"
One thing that my wife does well is isolate me. She knows I don't like to talk to people - tries to "shame me" when I do. So lately, I've quit arguing - tell her I disagree - tell her that it seems we are "stuck" in our positions - and that I would prefer to have these types of discussions in therapy.
Not sure if this is a "good" sign or just stupid - but I was the one who kept saying "I'm done" last night when she tried explaining her "clean slate" theory. Its based on the idea that she's really done nothing wrong. I disagree.