In limbo - trying to save marriage - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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In limbo - trying to save marriage

Hello, this looks like such a great community trying to help and support each other.

Thanks for letting me tell me story.

Just over a week ago my wife of 23 years told me she didn't feel the same way about me any longer and thought she wanted to be on her own. We do have two children. A 19 year old son living at home still, and a 13 yo daughter.

We have not taken any concrete steps as far as legal divorce but after an initial night of staying in our bedroom she is now sleeping in a different bedroom.

A bit on our history that could provide some needed context. Initially I would say that we were stronger as companions than lovers. Then about 10 years ago she entered into an affair. It was short lasted but brutal in its circumstances. She invented a need for a work trip to be with him for a weekend in a resort type atmosphere sleeping with him every night (3 nights). I discovered about a month after that. After that initial weekend it was mostly constant. texting and one more physical incident.

We went into the shock an affair causes and went to counseling and really put some serious work in. I think we learned more about ourselves and came out closer in many ways.

I would say though there were underlying deep root issues that we came out of that experience not solving.

My wife is somewhat a conflict avoider and because of this struggles with compete transparency in how she communicates. I am a very analytical person and one thing I struggled with was my commitment that I would never miss the obvious clues of an affair again. I felt so so stupid.

I would say that we had some very close and passionate years after the affair. We had been through hell and valued each other because of it.

I guess a couple years ago we both stopped actively working on recovery and just started coasting a bit.

There were examples of her spinning something to sound better and I just knew I wasn't getting the entire truth. This would start a conflict where she felt I would always look at her through the lens of the affair and I started feeling like I had a wife who had honesty issues. I was husband with deep trust issues and she felt it.

Recently she had mentioned to me she wished I would help out with housework more (very fair as we both work full time) and would listen to her more on my spending choices. I didn't take this to heart as much as I should have and apparently her resentment towards me has been growing.

When she shared she didn't feel the same way about me she also stated that she didn't think working on our marriage would help. She had a particularly painful line that maybe I just love her more than she loves me. This was exact verbiage she used during the fog of the affair which is causing me to flashback a little.

As far as another affair, I don't think so. One of her very main issues right now is that she hates carrying around that scarlet letter. The language and coldness are clues to my analytical self but I just don't think its the case currently.

I am currently taking the angle of fighting to remain married and trying to giver space to sort out things. It's difficult of course as I miss my wife being my wife. We are very civil wth each other and at times it feels odd in that nothing has changed as we are watching television and laughing and joking. Initially her language seemed to have an air of finality to it like feeling bad she is doing this and hoping the kids make it through ok. More recently there have been clues of a possible detente such as hugs goodbye as we leave for work or good night hugs. Last night I even got a kiss on the cheek. Now, these could be friend zone hugs and pecks but I guess I will take them now.

I will say that I am taking steps to be a much more active partner in housework and avoiding those spending choices that caused issues. Its only been a week though so I can't imagine this is that powerful to her yet. It does feel good to me though.

I started individual counseling and it felt great initially. I think I need to learn more on Love Languages as it sounds like we have different ones. She initially resisted counseling but has since signed up for individual counseling as well.

After my initial counseling session, we had a great talk where it almost felt like we were discussing issues and ground rules for improvements in how we communicate and get agreement on things. This gave me hope but still have no concrete indications that she is willing to work on our marriage. I am trying to be patient but I miss her at night when I go to bed and I just miss her being my wife and being able to express affection.

We text during the day about normal trivial things but no feelings expressed from her or no serious talk about future.

Thanks for the ear. Hoping not to make stupid mistakes and hope I end up in a new version of the marriage where we can communicate well and build real trust.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:15 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

The hard part about where you are is what is often the best thing to do for a walk away wife is the very worst thing you can do if there is an affair.

Just based on what you have written, I am inclined to say it is another affair, especially given the rugsweeping you two did from her previous affair.

You MUST rule it out.

Sorry you are here.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:34 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

@StuRedman Being in limbo is often the worst part. Give yourself a date in which you will no longer be in limbo, a date in which you begin to move on with your life. Until then, I agree with FarsideJunky that you should do what you can to rule out that your wife is having another affair.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

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Originally Posted by farsidejunky View Post
The hard part about where you are is what is often the best thing to do for a walk away wife is the very worst thing you can do if there is an affair.

Just based on what you have written, I am inclined to say it is another affair, especially given the rugsweeping you two did from her previous affair.

You MUST rule it out.

Sorry you are here.
Thanks for your feedback. I think where I am at is that if it's affair its over anyway and theres nothing to save for me. And if it is, that will come out soon enough. Its funny you say rugsweeping. Man I thought we figured it all out. I do get it though. Trust and communication. Ugh.

I think I have to trust now when its my hardest time to if I have any hope. I am trying to ignore little things I see as clues and show her trust when she says there is not another person. I may stay silent and turn out to be wrong but if I express these fears I better start hunting for apartments. I am trying to trust the person and not get hung up on what I see as warning signs. I just don't see another path.

I mean I'm not going to be stupid but theres a bit of a leap of fait I feel I gotta do now.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:42 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

Sorry to have you here. It sounds like you did not really deal with the affair the first time round and she seems to have got away with it unscathed - which may be why she is expecting the axe to drop any time.

What were the details of the affair ? How did she meet him? How did you find out ? How did it stop/end ? What was her response to (a) being found out and (b) showing remorse and doing heavy lifting ?

This could be another affair. However, her actions means she certainly fits the profile of one who could easily lie and cheat again without feeling sorry about it in the slightest.

It maybe that this "reconciliation" was a false one and you should have dumped her the first time round. Certainly sounds like that. Don't make the same mistake again.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

I'm sitting here thinking about the "Must Rule It Out" part. I just don't know how to rule it out in a way that doesn't confirm her fears of me never trusting her and always being seen as the one who had the affair.

I am checking her texts through a cell phone carrier tool but she knows I can do this and has a work phone too. I can identify most of the texting activity as friends. When she had her first affair the texts were constant and in front of me...ugh those were the days. I'm not seeing this now.

This weekend she went to dog sit overnight for a friend and my alarms were going off like crazy. She said she needed some time to think but I was thinking the worst.

Well the dog sitting time comes and she was texting me most the night including pics which pretty much much proved what she was up to. I don't want to be taken advantage of but more than that I want to show that I can trust even in a difficult time. Does this make sense?
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

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Originally Posted by manfromlamancha View Post
Sorry to have you here. It sounds like you did not really deal with the affair the first time round and she seems to have got away with it unscathed - which may be why she is expecting the axe to drop any time.

What were the details of the affair ? How did she meet him? How did you find out ? How did it stop/end ? What was her response to (a) being found out and (b) showing remorse and doing heavy lifting ?

This could be another affair. However, her actions means she certainly fits the profile of one who could easily lie and cheat again without feeling sorry about it in the slightest.

It maybe that this "reconciliation" was a false one and you should have dumped her the first time round. Certainly sounds like that. Don't make the same mistake again.
It's hard for me to say she got away unscathed. This has caused her great pain and totally changed her behaviors and boundaries. We went through counseling to identify what made her vulnerable to an affair and also what the causes were...really validation and attention based with some FOO issues built in.

He was a coworker friend. Texting started and become personal and flirty. They literally justified a work trip so they could have opportunity to be together He was also married. On that work trip they had sex all three nights. Came back and went back to texting with exception of one more incident in the office. I discovered by reading a text on her phone.

She first defended by saying she wasn't happy but we decided to try to save the marriage. She cut off all contact with the guy and he actually left his job. I ended up telling his wife to be sure all avenues were broken. She showed true remorse to me to the point of being just raw emotionally. She joined a site for infidelity support and posted for support. I really am not prepared to say it was an act and it was false reconciliation. I loved that woman for who she was during that time.

We went to counseling and she really owned everything. We established boundaries and they were followed. I would say we became our closest in some of these years. I honestly own much of the problem by just not showing trust. You know...I trusted her as long as I knew where she was and what she was doing. I mean on some level I trusted her but with a very short rope. I think this is wha has built up some resentment. I was just so hyper vigilant never to get fooled again. I see a little now that I was looking at micro clues and not the bigger picture when it came to trust.

I see how its hard to understand from what I have provided and I also know that I could be a bit in my own fog. I have been there and am aware of the dangers.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 03:26 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

The problem with catching a partner in an affair is the next time they'll know to be a lot sneakier. Either way, whether she's no longer interested in being your wife or if she's cheating, you're in a very bad spot because you both need to want a marriage for it to work. The moment that one person determines they want out there is little you can do to stop them. If it were me, I'd tell her fine and help her pack her things and wish her well with her new independence.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 03:39 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

I'm sorry you are here man. This is really a tough situation. At some point you have to think you are just going to keep her around for your benefit and not "your's together". Is that what you want? She stays because she feels like she has to or guilted into it? As this point, one affair and now a *I'm not in love with you anymore* concept, it may be best to focus on you, get your **** together and work on the rest of your life.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:08 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

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Originally Posted by StuRedman View Post
Thanks for your feedback. I think where I am at is that if it's affair its over anyway and theres nothing to save for me. And if it is, that will come out soon enough. Its funny you say rugsweeping. Man I thought we figured it all out. I do get it though. Trust and communication. Ugh.

I think I have to trust now when its my hardest time to if I have any hope. I am trying to ignore little things I see as clues and show her trust when she says there is not another person. I may stay silent and turn out to be wrong but if I express these fears I better start hunting for apartments. I am trying to trust the person and not get hung up on what I see as warning signs. I just don't see another path.

I mean I'm not going to be stupid but theres a bit of a leap of fait I feel I gotta do now.
THIS that I bolded... I think this is a mistake. Ignoring warning signs is likely what allowed an affair to happen the first time around. You should NEVER ignore your gut. I am not saying that she is, or is not, cheating again, I am just letting you know that you should never discount your own instincts. I'm sorry you are here.

EDIT to add....LOVE your user name! Big time King fan!


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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:14 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

Do you want to save your marriage because you love her and can't imagine your life without her? Or do you want to save your marriage because you're afraid what you're kids/family/friends will think, how it will impact you financially, or your're scared to be on your own?

Seems to me it would be really hard to have any sort of real love for a person that cheated on you and caused so much pain.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:19 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

It sound like you two are learning how to get along with each other. What about regaining love? Love is funny in that it cannot be willed into or out of existence. No amount of counselling can make someone love another if there is no spark left to fan. Many couples stay together for the children and because the alternative is not an attractive option to them. You are in the same boat as many other married people I have known. I wish you lots of good fortune and success.

As far as your wife's affair goes, most who get caught cheating will minimize the affair. Normally an affair does not jump right into a major lie and deception right off the bat. That is more of a thing that happens after a couple has been together for a length of time. I know this from both sides of the fence but that is in the very distant past. Men cheat for just the sex while women cheat for emotional reasons. So you need to find out what those reasons are and without couples counselling that is difficult to do because each of you is only giving your side of the story. The other thing is that cheating wives often place the blame on their husbands and some husbands do not want to think of other reasons why their wife cheated, and will end up blaming themselves for it, or a good part of it. Cheating is never a solution to a marital problem and the danger is your wife's way of handling such problems. I only say this because you post seemed to be beating yourself up about your wife's affair. She cheated, not you and if there was a reason she should have talked to you. Having a wild weekend of sex with someone else is not a cure for what is bothering you. Not at all.

After 44 years of marriage I have gone through it all. I have an ex fiancee and one other girlfriend before I met and married my wife. Both the ex fiancee and girlfriend cheated so it made me distrustful of women. That and having a few married women try to seduce me into having sex with them, left me with a healthy amount of distrust for my female lovers. Yet, I have seen couples like you make it work moving forward. It is not easy, especially when cheating is involved, but still possible. I hope you make it work for you. Your wife seems to want it to work too. My main concern is love is elusive and while you can learn to life together in harmony, the love is difficult to regain.

My wife once told me that she did not think she loves me and what we did was have sex a lot more. Sex releases Oxytocin which emotionally bonds a couple together. It worked for us. At first we just laid in bed together. That led to cuddling after a week or so. Then it turned into making out and finally full blown sex. Eventually we found ourselves in love all over again things are actually better than before. I wish the same for you no matter how you accomplish it.

Many prefer to drown in a pool of their own morality rather than seek the safety of a different morality when the choice is monogamy or your marriage.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:23 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

You seem like such a mature and level headed man I think that you already know what you have to do and maybe you're here asking to get some assurance in what you think. I will say follow your thoughts and whatever they are hold strong behind them and even though it may not be what you want know that in the end it was the right choice and that life will go on with or without her.


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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:55 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

If having proof of an affair would be at all helpful in terms of avoiding or mitigating spousal support then by all means pursue it.

Otherwise just assume that she's cheating again (or that she never stopped, whichever helps you to detach more quickly) and cut her loose.

Sorry man.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 11:35 PM
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Re: In limbo - trying to save marriage

Sometimes relationships really don't survive an affair,despite work on both sides.

So what if she fears your digging? Her fear is her issue, not yours, and if she's done nothing wrong (presently), she has nothing to fear. Trust is earned and re-earned when broken. It's not re-earned under condition of being nice to her and staying out of her business, it's re-earned with transparency and honesty and as much digging as you feel is necessary.

There does need to come a point, however, when you are done digging and you accept what is. Maybe you never sufficiently reached this point and she can tell.

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