I wish I found these forums long ago. I've been reading through posts and it's good to know there's others out there going through similar situations as me.
I will try to be as brief as possible, but this may get a little long.
Together 15 years, married 12. 4 younger children, but each is old enough to know things aren't right. The past five years have been very tough on our relationship.
Things started about 5 years ago when I graduated college and we began the first of a series of several moves. We were happy where we were. We owned our home, had a solid circle of friends. Starting over in a new city was very tough. This is the when the first and only verifiable infidelity occurred. My wife had a PA that developed into an EA with a close friend of mine from the place we left. Unfortunately this is where I made several mistakes. Starting with accepting her back on her terms. She accepted that the only mistake she made during the infidelity was that we weren't officially separated when it occurred. I tried owning my part of the affair, but feel I ended up taking the full blame of it. I became a sad little puppy following her around, trying to make things better and make up for the errors I made.
She then decided to move my children across country to be closer to her family, I of course followed like a good boy should without putting up any semblance of a fight. We moved in with her parents, which was very tough on me since her mother and her are both very strong alphas, but aside from me hiding my feelings, things were fairly smooth.
Eventually we moved out into our own apartment, which with 4 kids is crammed into a small apartment is enough to drive anyone crazy. Here I became very indifferent to her, and all i wanted was to play video games. I personally feel I was very in the wrong here, so I made every attempt at owning my mistakes. I stopped playing video games, and started trying to improve our relationship by paying more attention to her. On a side note, I felt that there was another PA during this time by her, however, I never was able to obtain proof.
We moved again, to our current residence, a much larger home in a much nicer neighborhood with wonderful neighbors with kids. We couldn't ask for a better place to live. While at the previous residence and the current residence, my wife has started going back to school to finish her degree. So she's going to school, working part time, and my job has me home, not terribly late, but too late to help the kids with school projects/homework. So, she does have a very large amount of stress on her currently, but I do everything in my power to relieve her of stress, by taking over the items around the house that i can. Cooking, cleaning, getting the kids ready for school in the mornings. I don't have a problem with this, I feel that it's my contribution to helping her get her degree.
Our intimacy, though, has completely gone out the window. She no longer ends phone calls with I love you, and gets irritated when I "push it" by saying it myself. She no longer gets dressed in front of me, purposely going into other rooms and closing/locking the door behind her so I cannot get in. Touching her in sexual/non sexual ways is completely off limits, which seems to me, by looks she gives, its she's fairly disgusted with me at the moment. The last time we did have sex... the only thing I could compare it to would be sleeping with my sister (not that i've ever done that)... it was that horrible. This has been getting progressively worse since we've moved into the home we are in now.
Then the most recent, damning evidence. I was very suspicious that one of the reasons for the lack of intimacy from her was due to another affair. While I found no smoking gun, what I did find was a large number of sexual photographs of her on her cell phone that I had never seen before. They were of just her in very nude, very sexual positions. Of course, to me, if those pics weren't for me, who were they for? I confronted her, and she denied there was anyone else. She said the pictures were just a stress reliever for her and she became angry at the thought that I could accuse her of cheating on me. Our cell phone contracts are through her parents contract, so I have no way of knowing if those pics were texted to anyone (without her mother's blessing)... since all text messages before the timestamp of the pics were deleted.
During the arguments that ensued, every previous problem that occurred in our marriage was dredged up. She promptly reminded me that the the only mistake she made in the previous affair was the bad timing of it. Since we were going through problems, it was ok for her to have an affair, ok for her to lie about it, and that if i truly was able to get past the affair, I would have trust her again like I did before the affair. She also reminded me about how generous she was by taking me back when we were going through the problems in the apartment. She told me that our current issues are due to my inability to get past the affair, and we couldn't get back into a good state of marriage until that happens.
To me, this seems like blameshifting and just an inability to own up to her own mistakes. When I look back at many disagreements between her and I, it's pretty apparent that this problem exists with her, and after much soul searching, it's all on me for allowing her to do that. I was a complete namby pamby pushover doormat.
Now, I need to fix it. I have the issue that I think there is an active affair. The interactions between her and I are not good for the kids and they are the most important people in my life right now. I want to leave, and have a place to go to if needed. There is a very large discrepancy between my income and hers, so there is no way that she could afford to stay here. Custody is not an issue... since we both feel that 50/50 custody is best. I don't think she expects that I have the balls to leave her, but I believe she will use that as ammunition against me by saying she was willing to work it out but I was the one to leave. I don't think she'll try to turn the kids against me because I'm a good dad.
Sorry this has become soo wordy but i'm almost done. I want, very badly, to work things out. I don't think I can get past things (infidelity, her treatment of me, the lack of intimacy) without her owning up to her mistakes. I guess the answers I'm looking for are these. Would I be wrong in moving out? Am I wrong in suspecting that the pics I found were indicative of a possible affair? How do I best shield the kids from these problems between the spouse and I? Am I still being too much of a pushover? Am I being too stern now? Anyone else who's been through something similar, is it too late for fixing the issues between us and getting back to a healthy relationship?
Thanks to all who take the time to read and offer advice.
Sure you can step up and work on having a better relationship, but it is all her when it comes to her affair. It is her that has made this choice and it is her that need to own it and "fix" it by ending this unhealthy behavior and take the individual step in being a healthier person with healthier behaviors.
You can't control people so it is up to her to fix her self and do the heavy lifting to fix her self and her adultous behavior. You have no choice in this matter, but you do have a choice to set up you own boundries and these boundries are the walls that will prevent you from further pain in you current relationship and what you are willing to tolorating this or not. Then it will be up to her to do what she needs to do to keep you around.
You can work on your self to have a better relationship and work on your self to be a healthier individual with healthier relationship.....with her or some one else, but it is up to her to "fix" this and keep you around.
So stop thinking what you can do to keep her around, her betrayal should dictate what she can do to keep you around!
You would be wrong if you moved out for two reasons.
1) You have no proof of an affair yet. You need more proof. Can you afford a PI? How much time does she spend on the computer
2) She’s the one cheating. Why would you walk out on your children when she’s doing this? She is the one who has to leave. Once you are proof positive that she cannot deny about an affair, give her the choice to stay and work on the marriage or leave. That’s it. You do this my serving her divorce papers the day you confront her.
Your wife is a piece of work. You have allowed her to run over you. The only way you will get her attention is to shock her very foundation.
You best shield the children by you not moving out and telling their mother that she can only stay if she stops the affair NOW.
The pictures are an indication of inappropriate behavior. They are not proof that she is in an affair right now. She might be using them to post on line for a boyfriend. They are a huge red flag and you need to follow through.
Am I still being too much of a pushover? YES
Am I being too stern now? Stern? You are a push over.
It’s not too late to fix things. But the longer you let this go on, the less likely you will be able to recover your marriage.
The big question is why would you want to recover your marriage
I agree with Ele.
She is definitely taking those pictures for someone if they are not for you.
She is unable to own up to her mistake and apologize because she doesn't think she is wrong. So you may never get her to take responsibility for her actions. She needs to apologize and admit her fault.
If she cannot then she is not ready to work on your marriage and may never cross that bridge.
If she wants to move on you have to be ready for that as well and understand there are many awesome women out there who are looking for someone that knows how to treat a woman.
She may have fallen out of love and there is very little you can do to change that.
Take what is yours and move on to bigger and better things. Posted via Mobile Device
I appreciate all the responses. You all are right... I am still being pushed around by her. As far as computers... I'm a programmer so I've got all the pc's locked down, she can't do anything on those without me knowing. She knows that too, so she's pretty careful not to do anything there. A PI... I personally don't have the money for... especially if there's a need for a lawyer.
It may be moot at this point. She's instigating the lack of intimacy, not me, it's just a question of whether or not i preempt her or not by leaving, forcing her to leave, filing or whatever. I have considered putting a VAR in her car, though I'm not sure about that. I only suggest me moving out because that's in my opinion the easiest solution for the kids. How does that look when dealing with the subject of divorce? Does it make the judge think I've abandoned my kids?
The actual living situation may end up being a case of each of us trading off on the weekends since the place I would be moving to isn't necessarily kid friendly. She's on her way home now presumably to get some issues worked out... so we'll see where things go. I can't give a particular reason why I would want to salvage my marriage. It's all I've known for 15 years and the fear of being alone does weigh heavily on me. There's also the fact that I do care for her... but I don't have an explanation to why I do feel that way.
Why? Your marriage sucks, I dont see any positive reason for you to stay. Relationships dont have to be this way. She does this to you because she doesn't respect you. She doesn't respect you because you don't respect yourself. It's time for focus on you for once.
You sound co-dependent, fix that and leaving will be easier.
I want, very badly, to work things out. I don't think I can get past things (infidelity, her treatment of me, the lack of intimacy) without her owning up to her mistakes. I guess the answers I'm looking for are these. Would I be wrong in moving out? Am I wrong in suspecting that the pics I found were indicative of a possible affair? How do I best shield the kids from these problems between the spouse and I? Am I still being too much of a pushover? Am I being too stern now? Anyone else who's been through something similar, is it too late for fixing the issues between us and getting back to a healthy relationship?
Thanks to all who take the time to read and offer advice.
Personally, I think you CAN get past "things" without your wife owning up to her mistakes. You have accepted it for years now, so what has changed such that it is now intolerable? You have been cuckolded, and you accepted it. The cheating is 100% on her. Keeping her after she cheated on you with multiple other men is 100% on YOU.
But anyway, moving along to your questions.....
No, you would be doing the RIGHT thing by moving out and leaving this skank of a woman to make her own way in life.
No, women don't have sexually explicit images of themselves on their cell phones just for ****s n grins. If she wasn't sending them to you, she was sending them to somebody else. From the way you have described her, she is probably sending them to multiple other men. These constitute all the evidence and proof that a confident, mentally healthy man would need to determine that his wife was ****ing around on him. Sorry you are having such profound doubts. That's 100% you, too.
You can best shield your children from the problems you and your wife are having by continuing to excuse, ignore, and rug sweep her infidelity. At least for now. I hate to say that, but its the true answer to your question. That doesn't mean you SHOULD do it, but, well, there it is.
Are you being too stern now? You aren't being stern at all. You haven't set any boundaries, and you haven't the faintest idea how to even begin doing so. Your wife doesn't respect you. She sure doesn't love you. And you're worried about being too stern? Jesus.
Is it too late to get back to a healthy relationship? Yes, yes it is. The fact that you would even want to stay married to this person is proof positive that you have nothing resembling a healthy relationship, and haven't had since you willingly surrendered your testicles to this woman years ago.
I wish you the very best of luck in "getting a piece of yourself back." Everyone basically deserves to have their dignity and happiness in a marriage, but sometimes people make a bad choice, and marry a bad person who doesn't really care about their happiness. Like you have done.
Doh. I see I missed a question. "Am I still being too much of a pushover?" Boy, I hope you're just a troll. It would be better if you're just goofing around than being for real. But, assuming you are for real....
Your wife won't even let you see her naked any more. She has had sex with other men since you two have been married. She ignores your needs, wants, and desires. She hates you. She has nothing but contempt for you, and it shows in her treatment of you. I think most people would agree that you are way past being a "pushover."
"Pushover" at least suggests that she needs to exert some kind of force to make you fall over and grovel at her feet. Your self esteem, your sense of self-worth and ego, have been ground down to nothing. The only thing left is instinct, a nagging sensation that something is wrong in the marriage, hence the title of your thread.
God, where to start. www.marriedmansexlife.com. Do the 180. "No More Mr. Nice Guy." Get intensive individual counseling focusing on building self esteem and setting boundaries. And also on what aspects of your personality lend themselves to being abused.
If you want a piece of yourself back, you have a lot to learn, and a lot of work ahead of you.
Wow NLY... you don't mince words do you. You're right though, the piece of me that I need to take back are my balls.
I don't know why, but I've always had difficulty setting boundaries with her (and her mother). And when I would, it wouldn't take much for her to push those boundaries or outright ignore them all together. I would do nothing, since of course, she owned my balls. Self-esteem issues with extreme alpha personalities? I just shouldn't even try analyzing it.
At any rate, for what it's worth, I took the stand and told her I can't do it anymore. I've contacted a lawyer and that ball has started rolling.
I say I love her and want to work things out, but that may just be the fear of being alone talking. I'll admit to that... I don't like the prospect of being alone. There are no extended family members of mine within 1000+ miles of me. I have my kids and my small circle of friends. Moving back towards my family isn't an option, so I stay here. I guess for the time being I'll focus on my kids and myself.
A side note, I find it funny that while she didn't seem overly surprised that I took that step, she's lashing out at everyone because she's receiving little to no support from family members because of her ****ty treatment of me.
I appreciate the frankness of everyone. I intend on going through the site you gave in great detail this weekend. 180 seems to be what I wanted to do anyway. Lose a little weight (personal goal of 30 pounds), start taking better care of myself, and get a some of my self worth built back up.
Grumble, grumble, ***** gripe moan. Dad 7212, I apologize for the abrasiveness of my response. You are in a really crappy situation, and I'm angry for you, not at you. It's frustrating to read about someone being ambushed like you have been. You're getting attacked on an ongoing basis, and until you responded above, you didn't show the faintest sign of even knowing you are in a fight.
But I have some pretty good news for you, actually. Just by contacting a lawyer and starting the divorce process, you've gotten a piece of yourself back. I am completely serious when I say to you, "well done." And by contemplating the idea that part of the reason you're afraid of divorcing her is fear of being alone, you've gotten another little piece of you back.
Little victories matter in life.
If you read other threads on this site, you will find plenty of other people who have found themselves in your situation. Cheating spouse who treats them abusively, and denies them sex or any kind of affection. Many of them are so beaten down that they just end up accepting their lot in life. Or it takes them months to get to the point you got to in less than a week's worth of posting here.
I re-emphasize the 180 to you. You are already looking at it, and I urge you to read it every day and really take it to heart. At some point, I think your wife is going to realize that you are changing in ways that will take you beyond her control. So she will pretend to change, give you as little affection as she can get away with to bring you back into the marriage emotionally. The 180 will hopefully keep you clear-headed enough to see through false efforts on her part. If you want to save you marriage, at this point, you have to be ready to lose the marriage.
The truth is, you've taken things this long, and you could continue to take things the way they are, if you want to. If you want your own identity and self-respect back, you're either going to have to get there on your own, or your wife is going to have to change tremendously, and you're going to have to be the one who forces her to change, to treat you with love, respect, and dignity. The 180 will help you no matter which of these 3 paths you end up on.
I'd tell you good luck, but you don't need any luck to accomplish this, you just need information and self discipline!