At the end of my rope, don't know what to do
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 03-01-2010, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

I'm so at the end of my rope right now, I just am so hurt and frustrated. A little background. I have been married to my wife for 15 and a half years at this point. We have 3 kids ranging from 9 to 16 years old. We started very early in life with our family, and our first few years of marriage were very rough.

We eventually overcame that and grew up and had several years of a very good marriage. I love my wife so much. Only recently though I have realized that I have, especially over the last few years, become very selfish and hurtful to my wife. I have damaged her heart. I'm not talking about anything like abuse, just neglect and selfishness that has turned her heart cold. I didn't even realize that I was doing it at the time, and looking back now I really think that for the last 2 years I had been living in a state of depression that I was not dealing with.

Anyways, now, a month ago I learned that my wife has spent the last year having an ongoing affair with me. She says she "loves me, but isn't in love with me". She has broken off all contact with this man, and we are supposedly trying to work on our marriage. However she has a lot of internal, personal issues and she is working on those. She is not even really sure that she wants to work this out, but she is taking steps to try to move in that direction.

I have forgiven her ... I have. But it is so hard to deal with. Then I learned this past week that this wasn't the first time. Over the last 2 1/2 years or so she has actually had 2 separate year long affairs on me I now learn.

Here's the thing. I can forgive her both of those. I am so sorry for the hurt and neglect I showed her, I love her so much, I know divorce is not best for our kids, I am willing to work on our marriage. I don't care if it takes 6 months, 2 years or 10 years I want to make this work.

But at this point I'm the only one fighting for this marriage. I understand that she has broken off these relationships - even though she "loves" this other man so much. I understand that she is working on her internal, personal issues. But at this point she won't even let me take her out on a date.

We talk. We spend time with our kids. We go through the motions. We are friendly with one another. But she won't take positive steps yet towards fixing our marriage. I am at the end of my rope. I feel like now, after learning about the second affair, "well, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

I still want to move forward, but I'm so tired of being the only one trying to fight for the marriage. I don't know what anyone can say or anything. But if anyone has experience, or advice or anything I appreciate it. I'm just at the end of my rope. I'm so close to saying "either poop or get off the pot, start fighting for this or end it." I just can't take living like this anymore, but I also don't want to shut the door on any chance for our marriage to get fixed.

Frustrated and hurting,
Hope(less)inHouston
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

First of all, there is NEVER any reason to cheat... EVER!!!
If your wife was "broken" by your neglect, she had choices, many choices. It is never an option to cheat!
I guess I am in your situation... and your wife's!
My H also neglected me, he suffers depression, and has had some really low times. He pushed me and our children away. Then got too the point of severe loneliness. I was there, I had always been there, but had emotionally disconnected myself from him, as he constant moods and rejection, ripped my heart out. My heart also became cold!
Then my H "loneliness" led him to cheat on me. I was like WTF? I had tried so many times to connect with him, that I was exhausted... he was lonely, and he cheated? I was devastated.
I'm not saying that part of the problem wasn't me, I gave up on him. As I saw no improvement in his general state of mind.
But what hurt the most was he says he cheated because "she" showed him love. He couldn't (or didn't want to ) see the love that was right in front of him.
We are getting better everyday, but it takes monumental amounts of work. You have images and demons you have to deal with. And if you have doubts about your wife's commitment to you, then you are in for a really long ride.
Your children don't need you to be married, they need you too be happy.
The fact that you have obviously accepted that you may not have been the "perfect" husband is great... really great. Old habits can be really hard to change, you will need to make a conscious effort everyday to ensure you don't forget what is right in front you. Having said that... you didn't cheat... and you didn't deserve to be cheated on. Don't carry the burden of your wife's betrayal. Accept your part, change what you must... but don't ever accept responsibility.
I wonder, at times, if my H truly understands, just how much his emotional abuse, and neglect effected our love. I wonder if he realises that his loneliness, was due, on the most part, to his emotional shut down. How did you come to this realisation? Did it just occur to you?
Anyway, I wish you all the best...Give your marriage your all, as true love is always worth saving, but you can't fix it all for the both of you.
Best of luck!!
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enough!!! View Post
I wonder, at times, if my H truly understands, just how much his emotional abuse, and neglect effected our love. I wonder if he realises that his loneliness, was due, on the most part, to his emotional shut down. How did you come to this realisation? Did it just occur to you?
I knew things hadn't been just right for a little while ... thought it was under the surface and I hadn't done anything about it yet. But when it really hit me, when I really saw the damage I had done to her heart was when I saw what she had done to me, when I learned of the affair.

I am a very spiritual/religious person, and I think that God used that to knock me into sensibility. I have been utterly broken and changed. I'm a very, very different man than I was just 2 months ago. I'm sorry that it took this to wake me up.

And although I do accept that my actions caused the situation that led to her betrayal/affairs, I do not accept responsibility for them, I know that they are completely her responsibilty.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

PLEASE: Read Marriage Builders (Love Busters).
It helped me so much. Really.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

LuvMyH, no way no how are either [hope(less)] of you to blame for the nefarious actions of your spouses. We all have problems and turn inward at times, they doesn't give people the right to be deceitful, disrespectful and break the promised made in marriage. I know that sounds simplistic; but it's true. Promises are NOT made to be broken. I'm sorry for both of you and share the pain of a lying cheating heartbreaking spouse. Good luck to all of us in finding the love and happiness we deserve.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

So, by way of update, we had a productive day (sort of) yesterday, and yet I'm maybe even more in limbo not knowing what I should or want to do.

Up until now she has been "working on herself", which as I said we are both very religious and both agree she needs to do. She needs to get herself right with God before we can heal together. But she has been saying that she still doesn't know if she can commit to our future and that she is trying, but she can't make decisions yet.

Well, now she has come out and said that although she told me 3 weeks ago that she broke off contact with this man, she has in fact still been talking to him over her work phone. She told him the other day that they need to break contact off for the month of March so she can get her head strait. Yesterday though there was a bit of a moral/diciplinary crisis with our youngest son, and that really rocked her. She actually, really, literally now has told the OM that she can't go on anymore, not to contact her, call her, email her, that it has to be over.

She still says she loves him so much, and this is so hard, but now that she really is ready to work on this, and try to make it. Now if we didn't have kids, divorce would be her answer, but because of the kids, and because of God she is ready to work on it, and commit to our future, to try and work things out.

Here's the problem. I've been fighting for more than a month to get her to make this commitment to us. But now ... do I want it?

Over the last month it has progressively gone from:

1. I don't love you anymore, but no there is nobody else ...
2. there is someone else, but NO it was never physical, I promise ...
3. Yes it was physical, over the course of a year
4. It has been 2 1/2 to 3 years of 2 separate long term affairs
5. I told you I broke off contact 3 weeks ago but that was a lie, but NOW it's broken off ...

I can forgive the one affair. Two makes it harder to know that she has caused me that much pain. Then the repeated lies, the unwillingness to give it up, the fact that I know that her commitment such as it is, really is for the kids and God and nothing about me ...

I love her. But it's so much to take. In so many ways it would be easier to end it, and just go find someone that I'm more compatable with, and who wouldn't treat me like trash like she has.

On the other hand it's my conviction that although I do have the option for divorce here completely, that it is never God's desire or answer, that God hates divorce always. I do love her.

I'm so torn and don't know what to do. I didn't know I could hurt this much. I don't want to try and make this work, only to go through this same pain in another 2 or 3 years, or in 9 or 10 years when our kids are out of the house and it's only us left. I want to be happy and with someone who appreciates me and the things that I do.

Anyways, these are the many things I'm dealing with. Sorry for rambling, but thanks for listening.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

Well you're right it does take two to make a marriage and two to break a marriage, so good for you that you're not exclusively blaming your wife.

Being emotionally distant in a marriage is like taking a wrecking ball to your marriage, we crave emotional contact more than we do physical contact and for me that's the reason why so many people have affairs.

That being said you both need time and more time to come to terms with what you've both done to your marriage.

You sound like you could both use someone professional to talk to. Have you considered that?

The last thing you should do is to expect yourself to just forgive your wife over night and move on to having a happy married life.

Give yourself time and give your wife time!
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: At the end of my rope, don't know what to do

Hope I can be of some service - you've been through some hard things, and it is very easy to get discouraged and feel helpless. However, there are some things you can do that will help you - and your wife, in creating a much better marriage.

Quote:
Here's the problem. I've been fighting for more than a month to get her to make this commitment to us. But now ... do I want it?
As you point out in another section of your post, Scripturally you do have the option to divorce. But, as you say, it is never God's desire. I suggest, at least for the moment, that you put aside your feelings (which can change like the wind) and concentrate instead on what would please God. Making that choice gives you a clear avenue in which to operate.

I do want to point out that your situation is not unique - nearly every person who has an affair follows a script - as the affair starts, while it is in full swing and while it is dying. Hence...

Quote:
Over the last month it has progressively gone from:

1. I don't love you anymore, but no there is nobody else ...
2. there is someone else, but NO it was never physical, I promise ...
3. Yes it was physical, over the course of a year
4. It has been 2 1/2 to 3 years of 2 separate long term affairs
5. I told you I broke off contact 3 weeks ago but that was a lie, but NOW it's broken off ...
...is exactly what you should expect your wife to be doing. Not that it is pleasant or comfortable for you (or her...)

Quote:
I can forgive the one affair. Two makes it harder to know that she has caused me that much pain. Then the repeated lies, the unwillingness to give it up, the fact that I know that her commitment such as it is, really is for the kids and God and nothing about me ...
The fact that she had two affairs points out that there is a problem in your marriage. Unless your wife has some sort of (extremely rare) psychological disorder, those problems are the result of things done in your marriage that destroy the love and intimacy you once had.

All of the reasons she offers for staying, while not entirely to your liking - are valid ones. They are a good starting point. The commitment to God is especially important, because this is the means by which your recovery can be toward something much better than what you had. Your marriage can easily be built on these roots. Consider this: in cultures where marriages are arranged, there can be happy and fulfilling relationships. The key is in building on what you have. Your commitment is the starting place. Feelings of love should follow that (in our society, I believe we have reversed the roles of those two parts of marriage.)

Quote:
I love her. But it's so much to take. In so many ways it would be easier to end it, and just go find someone that I'm more compatable with, and who wouldn't treat me like trash like she has...

I'm so torn and don't know what to do. I didn't know I could hurt this much. I don't want to try and make this work, only to go through this same pain in another 2 or 3 years, or in 9 or 10 years when our kids are out of the house and it's only us left. I want to be happy and with someone who appreciates me and the things that I do...
Is your wife willing to work on the marriage? Are you willing to work on your marriage? If so, ALL of the things you wish for in the above quotes can be yours.

Remember that while she has done things that have caused you pain, there were things in your marriage that left her vulnerable to the affairs in the first place. Affairs do not happen in a vacuum. They are inappropriate responses - incorrect, wrongheaded, evil ways of attempting to find solutions to problems.

Keep this in mind, please! The work you must do on your marriage can never be to reestablish 'the way things were'. It is obvious that 'the way things were' was not acceptable to one or both of you. The work you must do on your marriage must be such that it establishes an environment in your relationship where an affair is the last thing on either of your minds.

Some things to consider:

Why your wife must cut off all contact with the other man.

A great way to build a Christian marriage.

The ways and reasons affairs start.

Four things you can do right now to save your marriage.

And - as suggested in another post - Marriage Builders
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