I wanted to let you know that I am here and been pondering on your situation for a little while. I do realize there are some fairly major
complications to overcome here though:
1) your wife was abused as a child and refuses any kind of counseling or help about surrounding issues (and yet it has affected her profoundly!).
2) your wife refuses to end all contact with the OM even though OM has asked her to stop...she pursues him irregardless of the cost of her actions.
3) your wife refuses to allow or consider any kind of marital counseling or recovery from an affair "program" because she says her situation is special and she would purposely sabotage it rather than cooperate.
4) your wife thinks love "should be easy, should flow naturally, shouldn't be work and should just be felt" so she won't really work at it at all
5) your wife so far has not looked at herself, taken personal responsibility for the affair, admitted the damage that her actions have done, or made any attempt to change or work on herself.
losinglove, here's the fact. YOU are here and she is not, so at the very least I have hear those things from you without hearing her side. You are here looking for help for you, and she is not here--so I will focus my efforts on you and what you can do to improve and do better, and not on what she "needs to do" because we just can not make people do what we want. But if those things are a fact, I will let you know that any one of those 5 could be marriage-crippling. You can work on you until you're blue in the face, and unless those five things are dealt with and changed, the chances for recovery and a healthy marriage are very, very low. And I'm not trying to be a bummer here--I'm just trying to let you know that even if you are perfect, those are BIG issues. Okay?
So you wrote:
I asked her what she wanted. She said just what I told you earlier. We would be married and happy and I could have D as a friend. |
We talked a little more about that then I told her "I love you". She said I know, I still love you, it's just clouded by all the blackness of the hurt, frustration and anger.
Okay #1 she will not be able to build a marriage with you and honor her vow to devote ALL of her affection and dedication faithfully to only you...if she stays "friends" with the OM. That just will not happen. Period. End of sentence. As long as she has the OM in her life (even if he moves 80 billion miles away and she still pursues him), the marriage will spin it's wheels and not grow and not heal.
So let's discuss this a little bit later okay...remind me!
We got married soon after she graduated college, I was still in the military. She told me looking back that was a good thing because she probably would not be around today if she had to go back to live with her parents. (background: her father abused her)
And if you remember, I told you I had been there too. My folks beat me every day with a broomstick or rolling pin--and upon turning 18yo I left the house and knew I had "won" just because I had survived and they didn't kill me. But I also went to years of counseling to deal with the fear and pain of the abuse. Unless and until she faces it, there will not be real recovery for her or for "the marriage" as an entity because she will not be mentally healthy. She will do anything to run from and avoid some kinds of pain, including having affairs to mask the pain.
As for how am I doing. ok most days. I am working hard on trying to improve myself and meet her needs that I can figure out. The rest I kind of shotgun. I think she is finally understanding that these changes are not a temporary thing and that I am really working hard, but she is still cautious. I think one of the things that really got her to understand that is she told me she wasn't sure I was being real. I told her I know I screwed up, didn't keep my vows to you. I am doing this because I want to repair our marriage. If for some reason we don't work out, I want to make sure my next relationship is strong. She said I know you are trying really hard, that is why I am still here. Every two or three weeks I just feel like crap, like what's the point. I know at those times I need to "recharging of the batteries" and try to head it off before it gets too bad.
Okay so first, I'm glad to hear that you are working on you and trying to improve yourself. What are you doing specifically? Going to a support group? Reading self-help books (or surviving an affair books)? Finding improvement things on the internet? Going to individual counseling? Talking to me?
Going to a parenting class? Taking a training class? Exercising again? The reason I ask is that often people say they're working on themselves when really what they do is "not all that much" and so I'm asking for specifics.
I think it's reasonable for her to be cautious, and I think it's admirable that you admitted to her your part in contributing to the marriage's troubles. I do not think it's reasonable for you to take responsibility for the affair or her blame. Nor do I think it's reasonable for her to hold this over your head forever--especially when she hasn't ended the affair and hasn't admitted her part in contributing to the issues.
I notice she mentions that about every 2-3 weeks she feels like crap and feels bummed. Maybe this is a cycle you can track and somewhat/sorta predict (you, losinglove, not her). You may want to take the next few weeks and just track her moods and see if you do see a pattern. I did that once with my exH and was STUNNED to discover that every 3 days he screamed at me (the "veins popping out on his neck" kind of screaming).
One of the "paybacks" is not just with her. With the changes in myself I am enjoying doing things with the kids more and even though they have not said anything, I think they are noticing a happier me.
YEPPERS! The more and more and more you become your true self and be true to who you are and the man you have the potential to be--others will notice it (like the kids, co-workers) and actually, the happier you'll feel because you are being you! Huh...whaddya know. A person can become happier by being who they truly are...as if the feeling is something you can choose!
One thing you wrote was a little interesting. You said:
Turnera, I like to think I do. I am doing little things I used to do. Buy flowers at odd times, write "love" messages on the bathroom mirror (this is new), call her during the day just to see how she is. I am also trying to do little creative things - one of my best (I think) so far is I sent her a love letter and put a check inside for 10000 hugs and kisses (scratched out the Dollars). Had to make sure she got the mail the next couple days. I was putting clothes away the other day and saw it in the bottom of the drawer . I can tell when I get to her, she gets this little smile that...I don't know how to describe it...it's more than "I needed that". It's like giving a child a special treat just because. Does that make any sense?
This is sort of important. It sounds like love, to you, might be little things....little gifts and romantics gestures... or that's what you think it means to her. My point here is an example.
My Dear Hubby thinks love is expressed by Actions of Love. So if I help him clean the kitchen, fold laundry, or change the oil, he thinks, "Wow she cares enough about me to do stuff for me!" I think love is expressed by little gifts and romantic doo-dads, so if you buy me flowers and send an ecard and get me a teddy bear, I'm THRILLED!
What happens if my Dear Hubby changes my oil or goes grocery shopping "for me"? Do I see that as love? Nope. I sit at home lonely and think, "Why would he rather spend time with the car then here watching a movie with me?" And if I get my Dear Hubby little romantic doo-dads does he see that as love? Nope. He wonders "Why doesn't she love me enough to help me?"
So losinglove, from what you can tell, are those the ways that YOUR WIFE sees love? If you do those things, does she see a waste of money and it doesn't phase her? Or is that her language of love? That's pretty important to keep in mind.
HEY, AFFAIRCARE, DON'T FORGET ABOUT ENDING ALL CONTACT WITH THE OTHER MAN. YOU WANTED TO TALK ABOUT THAT, REMEMBER?
Oh yeah! Thanks! Okay, losinglove, here's da rules
Until ALL contact with the OM is ended, the marriage does not have a chance of recovering. In order to move into a healthy recovery, she will have to willingly end all contact with him and never, EVER
contact him again. Yes, it will hurt and she'll miss him. Yes, she'll be tempted to call and she will have to resist the temptation (you can't do it for her or police her). So since she still is not willing to do that, it kind of got me to thinking...well, where are you guys in the steps of ending an affair? Step 1: Gather evidence
--this is finding proof so that the loyal spouse believes there is an A, because we already know the disloyal will very likely lie and deny it. I think you've done this step. Step 2: C-D-E
--this stands for Confront, Disclose, Expose (and I think it's turnera's favorite step). First go to your wife, directly, and confront
her. Tell her you know she had an affair, you know you contributed and you're willing to work it out, and ask directly for her to end all contact for all time. Ask out loud. If that doesn't work, then you disclose
the affair maybe to one key person: a clergymember, one of her parents, one of your parents, an employer...someone she is likely to look up to and respect, who is also likely going to advise her to end her affair and work on her marriage. Whoever you disclose to, it should be someone important to her so she thinks twice about ending the affair. Finally if that doesn't work, you expose
the affair to those who will be affected by it. The point of this exposure is not to be vindictive, but to let people know who may influence her and to let relatives know (for example) who may be able to support and encourage you. It's also to expose the previously somewhat secret/hidden affair to the truth, no longer keep it secret, and inform employers there may be vulnerability to legal action and loss of production etc. The likely exposure folks are your parents, your siblings, her parents, her siblings, your very good friends, her very good friends, people at your place of worship (with whom you're close), a neighbor or friend who you think is "helping out" with the affair, your employer, her employer....
I'm not sure how far you got with this step. Can you refresh my memory? If I remember correctly the military chaplain knows right?
Step 3: Carrot & Stick
--in this phase you focus on two things: work on yourself to be the person you once were who attracted her again AND allow her to experience the natural consequences of her choices. You work on yourself by eliminating the things that extinguished love between you two (like judging her, angry explosions, enough is never enough) and by re-starting the things that kindled love between you two (like romantic doo-dads). You need to do BOTH...but eliminating love extinguishers is the most important of the two. The idea here is that she is getting some of her needs met by the OM but you want her to see that you do "get it" and that you are an attractive alternative able to meet her needs. The second part is about NATURAL consequences. This doesn't mean that you punish her, but rather, nope--you are not leaving the house so she can move her lover in. If she wants to be with loverboy, she'll need to move out and nope the kids do not go with her. There is no reason for them to leave their home, their bed, their neighborhood, their friends, their school because she is with the OM --so a natural consequence there is that she loses some time with her children. That's the cost of choosing to have an affair and what WILL happen if she chooses to divorce. Allow her to experience that hurt because it will teach her faster that affairs HURT and cost A LOT!!
I think you are doing this step. What do you think? If so, you should know that this step is not "long term" because no one can give and give and give forever when an affair is being rubbed in their face. Eventually the time would come for you to say, "I've done what I could to win you over and now I need to move to the next step before I lose all love for you." Sometimes a disloyal spouse sort of sits on the fence in this step because they are getting needs met by two folks.
Step 4: Dark & Silent
--in this stage you write the disloyal a letter and explain that you love them, admit the things you did to contribute to the affair, indicate what you're doing to end those things, and then say that unless she ends ALL contact with the OM and never, EVER contacts him again, you need to end all contact with her. The idea behind this step is to give them a more realistic taste of what divorce is like--to not have you in their life to meet ANY needs! They also can no longer depend on you for those little household chores, blame you for the day's events, nothing. I don't think we are quite here yet, do you?
From what I can see, you may have a little more Step 2 to do, but I think you're in Step 3 (Carrot & Stick). Do you think so too? If so, we can start moving forward I think and get a plan on what to do next.