I was originally logged in as another profile. One of my failures was to be transparent to my wife in hopes that she would begin to trust me, so she get onto the forum and read all my posts, including some about what I was going to do. Fail.
I've changed names. Here's my story, as laid out by my posts. D-Day was July 24th, at 8am.
July 25, 9:30am. I find TAM:
I can't believe how much this hurts.
My wife of 22 years told me yesterday that she is having an affair with someone who is also married. We have 8 children and are not in a position where we could split, it would be financially ruinous. While I love her, she has told me in the past that if she could leave she would.
I caused all this. I'm 100+ pounds overweight and have weight-caused sleep apnea. My sleeping problems were making it impossible for her to sleep so we haven't slept in the same bed in years. I'm ADD and I constantly forget to do things - she's incredibly organzed and she's sick of being my "mother". And finally, last year, I began having erectile dysfunction - Viagra works, but she really doesn't enjoy sex with me.
She says she loves this man, and that he gives her the love and emotional bond she needs. She went on a trip to California with a "friend" last month, and I found out that she went with this man. She even had me buy the tickets for her!
I feel like a complete and utter idiot. I'm a very trusting person who always thinks the best of people - one of the traits about me that drivers her nuts, because I trust people I shouldn't.
Because of our kids (who are wonderful and we both love very much) and the financial situation we need to stay together. We live in a house that will never sell in our area, and we need both our incomes to maintain it. We can't afford 2 households. I don't know what would happen if this other man were single, my guess is she would go and live with him, but he also has a family. I guess his wife and kids know what is going on.
Our kids don't know and I don't want them to know. I have no friends outside of the marriage who I can trust, because if anyone starts talking about this it WILL get back to my kids.
My wife and I talked more yesterday than we have in years. She says she cares about me, that she doesn't like the fact that I'm hurting, but that she's not willing to give this relationship up. She offered to move out if that's what I need. I told her I don't want to give up on our marriage, and she said she doesn't want to give me any false hope.
I just don't know if I can handle being the house if she's going to leave and see this man. I've got nowhere to go and I am very involved in my kids lives and I need to be with them.
Does anyone have any advice? I just need to be able to talk to someone! I couldn't sleep last night. I have these thoughts in my head - stupid thoughts about finding this guy and confronting him, or asking her for details. She'd probably be willing to have sex with me occasionally, because she knows I have no way to find a relationship outside of the marriage, but then I'll feel like it's a competition. My youngest sine is 2 years old, so there are a lot of years ahead of me in this family. Do I find a way to live a celibate life, allowing my wife to find her emotional fullfillment outside the marriage, and maintain the household? Do I fight to win her back?
I discovered that I can forgive the infidelity. If she was telling me she had an affair but it was over, this wouldn't be an issue. It's the thought that this is ongoing that is killing me.
Two weeks later, I posted this:
I appreciate all the advice, folks, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one going through all this. My solution isn't one that is going to make many of you happy but it's the only one I can live with. I won't punish the children by kicking her out and I won't leave the children myself, so we are both staying in the house. We are working on building a stronger relationship as parents and even friends. For the moment, she is continuing her relationship. I'm not happy about it but she's not a prisoner and adultery isn't illegal, so unless I'm willing to break up us as parents there's not much I can do about it except rise above it.
There's a lot more going on in my life over the last 2 weeks than even I imagined - the crisis that came over me when she told me of the affair changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I have begun a spiritual journey that I hope is going to take me to a place where I will be a better man. She is amazed at the change in me and, although a little concerned about where it's coming from, she has become much more open with me and me with her. I'm hoping that the affair is an infatuation that eventually runs out of steam. If it isn't, then we'll deal with the consequences. I'm prepared to accept whatever happens, whether it's reconciliation, or we end up in a married partnership where we find some fullfillment outside of the marriage, or, if necessary, if we separate. However, with 8 children she will always be a part of my life and I will not use the children as pawns. So yes, she's a cake eater. And I am enabling this. It's possible she's using me and will leave me as soon as the OM can extricate himself from his marriage. But I choose to accept my fate, work on being the best father, partner and, if I am allowed, husband I can be.
On September 30th, I posted this:
I'm 2 months from D-Day. My wife continues the affair, wants me to live with her with no intimacy of any kind for the children while she spends time with the man she loves.
The anti-depressants have finally started working. Good thig, too. Because I was very close to taking my own life 2 or 3 times in the last couple of weeks.
I just found a letter last night written by the OM to my wife 2 months before I knew about the affair. It turns out the marriage counseling we were in at the time was a sham - it was intended to convince me to separate so she could then "meet" him.
If it weren't for the Citalopram running through my bloodstream, I probably would have killed myself last night. I keep hoping a heart attack will kill me from the stress I'm feeling.
I'm living with my wife who is actively carrying on a sexual relationship with another man. And no, I haven't been checked for STDs - I don't have to because she immediately stopped having sex with me when she started with him. It went on 7 months before I knew - I'm 2 months out from D-Day.
Don't let it get to this point. It's killing me. We're staying together in the house "for the kids" and I'm stuck. I should have told her to leave the day she told me.
Tell her to stop contacting this man completely or to leave the house. Or end up like me - suicidal, on anti-depressants and stuck.
After finding help and support through a Psychiatrist, a Therapist and finding out that the "secret" I was keeping was common knowledge BEFORE I knew, and having my friends reach out to me once they realized I knew, I was able to post this:
LoveCloud - I'm afraid that I have to agree with a lot of people here. I'm in a situation that has some parallels with yours, but there are differences too.
When I first read about the 180 I thought it was about getting her back, and I treated it as such. Massive failure.
But when I got into therapy and my therapist told me to quit trying to save my wife and protect her, that I had to save myself and protect myself, a light bulb finally went on. I really and truly found acceptance and started to move on. My wife accused me of being passive-aggressive, she claimed I was treating her badly, all kinds of stuff. I wouldn't engage, wouldn't react - not because I was trying to get her back, just because I was trying to be strong.
Guess what's happening. In the last couple of days she's begun to signal that she's feeling conflicted over what to do. She's really beginning to stress out. We went to a joint counseling session. I originally thought I'd use it to show her the error of her ways. Instead, the subject was how and when to tell the kids we were getting a legal separation and how to manage the money. She started trying to process all the problems in our marriage, she started to cry. I got us back on track. We're going one more time this weekend to finish the tasks in front of us, then I'm stopping the joint sessions. I have no interest in going over the past. I want to move forward. If she wants to agonize over the past, she can go to therapy herself. But I refuse to engage in any "marriage counseling" until she goes NC and transparent. Then we'll see where I'm at. Because you know what? I've let go, I feel better than I've felt in years.
And if this doesn't happen pretty soon, I'm pretty sure I won't even want to go back there. She told me a couple weeks ago that there was no chance of reconciliation. now she's talking about being torn. And I'm the one really not interested.
So forget getting her back. Accept that your marriage is over, start legal proceedings, don't get caught up in the secrecy. You don't have to be a **** about it. Just protect yourself. Get therapy. Watch yourself for signs of depression or anxiety. FORGET getting evidence - you know it's happening, MOVE ON. Most states, adultery just doesn't matter. Unless you can prove shes an unfit mother - and sex in a car with an unemployed man has nothing to do with if she's a good mother - then the best you can hope for is shared custody.
Oh, and don't have sex with her, even if she offers. You need to disengage emotionally, sexually, financially from her.
The secret to my turn around is Radical Acceptance through both DBT therapy and Buddhist/Taoist teachings, which I was already interested in (but never really clear on until this happened). Realizing that thoughts like "This is a nightmare. I wish I could wake up" and "It's shouldn't be like this" are self-defeating, resulting in being mired in self-loathing, self-delusion and self-doubt. Get through the crisis with strategies of mindfulness, distraction, Self-soothing.
DON'T look to your spouse for support - even if they seem willing to give it, their attention is focused elsewhere. Want an example? Every time I would sit down and talk with my wife about my feelings, about how I hoped that some day we'd be able to get past this...that damn secret phone would go off as the OM would text. He made sure he texted her at those times he thought I might have time to talk to her. And even when my wife and I would go for a walk to talk, she would check whenever that damn phone would ding. It's an addiction.
Of course, the anti-depressants help. We all need help, and reaching out for help was the first step in my road to acceptance. Do NOT attempt to handle this on your own. It's too much. You can't be available for your kids if you are mired in anxiety and depression.
- Accept that reality is. There is no shoulda, woulda, coulda.
- Pain is inevitable. Suffering is self-inflicted.
- Accept that you CANNOT save, protect or fix your spouse.
- Conquer yourself, not the world -- Rene Descartes
I misunderstood the 180. I tried to do a 180, but didn't actually believe it, and when my wife reacted with anger at my "passive-aggressive behavior", I immediately melted and she had control again.
So what is happening now? Once I accepted that my marriage was over, and that we had to find a way to tell the family, and I started seriously investigating legal separation, she got angry again. Days of intense anger at my "passive-aggressive" behavior. Suspicion that I was trying to "screw" her. She told her father what was going on and is demanding that I let him see all the financials. She pushed every button she could think of. "There's no chance EVER of reconciliation". "I don't even LIKE you, you're not someone I could ever live with again". "The affair is all your fault". "The affair is the best thing to ever happen to me".
Those buttons aren't connected any more. No reconciliation? Yes, that's probably true. You don't like me? Well, for the first time in years, I like myself and I no longer need your approval. I don't take any responsibility for your feelings or behavior. I take responsibility for the 50% of the dysfunctional marriage, but 0% of the affair. Financial transparency? Sure, I don't have anything to hide. I'm not the best at paying bills, I sometimes had to pay late charges and I was embarrassed about it. But it's a failing of mine that I can work on. It's not something I really need to hide.
As they say, the truth will set you free.
We went to joint counseling to work out how and when to tell the children last weekend. When I first set it up, weeks ago, I had this idea that the therapist would tell her she's crazy and she needs to stop the affair, and everything would be OK. That's delusional. So I went in with an agenda. We would talk about moving forward. Instead, she starts crying and talking about how I made her married life miserable. She's trying to justify the affair. I won't engage with her, I redirect us back to what we wanted to talk about.
Suddenly, her whole attitude has turned around. She is asking me for things, instead of demanding. She's said "thank you" to me more times in the last 3 days than in the last 3 weeks combined. She's starting to tell me how torn she feels.
Does this mean it's time to reconcile? Hell no. As long as she's still in the affair, I'm moving forward. This isn't a game, it's reality. I need to disengage, and I'm doing so.
This weekend, another joint session. I've already decided - if she starts trying to talk about the marriage, I'll decline to participate. The session is to finish our "script" for what to tell the kids, and to come to some agreements on how to proceed to legal separation, and to see if we can come up with a plan for "bird-nesting". And if she wants to talk about the marriage, there is one simple message. As long as she is involved in the affair, I have no interest in talking about our marriage. I'm in individual counseling to deal with my feelings about the marriage. I'm getting the help I need to move on.
I'm lucky in a few ways. I have incontrovertible proof of the affair, I know what is happening and when. This is a no-fault state, so no judge will care that she's having an affair, so snooping won't do anything but make me crazy. The OM's neighbors, who found out about the affair before I did, are good friends of mine who have offered me support, caring, and a bed if I ever just need to get out of the house. They also offered to sit around and talk smack about the OM and my wife, but I asked them not to - it's not really helpful. But it's nice to have someone tell you that it's not your fault, and that you are a good person.
So learn from my fail. Begging, pleading, secrecy, neediness, attempts to save your spouse from themself - none of it will ever do anything except drive you crazy. You don't have to be a **** about it - I'm being very nice to my wife. But I will no longer allow her to control me, and I'm not letting her set the agenda.
I used to be h-u-r-t-h-u-s-b. Not any more. I'm in control of my own life now.