Spend time reading other threads you will be amazed at your current show of strength. I have a collection of all time great posts to share you as you progress. Read this thread on the 180 and print it out. The attitude you want to project to your WW (except in the case of the children) is no different then a sales clerk. Usually friendly but being firm and unemotional in all other cases: Critical Readings For Separation and Divorce - LoveShack.org Community Forums
Continue to prepare for divorce. Consider carefully the custody laws of your state and strive to maximize your custody beyond 50/50. Any adjustment, any hardship you will encounter as a single parent your exWW will as well. Here is a classic from TAM
If you are reading this it's because the most important person in the world - betrayed you. Sorry you're here. The good news is that you are the product of thousands of generations of clever, resourceful, tough ancestors who navigated flood, famine and ice age and consequently much stronger than you realize. You might love and want your partner, but you don't need them. Accept that and allow it to inform your actions to maximize your outcome. Conversely, choose to believe and act as if you need your spouse, and bring your worst fears to fruition. Love is your friend, need and neediness are your enemy.*
From the point of discovery forward you ought to focus on regaining your emotional equilibrium. It's hard to do because you naturally feel disoriented. Your primary human anchor just pulled up. Pick a trusted friend with a balanced view of your marriage and talk to them. Exercise is critical. Sleep may be tough. Catch up on weekends if possible. Try to prioritize this stuff until you've gotten through the worst of the disorientation. Avoid alcohol, drugs and opposite sex entanglements.
With that as prelude, the guidelines below are intended to help you navigate the Rapids:
- Assess the overall marriage
- Confirm that your spouse feels the same way
- Execute either an ALL IN reconciliation or the cleanest possible extraction from the marriage
I'm going to write this gender neutral - with one exception. Physical intimidation is not only maritally toxic - it may come back to bite you hard in family court. Pretend your spouse is recording, nay videotaping every conversation.*
Assessment: The goal is to search your soul and/or your gut to decide whether you think the marriage worth saving. Might help you to ask yourself some tough questions. Thing is, most folks feel some amount of love when they marry. And love is a beautiful thing. But for the long game, and marriage is the ultimate long game - compatibility rules. Love sans compatibility is the worst pairing of all. Virtually guarantees unhappiness. No oath, no vow will stop an unhappy person from cheating - either via a continuation of the affair or a brand new one. So roll back to just before you 'think' the affair started and answer the following queries.*
1. From that vantage if you could choose all over again, would you marry this person?*
2. How would your partner answer that question had they been asked it pre-affair?
3. Do/did you love each other?
4. Are you compatible?*
5. How much did my spouse accept and/or seek my company?
6. My non sexual touch
8. Overall did they do a good job of making me feel loved/important?
9. Did I do a good job of making them feel loved/important?
10. Was your partner overall trustworthy, reliable and focused on you? 11. Or did they have a wandering eye, a flirtatious posture towards others.*
12. Did they let you marry them, or want to marry you?*
13. Do they feel sick about betraying you?
14. Or only sick they have been caught?
15. Or only sick at the prospect of being exposed to friends/family?
16. Or only sick at the thought of having to end the affair?*
17. Have they cheated on prior partners?*
After answering those questions you ought to have a good feel about recon or divorce.*
If you want to reconcile, it is time to discover what your partner wants.*
1. Do they want to stay married/try and reconcile?
2. Why did they cheat?*
3. What are they willing to DO to rebuild trust and heal?
4. Write a no contact letter?
5. Make a no contact call in your presence?
6. End the affair without one last get together for closure?
7. Provide transparency via phones and passwords etc?
8. Resume (if the affair interrupted it) a normal sex life with you?
9. Provide you with whatever details you want including a timeline of the affair?
10. Transfer departments or change employers entirely if their AP is from work?*
11. Take a test for STDs
12. Take a pregnancy test
Regarding (2), listen carefully. Might learn stuff ends up improving your marriage. The responses to (2) range from: we had a good marriage and I behaved selfishly and that is entirely on me. To you are the worst spouse since Henry the eighth and that is the ONLY reason I cheated. What they say might however, have real merit. For instance: you stopped sleeping with me years ago, or you consistently rejected my requests to spend time together. If you were the primary cause of a weak marriage, you need to decide if you can fix it. And you should acknowledge that and commit to fixing it.*
Confirmation: This phase is mostly about observable behavior. Words and in this case vows - are cheap. Actions WILL confirm or contradict your assessment. Is their primary emotion remorse or resentment. The stuff they committed to doing up above - are they doing it without pressure. Or is it you dragging them along. Considerate and kind about your heightened anxiety level? Or accusing you of being controlling?*
Execution: If you've both decided to try to recon, it's critical to accept the following:*
1. The more needy you seem, the less lovable you will be. This is every bit as unfair as it is true.*
2. People use the following phrase all the time: I was crying and begging them to stay
3. Crying is ok. It's about the loss of something you prized. It shows love.
4. Begging may be the single most toxic thing a betrayed spouse typically does. Crying means: You love them and are sad at the thought of losing them. Begging means you don't love yourself very much.*
5. If their affair partner is married or living with someone, you ought to contact that person and let them know what's been happening. There are several benefits to that, the best one is this. If your spouse has truly committed to NC, won't be a big deal. If they are still prioritizing their AP, you will get an angry reaction.*
6. If their AP is a coworker they frequently interact with, that's an inherently difficult situation. The focus should be on their prioritizing a transfer/company change.
7. Your perception of time is now different. Before Dday - you likely weren't nearly as impacted if they were running a bit late and didn't call. When it happens after Dday, you feel a lot more anxious. Thing is, if you call or text them every time they are officially one minute late, they will love you less. Doesn't mean you ought to be a doormat. If they are routinely way late without a call - that is a very bad sign. At minimum it means they are comfortable knowingly causing you intense distress.
8. Sex is a great litmus test for whether the recon is genuine. A WS who, upon discovery abandons, or continues to abandon the marital bed, is likely insincere.
9. Some folks advocate a zero tolerance shock and awe approach to demanding they stop the affair. This is a: choose right now one way or the other approach.*
10. Others are willing to compete with the AP over a period of time when faced with a WS who openly refuses to stop the affair. This is more likely a good strategy if you believe your pre-affair conduct was a significant contributor to the affair and want your spouse to see the 'new and improved' you before insisting they choose. And in some cases, this approach results in their choosing to end it of their own free will. Most folks find this competition period intensely stressful. If your partner is either selfish or has weak character, they will string this out as long as you allow. And will constantly move the goal posts for what you must do to win them back. This path MUST have a bright line end date.*
11. There are many paths to successful recon. However, a partner who continues a sexual relationship with their AP, while refusing to sleep with you, rarely reconciles. They tend to totally lose respect for you for tolerating it.*
12. Last but not least. You may be tempted to employ some extreme tactics in an effort to recon. These include your use of third parties either to advise of shame your partner. See examples below.*
Option 1: Attempting to cripple your partner so they CAN'T leave. If you go this route, eventually everyone you know will know that - you've turned into a psychopath - including your children and the family court judge. Good luck with that.*
BS: I just called the last of our friends and family and sent an email out to them as well. I told them what you did to me and the children. And asked them to contact you and tell you how wrong it is to destroy our family for a few cheap fvcks. I also contacted your employer and made a big fuss. I think they're going to fire you. And when I spoke to your AP's spouse, they told me they are going to try and work it out with your AP. And I also called the minister at our church. So go ahead and divorce me. Just know that you have no friends, your family is on my side, you will shortly be unemployed, you are unwelcome at our church and your AP is likely going to dump you. One last thing, I told the kids too. They were spitting mad.
Option 2: AKA - the voice of reason approach
BS: Picks one person who knows and loves their WS. Swears that person to secrecy and asks them to reach out to the WS and try and support them through the fog. The message to the friend is short and practical. I believe we had a good marriage and can recover. WS is lost in the fog. If you believe WS will end up regretting a divorce, maybe you can support me in helping them navigate out of the fog.*
Obviously there are many points on the spectrum between option 1 and option 2. A small modification to option 2 is to disclose to the partner of your spouse's AP. That person is in the same boat you are. That's actually a very effective step.
Here is the link*CWI - a strategy