I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate. - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

I am 43 and my wife is 41. We have been together for 20 years and married for 14 with three fantastic kids. We have had ups and downs over the years and some very bad times. She is very moody and keeps her feelings bottled up, I lack communication skills and tend to ignore things until they blow up. During the years I coped with the stress and my own perceived failure by coping with alcohol and prescription drugs. I ended up doing two years in prison and during that time my wife discovered an affair I had 10 years ago during a very difficult time for us. I worked with the woman and she had me bent over the barrel so to speak. I paid her stupid amounts of money to not tell my wife and to go away. This went on for years...the money not the affair. Finally I cut off the supply and went on with my life and my wife and I had our third child. Things weren't perfect but I was happy and we were doing ok. Then I went to prison and my world went to hell. She found out about my affair and decided she wanted to divorce. She filed twice while I was gone only to withdraw them when I begged her not to do it. She is very angry, bitter, and HURT. She told me again yesterday that she wants to date and go on with her life and can't stand me around. It was devastating, soul crushingly painful. The thought of my wife being with someone else is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. For the first time I think I understand how she felt at my betrayal. I want to vomit. As I sit in my office I simply can't function. I spent my two years away bettering myself, I lost 100 pounds got into shape, took self help, gave up drinking and pills. I know I can be the man she deserves.

Our mutual friends tell me to ride it out and stay strong. Just "focus on the kids" is what they tell me. "She's pissed but she'll come around" is what one told me who knows her well. I don't think so. I'm focusing on the kids and they are my priority but the pain makes me upset and I have a hard time showing a brave face. She barely communicates with me and that adds tension which the kids pick up on. I'm trying to be supportive and respectful (I don't go into the bathroom when she's changing or showering and I don't try to be sexual with her) I sleep at my moms house until July when my parole is up. I know that if I truly love her and I want her to be happy then I need to support her on this journey and hope that she finds happiness with our without me. But it is so hard. She is my world and I didn't realize it until I screwed it up. What can I do? Is there hope? I pray everyday for reconciliation.

I've been seeing a counselor through the church and she was nice but brutal. My wife did not attend. She is "done". She's had two years to adapt and move on and I spent two years believing I could earn her back. How do I earn her trust back? Does anyone know?

I don't want to lose her but I want her to be happy. So confused.

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 09:47 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

I am sorry to hear what you have been through, I feel for you. Unfortunately, there are no words I can say that will magically fix your life. Have you told your wife everything you posted here? The only thing I can think of is be totally honest with her and understand that even that may not win her back. Your situation sounds like it falls under the old saying "If you love something set it free, if it comes back it is yours if it doesn't it never was". I know that is not comforting but it is all that comes to mind other than to ask her if she would allow you to prove yourself to her by starting over. Start fresh by dating and making time for just the two of you and for family time. Ask her to go to counseling if not to save the marriage then to at least save the family because whether you stay together or not you still have children together and are going to be in each others lives and need to learn to communicate and get along for the children's sake.
I hope things work out for you. Good luck.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 10:09 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

When a woman is done with a man, she is done. Keep working on yourself and learn from your mistakes. I highly doubt she will want to get back with you.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 10:20 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Has she found anyone?

She may not want you yet, the anger will take time to subside. If she is not actively seeking you can hold on to hope, but prepare yourself for the worst.

I'm so sorry this is happening. That is why it is imperative you come clean when you cheat and try and work on the marriage. The truth tends to come out one way or another.

Good things come to those who wait...greater things come to those who get off their a$$ and do anything to make it happen.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 10:30 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

There is a book that might help you. I know that your wife has not had an affair and the book is written for people whose spouse is having an affair. But there is such a similar in her mind set to a person who is cheating, that I think it will help you figure out what to do to try to win her back.

"Surviving an Affair" by Dr. Harley

Surviving An Affair -
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 10:51 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Sorry you're here.

Don't be the man she deserves. Be the man you want to be. Be the man that others wish they could be.

2X4 warning - you really ****ed up. You should not have had the affair - that was (obviously) a truly poor choice. The perceived pain you have at the thought of another man having your wife is what she has to deal with on a daily basis, but sadly it's not just conjecture, it's reality for her. It is a horrible cross to bear, being a betrayed spouse.

I would agree with laststraw regarding the 'If you love something..." statement. IMO, it appears your current marriage is in severe peril, and may not be salvageable. I would strongly recommend you continue to work on yourself and be the best person you can become.

You state you want her to be happy. Pause a moment and consider what will make her happy, and while I hate to say it, it appears a divorce is that very thing. Yes - you don't want her to be with another guy, and while this is understandable, it is not something you can control in any way. You can try, but ultimately, that's her choice.

If marriage counseling isn't in the cards due to her non-participatory stance, I would truly look at options of ending the marriage to allow both of you to heal, grow, and find another person who may be able to be a life partner. I won't say you two won't get back together, but I will say the probability is slim.

You don't want to hear this, but you've really got to take a hard look at yourself and see what baggage and trouble you caused in the marriage, NOT the affair - you need to look at who you were, and you need to be a brutalist with honesty here. It's between you and yourself. You need to see your failings within the relationship if you want to better yourself for another (or your wife), and work hard on yourself to recover and be a 'better version of yourself.'

I believe you should cut bait, as it were, and find a way to be a better man for the next woman you want to engage after you heal from this matter. I'm so sorry that children are involved. Advice here is also meant to be the best father figure you can be as well.

Here's a different view of marriage (or relationship) to consider:

You are two independent solitudes who choose to be together. Hell - you said vows to each other. Then realize that each of you has your own likes/dislikes/opinions/priorities etc. that need to be honored and respected. BUT! Neither one of you can control or change the other, you can only control and change yourself. If you can grasp that, then you are on your way. So many other positive dominos fall when this perspective is taken.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:08 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Tough one...THIS.

Tiny plus. The affair happened ten years ago.

Additional ding. You went to prison for two years....abandoned her as a result of some stupid illegal [untold to us] action. She certainly holds a grudge against you for this, Eh?
.................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ...............................................
Possible solution. Buy one Rose every day and place it were she will find it {every day}. In her mailbox, taped to her front door, back door, on her car window, at her work place. When you cannot place the Rose have somebody else do it in your stead. Even if you must pay to have placed.

On each rose stem, put a printed sticker saying I will always love you. When she tells you to cut this "crap out", tell her that when the Roses no longer appear you will be dead and gone.

Come rain or shine....the Rose!

This....This is the nub of the stick that pokes me in the eye when the light of day energizes my optic nerve....SunCMars.... The Allegory of the Cave--> On this, I did a '180' and stepped out.

The Lion in Winter. Invictus..By Will, Shall... Saved from harm by my friends.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:43 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

No such thing as soul mates. That's emotional thinking.

There ARE other women that you can love just as much as your wife.

However, until you let your wife go and accept she is gone, you cannot move on and let another woman in your heart.

I know you are hurting. I know you go to sleep and wake up thinking about how you can fix this.
You can't. You can't make someone love you. Your wife leaving is not the end of the world. It's the end of one chapter in your life. You have got to muster the strength to start writing a new chapter. It is up to you. And it can be just as good as you make it.

You aren't alone. There are millions of people that have had this happen to them. It did to me.
Just like me, you can get through this. Is it going to hurt? Yes.
Is it going to seem like more than you can handle? Yes
Is it going to get better? Slowly.

When will it become bearable? When you ACCEPT that you can't change this, and you can still be happy. Then you will get better every day.

I wish you luck. Sadly, I can see how badly you want to hang on to her. And the longer you do, the longer you will be in extreme pain.

My hope is that you choose to let her go, and choose to start your life over. You can. The best days can be ahead if you jus give it some time.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:44 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Evenrude58 said exactly what I was going to say.... No such thing as soul mates. Just like there's no tooth fairy and no such thing as luck. Just life. Let her go and you'll find someone even better to start over with. She's gone, like yesterday.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-11-2017, 11:53 PM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryingtocopedad View Post
I am 43 and my wife is 41. We have been together for 20 years and married for 14 with three fantastic kids. We have had ups and downs over the years and some very bad times. She is very moody and keeps her feelings bottled up, I lack communication skills and tend to ignore things until they blow up. During the years I coped with the stress and my own perceived failure by coping with alcohol and prescription drugs. I ended up doing two years in prison and during that time my wife discovered an affair I had 10 years ago during a very difficult time for us. I worked with the woman and she had me bent over the barrel so to speak. I paid her stupid amounts of money to not tell my wife and to go away. This went on for years...the money not the affair. Finally I cut off the supply and went on with my life and my wife and I had our third child. Things weren't perfect but I was happy and we were doing ok. Then I went to prison and my world went to hell. She found out about my affair and decided she wanted to divorce. She filed twice while I was gone only to withdraw them when I begged her not to do it. She is very angry, bitter, and HURT. She told me again yesterday that she wants to date and go on with her life and can't stand me around. It was devastating, soul crushingly painful. The thought of my wife being with someone else is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. For the first time I think I understand how she felt at my betrayal. I want to vomit. As I sit in my office I simply can't function. I spent my two years away bettering myself, I lost 100 pounds got into shape, took self help, gave up drinking and pills. I know I can be the man she deserves.

Our mutual friends tell me to ride it out and stay strong. Just "focus on the kids" is what they tell me. "She's pissed but she'll come around" is what one told me who knows her well. I don't think so. I'm focusing on the kids and they are my priority but the pain makes me upset and I have a hard time showing a brave face. She barely communicates with me and that adds tension which the kids pick up on. I'm trying to be supportive and respectful (I don't go into the bathroom when she's changing or showering and I don't try to be sexual with her) I sleep at my moms house until July when my parole is up. I know that if I truly love her and I want her to be happy then I need to support her on this journey and hope that she finds happiness with our without me. But it is so hard. She is my world and I didn't realize it until I screwed it up. What can I do? Is there hope? I pray everyday for reconciliation.

I've been seeing a counselor through the church and she was nice but brutal. My wife did not attend. She is "done". She's had two years to adapt and move on and I spent two years believing I could earn her back. How do I earn her trust back? Does anyone know?

I don't want to lose her but I want her to be happy. So confused.
Hi @tryingtocopedad

Thanks for your post and your honesty.

Can I firstly congratulate you on making the progress you have - in terms of losing weight, cutting out the drinking/pills and then taking self help. It's a really important part of your journey and it's fantastic to hear that you've done that.

Now in terms of your situation, it's not easy at all because primarily you've lost your wife's trust which can be extremely difficult to get back. However, I genuinely believe it's possible but it will take time and you need to be prepared for all the ups and downs of the journey.

It's purely a case of being there for her (and your kids) at a level that she's never seen before. What you're doing is great in terms of the changes that you've made but you have to demonstrate to her on many levels that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to win her trust back. This means weathering the 'storm' when she gets angry at you and maintaining your composure despite whatever 'bullets' are fired at you. You need to find ways to ensure that she doesn't think your changes are just a one off thing before you end up with someone else. She needs to know in her heart that you are there for the long haul which means you need to serve again and again and again.

As I said, this isn't easy and it will take time to build that trust but as long as you are committed for the long haul and there is a part of her that still loves you, there is always a chance. I say that because I have seen it happen before a number of times so maybe that's why I have faith in restoring these relationships. Obviously there are a number of details within your relationship that I have no idea about but if you genuinely feel that she is your soulmate and you are prepared to stick it out long term, then I do feel it's possible.

Hope that makes sense.

Any questions, please let me know.

Thanks
Sri

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 12:00 AM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

I personally think you should stay away from her.

Be there for your kids, but leave her alone to get on with her life, like she wants. Respect her wishes.

You say you know you can be the man for your wife, but you've already proven to her that you cannot. Whether your affair was 5 days ago or 10+ years, it was at a time she thought the marriage was stable. She had no idea and you went on to have another child right after you ended it with the OW. Did you get STD tested before you went back to your wife? Did you consider the possibility that as a human being, let alone your wife, she should know that you'd been banging another woman besides her? That you'd been spending family funds in the OW, to save your own hide? That maybe she deserved a faithful husband for all the years and effort put in, because marriage is not always rainbows?

It's presumptuous of you to assume you're good for her (now) when it's entirely her decision to make, not yours. She's decided that you can't be a good husband and that you demonstrated this more than clearly. Just the fact that she wants to avoid you tells me that you need to drop this and move on.

You chose poorly. Accept the permanent consequences.

Take the opportunity to learn from your errors and dedicate your remaining life to choosing more wisely.

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 08:22 AM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Funny how when your **** behavior catches up to you and you actually have to pay the CONSEQUENCES for it - like your affair (and the subsequent extortion money you paid) being 'outed' to your wife, spending 2 years in jail, and your wife finally being done with you. I'm going to assume while you were in jail your wife was forced to have to support your 3 kids all on her own. Way to parent.

I find it rather self-serving when people suddenly become OH so remorseful for everything they've done, and they suddenly claim they finally know what was really important and they just want nothing more than to get it all back. Even though a lifetime of **** behavior was the reason they're in the position in the first place.

Sorry, can't quite get my give-a-damn to work. You reap what you sow, OP. You're not entitled to a complete do-over. Get over yourself.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 08:53 AM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

I'm sorry you're in this situation, but you hurt your wife both emotionally and financially with the affair. At this point I don't think there's any stopping the divorce. Continue to work on you and learn from this experience.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 09:08 AM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jb02157 View Post
I'm sorry you're in this situation, but you hurt your wife both emotionally and financially with the affair. At this point I don't think there's any stopping the divorce. Continue to work on you and learn from this experience.
And not just with the affair. I'm guessing that, as an active addict and apparently also a criminal, there might have been plenty of emotional and financial pain for your wife even aside from the affair. The honest truth is that your marriage has been a train wreck for a very long time. You've been a very poor partner. Work on being a better person, not to try and con your wife into coming back, but for yourself and your children. Be a good man. You may eventually find someone to share the better you with. But your wife is tired and wounded. Give her the gift of staying away from her so that she can find some peace and heal.

You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view. - Obi Wan Kenobi
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-12-2017, 09:11 AM
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Re: I'm an idiot. I lost my soul mate.

As TAMers are often fond of pointing out, to you your affair was 10 years ago but to her it's like it just happened. Really ****ty of you to keep it from her while you exposed her to std's and had more kids, which she may not have wanted if she'd known the truth.

And I'm guessing she doesn't even know about the obscene amounts of family money you gave the ho to keep quiet.

Your post is 90% about you, your loss, and your life. Maybe 10% about your wife. It was ok for you to bang another woman but the very thought of your wife banging other men makes you want to vomit.

Nice.

Let this one go. You've screwed her life up enough

Be a good role model for your kids.

The reactions are quite muted..... I'm trying to imagine the responses if a wife had had an affair, kept it from her hb and spent a ton of marital money to pay the om off, had more kids with her unsuspecting bh, went to prison for drugs, then cried when hubby found out about the affair and wanted a divorce. I doubt the comments would be as nice.
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