So if you read my other thread from a few weeks ago: Doing too much Vs Serving your wife
You'll see that my wife and I had some work to do, both of us. I've learned alot about myself from TAM in terms of not accepting bad behavior and what not. My wife and I were working through things, and though we had some struggles, I felt pretty good about where we were at and the direction we were going (progress was being made).
This last week seems like a whirlwind, but things have gone from pretty good, to not so good, to WTF all very quickly.
The run down is that as of the end of my last thread, I was doing what a lot of people suggested. Spending more time on myself, not validating her constantly, withdrawing the energy I was spending that was done with hopes of reciprocity.
Things were going OK with that. I feel like my needs were going mostly unmet in terms of affection and appreciation, but we were at least loving to each other and having some fun together. One thing I noticed though is that her "overwhelmo-meter" was creeping out and she has been starting to lash out at me in frustration more frequently. I have been doing a pretty good job (failed a few times) of just staying calm and expressing calmly, "There's no reason to talk to me like that."
Fast forward to last week. We were at her BILs house. There were a few incidents where I was doing something nice for her, because she was getting stressed out, and she ended up lashing out at me in her stressed out state. Each time I calmly let her know that I was trying to help her, and there's no reason to talk to me disrespectfully.
The straw that broke the camel's back was the day we left to go home. I woke up before anyone else and took my daughter to get breakfast. While I was out I decided to get something for my wife as well. On the way home she called me and said, "did you get anything for my brother?" I told her no, was about to explain why, and before I could respond she said, "That's so rude."
Well admittedly this was not one of the times I was calm, i was already frustrated over the few days before. I cussed at her and told her, "I'm trying to do you a favor and do something nice for you and you tell me I'm rude." Then I hung up.
She didn't talk to me for the rest of the morning or afternoon. On the car ride home, I told her very calmly why it upset me, that it made me feel disrespected and unappreciated that she would criticize my attempts to do something nice for her instead of showing gratitude. This is when sh*t hit the fan. Instead of apologizing, or showing empathy, she started attacking me. She started telling me about how I always do that to her, I'm too sensitive, I didn't give her a chance to apologize, I acted way out of line. I stopped her and said, "look there's no reason to get defensive, I'm not here to attack you or make you feel bad, I'm trying to let you know why I'm upset." She did not let up with the cynical comments and attacks. I told her, "You can tell me what's bothering you in a calm, respectful manner, there's no reason to be disrespectful. If you can't do that than we should stop talking."
This set her off even more, this dance continued for quite some time. Her attacking me and making cynical offhand remarks that can't be defended, "You are acting like this just to hurt me." "You only care about yourself" "You're way worse of a person than I am." "you're so controlling". Me telling her it wasn't necessary to attack me, that the conversation is over.
After about an hour of her not letting up, of calling me controlling (a trigger for me because of her infidelity), attacking me, I told her, "I think when we get back we should look at preparing ourselves for a split. That way if this doesn't work you won't be shocked by the change of lifestyle" (she got married young and never lived on her own, she gets everything she wants and has no idea what it's like to be broke or have to live on your own).
This angered her even more and she went on even further. I told her the conversation was over, but she continued berating me verbally for another long period of time (30 minutes maybe? felt like hours). I saw her behavior for what it was, manipulation. She's used to in these cases, me taking the bait and either getting mad at her or having to waste effort defending myself. I didn't bite the entire time. I stayed extremely calm and just told her attacking me was unnecessary, I was just expressing my feelings.
The next few days were bad. She was cold and bitter. We had a talk about what happened, I video taped it so I could confirm how we were communicating (I wanted to make sure I wasn't being an a$$hole when I thought I was being nice, and wanted to see if her reactions were justified). The conversation started off OK. We talked calmly about what happened, though nothing was really getting resolved.
Towards the end she did something that was a microcosm of our communication issues. I mentioned something calmly and she came back and said, "You would do that too! you're not so perfect." I asked her why she was defensive and attacking me when I was just expressing my feelings. She again went on the offensive and starting attacking me again about how I'm not perfect and so on. I stopped her and said, "look, you know what you said wasn't necessary or respectful, you admitted it. Why don't you just apologize and move on instead of feeling like you have to attack me." She didn't understand and thought I was being controlling.
I did not want her to think I was picking on her, she expressed some unhappiness with me in our marriage (which I thought was total BS). I asked her what I could do to make her feel like she was in a successful, happy marriage. She started giving vague statements like, "Treat me better" "don't make me feel like crap all the time" "be more involved with the family"
Every time she said something I asked her to clarify, be specific. She would get upset and start attacking me again, "I'm not like you, I don't write everything down. I don't remember every little mistake like you do." I just stayed calm and said, "If you want me to meet your needs, you're going to have to express them so there is no ambiguity. I need to know exactly what I have to do so I can know if I'm doing a good job or not." We were able to give one specific example, not getting on my phone around the family. I told her I would work on that. Then she said, "Stop making me feel like crap all the time" and I asked her to be more specific on how I do that and what I can do to stop. She made the same comments above again, I repeated mine. But at this point, she snapped and really went nutso.
She went into a tirade about how horrible of a husband I am, how mean I am, how hateful I am, how I don't love her, how I am controlling and manipulative and need everything done my way. I couldn't understand it at all. I watched her switch flip right there from upset to legitimate crazy person. I nipped it in the bud and said, "There is no need to attack me, I'm trying to find out how I can show you I love you. If you can't talk to me respectfully and calmly, we need to end this conversation." She didn't let up so I said, "OK we're done, I'll be ready to talk when you calm down." This made her even more upset and she started hurling more insults at me and degrading me. I just got my keys and left.
When I came home, I wanted to watch the tape with her, I found out she had deleted the taping of our conversation. She said I was going to try to use it against her and that I was just acting the whole time. Her behavior got even worse, and we were not able to talk anymore. She saw the lawyer information on my computer that I was looking at and instead of talking to me about it, she just said things like, "I'm not getting a job, you're being selfish and only thinking about yourself not the kids." I let her know that all I'm looking for is to be treated respectfully, that I definitely don't want a divorce. She again went back to calling me controlling and hateful and manipulative and selfish.
Then she did something I don't understand, she called MY mom and asked her for advice. I wasn't going to bring our families into this but I guess she felt like she had no one to talk to (she hides things from her family).
Seeing her actions over the days, that she was spending more time on looking at apartments and furniture than talking about what was going on, I got really discouraged. I called her mom to talk about what was going on, because I know that she usually calls her mom after the fact and then tells her how horrible I am, and then her mom feeds into her state of mind. I told her mom that I was moving towards divorce but that I didn't really want to go through with it, but that I could not take the disrespect anymore and it was affecting my health.
After I got off the phone with her mom I saw a text from my wife. It said, "I think we just need some time apart." I kind of flipped out at this, not to her, internally. With the controlling talk, and the unhappy talk, and the coldness and cruelty, and now talking about "time apart", I triggered bad. I called her mom back and did something that looking back I should not have done and I am truly sorry for. I told her mom that my wife had cheated on me a few months ago. My MIL is the one person my wife did not want to know about that. Her Mom is extremely religious and they never talk about sex or periods or anything deep like that, so it was quite the blow for her.
I got home and my wife was really upset I called her mom (she didn't know that I told her about the infidelity yet). She was supposed to watch the kids but she asked my mom to come over to watch them so she could go out with her friend.
Given the past cheating, where she asked my mom to come watch the kids so she could go outside the house to text message with her EA partner, I did not want my mom to come over. I told my mom not to come, and then I told my wife that I told my mom not to come (didn't want her to think I was being sneaky). She went off the hook at that point. She started cussing and screaming and she just left the house. I felt bad for her at that point, because my wife needed some get out of the house time (stress of fighting and the kids was getting to her) and my mom is basically the only person that could babysit for her.
She left the house and I had no idea where she was or where she was going, I called her and told her I needed to tell her something else important as well. I let her know that I told her mom about the cheating. She was upset before but at this point she went justifiably ballistic. She just screamed and cried. I had really hurt her on that one. She came home in a tirade and told me and my mom (who came over to watch the kids so I could leave) to get out of the house. My mom was trying to defuse the situation as best she could but my wife got in her face and physically threatened her. My mom was shocked and really upset by that. She's done that to me but never to anyone else.
I asked her to talk that night, I wanted to apologize about telling her mom. She told me she didn't want to hear my apology and she did more of the attacking stuff. When I calmly told her to stop, she kept at it, and I left again. That was wednesday night. Yesterday came and she was cold and bitter all morning, I tried to stay positive and not give her silent treatment or anything. She started to loosen up a bit, and I could tell by the time she had to leave for work, that she was ready to talk about the whole week. She gets this attitude and look in her eye when she realizes she was wrong about things and she wants to apologize. She had that.
Fast forward a few hours, she tells me she wants to go running with her friend after work, I said ok. She ends up coming home at 12, and she goes straight to sleep in our daughters bed. I, dumbly, tried to be Casanova and pick her up and take her to our bed and she told me to leave her alone.
Just the latest antics with her controlling talk and break talk and looking for jobs and apartments instead of trying to resolve this tell me something is up.
The problem is, I am snooping like mad and there is nothing. For her to be cheating, she would have had to have called someone on her friends phone, and her friend would have had to sit there and listen to them talk. I know she was with her friend last night, all night from work to when she got home. They went to a crowded local family spot to hang out for about an hour, then they went to the store, then they went back to the church parking lot for half hour. Receipts confirm she bought toenail polish before they went to parking lot, so I can only assume they gave themselves pedis (will verify her feet when she wakes up). Here is what I have been up all night thinking:
1. Her friend is letting her use her phone and she's calling a guy
2. They flirted with guys while they were out, even though they were at a local family place
3. Her friend is feeding into her anti-marriage feelings, making her not want to work on stuff.
I feel like SOMETHING is going on because like I said, she was being more cordial and opening up before work, and then after work she comes home late and goes right to another bed. Also, yesterday there was a moment where I ALMOST touched her hand and she shot it back like it was going to burn her. Reminded me of after she cheated. I know how that looks, but keep in mind we've been together 24/7 since monday, so it would have had to have been tuesday at some point, and I know her whereabouts for the entire day (work,home while kids are at nap and I'm there at lunch, home watching kids, at her friends house). If she physically cheated on me, it would have been a crazy pick up a guy you met one time at her friend's house, while her and her husband were there. I will never say never now, but it is highly unlikely that happened.
Anyway this turned way longer and way more ranty/theraputic than I wanted. I'm really hurting now, reliving all these hurts from before, killing myself that she's up to no good again. My heart breaks for her and for us even if splitting up is the right thing. I truly don't WANT a divorce, I feel like I'm being pushed into it. Please give me some advice.
Also, my plan as of now is to go over to her friend's house and have a serious talk about what happened last night. We're on really good terms and she is actually into me, I think if I talk to her right she will tell me what's going on. If someone thinks this is a bad idea, please talk me out of it pronto.
I'm thinking it's a bad idea because it is kind of a desperate action. I'm thinking it's a good idea because if she is cheating again, I will find out (I'm good at reading her friends lies now that I've had practice). If they were just talking smack, I think I can get her to tell me what my wife is thinking and saying to her, and convince her friend that I want to stay married and she can be on my side instead of feeding the monster.