Luckily for you I learned enough from my long and painful D over her cheating down affair to sum up everything you can do to turn things in your favor in just a few steps.
The very first thing you need to do with the 180 is stop chasing, which is very difficult when you love someone that DOES NOT feel the same way about you. The best way to accomplish this is with daily affirmations about how imperfect and horrible your spouse is... based on their actions now. You create enough contempt for her to stop chasing and she'll be left wondering why you don't call and experience the fear of loss sooner or later..... possibly after the sweetheart stage with the OM ends.
Face it, she is not the same person as of now and will do just about anything to justify her reasons for quitting the marriage and having an affair. Which is why your every action to win her back, every argument, and every non distant and platonic action you do will be met with friction and make the OM look that much better. Bad news gets worse because I guarantee the OM isn't completely out of the picture just yet..... There is a strong possibility they will reconnect in the next year because one or both miss each other and still have a high enough deposit in their love banks. Until she sees the perfect image he created of himself is nothing but a front you will still have stiff competition.
DO NOT EVER EVER EVER PUT DOWN THE OM OR YOU WILL BE SORRY. Every jealous attack on him is a jealous attack on her pride and shields her all that more.
Funny thing is you don't even stand a chance right now because you're seen as a controlling d!ckhead that won't allow her the freedom to live her life. Sucks don't it? So long as you fight her to save the marriage, switch the D to an S, and so forth you're going to be the villain in her eyes. BUT if you can swallow your pride and give in to what she thinks she wants you'll stop all that petty arguing and and start to change her view of you. One of my favorite divorce lines it "I would prefer we work on the marriage, but you're right it's impossible. I'm sorry I was so controlling and kept you from finding someone more deserving sooner.". It's exactly what she wants to hear and is the first step in changing her expectation of you.
Once that's said and done you'll have seriously work on avoiding any and all serious arguments with her whenever you do communicate. It's not very easy to accomplish or realistic in any relationship but it's exactly what the OM has been doing to make himself look that much better than you. Even if you fight all the way up to court you can get yourself out of restricted custody, temporary restraining orders, and all that fun BS by simple humbling yourself and sacrificing a little bit for her in mediation. Now you'll need to ignore her most of the time and only return calls later on keeping them under five minutes and texting with very short sentences for one or two messages. Do not be the guy that comforts his stbs all the way through divorce or you'll lose any shred of respect she had for you.
After that just give it time and take out all the hurt feelings and stress over this on your body through working out and self improvement. You need to forget her for a while, or at least take more time for yourself without stressing yourself sick. I promise you will have 101 opportunities to improve relations with her and talk more in the future but you're going to have to play by her rules for a while and stop needing a woman that doesn't care about you. If nothing else you can still wish her happy birthday in the future and friendly hello every 3 to 6 months in the future. Give her time and space to enjoy her affair and let him undo his perfect image until he's the controlling d!ckhead she thought you were, except he can't replace her good memories of you and your marriage to her.... and you can bet he will grow jealous and controlling of her because they are both cheaters and try all that much harder to replace all the firsts you had with her.... Especially if you're still talking to her once in a while if even as distant friends. Just give her a few years to see how single life sucks after marriage and the good men ARE harder to find and keep.
Nsweet, I appreciate your insights, but what you say seems to be a one-size-fits-all solution. While I agree with much of what you said, I have to rely on my own intuition (which always serves me well). If I were able to write the particulars of my situation I'd write a book, so since I have no plans to write a book I have to post what I feel at the moment and that leaves out a whole lot of details.
Look, you can either stubbornly go off your own intuition and fight off and on through an ugly divorce because you're highly emotional and think you know what's best. OR you can learn from other people's mistakes and lessons and get through this as calmly and friendly as possible. It's up to you, but I guarantee at some point you'll be facing an argument that's completely unnecessary yet you feel you can be right about and control that which you have no control over.
Or we could move forward learning from our own mistakes. Communicate rather than fight.
Damn, If we all listened to you no one would even try to fix their relationship. Thanks for your input, but you don't know. What little I've explained here about my situation is just that, a little. There are a whole lot more details needed before you can make such an absolute judgment on my situation.
By the way, All the things you said in your first response, I did.
I never said anything about the OM. I told her to go be with him and that she deserves to be happy. I left her alone, never called her, spent my time building up myself, and all that. It just didn't take years for her to come around.
You can't fix the relationship by pretending you know everything already. That's why you're divorcing in the first place - either boredom, lack of investment, arguments, etc. But I guess if we all were like you we wouldn't even need to be posting on TAM because we know what we're doing and don't need to ask for help.
You can't fix the relationship by pretending you know everything already.
I totally agree!
I don't presume to know everything, and I'm under no illusion that life will be rosy from here on out. We both know there is much work to be done to create a healthy functioning marriage, and that the issues that brought us to the point of nearly divorcing need our attention. As I said earlier we are not sweeping the problems under the rug and carrying on in some false state of bliss.
I came here looking for advice and I got a lot of it. I used what I felt was pertinent to my situation, and considered all of it. In fact your response would have been spot on had I heard it a few weeks ago, but my situation has changed.
I don't believe there is any one, absolute way that is 100% right for every situation. All our circumstances are different regardless of their similarities. I don't know everything, that's why I looked for advice here and from many other sources. I know myself and I know my wife, in fact I'm continuing to understand both of us better all the time.
We don't need to be out of each others lives for a year or more, but we do need to be always aware of the problems that brought us to this point. Having that awareness and actively working to change the habits, thought patterns, and perceptions that caused us to pull away from each other is a good start, and we are both wholeheartedly willing to take the steps needed to build a new relationship.
I don't know the future, but so far it looks to be moving in a good direction.
Right, and be prepared to hear a lot of excuses how this was your fault, how she deserves better, and what a horrible person you were to her.... this allowing her to escape any and all responsibility. This is why agreeing with her helps take away the stick she beats you with and any friction she'll create to push you further away. Really wish I knew that sooner but in the end it did get me out of a bullsh!t restraining order and massive court fees.
A lot of descent and good men like yourself will enter relationships not knowing the way they work and the stages that follow, which is why doing a little homework helps you understand what might be just around the corner. I'm not saying you have to be out of her live for years or forever if you can get along with her better after divorce, and a lot of people find after it's over they stop finding reasons to fight over the same issues. Just realize you'll need to give her some distance to live her life and keep yourself out of the non sexual aka "friend zone" in which she'll see you as a non threatening guy friend. No guy wants to be in that codependent position and hear how your ex is mistreated by bad guys she's banging.
I usually say contact should be kept to every couple of months after D to give yourself time to improve and create mystery over what changes you're making. Though, you may be able to talk more frequently, that is if you can resist chasing her and arguing which may be difficult. I mean you still wish her a happy birthday but nothing more than treating her distant friend. All in all you're really in a good position to rekindle the relationship as friends since you're not constantly at each others throats and arguing constantly about what you want conflicting with what she wants.
You've got a lot of positive history with her being the first husband and caretaker, actually wanting to save your relationship and show her you'll do anything for her now more than ever. Just allow her some breathing room for a while to see that the OM or future OM, in the next couple of years, will be more of the same and can't replace what you've done for her. Try as she might nobody can replace you after 12 yrs of marriage and be all that different. As a female psychologist said (and I forget her name), after 20 years of practice all men are controlling rednecks and all women are emotional idiots Just goes to show you can't escape some underlying truths.
So are you saying even though we've come together and begun to reconcile I should stop, get the divorce anyway, tell her to go date other people for a couple years, but don't worry I'll call you on your Birthday to say hi?
No continue with the divorce and treat her like a friend you're not romantically interested in. You can still call her once in a while to say hi if she wants to talk, but keep things between you small and happy talk. Show her how uncontrolling you are by not worrying if she's dating because she's free to live her life just as you are yours.
I say if she meant anything to you then give her a SURPRISE call on her birthday, don't burn her because you're upset about the OM or divorce. You never know what she'll be going through and it's quite possible she'll be miserable when her perfect life doesn't pan out by then.
It's just better to take the high road and be kind instead of resentful..... no matter how upset you are show her you're friendly side and she'll want to talk to you. Affairs never last anyways, and you have just as much of a chance if not more of getting her back if you can take a page out of the OM's book and be the better option.