This is a long read. Ive tried to chunk it into smaller paragraphs. I've posted portions of my story in CWI awhile back. I'm not going to rehash the entire gig, but in order to get up everyone up to speed: This is my second marriage. We are both in our early 40s. My first marriage ended in divorce because of infidelity on my XW's part. My W's marriage ended because her xhusband cheated on her. I married my current wife 12 years ago this summer. We are pretty much opposites, and that was okay for awhile. We made it work. I'm more outgoing and social. She's a lot more introverted. We are a military family. 3 kids total. 2 from her previous marriage and one we have together. Two are teens and one is a tween. We chose to live apart for this "tour" so the kids could keep their schedules and activities, and school. We both thought the stability would be good for the kids. They live at the family home while I rent an apartment where I am stationed. This was only supposed to be a 2-3 year tour. I live in a neighboring state and come home every weekend to keep up the house and see the kids. This tour has turned out to be a mistake in hindshight. My story is similar to others. Coming up on a year ago, my W became very distant. Last April I found out about an EA she was having with an ex she had reconnected with on FB. She went to visit him one weekend without my knowledge, so I am assuming it was a PA. He lives several states away. He's single. She said she slept on the couch (this seems unlikely). I got the "we're just friends" line. "just friends" is codeword for boyfriend. She said she didn't mean to hurt me and the things he was telling her and the attention he gave her was like a drug. I initially believed her. I wanted so badly to believe her. We rugswept the entire thing and spent the rest of the spring and summer in false R. I think she kept up constant contact with him as it was important to her they still remain friends. I was a weak NG and didn't check up on her. I played the pick me dance. I thought I won the competition, bud sadly not. The real me who shares a life with W cannot compete with fantasy man. I wanted to trust her and I ended up getting screwed. I was a stupid NG living in fear of losing her and my family if I protested too much. Looking back, i think early 2012 was the beginning of her MLC. I couldn't believe this was happening to us. We never recovered from the first EA beginning last year. For anyone reading this, if you haven't dealt with your spouse's infidelity (EA or PA), you really need to. It doesn't go away. It erodes everything. Where there is no trust, there is no love. Learn from me - deal with it.
Around New Years of this year, I found out she went to visit the FB guy again at the end of September. In late september she told me she needed to get away for a weekend. Turns out she lied about where she was and who she saw. She said she didn't do anything wrong. She told me she didn't plan on heading down there to see him, but started to drive and ended up there. Comical. She contends to this day they didn't do anything wrong. Her EA and probable PA started with FB, progressed to a secret cell phone she had. This progressed to the secret visits. I remind you - they were "just friends." She accused me the entire summer of being controlling. She accused me of not understanding her or being able to make her happy. We struggled to get through the holidays. She spent most of her time isolated. In short, I did and said the wrong things the entire 2012. I think we had sex a total of 3 times in 2012. Horrible. She built an emotional wall around herself and kept me at a distance the entire year. I was a chump. She has no remorse about her affair.
As a result of the strained interactions during the holidays, we had a big talk on New Year's Day 2013. She told me things have to change (meaning I had to change). During that conversation she suggested we figure out a way to get distance from each other to determine the next move. A few days later she emailed me requesting a separation plan. Since New Year's Day, we've been separated in the home. She asked for the separation and then about a month later emailed me and asked for a divorce. I Initially agreed to the divorce but asked her one more time if she would consider MC and R. She said "I don't know." That was around the first week of Feb. I've consulted with a divorce attorney to figure out what I can do and how things will probably be.
I now spend my time at the house in the spare bedroom. We don't do anything as a family anymore. Some good news is my relationship with the kids is very good. The best it has been in years. Now I don't have any relationship with my W. I don't initiate any conversations. i don't text her anymore. I don't ask her for R anymore. I only email her my upcoming plans with the kids or if there is business stuff with the house. I'm still paying for most everything. She has her own car payment and she buys the groceries. She handles kid expenses as they come up and I help with that too. We've had separate credit and checking accounts since we dated. We have no joint assets or liabilities except for the house.
I've instituted the 180 - for me. Not her. I understand how it is supposed to work. Initially, like a lot of people, I did it to try and win her back. It didn't work. I think she has enjoyed running her own show and not being accountable. She seems to have enjoyed my lack of attention. Now, the 180 is for me. This 180 has really given me the opportunity to trust myself again. I've always been self-reliant, but this 180 has given me the opportunity to be the real me. I've gone dark on her. I don't want to hear about her problems anymore. I've learned about the victim triangle and staying at 50K feet from this board. All good stuff. I focus on myself and the kids. I was already fit, so I keep fit. I'm doing more strength training now to better define my body. I'm doing the stuff I want to do and hobbies that i let go in order to put everyone else's needs first. I have a circle of good friends where I live during the week. I don't try and hide my situation. I have found that people appreciate honesty. Being a slick NG is no way to go through life anymore and people don't buy it. I feel real now. i don't like telling people my business, but I now allow people to help me and listen to me. I think that's why I'm here on TAM and posting my story for the world at large.
It is easy for me to blame her behavior towards me and her EA/PA for the downfall of the marriage. It was her choice to cheat and she owns that, but I know my actions contributed to the marital problems as well. I own my stuff. Blame is tiring. Blame is toxic. During this, I also discovered I was a NG. I discovered I had co-dependent behavior. My W suffers from clinical depression. She is the adult child of alcoholics. I understand this has made her life difficult. I understand there is emotional damage done. I can't fix that. I can't rescue her. She doesn't ask for my help. That's been a hard lesson for me not to jump in. I can't drive home enough to anyone reading this that rescuing and fixing is all about control - making yourself indispensable so someone doesn't leave you. I've detached. I stay out of her fray. I've read the standard books talked about here. i've learned a lot. I feel differently about me now. I'm going to handle whatever happens. I'm going to be okay. My focus is on my road ahead.
As of now we are separated. We are roomies and co-parents. Although I'm not really sure what a co-parent is and I'm still learning how to do this. We are not legally separated as there is no paperwork filed. I am not okay with this whole extended separation thing. This sucks. I had a moment of clarity while I was journalling this weekend. I don't want to live in limbo anymore. I don't want to wait for her to decide if she's staying or going. I think she told me what she wanted when she emailed me the divorce request and I'm the one who has been stalling. I haven't wanted to tell the kids. I didn't want this for them, and I don't want them to hurt. Maybe my W doesn't know or care how it will affect life, but they will. If it wasn't for them, I would have been gone the first evidence of infidelity. I think she has a fantasy where we separated in the home indefinitely. She wants the benefits of marriage to me, but doesn't want me. Honestly, I'm not sure if i've given this separation enough time, but I know that this isn't working for me. That's all I know. I see an IC, but I don't think this counselor is right for me. She just nods her head and says that I'm doing the right stuff. I live in fear of the loss of the known. I can handle the unknowns.
I've ridden the emotional roller-coaster many times. I've had sparks of hope. I've had dashed hopes. I've been on the hunt for sparkly unicorns and rainbows. I'm tired. I don't hate her. I just want better for myself. I don't want to be with someone who doesn't love, value, or respect me. I want better. I feel like I'm letting her go. It has been a process doing that. I don't really care what she does anymore. The next guy can have her. I've been dealing with this for almost a year. My desire to move on from this now exceeds my desire to hang on.
So I think the the next step is the conversation. I'll figure out what I am going to say to the kids. I'll retain the lawyer. The easy way would be to stay in this situation and hope for the best. i don't think hope is a plan anymore.
Anyways, for those that read along, thanks. I don't want to ramble on. I appreciate TAM and the people on this board. We share many common experiences. I'm not sure what I'm looking for here, but it is nice to see folks working through similar issues.
When going through hell - don't stop. - Winston Churchill