Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Temporary Resident of Earth Lord Only Knows Where Next
Re: When is enough, enough
Ten years ago this month my world flipped. Just as so many who have found themselves here at TAM, I got hit by a 2x4 with the discovery of my wife’s relationship with another man. They say you should trust your instincts when in crisis and I should have early on. After I discovered it, I accused her of having an affair. She scoffed at that as they have never met IRL. She convinced me and herself that it was simply a good friendship. A voice on the phone she could call for advice and support. A male voice that she could bounce ideas off about for our marital woes and ***** about me for a man’s perspective. And he was all too willing to play that role of KISA as well as play her emotions. And in addition to that, plant the seeds in her mind that I was probably already in an affair with another woman.
For seven months we fooled ourselves into thinking the primary problem in the marriage was me. When he tired of her, he dumped her under the guise of falling on his own sword for the good of her marriage. How ****ing magnanimous of him! It destroyed her emotionally and she buried herself in a cocoon. She withdrew even further from me, trying to conceal her hurt, embarrassment and failure to recognize what it was, that she had gotten herself involved with. She moped around for days before I finally demanded she tell me what was going on with her. She emotionally collapsed. She admitted to me that she was deeply in love with him. She mentally went through the “what if” scenario. A cold splash of water in the face when she recognized that had they met, they would’ve slept together. Something she never “dreamed” she would ever have done to me or our marriage. It scared her when she recognized how she had so totally disconnected from me. And she feared her love for me would never return.
We more-or-less treaded water for another few months until I discovered they were back in contact again. I trusted my instincts this time, confronted and delivered an ultimatum within 15 minutes of the discovery. We both knew it wasn’t a bluff and we were both scared but I was ready to walk. I knew the marriage would never improve with three people in it. In the end, she chose the marriage (Not me) over him. It was the logistics and tangibles of the marriage that kept her in it at that point. The wellbeing of our kids and avoiding a financial disaster for us both. I point this out because too many times on TAM BSs are told that there needs to be the watershed moment with the WS breaks down sobbing, declaring unconditional love and gratitude for the betrayed. We don’t all get that, I didn’t and I really don’t think most do. Sometimes you’ve got to play small ball and take what you can get and look for the next step.
What followed were months of her struggling with herself as to why it happened and why she couldn’t find a way to reconnect with me, even after the affair was over. A lot of self-loathing and doubt, suffering in silence I guess you’d call it. I placed no pressure on her but simply displayed a confidence for her that as long as the no contact rule wasn’t violated, we’d eventually come out the other end. I supported her, but did not pursue her. I gave her time to find her own way back. Things got better and we had the discussion that it was time to restart the sex life even though she didn’t feel she was “emotionally there” yet. My instincts told me it would be a critical and one of the final steps in the recovery of the relationship. The sex was good but also a healing tool that drew us closer, built trust and intimacy. A few months later she professed her love for me. A few months after that, I considered the reconciliation complete. Three and a half years had gone by in the process.
Today we are years passed that, together, happy and content in our marriage. We have learned from the experience and are both better spouses to each other. Empty nesters now, we spend plenty of quality time together. We continue to communicate well and after all this time, we have never had any major conflict between us since this all happened. I would hardly consider us a case study for a successful recovery. We erred as much as we hit. But in the end it all came together for us. I just had to trust my instincts. Both when I put down the ultimatum but also I had to trust them when I put my faith back into her, that with time and patience she’d return to me as my wife and love. She did. For a marriage trying to find its way home, there are no clear plans. I tore my play book up several times during the process. The process is too complicated for any step by step instructions. There are tangibles vs, intangibles, emotions vs, practicalities and a time to put your foot down vs. a time for empathy and support. The best you can do is to gather all the advice you can then trust your instincts.
At this point, I will not plan to update this thread again. You can assume, my wife and I are still happily together more than a decade post D-day. I hope some will find the hope and motivation they need to try and recover their marriages in reading about my journey. I also hope the site administrators will leave this thread stickied in the reconciliation forum. Unfortunately, when a spouse finds themselves on TAM, they are likely in a marriage on the verge of failure. I’d like them to see that it is not impossible to recover but that it may take a long time. But for us, the rewards it has presented us made it all worth it. Best of luck to you all.
Confidence – Love – Patience – Faith Are the tools to help heal a marriage.
"Some of the greatest lessons life has taught me came from my darkest days in it" -Amp
Last edited by Amplexor; 05-12-2017 at 01:49 PM.