R is holding fast - 4 months after DDay2
It has been 4 months and about 15 counseling sessions since DDay 2. Here is a summary of where we are:
1 We categorized what happened as not so much "Affairs" in the traditional since, but more "relationships" in a virtually divorced situation. It's complicated, but really we had both decided to move on with our lives, going in different directions. We were not living together so a little different than most situations on TAM.
2 If you are truly "Virtually Divorced", do you need to/required to tell your ex details about your future relationships, whether they were acceptable/legitimate/etc? For those who are reading this for the first time, short summary of her:
Her first relationship (EA) was with a single guy over a long period of time, and had the divorce went thru they would have gotten engaged/married. Her second relationship was with a married guy, who she had no serious intention of a LTR, but evolved into different phases of caring about each other, while feeding a sex addiction for both over a 2 yr period. OM3 was married and it was 100% physical (booty calls) for a few months, OM4 was an out of town ONS.
For me: long term EA with married lady, possible LTR potential until I found out she lied about H. I also had a ONS.
3 I learned thru counseling to ask the more general investigative questions instead of the factual detail questions, and usually the details will spill out. One question was "Who did you get to be in this relationship", because unlike relationships with long-term spouses, there really are no rules and you can be whoever you want and seek out whatever kind of person you want to be with. And the answer to that question generally demonstrates what may be lacking in your marriage, whether it's attention, appreciation, no abandonment, sexual freedom/release, etc.
4 Counselor indicated that most adults in western culture will got thru 2-3 primary relationships, some because of divorce. But a great number will deal with some form of adversity (whether it's infidelity, death of a loved on, etc) and can use this to improve their existing marriage and move into Phase 2 or Phase 3. And she demonstrated how this can be a great boost to a marriage. I fell that is where we are now.
5 My W and I had a discussion last weekend at the table during breakfast about one part of OM3's sexual performance, because it directly related to something we were talking about at the time. I had to pause and note to her "Did you ever think years ago that we could calmly sit at the table and talk about a funny incident that occurred with a sex partner of yours, and not get anxious, or mad, or be afraid to talk about it". We are both amazed.
6 I forgot to mention that I made contact with some of the relationship partners or their spouses, and I think that helped me to both verify what my wife had stated and to understand the dynamic from the other persons viewpoint. Counselor didn't recommend this but in the end thought it was beneficial. She couldn't believe how much info the former partners were willing to share, some of it very personal.
The success of marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married - John Fischer