Wife moving back in after 3+ year separation
So two weeks ago, my wife of ten years essentially moved back home to the house I've continued to maintain with our 9-year old daughter. I say "essentially" only because we'll be moving her stuff back home over the next month or two before her apartment lease ends in August. Our separation began around April of 2010, briefly cohabited again in June 2010, before she again left for a new "other man" in July 2010.
Our story is incredibly long and involved (as are many others stories here I imagine), so I'll spare the details here. Married young and became parents young, she grew up without a father (and all the issues that can come along with that), a lot of awful immaturity on both sides, multiple repeated affairs, several marriage counselors giving up on us, porn addiction, eventually a bit of alcohol/drug issues, depression, etc. In the last year, things seem to improve substantially when the "other man" my wife was seduced by was arrested and sentenced to a 3-year prison term for sexual exploitation of a minor under 13y/o. He was (unsurprisingly) an incredibly manipulative individual twice her age who essentially "captured" my wife and withdrew her from her friends, family (including our daughter), etc. and it wasn't until several months after he had been gone that she finally woke up to what had happened. Really I think it was the fact that I knew that she was under his spell and thus wasn't "herself", that enabled me to endure all this time without pulling the trigger on divorce.
I am writing this post because I think I have an incredible story to tell here and I hope to someday be able to use it to help others. So to that end, I first hope that others will see this title and find hope that even the most hopeless looking situations are not necessarily hopeless at all. I've read stories of couples being separated for a year or so, or even divorcing and then reconnected years later with another marriage in between, but I haven't yet seen any stories of couples surviving a 3+ year separation. Granted, we were extremely close to divorce on multiple occasions, with lawyers hired and court dates set (and then delayed, and delayed, and delayed), new lawers hired, lots of dating in between, etc. As any divorced person will tell you, you've never seen the worst of someone until they realize that their impending divorce from you will not go the way they hoped. It's a miserable and financially ruinous thing to go through, and should be avoided at absolutely, without question, all costs.
Certainly we're not exactly out of the woods, her being home only two weeks now. We started this most recent road to recovery back in October last year and little by little we have been reconnecting stronger every week. I let her move into the bedroom while I sleep on the couch just down the hall in order to let her get herself accustomed slowly. There are still some very large issues that we'll have to move past as well, such as:
1. Relationship: We aren't being physical AT ALL. No sex, no kissing, quick friendly hugs are about the limit for the moment.
2. While we have processed through the things that brought our marriage down to begin with, and have corrected most of them, we have not discussed at length much that has transpired during our separation. I imagine there are a lot of questions we both have, like, "how many people have you slept with?" or "When did this or that affair start?" or "What do you think has changed about yourself or what have you discovered in the last three years?", etc.
3. Combining income/expenses again.
4. Trust Rebuilding. This will naturally be a long-term step for both of us.
5. Communication. Another long term step, but it's really lacking right now as we both feel like we're walking on eggshells I think, or at least I do. Not out of fear that I'll anger her, but I don't want to bring up things that will make her uncomfortable too quickly or assume the wrong thing.
6. Sex. Physicality in general. Did I mention that one? Yeah I probably did.
So if anyone has any advice for me on good ways to proceed from here, it would be most welcomed!