I've been married for 13 years, and found out a few days ago that my wife had 2 emotional affairs. They started when she began treatment for alcoholism and went to AA several years ago, and lasted until recently.
During MC, the therapist took a lot of time to educate me on how this was common during the recovery process. I understand about as well as I think I can, and while I'm angry it's not something I'm holding onto.
What is bothering me, and which I'm looking for some insight or advice on, is the concept of detachment and co-dependency which they teach at AA meetings. It seems to me that these are meant to protect the non-addicted spouse from continual abuse in a scenario where they continue to try to help their spouse but due to the addiction it's just not going to work out well for them.
In my case, my wife has adopted these as a means of emotionally detaching to the point of emotional abandonment. I don't know how much having these emotional attachments to other men have contributed to this, but she tosses out "co-dependency" and "loving-detachment" from her recovery process (I don't believe she understands them or how they should be used, but I'm no expert either).
I'm working with the therapist on this, but I'm finding it difficult to figure out how to handle my own needs. If my wife is crying, she doesn't want me to comfort her. There is no physical contact between us at all - no hugs, no kissing, etc. I'm basically in a waiting stage as she has to decide if she wants to participate in the marriage or if we should just end it. I don't know how long I'm willing to wait yet, but I've made it clear what I need and expect from the marriage.
There is still a very large hole in my life - I've been deprived of any sort of emotional or physical affection for years. I'm going out, having fun, making new friends, but I still have this hole in my life where affection and love are missing. I still find myself wanting this from my wife when she is unable or unwilling to provide it. My wife is scared I will have an affair - she's not providing for my needs, I'm certainly vulnerable having been deprived for so long, and she's had affairs. It's not stopping me from taking care of myself, but it does strain the relationship.
Any tips or advice on how to continue?
- How to stop looking for love from a spouse that isn't willing to give it (yet)?
- How to lesson the need or find ways of addressing the need for affection without having an affair?