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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all.

New here. My wife and I have been separated since August. She asked me to leave after I had an affair. The affair was really my (really, really stupid) way of ending a marriage I thought I wanted to leave.

Turns out I had no idea what I was doing.

Fast forward 5 months to today. I have been sleeping in a small apartment but I spend every other moment either at home or at work. I've learned to stop asking her every day if she's ready to reconcile. We had a brief discussion in late December about it, but prior to that we hadn't discussed it since late October. She says she doesn't know. She doesn't know anything. She doesn't know what changes she wants to see in me. She doesn't know if she'll ever be ready to reconcile. She doesn't know whether she'll ever be ready to talk about reconciling.

It's only been 5 months since I destroyed the trust in our marriage. I'm hopeful that eventually she will want to come back together as husband and wife. Right now we're just doing the day to day stuff normally, but she says she's not ready for the "intimate stuff" which, I guess, includes things like hugs, wearing her wedding ring and sleeping under the same roof. Everything else is the same ... the chores, the time we spend together (whether it's putting a puzzle together, watching TV together, having dinner, etc.)

How long do I wait and what do I ask? I'm the one that messed up and I want to give her the time she needs. I want this to work. This ridiculously stupid stunt I pulled in August has taught me what I really want - and that's her in my life, growing old together.
 

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OK, this is pretty easy. Just back off and give her space and in the meantime work on yourself. Figure out why you had the affair and fix that issue. Then improve and become the best version of yourself that you can be. If she decides she's interested she'll let you know but never ask her again. You have to let her bring it up and come to the conclusion that she wants to be with you again (or not) on her own time and of her own free will. And stop doing things with her. She needs time to investigate too what life is like without you so she can decide if she wants you in it.
 

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As has been said back off completely, stop going to her house, and leave her to have space to decide what to do. You dont mention children, but if you don't have any then you have no reason to be going there. Leave her alone to make her mind up for at least 6 months. I don't see how she can ever decide when you are swamping her and asking her all the time. She asked you to leave, so do as she asked. She may miss you if you do this, or she may not, that is the risk you will need to take.
Trust may take many years to rebuild if its possible.
 

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Some people divorce immediately after an affair and some don't. She hasn't but she's the only one who knows what that really means.

If you want to R then back off and stop asking and give her the time and space to decide. In the meantime, work on you.
 

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The bad:

To you, it's just a brief affair that ended and you now see the light and supposedly don't intend to ever do that again... did you intend to do it the first time?

To her, you're just some guy she married that somehow took her for granted so badly that he cheated on her in order to leave the marriage.

You see, she'd really be an idiot to ever trust you again or give herself to you emotionally.

The good:

Either she's staying for the kids, or for financial or security reasons, or because she hasn't decided for sure that she doesn't love you anymore.
This means you have got some time to show her how much she DOES mean to you, and how remorseful you are.
I'm not going to tell you how to demonstrate that remorse.
But I do think you have a chance.

As everyone has said, if you ask her for a kiss, or a date, or anything else just once, you're likely setting yourself back or even ruining the small possibility you may have.

What you have done to your wife you will never know, unless you truly do love her and she does it to you. It's the worst pain inagineable, to me. And as you can see, it doesn't go away very fast, if ever.

What you're in for may last indefinitely. She may eventually want a divorce, she may stay forever and never want you again intimately.
But since she is still there, you have a far better chance than most.

You e really dug yourself a hole. No way to tell you exactly how to get out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I could have added more detail but decided to just give some basics to start.

So here's a bit more:

* The only thing I currently do at my apartment is sleep. It's pretty much just a private bedroom that I have to drive to.
* She wants me to be at home as much as I can.
* I have stopped pestering her about reconciliation. I brought it up once in October and once this past December, but didn't badger. It was more of a "check-in." I asked her where she was with everything. In both instances even that much was a mistake.
* We continue to have family gatherings together. We spent Christmas the way we always spend it. She "let" me sleep at home Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.
* We end many evenings lying in bed watching TV until she's ready to go to sleep. Then I get up, tuck her in and tell her I love her. She smiles at me and says "see you tomorrow" and I leave the room.
* I say good night to my sons.
* I drive to my apartment and get in bed.
* In the morning I wake up, get dressed and go back home. I have coffee made before she's awake. I clean the kitchen and straighten things up. If she wants me to make her breakfast, I make her breakfast.
* I do anything and everything I can for her because for far too long I was a selfish, self-centered jerk and only thought about myself. I'm trying to change that.

So ... to the "give her space" crowd, all I can say is that I think that's good advice on the surface. But I'm really trying to do what I feel is right and trying to be the person she says she needs me to be in the moment. Is this right? I don't know. I'm really just trying to take it a day at a time and hope that she'll eventually see change in me and will still find something that attracts her and makes her want to begin to work on us again.
 

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I cant understand why she asked you to leave and then wants you there as much as you say she does. Seems like a waste of rent to me, and she is sending very mixed signals.

The only way you will both know where you are and what you want is for you both to have some space and time away. Just go and see the children once or twice a week and otherwise stay away. She needs to make a decision, and how can she do that if you are there all the time?

Can you say how long the affair was? Was it with someone at work? Have you cut off all contact with the OW? How did she find out? Have you put things in place to make sure it never happens again?
How about you suggest some marriage counselling at some point?
 

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I agree with the space. No more coffee making, doing stuff around the house. You are by and large, a live in H doing all the chores but not really living in. Sure, I understand you screwed up...in the worst way a spouse can. Learn from it, but also, do be left to wonder what is to become of the marriage. Let your W spend her time alone.

It is tough because you want to SHOW you have changed for the better and the change will stick.

Good luck.
 

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Why is it wrong to give her everything she wants right now, especially considering all the damage I've done?
Probably because its not going to help her make her mind up. You may end up living this limbo life for the rest of your marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Probably because its not going to help her make her mind up. You may end up living this limbo life for the rest of your marriage.
"May" not "will."

I get what you're saying. Something about the space approach seems like playing games.
 

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Why is it wrong to give her everything she wants right now, especially considering all the damage I've done?
Most will only give so much until they give up. When will that be for you? Again, I understand you screwed up royally. You are doing everything you can to win your W back. When does it come to the point for you that you no longer desire to keep bailing the water from the boat with a hole that is not getting fixed?

I liken it to this. A friend asks several times for you to go to a ball game. Every time you are asked by your friend you tell him that you can't(because you don't feel like it). You come up with an excuse such as another event scheduled that day, etc. You friend asks and asks. You decline repeatedly because you simply don't want to go. Eventually the friend stops asking. When do you get to the point you stop asking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Most will only give so much until they give up. When will that be for you? Again, I understand you screwed up royally. You are doing everything you can to win your W back. When does it come to the point for you that you no longer desire to keep bailing the water from the boat with a hole that is not getting fixed?

I liken it to this. A friend asks several times for you to go to a ball game. Every time you are asked by your friend you tell him that you can't(because you don't feel like it). You come up with an excuse such as another event scheduled that day, etc. You friend asks and asks. You decline repeatedly because you simply don't want to go. Eventually the friend stops asking. When do you get to the point you stop asking?
I don't ask. At least not frequently. And if I shouldn't ask again until a year has gone by, then so be it. At some point maybe I should let time go by where I completely stay away, but right now I feel like I owe it to her to stay present as long as she wants me to stay present.
 

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I don't ask. At least not frequently. And if I shouldn't ask again until a year has gone by, then so be it. At some point maybe I should let time go by where I completely stay away, but right now I feel like I owe it to her to stay present as long as she wants me to stay present.
Again, I understand you screwed up. Eventually your W needs to forgive. That forgiveness may not be forthcoming. However, your W does not and will not forget. Sure you owe your W for your indiscretions. When does the owing stop? When does the staying present at the request of your wife become abuse as there maybe no intentions of reconciling at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again, I understand you screwed up. Eventually your W needs to forgive. That forgiveness may not be forthcoming. However, your W does not and will not forget. Sure you own your W for your indiscretions. When does the owing stop? When does the staying present at the request of your wife become abuse as there maybe no intentions of reconciling at all?
I'm sure many have said "but my wife is different."

I know this about her: she's not a game-player. If she didn't on some level want this to work she'd have proceeded with the divorce.

I think she might be waiting for X amount time to pass before looking at things again.

But I also know I don't know what I don't know. In some ways, I don't understand her at all anymore. In every other way, there has been no change.

It's confusing.
 

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I'm sure many have said "but my wife is different."

I know this about her: she's not a game-player. If she didn't on some level want this to work she'd have proceeded with the divorce.

I think she might be waiting for X amount time to pass before looking at things again.

But I also know I don't know what I don't know. In some ways, I don't understand her at all anymore. In every other way, there has been no change.

It's confusing.
From your W perspective it is just as confusing for her. She probably thought her marriage was great. Then your indiscretion. Your W is now questioning herself. Her actions and self image. This is were time apart is needed. However, the request to have you stay around daily and your willingness to do so maybe the only route you can take. Overtime, through you actions, your W will hopefully recognize you are not putting on a show. Perhaps at that time your W will make the move to really try to forgive. Your W may not as well. At the very least, you can rest in the knowledge that you tried your best.
 

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its real simple....she is punishing you. and quite possibly you deserve every bit of it.

however, at some point, the past HAS TO become the past. Thats the real issue.....some people simply arent EVER capable of forgetting something of this magnitude and moving on. sorry, but thats the fire you choose to play with.

its hard to say what would happen if you started distancing yourself as some have suggested. she may pull the plug completely, who knows?

sorry i dont have any good advice other than you now get to lay in the bed you made.

i guess i would look REAL HARD at why you say you cheated in the first place. bored? not sexually stimulated? just a spur of the moment stupid decision? maybe a look into your mind back then could help you now.
 

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Can you say how long the affair was? Was it with someone at work? Have you cut off all contact with the OW? How did she find out? Have you put things in place to make sure it never happens again?
How about you suggest some marriage counselling at some point?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Can you say how long the affair was? Was it with someone at work? Have you cut off all contact with the OW? How did she find out? Have you put things in place to make sure it never happens again?
How about you suggest some marriage counselling at some point?
The affair lasted about 4 weeks.

It was with someone from a town nearby.

I have not spoken to the OW since my W found out.

She found out by looking at a credit card statement. I was actually planning to tell her about it the same day she found out.

I have no desire to talk to the OW again.

I suggested marriage counseling immediately but my wife said she wasn't ready for it.

I am also an alcoholic. I had been sober for 2 1/2 years but broke my sobriety during the affair. Part of my pledge to my wife is to be and stay involved in AA for the rest of my life. Of course, anyone in AA knows that long term promises are pointless, so to her I simply say that I'm going to try my best every day to allow God to shape me into the person I'm designed to be. I pray every day for the willingness to allow Him to change me into the man my wife deserves. I want so desperately to be that man for her.
 

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The affair lasted about 4 weeks.

It was with someone from a town nearby.

I have not spoken to the OW since my W found out.

She found out by looking at a credit card statement. I was actually planning to tell her about it the same day she found out.

I have no desire to talk to the OW again.

I suggested marriage counseling immediately but my wife said she wasn't ready for it.

I am also an alcoholic. I had been sober for 2 1/2 years but broke my sobriety during the affair. Part of my pledge to my wife is to be and stay involved in AA for the rest of my life. Of course, anyone in AA knows that long term promises are pointless, so to her I simply say that I'm going to try my best every day to allow God to shape me into the person I'm designed to be. I pray every day for the willingness to allow Him to change me into the man my wife deserves. I want so desperately to be that man for her.
I sort of hope that this works out for you, even though I hate affairs with a passion and would not and could not have a man back after cheating. Most of the marriages in my family ended because of cheating. However I do think that you are repentant and trying your best to make this work.

I honestly think that you need to withdraw from her after telling her kindly that she asked you to leave so you feel that you need to stay away for a time to let her make a decision. Maybe give it 2 or 3 months away and see what happens. She isn't going to have a chance to miss you or see what it will be like being single if you are there all the time, and she did ask you to leave for a reason. Otherwise this situation may go on indefinitely.

You mention praying. Do you have a good local church that you go to? If you don't then now would be a good time to find one.
 
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