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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dear Forum readers,
Any advice would be great (preferably from men who have been in this situation with their wives or former wives).
I have read many postings to see if any are similar to mine, but I could only find parts of useful information.
I'll try to keep it short:
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Short version:
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In short, my wife and I were married for 4 years. I stupidly had a one-night stand. I told her immediately (yes, I did). We legally separated 5 months later. She moved out. After a month of no –contact, we start talking again. She tells me, contritely, that she slept with somebody during the 1st month of separation- Madhatter situation. I avoid her for several weeks in response. She calls me saying that she wants to work on us but take it slow. We are in the beginning stages of reconciling.
I want to give us a new chance. I do. Despite my mistake, I am trying to move past her actions. I'm having difficulty coping with her seeing others during separation. How do I get past these feelings, especially if she doesn't want to talk about it?
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More detail:
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We are legally separated for 4 1/2 months. Almost a year ago, in a drunken act of stupidity, I had a one-night stand with a mutual friend, who without going into details has a history of going after married men. I left during the middle of it and I confessed to my wife, on my own, 2 days later, for two reasons: I felt horrible and told her this and 2) they were FRIENDS. It broke her heart. We exiled that person out of our lives. After 5 months, which included 4 visits to a marriage counselor (which she hated), she told me she wanted to stop counseling and move out. She found an apartment. At first I resisted, but when she purposefully started staying over at her girlfriends' places many nights, I got pissed and told her "either she comes home or she moves out." I found out real quick that women and ultimatums don’t play well together. She said she wanted out right then and even said in a mad rage, “ I want a divorce.” Thus, I signed and filed a legal separation. She moved out. She cooled off and we still kept seeing each other for 1 month. We spoke loosely about rules for a "time-out" (big mistake). She asked for a 3-week time out, I told her that I wanted to give her more - a month or 2 - because he break would help me finish my PhD thesis and give her space so that we could really sort things out. (I also thought a break would help set a 180 in-motion and help us get back together). She agreed.

A month goes by; I hand in my thesis. I contact her to go on several dates. They were great. On 4th date, I found out that she was dating people during that trial separation. At first, I thought I was ok with it. But, no, it bothered me because we didn't agree to date others yet. I wasn't ready. 2 days later, I impulsively called her and suggested that we should consider divorce because I don't know how to handle all this uncertainty. She said, "no lets talk." She tells me that she is upset that I am considering this. I told her that I want us, if I knew that we could work things out. THEN she tells me that she slept with somebody during 1-month break. She was contrite. Of course, I didn't take it well.

I asked her if it was revenge and she said, "No, I was lonely." I then asked her , " did you ever see other men or start things with other guys while we were together or living under the same roof, or when you started staying over at your girlfriends' apartments?" She replied, “No, never." The more I pressed about her escapades during our separation, though, the more she clammed up. She said she didn't want to say anymore because, it was "some jerk she met at a bar that frankly doesn't exist in her world anymore," AND she felt that (her words, not mine), "saying anymore would not help the situation or get me to trust her anymore."

I stopped talking to her a more week. I don't date. I am too busy. I had to be brutally honest with myself: I realized I want to save this marriage but I just don't know how to handle my feelings. She calls me crying one night and tells me that she misses us. In response I tell her that,
"there has to be boundaries now. We should start over at the dating phase. But I refuse to be friends or friends with benefits if there are other people in the picture. Either we date each other and work towards commitment, with no one else waiting on sidelines, or we go our separate ways. Also, neither of us can sleep over at the other person's apartment if there are other people in the picture. In fact, she needs to be honest with me about other people RIGHT NOW." She tells me, "there are no other people. I want to work on the relationship. But to be honest half of me wants us back badly while the other half of me is resisting. There is no sexual spark and that is important to me." Ok.

I suggested marriage counseling. She absolutely refuses. Why? She is from Outer Mongolia. They don't exist in her culture. She said, "I feel that they are just trying to take our money." She does not like them, period.

Since then we have hung out with each other several times, and have slowly learned to just enjoy each other's company. But there is no sex, yet, ....which sucks, but I can see signals of her warming up [kissing, laughing, cuddling...]. We are about to go on vacation for the first time in years this weekend for 4 days, which we need badly.
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So my question(s) are :
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1. Counseling: should I leave it alone? She really hates the idea of counselors. I want a new and improved relationship. But I can't push a stubborn horse (her) to go see a counselor. And perhaps she is right...
2. A waste of time? Is the relationship able to be cheat proof from here on out?
3. Lastly, (other men please help me here) how do I get those damn images of her being with another man (or men, see below) out of my head: how do I deal with this if can't talk to her about it? Should I even bring it up, or just leave it alone?

Yeah, I know, some responses here may say that
"Yo, you cheated. She got even. Deal with it."
Ok. At the same time (1) we never agreed to dating outside the separation AND (2) reality sucks: I feel that if a woman has the confidence to admit that she slept with 1 guy, then she probably slept with 3 or 4 guys. Correct me if I am wrong here, but this possible reality just eats at me. I don't know this for sure; I never found this out or got that far with her answers. ( How will I ever know?)

I understand we make mistakes, and I accept responsibility for my mistake, which hurt her, and that she is human. Her acts were deliberate. I am trying to forgive, but I can't forget that there were probably more than several men and that she was capable of doing this so rapidly during the first month separation ( she is amazingly hot, and yeah, if I was a single guy and saw her, you bet your ass I would be the first trying to get with her, so I know that its possible and this just eats at me) And to be honest, I can see it being a barrier to trust. {Could she still possibly stray now, like I did?}
I guess this is my ultimate question:

Should I let it go or bring this up with her now and if I do bring it up with her, are there ways to do it that allow her to see my troubles but still be A MAN for her, not be so damn insecure, and to actually help us get closer?

Ok. Any answers would be appreciated. And if this question has been asked before, please send me the link.
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ME: WS, 32
HER: BS, Madhatter (after separation), 29
Married: 4 years
Kids: None
My PA: May 2012, stupid drunken 1-night-stand
Separated: November 2012
Her PA: January 2013, #of times ?
 

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You cheated, you separated and she slept with someone else? That's not a surprise.

After being away from my wife for a few months im a guy and had women ALL over me. It was temptation like I've never had. I was able to say no, and only because I didn't want to start a relationship with anyone at this point.

If I were looking for a tit for tat, I can say I would have done it, multiple times. And I never would have had feelings for any of them. It would have been more like "there, look how easy you are to replace."

I think there's a vengeance motive and I don't think she would cheat again if she seemed certain in wanting to work on your marriage. She waited until you were separated even after you cheated, so it's probably true she's not a cheater.

I know you said you agreed, but trust me when you're alone and the attention comes and you think about how your spouse betrayed you it's REALLY, REALLY hard to say no. REALLY. I was there myself recently. And I thought about it many times, and the chances were there.

When you cheat it's impossible to understand the level of psychological and emotional damage you inflict. I wouldn't wish it on any enemy. It feels like you're sucked into a vaccum, thrown into a blender and then pumped back in all disordered and chaotic.

As for the images, those are something SHE has to deal with too. It doesn't sound like it isn't fixable.

From being in her position if my wife had told me on her own, and right after the fact it would have made a world of difference. You must act sorry, and do what she wants if you have any chance of this working out.
 

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You're both cheaters.

What is worse is cheating on your WS (wayward spouse) who cheated on you. The BS (Betrayed spouse) should know dang well how it feels to be cheated on and, to have a 'revenge affair' or cake eat as well during a separation is no act of love whatsoever....

If you want reconciliation, both parties have to take FULL ACCOUNT of their actions.

No one forced you to cheat, no one FORCED your spouse to cheat. Not even the fact that you cheated should be a motive for your spouse to cheat. That is creating more problems and not confronting the problem and working out a solution.


Infidelity is intrinsically evil. It can never be justified, minimized, rationalized, etc.
Honestly, even if you were both separated, it doesn't seem like it will work out.
 

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Yeah, I know, some responses here may say that
"Yo, you cheated. She got even. Deal with it."
Ok. At the same time (1) we never agreed to dating outside the separation AND (2) reality sucks: I feel that if a woman has the confidence to admit that she slept with 1 guy, then she probably slept with 3 or 4 guys. Correct me if I am wrong here, but this possible reality just eats at me. I don't know this for sure; I never found this out or got that far with her answers. ( How will I ever know?)

Her acts were deliberate. I am trying to forgive, but I can't forget that there were probably more than several men and that she was capable of doing this so rapidly during the first month separation ( she is amazingly hot, and yeah, if I was a single guy and saw her, you bet your ass I would be the first trying to get with her, so I know that its possible and this just eats at me) And to be honest, I can see it being a barrier to trust. {Could she still possibly stray now, like I did?}
I guess this is my ultimate question:

Should I let it go or bring this up with her now and if I do bring it up with her, are there ways to do it that allow her to see my troubles but still be A MAN for her, not be so damn insecure, and to actually help us get closer?

Ok. Any answers would be appreciated. And if this question has been asked before, please send me the link.
It seems to me, you are trying to rationalize that her cheating was worse than yours. But consider:

You cheated with a friend of hers.

You cheated while married, she cheated while you were separated.

You ask how do you know if there weren't several more men. How does she know if there weren't several more women?

You say her cheating was deliberate. What was yours, accidental?

Sorry, but as I see it; you'd be lucky if "she" called it square under these circumstances.

But if the both of you want to reconcile, then I would advise that you get her to accept MC. On that one, you're right.
 

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Thank you for both replies. Any advice for discussing it with her or ...let it be?
Well, that depends on what you want? First, you have to be able to put down the blame stick. Both of you will need to do that.

After finding out about my STBXWW affair, I moved out and had a brief one month EA with a woman, mostly talking about how to fix my marriage, but an EA nonetheless. The problem I ran into is that my WW at the time, had not let her AP go (I didn't know), and she used it as her reason to continue her A. Any time the discussion of her affair, or continuously being caught came up, her deflection was "Don't pretend to be so perfect, you fvcked up too!". We could just never get past it.

The madhatter thing complicates things so much. You each have to own your sh!t seperately, but also see how they relate to each other. I would agree to say, that from your story it doesn't sound like your wife would have otherwise cheated (but maybe I'm projecting myself there). Also, it sounds as if it wasn't all that worthwhile to her, and from what I personally know, I would agree. You see, in your case you also had feelings involved. She sounds like she just had a hookup, cause she was pissed and he was there.

Maybe come at it honestly? I mean, what's the harm in that. "Hey, I know I fvcked up. I know I need to repair this, and I will do anything to fix this. And one thing I learned, is that I am not liking the idea of you with another man, and I'm sure this pales in comparison to what you must be feeling! I got a sip of jealousy/anger/betrayal, but your drink must have come from a firehose!"

Yeah, I know you are pissed too, and it's unfair too. And what she did was not right, or better, or in the end different. It was to fill a void. But if you concentrate on her and not on you, then you might as well get out now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
badmemory, Thank you. You have valid points and I will think about all this. No, I have not had other affairs or hookups with others during our marriage and she does know this. I cannot claim that my skrew-up was an accident; they never are. But I can also say that it was not planned. I was drinking, I don't have a history of cheating, and I did not go out that night with the thought that, "tonight is a great night to cheat on my wife." It is something I have been dealing with trying to wrap my head around.

I see where you are coming from. Be glad that things aren't worse.

doc_martin,
Thank you. Yes, I guess I need to lower the stick.
 

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Let it go. Similar situation approx 4 years ago recovery is possible, I had an affair and during separation the wife had a ons with An ex
We have worked thru it our marriage has never been better however it takes both parties putting in effort and a counselor
That is good with infidelity reconciliation this yr we will have 14 yrs of marriage in august
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Feelings are feelings but man you have no leg to stand for with her ONS while separated. No one. Stop it already.
She tells me, "there are no other people. I want to work on the relationship. But to be honest half of me wants us back badly while the other half of me is resisting. There is no sexual spark and that is important to me." Ok.
That's the most importat issue mid/long term. There's no need to go to MC to get the spark back into a relationship, specially if she's resistant to it. There are tons of online and books advice.

Check your inbox, sending you a PM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi. Thank you for the replies.

In_the_wind and Acadabo your replies are positive. Thanks for addressing the MC issue.

Doc_Martin and Acabado, thanks for introducing me to the MadHatter term. I didn't know.

Ok. Letting it go. From her description, and the way both of you put it, her encounters were hook-ups. Now that I think about it... so was mine. There were no feelings. It just happened and it never should have. I owned up to it. She told me. I'll leave it at that.
 

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Half of her has no interest sexually in you? After only 4 yrs of marriage you've cheated once, she has refused counseling, she cheated at least once. All of the cheating started with alcohol.

Do you really see a long term future as a couple that's sober, faithful, and fully committed to each other emotionally and physically?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"Do you really see a long term future as a couple that's sober, faithful, and fully committed to each other emotionally and physically?"

Yes I do. Thanks for the realistic comment though.

So... I posted my question here before my wife and I went on a week-long vacation together. I was having issues dealing with what happened. I can safely say that I think we are going to make it. The vacation, the first real vacation we have had since getting married, and under these circumstances, allowed us to face each other and own up and talk. Thank you to all the commenters who suggested, "just let it go." I did just that and now it doesn't matter. We are talking about counseling, too, and renewing vows.
The best thing that happened was that we worked on 'conflict resolution' on our own terms, which allowed us to vent and get through it. Neither of us are counselors, but if this is what they do, maybe we had a breakthrough. I am optimistic though.

Again. Thank you, especially Into_the_Wind's.
 

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I just don't see it as cheating when a BS sleeps with someone after they have been cheated on and are SEPARATED from their WS.

I did this, and it was not a revenge affair - it wasn't an affair really at all. She left me, told me she cheated and told me to move on and live my life, be happy, be free. I did. How is that cheating?
 

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You cheated while married and you separated the marriage and she had a ONS while you were separated. IMHO she would have slept with anyone. Was it really a revenge thing. Probably, but she won't see it that way since you pretty much forced everything. Was it cheating probably not since before sleeping with said OM she was probably considering the D and you made things that much clearer when you filed to separate. To me separation isn't lets separate but I am gonna try to set boundaries from a distance. If you didn't want to separate you should not have filed. you filed for separation which is wierd since she, in this situation, would normally be filing for separation.
you cheat, you come clean
wife gets pissed
you give her an ultimatum (ultimatums are fine provided you are giving the choice between and AP and a LS) Not for someone who cheated. That shows a sever lack of remorse. You should have backed off and given her time. You don't get the fact that she is the one in control now. She has to decide wether or not she wants you be with you. You can crowbar your way through this. I mean to me your actions are literally like rug sweeping with a crowbar.

So your ultimatum blows up in your face and your response was to file for separation. which your actions tell her that A) You aren't worth the effort to hold onto. B) you want to do your own thing. C) you try to set boundaries which (hello at this point who has boundary issues)

Listen it'd be one thing if she had separated and cheated with someguy you both knew for a long time. That's not what happened you literally tried to force her to move on and when she didn't you punished her by ultimatums and separation.
If you want this to workout you better stop reacting so negatively and better start focusing on your wife. You have been so focused on yourself in all of this you failed to see how badly your actions would seem to her. You want to R start acting like it man. Or you will lose her. I understand this is negative but OP you gotta change man for the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Badbane, thank you for your reply.

...IMHO she would have slept with anyone. Was it really a revenge thing. Probably, but she won't see it that way since you pretty much forced everything. Was it cheating probably not since before sleeping with said OM she was probably considering the D and you made things that much clearer when you filed to separate. To me separation isn't lets separate but I am gonna try to set boundaries from a distance. If you didn't want to separate you should not have filed. you filed for separation which is wierd since she, in this situation, she would normally be filing for separation.
... So your ultimatum blows up in your face and your response was to file for separation.
I understand your advice and I see why you write it in response to my first posting. At the same time, I think we can all agree that by the time legal separation occurs, many options have already been tried and discussed. In addition, "rushing" into into legal separation is complete lunacy and stupid. This was not the case, period. I resisted with legal separation 100% initially; she wanted out and her own place and I wanted her to stay and work things out. She kept apartment shopping. I let her be for 6 months. NYC real-estate is beyond the scope of this forum and discussion. Every apt. she found that she could afford was rent-controlled; simply put, it meant that she could not get an affordable place because of our combined income. the only way she could get her own place is if we separated. So, she couldn't leave even though she wanted to; she was forced to stay and that just made it worse. She got rebellious and started forcing the situation, by not coming home and staying out late with her girlfriends despite my insistance that she come home at night 'no matter what' because its the respectful thing to do within a marriage. I went through that craziness for about 6 weeks. No change. There were many nights that sucked.

I was NOT going to allow that. I couldn't go through that uncertainty every day. Of course, I filed. I think any husband, despite whether they are the WS or BS should not stand for their spouse refusing to come home (when there is no abuse) and partying all night. IMO if a man allows that B.S., they NEED their balls reattached. It was better that she leave. No one should put up with that kind of behavior, period. The moment she left my life (& sleep) improved.

... C) you try to set boundaries which (hello at this point who has boundary issues)....
Perhaps you could follow up this part? I don't quite follow. Are you referring to boundaries before or after separation? :scratchhead:
I think setting boundaries is very healthy. Ultimatums are not. in fact setting boundaries got us seeing each other again. Once she started contacting me again after a period of no contact I told her, "I want her back. If she wants to date other people that is ok. But we can't be friends or 'friends with benefits,' Neither should either of us wait around while we watch the other person fall in love with someone else. We either date each other with a commitment towards working on the relationship or not at all." It worked like magic. SHE IS BACK!

I think setting an ultimatum ("...move back or we should divorce") would have backfired.

If you want this to workout you better stop reacting so negatively and better start focusing on your wife. You have been so focused on yourself in all of this you failed to see how badly your actions would seem to her. You want to R start acting like it man. Or you will lose her. I understand this is negative but OP you gotta change man for the better.
Thanks for the critical advice. I think we are on the same page although I have to disagree with the 'focusing on her' part. I was so focused on her that things didn't improve. The moment I focused on myself things improved. There are multiple threads on this aspect so I don't need to dive into this. We ARE dating again.

My original purpose for posting was about the madhatter part and getting over that. We are seeing each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I want to follow-up with this thread.

Thank you to all who contributed to this thread and offered suggestions.

My wife and I went on vacation. We used this time to talk all of it out. I think we are going to be ok.

I used the advice of the responses here and never mentioned the madhatter stuff; she brought it up herself and when she did, we both owned up to our parts with hurting each other.

Since then we have seen each other a lot and we are discussing MC. Taking it day by day.

In fact, we had a good test 2 days ago. I goofed on something and she had a right to be angry and I let her vent. None of the crap about cheating, separation, testing the R, etc... came up; we were able to resolve the conflict with normalcy. Good sign.

Again. Thank you.
 

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Along with what others said, make sure you know what you are reconciling with.. Would it matter if she dated andhad sex with multiple guys?
 
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