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I am in what must surely be one of the messiest relationship entanglements, and I don't know whether I need advice, sympathy or a good metaphorical kicking, to be honest.

Some pressures around my wife leaving her job in 2015 ultimately resulted in me starting an emotional affair with someone online, something that developed, and a number of years later things are not resolved.

My marriage was not a healthy one, and I admit my own contribution to this. I am not sure that I loved my wife, more that we had been together for a long-ish time and had financial commitments from living together, something that I had been unsure about initially. My wife had a bad temper, would accuse me of infidelity and become jealous, and she hot me on one occasion when I experienced some social anxiety and we went home early from a house party - apparently I had been "spoiling her fun".

For my own part, I stuck with the relationship partly because of issues I'd experienced that I am not told were related to childhood trauma. I'd panic and end relationships as I felt that the person I was seeing would likely do so anyway, so to save them hurting me I almost deliberately would hurt myself by ending the relationship myself. This happened 3 times, the third time with the girl I was to marry. I felt she must see something in me to want to continue, so I passively accepted a lot of her behaviour, including the incident where she hit me (she did but me a gift to apologise).

After around 12 months I called the relationship off as I always felt I was being 'tested' as to how much I wanted to be with her. Prior to this, an incident with my mother caused trouble between them and the relationship was never the greatest from that point onwards. After our marriage ended she did accuse my mother of always giving her the same cracked, blue melamine plate when we visited, something my mother denies and gets annoyed about.

I moved in with her, my feeling has always been that her parents wanted her out of the house. I was unsure about moving in with her but did as I felt it may do me good, having previously always lived with my parents (I was 30).

It went OK, although I worked some distance from where we lived so left home early in the morning and was sometimes home late. My wife worked locally. After a year we moved into a house closer to where my parents lived. I will admit my fear was that we were wasting money on rent when we could be putting money into a property. I paid a large deposit and we moved in.

Our relationship was still punctuated by issues. She wasn't happy when I took a job doing college lecturing on a weekend as she felt I was trying not to spend time with her. I felt it was something I was good at and it meant extra income.

There was an incident at a works party where she sensed I was finding another girl she worked with attractive. I was, but I don't think I'd have acted on it. When we got home she kept pushing me, asking if I would rather be with this girl than her. Exasperated I replied "Yes. Is that what you want me to say?"

At this point I will admit that I did find a girl I worked with attractive and did try to get to know her but she rebuffed me because I was in a relationship.

We continued to live together. We enjoyed some nice holidays to exciting locations, and in 2004 we got engaged. I remember I asked in response to her asking me why we weren't, which may not be the best of signs. I did think to myself "this might be alright", again, not a ringing endorsement. We did not enjoy a great physical relationship. I will admit that I did not find her attractive, but I also had an ongoing issue with compulsion to use internet pornography. This is something I continue to have difficulties with, and I have recently been through a withdrawal, albeit staying away from it is difficult.

We married in 2005. Throughout our time together I did the majority of the housework; cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. This was partly because I wanted to show I wasn't a husband who would let his wife do all the work, but I know my wife would defer to me because she said "I was a better cook". She rarely did anything, and I know I grew resentful, but being a person who avoids conflict I probably tried to convey this non-verbally, which wasn't helpful, I admit. We got a dog, as her family had always had dogs and it was something to focus on after the wedding. We had discussed having children but I admit that my instinct was that I'd end up doing the majority of the work if so. Given that I didn't find her attractive, had the porn issue and also held these feelings, sex became something that happened exceptionally rarely. she bought sex toys to try and liven things up, but my overriding feeling with sex was that my role was to serve her, much as it was with the housework, etc.

My wife did not drive, so if she ever needed to buy gifts etc I would take her to the local shopping centre. I often felt if she could drive she would be able to visit her father independently, whereas when she wanted to see him it was always the case that I would have to drive her there.

I think I constructed an identity for myself of being dutiful, at least in terms of her needs re the household. Emotionally I know I left much to be desired. I have identified since our marriage ended that I have an avoidant attachment, so there were times when I can see that she was wanting me to respond to her emotionally and I didn't know how to. When she wanted to conduct a conversation that got 'emotional' I used to 'blank out' of them, again something I now recognise. My wife however has anxious attachment.

Our marriage was punctuated with her saying that she would like to leave her job or work part-time. In truth, we may have been able to afford this, but having been brought up in a household without much money I was always worried about spending, whereas her family had more money. My father-in-law, and indeed my wife, had a habit of buying things to make themselves feel better.

My wife was born nine years after her brother and he was always the favoured child, her mother also tended to put her needs first so my wife had issues around this and a difficult maternal relationship, Her mother died in 2007. When she was diagnosed with cancer my wife spent around £1000 in a month on clothes etc.

There was also a pattern with my wife of her feeling she was being picked on at work or bullied. In 2014, when I had just taken on a new role I was finding difficult, she persuaded me to let her leave her job as she had been offered redundancy. I wasn't happy, but said she could as I felt it was what a supportive husband would do.

My hope was that she'd use the redundancy money to gain some new skills or learn to drive, to improve her employment prospects, but that didn't come to pass. Around 18 months later, and after telling my sister that she hoped I would agree to her not going back to work, things began to fall apart. I again felt resentful that I was working whilst she stayed at home. I nervously asked her about her plans to return to work but was met with an angry response. Again, given my dislike of conflict, I backed off. I felt that staying at home wasn't doing her any good. She eventually found a part-time role. I felt this was less than she was capable of and again put more pressure onto me (I do have issues with anxiety).

I was feeling low and started to offer some support to a girl I had met once or twice and who I knew through social media. I ended up confiding much more in her than I intended, and before I knew it we were talking regularly. She seemed the opposite of my wife, and we had things in common. An 'emotional affair' began.

My wife began to sense there were issues. Our relationship started to unravel. My wife told me that she had spent the entirety of her redundancy money and I had to lend her money to buy some new work clothes and Christmas gifts. She then spent some of the money on items I felt were unnecessary and again things became very difficult.

I was still conducting the emotional affair and then started to meet the other girl. My mental health began to deteriorate and after a while we agreed we would have no further contact. After attempting to raise some issues with my wife (when I was in a very erratic state), things calmed down until the girl posted something on social media that didn't reference me directly but was clearly about me. I began to have a panic attack, thinking my heart pounding meant I was in love, and I left the house in the middle of the night.

We spent Christmas apart with little or no contact, I resumed the emotional affair and then my wife found out there was a third party. She had already been to see about a divorce.

I was having poor mental health still, and I attempted to reconcile with my wife. I went to our home, where within five minutes or arriving she assaulted me, banging my head against the floor. We spent a very fraught few days together until I told her I didn't love her and hence the reconciliation wouldn't work. I don't know if I meant this or not, I was on antidepressants at the time. She again assaulted me and threw me out of the home.

I went to my parents home. My wife and I did try to sort things like financial matters, but I was emotionally unready. She also (I think) tried to get me back by getting me to go to the home. She locked herself in and intimated she would take her own life. I called the police, a police officer spoke with her and within a couple of minutes she seemed fine and was laughing with the office, suggesting she had been manipulating me, perhaps?

The girl with whom I had the affair had continued to pursue me, and our relationship resumed, but had ups and downs. I am living with her currently but don't know if I really should be, as I fear when my divorce is finalised I may feel it best to have a clean break. She has been in love with me, I enjoy spending time with her but know there is a huge moral dilemma in me being with her, one I am still struggling with. We have a strange relationship; I am still trying to overcome my porn compulsion, which is worse when I am stressed. She has body image issues which I exacerbated when she found out about the porn use, taking this as a negative against her. I have stressed to her it was never about this, my porn use is a compulsion.

As you can see (and this has probably left quite a lot out), the whole situation is just chaotic.

My wife still lives in our home, I am paying towards some of the costs but we have no contact, because I am scared to initiate any. I don't want to incur huge legal costs, so we are going to have to speak soon, but given how we both are together you can see why I don't relish the prospect.

I acknowledge the affair was wrong, but at the same time, the marriage wasn't right, and I don't know if would ever be so.
 

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OP, you're a mess, your wife is a mess, your marriage was and is a mess, and you had and are continuing to have an affair.

Get as amicable a divorce as possible. Find your own place to live and break up with affair girl. Grow up and learn to be a functional adult all on your own. Get a handle on your emotional issues. Get healthy and sane.

Then, and only then, will you be in any position to eventually find an emotionally healthy partner and participate in an emotionally healthy relationship.
 

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You need to take some responsibility for your choices. You didn't just happen to fall into an EA because some girl was chasing you. You wanted it and you chose to go through with it and even live with her (good luck with that, btw).

Your wife can be hurt, she can hate you, etc. but assaulting you is never okay and threatening to kill herself is not okay.

You both need help but you can only control you. So, get out of this mess and get some help. A lot of it. You don't need sympathy. You need to get your **** together.
 

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What I read in your post is like a litany of everything people should NOT do if they want to have happy and successful relationships...or happy and successful lives.

I don't see that the cheating was even really the core issue with your wife -- your betrayal was that you continued a relationship with her from the beginning while you didn't love her at all, but led her to believe and trust that you did.
It's possible that many of the problems you had with her attitude and behavior towards you were from the fact that she could sense your lack of love and attraction and connection for her, but you wouldn't be honest with her about it. So you made her feel crazy...which is when people tend to start ACTING crazy.

What are you actually asking with your post? Do you want advice or did you just need to vent it all out for clarity?

I think it's GREAT that you are getting divorced, because you never should have married her. I think you will both be happier and healthier alone or with other people. Although from what you've written, I believe you need to do some serious work on yourself before you will be in any position to make anyone else happy.
 

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Your whole post is literally a list of excuses as to why you cheated on your wife. You mention she didnt trust you and thought you were attracted to someone at work? She wasn’t far off on that gut feeling. You Gaslit her when she questioned you even though she was spot on. And then throwing in an addiction to porn? How on earth do you expect her to react? I’m shocked you then moved in with the affair partner while questioning why your wife didn’t trust you.

Your wife isn’t the problem here. You need to work on yourself and figure out your trauma before you get involved with anyone else. Individual counseling is vital in this situation. Stop the blame shifting and be accountable for your actions. You will do the same thing to this new person if you can’t figure out a way to control yourself and take responsibility for your actions.
 
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