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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone!

New member here. A friend who was saved by this site advised me to give it a shot to help cope with my crumbling marriage and life. I spend the majority of my days in my own head scared of my future. I don't know what to do and scared that every choice is the wrong one. But the longer that I sit here and let my fear/anxiety/depression eat me alive, the worse off I am going to be. I am hoping for some advice on how to save my marriage or at least help myself from completely caving into my own head.

Here's my story:

My wife (28) and I (32) met in 2016. At the time she had a 14mo old daughter. I had never been around kids before and was scared to death of being responsible for raising a child so I had never contemplated dating someone with a kid. We met on Match. She was beautiful, worked out, had a thing for gaming, and enjoyed many of the same TV shows so I took a chance. Needless to say, we clicked quite well texting which led me to ask her out on a date. Between working retail and having a daughter, she didn't have much free time. We opted for a quick, lunch hour date to see if we clicked in person which we did. That night I had plans with friends to watch a football game, but it got cancelled. I text her to see if she was free by any chance since my plans had fallen through. She got her daughter into bed and her sister was kind enough to watch her while we met up. So we grab ice cream and wind up walking around a local park until about 1 AM where we had our first kiss. It was electric. I felt an instant connection to her. This led to us spending nearly every day together.

About 3 weeks after we met, a massive storm tore through our town that wound up knocking power out at my house for a couple days. She graciously let me stay with her at her sisters since her sister's family had power. During this time, she asked me if I loved her yet. I had fallen hard for her, but only being 18 months removed from my 1st marriage (side note: ex-wife was sleeping with her boss and had "fallen in love with him" after barely a year of being married) I wasn't in a hurry to drop the L-word any time soon. That quickly changed over the next few weeks. A running joke was made about how many letters she was up to to get to LOVE. Though after a month or two of us being together and me meeting her daughter, we were all quickly falling in love. I couldn't hold it in an longer and told her that I loved her and her little girl. Then one Sunday evening, her daughter called me Dada (biological father was nowhere in the picture and still never has been). It was one of the top five scariest moments of my life, but also one of the best memories at the same time. Fast forward another month and I gave her a key to my house and invited her to move in.

Fast forward to 8 months together, I bought a ring a proposed. She said "Yes" and we started planning a wedding. Right at 2 years together, we got married. Shortly before we got married, I lost my grandmother who was like a 2nd mom to me. This led to a pretty bad bout with depression, but I powered through to make sure that the wedding went off without a hitch.

Fast forward to the summer of 2019. Life was going pretty smoothly. We had bought her a new car. We had sold our old house. We were in the process of buying a new house. During this point, we agreed that it was time that I adopted her daughter (4 year old, at this point). We finalized the adoption. Two weeks later, we closed on our new house. A week later, her grandmother paid for the entire family to go to Disney.

Little did I know, that was the beginning of the downfall for our marriage. I injured my back during the trip. That was in October 2019. I spent the next 2 months hoping that the pain would go away naturally. It did not. I could barely move. Being an athletic guy, this hit me hard as I went from being able to do anything to be barely being able to walk. I felt like I had lost my identity since I had been the athlete type my entire life. The depression quickly got worse. After these two months of being couch ridden, she convinced to see a chiropractor thinking that something was out of alignment. Two months of chiropractor appointments did nothing. My depression deepened thinking I was never going to be me again. Finally, I went to a spine clinic and had an MRI done. I had a herniated disc in my back that was also degenerative and bulging onto my sciatic nerve.

The day before my company closed our office due to COVID, I got an epidural in my spine. It took about a month, but it finally relieved my pain back, at least most of it. I would say that even to this date I'm only at about 85%-90% of where I was before the trip. However, the scarring on my psyche had been done. I was scared to do anything in fear of hurting it again. Coupled with the fear of contracting COVID, I spent the next four months sitting on the couch doing as little physically as I could. During this time, my wife, daughter and her sister's family spent the summer camping, hiking, and boating across the state without me. Finally in July, I decided that I needed to stop living in fear. I went camping for a few days for my daughter's birthday. My best friend convinced me to try playing a couple games with our softball team that we had been on for years. I was scared to death, but made it through my first two games (doubleheader). No pain followed. I was elated. I spent the next few weekends playing while the wife and daughter continued to camp every few weekends with her sister.

In September, the company that my wife had recently began working for had a "company retreat". Over the summer, she went from lower management at a retail store to running 3 businesses for a family friend as a GM. It was a great weekend at a small in-state theme park. We had a cabin on the lake and spent the days in the park and evenings sitting on the lake drinking and getting to know everyone. Sunday night after we got home, I was messing around on Facebook and found that I had a Message Request from someone I didn't know. I opened the message and my heart sank. It was a former co-worker of my wife's. It said "Hey! I just want to let you know that your wife is ****ing her boss." Included with the message were two videos from the store's security cameras dated the week after I got my epidural shot. The first video was from the parking lot of the store. It showed my wife and her boss walking out of the store after closing up and kissing each other goodbye before heading to their cars. The second video was from inside the store. It showed them going off camera for about 10 seconds in the photo department and then coming back into view adjusting their clothing. It was clear that they had just had a quick make-out session.

My wife was sitting right next to me when I watched the videos. I immediately asked her about it. She denied it. Then I showed her the videos. At that point, she came clean that it was her. I was crushed and in tears. I sat there stunned worried what was going to happen next. I finally got the courage to ask her why. She said that during the months that I was dealing with the back pain and depression that stemmed from it, she felt unwanted and her boss gave her attention. I told her that if she told me everything that I promised that we could work on the marriage and I wouldn't file for divorce. However, if I found out that she wasn't telling me everything that I was filing, no questions asked. She paused for a moment and started her story. Her boss had shown her the attention that she felt she wasn't getting from me which led to them kissing multiple times in the store and back office. However, she said that she ended it before it was any more physical because she realized that she was making a mistake. She assured me that she had never jerked him off, blew him, or had sex with him. He had never touched her other than kissing. That night we had make up sex multiple times but in different fashions. I felt like I needed to "reclaim" her to start with so I was bossy and telling her what to do or where to go. Switching it up between my favorite positions. Then a little while later came the angry/rough session where she was telling me to "punish her" and "make her pay" for being a bad wife. We fell asleep after that. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling guilty for the two previous sessions so I woke her up my kissing her back (her absolute favorite thing). This led to the most passionate sex that we had had in months. We both called in sick the next day and dropped little one off at school. We spent the whole day in bed having sex or cuddling on the couch binge watching Netflix. We talked and promised that we we're going to get passed this.

Things were good for a little while until the trust issues started with me. Within the next month, I started doubting her story that they didn't do more than kiss/make out. One night during an argument, she stormed out of the room and in a moment of stupidity I told her that she "should go **** her boss again". I immediately regretted it. She acted like she didn't hear it, but I knew she did (she confirmed months later). The arguments continued over the next few months. And twice more, I threw it in her face. Once telling her that she "should have just divorced me if she was going to **** her boss" and another time telling her "why would I trust someone who ****ed her boss behind my back". Not my finest moment but I have a hard time holding back my words when I'm angry. But no matter how angry she was, her story never changed. She swore up and down that she didn't go any further with him. Looking back, I feel confident that she was telling the truth since people who are that mad have a tendency to blurt out the truth to be hurtful back to someone who is being hurtful to them.

Towards the end of January, she told me that she felt as if she had checked out of the marriage. She was tired of my anger issues, constantly having her infidelity thrown in her face, and pissed at me still for not spending that majority of the last year camping/hiking/boating with her family. It was at that point I realized that I needed to get my ass in gear and work on my marriage before I lost the love of my life. I read a few things online about ways to quell my anger. I realized that I was never going to get through my trust issues without first forgiving her for what she had done. I also needed to make an effort to spend more time with her.

Immediately I started spending more time with her. When she was just going to her sister's to hang out, I would tag along. When she went down to visit family a few hours away, I made sure that I was enthusiastic and making a more concerted effort to talk to everyone. I even started suggesting things for us to do (something that I never did since she was the outting-planner of the relationship). After about a month, I was able to forgive her for the infidelity even though she didn't believe me. I had pretty well kept my anger in check. In my eyes, I had made substantial strides.

Then one Saturday night, **** hit the fan. We had both had a few drinks and something sparked an argument (I don't even remember what it was about this point). That led to us laying in bed arguing back and forth. Finally, I couldn't stand it any more and text my best friend to come get me since I couldn't drive. About 20 minutes later, he text me that he was there and I walked out of the house without telling her where I was going. I was in tears when I got into his car and just told him to drive. He had no clue we were having issues, so I told him the whole story over the next hour. He drops me off back at the house and I find that my wife is sitting on the front porch waiting for me. She had drank half a bottle of whiskey while I was gone. She had also been scratching at her arm with an exacto knife (nothing deep, just looked like she had scratched herself with her nails too hard). She proceeded to tell me that she had contemplated cutting her wrist so that I came back to the house to her bleeding out in front of the house (kiddo was spending the night with grandma that weekend). This led to us talking in the kitchen for an hour how ****ed our marriage had gotten and that she didn't know if she wanted to go on. Drinks kept flowing, though much slower, through the conversation. By the end, we agreed that we were in deep trouble. Then she told me that she was drunk and horny so sex WAS happening but reiterated that it wasn't going to solve anything. Our first session was a mix of angry and passionate sex that got interrupted by her getting sick from the alcohol. I took care of her and got her situated in bed and called it a night. At around 6 AM, I woke up with her right up against me but facing the opposite direction. I started kissing up her back which slowly woke her up. This led to the most passionate and amazing session that we had honestly ever had. She asked me why I had gotten so intimate to which I responded "I was scared that it was going to be the last time that we ever had sex, so I wanted to make it feel incredibly special and explore every part of your body one more time just in case."

Little did I know, I was right. About 10 days later, she told me that she wanted to separate and stay with her mom for a weekend and then her sister for a while. I was a broken man at that point. I have had some low points of my life, but that was the worst to that point. After about a week away, I called her crying one night telling her that I missed her and that I couldn't handle it. I told her she would be better off "giving us a chance to fix things or just cutting my throat and getting it over with". She came home that following Sunday which I assumed was for us to talk things through and set us on a path of reconciliation.

We'd both always agreed early on in our relationship that we were never going to be that couple that just gave up and got a divorce. Whatever our issues were, we were going to work through them. I was shocked when she told me that we were through. No anger. No sadness. No emotion. Just cold hearted "I want a divorce". She told me that her parents stayed married 10 years longer than they should have and that her and her siblings would have been better off had her parents just split. She thinks we are on the same path and doesn't want to put the little one through the same thing. She wanted to stay friends for the little one's sake, but wanted nothing more to do with being married. At that point, my anger hit the fan and I threw my wedding ring across the room and told her that she just needed to "get the **** out of my house". Over the next 24 hours, I proceeded to bag up everything of hers and everything of ours that I didn't want so that she could come get them.

I sat down at my laptop later in the evening and started figuring out what all we had that was going to need split (money, debt, vehicles, custody, support, etc). I called my boss and was told to take as much time off as I needed to get my head right. Monday night, she came over to the house with a couple of coworkers and a box truck to get her stuff. I asked her to come in and look at the split to see what she thought. She kept up the cold-hearted shtick. I proceeded to tell her that if she didn't drop the whole ice-queen act that we were never going to be able to get on a footing to be friends. Finally she started acting more normal and discussing things with me. We came to a basic foundation to start the decree, she checked around the house to see if there was anything else that she needed, and her crew got the truck loaded up.

The next morning, we started texting while she was at work. I realized that this was the morning that she was supposed to take her car into the dealership to have some warranty work done. She admitted that she had forgotten to grab lunch not thinking about not having access to her car. I offered to grab her lunch while I was in town and drop it off. When I get to her office, she was on the phone so I sat down and waited for her to finish up. I gave her her lunch and was going to leave when she told me to sit down and chat for a few while I eat. I proceeded to sit in her office for 3 hours chatting like old times. During which, she told me that she was surprised that I hadn't asked her to be Friends with Benefits. I told her that to be honest, it had crossed my mind. However, I didn't think it would go over well with her so I opted not to bring it up. She brought it up a total of 3 times during our time there.

By the end of my stay in her office, I offered to take her to her car after work. Then we went back to the house for her to get a few things that she missed. I asked if she would be interested in going to dinner. She accepted. We went out to dinner and had a nice evening. We parted ways on good terms that night. We grabbed lunch and dinner a couple more times that week. I was optimistic that we would be able to work things out over time.

I decided that night that I needed to start working on my own problems. That night I enrolled in an online Anger Management class. I took a 3 hour class that night. I spent 8 hours the next day taking another class. The next two days I took a 24 hour class on emotional intelligence. Then the following week took another 8 hour class on dealing with depression. I have also taken a 2nd 8 hour class on depression a little while later.

I also started offering for us to go to marriage counseling, but she declined stating that a therapist isn't to tell her anything she doesn't already know about our situation and that we were getting a divorce. I was annoyed that I was putting all this effort in but she was refusing to do anything. She told me that she felt like I abandoned her while I was dealing with my back issues and that she had fallen out of love with me during it all. She also said that she realized that she could be independent and happy without me. She told me the she wishes that I would just go find another woman and forget about her. She told me that she had contemplated fixing up a threesome shortly after I found out about her infidelity in hopes that I would leave her for the other women and she could stop feeling so guilty. Though she opted against that in hopes that we could work it out.

We filed for divorce that week to get the process started even though I still wanted to work things out. The following week we were hanging out at the house so that little one could play in her room and pick out some toys to take back to my wife's sister's house. While we were on our own, I asked her if she had thought any more about the FWB scenario. She joked that I must be horny which I told that I had been quite horny and that it was quite tempting to carry her into the master bathroom for a quickie. She liked the idea and we kissed and groped each other a bit in the kitchen. But with little one right on the other side of the house, she didn't want to take the chance of us getting caught. Told me that she would get her sister to watch her the next night and we would cash in the "rain check". Next day, she cancels. Tells me that we would reschedule for Friday. Friday comes around and I go out to eat with her family. She can't think of an excuse to leave with me instead of them so she bailed again. I asked her about it the next week, but she told me that she changed her mind and didn't want to be FWB right now. Felt it would be too messy and her sister would get mad at her. I was annoyed, but understood. I was a ticked that she had been leading me on.

Our "friendship" soured from there. I was at rock bottom depression-wise. I missed my wife. I missed my daughter. I was only getting to see her a couple times a week plus a few goodnight video chats. I was at the point where I was crying multiple times a day. I couldn't sleep. I could barely eat. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I sat on the couch all day regretting all of the decisions that had led to this point. She had gone back to her cold-hearted vibe. I felt more alone than ever.

I figured that I was never going to be able to win my wife back by myself. So the next week I was helping her sister put together a playset and decided that I was going to ask her opinion. She told me she hadn't talked to her about it much about. She was just letting my wife come to her when/if she wanted. However, she did tell me that she thought the best thing for us was working things out. I had the thought of asking her if she would help me get her back, but the wife got back from getting food before I could ask. Figured I would just ask her next time I saw which has not happened.

In the 2 weeks since then, I have stopped going around my wife more than events with the little one. It hurts too much to go around her and deal with her being cold-hearted. We've gone to some swim classes together and joked around a little bit, but it never lasts long. The talks that we do have usually end with me telling her how much I miss her. She gets annoyed and tells me that we aren't going to be able to fix things which I find a bit ridiculous. I believe our issues are fixable. For me, I need to work on my anger, managing my depression, and being more present. For her, she needs to work on communicating better (she prefers dropping subtle hints instead of actually talking about the things that bother her) and getting passed her admitted guilt for her infidelity. However, she has hired a divorce attorney so I don't feel like there is any chance that we can reconcile.

I know these aren't issues we are going to get through overnight, but we aren't going to get through them at all if we don't try. Even though we promised for years that we were never going to give up on each other, she's given up on me. She tells me that she loves me as a person and a father, but she has no romantic love for me anymore. I'm to the point where I am willing to do anything to convince her to have us work on things. In a perfect world, I would like for us to spend the next 6 months living separately. During that time, we would spend time going on dates and spending time together like we did when we were dating. Basically, relearning how to be a couple and seeing if we could rekindle the love that we felt for each other. Then if all things worked out, I would sell our house (since there are too many negatives memories) and start afresh in a new home. Maybe even start trying for another baby (something we have been against the majority of the time together but had just started warming on right before things fell apart at the end of last year). I actually had a dream a few nights ago that we were cuddling on the couch at our new home and she smiled up at me breaking the news that she was pregnant. I cried so hard out of happiness. Then I woke up realizing it was a dream and cried the rest of the night out of devastation that it wasn't real and couldn't fall back alseep.

At this point, I am an absolute mess. I cry at the drop of the hat when something sparks a memory or a song hits the wrong feel. I sit around running scenarios in my head wishing that I could go back in time to fix things and kick myself for all of the times that I could have done better. I try to put on a strong front in front of my parents and friends, but I am falling apart more and more by the day. I have cried more in the last 5 weeks than I have in my entire life. I feel more and more alone by the day. I honestly don't know how I am going to survive if I can't fix things with her. I don't know how I am going to handle not seeing my little girl (she'll be 6 next month) every night for the rest of her childhood. She has gotten meaner and meaner since we split. She never wants to stay with me which I get. She has everything she could ever want with my wife staying at her sister's. She has our niece to play with every night, a hot tub to play in, a huge yard with 4 dogs and huge jungle gym, plus two exchange students that she adores. I just don't have anything to compare. When she does stay over with me, we will sit and watch Scooby Doo at night. During the day, we'll play with what toys are here at my house or watch movies when she isn't telling me to go away or hitting me. We've hit up the trampoline park a couple times and gone to the go-kart/putt putt park once. She will cuddle with me watching Scooby-Doo, but the rest of the time she doesn't want me around. She's started getting in trouble at school. When I talked to the teacher, she said the issues had been going on for about a month. When I told her about the divorce, she said that her behavior made more sense. She won't listen in class, she sticks her tongue at people when they tell her to do something, and last week she pushed another kid down and scratched her until she cried. I feel like I'm losing my sweet little girl on top of the love of my life. I just don't know what to do or where to go. I feel like my entire life has crashed down on me and I'm never going to dig myself out of the rubble.

I still love my wife even though we are 28 days away from being able to finalize the divorce. I think she still loves me even though she will never admit it. The fear of becoming her parents is too great for her. She'd rather give up than become that. I would love to fix things with her. I just don't know how to convince her that we can work through things. Every attempt that I have tried has failed. I have realized the errors that I have made for us to get to this point and I want to fix that. I am going to fix it. Come hell or high water, I have to find a way to come out of this a better person. A person can't fix a marriage alone, though. I can work on me all I want. But without her working with me.... I'm going to lose the love of my life.

(Edit: typos)
 

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You need to understand that your wife has the ability to cheat when the going gets rough. You being laid up was the only incentive she needed to get with her boss in the store. And you can bet your bottom dollar that it was more than kissing. So you need to see your wife clearly and not through rose-tinted glasses.

Forget about being like her parents, she has the ability to be much worse. This may be a chance for you to get out of this. You may feel like it is you that has the problem but really it is not. She has you believing that this is all your fault. Marital issues are 50/50 I agree. But cheating was 100% her. You need to tell her that she needs to work on herself and work out why it was so easy for her to cheat and then lie about it. She would not have told you if some good soul didn't tip you off. The store employees must be pissed at her behaviour.

The she continues to lie about it being jut kissing. And then she yanks you around like a yo-yo before finally pulling the plug. Not a good person. Certainly a broken person at the very least. And then she has you doing the pick-me dance to win her back.

She needs to sort herself out. You need to protect yourself custody wise and financially.
 

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The problem is that your wife doesn't want your marriage to work at this stage so what you do is really pretty irrelevant.

What you need to do is prepare for life after your marriage and accepting who you are and the physical condition of your body. At the end of the day, a woman who would cheat and betray at a time when you were vulnerable and in need is not the kind of women you want to grow old with.

My advice is to seek some professional help. You held off doing that with your back injury and it didn't help you. Try to tough this out won't help you either.
 

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We can only speculate, but based on hundreds of stories similar to yours, your wife has another relationship. It is not reasonable to believe that she and her boss stopped with kissing. He may be her new love interest, it may be someone else. Take care of yourself. She's toast. The real victim here is the little girl. Make sure she gets counseling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone! I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

@manfromlamancha - I have to agree that the fact that she did it while I was at the lowest point of my life was what hurt the most. The first time in our marriage that we were truly tested and she failed miserably. And it wasn't like our sex life decreased during this period. It just changed from using multiple positions to mostly being in the spooning position to avoid too much pressure on my back. And to be honest, she could have just come to me and said that she wanted to try out a threesome with him and I wouldn't have had much issue with it. We had talked in the past about the potential of threesomes, but never pulled the trigger on one... And the lady that messaged me is far from a good soul. She was friends with my first ex wife and had made my wife's life miserable the entire time they worked together out of spite. She also got ahold of my parent's address and sent them a letter detailing what had happened (which is kind of creepy if I'm being honest since she doesn't know them)... Also, in regards to the custody and financials, I have had many thoughts about this. She has told me on several occasions over the last 5 weeks that she doesn't want any money from me other than a small amount of money that her grandma gave us as a gift when we bought our house. She doesn't want anything to do with the equity in the house, my 401k, or child support. Even if we were to continue on in a relationship, I can't help but think that doing so unmarried might be the best for me financially. And clearly I am never going to let our daughter go without so even with no child support, I am still going to help out if needed and pick up costs of school, sports, medical, etc.

@AGoodFlogging - As of this morning, I have started the process of getting a therapist to talk about my depression. This weekend was my breaking point. I had all these big plans for the weekend and couldn't pull myself off the couch. Everything I watched or listened to reduced to me tears. I couldn't even pull myself up to walk to the bathroom to take my allergy meds which I highly regret given this is the worst part of the year for my allergies. Once I get things sorted out with my health insurance provider, I will be seeking help. I can't go on in this current state of mind.

@Sfort - My best friend and I have the same theory. Many of things that she has said through all of this hasn't quite added up. Between refusing to work to fix a marriage that she broke (and said she would always try to fix if things went awry) and then wanting to be FWB and then backing off of that. The only thing that made sense was that she had been having a fling that had turned more serious to where she wasn't comfortable sleeping with me on the side (irony much?). I highly doubt that her boss is still in the picture a year later, though. He is married and has been disciplined on multiple occasions for fraternizing with subordinate employees. He seemed more like the "hit it and quit it" type as well as looking for ease of access. With her not working there since last summer, I can't imagine that it is still going on. (PS: How he still has is job in this day and age is beyond me). But I have had the same thoughts on the scope of their fling. It was hard for me wrap my head around two adults only kissing. We aren't high schoolers that are nervous around the opposite sex and kissing is the only thing we are brave enough to do. To put it bluntly, we're adults and kissing is foreplay that leads to ****ing. If she has been having a fling with someone, my money would be someone new from the gym.
 

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And to be honest, she could have just come to me and said that she wanted to try out a threesome with him and I wouldn't have had much issue with it. We had talked in the past about the potential of threesomes, but never pulled the trigger on one.
Well, that says a lot. You sent her mixed messages. A threesome says it's okay to screw someone else so long as you are around and participating. That's not far from her screwing someone else with you NOT being around. It's a very short trip even if swingers say it's not.
 

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I was in your situation, kinda. But at the time my plan was to get divorced as quickly as I could (she was being very generous on what she wanted) knowing full well that we could always reconcile married or not. My theory was that by not being married then she could not use any leverage that relationship grants to get what she wanted. So I went full force into divorce, even tho it wasnt what I wanted, and we were done within 98 days. Just because you are divorced doesnt mean that you cant still work on your relationship, and sometimes its easier.
You need to read up on the 180, if ANYONE needs to do the 180 it is you. She reached out and saw that immediately you went full fledge puppy dog. That made you less attractive to her. Doing the pick me dance, makes you less attractive to her. You are not even playing hard to get, all she does is wiggle her finger and you right there, not attractive to her either.
Do yourself a favor and forget the marriage counseling, you both need to WANT the marriage for that to have any chance of working. Right now SHE DOES NOT WANT TO BE MARRIED TO YOU.
Time is your answer. It will take time for you to feel better about yourself and the situation. Go to your counseling, great place to start.
Be busy next time she mentions getting together, dont tell her what you are doing (if you are doing anything) but just be unavailable. Pick up your daughter for the day, dont include your wife, spend some time with your daughter one on one.

Good luck, glad you are here, lots of good help here.
 

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Hi everyone!

New member here. A friend who was saved by this site advised me to give it a shot to help cope with my crumbling marriage and life. I spend the majority of my days in my own head scared of my future. I don't know what to do and scared that every choice is the wrong one. But the longer that I sit here and let my fear/anxiety/depression eat me alive, the worse off I am going to be. I am hoping for some advice on how to save my marriage or at least help myself from completely caving into my own head.

Here's my story:

My wife (28) and I (32) met in 2016. At the time she had a 14mo old daughter. I had never been around kids before and was scared to death of being responsible for raising a child so I had never contemplated dating someone with a kid. We met on Match. She was beautiful, worked out, had a thing for gaming, and enjoyed many of the same TV shows so I took a chance. Needless to say, we clicked quite well texting which led me to ask her out on a date. Between working retail and having a daughter, she didn't have much free time. We opted for a quick, lunch hour date to see if we clicked in person which we did. That night I had plans with friends to watch a football game, but it got cancelled. I text her to see if she was free by any chance since my plans had fallen through. She got her daughter into bed and her sister was kind enough to watch her while we met up. So we grab ice cream and wind up walking around a local park until about 1 AM where we had our first kiss. It was electric. I felt an instant connection to her. This led to us spending nearly every day together.

About 3 weeks after we met, a massive storm tore through our town that wound up knocking power out at my house for a couple days. She graciously let me stay with her at her sisters since her sister's family had power. During this time, she asked me if I loved her yet. I had fallen hard for her, but only being 18 months removed from my 1st marriage (side note: ex-wife was sleeping with her boss and had "fallen in love with him" after barely a year of being married) I wasn't in a hurry to drop the L-word any time soon. That quickly changed over the next few weeks. A running joke was made about how many letters she was up to to get to LOVE. Though after a month or two of us being together and me meeting her daughter, we were all quickly falling in love. I couldn't hold it in an longer and told her that I loved her and her little girl. Then one Sunday evening, her daughter called me Dada (biological father was nowhere in the picture and still never has been). It was one of the top five scariest moments of my life, but also one of the best memories at the same time. Fast forward another month and I gave her a key to my house and invited her to move in.

Fast forward to 8 months together, I bought a ring a proposed. She said "Yes" and we started planning a wedding. Right at 2 years together, we got married. Shortly before we got married, I lost my grandmother who was like a 2nd mom to me. This led to a pretty bad bout with depression, but I powered through to make sure that the wedding went off without a hitch.

Fast forward to the summer of 2019. Life was going pretty smoothly. We had bought her a new car. We had sold our old house. We were in the process of buying a new house. During this point, we agreed that it was time that I adopted her daughter (4 year old, at this point). We finalized the adoption. Two weeks later, we closed on our new house. A week later, her grandmother paid for the entire family to go to Disney.

Little did I know, that was the beginning of the downfall for our marriage. I injured my back during the trip. That was in October 2019. I spent the next 2 months hoping that the pain would go away naturally. It did not. I could barely move. Being an athletic guy, this hit me hard as I went from being able to do anything to be barely being able to walk. I felt like I had lost my identity since I had been the athlete type my entire life. The depression quickly got worse. After these two months of being couch ridden, she convinced to see a chiropractor thinking that something was out of alignment. Two months of chiropractor appointments did nothing. My depression deepened thinking I was never going to be me again. Finally, I went to a spine clinic and had an MRI done. I had a herniated disc in my back that was also degenerative and bulging onto my sciatic nerve.

The day before my company closed our office due to COVID, I got an epidural in my spine. It took about a month, but it finally relieved my pain back, at least most of it. I would say that even to this date I'm only at about 85%-90% of where I was before the trip. However, the scarring on my psyche had been done. I was scared to do anything in fear of hurting it again. Coupled with the fear of contracting COVID, I spent the next four months sitting on the couch doing as little physically as I could. During this time, my wife, daughter and her sister's family spent the summer camping, hiking, and boating across the state without me. Finally in July, I decided that I needed to stop living in fear. I went camping for a few days for my daughter's birthday. My best friend convinced me to try playing a couple games with our softball team that we had been on for years. I was scared to death, but made it through my first two games (doubleheader). No pain followed. I was elated. I spent the next few weekends playing while the wife and daughter continued to camp every few weekends with her sister.

In September, the company that my wife had recently began working for had a "company retreat". Over the summer, she went from lower management at a retail store to running 3 businesses for a family friend as a GM. It was a great weekend at a small in-state theme park. We had a cabin on the lake and spent the days in the park and evenings sitting on the lake drinking and getting to know everyone. Sunday night after we got home, I was messing around on Facebook and found that I had a Message Request from someone I didn't know. I opened the message and my heart sank. It was a former co-worker of my wife's. It said "Hey! I just want to let you know that your wife is ****ing her boss." Included with the message were two videos from the store's security cameras dated the week after I got my epidural shot. The first video was from the parking lot of the store. It showed my wife and her boss walking out of the store after closing up and kissing each other goodbye before heading to their cars. The second video was from inside the store. It showed them going off camera for about 10 seconds in the photo department and then coming back into view adjusting their clothing. It was clear that they had just had a quick make-out session.

My wife was sitting right next to me when I watched the videos. I immediately asked her about it. She denied it. Then I showed her the videos. At that point, she came clean that it was her. I was crushed and in tears. I sat there stunned worried what was going to happen next. I finally got the courage to ask her why. She said that during the months that I was dealing with the back pain and depression that stemmed from it, she felt unwanted and her boss gave her attention. I told her that if she told me everything that I promised that we could work on the marriage and I wouldn't file for divorce. However, if I found out that she wasn't telling me everything that I was filing, no questions asked. She paused for a moment and started her story. Her boss had shown her the attention that she felt she wasn't getting from me which led to them kissing multiple times in the store and back office. However, she said that she ended it before it was any more physical because she realized that she was making a mistake. She assured me that she had never jerked him off, blew him, or had sex with him. He had never touched her other than kissing. That night we had make up sex multiple times but in different fashions. I felt like I needed to "reclaim" her to start with so I was bossy and telling her what to do or where to go. Switching it up between my favorite positions. Then a little while later came the angry/rough session where she was telling me to "punish her" and "make her pay" for being a bad wife. We fell asleep after that. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling guilty for the two previous sessions so I woke her up my kissing her back (her absolute favorite thing). This led to the most passionate sex that we had had in months. We both called in sick the next day and dropped little one off at school. We spent the whole day in bed having sex or cuddling on the couch binge watching Netflix. We talked and promised that we we're going to get passed this.

Things were good for a little while until the trust issues started with me. Within the next month, I started doubting her story that they didn't do more than kiss/make out. One night during an argument, she stormed out of the room and in a moment of stupidity I told her that she "should go ** her boss again". I immediately regretted it. She acted like she didn't hear it, but I knew she did (she confirmed months later). The arguments continued over the next few months. And twice more, I threw it in her face. Once telling her that she "should have just divorced me if she was going to ** her boss" and another time telling her "why would I trust someone who ****ed her boss behind my back". Not my finest moment but I have a hard time holding back my words when I'm angry. But no matter how angry she was, her story never changed. She swore up and down that she didn't go any further with him. Looking back, I feel confident that she was telling the truth since people who are that mad have a tendency to blurt out the truth to be hurtful back to someone who is being hurtful to them.

Towards the end of January, she told me that she felt as if she had checked out of the marriage. She was tired of my anger issues, constantly having her infidelity thrown in her face, and pissed at me still for not spending that majority of the last year camping/hiking/boating with her family. It was at that point I realized that I needed to get my ass in gear and work on my marriage before I lost the love of my life. I read a few things online about ways to quell my anger. I realized that I was never going to get through my trust issues without first forgiving her for what she had done. I also needed to make an effort to spend more time with her.

Immediately I started spending more time with her. When she was just going to her sister's to hang out, I would tag along. When she went down to visit family a few hours away, I made sure that I was enthusiastic and making a more concerted effort to talk to everyone. I even started suggesting things for us to do (something that I never did since she was the outting-planner of the relationship). After about a month, I was able to forgive her for the infidelity even though she didn't believe me. I had pretty well kept my anger in check. In my eyes, I had made substantial strides.

Then one Saturday night, **** hit the fan. We had both had a few drinks and something sparked an argument (I don't even remember what it was about this point). That led to us laying in bed arguing back and forth. Finally, I couldn't stand it any more and text my best friend to come get me since I couldn't drive. About 20 minutes later, he text me that he was there and I walked out of the house without telling her where I was going. I was in tears when I got into his car and just told him to drive. He had no clue we were having issues, so I told him the whole story over the next hour. He drops me off back at the house and I find that my wife is sitting on the front porch waiting for me. She had drank half a bottle of whiskey while I was gone. She had also been scratching at her arm with an exacto knife (nothing deep, just looked like she had scratched herself with her nails too hard). She proceeded to tell me that she had contemplated cutting her wrist so that I came back to the house to her bleeding out in front of the house (kiddo was spending the night with grandma that weekend). This led to us talking in the kitchen for an hour how ****ed our marriage had gotten and that she didn't know if she wanted to go on. Drinks kept flowing, though much slower, through the conversation. By the end, we agreed that we were in deep trouble. Then she told me that she was drunk and horny so sex WAS happening but reiterated that it wasn't going to solve anything. Our first session was a mix of angry and passionate sex that got interrupted by her getting sick from the alcohol. I took care of her and got her situated in bed and called it a night. At around 6 AM, I woke up with her right up against me but facing the opposite direction. I started kissing up her back which slowly woke her up. This led to the most passionate and amazing session that we had honestly ever had. She asked me why I had gotten so intimate to which I responded "I was scared that it was going to be the last time that we ever had sex, so I wanted to make it feel incredibly special and explore every part of your body one more time just in case."

Little did I know, I was right. About 10 days later, she told me that she wanted to separate and stay with her mom for a weekend and then her sister for a while. I was a broken man at that point. I have had some low points of my life, but that was the worst to that point. After about a week away, I called her crying one night telling her that I missed her and that I couldn't handle it. I told her she would be better off "giving us a chance to fix things or just cutting my throat and getting it over with". She came home that following Sunday which I assumed was for us to talk things through and set us on a path of reconciliation.

We'd both always agreed early on in our relationship that we were never going to be that couple that just gave up and got a divorce. Whatever our issues were, we were going to work through them. I was shocked when she told me that we were through. No anger. No sadness. No emotion. Just cold hearted "I want a divorce". She told me that her parents stayed married 10 years longer than they should have and that her and her siblings would have been better off had her parents just split. She thinks we are on the same path and doesn't want to put the little one through the same thing. She wanted to stay friends for the little one's sake, but wanted nothing more to do with being married. At that point, my anger hit the fan and I threw my wedding ring across the room and told her that she just needed to "get the **** out of my house". Over the next 24 hours, I proceeded to bag up everything of hers and everything of ours that I didn't want so that she could come get them.

I sat down at my laptop later in the evening and started figuring out what all we had that was going to need split (money, debt, vehicles, custody, support, etc). I called my boss and was told to take as much time off as I needed to get my head right. Monday night, she came over to the house with a couple of coworkers and a box truck to get her stuff. I asked her to come in and look at the split to see what she thought. She kept up the cold-hearted shtick. I proceeded to tell her that if she didn't drop the whole ice-queen act that we were never going to be able to get on a footing to be friends. Finally she started acting more normal and discussing things with me. We came to a basic foundation to start the decree, she checked around the house to see if there was anything else that she needed, and her crew got the truck loaded up.

The next morning, we started texting while she was at work. I realized that this was the morning that she was supposed to take her car into the dealership to have some warranty work done. She admitted that she had forgotten to grab lunch not thinking about not having access to her car. I offered to grab her lunch while I was in town and drop it off. When I get to her office, she was on the phone so I sat down and waited for her to finish up. I gave her her lunch and was going to leave when she told me to sit down and chat for a few while I eat. I proceeded to sit in her office for 3 hours chatting like old times. During which, she told me that she was surprised that I hadn't asked her to be Friends with Benefits. I told her that to be honest, it had crossed my mind. However, I didn't think it would go over well with her so I opted not to bring it up. She brought it up a total of 3 times during our time there.

By the end of my stay in her office, I offered to take her to her car after work. Then we went back to the house for her to get a few things that she missed. I asked if she would be interested in going to dinner. She accepted. We went out to dinner and had a nice evening. We parted ways on good terms that night. We grabbed lunch and dinner a couple more times that week. I was optimistic that we would be able to work things out over time.

I decided that night that I needed to start working on my own problems. That night I enrolled in an online Anger Management class. I took a 3 hour class that night. I spent 8 hours the next day taking another class. The next two days I took a 24 hour class on emotional intelligence. Then the following week took another 8 hour class on dealing with depression. I have also taken a 2nd 8 hour class on depression a little while later.

I also started offering for us to go to marriage counseling, but she declined stating that a therapist isn't to tell her anything she doesn't already know about our situation and that we were getting a divorce. I was annoyed that I was putting all this effort in but she was refusing to do anything. She told me that she felt like I abandoned her while I was dealing with my back issues and that she had fallen out of love with me during it all. She also said that she realized that she could be independent and happy without me. She told me the she wishes that I would just go find another woman and forget about her. She told me that she had contemplated fixing up a threesome shortly after I found out about her infidelity in hopes that I would leave her for the other women and she could stop feeling so guilty. Though she opted against that in hopes that we could work it out.

We filed for divorce that week to get the process started even though I still wanted to work things out. The following week we were hanging out at the house so that little one could play in her room and pick out some toys to take back to my wife's sister's house. While we were on our own, I asked her if she had thought any more about the FWB scenario. She joked that I must be horny which I told that I had been quite horny and that it was quite tempting to carry her into the master bathroom for a quickie. She liked the idea and we kissed and groped each other a bit in the kitchen. But with little one right on the other side of the house, she didn't want to take the chance of us getting caught. Told me that she would get her sister to watch her the next night and we would cash in the "rain check". Next day, she cancels. Tells me that we would reschedule for Friday. Friday comes around and I go out to eat with her family. She can't think of an excuse to leave with me instead of them so she bailed again. I asked her about it the next week, but she told me that she changed her mind and didn't want to be FWB right now. Felt it would be too messy and her sister would get mad at her. I was annoyed, but understood. I was a ticked that she had been leading me on.

Our "friendship" soured from there. I was at rock bottom depression-wise. I missed my wife. I missed my daughter. I was only getting to see her a couple times a week plus a few goodnight video chats. I was at the point where I was crying multiple times a day. I couldn't sleep. I could barely eat. I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I sat on the couch all day regretting all of the decisions that had led to this point. She had gone back to her cold-hearted vibe. I felt more alone than ever.

I figured that I was never going to be able to win my wife back by myself. So the next week I was helping her sister put together a playset and decided that I was going to ask her opinion. She told me she hadn't talked to her about it much about. She was just letting my wife come to her when/if she wanted. However, she did tell me that she thought the best thing for us was working things out. I had the thought of asking her if she would help me get her back, but the wife got back from getting food before I could ask. Figured I would just ask her next time I saw which has not happened.

In the 2 weeks since then, I have stopped going around my wife more than events with the little one. It hurts too much to go around her and deal with her being cold-hearted. We've gone to some swim classes together and joked around a little bit, but it never lasts long. The talks that we do have usually end with me telling her how much I miss her. She gets annoyed and tells me that we aren't going to be able to fix things which I find a bit ridiculous. I believe our issues are fixable. For me, I need to work on my anger, managing my depression, and being more present. For her, she needs to work on communicating better (she prefers dropping subtle hints instead of actually talking about the things that bother her) and getting passed her admitted guilt for her infidelity. However, she has hired a divorce attorney so I don't feel like there is any chance that we can reconcile.

I know these aren't issues we are going to get through overnight, but we aren't going to get through them at all if we don't try. Even though we promised for years that we were never going to give up on each other, she's given up on me. She tells me that she loves me as a person and a father, but she has no romantic love for me anymore. I'm to the point where I am willing to do anything to convince her to have us work on things. In a perfect world, I would like for us to spend the next 6 months living separately. During that time, we would spend time going on dates and spending time together like we did when we were dating. Basically, relearning how to be a couple and seeing if we could rekindle the love that we felt for each other. Then if all things worked out, I would sell our house (since there are too many negatives memories) and start afresh in a new home. Maybe even start trying for another baby (something we have been against the majority of the time together but had just started warming on right before things fell apart at the end of last year). I actually had a dream a few nights ago that we were cuddling on the couch at our new home and she smiled up at me breaking the news that she was pregnant. I cried so hard out of happiness. Then I woke up realizing it was a dream and cried the rest of the night out of devastation that it wasn't real and couldn't fall back alseep.

At this point, I am an absolute mess. I cry at the drop of the hat when something sparks a memory or a song hits the wrong feel. I sit around running scenarios in my head wishing that I could go back in time to fix things and kick myself for all of the times that I could have done better. I try to put on a strong front in front of my parents and friends, but I am falling apart more and more by the day. I have cried more in the last 5 weeks than I have in my entire life. I feel more and more alone by the day. I honestly don't know how I am going to survive if I can't fix things with her. I don't know how I am going to handle not seeing my little girl (she'll be 6 next month) every night for the rest of her childhood. She has gotten meaner and meaner since we split. She never wants to stay with me which I get. She has everything she could ever want with my wife staying at her sister's. She has our niece to play with every night, a hot tub to play in, a huge yard with 4 dogs and huge jungle gym, plus two exchange students that she adores. I just don't have anything to compare. When she does stay over with me, we will sit and watch Scooby Doo at night. During the day, we'll play with what toys are here at my house or watch movies when she isn't telling me to go away or hitting me. We've hit up the trampoline park a couple times and gone to the go-kart/putt putt park once. She will cuddle with me watching Scooby-Doo, but the rest of the time she doesn't want me around. She's started getting in trouble at school. When I talked to the teacher, she said the issues had been going on for about a month. When I told her about the divorce, she said that her behavior made more sense. She won't listen in class, she sticks her tongue at people when they tell her to do something, and last week she pushed another kid down and scratched her until she cried. I feel like I'm losing my sweet little girl on top of the love of my life. I just don't know what to do or where to go. I feel like my entire life has crashed down on me and I'm never going to dig myself out of the rubble.

I still love my wife even though we are 28 days away from being able to finalize the divorce. I think she still loves me even though she will never admit it. The fear of becoming her parents is too great for her. She'd rather give up than become that. I would love to fix things with her. I just don't know how to convince her that we can work through things. Every attempt that I have tried has failed. I have realized the errors that I have made for us to get to this point and I want to fix that. I am going to fix it. Come hell or high water, I have to find a way to come out of this a better person. A person can't fix a marriage alone, though. I can work on me all I want. But without her working with me.... I'm going to lose the love of my life.

(Edit: typos)
We cannot force people to love us no matter how much it hurts. I get you were laid up and it prob gave you some depression. Physical ailments will do that. But for a wife to run to someone else... that's not the answer. Clearly a person felt this was wrong enough to sound the alarms.

You might not feel it now but you will be better off without a person like this in your life. Marriage is work but not THAT much. My first husband didn't want to be with me anymore. I was sad for a while but I had my son and my job so I got thru that. You will see in time there are other ppl out there that will be willing to spend time w/ you. And if not just learn to enjoy your own company. That's what I did.

You will be ok no matter what. It doesn't matter if she won't admit she loves you. The history shows that she is prob not the best person to be with.
 

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You really come across as an individual that crumbles easily under pressure. Did something similar happen with your first wife? Your thoughts of threesomes shows your lack of self respect, and if you lack self respect, do you think that others will respect you? Deep down no woman that knows that her man is willing to share her will have a lot respect for her man.
At this juncture, you should be getting peace of mind that you are getting away from a woman that showed you early on how much respect she had for you. She kick you at your lowest emotional point, that's something to say about her. Be glad you're getting rid of her even if you don't want it. It's for the best. Love is not a forced thing. Love is an easy flowing meeting of the minds.
 

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Your wife is one of those people you can love but not stay with as a mate. You have both degenerated since you got married the best I can tell. A spouse should be mature enough to get through medical issues like you had without spinning out.

And you should be able to get through medical issues without losing all of your self-confidence.

Your dynamic is simply not working together. As a couple you are spiraling downward. I think you just need to get used to the idea of divorce. I imagine individual counseling would benefit you. Good luck. Sorry this turned into a mess.
 
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You know the tip of the iceberg. She’s probably been banging her boss for awhile. And you conveniently adopted her daughter so you get to support her until she’s 18.

You should inform the other mans wife. She deserves to know what she’s marriage to.

It sounds like you have chumpitis. It’s all my fault so I can fix it!!! Nope. Her cheating was all on her. Cheating is a very personal decision She made.


If she’s still not screwing her boss shes moved onto someone else.

Why would you destroy yourself for a cheater? Get out of your denial of who she really is if you want to move forward.
 

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I just read thru you post again (I skipped a few parts originally, but hey! give me a break! its a long post!)

My story is I was working on my xwife and I's relationship. During my research on what to do I happened onto a post explaining the ILYBIANILWY speech. So six months later when she laid it on me I knew exactly what had happened, she had another man! I see your wife has given you the same speech, and it means the same....so sorry. She has found someone else, chances are she is not going to reconcile with you.
You need to work on you. And to see your daughter you dont need your wife around. Why isnt the daughter spending a few nights with you? You are the childs father,you have the right to have her at your home without the mother around. She (your wife) is not the judge and jury on when you can see your daughter. She is "YOUR" daughter too.

Hire a good attorney, one that will fight for your parental rights. Go to some counseling for yourself. Work out, eat well, and quit the "pick me" stuff.

Good luck
 

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For one that boss needs to get fired if he is doing this to other families too. What kind of company is this that disciplines him multiple times for fraternizing with employees ? Once should have been enough! If you out him to the company will that impact your stbxw's job? Especially if he has done this with others? Does his wife know?
 
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