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Let me first start of apologizing for the length of this post. I feel like everyone might need the background to understand the whole story.
That being said here goes...
My wife and I met 17 years ago. We dated for 4 years before we got married, this year will be our 14 year anniversary.
The first part of our marriage had the usual new marriage problems that I feel like all new marriages go through. After that we were good for a couple of years. This brings us to 2009. I started a new job that required a lot of networking and meetings A lot of the networking was in the evenings and I would be out late. We had our first son at home so she was not able to go out with me all the time, she was able to go out sometimes. I think this is when some of the resentment started. I would come home after having a few drinks and she would immediately start arguing with me about how I didn't care about her or our family. I would try to just ignore it, but some of the time I just couldn't and my tounge would get away from me and we would end up saying things to hurt each other.
In 2010 we found out she was pregnant with our second son, my first as she already had a son when I meet her from her first marriage. Ofcourse we were excited and everything was going well for awhile. As the pregnancy went on sexual intimacy became difficult for me. I am still not sure as to why, but I did not want to have sex with her. She became very angry with me during this time and we hardly seemed to speak. After we had our son things got better I would even say good. She went to working part time so she could be home with our son, I had recieved a promotion at work which caused me to travel more, but gave us enough money so she could be home. Everything seemed to be going well during this time at least for me, but she was getting angry with me because when I was out of town my coworkers and I would go out to dinner, go to the bars and she became jealous saying I was getting to live my life like a single person with no responsibilities. To combat this when I was home I did everything around the house and encouraged her to go out with her friends to do whatever she wanted. She is an introvert and does not have many friends so she choose not to, but rather stayed in bed and watched TV most of the time. I am an extrovert and have many very close friendships that are just like family and I would like to spend time with those people. We would usually go golfing once a week and she doesn't enjoy that so I never asked her to go. It got to be where she thought I never did anything fun with her. I would ask her what she wanted us to do and she would tell me to figure it out. I tried many things, but her answer was always no that is something you want not me. This lead to many arguments over the next couple years, but we had many good times and took several trips with and without the kids and it seemed like we were doing well.
Fast forward to 2013 our 5th year of marriage. She started getting out and running with two of her family members and a couple of friends. I was happy for her because she really seemed to enjoy it. She was participating in local warrior dash, color runs and other races. She seemed really happy, but something was off about it. I know my wife very well and I started noticing the little things and how her attitude towards me completely was changing. I started investigating and that's when I found out she had been having an emotional/sexting affair with one of the people she runs with who I also found out she used to date and have sex with back in high school. She promised me that it was never physical and it was just via text, but she also refused to let me read them. So I had to take her at her word. I chose to forgive her and she promised it would stop. She told me it was just for the attention she wasn't getting from me. A thing to note here is I was also not allowed to have any girlfriends because she would get extremely jealous. After forgiving her I tried to give her more attention and be there for her and it really seemed to be working. I was working a lot, but would still do most of the chores around the house, but things were going well.
2015 I was given an opportunity to start my own company and after we talked she agreed it would be a great idea. I started a Construction company and things were going ok I guess. Several of my jobs were out of state so a lot of travel was required during the week, but I was always home on the weekends. She still had the same jealousy that she had before about me entertaining clients in the evening. She felt like I should just be sitting in my hotel room just like she had to sit at home because of the kids.
Moving on to 2017. I was offered the opportunity for a large 1.8 million dollar project several states away. We talked about it and decided that it was a great opportunity for us and I should take it. So I did. Well as all Construction goes, problems came up and I had to fire the project manager I had there and do the project management myself which required me to be there for a couple of weeks at a time. I got my own apartment there and would come home as often as I could. She became extremely jealous of the situation and she would constantly pick arguments with me when I would tell her what I was doing when I wasn't working, so I quit telling her.
2018 I was still working out of town, but I noticed her same behaviors came back as before. So once again I started investigating and found out she was having another online affair. I confronted her about it and at first she lied about it until I showed her the pictures that I had taken. She came clean and told me just needed the extra attention that I was not able to give. We talked a lot about it and came to an agreement that she could have these online affairs as long as it was just that and I was allowed to read everything when ever I came home so as I could be sure she wasn't getting emotionally involved. That and she was open and honest with me about having them, what her feelings were about them and all of that. She kept talking to 3 different guys, but they were not on a consistent basis.
End of 2018 I finally finished and was on the way home when she found out about all my extra circular activities when I wasn't working. About half way through the project I started taking clients to a casino near by and we spent many of nights there. There was a ton of gambling and drinking going on during the weekends and days that the project was shut down for weather. I didn't lie to her about it I just never told her. Now keep in mind we have always kept our finances seperate and I always paid all the bills at home. This was my money I was spending not anything we had put aside for the family or any loans or anything. She blew her top at me and went through all my email accounts, bank accounts, credit cards and my phone thinking I must have had an affair. Now I have never had an affair of any kind. That never crossed my mind. The project was finished and my client ended up filing for bankruptcy. They stuck me with $150,000 dollar shortage causing me to have to shut down my company. I was crushed. I didn't know what to do next. I had enough money to get us through the end of the year, but that was it. She ended up having to go back to work full time. I picked up a job doing manual labor that only brought in a fraction of what I used to make. She had to start paying more of the bills than ever before.
I slipped into a deep dark hole. Feeling useless, that I could not longer provide for my family. She told me she was disappointed and disgusted that I was doing more and how unfair it was that I put this extra financial pressure on her. This went on through all of 2019 just about. The end of 2019 I came out of my depression thanks to a real smack in the face by a great friend who saw what was going on and gave me a reality check. I immediately got my **** together and got a real job making the money I used to make.
Early 2020 I noticed she was starting to treat me the same way again. So I started investigating again. This time I found out not only was she having an emotion affair, but a sexual one with another married sales rep she worked with. She even planned a weekend away with him under the guise of a work conference.I am crushed about it.
I confront her about it and at first tell her I want a divorce. Later that night we talk and I tell her I really don't and it was just a gut reaction. She says she doesn't either but she says she thinks she may be Polyamorous and wants to keep her relationship with this guy and still have our marriage. She wants to open up our marriage. Reluctantly I agree because I don't want to lose her. I Love her with all my heart. The main thing that she assured me is that I was primary and he was only an extra little on the side.
This went on for a month and we even started to go to counseling. During this month I was treated like a second fiddle. I was doing everything that I could to keep our marriage and she just wasn't. I confronted her on it and she agreed that she wasn't sure. She told me that I should just live with it right now because what she did to me is no different than what I did to her.
I sent her an email telling her what I wanted out of our marriage and what I wanted it to look like going forward. I waited 5 days for her thoughts and she didn't answer. I told her at that point I couldn't stay in limbo anymore. She then told me she is leaning towards leaving me.
I told her the very next morning that I was moving to the guest bedroom to give her space to decide.
It has been two weeks and I still don't have an answer. So I have the following questions for anyone who has been through this before.
How long do I give her to figure it out.
How should I be interacting with her?
How should I be with her financially?
Should I just be splitting the bills with her even though I make 50% more than her?
Anybody with any thoughts or ideas would be greatly welcomed.
Please help me...Lol
 

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Boy, what a trip you have been through. This is awful.

To answer your questions, you have given her enough time to make up her mind. Playing 'pick me' never works because it makes you look weak.

The way to interact with her is laid out by the "180".

1.Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore! This turns the spouse completely off!

2. No frequent phone calls to spouse.......let him/her be the one to call you. Then don't try to hang on to your spouse through conversation.....instead, you say good-bye first.

3. Do not point out good points in marriage or try to get him/her to read marriage books, look at your M pictures, etc. Especially, do not get him/her to read the DB/DR book. That is for you only!

4. Do not follow your spouse around the house like a puppy dog trying to get his/her time and attention.

5. Do not encourage talk about the future. They don't want to think about a future with you at the moment, so stay clear of that subject.

6. Do not ask for help from family members or friends. Don't discuss private matters with them that would upset your spouse.

7. Do not ask for reassurances (That is showing neediness and being clingy.) Show self-respect and self confidence.

8. Do not buy gifts to make "brownie points". (Can't buy his/her love and affection.)

9. Do not schedule dates together at this point. (That is pursuing.) Save for later when the R is much better.

10. Do not spy on spouse by checking emails, phone bills, etc. (Not good for you and will make matters worse.)

11. Do not say "I Love You" (It is being "pushy" and trying to make your spouse say it back to you......he/she will despise you for it.)

12. Act "as if" you are moving on with your life with or without them and that you are going to be okay. Keep a good attitude.

13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive at all times! In other words, be the best you can be and look the best you can look at all times. Even when wearing jeans and T-shirt, wear good cologne, b/c it does cause the spouse to take notice.

14. Don't sit around waiting on your spouse to see what kind of mood he/she is in or what he/she is going to do or say – get busy, think of things to do. Go to church, go out with friends, etc. in order to get a life for yourself without waiting on your wife/husband.....but it is okay to invite them, just don't act as if it will change your plans if they do or don't go.

15. When at home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation---then don't, wait for him/her) then, be rather scarce or with your words, but don't sound rude or too short like you are mad. If your spouse asks what's wrong....just say "nothing" and have a pleasant expression on your face. Keep it short and simple. Don't get into an argument! Stay polite and don’ t act like you are pouting. Use poise and class. This does not mean to act like you aren’t speaking, but don’t be overly talkative.

16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse his/her whereabouts, ASK THEM NOTHING!! No matter what time he/she comes home! You are giving them space and asking no questions! You enjoy your time with your kids, friends, etc. Remember, you are getting a life, also.

17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.

18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold - just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what he/she will be missing. (But never ask him/her if he/she has noticed any changes!!) This is important! If you do, then you have blown it.

19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. This can confuse some of them b/c it is not what they expected. Show your spouse someone he/she would want to be around all the time, somebody that can be attractive and fun to be with. That somebody is you! Don't overkill in your attempts to outshine another person your spouse may be having an A with (if there is OP in the picture) to the point of looking like your attempts are "fake" b/c your spouse will see through all of that.

20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while) so this takes patience on your behalf.

21. Never lose your cool! Don't let your spouse trap you into a fight. Don't take her/his bait.....leave the room or the house for a while, if you have to, in order to avoid a fight.

22. Don't be overly enthusiastic, don't over-kill; in anything you do b/c it will come across as fake.

23. Do not argue about how your spouse feels about something (it only makes his/her feelings more negative.) Only they know how they feel!

24. Be patient......very, very patient. Give your spouse space and time. When you pull back, it will draw them towards you. It feels opposite of what you want to do, but it works!

25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you. Look them in the eyes when they talk to you. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking and stop what you may be working on to look at them when they talk. This shows them that you really care about what they are saying.

26. Learn to back off, shut up and walk away when you want to speak out (or scream and yell). Sometimes the right thing to say is nothing.

27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil). This is for your health's sake.

28. Be strong and confident and learn to speak softly. Read self help books, inspirational books or listen to tapes. They are for you only.

29. Know that if you can do 180's, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30. Do not be openly show that you are "desperate" or "needy" even when you are hurting more than ever and truly feel desperate and needy. This is a large turn-off for your spouse.

31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse, instead, focus on them.

32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because he/she is hurting and scared.

33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.

34. Do not ask your spouse if he/she has noticed your changes. Those changes are for you and for the rest of your life...with or without your spouse. If it is just to get your spouse back...they won't last and the same problems will return.
35. Do not send several TM's or emails throughout the day unless absolutely necessary.

36. It is best to stay away from the bar scenes where other problems easily arise.

37. Do not backslide from your hard earned changes.

38. Know that in time, you really will be happy again, regardless of your spouse’s choices. Know this, believe it, and let it show.

39. Do not believe that showing your spouse your pain and misery proves your love for them. It just makes it harder to be around you.

40. Don’t worry about how the past is viewed. What matters is this day and “from this day forward.” Learn to let go of the past and what you cannot control. It’s a lot to let go of, but it is freeing.

 

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Basically, you need to put a wall between you and you wife until she decides to put all her effort into the marriage or you are at a point that you are ready to file for divorce, whichever comes first.
 

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I'm at a loss to understand how you didn't enforce reasonable boundaries early on, when it first became clear she was having issues with getting attention from other guys. I'm also wondering how you decided that counseling wasn't really needed until after things had gotten so far out of hand. Why did you wait so long? And that opening-up-the-marriage stuff. By that point, your wife is recognizing you have no control of the situation whatsoever.

In your next relationship you need to go over boundary issues and that you're going to require her to accept a lack of privacy because you're inevitably going to end up insecure at some point. How could you not. Make sure whomever you find is fully aware of what she's getting into, and that the two of you are compatible with things having the potential to feel insecure. Because pretty sure they will be.

But before that happens, go for individual counseling and fix whatever it is about you that allowed things to get so out of control.
 

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Sheesh, you really want these scraps leftovers from her lover? You should be in complete disgusted. Kick it to the curb, and learn from your mistakes in the future. Find your spine, you really would want sex with her when she just came from the other man home? Yuk
 

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You were focused on supporting your family, but this involved a lot of fun--to her living like a single man--while she was home. She told you, but you did not understand. She was openly looking for affection that she did not think you were going to give. Cleaning and household help were not her love language. Did you have date nights, feel intimacy and connection in your relationship? Did you look her in the eye and listen to her or did you focus on what you deemed was necessary to suceed for them, but also for you.

What happened in her first marriage? Was there cheating on either side? You did not even seem jealous of her EA's. She can't have felt too wanted.

Then, you began to hide your fun from her. You were not cheating with another woman, but in her mind you might be. You got tired of reassuring her. You were cheating her of time, companionship, entertainment, relationship, etc. You sound like you 'need' the fun outgoing life with friends and colleagues and she is introverted but still needed you in a different way. Y'all do not communicate well after seventeen years. You both want different things. She felt like she had to compete with your 'work' for a husband.

I think she has figured it out and just does not know how to tell you. Your relationship skills are probably great for business, but sorta lousy for marriage. Your story doesn't encompass much emotion, is that hard for you?

Are you sure you want to save this? Sounds like a court may be deciding your financial decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First off let me say yes I 100% want to save this.
That being said until semi recently emotions were somewhat of a problem for me. I've been working on that extensively with help. Turns out being the emotional support for your sister and mother since you were 14 is not particularly helpful.
I had always just put them someplace and never allowed myself to feel them. Today I am in a different place with those and still working on it.
Now that's not to say I never felt anything before, I was extremely jealous of her other relationships, however she made a great sales pitch to me and I really wanted her to be happy.

Her first marriage ended because he didn't give her what she needed and she cheated on him. Not with me.

Communication has definitely been a problem for our marriage. We have been to counseling many times. Every year there are many months we are totally connected with each other. Then I would do something that would make her upset, she would bring up every past mistake I made and it would derail us for weeks or months. She has a fantastic memory, but also does not forgive. She hasn't talked to her own sister in 3 years because of something she did and only started talking with her mother after cutting her off for 2 years.

Our Love languages are definitely different.

I believe you are correct in thinking she has made the decision, however I don't want to give up without a fight, but I do not want to smother her and push her father away either.
I've moved into the guest bedroom to give her space and time.
I just don't know how to act around her right now. Do I just be pleasant and speak when spoken to? Do I still hug her every morning and tell her I Love her? Ignore her and pretend she doesn't exist so she can see what life is like without me?
How long do I do this?
I just don't know!
 

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I believe you are correct in thinking she has made the decision, however I don't want to give up without a fight, but I do not want to smother her and push her father away either.
I've moved into the guest bedroom to give her space and time.
I just don't know how to act around her right now. Do I just be pleasant and speak when spoken to? Do I still hug her every morning and tell her I Love her? Ignore her and pretend she doesn't exist so she can see what life is like without me?
How long do I do this?
I just don't know!
If you do the above your are doing the pick me dance. And make yourself weak in her eyes.
 

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You wanting to save your marriage is what is guaranteeing that it will end.
You need to walk away from her. Right now. Today, this very minute. She wants space? Ask her to leave. You move back into the bedroom, she can move out.
Be unavailable to her. Be gone a lot. Don’t explain yourself. Don‘t argue with her or ask her what she’s doing. Tell her one thing: and that is that you are done and moving on.
There’s a 1% chance she’ll give her head a shake when she realizes she could actually lose you. That sucks, but it’s better than a 0% chance given your current course of action.
And, at any rate, I recommend you just be done and let go. She’s made her choice. She lacks integrity and does not love you. Those are not good traits for a life partner to have.
 

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Her first marriage ended because he didn't give her what she needed and she cheated on him. Not with me.
Do you see the pattern here? She needs individual counseling to learn how to get her needs met or to meet them herself without resorting to replacing her current partner.

Don't even attempt reconciliation until she has had at least 6 months of counseling. In the meantime, look up and practice the 180. It isn't to get her back - it's for you to detach in the event she decides there is nothing wrong with her.
 

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She cheated on her husband, she is cheating on you. Can't you see she is NOT marriage material? If you love her so much that you would put up with her banging other guys, then you are WAY too codependent -- you need to read up on how to stop being that. DO the 180, separate your finances NOW so that she has to pay for all the stuff SHE wants to do (do YOU want to pay for her dates?) Go to a lawyer and at least SEE what that path would look like -- make a plan for that (doesn't mean you have to execute the plan -- BUT information is critical for you).
 

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She is a serial cheater and you are just her checkbook, paying her way while she test runs your replacements. If you are OK with being her "father" and not her husband while she is out screwing other guys while you sit home tormented, then keep doing exactly what you are doing. If not see a lawyer and file for divorce. After the divorce, if you are willing to let her try to win YOU back then you may consider dating her. I it was me she'd be gone with as little contact with her as possible.
 

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WolfRaven :
First off I want to start off by saying that I am sorry for everything that has happened to you and your wife during your time together. It's easy for someone to judge when their feelings aren't invested. I am not here to judge I just simply want to state facts. I have a question for you to ask yourself. Are her terms something that you want/can deal with for the rest of your life? it doesn't matter how anyone else views your relationship/you/your wife, it only matters about you and her. If you don't want/can't deal with it leave. at the end of the day you know yourself regardless of how anyone else on this planet views your life it is still just that, your life! I will tell you this though. I once cheated on someone I was dating back when I was 17. There is no good reason to cheat and I will never do it again, but I learned that I cheated because I didn't care enough about the person or their feelings, not to. It is harsh and heartless but it is the truth. Do with this what you will, but I hope in whatever you choose, you find peace and serenity.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for your words.
That is a question I have been asking myself over and over again. Depending on the day you may get a different answer.
 

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I get that... people forget that you remember everything good when you miss someone. It's a normal reaction. make a pros and cons list... even if at the end you tell yourself "no" when you get your answer at least you will know. also filling your time with things you like to do will help to keep your mind off of it until the pain eases a little, then you may be able to make a decision you can live with. It's normal not to know what you want sometimes, and that is perfectly ok.
 

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Brother, Your "Wife" has been screwing other men for almost your entire marriage. Think about it.

Why are you trying to stay with her. She is a serial cheater, and she is using you, that is all.

I mean, think about what you are doing here. It does not make much sense.

Please wake up and file for divorce...
 

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There is a part of me that says that as well, but then there is a part of me that remembers all of the great times and how connected we were during parts of the marriage for 17 years.
It is just a tough ass situation!
 

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There is a part of me that says that as well, but then there is a part of me that remembers all of the great times and how connected we were during parts of the marriage for 17 years.
It is just a tough ass situation!
SO, you can remember all the good times as you prepare for divorce. YES it sucks that you have to do this, but you really need to focus on YOU and not her, especially since she is NOT that person that you remember all the great times with -- that was an IMAGE, a mirage of who she really is -- NOW you see who she really is. Take off the rose colored glasses, and get a plan together to protect you and the kids.

How long do I give her to figure it out. WRONG QUESTION -- how long do YOU want to put up with this -- I would suggest you start detaching NOW (@EleGirl gave you that the 180)
How should I be interacting with her? AGAIN, the 180.
How should I be with her financially? NO -- separate out your funds NOW. close joint credit cards, etc. - if she runs up debts, YOU will be on the hook for some of that -- do you really want to pay a CC that has a charge for HER and her AP?
Should I just be splitting the bills with her even though I make 50% more than her? 50/50 split -- lets face it, she will need to get used to this -- stop being her ATM.

Also, since that rep is married, and you exposed them to HIS WIFE? You should.
 

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There is a part of me that says that as well, but then there is a part of me that remembers all of the great times and how connected we were during parts of the marriage for 17 years.
It is just a tough ass situation!
I get that this hurts, we all do. But it is not tough. What you have to decide if you are willing to be married to a serial cheater and share her with the flavor of the day?

Why would you do that, for what reason?

This is tough because you are in denial about what is going on. It is time to get out...
 

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She cheated on her first husband, at least once. She has cheated on you at least 3 times (minimum).
What will it take for you to realize that she is a serial cheater? Don’t you deserve better?

don’t let her steer the ship. YOU need to take control and do what is in your best interest.

doyou think you could ever trust her again?
When ever she is 5 minutes late, do you want to wonder if she is sleeping with some other guy?

good luck and stay strong
 
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