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When your wife screwed another man etc. she cut down the tree of your marriage. She broke the vow. If you decided to have a relationship with another woman, it is not a "revenge affair" it's that the tree of your marriage has been cut down. The contract is broken.
This is precisely how I feel and almost exactly how I've described it. I am a traditionalist. She is my one and only. I was never an incel and had plenty of casual date type girlfriends in college. Just no sex. Being a traditional old school man was important to me. My vows were incredibly important to me.

[SIDENOTE By way of explanation: I have always been a traditionalist from a young age, and I realize this makes me kind of a freaky counterculturalist. In some ways, especially after my wife's infidelity, I feel pretty foolish about it. But I became a Reagan Republican at age 10 when he was elected (when I was 9 I was watching Nightline and growing increasingly frustrated by the Iran Hostage Crisis and wondering why Jimmy Carter was dithering). My family were all Roosevelt Democrats. They thought I was weird. 😂]

Anyway, I have told her she already divorced me when she decided to step outside our marriage.
 

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Thanks for the details. Yeah, again, it just seems like she won't tell you the truth unless she has to. I don't want to repeat myself, but maybe it needs to be repeated -- you'll only (maybe) get the truth if you file for divorce. I really don't see any other way with her.

...and I'm sorry about your situation.
 

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This is precisely how I feel and almost exactly how I've described it. I am a traditionalist. She is my one and only. I was never an incel and had plenty of casual date type girlfriends in college. Just no sex. Being a traditional old school man was important to me. My vows were incredibly important to me.

[SIDENOTE By way of explanation: I have always been a traditionalist from a young age, and I realize this makes me kind of a freaky counterculturalist. In some ways, especially after my wife's infidelity, I feel pretty foolish about it. But I became a Reagan Republican at age 10 when he was elected (when I was 9 I was watching Nightline and growing increasingly frustrated by the Iran Hostage Crisis and wondering why Jimmy Carter was dithering). My family were all Roosevelt Democrats. They thought I was weird. 😂]

Anyway, I have told her she already divorced me when she decided to step outside our marriage.
Well bud, we are close in age. I am definitely not a Reagan Republican, and I am not religious at all. Most people don't think of me as a traditionalist.

But I place extreme value on loyalty, trust, character, and morals. I don't think these come from a book (though it may offer guidance), I think you need to know right from wrong from your own heart, soul, and spine.

I think religion and politics divide us on the TV, but when I meet people in real life all across America I vibe with others who are like me in that we have a moral code we try to live by even though our codes may not be exactly the same.

Anyway, once you cut down the tree, the tree is cut down!
 

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This has gone on for years. Why would she think you are serious now? Show her you are serious. File those papers. They can always be pulled back at some point in the future.
ok but I'm getting contradictory advice here. Several people on this thread told me to go ahead and lay down some bread crumbs leading up to divorce, especially rather than springing it on my kids one fine day. They said that would be traumatic which I want to avoid. My youngest has NO IDEA this is coming. None.

In fact, it was explicitly said that I would be best to prepare my youngest. How do you guys think that works? I talk to my youngest and swear him to secrecy or something, let him carry that around until I'm ready to file? No. The only that works is if I'm honest with my WW too. You think she hasn't known this is coming? We talked about it in December. We walked about it least four times over the past six months. I wasn't going to do it when the lockdowns were happening. No way.
 
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Discussion Starter #326 (Edited)
Look I want to say it again because it's really important that you get this.

You are never ever going to know what she did. No matter what she tells you she is a proven liar and has hid the truth for years even when she thought it was killing you. You would be foolish to believe her.

The only way for that not to drive you crazy is to understand it from who she is. Meaning she may have done it 100 times or 10 times. The amount of times doesn't matter, it's the fact that she did it whenever she wanted, so on one day she may have done it 5 and on the other 0. Do you get what I am saying?

Once is enough, you don't need to know the details, the thing that destroyed your marriage when you really get down to it is NOT the sex in the living room, or the type of sex that they had that you didn't. It's that the person who professed to love, cherish, honor and to protect you threw all that away to have sex with someone else at all.

See what I am getting at, whether they did it 100 times or 10 is really all about opportunity. So assume when they had the opportunity they did it, because that is what people do when they are in the early parts of an exciting relationship. And just knowing that **** is enough. **** that and **** them.

That is the basic truth, just like - they did it because they want to and can. They do it as many times as opportunity gave them, that is really all you need to know.
 

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Who is recommending breadcrumbs rather than filing? Even over in SI, they generally recommend filing right away to put the fear of God into the WS.
 

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Who is recommending breadcrumbs rather than filing? Even over in SI, they generally recommend filing right away to put the fear of God into the WS.
I don't know if breadcrumbs is the right word, but I had the impression from several posters a few pages back that I would be wise to walk up to this a little bit with my youngest. That and I'm not ready to do it. I haven't met with an attorney at all, and I have been focused on paying down our debt. It's important to me that this debt be paid off. I don't want it lingering after divorce for either one of us.

So until that is done, why would I go out and preemptively file? And why would I do that if she and I have discussed a mediated divorce? Wouldn't it be better to ask her to go with me to meet a mediator for a preliminary meeting?

I mean, look, I really have no clue how this works. I've been married one time in my life and I never familiarized myself with divorce laws. I didn't think I would ever need to.
 
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I don't know if breadcrumbs is the right word, ...
I see where you are coming from. However, I think the "shock and awe" of a divorce filing might be what you need. As for debt, there is no reason why that can't be included in the divorce settlement. That shouldn't be a reason to delay anything.

My advice would be to move forward and get out of limbo. I don't think the soft path through mediation is going to get your wife to open up. There is a small chance you get the truth with papers being laid in front of her. I think there is a 0% chance with mediation (you are just going to boil the frog (your wife)).

Also, I think you can still (eventually) go the mediated route, even if you file divorce papers. I think it is worth a shot. It is maybe your only shot to get the truth...
 

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Also, I think you can still (eventually) go the mediated route, even if you file divorce papers. I think it is worth a shot. It is maybe your only shot to get the truth...
That's another question to add to my list for a mtg with atty.
 

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That's another question to add to my list for a mtg with atty.
Yes, get that initial consultation done ASAP. Find out your options. We idiots on the Internet may not be giving you the best legal advice... :)

I think, after that first meeting with an attorney, things will seem less "scary" and you'll have a much better idea of how to proceed.
 

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I'm also going to ask about a therapeutic separation agreement, which would then give us an egg timer for when a mediated settlement would be finalized. My understanding is it is or can be legally binding if the spouses agree, but is different from a trial separation -- and allows the betrayed to move out of the home without giving up property rights etc. It also prevent wayward from filing for D preemptively or at least that would be my hope based on what others here have warned about WW's going ballistic.

The home has been a nightmare trigger for me these 3.5 years. Normally, the wayward would move out of the home, but in the case where the betrayal happened in the home, it is recommended for the betrayed to be out and away. This would be a relief and a sojourn for me while the rest of the details then could be worked out.

My final thought is that a therapeutic separation could be framed somewhat differently for the kids and allow us to walk up to the idea of divorce without the shock and awe approach.

I think the time for shock and awe has passed, frankly. If I was going to do that, it should have happened in early 2017.

I would also think this type of therapeutic separation would protect me from the false DV scenario we always hear about, since I wouldn't be in the home.

I don't know if anyone has any thoughts on this or has heard of one.
 

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If you feel that you have made up your mind and you don't need the truth, this sounds like a very reasonable approach. If you are convinced that you need a divorce, this might be the best way. If you still want to try to save things and get the truth, shock and awe might still work. However, now that I think about it, and if I were you, just heading into that good-morrow as easily as possible might be for the best.

That being said, make sure you get 100% of what is coming to you in the divorce. Don't give away anything to appease your wife. You don't need to be screwed over again. She doesn't deserve anything from you besides the minimum that the state mandates (and maybe less than that if you can get away with it).
 

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Discussion Starter #334
I hope your posts here reflect your attitude more then your post there, at least in your own threads.

So I am generally good about this stuff so lets see if I can predict this one.

In the next week or so you are going to get some really painful truth I suspect. Be ready. Continue to detach. Like someone else said on the other thread, this will be her last Hail Mary. I suspect you may even be in shock afterwards. Don't allow that to change your mind.

Whatever she did, it is a reflection of her character and not you. Don't let her get your hopes up by now suddenly giving a ****. She is giving a **** because it's her last chance.

Remember if you hadn't forced her hand a year ago she would still be saying to you - "you gonna break up our marriage for this?"

Translation.

"You gonna end our marriage just because I ****ed your friend, my son's friends father in our living room of the house we raised our children in?"

I mean can you imagine the coldness of such a statement? That right their is the window into her soul. That's not, "it's too painful to talk about" or even "I don't remember", that is quit bothering me with this trivial **** can't we just get on with our lives. And it's years after the fact when she had time to really sit with what she did and feel remorse an shame.

Affectation

  1. an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed; the pretense of actual possession: an affectation of interest in art; affectation of great wealth.
  2. conspicuous artificiality of manner or appearance; effort to attract notice by pretense, assumption, or any assumed peculiarity.
  3. a trait, action, or expression characterized by such artificiality: a man of a thousand affectations.
Unfortunately this is best describes how WS see their partners or anyone else really besides themselves. It's more about pretenses then reality. It's how you can do such a thing and without shame try to bully your spouse into accepting it 3 years later.

Be warned.
 

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Some of what we are doing here is what Chump Lady warns is an endless and fruitless chase - “untangling the skein of their f***edupedness” - speculating as to her whys gives me a real headache.

but I can tell based on my own experience is why I’m such a relentless and stern advocate for maintaining that infidelity mostly happens in good marriages. Adultery so often takes a good marriage that could have been great and turns it automatically into a bad marriage. The school of thought that maintains the marriage must have been bad I think misses some critical facts: half of all marriages end in divorce. Are we to say half of all marriages are bad? If so we’d be conceding that marriage is a fundamentally flawed institution and perhaps it is. But I think the more subtle take is that most of that 50 percent were good marriages that could have been better. And most of that 50 percent were breakups caused by infidelity. thus most infidelity happens in good marriages.
I think most marriages are merely adequate, not good, and certainly not great. People get married for selfish reasons. People are a lot more selfish and entitled than they used to be, I think. That means a lot more marriages involve a selfish person. People are also more habituated to instant gratification. So when selfish people want something they can't get in their marriage, or find something they dislike about their marriage, they don't put in the work to change things. They look for shortcuts. They look for the easy way out. Why work on improving your marriage or helping your partner, if you can find someone out there willing to do it for less effort from you?
 

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ok but I'm getting contradictory advice here. Several people on this thread told me to go ahead and lay down some bread crumbs leading up to divorce, especially rather than springing it on my kids one fine day. They said that would be traumatic which I want to avoid. My youngest has NO IDEA this is coming. None.

In fact, it was explicitly said that I would be best to prepare my youngest. How do you guys think that works? I talk to my youngest and swear him to secrecy or something, let him carry that around until I'm ready to file? No. The only that works is if I'm honest with my WW too. You think she hasn't known this is coming? We talked about it in December. We walked about it least four times over the past six months. I wasn't going to do it when the lockdowns were happening. No way.
The most important thing is to be honest with your kids. No matter how old they are. Don't try to manipulate them or ask them to keep secrets! Just let them see your sadness, let them see you distancing yourself from your wife, let them see you sleep in separate bedrooms, and not be affectionate any more. Tell them that their mother did a bad thing a few years ago, she had a boyfriend, and that you worked really hard since then, but the marriage isn't going to survive it. But you will always be their father no matter what happens.

If you are working on any part of the process, let them see it. Tell them you have lawyer and bank appointments to figure things out. Let them see you in control of the situation. Take them househunting with you.

It's not about manipulating them with breadcrumbs. It's about age-appropriate transparency.
 

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In the next week or so you are going to get some really painful truth I suspect. Be ready. Continue to detach. Like someone else said on the other thread, this will be her last Hail Mary. I suspect you may even be in shock afterwards. Don't allow that to change your mind.
I don’t know. A lot of people said this before the poly. it didn’t happen.

I guess I will find out. I’m pretty worn out with the whole situation and pretty cynical.

also I don’t see a lot of daylight between what I’m posting on SI and here. It’s all but identical.

this is from my last post there:

Bottom line: She can read here if she wants. She's isn't going to gain some major new insights. I told her how I felt about wanting a divorce. That's where I'm at.
 

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I don't know if breadcrumbs is the right word, but I had the impression from several posters a few pages back that I would be wise to walk up to this a little bit with my youngest. That and I'm not ready to do it. I haven't met with an attorney at all, and I have been focused on paying down our debt. It's important to me that this debt be paid off. I don't want it lingering after divorce for either one of us.

So until that is done, why would I go out and preemptively file? And why would I do that if she and I have discussed a mediated divorce? Wouldn't it be better to ask her to go with me to meet a mediator for a preliminary meeting?

I mean, look, I really have no clue how this works. I've been married one time in my life and I never familiarized myself with divorce laws. I didn't think I would ever need to.
Marriage is the only contract you enter into with no clear understanding of the terms.

We all started that way at one point. And you won't be able to get specific advice from here, because divorce laws can vary so much from place to place. So consult a bunch of lawyers, find one that meshes well with you, and let them advise you on how to proceed. They'll tell you when filing is appropriate. They'll tell you what paperwork is important to have. Gather it up ahead of time before it mysteriously vanishes. Especially anything relating to your ex. Just because you consult a lawyer one day does not mean you are filing the next. But gathering information about the process is critical to your preparation. You may even find there are advantages to not paying down the debt. Who knows yet?

And yes, there are many horror stories about initially friendly ex-spouses turning nasty after the divorce process starts. Think about it. At one point, you never would have expected your wife to cheat. So now, you must acknowledge that you don't actually know what to expect from her in this divorce. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, as they say.

People can get selfish about custody, and treat the kids like possessions they don't want to share. Money issues blow up like crazy - people would rather spend every last cent fighting and give it all to lawyers than let their ex get one penny. People go into denial. Delay delay delay for years by not providing key documentation. Hide assets. Make false domestic violence claims to try to get an edge in the process. The person who wants the house might damage it to drop the value so they can afford it. Or if the house has to go on the market, they might hold up the process of getting it ready so they can live in it as long as possible. Etc.

Your wife has already shown you she can cheat and lie and manipulate you to get what she wants. Right now what she wants is to avoid a divorce. She's already trying to bribe you to stay with surprise sex. I would not be surprised if she put up a huge fight to do whatever she can to prevent divorce from going smoothly.

My divorce was probably as amicable as they come, considering there was infidelity involved. My ex even WANTED out. It still took around three years. We did a month of mediation to build an agreement we could live with, and then we each had to get legal advice. The lawyers managed to extend the process, and bill us accordingly, all by nitpicking over the legalese of the document, and trying to convince each of us we could do better.

So even if you think your wife would be collaborative, that might change once lawyers get involved.
 

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But I place extreme value on loyalty, trust, character, and morals. I don't think these come from a book (though it may offer guidance),
Doesn’t come from a book but from a higher metaphysical reality we can barely comprehend as finite beings. The book is just a guide for us. But I grok your point.
 

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@Thumos

UGH! So much to cover and so little time!

#1 - You know how it was an epiphany that your WW slipped in "afternoon delight" and it was easy to fit it in, and all-of-a-sudden you realized like scales had fallen off of your eyes that "Holy Smoke it would have been this easy to do it with AP too!"? Well let me give you another epiphany that is going to blow your mind: you will NEVER, EVER be able to figure this out as long as you keep thinking about it logically and reasonably, because I can tell you with 100% conviction that while a person is actively involved in an affair AND as long afterward as they continue in that foggy, self-centered style of thinking, there is no common sense or logic to it. You keep trying to look for reason (Why is she doing <blank>? What reason does she have for saying <blank>?) and thinking there will be some reasonable reason that will make you understand like "OH! What THAT'S why she did that! Ah ha!" But in real life, being a wayward is completely illogical. I can say that because I was one, and trust me, I'm as logical a female as you'll ever meet, and I lost my ever-loving mind! Now I don't mean I was insane or mentally ill, but it just was not "reasonable." In fact, everything about adultery is very UNreasonable! So note to self: stop looking for reasonableness in crazytown. She is not thinking logically.

#2 - If the day ever comes that she does become a person suitable for reconciliation, you will be able to tell. Usually there is some life-changing event like a death in the family, a medical scare, a car accident--something that is a deep "come to Jesus" moment that CHANGES the inner core of the person, and it's not an instantaneous change, but it will be obvious that the fog is CLEARING. Usually, after the life-changing event, the person WANTS to change and be better, and they'll head straight to therapy or support groups or something to become a better person ON THEIR OWN BECAUSE THEY WANT TO! For example, some of the unreasonableness you have now will start to change to more and more and more REASON. There will be a clear DIFFERENCE in the person, and as an example, you would see her start to comprehend that her actions didn't "wound" you (from which you can heal....) but rather they "KILLED" you (can't come back from the dead). You'd see her act in a way that helps your triggers because she has compassion for what she put you through! Etc. If there has not been a life-changing event, then it is right and reasonable to continue to think that she has not changed and will continue "as is."

#3 You asked:
I'm also going to ask about a therapeutic separation agreement, which would then give us an egg timer for when a mediated settlement would be finalized. My understanding is it is or can be legally binding if the spouses agree, but is different from a trial separation -- and allows the betrayed to move out of the home without giving up property rights etc. It also prevent wayward from filing for D preemptively or at least that would be my hope based on what others here have warned about WW's going ballistic.
Okay to clarify terms: a therapeutic separation is like a healing separation or a trial separation, in that it's for a specifice timeframe and an agreement between the two to work on XYZ while they live apart ... in your case in order to achieve certain goals before divorce while living apart. There is no legal ability to enforce anything. You can write up an agreement "We agree to do this and that" but if one spouse chooses to just ignore it, there's nothing you can do. Since you'd still be legally married, just living apart, the law of property rights, etc. would be as if you are married.

A legal separation would mean the two live apart, and there are court orders that say "while you live apart, Spouse A does A or pays for A...Spouse B does B and pays for B" and there is a legal ability to enforce it if one spouse acts contemptuously because a court ordered it.

Finally, I don't know of ANY separation that can prevent a spouse from pre-emptively filing for divorce. @Thumos, essentially you'd have to believe the promise of a person who has spent the last four years destructively lying to you to the point that your marriage is destroyed...and giving you the wisest advice I know to give, I would not advise believing the "agreement" of a known fraudster. In fact, I would say to trust just the opposite: that whatever is agreed on, you can depend on that agreement to be a lie. I don't have a trust issue--I trust 100% in her dishonesty. What I DON'T trust (reasonably) is her honesty!

The home has been a nightmare trigger for me these 3.5 years. Normally, the wayward would move out of the home, but in the case where the betrayal happened in the home, it is recommended for the betrayed to be out and away. This would be a relief and a sojourn for me while the rest of the details then could be worked out.
Then I would recommend a separation (let's just call it that), and you agree to move out of the marital house for your own personal recovery, and you agree to continue XYZ bills and pay down the debts, and you agree to 50/50 custody and nothing less...and then have that read by an attorney and legalized in court. I would recommend doing that immediately.

My final thought is that a therapeutic separation could be framed somewhat differently for the kids and allow us to walk up to the idea of divorce without the shock and awe approach.
Okay--that seems potentially reasonable. Pursue separation then. The only distinction I'd make is making sure there is some legal piece to it, because if she does decide to get nasty and not live up to her promise, if there is something legal, it can be "enforced" by the courts. This way it's not YOU "being unreasonable" and expecting her to live up to her promise--it is SOCIETY telling her that she is expected to do as she promised.
 
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