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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess I'm just looking for advice, feedback, etc. I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm 35m, she's 35f. No kids.

My wife and I married four and a half years ago, just before I entered graduate school. After a year and a half in school, some events in my life started a spiral into depression. Our relationship got pretty distant emotionally.

I ended up quitting school, and after a few months of no success looking for a job locally, I took a job overseas. We agreed that she'd take a similar job about three months later and follow me there.

When she arrived, it came out that she'd had an affair (EA/PA). Our relationship was, as I said, not so good then, and she found someone who was able to give her what I could not.

We had some pretty deep heart-to-hearts, and we decided to work on things. She eventually broke off contact with the other man, and our relationship got much, much better. Not perfect, but after her being here a year, we were probably in the best place we'd been in since we got married. We worked through some relationship books and a self-guided course to try and work on some of our issues as a couple and as individuals. I felt like we made pretty good progress overall.

But her job contract was only a year and she wanted to go back home to pursue some schooling herself. I still had about 8 months in my contract, and I stayed to pay bills and to help her out financially while she was in school. Long distance sucks, but I thought we were in a much better place and that we could get through it. We were looking at being apart for six months before I'd see her on my winter vacation (which is coming up in about a week now).

Our communication was pretty good over this time, and I felt like she was really getting some good opportunities at school. I also enjoyed the time to get back into some interests of mine that had been a little dormant, and I was confident in our relationship when we got back together.

We did have a talk in the fall about what would happen if we started having feelings for someone else. It eventually (on my end, anyway) came down to me feeling the same way I did with her previous affair: I want us both to be happy in life, and if something or someone is really making us happy, I don't want our relationship to automatically shut that down. When she had the earlier affair, I encouraged her, if she thought he was the better man for her, to go and be with him. It would hurt, but I'd get past it. I asked for her to respect me and that if things progressed with someone to the point where they would impact our relationship, that we talk about it and decide where we wanted to go from there.

So we agreed to have this open-to-possibilities kind of relationship while we were apart. While she was in school, when she would relate what she was doing she would take pains to point out that there was nothing going on with the guys around her. I told her she didn't need to do that, but I still felt pretty secure on the whole.

On my end, there are a couple of women here who expressed interest in me, and who I find attractive. I considered pursuing one of them, but backed off because I recognized that I was really just interested in validation from them, and not wanting a real relationship. So I didn't do anything.

My wife finished up with the semester of school that she was taking, and then decided to visit family and friends for a couple of months before we saw each other. During the semester and this visiting time, we stayed in contact as much as possible, emailing and skyping all the time.

A couple of weeks ago my wife went to the country where we're going to meet up for vacation. She wanted to take part in a retreat there for a few days before I arrived. The night before her retreat started we talked on Skype.

I expressed to her, for not the first time, how excited I was to see her. I brought up that among other things, I was very happy that I'd finally get to touch her, kiss her, caress her again. I was looking forward to making love to my wife after so long apart.

Then she dropped the bomb on me. When she was home for the holidays, she went to a bar, drank a bit and got picked up by one of the guys there, and then she had sex with him. At least part of it was unprotected, so she's now worried about STDs and she's not in the clear as far as time periods that we know she'd be clean.

I was too stunned at the time to really have a conversation about it and get much more out of it. She told me she was sorry, that it was a huge mistake, that she wants to work things out, that she hasn't been in contact with him since, etc. So as far as I know this is a one-time PA that she feels remorse for.

At the same time, I think she was deflecting blame by bringing up the open relationship agreement, but I think she realizes, and I said at the time, that I was thinking something pretty different than drunk hookups with people we don't give a **** about.

But beyond that, I realize there's no way I can put up with any level of open relationship anymore. It hurt way too bad when she told me what happened, and I just can't do that again. A personal lesson maybe learned too late. I don't think she was following the intent of our agreement anyway, but just on reflection of the pain I've felt, I don't want to be in that situation again.

When I stopped talking to her that night I put on a brave face and told her that I didn't want her to worry about this (because she said she'd been stressing) while she was on her retreat. That I'd see her in a few days and we could talk about things.
So that was last Wednesday. I can't contact her while she's at the retreat, and I'm supposed to fly down there on Saturday.

But this is just eating away at me. I've bounced back and forth through so many emotions in the last few days, and I just don't know what to do. I know that I can't do the open relationship. I still love her, and I even understand that we were apart for a damn long time and you just get lonely and want to get with someone. I sympathize with that, although I know from my own experience that you can keep it in your pants if you want to, so it isn't an excuse.

I love her and enjoy our relationship in a lot of ways, but I'm also not at a point in my life where I struggle with the idea of ending it. She violated my trust twice, and though I realize she has excuses/justifications, I know that they are just excuses and she ****ed up.

I'm a pretty cool guy, and I'll have no problem finding another partner. My income is good and I anticipate no complications if I ask for a divorce (our assets are well segregated and there's no children to worry about). So if it comes to that, the prospect is not daunting to me.

I'm basically at the point where I want to go down there and give her the choice to:

1) Go to counseling with me and figure out if this is something we can get past and whether she can be committed to me.

2) Require that we don't live apart again. At least not until we've figured out how to stop this from happening. That means her moving back to where I'm working and staying until my contract is finished.

3) If those two things don't work for her, bring the divorce papers with me and ask her to sign them.

My question is this: is marriage counseling something that can reasonably help us? She seems willing to work on the relationship, to make changes, etc.

What are other people's experiences with marriage counseling and did it work for you?

Any other advice? Thanks for reading.

TL;DR: In a troubled relationship with some infidelity. Considering counseling. Does it work? What else should I do?
 

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There is trouble in your marriage. Lots of it. MC can help but you have to get a competent MC. Not one that will ask you or tell you forget about the infidelity and "look to the future". You can't look to the future until you have both examined your marriage.

I think you both also need individual counseling. You to deal with betrayal. Her to deal with her lack of self-control and possible alcoholism.

Give it a try but don't settle for anything less than full transparency, firm boundaries, and total commitment.

Lastly DO NOT have children with this woman for at least a few years - before you do go to MC again to examine the state of your marriage. It would be very destructive to involve kids into this tenuous marriage.
 

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MC works as long as there is no longer a 3rd party in the mix. If your wife can focus on the marriage then great its worth persuing. But if she is seeing other guys then it won't help.

I also suggest you work on your boundries, from what I read they were very open ended.

If you are going to affair proof a marriage, you can not support her finding someone that will make her happier then she is in your current marriage.

From what I read you told her commitment doesn't mean a thing. From were I'm sitting you told what ever makes you happy........


Versus commitment can be rewarding and if you stray there will be consequences.....little did the both of you know that consequence had nothing to do with leaving her, but getting a desease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Walkonmars: Thanks for the reply.

No, I won't accept forgetting about the infidelity either. I didn't hold the first time over her, but at the same time it is something that she did and that affected our relationship. It's part of us, as well as the new one.

I also agree about the individual counseling for both of us. I'm looking at a program now that has a few sessions for each individual, and a few sessions for the couple. I think that might be workable for us.

Not having children we're ok with. That was never part of our plan as a couple, and this moves it a lot further off the table.
 

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She has cheated twice in 4 years? I would not go to meet her and tell her you need time to think whether you want to stay married or not. Go on a separate trip by yourself and have fun. Let her wonder who you are with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the_guy: Thank you for the feedback.

Yes, I agree about my boundaries for her. I've already very much changed what I feel I need now based on this, and I'll demand a change as part of my needs going forward (if there is a going forward).

As far as she has told me, the recent PA was a one-off and she's not at all in contact with him. I know that she broke off contact with the first EA/PA eventually, so I know she is capable of narrowing this down to a two-person relationship. I'll require that as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
She has cheated twice in 4 years? I would not go to meet her and tell her you need time to think whether you want to stay married or not. Go on a separate trip by yourself and have fun. Let her wonder who you are with.
I'm not interested in punishing her or antagonizing her.

I cheated in relationships when I was younger, and I was a party to a couple of affairs as the OM. I was misguided in a lot of ways then, but I wasn't out to hurt anyone. I learned some things back then that made me not want to do it again though, and I've been very faithful to my wife.

I don't think my wife is a terrible person. She has made a couple of choices that I think are terrible, and hurt me a lot in the process. I don't believe that hurting me was her intent, it was just a side effect of her pursuing what she thought were her needs at the time.

But I'm not going to lower myself to willfully hurting her in return. I might choose to not be with her anymore because I don't want to give her the opportunity to do it again, but that's a different story.
 

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There is *always* going forward, its up to your wife to walk next to you or not, but you and all of us will move forward form this.
 

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Punishing her is the funnest part.....

Nothing like agood spanking to get the juices flowing, but thats just how I'm wired. LOL
 

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You've let too much slide too many times and you seem to keep making excuses for her behavior and forgiving her. She's just going to keep on doing it because she's pretty much faced no consequences from you. I know you love her but you're putting up with too much deviant behavior on her part. Whether she meant to "intentionally" hurt you or not makes no difference, she did. And I find it hard to believe she didn't think her actions would hurt you.

Also long distance obviously does not work for you two, but like others have said she seems to have no sense of boundries on top of that.

Maybe you can work things out but rugsweeping and instaforgiving her everytime this happens is a recipe for disaster. Hope it works out.
 

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I'm not telling you to hurt her but you need time to think about this and she has to face some consequences for her actions. I didn't say screw around, I mean show her you can move on without her if need be. Sounds like she hasn't had any consequences that's all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There is *always* going forward, its up to your wife to walk next to you or not, but you and all of us will move forward form this.
Agreed. I'm definitely moving forward whether she wants to or not. He choice whether she wants to do the work to come with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Punishing her is the funnest part.....

Nothing like agood spanking to get the juices flowing, but thats just how I'm wired. LOL
I like that kind of punishing too, but it might be a little bit before I'm comfortable being there with her.
 

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Time to face the facts.
This woman is NOT marriage material.

You didn't hold it over her the first time and this is probably why
you're dealing with it once again. Is this what you deserve?

I think not.

I applaud you if you really do want to try to work things out, but if it were me?
No kids? 2 affairs?! ...

I'd kick her arse to the curb in a flash.

Just promise me you won't waste the rest of your life letting her make a mockery of
you, your marriage, nor your manhood any more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm not telling you to hurt her but you need time to think about this and she has to face some consequences for her actions. I didn't say screw around, I mean show her you can move on without her if need be. Sounds like she hasn't had any consequences that's all.
Thanks for replying/clarifying.

So initially the plan was to meet her for essentially 15 days. I already booked hotels for the first 8. It so happens that where we are on day 5 is also the place where there's an embassy and we can get a divorce, if it comes to that.

I'll have had 2 weeks to think about it by the time I see her. Even after a week I'm pretty confident in the way I want to take this forward. Of course I'm talking to some people who's opinions I value, and trying to discuss things places like here, but I'm in a pretty solid place now with how I feel.

I'll bring the papers and my options for her when I meet her. If we decide to go the divorce route, I'll get another room and go my own way, and meet her at the embassy on day 5, and then go my own way again.

I think there were plenty of consequences for the first time around. I made her choose between me and him (she chose me) and then shut that communication down. We worked together on our relationship and made a lot of progress at that time.

I mean, what more would you recommend short of divorce as far as consequences? That's part of why I'm here, actually. She's not a kid that I can take away her allowance or something.

I'm already suggesting that my reaction to this recent PA is that she choose between a) Divorce or b) counseling and putting aside her professional ambitions that lay overseas to stay out the year with me here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Time to face the facts.
This woman is NOT marriage material.

You didn't hold it over her the first time and this is probably why
you're dealing with it once again. Is this what you deserve?

I think not.

I applaud you if you really do want to try to work things out, but if it were me?
No kids? 2 affairs?! ...

I'd kick her arse to the curb in a flash.

Just promise me you won't waste the rest of your life letting her make a mockery of
you, your marriage, nor your manhood any more.

I'm not sure, as I said in the last comment, what people would suggest as far as "holding it over her." What would you suggest?

I'm not going to let this continue, no. One way or another this situation will end.
 

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I guess I'm just looking for advice, feedback, etc. I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm 35m, she's 35f. No kids.
I'm sorry, but I stopped reading here. Based on the phrases "no kids" and "second-time cheater," I would have a clear decision.

Plus as a 35m, you have plenty of prime-stud life left. 35f- not so much. Let her go ride.
 

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You literally gave her permission to have an affair. Do you not realize how that looks to someone that loves you. Itlooks likd you do not care a whole lot. Even worse, it looks like what you are really doing is getting yourself a free pass to boink other women.

Now your mad because she had a one night stand. Really. Neither of you is showing a commitment to the other. Your marriage is second place to both of you.
 
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