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Background:

Wife and i were married 20 years ago, and have two wonderful children, who are teens. She is very attractive and we were deeply in love. We were in our early 20s when married, and she loved the idea of starting a family. It became clear early on, i would take up the fight to provide for our family, and she would primarily raise the kids, and keep the household, with a plan of working when/where she could to supplement.

I am not afraid of working, and wanted very much to provide for my family. I worked full time, went to school at nite to finish up a bachelors degree, and dove headfirst into a rental property. Fast forward to year 12 of marriage, and i was stressed out, not home much, but on a very lucrative career path.

Our daily lives were so different, we didn't appreciate the others struggles. She wanted me to listen and understand her struggles, and being under a lot of stress to produce at work, i wasn't very sympathetic or understanding (even though i tried to be). Resentment grew on both sides, and she was quite nasty to me. I tried to make it up with promises of things getting easier and bigger house, nice car etc.

in the winter of 2012, i stumbled upon her FB account and found that she had reached out to an old boyfriend, the one that got away and broke her heart by cheating on her. Very handsome guy, and single. I was able to guess her password, and monitored their communications for weeks, all the while dying inside and wondering what i did to deserve this. I also found text messages between her and her cousin (very close like sisters) absolutely shredding me, that i was gross, and annoying.

i was a mess already - struggling at work bc of the demands placed on me, unable to sleep through the nite, finding myself medicating with alcohol inappropriately etc. I wanted help from my wife, and support/understanding - instead she turned elsewhere.

The messages went from playful banter, to flirting, to graphic sexual conversations, to arranging a meeting. I was determined to let the meeting happen and then confront her, and end the marriage. I was heartbroken, but desperate to find the right way out of it. They hadn't arranged an actual meeting place, and i couldn't wait any longer. In the middle of the night, i woke her (sleeping soundly as i laid quietly next to her in agonizing pain) and revealed i knew what she was up to.

At first, her reaction was quiet, i think she was trying to figure out what to say. Early on, her she seemed to think it was wrong, but no big deal. Over the following weeks i agonized with what to do. I ultimately determined that even though i had been betrayed, i couldn't yet give up on our relationship mostly for the kids sake, if we could reconcile. Without going into all the details, over the last 8 years, we went through many lows (including behavior on my part - developed a real drinking problem, which i'm past but did cause some problems, being absent, having a hard time being close) to a place now where i've forgiven her, our household is in good order, we parent well together get along fine, and i believe she truly regrets her actions. Over the years, there were periods where i had completely moved past it, but deep down, i knew she got to a place where she did not care about me and wanted someone else. That has never left me, and today, i know that i cannot go back.

My problem, and ultimately my question, is what to do given that her betrayal caused me to close a door - i couldnt let her in, even though i tried. We care about each other, support each other, can laugh together, but i have a black hole where the love should be. She believes we have moved past it. I have come to the realization that i'll never be able to love her as i should, and that's not good for either of us. Truly, i think she does love me, but not like she wants to. She wants a deep intimacy, and to be adored, and i'm unable to give her that even though i have tried (early on I could, after the betrayal i cannot)

Her guilt over acting out, and fear over what might happen, keep her in it, and I believe she thinks we have good marriage. We don't fight and are in sync on our daily lives. I don't think she wants to start over, but i'm not OK with both of us missing out on life.

My mission is to figure out how to have conversations where we both can be honest , and get her to start thinking about what she wants. I will not abandon her or the kids, and i will continue to provide as i have for the last 20 years. My daughter is a freshman in highschool, and i can support the household until she's out of college. I can stay at the home, or move nearby with my widowed stepmother.

Has anyone been in a similar situation, and what were your results, good or bad?
 

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In the aftermath of her transgressions what kind of work had she performed in accepting her part in her cheating? did she take full responsibility? did she do any heavy labor to help save the marriage? or did she try to rug-sweep this..

I suspect that she still wants to be the apple of your eye but she does not realized that her actions killed your trust and your vision of her.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In the aftermath of her transgressions what kind of work had she performed in accepting her part in her cheating? did she take full responsibility? did she do any heavy labor to help save the marriage? or did she try to rug-sweep this..


I suspect that she still wants to be the apple of your eye but she does not realized that her actions killed your trust and your vision of her.
It took about a month for her to admit she was wrong, and she made sure to make me understand all the things i did to push her away. I am not blameless, in that i wasn't present enough. IMO it was justification for her. so i wouldn't say it was full responsiblity


I think you are exactly right. I also think she tells herself the marriage is good, and tries to convince herself so that we don't break up. I really don't think she wants to split, out of fear and guilt.
 

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It sounds like what happened in the past happened, and the damage is done, and she is okay with where you guys are now. She is making the best out of the situation so to speak.

I have a question to you... do you think you will be able to find another women you love as much as you love/loved her? And if the answer is no, is it still worth leaving her?
 

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It sounds like what happened in the past happened, and the damage is done, and she is okay with where you guys are now. She is making the best out of the situation so to speak.

I have a question to you... do you think you will be able to find another women you love as much as you love/loved her? And if the answer is no, is it still worth leaving her?
im not worried about finding someone i will love as much. i believe we will be in each others lives. if i am going to be with someone i want to be fully open and able to love freely. If that doesn’t happen, i believe i will be ok knowing i wasn’t half in/half out. she deserves to have someone that can throw themselves in 100%. im sorta an all or nothing person. i also feel like she is convincing herself we are great together. I know she didn’t really believe that i was the one for her, and i dont like pretending. she has a lot of love to give and so do i, and neither one of us is doing that

thank you for your thoughts!
 

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Did she ever communicate her needs before she cheated?
never directly. i knew she wasnt loving how much i was gone. I was open to changing things (changing jobs) but she would have had to change what she was doing.

I naively believed that if she was truly unhappy she would have sat me down and said we need to change something. So i don’t think she made sufficient attempts to fix it, but i also acknowledge that i could have tried harder to hear her. We have always struggled talking about the hard stuff with each other. our communication style is very different
 

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Background:

Wife and i were married 20 years ago, and have two wonderful children, who are teens. She is very attractive and we were deeply in love. We were in our early 20s when married, and she loved the idea of starting a family. It became clear early on, i would take up the fight to provide for our family, and she would primarily raise the kids, and keep the household, with a plan of working when/where she could to supplement.

I am not afraid of working, and wanted very much to provide for my family. I worked full time, went to school at nite to finish up a bachelors degree, and dove headfirst into a rental property. Fast forward to year 12 of marriage, and i was stressed out, not home much, but on a very lucrative career path.

Our daily lives were so different, we didn't appreciate the others struggles. She wanted me to listen and understand her struggles, and being under a lot of stress to produce at work, i wasn't very sympathetic or understanding (even though i tried to be). Resentment grew on both sides, and she was quite nasty to me. I tried to make it up with promises of things getting easier and bigger house, nice car etc.

in the winter of 2012, i stumbled upon her FB account and found that she had reached out to an old boyfriend, the one that got away and broke her heart by cheating on her. Very handsome guy, and single. I was able to guess her password, and monitored their communications for weeks, all the while dying inside and wondering what i did to deserve this. I also found text messages between her and her cousin (very close like sisters) absolutely shredding me, that i was gross, and annoying.

i was a mess already - struggling at work bc of the demands placed on me, unable to sleep through the nite, finding myself medicating with alcohol inappropriately etc. I wanted help from my wife, and support/understanding - instead she turned elsewhere.

The messages went from playful banter, to flirting, to graphic sexual conversations, to arranging a meeting. I was determined to let the meeting happen and then confront her, and end the marriage. I was heartbroken, but desperate to find the right way out of it. They hadn't arranged an actual meeting place, and i couldn't wait any longer. In the middle of the night, i woke her (sleeping soundly as i laid quietly next to her in agonizing pain) and revealed i knew what she was up to.

At first, her reaction was quiet, i think she was trying to figure out what to say. Early on, her she seemed to think it was wrong, but no big deal. Over the following weeks i agonized with what to do. I ultimately determined that even though i had been betrayed, i couldn't yet give up on our relationship mostly for the kids sake, if we could reconcile. Without going into all the details, over the last 8 years, we went through many lows (including behavior on my part - developed a real drinking problem, which i'm past but did cause some problems, being absent, having a hard time being close) to a place now where i've forgiven her, our household is in good order, we parent well together get along fine, and i believe she truly regrets her actions. Over the years, there were periods where i had completely moved past it, but deep down, i knew she got to a place where she did not care about me and wanted someone else. That has never left me, and today, i know that i cannot go back.

My problem, and ultimately my question, is what to do given that her betrayal caused me to close a door - i couldnt let her in, even though i tried. We care about each other, support each other, can laugh together, but i have a black hole where the love should be. She believes we have moved past it. I have come to the realization that i'll never be able to love her as i should, and that's not good for either of us. Truly, i think she does love me, but not like she wants to. She wants a deep intimacy, and to be adored, and i'm unable to give her that even though i have tried (early on I could, after the betrayal i cannot)

Her guilt over acting out, and fear over what might happen, keep her in it, and I believe she thinks we have good marriage. We don't fight and are in sync on our daily lives. I don't think she wants to start over, but i'm not OK with both of us missing out on life.

My mission is to figure out how to have conversations where we both can be honest , and get her to start thinking about what she wants. I will not abandon her or the kids, and i will continue to provide as i have for the last 20 years. My daughter is a freshman in highschool, and i can support the household until she's out of college. I can stay at the home, or move nearby with my widowed stepmother.

Has anyone been in a similar situation, and what were your results, good or bad?
I have a friend who is married to a women whose parents stayed together for her and her brother. They had a very good working relationship but no affection or real love. Who knows why, if there was cheating or not. The point is this women never learned what a true affectionate marriage was like and it transferred into her marriage now with my friend. They are both good people but he is very unhappy in this aspect of his marriage to the point where he is thinking about divorce a lot. I think now they are talking about it but I know it came to a shock to her. In her mind she was acting out the marriage she grew up with. But she has no idea what a healthy marriage is or how affection works.

This more then anything else convinced me that staying for the kids is very often the wrong thing to do, especially when they are older. You may be doing more harm then good. At the very least you need to tell your wife that you are unhappy. Seems cheating spouses always think the marriage is good.

By the way this women's parents got divorced when she was in her 30s. I know her Dad is with someone, not sure about the Mom. The longer you wait the harder it will be for your wife to meet anyone else too.

Again at the very least tell your wife. Life is short my friend.

If not you need to resign yourself to the fact that this is what you should expect with her for the rest of your life.
 

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My mission is to figure out how to have conversations where we both can be honest , and get her to start thinking about what she wants. I will not abandon her or the kids, and i will continue to provide as i have for the last 20 years. My daughter is a freshman in highschool, and i can support the household until she's out of college. I can stay at the home, or move nearby with my widowed stepmother.
Seem like where you should start. Also -

i couldnt let her in, even though i tried. We care about each other, support each other, can laugh together, but i have a black hole where the love should be. She believes we have moved past it. I have come to the realization that i'll never be able to love her as i should, and that's not good for either of us. Truly, i think she does love me, but not like she wants to. She wants a deep intimacy, and to be adored, and i'm unable to give her that even though i have tried (early on I could, after the betrayal i cannot)
Those two paragraphs say it all and are probably what you should have been saying all along.
 

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"I love you but I'm not in love with you"?

I mean you could potentially go to marriage counseling and try to get past your issues but if you wanted to do that you already would have.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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First of all, you wouldn't be abandoned in the kids. if you divorce you'll be seeing them more than ever because you will have 50% custody and that will be an obligation of yours to take care of them half the time. They'd still be seeing both of you plenty. And it's just as hard on them living in a resentful dark household as their parents living in two different places.

And you'll also be supporting them whichever way it goes so I'm just a little confused by your thinking along those lines that you would be abandoning them. You won't be legally allowed to abandon them or stop paying for them until they're of age.

if you do need to get communication going maybe you need to get in marriage counseling together and see if you can get it all out on the table. Good luck.
 

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You need to have a really frank discussion with her - sooner, rather than later. I think that it was a mistake to rug-sweep this in the manner you did (easy for me to say, I know) simply for the kids. You are right in believing that she did not (and still does not) think that you were the one. And the fact that she was willing to go back to a POS that cheated on her before does not make her someone worth staying with. I understand that she is beautiful etc (not to me, since behaviour/character counts a lot towards making someone appear beautiful to me) but this is skin deep and does not lead to (as you have realised) happiness.

Talk with her and see if you can get her to admit to her true feelings all these years. You never know, it might lead to the kind of awakening in both of you that might just lead to happiness - one way or another.
 
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Your kids are teenagers, they can take it if you and your wife make it easy on them.
Mine are 12 and 15 and are completely fine with divorce. I guess they saw it coming. They are very excited about looking for houses, got themselves zillow accounts and plan for decorating two rooms.
So divorce does not have to be extremely dramatic experience to your children.
 

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Has anyone been in a similar situation, and what were your results, good or bad?
I’ve been in a similar situation but haven’t gone as long as 8 years after DDAY - just not quite 4 years in my case. Sounds somewhat similar to my situation but with a few differences. In my case the sexual affair happened and I confronted after getting proof after they’d already consummated the infidelity. I realized earlier this year this wasn’t going to get any better and would continue to haunt me. I told her a few weeks ago I want a divorce and I haven’t looked back since. We’re in the process of working it out and the timeline of doing it, but I can tell you I feel so much better and clearer than I have in years. Think about it. While your WW didn’t carry out the physical act, she wanted to and was starting to plan it out - so same difference. Your drinking is self medicating from the pain. I know because I did a little bit of this myself.
 
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have a question to you... do you think you will be able to find another women you love as much as you love/loved her? And if the answer is no, is it still worth leaving her?
This question is a bit of a red herring tbh. Why? Because it comes from a place of fear and bc the love you had for her was somewhat illusory. I don’t mean you didn’t love her. I mean you loved a person who doesn’t exist. Your wife in front of you right now, that’s the real person. And the reason you don’t love her as much and can’t “adore” her is bc really cheaters aren’t adorable. so right there you have your answer: you will almost certainly find a woman you love as much if not more and likely more. Why? Because that woman won’t be the woman who betrayed you. It’s pretty simple logic.
 

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Did she ever communicate her needs before she cheated
“Unmet needs” is the refuge of scoundrels, frankly, and it is a bottomless pit. Why? Because We are finite beings, and no one finite person is entirely capable of meeting the needs of another finite person. It is physically impossible. The old chestnut about communicating needs or meeting them constantly is an unrealistic expectation for a good marriage. Yes we should strive to meet our partner’s needs but this can become a never ending quest and is especially dangerous when dealing with emotional vampires (and cheaters of both genders usually are a type of emotional vampire).
 

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never directly. i knew she wasnt loving how much i was gone. I was open to changing things (changing jobs) but she would have had to change what she was doing.

I naively believed that if she was truly unhappy she would have sat me down and said we need to change something. So i don’t think she made sufficient attempts to fix it, but i also acknowledge that i could have tried harder to hear her. We have always struggled talking about the hard stuff with each other. our communication style is very different
So, while you may have contributed to issues where she was unhappy, NONE of that gives her the OK to cheat.
The cheating is 100% on HER. If she was really that unhappy, she should have divorced you before cheating.
 

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It took about a month for her to admit she was wrong, and she made sure to make me understand all the things i did to push her away. I am not blameless, in that i wasn't present enough. IMO it was justification for her. so i wouldn't say it was full responsiblity


I think you are exactly right. I also think she tells herself the marriage is good, and tries to convince herself so that we don't break up. I really don't think she wants to split, out of fear and guilt.
to be fair that is not taking 100% of the blame in her cheating, that is just trying to shame in you taking ownership in pushing her away and that is call crap sandwich, it taste just as bad as it looks.
You realize you need to start from the beginning because you never really addressed it and if she is unwilling too than it might be time to move on.
 
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