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Not really sure what/how to do this but looking to vent and gains some advice and perspective.

My wife of 9 years (together since high school so 17yrs) started down some slippery slopes about 2 years ago ... getting too friendly with my old highschool boyfriends on facebook, then texting my friends, then colleagues and people at her work (hotel). It progressed to emotional cheating and she was caught. We've been in therapy for a while and not once has she ever wanted out ... always begging me to stay and not 'kick' her out.

We stayed in therapy - and it turned into me being blamed for most of the issues ... insecurity and controlling behaviours on my end (like checking her cell phone periodically, etc, nothing stalker-esque). And overall the past 6 months have been OK, not great but OK.

Last week I started sensing more distance and more rebellious behaviour on her end (password protecting her phone, not wearing wedding rings because she's going to gym more frequently) and I finally checked up again and found she has cheated (physically) this time with a guy from the gym.

We have 2 small children (girl 8, boy 6) and I am totally conflicted ... for the past week she's beggin and saying all the right things and I do believe she doesn't want to leave the family and wants to work her problems out (previous abuses as a child perhaps or who knows) and for the sake of not taking 2 kids from their mother (I am the primary caregiver, meals, homework, activities, bread-winner, etc) I just don't know what to do ...

It is so comfortable to just be with her, touch her and be ok, but I also can't erase the image of her with someone else (even if she was emotionally detached and never wanted to end her marriage). I have never thought of straying but I am now thinking that in order to stay I have to enjoy my own life and check out from her ... I also don't want to just have sex with her and close off feelings but if I don't I end up thinking about her being with another.

Way more to the story but not sure how much to keep sharing ... man .. I'm very confused, looking for any advice from those that have reconciled and if any zebras have ever changed their stripes ... please help
 

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Never give a cheater a 2nd chance ever. If they didn't learn the 1st time, they most likely will never learn.

And giving a 2nd chance = if I cheat again they'll just keep taking me back.

File and move on IMO.
 

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It is so comfortable to just be with her, touch her and be ok, but I also can't erase the image of her with someone else (even if she was emotionally detached and never wanted to end her marriage). I have never thought of straying but I am now thinking that in order to stay I have to enjoy my own life and check out from her ... I also don't want to just have sex with her and close off feelings but if I don't I end up thinking about her being with another.

Way more to the story but not sure how much to keep sharing ... man .. I'm very confused, looking for any advice from those that have reconciled and if any zebras have ever changed their stripes ... please help
Your wife is a serial cheater. Sadly a majority of cheaters will cheat again, some time during the marriage after being forgiven by the loyal spouse.

You see it time and time again here on TAM.

I am sorry you are here.

But the fact that she cheated again, is not a good thing, and indicates more may follow. She also is blameshifting rather than accepting responsibility for her sleazy ways. You know that right.
 

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We stayed in therapy - and it turned into me being blamed for most of the issues ... insecurity and controlling behaviours on my end (like checking her cell phone periodically, etc, nothing stalker-esque). And overall the past 6 months have been OK, not great but OK.
That's not uncommon. Counselors, especially women counselors, can have a default setting of blaming husbands for marital problems. Now, I am a believer that a betrayed spouse can be partially responsible for marital problems that leave the marriage vulnerable to infidelity. But, that is very different from saying that you caused your wife to cheat.

Last week I started sensing more distance and more rebellious behaviour on her end (password protecting her phone, not wearing wedding rings because she's going to gym more frequently) and I finally checked up again and found she has cheated (physically) this time with a guy from the gym.
You controlling bastard. You didn't give her the freedom she wanted to screw random guys? I'm sure your counselor would not approve. But, this is also not uncommon.

When infidelity becomes an issue, the most effective strategy for ending it is by going nuclear. Not by threats or counseling, but by kicking her out and giving her a glimpse of life without you. It's been said many times here that you can't "nice" someone out of an affair.

We have 2 small children (girl 8, boy 6) and I am totally conflicted ... for the past week she's beggin and saying all the right things and I do believe she doesn't want to leave the family and wants to work her problems out (previous abuses as a child perhaps or who knows) and for the sake of not taking 2 kids from their mother (I am the primary caregiver, meals, homework, activities, bread-winner, etc) I just don't know what to do ...
I'm sure she doesn't want to lose you. She didn't want to lose you before. It seems that she wants you as a babysitter/paycheck while she is dating other men. That's a great situation for her. It's not so good for you.

Way more to the story but not sure how much to keep sharing ... man .. I'm very confused, looking for any advice from those that have reconciled and if any zebras have ever changed their stripes ... please help
I think that cheaters can reform. But, you need to shock her back to reality. If I were you, I would file for divorce. That doesn't mean you have to go through with it. But it will get her attention. If she comes to you and says she doesn't want it, remain noncommittal, but tell her that you might be persuaded to stay married. But she will have to do the heavy lifting.

That means finding a different counselor, who will put the blame for her cheating on her and help her deal with it. That means she also has to be completely transparent with you. You have access to her cell phone, email, Facebook, etc. any time you want. You should also keep tabs on her. Put keylogger software on her computer so that you can be confident she's not deleting emails, or using a secret account. Put a voice-activated recorder under the seat of her car so that you can hear her private conversations.

A divorce will take many months to finalize. If, during that time, she changes her behavior and convinces you that she will recommit to you, then call it off and stay married. If she doesn't, just go through with it. But just getting angry and insisting on twice as many counseling sessions as last time will be interpreted as weakness, which she will interpret as license for her to continue cheating.

Also, implement the 180. The 180 will help you emotionally detach from her. This will let you focus on yourself more, which will be healthy for you. It will also make divorce easier for you, if it comes to that. And sometimes, the 180 can show a person that they are losing their spouse and cause them to recommit.
The Healing Heart: The 180

Good luck.
 

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It's a bad spot ... man oh man ... beyond all this we do live in a nice neighbourhood but are stretched (as are most) .. no way to keep the kids in the same school and house for very long and just wonder if a marriage that is bad for me personally isn't best for the kids. It's not like I HATE her at this moment, but I hate how she's made me feel and now I'm the one forced to make the next move and hurt the kids ...
 

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It's a bad spot ... man oh man ... beyond all this we do live in a nice neighbourhood but are stretched (as are most) .. no way to keep the kids in the same school and house for very long and just wonder if a marriage that is bad for me personally isn't best for the kids. It's not like I HATE her at this moment, but I hate how she's made me feel and now I'm the one forced to make the next move and hurt the kids ...
No SHE hurt the kids by cheating! You can file tell her the m is on hold right now and have her prove it with actions. How did you catch her?
 

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Most here will be quick to tell you to file for D. Sounds like you want to stay with her, however, given your tone.

You may want to try what they call The 180, which helps you get emotionally independent. Someone will surely post the link to it here.

From what you are saying, it sounds like your wife is totally taking you for granted. In relationships where the husband is doing most of the work inside and outside of the house, there is imbalance that the wife begins to get used to, and then expect. Once at that point, your wife thought to herself that she can push it even further.

See, she is used to having things handed to her - money, chores, etc. You have become a husband of convenience. You need to scare the living daylights out of her, like, for reals, or she will just do this again in a year.
 

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It's a bad spot ... man oh man ... beyond all this we do live in a nice neighbourhood but are stretched (as are most) .. no way to keep the kids in the same school and house for very long and just wonder if a marriage that is bad for me personally isn't best for the kids. It's not like I HATE her at this moment, but I hate how she's made me feel and now I'm the one forced to make the next move and hurt the kids ...
Then either let her continue to cuckold you and humiliate you, which she will, or settle on an open marriage where you both cheat on each other.

Nice example for your children......
 

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I am the primary caregiver, meals, homework, activities, bread-winner
So she spends the day facebooking, hitting the gym... and cheating on you, repeatedly. Nice deal.
While I get my doks in a row (lawyer up yesterday to find where you stand) and detach emotionaly (180), I'd demand her to get a job ASAP. Also kicking her out to her parents (with previous exposure) is in order.

Don't accept any inch of blame for your wife's escapades, she's damaged, she has to fix herself. IC, church, whatever. Nothing you did or didn't or told has anything to do with her being a liar and a cheater. Do you think any of her shortcomings can make you do go against your core values, steal, do drugs or beat your children? She's the damaged one.

Man, man. What's wrong whith her?

I'm so sorry.
 

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Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice...... you know the rest.

Dude, you caught her the first time with an EA and you stopped it. Went to counseling and got blamed by probably her and the counselor stating that YOUR behavior was the reason why she did what she did (which is bullsh*t by the way....).

THEN, she up'd her game and had a PA with someone. She GAVE herself to another man. She given something that was promised to you and ONLY you on your wedding day and freely gave it to someone else. So, this time, definately NOT YOUR FAULT!!!! She made the choice to cheat. Nothing you did. You didn't asked to be treated like that. She just did it.

This is the second time this happened. I think you deserve more than that. There are plenty of girls in the world that would never think about cheating with a man that they truely love.
 

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What about the guy she cheated with his he married or have a gf? Have your wife write a confession outing the guy too and send it to the wife/gf.

I bet your wife won't want to betray the OM so you'll see her true loyalty is to him and not to you, that her chains to do anything it takes, only extend to doing the minimum so that you will take her back, go back to providing everything and asking nothing in return.

The therapist should give you a full refund. Especially for pressuring you to stop checking up on your wife. She has now proven through her actions and choices that she cannot be trusted. That anyone with her must constantly check up on her because she is a serial cheater

Cut off all funding to her, no more credit cards, no more joint bank accounts.
 

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Well, as a WW, I knew a few things about my marriage:

One, it is the most important thing to me. More important than my friends and having fun with them. More important than entertaining delusional fantasies.
On my priority list, my marriage is #1.
Where is it on your wife's?

Secondly, I know there are no second chances.
Hubby trusted me to hold his heart. And sadly, that is why it broken. Because I dropped it.
I destroyed my poor hubby, beating his heart into the ground.
Now, he could have divorced me and picked it up and put his shattered heart back together alone, or he could let me help him. And I am thankful everyday he lets me help him.
But for him to trust me with it again, to the same degree he did before? I don't doubt that it will tke years. But I don't blame him. I accept it, because it is my fault.
This wife has already dropped your heart twice. You really want to give it to her a third time?

Thirdly, I may have tried to blame shift, but I realized, if I want my hubby back, I can't do that. I owned up to my actions.
I went to counselors.
And there were counselors out there that told me, "Oh, it's alright. You were stressed out. Of course you would have an affair."
Then I found one that held my hand to the flame.
Sounds like your wife found one that understood her viewpoint, the WRONG view point, and went with it.

Fourthly, and this was something my counselor asked me:
Imagine yourself down the line. 2 weeks. 2 months. 2 years. At what point are you proud to call this woman your wife again?
She has already cheated when she should be proving to you, everyday, with everything in her, that she, not you, that she can make it up to you.
I try and do that everday. Sounds like your wife is too busy being loose to have any time left to prove it to you.
 

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Not really sure what/how to do this but looking to vent and gains some advice and perspective.

My wife of 9 years (together since high school so 17yrs) started down some slippery slopes about 2 years ago ... getting too friendly with my old highschool boyfriends on facebook, then texting my friends, then colleagues and people at her work (hotel). It progressed to emotional cheating and she was caught. We've been in therapy for a while and not once has she ever wanted out ... always begging me to stay and not 'kick' her out.

We stayed in therapy - and it turned into me being blamed for most of the issues ... insecurity and controlling behaviours on my end (like checking her cell phone periodically, etc, nothing stalker-esque). And overall the past 6 months have been OK, not great but OK.

Last week I started sensing more distance and more rebellious behaviour on her end (password protecting her phone, not wearing wedding rings because she's going to gym more frequently) and I finally checked up again and found she has cheated (physically) this time with a guy from the gym.

We have 2 small children (girl 8, boy 6) and I am totally conflicted ... for the past week she's beggin and saying all the right things and I do believe she doesn't want to leave the family and wants to work her problems out (previous abuses as a child perhaps or who knows) and for the sake of not taking 2 kids from their mother (I am the primary caregiver, meals, homework, activities, bread-winner, etc) I just don't know what to do ...

It is so comfortable to just be with her, touch her and be ok, but I also can't erase the image of her with someone else (even if she was emotionally detached and never wanted to end her marriage). I have never thought of straying but I am now thinking that in order to stay I have to enjoy my own life and check out from her ... I also don't want to just have sex with her and close off feelings but if I don't I end up thinking about her being with another.

Way more to the story but not sure how much to keep sharing ... man .. I'm very confused, looking for any advice from those that have reconciled and if any zebras have ever changed their stripes ... please help
I've been where you are. I can't say - and no one can - whether your wife will cheat again.

I think I know my wife regrets what she did. I haven't ever seen or heard anyone so desperate. It's as scary seeing that as knowing how callous she was for the 2 1/2 years she had a *very* passionate affair.

We had a counsellor that was supposed to "specialise" in dealing with couples that have gone through infidelity. Turns out, she left me feeling as low as I have *ever* felt in my 40+ years on this Earth.

We changed counsellors. It has been darn hard. I filed a couple of weeks back but it's on hold.

Without changing counsellors, we would not be together.

Who knows what the future holds.

One thing I have learnt from this counsellor is not to feel pressured. If you want to stay with your wife - do it. If it makes you feel good - stick with her.

You can always divorce tomorrow.

It is very, very early days for you. Take your time. You have plenty of that but you only have one marriage.

Maybe it won't work but give it a shot and you can walk away with your head held high if it comes to it.

Give yourself space and time. You need it.
 
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