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Discussion Starter #1
I know this story has been told here a million times already. I'm just really struggling right now and would like to know somebody's listening.

My wife and I have been married 18 years. We've raised two great boys 14 and 16. My wife thinks she's going through a midlife crisis (she's mid-40's) and has been a bit lost since the boys got old enough they no longer "need" her. She started working full time a few years ago and enjoys it. But recently she's been struggling.

Some history: About 6 years ago wife and I had gotten very distant, not sleeping in the same room, etc. I have some pretty severe anxiety issues and can close off emotionally. She'd had something of an emotional affair with an old highschool friend at this time and I discovered it and did some serious soul searching. Wife wasn't "unhappy" at the time, and we worked on the marriage and I worked on opening up emotionally and things really improved for a while. But a couple years ago we started drifting back into old habits. I started getting closed off emotionally, drinking too much, and really resentful of her lack of participation around home. She enjoyed going out with her friends and would beg me to come along but I just kept ignoring her sometimes subtle, sometimes overt pleas to reconnect.

Just last Friday I got a message from a woman who said my wife was having an emotional if not physical affair with her husband. Confronting my wife she admitted that she and this guy started FB messaging since January and met twice at a public place. She said it was very intense, and that she basically fell in love with the guy. She said she's been very unhappy for the past year especially and has seriously considered leaving me. She says she can't imagine us growing old together anymore, and she said "every day" she thinks about the fact that our marriage probably wouldn't survive the boys leaving home.

She expresses that she's very sorry about the affair, sorry she's hurt me. She'll do "whatever you want" (her words) including me kicking her out or leaving her. I told her I want to work on us. And I do. I had to sleep on it and realized what I really want is to get into therapy and address my anxiety disorders, drinking, etc. I feel like my marriage might be too far gone, and looking beyond her leaving me I feel like I will be a very unhappy person all my life if I don't get the help I need. I feel like working on me is my only chance of being able to emotionally connect with anybody (including her). And if that helps save my marriage then so be it.

Thanks for listening. Any experiences/advice are welcome of course.

--steve
 

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Yeah, I know the story and went through this on other forums when I was going through the first episode.

My wife's very shy sexually, her story about only meeting twice briefly in public checks out with the other guy's story (according to his wife). She admits she wouldn't blame me if I don't believe her because how am I supposed to trust her. But I trust her in this. I'm not concerned if they had sex anyway, I'm more concerned that she's feeling love for somebody else and while she says she still loves me I don't know what to trust.

What I don't understand is how somebody can text back and forth and achieve such emotional connection? Like what do you say to each other that makes things so intimate? What need is he filling that I wasn't, or might not be able to? Those are the kinds of things going through my mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm also not sure if she can give it up. She got something out of this. I am not going to watch her like a hawk. So time will tell I've got to work on me right now while struggling with the pain of knowing our days together might be numbered.
 

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OP,

So many BS's make the mistake of believing their WW spouse when they say it is only an EA. I did as well. But you have two things that point to this being a PA.

- She's says she in love with the OM

- They've had the chance to hook up.

Motive and opportunity.

You need to be sure you know what you're trying to forgive. You should assume it's a PA until you get solid evidence. If she won't admit it, you need to keep on digging. You will get all the help you will need to discreetly monitor her on this board.
 

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What need is he filling that I wasn't, or might not be able to? Those are the kinds of things going through my mind.
Here are a few possibilities for needs he might be filling that you aren't or might not be capable of filling.

But a couple years ago we started drifting back into old habits. I started getting closed off emotionally, drinking too much, and really resentful of her lack of participation around home. She enjoyed going out with her friends and would beg me to come along but I just kept ignoring her sometimes subtle, sometimes overt pleas to reconnect.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OP,

So many BS's make the mistake of believing their WW spouse when they say it is only an EA. I did as well. But you have two things that point to this being a PA.

- She's says she in love with the OM

- They've had the chance to hook up.

Motive and opportunity.

You need to be sure you know what you're trying to forgive. You should assume it's a PA until you get solid evidence. If she won't admit it, you need to keep on digging. You will get all the help you will need to discreetly monitor her on this board.
What's the difference between forgiving a PA vs an EA? Is one "less damaging" than the other? If I had to say it's the EA that's worse. If the reason she's gotten to love him is due to the PA, what's the difference? It's the intimacy and her feelings for him that are most damaging.
 

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She expresses that she's very sorry about the affair, sorry she's hurt me. She'll do "whatever you want" (her words) including me kicking her out or leaving her. I told her I want to work on us. And I do. I had to sleep on it and realized what I really want is to get into therapy and address my anxiety disorders, drinking, etc. I feel like my marriage might be too far gone, and looking beyond her leaving me I feel like I will be a very unhappy person all my life if I don't get the help I need. I feel like working on me is my only chance of being able to emotionally connect with anybody (including her). And if that helps save my marriage then so be it.

Thanks for listening. Any experiences/advice are welcome of course.

--steve
I'd take her up on her offer to do whatever you want. Since you want to save the marriage, I'd usually recommend having her implement the steps in Surviving an Affair as a condition to staying married to you. The list includes telling you the extent of the affair, taking a polygraph to confirm, exposing to family and close friends on both sides, and implementing extraordinary precautions to keep this from ever happening again. This happened because your wife has poor boundaries around men. She will need to end all contact with the OM, change her numbers, and provide you with full transparency from now on. She will need to agree to not have male friends unless they are friends of the marriage and socialize with the two of you together as a couple.

That said, you also need the book Lovebusters to understand that you need to work on being a better/more attractive husband. The author of both books is a licensed clinical psych who has been counseling couples for decades and states that until any addiction is eliminated, a couple cannot improve their marriage. Your drinking to the point of upsetting your wife means you have been putting alcohol above her and the marriage. This needs to stop if you are going to prove to her that you can have a happy marriage together.

I'd show her, starting today, that you are serious about making her your number 1 priority by no longer drinking and no longer living independently. You two also need to commit to spending 15 hours a week dating each other, as discussed in His Needs, Her Needs, another book you need to download today. Once you two begin spending time together meeting eachother's emotional needs, your wife will stop missing the OM and you two will no longer be able to live like roommates. You'll be in love again.
 

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What I don't understand is how somebody can text back and forth and achieve such emotional connection? Like what do you say to each other that makes things so intimate? What need is he filling that I wasn't, or might not be able to?
He told her these things:

You are attractive. A lot of men must bother you a lot.
You are hot. I love how you look in jeans.
You are the perfect women. Your's husband is so lucky to have you.

I like your smile.
I like your eyes.
I like the way you talk.

You are smart.
You make me feel so good when we are together.

I could get lost in your eyes.
I could see us living together forever.

I am not after you for sex. I just enjoy being with you. I know you feel the same.

I know we are both married, but we deserve to be happy.

No one will ever know if we are very careful very discrete.

When we hold each other tight all our problems seem so small.
 

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What's the difference between forgiving a PA vs an EA? Is one "less damaging" than the other? If I had to say it's the EA that's worse. If the reason she's gotten to love him is due to the PA, what's the difference? It's the intimacy and her feelings for him that are most damaging.
Well, for many men - maybe most (including myself), there's a hell of a lot of difference. For one thing, if she's in love with him but has intentionally refrained from having sex, at least she's respected her wedding vows enough to not let it get to that point.

And, if you ever have to deal with the mind movies of your wife having sex with a POSOM, you'll further understand it.

And, knowing that if she did have sex with him, she's continuing to deceive you by lying about it. That's hard to swallow as well.

That said, if an EA is just as bad as a PA to you; I respect that. I guess that makes your decision easier and you can stop the snooping.
 

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She is still lying to you.

have her get tested for stds and you do the same.

File for D. You are wasting your time on her. She is already gone.

Fix yourself like you want to, but have her leave, if she said she would leave.
 

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Let her go.

(From another thread. I did not write this)
Just Let Them Go

The end result?

The end result is to respect yourself in the end,
let go of the people that don't value you or respect you.

That is the end result.

The quickest way to get a cheating spouse back is to let them go with a smile on your face wishing them the best in life and hoping that everything works out in their relationship with their affair partner.

Seriously, the quickest way to get them back.

Nothing else works better or quicker.

Let them go.

Agree with them and their feelings,
"you should be with the OM, I hope he makes you happy, good bye"

Wouldn't that be true love?

If you really loved your spouse,
and wanted them to have what they really want in life which is the other person they're in love with,
wouldn't letting them go be the approach if you really love them?

Why focus on the affair or the drama associated with it?
Just let them go. Give them their freedom.

You can take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror everyday and improve yourself but do it for you, not for someone else, the changes will never stick when it's done for someone else, do it for your benefit and you will probably make those changes last much longer if not indefinitely - because it's for your benefit and you realize the importance and value in that benefit because YOU are involved.

I will never tell someone to change to entice a WAW back when she's been cheating on him. I don't care how bad a marriage, there is never an excuse for cheating. That is a personal decision that someone makes to cheat on their spouse. If a marriage is really bad, leave, get a divorce, speak up to your spouse and tell them flat out "this marriage sucks and if things don't change I'm going to leave you and find someone better" and if things don't improve, leave that person.

But cheating, no excuses.

Think about cheating.
A wayward spouse who cheats on their spouse goes behind their back, secretly, telling lies, feeling guilty, getting angry at their spouse for getting in the way of their fantasies but never owning up to their actions, never admitting what they're doing. If a person who cheats on their spouse felt justified in their actions, why hide and go behind their spouses backs when they start cheating, why lie, why make up excuses about late nights at work and going to a friends place and sleeping over because they drank too much and any other such nonsense?

Deep down, the cheating spouse knows there is something inherently wrong with their actions otherwise they wouldn't lie about their actions and hide what they're doing.

Fighting the affair? For what reason?
To compete with the OM or OW for your spouse?
What message does that communicate to your wayward spouse?
They have lots of value and you have none because now you have to compete with another person for their love? Competing with your wayward spouse's affair partner never works, it just prolongs an ugly drama filled process.

And for your last point,
The easiest way to show you will not tolerate cheating in your relationship is to let that person go. That is the easiest and most effective way to show this.

"Look wife/husband, I won't be in an open relationship with you, I won't give you X number of days, weeks, months to make your mind, if you really feel like you need to sit on the fence on this decision and can't decide between your affair partner and me well I will make the decision for you, you can be with them because I'm no longer an option. I love you and wish you a good life with them and hope it works out for you because it didn't work out for us. Now the best thing we can do for each other is to make this process as graceful and peaceful as possible for us and our children, I'll contact a lawyer/mediator and get started on the process of our legal separation/divorce."

You give them what they want.
You don't fight them on this issue.
You agree with their feelings,
they want to be with the other person, fine they should be with the other person, let them be with the other person.

You will never convince a person to change their feelings with your arguments and logic. You can not find one member on this website in a situation where they are dealing with infidelity where they got their spouse to change their mind about how they feel about their affair partner.

You can't say "don't love them, love me instead",
you can't say "look at me, I'm better in every way compared to your affair partner, pick me instead of them",
you can't say "you took marriage vows, you promised to love me"

I agree, you don't have to make it easy for your wayward spouse to have an affair, but when you let them go, "lovingly detach", you don't have to worry about making it easy for them. It's no longer your concern, they can have you or them but not both and not at the same time and since they've chosen to have an affair, they've made their choice, there is no profit in fighting that decision. Let them go and move on with your life, that is the quickest, easiest way to get them back.

You definitely don't support them financially and enable them, that would be weak, wussy, clingy, insecure behavior - something in you telling you that you need to support them financially while they're having an affair, hoping they'll realize how nice you are and come back to you.

Just let them go, have them move out or you move out and live a good life without them.
 

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@Tundra7346 Several things need to be fixed, here. Not necessarily in this order:-

You, your wife, your marriage.

Things that will help are marriage counselling -once the affair is over- individual counselling, a polygraph test and an initial appointment with a divorce lawyer.
 

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There are some odd themes that appear in stories of infidelity. You should be prepared:

1) Sometimes when a wandering spouse says they've contemplated divorce, they're actually nowhere near facing the reality of divorce when the papers are served. Sometimes filing for divorce is a good way to wake up the wandering spouse and readjust their priorities.
2) The "sexually shy" wandering spouse has often done things with their affair partner that would make a sailor blush--things they refused to do with their own spouse. The betrayed spouse often finds this incredibly hurtful and unrecoverable.
3) When the wandering spouse says "I've stopped the affair", the affair usually continues, but is better hidden.
4) Begging your wandering spouse to stay, or crying in front of them usually has the opposite of the intended effect. The best results are often achieved by showing your wandering spouse that you'll be just fine without them. However, in your case, it sounds like you've already put distance between the two of you over the past years. So I'm not sure what your best course of action is in this respect.
 

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Honestly, I'm not sure what you need from this forum. You know what happened (at least partially), you know why, and you know what to do for yourself.

That's about all you need.

If you want the marriage, ask her if she does. Ask her if you improved X, Y, Z, would she be interested in moving forward with you. If she says yes, then do those things to help your marriage. If she says anything other than that, just do it for yourself, like you mentioned. Either way, you have your marching orders, and you seem to know what they are.

Good luck.
 

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I know this comment is way out in left field. That's where I reside, but whatever you do, don't beg or coerce her to stay. As a matter of fact you'd probably be ahead of the game by filing for divorce now.
 

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OP,

So many BS's make the mistake of believing their WW spouse when they say it is only an EA. I did as well. But you have two things that point to this being a PA.

- She's says she in love with the OM

- They've had the chance to hook up.

Motive and opportunity.

You need to be sure you know what you're trying to forgive. You should assume it's a PA until you get solid evidence. If she won't admit it, you need to keep on digging. You will get all the help you will need to discreetly monitor her on this board.
What's the difference between forgiving a PA vs an EA? Is one "less damaging" than the other? If I had to say it's the EA that's worse. If the reason she's gotten to love him is due to the PA, what's the difference? It's the intimacy and her feelings for him that are most damaging.
What if she lied about not having sex with him. Would that bother you? I think it would. It seems like OM and WW were able to get their story straight.
 
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