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UrbanExplorer
Individual counseling and discernment counseling overlapped but had different purposes and different therapists. I still thought I wanted to leave the marriage when we started discernment counseling, while my BS wanted to stay. The purpose was to get us to agree and chart a smooth path forward in whatever direction we chose. Going through discernment counseling, and at the same time seeing my AP in a different (harmful) light, were the two things that initially made me want to stay in my marriage.

I still go to individual counseling four years later.
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strength1
A bit of an update.

You may remember that I asked H to leave OW by 2nd October or I will seek a divorce.

H has been spending more and more quality time with the family and seems more connected to us. He asks to spend time at home.

Then 2 days ago he said that he wanted to tell me that that he's missing family life, "not just the kids", and that we've built so much together... And then he said "just so you know in which direction this is going".

I took this to be a very positive step. We didn't talk further - it wasn't the moment.

Then... yesterday evening I asked what was his plan, and he didn't welcome the question - he said he had a very stressful day at work (which I know he did), and that "this isn't going to happen fast". He also said he has another appointment with the psychologist in a few days time.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I expect him to drop OW now and run back home. On the other hand, I'm not sure that's realistic with a relationship that has lasted a couple of years.
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hurting
Yet your relationship and marriage has presumably lasted far more years than his affair...
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strength1
hurting wrote:
Yet your relationship and marriage has presumably lasted far more years than his affair...


Perhaps I haven't been clear.  Can I expect him - a normally decent man before he got into the affair fog and possible MLC - to drop anyone like a hot potato. 
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Keepabuzz
strength1 wrote:


Perhaps I haven't been clear.  Can I expect him - a normally decent man before he got into the affair fog and possible MLC - to drop anyone like a hot potato. 


Yes. Yes you can, and yes you should.  You can and should tell him to decide, decide right now. Tell him you are willing to “try” to reconcile, but you refuse to share or compete. He either drops her, immediately or you will drop him.  There should be ZERO option for him to have both of you in ANY capacity for a single second. 

Mid life crisis is nothing but a worthless excuse, just like all the other worthless excuses cheating spouses try to use. There is no excuse. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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jasmine

The OW is still an “option”. The marriage is still an “option”. It’s not a good position to find yourself in. At some point you need to set a deadline by which time YOU decide your terms and conditions and put them to your husband  

To be honest, a midlife crisis is a bit of an indulgence created by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), it’s not compulsory. But it happens, and it fuels poor decisions  

I watched a horrible movie this week. One of the characters was an adulterous husband whose wife had no clue. In one scene he’s explaining to a young, idealist male student that he, like other men, go through life with the hope of achieving something important (in this case he wanted to be a published writer and have the successes he dreamed of in his youth) and when it doesn’t work out like that, he asks himself “Is this It?” And that was his excuse for his infidelities. So I told my husband I saw this film and told him of the  “Is this it?” scene and he said “yes, that’s what happens”. I know that women can go through midlife issues too but there are other realities we are faced with, like knowing our reproductive years will run into the menopause, and there’s no escaping that biological reality. My husband would say things like “I don’t want to be 50” rather than accept it as fact. He’d rather argue with reality and somehow think he was special enough to be immune to it. When he turned 40 he bought a car but it was rotten with rust and had to be scrapped within a year. He thought it “looked good”. It was a total waste of money. He also changed his hairstyle and went to some “trendy” salon and came home with the worst haircut I’d ever seen on him. And he suddenly wanted to work as some kind of “creative” but he didn’t have the qualifications or experience, and at 40+ he was not going to be hired as if he was some college leaver half his age with a relevant degree. It would have been laughable had he not turned so aggressive towards me. He was probably thinking of the life we built together and looking at me and thinking “is this it?” It’s not very nice to feel that you were reduced to a symbol of disappointment and failed ambition. I guess I related to that character’s unsuspecting wife in that movie, until she learned the truth and went into a state of frozen shock.

Strength1, I think you need to play it by ear for now. Have you listened to the Recovery Room podcasts on the “ping pong” effect? If not I suggest you do. Also, the most recent podcast on limerence is VERY interesting and well worth listening to. 

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ThrivenotSurvive
I can only say how I would feel in that situation. Take it for what you will.

I'd probably tell him fine - I get it  You need time to think about what you need and want to make firm decision for your future.  I do understand that you don't want to make a bad decision - and that you may have lingering feelings.  That all makes sense to me.  

But - just because I can understand it - doesn't mean it does not cause, in turn, a reaction - in me.  And your lingering indecision is causing me to feel a wall going up.  Brick by brick, I feel myself moving a bit farther away.  Right now, more of me wants to try and reconcile, than doesn't - but I don't know how long that will last.  This isn't manipulation or me trying to force your hand - it's just the truth.  And I don't think that many people would have even held out as long as I have.  But I do value what we had - and might could have again.  But while you've been thinking - so have I.  And I know I deserve more.  I deserve someone who doesn't just "not want to lose me" - but sees who I am and thinks they are the luckiest guy on earth to have me.  And the more you show that you aren't so certain about that - the more I start to find myself tending the fires of my love for you less and less.  I hope that if you do want this marriage you figure it out before those embers are cold.

While my husband did not waffle about the marriage for more than about 24 hours - it took him a while to really get it and own it the way I needed him to - and I told him something very much like that.  Because it was true.  

I don't know how you feel.  But that is how I would see it.  There wasn't one bone in my body that felt like "fighting" for him.  If he wanted to go - he could.  There was nothing attractive about knowing some other woman wanted him.  It made him LESS attractive that I had to think about it.  I like to adore my SO - and I want to be adored in return.  If he couldn't give it to me, or didn't think he could get back to that place fairly quickly - I was done..  I'd never stop loving him - we'd shared too much for that.  But that love would become the kind you have for someone who once meant a great deal, but now is a loving memory - no more.
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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hurting
Can you expect him to do so? I would say YES. I’m with Keepabuzz. What really matters here, is how YOU feel about what is happening. Do you want to reconcile above all else? What are you willing to put up with for the chance of reconciliation? How far are you willing to go? 

Because right now... your husband isn’t sure he even wants to reconcile with you. He’s talking about it, yes. But he is acting as though reconciliation is a given SHOULD he decide he wants you afterall.

Are you willing to wait and wait while he tries to make up his mind, meanwhile engaging with the OW, inviting her to be with him while he considers whether he feels like coming back? Or she leaves and he has had his fun? Do you actually want someone like that? 

If you are willing to let him do all of that AND still want him back after he knowingly makes you suffer for an ongoing period of time... then yes I suppose continuing to wait for HIM to make up his mind may be a viable option. 

To ME, his behaviour is completely unacceptable. Here is someone who wants it all. There is NOTHING attractive in a spouse who will willingly betray you and does not even have the decency or strength of character to make the decision to stay or go. If this had been my WS, I would rather he had just left and gotten on with his life so I could go on with mine. There is nothing attractive about a spouse who says he ‘cannot’ or ‘doesn’t know’ if he can choose you, and will leave you in limbo so he can turn back to you once he has had his fun, or as his backup plan. For that reason, I say that if he cannot or will not choose, then I will make my own decision. Because as much as we would love to be able to ‘help’ out WS make a choice, we can’t. That’s on them. And if they won’t choose, then you will be stuck waiting on him and his choice (which may never come) unless you remove yourself from the situation. 

I refuse to be a back up plan for anyone. I deserve more than that. My pre-requisite for even giving my WS a chance at reconciliation was that the affair STOP and the OW is gone from our lives. If not, I was gone. The window for reconciliation was brief and was certainly no guarantee against divorce despite any attempts we might make. 

I was ‘fortunate’ in that my WS saw that I had every intention of leaving immediately, should he not make his choice. I could not have lived through the ongoing torture of having an indecisive spouse. Having a WS, be subject to trickle truth and someone who didn’t GET IT (because let’s face it they don’t really) straight away was bad enough. 

My expectation for my WS was either stop the affair right away and possibly still get divorced, or continue and undoubtedly get divorced. This was because I did not want to live in another moment of a marriage where he was actively betraying me. What you can live with is of course, up to you...
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strength1
" Because right now... your husband isn’t sure he even wants to reconcile with you. He’s talking about it, yes. But he is acting as though reconciliation is a given SHOULD he decide he wants you afterall".

Actually I think he IS sure now.  This week has seen him do things which bring him closer to the family - I had not seen this willingness and keenness to be with the family and in the family home in many months. 

So for me the issue is not whether he wants to come back or not - it's whether it is reasonable that he expects to have some time to sort out (wind down) his relationship with OW.  My impression is that he had so built her up to a future together (this person even moved here from another continent 2 months ago, partly for work but partly to be with him), that while he has in the meantime climbed down quite a bit, she's still high up the ladder, and he's trying to let her as gently as possible.  My other impression, based on social media, is that OW doesn't handle break-ups very well. 

I'm not excusing H, I am simply trying to understand.
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anthro
strength1 wrote:
it's whether it is reasonable that he expects to have some time to sort out (wind down) his relationship with OW. 


The answer is no, it absolutely is not, and if he is willing to even contemplate that being part of the mix then he is still treating you like dirt.

The logic is absurd. Winding down the affair is like a meth addict winding down their meth use or a drunk needing a few more weeks of drinking. 

I started out a bit the way you are and kind of assumed that we were all somehow decent people in a weird situation and so I should act reasonably and could assume that on some level others were too. But that is not actually the space you now inhabit. You are in a space where someone is behaving criminally, at least in a moral sense. There is no reasonable form of rape or murder or violent assault. There is no reasonable form of continuing an affair. Please recognise that you must draw a line here, a very firm line. Things on one side are okay. Winding down or whatever else is not on the okay side of the line and nothing can make it so. You are being abused. It's not okay, not at all. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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ABCOneTwoThree
I’m probably one of the very few people on here who might feel even a little bit of sympathy for your husbands AP. 
That said, I feel none for him. 
“Winding down” will do nothing but hurt you and the AP more. There is no slow taper off from a relationship that makes it more tolerable. You need a decision now, you’re being too easy on him. If his decision is ultimately to save his marriage and rebuild, he needs to prove that to you, and proving that includes dropping his AP quickly, not through a long drawn out process. 
It will actually be better for her in the long run if it’s quick and decisive. Coming from someone that stayed involved much longer that I should have with someone in a relationship, the longer you spread out your goodbye, the worse it is. The only person benefitting from “winding down” is your husband, and that’s only because he’s not seeing any consequences. He gets to still maintain both relationships, as long as it’s under the guise of “winding down”. You’re both giving him everything, what’s he giving you in return? 
At the absolute very least, he owes you an immediate decision. With immediate action taken to make that decision a reality. No matter his decision, he owes it to you now, really he owed it to you years ago. 
Formerly EasyAsABC 
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Phoenix
He owes you way more consideration than he owes her. I could never expect my BS to wait until I was good and ready to leave my AP. If you read any affair recovery book or any blog, etc. They all they the first to reconciliation is "NO CONTACT!" If it was me in this situation there is no way that I would have the audacity to even think I could have both. I am sorry as a WS I should not judge but with all the research I have done and how hard it's been for me to reconcile with my BS it does make me very upset that your WS has it way easier because you want to save the marriage but he is still ambivalent.  
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Keepabuzz
You know it’s really bad when a former AP, and a former WS say it’s really jacked up........
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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hurting
Keepabuzz wrote:
You know it’s really bad when a former AP, and a former WS say it’s really jacked up........


This 100%
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