Littlebylittle
My husband of 14 years says he wants to stay married but doesn't know if he can. Three months ago I confronted him about a suspected affair. He admitted to having a long-term, emotionally and physically intimate affair with a client. They both admit to being best friends. That statement and other things he has said about the affair have been extremely hurtful but I am trying to move towards forgiveness because I want nothing more than to rebuild a stronger marriage with him. I still love him, he says he still loves me too. But he doesn't show it and he doesn't talk to me. I have said so much he has said so little. I have sent him letters, notes, cards and he says "thank you, I'm sorry, love you" and that's pretty much it. He is spending more time at home when he can so he is trying in some ways for sure, but it doesn't feel like enough. I want him to tell me how he's feeling, not just reply to my outpouring of emotions with "I am just needing to reconcile things in my own head". What does that even mean? I want him to show me how he loves me, not just reply with "love you too" when I say it. I want him to try and get me back, to date me, to make me feel important, wanted, loved. 
Is this asking too much? Should I just be happy that he's at least trying to stay with me? Should I give him time and space to just figure it out? That's kind of what I'm thinking. Let it go. If it's going to happen it will - or it won't and our marriage will be over. I just don't know how to do that, I'm not able to let him be, I still feel desperate and confused a lot of the time. 
Thank you for your ear, your time, your support - it all helps. 

BS
Dday April 26, 2019
2 kids, married 14 years
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ThrivenotSurvive
It's hard to tell what is going on in him.  In long-term affairs there are a lot of bonds formed - he may just be withdrawing from that.  Or he may be holding himself back in shame.  Or he may not be 100% sure one way or the other what he wants or how he feels as he may be in his own shock from finding himself in a place he never expected.  Or it could be one of a hundred other things.  

Trying to figure out what is going on in his mind will make you crazy - and take you outside of yourself.  

I remember feeling the same way you did... I wanted my husband to fight for me.  I needed and wanted him to show me that he still saw me as desirable, valuable.  And I was scanning him constantly for signs, trying to read into everything he did my worth - or lack of it. 

Then I gave myself a "Come to Jesus" talk.  Did I really want a marriage where I was chasing my partner for love?  Where I felt like I had to be my most pretty, special. loving, happy, pleasant self to deserve love?  Hell no.  I wanted to be loved equally.  I wanted to be valued for who I was - good, bad and ugly.  That what I was giving... so I expected it in return.  

Take a step back.  Right now you are devaluing yourself to YOU and HIM.  He should be reminding YOU why YOU should even want to be married to him.  

You need to do the 180 or the closest thing to it you can muster.  As I have mentioned on this site before, once I decided that I was interested in saving my marriage I made it very clear to my husband that I loved him and would do my best to help us rebuild.  But I aslo told him that I didn't want someone by my side that didn't want to be there.  I loved him and ME enough that I'd rather walk away if this was not what he wanted.  I knew i could, and would be happy and love again.  It just might take a while. 

I told him to take some time and really explore what he needed and wanted - while I did the same.  The I told him that if he did decide he wanted US, it wouldn't be easy.  That every day I fought the urge to get in my car and drive away.  So he was going to have to do a lot of internal work that he HATED to do, while simultaneously wooing me - reminding me that I was his CHOICE and not his responsibility.  I asked him to think about that as he made his choice.  But I also told him that I would be there too - right by his side doing everything to heal myself and us - if I saw that he was committed too.  We were either in it together - or not in it at all.  There was literally no way in hell I'd chase someone who'd betrayed me.  Instead, he'd be doing the majority of the work to prove my faith in trying was well founded.  

I did this for me and for him.  It would break my heart to lay beside someone when I thought they'd be happier somewhere else.  And I deserve someone madly in love with me.  Because that is what I give back  

He tried to tell me that he already knew what he wanted (us), etc.  But I said, great - but I still want you to think about it.  And in the mean time, I got busy on ME.  This is what I suggest that you do.  

Sometimes giving people the option to leave with your blessing (or at least no recrimination) causes them to do it - but these people would have left eventually anyway.  It's what they really want to do, but can't bring themselves to say so. 

But just as often telling them to go if that is what they need to do, opens their eyes.  A part of them has been thinking that YOU are the thing standing between them and freedom, or joy, or refinding themselves or whatever the hell they've been seeking.  Now that the door is standing wide open and they aren't so sure they want to walk out it, they have to start thinking about what the rel reasons are that they aren't happy.  And maybe they have nothing to do with you.  Maybe it's all in THEM.  Or maybe it is some of both - some things in them that they haven't addresses, that have resulted in patterns between the two of you that aren't healthy.  Whatever the case - you stop being ground zero.  They can suddenly see that if they replace you with someone else, things won't suddenly be perfect and easy like they've told themselves.  

From this place, a better marriage can be built.  But as another poster said in another thread - no one has EVER won the pick me game, the love me game.  It only breaks you down - and makes you seem desperate to them.  Pull back.  Don't be cold, but don't show him your undying love either.  Pour all that love into YOU.  Take up your favorite hobbies, spend time with friends, reconnect with the best part of you.  When you stop chasing, he might notice and start chasing you.  But as long as you are doing it, there isn't a reason in the world for him to.  
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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Littlebylittle
This is exactly what I need to hear, to do. It's hard to break the "pick me, love me" cycle. I just can't get my mind to stop looking for all of those signs of affection. 
I am also afraid that he will go. It was disengagement and numbness that pushed our marriage to this point in the first place, I don't want to be that way again.
I know you are right. Thank you for this encouragement. It is so helpful. 
Today I'm a little farther ahead than yesterday. A little more focused on me and what I need, and it isn't chasing after him, the person who has hurt me the most. 
Thanks again.
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ThrivenotSurvive
You are welcome.  And trust me, it is hard for all of us.  Don't get down on yourself about it  We are hardwired to seek love and connection.  But stepping back and finding ways to give yourself that love and acceptance will be the very best gift you can give yourself.  And if he leaves - he was meant to go.  And there will be something better in the wings.  

And if he doesn't, you will start rebuilding from a much healthier place for you both.  
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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Damaged
Hi Little, sorry you are here. I don’t mean to be negative, but my first thought was that he is probably still in the A. You mentioned in a previous post that they still may be in contact. Contact means he is still in the A. You can’t recover if he is still in the A.             My H was also in  LTA “ Deeply emotional loving relationship “, they were BFFs. I had no idea that he would continue contact after discovery.                                                         Monitor everything. Check phone records.          I know that you are scared, but you need to get ahead of the game here.                            He’s not sure he wants to stay married to you! Really! You are not in recovery. Compile all the information and store it. Contact the OW BS if she has one. Secretly meet with an attorney to find out your rights. Stop the pick me dance now!! 180 his butt. Shock is probably the only thing that will work on this guy. Reality may set in when he realizes that he may loose half off everything plus pay child support. You deserve so much better. Your goal should be to take care of yourself and your children and to get out of infidelity with or without him.
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Littlebylittle
Damaged, I know you are right too. 
He's still in contact for what he calls "necessary work purposes", but I suspect they are still at minimum friends, how much more I don't know because he won't talk to me. I have been clear that his being friends with her is not ok with me. 
I know it's time for me to be stronger than I have been, to put my own needs first, to realize he's still hurting me. And I know I deserve so much more. 
180 is scary. I am not sure how to get started. I don't want to hurt him or my kids either. 
I would do anything to save my marriage, but at what cost? Me, I guess. So I know just by posting this topic the answer was already in front of me. He's not treating me right. I'm not treating me right either. 
Thank you for your words and advice, it is helpful and nice to hear others have been in the same place. 
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Damaged
Little, The 180 is not about hurting your H. It’s about making you stronger. Your H is the one who has hurt your children, not you. You didn’t make him have an A. Your H also has no problem hurting you! He knows that you don’t want him to continue contact with AP but he is doing it anyway. A WS that wants to reconcile will do anything to make the M work. They will cut contact, move , get down on hands and knees. Anything to save the marriage. Your H seems to be doing very little to R. You are so early out your probably still in shock. I know I was. I have read so many stories. BSs that go into this from a point of strength seems to fair better ( be it in R or D). Please take care of yourself.
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Fionarob
Little,
I don't know if I can add any words of wisdom that haven't already been expressed here.  But I can say I was in the exact position that you have found yourself in, and my reactions were exactly the same as yours.  I wanted to save the marriage, would have done anything to do so, and basically did sacrifice my own happiness and well being in order to try and fix things.  I recognised, as have you, that disengagement and numbness had led to my ex seeking something outside of the marriage.  So the only way to fix that, it seemed, was to do the opposite and inject love, affection, energy and passion back into our marriage.

The problem with that is I was fixing a problem that was no longer relevant - I was fixing the part of the marriage that had become 'stale'.  But the real problem was my ex, and the fact that he was now 'madly in love' with someone else.  So I could have become the absolute model wife and woman of anyone's dreams, but it was going to make little difference to him.  His feelings were totally about her, I may as well have been invisible.  Aside from that - if the marriage has gone 'stale' then both parties are responsible, it is never the fault of just one person.  Both should be doing things to fix that.

Looking back, it's almost laughable.  The things I was doing in order to 'win him back' - organising romantic surprise date nights, whisking him on weekends away, candlelit dinners, leaving him little love notes....the list goes on and it makes me cringe to think of it.  The effort I was putting in was monumental.  His effort - managing to end contact with her for a week or two, three at the most.

I knew he was still in love with her and he was hurting.  Even though that caused me tremendous pain, I tried to be empathetic and be there for him when he was hurting.  Utterly ridiculous.  That's how desperate I was.  Because I knew the end of the marriage would cause me pain, but more than that, I knew how much it would hurt my children.  I couldn't bear the thought of that happening to them.  Incidentally, I think your husband's line about "needing to reconcile things in his head" is basically his way of saying he is still in love with her and not with you.  He is trying to decide if he can stop loving her and start loving you again and he knows that is going to be extremely tough.  Just my guess, but I've been there remember!  He is wrestling with the choice between you and fixing a marriage he doesn't really want to be in right now, or being with her where everything no doubt feels perfect, great, amazing, fun etc.  What is her situation - is she married?

Don't do the 180 if it doesn't feel right.  But try not to go out of your way to chase him or fix anything.  For now that is enough.  I know how difficult it is just to focus on you, but put all your energy into that if you can.  Don't beat yourself up if you 'relapse', it's only natural because you don't want to feel like you are giving up on your marriage.  Take each day at a time.  And try not to look for signs of affection or love from him.  I know this is horrible to hear, but at the moment most of his thoughts will be about the AP, not you.  He won't be able to just switch those feelings off and back to you.  Get on with living your life as much as you can right now.

Come here and talk to us as much as possible in those times where you just don't know what to do or who to talk to.  Have you told anyone else? Close friends or family? 
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Littlebylittle
Thanks Fionarob
It's hard to hear some of that, especially that he probably still loves her. He told me if he couldn't get his feelings back for me and stay in the marriage,  it wouldn't be for the AP. I'm not sure if that's true though. It's very frustrating and confusing to not know how he's feeling or what is going on in his head. I have asked him to talk to me but he doesn't. 
The energy I'm putting in to repair and chasing him is exhausting. I know it's preventing me from being healthy. 
He treats me like a family member but not as a lover. He's polite and we do our house/children business together but it's not enough to repair the damage he's done. I know I am partially responsible for an unhappy marriage and I have told him that several times, in person and in writing. He has not said anything except "I'm sorry,  I love you, I need time and space".
Even from DD he's not been forthcoming about anything. I've scraped and pulled the info I have out of him regarding the affair. 
I go to counseling and have a few good friends to confide in and discuss my situation,  one of them is a BS-10 years DD. 
They are all saying the same,  let him go,  focus on me and what I need. 
But what I want most is my marriage!
I really appreciate your message because you have been in this very same situation. Did your marriage end or did you repair eventually?
The AP is 12 years younger than him, 7 years younger than me. She's not married and has no children. I have not contacted her and will not.
I think you're right,  he's not willing to give her up. Why can't he just tell me that? 
Two days from now is the 15th anniversary of the day we met.
I'm doing better today after the advice and support from this post and the caring members like yourself. It's still one day at a time. 
Thank you so much. 


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Fionarob
Little,
Glad to hear you had a better day - you will probably find you are very up and down for a long time.

In answer to your question, no, we didn't repair the marriage.  Eventually I came to the realisation that he would not/could not end the affair.  She was never going to give him up.  The only way it would end was if I removed myself from the triangle.  So I made him leave.  Even then, he was trying to claim that the affair was over, that he wasn't going to run to her.  He went to live with his parents......but I knew he was still in contact with her and sure enough, they continued their relationship.  They are still together today, three years on.  Making him leave was the best thing I did.  He claimed continuously that he didn't want to be with her, that he would choose me over her every single time, that I was the better person in every way, that he couldn't bear to walk away from me or the children.  I don't know how much he meant.  I do think he was addicted to her and the affair, he just couldn't end it.  He would often say he wished she would end it, so that he had no choice.  She wasn't married - so she had nothing to lose by clinging on.  He had everything to lose, and he did.

I honestly don't know how he feels about everything now.  Once I made him leave he was very angry towards me and said some bizarre things.  Suddenly he had no control, whereas before he was pulling al the strings.  He was being forced into a situation because I was no longer willing to allow what he was doing.  If he couldn't choose, then I did the choosing for him.  I have no regrets, I tried long and hard enough to make things work.  I think he just couldn't fall back in love with me or choose the marriage, because he was so obsessed with her and blinded by his feelings.  Maybe they were genuinely 'meant to be together'.  Who knows.  The pull for him was that she made him feel amazing, but when he looked at me he was just reminded of all the selfish, bad choices he had made and how much he had ruined things.  He said to me that he "had it all" and he ruined it all by himself.

Your husband may be in a different place than mine was, he might be a stronger person and able to walk away from her.  But it is going to be a difficult thing for him to do and the hardest thing for you is to stand by and watch, while he makes his choice.  But you can't try and convince him or persuade him.  The fact that I tried to convince and persuade just meant that I suffered for much longer.  I should have just made him leave the day I found out.  It was only because he kept telling me he didn't want her that I kept trying.  He even told me that he needed me to help him walk away from her.  So that's what I tried to do.
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triplehooks
Little,

I was in your exact spot about a year ago, dealing w a long term spouse having feelings for someone else, which she acquired through an illegitimate relationship with a neighbor, family friend, father of our daughter’s best friend.  He was married too.  

We were considered a “success” by our entire social network, a model family etc.,  and we “had everything”.  A large extended family that was loving and gathered frequently, four smart, healthy, happy kids, a religious community with which we were actively engaged.  She was a SAHM and I was an entrepreneur.  She was a WONDERFUL mom, and I was a very involved dad.  Inside our marriage, like ANY other marriage, we had plenty to improve, and there were episodes along our 20+ year journey that caused plenty of friction. And for sure with four kids (ten year age spread between them all) we carried a HEAVY load and in the more recent years life became a long list of chores and constant coming and going to chase/support our kids activities and there was not enough effort going into “us”.  But I never ONCE entertained a third party, and I couldn’t believe it was even possible that she would. 

But she did.  

The day AFTER d-day, the day after I didn’t sleep a wink all night and remembered “hey wait a minute the phone records should tell me something (and they did. She spent TWO HOURS talking to him AFTER telling me about their bullsh!t deception, AFTER I told her she had to end it and she said she was “trying to”).  That morning after I told her she could not even be in contact with him if she were going to continue living in this house, that I would not tolerate being disrespected, having our marriage disrespected, or our children disrespected this way and her still live here.  

Although I was clear about my feelings about that, I had absolutely zero way to enforce it and sure enough she just went right along maintaining contact, just in ways I couldn’t observe.  

Meanwhile I was on the floor.  

The first three months after d-day I was, just like you, doing heavy lifting and holding the vigil for our marriage.  I prayed and prayed, and wept a lot, barely slept, worked my ASS off working out and tried to stay strong for the sake of the kids (but it was impossible to hide my grief).  I wanted to appear the most awesome version of myself while waiting for my sweet bride to turn toward me. But I also stopped entertaining this bullsh!t idea that her betrayal had ANYTHING to do with me, an idea she was wedded to.  I expected her to do some ACTUAL repair work, do the things necessary for a cheater to regain their position.  Instead she was “confused” and “working on herself” and “not wanting to be shackled” and “concerned she was being tracked” blah blah blah.  She shopped for a therapist that would be ideal for her (not push back on her narrative too much) and anytime we saw any kind of affair recovery specialist she shut down and refused to continue.  She couldn’t handle any accountability for what she had done. She became a world class blameshifter, rationalizer, and justifier, and seemed to have been “validation shopping” by telling her story to many of our close friends.  Instead of hiding what she had done she went the route of trying to gain as much sympathy as possible for the horrible choice she was “forced to make”, “out of desperation” for “emotional intimacy” she was being “deprived of” by her “emotionally unavailable husband” who was “too into his work”.  HIS work.  She was a stay at home mom, mind you.  HIS work?  I digress....

So that narrative being played back to me by our friends was a royal mindf*ck.  It suggested I “deserved” that. But it was an externalizations she was making and she wasn’t owning her own feelings nor did she find a healthy way to deal with them instead of boning that idiot down the street.  

D-day was April 2018.  I found out in December 2018 they had maintained some form of contact at least monthly since April.  F*ckers...

As for the mindf*ck, it’s a strategy.  It creates the kind of confusion and bewilderment that makes a BS freeze, not take any action, and usually engage in pick me dancing.  Part of that dance is the constant rumination about the relationship, the longing for what was, which leads to expectations of our spouse.  The myth of “the fog” gives these cheaters cover to “ask for space” which RARELY is time to think.  It’s almost always cover for continued bad behavior under the guise of something constructive.  This seems the pattern anyway after reading thousands of threads on a variety of boards. Cheaters mentioning “space” “to think” of any kind usually means “space” to “keep talking to/texting/meeting/having sex with this other person”.  

They abuse your bewilderment to feed their own selfishness.  

Its hard to understand for us BSs.  Most of us are just hard wired for loyalty and commitment.  

We expect cheaters to do what we would if we if we screwed up this badly: own our bad choices, be sorry, reassure our spouses of our commitment, do ANYTHING we can to repair, work TIRELESSLY to regain trust, etc. 

While a small number of cheaters may be normal people like us who just screw up and are remorseful, it is clear that MANY are disordered people that have been very good at hiding their disorders but the cheating provides a glimpse of who they REALLY are.  I personally believe this is the vast majority. They are so entitled to just take a giant dump all over their vows because of their fragile feelings.  It’s such crap.  

The only thing that seems to provide a BS any relief is to bring about natural consequences by some kind of pulling back (separation, divorce) where the cheater experiences the losses they are forcing on their families with their sick behavior.  So, loss of a comfortable environment in which to cheat and violate all their promises (no more pick me dancing), loss of the home they used to live in (kick them out), loss of respect of their children (kids ask why mommy/daddy doesn’t live here anymore — don’t lie/cover up for the cheater, tell them mommy/daddy got a girlfriend/boyfriend and that’s not acceptable for a married person to do), loss of job if they are screwing a co-worker/client (make a robust plan to get on your own feet financially), loss of respect of their social network/family (don’t hide what’s happening from them either). 

I see from your responses you are about where I was three months out, confused by your spouse but hopeful for a turn of events that will restore normalcy, broken hearted as well. Wanting to be careful and thoughtful not to ruin the possibility that your husband might come back to your loving arms.  I am SO sorry this is happening to you.  

But understand that your husband isn’t demonstrating he gives a single sh!t about you or your kids.  He is carefully deceiving you into to thinking that he MIGHT but when you have to read the tea leaves about whether it’s possible that he might...that’s a bullsh!t situation to live with.  And it’s just not good enough.  Don’t accept it. Call it what it is: unacceptable.  TELL him it’s unacceptable.  Be strong, lay down a gauntlet like a Thrive suggested.  Give him ONE chance to respond the RIGHT way, and if he doesn’t, get active building your leverage to get what you deserve.  

Collect information.  Hire a PI.  Get all the dirt you can on his homewrecker.  Expose it to people she cares about, like her employer, her family, her friends.  She doesn’t have ANY right to be engaging with your husband. Don’t be “respectful” of her privacy.  She is not respecting the most private thing you have: your marriage, you owe her NOTHING.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice but it’s well established that truth is a complete defense to libel/defamation.  Stick to the truth in your exposures if any.  Blow their sh!t up.  Hire an attorney.  Get evidence of his adultery and keep it in your back pocket for divorce proceedings.  If you’re in a fault state (are you in the US?) it will be leverage.  Are you in a place that has “alienation of affection” laws?  Sue his paramour.  In North Carolina multi-million $ judgments against paramours have been awarded to BSs.  In many states in the US adultery is a crime.  Well it’s a misdemeanor but a crime nonetheless.  Public fornication is also a crime. Lots of this action happens in minivans in parking lots.  

Does his girlfriend have herpes?  Gonorrhea?  Crabs?  HIV?  She is “polluting” your husband.  Does HE shave any STIs?  If he spreads them she can sue him.  That will impact YOUR money if you’re still married when that happens.  Is she an alcoholic?  Into substances?  He may leave you and commit to her.  Do you want that around your children?  Does she have violent people in her life?  Do you want THAT around your children?  

These are things you dont don’t know right now, but they are VERY relevant to know.  They have implications for all manner of things involving: his judgment, her safety as a possible person in your children’s lives, YOUR understanding of the REALITY of what he got into, and whether you can accept him after taking a deep dive into that reality.  Most of us aren’t thinking about these things at 3 months.  Even if we are informed about them in the form of advice, it’s very hard to ACT at this stage because the grief and sorrow can be so consuming.  But patience seems to rarely pay in these situations.  Certainly when we don’t apply boundaries and are also patient that’s usually a recipe for misery while the bad behavior continues.  Try to pick yourself up and take action NOW. 

Learning those things about my wife's boy friend changed how I saw the situation.  I completely lost respect for her although I loved her with all my heart.  She got involved w a guy w an eighth grade education, abusive to his own wife and kids (emotionally more than physically), drinking problems, bad financial skills, and has oral and genital herpes. HERPES!!  She was a virgin when we married FFS. Our children all knew to some degree and the info is out there in the community.  It’s really poisoned the well.  

Also, in my case (but not in yours since his girlfriend isn’t married) I had to grapple with the fact that my wife conspired with her boyfriend in an enterprise that collapsed his marriage and family.  He divorced.  His wife’s standard of living is now reduced.   His daughters bounce between two homes and are devastated at the loss of their family.  My wife had a hand in that.  She is a home wrecker.  My wife who used to be sought after for parenting advice is now getting flipped off when driving through the neighborhood.  It’s pretty sad.  And certainly ALL these behaviors and facts would not be on my shopping list if I were out there in the market looking for a mate.  They would be on my list of deal breakers.  

These people are criminals.  Your husband is a criminal. He is stealing from you.  He is a home wrecker (his own). His paramour is a criminal. She is stealing from you.  She is murdering your family.  She is a home wrecker. Is it possible she doesn’t know he’s married?  Doubtful. If she doesn’t that makes your husband the WORST kind of liar.  

Little, do you have a way to live comfortably without him, or are your finances currently dependent on him?  If you can stand on stand on your own feet and support your kids I’d recommend giving your husband ONE CHANCE to do the right thing and do it immediately.  Give him an ultimatum.  “Choose motherf*cker.”  Then make it apparent to him that you will be building your new life.  Kick him out, get a separation agreement in place, secure child and spousal support and be earning your living too.  Start figuring out what weaknesses if any you have in your internal construct that makes you tolerate abuse.  Detach. And gray rock his ass.  With time and minimal communication you will see more clearly what was really happening here: he was abusing you.  All the voices inside that were telling you to accept it anyway will start sounding crazier and you will silence them and heal.  

I hope you get whatever ever you WANT and more importantly what you deserve.  Don’t let this schmuck have your support another day if he isn’t immediately willing to cease contact with this home wrecker and do everything in his power to make amends to you and your kids.  



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ThrivenotSurvive
One thing I realized I did not make clear.  While I did ask my husband to consider what he wanted and made it clear I’d be okay either way -  I also said that I would NOT compete for his attention.  That meant that while he was contemplating us - he had to go no contact with her.  He was welcome to see her - but if he did I would take it as a sign that I should also seek outside company and begin moving on with my life.  

One thing that helped was my husband knew me well enough to know that I not only meant it - I would be dating before he could blink.  

That made him think LONG and HARD about losing me and what it would feel like to see me with another man.  He’d never thought that was a possible outcome (it was all going to end quietly and no one would ever know - idiotic)

And I CHECKED every method available to me to make sure that was true. I was vigilant for the 9-12 months, random checks for another year... now the only reason I would looked is if something felt off. 

This should be non-negotiable.  If they can’t break from the AP for long enough to decide which way they are going - they’ve given you an answer.  

You need to make your husband begin to seriously contemplate what life without you, your love and attention might look like.  Not to be mean - but because it is the logical conclusion of the way he’s behaving.  
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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triplehooks
I like Thrive’s suggestion here.  BEYOND what she says in conclusion “...seriously contemplate life without you...” she also points out (and I just re-emphasizing) that you must make him contemplate you with another man. I’d go one further and say go right for the jugular there too...  let him know you’ll be trading up in whatever department he’s lacking in, which you never had a reason to do or even think about but now that he’s opened the marriage on you without consulting you, and then asking for “space” to figure sh!t out you’ve now figured some sh!t out yourself and you’re basically free to do the same.  He’s already playing dirty (I mean come on he’s screwing someone else) it’s ok for you to strike back here (I don’t mean by actually screwing around, I mean by making him see you’d have justification to do so at this point, even though you’re above that don’t remind him you’re above it)...it’s self defense anyway since you are trying to defend your “authentic life”. If that doesn’t wake his ass up you’ve just saved yourself a LOT of time and you can free yourself from trying to save something with someone who isn’t really capable of loving and caring for you, but instead is only capable of loving himself, although it’s not REALLY loving himself to live out his WORST qualities (capacity for betrayal, self-centered ness, entitlement, lack of boundaries, inability to delay gratification, inability to stand on his own — manifested by seeking another safe haven before making a clean break... that’s WEAK).  
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Keepabuzz
triplehooks wrote:
Little,

I was in your exact spot about a year ago, dealing w a long term spouse having feelings for someone else, which she acquired through an illegitimate relationship with a neighbor, family friend, father of our daughter’s best friend.  He was married too.  

We were considered a “success” by our entire social network, a model family etc.,  and we “had everything”.  A large extended family that was loving and gathered frequently, four smart, healthy, happy kids, a religious community with which we were actively engaged.  She was a SAHM and I was an entrepreneur.  She was a WONDERFUL mom, and I was a very involved dad.  Inside our marriage, like ANY other marriage, we had plenty to improve, and there were episodes along our 20+ year journey that caused plenty of friction. And for sure with four kids (ten year age spread between them all) we carried a HEAVY load and in the more recent years life became a long list of chores and constant coming and going to chase/support our kids activities and there was not enough effort going into “us”.  But I never ONCE entertained a third party, and I couldn’t believe it was even possible that she would. 

But she did.  

The day AFTER d-day, the day after I didn’t sleep a wink all night and remembered “hey wait a minute the phone records should tell me something (and they did. She spent TWO HOURS talking to him AFTER telling me about their bullsh!t deception, AFTER I told her she had to end it and she said she was “trying to”).  That morning after I told her she could not even be in contact with him if she were going to continue living in this house, that I would not tolerate being disrespected, having our marriage disrespected, or our children disrespected this way and her still live here.  

Although I was clear about my feelings about that, I had absolutely zero way to enforce it and sure enough she just went right along maintaining contact, just in ways I couldn’t observe.  

Meanwhile I was on the floor.  

The first three months after d-day I was, just like you, doing heavy lifting and holding the vigil for our marriage.  I prayed and prayed, and wept a lot, barely slept, worked my ASS off working out and tried to stay strong for the sake of the kids (but it was impossible to hide my grief).  I wanted to appear the most awesome version of myself while waiting for my sweet bride to turn toward me. But I also stopped entertaining this bullsh!t idea that her betrayal had ANYTHING to do with me, an idea she was wedded to.  I expected her to do some ACTUAL repair work, do the things necessary for a cheater to regain their position.  Instead she was “confused” and “working on herself” and “not wanting to be shackled” and “concerned she was being tracked” blah blah blah.  She shopped for a therapist that would be ideal for her (not push back on her narrative too much) and anytime we saw any kind of affair recovery specialist she shut down and refused to continue.  She couldn’t handle any accountability for what she had done. She became a world class blameshifter, rationalizer, and justifier, and seemed to have been “validation shopping” by telling her story to many of our close friends.  Instead of hiding what she had done she went the route of trying to gain as much sympathy as possible for the horrible choice she was “forced to make”, “out of desperation” for “emotional intimacy” she was being “deprived of” by her “emotionally unavailable husband” who was “too into his work”.  HIS work.  She was a stay at home mom, mind you.  HIS work?  I digress....

So that narrative being played back to me by our friends was a royal mindf*ck.  It suggested I “deserved” that. But it was an externalizations she was making and she wasn’t owning her own feelings nor did she find a healthy way to deal with them instead of boning that idiot down the street.  

D-day was April 2018.  I found out in December 2018 they had maintained some form of contact at least monthly since April.  F*ckers...

As for the mindf*ck, it’s a strategy.  It creates the kind of confusion and bewilderment that makes a BS freeze, not take any action, and usually engage in pick me dancing.  Part of that dance is the constant rumination about the relationship, the longing for what was, which leads to expectations of our spouse.  The myth of “the fog” gives these cheaters cover to “ask for space” which RARELY is time to think.  It’s almost always cover for continued bad behavior under the guise of something constructive.  This seems the pattern anyway after reading thousands of threads on a variety of boards. Cheaters mentioning “space” “to think” of any kind usually means “space” to “keep talking to/texting/meeting/having sex with this other person”.  

They abuse your bewilderment to feed their own selfishness.  

Its hard to understand for us BSs.  Most of us are just hard wired for loyalty and commitment.  

We expect cheaters to do what we would if we if we screwed up this badly: own our bad choices, be sorry, reassure our spouses of our commitment, do ANYTHING we can to repair, work TIRELESSLY to regain trust, etc. 

While a small number of cheaters may be normal people like us who just screw up and are remorseful, it is clear that MANY are disordered people that have been very good at hiding their disorders but the cheating provides a glimpse of who they REALLY are.  I personally believe this is the vast majority. They are so entitled to just take a giant dump all over their vows because of their fragile feelings.  It’s such crap.  

The only thing that seems to provide a BS any relief is to bring about natural consequences by some kind of pulling back (separation, divorce) where the cheater experiences the losses they are forcing on their families with their sick behavior.  So, loss of a comfortable environment in which to cheat and violate all their promises (no more pick me dancing), loss of the home they used to live in (kick them out), loss of respect of their children (kids ask why mommy/daddy doesn’t live here anymore — don’t lie/cover up for the cheater, tell them mommy/daddy got a girlfriend/boyfriend and that’s not acceptable for a married person to do), loss of job if they are screwing a co-worker/client (make a robust plan to get on your own feet financially), loss of respect of their social network/family (don’t hide what’s happening from them either). 

I see from your responses you are about where I was three months out, confused by your spouse but hopeful for a turn of events that will restore normalcy, broken hearted as well. Wanting to be careful and thoughtful not to ruin the possibility that your husband might come back to your loving arms.  I am SO sorry this is happening to you.  

But understand that your husband isn’t demonstrating he gives a single sh!t about you or your kids.  He is carefully deceiving you into to thinking that he MIGHT but when you have to read the tea leaves about whether it’s possible that he might...that’s a bullsh!t situation to live with.  And it’s just not good enough.  Don’t accept it. Call it what it is: unacceptable.  TELL him it’s unacceptable.  Be strong, lay down a gauntlet like a Thrive suggested.  Give him ONE chance to respond the RIGHT way, and if he doesn’t, get active building your leverage to get what you deserve.  

Collect information.  Hire a PI.  Get all the dirt you can on his homewrecker.  Expose it to people she cares about, like her employer, her family, her friends.  She doesn’t have ANY right to be engaging with your husband. Don’t be “respectful” of her privacy.  She is not respecting the most private thing you have: your marriage, you owe her NOTHING.  I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice but it’s well established that truth is a complete defense to libel/defamation.  Stick to the truth in your exposures if any.  Blow their sh!t up.  Hire an attorney.  Get evidence of his adultery and keep it in your back pocket for divorce proceedings.  If you’re in a fault state (are you in the US?) it will be leverage.  Are you in a place that has “alienation of affection” laws?  Sue his paramour.  In North Carolina multi-million $ judgments against paramours have been awarded to BSs.  In many states in the US adultery is a crime.  Well it’s a misdemeanor but a crime nonetheless.  Public fornication is also a crime. Lots of this action happens in minivans in parking lots.  

Does his girlfriend have herpes?  Gonorrhea?  Crabs?  HIV?  She is “polluting” your husband.  Does HE shave any STIs?  If he spreads them she can sue him.  That will impact YOUR money if you’re still married when that happens.  Is she an alcoholic?  Into substances?  He may leave you and commit to her.  Do you want that around your children?  Does she have violent people in her life?  Do you want THAT around your children?  

These are things you dont don’t know right now, but they are VERY relevant to know.  They have implications for all manner of things involving: his judgment, her safety as a possible person in your children’s lives, YOUR understanding of the REALITY of what he got into, and whether you can accept him after taking a deep dive into that reality.  Most of us aren’t thinking about these things at 3 months.  Even if we are informed about them in the form of advice, it’s very hard to ACT at this stage because the grief and sorrow can be so consuming.  But patience seems to rarely pay in these situations.  Certainly when we don’t apply boundaries and are also patient that’s usually a recipe for misery while the bad behavior continues.  Try to pick yourself up and take action NOW. 

Learning those things about my wife's boy friend changed how I saw the situation.  I completely lost respect for her although I loved her with all my heart.  She got involved w a guy w an eighth grade education, abusive to his own wife and kids (emotionally more than physically), drinking problems, bad financial skills, and has oral and genital herpes. HERPES!!  She was a virgin when we married FFS. Our children all knew to some degree and the info is out there in the community.  It’s really poisoned the well.  

Also, in my case (but not in yours since his girlfriend isn’t married) I had to grapple with the fact that my wife conspired with her boyfriend in an enterprise that collapsed his marriage and family.  He divorced.  His wife’s standard of living is now reduced.   His daughters bounce between two homes and are devastated at the loss of their family.  My wife had a hand in that.  She is a home wrecker.  My wife who used to be sought after for parenting advice is now getting flipped off when driving through the neighborhood.  It’s pretty sad.  And certainly ALL these behaviors and facts would not be on my shopping list if I were out there in the market looking for a mate.  They would be on my list of deal breakers.  

These people are criminals.  Your husband is a criminal. He is stealing from you.  He is a home wrecker (his own). His paramour is a criminal. She is stealing from you.  She is murdering your family.  She is a home wrecker. Is it possible she doesn’t know he’s married?  Doubtful. If she doesn’t that makes your husband the WORST kind of liar.  

Little, do you have a way to live comfortably without him, or are your finances currently dependent on him?  If you can stand on stand on your own feet and support your kids I’d recommend giving your husband ONE CHANCE to do the right thing and do it immediately.  Give him an ultimatum.  “Choose motherf*cker.”  Then make it apparent to him that you will be building your new life.  Kick him out, get a separation agreement in place, secure child and spousal support and be earning your living too.  Start figuring out what weaknesses if any you have in your internal construct that makes you tolerate abuse.  Detach. And gray rock his ass.  With time and minimal communication you will see more clearly what was really happening here: he was abusing you.  All the voices inside that were telling you to accept it anyway will start sounding crazier and you will silence them and heal.  

I hope you get whatever ever you WANT and more importantly what you deserve.  Don’t let this schmuck have your support another day if he isn’t immediately willing to cease contact with this home wrecker and do everything in his power to make amends to you and your kids.  






Bravo! Bravo!  I completely agree with this!! 👆👆👆

My wife (37 at the time) confessed, was on her hands and knees begging me not to leave her. She had ended her affair a month prior. I told her to pack her $hit and go move in with her AP (23) in his 3 bedroom apartment and his 2 roomates. That I would be staying in the really nice large home that “I” paid for with our kids. She made it clear she didn’t “want that”. I made it crystal clear that I didn’t give a d*mn what “she” wanted.  I ended up leaving myself for a few days, I was in no shape to be around my kids.. 


littlebylittle,

He IS abusing you. He has been abusing you for a long time. The very, VERY last thing you should be worried about is hurting him. You owe him absolutely nothing. He wants to “figure himself out”, well he needs to do that while living somewhere else. I second the point above about gathering evidence. DO THAT. In my situation I am the breadwinner. I have the proof of my wife’s affair. If I were to divorce her, she gets exactly ZERO dollars and ZERO cents for spousal support in my state. 3 of my kids are out of the home and 1 is in high school. If she got custody, I would still have to pay child support, but that would only be for a couple of years. 

He doesn’t deserve your love, your caring, your concern, your respect. What he actually deserves he will likely never actually get, but let karma sort that out. Get an attorney ASAP. You need to know your options. But you have got to stop allowing him to abuse you, and disrespect you and still live under the same roof. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Keepabuzz
One thing I realized I did not make clear.  While I did ask my husband to consider what he wanted and made it clear I’d be okay either way -  I also said that I would NOT compete for his attention.  That meant that while he was contemplating us - he had to go no contact with her.  He was welcome to see her - but if he did I would take it as a sign that I should also seek outside company and begin moving on with my life.  

One thing that helped was my husband knew me well enough to know that I not only meant it - I would be dating before he could blink.  

That made him think LONG and HARD about losing me and what it would feel like to see me with another man.  He’d never thought that was a possible outcome (it was all going to end quietly and no one would ever know - idiotic)

And I CHECKED every method available to me to make sure that was true. I was vigilant for the 9-12 months, random checks for another year... now the only reason I would looked is if something felt off. 

This should be non-negotiable.  If they can’t break from the AP for long enough to decide which way they are going - they’ve given you an answer.  

You need to make your husband begin to seriously contemplate what life without you, your love and attention might look like.  Not to be mean - but because it is the logical conclusion of the way he’s behaving.  


Yes!

NO CONTACT is NON-NEGOTIABLE. Make it clear to him, if he contacts her, or accepts contact from her you are out and will move directly for divorce. It’s terribly cruel to betray and cheat on your spouse, but it’s a whole different level to continue to do it after discovery with zero regard for the BS.  That is a whole other level of disrespect. I had spy spy software on my wife’s phone, I had gps on her vehicles. I had voice activated recording devices in her car and our home after d-day. I was trying to stay for my kids, but I was going to everything possible to ensure I was no longer being taken for a fool.  My wife went so far as to ask me to put cameras inside our house so I would know without a doubt her every move. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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