SuzieQ
We are seperated, and it was my decision. We are 34 years old, married for almost 11 years, together since we were 16. He is the only man I have ever been with, and I was the only woman he had ever been with - until this. We have two amazing children, 6 and 8. The affair was about 4 months long (March through June) and about 2 months in he was diagnosed with severe depression, started taking meds and was suicidal. Then DD was 6/24. I handled it well - thank you therapy - because I know this did not happen because "I'm not good enough." These were HIS awful decisions, and I feel like they came from a place of insecurity and pain for him. From the beginning I told him I needed truth, and he said he was being honest. He swore over and over that the affair was emotional and was not sexual. I let him stay so we could work through this together. I wanted him to stay. I read about NC and explained it to him. He agreed and called his AP and they spent 3 hours on the phone "breaking it off." A few weeks later I found out they were still communicating (short cryptic messages) on social media and he denied it and we fought (round 1). A few weeks after that I found out there had actually spoken on the phone a few times and he denied it and we fought (round 2). During this argument I reached out to a mutual friend for an ear, and discovered that ACTUALLY this is not his first affair. He had a purely sexual affair three years ago, that lasted for about a year (on and off) and they were still communicating too. In fact, when he was feeling depressed and suicidal due to his "feelings" over the current affair he reached out to the first AP and they hooked up again, twice, when he was feeling really low (April and then immediately after DD). So he wasn't faithful to the current AP either. What a mess! I still didn't make him leave. I was still totally dedicated to "working on it." At that point he confessed more secrets on his own and then actually said, "That is it. There aren't any more secrets. That is everything." About a week later I found out that he WAS (obviously) sexual with current affair partner during their affair, still had feelings for her, and had told her he never REALLY wanted to choose me, but that I made him do it, and he had to try to protect the kids. I don't totally believe that either. I think he is a master at saying whatever it is he needs to say to get the person standing in front of him to want to keep him. When I confronted him with that info he did not deny it, but we still fought (round 3). I just couldn't wrap my mind around why he wouldn't just come clean?!!! Why was he forthcoming about 1 affair and not the other? I believe you call this "trickle truth." At this point I made him leave our home. He (of course) left and ran right to his current AP. They met up to "talk" which made everything worse because it reignited some of his feelings and he became even more "confused." I felt like I had no other choice. He STILL wasn't being honest and I couldn't take the betrayal anymore. He may not have seen AP since DD but he still wasn't committed to being honest. I had to protect myself. I insisted we had to tell the kids that we were separating, to try to relieve that burden from him so he could think straight. We have been separated almost a month now. He has definitely moved toward me since. He has done many, many positive things - too many to list. He says he wants to make our marriage work. He has not seen, spoken to, texted, emailed his AP since he saw her the night of our separation starting (he says). The problem is I am wanting him to change his number, block her number, and let her know in some way that their relationship is definitely over and that he wants to be with me. He disagrees and feels like it's good enough that he's just not communicating with her. So which one of us is right? I let him now how much stress and anxiety this causes me. He eventually said a big reason he doesn't want to is because he does still have some "genuine feelings" for her and he's working on letting them go completly - but that will take time. He's afraid if he tries to contact her it will make all those feelings worse. I don't know what to do with this information. I appreciate that he is trying to be honest - I know he would rather not share this information with me - he's doing it because I asked him to. But it's still difficult to hear. I've been so insistent on him being honest, I don't want him to feel like I'm punishing him for it. He also feels sure enough that he want to make it work, and so good about finally being honest, that sometimes I wonder about him moving home soon (because the main reason I asked him to leave was that he was still lying). I'm not sure when the "right time" is. How will I know? Also, in the meantime we had family outings planned (camping this weekend) and he really wants us all to go. I miss him and I miss our whole family being together. I want to be around to support the positive changes he IS making, but now all I can focus on is the negative. I keep replaying "Unfortunately I still have genuine feelings for her." That makes me want to send him and the kids out on their own. What advice do you have? Is any of this normal? Do we have a chance?
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TimT
SuzieQ wrote:
...I am wanting him to change his number, block her number, and let her know in some way that their relationship is definitely over and that he wants to be with me. He disagrees and feels like it's good enough that he's just not communicating with her. So which one of us is right? I let him now how much stress and anxiety this causes me. He eventually said a big reason he doesn't want to is because he does still have some "genuine feelings" for her and he's working on letting them go completly - but that will take time. He's afraid if he tries to contact her it will make all those feelings worse...

Your description of things makes it obvious that your husband has a long-established pattern of dishonesty. Is it possible that THIS TIME he is genuinely serious about change? Yes, but he's not showing the evidence of that.

He still wants to be in control of his choices (especially regarding the AP), instead of doing whatever it takes to provide a safe place for YOU. I don't doubt that a part of him may want to fix this marriage and "do the right thing", but that's not enough. He has to be so committed to the process that he is no longer in confusion about what he wants and is willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to bring healing to you and the marriage.

There is a way that he can communicate a firm ending to everything that will not stir up longing. That would NOT include another 3 hour phone call. In fact, all it would require would be a simple 1-paragraph email stating his full intent to rebuild his marriage and that he has no desire to have any more contact with her. He should write it, but you should see it and approve. And then immediate action should be taken to close off all communication access.

How will you know if he's just playing games? How can you be sure that he doesn't maintain a secret email account or phone number to stay in contact with her? You won't have assurance of those things based on his promises (you can't trust his word, yet). But you CAN begin to feel assured if you witness his focus on making your marriage secure and working with you to re-establish trust & connection.

If he drags his feet with this or makes excuses, my advice would be to establish clear and strong boundaries. If so, you are not safe with him. 

There's too much history here to wander around in a confused state of wondering whether or not he's serious about change. If he is, it will be clear to you. If not, you'll probably remain uncertain about what's really going on.
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SuzieQ
So what about in the meantime? I read somewhere that you really recommend couples not separate if they want to work on the marriage. We are obviously separated and it looks like we should remain so for now. Should we still spend family time together? Should I go camping with him and the kids? Or should our time with the kids be spent apart?
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TimT
SuzieQ wrote:
So what about in the meantime? I read somewhere that you really recommend couples not separate if they want to work on the marriage. We are obviously separated and it looks like we should remain so for now. Should we still spend family time together? Should I go camping with him and the kids? Or should our time with the kids be spent apart?

There are times when separation IS recommended: (1) when there is destructive abuse; (2) when one partner remains actively involved with someone else; (3) when the pattern of disconnection or conflict has become so entrenched that a couple needs a break in order to let emotions settle and allow each partner to assess their intent.

I agree with your decision to separate. And my recommendation UNTIL YOU FEEL SAFE WITH HIM AND TRUST HIS SINGLE-MINDED PURSUIT OF YOUR is to keep your encounters limited to "business of life" discussions. Avoid relationship conversations or encounters until he is in the right place.

The one exception would be doing things together for the sake of the kids. I think you should even have some boundaries around this, but it may be in their best interest for you both to be together for certain occasions. There is no absolute right-or-wrong in this, but choose a course of action and try to be consistent in it.
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