How best to do this? 
For the last few months things have been holding steady between me and my wife.
A brief history - some time in 2015 she began an affair with a neighbour, the unemployed dad in a family with kids the same age as ours who went to the same school/kindergarten as ours. It became sexual in October 2015. By the end of 2015 her behaviour toward me had become almost completely unbearable. In Jan 2016 she "broke up with me" only to subsequently agree to "try". Although I had known something was very amiss believed her when she told me there was nobody else. Over the course of 2016 the AP and his family went from being complete strangers to us to being our constant companions. I did not like him much but made an effort as my wife "needed this friendship." I partly renovated their house as he lacked the skills. We looked after each other's kids. My wife put him down as emergency contact re our kids at school and kindergarten. His wife baked my wife's birthday cake. We went on a holiday, the eight of us. In Feb 2017 my wife confessed. Some months later she went NC.
Throughout 2016 I engaged in IC and made a big effort to improve our relationship,. thinking we were both trying. I suggested MC but she "wasn't ready for that". 
I realise of course that this all sounds incredibly dumb and on some level I knew it was screwy but I simply could not conceive of her being deceitful. I was blinded by trust. 
So since Feb 2017 I have been working pretty hard and trying to make things work. I made it really clear that if she preferred to leave she should leave; actually pushed for her to leave as I didn't want her to stay unless she really wanted to.
A lot of times since then I have told her that the way things are just aren't enough for me. What compromises might have been bearable if she hadn't cheated are not bearable given that she did.
Lately, she has been focused on work with many deadlines etc. I support this. (For clarity - working from home, with me around, etc, I have no suspicion that she is cheating again. It is a focus on work.) 
I haven't wanted to screw with her equanimity while she is so busy, so I have just been holding back. My idea was to talk when work settles down. Now she has taken on some study as well and work has not settled down. (I am quite busy also). 
But what I want to tell her is that I am pretty well done. I have given up. But I feel that as time has gone by, my waiting has given the impression that all is well, that it is all behind us. It is not. I am still not doing great. More importantly though, I still find the present really unsatisfactory. We are in a sexless marriage. We talk but to me it is all superficial talk. I can't talk about emotional stuff because it is necessarily going to be about the damage she has caused. She talks about work and our kids and diet and exercise. We spend a LOT of time together which I think is bonding and reassuring for her but for me often reinforces the completely platonic nature of our relationship.
I will give an example that won't go away. Soon after d-day, standing in our driveway, she kissed me. It was a very 11/10 kiss, tongue, lingering, lengthy, etc. A great kiss. She has never kissed me like that before or since. She also said stuff about kissing post d-day. The clear fact is that she and her AP kissed like this. It is very obvious. So unfortunately I know how she kissed him. And it is obvious that no matter what I do or how long we are together, she is never going to kiss me the way she kissed him. It just isn't going to happen.
She kisses me goodbye in the morning and it's on the lips but chaste, like we are in out 90s or I am her brother. 
This is the simple fact. She is never going to kiss me the way she kissed him, and I can't live with her if that is the case. Honestly, I don't see how anyone could or how she can imagine I could. I would rather be alone. 
But... that was just an example. It's not specifically about kissing and there are hundreds of examples of much the same kind of thing. It is that she will never be, with me, the way she was with him. I want to be in an intimate relationship but she gave him intimacy she never has and never will give me. 

This is why I feel it isn't fixable. But it is not really the day-to-day problem. Day-to-day, there's no affection. When she gets any emotional intensity, it is to express anger or annoyance at me. Again... probably would have been bearable without the cheating, but with the cheating history it's just... why would I take this? 
We had to move suburbs after d-day. I left a home I had renovated largely with my own labour, and by renovated I don't mean painted I mean rebuilt from one end to the other. We recently sold it. We live in a rental. We have been looking at new houses to buy but I feel it is better to take half of the money each and move on.
How do I do this? Will my current feelings pass? I've wanted to leave before only to get optimistically again, but it feels like I have finished that type of cycle.
Our children are 7 and 9 and are used to having both of us, a lot. Can I leave for my own benefit when it will not be good for them? The thought alone of how they will react is painful. I am deeply, deeply afraid of it. The reality will be hard to bear. I am deeply, deeply afraid of it. 

Do I start seeing someone else to fulfil my need for intimacy? I feel a lot like I have started to move on, emotionally, no longer really attached or committed. 

But yes, I have been on the brink of leaving before. 
If I leave how do I do it? If I stay how do I do that? 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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Anthro -
You leave the same way you came into this relationship - with your honor and dignity in tact.  To stoop to her level would model behavior for your kids that you KNOW is not ok. 

There is no doubt that it would be hard on the kids.  There are many things throughout life that will be hard on them.  You didn't cause this one and you really can't fix it by your actions alone.  After the initial sadness, your kids will adapt.  And they will know that healthy people take care of themselves as well as those they love. 

The only BSs that I personally know that stayed married after Dday(s) ended up very bitter towards their WS.  I do not believe this is always the case, only those few BSs who I personally know.  Like you I very much wanted to fix things, to forgive, to reconcile and move forward.  But you can never "unknow" the things that your WS did WITH the AP and TO you to make those AP sessions possible.  When my WS wanted to kiss me after Dday all I could think of was those lips telling her how much he loved her and his face planted in her crotch.  I felt physically repulsed despite the fact that we had a very good sex life up until Dday.  It was the knowing that changed everything. 

Can we be SURE we will never be hurt again in a different relationship if we leave our WS? No, but I KNOW that this WS is capable of unspeakable deceit and selfishness.  I am NOT willing to HOPE that it never happens again.  Leaving the man I LOVED, the life I loved was so very hard.  But now I am much happier knowing I am not playing the marriage police, I am not willing to gloss over red flags, and I expect reciprocity in my relationships. 

I wish you strength and happiness in this Son Of a B journey that was forced upon us.  Take it one day at a time.  You deserve better than you are getting from your WS.
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    It seems to me that you have well above and beyond the call of duty to move forward after your wife’s affair. I remember when you first came here. As you described what had happened, and how you were handling it all, I was (and am) genuinely amazed. The amount of grace you showed your wife in those early days and months is not something I was capable of. When I read your posts, I always thought “I really wish I had theat level of emotional control”.  You have only continued to show your wife grace, and you have worked very hard to move forward. I can’t make the decision to stay or leave for anyone else, but I can tell you how I made it for me. 

In the weeks after d-day I talked to my mom daily. She has already walked this path with my stepfather. She kept telling me to wait. Just give it time. Don’t make any long term decisions right now. Through our conversations I decided to give it 6 months as long as my wife didn’t violate any of my boundaries. If she had, them I would immediately divorced her. When the 6 month date came, I was still terribly miserable, honestly my feelings hadn’t changed. I was there solely for the sake of my children. My wife was doing everything she could, but as you well know this pain is to the core. So I decided to give it 6 more months. When this date came, my wife was still giving her all, not that she didn’t make mistakes but nothing major and no boundaries violated. I still was in terrible pain and suffering, but my kids were doing well since my wife had finally started being a great mom again.  I did this 2 more times. This got me out to the 2 year mark. So for 2 years I was unsure if I was going to stay.  I wasn’t healed at 2 years, and am not healed now, but I have come a long way. 

My critiera for the decision was as this.

1. What is best for my kids. 
2. What is best for me.

That was really it. I do believe we should sacrifice for the betterment of our children, but only to a point. I knew the second she confessed that my life was forever changed, but for me to stay I had to have a certain level of confidence that “at some point” I would need to be able to be happy again. I don’t mean like it never happened. We all know that isn’t possible, but a general level of contentment, experience joy, enjoy my life again. I started to see an extremely small flicker of a light at the end of a very long dark tunnel, and that is the only reason I stayed. I saw the possibility. I knew, for me, if just stayed solely for my kids long term, and no other reason. I would not be able to be the father I wanted to be. Kids are extremely intuitive, they may not know the whole story, but they “know” things. They can feel it. My kids don’t know what my wife did, but they know how she treated them, and they know how she treated me. They “something” big happened and that Mommy did it. On d-day, I left. I told the kids it was a business trip, which is common. But my daughters can read me like a book. The 2 older ones texted me no stop, into the early morning hours. Asking me if we were getting divorced. That they were very worried about me. Was I ok. If we did get divorced, they wanted to live with me.  I assured them that I was ok, and that I was unsure of what was going to happen, but both my wife and I love them very much. This entire time, they were in the same house as my wife, and never spoke a word to her, and didnt for the entire week I was gone. 

Even though you have been much more forgiving and flexible with your wife than I have been with mine, I think our outlook on our children is similar. I feel much as you do about what I let slip by before her affair and what I don’t now.  I don’t let anything really slip by now, and I don’t ever plan to. If my wife treated me, like yours does you, I would leave, but that is just me. 

If you decide to leave, I would make the conversation very matter of fact and simple. Here are my expectations, I have given you many, many opportunities. I have made all the effort that I could to support these changes, nothing has worked. I don’t see anything changing, so now I must leave so that I can be find happiness again. I wish you luck, and I hold no ill will. I would like to make this as easy as possible for all of us.  
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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Dearest Anthro,
I am so sorry to hear. I have been concerned since your return.  You responses had a very different tone. You seemed sad, deflated. Realizing that you are better off without your spouse is very sad and often crippling.  Everything that you believedcand hoped for is gone. Your future is unknown. You are unknown. Fear sets in. Fear about everything.  

But along with fear comes courage.  Courage to live in the present. Forget about the is gone. The future is yet to come. All we have in now.  And you need to take care of you NOW.  It is your turn.   Taking care of yourself is not being selfish.  You being the best version of you is the best gift you can give your children.  That is who they will respect and look up to.

You are a great father. I can tell from all of your posts.  You are on good terms with your wife. There doesn’t seem to much anger. Your children are young and unaware of what their mother did.  This separation/divorce can go smoothly.   I believe that you will do everything in your power to protect your children and ensure their happiness.  They will be ok.

You have truly tried to save your marriage.  She seems to be pretending.  How long are you going to settle for this?  You deserve better. You deserve to be loved fully and completely.  Especially by yourself.  Do you love yourself right now?   What I have come to learn is that I need to love and respect myself first.  My H left me, after a year of faking reconciliation, on both our parts.  I see that now. I kicked him out several times, but always took him back, for the family. I did not respect myself. I did not love myself enough to know that I deserve more. And I was scared to admit that he was incapable of giving me what I need and deserve. He made me feel unlovable. 

I am alone. I am lonely. But I am no longer pretending. I am living my own life on my terms.  I have the love and respect my children.  I am figuring out ‘Kiki’ version 2.   Through IC, yoga, meditation etc... I am gaining back my self confidence and self worth.  

None of us us have chosen this path, but we all have the power to choose how we walk down it.  

Talk to her, tell her how you feel, what you are thinking.  This may be the wake up call she needs. Separation doesn’t have to be forever.   Just be true to YOU.  Stop ignoring your true feelings. 

Love 💕 
D-Day#1 Dec 19, 2017
D-Day#2 Jan 13, 2018
5 year “on/off affair”

Married 25 years, together 35
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You could go through discernment counseling with her. The whole point of it is to see the big picture in your marriage and make a decision about separation/divorce versus working on the marriage. You would be the "leaning out" spouse. Even if you choose to divorce at the end of it, it should make the process smoother. 
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IMO you’ve shown an incredible amount of grace towards your wife. Although I sincerely wish that you can rebuild your marriage into one where you are happy again and your needs are met, I also think, having followed your story closely, that you have done everything in your power to try to make this work.

It takes strength to recognise where you are at and acknowledge what needs to be done about it. This is something I keep praying for in myself. To have the courage to see what is in front of me- good or bad, and take the necessary steps to face this... whether it is to keep going or leave. I think you’ve been facing this for awhile now- and you are seeing what you want in your life vs what you feel you do not have. 

I would echo what Vanessa has said- exit your marriage with your dignity and honour intact. Be the example that your children can look up to and be proud of. 

Perhaps it is time to approach the issue of seperation. Again, it would be best to tell your wife exactly why you want to leave. Explain what you have said here- that you want a relationship that is not one where you are merely tolerated. You don’t want a platonic partnership. Explain to her how you feel- then give her your solution.

Like Kiki has said... separation doesn’t have to be forever, but if it’s right for you, it can be. Perhaps you can trial separation with view to it becoming permanent unless something significantly improves and you change your mind? I recall you saying before, that it always helps us BS to have an ‘exit strategy’ of some kind- to prepare ourselves for the possibility of leaving. Perhaps actually taking the steps to leave is the same. Making the decision to separate doesn’t mean you cannot change your mind later... but it is a step in the ‘right’ direction for you to look after yourself?

You’ve put your kids (and your wife) first since d-day. It’s time to put you first...
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Wishing you strength 
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Anthro, I don’t know you here, so forgive me if I blunder through this. Keepabuzz has obviously travelled with you on the most awful journey we ever take, and he has your best interests at heart, as well as some great words of wisdom to tuck into your self preservation equipment.

what I see, is a man who has been walking around the ice on the lake afraid to skate because he might just break the ice and the lake will no longer be viable.

have you been living outside of the life you really want? 

You say there is no intimacy between you and your wife, and that she seems to be comfortable with your relationship as it is. You are not, obviously, and I fully comprehend that you’ve lost the will to keep expressing your feelings.  That in itself is damaging enough, that you don’t want to open up another discussion about why you’re so unhappy with things as they are because you feel as though you’re constantly ‘raking over old coals’ and it’s tiresome, no?

You do indeed sound as though you’ve reached a junction and want to turn left instead of right. Are you concerned that having a ‘final’ conversation with your wife about a decision to leave will just throw up all manner of hurdles to overcome when you’re not feeling you have the physical or mental energy to deal with it all? Are you mentally exhausted?  

As your wife wanders through your lives perhaps oblivious to your personal reality because she is so focused on forward movement, it might be prudent to stop her for a moment and really, really, spill the beans about your feelings and thoughts.  Tell her exactly what they are.  It might shed some light on what’s to come if you decide to move into a new life transition.

These are just my musings Anthro, and in no way intended to be presumptive, but I can ‘hear ‘ your despondency and disappointment.  

I do hope you’re able to come to a decision that’s best suited to you.  I assume you’re a relatively young man ( children’s ages), whereas I’m an old bird with grandchildren, so my thinking is that you have a lot of time ahead of you to make a new life for yourself.  Remember, your children will ALWAYS be yours, and you can be a wonderful Father anywhere.   What matters most to them at this age is that they feel secure in the knowledge that no matter what they have two parents who love them and will always put them first, but you already know this.

wishing you the peace and wisdom to find your way.

‘I will remember and recover. Not forgive and forget’
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Thank you everyone. I appreciate the replies.

You are right that there's a lot of fear for me to deal with. I feel there are plenty of things in it to be fearful about. We have kept our act together as far as our children are concerned for the last two years since d-day, and they are doing very well. Actually they are doing very well but our 7yo in particular has some behavioral issues that are challenging us. Separating is going to exacerbate those issues. It worries me a lot. 

Kiki wrote:
This may be the wake up call she needs. Separation doesn’t have to be forever.

I sort of like this idea, but I have had to get it clear in my own mind that I am not pitching any of this as a wake up call. I am pretty confident that separation will indeed be forever; I know what I am like and when I've moved on, I have moved on. More than that though - suppose I tell her how I am feeling and she suddenly makes this new effort and becomes all affectionate and so on. How would I ever see that as sincere? It's no good to me to be (say) flirting with someone and feeling that she is only flirting back because I've told her I'll leave otherwise. I didn't have a problem with her needing a few months to straighten her thoughts out and I didn't read a lot into her behaviour in the first few months after d-day. But 25 months in, if she needs a wake-up call from me then she must be pretty dim-witted. She's not dim-witted at all, so I can only assume she is fully woken and her feelings just are what they are, and those feelings don't inspire her to be all that affectionate or loving towards me. 

It's a bit like how it is really important to me not to have anyone new in mind when I leave. I need my thinking to be completely uncomplicated. 

In terms of practicalities, I am struggling to find a good time to talk about this. My mother is going into hospital for a (really) serious operation tomorrow; if it goes well she'll need a lot of family support for a few months. We are overloaded with work and family stuff. My wife is trying to get a (sort of, not worth explaining) promotion at her work and it would suck for her to be distracted by home issues while she is working on that. 

This is the thing, all the minutiae of life still need dealing with. It is actually funny, I can see to some extent why my wife says, "the longer it went on the harder it was to tell you" (which doesn't address the 999,999,999 other things she also didn't stop doing for a couple of years!)

Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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I own a daycare. I have watched hundreds of children in the last 14 years. What I know about children now would have made my life as a new mom SO much easier. 

When they are about a year old, they can take directions (go put that toy away) even though they cannot speak the words to reply to you. Potty training, unless you get them before they are 2 and have an opinion of their own, is entirely up to them. And children are MUCH more capable and resilient than we adults EVER give them credit for. 

Parents, who love them unconditionally, is all that kids really need. The house they live in doesn’t matter. The amount of toys or clothes doesn’t matter. They need rules to follow, proof that violating the rules is unacceptable, and love no matter how often they break those rules. 

They will adapt to their environment. They will become better people knowing that their parents are safe and happy. They will respond accordingly. And most importantly, they already know that something isn’t right between Mom and Dad. 

You have tried. I am in no way implying that I know what you should do. But, being in a happy, healthy relationship is EXTREMELY important to your kids. Pretending doesn’t fool them. It may fool the both of you, but kids see through that bull. 

If you you are not happy, they know it. And while staying in the marriage is usually best for the children, that is not always the case. 

What they need to learn from you and your wife, is how happy relationships work. If you can’t get to the point of being happy with her, you are only teaching them to settle. 

I wish you ALL the best! You have helped me more than you can imagine. You are a good person, deserving of love and affection. If she can’t give it to you, you need to move out and move on. And your children will be the better for it. I guarantee it!
Wishing everyone here peace and healing!

Female BS Married 18 yrs
DDay 3/7/2017 through 4/2019 and counting. 
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Anthro, you deserve to be happy. You have tried so hard to make your marriage work. It takes two. Your wife still doesn’t ‘ get it’. You didn’t create this situation, she did. I really think it’s time to move on. Like Kiki said, you could always get back together in the future. Please start taking care of yourself! 
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Anthro -
Again your post shows your thoughtful and considerate approach to your family. 
I am sorry that your 7 year old has problems that you think will be exacerbated by any separation.  That puts you in a difficult situation - are you going to hang in there for another 2, 5, or 7 years?  It will never be a great time, but continuing indefinitely to live a life that feels like a lie is not a great idea either.

I think you are quite right about the problem with giving her one more "wake up call"  How would you really know if she is sincere or just not wanting to loose her support system.  I also agree with you that she has had enough time to make the effort on her own. 

If you were my brother I would suggest that you get through the surgery with mom, then set yourself a time by which you will have the conversation (maybe in about 3 months) - could you get some help with the kids for a weekend and have 2 days to just talk?

Best of luck to you!
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Anthro - 

You have received wonderful, considerate replies that said what I thought even better than I could.  But I will reiterate a few points I think are particularly important:

1.  Your kids - they will handle the divorce as gracefully as you and your wife can.  My husband's parents divorced when he was about 10.  They made a big effort to make it easy on their three kids.  They continued to live near each other so that all the kids could spend time every week at both homes.  They did not say anything unkind about the other parent and treated each other with great respect.  The kids have grown up feeling very loving towards both parents and their subsequent step-parents.  In fact, they have talked about how good it was to see both of their parent's blossom after the divorce - it had been a quietly unhappy marriage for a long time.  No matter how they tried to hide it the kids could totally see there was very little love. 

2.  You deserve 100% to have a happy, loving, sexually fulfilling and committed relationship.  Your kids deserve to see one modeled so that they know what to expect and seek for themselves.  From everything I have read here, you have absolutely done your best, in the face of terrible pain, to try and bridge the gap and create intimacy between you and your wife.  I don't understand what is broken in her that she cannot properly respond.  But marriages can only be saved when both people are engaged.  One person can take the lead for a period of time, but it won't work if the other does not join them with a similar effort at some point.  I can't imagine signing up to never to feel passion and connection with my partner - and I don't believe you should either  

I think others gave you some great ideas about ways you can approach it - mull them all and find what fits you the best.  And for timing - there will never be a perfect or easy time - but choose one that feels right for you.  If right now isn't it, don't feel guilty.  There is nothing wrong with needing support from your wife while your mom is in the hospital.  

Lastly - do not be tempted to do something that you will regret.  If you are a man of integrity - stay that way.  Betraying yourself will hurt even worse then being betrayed by another.  

So sorry that you have had to come to this place - but I believe you are right - the time has come for things to change.  
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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I am sorry that you have come to this. I wish you strength and courage for the way forward. All the very best for you. x
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Anthro, on DD almost 4 years ago I asked my husband if his affair was a way to get away from me. He assured me it was not and that he would do anything to have another chance. Of course I didn’t believe a word he said. At the time we had a pre teen and a teenager and he is a very good father and our child love him. The one huge thing I told him was that I didnt want him to stay in this marriage if it was just for the kids. It had to be for me! See we’ve always had a good marriage, a great physical relationship. Strangely enough even during his short term affair. 
Even though I felt like a crazy person that day I do remember thinking” he’s gotta want me, desire me or it just won’t work. If the parents are not good the family is not good. Again he told me he wanted us wanted me. So now almost 4 years later he has proven that with his actions. 

Being on this forum for a while now I’ve seen how much grace, time and understanding you have given your wife. I have to tell you there’s no way I could have been as patience as you have been. I needed action now. It was a risk for sure but I couldn’t have lived with it any other way.
We all have the same plot line in our story but some just end differently. And that’s ok. 
Be kind to yourself knowing you have done everything possible to make your marriage work.
I know it’s not just about sex, but that’s such an important part of marriage. A way to connect with your partner. I’m sorry that your wife hasn’t seen the second chance you have given her. So many would love to be in her place. You will know when the time is right. There never is a good time for it. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way.  
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