strength1
Hello!   My H and I have been married 20 years, have 2 teenage daughters.  He has been a wise man known for his values and integrity.   He's turning 50 in 2 months' time.  Last March he told me he loved me but was not in love with me anymore. In June I discovered that for 2 years he has been seeing someone who lived on another contintent. In July, she moved to live in our city, now she spends some (most?) nights in his rented room. In August they went on an idyllic Greek Island holidya together.   It has therefore been 2 years that my H turned into a lying alien.  

H is very tormented, is not sleeping well, cannot concentrate at work,  says he no longer sees things clearly, he doesn't know what to do, he doesn't know where his relationship with the other person is going, and, the latest, when he imagines  his retirement he sees it with me. The other woman knows NOTHING about his torment.  She also thinks we have been separated for a long time, because that is what he told her.   He has been very reluctant to tell any but our family and closest friends about our split, and only his 3 closest friends know about this other woman.  His friends told him to leave her, and he says they don't understand him...  We've been having some very intimate conversations - better than in the last 2 years to be honest, and he appreciates my analysis and support.   He is having extreme trouble articulating his feelings - it's like he's closed down to everyone. 

Two weeks ago I asked him to leave her within one month, failing which I wanted him to move out completely and I will seek a divorce.  He has said repeatedly that he does not want a divorce, and that in a non-egositical world he would want me to "wait" for him.   I also told him that as long as he what with the other person I did not want to act as his counsellor anymore.   He told me repeatedly that he will always be there for me.  
 
Yesterday (for the first time ever I think) he volunteered to drive me to the train station and back. I took this to be a small small sign of reconnection.   But then he went to his rented room and, from what I can see on social media, he must have asked her to join him.  

So I'm thinking, what on earth is going on? Is he just stringing me along?  Is it normal for a person in his position to yo yo like this?  
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UrbanExplorer
It's not uncommon during an affair for a WS to fence-sit and not be able to "choose" between a BS and an AP. Your best bet is to remove yourself from the triangle and make actual plans to move on. It is the best chance of jarring him out of his selfish fog and also puts you on a path to being OK regardless of what he does.
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Keepabuzz
I agree with Urban. He has is pretty good right now. He has both of you. He is stringing you along. You should remove yourself from the situation. Give him a week to get his remaining belongings from your home, and file for divorce. You owe him nothing, absolutely nothing. You need to heal without him causing further damage. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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jasmine
What an awful situation to find yourself in. There are probably people who have better insight into your husband’s state of mind than I do, so I won’t even go there. Besides, you need to think about you and put your own needs ahead of what he wants and how he is behaving right now. 

Firstly, you are under no obligation to “wait” for him. What exactly does that mean? Put your life on hold? Remain a loyal and faithful wife in the face of his infidelity and lies, and indecision? That’s outrageous! He lied to you for two years, he undoubtedly lied to the OW by telling her you were separated, she has moved from another part of the world to live under the roof he provided....... and he expects you to “wait” for him! Really?!

Forget about the “small sign of reconnection”. Please don’t put all your hope on being thrown a few crumbs from his dirty dishes. We all cling onto hope, wishing we could put the clock back and go back to the times when life felt happy and secure, but after something as big as this, there’s no going back to how things used to be. Everything you once believed, your safety, your hopes for the future is gone and even what you believed about your past feels wrong too. It’s probably the toughest part of facing up to reality, as well as the deception. 

My person opinion is to do the 180, which means put your life back together without him. No waiting for him to return. No counselling him. Don’t have him in the house. If you have to be under the same roof at night then sleep in different rooms. Think “single lady”. Think “new start”. In the meantime, get your finances in order with a view to future without him. It might take 6 months, or 12 months, or 2 years, or more. But you need to be able to live without financial dependency. 

Now, this is NOT a recommendation to divorce. Just knowing that are your own woman is powerful. Knowing that if you have to make it alone, you can. You might even need to wait until your kids have left home but until then you are under no obligation to be his wife unless you choose. And doing the 180 is proving to yourself that you have that choice. You may reconcile. You may not. But if you do, it’s better to do so from a place of personal power and agency. 

You deserve better than to be treated better than he is doing to you right now. I know people ping pong between spouse and AP, but really, your future doesn’t have to depend on him deciding what HE wants. What about what you want? Right now, there’s no way of knowing whether your relationship can survive this anyway but one thing is certain — your relationship is forever changed and so are you. X
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strength1

Thank you all.

Jasmine, I firmly believe that H is in a deep midlife crisis. All things point to it, and it is the only way I can understand the alien which has occupied his body. He is known for his wisdom and integrity, and he goes and does this. He told me he himself hates what he is doing, and it's like watching himself in a film.  I have faith that he will eventually emerge from this. I never thought I was an empath, I am a proud and very strong woman, but I am strangely able to understand how he got himself in this situation. What I cannot understand is how he now lacks the courage to close one of the 2 doors.   Slowly slowly I have been turning up the heat - when I found out about the other woman I asked him not to sleep in the house for a week, then  I asked him to never sleep in the house, then not to bring his laundry home anymore (the cheek...).  There comes a point when I will give up.  I love him with all my heart - we were soulmates by most if not all accounts, and I don't give up on our relationship without a fight, as long as he is still in the fog.  

To be fair on him, he told me I should think about myself, and only admitted he would like me to wait for him when I asked a very direct question.  

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triplehooks
I've developed the view (some would call extremist or militant) that the best move is actually immediate divorce, and that's supplemented by the fact that I didn't pull that trigger myself when the same happened to me.  I have all the sunk costs that long term marriages have and I foolishly allowed that to influence my choices, and regret it terribly, because the treading water that "working on it"/limbo represents was just a waste of time.  The proper shock and awe factors/incentives need to be in place for issues to be looked at honestly in the aftermath of cheating.   Cheaters fool themselves into all sorts of dumb rationalizations and beliefs and reach a state of "confusion" based on fooling themselves into believing they did anything other than make deliberate destructive choices that have no real payoff, like eating CAKE instead of protein when you are starving...  At this stage I REALLY wish I pulled that trigger.  Even if we find our way back to each other I believe my cheater would have reached certain important realizations faster (and at a minimum I would not have had to WATCH her be so stupid while she meandered lost in "confusion"...).  The second I even started talking about divorce and how I would go about it and what that all meant was when my wife actually started taking this very seriously.

Even for those who hope for reconciliation it really seems the best move.  Without absolutely bringing the impact of adultery into the light of day and dealing with that, any reconciliation will be lacking something.  People have done it (found ways to reconcile) while remaining married and still pushing to deal with the harsh multi-lateral consequences of adultery however it sure seems like NOTHING quite draws attention to it and calls it out and makes clear what fire the guilty party was playing with quite like bringing down the house with an immediate divorce.  When the house gets sold, the kids are suffering and the cheater doesn't have you laundering their skidmarks or fixing leaky faucets or holding them up emotionally anymore, and their social network isn't inviting them to parties or smiling at them anymore...to the savable spouse things get clear really quickly.   The unsavable are unphased and show their cards, and the bonus is that you didn't waste another breath on them.   

When your spouse cheats and blows up your and their own (and your kids') world, they really SHOULD be put in their proper place.  If they somehow come around to regret their choices and want to re-assemble the family they should earn it.  As far as you they should have to win you back in competition with the literally millions of other people that are more worthy than they are of your heart.  As far as your kids they should be made to face the fact that they gambled with their children's lives and their own relationships with them -- which they nearly universally disregard.  If they find a way to earn their children's hearts back well then good for them.  Let them do it by manifesting whatever authentic transformation they have undergone.

Nothing will make them actually appreciate what they so callously took for granted like having to actually earn it themselves.  And if they resent it.... well who gives a $hit that they do?  At that point they are only (STILL) the entitled selfish a$$holes they were to begin with, and WHO F@CKING CARES what they think!?!?! 
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EasyAsABC
I was the OW, and the man I was involved with pulled something similar, except that I was the only one that knew about his inner turmoil, not his partner. 
In the end, these people love having two people willing to fight for them. Two people that love them, two people that know two different sides of them. So I took #2 out of the mix. I wasn’t going to sit around and watch his actions not meet his words. I wish I had done it sooner. 
In the beginning (immediately post DDay) he told me he actually couldn’t leave her, but phrased it to me like he was only staying because he was worried she would end her life, and if she didn’t, he was worried about the safety and sanity of his child and whether or not he’d still have access to her. He told me time and time again that he didn’t love her, he just had an obligation to fulfill, that if we truly loved each other, we’d be together when the timing was better. So I kept seeing him even after that, because this “poor man” was being “manipulated” into staying with someone he didn’t want to be with. I fell apart, my already debilitating depression spiraled down and out of control, I felt powerless and I blamed his partner. It sounds like his AP is probably in a similar, or ever worse situation than I was, especially considering she relocated near him. 
It wasn’t until I made strides to reclaiming my sanity that I realized how much he was likely manipulating me as well as her. I removed myself from his life (it took a few tries) and I’m doing a bit better. I still have my bad days, and I still miss him almost every day. It wasn’t and still isn’t easy. However, being someone’s back up plan is no way to live, and honest it seems like that’s what your husband is demoting you to, a backup plan. 
Like everyone else has suggested, I’d focus on a life without him. I know rebuilding is in your heart, but even if he came back today, you’d still need to find yourself again, and I think moving on in a direction that gives you security without him is essential even if you do reconcile. 
I’m sorry for your pain.
BS to an abusive H 2009-2018
OW 2018-2019
I wear many hats.
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jasmine
Strength1, I have absolutely no doubt you are a strong woman and it is obvious that you can stare at this situation in the cold light of day and see it for what it is. You are certainly showing immense understanding and tolerance — all very fine qualities. 

Your husband is having his cake and eating it, but what on earth does he think he’s playing at? He’s provided a room for the OW, he went off on holiday with her, he’s staying with her overnight AND he expects you to “wait”! How will he know when it’s over? And what will SHE do then? Go back to her home country? After she left her country to be in a relationship with him? Is that any way to treat someone? Is she going to be some discarded toy he throws away when he’s bored? If you ask me, he discarded you as if you were an old Christmas toy that he got bored with when the latest shiny new toy caught his eye. WHAT IS HE PLAYING AT???!!!!!!

The midlife crisis. Oh, I know that one all right! My husband has been in a midlife crisis for 20 years. Seriously. It’s very, very wearing to be the partner of a chronic midlife mess. About 2-3 years into this midlife phase, which coincided with the compulsive porn use, I thought about leaving the marriage because he had become so unpleasant to me. TBH I think it was when the porn/sex addiction became more serious. When everything came to a head at d day, and I found out this, and I found out that, and I was lied to over and over, I remember thinking, ”If I had known what lay ahead I would have left when my heart was breaking and I should have done the unthinkable and ended it”. I regretted sticking it out. I thought what I’d put down to a midlife crisis had passed, but there was always something else. Then something else. He went strange at 50. He became an unbearable a-hole at 55. He was reaping what he had sown by then. His addiction was making him miserable and I knew at the time he was trying to impress someone. I don’t know the truth of the situation and I don’t expect to. I committed to staying. I was optimistic. TBH it’s been tough and I haven’t been the same since d day. 

One thing I would get absolutely straight, if you can — know your husband’s full sexual history throughout your marriage. I have a hunch this is not the first woman he’s fallen for ESPECIALLY if he travels for work. You say she’s from another continent. How did they meet? Getting the truth out of a BS isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes it comes from unexpected sources when you least expect it. But ask him. And keep asking him. Any gut feelings in the past? Any sense of something feeling “off”? What was going on in his life then? Ask him “remember that time when....” if anything comes to mind. 

If you can stomach it, go see the OW. Don’t tell your husband. Go when you know he’s not likely to be there and find out as much as you can about how they met. (TIP: betraying husbands always lie, so don’t rely on him for “the truth”.). Also, if you can bear it, ask her if he intends to marry her. See what she says. Don’t show your hand. Don’t tell her he wants to spend his retirement with you or anything like that. Tell her NOTHING and let her sing. You might find out a lot more. But it takes nerves of steel to do this. Don’t do it if it’s going to be too upsetting. 
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strength1
jasmine wrote:

One thing I would get absolutely straight, if you can — know your husband’s full sexual history throughout your marriage. I have a hunch this is not the first woman he’s fallen for ESPECIALLY if he travels for work. You say she’s from another continent. How did they meet? Getting the truth out of a BS isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes it comes from unexpected sources when you least expect it. But ask him. And keep asking him. Any gut feelings in the past? Any sense of something feeling “off”? What was going on in his life then? Ask him “remember that time when....” if anything comes to mind. 


Until two years ago, we were ALWAYS together - we work together, have our meals together, holidayed together.  This is why this has been a massive bomb drop for me.  He has truly lost his mind.  
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strength1
jasmine wrote:

If you can stomach it, go see the OW. Don’t tell your husband. Go when you know he’s not likely to be there and find out as much as you can about how they met. (TIP: betraying husbands always lie, so don’t rely on him for “the truth”.). Also, if you can bear it, ask her if he intends to marry her. See what she says. Don’t show your hand. Don’t tell her he wants to spend his retirement with you or anything like that. Tell her NOTHING and let her sing. You might find out a lot more. But it takes nerves of steel to do this. Don’t do it if it’s going to be too upsetting. 


Not sure I want to do that, because what's the value anyway?  I don't want to do anything out of spite. I just want to protect myself. Until this morning I wanted to protect my 20-year-old marriage too, but I just realised that I can't take it anymore. 
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UrbanExplorer
strength1 wrote:

Thank you all.

Jasmine, I firmly believe that H is in a deep midlife crisis. All things point to it, and it is the only way I can understand the alien which has occupied his body. He is known for his wisdom and integrity, and he goes and does this. He told me he himself hates what he is doing, and it's like watching himself in a film.  I have faith that he will eventually emerge from this. I never thought I was an empath, I am a proud and very strong woman, but I am strangely able to understand how he got himself in this situation. What I cannot understand is how he now lacks the courage to close one of the 2 doors.   Slowly slowly I have been turning up the heat - when I found out about the other woman I asked him not to sleep in the house for a week, then  I asked him to never sleep in the house, then not to bring his laundry home anymore (the cheek...).  There comes a point when I will give up.  I love him with all my heart - we were soulmates by most if not all accounts, and I don't give up on our relationship without a fight, as long as he is still in the fog.  

To be fair on him, he told me I should think about myself, and only admitted he would like me to wait for him when I asked a very direct question.  



He very well might be in a midlife crisis. I don't think he's necessarily a terrible human being or actively means you harm because he is doing this terrible thing that is harming you. I was once there myself. It's just that his mind is not right and is not going to be right while he stays in limbo with the OW in the picture feeling unable to decide. It's a lot like an addiction or crutch when you are in an affair. It took me 6 months after D-day to stop interacting with my AP at all. I almost felt responsible for him, at least as much as for my family. It's ridiculous in hindsight, but I didn't have a realistic perspective when I was in that space and panicking. He doesn't hold any appeal to me now but I nearly blew up my marriage and family for him, nearly destroyed myself over him? Ridiculous. 

I still think you need to take a step away. It doesn't have to be a divorce right this moment, but it should be significant. Let him know you are moving on.
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strength1
“It took me 6 months after D-day to stop interacting with my AP at all”

UrbanExplorer, what made you snap out of the fog?  Threat of divorce?

I can only think of beginning the steps for a divorce as the next step.  None of our friends, except 3, and none of our families know about this OW.  He’s living with her in the same smallish town as I and the children  and ALL our friends.  The humiliation I am feeling is tremendous.  He know has opened an Instagram account where he is following 4 persons:  our 2 daughters, his OW and her adult son.  How soon before our children find out from social media or because one of their friends tells them? It’s unbearable.


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EasyAsABC
strength1 wrote:
“It took me 6 months after D-day to stop interacting with my AP at all”

UrbanExplorer, what made you snap out of the fog?  Threat of divorce?

I can only think of beginning the steps for a divorce as the next step.  None of our friends, except 3, and none of our families know about this OW.  He’s living with her in the same smallish town as I and the children  and ALL our friends.  The humiliation I am feeling is tremendous.  He know has opened an Instagram account where he is following 4 persons:  our 2 daughters, his OW and her adult son.  How soon before our children find out from social media or because one of their friends tells them? It’s unbearable.




I think doing whatever protects you and your kids at this point is the best way to go. 
Maybe he thought this would never catch up with him, maybe having her there is not what he wanted ultimately, but he didn’t know how to say that to her. Whatever the issue is that’s causing him to feel conflicted, that’s on HIM, you don’t need to sacrifice yourself to be along for the ride, hoping he’ll come to his senses. 
You don’t have to follow through with the divorce ultimately, but I agree that it sounds like the next logical step. I stayed with my ex husband through dozens of affairs, I wish I had filed right after the first one. 
It’s his mess, let him clean it up. Even if it makes him look less than perfect in front of his friends and family. Because, we’ll, he isn’t perfect. 
BS to an abusive H 2009-2018
OW 2018-2019
I wear many hats.
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jasmine
Strength1, I would never suggest acting out of vindictiveness towards anyone. The important thing is that you define your boundaries with a view to protecting yourself. I think most of us can work our way past one affair, and if it is a genuine one-off then there is a very good chance of recovering as a couple, provided both partners are prepared to step up to the challenge. But the affair needs to be over for good. 

The aspect of with this affair, which is probably the toughest part to bear, is the fact that she’s travelled from her own country and he’s renting somewhere for them both to stay, and left you in limbo whilst you “wait” for him to leave her. It takes a lot of strength to be able to tolerate such a situation. It’s an entirely different situation from a ONS or a short term affair that dies a natural death after the initial frisson has passed.

I don’t believe for one minute that your husband is a “bad” person. But I do believe he is a confused and conflicted person right now. Just like EasyAsABC says, it’s up to HIM. He is responsible for himself, his behaviour and his decisions. His ending of the affair isn’t nor should be dependent on whether you are going to be his doormat, because quite frankly that’s how he’s been treating you. 

I know you are in the thick
of it right now, so please take very good care of yourself. 
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strength1
jasmine wrote:
Strength1, I would never suggest acting out of vindictiveness towards anyone. The important thing is that you define your boundaries with a view to protecting yourself. I think most of us can work our way past one affair, and if it is a genuine one-off then there is a very good chance of recovering as a couple, provided both partners are prepared to step up to the challenge. But the affair needs to be over for good. 

The aspect of with this affair, which is probably the toughest part to bear, is the fact that she’s travelled from her own country and he’s renting somewhere for them both to stay, and left you in limbo whilst you “wait” for him to leave her. It takes a lot of strength to be able to tolerate such a situation. It’s an entirely different situation from a ONS or a short term affair that dies a natural death after the initial frisson has passed.


Thank you Jasmine.  I don't believe I am acting out of vindictiveness - more out of resignation and self-respect.  

OW travelled from her own country, and H seemed to go out of his way to tell me that it's not clear how long she will stay.  He's told friends it's until December.  I absolutely want to avoid being the default option ('she's left', or 'it's difficult to make a long-distance relationship work, so better stay with my wife').  

I'm taking the weekend to really think things through (again). I have the number of a lawyer, but somehow my hand doesn't want to pick up the phone. 
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