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W had a three year affair, discovered 6 months ago. She's been a good home maker since then, but really hasn't done a lot to deal with the affair other than offer joint counselling - but counselling appears pointless as she is very open that she still loves the OM and can't tell me she wants to be married to me.
She has let slip that she was hoping the OM would have left his wife after their affair was discovered (his wife still doesn't know). She claims she hasn't had any personal contact since discovery (they do work together, so will have some contact). I am not sure I believe her, but contact would have been pretty limited as she is home early every night. She's apologised belatedly, but can't say it's full remorse (she may have difficulty apologising as it doesn't come naturally) and I think it's just dawned on her how badly she has messed up with our 3 young kids (youngest was 1yo when affair started).
My question.... what do you do with a cheating spouse who says they want to work on things (via counselling) but don't love you, love someone else and would probably leave you for them if they could?
It's interesting that you haven't said in your post how you feel about her and what you want to do with your relationship.
Where do you ideally want to go from here?
It's a tough one, but I'd say respect yourself enough to be with someone who loves you. It might seem OK now but everyone deserves to be with someone who loves them.
I hope you work things out for the best, it seems like long term you will be hurt.
what would I "do" with them ?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
I can't imagine for a moment how you could even begin rebuilding a relationship in that situation. I don't think it would be possible for a moment. Sometimes walking away really is your only choice to preserve your long-term happiness.
If it was me... I'd be gone. Not necessarily through infidelity but due to the open admission I was only a "make do" because the "something better" didn't want to come along... I do find your phrase 'good homemaker' to be an interesting choice of words there tho'
She is only with you because her other option hasn't panned out.
This will slowly destroy you.
You deserve better.
Can you have your DC 50/50?
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Purpledaisy's..... what do I want? It changes a lot.
Firstly, I don't want to hurt the kids unless the situation is harmful to me either emotionally or financially. I want to be with the person I met and married... but then I realise she doesn't exist. And the person who is left looks and mostly acts like the person I knew, so it's really confusing, as this same person has davalued and humiliated me for 3 years - at that's what she seems to really think of me.
But, she is also distraught, so I don't know if she can ever be that special person again or not.
I accept no blame for the affair - that's all on her - but I know I wasn't as good a husband as I should have been and that weighs on me a lot as well.
Against that, I know there's someone better out there for me, although as our marriage counsellor pointed out, everyone has the capacity to cheat and anyone I meet may also have strong feelings for someone else when I meet them.
So do I stay and try and work it out or break the kids hearts and leave someone who has done this to me?
I would like to have kids 50/50. There's a real chance she'll fight me on that, though. They're her life and she tried to isolate me from the kids the last year or two.
Op you sound incredibly loyal but also like a door mat. You need to start rebuilding your life and separate. She's not convincing you otherwise. There's 100% several other people out there for you!
If she works full time, she should not have to be the only "good homemaker". I hope you do as much as her in the home, but I wonder if the use of that phrase is telling, as to in what way you think you could of been a better husband?
She could not push you out of the kids lives unless you were letting her do everything for the kids, as well as work, and "home-making". Very easy to sit back and let someone willing do it all, but this is the path to resentment and ill feeling. It seems like there may be a lot of that from her, which may explain why she has found an OM. Does not excuse it though, did she ever voice her discontent with you before the affair? That would of been fair.
If 50/50 would give you more time with your kids than you currently spend with them, you have nothing to lose by trying for it. Better that, than a doormat.
Smorgasboard - you make a lot of good points.
The reference to "homemaker" was more a reference to her trying on that front (rather than disappearing) and making a comparison with her complete disappearance on the relationship front, other than wanting MC to keep things ticking over but with no real desire.
She works full time, but we also have a live in Nanny. She also complained a lot about not having things (like a big enough house, a holiday home, etc) so I was under pressure to work more to make more money. Our situation is sad but not untypical. As you say, no reason for an affair but the reasons for the resentment and ill feeling are easy to see now in hindsight. But I can also see her selfishness and mild narcissism.
She often voiced discontent, we discussed it and worked on it. But she never told me she was about to have an affair if I didn't respond to her in a different way, so I just don't accept any blame for the affair. I can't be blamed for something when she kept the most important bit of information from me.
These are all things that would be worked on in couples counselling, but going back to my original question, is there any point where she's checked out, doesn't love me and would leave me for someone (albeit an unrealistic fantasy affair partner) if she could? The really sad thing (apart from the kids) is that the OM is just a complete dickhead who also cheated on his wife for 3 years. Not much of a human being (known for dishonest in business dealings) who also used the WS, never intending to have a proper relationship with her and actually took steps to mess up our marriage so he could keep the affair going. If she'd spent any time thinking about it (which she hasn't) she'd probably see him as the narcissist he is.... but that's slightly off point. I suppose I should query why I would want to be with my own narcissist who cheated on her loyal husband and kids these last 3 years.
searching I'm sorry, but I would be consulting a solicitor at this stage - she's told you she'd rather be with OM, and is just going through the motions.
I don't think partners regularly threaten to have an affair if something doesn't change - I find it a bit strange that you seem to see this as something that could/would happen, and it indicates perhaps that the issue of her dissatisfaction hasn't just been you working long hours to provide more material goods.
Your children will be sad, yes - but they would be a lot sadder if they had to watch their parents in a loveless and toxic relationship, and this could also impact on their own relationship patterns in the future, too. A lot depends on how you interact with your wife, of course - but it doesn't sound as though it's a good template for children as it is.
Thanks - I have been to see the lawyers and that's at an advanced stage. I am ready to file or agree a separation with her.
I agree, people don't threaten to have an affair. But if you and others are saying "you're not a good husband, she told you so and therefore her having an affair is your fault", then I disagree for a number of reasons. If she had said "I am so unhappy that if you don't fix this then I will have an affair" then yes, I am can see your point. But she didn't. She kept the affair secret and carried on with the marriage, taking all the material benefits and keeping me in the dark about her issue and her activities. The affair is completetly her fault.
The damaged marriage is there to be fixed, and there's no dispute about that. The issue is whether it's even worth doing that.
The marriage isn't your usual screaming match. We discuss things behind closed doors. But I can't be loving towards her unless I get past this point (she is happy to carry on as if the affair never happened, but subject to telling me she's not committed).
So question is, does anyone stay in these circumstances? Has anyone ever experienced or seen this before?
I couldn't do it.
3 years!! That's a lot lies and deception.
I don't believe you will ever feel the same way about her again.
But this is entirely up to you and what your deal breakers are.
For me, shagging another person for 3 years behind my back and hoping that the other person would leave and be with them would be absolutely my deal breaker.
If she works full time then then there is no reason why you can't do 50/50.
She had the affair so she can leave.
I'd be aiming for that and pretty soon!
i'd call it a day.
to me, there's no going back.
divorce is the best option here.
You poor man. This is horrific for your family. Many people on here have gone down the rebuilder route post affair - some successfully others not. You do not need to keep absolving yourself if blame for the affair - it is never the fault of the cheated on whatever the state of the marriage. Only you will khow you feel and when the time is right to then decide next steps. Keep posting, researching trying to understand what is needed to rebuild. But it looks like she checked out a long time ago and is barely going though the motions now. This is not sustainable or healthy for any of you. You and your children deserve better than this.
oP, I don't think anyone has said or implied the affair was your fault, absolutely it wasn't!
I really don't think you can make this work with any amount of counselling - she has very clearly checked out and it sounds like you have as well, you're just hesitating because you don't want to put your kids through the upheaval.
But what are your kids getting at the moment? A picture of marriage where people stay married but don't love each other and want to be with other people, believe me they will pick up on the atmosphere and absorb those lessons even if you think you're shielding them.
Surely better for them to have two separate but happy and loving parents? If you are sufficiently wealthy to have a nanny then I'm sure you can make 50/50 work. I can't see any reason you wouldn't get it unless you have erratic work patterns or the dcs have special needs?
No! It's absolutely NOT your fault she chose to have an affair - I'm so sorry you thought that was what I meant: I was simply commenting that people don't often use it as a threatening tool - it was just an observation based on something you'd said. It's totally her fault and her responsibility - the question is whether you are prepared to go through counselling etc with her if she's already told you that she's basically only with you because the OM doesn't want her.
I personally wouldn't want to be with someone who had made it clear that they didn't want to be with me and I was their backup plan - but plenty of people do do this. I think it has to be down with what you feel OK with - but I think you deserve to have a partner who values and appreciates and loves you. I'm not sure I could get over someone who had treated me like your DW has - it's not only about the affair, but also her attitude since.
As I say, only you can decide what you'll tolerate - but in your position, I'd be filing right now.
I think you need to make the move to file for divorce. The only way reconciliation can work is if the WS is remorseful and totally unequivocally ends the affair. IMO there is the added risk that she will find a way to inform the other BS to try to force the OM's hand. Don't be a backup. Good luck
Thanks for message. I actually wanted to tell the BS of the OM and my WS was dead against it (in case anyone else finds out).
WS says she is remorseful and says affair is over. I am just not sure I believe her. But I know that for the rest of our time together I will be looking over my shoulder and wondering whether I need to compete against the OM, who has the advantage of a fantasy affair to compare against the real world of being married with kids and a couple of decades of issues that have built up.
BS = betrayed spouse
WS = wayward/cheating spouse
I wanted to tell the other guy's wife, but mine was dead against it
How do you feel now? Have any if the comments here helped you ? What do you think you will do now??
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