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Reconciliation :
Question on WS behavior

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Copingmybest (original poster member #78962) posted at 11:13 AM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

My WW, I feel, is sort of "still living the lie" in the regards that she is still trying to keep her secrets well hidden. It’s not like a good bit of the community probably doesn’t already know, but she hasn’t told her only sister of the A even though her sister cheated on her husband years ago, she hasn’t told her cousin that she’s close with (who was cheated on by her husband several years ago), and she most certainly is hoping our two grown boys 22 and 24 won’t find out. From a WS standpoint, how disfunctional is this. I’ve told her before that maybe she should let our two boys know, to use it as a learning experience as to why one should never resort to this behavior, and to show that we value our relationship and are hoping to work it all out. Am I wrong in that regard? I have told my WW the things I need the most. Most important on the list is for her to do the work to show me that she is becoming safe, and can identify the reason why she cheated. That one thing would make all the difference in the world, but she just won’t go there, it’s like she is ashamed of the A and she just doesn’t want to deal with it. I’ve done all I can to help her but like many have mentioned, I can’t fix her, she has to want to fix herself. As I still only average around 4 hours of sleep per night, this going on for 2-1/2 years, and after much internal reflection, I can honestly say that I love my wife more than anything, but I’m falling out of love with her because I’m learning that she simply can’t be there for me in the capacity that I want my spouse to be. I’ve really been thinking hard about a trial separation and then onto divorce even though it will reek havoc on my business, my source of livelyhood. That was initially the fear I’d been dealing with is not wanting to go into debt to balance our possessions and wind up having to go back to working 7 days a week for another 5-7 years to get back to where I am now, but it’s looking more doable as every day passes.

Edit: I sure wish I’d have discovered SI before DDay, I would have handled things much differently. Now I almost feel like I let the opportunity pass to handle this the right way. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Edit #2: I think her primary flaw right now is her coping abilities with major issues.

[This message edited by Copingmybest at 11:16 AM, Monday, September 18th]

posts: 265   ·   registered: Jun. 16th, 2021   ·   location: Midwest
id 8808331
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 11:41 AM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I’m sorry you are still struggling after all these years. I was once you in that I had the same issues.

Here’s my two cents.

I respectfully disagree on telling your adult children. If you happily reconcile — why do they need to know? If you decide to D —you can then inform them the reasons why you are D. But I believe in protecting kids from adult issues if possible.

Again that’s just my personal opinion.

In order to be happier during your Reconciliation, you need to understand that many many cheaters will not do the work to understand why they cheated. I don’t know whether it’s fear or avoidance or pain or whatever — they just cannot or will not do it.

It’s not personal against you — it’s not like the cheater is avoiding therapy b/c they don’t want to Reconcile but oftentimes it’s fear that prevents them from doing it.

Falling out of love with your spouse happens after an affair and the rose colored glasses come off. You no longer see them in the same light. You realize you had an idea of who they were — and now you find out it’s not accurate.

In my case I used to think I was sooooo lucky my H wanted to marry me. I thought he was smart and strong and very honest. ROFLMAO - it turns out I am much stronger and waaay more honest lol. I thought he was the strong silent type. I certainly don’t think that anymore lol.

I hope you may have considered getting counseling for yourself. From dday1 I had an amazing counselor who saved my sanity. It definitely helped me put things in perspective at times and understand the cheater is flawed, not me.

Reconciliation comes with its own challenges. You are being forced to recognize your wife can’t or won’t give you what you need. You now have to decide if this is a dealbreaker or not.

It’s something only you can come to terms with. Speaking for myself my H was not perfect during Reconciliation but I know he was giving it 100%. I had to decide if I could happily R with him, accept his affairs, accept his mistakes in our marriage and during R, and still be happy.

I hope this helps you.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13966   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8808334
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CFme923 ( member #82955) posted at 12:06 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I don't have a lot of experience at 1 year out. I can only say that I personally don't feel it is helpful to tell our children unless D is happening and they are struggling to understand. No one knows of my WHs affair, neither of us have told anyone and I am okay with that. I loathe people talking about me and value my privacy.

posts: 99   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2023
id 8808335
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Dennylast ( member #78522) posted at 12:13 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I am usually pro R. I find myself leaning the other way in your story. But, I will add this. How many times a day are you thinking about the affair? What is she doing for you to lessen these thoughts? Helping you heal in other words. Over time this should lessen on its own but if she is not helping I am having trouble seeing a reason to stay. Try the separation and see if that helps you. It might also help her realize she is not doing enough. It will be okay if once you separate you decide you are better off without her.

posts: 150   ·   registered: Mar. 17th, 2021
id 8808336
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:30 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I'm 50/50 on telling adult children IF you reconcile.

Infidelity is seen, as no big deal. Its romanticized in books,movies,TV shows, etc.

We have a valuable lesson we can teach our adult kids. We know how destructive Infidelity is. We can teach them about making other choices,that there is never a reason to cheat,etc,etc.

I understand your wife not wanting the kids to know. But,there is value in teaching them about how harmful Infidelity is.

If one of your sons cheats on his wife, you can educate them on what they need to do. If they are cheated on,you can help them through it.

The chances that, at least, one son will be affected by Infidelity,are high. Either as a BS or a WS. What's the plan if that happens? Are you going to pretend you've never been through it? Lie?

[This message edited by HellFire at 2:33 PM, Monday, September 18th]

Our field of dreams,engulfed in fire..and I'll still see it,till the day I die..

posts: 6756   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8808341
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 Copingmybest (original poster member #78962) posted at 2:46 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I have already told my wife I will never lie for her or her affair partner.

posts: 265   ·   registered: Jun. 16th, 2021   ·   location: Midwest
id 8808344
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 4:02 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

Now I almost feel like I let the opportunity pass to handle this the right way.

The old adage, "The best time to plant a tree was years ago, but today is the next best option." I think that applies to you here. If R or what you feel is R is not working for you, you do not have to accept it.

Seems like she may not be doing the work needed to make herself a safe partner for you, which you are also right to call out. Your concerns about telling your in-laws and kids seem to stem more from concern about her now owning her affairs than anything else.

Myself - BH & WH - Born 1985 Her - BW & WW - Born 1986

D-Day for WW's EA - October 2017D-Day no it turned PA - February 01, 2020

posts: 669   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8808351
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 4:04 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

If one of your sons finds themselves dealing with infidelity, will you tell them you can help them,because of your personal experience?

Saying you won't lie about her affair is good. But if one of them is dealing with infidelity, and doesn't ask you if you've ever dealt with it,will you still tell them you have?

Will you need to be asked directly,before you tell them? Or will you tell them because you know how to help them?

Also, talking to them about it,before it happens to one of them(chances are high that at least knew of them will deal with it at some point),may prevent them from becoming a WS.

[This message edited by HellFire at 4:06 PM, Monday, September 18th]

Our field of dreams,engulfed in fire..and I'll still see it,till the day I die..

posts: 6756   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8808352
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 4:10 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I don't think it's dysfunctional to keep infidelity private. YOU don't have to keep it private, though. She made it part of your story.

I also think that you're 100% correct to tell her that you won't lie for her.

[This message edited by SacredSoul33 at 4:12 PM, Monday, September 18th]

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1327   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8808355
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suddenlyisee ( member #32689) posted at 5:45 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I agree with others on the subject of privacy... I don't think disclosure to friends or family outside of the relationship is necessary at all for a reconciliation. In fact, I think it can do much more harm than good. It's a safe bet that your kids, her sister and her cousin have nothing to offer to improve her understanding of a very complex personal situation.
As for a WS figuring out why they strayed, that's a process, and sometimes it's years long. Some just won't or can't get there, even if they want to. It's a minefield. Consult the wrong therapist, or 'self-help expert' and they might simply find a convenient excuse that feels good, but has nothing to do with reality.
Even with appropriate, collaborate and focused therapy, they might find the real reasons - but not be able to develop the coping mechanisms to overcome them. Even 'successful' therapy is messy. It's often like smashing something that's ALMOST working - so all the pieces can be exposed to better decide how to approach fixing it. Sometimes it's just salvage and re-invention.
Their work is something they have to do for themselves - and it's OK to demand the effort.
It can be fulfilling or even rewarding to be supportive of it, but it can also be a letdown when even a very positive result is simply respect and fidelity - which is what you thought you had in the first place. I think as a BS, you have to embrace the scars and find a way to be proud of your WS for growing and doing the work and healing - even if you don't have a guarantee of the outcome.
It's also OK if you're not up to sticking around for it.
If that's your path, you don't have to go scorched earth - and you might find that 'getting back to where you are now' isn't a necessity. A smaller home or a simpler life can be a massive IMPROVEMENT to quality of life.

Semi-pro BS in R

posts: 493   ·   registered: Jul. 6th, 2011   ·   location: Michigan
id 8808363
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:11 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

Is she doing the work? Because, from what I know of your posts, it seems she is not. At all. Not only that,but she is completely disrespecting your work. Didn't she recently throw your journal away?

I think its ok to expose the affair to trusted family members, when your ws isn't doing the work. Maybe they will help hold her accountable.

Yes..the work can take years. But there isn't much effort happening here. She's waiting you out, and hoping time lessens the pain. She's rugsweeping.

Our field of dreams,engulfed in fire..and I'll still see it,till the day I die..

posts: 6756   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8808367
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 7:21 PM on Monday, September 18th, 2023

I think it kind of depends on what you're hoping to accomplish. Are the people you want your WW to inform going to be of use to her? Will they help or hurt your recovery? From my experience, I asked my fWH to talk to one of his brothers, the one he's closest with, and his best friend. The purpose was that I knew these two men would have his best interest at heart, and while I wasn't looking to control his conversations with them, I was looking to make sure he had an outlet for his thoughts and that these two men were a positive influence. We didn't do blanket "exposure". I didn't want his elderly parents to worry and I didn't want him to have to deal with the embarrassment of everyone he knows judging him. I can't speak to everyone's situation, but in ours, he was already self-tortured enough with feelings of inadequacy which were part of the problem and a big reason why he was building himself up in such an unhealthy way.

As far as the adult children knowing, there was no way I was going to be able to act normal around them and I wasn't going to try and hide what had happened. I've always been really open with them and talked about everything. Basically, I just gave them the facts and then reminded them that their relationship with their father was a separate thing, and that I am a grown woman who can take care of her own business so I didn't need them breaking into camps. I wanted them to understand that it's okay to still love both their parents.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8808375
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 Copingmybest (original poster member #78962) posted at 9:43 AM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

It’s not necessarily that I want the extended family to know, but I feel like she puts so much emphasis on keeping the secret it’s like she is still lying, and isn’t lying part of what got us here. She is great when things are going well, but if she senses me in a not so great place, she "gives me space" is what she tells me even though I have told her that when I’m not in a great place I’d really like here to be there supporting me. I’m very supportive of her, always have been, and I’m very patient as well. I just don’t want to go another 3-5 years of not sleeping and stressing about when it’s going to finally sink in that she needs to deal with this. It can’t remain "the elephant in the room" forever.
Something that has been bothering me as well here most recently after seeing one of her closest friends, about 2 months post DDay, her friend told me to call her for a different perspective as to what my wife may have been dealing with. This is one of my wife’s best friends. She ultimately told me that me running to my friends to "rat her out" was an unforgivable offense. She’s referring to my needing support from my closest friends. This is also the woman who knew the longest about my wife’s affair. Funny how she never once told my wife to stop the affair or suggested it was bad behavior, but my seeking support for betrayal was unforgivable. It has bothered me that my wife never supported me, by telling her friend how inappropriate it was to tell me that in light of the offense she made. To me it’s just another reason why I don’t matter to my wife as much as her friendship is to her friend. I have, by the way, told my wife that her friend is a danger to of our relationship and that I don’t think her spending time with her is positive for us. We really don’t have discussions about the affair at all anymore, for me it became futile. She never brings it up, well, not never, last month she did come down from her bedroom and tell me she’s sorry for fucking up our marriage. But that is all she said. I quit bringing it up because all I got from it was frustration over lack of discussion from her and no action towards what I need from her. I know this has a time limit before it breaks open. I hope that she turns a corner before it does but I think a trial separation is what I was thinking might get her to shit or get off the pot.

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Dennylast ( member #78522) posted at 12:16 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Set requirements to stay in marriage.

Communicate requirements to partner

State what will happen if requirements not met.

Follow through if requirements not met.

That is very simply your way out of this mess you call your marriage. One caveat though, you must follow through if requirements are not met. So if you don’t think you can do that then disregard everything I have said.

I posted a very heartfelt reply originally. But lost it as I tried to post. I know this seems cold and it is by design. I am trying to reach you.

[This message edited by Dennylast at 12:20 PM, Tuesday, September 19th]

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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 2:35 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

I second Dennylast. And one of those requirements would be that the friend needs to go. She's not a friend to your marriage. Your W can decide which relationship is more important to her. Or you can make that decision for her.

I just don’t want to go another 3-5 years of not sleeping and stressing about when it’s going to finally sink in that she needs to deal with this. It can’t remain "the elephant in the room" forever.

The elephant is in your living room, not friends' and family's living room. You might have to make your own peace. That could potentially start by going to her when you're in a funk and telling her that you would like some comfort from her, not space.

Has she had IC? Have you? Have you tried MC?

Remove the "I want you to like me" sticker from your forehead and place it on the mirror, where it belongs. ~ Susan Jeffers

Your nervous system will always choose a familiar hell over an unfamiliar heaven.

posts: 1327   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8808443
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 2:47 PM on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

It’s not necessarily that I want the extended family to know, but I feel like she puts so much emphasis on keeping the secret it’s like she is still lying, and isn’t lying part of what got us here.

For me, secrets and lies are two different things, particularly when it concerns outsiders, meaning anyone who's not my fWH or me. I don't care who he keeps secrets from as long as he doesn't keep secrets from me. That's part of the emotional intimacy I need in order to be willing to stay engaged in the relationship.

I absolutely DO care about seeing him lie though. Lies are triggering for me and if, say he wants to refuse a social invitation by saying he's sick or something, he needs my agreement on it. I know that probably sounds weird, but it is what it is.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 7061   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8808446
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 3:54 PM on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

I’m sorry that your wife feels that your looking for something (like support) from your friends is a violation of some cheater’s code mad

Given that the affair was years ago, I doubt you will get what you need from your wife. There is no urgency in her life to want to or need to step up and be more supportive towards you.

I think you have to accept her for who and what she is. And if that doesn’t work then you need to decide what is best for you.

Please don’t waste more time and energy focused on this. She’s not going to change and suddenly give you the support and attention you need. Save yourself from this misery. Accept this is the best she can do.

I told my H’s family about his cheating. I did it to protect myself so that if we Divorced, he could not blame me for the situation. Which is what he was planning to do.

My H wanted me to file for D so he could play victim. I made sure to remove his victim status opportunity. laugh

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13966   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8808584
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Knitaknee ( member #71772) posted at 7:22 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

I can relate CopingMyBest.
It was about 2 1/2 years past DDay that a switch turned off for me and I fell out of love with my WW. I found SI after committing to R after poor advice from "friends" that made me responsible to save the marriage. She didn't IC, didn't give me a time line, not transparent. Everything I know about the affair is from my own investigating. She tells me she loves me (like she told her two AP's she loved them) but never truly apologized for her affair and the hurt she did to me. She seems to want to rugsweep and act like the A never happened. My 3 daughters knew about the affair while it was going on and well before I did. I since learned WW skirted the topic 2.5 years past DDay with them and left them with the impression that the A was my fault.
I'm staying for now until my youngest moves out of the house. I don't know what the future holds but I currently don't see us together and I am at peace with that.
Had she done something to show true remorse and vulnerability, willing to fess up to her actions, and take action to change I would likely feel different. She still acts self righteous as if she never makes a mistake.
Many have said it is the actions AFTER the A that are the death knell to the marriage. There is nothing wrong if you decide to end it.

You can’t lose what you never had, you can’t keep what’s not yours, and you can’t hold on to something that does not want to stay.

posts: 107   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Alabama
id 8808728
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Knitaknee ( member #71772) posted at 7:36 PM on Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Also, I believe it's WiseOldFool's tagline that resonates with me about my feelings (and I'm trying to quote it as accurately as possible):

Every secret kept sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every omission allowed, every misunderstanding permitted, every deflection sustains the affair.

Maybe you can relate.

You can’t lose what you never had, you can’t keep what’s not yours, and you can’t hold on to something that does not want to stay.

posts: 107   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2019   ·   location: Alabama
id 8808729
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 1:53 PM on Sunday, September 24th, 2023

This is one of my wife’s best friends. She ultimately told me that me running to my friends to "rat her out" was an unforgivable offense. She’s referring to my needing support from my closest friends. This is also the woman who knew the longest about my wife’s affair. Funny how she never once told my wife to stop the affair or suggested it was bad behavior, but my seeking support for betrayal was unforgivable. It has bothered me that my wife never supported me, by telling her friend how inappropriate it was to tell me that in light of the offense she made.

They have a word for these 'friends'----Toxic. Another scary phrase that may apply is 'birds of a feather......'.

One other thing that you may want to consider, being that one of the fears of leaving is the financial/work situation hit that you would endure. Would your WW consider any modifications(post nup, percentage of ownership, etc.) that would soften the blow if you did divorce? Is she willing to make your life easier in that regard? Her response may be very telling of her level of commitment to the marriage....for the better or for the worse.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married over 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary PuckettD-Day(s): EnoughAccepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 4355   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8809171
Topic is Sleeping.
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