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Advice for when you're separated

Topic is Sleeping.
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 10:48 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Can I please get some wisdom on this one as I really don't know how to play it.

I am separated, after a failed R without WS doing "the work". Separation was my choice, WS wants to continue with the M. I moved a couple of hundred miles away (not one to do things by halves) and haven't seen him for a month. Since I left , WS is now doing some of "the work". Notable changes have occurred, which is encouraging but I am also viewing them with some scepticism that it isn't just a short term effort to get me to come home.

What I want is one of these two things:

a) To get back together and for him to do EVERYTHING we need, willingly, happily and with no more crap or excuses or being too tired or too sick and to have a partner truly committed to R and all it entails.

or

b) To move on without him

Anything other than those two options is no longer acceptable to me. Trying to accept less than that turned me into a sad, angry and resentful person and I refuse to be that.

It's worth noting here, that my WS is:

a) autistic, so has deficiencies in some areas of things relating to emotions or communication and he can get very overloaded and stressed by things

and

b) suferring from Lupus, as well as a heart condition and is in a huge flare so is often fatigued, very sick or generally not okay.

Those two factors are the reasons that I allowed a lack of "the work" to go on for so long as it's really hard to put things onto someone who is sick or struggling. However, I came to a point of realising that regardless of those things he had to do "the work" or I could not stay.

So anyway, where we are at now is

We talk pretty much every day for a while. Sometimes that is about the A. Sometimes it is just chit chat. His Grandma died yesterday, so I will have to go back home for the funeral at least. As for anything else, he is suggesting we have a few "long weekends" together in the coming weeks.

I am sitting here feeling really discombobulated. I am not sure whether to refuse to see him or whether meeting up for a few long weekends is actually a good idea.

PROS OF MEETING UP:

1. Obviously I want to see him

2. We could talk in person, and perhaps progress with "the work"

3. We could build on some positive experiences together

CONS OF MEETING UP:

1. I don't want to fall back into any old patterns where I just give in and accept "the work" not being done. Particularly as it is very hard to insist on that when the person is physically sick.

2. The A happened when we were "long distance" so actually this entire setup is very triggering for me and I don't want it to become "the norm"

3. I feel like the entire reason R wasn't working is because he had no consequences. I am worried that (he works long hours and is sick) that he might be completely fine with an M where I live somewhere else and he sees me for long weekends! I mean, I am genuinely worried that might be great for him! Cake and eat it?!!

So basically I am stuck in my brain with what I should do

do I agree to see him but only for counselling and then drive all the way home?

do I agree to the long weekends but only if we set aside a specific time / hours for "the work"?

do I just stay far away and go to minimal contact so he misses me more?

I really don't know what to do here.

In terms of what's best for ME, definitely the time alone has helped. I am no longer caring for someone chronically ill, I can cry when I want, I can type of this forum, I can eat nothing but cereal and that's been kind of soothing. At the same time I obviously want to know if my M is over or not. I have been in limbo with it for three years and feel like I need some kind of solid plan in place. Which is either a really set, very specific plan for "the work" OR me working out life alone.

He is saying he is willing to do all "the work" but obviously I cannot believe this until I actually see it.

Can I get some wise advice here? What is terrifying me most is the idea that I will end up back in limbo but this time worse because I am also back in a long distance marriage which is my absolute NO WAY red line. Not because I feel he would cheat again, but because it feels to me too triggering.

Help!

[This message edited by MintChocChip at 10:51 PM, Wednesday, September 27th]

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809647
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 10:53 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Additional information: I did try "no contact" completely for about a week. After 72 hours he was messaging my family to ask if I was all right. I mean, he was more or less climbing the walls and so I caved and spoke to him. He was having anxiety attacks and getting sicker. So I know that is an option, but I am also worried that instead of encouraging him to "do the work" it was just putting him into a crisis. This is really to do with being autistic. Emotional regulation is an issue. I am his "safe person" and the complete removal of me causes autistic meltdown. So I am just unsure of if that's best or not best.

[This message edited by MintChocChip at 10:54 PM, Wednesday, September 27th]

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809648
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 10:55 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Yeah the whole limbo thing is excrutiating. Maybe put a goal date in place to make a decision if you keep seeing forward progress from him then maybe you can entertain trying again and in the meantime just heal yourself. If he backtracks on his work then you will have a more clear path and if that were to happen I would actively start detaching. Are you seeing your own therapist at this time?

fBS/fWS(me):50 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:53 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(20) DS(17)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8695   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8809649
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 10:57 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

I have to run soon, so I'm sorry for the short response.

How about getting a feel for it when you see him for his grandmother's funeral and then decide what you want to do?

Let the world feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.

posts: 959   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8809650
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 11:10 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Maybe put a goal date in place to make a decision if you keep seeing forward progress from him

This is a very good idea. Again, because he is autistic, he works much better in specifics, so I probably need to physically give him a list and a date. I know that sounds awful, but I he needs things to be said very literally.

I should probably think about what that list includes. Off the top of my head it would be:

a) Getting his lupus under control - he needs to see the specialist and make some lifestyle adjustments (cutting back on work) because him being sick is a barrier to R. And also, I obviously do not want him to be sick.

b) Him setting aside time each week to work on himself with active focus. That means thinking deeply about his whys, explaining them to me, thinking deeply about why R has failed and his role in that etc. Showing me how he is changing and why etc.

c) Him setting aside time each week to work on R. I need to think what that actually means. Does it mean MC? Does it mean talking about it? I am really not sure, but I definitely feel like we need to work on some of the things we skipped out earlier.

I think that is probably it.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809652
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 11:11 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Thanks Sacred!

How about getting a feel for it when you see him for his grandmother's funeral and then decide what you want to do?

This won't work. I have learned I have a tendency to be kind / loving and let that take over from my boundaries and expectations being adhered to. I will see him, and feel like I just want him to feel better, so that means putting me last. That has to change!

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809653
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 11:18 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

You've moved hundreds of miles away to a place where you know no one. Recently it seemed you were kinda starved for human interaction - even looking at matches on Tinder to "feel good."

Wondering if one of the cons of "meeting up" is defaulting to old patterns simply because you're alone. You're living in self-imposed almost hermetic isolation. He's your go-to person........it might be tempting to "give in" if you start spending time together.

Will the "moving on without him" option suffer by comparison simply because you haven't had the time or energy to socially involve yourself in the new location?

Married 34 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW
HIM: 13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
D-Day=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 207   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8809654
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 11:24 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Boundary, I know I am not quite ready to give up the M if I feel he is making progress and strides towards what it was I felt I needed. That definitely is not based on feeling alone, it's based on the value I have in the relationship and how sad I still feel at the idea of moving forward with life apart.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809657
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BoundaryBuilder ( member #78439) posted at 11:47 PM on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

I have learned I have a tendency to be kind / loving and let that take over from my boundaries and expectations being adhered to. I will see him, and feel like I just want him to feel better, so that means putting me last. That has to change!

You've answered your own question. BIG con to meeting up ------ in your own words.
If you're not ready to give up, okay - then what do you need to get out of limbo?
If giving him a to-do list and then setting a date for that to-do list to be complete works to get you on the first rung on the ladder out of limbo - great. At least you've put a time limit on your limbo residency.

[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 12:21 AM, Thursday, September 28th]

Married 34 years w/one adult daughter
ME:BW
HIM: 13 month texting EA with high school X who fished him on Facebook 43 years later
PA=15 days spread over final 3 months
D-Day=April 21, 2018
Reconciled

posts: 207   ·   registered: Mar. 4th, 2021
id 8809660
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 12:26 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

I think the time limit is actually a pretty incredible solution.

I am going to provide him with a list, and set a date (two months from now) where if I don't see those things being done consistently, I cut all contact and move on.

This solution makes me feel peaceful, thank you!

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809666
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 1:27 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

This won't work. I have learned I have a tendency to be kind / loving and let that take over from my boundaries and expectations being adhered to. I will see him, and feel like I just want him to feel better, so that means putting me last. That has to change!

I was thinking that you'd have "cooling off" periods in between the visits when you're 200 miles apart, but I also really like the idea of a timeframe. That's the best way to get out of limbo, I think. Since you are so far apart, how are you going to know if he actually does what you want him to do?

Let the world feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.

posts: 959   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8809678
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 2:25 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

MCC,

Focus on you. Stop worrying about him. You gave him time, more chances than he ever should have had, you left. Stop worrying about him. He has health problems, well those are his problems. He made the choice to risk everything it’s his problem that it wasn’t worth it.

Don’t meet up with him. Stay NC. NC isn’t for him, it’s for you. He’s miserable and panicking, that is his problem not yours. Stop thinking that he is finally going to do the work. He isn’t. I am going to be harsh, he isn’t going to. If he was, then he would have respected NC.

I’m not saying he is going to cheat again, but he is never going to be what you need him to be. Truthfully he probably never was, just the cheating took off your rosé glasses and you see him for who he really is.

You already wasted 3 years. Heal yourself, focus on you. He is a big boy, he can figure out his own problems.

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.
in R, getting by

posts: 148   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8809684
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 2:52 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

I was thinking that you'd have "cooling off" periods in between the visits when you're 200 miles apart, but I also really like the idea of a timeframe. That's the best way to get out of limbo, I think. Since you are so far apart, how are you going to know if he actually does what you want him to do?

Okay, well I made a list of the three things I needed

1. Deal with his health problems
2. Work on himself
3. Work on R

And i was very specific (autistic husband style) with what that meant and how much time a week. I know that sounds like nurse maiding, but genuinely autistic people respond much better to specifics rather than vague requests.

I said I wanted weekly progress reports on 1 and 2, and in terms of 3 said that was something we would do together (long distance or not) in a specified slot.

I said that in eight weeks from now if those things weren't consistently happening that I would end all contact for my own wellbeing because I am tired of limbo.

I said it in a pretty nice way, and now that boundary is set I feel relieved that I can't end up in limbo again. It is either he does it, or he doesn't. If he doesn't, I feel really comfortable with the fact I have tried my best and can step forward alone.

I feel quite relieved now!

With these things in place, I guess I can play it by ear and see him if I want to. There's no worry he will get complacent, because if he does it will be adios in December for good.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809686
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 2:56 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

Focus on you. Stop worrying about him. You gave him time, more chances than he ever should have had, you left. Stop worrying about him. He has health problems, well those are his problems. He made the choice to risk everything it’s his problem that it wasn’t worth it.

Don’t meet up with him. Stay NC. NC isn’t for him, it’s for you. He’s miserable and panicking, that is his problem not yours. Stop thinking that he is finally going to do the work. He isn’t. I am going to be harsh, he isn’t going to. If he was, then he would have respected NC.

I’m not saying he is going to cheat again, but he is never going to be what you need him to be. Truthfully he probably never was, just the cheating took off your rosé glasses and you see him for who he really is.

You already wasted 3 years. Heal yourself, focus on you. He is a big boy, he can figure out his own problems.

Thanks so much HellIsNotHalfFull but this advice is from the perspective that I want to end my M. I don't want that. I want it to be repaired, so I have made the decision already (given that he's showing encouraging progress) that it's worth this last few weeks to see what happens.

If he doesn't - I have only lost 8 weeks.

Also, it's been over two years since he had any contact with AP. The last contact was the last day he worked with her. I am not sure if me saying I have been in false R for three years made that confusing but by false R, I meant him not doing the work.

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809687
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 3:21 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

1 year, 2, 3 it doesn’t matter. He didn’t try, and if he cared he would have. I see lots of excuses for him, but could it be he just is a shill partner?. You leave and suddenly he gets his act together. But he really hasn’t. If he really cared, he would have respected NC and not made a huge drama about it. Don’t you see how selfish that is?Why don’t you want to end it? Ask yourself this honestly. You moved 100s of miles away but you can’t maintain NC because he freaks out.

You get back with him you can expect the exact same behavior. He might play nice for a bit, but it won’t last. You have read enough, seen enough to know that he isn’t going to change.

You don’t want it to end, but it already did long ago. Are you happy? Are you holding on to the mirage of what you have vs the truth?

I’m not attacking you. I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make.

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.
in R, getting by

posts: 148   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8809688
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 MintChocChip (original poster member #83762) posted at 3:37 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

My friend, if this forum was only for people who's WSs instantly stuck to NC and instantly did "the work" then it would be pretty empty.

Some of the people who's stories I respect most on here are the WSs who struggled (sometimes for a very long time) with "the work".

Likewise I have read many stories on here where the WS does everything right and it turns out they're still cheating.

I don't think it's fair or appropriate to say my spouse doesn't care about me. Remember we are all people who's spouses had affairs and did awful things. I don't think it's appropriate to tell strangers their spouse doesn't care about them.

Advice and input is appreciated, but please remember on forums that you don't really know people. You can't go around saying you know what will happen because as helpful as the wisdom on here is God himself doesn't know what will happen

D Day: September 2020Currently separated

posts: 269   ·   registered: Aug. 20th, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8809690
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HellIsNotHalfFull ( member #83534) posted at 4:01 AM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

I’m not saying he doesn’t care about you, I’m saying he cares more about himself than you. That is WS mentality. You told him you wanted NC right? HE couldn’t handle it even though you asked him to, and because he was unable to deal with being uncomfortable he broke it.

That is affair thinking. Now you feel guilty or obligated to take care of him, even though he broke your boundaries:

ETA: I’m not being mean, though I am sure it’s coming off that way. You are trying to heal. From everything you have said and explained, i don’t think it’s possible for you to heal with him in the picture. Down the line, maybe, but as it stands now, I am saying expect much of the same. I could be wrong absolutely. I honestly hope I an

[This message edited by HellIsNotHalfFull at 4:11 AM, Thursday, September 28th]

Me mid 40s BH
Her mid 40s WW
1 year EA/PA

"Just" a friend.
in R, getting by

posts: 148   ·   registered: Jun. 26th, 2023   ·   location: U.S.
id 8809692
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 1:13 PM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

MCC just my 0.02 but you have been all over the place for the last couple weeks. You've started a lot of posts, in here, in the R forum, in the S&D forum. You've been on tinder looking for other people to date. You've been having hours long phone conversations with your ws on the regular... not faulting you, just stating my observations. IME when I see a poster all over the place like this it means they're struggling. I know that from my own personal experience too.

The thing is, IMHO you're NOT separated. Sure you physically moved, but you've not actually given yourself any MENTAL separation here. You asked for NC right? And what did he do? He didn't honor your request, and here you fell right back into what he wanted you to do and he's got a captive audience to pour his woe is me stuff onto. I get having a ws with health concerns, but whether you ultimately R or actually break up, he needs to learn to manage those on his own. And I'm sorry, but the health concerns are just convenient excuses for him to not do what you've asked him to do for three years. I get it, I really do. I made the same kinds of excuses for mine too, but somehow his "health issues" didn't seem to keep him from his cheating bullshit at all. They only seemed to impact his ability to self reflect. Funny how that works isn't it?

So my advice to you. Actually separate. Go full NC (no calls, no emails, no texts, no insta or fb messages, no notes but passenger pigeon, NO contact) for... thirty days. Give yourself a chance to actually look at what YOU want without him influencing your decisions. See if he will actually still do the work if he's not busy telling you about all the work he's supposedly doing. Do NOT do MC. You and him both need IC to work on your respective individual healing. Stop using his health issues as an excuse for yourself to stay entangled with him. He figured out how to cheat on you with no help from you, so he is obvs perfectly capable of making adult decisions and following through with them. Give yourself a chance to really see how you feel without him in the picture. This is not a mean thing to do, it doesn't make you cold or lacking empathy, it's you putting your needs first. And most of all, take care of YOU. None of this shit is easy, and true separation is really hard at first.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3901   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: Louisiana
id 8809700
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Bor9455 ( member #72628) posted at 2:51 PM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

I will echo what Ellie said in her post, you have been quite an active poster (all totally fine) on SI in recent weeks. It is clear that you are really struggling with all this and again, totally fine and natural.

The bottom line here is that your WH hasn't done the work for any successful R to happen. You waited for years for him to do something and it wasn't until you got serious, moved away that he even began to take your serious. If you we are being honest, he can't have made that much progress given that he just started. That is not a personal attack on him or you, but a wayward has to climb Mt. Everest when it comes to the work they have to do and your WH spent three years at base camp not even contemplating the climb and as this late of a date he just started thinking about the climb and maybe starting it, of a journey that is 29K feet, your WH is maybe 100 feet into the journey at best. The reality is that at his current snail pace, it will take decades for him to actually get to the summit of his work where any successful R could be.

I think your best best to handle this scenario is to have quite minimal contact with him. His grandma's passing is unfortunate and your WH is a person that you care about, so there is no harm in being there for him up to a point, because you are a human being with empathy and compassion. However, what you really need is to be no contact from him. The reason that you need to cut off all contact with him is to focus on yourself and your mental health. You mentioned that your WH deals better with direct and timelines, tell him that you are going NC and that he is not to reach out to you for 30 days. That is a boundary that you need and you should be willing to enforce with him. This is again where your empathy and compassion have overtaken your reason and rational brain (not an attack on you), because your WH knows just how to manipulate you back into his orbit. By moving out of the home and hundreds of miles away, you put up a boundary that you felt you needed for your healing and to move forward and your WH didn't respect that boundary, which is again, a completely wayward behavior. Also, I genuinely question any of his "growth" or "changes" after you left since he wouldn't lift a finger for three years and now he wants to do the work after he suffered a few consequences. The truth is that if he is doing these changes for the right reasons, for him and his personal growth, they will stick and be long lasting. However, given that he didn't start making any changes until you walked out of his life, it appears to me his motivations are doing just enough to convince you that he is a reformed man.

One of the most difficult things for all of us, whether we be wayward or betrayed, is the motto, "you have to be willing to lose the marriage to save it" and based on everything you've posted, you are clearly not willing to lose this marriage and by extrapolation, you are also not able or willing to save it. Again, that is not an attack on you, but I'm just trying to lay out that one of the reasons you are struggling to very much is that you are the BS and you are attempting the "lead the horse to water" approach to R where you have to coach your WH along the way. His health concerns and his neurodivergent nature are relevant factors, but they didn't stop him from figuring out how to have an affair, so I'm quite confident he can figure out how to drive a successful R. I am not here telling you that you need to end your marriage and leave him, as this is your life and no one here can tell you what to think, act, feel or do as it pertains to this situations.

You made mention that this forum is full of BS and WS relationships where the WS was a "slow blinker" on these things and that is absolutely true. Some WS get it sooner than others, but those who get it, and to be sure there are many, once they get it, they get it and become consistent and it shows. To date, the sum of your posts on this matter doesn't paint a picture of a WH who gets it and is doing the work for the right reasons, it just seems like another manipulation tactic designed to get you to rugsweep this thing. I have a sneaky suspicion that if you continue to distance yourself from him physically, emotionally and mentally, that he will at some point give up. If you follow that course of action and a few months from now, he is consistent, demonstrating growth, etc. Then those of us here can give you great advice on how to navigate that situation, but you also have to stand up for yourself and not allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated into accepting his teensy amount of progress as enough, you deserve better than that and deep down, the fact that you are struggling so much with this tells us that you know you deserve better but are also terrified of losing the relationship. Letting go of the outcome here is something that I cannot encourage you enough to really contemplate as you reflect on your situation.

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: 647   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2020   ·   location: Miami
id 8809715
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SacredSoul33 ( member #83038) posted at 3:12 PM on Thursday, September 28th, 2023

So, I was thinking about your situation in the shower this morning and I have a couple of questions...

We could talk in person, and perhaps progress with "the work"

What work? I don't think there should be any couple work until you've decided that he's done enough on his own to warrant attempting R. You can't be the driving force on him getting his work done. That's more of the same - it's you continuing to push the boulder up the hill.

Also, did you TELL him that you were going NC when he freaked out and called around to ask if you were okay? I know my recommendation was to tell him that you needed a short break and would be blocking him and/or turning off notifications for a set period of time. I'm wondering if you got a charge out of him looking for you, because I know I would have had I been in your shoes.

Let the world feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.

posts: 959   ·   registered: Mar. 10th, 2023
id 8809719
Topic is Sleeping.
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