Gunnut - I guess I'm looking at it a little differently. When people cheat, I guess I think it's not really about the relationship, it's about the person making the choice, so the timing is kind of irrelevant. And for what it's worth I don't think we'll ever have another 6 month stretch so awful. For full context, the timeline:
* Through summer 2022, we lived in the northeast, where we both had good social networks and were very financially secure.
* Late summer 2022, he bought a house in a rural town in the west and we moved there, thinking I'd be able to build a network there. I tried, but felt very lonely and isolated especially while he was working offshore.
* In early fall 2022, he quit a job for the first time ever. (Stressed him out a lot.)
* Then we had a big fight relating to his family.
* Then he took a trip with a friend. During that trip, my estranged mother died and it rocked me. I did not ask him to come home even though I wanted him to (my bad), and he didn't offer.
* Literally two days later, he was seriously injured (so he couldn't work in his field and also couldn't get short-term disability because he'd quit his job and was going to start the next one in a few weeks).
* Medical care in our town was poor. He was also frustrated by this. I started pushing to move back to the northeast and rent out the house he bought. I thought it's what we both wanted. I found out LAST WEEK that he didn't want to move back as much as I did. At the time he was very enthusiastic and supportive and excited about my offers and new job.
* January 2023, I started my new job, we moved back to the northeast; found an apartment in a competitive and high-stress market but had to live in Airbnbs ($$$$$) for 3 months while we waited for it to come open. He had no income, for the first time in his adult life. I exhausted my savings and was working 65-70 hours per week for the next 3 months.
ANYWAY. None of that is an excuse because I lived it too.
And YES I absolutely agree with both you and ThisIsSoLonely... he has to become a safe partner. I've said that from the get-go: we both have to work on ourselves. And he has to want to, and it's going to be difficult and it's not going to feel great, exposing all of this stuff to the light and examining it. And working 14 hours a day offshore for two weeks straight is going to make it more complicated; it's an extra barrier.
I think what I'm struggling with right now is determining exactly where my boundaries lie. I know the general shape of them: I want a safe, secure partner. To become a safe, secure partner, he needs to clean up his side of the street...he needs to work on himself to understand why he did this, to develop better strategies, and to learn to communicate first within himself, and then with others (me).
It's the rest that's fuzzy. He found the information to start therapy via his company's EAP the day I found out...September 24. It is now October 4. I asked last weekend if he'd called/what the status was; he said he hadn't called and he thought he'd be able to today, Oct 4. I'm looking at it from all angles: yes, it's a difficult phone call to make, especially while he's at work with no privacy. Yes, with his background it's very difficult to even think about getting therapy. Yes, it has to be his decision. But I think it's also fair for me to ask: BF, how are you working on yourself? We agreed that we both needed to work on ourselves for this relationship to move forward. I know you're working 14 hours a day, talking to me for an hour a day, and you have no privacy. I'm in therapy, watching the videos my therapist recommends, journaling, and practicing mindfulness. What are you doing?
Or does it need to be more specific? And what's appropriate, given all of his constraints? Idk.
[This message edited by weirdsituation at 9:27 PM, Wednesday, October 4th]