Wife having sex with other guys (and won't stop) - was in "Is anyone else offended?"
This discussion started in another, unrelated topic. In order to avoid hi-jacking that thread any further, and to put this in its own topic where it belongs, I've started a new thread. The (relevant) postings from that thread are copied below, posted in batches to avoid the 8000 character limit:
I recently found out for sure (though I'd long suspected) that my wife has been seeing someone else. Actually, it turns out, two other men at the moment, a total of probably 3 or 4 over the last year, all on weekends away from home when she told me she was visiting friends in other towns. Not intimate, loving relationships, just pure sex. While she admits that she is going through a very selfish phase at the moment (and I wouldn't disagree), I have to take my share of the blame for allowing intimacy between us to die down, and not being available to help her emotionally when she's needed it. That intimacy had been pretty low, and she says she would have already left if it wasn't for the kids, before she ever slept with anyone else, although I wasn't truly aware of it at the time.
The fact that she cheated makes me sick. The fact that she is not (yet) prepared to give up this behaviour, she's planning to meet one this weekend, and one (the same or the other one) next month, makes me even sicker. But I still love her and want to be with her and rebuild our relationship, and I don't want to destroy our family. I'm probably a damned idiot, but there it is.
Not begging for sympathy or advice here, just sharing my reaction to how I feel about cheating spouses. Not so much offended, as sad, and ill.
I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Like I said in other posts I'm going through it as well. My fiance had an affair for over a year and while I was pregnant. It is such a kick in the stomach to me. The only difference here is that he's willing to give up this other woman. Your wife seriously wants to continue with her extra-marital affairs? How can you get past that? I'm having trouble forgiving my fiance and trusting him. But I don't know how I could stay knowing that he wanted to continue seeing her as well. I wish you the best of luck with your situation and I hope it all works out for you in the end.
Well, frankly, I can't tell her to stop. We don't have or want the sort of relationship where one has the power to tell the other person what to do. So the only power I have is to make an ultimatum that I will leave, if she doesn't stop. I'm not going to make that ultimatum, at least not yet, because I still believe we have a chance for recovery, and I'm not going to bail while that chance exists - I won't make threats I'm not ready to carry out, and she could call my bluff. I believe she's going through a bit of a nutty phase that will pass - it's a massive over-reaction to years of being a stay-at-home mum with no life, no interests of her own, limited interaction with people outside our home, no money of her own, no activities. As a strongly independant person she is suddenly fighting back against this loss of her independance, and she's just gone way too far in the opposite direction. If she can get this out of her system, maybe we can find a new more reasonable balance. Also, it's like stopping smoking for her - I don't think she can stop for any other reason than because she wants to stop. If she stops because I demand it, or because I've threatened to leave, that will leave resentment and a greater risk that she will return to this behaviour behind my back.
How do I cope when I know she's doing this? We'll see after the weekend - she's off to meet one of her guys, it's the first time she's done this since she admitted to me what's going on. I expect to feel like s**t all weekend, but I have to keep cheerful while I look after our three kids. Frankly I have trouble forgiving her for continuing to hurt me this way, knowing how much it hurts me and doing it anyway. She tells me, and I believe her, that this is not love, this is not an emotional connection, it is just sex, which I guess is not quite as painful as if it was love too (but does make her seem even more callous). The fact that there are two guys at the moment, and she dumped another when she suspected the relationship was getting too emotional, would seem to confirm this.
I couldn't cope with her continuing this indefinitely, and I'm not sure how long I can put up with it. It will have to come to an end. If we didn't have kids I don't think I'd be putting up with it now, however much I love her and want our relationship to recover - but then if we didn't have kids she'd have left me some time ago anyway, so she says.
In theory I can trust her because, frankly, she's done and is doing about the worst thing she could do, and is telling me about it - what worse thing could she possibly be hiding? But emotionally, I'm having a very hard time getting over the year of lying and deception that preceded her admission (which only came when pressed with some pretty damning evidence), so true trust is going to take a long time.
Sorry extrmeski, we've taken this way off your original topic onto my own problems - I wanted to answer mami1323, and have probably taken the opportunity to vent a bit.
If she's doing this as a result of lack of intimacy with you, now that it's all out in the open, why not focus on getting that intimacy with you now? Why not focus on saving her family?
I honestly don't buy the excuse she's giving for this behavior--pointing the finger at you obviously is working for her, though. Her behavior seems more pathological, narcissistic, or obsessive to me--like she gets some kind of thrill having a double life or something. And she's obviously getting something out of going and having you know she's having sex with someone else. It's pathological, imo.
She needs therapy. And so do you if you want to salvage this relationship. If she won't go on her own or with you, you should go alone.
To be fair, my wife is not pointing the finger at me at all. She has not blamed me in the slightest for what happened, she has been quite unequivocal in accepting all the blame herself. Any blame I am taking is because I have realised for myself the contribution I have made to the conditions leading up to her recent behaviour. The only person putting any blame on me, is me.
I think she is trying to re-build intimacy with me, although she is more doubtful about the chances of success than I am. In the past I have not been particularly effective at giving her emotional support when she has needed it (it's an inherent skill I just don't seem to have, I deeply wish I was better at it), and given that history she is reluctant to risk coming to me for emotional support now, for fear that she'll end up feeling worse like she often has done before. This has been key to the loss of the intimate connection she felt with me. We are going to our first session of joint conselling tomorrow, although we have both been seeing counsellors separately for much of the past year.
I think you are right that her behaviour has been "pathological, narcissistic, or obsessive --like she gets some kind of thrill having a double life or something." I doubt my wife would argue with that assessment either. It's also possibly related to a subconcious desire to have confirmation that she's sexually attractive - for many years she was quite overweight and depressed about her appearance and felt unattractive, particularly once we started having children, and her sleeping with other guys coincided with (amongst other things) her losing a lot of weight and starting to pay a lot more attention to her appearance and wearing nice clothes.
I think that this "pathological, narcissistic, or obsessive" behaviour is just a phase, and when she gets over it we will be able to build a new relationship. I hope I'm right.
You could be right. My wife has said that she does not feel like she loves me any more - she really wishes she did, but she does not. If we didn't have kids she would have left already. We are both adamant that our kids will not grow up without both of us on site. This has at least bought me the time to try and win her hear again.
I agree that my behaviour could make me look weak, and that weakness is not really an attractive feature. It does, in a way, give her the opportunity, even permission, to keep using me and abusing me. I'm demonstrating my strength by taking charge of how I react to what's happened, taking charge of the situation, and being pro-active in going after what I want: our renewed relationship. I'm hoping that's how it comes across to her.
Yes, I am concerned about STDs, although I haven't seen any symptoms yet in either of us. We do still have sex, very occasionally. I haven't asked her about this yet, but I will.
You both need to be tested. Chlamydia doesn't have symptoms in the vast majority of people.
And you do know that you are teaching your children what relationships are all about--they will likely follow in your footsteps and follow the gender roles you and your wife have set.
Instead of going off to get laid this weekend (and that's what it is if it's just about sex), why doesn't she make an appointment with a therapist? It sounds like she admitted what's going on but that's as far as she's wanting to go with it.
So what's the plan? When does she plan to stop having sex with other men? When is she going to go to counseling? When is she going to stop being unbelievably selfish? Did she give you any clue? A week? A month? Next year?
We have done everything possible to keep our kids out of our problems - they are top priority for both of us. They know we are not sleeping in the same room, we told the oldest it's because I'm snoring and stopping her getting to sleep, the other two are too young to think to question it. She is not seeing anyone local, it only happens on weekends away once a month or so - as far as the kids are concerned she is visiting legitimate friends who live in these places, which is partially true, she's just seeing her f***-buddies as well. But what you say is a fair point, and it has been on my mind.
My wife has been visiting a counsellor once a fortnight for the last year or so. About a year ago she admitted the first occasion (at a friend's wedding that she attended without me, a couple of months earlier), we attended a couple of sessions of couple counselling, and she has continued to see the same counsellor. She refused to do joint counselling with me for a while when I suggested it, it now turns out that she couldn't face joint counselling knowing she had this big secret from me. Now that secret is out in the open she has agreed to joint counselling and our first session is tomorrow.
Things are in turmoil in her head. She doesn't have a plan when she is going to stop. Continuing this could be a form of escapism, where she can avoid the turmoil of our relationship, as well as the mundanity of her home life. For a weekend she can life this fun fantasy life, totally different from home, and I can understand how that could be addictive and hard to quit. I told her (before she admitted to the sex weekends, but after we'd been sleeping separately for some time) that I couldn't continue the current situation indefinitely, if our relationship didn't show progress a time would come when I would have to leave, but I didn't set a fixed time limit. This revelation has certainly reduced that time limit considerably, but I still don't know what the limit is.
She will stop doing this when she is ready, when she wants to stop in her heart of hearts. Like smoking, if you make a half-hearted attempt to give it up, it won't work. I can't make her stop, and if I tried I suspect it would do more harm than good. She already has a serious bee in her bonnet about feeling dependant on me and answerable to me (this is misplaced, I do not treat her like that or expect her to be answerable, but 8 years of being totally financially dependent on me, and I have had to have difficult discussions with her about her spending more money than we've got, has given her this sense). If I tried to get her to stop it would feed into this sense of me controlling her, and that's seriously unhelpful to our chances of recovery. I'm hoping the joint conselling will force her to face up to what she's really doing, and she will make the decision to stop herself. Yes, she is being unbelievably selfish, and she knows that herself.
Why am I sticking with this? Why am I so determined to try and salvage such a damaged relationship? I think I realised that while training hard on the rowing machine this evening. I've been rowing competitively on and off since I was at school, and that's built in me a stubborn determination - however much it hurts, and even if it looks like I'm falling behind, I keep pushing hard, I push through the pain, until I make it to the finish. If things are not going my way, I just need to grit my teeth and push even harder. I'm doing the same with this relationship, I'm using the pain to give me determination to push on, I know what I want and I'm fighting for it, even against the odds.
I wouldn't be able to stomach the thoughts of her going every weekend to screw around. I would feel sick whenever the weekend would come. If she feels so dependent on you for finances then she should go get a part-time job, not a f*ck buddy. It really is no excuse, your feelings don't seem to matter to her at all. To me that is utterly selfish. Believe me, kids are not stupid, they will eventually see through this. Don't you think you deserve a woman in your life who cares about your needs? To stay in a loveless marriage for the sake of the kids is not a happy life. For neither of you. I think you need individual counseling as well. It may make you a stronger man.
I should add something - it doesn't make what my wife has done any more acceptable, but it may shed some light on the situation.
My wife and I are wired rather differently in our attitudes to sex. I've got a more traditional attitude, that sex is inextricably linked with, and only belongs in, an intimate, loving, committed relationship. For my wife, that is not true - sex can just be sex, and does not necessarily need to be part of anything bigger. Consequently, when we met (me aged 19, her 18) I had never had sex with anyone else before, she had already had casual relationships or one-offs with maybe 4 or so other boys/men. For a while, as our relationship was blossoming, she was actually reluctant to have sex with me because she thought it would spoil our relationship, I guess her experience so far was that she'd only f***ed people she disliked, and she didn't want to end up disliking me. I thought her attitude towards sex was pretty screwed up, and that her attitude would change when she was in a long-term monogamous relationship with me.
Well, I guess I was wrong, she still has that attitude. But I can't say I didn't get into this knowing what her attitude was, and maybe I was foolish to think it would change. She never cheated on me before, and she did stay monogamous with me for 16 years from when we first met until summer last year.
While we may be mismatched in our attitude towards who it's OK to have sex with, we are pretty well-matched in our attitudes about how to do it, so I don't think her looking elsewhere had anything to do with the quality at home. It's something else she is after, escapism I guess.
"I wouldn't be able to stomach the thoughts of her going every weekend to screw around. I would feel sick whenever the weekend would come." Absolutely. I'm already feeling pretty sick about the coming weekend; the only thing tempering it for me is that we have the counselling session tomorrow, so that is a positive thing (the first big positive move from her for a while) I can focus on, plus it's coming sooner so it's easier to focus on. Come Saturday night I'll be feeling like s**t, while I've suspected before when she's gone away, this is the first time I'll have known for sure, plus the first time she's decided to go away knowing that I know.
I don't know how I'm going to cope, but I know I have to, because I know that while any hope remains I have to try and rebuild this relationship.
"To stay in a loveless marriage for the sake of the kids is not a happy life. For neither of you." True. If no progress is made, a time will come when I have to give up and move on. How that works, if and when I get there, I don't know, because neither of us would ever be prepared to live apart from our children. But I'm not there yet, so I'm not thinking about that. I truly believe, that now this secret is out, this is our opportunity to try and fix things, to build a new relationship that is different and better than the old one. This is certainly NOT the moment to be throwing in the towel, that would be an opportunity squandered. I wish my wife would show the same level of commitment as I am, but I think she's ready to start trying (or we wouldn't be going to counselling together tomorrow), and I can live with being the one making most of the effort, for now.
"I think you need individual counseling as well. It may make you a stronger man." I think you're right here. I did have some individual counselling a few months back, and it would probably be a good idea to resume that now. I'll call her tomorrow and book a session.
"...however much it hurts, and even if it looks like I'm falling behind, I keep pushing hard, I push through the pain, until I make it to the finish. If things are not going my way, I just need to grit my teeth and push even harder. I'm doing the same with this relationship, I'm using the pain to give me determination to push on, I know what I want and I'm fighting for it, even against the odds."
You are truly admirable; if only more married couples who face hard times in their marriages had this attitude!
I hope and pray your relationship succeeds to become what you want it to be--your wife has got an absolutely awesome husband in you. I hope she realizes this and chooses to appreciate you for all you're worth to her and your family.
All the best to you.
while i wholey support and commend your attitude, you're the victim in this, and she knows that....and is using it more to her gain.....if i were you, i wouldn't allow these "F*** Weekends" to go on.....if you're paying her bills, put a stop to her CC's, or accounts.....give her only the cash she needs to do the things she needs to do IN TOWN....it appears you're financing her rendezvous, and with that, she thinks she knows, you will never stand up to her....and rather than just talk, you guys need more than counseling.....and for the sake of your kids, this needs to be stopped, or unfortunately, the marriage may need to come to an end....it's supposed to be 100/100 by each person, you're doing 180, and she's doing the remaining 20(and it seems to be only with the kids, which is good)....but i just don't think i could be in a relationship/marriage with someone who continuously cheated, told me about it, and expected me to be okay with it, as well as her "i plan to quit"....uh huh, my thing would either be "you quit now, or i do"....my my, i do wish you well.....it seems like your wife may have a sexual addiction(yes, they "make" those lol).....and she's going to need more than marital counseling to resolve this issue....also, i think you may want to seek your own personal counsel as well, b/c your mentality is what is allowing her to use you, and you need to find a way to be more firm with her....best of luck.....
I'd be willing to bet she was sexually abused as a child. It's not normal for a woman to be totally emotionally detached where sex is concerned. I heard a sex therapist on the radio discuss this before--men can have sex with no emotion attached, but an emotionally healthy woman cannot...she may THINK she can, but the way female brain is wired makes her attach emotions to it in a way to feel ok about it in her head. Only women who are not healthy (likely sexually abused) can truly detach and not have any emotion involved.
I'm with Mami--she needs to get a job if she's feeling so lost in the daily grind of being a stay-at-home mom and like she doesn't have any control over money. And don't kid yourself into thinking your kids don't see your relationship and are forming opinions about roles. They pick up way more than you think--interactions, tones of voice, tension in bodies, etc. They may not be able to describe what they see, but they are processing it and they will mimic it.
And if I were you, I would NEVER leave--why should you? You're the one who is determined to be there no matter how tough and painful it gets, so you should not leave. SHE should move out if it comes to that. Maybe she should move out until she can figure out how she's going to stop meeting up with her f**k buddies. She can get a job and pay her own way. The kids can go to daycare or pay a family member to watch them, but they should stay living in their home with you. Then she can feel independent and won't have to worry about you telling her not to spend money. There's no incentive for her to make any changes as things stand--you taking care of the finances and look after the kids while she goes off on the weekends. If she had to explain to the kids why she's moving out, maybe that would be incentive since her feelings for you clearly aren't.
"if i were you, i wouldn't allow these "F*** Weekends" to go on.....if you're paying her bills, put a stop to her CC's, or accounts.....give her only the cash she needs to do the things she needs to do IN TOWN" - I see what you are saying, but this would guarantee to destroy any hope we had. She already has a real problem with feeling controlled and answerable to me (which she accepts logically is largely misplaced, but that feeling is there), this was one of the major issues that caused her initial emotional detachement from me. If I tried to control her actions this way, the marriage would be dead and buried before I'd finished the conversation. Yes, it does really bug me that I'm financing her behaviour, but this is not a solution.
On the subject of money, that is no longer a problem issue for us. Her problem was not so much that she wasn't earning her own money, just that she had no spending money of her own AT ALL, money was tight so all money went into the joint account and she had to account for how every penny was spent. I have now moved to a better-paying job, which allows her (and me too) to have a regular amount every month that is just her money, she can spend how she wants without having to justify it to anyone.
"but i just don't think i could be in a relationship/marriage with someone who continuously cheated, told me about it, and expected me to be okay with it" - well, this is a new situation. Until 3 weeks ago, it was happening behind my back. This weekend is the first time she'll have been away with it being open knowledge between us that she isn't just visiting a legitimate friend. She knows full well that I'm not okay with it, and she genuinely (I believe) doesn't like hurting me. I don't honestly know how she can go through with it and do this under these circumstances, I could never knowingly hurt someone like that. I think maybe it's an addiction she's not yet ready to quit. Maybe she feels that if she stops doing this just because of me, rather than because she actually wants to stop, that she'll feel damagingly resentful, and also may be more likely to go back to it - like she's tried quitting smoking a couple of times and gone back after a day or so.
"I'd be willing to bet she was sexually abused as a child. It's not normal for a woman to be totally emotionally detached where sex is concerned." - The thought has occurred to me too. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and she has hardly seen her natural father since. She did not have a good relationship with her Step-Father; she has told me that he openly favoured his other (natural) children, and she's always felt that she could never do well enough to get him to love her. Issues between her and her step-father have been troubling her ever since, and are a major topic for her in counselling. Her mother left her step-father when she was 13 - so if he did abuse her sexually, she must have been pre-teen when it happened.
"I'm with Mami--she needs to get a job if she's feeling so lost in the daily grind of being a stay-at-home mom and like she doesn't have any control over money." I agree, and she is planning to, but we both place a very high value on bringing our children up ourselves. Our youngest is 3, and still at home almost all the day; neither of us want him in all-day childcare at this age. The money thing is no longer a problem, as I mentioned. She would benefit from the stimulation of having a job, and having a major life outside of the home, but it probably won't happen for a year, when our youngest will start nursery.
"And if I were you, I would NEVER leave--why should you? You're the one who is determined to be there no matter how tough and painful it gets, so you should not leave." - Abso-f***ingly-lutely. But she would never leave either, I can't force her to, and she would not conceive of living away from our kids. I wouldn't want her to either, for their sake. So whatever happens, we will all end up living under the same roof.
"no incentive for her to make any changes as things stand--you taking care of the finances and look after the kids while she goes off on the weekends." - Well, that's true in a way. But in a way I see this as a positive - if/when she does make a change, it is because she wants to, not because circumstances or I have forced her into it. That is a change she is more likely to feel good about, more likely to be able to stick to, and one that won't damage our relationship the way it would if I tried to force her into it.
Of course, I have to be aware that she may not change, she may not stop doing this. I will not tolerate it continuing indefinitely. I don't know how long I will put up with it, neither do I know what I would do when I decided I'd had enough - I know that I am not prepared to leave the house my children live in, and nor is she. I'll have to address that if/when I get there.
Your wife is playing you for a fool and you do know it, you pay the bills, and she plays, and you put up with it,so the ball is in your park, you do not need advice, you know what to do what does the children think of the merry go round luck jo
Well, I've just got back from a counselling session. It was supposed to be our first joint session, but our daughter woke up ill and couldn't go to school, so my wife had to stay home with her. I went along anyway.
The counsellor said what you've all been saying - that I shouldn't put up with my wife going off for the weekend to get laid with some bloke, with it all out in the open that she is doing this. I guess if this many people are telling me this, you must all be right!!
But, what can I actually DO? I can't stop her going - I can't physically restrain her, if I try and forbid her or use emotional blackmail she will likely go anyway, but the attempt to treat her like I have the right to tell her what she can and cannot do, or to blackmail her, will be seriously damaging to any attempt to rebuild our relationship She doesn't take well to that sort of treatment from anyone. We do not have the sort of relationship where one can order the other one around, nor do either of us want that.
I could issue ultimatums or threats (if you go I won't be here when you get back etc. etc.), but she's an obstinate person who detests being manipulated (one of the things I love about her, ironically!), she would quite likely call my bluff just to prove a point that she refuses to be manipulated. I won't issue a threat that I'm not ready to go through on, and I'm not ready to blow this opportunity we have to recover our relationship on such a risky strategy.
What I want is for her to decide herself not to go through with it, because she knows it's the right thing to do, because she doesn't want to hurt me, and because she wants to give us another chance. Maybe she'll go through with this one, but think better of the rendez-vous she has planned for October.
In the mean-time, she's going to go away this weekend, I'll be at home miserable as sin but trying to stay cheerful for the kids, and I'll be an idiot for putting up with this behaviour but powerless to stop it.
By the way, it may come across that I'm making excuses for my wife's behaviour in some way. I am not, it is inexcusible. What I am doing is trying to explain how my wife is justifying her behaviour to herself, and to me. The excuses are bollocks, they are the sort of excuses that people make up after the event to justify their behaviour so they don't have to feel like bad people. They are lies that she tells herself, as well as me. They are the same sort of lies that alcoholics tell themselves and their friends. Nevertheless, they are her perception of reality right now, and if we are to address this situation I need to understand what her reality is, or it can never be changed.
As much as I admire your determination to save your marriage--I really do--I think you need to end these circumstances immediately. Get a separation, and have her move out.
I understand that the both of you want to remain under the same roof for the kids, but honestly, here's what I think. Your relationship comes first, then the kids. Your relationship is suffering, and it's nearly broken beyond repair (not hopeless, perhaps, but darn near it). One way or the other, your kids are going to find out--this is all going to come to a head very soon.
I think a separation needs to happen. Not a divorce just yet, but separate your relationship and living conditions. Sit down with your children and explain to them what's going on, and that hopefully it's temporary. Maybe your wife will then see what pain she's inflicting in a tangible way, rather than a suspected or imagined way. Maybe that will inspire her to make the change you are hoping for, by seeing the tears, misery and heartbreak that her actions are causing right before her eyes. Because like I said, the kids aren't going to be unknowledgeable to this forever. They will find out eventually. Would you rather have the both of you explain to them what's going on or have them somehow find out on their own and then question you about it, putting the both of you on the spot?
The fact of the matter is that your wife has brought this upon everyone. It's about time she faces the harsh consequences of it.
This does not make you controlling or manipulative. It shows you have enough strenghth to demand that you and your children deserve more respect.
I agree with the other poster. WOW. I just don't know what else to say. After reading all your posts it is quite obvious you are a highly educated person. I get the feeling you are looking at this situation in a completely clinical way. Your feelings seem to be so submerged. Every reason, excuse etc etc she has for why she's doing this is being regurgitated from you in such a cold clinical manner.
There is another point that has been glossed over and not addressed that I would like you to consider. You mentioned that she has recently lost a lot of weight and has bought new clothes and is feeling good about herself. It was around this time that she started having sex with other men?
Selfish does not begin to describe this woman. People make choices. When you get married you choose to remain faithful or not. She has chosen not. Not only that she has chosen to not remain faithful knowing full well you are aware of her infidelity. It's like she is waving a red flag in front of your face.
But I suppose for years and years women remained at home waiting for unfaithful men to return home and no one thought anything of it. I do hope (only for your sake) that one day she will realize what she has in you and all your dreams will come true.
I'm curious as to why you could have several serious talks about her spending too much money but you can't have a serious talk about her having sex with other men. I guess its because you think it will be the end and she will leave you.
She has you by the short and curlies, as it were. She has no regard for you and you feel you can't stand up for yourself. I guess that's it, then. The ball was in your court, but you've chosen to gently hand it back to her--and I do understand the reasons for doing so. My heart goes out to you because as much as I would want my family to be together, I really don't know if I could do that.
And why can't she get a job working nights and weekends? Or a couple of half days during the week and one weekend day or something?
But then we are back to not being able to even imply that you want her to do something because she simply flat out won't or will think you're trying to control her.
She really has issues (with control and emotional detachment and I'm sure other things, as well), but you know that.
I would take the kids somewhere really fun for the weekend--Blackpool, Folly Farm, Codonas or wherever. Maybe go camping in the Lake District or spend the weekend at the beach. Have a really, really busy and fun weekend--it will distract you and create great memories for your kids. Let her come home from her weekend to hear the kids go on about the great time you all had together while she was off visiting her friend. You need to go somewhere and stay really busy.
My, my, my. First of all, you need to relize that ultimatums, threats, and bluffs are three very different things. Threats and bluffs will not work here- I agree with you on that. But it is long past time for you to give her a healthy ultimatum. You do it calmly and matter-of-factly. Tell her if she leaves this weekend, she's leaving for good. No use in just packing a weekend bag if you won't let her come back. Don't be hateful when you tell her this, or obviously sad (that's when she'll accuse you of emotional blackmail.)- just tell her that's the deal. Of course you want her to make this decision without your input, but she has made it- she's going to keep cheating on your indefinitely unless you put your foot down. October will come and she'll do it again with no intentions of stopping. If this marriage falls apart, at least you know you tried, but it takes both people trying AT THE SAME TIME to make a marriage work. She's made her decision and she's not going to stop the affairs- not unless you man up, grow a backbone and take your ballsack back from her (check her purse- I think it's in there.) Again, that doesn't mean threats or bluffs but (calmly) let her know what YOUR decision is. I think everyone should work hard to make marriages succeed, but if one person is putting forth 100% and the other person is deciding whether or not to even try, it's not going to work anyway. The kids will understand some day.
"I think you need to end these circumstances immediately. Get a separation, and have her move out." Well, maybe she does need this shock to make a change. And I am considering it. I will not move out of my home and my kids' home - why the hell should I, I've done nothing wrong. I damned sure she won't agree to move out either, she won't want to live apart from the kids. Whatever happens, their welfare comes first. I refuse to use the kids as pawns. So we are both stuck with living in the same house, because neither of us will agree to move out. In any case, the youngest is just 3, and is not used to be looked after by anyone other than his parents for any length of time. I work full time, so on a purely practical basis she is needed in the home for childcare.
"And why can't she get a job working nights and weekends? Or a couple of half days during the week and one weekend day or something?" No point. Money is no longer a problem, and I would rather she spent time with the kids at the weekend - and had the opportunity to spend time with me, so we can try to grow together again. We both have interests and separate friends we see, our evenings and weekends are busy enough as it is.
Next year, when our youngest starts nursery, she probably will return to work. I think this is a good idea (whatever happens), more because of giving her a life and a purpose outside the home and family that she's been unable to escape for 9 years now, than because we need the money that urgently.
"You mentioned that she has recently lost a lot of weight and has bought new clothes and is feeling good about herself. It was around this time that she started having sex with other men?" Yes. It is possible that one part of her motivation was a desire for affirmation that she is still sexually attractive, after years of being very unhappy about her appearance. But I'm just guessing (something my counseller has been advising against!).
"I'm curious as to why you could have several serious talks about her spending too much money but you can't have a serious talk about her having sex with other men. I guess its because you think it will be the end and she will leave you." Oh, we are having serious talks about it - several in the last 3 weeks since it came out into the open. We cannot progress if we don't talk about it. We didn't talk about it before because it wasn't in the open that it was happening - I had my suspicions, and I asked her several times, and she denied it. No doubt we will have another talk this evening, following my visit to the counsellor.
I will have a fun weekend with the kids - there's a countryside fair we can go to tomorrow, and I'll think of something fun to do with them on Sunday. Distraction will be my best medicine. Agiesmom, I guess you must be familiar with my area to mention Codonas!
Thanks all for your continuing advice and support.
I get what you are saying, about the ultimatum. It makes sense. But I will not lock her out of the house, because that will lock my kids apart from their mother. On a more practical level, there is no-one else who will look after the kids during the hours I am at work.
Nor will I make an ultimatum that I won't be there when she gets back, for pretty much the same reasons. I will NEVER walk out on my kids.
Which doesn't leave me with much of an ultimatum...
Take the kids with you and she can be your babysitter when you're at work. You can pick the kids up from her after work and you already have them on weekends when she's sees her boyfriends, so that part is already worked out.
I was going to say the same. She has already walked out on her family when she leaves for weekends to have her affairs. If she cared so much about her kids she wouldn't cheat on their father. She's not a good mother. I know that is harsh and maybe she takes good care of them but a good mother thinks about their actions and how it will affect her kids. She is very self involved and should be ashamed of herself. This is not what a mature adult does, especially one who has children to think about. You are too concerned with her feelings and should be more concerned with yours and your children. She doesn't think about you or your needs when she's off f*cking around. I agree, you need to get some strength here.
That would be to use my kids as pawns. I would not do that. And for the same reason that I would NEVER walk out on my kids, I would NEVER deny them full access to their mother.
I'm not drawing battle lines here. I do not want to be at war with my wife. I love her, and I want us to be on the same side. I believe she wants that as well, despite her behaviour (don't tell me, I already know that probably sounds daft to most of you). I believe this phase will pass without the need for me to be confrontational with her like this.
I could be wrong, and maybe the phase won't pass without some confrontation, some drawing of lines. Maybe I'm chicken, but I'm not ready to do that this weekend. Maybe, if she decided to go ahead with the weekend in October, that will be the time.
I need to bear in mind that she may now be in the grip of a form of addiction, and thus not able to make a rational judgement. I'm not going to make ultimatums that could well end our relationship for good, before she's had a chance to beat this addiction.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it sounds like I'm making excuses for her again. Or I'm too chickens**t to draw the line and stand up to her. Probably true. But I'm not going to do anything drastic at least until we have started going to joint counselling and seen how that goes. That was supposed to start today - for unavoidable reasons it's been postponed to next Friday.
Dude get your manhood back and leave. Trust me it will work out and get evidence of this and get the kids. You deserve a better life then this. It saddens me to see a man so broken. It must be the fear of the unknown but that is your adventure and peace of mind just get the strength to do it.
You may notice that this thread was last posted to 4 1/2 year ago - this is old news!!!
FYI, after spending a LONG time trying to make our relationship work, and doing everything I could to attract my wife back to me and hope that she'd come to her senses, I left. I'm glad I took time to do this, because I can look back with no regrets or thoughts that "if only I'd done this, or that, maybe we could have worked it out", I tried everything.
I'm now in my own house, I have shared custody of my kids, and I have a fantastic new girlfriend who adores me and cannot comprehend why any woman could have treated me so badly. Life's worked out OK in the end...
(N.B. this is still the same person as rbgos, but I changed my username)
Good for you, I think you did the right thing in trying to work it out before finding it futile. It takes a very strong man to do that and now you are rewarded with no regrets or lingering questions. I'm very glad to read you are happy... and your new girlfriend is right, although I can understand why your ex-wife began that behaviour, she was a fool to continue with it knowing how it was affecting you and therefore in some indirect way, your children as well.
Sammy, I haven't been on MH much lately. But I saw this post from you and wanted to congratulate you on leaving. I don't know if I ever responded to any of your posts but I do remember reading your posts and journals. I felt so very badly for you. I am so glad that you finally left and that you have someone new. Good luck and may you have a wonderful future!!! God bless!!
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