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In a place I never thought I'd be

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  • In a place I never thought I'd be

    Really need your help and advice. I don't know whether it is over.

    My wife and I have been married for 13 years. We have no children. Until May, we had a wonderful relationship with a very deep love and never fought. It was the kind of marriage everyone envied.

    In May, I made a big mistake. I cheated. I was drunk at a bar and my wife was out of town. A very attractive girl became flirtatious and I felt that I couldn't resist. We had sex. We sexted a few times after that. It was over in a week.

    I should have been upfront and honest with my wife, but I wasn't. Instead, I took it as a sign that I needed to take a break. I asked for a separation in June and I moved out of our house and in with a friend. My wife and I spoke here and there, but not a lot. I dated other people. I don't think she did, but she did go to counseling.

    In the last 2 months, I realized how much I love her and want to be with her. I reached out to her and we began to go to couples counseling. I confessed to cheating. Overall, I thought counseling was going well. We did some social activities together and we had some tough conversations. She mentioned last month that she wanted to get to a point where I felt "comfortable moving back in."

    I responded with some very definitive "I want us to be together"-type statements without ambiguity. However, this last week, she became distant. She says how much she's changed and how she is a much different person now than she was when we separated and we may no longer be compatible. She is slipping away. I told her that I can feel that I'm losing her and she said "I wish you would fight for me." She says that she needs space to "process everything." It is so hard to give her space when all I want to do is be there with her. I slept with her in her bed twice, but we didn't have sex - just some foreplay. I tried putting the moves on but she said she "wasn't ready for that."

    I love her and I want to be with her more than anything. She lives in my house alone and I live in another house alone. I want to move back in and be with her, but she is not ready and she wants me to wait until I'm invited back. I don't know how to fight for her and give her space at the same time.

    She hasn't filed for divorce or spoken to a divorce lawyer that I know of. She says she is willing to keep going to counseling. What do I do? Move on? Sit in limbo? For how much longer?

    Don't know how much this matters, but we are in our mid-30's. She teaches private violin lessons out of our home and I am a successful business owner and make somewhere in the neighborhood of $700k-$1M per year.

    I made a mistake. I know people that have grown past it. I want to be one of the those people.

  • #2
    You're not in a position to demand anything right now. You are the one who cheated and then moved out to date other people. What a crushing blow that must have been to her. Some women never get to a point where they can forgive and go back to the way it was.

    You need to give her space to sort everything out in her head and figure out if your marriage is worth saving. She IS a different person now. She's a person who now won't readily trust or overlook the behavior of someone she loved. She has to figure out if she's better off on her own or with someone who might do this to her again.

    I don't know what she means when she says she wishes you would fight for her. I think at this point it might be better not to talk directly to her. Spend some time writing your feelings down in a letter and then mail it to her. Don't email. A hand-written, heart-felt letter goes a long way with women.
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


    • #3
      Thank you, Sarah. I agree that I have no place to demand anything.

      I don't care about "going back to the way it was." There will be a new normal - I accept and embrace that.

      So I should cancel the couples counseling?

      I appreciate the advice on writing a handwritten letter. I will do that. What kind of stuff do I put in it?


      • #4
        If you think the couples counseling did some good, and if she wants to continue, then you should continue it.

        The letter should be a soul-searching and honest communication about why you think you needed to cheat on her. Don't try to fling any bullshit at this point. Be honest. Then tell how it made you feel about her and your marriage. Tell her that you know it will take time for her to trust again, and you're willing to wait for as long as it takes. Mail it with some symbolic gesture, like....a diamond bracelet or something. Let the gift be a symbol of the value you will place on your marriage from now on.
        "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay


        • #5
          I agree with Sarah with some enhancements.

          1) You continue to go to couples counseling whether our wife attends or not. If you are alone with the counselor, use the time to understand your relationship with your wife and how you let what was the "envy" of others turn into this. And learn how to be a better husband.

          2) Definitely write your soul-searching letter BUT do not send it without getting your wife's permission first. Make sure the focus of the letter is on you, your weaknesses, your mistakes, your wishes. Do NOT include anything that provokes visuals of you cheating with the other woman. No descriptions of the other woman, no comparisons with the other woman, NOTHING about her.

          And BE PATIENT. Fighting for her means you don't quit. You are not entitled to quick answers or decisions from her. If you are committed to her, then you commit to her for the long haul.

          Hang in there and good luck


          • #6
            Thank you, guys. I realize that I am lower than the lowest form of sea scum. I have paid and will continue to pay for it - and quite possibly for the rest of my life since I will likely lose her. I am so scared. I will be patient and not give up.


            • #7
              Originally posted by theend View Post
              .... I realize that I am lower than the lowest form of sea scum. I have paid and will continue to pay for it - and quite possibly for the rest of my life since I will likely lose her. I am so scared.....

              One of the basic rules of apologizing is to apologize for what you did TO the one you hurt. Expressing regret for cheating is nice, but all the pleading and self-flagellation does absolutely NOTHING to address HER pain.

              What your wife needs to know is that you understand how your behavior affected HER and that you are sorry for THAT.

              There are a whole host of things that the betrayal could have done TO her. For example,

              Her faith in men, marriage, people, promises, and commitment were undermined.
              Her sense of being enough, either for you or anyone, has been damaged.
              Her belief that the 13 years you had together were "real" has been thrown into doubt.
              Her belief that you had been an honest man for all those years is under scrutiny.
              Her confidence as an attractive and desirable woman has been crushed.

              So in your letter, you could begin to "imagine" how she has been hurt. Don't presume to "know" what she's going through. Say things like, "...I imagine you are doubting much about our relationship. If you are, I am truly sorry for damaging the history that I so value..."

              The point is, when she feels you understand all that she's going through and can empathize with it, she'll take your apology seriously. That doesn't mean she'll forgive and forget, but you'll at least be on the right road.


              • #8
                She asked me out to drinks tonight at a local bar. I honestly don't know if I should go or let her have her space. She doesn't know that I saw the message. What do you think?
                Last edited by theend; November 14th, 2017, 08:56 PM.


                • #9
                  Thank you, Pollon. That is extremely helpful.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by theend View Post
                    She asked me out to drinks tonight at a local bar. I honestly don't know if I should go or let her have her space. She doesn't know that I saw the message. What do you think?
                    She asked you. Why wouldn't you go?

                    Unless you think it will turn into a big embarrassing scene or it's some kind of set-up you should go. However, if you tend to get sloppy, angry, or stupid when you drink, then stick to soft drinks. Well, we already know you get stupid, so stick to soft drinks.
                    Last edited by Pollon; November 14th, 2017, 09:16 PM.


                    • #11
                      Pollon: No, I am pretty civil and likable in that setting. I think it's just exhausting and I do worry it's a bit of a setup. I don't want her to drop the bomb on me and tell me it's over.


                      • #12
                        I think the soft drinks is a good idea. You need to keep a clear head. Good luck!


                        • #13
                          She wants you to "fight for her"
                          So fight for her! By that she needs you to realise all your short comings on the relationship. She doesn't want to tell you what to do , because when you do it, How does she know you did it simply because you told her or because you realise?

                          I think you need to continue the couples counselling but also go to counselling with another therapist on your own.

                          If I was her I wouldn't tell you what I need you to do either.
                          Whats the point in being with someone that succumbs to your needs when they are only doing that?
                          Compatibility cannot be forced.

                          You are avoiding confrontation. Out of fear. She asked you to drinks. You go. Avoiding it is not going to help.


                          • #14
                            I went to drinks with her and we talked about our days and upcoming plans. I did not bring up anything about our relationship, nor did she. I did bring up a few ideas for things Iíd like to do with her, but she didnít really bite on any.

                            Earlier in the day, she said that she was going to give me a few answers about things we had talked about (Can I go on an upcoming trip with her? Can I contact her friend about something? Are we doing family pictures this year?), but she didnít give me any answers and I didnít push it.

                            We were there for longer than I thought we would be. We both laughed a lot and made jokes. I did reach out and she held my hand. We both wore our rings.

                            I drank a beer and then switched to water. She did the same, but then the waiter asked if we wanted another and I ordered another beer, so she did as well. Normally, she would have stopped by then and we both came separately so she was free to leave. I took it as a positive. At the end, I walked her out to her car and she said that this was a nice time. I didnít try and kiss her and she really didnít stick around for one either.

                            Iím glad that I went and thank you guys for the encouragement. I was proud of myself for not pushing any issues. And that was hard because I donít want to be friend-zoned either.

                            Any feedback? Iím trying to give space. I love her.


                            • #15
                              Can you go on a trip with her? Can you contact a friend of hers about something? Family pictures?

                              I don't think asking these questions is giving her space. And I think it's unfair of you to ask.
                              Similar to what Pollon said, suggesting you want these things and to be with her , is only YOU looking for reassurance that things are progressing the way YOU want them to. It does not address the hurt she is feeling. You can't make that dissipate by saying you now want to be in her future. You said that 13 years ago but none of that matters to her because you changed your mind recently. Why would she even believe you the second time?
                              You have to start understanding things from her perspective.

                              Whats happened in counselling? Has she even had a sincere apology from you? And that's not just saying sorry, but an explanation of why you dismissed 13 years of marriage and didn't even feel bad about it until a week later after continuing contact with another. Why did the contact with her stop? Your choice or hers?
                              Has she raised other issues apart from cheating?

                              How much you earn is irrelevant, since you have been together that long a divorce lawyer will easily show how she helped your business grow and since you were the adulterer she will end up with more than half of that business . You could buy her out.
                              Your mistake has cost you emotionally and potentially financially. That financial stake will still be there even if you get back together because it can still be considered the reason for divorce down the line.

                              I think you should continue counselling with her if you are truly serious about her. If you aren't then cut your financial losses now.
                              Also I think you should consider counselling on your own to figure out what you really want, why you strayed, why you want her back etc without her hearing it all.