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by Mach40
Its been a long time since I posted here.. So, here it goes.
We legally signed our paperwork to technically be separated in South Carolina.
Lawyers say its one step closer to divorce, and we already met the one year requirement to where it can be filed immediately.
Here is my problem. My wife is a super good person, but I ruined the marriage. She loves peace and harmony and doesnt want to hurt anyones feelings. She has been numb to me for some time, and is pretty depressed. Not seeking therapy, just works her butt off to avoid dealing with it.
Well, she left me a few years ago, and eventually bought a home, has all the animals and kids living with her.. She is effectively on her own except health insurance as I provide that through my retirement.
With her being gone, I was under the impression she was trying to find herself to see if she wanted to come back and reconcile. We do all holidays, birthdays etc together as if we are still family.
Well, I found out that she has started the dating pool, and hates it according to her and family.. So, everyone apparently knew and assumed I did too.
I emotionally cant see myself accepting this, and now I dont want to be around her any more..
I havent dated at all since she left..
I know this may seem common, but if the group here can decipher and help guide me I would appreciate it.
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by LH19

I think you should ask to move your thread back to newcomers and you will get more responses.

It can take a really long time for resentment to subside, especially when you remain in contact with one another.

Right now you are in a tough spot because you are clearly plan B right now. Luckily for you dating at middle age is a nightmare for most women.

Right now you can ride it out and see if she gives up on dating and gives you another chance or you can push the envelope and in a loving way you can basically tell her she is either in or out. If you have that conversation and she says she out you have to walk and never look back.

Either way you need to be less available. She needs to feel that she may lose you. Until that happens she is just going to keep doing her own thing until eventually she meets a decent guy.

If you have truly changed and you know your value you will not wait around forever so the clock is ticking and you need to figure out what you are going to do moving forward.
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by Traveler
Hi Mach,

I agree you are currently Plan B if any plan at all.

Is online dating hard for women in their early 50s? Probably harder than in their 30s. The women I know are still flooded with messages, even more than us 40s men. In your favor, maybe only 15% of their matches are stable and securely attached, and maybe they only fancy and are fancied back by 20% of those. It requires persistence to find a good partner and not just easy sex.

While the "High Risk, High Reward" plan of breaking off friendly contact with your ex is oft suggested, in your situation, I'll make the rare suggestion to consider what YOU stand to lose. You see your kids every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they see both their parents--without choosing a home, without attending two events. You have a friend you talk to every 4-5 days who's known you for 30yrs. Most who discard these birds in the hand do not win that bird in the bush.

So be judicious about what you're willing to give up. Maybe you don't want to give up the upcoming shared holidays with your kids. Big holidays are only a half-dozen days per year. Even if 3 years from now it may include her BF, and 5 years from now it may include your GF. Maybe you are okay with giving up chatting every 4-5 days. Maybe that would even help to detach and find your own way.

I have a relationship with my XW that I value. You do you.
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by LH19
When a WS gets what they want they are typically amicable with the LBS even to the point of being friends and doing things with the family. The LBS reads this as a sign that she/he is softening and rethinking things. Then out of the blue OM/OW comes into the picture and the LBS in dumfounded.

I was on the beach one day talking to one of my BF wife. She said doesn't want to be married to or have sex with my friend anymore but she would love to be friends with him.

Look Mach you are in a tough spot. You take responsibility for your separation which is a good thing. You claim to be a changed man and have showed her your changes for three years. You have to decide when you feel you did all you can do. I am just not a big proponent of the LBS waiting around forever. Life is way too short. Only you how long to wait. I am just trying to open your eyes to the fact that if she is dating then you are not on her radar right now.
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by BL42

Here's the thing...

It's very possible, perhaps probable, your W is perfectly happy with the way things stand, meaning having birthdays and holidays with the family and enjoying some companionship/friend talks every 4-5 days but not living together or having physical intimacy and being able to explore other options. On this board it's often referred to as "cake eating" in that the spouse leaving gets to have their cake (family, holidays, friendship) and eat it too (dating others). IF she feels this way, she has no incentive or motivation to change anything. It's working for her.

Not to put words in their mouths, but...

What LH19 is saying is that in order to change that dynamic and have potential for an R/intimate relationship it's likely that your W has to see what she's losing and decide she doesn't want to. In other words, there may be no impetus for her to come back if she doesn't feel she's losing you.

What CWarrior is saying that IF you put her to a decision, you're risking the bird in the hand (family birthdays /Holidays, friendship...etc.) for two in the bush (family holidays PLUS intimate relationship) that if you risk that it might be more likely you'll lose the former than gain the latter.

Does that make sense?

Based on what I've read, your dynamic is different than the typical story we see her of WS/WAS with an active affair and LBS depurate to bring them back so you MAY have a better chance than most here to have a discussion and get her back...but there are no guarantees. It is a risk. And you have to be the one to decide whether to continue the status que (and risk she doesn't find someone else and eventually comes back) or take bond action (ask her to R and risk her declining and you walking way). Either way you risk something. Unfortunately it's not a math equation and there is no exact formula with a "correct" answer.

Originally Posted by Mach40
I am still attached to her in many ways, more so than when we were married.
The point of detachment and self-differentiation is to get to a place where you're happy and having a great life whether you're with her or not. You should be working towards those goals because A) it's healthy, B) it will help you emotionally if a D goes through or she starts dating another man, and C) it makes you more attractive to W or other women (if you decide to date). Work on yourself and your GAL so you're happy with your life regardless of whether W decides to rejoin it or not. If she does come back, great, if she doesn't you're happy anyway.
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by SteveLW
Originally Posted by Mach40
Originally Posted by BL42

What are you doing in terms of self-improvement and GAL? How are you creating a life for yourself that (most importantly) you love, but also will be more attractive to your W and other women? Are you working out at a gym, joining a book club, volunteering for some local cause, taking a class at a community college...etc.?
Right now I am biking slowly as my knees are still in recovery.
I am back into restoring a car, and driving it. This was a passion I set aside when I married her. I take it to car shows, cruises when I can. Its my click, my zone, and many people on both sides male/female enjoy cars, cruises and such..
I am traveling allot now for work, and going to restaurants, sites etc. I am Not sitting idle waiting.
As far as a gym, nope. I do curls and push ups, planks etc.. After heart surgery, been being a little more careful. Not an excuse, but an eye opener..
My daughter suggested cooking clinics with the college and local chefs. I am lacking in cooking skills, other than basic BBQ.. She is an aspiring Chef, in college for it and working at a high end restaurant with a celebrity Chef.
The biggest thing I need guidance is detaching. Financially it will assist as I was a buyer for her and the kids, ie gifts, helping when I could etc. I have got to stop that..
But detaching, where do you really begin.. I have a couple great threads here, I have printed. And I have DB book..
And I have already started recognizing and fixing the passive aggressive issue. It is apparent I do it, and I now I know its a problem and I need help.

This isn't bad, but I feel like you are doing all of the GAL stuff above but constantly watching to see if she is noticing. That will never get you to where you want to be.

As far as detachment. Detachment is more internal than external. Yes, you should knock off the financial stuff. That has gotten you no where. Remember, do what works. Stop what doesn't.

But detachment is a state of mind. It is staying emotionally even, unaffected even (some claim this is impossible but I disagree), by what she says and does. The fact that her dating, even after a long separation, is proof positive you were still attached. That you were not properly emotionally detached. I mean, be honest, if I really pressed you, were you really surprised that she started dating? Or were you mostly just hurt? I know in my own sitch, after my W's original EAP ended it (just a few weeks after BD), I had enough insight to know to look at dating sites to see if she started a profile. And while it cut to the quick when I found it (after only a few minutes of looking I might add), I was not surprised.

This was about a month after BD, and while I had been working on detaching, I obviously was not there yet. But I got better at it. Detachment is not a switch you can flip. But what I mentioned in my previous post certainly helps: facing the reality of your situation. IN my sitch I faced that the fact that the likelihood was I was going to be D'd. She was insistent that she wanted to get a job, get an apartment and get a D. She was involved in the original EA initially, moved on to another OM that never fully developed (he was also several states away) and started a profile on a dating site. She had done research on apartments nearby, googled quicky divorces, ask me if she could have furniture from the house, started working on her resume, etc). All signs were pointing to a lot of momentum for her plan.

So I got onboard. One of the biggest changes I made was I stopped reacting. And started responding, or just ignoring certain behaviors. An example, 4 weeks in when I found her dating profile I immediately called her and confronted. If that had been 4 weeks later, I would not have confronted her. I would have noted and moved along. I got so much better at responding rather than reacting. (Just saw a good article you might want to google on that very topic: responding vs. reacting).

Detachment is not easy. It is difficult. It does get easier over time, but you have to work at it. And DO things that help, not hinder the progress.
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