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A Message from Michele
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New and Suffering #2173679
08/03/11 12:33 AM
08/03/11 12:33 AM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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A bit about me:

Married 17 yrs, 3 children

I read the SSM book and identified with it 100%. My wife historically would agree to sex about once per week but was clearly never engaged / interested which was not a good feeling.

Recently discovered she was involved in a 6 mo EF with a co-worker. When confronted, asked for divorce and not interested in reconciling. EF is over, ended by OM.

I spent lots of time reading, researching, seeking help, etc. and have got her back to the table and interested in saving the marriage, but I am definitely doing the bulk if not all of the work. I feel like I'm putting on a backpack full of rocks each morning and walking around with a forced smile.

My wife says she wants me to expect nothing from her, and that it may be months before she's ready to resume a sexual relationship.

I understand the 4 steps in the process and am working very hard to meet her needs, but am having a very hard time dealing with EF-related anxiety and anger (which I have never voiced).

I'm very concerned that months of one-sided effort will lead to resentment on my part. She got to have an exciting outside relationship while I dealt with our SSM, now I have to put everything right and expect nothing?

I'm really struggling with this. I want it to succeed and I left nothing on the table getting her to come back to the relationship, it took everything I had and I am emotionally exhausted, but now I have to keep giving indefinitely?

Any advice is appreciated.

Re: New and Suffering [Re: Accuray] #2174721
08/06/11 01:41 PM
08/06/11 01:41 PM
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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First, I feel for you. I've been through something similar before. I wish I could tell you that it will all work out. It won't if you aren't both engaged in the rebuilding process.

You did not say who went immediately from the revealing of the affair to seeking divorce. The implication is that it was her, but your statement is not definitive. The flight to divorce as an immediate response is not unusual because it is an "easy" way out of the embarassment and the broken trust. It is also a symptom of something else...a failure to meet expectations.

There is good news and bad news in the OM breaking this off. The good news is that he is not directly in the picture (though you said he is a coworker, so unless one or both are out of the the environment there may still be contact. If he's out of the picture because he does not want to be any part of whatever your wife is playing out then consider yourself lucky). The bad news is that he, from your description, ended this. Thus, it was your wife that was "rejected" even if that was caused by the discovery of this affair. That comes with its own set of problems for both of you.

You say your wife is back at the table and interested in saving the marriage. The implication from what how you wrote this was that you managed to talk her into it. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing because getting her to see that you care might be enough to keep her from being hellbent on a divorce. Ultimately, however, the choice to be back at the table must be hers and not a response to conditions because she feels she "should" (another expectation) or has limited choices.

And that brings me to "expectations." In one sense, her request is a sensible one because the expectations and failure to meet them will always be a sticking point and a source of disappointment. Most importantly, it is a conversation from your past (or hers) about how things used to be or how they should be. Intimacy is not created from your past (though your past might inform you) but rather is created in the present moment. That is a reason why recreating a scene or scenario from your past and having it occur and feel the same way it did in the past is usually a disappointment.

The irony is that in asking that you have no expectations of her, she has some of you (probably that you would accept this as a reason or excuse for that lack of commitment, intimacy and sex). You can either accept her request, turn it down or make her a different offer. While it may be a way to buy time and space, it can also be a way to hold you at arms length and (to continue) to deny you intimacy.

And that is what you've described. While your marriage may currently be sexless, what you described is a marriage that lacked intimacy at the sexual level, not one that is purely sex-starved. Once per week does not mean the marriage is sex-starved even if she was just going through the motions. It is intimacy starved. And while you may not believe that you can withstand a sexless marriage, you can if only for a while. It's a matter of whether and how long you are willing to accept that condition and your expectations of for yourself, your spouse and the way the marriage works.

Finally, about your anger...I understand. It is born out of unmet expectations AND fear of loss. For a little while you may have to hold your anger and more importantly find the words that convey your fear and your commitment to your marriage without being hurtful.

And yes it will feel like you are doing all the work and the heavy lifting. That may or may not be true. Just know that, too, is born out of expectation of equality in the marriage. Although love and intimacy may end up being a zero-sum occurrence where things eventually balance out, you must not be afraid that you are doing all the work. You have your own line in the sand and you may be afraid that you will reach and have to go past that just to stay married. Don't be untrue to yourself, just don't be rash and inflexible.

But do give of yourself without reservation, and without expectation of anything in return. Give 100%. Don't expect it to be a 50/50 proposition. It may naturally return to a sense of 50/50 or something like that. But quid pro quo in this situation usually turns out badly unless both of you are truly willing to follow that path.

If things crash and burn you want to know, for yourself, that you held nothing back and you gave it your all. It won't feel good to you that nothing you did made a difference or that your couldn't affect the outcome to turn things the way that you would have had it. But you will not be left with the "what if" sense of regret that you held something back leaving you to wonder if that might have made the difference.

And if things do work out, you will be able to look back and be glad and even surprised at what you could and did accomplish.

The Captain


Last sex: 04/06/1997
Last attempt: 11/11/1997
W Issues "No Means No" Declaration: 11/11/1997
W chooses to terminate sex 05/1998
I gained 60, then lost 85 pounds.
Start running again (marathons)
Re: New and Suffering [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot] #2175178
08/07/11 11:05 PM
08/07/11 11:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
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Accuray Offline OP
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Captain,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. In response to your questions, it was my wife who went immediately to divorce upon the reveal. I do not believe it was spur of the moment however, as she had been working up to it for a while and clearly had it thought through. I will also say that the OM is out of the picture, there is no longer any contact at work or not as they are both out of the environment.

WRT my wife being rejected, what specifically are the problems I should anticipate? This is one of my fears -- that I'm dealing with grief and rebound issues that really don't have to do with me, so my efforts may make the situation worse. I'm somewhat directionless here.

In terms of being back to the table, I did do a lot of fence mending, did a 180, etc. I treated the situation like I had one chance to turn it around and that was all. I will say that if not for this site, I would not have been able to do it. I do believe she's here of her own will and by her own decision. I will also say that I believe she is making an effort at establishing intimacy, as am I.

I appreciate your guidance and your words -- when I wrote my initial post I was in a dark place and needing to vent, it helped. I agree that it's very important not to hold anything back, believe me, I've given it every ounce, as well as some reserves I didn't know I had.

Thank you again for your input

Re: New and Suffering [Re: Accuray] #2178312
08/16/11 09:28 AM
08/16/11 09:28 AM
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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Been meaning to get back to you.

You are probably correct that the flight to divorce as THE option probably was not spur of the moment. But it maybe a rough road because it often means that she has already mentally visualized an alternate life without you and preferable to the one she now has or lives. And that thought, that process, can be a cancer that grows.

The fact that the OM is out of the picture makes things a lot easier because whatever the lure is/was is not available and ever present. At one level this makes things less complicated.

The fact that your wife was "rejected" once things were revealed might, and I stress might, create a level of doubt for her that flows along the lines of "what if I wasn't rejected? Would I still be here?" There will be moments of doubt for both of you because the trust that was lost makes it difficult to set things right. There was a reason why she pursued this course though she may not be aware of it.

To counter-balance that, the sense that she is back working on the marriage by choice is important. But it takes more that making a show at it. There will be both breakdowns and breakthroughs. Celebrate the breakthroughs and don't dwell on the breakdowns.

Getting out of that dark place pretty quickly is important. You have to willing to offer your forgiveness if and when she finally wants and needs it. Gentle, honest, loving support in the face of anger can be a tall order, but in the end you both might rediscover why it seemed like a good idea to marry.

The Captain


Last sex: 04/06/1997
Last attempt: 11/11/1997
W Issues "No Means No" Declaration: 11/11/1997
W chooses to terminate sex 05/1998
I gained 60, then lost 85 pounds.
Start running again (marathons)
Re: New and Suffering [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot] #2180071
08/22/11 07:01 PM
08/22/11 07:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
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Accuray Offline OP
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Thank you again for your help and kind words. As time passes, I am learning more and more about what happened, and my wife was chasing multiple OM at work for approx 2 years, only one of whom engaged with her. Each of these revelations takes me back to deep hurt. I have asked her to tell me everything and she keeps assuring me she has, but then I learn more.

She claims to be 100% committed to putting us back on track, but is approaching it with low energy and enthusiasm. She's in a place of comfort and content, but doesn't seem to be willing to do much work beyond the minimum. Claims that is "just her" but she seemed to have plenty of energy for the EF's. I am feeling very much "in love" again and enthusiastic about the relationship, while I fear she loves me, but is not in love. I do know she is still communicating sporadically with one of the OM's who did not engage, who she had an infatuation with.

I can't figure out if I should pursue her, or step back and wait for her to come around (if she does). Whenever I get low based on the EF's, she senses it without me saying anything, and either gets angry or withdraws. Having no support makes me feel even more alone and makes me tend to pursue more.

I assume the best course of action here may be to give space?

Thanks again!


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: New and Suffering [Re: Accuray] #2180730
08/25/11 12:30 AM
08/25/11 12:30 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
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TeaEarlGreyHot Offline
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Well, the good news is that you are finding out about these OM. The bad news is that you are finding out about these OM.

I know it hurts and thers the potential for lots of anger there. Anger, disappointment, embarassment are okay to express. Just not as rage. I don't get the sense that you are there, but we all have are breaking points and when in unknown territory it can get pretty dicey.

In terms of the minmal aspect, let me give you some perspective on that...she has messed up and she knows it. Every foray into this wrong is just another reminder. In one sense it like whistling past the graveyard because we don't or won't talk openly about death, particularly about our own because ti reminds us that we are going to die one day.

But in that fear (of death or even talking/thinking about death) we forget something very important....there is a life to live, to love and to share between then and now, and we don't have forever for that.

So, too, is it with any kind of affair. It will always be there and it will change or define everything from here on out. This does not have to be for the worse.

Give space carefully and if you do, let her know that you are giving space knowing and thoughtfully for the purpose of her working stuff out. And just because you give her space does not mean that it is forgotten or "settled." it won't be until both of you have had a chance to say everything there is to be said on this and related matters and then you can both declare it "the past" and move on to a new present and future in your relationship.

That does not assure that your relationship will be one spent together, but I think it gives you a better chance than not.

The Captain


Last sex: 04/06/1997
Last attempt: 11/11/1997
W Issues "No Means No" Declaration: 11/11/1997
W chooses to terminate sex 05/1998
I gained 60, then lost 85 pounds.
Start running again (marathons)
Re: New and Suffering [Re: TeaEarlGreyHot] #2181292
08/26/11 06:14 PM
08/26/11 06:14 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,502
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Accuray Offline OP
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Accuray  Offline OP
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Thanks again. Lots of progress being made here, we are returning to happy. My W claims that the reason she was seeking outside EF's was because she believed we were fundamentally incompatible and that she was left with unmet needs. She said she was afraid to challenge me with it, because I seemed happy with things as they were and she was afraid putting it out there would cause one of us to end the marriage, and she was afraid of forcing that. She didn't think my changing to meet her needs was an option. She now says that my efforts have shown her she can have the relationship she's always wanted, and she doesn't want anything else.

We've been seeing the same therapist individually and sometimes together, and the therapist cautioned me during an individual session recently that my W's explanations are disingenuous, and that she is addicted to the thrill of getting attention, and that she will likely do it again despite my best efforts.

I have no idea why the therapist would say that, given that I had accepted my W's explanations and we were on a good track, but it threw me for a huge loop. Should I disregard the therapist and find a new one, or heed those words of caution? Her assessment doesn't feel right based on my relationship, I somewhat thought she was giving me textbook advice, but obviously I've been somewhat oblivious!

Not sure what to think or who to believe

Thanks!


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: New and Suffering [Re: Accuray] #2182071
08/29/11 08:59 PM
08/29/11 08:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 56
Virginia
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Virginia
Damn, Accuray. This just [censored].

You said EFs, plural, right?

If I were in your shoes, I don't think I'd ever trust her again. That said: Even if you couldn't trust her, do you still love her? Do you still want to be married to her?

If so, what do YOU want the marriage to look like?

Everybody's paying so much attention to what SHE wants. Does anybody care what YOU want?

Re: New and Suffering [Re: Margali] #2182130
08/30/11 01:22 AM
08/30/11 01:22 AM
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Accuray Offline OP
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Margali, thanks for the comments!

It was really only 1 EF for about 6 mos. Prior to that my wife was chasing / infatuated with a different OM, but he never engaged beyond phone calls / chat / friendship. That lasted about 8 months but was completely one-sided. Prior to that she was reaching out to old boyfriends, but no one bit.

I do still love her very much, and do want to stay married. The marriage I want is characterized by being open and honest, genuine, and enthusiastic about the R, the kids, etc.

No, no one cares what I want but me, but I believe that's how this works when one partner decides to walk. She tells me that before, her needs were never met because she always put me first, she could never live up to my expectations, and she felt like she fell short in the marriage, all of which made her feel badly. This made her angry and unapproachable. She would claim to do things for me, but was passive aggressive about it and let me know she wasn't happy. To be fair, I got tired of that and withdrew, pursued my hobbies, and tried to make the best of it.

Now, when we talk about my needs, she complains that I'm starting to drive the relationship again, that my expectations are creeping back in, etc. Either that or she starts crying, says she's a bad person, etc., and I instantly go into support and reassurance mode and my needs are forgotten.

I am far from controlling, but it's very difficult to ask and expect nothing. From what I've read however, that's what you do in this situation.

I'm really most concerned with the fact that the therapist gave me such a dire warning. Not sure what to do with that. It didn't seem like it was accurate, it seemed like she was reading out of an affair book versus dealing with the individual. I don't know, the whole thing was brutal and continues to be so.

Am I just a doormat?


Married 18, Together 20, Now Divorced
M: 48, W: 50, D: 18, S: 16, D: 12
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 7/13/11
Start Reconcile: 8/15/11
Bomb Dropped (EA, D): 5/1/2014 (Divorced)
In a New Relationship: 3/2015
Re: New and Suffering [Re: Margali] #2182286
08/30/11 05:07 PM
08/30/11 05:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 570
Washington, the State
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Young at Heart Offline
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Call me old fashioned, but if there are 3 children and she will always be their mother, then I would try everything in my power to save the marriage. Since the wife seems at the moment to "say the words" that she wants to save the marriage, I would take her at her word, until actions proved otherwise. That will be very hard for Accuray.

Since her wife has said part of what her searching and actively pursuing multiple OM was about fulfilling unmet needs, Accuray and his W probably need real professional marriage counseling help to work through some of the issues.

I am a real believer that no matter how much we feel we have been wronged by our spouse, we probably have a "degree" of responsibility. Sometimes it is small and other times it is large. I know that in my case, I did things in my marriage that made my wife feel like I was emotionally abandoning her. I also did things that enabled her to further abandon me emotionally. It was only after I apologized to my wife for the things that I had done wrong in my marriage and shown her that I was a different person, that she found the strength to change how she treated me.

Good luck


>43 years of marriage--My wife and I are now closer than we have been in decades. I believe that my SSM is over.
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