I'll try to be brief. My wife and I have been married for 10 years, but unhappy for the last several. My wife met someone else about 7 months ago, I just found out about a month ago. It is a total romantic, emotional, physical relationship. She says t is the most connected and real she has ever felt and has no desire to end it or save our marriage.
We have 2 young kids and have a great family life. We are all still in the same house but she moved into the guest room. I don't want to break up my family so for now this will be our situation. She is past all the pain and emotion of this but I have just been going through it all for the last many weeks. She says that us spitting is not related to the other person and that if that relationship were to end tomorrow nothing would change.
We have had many conversations and want to protect our family and have eliminated all negativity from our interaction and are deciding to get along positively. I have no idea what to do. If I pull back I feel it will only reinforce her position as for many years I became withdrawn, quiet, on-emotional, and she eventually shut down and moved on. Do I compete for her love or live as if I am letting her go?
Finn, I'm sorry you're here, but I also know you'll get some great support and advice. I myself saved my own marriage from my wife's affair nearly six years ago, but we came VERY close to divorce a couple of times while everything was still going on.
I've followed nearly thousands of sitches over the past 7 years, and have personally counseled many people thru this. I've really only seen two approaches work, which I detail below with a copy-and-paste from my personal archives. I think you can do the "fight like hell" thing before the "letting them go" thing, if you want to save the latter in reserve, but if you think about it you really can't do the opposite.
Starsky (formerly "Puppy Dog Tails" and "Chocolateeyes")
Those are the only two things I've seen work. If #1 turns up nothing, then proceed to #2b. And in the meantime, GAL your ass off, and become the better option. Best case, you'll attract them back, and at a minimum you'll become a better person that will be more attractive to SOMEBODY in your next relationship.
GAL and find yourself again. It's so hard at first, but try to get out and do things for yourself.
Your situation is almost identical to mine except my H was more conflicted between leaving me for OW. However, he continually told me how OW was more fun than me. He really likes her. He is excited to show our kids an example of a good relationship, etc.
Flash forward about a year. I've now seen evidence that OW is a wacko (one of their text conversations showed up on my 5-year old's phone). H seems miserable (at least around me) and that confidence about OW is gone. The reality of splitting up the family and having to deal with our 3 kids alone is also weighing on him.
Anyway, my point is just that your wife's confidence in her new relationship is probably short-lived and the reality of a divorce will set in at some point.
Ultimately, it's up to you on what you can live with. I tried to endure H's affair for about 4-5 months and then needed him out of the house (which took another 5 months). I now don't think I'd take him back.
You'll get through this. Take care of yourself and try to stay strong. Things change and you will eventually get more control in the situation.
M 44, H 46 D11, D9, D5 Married 12 years PA confirmed 9/2011 I filed 3/2012 H moved out 7/2012