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LH19 - Thanks for taking the time to post this, I've started this process. More after my replies to everyone.

CWarrior - Those 37 rules are definitely helpful. They take a little digesting before it feels more like lifestyle advice and less like a checklist but I'm working on that.

may22 - Thanks, I'll consider that. In the context Steve provides after your post this makes more sense.

Steve85 - Thank you for the long, in-depth responses. One of the things that has weighed on me since the BD was that when I had a PA and depression-related problems 10 years ago, she was willing to work past that and focus on us, even though I had stepped out. After 20 years, I feel like I at least owe her the opportunity. That having been said, I do agree that perhaps she shouldn't be given the impression that our marriage is a revolving door.


Update-ish:
Since my last posts I have been reading and re-reading the 37 rules, and a few other resources. I'm getting my copy of DR today and will likely devour that.
I've dropped my e-mail contact with W down to 1-2x/day (I'm shooting for 1 but I'm still working up to that level). I've began structuring the emails based on the ideas in the 37 rules. I started this 2-3 days ago. The e-mails I've gotten since, have gone from being just basic replies and asking about the kids to her telling me about her day and opening up a little. One thing I made sure to do.. our boys are basically grown.. she asked me to tell them she misses and loves them and I just made sure to include their email addresses in my reply. She already knew them and even if she lost them (ship email gets reset sometimes) she could've asked at any time. She's been emailing them separately now and actually thanked me for that.

My GAL:
I've started working at the base gym and my professional resume (graphic artist/3d) has started generating leads. It's like everything started blowing up at once.
I've enrolled at a local university to push my BS into a MS in Cybersecurity. I start in Feb.


It's hard to do much more than this with the pandemic, especially since our Gov. just enacted some hardcore measures but I've been trying to get the kids out of the house and spend time together. If I'm being honest, I had been doing that before as a way to have something to be like "look W, I'm a good H!!" and I've realized pretty quickly that this is both expensive and more importantly not fair to the kids.. because it's fake. I've made the goals of outings about bonding and staying sane since we've all got cabin fever.

I'm supposed to hear back today about a job opportunity, so wish me luck!

Thanks everyone who has taken precious time to read/reply. It matters, thank you.

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Originally Posted by reason

Steve85 - Thank you for the long, in-depth responses. One of the things that has weighed on me since the BD was that when I had a PA and depression-related problems 10 years ago, she was willing to work past that and focus on us, even though I had stepped out. After 20 years, I feel like I at least owe her the opportunity. That having been said, I do agree that perhaps she shouldn't be given the impression that our marriage is a revolving door.



This ONLY works if the cheater is sorry for what they've done, want to save the marriage, and are willing to work on the marriage. I can guarantee you that if you wanted to continue the PA and potentially make it a LTR with the AP, what your W did would not have worked.

So can you say she is sorry? Does she want to save the marriage? And is she actively working on the marriage with you? If you cannot say yes to those three questions (and "I don't know" is a no), then you approaching this the way she did when you stepped out will not work. There may come a time when she is sorry, wants to save the MR, and is willing to work on it and then you can give her that opportunity. But doing that before the answer to those three questions is yes is futile.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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reason, please consider this question carefully. It is less about you answering the questioning and more about you really thinking about it.

Does emailing her 1-2x constitute giving her time and space? Or does it constitute pressure and pursuit?

Also, her opening up about her day doesn't mean much if you are prying (emailing first) out of her. If she starts emailing on her own about her day, then you may have something.


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Steve85
I haven't mentioned our M to her in a while. The last I heard was that she is willing to give it time. She is willing to go to counseling (by herself atm), and she's characterized her PA as "messing up". None of this is necessarily substance, I get that. I want to call them early indicators but I also realize there are a lot of other less-hopeful explanations.


On the e-mailing and pursuit. I understand where you're coming from and I think it largely depends. The fact that she is willing to stay to give it time, makes me feel like I need to include her in basic daily going-ons and good-faith efforts at basic civil conversation while she's at sea. Even in that regard though, I have managed to "change the tempo" so that the 1-2x emails are only after I've heard back from her. I was sending first, but now I don't unless there's something that needs her attention (legitimately.. like GI Bill forms etc). I've also managed to stop myself from immediately replying a few times.. still working on that.

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12-15-20 - Told her if she's not willing to work on this find somewhere else to sleep. She had only been pushing for separation at this point so I also told her that if she has no interest in our marriage, prepare for a divorce. I made it clear that it would not be amicable.
12-16-20 - Her mood was noticeably different. The confidence and seeming contempt for me seemed to be completely gone. She started asking for help with things.
12-17-20 - She broke down in tears. OM was in fact shipped away. The whole day was a rollercoaster. She would be listening to music and singing/dancing, then having deep conversations. Then randomly smiling at me. Anything and everything happened today except anything negative about me. She complimented me numerous times and was thanking me for everything and pushing talks about the future.

Before anyone says it.. I know.. this is not her "being back".. I don't know what this is.. but I suspect it's largely driven by fear, uncertainty, and a need for something familiar. We're leaving today on a trip so this should be interesting.

I read most of Divorce Remedy before W unexpectedly returned from sea (I verified that everything about her being at sea was legit.. which I know is snooping.. but it is what it is). From the moment she stepped in the door, I was putting my focus on the concepts of tough love, being as upbeat/outgoing as I can manage with all things considered, the 37 rules, and making sure I looked my best at all times. I also made it clear that there are now boundaries. I made myself scarce when there wasn't a reason to be around each other but also found family activities that she would feel inclined to join.
Did this work? I couldn't begin to tell you. My phone has been ringing fairly frequently with job offers and I'm starting my graduate degree.. I also made it abundantly clear to her that I have already been looking at houses and jobs in my home town for after the D if she refuses to work on our M.

The part of me that has been desperate for affection is currently at war with my analytical half but regardless, this is different. It's progress. I think I would be foolish to anticipate any outcome from this or to take this at face value at this moment. By contrast, it would be equally foolish to dismiss this progress. I'm going to continue utilizing what I've learned. My goal has been to save our marriage and repair my share of the damage. My plan is to begin nudging for counseling as best I can given her responsibilities to the military.

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reason, I have gone on record here many times telling people that the minute you start to embrace the D, and actually take steps towards it (remember, action, not words), the WAS often backs down from their stance and start to scramble a bit.

I am sure in your W has romanticize a future with OM. More than likely that plan for the future is unrealistic, or has a long runway. IN truth there are many obstacles to her being with the OM full-time and therefore she needs her plan B (you) firmly in place.

So you stood up for yourself. You took a baby-step toward commanding respect. What she heard/saw was her Plan B take one step away from her. And that makes her feel uneasy. We have a saying around here: A monkey doesn't jump from the branch it is on until it identifies another branch that can support it. You started to move the branch she is on so she is wrapping her digits around it tighter.

Be very careful thinking those tears are remorse for what she has done/been doing. I watched my W go through the end of both of her EAs, and in both cases she had to go through a grieving process at the loss of the OM. It is one of the most difficult things to see, your W mourning the loss of another man. The smiling at you, deep conversations, complimenting you, is her tightening those digits around her branch.

Be careful nudging for counseling. That is pressure and pursuit. Your W right now is like a cat. Not sure if you have experience with cats, but if you reach out to the cat it will go the other way. If you pick the cat up and put it on your lap, it will immediately jump down. But if you sit quietly and let it come to you, then you can pet and hold it because it was the cat's idea.

You need to be the lighthouse. You are solid. You are a rock. You are always in the same place. If she wants to come towards you she will. But it has to be her decision. Anything you try to force will cause her to retreat. Read the distance-pursuit dynamic thread, it explains this whole thing.

The best thing you can do is to keep DBing. Focus on you. GAL, 180s and work on detachment. (Google: self-differentiation in marriage as to what this looks like).


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Originally Posted by Steve85

Be very careful thinking those tears are remorse for what she has done/been doing.

Be careful nudging for counseling.

You need to be the lighthouse.

The best thing you can do is to keep DBing. Focus on you. GAL, 180s and work on detachment. (Google: self-differentiation in marriage as to what this looks like).

(NOTE I trimmed the quote for brevity)

Thanks again Steve. I told her when she was crying, I remember when I was the one who was walking away from OW. I told her I knew why she was crying. I even let her cry on my shoulder. No long speech. No moral high ground. I've been the one in her shoes. I also remember not loving her at first when I came back. I told myself it was for the kids, and this and that. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and had a mentality of making sure "I got mine". I don't know if all of that is coming. One thing this community reminded me of though, was for my personal experience, it wasn't necessarily a fast process. It wasn't really until we had a change of environment that I was able to embrace my decision and her.

This is a fairly different situation from when I was WAS. She's realizing that retirement is either 11 months out or 3 years out. Either way, if she has no pension and an alimony payment, that won't be possible. If she doesn't have additional support, she'll be scraping by. If she has all of that going on, she'll have to work whatever job she can and live wherever.
I know these things are weighing in her mind. She's made a lot of telling comments.

On the decision making cat and monkey analogies.. I have a history training animals from all the way back to my teenage years. When I started reading these boards in Nov, I realized there were a lot of similarities. Be firm in your expectations, but offer a welcoming reaction to corrective behavior. Ultimately, she's a human being. Fear and uncertainty from the actions I would take cannot be the glue that binds us. What I am comfortable with it being, is the catalyst that forces her to re-evaluate things. Granted, her decision will still bear consequences, as every decision each of us makes.. Based on a lot of her actions and behaviors, I think she's made her decision. I also think she's trying to make peace with that for herself, which I don't believe will be a fast process. I believe that she has thrown herself into a mixture of grief and denial over OM and that needs to resolve itself before any marital healing can begin.

As you say, my job here is to be a fixed point. As to when I nudge towards counseling, I'm going to wait for signs that she's accepted her decision. We're not there, but that's what I'm looking for.

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Update 12-29-20
We went to see family. Rollercoaster would be apt.
The first days we were physically intimate and she was crying. I backed off. Her mood improved around my family. She had talked about OM moving away etc. There were some discussions were I told her that she needed to stay away basically. She panicked and the first thing she mentioned was the kids. I told her that if she was leaving it doesn't matter if it's now or later. After some back and forth I made it clear that if she was going to be with me, she needed to be with me not just "present".
A few days later she approached me and initiated intimacy and it was .. like we were dating again.
Then the next day, more rollercoaster.
Before we came back I looked up some prices and told her I would pay for her to stay at an extended stay until she was supposed to go on her 6 month deployment. She refused.
Since, she's started approaching me for hugs and resting her head on me. Talking to me again.
It's not over the top like the other update where I said I knew she wasn't "back". This feels like a deliberate effort on her part, not some strange emotional head trip. The thing is, I can't tell if it's because she's trying to work on "us" or if it's because she's just terrified of the alternative.
I'm second-guessing everything, feeling guilty about being intimate when she offers it, and trying to find subtext in our conversations. If I'm being honest, I kinda wish she had accepted the room at the extended stay. It would be simpler.

I want to trust but I feel like I would just be setting myself up.

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R,

You are wise to be cautious and approach this with detachment. The monkey branchers do not like it when there is not another branch to grab onto so they retreat back home because itís scary up there alone on the branch.

What youíre looking for is consistency for a long period of time. Iím talking months/years.

Ramp up your get a life and start to be mysterious.

Reconciling is not easy and some have suggested divorce is easier so buckle in for the long haul.

Last edited by LH19; 12/29/20 02:13 PM.

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ďDon't chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people - the ones who really belong in your life - will come to you and stay.Ē- Will Smith
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Originally Posted by reason
Update 12-29-20
We went to see family. Rollercoaster would be apt.
The first days we were physically intimate and she was crying. I backed off. Her mood improved around my family. She had talked about OM moving away etc. There were some discussions were I told her that she needed to stay away basically. She panicked and the first thing she mentioned was the kids. I told her that if she was leaving it doesn't matter if it's now or later. After some back and forth I made it clear that if she was going to be with me, she needed to be with me not just "present".
A few days later she approached me and initiated intimacy and it was .. like we were dating again.
Then the next day, more rollercoaster.
Before we came back I looked up some prices and told her I would pay for her to stay at an extended stay until she was supposed to go on her 6 month deployment. She refused.
Since, she's started approaching me for hugs and resting her head on me. Talking to me again.
It's not over the top like the other update where I said I knew she wasn't "back". This feels like a deliberate effort on her part, not some strange emotional head trip. The thing is, I can't tell if it's because she's trying to work on "us" or if it's because she's just terrified of the alternative.
I'm second-guessing everything, feeling guilty about being intimate when she offers it, and trying to find subtext in our conversations. If I'm being honest, I kinda wish she had accepted the room at the extended stay. It would be simpler.

I want to trust but I feel like I would just be setting myself up.


You would be setting yourself up. She is wayward. She wants her H and family while age waits for OM's return. It's what we can "cake eating". From the saying "have your cake and eat it too". All the markers are there. You push her on being there VS. just present. You suggest she move into an extended stay. She panics not wanting to be alone for 6 months so she starts manipulating you with affection and sex! Classic WW stuff here.

So, where is your DBing in all of this? I'm not seeing GAL. What are you doing to improve yourself? In the thick of my sitch I was reading 3-4 books a month! Where is your detachment efforts? Have you even tried to separate your emotions from her words and actions?

As far as the intimacy. The general advice is that if you can't let her initiate without attaching significance and meaning to it then you should turn her down. It sounds like that is what your struggling with.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
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