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I agree with LH. That line about "not making decisions when confused" should be changed to something like: "you need to do whatever it is that will make you happy." This is what I would do. When my WW would talk about being confused, conflicted, etc. She once described it as being in the dual drive-thru at McDonalds and she wasn't sure which lane to get into. The best thing you can do is listen and validate. "I can understand how being confused makes you feel." "Those conflicting feelings must be very difficult for you." Etc. Listening and validating pays huge dividends because it helps you avoid saying things like above, or getting defensive and giving explanations.

reason, just keep working and focusing on you. You are becoming a better, more exciting, and yes attractive version of yourself! It will take her a while to embrace the new you, if she ever does. You have no control over that. It is kind of like fishing, all you can do is put the bait out there, it is up to the fish whether or not it bites.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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Hey everyone, thanks for the replies. I know I kinda left this hanging but I've been pretty busy with GAL.

First week at my new job (graphic artist with a huge company) has been extremely rewarding.
I had given up on working in this field. I had a lot of experience and it's what my BS is geared towards but when we were bouncing around CA there just weren't many openings and freelance work was not reliable. I am still enrolled in cybersecurity for my Masters. The company I'm with is big enough to support a change like that and they encourage it as personal growth is part of their business identity. They've provided me with a laptop and equipment (new phone in transit) and I'm working from home, which is more or less permanent. I can choose to go to the office if I want and the schedule is extremely flexible. I couldn't ask for more. Seriously.

I already completed my orientation for my Masters degree and next week my classes start. I am picking up books this week.

I had Lasik last Friday. I'm typing this without glasses. I'm still a few days away from being 100% but I can already drive.

While updating my wardrobe, my younger teenager noticed and he started tagging along. We found some outlet stores and now he's rocking some Armani like me lol.

My spiritual growth is still moving along. I feel like I understand who I am better and who I want to be because of this.



Things with W are a rollercoaster. I have been trying to push the idea (with myself, not her) that these are my memories. If it falls apart that is for later. In that vein, I have been breaking a rule and taking her on dates. Our 20th Anniv saw us staying in a suite in a resort. We've had a few really nice dinners, and we've gone hiking and on a few other trips. Some of this involved the kids (they really loved the hiking). What I have been careful about is relationship talks, pressure, etc. She's going to be gone for 8 months very soon. Things have been stressful. That said.. she has been talking about feeling guilty, wanting to just be alone, etc. She has been distant. Not mean or unkind like when all of this started.

Over the last few nights, she has been caring for me because of the Lasik recovery. After I laid down with my eye shields and basically can't move, she has been pulling close. Yesterday, she said she feels like she lost her purpose.. she wasn't sure she had one. She talked about it being based on the kids and her job in the military keeping a roof over our heads and similar things. I didn't want to leave her hanging because it's a crappy feeling. I told her I've had to recently rediscover my purpose. My views that I've based my rediscovery of self around stem from concepts and ideas that are sustainable, not a specific person or job or thing. I made it clear to her that my goals have nothing to do with her or the kids.. but they exist in such a way that whoever is in my life is part of those goals/dreams. I'll be doing this or that and living like this.. regardless of any other circumstances. Faith, personality, personal and professional goals, lifestyle choices, life experiences. I don't know if that makes sense.. but a lot of the discussions here have helped me to form my vision of my future.

Another discussion that seems to keep popping up is that she's a monster. She feels guilty. She messed up. She doesn't deserve to have someone care for her. She doesn't feel like she can be herself because she feels bad. I just try to reassure her. I don't know if this is wise but I remind her that I'm not perfect. I don't think that's been particularly successful. I believe she has put herself in a role of the troll under the bridge and put me up on a pedestal because of the dynamics of the recent PA, coupled with basically everything seeming to go right for me since she dropped the bomb. When we were laying there waiting for my eye drops (there's a timer in between them) I told her about some things I did as a teenager, before us. Things she never knew after 20 years. It seemed to change things.

She softened up a lot. She has been leaning in to give me a kiss here and there or for a hug. This morning she left for work and dropped an ILY on me. Then rushed out the door.
I've been paying attention to you guys and I know... believe me.. I know. Consistency and time are way more important than any words or gestures. There's every chance that this is anything other than what I wish it was. I'm going to stay hopeful. I'm going to keep GAL, 180 etc.

That's about it. Long update I know. It's time for me to switch to my couch so I can start my work day lol. Thanks everyone!






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Wow, this update started out so well.....then went crashing down just as fast. reason, if you got nothing else out of this forum I hope you've learned this: ACTION, not words. You show through actions your goals and your advancement towards them. You show through actions that her and the kids can be part of that journey, or that you can traverse it yourself, either way you are fine.

Also, I am not sure why you are trying to reassure her? She cheated, had a PA. She should feel guilty, like a monster, and like she messed up. What are you trying to reassure her of? That cheating is ok? That cheating makes her a good person? That one confuses me.

You are doing many things right. Heck, as long as she isn't actively involved in the PA still then I don't even mind the dates, the anniversary resort stay, or the shows of affection. At least those are actions. But the words that are coming out of her mouth are not something you can bank on. And if your actions do not back up what you are saying, then your words are empty too. Certainly they are now, but WASs/WSs look for the first slip up as a sign that you are reverting back to your former self.

Anyway, my suggestion moving forward is to post more often. Get feedback on what you are about to do BEFORE you do it. We see many posters here that come here, get advice, ignore it, then come back and tell us what has all ready occurred. Of course, it your choice, but the posters that seem to thrive are the ones that post for advice pre-action.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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Hey, you're not wrong!
laugh

Seriously though, I intend to post more and the PA is definitely over. I've literally been the most busy I've been in years and I'm having a hard time managing my day. She's about to go to sea for most of the year so any communication between the two of us will be from a long way off with zero physical contact and zero action.

It's not okay that she cheated. Our marriage is not a revolving door. When I'm reassuring her, it's not that her behavior was okay (at least that's not my intention). It's that I'm capable of moving past those things. I've been very clear with her that if she's going to be by my side, then that is not open ended. I've made it clear that I have no compunctions about personally delivering her to a hotel or bus station or whatever if she's not going to stay.

As to her words vs actions.. I'm not going with her to sea. I can't look over her shoulder. I told her as much and moreover that if I need to, then she should just go ahead and move on. I don't want to control her and nor do I want someone who needs to be controlled. If her decisions and mine aren't based on mutual respect then there's no point going forward with our relationship. By contrast, if she is legitimately struggling with her sense of identity AND also a WW WAS, then these are two separate issues. I can't help her with either of those but I can be sympathetic to one (the identity issues) while still maintaining boundaries and an understanding that our actual M might not be salvageable.

Your point does highlight an unavoidable truth. I'm taking her to the airport this week and afterwards won't see her for most of a year. If I'm not in the right place with my disconnect/distancing on this, it will be devastating and detrimental to any potential. Previous deployments have been challenging and this one is her last before retirement. We're already strained and stepping back to specifically focus on myself and our children is likely the only way to retain my sanity and probably my job and student status as well.

Thank you again for posting.

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Quote
I didn't want to leave her hanging because it's a crappy feeling. I told her I've had to recently rediscover my purpose. My views that I've based my rediscovery of self around stem from concepts and ideas that are sustainable, not a specific person or job or thing. I made it clear to her that my goals have nothing to do with her or the kids.. but they exist in such a way that whoever is in my life is part of those goals/dreams. I'll be doing this or that and living like this.. regardless of any other circumstances. Faith, personality, personal and professional goals, lifestyle choices, life experiences. I don't know if that makes sense.. but a lot of the discussions here have helped me to form my vision of my future.


I wouldn't share this kind of intimacy with someone who is in an active affair.

Quote
Over the last few nights, she has been caring for me because of the Lasik recovery. After I laid down with my eye shields and basically can't move, she has been pulling close. Yesterday, she said she feels like she lost her purpose.. she wasn't sure she had one. She talked about it being based on the kids and her job in the military keeping a roof over our heads and similar things.


I also wouldn't believe anything like this being positive. She isn't back.

Quote
Another discussion that seems to keep popping up is that she's a monster. She feels guilty. She messed up. She doesn't deserve to have someone care for her. She doesn't feel like she can be herself because she feels bad. I just try to reassure her. I don't know if this is wise but I remind her that I'm not perfect

She is using you to minimize her actions and you need to learn to validate.

There are some good positives going here, keep them going. I'm going to finish reading this later.


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Hey everyone.
So, I guess it wasn't clear that her PA is over. The OM is on the other side of the country and she just left on a deployment. I'm in a state of mind that she will be gone for 8 months. That's time to focus on me and it starts today.

...and.. I really need it.

I just got that awesome new job. I've been there 2 weeks. Wednesday the company got a new CEO. Thursday all of the teams in North America were fired and our jobs transferred to India. I still have to return my equipment.

I suppose it's good that I started my Masters in a different field. I don't think I can deal with this type of uncertainty anymore. I work in the graphic arts/3d industry and this is not the first time I've had a company do strategic layoffs.. it is the biggest and fastest that it's ever happened.

I'm contemplating a startup with everyone on our team.

Either way, this group has taught me that despair is not a productive response in this situation. So I am thankful for that.

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Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% your attitude towards it (and thus how you react). It seems your attitude to this hiccup is upbeat! I love it. Good job.

Huge plate of caution: "So, I guess it wasn't clear that her PA is over. The OM is on the other side of the country and she just left on a deployment."

Yeah, that isn't a PA being "over". That is a PA being paused due to circumstance out of both APs' control. Please do not kid yourself. I had a friend whose husband was a drug addict. He went into the military and got clean. While he was enlisted they got married, and had two kids. I cautioned her that if he hadn't dealt with his demons, once he was discharged and came back to our area that the old contacts and could cause him to relapse. Within a year of being discharged he relapsed. Their marriage ended after he got physically abusive, when she took the kids and left, he chased her in their 2nd vehicle and ended up rear-ending her to get her to stop and physically assaulted her in front of witnesses. (She later came to me and said "Well, Steve, you were right." I responded: "X, I am sorry and I really wish I hadn't been.")

I just want you to be realistic about this. This deployment and distance likely will cause them to miss each other and the PA could reignite once they are back together with more fervor than ever before. I do not say that to hurt you, but to prepare you. One of the reasons PAs are so addictive is that the people are limited to times they can meet. Sometimes they cannot meet again for days, even weeks. That distance builds up anticipation, it builds up frustration at not being able to have more access to the AP, and it builds up a passion. All of that comes out in the eventual meetings and it enhances the romanticism of meetings, PA, the AP, everything.

I can kind of relate. When I met my W we lived an hour apart. Every weekend one of us would drive after work on Friday to stay with the other person (we both lived alone) for the weekend. That continued for the first 8 months of our R. After 8 months she took a new job in the same area I lived, and moved into a new place in the same apartment complex. (Both of us are old-fashioned and so we didn't even consider moving in together prior to marriage.) The next 13 months of our R was much more work and we almost broke up about 6 months into that 13 months. I think a lot of that had to do with the transition from the limited time together, to spending a lot more time together. We started to lose that passion, and had to work at it as a couple. Which after that rough patch 6 months in, we did and within another year were married.

So please gird up your loins, the PA may be paused, not over.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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Steve,

I'm not really sure what your objective is here. I have two choices. I either trust and try to move forward or decide I do not trust and run our M into the ground. I'm not supposed to spy/snoop, but I'm also not supposed to trust her words. I'm supposed to maintain a positive attitude and act "as if". There's a chance you're right about the PA. Of course, there is. However, I can choose to fixate on that and drive myself into mania or focus on constructive energy. I'm not going to participate in hand-wringing over what-ifs. What I will do, is set a clear boundary, and if she crosses it, we're done.

I've been solidly engaged in my degree program. I am engaged in the church. I have been doing things with my kids. I also don't miss her. This is different and a bit worrying. I don't know if this means I don't want her back or if I just learned to be me by myself. I find myself considering other options. I don't feel compelled to email her really at all. I'm not thinking about what she's doing or when she'll write. I do look for it, but at this point, I think it's a habit more than anything. I glance at my inbox and kind of shrug when I see that there's nothing.

I can't decide if I'm just numb at this point, properly disconnected, or finally done with this whole thing. I also don't know which of these I would prefer at this point. I've struggled a bit with coming to terms with exactly what she has done. It's also starting to sink in that this isn't something that just happened or happened to her. It's a series of decisions. I genuinely do think she's struggling with her sense of identity, but I'm trying to decide if that matters.

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reason here is my objective:

I want you to be honest with yourself about the state of things so that you are not completely devastated when the truth comes out and you spiral and fall back into behaviors that harm your chances of moving forward. That's the thing I am trying to get you to see. You are still fixated on her and whether she is being your loving committed W, or if she is being the WW you got a glimpse of when OM was still available.

So rather than insist that the PA is over, understand that it may just be paused. It may flare up when circumstances are right for it. It may simply be an EA right now. Or she could be completely over OM and ready to fully commit to the MR and R after her deployment. Or it could be somewhere in the middle of all that (which is way more likely!).

As far as not being sure of where you are right now, it is also part and parcel of you still not focusing on the right place......and that is on YOU! That is the beauty of DBing, it doesn't matter what the WAS is or isn't doing. You focus on you. GAL (sounds like you are doing this pretty well). Work on your 180s and self-improvements (become a man only a fool would leave!). And work on detaching your emotions from the things she says and does. If she calls tomorrow and says she wants to D because her an OM have been talking and they want to be together, then you continue on the above plan (GAL, 180s, detachment). IF she calls and says she loves you and can't wait to come home and work on the MR with you, you still stick to the plan (GAL, 180s, detachment). Regardless of what she says or does, you stick to the plan.

So based on that, let me deal with this: "I genuinely do think she's struggling with her sense of identity, but I'm trying to decide if that matters." So after the above paragraph (assuming you agree with the approach), what do you think? Does it or doesn't it matter?

Finally, I forget, are you in IC? If not do so pronto. Consistently checking to see if she emails shows you are still not detached. A good IC can help you work through all of that.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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There is saying around here: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
M-20, T-23 Bomb Drop - Dec.23, 2017
Ring and Piecing since March 2018
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