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Steve, I was running through this laundry list of what-ifs for the first few months. When she left for quarantine, I was sad and lonely a lot. While she was calling/video chatting/texting, I stopped thinking about all of that. Frankly, I don't know if I care what she is or isn't doing at this point. I have certain obligations and dependencies that are unavoidable now, but there isn't time for her past that. My general mood now is focused on my future. My thoughts do drift to her, but it's now in the realm of "is this worth my energy"?

You have said repeatedly that I need to be honest with myself, but here is the simple decision I'm faced with.
If I continue trying to save our marriage, I see a long battle, resentment, heartache, and the possibility of it all falling apart again. If we do work things out and everything is optimistic, we will have secured partners for old age that we can each rely on.
If I allow it to dissolve, I can pursue my career and faith with 100% energy. I can move wherever I want. I don't have to think about whether or not I can trust her. It won't be my problem anymore.

Everything else is background noise.

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reason, are you in IC? I am noticing avoidant tendencies in your post. I would highly recommend working through that in IC. You run the risk of making a choice based on which you perceive is the easiest path. R and D are both emotional roller-coaster rides. So you may make a choice that you will later regret. A good IC can help you work through all of that.

Rarely are the best decisions made based on what you you perceive is the least painful decision.


M(52), W(53),D(17)
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I'm not sure what an IC is?
If it's counseling, I have at least 3 options.. but I don't know which would be ideal. Church, University, and Military resources all offer counseling services if that is what IC stands for.

I'm trying to avoid making any decisions. Whatever the outcome, we have an agreement to take it day by day until the kids are both out of the house. Bundled into this are many inter-dependencies we still share, so right now, that is the least painful. I'm struggling with whether or not I will ever trust her.

It seems like your replies are now all geared towards everything I'm getting wrong. There's no light at the end of the tunnel, no advice on navigating problems, or even well-wishing, to be honest. I don't think you're personally attacking me, but I do get an overwhelmingly negative vibe from all of your responses. It isn't helping. I'm not saying that you need to glad-handle me or anything like that but come on, guy. I'm already going through something that is unthinkably difficult. I don't know your credentials, how many relationships you've helped or hindered, or even your own relationship status. If I am honest, I don't know that you're qualified to interact with people in difficult situations in the way that you have been. Further, you are so active here that I have to wonder if you have unresolved issues yourself.

All of that said, it's not impending doom. None of it. It'll resolve one way or another. I am focusing on setting myself up for a successful future with or without my W. I do think that you are over-analyzing everything I'm posting. I can't possibly explain every nuance of my thought processes or the things that have happened. I also withhold things that are extremely personal because.. frankly, who are any of you? I guess, what I'm saying is, the advice and interactions here are neither friendly nor helpful. Old articles and posts have been extremely helpful but past that, this has mostly been a place to vent and then get criticized by people with messed up relationship histories who hang out on a message board for people with similar situations. I'm going to step away and focus on positive energy and constructive activities. Thank you for trying in your way to being of help. Best of luck to you in your own endeavors and relationships.

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reason, I see you feel I've been unhelpful. You're right, I'm just an ordinary slob like you, no reason to put any significance into my opinion. I really do wish you well, the one qualification I do have is that I truly feel for LBSs, and just hope they can find their way to an awesome life and a happier place. Please know that I was trying to help, even if I have failed. But please do not leave the board, where I've failed to help many others here can offer insight and be of assistance. You shouldn't step away from the board, I should step away from your thread.

I hope you find the peace you seek.


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Reason,

best of luck to you. You are not alone. We are all rooting for you, but honestly, handling everyone with gloves on is IMO not the best idea.

It is OK not no make decisons if you are not prepared to do so. Just breathe, and calm your mind. Answers you seek will come to you.

You got this buddy...

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Originally Posted by reason
I guess, what I'm saying is, the advice and interactions here are neither friendly nor helpful. Old articles and posts have been extremely helpful but past that, this has mostly been a place to vent and then get criticized by people with messed up relationship histories who hang out on a message board for people with similar situations. I'm going to step away and focus on positive energy and constructive activities.

Hi Reason, I've found it a place to get criticized **and supported** by people with messed up relationship histories, lol. I express the good and bad in my situation. Steve doesn't state his qualifications beyond caring, but they include surviving an EA, rebuilding a relationship with his wife, and watching what's happened in many similar situations over the years. Which isn't to say he, nor I, are the Grand Poobah (60s reference) of relationship or breakup know-how! I know it's easy to fixate on or entirely avoid the situation. I'd seek a balance point--maybe 80% GAl, 20% processing. And since you said you'd received or seen no well-wishes, which is shocking on this board, I wish you well whether you decide to post here again or get support elsewhere. May you live the life of your dreams with her, on your own, or with another. ((Hugs))



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Originally Posted by reason
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.

Hey Reason,

I'm not sure that you have only two choices right now. You're in a really interesting and in some ways enviable position. Folks say here you have the gift of time-- but you REALLY have the gift of time. Eight months where you can focus on yourself (which is sounds like you're doing, kudos) and you don't have to deal with your WS in person, just emails. Trust or not trust--- what would that change in how you live your life over the next eight months? Maybe she's still in touch with her AP. Maybe she's not. None of that is within your control.

My advice to you would be rather than feeling like you need to pick a path today-- trust and work on the M (but maybe have the niggling doubt that she is still talking to OM and what happens when she gets back and that whole long path that you could go down), or not trust and wash your hands of her-- I don't think there is a need for you to make that decision today. Let it go, for now. You have literally months before she returns. Keep doing what you're doing, focusing on that which you can control (you) and letting go of that which is outside of your control (your W and what she might be thinking/doing/feeling now and into the future).

Originally Posted by reason
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.

I'm curious to know more about how you view her A in the context of your own. I'm assuming this is a path you walked as well, understanding your own actions and decisions, and reconciling those with your own sense of identity. (This is partially to help me understand how the past is interacting with your current sitch, and also personally I'm interested in the perspective of a former WH who has come to terms with his actions.)

I'm sorry you don't feel supported-- I have been following your story with interest and am rooting for you. I hope you keep posting here.

Last edited by may22; 02/18/21 07:07 PM.

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Thanks for the replies. I just want to put it out there; after the things that have been said and done, kid gloves aren't really the issue so much as having a bit of optimism now and then. I appreciate the advice and encouragement.
The perspective about time and what is and is not in my control is also good to see.

I think, ironically, what was intended as parting words from Steve (and a few others now) about finding peace might have been the most helpful bit I've seen. Finding a resolution, a way forward, a decision, an answer, a reason, a sign.. all of these things are on my radar. None of them really lead to peace. I think making that my focus will probably fix most of the other issues.

May 22 -
The perspective of my own experiences is a double-edged sword. It creates expectations of what will and won't happen or comparisons between what did or did not happen. These are existing within myself and are things I have heard from my W on a few occasions. "Well, you did this or that". I've reflected on this quite a bit lately.
So, after giving you more of my WH story (below), reflecting on my decisions to have a PA is the only thing that has given me a counterbalance in this. It's hard to keep it in perspective, and it really isn't tipping the scales. It's more like seeing your spouse shoot themselves in the foot and then doing it yourself. When I recommitted to the M, I was all in. I guess she didn't really know that back then, but I did. Here, she has agreed to stay but has repeatedly said that there are no promises and that she just wants to go be alone and have nothing, etc. At the time of the PA, in my mind, our M was over by my wife's request. The EA was a blur. It just happened, and every time I made that choice, it felt like I was taking part of my identity back. It's absurd, of course. It was just self-indulgence. Thank you. Typing this out has helped me. I carry guilt about my role as a WH but I also have to accept that I made a decision to not be that person again.


(my original sitch when I was a WH)
My original sitch was back in 2008. I had an EA with a WW. I don't know how many details are really relevant past the fact that our M was in a bad state. My W got angry, physically assaulted me (she bruised me up, I didn't really fight back). She left for deployment, saying it was over. My EA turned into a PA. I told her about it and that I was moving on. She begged for me to come back, and we had 2 toddlers at the time, so I decided for their sake to do that. In retrospect, I was in a dark place before the EA. I was a full-time student and working 2 jobs. That's not intended as an excuse so much as a catalyst. After the PA ended and we started our reconciliation, I had to leave everything (job, friends, etc.) and move to CA with my W for the Navy. I committed myself to the kids and tried to make the best of the M. After a few years of denial, and I slipped into depression. I was in and out of moods, and I started bodybuilding. During this time, I "came around" and fell in love with her again.

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I've hit a point where I am really starting to feel beat down by all of this. I've tried to be optimistic and positive, but it's so heavy. I don't even think it's about her at this point, so much as her loss of self and the destabilization of our marriage has triggered the same in me. I've been slipping down a murky hill of despair mixed with bitterness, and I can't stand it. There is profound loneliness along with a void where a sense of purpose should probably be.

I think I need to seek counseling because this has gotten worse over the last couple of days. I'm not really even thinking about her. At this point, it's about thinking about the future and the giant question mark that looms over it in basically every aspect of my life. I'm going to keep on with the GAL activities because they do help, but man.. this is so heavy.

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Hi Reason,

It's promising that you recognize the loss of self, the void, and are seeking to repair those via GAL and IC as opposed to the less-helpful route of trying to find someone else to fulfill you. GAL doesn't just distract you, it changes who you are. Sometimes I need time to adapt to all the changes I make. Inner changes can be subtle--until they're not! The upside is once we've done this inner work, we'll be much better partners for whoever comes next, which in your case you may still be hoping is again your wife.



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