I started spending time at the local library reading self-help books on relationships and marriage. I read "The Happy Couple" by Barton Goldsmith, "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, "DR" by Michelle, "DB" by Michelle, "Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage" by John Gottman, "Marriage Rescue" by Gary Direnefeld, and "Relationship Rescue" by Dr. Phil. I also spent a considerable amount of time online reading articles and forums on what could be going on with my W and our relationship and ways to reconcile and reconnect. I offered some of these resources to her and she skimmed a few, but said I was just finding things that support my point of view.
I started the practice of Letting Her Go and GAL by going out and staying away from the house. This was hard for me as I really didn't want to leave my kids. They are my world especially since the BD. I was trying not to spy or snoop on her but she was constantly glued to her phone. I had the underlying suspicion that something wasn't right. She had recently changed her password by I saw the pattern at dinner one night in early December. When she went outside for a while I unlocked the phone and discovered the EA with the OM that consisted of sexting and pictures along with confirmation of the PA the day after Thanksgiving. This was the most pain I had ever felt in my life. I confronted her on it and she denied everything until I told her I saw what was on her phone. She had plans to meet the OM again the next day but told me she planned to cancel because she couldn't do that type of thing again without an emotional connection. We have not slept in the same bed since this blowup and argument.
Over the next week I continued to pressure and try to convince. In response, she grew more distant. I started waking up several times during the night in cold sweats and was losing weight daily. I was already down 15 pounds since the BD (and I only started at 170 lbs). She was starting to rewrite history and say that she thought about saying no when I asked her to marry me and questioned if she ever loved me. She said it was time for her to be selfish regardless of what it does to others. She said she wants true separation and freedom to date other men. I woke her up one night and asked all the questions I thought I needed to get closure on the PA, which she answered. That night, I told her I'm sleeping in the MBR from now and said she can come back whenever she feels she's ready. I asked her to read the first chapter of DR where it discusses biased shoulders (namely her now divorced best friend and possibly her sister), she made it half way through before becoming too tired and wanting to sleep. She never read it again. She started sleeping in the guest bedroom.
She kept wanting to go out with friends, she was still meeting up with the co-worker and continuing that EA. I asked her to text me her whereabouts which she agreed. We engaged in more relationship talk and she said she felt trapped and that I was backing her into a corner that keeps getting smaller and smaller. She threatened to file if I kept that up. My W discussed separation with her sister and they agreed that it was a good idea since it worked for 3 of her sisters co-workers that all returned to their marriages. I tried to share the statistics that ~75% of separations end in divorce and the research study that indicated that 80% of unhappy marriages are happy 5 years later. She discounted those and thought she could be in the minority for both of those. My W went to a therapy session and the IC supported separation as well, but thought it was a good thing that I was trying to change.
I continued to pressure her during mid-December and asked her to read books and articles for different perspectives. She said I was trying to change her mind and she refused. She said it was another form of control and that I should stop being noble by holding on. During this time, I was trying to limit contact, go dark occasionally, and was successful for a few days, then I fell right back into the trap. One step forward, and two steps back. I made several more discoveries during this time frame with love notes for the co-worker and OM, sex toy gifts from the divorced woman, and new text message records from the OM. Each of these had a devastating impact on me that caused me to question her. Of course, these attempts were met with strong resistance and she pulled away each time. She said my snooping was why she wanted to separate. I wanted to start practicing DB'n, but the fear of the OM relationship was consuming me and this lasted through the holidays into the New Year.
By mid-December the lies were starting to mount. I realized that I couldn't believe anything that she said to me and only 50% of what she did. She was covering up phone activity and spending almost all of her waking hours outside of work staring and pecking away at her phone. Often neglecting our children. Her behavior was becoming more destructive, going out drinking, staying up late, and trying to recapture her youth. Her vanity was being prioritized as she started going for manicures, pedicures, waxings, buying skin anti-aging creams and pills, and other health and beauty items she never had before.
By late-December her new personality was almost unrecognizable to me. I was still committed to staying strong no matter how far she strays into the fog. She seemed so lost and I kept hoping and praying that she realizes all the good we can share before it's too late and our bond is broken. I was checking text records again and saw that she was back in contact with the OM. When I questioned her, she said she had no regret and didn't care if I healed. She said there is no attraction for me, she feels repulsed when I touch her, and doesn't want to come home after work.
My W was planning to go on a girls trip to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun for the divorced woman's 40th birthday in mid-January. She said she plans to move out after she gets back. So, my W started looking for apartments and rental homes after Xmas. I continued a few days of distancing, then a slip up every 3 days back to relationship talk. She took our kids to the divorced woman's apartment on New Year's Eve, leaving me home alone. Fortunately, I went to a co-worker's party and tried to be social. A not so wonderful end to 2018 and praying that 2019 is the year we can rekindle the spark...
Me:41 W:39 S:9 D:6 T:20 M:16 PA:8/22/18, BD:11/6/18 PA discovery & IHS:12/3/18, W moves:4/2/19 R’ville:9/27/19, I give D docs:3/1/20 W home:4/5/20 (due to CV-19), W NC w/OM:4/13/20 6/1/20