Scott B,

Originally Posted by ScottB
I knew it was coming, but its just another reality hit. These things stir up pain. I imagine that is simply going to be the way it is for the rest of my life, but it will probably be less and less as time goes by.
I completely empathize with the "reality hits". I'm getting the same myself occasionally. However, I do believe those will dissipate over time.

Originally Posted by ScottB
Counseling continues to be helpful for me to process my feelings and to try and make sense of something that doesn't make sense to me.
That's great. Any tips on processing anger? lol

Originally Posted by ScottB
My last session the counselor helped me see that in the marriage I had accepted certain behaviors too long, which was not healthy for me or for my ex. He made the comment that the vision I had for my marriage represented my fantasy or my ideal and that I need to continue to work to accept that it doesn't exist either.
I think this is the case. We all accepted behaviors for too long which we should've addressed earlier. Hindsight is 20/20. Now we'll know better and hopefully address those in the future.

Originally Posted by Thornton
I can certainly relate to your questioning of what you did wrong. I struggled with that for a really long time as well.

While you certainly played a part in the demise of your marriage, you were willing to work to resolve the issues. Your STBXW wasn't, and that's where it becomes her issue.

Ruminating on what you could have done differently only serves to keep you imprisoned. Certainly learn from your mistakes so you don't repeat but also realize you are imperfect, always will be.

Sometimes you can be the perfect partner for someone, and they will still find a reason to leave.

Originally Posted by LH19
Originally Posted by ScottB
And then the big one is that I shared with him that my mind just keeps going around in circles asking What I did wrong. His point on that one was that I didn't do anything wrong. This wasn't about me.
Your counselor is doing you a big disservice here Scotty B. You played a role in the break down in the marriage. It's concerning to me that you don't see and accept it.
Originally Posted by ScottB
I know that is true but it is so hard for me to accept. I just constantly wonder, what could I have done differently, but at the end of the day, This wasn't about me and I need to accept that.
Probably nothing. Your STBXW has never been faithful to you and was bound to stray again.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
I understand the struggle but your IC (sounds like you have a good one!) is right, it wasn't about you. It was about her. And nothing you said or did was going to make her change her mind.
I wanted to chime in on the discussion of responsibility and reflection on what the LBS did wrong, and the comments from Thornton, LH19, and SteveLW...

To me there's a difference between "not doing anything wrong", which is never the case because no one is perfect, and "not being the one ultimately responsible" (I.e., "it's not about you"). In my mind it's very important to separate these two in the discussion.

In regards to the former we have all made mistakes, acted poorly, could've handled situations differently. This is the case for both the LBSs and the WAWs! To that point, it's healthy to reflect on where you could've done better, work on self improvement, and correct those behaviors in the future. That process will make you a better man.

However, in regards to the latter, unless you had major issues (physical abuse, drug addiction, gambling problems...etc.) there's a good chance that ultimately it is not "about you" and your ExW has deeper issues preventing her from being willing to work on the issues, leading her to an affair to get the quick fix of feeling better about herself, and putting a band aid on her pain. I've heard the "it's not about you" from IC, family, and others on this board and while it's something I go back and forth on at times, ultimately I think they're right.

Point is...YES, absolutely reflect on how you can do better in the future, but NO, do not let the "what could I have done better / how could I have fixed this" allow you to put the full burden of the divorce on your back. Thornton, LH, and SteveLW are right when they say 1) you were willing to work on marriage whereas she was not, 2) it's possible (even likely) that is is about her and not you, and 3) she could've strayed even if you were the perfect husband.

Me:39 Ex-W:37
M:7 T: 9
S:6 D:3
BD/IHS/Confirm EA/PA: Feb '20
OM1 affair ends: May '20
W/OM2 & moves out: June-July '20
W files for D: Jul20
OM2 confirmed: 9/2020
Divorced: May '21