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In limbo & can't decide what to do

Posted by: Anonymous
Wed 15, Feb 2012 at 9:03pm
Affairs and Jealousy

My husband of 13 years (& 20 year relationship) finally admitted to having had an affair with a co worker for almost 4 years, last October. This announcement came after I had been subjected to almost 4 years of suspecting his affair & his constant denials/lies/manipulation/coldness/sexless marriage. I stayed because we have a 12 year old Son together (who has not yet been told about our problems because Husband won't let me), a beautiful home close to loving/supportive family & because my Husband's subtle abusive & manipulative treatment towards me badly affected my self esteem/confidence & without a full time job I was terrified to leave. I also lived in hope that I would come to terms with the situation & feel better about my Husband, but I never did.
It was a shock to receive this crushing news but also a relief that I was not going insane & that my suspicions had been correct all along.My Husband only told me this news because the OW was pregnant & was obviously in a very sticky situation! I was absolutely horrified about this. She has since miscarried & my Husband says he has finished with her & loves me ! (I saw text messages a while back which rather confirmed that they were still in loving contact & my Husband was even using a decoy mobile to lead me off the scent!) I just can't trust anything he tells me & each time we try to talk he is minimising the length & severity of the affair! My problem is that despite reading loads of books/having relationship counselling/talking to lots of friends & family, I still seem unable to make a firm decision whether to return to the marital home & see if we can live together as a family again or whether to file for divorce.
The fear of having to tell our Son about us splitting up & then dealing with the fallout of that plus all the hell of divorce is freezing me in to inaction. I keep reading stuff that says I should give my marriage 'one more chance' as my Husband says he is sorry/loves me & wants us to be together but I am so livid about the affair & feel like I don't want to try and yet something is stopping me from ending it also. Questions: Is it normal to feel like this when you know your marriage is over or the fact that I'm questioning what to do - does this mean I should stay? Should you stay with someone no matter how much you love them if they have lied/deceived so profusely for so long even when there was almost concrete proof that they had strayed? Have I put up with enough? Have I tried all I can & will I regret leaving?

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  • Sun Skywalker Flag

    I do feel for you, because from my reading of your post, your life contains many things that you value, but has been thrown into crisis as a result of your husband's betrayal?

    I don't think there is a "normal" way to feel when you're faced with the situation you describe, other than to recognise that your feelings are up in the air and all over the place: anger, sorrow, and severe frustration, while also searching around for any trace of hope, and for 'sign-posts' that might suggest a direction and a way out of the current crisis.

    An emotional crisis is somewhat different from most crises because it's something that happens inside of us, usually as a reaction to an external event. If your home is flooded, burnt down or wrecked by a gale, then you are hit by a crisis that people around you can see. But if you are betrayed in a relationship, it may be that it's a secret only known to you and the people involved in the betrayal, i.e. late in the day you have become party to a secret that has turned your life upside down. However, when you look around you, everything that means something to you is still in place, your family, your home, personal belongings, your job, etc. All of the things that give you sense of ‘who you are’ remain as they were before someone turned your inner world upside down.

    The chances are that prior to this crisis you felt you knew one of the people involved as well as you've ever known anyone in your life, but having been let into their secret, you are now wondering if you ever really knew them at all? In all probability, you don't know the other person involved in the affair, i.e, a stranger has played a major role in turning your life over, like an intruder who crept into your life in the still of night without you knowing. Even when you have had your suspicions, the confirmation of betrayal can come as a horrible shock and be a reality that is hard to fully take in.

    There are three basic ways forward for you in relation to your situation: you could choose to live with it; you could leave it; or you could try and change it for the better.

    The first two options don't require co-operation from your partner, but the third one does.

    Based on what you have posted, it seems that having betrayed you, your husband has carried on lying to you, and his attempts at minimising events are likely to be a reliable indication that he isn’t taking responsibility for his actions, and until he does, the chances of changing things for the better are remote.

    Leaving the relationship means that you will have to expand the current crisis and make it public, i.e. to the rest of your family and friends, etc. The up-side could be that it means the beginning of a fresh start, and some people say that taking control of the situation, all be it initially to expand the crisis, gives them a sense of empowerment and hope for a better future.

    The third option is to try and live with things as they are. You could take comfort in the material security that you and your son will have, and become one of the women in your husband’s life, or you could put any intimacy out of bounds, and carry on that way. Maybe until your son is older.

    There is no universal right or wrong way, it’s all about what is right for you, and what you feel is best for you and your son. There are plenty of people around who live their lives based on all three respective options.

    If you need to work through some of your feelings, and look at the various options open to you, then you can do that at relate:

    They work to help people make the best decision for the individual, and you don’t need to attend with a partner.

    I hope you find the right direction for you soon.


    Thu 16, Feb 2012 at 12:38pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Hello tornintwo,
    What a terrible thing you have been through, and here you are writing about it in a very rational considered way, and I totally respect and admire your fortitude for the sake of your son. I have only one observation to make; you say you don't want to go through the 'hell' of divorce..but there is life after separation check out it doesn't have to be hell. Often the thought of taking control is worse than the reality of it. I would say give it go, you have been in a living hell for 13 years... time for a change

    Thu 16, Feb 2012 at 3:38pm
  • Sun Skywalker Flag

    Yes, agree about there being life after divorce.

    But there is a journey involved, in fact two journeys: the outer journey is about sorting out the financial and material issues, whereas, the emotional (inner) journey involves working through various matters related to loss, etc, and I suspect the OP’s current struggle is about taking the first step on that inner journey.

    A starting point could be to grieve the loss of trust and expectation that once existed in the relationship. Setting off on a journey to end the marriage means letting go of hope, and I don’t think the OP is able to do that at the moment because she is caught up in the emotional turmoil that exist within her.

    I think some counselling with more of a Person Centred emphasis might help with breaking out of the circle and finding some sense of direction.


    Fri 17, Feb 2012 at 10:58am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    Dear Sky & Anonymous,
    Thank you so much for taking the time & effort to reply to my long post & questions about my difficult situation. I found it so helpful to have some 'neutral' help & opinions. I have checked out the 'parent connection' & all the video clips which were alarming/thought provoking/helpful and just to clarify, I have been having counselling one to one with relate for a few months now. My marriage has not all been hell, indeed prior to marriage & for the first part, it was wonderful. Its been the last four years, dealing with the possibility of betrayal that has been torture. The worst pain & stress I've ever experienced in fact.
    Thank you for caring.

    Sun 19, Feb 2012 at 8:29am