So long story short, dh has had a long term affair with a friend i recently found out about. I am wanting to here from those of you who decided to leave because of a similar situation. It is so very hard to be considering ending my marriage and the wounds are still very new, but I want to know how you left and why you couldn't remain in the marriage. Some moments I feel like if we improve our marriage I can stay, but then I feel like I will always have doubts and cannot remain in the marriage. We were rocky prior to the affair and my pregnancy drove a further wedge between us. I still love my dh, but right now I am just feeling that I need to love myself more and need some advice in making the right decision for myself and the lo's...
Get yourself on over to www.survivinginfidelity.com for the best info. Read the articles in the healing library and Just Found Out and General for great info.
Reconciling the right way requires a ton of work by both parties--but especially the cheating spouse. If he's not showing you true remorse there isn't much sense in even considering it. He would also need to be No Contact with the affair partner and be totally transparent with you-answer questions and give you access to phone and email.
So much of the decision rests on his behaviors now. If he isn't showing you all that then go ahead and move on...
I was not able to reconcile with my ex. He really wasn't able to put the work into and the betrayals and lies went so deep that I do think I am better off without him.
We are actually good co-parents now and I'm happy that we didn't reconcile.
Best wishes to you. It is a hugely painful experience but you can come through stronger and happier than before.
Oh, and your specific questions:
How I left? I found out in a rather dramatic way. He actually moved out that day because there was no way in hell we could have been in the same house. It wasn't even talked about. He slept at a friend's house for a couple of months until he could rent a small place.
If we had tried to decide this, we never would have done it because financially we were living paycheck to paycheck. Somehow it all worked out.
Why I couldn't remain in the marriage? Well, it took him about ten months to come around wanting to try and reconcile. Interestingly enough, this was after I had picked myself up off the floor... He didn't do jack to help me when I was in the most pain. We went to a counseling session. He was supposed to schedule another one. Weeks later he was about to do that. I decided it all just wasn't good enough.
First off Hugs. You must be going through a horrible time. It. Will. Get. Better. Hard to believe it but it will.
I also went to survivinginfidelity.com but that site really pushes re-concilliation and I think you need to decide if that is what you want or not.
At first I wanted to try to work things out. My ex wouldn't leave his affair partner but did agree to see a psychologist together with me. The problem there is that a psychologist will not treat a couple where one partner is busy having an affair with someone else. If you are in therapy, you are there because you both want to work it out. In my case, he was not willing to do so. As far as I know he had had an affair with our housekeeper (I feel a bond with Maria Shriver on this one) and then with his intern whom he is still with three years later.
Everyone's situation is different but maybe you can gauge how hard this is going to be to fix - in my case having had more than one affair is a sign that things are going to be a lot harder to fix (that comes from Surviving Infidelity). I think the logic of that is that 'serial cheaters' will continue to be serial cheaters. Because he didn't go into therapy, I went in alone. And when only 1/2 of the couple goes into therapy, there is an extremely high chance of divorce. If he's still with her, like in my case - well - you can do what they preach on survivinginfidelity but I think a psychologist is way more the way to go. This isn't a manipulation thing - this is a 'what went wrong' thing.
Hard to accept but it is not the affair that is the problem. If he's having an affair, there were problems well before that. On. Both. Sides. I am still bitter that he had affairs but I can see how my own behavior and upbringing contributed to our problems. I've analyzed what went wrong (and it came well before the affairs) and I've thought long and hard about how to get it right next time, if there is a next time (with someone else that is). Part of getting it right is choosing the right partner. I did not choose the right one to start with. Along with a million other things that I personally plan on doing better next time.
Regarding 'how' I left - you will get good advice on this forum and you should be careful if you have kids. He should leave the family home, not you. In my case my ex left the country and moved over 3000 miles away to be with his affair partner. (leaving me alone with three kids but that's another thread). But in any case this didn't leave me at any risk of losing the house or losing custody. (he lost all custody rights because he left and the laws in the country I live in). He would have liked to remain married and continue the affair. It was agonizing for me to remain married with him kind of going, 'I don't know...' -
I was a mess. I lost a ton of weight. I couldn't eat and I felt thirsty 100% of the time. My body was in shock. I very luckily found a great psychologist early on who somehow instilled in me the importance of not falling into depression and keeping my head screwed on straight for the kids. I saw a few lawyers trying to figure out 'how' to do this extremely international (3 countries involved) divorce. No one wanted to touch it. - and then a bell went off when one of them said if I file here I am guaranteed full legal and physical custody of the kids. But getting to that point took a while b/c I was too out of it and in shock to take care of 'business' in the very beginning. He left in Oct 08, and we divorced in March 2010 and had a financial agreement in place only by September of 2010 - two full years after he left.
I was a stay at home mom, homeschooling 3 kids. So my biggest obstacle was and still is money. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't have divorced him well before the affairs had I been independently wealthy. But thinking back to when he first left and I went into shock the biggest fear I had was losing my kids. I kept thinking - all I ever did was try to have a happy family and now he's off with some girl and I'm going to lose my kids for weeks or months at a time. (Ironically he refuses to take them even overnight so I have them 365 days of the year even during his visits...)
And now we get along ok. He visits the kids. He pays his support. Nobody yells at my kids! We live in peace. We don't walk on eggshells. We can burp and be messy or we can be clean and proper and no one will yell at any of us. It's great. And his girlfriend - she can get yelled at and walk on eggshells! She can so have him! And they both cheated to be together and they will now cheat on eachother. or they will stay together and silently be miserable. And he still has to pay my bills! So now I have his money and she has his crap.
OK - well that's more info than you wanted. If you really want advice on how to stay together surviving infidelity is probably useful. They have an interesting topic there where getting back together with your cheating spouse is akin to divorcing 'the relationship' and starting a new relationship with the same person. I am a believer that it can be done but that both parties must want to REALLY work on it. I honestly think many people divorce and then marry someone else making the same mistakes, marrying the same type of person. They may as well have 'divorced the relationship' with their spouse and tried again - especially if there are kids involved. I can see my ex husband has done exactly that. Just jumped straight out of my bed into hers with absolutely no thought as to who she is or what she's about. And repeating the same errors.
Anyway - sorry so long and hope some of it helps you.