Separating or Divorcing? Share your thoughts here... (Part 4)


  1. Hi everyone, been sick as a dog over here, so been a little down. And some more grief this week. I knew it would come and will still come, as and when it needs to or I am ready. Feeling some sad about Christmas coming, wrapping things and finding old tags and boxes that had my H's name or said "dad" from years past.
    Im so mad at him for doing this to us. let me be clear. I don't want him back. Thinking about what he's done, I am actually pretty grossed out most of the time now. When I think about how he used me after dday, I am so grossed out. So part of my sadness is finally being able to let myself feel this.
    My dday anniversary is coming up on Jan 1 and I am starting to feel some dread. Anticipation of reliving through that day. Trying to give myself the space to grieve and the freedom to not, if I don't feel like it.
    Friend from high school reached out to me today. Saw on FB that I was separated. Told me about how she and her h are now too and for reasons that make her a club member here. I told her to come here and join us and I hope she does. I was glad to talk with her and be able to say "me too" . We both get it, unlike, sometimes our married friends.
    I'm tired of being sick but had a kick butt workout this am anyway. Last night I cheered myself up by trying on all kinds of things in my closet, many of them formal and evening attire from my corporate world life and things I hadn't fit into in a decade. I looked fabulous!
    So my upbeat demeanor is wavering a bit as I deal with my first Christmas in this strange new world, but I will not be beaten. I will still be standing when 2017 dawns. And it will be a fantastic new year, if I have anything to do with it.

    1. I feel you, SS. There is still a lot to process. It sucks when you are triggered and start feeling that pain again. There are good days and bad days.
      I remember that, for me, the fine year anniversary of Dday actually felt like a mile marker, putting more distance between me and the pain. I could stop thinking things like "this time last year I thought I had a happy marriage. This time last year I had no idea I was about to get hit by a train..." The one year mark felt like one more step away from the whole mess. I remember commenting that I needed to get through all the firsts - first Dday, first Kid's birthday, first Thanksgiving first Christmas, first Valentine's Day. By next June, when I hit first wedding anniversary and first anniversary of divorce (which comes three days after), them I will have worked through them all, and there will be the cushion of at least one year between me and everything.
      I also found something fun to do for myself on that day. Something little, something to looks forward to.
      The day went okay; it wasn't that bad.
      You've hit one first I haven't yet: first date after the divorce. I'm thinking about it, but filled with trepidation. I'm also afraid my ex is going to get emotionally unhinged when I start dating, and make life miserable.
      SS, good luck on New Year"s Day. Think of it as a new beginning - and a big, fat "bye-bye" to the past. Hugs!!!

    2. Hello SS,

      So sorry you're sick, hope you are feeling better. Rest and take care. I have also had some ups and downs as part of Christmas preparations, the last few days I have been more angry and struggling with thinking about them. See post below. Although when I think back to this time last year and all the damaging lies and living betrayal and heartbreak everyday - I am so happy to not have that, know I deserve honesty and respect, and would never go back to the unhealthy parts of my marriage.

      I also recently spoke with a dear friend for 20 years, but live apart and don't talk too often. I shared my story with her and she was so understanding and on my team. It felt great! Why did I think or believe that my H was the only or such a critical source of love and support in my life. Really he has been mostly meeting his own needs, convincing me to compromise myself, and gaslighting me on and off on various things for years. My H grosses me out too!!!

      Love and support sisters

  2. Hi Sisters.

    So a few days ago my H came over to talk before he went out town to visit family for holidays and he said I'm the new year he wanted us to consider building a second marriage, go back to counseling etc. that he loves me, we have something special, and he feels hopeful. All good stuff right..... well he is still in contact with the OW and needs to phase her out in his own time..... even though I have said clearly many times, she has to be gone before we consider anything. He claims to not want her in his life but just can't break it off cold turkey. Also, the general tone seemed to be let's start fresh, not a lot of openness to accountability.

    I didn't say much.... but I'm thinking this sounds like crap..... basically the same situation before we separated but with even less transparency and accountability and no mention of faithfulness or concrete trust building. So I did something I have done in months.... I checked up on him via iCloud photo sharing. Uhhhh there are plenty of photos of her within the last 2 weeks and plenty that would indicate he is sleeping with her again!!! I knew he had contact with her, but I thought it was pretty general professional stuff. I certainly didn't think he was sleeping with her again!!!

    I felt so numb and foolish because while I was very skeptical, I was thinking "what if we can work this out.... we do love each other"". Why do I always fall back in that "I love you, we're special trap". Also what a jerk..... who comes over and says all the things he did when he is still sleeping with her!!!! Not even trying to end it!!!! What the????

    I wish I could end it with my H!! I can't see a future for us, but I also can't imagine a divorce.

    It hurt less this time.... but still hard. Elle thanks for the "Lies" post on the home page, I needed it because I started to think those things again.

    Love Becky

  3. Ugg, Becky. Just shit. He sounds crazy and conflicted. I don't know what to say except, this sucks. Does he know you've seen those pics? Does he have any bullshit lame assed excuse? Don't believe the lies that pop into your head. You deserve so much better my sister. Don't back off your boundary. No contact has to be no contact. Not phase her out in his own time, what a crock of utter flaming bullshit. I'm so angry for you. So angry that he is continuing to hurt you.
    You don't need to make any moves now. You will know when you are ready and what that move will be. For now, please be so very kind to yourself. Sending all the good juju I have got your way.
    Becky I remember a while ago, you talking about rings, and getting yourself one, because you are the one you've been looking for. Well, today I took a page from your book and bought myself a ring. An opal for me and two other little purple tanzanites, one for each kid. I love it, and it is just for me because I am the one I've been waiting for all this time. Don't lose sight of who you are!

    1. Yeah SS. So happy to hear about your ring and those for your kids! It is so lovely. I haven't bought mine yet, I will though. I just haven't been ready or the right time. Much love

  4. Becky it's just infuriating isnt it? Just baffling. Seems he need to have you as a safety net before letting go of his little girlfriend. God, he wants everything!! See? it's all about him.

    I am on the same page as you, I can't see a future with or without my own H

    By all accounts it seems as if my H has stopped fooling around with anyone who will take his money, but he has not so much as uttered a word about rebuilding what we have. We are just kinda hanging out. We're heading home next week together (we've been living a horribly boring month together on business/pleasure) and after the new year I am, I think, going to give it one more shot and give him the benefit of the doubt. He has told me he is afraid of messing things up in ANY way, which he feels he can do with a word (he can too!!) I am just so damn TIRED of being the "keeper of all things important" like conversations, like telling him point blank, what it is that I need.
    So what is that? Is it me just not wanting him any more or wanting him to be a totally different person?

    I wonder now if while he was screwing around if he was not over compensating by paying attention to me (i know, how sad, but he was rather dickish from October 2015 until about now--and hid what was happening before that October) but right now, and we've been together about a month,we still are strained having a conversation, unless it's about his work, so I let it go...and wait...and nothing happens. I hate so much that we have this business together, if we split, i need such a clean break. I dont want to know anything about him or his life or where he is ( i have an odd feeling he'll move far from home and start something new). I've tried a dozen ways to figure out who can replace him in the business and there is no one. really, no one that I know of who can. So he's taking care of much of the business end here, which I should PROBABLY take personally--although he's doing it for "us" not "me" but it just does not feel at all that he is doing anything for me, me personally.

    So in this vacuum, what do i put in this silence? the thoughts of him and numerous whores who he liked enough to keep in contact with. Be seen in public with at least one and who knows--maybe more. Young, shorts wearing easy girls with short hair and tan skin. Not me.
    That's the shitty stuff that I am thinking while we are not having any meaningful conversations.

    Life--I can do that alone, or at least without him. The business end? I'm thinking of selling it all and losing a ton of cash. I know I sound down, and I'm not usually down, but when I am I write here. I should write when I'm feeling better so it does not sound like I am standing on the brink about to jump!! Because i am not, I have me and maybe only me. Time and another shot at a shrink might tell. Anniversary of Dday #1 is the 30th and i keep uselessly thinking that if he had JUST tried (instead of acted) his best in 2014 there would not have been a d-day #2. Grrrr

  5. Thank you for your support sisters. "Crock of utter flaming bullshit". I need that SS - thank you.

    Steam my heart is with you, I had a long period of wanting my H to go through the journey to his best self (i.e. Be a totally) different person and the we could have a life together. Finally, I really accepted that he shows no signs of doing that in any way..... ( I hope for his own sake someday in life he does) and is very unlikely to be a person to partner me a healthy relationship that deserve. So no I don't want him back. When was suggesting starting to rebuild in the new year, it did not feel right to me at all. And I after I saw those pics, it confirmed that my gut was giving me some good info. And even with that I don't feel ready for a divorce.

    Be gentle and go slowly, we all arrive in our own time. And often it's after we have been stuck for a while. I know the financial things are super stressful and scary, I'm sorry. Could you talk to a business advisor or something like that and get some professional objective input??? I don't know much about business.... hang in there and it's ok to be just where you are on this site and in life, one day at a time sister. We are all here for you. Also, you were right about my H "safety net and it's all about him". That's basically spoke to my IC about.

    Love and support

  6. Happy Christmas and Happy Everything!!

    I have being thinking about the Eleanor Roosevelt quote. "No can make you feel inferior without your consent". Well the same applies to jerky Hs and OW - they can not steal our peace of heart and mind, joy, or Christmas spirit with our our consent.

    I will be doing my best to keep peace and joy for myself and not give it away to a selfish jerk H or selfish insecure 22 year old OW!!!

    Love and best wishes to us all

  7. Hi warrior sisters, recent read that is fucking mind blowing. Wanted to share.

    10 Things I wish I’d known About Gaslighting

    I found myself nodding and shouting "Yaaaaasss!" so many times. So much applies whether you are trying to repair or end your relationship. Not all those who gaslight do so intentionally. And it doesn't negate the harm done to our self esteem or ability to trust what we know to be true.

    "Gaslighting does not require deliberate plotting. Gaslighting only requires a belief that it is acceptable to overwrite another person’s reality."

    "In another type of gaslighting, the gaslighter is always transformed into the victim. Whenever you bring up a problem, you find yourself apologizing by the end of the conversation." This was my experience for sure. I was always the problem.

    "Losing spots in your memory makes it very plausible when someone tells you that they cannot trust your memory. It makes it very plausible when they tell you that you are abusive. But, it is normal to lose your memory when you are being gaslighted. In fact, it is one of the signs that you should look for. It’s a good sign that it’s time to leave."

    "The alarm system always worked, you just learned to stop listening to it. You have not lost as much as you think." My body, my depression, my anxiety levels were all screaming at me that something was wrong. But I ignored the signs. I assumed the problem was 100% me.

    "Communicate, communicate, communicate, right? You can solve anything with enough communication. It’s the poly mantra, and it’s wrong. You can solve a lot of things with communication, so long as the objective of both people is understanding. But the minute someone tries to replace your experience, it’s time to stop communicating, at least on that subject."

    So much good stuff in here.
    Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year. Let's get it girls!

    1. Hi ss I've read this article and never heard of it as gaslighting but it rang true with so many things I've experienced in my marriage, having a name for it made it so much more real.. I so agree with the no contact.. it impossible to do with children in the middle but as for separating it's sometimes vital in order to heal and find your inner core again.. I've promised myself I won't ever be in that position again even if it means being on my own so be it as I know I'm happy with myself and all the people I choose to be in my life.. I think it must be a very sad and lonely life to make someone else's life so miserable .. it's control and fear our h are insecure creatures and it comes out in their ridiculous behaviour .. thanks for posting this ss it refreshed me on what I want/ don't want in my life xxxx

    2. One of the best articles I've seen on this.
      In conversations with H., who I can now see was a champion gaslighter, I found that he had learned not to allow himself to see things from other's perspectives. He believed that if he let himself see it their way, his way would be lost or swept aside and he'd be forced somehow to cooperate or guilted into cooperation? As if seeing the other's position automatically completely negated his own reality. It took a lot to get him to the point that he could hold two competing realities as simultaneously valid.

    3. Wow, just got around to reading this. Thank-you for posting. TeenVogue (of all places) also did a great piece on gas lighting related to Trump but it applies to anyone who thinks his version of reality is more "real" than yours. Here it is:

  8. You are so right, Becky. They are sad, selfish people. They can only drag us down if we let them.
    It's been a relaxing yet busy week for me. I love being off from work and spending more time with my kids and my pets. I love being in my home. My dad has been helping me fix up my 65-year-old house, and that's been a bit frustrating at times, but I am so damn lucky to have family. I'm bad at finance and home repairs, but I am working on both.
    Planning a fun, quiet New Year's eve. My friend is coming over with her husband and daughter, and my 13-year-old has invited a couple of friends. We will eat chili and Hoppin John, and watch football. My team is headed for national championship glory again! Everybody in Alabama will pretty much be watching football all day today. There will be wine and mango rum and champagne for midnight.
    RIP, Debbie Reynolds. Definitely a survivor of the BWC.
    SS, I took a page out of your book and signed up for a dating website. My brother and his wife met on POF, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's a nice distraction from all the recent drama my ex and the skank have thrown my way. Haven't done anything but chat yet; I'm determined to take my time. I don't believe in using one relationship to heal from another. But I'm finally ready to at least think about dating. For fun and socializing. No relationships yet. As the meme says: "I'm single and you're going to have to be fucking awesome to change that."
    Let's put this year to bed, sisters. It's been rough for all of us. Time to move on.
    The past is dead. The future is ours. Tonight, when I toast at midnight, I will drink it secret toast to my BWC sisters. Love to you all.

  9. Sam, thank you for your constant support and encouragement. Your posts have lifted me up. You are such a loving, awesome lady.
    Like Sam said: "It's our year..."! Let's go live it!

  10. Hi Sisters

    This last round of learning that he is back with the OW and more and more integrating her into his life really hit me pretty hard. Much harder than I realized before Christmas. New Years was really hard on me..... everything has felt so hopeless..... I didn't even realize I was holding on to that much hope. Clearly, I am though and it makes the rejection and disappointment so painful. Somehow I thought he was sincere in wanting to have 2nd chance together. But it has been nothing but lies for 2 years and no signs of truth..... I wish what I know in my head would move to my heart.

    Love and support sisters

    1. Oh Becky, I am so sorry his is hurting you like this. Declare 2017 the year of looking out for yourself. Do whatever makes you happy. I truly believe the lies are at least as bad as the sex. It has taken me 2 months since Dday to start giving a $h!t about myself. Surround yourself with good counsel (MC, priest, the women here). Get some exercise (I just started walking again and it feels good) and do nice things for yourself (2 months after Dday I finally took myself to the spa, got a full pampering and I felt great that day). My H is 2 steps forward and 1 step back on becoming a better self. SO I am committed to giving reconciliation a fighting chance. But the days when we take a step back it is so painful.

    2. Becky, I get it. I'm past the stage of wanting my ex back, and yet I still fall victim to anguish and anger sometimes when I think about the things he and the skank have done. The psychological and emotional damage that has been done to us is just going to take a long time to heal. Sometimes I get very impatient with the process. I am desperate to leave the past behind, but it still has its hooks in me. My dad is my shining star of hope. After being betrayed in an awful way, he suffered terribly - only now do I realize how much. I remember all the weight he lost, the bitterness, the anger, the sadness, the questioning.
      But now, years later, he is remarried, and there is such peace and acceptance in his voice when he talks about that time. Finally, he is healed. One day, we will be too. Because neither of us is the type to give up. We will both move forward until we are finally out of this long, dark tunnel.

    3. Thanks sisters, you are both right. Healing takes time (often longer than we would like) and self care is the way. Thank you both. Love and support. Becky

    4. Becky, I'm so sorry that he lacks the ability to see what he's losing. But that's HIS problem. Yours is being patient until what you know in your head -- that he doesn't deserve you -- makes its way to your heart. There's no way around the pain, as you know. But please know too that it will pass. The day will come when you look around at your life and are glad he's not in it. Until then, be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. You don't deserve any of this pain.

  11. Hey everybody, Here I am. 2017. Made it. Thru Dday, shaking off the dust of the old, embracing all the new growth. 2016 not all bad. Still glad to leave it behind. New Year's Eve was harder than my actually dday. I sat with the darkness, next to the abyss. But I realized the abyss used to be inside me. Can you fall into something that is already in you? A part of you? I remember how I used to try to fill it up. With people, with food, with depression and anxiety, with drinks, with causes, with kids, pushing down myself and my own needs. And it was a bottomless pit. Until trauma stripped all those not so functional coping mechanisms away. Until I was faced with the me I had layered over. And the only option left was to love myself or cease to exist at all. And when I embraced myself (which is an ongoing process), showed myself compassion, loved all of me including the flaws, not in spite of, when I stopped judging myself by anyone elses' standards or at all, I found the abyss was no deep thing at all. That I was standing knee deep in a hole I could step out of. And most of the time now I forget it is there. Sometimes things come up and I can see the trace of it, like the slight indent in the ground in the backyard where the pool was filled in. But it is solid ground I can walk across now.
    I woke up early on 1/1 and felt chest pain. Like the ghost of chest pain and in my half sleep thought drowsily "am I having a heart attack?" and this thought woke me a little more and I felt the pain just a little in my left shoulder and chest. Sat and listened to it. Drank some water. Realized that my body was replaying the panic attack that came on the heels of my discovery one year ago to the day. My body was letting go the last of the big trauma. And once I realized that and I looked at it that way, it started to melt away. I had a terrific sunshiney day, a great run. Forgot for most of the day, what day it even was, until I had to write a check and laughed out loud at it. I feel so much free-er (is that a word?).
    And even now, grateful to my ex for my kids, for being there for me in difficult times long ago, for being my first love. I don't have to toss those things away and they are not made invalid by the present. Grateful to be set free to recover myself, to be the self I was destined to be, to find and make a better life.
    Do I still grieve? Yes. Do I still struggle when I see my kids struggling? Yes. Do I invite new struggles so I can learn? Yes. (ref. examples from online dating that surely bring up insecurities, coping strategies and remnant self esteem issues that need to be examined.) But if I am not wresting with life, what am I learning? If I am not growing, what am I doing?

    1. Still standing
      I'm so proud of and for you! I'm living again too! And growing by learning as much as I can about dementia while caring for my mother! So here I am wresting with life! My what a great writer you've grown up to be!

    2. This is beautiful, SS. Several lines really hit home.

    3. Brilliant, Still Standing. Your words give me hope.

    4. Wow, SS. This is really really powerful. I see so much of myself in your description. Without the trauma of my husband's betrayal, I don't think I would have been stripped bare enough to really see who I was and learn how to fight for myself.

  12. Great insight ss .. love reading your words of wisdom keep them coming!!!.. lots of love to you and your children .. looking forward to seeing your growth over the coming year .. big hugs my love xxx

  13. Oh and my first dating facedown moment. I had two great dates with a man. We seemed to hit it off. But he got a little too flirtatious over text, if you know what I mean, and I told him I wasn't ready for that. Well he got more distant after that, but it was holidays. I tried to give the benefit of the doubt. I finally reconnected with him today. Finally teased out of him that he had met someone. I'm not sure of timing, really it doesn't matter. But that we won't be going on more dates is clear. I thanked him for the two things I learned from him. One he doesn't drink. When he shared that with me, I realized how much pressure and anxiety I felt around drinking and how nice, even the possibility was, of not having to be around it anymore. That I could put it down and not pick it up again. Two, that he kissed me and showed affection in the form of a hand on the small of my back as we walked, small safe things I promise. But I had forgotten how much I need those things. They had not been part of my life for sooooo very long. And now I know that they are a must have for my future life.
    Even so the rejection, even couched in the I really like you and I'm sorry it was just bad timing, really hurts. I know it hurts because of what I have been through in the past year. And because it brings up the ghosts of the not "blank" enough. I had a vague sense that this guy was still in mid life crisis, that he's looking for that younger woman to look up to him rather than an equal and awesome partner like me. So I knew. That doesn't mean I didn't find myself facedown in the arena when I got his text. But I am rising strong. I've learned a lot and know I am not OK being anyone's Plan B. I think I was here, or a gut check before he dove into whatever. So I learn and grow. And think about what I will and will not tolerate in the future.
    I think the "not see other people if we are dating" conversation will have to happen pretty early for me. Not as in commit to me for life, but as in, there's something good her and if we want to explore it, I want to know I am valued and I need to be able to respect myself and frankly am just not ok with an open relationship. That doesn't mean that down the road if it is not working we don't talk about it, but I think I am worth that kind of effort. I think the right man will respond positively to me setting my value high. And the wrong one will weed himself out.
    So. Adventures in dating. I am honestly glad this happened sooner. Taking a deep breath. Letting myself feel sad and off kilter. Had a good run. Hoping for better sleep.

  14. So here I am - I am so tired of my H trying to tell me "how I am" or "how I do ...whatever" ...which always leads to why my H does "whatever" he does. STOP it - I a so OVER it. Quit putting your damn bullshit on me. Quit competing with me...quit trying to sabotage me...STOP.
    He acts like he is so fucking perfect - like I am the nutcase... just like the good ol days. Well, I don't have to sit here for this bullshit.
    WHAT the HELL. He is so self righteous...where does that come from??? I am asking - where does that come from? How can such a dick try and be "such the better person".
    God I hate him today.
    He has been so nice, so giving, so loving and then this......

    1. Anon 1998, you have one of those too? lol Aren't they INSANE? Like, certifiably! lol

      You see it for what it is which is really, really good. You're not getting sucked into his BS and taking what he's handing you like it really is your problem and you really are the nutcase. Granted though, if he's like mine, he can wear you down with the ongoing BS and turn you into a nutcase if you aren't careful or at least make you too tired/angry to give a shit any more/fight back.

      It's difficult to constantly be so self-assured and certain of yourself and your worth and your sanity that their crap rolls right off and/or you can calmly tell them they they are being a dick right now and it's hurting your feelings and even though you know they don't truly mean it and they if they don't stop you're going to . And if they don't, you do what you said would.

      And then usually they get super timid and loving for a little while because secretly, they know damn well they fucked up they just thought it would work/get them what they wanted/thought they could get away with it/felt they dad a right to act that way even if they would die before they owned the fuck-up out loud because that would mean admitting they aren't the Superior Being they pretend they are, even to themselves.

      But at least you get Dr. Jekyll back for a while before there's more Mr. Hyde. These guys are challenging.

    2. Oopps... forgot less than and greater than signs no workie.... here is take two of the second paragraph... I hope it helps =):

      It's difficult to constantly be so self-assured and certain of yourself and your worth and your sanity that their crap rolls right off and/or you can calmly tell them they they are being a dick right now and it's hurting your feelings and even though you know they don't truly mean it and they *insert their excuse du jour here* if they don't stop you're going to *insert self protective consequence here ie. leave the room, go for a walk, move out*. And if they don't, you do what you said would.

    3. Anonymous 1998, I would argue that his need to be "right" and sanctimonious comes from a deep conviction that he's flawed and broken. But something about that hooks you and down the rabbit hole you go. See if you can find the space between his bullshit and your reaction to it to...pause. To ask yourself what's really happening and how you want to respond to it calmly. You might even need to walk away to give yourself the space and clarity and then approach it later. Become the observer, noticing what's happening. From what you write, he had been being really supportive and great...and then this. So it sounds as if he isn't just a garden-variety asshole but rather someone who's wearing his insecurities.
      I've found that if I calmly ask my husband "what's going on?" with genuine curiosity, I can often get an honest answer. Not necessarily right away (I might get "I'm fine. I just wish that you would blah blah blah"). But often, later, he'll come back to me and confess that something happened at work or he's feeling anxious about a family member or whatever. It rarely has anything to do with me.

    4. Elle, going to try these ideas as well with mine. For us, it's absolutely from a broken/flawed place in him and the behavior absolutely hooks me in.

      Right now I'm soo tired of trying to calmly wake him up to his unacceptable behavior that he still appears to be blind to otherwise. I'm livid that he STILL doesn't seem to get it. JUST BE NICE. Even when you're mad. Even when I'm wrong. Even when I make a mistake. Even when other people are being assholes. Even when you feel "criticized". Take a deep breath, step away if you need to, deal with your shit and BE NICE TO ME about what's wrong. How is that F*ing difficult?? I'm just exasperated with it right now.

  15. Anon, I have composed a list of "truths" about my ex. Not ugly things, just honest things that so have figured out about him. The idea is to read it regularly, to ground myself so that I don't get sucked back into his version of reality.
    SS, my feelings about dating are different. Although I'm chatting with some guys online, I have not yet worked up the will to meet anyone. I don't know if I'm ready. I find that I am still very averse to the idea of any commitment. I decidedly do not want to date anyone exclusively. I like the idea of socializing, eating out, going to concerts, pool or darts, etc. But I don't want to let anyone close yet. I think this is a healthy enough attitude right now, but I realize I'm going to have to progress from this point eventually. Until then, though, dating around seems prudent - if I can ever make that first date!
    And I worry about sex. If I get close enough with someone, it will become an issue. I haven't really worked out my current standards about that yet. AND I am raising two daughters, for whom I need to set some sort of example.
    Got any throughts on the subject? I'm living in the Bible Belt; there aren't a lot of people to talk to about this.
    I haven't dated in over 18 years. I am incredibly nervous. One giant leap for Phoenix.....

    1. OMG Phoenix, I'm so glad you asked. And if you aren't ready to meet someone yet, you just aren't. The cool thing about online dating is that you are under no obligation, and there kinda aren't any rules really.
      And just to be clear, I am treating this as a learning and exploration process and adjusting my sails constantly. I know that long term I will want to be dating exclusively with a guy I am really interested. Right out of the gate, it's just about finding out if the first meeting was good enough to qualify for a second. I believe part of my rant about dating exclusively was about guy #1 and the soft spots that situation hit for me and my learning curve. I was treating online dating like I used to approach dating in college. Online, I think it is the general rule that everyone is talking to multiple people, all the time. With guy #1 he moved so fast and was so intense about communicating every day that I was kind of swept up in it. And I realize, in hind site, that I was creating the same energy that I was trying to leave behind from the marriage. This man definitely was still in the "making up for lost time" approach to dating and sex. And I invited it or allowed it because, to be honest, the attention felt so good after being in the desert for so long. But I'm glad I listened to my gut and put the brakes on. He definitely "benched" me when I wouldn't hook up after the second date. But I learned a lot. And am now a) talking to multiple people and b) being a little more open minded about who I am talking to (not the same as lowering my standards).
      So I do a lot of research and data gathering. What I wanted to do was figure out how to craft a profile to weed out the thrill seekers. So I went back and did that. I even have things in there that suggest topics for conversation ("ask me about my bear encounters or my summer in Glacier National Park"). Smart guys will actually take the time and write something to me that shows they read my profile. I'll still get the occasional "Hey gorgeous" (ew) or "Nice profile" (really? I wrote all that good stuff and that's all you've got?). Soo it weeds people out. But I've also found that in having conversations with multiple people, I'm learning what I like and what I don't like and more about what I am looking for. With online dating, I think you are right and it is not about letting any one close too soon. It is about opportunities to meet and talk with people to see if you want to try and get to know them.

    2. Dating part 2
      The sex thing. My perspective is that when it feels right and you are ready, it will be OK. If you feel and resistance at all, listen to that. Here's my story. You may not know that I was raped in college. Shortly thereafter I developed the symptoms of a minor but permanent STD. Bummer. Turns out though, that this was a blessing. (WHAT???) Because after the rape, I was hooking up with anyone that would have me, trying to make it go away or trying to die. I'm not sure which. That illness was a wake up call. I finally went to get medical care. I stopped flailing and got into therapy. And, it meant that before I had sex with anyone ever again, after that, that I was required to have a very grown up conversation with any potential partner. So as a general rule, if I don't feel safe having that conversation with them, I'm not ready to fall into bed with them, as much as my body may be telling me otherwise. And the grown up conversation about sexual history is a must have, and ideally not on the way to the bedroom. So. If you are interested enough in someone that sex is entering your mind, think about that conversation. Do you feel like you can have it with them? If so, then approach it. For me it is going to be, this happened so I have to deal with this. I always err on the side of safe vs sorry. Later, I found out my ex was engaged in high risk activities. I went out and got the full battery of tests. All clear and there's been no one since. And then you get to ask questions. Have you ever not used condoms? Context? When were you last tested? Are you active with other people now? All things you are allowed to ask. And if they won't answer (or in my case don't like what I've shared) then they are not worth it. Period.
      For me, I am adjusting my perspective on dating, in that if I am only picking the really, really ridiculously good looking, then I may be setting myself up for more of that "stuck in their sexuality" story. And I know from past experience, sometimes you need to get to know a person before you start becoming attracted to them. Additionally, talking to multiple people means I am less bruised and tender when one of the disappears. On the other hand, I am trying to not act like that. If I've been talking to someone and just not feeling it, or feel like I am doing all the lifting in the convo, I try to be courageous and say, hey, enjoyed talking to you, but just not feeling a connection. Good luck. Rather than "ghosting" them. Not that I owe anyone anything, but if we've been talking for a week, I would appreciate knowing that if the situation was reversed.
      And just FYI, I am incredibly nervous too. I don't want to keep creating the same dynamic. And there's a risk for that. So me and my therapist are keeping a sharp lookout. I've given her permission to call me out and keep her up to date on my various beaux. (lol I just wanted to use that word).
      PS I love your list about your ex. All I have to tell myself now is that I don't believe he's capable of making the changes necessary or growing into the man I deserve. XOXO

    3. SS, I typed a response to you, and then my device died and I lost it. Ugh!!
      Thank you for sharing your story. It is so like you to draw strength and positivity out of such negative experiences. I had some similar experiences in college, minus the STD. I remember the pain and shame, the terrible decision making. I thought I had closed the door on all that years ago. And now I feel like I need to crack it open again, just to remember some of the lessons I learned. Because your post really got me to thinking about the many issues we are facing as single women.
      And I agree with you, we are vulnerable right now. Definitely not looking for a relationship, or someone to "save" or "complete" me. But when you've been through what we have, that positive attention, that admiration, it has the potential to override our better judgment.
      I have received dozens of messages, but I delete most of them, because most of them just say "hello" or "can we talk?" Or "hello, pretty". I've really only found one or two decent guys to talk to so far. Have you ever been the first one to send a message? I have over 300 "meet" requests, but so far I have ignored them. I have wondered if I should sort through them; am I interested in contacting someone who has not actually sent me a message, but indicated interest? I don't know…
      Then there is my ex. I told him that I would let him know when I started dating again. No one around me understands why I made that promise, but I did, and I will keep it. That means I'm going to have to break the news to him soon. I am not looking forward to it all. I don't expect a good response. I don't know how bad it will get. I know it's not my concern anymore, technically, but I share kids with this guy, so it kind of is my concern. I really want things to stay positive between us. But, if I am ready to date, then I will date.
      AM I ready? Sometimes I think yes, sometimes no. I will figure it out when I'm ready to figure it out.
      And I will DEFINITELY take my time with anything sexual...

    4. Phoenix and SS,
      Yes, I think you are both vulnerable right now. But you're also realizing that YOU get to set the boundaries around this. There's no more "but will he still like me?" if you make a choice some other guy doesn't like. And there's a ton of power in standing back and choosing rather than reacting. YOU get to decide if/when you are comfortable meeting. And you're bringing a wisdom and an awareness that you might not have had those many years ago. You're alert to those little things that show you when someone isn't respecting your boundaries. You're more aware of what you will and will not tolerate in another person. Fear is sometimes just excitement.

    5. Hey Phoenix, How are you holding up? I'm actually pretty level. Like you, I delete the messages that are "hi" or "hey beautiful" or "I have this fantasy..." (They get blocked too, lol). But yes absolutely I have sent messages first. And I make an effort to read their profile and write something relevant, kind of like I'd like people to do for me. And I am having some really nice conversations. Its interesting to see who "chooses" me vs. who I am choosing. And in a couple cases, the quality of men choosing me are better than the ones I am picking for myself, which I will get into in another post but mostly because I am still shaking off the old dynamic of my ex needing constant sexual validation. So that emotional hangover is still at play. And they haven't always expressed interest first, I may just be interested in something they wrote etc.
      Here's the interesting thing I'm finding about whether or not I feel ready to meet people. Its not about an overall "readiness." It really boils down to the individual. I've had enough conversations to know that in some cases I am actually interested in meeting and in some cases not. So example A - talking to a nice man but I am having to do a lot of the conversational lifting and his default seems to be to circle back to sports. I am more of an arts and culture person. So after a few messages, he asked me to meet up for a drink. I ended up declining because I'd had just enough conversation to feel resistance, like we weren't a match. You have to listen to that. Example B, man and I had several conversations about India, where we had both traveled for business. And then this weekend he told me about taking his teen aged daughter to the local Women's march (heart be still, amiright!?) so we are meeting for the second time dinner this week. In fact, it was pretty easy to decide to meet this person. So in each case I give myself enough time to sense if I am feeling open or resistance. But no so much time that there is a false sense of intimacy (I learned about this watching my ex thrash through his affair - right? dangerous chemicals in the brain and risk of building a fantasy person if you do too much online connecting before you meet in person IMO).
      So as far as letting your ex know, that's absolutely your business. You keep your promises, I know. Maybe just plan to do it in a way that keeps you safe and involves a minimum of back and forth and that doesn't make you responsible for whatever spleen he needs to vent. Not your job anymore.
      And yes Elle, there is tremendous power in not giving a fuck if he will still like me if I am not whatever enough for him. That's one thing I am getting clear on as I sit across the table from these men. So many clearly need or expect me to be something to fill some deficit they have. I need to be a sex goddess to make them feel man enough. I need to be not quite as smart as them so their ego can remain stretched like a balloon. I've only had one experience where I sat across the table from a man who didn't seem to need anything from me in that moment. He just seemed to be interested in me, my mind, my heart. Kind of eye opening (re: women's march man above). Even the possibility that this kind of relationship could exist was a revelation. And, most illuminating, not at all what I would classify as "my type." So for now, just being open to whatever unfolds. No agenda. And focusing on keeping my feet on the ground. And yes Phoenix, you will, as with so many things, know when you are ready. Love, SS

  16. Phoenix you will know when your ready to take that next step.. there's no rush your doing great focusing on you and your girls.. whatever happens next is on your terms. It's normal you'll be nervous dating after so many years but on the other hand it's exciting too : ) . Imagine meeting someone who can treat you with respect, someone who treats you like a queen I imagine it all the time but like you it scares the hell out of me.. I'm not at that stage yet as I'm
    Still not sure where my marriage is heading. Keep doing what your doing Phoenix we're all behind you.. lots of love xxx

    1. Thanks, Sam! You are right, I won't rush it. And it is a little exciting. And scary.
      Sister, I hope you get some clarity soon as to where your path is taking you. Hugs to you!

  17. I was not sure where to post this, but it was written by a woman who was raped--she looked at her rapist in court and wrote this letter to him for everyone to see. This is just part of the letter but it felt like it was written for all of us violated so horribly, but in a different way

    I know how easy it is to feel like this defines us. Dont let it. Read this:

    "But believe me. This is not the end of you. No. This does not define you. This does not outline you. This does not do anything to you other than to know that you survived this. You deserve to know, from me to you, that you are beautiful, and wanted, and you deserve every single ounce of happiness in your life.
    You deserve to know that you are strong, so unbelievably strong, that you can and will achieve things that seem impossible, even if sometimes, you find yourself unable to sleep, staring out of the window and chain-smoking cigarettes, or overdoing it for a while on something that relieves the pressure just a little bit. Because that’s okay.
    Because you are a lioness. You are fearless. You are unstoppable. You are incredible and you will achieve great things. You are beautiful and I want to cover you in love, because you deserve it and so much more. You will survive this. You will walk home at night, as I do every day, alone, with your head held high, afraid of nothing, afraid of no-one.
    You will have a lifetime of precious, intimate, loving relationships. You will make love, enjoy and appreciate your sexuality, and you will connect with someone who cares so deeply for you, the love will fill you and never leave. But before that, you’ll be great on your own. You’ll do your thing, just as you want it, you’ll eat alone, drink alone, read alone, walk alone. You’ll discover the world without constraint, without oppression, you’ll live.
    My life has not been destroyed, and yours has not either.
    I will not allocate this event to determine who I am, or alter the way I feel about myself. And neither must you. I must not, am not, and will not be afraid of intimacy and my sexuality. I am proud and sometimes quite in awe of how I found the force inside of me to fight: to fight against him, to fight against sexual discrimination, to speak my voice in front of those judges, and to learn about myself from what has happened. I must learn to love myself, and to appreciate everything I have done. And as I progress at Sciences Po, as I learn so much about philosophy, political science, the law, I can approach this subject head on, because I must. And you must too.
    I refuse to let my life be taken down by this. I refuse to be defined by this, because I am so much more than that, Paris means so much more to me than that, and I will carry on talking and fighting for everything that I believe is right. And you will too."
    Written by Sara Roebuck

    1. Steam, wow, thanks for that post. I looked up Sara Roebuck and read the entire story. Her message is strong and clear. Us older women need to embrace and understand this also even though we've seen much water pass under and over our bridges in life. I am feeling very much like her description. I am so much stronger and the ground I stand on is hard and strong. Sending you a virtual hug and thank you for your post. Hoping your journey is not too bumpy.

    2. Incredible Steam. We should all be so fierce. We ARE all so fierce. Some of us just need to tap into that ferocity.

  18. I am 10 weeks out from the worst of 3DD's- his most damaging affair was years ago and I learned about it only now after 'graduating' from MC after he had brief cyber affairs (in MC he blatantly denied a EA/PA to my face more than once & only when confronted with quotes from his emails to OW did he admit it, since then it has been trickle truth and I still don't have a clear story of what year it ended). I thought the MC really improved our communication & our marriage -- oh, except that he was still lying to me. What I am most worried about is that even if he is remorseful & recommitted to our marriage go forward and even after I forgive him (which I do want to do but haven't gotten there just yet) that because I will never be free of pain, I worry that I will never "get over it". For the 1st time in 10 weeks I am starting to feel ANGRY for what he did to me, our kids (I was pregnant), and his family (OW was his cousin's wife and they divorced because of the A). Anyone else have these feelings? How long do you give it before you know whether or not the only way to be at peace is to be apart even if you love CH and he is doing mostly the right things in the present and wants to have a future?

    1. Brown eyed girl, my ex was remorseful but he never really recommitted, and he could not stop lying - so in a way, he made it easy for me. So I don't have any really good advice except: take your time. I know you are suffering. I am so, so sorry. Your marriage is scarred and your family is scarred, and your husband's family is scarred. One way or another, I believe that there will come a day when healing will be complete, but it won't be anytime soon. You are only just beginning to experience the many emotional cycles that will result from all this. Whether you recommit to your marriage, or leave it behind, healing is going to be a long process. We know, we are all still going through it.
      How long to you give it? No one can answer that question but you. And you don't have to answer it until you are good and damned ready. Decide each day whether or not you will give it another day. Or decide each week whether or not you'll give it another week. And eventually, you will work your way to an answer.
      I know how angry you are, I know how much you are hurting. I'm so sorry. I wish I could give you a hug.

    2. Browneyedgirl, Anyone have these feelings?? I think EVERYONE has those feelings. Those "will I ever get over it?" feelings. Those "what if he does it again?" feelings. Those, "we'll never be the same" feelings.
      There is no timeline to healing, as we so often say. What's your next right step? Is it to see about a separation? Is it to continue with MC or find another counsellor? Is it to find an individual counsellor to help YOU sort through your feelings? Is it to sit tight and watch your husband's transformation and see if the respect and admiration for him comes back? You get to decide. I decided that my next right step was to heal myself first and then get the lay of the land (ie. my marriage) and see whether I fit back into this new version of it. By then, I'd seen my husband do the hard painful work of reckoning with the pain he'd caused. I'd watched him become that "better man" he promised me he'd be. And so I stayed. I fit into this new marriage and so did he.
      But that's my story. You get to write yours.

    3. Thanks Phoenix & Elle. I feel the virtual hug!

      The MC/IC gave him homework last week and he completed it. The first was to make me a music playlist (music had been so influential in our two-decade relationship). He did a great job - 2 discs of love and apology. First song was "Fortress Around Your Heart" A song I knew well for years, but only now took the time to really read the lyrics. I cried - happy and sad tears both - because I see that he gets it. Then last night at MC he read me out loud a heartfelt apology letter he wrote. Took accountability for his actions. Committed to do anything necessary to secure our marriage go forward. We both cried. I asked the rest of the questions about the A which I needed answered to move forward (although he was frustrated with that - he can't see how getting the answers to the questions could possibly help me/us). For the very 1st time in 10 weeks I got 6-7 hours of sleep (although I had to take 1 sleeping pill about 2am, it was ranging from 0-3 hours prior to that). We are going to a faith based retreat for broken marriages together this weekend. No technology. Just us, God, nature and other couples in similar boats. Time together, time alone, time as a group. Last night when I drove home from MC I stopped at our church and thanked God for answering my prayers of filling my H's heart. I am starting to feel peace and hope. Hopefully, I can find the grace to forgive him soon and he can resolve to doing the introspection and can stick with being the 'better man' that deserves to keep my love. I know we still have a lot of work to do and there will be hard times & triggers and there are no guarantees in marriage (I never accepted that reality before this most recent Dday). But, I am celebrating that I am having my first 'good' day in 10 weeks - I haven't cried once yet today (big change). I am going to focus on myself. I have been walking more, I'm thinking of taking up yoga and planning to go visit my family who I haven't seen in years (have to fly there).

      I am so grateful for all of you amazing women and this forum.

  19. Brown eyed girl I'm so happy for you.. here's to more of the good days.. big hugs you strong lady you!!!! Xxx

  20. I posted an update yesterday but I think it failed.

    So, it turns out he had the opposite interpretation of the MC session that I found SO helpful. He thought the MC and I ganged up on him about porn and his mother. He thought I blindsided him with evidence that the EA portion of it lasted 3 years longer than he told me. He told me he didn't trust me anymore because I believed what the OW's H told me. All this from a man who trusted the OW by griping about me and our marriage for 4 years. Now he is the victim because OW H spilled the beans to me (I didn't even ask for the details, he sent them to me). Clearly his opinion of the OW's ex-H is tainted because the OW complained about her H to my H for 4 years! So we had a big argument that night, and I didn't sleep a wink.

    The next morning he was all loving on me. Then a small victory - the next afternoon he finally told his mother to stay out of our marriage and took accountability for unintentionally turning her against me by going to her every time we had a fight. Disappointingly, he didn't keep the promise he made to me in MC that no contact with mom at all for 6 weeks. I don't even want them discussing our children. I am done with her. Decades of her being his sounding board and her bad mouthing me that I will never change and making it easy for him to leave me. One day I will forgive her, but I am never going to be in the same room with her again. He thinks there is hope I will change my mind because I have let her back in our lives before. I decided to take the victory of what he told her about his commitment to our marriage and never allowing her or anyone else to come between it again - because it was very good. So for now I chose to not make a big deal that he wants to maintain a daily email communication with her about other things. I feel like I need to say 'her or me' in regards to his mom at some point. I will talk to the MC about it soon. Advice?

    1. Browneyedgirl, my late MIL was a toxic person. She broke up both of my husband's brothers marriages and tried for years to come between us. Right from the start. Honestly I had no idea how toxic she was until well after DDay when my husband was in counseling and he disclosed some awful stuff that had I known way back when, I'd probably have cut off all contact years ago. He and I had one early conversation after we married when I said, "Clearly you can't be married to me and your mother so you choose right now." He chose me and I had to remind him a few times over the years that she was interfering too much in things that were none of her business. I was so happy when she finally died but her legacy left scars on everyone. It sounds like your husband and his mother are "emeshed". Ugh. Be strong. You do not need this shit and you and your husband will not be able to heal and move on as long as she has any private input into his ear. Nada, nothing at all. She needs to learn to respect boundaries and you and your husband need to have a clear set of them with regard to her.

    2. Browneyedgirl, it never ceases to amaze me how our parents and our H's parents and our relationships with them continue to have so much influence. I heartily concur with Beach Girl's perspective in that he can't be married to you and your MIL. And some mamas can't let their little boys go and thus keep them in that jacked up codependent must please her role. Totally toxic. All I can say is boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. I've had to get really good at them, especially since my MIL lives in the attached suite we built two years ago. (I can still hear God laughing, lol). The universe really wanted me to learn patience and boundaries. For a lady who has lived on her own for almost 20 years she has a remarkable ability to be helpless and make everyone around her, especially her son, responsible for her shit. I've had to get really clear about what I will and won't tolerate or do. I've gotten pretty good and saying, "um, that's pretty passive aggressive, cut that shit out." or "the kids are allowed to say no to hugs. Please stop forcing them and here's why..." etc. She doesn't like it always, but tough shit. And guess what, she gets in line when I draw one.
      For sure talk to the MC about the her or me ultimatum. Maybe consider discussing with your h how you can both draw boundaries around your marriage, that protect you both and keep your MIL at the right distance. Acting in partnership may lead to greater success, IMO. Giving him an ultimatum may create a parent/child dynamic between the two of you and push him toward mama. Its the nature of emotional triangles that when you try to force two members apart, they end up drawing together.
      And BTW you are allowed to be done with your MIL. Absolutely. You don't need to have people who don't value or respect you in your life.

  21. Their relationship is so complicated. MIL walked out on H and his father when my H was a toddler. He was raised out of state by his dad. Saw his mom only on summer & Christmas breaks. When he did it was his maternal grandmother who mothered him, not his mom. MIL and H share common interests. She is divorced 2x. Had at least 1 affair herself. Promiscuous.

    Now they have become "friends". Pen pals. She tells him that he and only one of her three sisters are her only two "friends". And she complains to my H about the one sister she does love - calls her terrible names, fights with her over politics. Telling H that he is her only friend is MANIPULATION.

    MIL is who H griped to whenever we had a fight - often within minutes. Oh, she knows about our sex life, every disagreement, our/my secrets. I was too gracious to ever tell her anything negative about my H. I forgave her over and over and over trying to be Christian and got betrayed in return. She gave him terrible advice. She knew of the A for a decade and cried for CH! Not for me. Didn't slap him upside the head and say "WTF were you thinking your wife was 8 mos pregnant with your second child and working two jobs!?!?" like any normal mother would. Didn't say OMG your poor wife and children, nope - she validated for him that he was the victim.

    So she taught him: 1) women will abandon you, and 2) your wife is responsible for your unhappiness, 3) she is thankful for divorce, and 4) if you leave your wife you can move in with me. Thanks bitch. He feels bad for her because: a) she is his 'only mom', b) the grandchildren and c) he doesn't want her to die alone.

    Well, as I see it she made her own situation. She chose to live as a recluse. She alienated her family by being extremely opinionated and argumentative on social media they all 'defriended' each other. She walked out on her only child when he needed her most. She left her 1st husband for no good reason. She ruined her relationship with the mother of her grandchildren (me). She chose to not make new friends. We actually built a MIL suite but I will NEVER let her stay there now. I will gladly pay a nurses aid to take care of her at her house when she is old, but it will not be me personally taking care of her. Never.

    I think she has become co-dependent on my H in his adulthood since they didn't bond at all during his childhood. MC thinks H emotionally got stuck in childhood because of her abandonment. And I think that is one of the reasons (among many others) that he is vulnerable to a OW telling him she wants him.

    I will never be comfortable being in the same room with MIL again. I am hoping that soon he will start backing away from her more and more. "Next best step", right. Getting her out of my marriage was the first victory. Getting a little more sunlight between them is next on my boundaries list.

    Now what to do about the kids... sigh

  22. Today at our counselling session, my h revealed (kind of by accident) that our daughter, who is not yet two, met his ow while they were out for a walk some time in November. I feel so sickened. Firstly, that my child would be brought to meet that person, given the circumstances, and secondly, that he never told me. He KNEW that I would not be ok with that and instead of trying to debate or discuss, he just covered up. I want to have a boundary like 'my daughter will NOT spend time with your ow'... but how can I stop him doing what he wants when our little one is out with him for a few hours? (She is living with me and he visits often, while we 'try' to find a clearer arrangement.) Compared to some of the stories here, mine seems really minor, but I feel the betrayal and the hurt very deeply.

  23. Ladies!! What the heck? Were these guys all raised by the same person? Meaning MY mil?

    1. Steam, how do you deal with it?

      Still Standing, I like your idea of asking the MC to facilitate the boundaries discussion - it will be less confrontational that way.

      I really need this woman gone from our lives cold turkey. But maybe I can "tolerate" them communicating about the weather 1 day a week instead of 3-5x a day emails.

    2. The strange thing is, I get on well with my MIL (we're not buddies, but we have mutual respect and she LOVES her grandchild). She is horrified by her son's behavior. I think all these mad hs must be just total mutants.

    3. Steam, found this great link for you on shame. We've had to deal with this in our marriage. Still seeking peace in life. It is working.

  24. brown eyed girl--she made it easy in the end. I had boundaries in place with her for quite a while. I did not answer the phone when she called, my H was not allowed to hand the phone to me when she was on it. It had to be on speaker and he had to stay in the same room. She always knew she was on speaker with us both. After D-day 2, I told him he had to tell her (not the best decision of my life) because i was not going to cover for him a 2nd time. She then sent out a "newsletter" to the family (and who knows who else) documenting our separation within the 1st week-- mentioning his drinking and I am shocked she left out the cheating. She does not know half of it. She spilled out hurtful family secrets along the way. She dictated when "her stuff" would be removed from the home (including all gifts she had given me). She continued to call and e-mail me with demands for her stuff--worring about her "stuff". When I called her on it--telling her her stuff was fine, and why did she not ask how "I" was, she wrote me an e-mail and in so many words accused ME of being the one who cheated. I sent it to my then estranged husband, who FINALLY read her the riot act. I blocked her on phone and e-mail, she resorted to US mail, which I never answered nor acknowledged. Crazy threats and more. I have not spoken to her except to wish her a merry christmas and happy new year on a speaker phone. H and i are attempting a reconciliation right now and I still wont talk to her, nor will she ever apologize. She put herself in between a rock and a hard place. She called her son's wife a cheater--lol-- My life with her on the sidelines is so much better. H still talks to her every few weeks and thankfully cannot be guilted into helping every little thing. He did it before out of a sense of duty and yes, to prove his worth, Beachgirl. It's sad. She's an unhappy person and has alienated most everyone. She was passive aggressive for almost 20 years, but coming out and saying that I was the cheater was a direct affront and one that was simple to respond to. Buh-Bye. thanks for the link beachgirl, I'm reading it next!!

  25. I read on another thread, about hope, and one of my sisters talked about how she is 13 months from Dday. And it occurs to me that I, too, am only 13 months from dday. wow. It doesn't feel like nearly that little time. How is it only just a year? It feels like I have traveled light years. This time last year I had only just found out that my h had unprotected sex with his chippy and had been frequenting massage parlors for happy endings for the four years prior. And I though we were reconciling. That lasted 2 weeks, although I didn't overtly know it at the time. But my body told me, signaled what it read in him with increased anxiety. Not sure how I had any more juice for any more anxiety but it skyrocketed again. And it just escalated from there, the middle finger to my face, the frequent fuck you I'l do what I want, no matter how much it hurts you, (maybe because it exacted a price, payment for all the harm I had apparently caused for so many years). I see it all as bullshit now. I sometimes wonder how or why I held the door open for so long.
    And now, though I am sometimes sad, it is more a regret over wasted time and so much wasted potential, rather than about any lingering hurt to me. I can be in a room with him, like for mediation, and not really care either way. Let's just get this business done and see if I sink or swim on my own. My vote is for swim. Even if I end up with less than I have now, I will always have enough because I am enough.
    13 months feels like 5 years. And I am speaking in terms of my healing. I've taken the advanced, accelerated course. I've gone after it. Some weeks Ihad over 4 hours at a time with various therapists, individual, couple, 2 hour reiki sessions, acupuncture. I got my masters in self care and telling people to back the fuck off as needed. But also in staying soft not becoming brittle, in focusing on love and resentment. In becoming more than I had been, something wondrous and majestic. And what I've come to realize is that in three months truly free of him, I've had more gains than 10 months of struggle trying to be what he needed, trying to save "us."
    It is something to have your daughter say "you know I was sad about the divorce at first, but mom, you are so much happier and healthier, I can see it is the right thing." Wow. That's some validation. But this is what is right for me and my situation. Many of you saw before I did that this man was not capable of stepping up to fix himself or show up at all. I can still see that struggle in his relationships with our children.
    I Believe I would be in a ton more pain if I still had to carry the legacy of his shame and all our dysfunction. I would always be looking over my shoulder and wondering if I was enough today to keep him home. Because he hasn't figured out that he won't ever feel loved enough until he loves himself.
    But 13 months. Like a giant, long overdue baby. I am still forming, still becoming, but love myself so much more and am capable of so much more compassion. I feel like a woman 13 light years away from the girl I was last year.

    1. SS, you are amazing. I am so sorry your husband could not see your value but I am much happier you could see your value yourself. You are a wonderful role model for your daughter. None of us thought we would ever be in a position to make the kinds of decisions you have made. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I'm hopeful my journey won't lead to divorce but your story and those of others who made that choice sustain me.

    2. Great words, Still Standing. I feel as though I am on that journey right now. I love the idea of a Masters in Self Care - such a long road to travel, but so worth it. Your writing here has often given me perspective and hope. Thank you.

    3. Still Standing,
      Had a giggle at the Masters in Self Care =) And the giant overdue baby lol I feel like I am just starting to wake up. Like I somehow went to sleep for 10 years and now all the sudden... I remember pieces of me that I know I shut down to keep the peace with Mr. Insecurity. And there really isn't anything we can do until they learn some self-love, is there?

  26. Here is a question for you all...

    Has anyone ever cold-bloodedly set out to do a 'trial run' of separating or reconciling?

    I ask because my h is (over five months after telling me about his infidelity and saying he wanted a separation) still unable to bite the bullet and say either 'it's over between us' or 'please take me back'. There is nothing but mixed signals from him.

    I suggested we do a week 'as if' to see how we really feel about each possible outcome.
    Week 1: minimal contact (except for child care arrangements), each person informs themselves about the legal implications of a split and seriously considers a future alone/ away from the other
    Week 2 (if it even happens, after the first one!): we act as though we wanted to reconcile - more 'sharing'-type conversations, a family outing with our toddler, ZERO CONTACT with the ow, imagining how we might build a new future together, physical contact ONLY if both partners want it (I'm talking about hugs, nothing more at this stage)

    So, does this sound like a crazy thing? Am I just buying into his indecision to suggest such a course of action? Could something like this really jolt my h into clarity? (Or maybe even myself?!)

    I'd be glad to hear your opinions (brutal honesty appreciated) or experience on this.

    1. Selkie,
      I can't offer much help on this since I never went through a separation but please read Steam's post below. I agree with her that two weeks isn't going to be much of anything. Might even feel like a vacation from the heavy heartedness of reconciliation.
      Right now, he kinda has the best of both worlds. He has you and his family waiting in the wings and he has a certain amount of freedom. No real cost to his actions yet. You might just have to be the one to take a stand and either insist that he seek help and begin plans to rebuild your marriage or file for legal separation.

    2. And read Anonymous' three-point post below too!

    3. Selkie, I can only speak to separating (but as I read Gabby's post below, so much sounded familiar, especially the parts about the lying). I thought I was fighting like hell to save my marriage but really what I was doing was showing my h that I was willing to put up with anything to have an intact family for my kids. And as I am continually learning he is the waffle king, even when he knew he wanted out, he was afraid to speak up (thus the affair, maybe to prove to himself he wouldn't be alone if he left the marriage, IDK, a soft landing, or just more of the sex addicts form of self medicating, I'm side tracking myself. He's the waffle king, never making up his mind, hoping people will make the hard decisions for him, manipulating people into making those decisions so he won't have to feel guilty over them.
      So separating is the best thing that ever happened to me. If you had told me that back in August, I would have cried. I agree with Elle that it will take more than a week to really feel what it means, what that reality will be like, for both of you. In the first month I was a complete basket case, so anxious and adjusting to the empty space that he used to fill. Then I began doing things to reclaim the house as my own and to take care of things I'd never had to do before, just to prove to myself I could stand on my own. Guess what? I can and I don't need him. I have mastered the art of opening very stuck jars. I can climb ladders and work a drill and pay the bills and get quotes from roofers and do all the other shit I was already doing like make dinners and shuttle kids to sports and doctors and run my business. My unwelcome advice would be to treat the separation as if it is a trial run at what a divorce would feel like. Agree on how you will handle money. Agree on when and how he sees the kids. Agree on how you will explain this to the kids. Agree on contact level and if you will still be going to MC or not etc. In my state there is no legal separation status, you just kind of do it. Plan on making this a time to work on yourselves individually with a professional, regardless of the level of contact you have with each other. This will only be to your greater good regardless of how the story line plays out. A real separation may be what he needs to get clear about what he is losing. Or it may be what you need to get clear on not needing his BS in your life anymore. Or you may want him back or he may not want to come back. You'll have to wrestle with and accept that any of those outcomes are possible and any of them can be for your ultimate good. I wouldn't have believed a year ago that I would not only be Ok with getting a divorce, I would be feeling optimistic about what my life has in store. But remember you are in control here. It is sooooo scary. But trust yourself that you can handle this. From my own experience, if he's not ready to do the work, you are better off separated and free of the pain and anxiety his presence and lack of effort may be causing you. And again I have to agree with Elle, right now your H gets to have his cake and eat it too.

    4. Hi Selki,

      I just wanted to offer a bit of my experience as well. First, I agree with others that a 2 week separation is not going to be long enough for you or your H to experience and gain clarity that I think you are looking for. Are you working with a MC? If so maybe have a session discussing a constructive separation and what that would mean such as length, ground rules, boundaries, expectations etc....

      My H and I have been separated for about 6 months and the first month was very hard on me, but things improved a lot, I have more room to breath, feel my own strength, give myself care, connect with people who care for me. All the good stuff. So there can be tons of direct benefits for YOU independent from him and the relationship.

      Here is the hard bit..... you should be prepared that the likelihood of him having contact and possibly resuming more contact with the OW is high. Especially if he still has some contact now, or is not very honest about ongoing contact. I was very very afraid of this and delayed my willingness to separate for a long time. And when we separated it happened, he is with the OW and it hurts and I hate it so so so much... but through the separation process I really did gain clarity that for a long time my marriage has not been balanced healthy or safe, I deserve better and my H is not willing to do the work to heal our marriage. I am in a much better place than I have been in years.

      Of course your story and experience with your H will be yours, we all have our own journey. If I remember your story right, it is still fairly early... less than 6 month post dday... is that right? Affair fog is real and it can take some Hs who really do want to do the work some time to get it together and realize they are about to lose everything. It can be a very painful period for us, but the fog is real, so take care of yourself and your child, be gentle with yourself.

      Finally, I found the book "Not just friends" by Shirley Glass really helpful. She has a pretty good section on ambivalence.

      Love and support

    5. Selkie, have you considered other forms of separation? Like separate bedrooms under same roof? Separating your finances temporarily? Sending him on a faith based men's retreat? If there is an addiction to check in to a treatment center. Having him go somewhere he could not have contact with the OW (like move in with his family) and agree to be alone by himself? We all do need to set clear boundaries that we are willing to enforce.

  27. Selkie, I can't say that we sat down and made a decision, but we had a boundary in place after DD1 that if he ever did this again he would have to leave. I enforced that boundary immediatly on DDay 2. I mean Boom--out.

    I decided our only way of convo was texting--then e-mail. No phone, no voice, no in person. I really did shock the hell out of him.

    He went to work immediately on himself with a ton of 12 step for both alcohol and sex addiction (his addiction was hookers). He had to prove to me that he was willing to not just "change" but to do the WORK that leads to change.

    We did not see each other for about two months, dated every few weeks, saw a therapist once (since his addiction has nothing to do with me) and had found he was still texing one of his hooker "friends" because at that point he had NO ONE, and thought she was being a "friend" to him--they were 3000 miles apart. But that was BS and I told him that and didnt see him again for about 6 weeks, after he cut off ALL contact with her. She was hardly responding to tell the truth, just keeping in touch, I am sure in hopes of another payday from him.

    and then vacationed together twice. so we were together in October for a while and in December but He moved back into the house in January with ground rules.
    We were separated 6 months.

    I have seen him lax off in quite a few areas since he got home, pull back at times and downright be an ass now and then.(although his "ass" self is pretty mild, he simply withdraws, he's not abusive in anyway). All I do is remind him of our ground rules, which we BOTH decided on, so it's not like I'm calling the shots, although I truly believe that I could have...I earned that right when he decided to step out one me, in a MASSIVE way as i found out on DDay 2.

    If you are serious about this I don't think a couple of weeks lets reality set in for him. I think my H found out that life without me (even with the freedom to do whatever the hell he wanted) was really NOT that great.

    I can honestly say that if it happens again, he's out. and NO contact, he knows this, and there would be no "ground rules" laid out for coming back.

    I would not take him back so easily and I would not offer any help at all. He would have to win be back, which would be the hardest thing he would ever have to do. I would make it harder than he could ever imagine. and there would be no guarantee that he could.

    What i found along that way is that I was tired, yes. A had a household and a business to run without him and I was the one caring for one of our beloved aged dog who was large, heavy, and the hardest part for me. But I did it. I did it and I know if it ever comes down to it, I can do it again, forever if need be. I made sure to get out with friends (even when I didnt want to go) to be sure I did not isolate and I asked for help when I needed it. NO one close by knew why we were separated except his family. I said it was drinking to avoid the gossip and pity possibilities.

    Whew, that was long, and I'm not sure if it would work for you since you have kids, but I have to tell you, if you do it, no matter what, you will come out the other side at least KNOWING how capable and stong you are.

    I could not have done this after d-day 1. But d-day 2? No brainer.

    Hugs to you Selkie

    1. My story has similarities to steam following d day 1 I went into fixing mode tried to fix me him our marriage to have d day 2 happen 3 years.. this time I wasn't compassionate or understanding I was pretty Damn pissed I asked him to leave that was 8 months ago and we're still separated we have had ups and downs the last 8 months with one thing and another I had a chance meeting with the ow that was one for books let me tell you : ) .. fast forward 8 months I'm doing really well like steam and gabby I found myself again and love who I am .. I agree with steam if your going to have a planned separation i doubt a few weeks would be enough for either of you.. I'm hoping both me and my h have got something out of this separation even if it's just reflection and self development we both needed it.. we're on talking terms now, we have 2 kids so we are in contact most days.. we have sex every now and again I'm ok with too ... I'm still at a x roads I don't want to let him back in just yet neither do I want to let him go either.. I think it takes to time to heal and there isn't a time limit it's when it feels right for you.. I'm loving living on my own and I'm gonna continue to do so for a little while longer.. I'm taking the kids abroad for Feb half term and I'm looking forward to .. hope this has helped xxx

  28. pt 1/3
    Hi Selkie (and hi to all you ladies. Strength for 2017!! My husband and I separated Sep 2016, after I found out in Nov 2015 he was having an affair with a bitch from his work - that lasted just over a year….or that’s what he has told me. I’ll ramble on a bit, but this is a brief story of us and our separation and an update. When I first found out about the affair, I so desperately tried to fix our marriage, a marriage that whilst wasn’t 100% perfect, had what I thought were many good elements. Even though h’s whore was in another state by the time I found out, I had a feeling he was keeping the affair going by being in contact with her and he really was not working on our marriage. All this was done in secret – lying again! I was not privy to his phone or what he did during the day, but my gut instinct told me he was still in contact with her. He denied it and blatantly lied to my face on many occasions that I confronted him about this. It wasn’t until I caught him talking to his bitch on the phone that he could no longer hide from the truth. After D day I did ask him several times to leave which he refused to, and looking back I think this added to my confusion. About 3 months after D Day, I wanted him out and I actually sought legal advice about getting him to leave when he was refusing. I never went through with it. As the months wore on, I honestly didn’t know what I wanted, and he was distant, yet saying he too wanted the marriage to work, but was doing nothing honestly (oh really!!!) to try and fix it. It came down to his constant lying about him still in contact with the whore that I had reached my enough and he wasn’t happy and - we separated. I was so angry with him for stuffing up our lives and that of our children, for his selfish ways, and for about a month into the separation I was devastated as I felt there would be no getting back together. How in hell was I going to go thru life raising 4 kids. Our life style would change drastically. But then something in me changed. I went on a retreat and as quite often mentioned here, I “rediscovered” myself and I like who I am. After years of h putting me down and being a control freak and with not physical but sometimes some verbal anger issues, I really felt like a weight had been lifted from me. I was able to think so much clearer without his shit hanging around. I really was living life as best as I could whilst managing with the kids. Before we separated, in MC one of the issues he brought up was that he say’s I’m not social enough. That was quite laughable, because I am lucky to have a lot of interests and different groups of friends and being the Christmas season, had many girl catch ups – going out for dinners, drinks etc…and what was Mr Sociable doing? Nothing much. Living life through his phone, and probably reminiscing about his fake fantasy life!, hanging around the same old people of 1 group of friends from his youth and his pathetic work life people. There was a lot I realised by being separated, and one was I came to realise – I am happy to socialise – it’s him who only feels comfortable socialising with who he wants to socialise with having control over the situation. And quite frankly I’m sure there’s some lovely people he works with, but the industry he’s in, there are a lot of superficial people and that’s just not me.

  29. Pt 2/3
    So the separation:- he was living elsewhere and would come in the mornings to take some of the kids to school. He still had a key and would just let himself in. I asked him to call or text as he just can’t come in when he wants. So because of the kids, he’d still be hanging around. Not many, but a few days he wouldn’t even call in to see them which pissed me off as I thought as he said “they are the most important people to me”….I really didn’t want to be around him, so on weekends if he wanted to spend time with the kids, I’d head out for a walk, or shut myself in my room. The sight of him sickened me. (Strange how feelings change so quickly). He wasn’t interest in going to MC and he did say he was going to IC – he needs it. Lots of issues from his dysfunctional parents and issues within himself that led to him becoming a lying cheating person with grandiose feelings of entitlement. In December, about mid Dec, he did txt asking that we talk about him coming back. I didn’t want him back – or wasn’t ready to have him back and I listed my boundaries….Never heard from him again regarding this….but then he started to approach me differently. I don’t know how to explain it. He knew I was going out lots, I was naturally happy and looked happy and had a glow about me. It’s that “not worrying” about my husband and our separation that I felt different about myself and probably showed on my physical being. Perhaps I had the separation happy glow (yes there is one). The realisation that life goes on and I can be happy without him. So like Sam A, I let my h stay over on Christmas Eve as the kids deserved a happy Christmas. Then we had a family holiday that had been booked for ages that we all went on –separate rooms. The holiday was fantastic. It’s amazing what inner peace does to you and how it changes your mindset and approach to things. (I didn’t have this inner peace 12 months ago as I was dealing with a tsunami of emotions!!) We were forced to spend a fair bit of time together and I didn’t feel anything to him, but he then again…he asked about –wanting to come back into the marriage, the home and the family life. A very big part of me didn’t want him back! But then I thought, I have kids, their lives to consider - a whole range of thoughts went through my mind. I told him I have boundaries that if he’s to come back are to be met, and any crossing over would be it for good. He agreed to those boundaries and promised he could give me all that I asked for. So…. I let him back….. I don’t know if it’s habit (we’ve been “together” 30 years) or what but I thought “heck. I’ve got nothing to lose by giving this one last go.” One thing I do know, is I’ve been hurt so bad by him, I haven’t got anything left in me to feel that hurt again, so if things don’t work out because he crossed over those boundaries, I could let him go and know that I will be able to survive and thrive without him. However, I’d like to know from those who have gone through this, have you got that loving feeling back from your part? What are some tips on rekindling the romance, as this part of me has died when we separated. H is trying with date nights etc, but I need more. I know it takes time, but despite all this, I have mostly calm and peace within me…..however, I still have moments that I want to smash some faces sometimes though. LOL

  30. Pt 3/3

    Some things to take into consideration with a separation and it will be painful (but then sometimes staying and not having answers etc is just as painful) I’m sure all our sister’s would offer more advise but here’s my 2c worth - It may not be your choice. It could backfire. If you think you should separate so he can see what it’s like without you – be ready as he could run back to his AP - so be prepared. (As much as I wanted him out sometimes, I didn’t want to separate and give him the easy way out to run back to his whore. He had many responsibilities that he needed to step up to with me and our kids) Financially you still need to look after everything that was happening before You will need to do some deep soul searching for you. (The separation was perfect for me to see my worth – without him).
    So with a separation, like D Day. Allow yourself time to grieve, be angry, sad – get those emotions out, but also be gentle with yourself. It is another blow to you, and you have to heal and find strength to go on. Just think. You’ve survived this far…you can go on, and you have to for all those who love you. …so my story goes on, but this time, I am writing the next chapter. Hugs to you all Gabby xo

    1. Gabby
      Wow! Just wow! I hope this helps Selkie half as much as it did me! Thanks for putting so much time into telling the path you've taken/taking and shedding light on areas many of us are still working through! Even though my h didn't need/want contact with his ow, we were both forced by her to have that extra stress in our marriage. I think that's why I have those trigger meltdowns from time to time. May 2017 bring you joy!

    2. Gabby
      Wow! Just wow! I hope this helps Selkie half as much as it did me! Thanks for putting so much time into telling the path you've taken/taking and shedding light on areas many of us are still working through! Even though my h didn't need/want contact with his ow, we were both forced by her to have that extra stress in our marriage. I think that's why I have those trigger meltdowns from time to time. May 2017 bring you joy!

  31. Gabby thank you for sharing your story.. Sounds like you've been busy rediscovering who you are and what you want.. it's so uplifting when you get to that point of knowing you'll be just fine on your own.. I understand your reasons for taking him back and I hope he realises just how lucky he is to have this chance.. I think it will take time to rebuild your feelings towards him but it will come in your own time.. keep us posted gabby .. missed you xxx

    1. Thank you all for your replies. I have a day off work tomorrow, so will read through them all and reflect on what to do next. So glad to have your words and support.

    2. Wow, you are all so generous with your stories and advice. I do realise that two weeks is not long at all - but I am getting so impatient with the current situation (he 'moved out' in October, but comes and goes to help look after our not-yet-two-year-old, so things are very confused).

      Steam, I know that when I found out he was still in contact with the OW I did not feel desolation - just anger and fed-upness. I think I could do as you did if there was a physical DDay 3 and just say "enough". There are limits and I still have some dignity.

      Still Standing, I love the description of the waffle king. My h is veering from waffledom to self-centred sulky teenager-style ramblings. Every subject has to return to him. I went to a parenting talk last Friday and wanted to share some insights with him (in an enthusiastic sharing way, to help us both be good parents to our little girl). His reaction was first to snipe at me for not having used these new communication techniques on him (!) and then to be angry that his own parents didn't treat him that way. Looks like a looong road to travel to get to an adult viewpoint...

      Becky, thanks for the Shirley Glass reference. Ambivalence is certainly a strong factor here. Like Sam A and Gabby, I feel like trying to fix or retrieve our marriage. Our relationship did have a lot of good in it (which my h is unable to remember - but he is now starting hypnotherapy in an effort to regain access to his emotions and memories). However, I do have to ask myself: how long can I keep going when all my resources are coming from the past? I get my hope and will from the knowledge that there was love and delight between us in the past. I know that if the present continues to be so hurtful and unsatisfactory (I just feel as though I'm being disregarded and discarded), I will not be able to feel such hope any more.

      Brown Eyed Girl, the idea of separate rooms or a retreat for my h is a good one. Unfortunately our house (more like an apartment) is tiny and mostly open-plan. There is only one bedroom (the baby sleeps in the 'office', surrounded by papers and storage stuff). As for a retreat, my h is super suspicious of religious things and is very reluctant to do anything in a group - although interestingly of late he has been mentioning group therapy and I wonder if one day he might actually work up the nerve to go. I think it would do him good to see that he is not the only human being in the world to feel lost and confused.

      From my point of view, I am unwilling to take on 100% childcare at the moment - our toddler is really full on, and the only times she's minded are when I'm at work! I need my h to take part in parenting - and so far, my interest, curiosity and impatience lead me to try to have conversations with him whenever he comes to see his daughter. I guess I will have to stop reaching out to him for a while and let things develop...

      In terms of finances, he is now really struggling. He is paying rent for his apartment (where the OW formerly lived-ugh) and half the rent for our place. He contributes to groceries and bills here too. He is spending a fortune on psychologists visits, but progress appears to be moving at a glacial pace.

      We are invited to two family weddings in April (one on his side, one on mine) and the pressure is building as to whether both or one will attend them. I am so over this lack of clarity! But I don't feel like I'm in a position to make any great changes by myself because of the geographical, financial and parenting situation.

      Anyway, thank you all once again. I hope to have something more concrete to post next time. I need to step away from his swamp of passivity and selfishness.

  32. Help needed for those that know,
    Been married nearly 16 years. DH been addicted to port since he was a teen, carried that into our marriage and I was ignorant till 5 years in. Being in a church that believed men should be masters in their homes didn't help, as I was basically convinced to forget about it and move on. Which I did. Then after we'd been married 10 years found our he'd been having an affair. I was a mess, and because I thought it might ruin our 3 kids, I agreed to keeping it secret.
    Wellol that was 6 years ago and I've got stressed and sick in that time. I have told 3 good friends and had a couple of counselling sessions recently.
    My DH has been awful not just the infidelity but really mean, he's been out of work for years, and controlling of my and the kids, angry to the point of being threatening.
    He won't leave me, not because he loves me, but because of the shame he will face. I haven't left him because I don't want a broken home for our kids.
    Recently I told him I'd had all I could take. So he agreed to marriage counselling, after refusing for over 10 years. He has now turned into a very attentive husband, trying hard to make me happy.
    I should be grateful to have him be so caring and considerate, but I'm not feel that. I feel like he'd done too much damage for me to let my guard down ever again.
    I know regardless of our future I have to heal, and those wounds are what are stopping me from loving him.
    Yet I don't know how to heal.
    Any advice gratefully received TIA

    1. Hi Faith Rose,

      It sounds like you have been bearing most of the burden of your h's misdeeds for a very long time. Apart from his sexual betrayal, he has also mistreated you emotionally and psychologically. I understand your feelings about wanting to avoid a broken home for your kids (I feel that way myself for my daughter), but I guess you need to weigh up whether allowing him to 'break' your spirit is a reasonable price to pay for staying together.

      It's all too easy for him to turn around now and say he's sorry. He has more than a decade of nastiness to atone for. He should not be surprised if you are suspicious and careful for now. You will find your own healing at your own pace. I don't know all the situation, but my gut reaction is that you are right not to go along with this sudden improvement straight away. You have been depleted of love and energy for a long time and you can't just 'bounce back' by magic.

      I don't have enough experience to give any tips, but I'm sure other people here will have good insights.

      Sending you love and strength.

    2. Faith Rose, I bet he has depression. Has the MC explored his family of origin story? Are you both going to IC in addition to MC?

    3. Faith Rose
      Healing takes time and compassion for yourself. It sounds like you've put more effort into his healing than your own. It's also going to take lots of effort on his part to win your love back. Everyday it takes effort for both partners to regain the trust and love once it's broken. It can take years. It also sounds like he's been extremely selfish in that he became mean spirited. Perhaps the mc can guide you both through steps towards kindness to rekindle the loving feelings. I still have moments when anger flares if I sense selfishness in my h choice of spending his spare time excludes me but I consider that one of my shortcomings and I'm working on my being more giving in this area of our relationship. It's a long hard road back to happy but together if you both work for it, it does get better! Hugs!

  33. Browneyedgirl, I have just started having some IC, my DH refused IC. My counsellor actually asked me if my DH was diagnosed with either a mental health issue or a firm of Autism. He hasn't been as yet.
    I spoke to him after writing this. I shared with him my sadness at the struggles I have, that I find it all too much at times. He was sympathetic, which is very good for him, but doing that guy thing of trying to fix the problem by telling me that the problemsite aren't as big as I'm thinking.
    I realised that we haven't been intimate (as in mentally and emotionally) for a long time. I don't tend to share feelings with him, because of how he reacts.
    Whilst talking, I made a comment that he isn't happy. He tried to suggest he was, but I said I didn't think he behaved like a man that was happy.
    This is no marriage that is for sure. But I think that I do need to find a way if letting him know that while I hope that the MC helps us, and I am prepared for changes to happen, I am not in a place to be his wife at the moment.
    Theresa, thank you for your kind and gentle encouragment. I think you are right, I haven't given myself the space or time to work on my own stuff.

  34. The joys of being divorced - I just copied a link to an article on "How to Read Your Child's Deleted Texts", and I actually had my KID in mind!
    Happy Tuesday, all. Love you.

    1. Ah...bliss. To only be parenting the people for whom you are, actually, their parent. ;)

  35. Happy Tuesday, Phoenix!

    I wish I knew how to get into CH's work email - that is what he used, not personal email or texts. Sigh.

    1. Hey, Brown-Eyed Girl. And a happy Thursday to you!
      I feel your pain. I found a backdoor way to access my h's Samsung - he never did figure it out. But despite repeated efforts, I never did get into his work laptop. And it's ridiculously humiliating that we even have to - or in my case, had to - worry about it.
      These men did this to us, took away our faith in what is real and trustworthy. And then, like a physical abuser who gets irritated because his victim habitually flinches from him, they want to blame US for being suspicious and hyper vigilant. Sorry, wrong answer. This is HIS fault. He created the fear in your relationship - you didn't.
      IMO, he should be willing to allow you access to anything, while you try to rebuild your ability to trust. That being said, though, one realization I had, when I was deep in that situation, was that, if they really want to find a way to talk to someone, they will. Social Media. Extra phones. LinkedIn. Games. Eventually, you will have to decide to trust - or not to trust - him again. Leaps of faith will be required, at some point. But transparency from him at this point will surely help you get there. Just my opinion.
      Hugs to you, sister! Hold up your head, you are beautiful and strong. This is about his weakness, not yours.

  36. SS Update part 1
    Well my friends, I've been moving on, enjoying dating (finally... Phoenix, you had the right of it. meet people, have fun. Don't be too serious), not wasting time on people not worth my time. I know that makes me sound like a bitch but I have developed some pretty good radar over the last few weeks. At the same time, I am not instantly weeding people out just because there isn't that magic zing right out of the gate, because that is BS too. Anywho, this is now why I decided to write today.
    What I thought would never happen, has happened. I don't know what to call him right now, still probably soon to be ex? That guy I am legally married to but feel no obligation to? IDK. We received the last step of the divorce stuff from our mediator. My daughter finally unloaded on him and said I don't like seeing you, it makes me really sad. And I don't know what else. He asked to "talk." I sensed something in the wind. I prepared myself with a No Way speech. Reality being that I have been so much happier and healthier without him. (please remind me of this ladies and anything else you've seen or remember about my roller coaster). He didn't specifically ask to come back. That would be too big of a leap into vulnerability for him. But he did apologize and express regret for not giving things a chance when I asked because he admitted it allowed him to justify his choices. We covered so much ground. I cried because it was just so emotional. I'll admit to feeling vindicated. And also conflicted. Here is what I hoped for, for so long. And about the time I long ago predicted it would happen. Crazy, right? and he admitted that he ended his relationship with the OW because he recognized it was interfering with his availability and relationship with the kids. He talked about missing the family and wanting us to be a family again. Admitted to having a little dream about a homecoming where all the neighbors were overjoyed for us, a little victory march etc.
    And in that I heard nothing about me. And I said as much. All this sounds like you wanting vindication, forgiveness, dignity back, our old life back. But none of it is about missing me or regretting me. And he said, I didn't mention that because I didn't want to put undue pressure on you. But of course I miss my friend, I miss us.
    And we talked about our dysfunctional sex life and all the many things we'd have to fix and how fucking awful it would be to put the kids through a round of hope only to have us fail again.
    And a large part of me doesn't trust it. He's flip flopped so many times. He's so often ambivalent. He's got a shitpile of childhood stuff to sort out around being molested. Twice. I just don't know if I have the bandwidth to see him through that and THEN see if he can show up for me emotionally and I told him that.
    And on top of it, I've kind of moved on. I don't love him that way anymore. I know it is imaginary, but I see the potential for something so much better, each time I meet a new person. I am getting closer to figuring out what and who will be right for me. And he is so damaged, I mean we all are, but he is flailing right now.

  37. SS Update Part 2
    At the same time, all my own arguments of the last year, aimed at him are coming back to haunt me. Is not all the time and history worth fighting for (but who would be doing the fighting...) and am I merely distracted by the shiny new things (i.e. the newness of dating and being seen by fresh eyes). And I am afraid of all the outcomes and making the wrong choice. If I choose to work on things and they work out meh or not at all, I'm back here with more layers of pain and damage. If I leave or I should say continue on this path of divorce, will I always wonder, will I find someone to love me (fear of no one wanting me with my baggage is pretty huge), will I be OK on my own, etc. etc. etc. But when I think of going back I feel ... diminished. He needs so much from me. And honestly, I've met and been out with men who literally need nothing from me. Its stark enough that I can tell the difference within the first date, sometimes even during email correspondence.
    So I sent him a text saying I am confused, conflicted and terrified and need time to think. I think the next conversation with him is that I am not sure I am interested in making a snap decision to reconcile. Rather I will need to see evidence of change over time and even then I'm not making any promises and I'm not sure what I want. I'm aso thinking I need to just be patient with the present. I owe him nothing and I need make no decisions. I need not suddenly pull the plug on dating or any of the divorce process. I know my feelings and ambivalence right now are driven by fear and a feeling of "rescue" from this discomfort and an unknown future on my own and not about wanting to build something with someone I respect.
    So advice, comments, pep talks etc. welcome. More than anything I am giving myself time to really settle into what my real feelings are. Right now my gut still says better, happier on my own. Can I be brave enough to choose me? and what does that look like?

    1. Wow ss I wasn't expecting that although nothing surprises me anymore .. firstly can I say that I got butterflies reading what you wrote ( nice ones) because I'm a sucker for happy endings and I would love to see you reconcile however I totally totally get where your fear creeps in especially since he initiated the divorce and you had no choice but to move forward with your life, might i add you've done a bloody good job at .. I've seen you blossom over the last few months ss. Going from strength to strength Which your h has clearly seen too, he's no longer the one in control you are And the ball is very much in your court.... my advice would be not to make any decisions just sit and watch His actions And wait .. he will either fall at the first hurdle or he will work so damn hard to win you back. Im hoping it's the latter.. your in a really good place now ss you can see how this unravels. Let us know how it goes .. keeping everything crossed for you ... xxxx

    2. I’ve been thinking about what you said Sam A, about how you understand my reasons for letting my husband come back after 4 months of separation. Heck. Sometimes I kick myself for letting him come back, but for me – it’s mostly for my kids. For my kids, because I love them so much, so much more than I hate him. After coming from a family where my parents divorced, I was also one of these women, who thought I was marrying someone with good family values, morals etc, and I never wanted my children to have to go through what I went through. SS. I so admire how you have handled your life. You are amazing woman! We have all heard it so many times how the cheating husband leaves and then regrets what he’s done and wants to come back. The bloody cheek of these cheating men. Just when you are getting YOUR life together and finding your happiness, he now wants a piece of that…all of you that has been there all the time. I only suggest you take your time, and think about the different scenarios and how each would look – with and without him. You have come so far and been such an inspiration to so many here. You get to write how you want the next bits of your life to unfold. That’s sort of what I did. For me, I really was not interested at this point in my life to have another relationship with another man. I suppose I feel I’ve had so many years of him being a bastard at times, putting me 2nd, the criticism etc, I haven’t had much love, the love that I wanted so have just learned to live with what I have, so I’m not missing anything special. But. I have rediscovered how fun I can be with my girlfriends – all innocent!!! And I enjoy it and am not giving it up. My husband when he wanted to come back, I had a few “no deals” that he had to meet, and as far as I can see and gut instinct, he’s meeting them, and trying ever so slightly to become a better person. A work in progress! If he’s doing anything wrong, it’d be during work hours, or when I’m not home. His whore is interstate, so once I found out about the affair she’d moved, but they were still lying and carrying on an emotional affair via that bloody mobile phone and email. Part of the condition of him coming back was NO CONTACT, which he assures me he doesn’t have any. He still has a long way to go to win my trust back, and we’re not ready yet to go back to counselling. I just need some happiness in my life for a while, and I know I’m avoiding some issues, but to go back to counselling will bring these up. I just need a break from all the crap. One thing I know, is if he crosses the line and I find out, he knows that it’s over for good. Despite the fact I have no romantic feelings for him, as I think they died with the separation, we have this amazing connection of 30 year history mostly good, but some bad times mixed in. The effort that he’s making: he’s arranging date nights, and surprise – not being critical. I understand the feelings will take time to come back? Time will tell. I also feel he hurt me so bad, I have no more hurt or tears anymore. I know I deserve someone wonderful, but. I need to get my kids to reach being adults. Hopefully along the way husband does grow up, man up, husband up, father up and sorts himself out and this will all be worth it. Keep us posted SS. Even if it’s just to write your own feelings popping up. By the way SS. You are perfect just as you are.

    3. Just a question. Does your husband have female friends (not the horrible affair bitch) - work or outside, and are they friends from before you two got together or since you two got together and what are your thoughts on this and if your husband has expressed anything about his female friendships to you now, especially after the affair. I'd love to hear your take on this.
      Thanks ladies

    4. SS,
      I can't say I'm surprised. From what you've written before, your husband seems to take the path of least resistance in life. And now, having to deal with the consequences of his choices, including his kids feeling differently about him, is a bucket of cold water on his "me" approach to life.
      There's little in your letter to indicate that you would really gain from letting him back in as a partner. Sure, it feels like a tidy ending to a messy chapter. And sure, your kids would likely prefer an intact family. But what about you? You've borne the brunt of all of this. You've absorbed the body blows. What do you get out of reconciliation? That absolutely has to be your first priority. You can't sacrifice yourself. And I doubt you would encourage your kids to sacrifice themselves if they were ever (god forbid) in your shoes.
      So...if you're not ready to just say no, what about working with him as a partner in parenting. An old friend. Don't put your life on hold but see how he proceeds with his own life. You might find yourself respecting him again. Even caring deeply for him again. Or you might find yourself perfectly happy to have him at arm's length forever.
      It sounds as if he still has a whole lot of work to do before he's capable of being anyone's partner in a healthy way. I hope he does that work because everyone benefits, his kids, you and him.

    5. Gabby, I think the female friends thing is fraught following D-Day because we're inevitably dealing with someone whose boundaries are problematic. I didn't insist on a "no female friends" rule or anything but my husband pretty much knew he was walking a fine line. He's become quite good friends with a couple of my good friends and I'm comfortable with that. But female friends outside of your marriage?? Potential trouble.

    6. I agree with Elle gabby, I read a book called 'just good friends' and basically there is no such thing as good friends!! It can leave windows open to all kinds of betrayal.. like Elle we have couple friends that I'm fine with, I don't have any male friends so can't see the need for him to have friends other than colleagues at work. Hope that helps xxx

    7. Oh SS, What another loop on the roller coaster!!

      I know this would make me dizzy!! My advice is to follow your instinct and go slowly with processing this and making any choice. You have come such a long way and done some very hard work being to true to yourself and honoring yourself and fighting for yourself! Think carefully about the value of you - just you, what's in this relationship for you!

      While it hasn't been so direct as this my H and I have had some reconciliation conversation and he has kept dishing up (false??) hope and many times it has been very hard and I just want to say YES and run to him..... as part of these conversations there is also tons of stuff that is all about me meeting his needs and almost nothing about my needs - even affair related healing - my needs are always delayed or denied because his stuff is sooo urgent. The other big red flag for me is that my H has not really done much work to truly recognize the root of unhealthy needs and understanding being wholehearted himself and then balance meeting needs in a relationship in a healthy way.

      If you want to give it more time (which I totally get.... even in my mess we really haven't taken legal steps) Maybe consider signing a legal separation in stead of a divorce. That way your legally protected from anything insane or accidental he might do, but it's not the big D. maybe consider spending some neutral time together (not romantic) and likely you will learn if your H is serious about change and healing. We all have ups and downs but you will be able to tell if the struggling is sincere and turning towards progress. Is he in IC?

      I know this is hard - love and support sister!!!

    8. SS it is so good to hear from you! My advice. Wait. See through his actions he really gets it and owns his shit. Do you see any changes in him? Are you his crutch? Are you a fallback position since what he said he wants, he is finally getting? He sees you adjusting and moving forward, maybe he never thought you would. I remember most of the agonizing post you wrote. There would be nothing better than to reconcile with your best friend, as you called him over and over. You got this far, so although you seem to doubt yourself your judgement is sound in every case. You sound rationale and know the score plus how the game is played. You got this one. Keep in touch please.

    9. Completely agree about female 'friends'. 11 years ago I thought a married female relative that lived 2.5 hours away and we only saw at most 1-2x/year and never really interacted with would not be a threat - wrong!

      Yesterday, my H got invited to a business lunch by a former female employee. According to H she is 15 yrs older than him and might be a lesbian. I still said no - not alone, but fine in a group. Very glad he was transparent and asked me. Progress!

  38. Hey phoenix .. how you doing? was thinking about you and still standing not heard from you in a while..

    It's shrove Tuesday here in the U.K. Pancake day : ) xx

  39. Hi Sisters

    Just need a place to say "I have been struggling". I have been thinking more about taking a legal step and it has brought up plenty of recycling for me.... fear and scarcity abound!!! I'm afraid of being alone, feeling like why wasn't I worth it.... even though I know the crap stories these actually are they have been hitting me like a ton of bricks for about 2 weeks.

    I'm just worn out and wish for an easy button. Sigh.

    Love and support sisters

    1. Becky, I am sending you a big huge, ginormous hug. I so get the recycling. That's not a bad thing though and doesn't make you weak or flawed or broken. It just means you have unfinished business with whatever it is. Some truth you need to discover. Usually that truth is that you are worthy and infinitely lovable. Scarcity can sometimes mean that you don't trust yourself to be able to provide or meet your own needs. You have been doing this forever. You are and will be OK.
      I feel you on the not feeling worth it. The guy in question for me didn't fight at all. not one iota. But that is about their own sense of unworthiness not about you and your value. You will be fine alone and if it is your intention to find love, you will. You will not be alone. Time and timing. Go slow. Take a breath. Be kind with yourself. If it has been hitting you these two weeks recognize that this is work your heart and mind want to be doing right now. You are your own best guide. Trust yourself.
      It is tough now. I'm sending you love and strength. You won't always feel this way.

    2. Sometimes logic goes out the window and the irrational emotions take over! And you can feel so frustrated and helpless.
      Find your peaceful place and breathe. I'm sorry you're too through that! Hugs to you!

  40. Hey, Sam! We do Fat Tuesday here. Moon pies, not pancakes. But pancakes sound pretty good! I'm hanging in there! What's going on with you?
    Still Standing, I think that, as usual, you have your head on straight. You should absolutely take as much time as you need to figure out what is best for you. You are seeing your STBX very clearly; he hasn't done a lot of changing. You, on the other hand, have changed quite a lot. An experience like this changes you, and changes what you are willing to put up with. I think you are very wise to recognize his limitations, and not to rush into anything. And hey, if the divorce goes through, he can just damn well start courting you again if he's serious. You deserve it.
    I've been up and down a lot lately. I don't hear much about the skank and her poor baby. He says he's saving up for a paternity test. Maybe. I'd like to know the truth, but I don't have any control over that. It's hard to know for sure, but I don't think they ever recovered from the blow-up right after the baby was born, when they fought about him being rude to her obnoxious mom, and her sending me that pic of the baby. I may be wrong, but I think the fantasy has been well and truly punctured. He no longer objects or argues when I put her down. Instead, he has doubled down on trying to get me back, which is difficult at best and heartbreaking at worst. He argues, begs, cries, apologizes, and promises to do anything. He tells me daily that he loves me, sends me old pictures of hurts my heart. Yes, I'm gratified that he now appreciates the marriage and friendship he threw away, but I don't want to see him this way. He is so unhappy, and he can't move on, and I can't seem to convince him that I really mean what I say. It doesn't help that I DO miss him. I loved him; he was my love and my best friend for 20 years. He has left an enormous hole in my life. But I will never trust him again - I know he's lied to me as recently as December, at least. Even if he does love me, he can't be honest. There's the child, of course. And then there's the fact that, like Still Standing, I've changed. I love him, like an old friend, but I don't love him like a wife anymore. That love was stomped on until it finally died. I can never go back to that marriage. In fact, it'll be a mighty long time, if ever, before I consider going into any marriage.
    But he's still holding on. I really want us to transition to a friendship, but we can't until he gives up on the marriage. And I'm starting to date again, which is going to open up a whole 'nother can of worms, I fear.
    I feel like I'm living in a soap opera. But I just want for him, me, and the girls to move on to a healthy place. I don't want drama. I want peace.
    Gabby, good for you for making that man toe the line! We BWC women take no crap! And I admire you so for finding happiness in other wonderful things. Finding joy in our lives is how we eventually win this fight and overcome the pain that has been laid on us.
    Love you, my sisters!!!

    1. Phoenix,
      I'm going to gently suggest that you're being a wee bit too concerned with his feelings. I know it's hard when he was your husband and friend for so long. But he created this situation. There is nothing he's dealing with that he didn't, literally, orchestrate. So his sadness is the logical response to discovering that he screwed up big time. Let him own that. That's how we grow and learn and, hopefully, learn how not to screw up again.
      You focus on you. I suspect that's hard for you. Feels selfish maybe? Self-absorbed? It's not. It's healthy. It's normal. And it's the least you deserve after being cast, unwillingly, into his soap opera.
      You have changed. Your metamorphosing into a butterfly. And it will hurt him to watch you but that's his problem. Yours is simply to continue growing into yourself.

  41. So unsurprisingly, he gave up that easily. We talked Monday. I said no, then I'm not sure lets take some time. He talked to his sister and told her "she's not interested." and yesterday, out of the blue, I got an email form him with his edits to the draft of the legal document i.e. our final step. I got this horrible lurch in my stomach again. Really? He gave up that fast? Because I din't welcome him back with open arms? As Elle pointed out, the path of least resistance. And I think about how turned on my head I got in that conversation with him and how quickly I felt my needs and identity being submerged in old ways. I had even come to the conclusion early in the day yesterday, that I did not believe he would fight for me, that he would not be willing to tackle the hard work necessary unless I paved the way and made it easy for him by rolling over or being a sacrifice to his redemption. I forgave myself for being confused, for being sucked in to hope even for a second, for feeling suddenly guilty about dating and recognize this makes me human, not weak. At the same time, I was seriously "butthurt" when I got that message two days after he sort of, kind of asked to come home. And his asking wasn't even asking. It wasn't I'm sorry I hurt you. I love you. I want you back. I will do whatever it takes. It was all about his fantasy of redemption, about me making it possible to redeem himself. About how comingg home would repair his relationship with his kids. News flash. its not going to dxo those things. And in all of that I heard nothing about what would be in it for me. All I saw was a lot of me doing and fixing and saving. Fuck that shit. I gave him sooooo many chances. Honestly, him putting me back in this emotional place is so selfish. I think he found out I was dating and was surprised really. Like I was going to be just sitting around waiting for him to come back. I told him I was not a sure or easy thing. And I will be no ones back up plan.
    So I am going to just get on with my life. Take beautiful photos and paint silly pictures and run and lift and listen to music. And spend time with friends and meet new people and travel. And not wait. And detach again. Thanks goodness I got in to see my second dad, reiki Bob this week. Just the loving, nurturing energy I needed to be safe and have a good cry. Goddammit I am tired this week tho. And warning anxiety back in my body every time this man draws me back into his nonsense. ug. Love you sisters. Thanks for showing up for me. xoxoxo

    1. Love you SS, your no nonsense attitude will serve you well.. we got your back .. big big hugs xxx

    2. Damn, SS. He is such a sad, sorry fool.
      I'm sorry, I know this is hurtful; even though you were smart enough to see through him, emotions are not logical at all. You wanted him to fight for you. He should have fought for you.
      He doesn't deserve you. And deep down, the miserable sap knows it. He know he's screwed up the best thing he ever had. And he can send all the face-saving legal documents he wants - privately, I'm sure he knows that he is the loser here.

    3. Hi. SS

      Sending you a big hug!!! Ugh, I hate these loops... where they want to get back together and love us ect.... also long as we meet their needs, make life easy for them, there no real
      Change or accountability. The real truth is you deserve better and have been giving yourself better!! I'm sure this has been hard, but I am super proud of you - your awareness and integrity to yourself were inspiring. Lots and love - keep on keeping on.

    4. I'm sorry you were hurt yet again. But, SS, you saw this. You predicted this. Which means that you're slowly learning who he really is and where you fit into his worldview. He can only see you as an extension of himself and your role in his life is to buffer him from the consequences of his stupid actions. Uh, no. That's not who you are. You are a complete human being, fully separate from him. Someone with wants and needs and a full wonderful heart. Someone who is just starting to take the time to discover herself as independent of him.
      Carry on doing what youre' doing. Think of this as a test...and you passed with flying colours. You saw this coming. You didn't want to be right...but you were.
      You're going to be great, SS. You ARE great.

  42. Lovely to hear from you Phoenix.. sounds like your in a really good place .it must be difficult to contend with your ex h continually trying to win you back especially when you don't have the feelings you once did for him.. you can only go
    On how you feel .. your being true to yourself and him .. your a true spirit Phoenix .. keep us informed...

    I'm ok thanks plodding on still enjoying living separately .. still not sure where our future lies but I'm not standing still for one minute I'm living life as best I can .. just come back from a holiday with the kids and I absolutely loved it so much so I've booked to go away again in 5 weeks.. I've always loved travelling feeling free and spemding that quality time with my children was so special .. staying positive and living in the moment xxx

    1. That's wonderful, Sam! I haven't had a good holiday since last summer. I so admire your spirit, and your ability to seek joy. I'm glad you are finding peace and happiness. You are amazing, sister!!

    2. Yay Sam A. That's so great. Huge smile of my face reading this.

  43. The ex found out I was going on a date Friday night. There was a lot of concern and sadness, and a "be careful" text. Then, late that night, there was an " I can't do this, I can't live like this. I'm sorry. I love you." text. Then....nothing. I haven't heard from him since. He hasn't responded to anything in a day and a half. I'd be worried, but we're fb friends, and I can see on Messenger that he has been active, so I know he's alive and well enough to operate social media.
    Maybe this is a bad thing, maybe he's trying to punish me or manipulate me. But I'm hoping, actually, that it's a good thing. Maybe he's finally coming to accept that we can't go back, and he's taking the necessary time and distance to deal with that. I honestly don't know, just like I don't know how things will be going forward. We communicate almost daily about the kids - how will that be affected? We're still sorting out some financial stuff, will he become less cooperative? Will he EVER open up to me now about whether or not that baby is our girls' brother?
    I'm hoping for the best, but I'm worried. There is still also a part of me that misses him, always. Messed up, mixed up guy that he is...can you believe that, after all this time, part of me still struggles with the idea that it really is over?
    But it is. And I'm not going to do either of us any favors by being wishy-washy about it.
    I feel very alone sometimes. But that's just Life - isn't it?

    1. Its so complicated, isn't it? And Ok to have mixed feelings about moving on and still missing the messed up guy, because you do have a long history. I worry too, that my dating is going to make him passive aggressive and mess with money or be fussy over kid stuff, etc. But like so many things with these men, we can't ultimately control or change what they do or who they are.
      I love the "be careful" text. Honestly, how dare he? Maybe he should have "been careful" =, been more protective of you while he had you.
      And I feel the same way about the "I can't believe its over" sometimes too. Even though I'm not all the way over legally, I feel like, in my heart or maybe my logical brain, something both accepts and resists the idea at the same time. And that does feel lonely.
      Don't forget though, you are not not truly alone. There are people in your life who love you. There are your sisters here. much love!

    2. Phoenix, Everything you're feeling is "normal". The right decision isn't always the easy decision. Nor does it necessarily feel good. Kind people will always have a hard time hurting someone else, even if that person has created the circumstances for their own problems. But you can't sacrifice yourself for him.
      Stay true to your vision of how your life can be when you're not dealing with his drama.

  44. Well, I finally heard from him.
    He's talking about the cancer again. He says he has less than a year to live. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    Y'all, either my ex has Munchaussen's Syndrome, or he's a complete manipulative liar, or he's dying. Good grief. What do I do? How do I find out?

    1. I would be inclined to tell him that you'd like to visit his doctor with him to get clear on what treatment options are available. My husband had an old girlfriend manipulate him into quitting college and moving home because she was "dying of cancer". It's incredibly sick (literally psychologically sick) to do that to someone if it's not true.

  45. My h brought a bunch of daffodils today. I felt a tiny spark of love, but kept a neutral expression. He said 'there isn't any message with these'... just in case I thought the flowers were a harbinger of peace and love.

    Despite myself, my heart was sad. I kept my face and body totally calm, but I was still a bit disappointed.

    Then he steamrolled over it all by saying 'I didn't know if I should get them, but then I just thought why not.'

    This is a man who brought me flowers maybe 5 times in 9 years. He never liked doing 'conventional' things. If only he could see what a cliché he is being these days. I am sad still.

    1. Selkie,
      Sounds as if your husband really struggles with any feelings of vulnerability. By giving you flowers, he's making himself vulnerable, which must feel incredibly uncomfortable so he brushes off the gesture as no big deal. But you're right, that's hurtful. Can you tell him that? That you're confused by the gesture and the accompanying message? Sounds as though the problem is an inability to just talk about genuine feelings rather than hide behind flowers and the fear of what you might interpret the gesture as meaning. So of course, you're sad. And confused.

    2. Thank you, Elle.

      I think you could be right. Since finding out about his affair, I have realised that he was indeed unable to talk about genuine feelings for the past year (if not longer). He is currently in a state of confusion and paralysis and unable to make a call about his willingness to make a new start in our relationship.

      The context is that last week I asked him if he would stop (telephone) contact with the OW and come to couples counselling with me. He said he "wasn't ready" for that. I told him I would have to interpret that as him saying that he saw no future for me in his life - and we would have to give notice to our landlord, sort out practical matters, etc.

      His parting words to me that evening were that he was afraid he would realise he was making a big mistake and could come "running back" to me, only to find that he was too late and that I would not want him back any more.

      The daffodils came a few days later. He also sent me a kind e-mail (revealing some feelings he obviously couldn't put into words).

      However, he is still in contact with the OW as far as I know. She is overseas, but due back in about a week. (They haven't seen each other since December). I feel that if they meet a third time - except to break up forever - then I will have to move on. I feel really awful about the whole situation, but some sense of self respect is kicking in.

      I do also feel confused. I can't understand how or why this man I love(d) can act so selfishly and honestly appears not to be able to imagine the effect his actions have now and will have in the future on me, on himself and on our daughter. It is like a zombie has taken his place.

      Meanwhile, the beautiful daffodils bring colour to the grey and rainy kitchen, innocent parties in a ridiculous and painful situation.

    3. Selkie,
      Yes, I'm with you. Either he has zero contact with her and focuses on rebuilding a relationship with you, or he's making it clear that it's time for you to move on. I suspect the latter, so be prepared. He's a classic cake-eater. Wants keep all options open so that he has a backup in case he changes his mind/it doesn't work out. What a coward!
      Selkie, you deserve so much better than this. You deserve someone who would fight like hell for you, who can't imagine living without you, who KNOWS his life would be poorer for not having you. I wouldn't be the least surprised if he realizes that at some point...but in the meantime, he's burning his bridges.

    4. Thank you Elle, I needed to hear that today.

  46. Hi Phoenix

    I understand your feelings so well... yes, I miss my crazy mixed up deeply wounded H too!! And lately I have been so angry that he can't/won't do the work to be wholehearted for himself or even at the point of losing us! Losing me, the love of his life... so he claims. I also worry and feel very alone, we were supposed to be partners through thick and thin and I feel like he doubled crossed me and completely bailed!!

    Will he ever open up.... ever tell the truth??? Good question. In my case, I think no. My H has such a altered perspective of what truth and honesty really are - it is mind blowing! I was reminding myself the other day that he has not told me the truth about anything during this whole painful mess!!! Only when I had facts and truth that I could confront him with would he even remotely come clean with anything. He has never been forthcoming coming or transparent!

    I have been inching my way towards legal actions and recycling a lot. It is so crazy how much I still love him... and like him!

    Any who... all this to say you might like the interview with Alain de Botton on the program Onbeing. Just google it. I found it really interesting about love and relationships.


    1. Hi Becky, Just wanted to say hi and I'm thinking about you. My h has a weird relationship with the truth which is that he can't tell it. He hides and avoids anything difficult or painful.
      Even with this latest drama blip where he kind of sort of almost asked to come home (he did say he was sorry he didn't try when I offered and that he regrets it) he's not being honest with me or himself. And it all is ultimately about him. He regrets giving up his comfy life, not losing me. He regrets that he doesn't live in our awesome house an that neighbors don't think as highly of him, not that I don't love him anymore.
      I knew he wouldn't fight and he didn't, but now I know that divorce is right and I'm not ashamed to own it. Because I told him I couldn't go back to that life. He needs to show up as someone different and he can't.
      And I think you are experiencing some of the same. I can still spend time with him and enjoy it, and recognize it could have been different. But that is wishful thinking on my part because he's not different. Elle called it when she said my h always takes the path of least resistance.
      Of course you still love him. You have a long history together. I'm rambling.
      Just thinking about you. whatever you decide, if you move toward legal action or not, keep your own well being front and center.
      Much love, SS

  47. Phoenix firstly how did your date go? Your h obviously took it hard and is trying I think to emotionally hurt you by not getting in touch. He's putting his needs first which is exactly what you should be doing too.. I understand you miss him and feel lonely phoenix of course you do, you share children, memories, marriage together. However your now paving a way for a new life new memories and happiness. You know how your ex h ticks you've seen all his antics and like you said being 'wishy washy' doesn't help him or you.. Phoenix there is always a fear that he may become uncooperative and not help financially or see the children less but that's something you can't control he's made his choices now your making yours.. try not to look to far ahead Phoenix just focus on here and now.. your doing just fine sister!!! Lots of love xxx

  48. I have a question for you all:

    For those who's H's did the work of repair; yet, after some time, you felt the betrayal was too emotional to heal from -- when/how/why did you determine it was best to continue with working on it/indecision, to stay (maybe even just until the children were older) or separate/divorce?

    I know no one can tell me what is best for me. I just need to hear your stories on how/when you knew what was best for you if you were in a similar situation (he is doing the work, you desire healing, but not much progress on your hurt despite everything hopeful in the present).

    (I wasn't sure if this ? fit better under "Feeling Stuck" or "S/D").

    1. BEG,
      I'm not sure how far out you are from D-Day but it takes such a long time to get over the hurt. I wonder, though, if it comes back to that age-old Anne Landers (the advice columnist) question: Is your life better with him? Or without him?
      And that's something only you can answer. It doesn't matter if he does everything "right" if you simply don't want him in your life as your husband. There isn't a "right" response to this. There is only what is right for you. I would suggest, if you're unsure, to give it time. If you're not seeing a therapist on your own, you might consider that too, to help you get clearer and separate what's residual hurt and what's a more permanent shift in your feelings.

    2. Thanks Elle. 4 mos out. It really is a complicated mess of ups & downs. I expected at this point I would still hurt, but not to be crying several times a day. I am stuck in the past. I don't know if I would cry less if I leave him.

    3. Browneyedgirl, it is early days yet. That you are standing, not crying several times a day is monumental. I can't advise you, but I can only share my experience. At four months I was desperate for a sign that my h was willing to try to do the work of repair. I was so hurt and so all over the place and reading signs and portents into every word. And he was all over the place, cake eating, stringing me along as a safety net in case his other dream didn't work out. I stayed and gave him so many chances. But ultimately that was for me. I needed to know that I had done everything I could to save this sinking ship. But my h is selfish, takes the path of least resistance, has no idea how to self soothe, has no idea what he wants, let alone how to fight for what he wants.
      All I can say is give yourself time, focus on your own recovery, take your eyes of him and turn them on to you. What do you need? It might be the time and space to just grieve, to live through each day and be proud you made it one more time. You don't need to pressure yourself to be or do anything right now.
      Many thins got me through the terrible discomfort of not knowing what was going to happen or what I needed to do. A few close friends in who I could confide, who knew the whole story. My beloved sister, who is now one of my best friends. My therapist. My fabulous Bob who does reiki and is my second earthly dad. My dogs. let people in your life care for you. Talk your story out. Journal (or write here, it works the same).
      It took me months to realize he was not going to change. But I started to get an inkling when he told me he was going to see her for her birthday and I told him he needed to move out. Then he moved out in August and I still held out hope. It was supposed to be a trial separation, but he didn't even give it the six months he promised to think. So we started divorce proceedings and people that loved me told me he'd regret it and by the time he wanted to come back, I might not want him back anymore. All I can say is that this is true. For me, relative to a man who never tried, never fought at all, I am better off. And I have been able to leave some of the pain behind because it is not in my face. I don't have to worry when he goes on a biz trip because I just don't care any more. etc.
      So that is a long way of saying, I needed to take all that time, and it was a really long time, more than a year, to get to the point where I knew I was better off without him and turned down a half assed attempt to ask to reconcile. What I've said may not make you feel better. I want to note that your situation seems very, very different than mine. What I am trying to say is just take your time and be here with your grief and pain right now. There is no short cut. Give yourself time and gather data, watch what he does while you give yourself time.
      We've got you Brown Eyed Girl

    4. Hi BEG

      One of the best pieces of advice I got during early months (I know 4 feels like forever) is don't make any big decisions about staying or leaving in the first 6 months. Just breath and take one day at a time. For me this was pretty solid advice. For me it was more like 9 months before I really had enough perspective and my feet under me to see clearly and make the decision that separation was necessary. At 4 months I was still crying tons, not sleeping, not eating, daily highs and lows, a was exhausting, I get it. Try and be gentle with yourself and realize there is no set timeline or magic date for healing or hurting less. Healing inches it's way back into our heart and lives and little by little with an open heart we feel the shift and then one day look back and see how far we have come. I have to remind myself of this often as I get stuck recycling stuff or questioning myself and the process.

      Also, I think getting stuck the way you describe is often part of the process. In fact I think Elle has some old posts in that. Maybe look at some of the older post and see... I'm thinking over a year ago. Are you working with an MC or IC Maybe talking this through would be productive, is there underlying fear or anger??? It can be so hard to sit with the pain, uncertainty, and confusion, but taking that time often helps bring the clarity we are looking for.

      Love and support sister

    5. Brown eyed girl, you actually might cry less for a while. But eventually, you would have to get all your grieving out.
      My point-of-no-return came when I realized that, no matter what, I would never be able to trust him again. But my situation was different. He WAS saying he wanted to do the work - at the end, he was begging to stay - but he was still lying, so he wasn't walking the walk. He just used up all his chances. If your H really is trying to make changes, then it's not the same.
      Let me say this, though. It may seem to you that four months is a long time, but most of us, four months sounds like a very, very short time after D day. I'm a year and a half out, and I'm still dealing with the aftershocks. Whether you do it with your husband or without him, you still have a lot of emotions to work through. I'm so sorry, I wish I could tell you differently. But this is a long-term healing project.

    6. Sam, I am re-reading your reply to give me strength. Becky, I will check out that interview.

    7. Thank you, Elle, Still Standing, Becky & Phoenix. I appreciate your perspective.

      H is committed to me & our marriage at this point. H is doing most everything I would want or have asked in recent months. I just worry that the betrayal was so big emotionally that I may never feel well enough to continue. Yet, I really want to, if for nothing else at least for our kids.

      I just want to find happiness again, to smile & laugh, to regain my self-esteem. I survived child abuse, was the 1st person in my family to graduate from college, put myself through medical school, got promoted to the top of my career, volunteered in my community, I was strong, generous & kind, a good (not perfect) wife & mother. We hosted all the family events at our house (now that is over b/c he had sex with his cousin's wife and his family all knows it and blame me). I really did the best I could being married to a many who was addicted to drugs & porn. And then he turned to a COW to tell her how unhappy I made him.

      My glass used to be half full, now it is half empty. I just can't seem to stop reliving the betrayal(s) and live in the present. Everyone keeps advising me that (MC/IC, you all) and it makes complete sense, I just haven't been able to do it. It's like playing a horror movie over and over and over again.

    8. Brown eyed girl,
      I have no answers, but want to say that I totally understand
      We finally start MC next week, and I started IC in November, but our 1st dday was 2004! We are on our 3rd dday at the moment.
      We had an incident this week where it became very clear I have trust issues and his behaviour is dishonest even when he hasn't done wrong.
      I know we both are trying in our own ways. But at the moment, I can't be what he needs (showing love through words of affirmation and physical attention) and he can't be what I need (totally transparent). For us, we have each had to accept where the other is at. I have been through cycles of being more what he needs, just so I'm doing my bit, but without the security and safety reassurance from him, it ends up tying me up in knots. Yet I know that me being distant in this way feeds into his feelings of rejection which started the whole set addiction thing.
      I have questioned if I actually love him or not. It is so difficult to get clear when there is so much pain, but I do know I love him deep down.
      I am hoping MC enables us to help ourselves out of the mess we have made, or at least helps us to uncouple in a healthy way.
      Don't forget, not all is lost. You are still you, you are not the betrayal, or the choices of his family, you are you. And whatever happens, no one but you can stop you for being you.

  49. Elle, that was exactly what I thought too. I immediately requested to go to the doctor with him. He seemed to jump at the idea, and said that he was grateful I wanted to go . Which may or may not mean anything. I know him of old. He can seem very eager for something to happen; that doesn't mean it ever will. I am reserving judgment. We will see...
    I really do care about him, very much, but I've seen him lie so often. Even about illness.
    Becky, yes, I get it. He is lovable - and likable. And we have so much history, such a bond. Like you, I cycle through the anger, the disbelief (even now), the pain, the loneliness. Sometimes I feel so damn isolated.
    But in my case, whenever I get closest to softening toward him, something always holds me back. I just.....know too much.
    It breaks my heart that your h won't do the work or face the truths that are needed to save your relationship. I'm so sorry for the continued sorrow and confusion you feel. I wish, as I have so often, but I could give you a hug.
    Mine says he is willing to do whatever it takes, but our tragedy is that I can't believe him. Ever again.
    Sam, thank you for your loving support.
    You are always so sweet! The date was okay, but nothing special. I am sending you hugs!

  50. Like sands through the hourglass....
    Ex tells me that he got his bonus last week and used it to pay for a paternity test on Friday. He said he and the baby both got tested in Friday, and he is waiting to hear the results.
    I hope it's true - my ex, bless him, is completely capable of making up a story this elaborate. How crazy is it that sometimes I just want to call up the OW and say: "Wanna compare notes?"
    If it is true, though, I may be able to either A) close the door on this unsavory chapter, or B) start planning the future with this child as a factor.
    Hope you ladies are having a good week so far!

  51. Well, I think this is it. I think it's DDay 3. I had said to my h that if he met the ow again physically other than to break up, then I would have to conclude that he did not see a future for me in his life.

    He just told me (when directly asked) that the ow is back from her travels in Canada and is staying at 'his' (her former) apartment. She got back yesterday. I can only assume that further sexual betrayal occured last night.

    He will be here tomorrow evening (I work late so he needs to pick up our child and make her dinner) and Friday evening (our daughter's 2nd birthday). I feel numb.

    Things were already surreal, but now it's like an unreal nightmare. Am I to sit opposite him while our little girl blows out the birthday candles? Incredible. I don't think my compartmentalisation skills can match his.

    I would love any words of support or ideas for getting through the next few weeks. I'll be giving notice to the landlord in mid-April and starting to look for other job and accommodation options.

    1. Dear god Selkie I am so sorry. He's so clearly lost and stuck in that selfish place. I'm so so sorry that he is a blind fool.
      I don't even know what advice to give you. I'd say have minimal contact if you can. And if spending time together with him for your daughter's birthday is too much tell him he's not welcome after his choice to move the ow back in. Can you split the day rather than share it? Think about what you need right now? Do you have people in your life you can lean on?
      I'd also recommend you read the post on here about lining up your exit plan. I don't know where you are with that but a free consultation with a lawyer may actually put some of your worries to rest.
      For now, just don't try to do too much of anything other than breath and exist. This must be excruciating. I wish I could come and sit next to you and hold your hand.

    2. Oh Selkie, I am so so sorry. CH is making a horrible horrible decision.

      Can you celebrate your daughter's b-day without him and he can celebrate it with her another day alone? She is so young, she will not remember - hopefully she would just see it as 2 parties.

      Or - do you want to give your daughter one more picture as a family. I know we moms can make big sacrifices for our kids at our own expense. And, if so, would it help to have someone in your corner there to help you hold it together for that one evening?

      Your daughter hit the jackpot to get you for a mom!

      Get yourself a good & comprehensive team right away - lawyer, IC, physician, clergy. If you are 100% certain you are going to separate/divorce bring those friend(s)/family you can trust but have kept in the dark into the fold, you need them now. And we are here for you.

    3. Thank you, Still Standing and Brown Eyed Girl. I feel less alone with your kindness, supportive words and practical advice.

      I did some preliminary legal fact-finding last month, so will have to follow up on that now.

      My family are in another country (I moved here to be with my h) but I have good friends. Most have small kids so are not super available! but I'm meeting one for lunch tomorrow.

      I think I will rise above the absolute bodyblow here to give our daughter a (no doubt last ever) birthday with both parents.

      It's very likely if (when) we officially separate that I will go back to my country. This will make parental access really hard for my h. I don't wish that for our child, but I don't think I can stay here without a broader support network for myself.

      What a pointless mess.

    4. Selkie, on going back to your country, I say "brava!" choose what is right and best for you and your child. Be where people have your back. Much love.

  52. I can't believe so much time has gone by since my last post. So turns out my h or stbx or whoever he is, never got my text asking that we take our time and really think. There has been much drama, much back and forth. But when we have been able to remove the well intentioned whisper down the lane effort of my mother in law, and actually talk on our own, we are actually communicating. Aiming at anything like reconciliation, I'm not sure. I don't think so. But that's OK.
    He's admitted he's afraid of me. I asked him to remember that I'm not his mother. He's been more honest with me than he ever has in his life. I wrestled with the little fantasy of getting back together, what that might look like if it was good, if we both worked really hard to change our old dance. Of going to my daughter's graduation together, the house in Maine, coffee under the wisteria. How would I show up as a real me for him and vice versa?
    And the idea, the deep old need, from childhood of being chosen by the people who were supposed to love me.
    And here is where I got to yesterday after a lot of thinking and journaling, and this is what I wrote to him:
    "Ok, so I wanted to let you know something important. That I have gotten to a place where I know that one way or another I am going to be OK and happy. It is my intention to be happy and if that is with you, I will do everything I can to make sure I am happy. And if it is without you, I will do everything I can to make sure I am happy. That is my job. And I wanted to let you know that you don’t need to do or be anything to make me happy.
    So this will be a little weird to talk about but it is important background. As I’ve started dating (and it is not really dating, it is meeting people to see if you might want to start dating; a strange universe for sure), I’ve learned something important from each person I’ve met. About myself, about expectations and about the miraculous experience of meeting a person who has no expectations, zero, for you. They just want to get to know you. They don’t need you to do or be anything for them. I’ve met two people like this and it was striking when contrasted with the people who needed me to feed some part of their ego, be not as smart as them or be their therapist etc. etc. The two people who had no expectations just made space for me to show up in and it was a wonderful deep breath. And it got me thinking about what I am bringing to those meetings. How do people experience me? Am I making space for people to show up in or am I arriving with a framework of expectations that weighs people down? And I decided I really needed to practice that no expectations thing, so I could just enjoy getting to know new people and they could enjoy me. So then, you and I are having our conversations, and I am getting all bunged up about wanting to be chosen and some other old stuff and a fucking light bulb went off in my head. Why can’t I bring that soft, zero expectation space into my interactions with you? Don’t you deserve that freedom and space to be you? And so that is where I got to last night. And when I got there I realized that if I loved you and had no expectations for you, then what I want most is for you to be free to make choices that make you happy, that you be free to be yourself. Even if that means choosing not to be married to me any more. Its killing me to say it, because there is still a childish 5 year old having a tantrum, “how dare he go off and be happy without me?” But the truth is, when I am whole in myself, take responsibility for my own happiness, then I don’t need you (which is a healthy not need, not an angry defiant not need, if that makes sense). I can just love you, even if that means letting you be free to make the choices that are best for you, even if that means letting you go. So please, stop worrying about what everyone else wants or expects for you and of you. Choose for you. And I will love you no matter what."

  53. Part 2
    And it feels true and I feel lighter for having written it. And I truly don't need him to pick me anymore. I may cycle back through that struggle of wanting to be enough or chosen because that is my old story from long ago. But I can remind myself that that old saw is just a lie. And I don't expect him to come back and I think I am Ok with that. I cried when I wrote that, because I can finally grieve from ground of my own choosing. It will be hard, watching him go off and be happy without me. It hardly feels like justice. But I remember a wise woman once told me you can choose justice or you can choose happiness. I choose happiness.
    Much love to you all. SS

    1. That is golden wisdom, Still Standing. I think you have it. Real love and real freedom. Your observation on expectations strikes a chord with me- I definitely have higher expectations of people close to me than I do of acquaintances/ strangers. Good insight. You are brave and bold.

    2. SS, that was beautiful. After everything you have been through, the real you still shines. I appreciate your post.

  54. SS it sounds like you have reached your destination of 'wholeness' your journey has been amazing to follow.. you have gone from flower bud to a beautiful yellow bright daffodil.. you should be so proud of yourself right now ss you have showed nothing but courage and integrity throughout your healing.. I can't wait to hear what's next for you.. lots of love SS xx you've made my Friday xx

  55. Selkie, I'm sorry. I'll be thinking about you tonight as you celebrate your daughter's birthday. You will get through this. You WILL. Hugs!!

    1. Thank you, Phoenix, I really appreciate that.

      It was lovely to see her smiling when we were singing 'Happy Birthday' to her. At 2, she's starting to understand some of the excitement! I tried not to let myself think that this is probably the last time she'll have both parents with her on her birthday. I wish her Papa wasn't so short-sighted about the effect his (non-)choices will have on her in the future.

      I have a treat planned for myself this week - a massage. Mind and body need to be kneaded and stretched...

  56. Hello- I don't know if my story is that unique... D-day was 6 years ago, we separated, got back together and I had him leave again 5 years ago as he was lying and still in affair with her... her was married and thanks to me her husband learned of the affair. The OW justified, tried to run me over with her car, blamed me for ruining her life, blah blah blah.... fast forward to today... we are still separated but I did file for divorce but he asked me to please reconsider. I left this time, moved away to a new community... so here I am 5 years later, still not divorced or reconciled... I met a new man and we took things slowly and now I finally feel healed.. I was married 27 years and was very much in love with my husband, he broke my heart, hurt our 3 sons... but today we get along, coparent our grown sons who are successful, happy and healed... I am proud he and I managed to get to this place... but why am I hesitant to make that final decision... he has finally apologized, however has done nothing to improve help himself or truly show me he is serious on wanting us.... so I stay away... I feel stronger, happier but unsettled.. I began therapy again 6 weeks ago and have an amazing new therapist and together we are tackling this... if I go through with the divorce I worry on our home we own together because neither of us could re buy where we live... our youngest son is graduating college end of this year and wants to move home after and he he is looking for work locally. I promised myself I could hang on until he is settled. But am I sacrificing me?

    Has anyone been hesitant on a final divorce, is legal separation a solution? I have spent a lot of money on attorneys and now would need to do this myself.. I have health issues and can't work but part time..

    I am taking care of me more lately, enjoying some rest and traveling with my mom. I am fortunate in my family. Except they do no to understand why I am stagnant... also with this new man in my life. Right now for some odd reason I feel no commitment to anyone but realize I need to go in one direction. Thus my therapist helping me fight my fears, look at what I want for me, also dealing with some trauma from my earlier childhood which she feels has caused me to be fearful of speaking up for myself.

    I remember being told healing could take years and it was like I hit thst 5 year mark and it hit, I am healed.. now to move on more with my life and dreams. There are times I miss my family unit so much but I don't miss all the crud thst happened. I feel this year is my year to finalize one way or another. I have approached my ex as I call him on all this, he is afraid to talk. Afraid of loosing me yet does nothing... he feels shame, guilt, etc.. holds onto our home and memories. I find this strange... he is the one who put us in this place yet he can't fully accept responsibility. He also is proud he and I are getting along but down deep I know if I choose to go back, He will be the same as he has not done the work on himself... honestly he could stil Ben in contact with the OW, she divorced last I heard but her 3 kids favor their father... sad really...

    Not sure what I am searching for by this writing, maybe I am not alone in my situation?

    1. Involvedmom,
      While our circumstances sometimes vary, we are never alone in our emotions. I'm wondering if you're simply experiencing a deep grief and that's why it's hard to cut that final string. It sounds as if you've done a lot of work to move forward. You've met someone new. You've carved a life for yourself without him. But...something is keeping you from that final step.
      I would urge you to take it. He's showing you, by NOT making change in himself, that this is who he is. You don't want that. It's wonderful that you're able to co-parent and be amicable with each other. That's great for your kids but good for you too.
      It's time, Involvedmom. Time to have a good cry and make the break. Time to accept that a long marriage is well and truly over. Time to move into the rest of your life, with all the wisdom and strength that you've shown as you've made your way through betrayal.
      You can do this. It's the next right step for you. Doesn't mean it will be easy. But it does mean it's right.

    2. InvolvedMom,
      Have you considered doing a legal separation and giving him a list of your non-negotiables? (e.g. take full responsibility, go to IC himself + MC with you, full transparency on all his email, cell, credit card statements, etc.). If you haven't maybe consider that - what do you have to loose by making your needs clear and seeing if he will meet them? If he doesn't do everything you need then you should feel at peace with finalizing the divorce.

  57. You are not alone,

    That is both the good and the bad news.
    What has he done to show he's moved on?
    I know that I am learning how to read my DH's behaviour. I have had to invest time in learning his language to understand the cost of various reforms he has made. Recently he apologised for 14yrs of financial woes. I thought it was a flippant thing, like how does that make it all better?! But in a subsequent conversation I understood it meant a lot more. He has also worked hard at getting a new job recently, showing he really meant it.
    Maybe you need to find a solution to the housing issue for your son. That being out of the picture, then you can make a clear choice about your husband.
    I have been working through IC and MC recently and realised that quite a lot of my emotional baggage is echos from the past. I'm 6 years on from dday like you. I think I spent a long time trying to do the right thing and squash any feelings, that I didn't deal with any of them properly.
    Sadly, it h's taken for me to be too ill to work before I wised up. Thankfully, like you I have some good people around me, and I know I will get there. Even if I have no idea where there is right now. All I can do is keep working on me.
    I hope that you can find your peace, and hope.

  58. Dear Sisters,

    I am sending us all love and support! I am on my way back home after a much needed trip with some dear friends. It was a wonderful trip and also difficult as the first trip without my H. Under normal circumstances he definitely would have been here with us! Life goes on one next right step at a time. I am thinking of us all.


  59. Yes, life goes on. Some steps are painful, others easier, but you keep stepping.
    I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip, Becky!

  60. The ups and downs continue. There was another large ripping away when I found out my ex was posting "I love you" on the skank's FBThe ups and downs continue. There was another large ripping away when I found out my ex was posting "I love you" on the skank's FB page, 2 days after the last time he begged me for another chance. A few days of that churning stomach pain, reminiscent of that old pain we all know so well, from the weeks after Dday. Then I processed it, and I was better, one more big step away from my feelings for him. Of course, he said later that he only resorted to that because I kept shooting him down. I don't try to understand this man anymore. I just try to deal with him decently while maintaining my equilibrium. I didn't want to think it while I was going through the pain, but it was good for me. I had been sad and reminiscent about our relationship. And that was just the shot in the arm I needed to remind me that I do NOT want that back. My head already knew, but sometimes my heart needs reminding. (Con. in next post)

  61. (Con. from last post) Then we had a huge sh-tstorm last weekend because he found out I was out with a guy I've been seeing, while he had the kids. He brought the kids home early, went out, got drunk, and proceeded to spend the night calling me and sending me hateful, threatening texts. He threatened to kill any man I brought to my house (using the fact that it is his kids' house as an excuse). He threatened to call DHR on me because my house is messy. He threatened to "expose" me to the kids as a liar. He threatened to introduce them to his girlfriend. He doesn't show his nasty side often - but when he does, it is very nasty. He hit me with everything he could think of. He didn't have much. I'm not afraid of DHR - they can see my messy house - and even though the kids and I have our issues sometimes, our relationship is pretty solid.
    He was so far gone, in anger and pain and alcohol, that he was willing to hurt his own children to hurt me. There was no rational thought there. Only pure venom.
    I figured he would come to his senses, but I had to take precautions, just to be sure. The next morning, I sat the girls down and told them about my (extremely limited as yet) dating life. I said I hadn't been completely honest with them because this was a new situation, and I wasn't sure how much to tell them OR their daddy, that I was trying to protect them and be fair to their daddy, but I had made some mistakes. I told them their daddy was very angry with me because he was hurting, and that he might say some angry things about me, but that they should not be scared or worried, or feel like they had to defend anyone or take sides. They could keep loving both of us, and we would work it out. It was a new situation for all of us; my ex and I have always been super-respectful of each other in front of the girls.
    Well, I was right, he calmed down. By that afternoon, he was expressing the pain instead of the anger. We talked about a lot of things. He acknowledged - but didn't like - that I am dating and that the girls know. It is in the open and I feel better. I acknowledged- but didn't like - that the day may soon be coming when my girls have to meet HER. The child is his; he's all but admitted it now. If he stays with her, I'll have to learn to deal with her being around my daughters. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but I've had time to get used to the idea, which is more than some people get. I'm strong. I will deal.
    He says she calls me "The Saint" and that she is terrified of me. I don't know what to make of that, or if it's even true. He's trying to convince me that she's not really vindictive. I don't believe that, but we'll see. In the end, it'll all come down to how she behaves around my kids.
    I think it has finally, finally really registered with him that it's over. That I'm not ever coming back. That I'm really moving on and the marriage, legally over for 9 months now, really is over. Dead. He's been calling, texting, and stalking me on social media for months. I think - I hope - he has reached a realization and a turning point. It's over.
    And I have realized over the last few weeks that he is not my friend.
    Oh, he is back to saying that I am his best friend. And, as long as he doesn't do anything to hurt my kids, I will always care about him, want the best for him, and be willing to help him. Within certain limits, I think he will be there for me if I need him.
    But he is not really a friend to me. I cannot trust him not to turn on me. I must always remember this, and be careful.
    Sorry for the long post. I'm working some things through. And it occurs to me that some others might be facing, or might in the future have to face, some of the things I'm dealing with.
    Love to my Warrior peeps!

    1. Wow Phoenix, you are so kick ass. His response to your dating is so enormously ironic. And entitled and clueless, given that you are very clearly and permanently divorced. Did he think you'd wait in some relationship limbo, eternally being available as some back up plan for you? His response is childish in the extreme. I'm angry and disappointed on your behalf.
      I found my self nodding involuntarily when I read your words "And I have realized over the last few weeks that he is not my friend." Truth. He is not your friend and he has demonstrated that. Again and again. I think many of us can say that about our current or former spouses. And it sucks.
      Thanks for sharing this part of your story and for the excellent example you set for all of us when it comes to rising above the mess.
      I've got so much to tell you all. And I have been turning over how I think about my stbx. We are moving ahead with the divorce. Crazily, I can't imagine trying to fix things with him now, even as I feel the memory of the pain that wrapped around Easter last year. That he had come home from a highly triggering business trip and asked me to go on a trip around our anniversary, then not a week later reversed his position, because his side piece pulled some counter move. He had, until that point, been on the pendulum upswing toward me. And easter with family all around and me with a brave face and looking amazing and everyone thinking he's nuts and him coming to me as the safest person in all of the group. And him drinking too much to take the edge off of his discomfort. (which he still does). And so I am going to visit my sister for Easter and not be here for any reminders. I am leaving that all behind. I will sit patiently and hold vigil with any grief that comes up. But in the way of funerals, laying it to rest, I hope. And I will keep turning toward my new life with a brave open face, and not worry about what comes next. I will enjoy my life and my old and new friends, even as I feel nostalgic for my old stories. Remember making easter baskets for my kids, and the deep sense of family that gave me, an illusion of safety. I've needed to redefine family, with my solo self at the center. Its a trembling, groundless place but it feels a lot like freedom. I'm Ok here.
      "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." Albert Camus, of all people.

    2. Correction... should have said "... eternally being available as some back up plan for him?" I'm sure you got my intent though.

  62. Strong Phoenix! Yes, I am with you on the 'friend' thing. My h (although nor as dramatic as yours, equally hurtful I would think) keeps saying he wants us to be friends.
    Despite our good past and my continued love for the man I thought he was (could be), I just have to think, 'no way'. How could I be friends with someone who lied to me and hurt me so much? None of my real friends would DREAM of treating me like that.
    Friends, no. Co-operative co-parents, hopefully.

    1. Yes. Shields and distance are definitely called for. Just like you said - good past, still some love - but I'm keeping the boundaries drawn in my mind.

  63. Part One
    So a couple weeks ago now, after my ex (i still don't quite no how to refer to him, he's not my husband - sort of like the "not my president" movement - but we're not all the way divorced yet) ended it with his affair partner and he and I had done some of that gut wrenching circling around do we work this out (and to be honest, I would have tried, if he had, for even a split second indicated that he in any way wanted me or regretted losing me) and decided that if we tried, it would be for the wrong reasons.
    He's in my kitchen on his night to visit the kids and he's very emotional. They are not in the room. And he confesses he's having a hard time. Starts to break down in tears. And I am filled with compassion, not for a man I love, but for a sorry human in pain. And I ask him if he needs a hug and he nods so I hug him. And he says, " you of all people should not be comforting me in this. this is not your burden." And I know he's crying, grieving over the loss of his affair and, what I like to think of as, the imaginary magical connection they had (because it had to be a love that has never before existed on planet earth to justify the harm caused). And I actually, looked at it as an intellectual exercise. In that moment, I was providing comfort to a human in need and I stopped caring that it was about his affair and the other woman, because she's not my other woman any more. Not just because he (or they or she) ended it, but because she's no longer relevant to my life or my current or future happiness. It was a strange, shadowed prairie land for sure, but I had confidence in my ability to handle it.
    It also showed me that my ex is still engaging in the perpetual victim mentality. He's now wallowing in the suffering of his loss. This is another blow life has landed upon him. Another version of the story where he can't have what he wants. Yawn. And it continues. He's weepy and struggling week after week. He's got a neighbor and his sister on alert, on call, because he's still drinking too much and is afraid he'll hurt himself when drunk in ways he wouldn't when sober. He's lying to me about how much he's drinking and looks away when I suggest he might be better to not drink at all for a while, given what a trigger it is for our daughter.

  64. Part Two
    So that night, as Ok as I thought I was with comforting my ex in his grief over the end of his affair, my subconscious had a field day with it. I dreamed that we were in a crazy house, with lots of stairs that went nowhere, rooms you couldn't find and we were trying to find something, me and my ex. Then I discover that he brought the OW there. And My reaction was "You brought her here?! to this house?!" Not angrily, but more like you are an idiot, you can't even find your own way around this house. Then I open a door to a room and there she is. And I say "oh. you're not really that big a deal." And she's small and not particularly striking. Just a regular, sad human. And then I make it up to the roof, which happens to be like the top of a parking garage (dreams are weird) and my ex is there in a car with the OW. And he he says "You need to get in the car." I start laughing, "You have got to be kidding. I'm not getting in a car with you." Because I didn't trust him to drive the three of us safely.
    So although I am Ok being around him, and we are very effectively co parneitng and our more positive interactions have had a positive influence on the kids and their overall stress levels, he is not my friend. Not in the way we were. Not like before we were married or even the early days. Not in the way I believed we were, even in the last few years.
    He's selfish and although I know he's trying, I am beginning to find his constant, wet-blanket misery quite tiresome. i know when you are depressed having someone tell you to find your bootstraps is no help. But we do have choices about how we manage. He could walk or exercise or talk to a friend rather than drink and distract.
    And finally, the small truth I admitted to myself this morning, is that I am hurt that not one of those tears seems to be about me. I am wounded that he completely and utterly fails to see my worth. Especially, now, when I finally see how worthy I am. Maybe too much history to go back. But I hate that he is spending weeks weeping over his affair but so easily chose to step away from me without a second thought.

    1. Great idea about spending Easter with your sister ss, make it a good one!!!

      As for comforting your stbx you did so with compassion as you would do any other human and I think removing yourself from that situation mentally helped to deal with it in the way you did. Ss I know you assume your h was weeping for the loss of the ow but have you actually asked him? It maybe that he realises what a total shit he's been to you and Regrets the way he has behaved and can see just how strong you are right now? Just a thought?? Heck you scare me with how strong you are ss never mind your h : ). Think some men are fearful of our responses and either don't say anything at all or say the wrong thing, speaking from experience.. your is such a strong position right now and he knows he is set to lose you but just can't seem to do the right thing to win you over, makes me mad and sad that he is just letting you slip through his fingers.. whatever happens ss you have developed the tools to be just fine on your own your living proof of that.. go enjoy your Easter break and let us know how you go.. I'll be thinking of you.. I'm away with the kids on vacation so have some time to catch up with my old friends right here at the btw .. love yall xxx

    2. Yes, Still Standing, I've had moments like that too. As one human being to another, I respond to my h in his times of acute distress. We do have to remain detached though. At the start, I believed his tears showed remorse. Now I see them more as a release of guilt and tension... but the next day he is back to his cake-eating ways.
      I salute your compassion. Just be careful that your ex is not exploiting your emotional energy. Sometimes I feel my h has become like a black hole. I stand beside, and resist getting sucked in. But can this be possible?

  65. I don't get it, SS. I'm sorry, but he must be such a fool. It's almost pitiful that he doesn't see how much he has lost in you.
    Of course, when he gave you up, he had a backup. And now he has nothing. Men don't like to not have a backup, apparently. Witness how my ex keeps going back to the skank because it's GOT to be me or her; he can't fathom the idea of just being single for a while and working on himself.
    SS, that misery, that self-pity, my ex is eaten up with that, too. These are deeply unhappy men. And like you, I find myself sometimes wanting to comfort him. Habit, or residual love, or just plain human compassion- who knows?
    I loved the dream!!!
    I had a setback a couple of nights ago, briefly. The kids were with my ex, and he had a long conversation with them. He told them good things, that I was the best friend he'd ever had, the best person he'd ever known..I'm not looking for extravagant praise, but after last weekend, I think it's restoring their equilibrium to hear us speak positively about each other, like we always have. So that was good. But he also told them about the skank. That is, he told them he'd been dating someone, and let them ask questions about her. On the heels of my telling them, last week, that I was dating, it was a natural development. But it took me by surprise, specially since he waited a day to tell me about it. I gently sounded out the girls, not asking for specifics, but just saying that I knew they had the conversation with him, and asking if they were OK with everything. They seemed ok. To them, she's just a new girlfriend. Everything was fine - and then, my 11-year-old said her name.
    And y'all, it just about killed me. I thought I was ready, but after a year and a half if emotional hell, hearing that woman's name - the name that I can still barely bring myself to say - hearing it come out of my innocent baby's mouth so casually, it just wrecked me. I smiled, hugged her, and then went into my room and began a downward spiral. My ex called, and I found myself crying and almost hyperventilating. So much suffering- and now they would be introduced to her as if nothing had ever happened. She would get to be friends with them, after all this, get to spend time with them, and I would have to hear her name and smile for them....y'all, it just seemed impossible. My babies - my heart, my reason for living - and that woman.
    So I cried and mourned and had my own confused dreams, in which she and I were in the same house but I was slowly and surely being degraded and forced out.
    I'm not proud of my response. It didn't help that my ex, while sympathetic, took the opportunity to remind me that all I had to do was ask, and he would turn his back on her and come home.
    Even if I wanted that. - and I don't, I don't trust him and I'm not about to open myself up to that kind of pain - I would never really stop looking over my shoulder.
    Things got better the next day. I'm doing much better now. I just hope I don't fall through the ice again. I knew this was going to be hard. I may have underestimated just how hard. But I feel strong again. I know I will do what I have to do.
    I have a lot of people who love me. But you are the ones who understand.

    1. Oh Phoenix, my heart clenched reading what you wrote about your child saying the OW's name. Dear God, it seems so grossly unfair, crazy, just plain wrong that this woman gets to appear out of nowhere (at least to your girls) as a fresh new thing and no consequences and she gets to be in their lives. It does seem impossible. I'm so sorry. I've thought so many times about what it would be like to have my ex's side piece (yes, its insulting, I'm feeling bitter today) sitting down to a holiday meal with my children. Fuck her. But that is how my ex planned it all along. That he would keep her a secret until the divorce was final because "he was unhappy" and then get to introduce her to our kids and his family as a legit relationship. Guess what? Didn't work out that way. Not only does my daughter know all about the OW, she would never in a million years have accepted her. And she would not have kept the nature of the relationship a secret form her brother or anyone else for that matter because as she says "keeping my dad's shitty secret is not my job." Ouch.
      All I can say Phoenix is that one way or another, that woman will get or is already getting what she deserves. She's creating it all the time with her poor choices. And one way or another, the truth has a way of wriggling to the surface. And she will never, ever, ever in a million years be their mom. This person will never have the space, significance or meaning in your children's lives that you do. You are their loving and wonderful mother. You win. Phoenix, I am so proud of you. Even while you stay strong for your girls, you take care of yourself by reaching out to those who can hear and understand and share in your grief.
      Thank you for your insights on the misery, self pity and the need for always having a back up plan. It is so true. And since mine can't fill his time and distract and medicate with a relationship, he's doing it with the next best thing; pining away over his lost love (vomit) and maybe what a shitshow he's made of his life.
      Today on facebook an old, old post i had made of scanned photos of many of our early adventures together. We used to travel, camp and road trip a lot and those were some of the times I really treasured about our early history. I look at his young face and mine and the fun, the joy at living, the sense of adventure and I miss that guy. He's the same guy I could call any time I was lost in the city and I could tell him what street I was on and what I was crossing and he could get me back to the interstate home. I miss that guy. Problem is, that guy is not the guy who comes to visit our kids on Mondays. I think he might be dead, left in a ditch somewhere. But today while I miss thhat guy, I smell the spring rain and am reminded if the possibilities of new beginnings. That there may be, if I so choose it, another someone to adventure with. I'm looking forward to some new road trips and giving zero shits about where we will eat or sleep. It just happens as the day unfolds. And right now, this is my approach to life, accept each day as it unfolds...

  66. Phoenix I understand why hearing your daughter say the skanks name was painful, I have pain for you. Try see this as your ex h moving forward even if he would drop the skank at the drop of a hat, him telling your children is him getting on with his life (hopefully) so you can get on with your life too. I like the fact he was saying positive things about you to your children ( quite right too) the way you have handled this life changing event is commendable. Your daughter ( if they ever meet her) will suss her out for what she is (a skank) you my dear are their mother whom they love and trust, no one will ever get in the way of that least not her. phoenix you handle each hurdle you overcome with strength and determination. You are my storm trooper : ) keep smiling Phoenix .. lots a love xxx

  67. SS and Sam, God bless you, your words are just what I needed to hear. I've been brooding a bit today. I'm going to reread your responses a few times, because you are so right. I will always be their Mom. She will get what she deserves, in time. And yes, this is my chance to move forward. Living well really is the best revenge, if I can just leave behind all this hurt and resentment.
    SS, funny thing, I used to call my ex for directions too! I called him My GPS. I used to look at those pictures, search the faces, try to understand how those people became the people we are today. It made me really sad, to feel that in our happiest times, the seeds of this travesty were there. And to realize that the man I loved really is gone. And likely never really existed in the first place, the way I thought he did.
    After a while, though, the pics didn't hurt as much. A pang, that's all. These difficult times do serve a purpose, they distance me yet more and more from that time, those feelings. The gulf gets wider and wider. I've still got so much healing to do, but my attachment to him and to our marriage grows thinnner with every painful transition. I like your attitude - look forward to adventure!
    SS, I've been wanting to ask you - are you still online dating? How's that going for you? I stopped, then started again. I've met one nice guy, but the pickings seem awfully slim.
    Sam, you are so wise. I may hate the way he is getting on with his life, but if he IS getting on with his life, I gives me more freedom. Sam, how are you? What is going on with you?

    Love y'all!!

    1. Phoenix, on dating, I am taking a break from meeting new people online. I needed that break for a few reasons, one being that the situation with my stbx ending his affair and the emotional turmoil there for me and two being I was not nearly as ready as I thought I was for dating (its churned up a lot of stuff, particularly the no one is going to want me and the shame and anxiety I feel around having to disclose the STD I have - mentioned in a post some time ago). Its just a lot. And third being, I've got some male friendships that meet my needs for right now. I have a young man that I do photography with, a really sexy professor that I am friends with, we enjoy spending time together but nothing serious and some other potential irons in the fire, a volunteer group that does work with veterans which has been a great social outlet with a couple of single cuties. But none of them serious, which is feels just right for right now. At the risk of shocking everyone, I'm getting to a weird place about relationships where I'm not entirely convinced that the old way of doing things is particularly effective. I don't know what my own long term solution will be, but for now I'm glad to have people to spend time with, to flirt with and who enjoy me and vice versa. All of whom know that I am not in any shape for or interested in a serious relationship. (I recognize this is a turn about from early dating SS where I was for sure trying to find a relationship to make me feel better, even if I thought I wasn't). So all of that to say, I still have a long way to go before I think about dating with any seriousness. I think the approach of going out on a mission to find your soul mate is all wrong, and that is kind of what I was doing. I'm just spending time with people to develop friendships, take each day and development as it comes, not get too attached to any one outcome and believe that something good is on its way. And in the mean time, try and enjoy the spring flowers as they bloom in succession and stay focused on how great my life is right now. Because it is.

    2. Phoenix that's a good question, one which is way more complicated than I can imagine.. I've just come back from a vacation with my children loved it, missed the h a little .. didn't think about the situation too much as I was busy having fun.. prior to me going away my h resided himself back into the house on the settee which felt ok with me and the kids were happy.. as I was feeling ok about it I didn't ask for anything more or less of him.. one thing I've learnt here is to be patient with myself and kind and to take my next step when I'm ready whatever that is and whether we do it together as a family.. I have made what might seem to you lovely ladies a very random decision.. I really wanted to try for another baby, call it mad or midlife crisis as you know I've recently turned 40 so my biological clock is ticking and it's now or never really and I know my strengths lie within being a mum not so much a wife lol.. anyhow I approached the subject with my h who was quite rightly confused surprised unsure not as keen on the idea as me but I know he loves his children and would begrudge me adding to my little brood if god willing it was to happen.. now my issue is sex has been scarce since d day 2 which was last may so rather than just using him as a sperm donor which by the way is the least he could do considering I have tried to get close to him slowly but surely having him under the same roof has helped me to trust him a little more and has given us the time to just sit and watch tv together have lunch round the table as a family etc nothing too deep in obviously avoiding the deep dreaded conversations not sure I'm ready for them
      And when I am I think a counselling room would be the best place .. I'm not as angry as I was I enjoy the little things in life I know there's no guarantee of another baby of a successful marriage of anything so I'm ploughing on each day with the best intention for myself as possible.. turning 40 has made me want to push and challenge myself so I am looking to change jobs too and whatever will be will be.. I think
      I have time but do we really???? Living for the day ladies that's all any of us can do.. he knows I'll be ok without him and vice Versa we're both capable people who choose to stay for today.. I think I've rambled if anything doesn't make sense please ask and if you wanna tell me I'm crazy pls do I have a thick skin lol.. lots a love xxx

    3. Hi Sam A, Sorry it has taken me so long to post a response. I get tired sometimes and lose track of things I intend to do. Just like my real life, lol. I hope you are doing well.
      I understand the drive to have a baby, especially around 40. I felt it too. There is something so very life affirming and powerful about making a baby, bringing another little human full term using your incredible and creative body. I would urge you to proceed slowly. Do you remember how tired you can be when they are first born, how demanding? Is your H willing and able to be present and help raise this child? Will the new addition distract from the work you and he need to be doing? Will a new baby be added pressure in an already challenging situation? I'm glad to hear you are working on getting closer. I would say if that is working keep going. But opinion (which you are free to disagree with and or ignore) is to wait on a baby. Don't worry about running out of time, don't worry too much about anything too far ahead. Be right now, like you say getting through each day the best you can for yourself.
      Honestly,, and I am trying to say this as gently as I can, the desire for a baby, the job change, the question do we have time really? ... it all sounds a little panicked, like you may be trying to distract yourself from the deep, dreaded conversations. I would encourage you to find a counselor, even just for yourself to start (if you b=haven't already). I hope you don't mind my being blunt. I would urge you to spend some time thinking about why you want a baby at this juncture and what the underlying drivers are. Ultimately, this is only my opinion and you are the best judge of what is right for you. Much love, xoxoxo

    4. I feel that too, Sam A, and I am taking your advice too, Still Standing. Before I found out about my h's affair, I thought we were about to try for a second child. It was such a dreadful shock to me that he had deceived me for two months and let me continue thinking and talking about the baby plans, when he had obviously already checked out emotionally and physically.

      We had always said we would like three children. I really would like our daughter to have at least one sibling. I suppose the idea is also that we could be a 'real' family. However, I am realising that my h has totally changed his mind about this and says he is "not ready" for most things (counselling, talking, reflecting, etc).

      I can see clearly that this longed-for second baby just cannot be. My h is floundering in confusion and would not make a good partner or a strong father. It makes me so sad. I am also getting older, and I am afraid that I will not be able to have another child later.

      I can only guess how much time it could take me to 'recover' from this betrayal and have the courage and trust to meet another partner... let alone somebody who would like to have a child with me. I am afraid that by the time all that would happen, I would be physically too old.

      As with so many aspects of my h's affair, this is just NOT FAIR. But then again, so many things in life are just not fair either. I do realise I have a lot of wonderful things already. I just can't help being sad about losing the dreams and hopes I thought we shared.

      It's taking me such a long time to process the betrayal (now 8 months since he told me about it). Some days I simply can't believe it's real. We are stuck in a limbo-land.

      I have given my notice to love out in two months' time.

    5. to move out - not to love out! (what could that be... better than a love-in?)

  68. It sounds like you do have some wonderful things going on in your life!
    I'm glad you're slowing it down, I think that's wise. I couldn't even contemplate dating for the first 6 months after the divorce. I was too bitter and broken-hearted. Then I approached it the way you are now, looking for friendships and socialization. Unlike you, though, I don't have guys to hang out with, I'm an elementary schoolteacher who enjoys doing community theatre. Most of the guys I know are married, gay, or under the age of twelve.
    So I tried the online thing. The jury is still out. I'm chatting with a couple of people. And I've been out with one guy whose kisses made me realize how much I miss physical affection. It was the first time I'd been held by a man, romantically, for over a year. It felt very good.
    But like you, I know I need to take my time, and be cautious.

  69. Got my draft of the divorce settlement agreement today. Tears. I just want to be done. I just want to not see him anymore. Ever. I want someone to hold me. But its going to be me and the dog in my bed tonight. And that is OK. And I will paint tonight and be OK tomorrow.

    1. Thinking of you, SS & sending thoughts of support your way today.

  70. Thinking of you still standing, know your not alone .. big hugs xxxc

  71. Still standing thank you for your feedback on my above post really glad you gave me your honest opinion I really appreciate and will think about what you have said. Lots to think about it and your right there is no rush, my h isn't too keen at the moment so until he's a willing participant and will not force it upon him he's saying to wait till the end of the year as he has some building work that needs completeing so I guess that gives me time to get back into ic and discuss why I am having these desires for another baby. Thank you still standing, your a great friend and offer up the best advice ... lots a love xxx

  72. Hey, Sam, honey. I have a bad habit of waiting until I have time to make a good, lengthy response to someone, and guess what… I never have time! I don't know if you're still in the same place you were when you wrote the above post. I understand the inclination, really I do. I'm 46, and it's still feasible. And sometimes I get a real longing in my heart for another little one. I always did want to have more than two. It's hard not to feel that temptation, as we draw near to closing that window forever. And too, it feels like a whole new start. I don't know about you, but my ex and I were happiest when our children were small.
    For me, though, it won't ever get beyond yearning. As we all know, that's a lifetime commitment. Not to be taken lightly. I am struggling to do right by the children I have; I'm not bringing another one into the mix. All my emotional and financial resources, my time and energy, are barely sufficient to meet their needs. So no, not an option for me.
    For you, it may be different. You are younger than I am. I would be a little worried about bringing a new life, with all its accompanying stresses and concerns, into a situation that is far from resolved. I would be careful not to make the decision out of pure emotion.
    If I were you, I would weigh my situation, my options, and my motivations carefully. And then, I know that you will make a good decision. And it may not be the decision I would make. God bless you, sweetie. You have so much love.
    I hope you will continue to post about what is going on. I don't visit the site as much as I used to, but I still come back to it sometimes, and I want to see how my friends, my warrior sisters, are doing.
    Sending you a hug from the Heart of Dixie…!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond Phoenix means a lot. I went to a counselling session recently and she had me think about whether I would cope with a 3rd child should I be on my own in the future, I'm pretty sure I could but I take into account what you said about the financial strain and energy they require. I also think if I thought long and hard about another child I might just talk myself out of it.

      When I first thought of baby no 3 a few months ago me and my husband were no where near as close as we are now. We weren't living under the same roof for a start, we are now although he's still on the couch. It's very early days. But I'm starting to feel better about my situation, about him and our marriage. Never say never is my mantra on most things nowadays.. I'll let you know things may change ..

      Anyhow onto you I read on your post below you 'recently found someone to hug' : ) please tell us more when your ready .. no pressure lol. I love hugging too. Phoenix you really have come so far and I'm so proud of you, the way you have handled your ex and the baby situation is commendable. Your an inspiration to me and offer up real from the heart advice. love ya lots Phoenix xxx

  73. Still Standing, I've spent so many nights hugging on my dog and my cat. And my kids. Recently I found someone else to hug. But It took a while.
    You are right, distance is the key. Eventually the day will come when you go through a whole day without thinking about him. Eventually, that familiar life will seem like a distant memory. You rip away from each other, and the ripping is painful, but when some emotional separation is achieved, it is a real relief. And you can start to live again. And you have the benefit of your new knowledge: the knowledge of how strong you really are.
    Today, the ex and I told the kids about their baby brother. They were thrilled. They don't realize all the implications, of course. They think she's a new girlfriend. Seeing their joy was painful, but I kept my game face on. Now they will meet her, and all her kids, and I will cry. I have cried. And then I will face the fact that the reality is not as horrible as I imagined it. That as long as my kids are OK, the situation is not intolerable.
    And I hope that by living out some of my worst fears, they will lose their power over me. My heart and soul will heal a little more.
    That's the hope.
    It's a long and painful climb to the top of the mountain, but we will get there. Love you, sisters.

    1. Thanks Phoenix, I'm glad to hear from you and hear that it does get better. I know it will, but it is so hard right now. The loneliness is so large. I can handle it, in some ways am used to sitting with it (oh, there you are loneliness, welcome back, come on in). But sometimes I think, at least when I was still fighting for my marriage, I held on through the alone by imagining a time when he and I would be an "us" again, that there would be an end point to it. And now there's no guarantee of that. (There wasn't then, but it was the solid ground I created in my mind). And I need to remember that I have lots of people who love and accept me, who are here for me. That there are lots of relationships that can fulfill you is true. I sometimes can't decide if it is the sense of connection that is the illusion or the loneliness. I suspect they are all given form in my own mind and are both real and illusion.
      I do already have days when I don't think of him, even living in the house we bought and made together, in the pumpkin shell of my old life. But I daily have to walk through the past. Scooping dog poop almost always reminds me of the day is discovered "Marriage Radio" and listened to a podcast m=by a guy who had an affair, divorced his wife for it and ended up remarrying his wife three years later. This cast introduced me to limerence and all the chemical stuff going on in a brain hooked on the excitement of new "love." I think about how desperate I was for any ray of hope that he might snap out of it. Funnily, the timeline they gave about when the brain chemistry of limerence would wear off, allowed me to predict to the month, when he would start to snap out of it. (Hello March 2017).
      I am still going slow with the dating, not on the sites, though when I get super lonely, I can see what a distraction (and ego boost) it can be. I still have just a few men folk that I spend time with and who meet some emotional needs in various ways. Had a really nice dinner at my place with my current favorite and it was so nice and easy I warned myself not to be worried when he would (and did), predictably, add some distance, shift from him texting me almost daily. So at least I knew and didn't put myself through that anxiety (because this is what I feel when people distance themselves... I think from childhood, I am always just waiting for people I care about to leave me). So getting better at rolling with what comes. This man owes me nothing and if sapce is what he needs to feel safe, so be it. He can have it.
      And I finally weeded my herb and flower garden after more than a year. The last time I did this I walked into my house to catch my ex locked in the basement on the phone with the OW. We had a massive fight. It kind of ruined my garden time for a while. I took that back yesterday because it is my choice at this point, if I choose to continue to let this hurt me. I don't want it.
      And he's moving into a new place, with roomsx for the kids this time, and finally taking stuff out of the house. Its all so hard.
      Phoenix, I'm so proud of how you handle each difficult transition and hurdle. So proud of how you care for your girls and keep your self respect in the process. I'm glad you are letting yourself cry over this. Do keep coming here so we can share in your grief. I can't imagine. The idea of my kids meeting the OW as a legit GF makes me, made me want to throw up.
      And yes, each time you survive a nightmare, it becomes smaller, less of a threat and you are more sure of your ability to weather whatever comes.

    2. Phoenix, you are a better person than I think I could be in a similar situation. I think I would not be able to bite my tongue and about the OW not being a new GF. In finding someone new to hug the right way (not through an A like your STBX & OW) you will eventually end up in a healthy relationship. Their dysfunction will forever be a part of their lives. I do hope you keep coming back here often & posting. There is strength in you that we all benefit from.

  74. Three more weeks and I will be on vacation! This is the busiest part of my year.
    The supportive comments I read here mean so much to me. We are healing such ugly wounds together.
    Last week, I lost myself for a while. Realizing that my girls had the skank's phone number, and might actually be trading texts with her. Hearing them talk about how nice she was, and how they wanted to invite her to their play. I'm afraid I wasn't as strong as I should have been. I was visibly upset, and tried my best to explain to them that, while I always expect them to behave in a polite and respectful manner to her, I did not really want them to bond with her. I tried to convey that she was not a person to trust, without actually coming out and talking badly about their daddy. Oh sisters, it was a disaster. I should have kept my mouth shut. But I just couldn't hide how upset I was. And my teenager is defiant, and she is painfully in love with her baby brother. She doesn't think I know or understand anything.
    Well, they are my girls. Of course we got past it. Of course we hugged and talked about how we love each other. And I came to another turning point, She is still the skank. Maybe to me, she will always be the skank. But somehow, I have to find a way to see her as his mother. I have to find a way to accept her as someone I can tolerate. Because last week, I got way too close to becoming the kind of divorced mom I've always scorned. I cannot put my children in the middle.
    Brown eyed girl, you would be surprised at what you can be capable of. I'm not proud of the way I handled things last week, but it was another step away from the past. Those steps can be really painful, but you can feel a lot better once you've taken them.
    I'm actually coming to the point where I recognize that she inadvertently did me a favor. Yeah, it was a favor in the same vein as chopping off a gangrene limb without anesthesia, but it was still a favor.
    Still standing, the loneliness can be overwhelming. When you're in the middle of it, it's hard to see the temporary nature of it. But it is temporary. Especially for someone like you, with so much warmth, intelligence, and personality.
    My "someone to hug" is currently a guy who is 10 years older than I am, whom I've been dating for about two months. We talked for about two months before that. He's being incredibly supportive amidst all this craziness. His existence is extremely upsetting to my ex, so we have that to deal with too. My girls tease me because I will not call him "boyfriend" yet. But I see them fairly often, and he's the only guy I am dating, so by default…
    What do I do with that? I don't know. I'm trying to move slowly. He has not yet met my girls, although it may happen soon. We do not have a sexual relationship, although the make-out sessions are great deal of fun, and remind me of high school! He is patient and indulgent and respectful, and I worry. I worry that I am inadvertently using him as a rebound guy, I worry that I am letting the stress and emotion of my situation push me into a relationship sooner than is wise. I worry that almost 15 months of celibacy may also have an undue influence on my decision making. But.... I really enjoy his company. He makes me feel very happy. There is joy after such a long stretch of grief. So I'm taking it one day at a time. Fortunately, having
    daughters really helps you keep the brakes on!
    Once we've made the decision to move on, we have to break the chains that tie us to the past, as much as possible. We may not stop loving our former spouse, but we learn to see him in a very different light.
    I hope you find some joy in your day today. Hugs!!!

  75. Now my h's affair has been going on (on and off) for almost a year. I have known about it for just over 8 months. We have been living in a horrible limbo situation ever since. He moved out (into the place where his ow used to live- ugh) but left most of his stuff in our shared rented house and comes back regularly to help take care of our toddler.

    I told him in March that I wanted him to stop contacting the ow (they see each other for a week or two every two or three months, as she is travelling overseas a lot - but they maintain contact throughout) and to start couples counselling with me. He replied that he did not feel ready. I said I found the situation intolerable and would be giving my notice to the landlord.

    I am due to leave in two months and he is still doing nothing. My plan is to spend the summer vacation in my home country (I moved here to be with my h) and see my parents. My daughter will spend time with my side of the extended family and hopefully I will have a chance to ponder and recuperate a little.

    My dilemma is this. I do not feel ready to leave this neighbourhood. I am active in community events and my child is happy with her minder. I like the place. Obviously, I am more than ready to leave the house, which now holds difficult memories and emotions for me.

    I don't know on a practical level how I might find a rentable place with a small garden (for the little one) on my salary - even with the contribution of my h who has been getting into financial difficulties due to his affair and subsequent flailing around with alcohol and expensive psychologists visits.

    I don't know on an emotional level if it is a good idea to stay geographically nearby. I do believe it would be good for the father-daughter relationship (she is too young to stay over with him for extended periods). But I think it might be better for me to have more space.

    I am caught in a tricky place, because I find it so exhausting to see him and listen to his problems (he continues to try to confide in me although I have told him this is no longer appropriate). However, I don't want to be a single parent, having to deal with everything in a foreign country without my family nearby.

    At this stage, I do not want to return to my home country, as I have built up a life and friends here. I would also be ashamed to go back as if fleeing from a bad marriage. I would rather wait until I have a positive reason (new job, dream apartment) to go back for good.

    Maybe I am being too precious. I am terrified that if I lose my current structure (work ok, pleasant environment) that I will get really depressed and passive. I want to make sense of my life. I want to give my daughter the best chance of access to functional parents.

    I wish my h would wake up and shoulder some of this burden. He is putting his head in the sand and waiting for me to decide what to do.

    This is more a rant than a question - but I would love to hear from anyone who's been through a similar situation. Day to day life is ok now, because I know this is all temporary. I just really dread having to pack up our stuff in boxes. I can't stay here, but I don't know where I will go.

    1. Selkie, I feel for you.

      What do you think will be the healthiest environment for your child? To keep her current routine consistent? To be raised by you with the support of your family by moving home? Is your husband actually parenting? I would put a lot of weight on your gut feeling about that.

      As for listening to his problems - try to take a step back from that, it sounds like there may be some co-dependency. You not being his safety net may force him to take control of his own health and that will be good for your child. And him using you for a sounding board but not making choices that you need him to make is not fair to you. You need to focus on your own healing and take a break from being his lifeguard.

      I am fortunate that my H is a good dad. The thought that 'no one will ever love your children more than their own father' resonates with me and is the main reason I am staying in the marriage (today); but I know that is not true in every case. I agree with Phoenix - being surrounded by loving grandparents, aunts & uncles is preferable to an absentee father. But "family" is how you define it. I love 1,500 miles from my family and my children call my BF of 20 years and her H who live 5 minutes away 'aunt & uncle' but they are not related by blood. They would raise our kids if something happened to us.

      Maybe writing it all down (pro's/con's of each option) will help you determine the best path forward.

    2. Selkie, often these guys have really low self worth. They cannot make a MOVE without fear of any sort of ramifications, which could explain why your husband is letting you-almost forcing you to do every damn thing. His whining to you is unacceptable. Maybe you can respond with "oh that sounds terrible, but I'm sure you'll be able to handle it on your own" Just something, anything to get out of the conversation. God, he's clueless, yes?

  76. Hi, Selkie. I'm sorry you're in such a position. You are NOT being too precious. First rule of this site: take care of yourself. You have to feel safe and supported so that you can heal, or you can't be the healthy, happy mother your daughter needs. Take care of you.
    A single mom needs a support system, especially when she's been through emotional trauma. For me, that was my family. They were -and are - my rock, emotionally and logistically. I don't know what that support system will look like for you - your family if you go home, your community and friends if you stay...? Maybe you will get some clarity on it when you visit home. I pray that is so. I wish your ex would step up, too, but these men who are lost in an affair fog tend to spiral. Family break-up, financial difficulties, affair losing its savor, and oh, yes, the alcohol makes it all that much worse. He's probably going to be mired in his own self-pity party for some time to come. You are right, you do not need to be HIS support system. When he confides, just say "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, oh that's too bad," and then change the subject or leave the conversation as soon as possible. He doesn't want to commit to your relationship. Refusing to make a choice...IS a choice. If you've had enough and you're moving forward, you need that distance. Physical distance, maybe, emotional distance, definitely. You can't heal if he keeps tearing your wounds back open with his presence and his confidences. He's your co-parent, so of course you have to relate to him, but aside from that, you need to create yourself a world where he, his problems, and his damned OW don't exist, and can fade into a shadowy memory of pain. And you can go on with what really matters: your life with your daughter.
    Don't think I helped much, but I feel for you. You have a good, level-headed grasp of your situation. You will make a good decision. Hugs!!!

    1. Phoenix, your words really do help. Thank you. I especially like your suggestion for dealing with his persistent appeals to me for a listening ear and wise advice. I need to figure out a way to achieve emotional distance even though these days I cannot avoid seeing him at least twice a week (for childcare reasons).

      I do need to create a world where he is less present in my mind/ heart/ line of sight. I need to meet new people who do not know him or know about him. I don't like being pitied (nobody who knows about our separation knows the reason why so far - things could be worse).

      My family are great, but I know myself that I would risk slipping into a sort of dependent paralysis if I just stayed with them. I need (for my own self-respect) my own base and my own life.

      I hope that this summer I can take some time to allow myself to do nothing and let the waves of whatever feelings might arise just wash over me. I can't afford to do that now, as I am in the middle of everything and need to be practical and get things done.

      For now, my h is indeed in a 'self-pity party' and he seems to want to invite everyone. I am organising everything. I am looking forward to no longer having to organise stuff for him... but until we reach some better form of clarity about the future (with the aid of a mediator), that chore will not be over.

  77. Today would have been our 19th anniversary. I have really mixed feelings about this but am not nearly so badly off as I thought I'd be. For a long time I felt like I wanted him back so much and hated his guts at the same time for doing this to us, to me, but in all honesty I don't feel like I want him any more. Not enough to hate him. I feel so disconnected from that life. I'm sad. Still, in some ways grieving its loss, but I am not afraid of forging ahead on my own anymore. I know there is something better out there for me, know I am already better with that life in past tense. In fact, I am foolishly optimistic some days. How hard it is to be unchosen though. How much I wanted to take all our pictures together and paste a T-rex head, a monster, over him, a bomb with ticking clock, warning my past self. Thinking of our wedding pictures this way made me cry a little. And still, we're such a long way from anywhere, that if he said he made a huge mistake and loved me and only me, I'd still be skeptical. I still would not want him back today, on this day in particular. My wedding dress hangs in my closet. I thought about selling it. I feel a lot of resistance to that idea. Why? because fitting into it again is such a big fuck you? Because in the rare outside chance he rescues himself and decides to woo me again in some distant future I could bust out that dress like a revived Miss Havisham? Crazy. I think I'm just not ready to let it go yet. Simple grief. That's all. Grieving takes many forms and many paths.
    I'm running a lot, did 7.5 miles yesterday. Managed my first unassisted pull up at the gym and I'm enjoying feeling strong. I'm also enjoying some key lime pie gelato right out of the pint. Its got pieces of pie crust in it. I wish O could share it with you all.

    1. Still standing
      Your post touched me on so many levels! I'm sad for your loss of what could have been but I take strength from you saying how good you feel getting stronger from your gym time. I thought I was the only one that remembers Great Expectations! I'm presently taking care of my mother and she is Miss Havisham reincarnated! Down to the cobwebs and dust from so many years ago when the love of her life departed for heaven! That's been 17 years ago but she still grieves him daily! I'm also glad you are treating yourself to key lime gelato! I'm splurging in fresh strawberries over butter pound cake with cool whip! I still haven't tried my suit from our wedding day because I was pregnant at the time and I'm so much smaller than I was on that day! I'm not sure how I feel about this because to tell you the truth, I still look like a half starved woman! I'm eating regularly but I'm also exercising more and it seems like I will be this way for the time being so I just buy smaller clothes and keep the ones that I used to wear in a back room closet...just in case the old me shows up in the future! I'm watching your story unfold and it gives me courage to find my way through my new marriage to the new improved yet still very flawed old man knowing that I too could manage life with or without his help! Sending you hugs!

  78. Ss well done on your 'unassisted pull ups' they are damn hard. That feeling of strength and achievement is powerful especially in times like these. Ss your going through the motions of a breakdown in marriage and everything you say sounds absolutely normal and healthy.. I'm loving the sound of key lime pie not sure we have such a thing in the uk sounds yummy .. ss keep climbing and striving for what you need from life you have a great strength and determination I for one admire.. keep posting we're all here for you every step of the way .. lots of love xx

  79. I've been eating actual key lime pie right out of the pie tin this week - it's kismet!! Now I will think of you when I eat it. And who wants to fly out to the UK with me and take one to Sam? How FUN would that be?!
    I am incredibly impressed with you. I never could get into running, and I couldn't do an unassisted pull-up if there were Keylime pie sitting on top of the pull-up bar. I'd try, though.
    You may remember, over the past year, how I have spoken of the divorce being like a slow ripping away. It's not a neat cut, it tears apart seam by seam. You spend a lot of time in that limbo land, where you don't want to go back, but you can't go forward yet. Each step is painful, in and of itself, but once you have taken it, you are that much closer to being free of the past. Sam is right, it's a normal, healthy, but miserable part of the process. It just sucks. But there is peace and healing and hope ahead.
    Y'all, I came to another blessed realization this week. It's about the triggers. I don't have to tell you, they are everywhere. But earlier this week, I went through a day when I was triggered several times, as usual. Drove past a store that was the same kind where are the OW now works. Saw a picture that reminded me of the ex, our firstborn, and me, when I was pregnant with our second. And we were happy and innocent. You know, crap like that. Triggers. The realization was this: the triggers are really starting to lose their power. They are still there. I am very aware of them. But they are starting to feel more peripheral. They are losing their sting. There is a vague sadness for a minute, and then I shrug my shoulders and move on. I JUST DON'T CARE. For me, this is pretty huge. For so long, the trauma of betrayal has been the major theme of my life. And how I resented the hell out of that! "I am nobody's f---Ing victim," I said to my ex last year. But so much of that was bravado at the time.
    And now here I am. I feel so good, so triumphant. Emotional distance really is the key, for me. My feelings for that man are so different now. There is still caring, and still resentment. But he is so much a part of the past. My life with him feels like another life. A life I don't want back. I remember when he was so important to me, but I can't recapture that feeling, even if I try. This is my new normal, and it feels good.
    Of course, the biggest heart ache I have now is my kids, their brother, and the skank. More on that…

  80. Since this is a page about divorce, it feels like the right place to share. Being a divorced mom sucks in so many ways, but one of the worst is this: there is a whole section of your kids' lives about which you know practically nothing. You are shut out. Since my kids were born, I have been part of everything they do, at least on the peripheral. I meet their friends, their teachers, their coaches. I know where they are and what they are doing at all times. And now… There are great pieces of their lives to which I am not privy. And it feels awkward even to ask. THIS is painful.
    They are getting ready to spend three nights and three days with their dad. They are getting to see their little brother today, at their dad's apartment, which is great. Even though that is still difficult for me, it's getting better. But tomorrow, they are traveling to the skank's house. To her HOUSE. It's another milestone. Perhaps they will meet some of her family, even, I don't know. And y'all, it feels so damned STRANGE for them to go somewhere that I cannot go, that I would never want to go. They are part of me, and they are going there. It gives me a feeling of alienation. As always, too, it makes me angry with her, because she has no right. She's completely unworthy to be anywhere near my children. But....this is what it is. She is their brother's mother. She earned that status via stupidity and/or selfish manipulation, but it is done. What cannot be cured must be endured. So I gave permission for this next step. We have to move forward. My girls and baby bro are what matters.
    Part of me is forlorn. Part of me is angry and resentful, and wants to beat my selfish, immature ex to a bloody pulp.
    And part of me is okay. How schizophrenic is all that?!
    I have plenty of good activities planned this weekend to distract me. It's going to be all right.
    Hugs to my sisters!!

    1. Phoenix, you are giving your children such a gift by not editorializing your feelings to them. They will forever look at you as the steady rudder in their complicated and changing life. As long as you can take a deep breath when they tell you things that hurt, you can regulate your response and emotions and give them the love and emotional stability they need as they move forward. They have no idea how this feels to you so make sure you have positive things to share with them about how you spent your private time. It is important for them to know that you were not lonely because they will think it is their fault. You can tell them they can tell you anything they want to or ask you anything about their visit but you won't pry and you won't be offended. They may need to unburden their feelings after a visit and they may share some things that are very painful or upsetting but as long as they are not in danger you will be their anchor. Warm regards.

    2. Phoenix
      I'm so sorry you feel those holes that are bound to happen when your children are with their dad! I only know those holes with a grand mother heart but I know my daughter fully understands how you feel! I'm lucky if I see them once or twice a month and we try to have a vacation with them once a year but we continue to have issues with her x as he is a controlling asshole to say the least! I can't imagine how hard it is for you! I'm glad you are taking care of you as that's very important and if Sam A can find us a flight, I'll join you for some key lime pie! Sending hugs!

  81. Phoenix It can't have been an easy decision to let your daughters go to the 'skanks' house, however it's a decision that will keep you right up there on the list of fantastic mothers.. I mean this is just another step forward for you. Your girls really are so blessed to have you as their mommy : ) .. I feel your strength and determination Phoenix and it's contagious.. love it.. let me know what you get up to in them 3 days Phoenix .. this is your time to shine .. lots of love ❤️ xxx p.s matbe we could meet up halfway for this key lime pie lol



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