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Hi all, I could use some objective opinions on a few things re: Plan A

High level: Married 14 years, 2 girls 10 & 13. Seemingly a wonderful marriage with usual ups & downs. My wife has a tendency to hide her emotions, which I have always known, but we have always been able to talk about them if/when needed (ie, I notice she is feeling/acting off and work on meeting her needs for safety in conversation so we can process). Fast forward to 2021, my wife's father (who she adores and deeply respects) passes in the summer. My wife single handedly kept her mom & sister together and planned his memorial. I supported her in this season and our relationship never seemed stronger with both of us feeling extremely connected and intimate. His memorial was in early August and my wife immediately starts to withdrawal and major personality changes start to take place, especially in September. Her family, friends, and I all all notice. She refuses to talk about it or see anyone to discuss her grief and this builds and becomes more challenging into October. Upon seeking her to seek a counselor (again), she reveals to me she is not in love with me and hasn't been so for a very long time. The passing of her father opened up so much in her about life being short, and now she is questioning her happiness and loneliness. I continue to support, listen, and encourage more discussion, dates, etc. This continues for several more weeks when I discover she has been having an affair with our neighborhood tennis coach (kids and adults) since early September. What results is weeks of lies, uncovering truth, and her declaring she has never been able to open up to me / be vulnerable, like she could with this other man. She admits the affair was a big mistake, and not only impacted our kids and friends, but so much more. However, she feels justified that the affair just proves how unhappy she is and that she cannot open to me.

I initiated Plan A, 3 weeks ago and have been doing my best through the process of meeting needs, encouraging full closure, and avoiding LBs. She says she doesn't talk to or see him anymore, I have no evidence to disprove this (I stopped looking as I was just so sick and tired of it) but has also avoided official closing the door on the relationship. It will be a long road ahead, but one I am gearing up for as my desire is the full (and better) restoration of our marriage and a chance to learn from this and truly make improvements together.

My questions:

1. Her stance that the affair was a mistake but proves long-standing unhappiness. Is this affair fog / disillusionment talking or something else? I know (and all of her friends/family) know she has been deeply in love throughout the large majority of our marriage. Suddenly, she seems so comfortable dismissing everything and using it to justify her stance.

2. I know her not officially closing the door to the affair is a problem, but she is also not ready to work on recovery/reconciliation. So, I believe I need to continue being patient, focusing on meeting needs and avoiding LBs and encouraging a final end as soon as possible. I don't trust that its over, but maybe I'm just being paranoid (for good reason). Should I be more forceful for this?

3. She says she wants to get help, but seems to keep finding reasons to delay or avoid an actual appointment happening. In my opinion, her actions are not yet saying she is committed to learning/growing through this. It feels like she's laying low, assessing her options, and trying to find the best path for her. Again, maybe this is affair fog, maybe this is manipulation, I honestly don't know. I assume I shouldn't care, but continue sticking to Plan A and focusing on myself -?

4. Plan A talks a lot about spending 15 hours/week on your relationship, etc. but right now she is fairly avoidant of me. She's sleeping in our guest room, doesn't really want to be together, she just wants to co-exist. We aren't kissing or having sex. Its hard to devote 15 hours/week to someone who doesn't seem interested, but I'm doing my best to do so with kindness and optimism vs force. Am I being too nice/accommodating here, or is this appropriate for early Plan A?

Thanks!

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Welcome to MB and sorry for what has brought you here.

Am I to understand you correctly, that you haven’t exposed the affair? Is the OM married?

You need to continue to snoop until you prove the affair is over.

You can’t do Plan A without exposing and ending the affair. These need to be done in parallel. Plan A won’t work if she is still in the affair.

She is still in the affair until you can prove it is over and all her actions sound of affair fog.

When will you be exposing and whom will you be exposing to?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Please read Exposure 101


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Thank you for the replies.

1. Other man is married with kids

2. Follows Exposure 101 to the letter, everyone knows including his family

The reason I’m in Plan A is my wife has not yet agreed to work on our marriage or officially cut off contact with him. She says they aren’t talking or seeing each other but I’m not seeing solid proof either way. Plan A was per guidance of chapter 6 in ‘surviving an affair’ when your spouse remains in contact. If she’s telling the truth about contact and is in withdrawal, then I still felt Plan A was the right approach until she officially started ends things or agrees to work on the marriage.

Keep me honest! Hoping I’m on the path.

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My apologies, I misunderstood that you hadn’t exposed and so yes you’re very correct to be in Plan A.

Has anyone that you exposed to talked to her about ending it? What did her parents say? What did the OM’s BW say? Is she keeping track on her end that there isn’t any contact?

So will your WW write a NC letter?

Did you tell your kids? What did they say?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Over two dozen close friends and family members have spoken with her, all saying it has to end - we are all united on that front.

Her mom was shattered but is also dealing with the grief of her husband passing, so she is in a lot of pain right now.

His wife and I talk on occasion, she wants to restore her marriage as well. She is keeping track.

Wife will not write a NC letter at this time. She says she is focusing on herself right now, I think she’s in withdrawal/fog.

Kid know, they were shattered and the guy was a teacher/mentor to them. Not only wrecked them to heat their moms involvement, but being him was a major blow. Kids are in a bit if disillusionment hoping everything will be ok.

Tonight I plan to ask my wife for full access and passwords to her accounts, I expect her response to be enlightening.

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Ok so you just need to keep a watch and make sure there is no contact. So since this was a neighborhood coach, then he must live close?

You need to think about moving. She could remain triggered if she sees him. Does he live close?

On your Plan A, are you controlling all Love Busters?

What are her top Emotional Needs?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Originally Posted by beingstill
My questions:

1. Her stance that the affair was a mistake but proves long-standing unhappiness. Is this affair fog / disillusionment talking or something else? I know (and all of her friends/family) know she has been deeply in love throughout the large majority of our marriage. Suddenly, she seems so comfortable dismissing everything and using it to justify her stance.

2. I know her not officially closing the door to the affair is a problem, but she is also not ready to work on recovery/reconciliation. So, I believe I need to continue being patient, focusing on meeting needs and avoiding LBs and encouraging a final end as soon as possible. I don't trust that its over, but maybe I'm just being paranoid (for good reason). Should I be more forceful for this?

3. She says she wants to get help, but seems to keep finding reasons to delay or avoid an actual appointment happening. In my opinion, her actions are not yet saying she is committed to learning/growing through this. It feels like she's laying low, assessing her options, and trying to find the best path for her. Again, maybe this is affair fog, maybe this is manipulation, I honestly don't know. I assume I shouldn't care, but continue sticking to Plan A and focusing on myself -?

4. Plan A talks a lot about spending 15 hours/week on your relationship, etc. but right now she is fairly avoidant of me. She's sleeping in our guest room, doesn't really want to be together, she just wants to co-exist. We aren't kissing or having sex. Its hard to devote 15 hours/week to someone who doesn't seem interested, but I'm doing my best to do so with kindness and optimism vs force. Am I being too nice/accommodating here, or is this appropriate for early Plan A?

1. In my own experience and other situations from the forum this is typical affair fog. Wayward spouses tend to rewrite history and memories to rationalize and support their actions. They focus on the negatives and dismiss the positives of the marriage to justify the betrayal. You are better off not arguing with her about this though, but instead just focus on your Plan A actions instead. Yes, she may have been unhappy also of course, and both of you may or may not have been in love in recent years. Generally, this falling out of love comes from a lack of sufficient quality time together over a period of time. It's hard to find time for just each other with kids, right? That is where your Plan A can show her how you can rebuild your marriage, address her concerns, and make your marriage something that gives you both great happiness.

2. I think the other posters have given you excellent feedback on this. Yes, you have to be patient. Read the story of John and Sue in Surviving an Affair. It shows you what your journey may look like. That being said, you have to end the affair via exposure (good work!) and then monitor. Your wife may or may not agree to your monitoring requests. I bet she won't, because I worry that in her mind right now she still holds out hope to rekindle the affair, even if very unlikely. To break the spell, moving away may need to occur, as suggested. Dr. Harley has often advised moving if the affair partner is close-by. It is too easy to trigger your spouse and too easy for them to restart things. Remember, this is not something that will be solved in a few months. It may take some time.

3. Yes, stick to Plan A and focus on improving your side of the fence. Frankly, what else can you do? Her mindset will speak through her actions and it seems from what you write that she is not committed at all, but just sort of floating along at best. Focus on your Plan A.

4. Keep trying! You can at first plan family outings, and later try to add on couple outings. If you do a good job with demonstrating your changes via Plan A, she will eventually come around, although do not expect anything for some time. Things like physical affection will come later if you do a good plan A. Again, this may take time, possibly months, even possibly longer.[

Question: what has she always complained about in the marriage? In your Plan A, what are you changing about yourself and your actions to give her hope?

Last edited by Blackhawk; 11/28/21 03:01 AM.

Me: BH
Marriage: 22 years
2 kids
D-Day 5 Sept 2011
EA w OM started Fall 2010, PA w OM Spring 2011, OM died end Sept 2011

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Thanks for the sage words everyone.

BrainHurts:

- Watching as best I can with limited access. I asked for passwords/access to her phone last night, which was met with resistance around her needing 'space'. I was direct in my concern around the affair continuing and the impact it would have on our girls. I was also direct that this was a required step to start rebuilding trust, no matter where our relationship goes. I encouraged her to do this for our girls and the long-term relationship we will have together as parents (or more).

- OM lives fairly close, moving is a topic on my mind but my wife would never go for that at this point. Keeping this tucked away for a bit deeper into Plan A.

- Hard to say what her ENs are as she won't take quiz and is very tightly closed about her wants/needs are. This is one of the root causes that got us here, I have been working to meet her ENs for years and the feedback I had from her was positive. She now says she has been unhappy for years and never told me as she didn't want to hurt my feelings. I'm trying to focus on intimate/open conversation for now, as I know that is how the affair started. In time I hope she will take the quiz and help me understand what she can't (or is unwilling) to say.

- Avoiding LBs like the plague! Hard to know what annoying habits etc might exist, so keeping an ear out for things she says as she is unwilling to take the LB quz.

Blackhawk:

I appreciate you objective input, thank you. Per my reply to BrainHurts above, my wife doesn't complain, that's the problem. She shows everyone the side of a perfect and happy mom/wife/friend. I have known her true ups and downs through life around this and have encouraged her to talk to someone as bottling up her feelings/emotions is not a healthy long-term strategy for her health and our families. Her generic complains now are 'no passion', 'not feeling in love', 'feeling lonely' - for some constantly changing number of years. Her family, friends, and I all can't believe it as this is not the woman we have seen or known. My gut says she has had some strong needs for openness, intimae conversation, etc. that were not shared - but she expresses that it was her inability to be open/intimate with me (not my lack of trying to love/support her). This may be affair fog, trying to be patient until more clear answers arrive in time.

As for what I'm changing, I'm focusing on me, the kids and being lightweight/fun as much as possible. Scheduling activities, slowing down, inviting her to join me or the kids, etc. In addition I'm initiating more conversations that are open ended and deeper than just the 'what are you up to today'. Hoping this will give me some clues to what she responds to.

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Quick update.

WW did not agree to provide passwords/credentials or writing a letter of NC. Last evening, I discovered WW was secretly communicating with OM (via an online game) and the lies have continued to build. Upon sharing my information with her, she admitted it, said she wants out of our relationship and claims the relationship with the OM is not the focus right now - its her unhappiness for years that is the problem.

I expected things like this to happen, but it still stings. Not even the chatting itself, just the ongoing lying and manipulation and the pressure it creates on me. In my gut, I knew she was up to something (I always do) and I was right (again). Today feels nice as I don't feel like I need to snoop, but I'm sure its a matter of time before more lies pile on.

Continuing with Plan A, although focusing more on avoiding LBs and not necessarily building on missing needs - I just don't have it in me and she is so unreceptive to anything I do at the moment. I sense Plan B on the horizon, but who knows, things change fast.

Side rant: I wish she saw how harmful this behavior was to our kids. She keeps claiming that because they dont know the details, its no different. I say BS. If she is putting time, energy, focus, passion, etc. into that relationship - the kids suffer. Maybe not in the simple tasks of life, but emotionally and other deeper ways. I can't stand to hear her claim the high road with the kids while she is doing this to them. It is sickening.

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Sorry for what you have found out. Her actions speak that there’s still contact.

You need to call his BW and let her know there is still contact. You need to tell your kids and her and your family that she’s still in contact and ask them to put pressure on her.

You need to move your family away. What can you do to accomplish this?

You need to ignore her affair babble. She’s still active in the affair and will speak lies about your relationship.


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Originally Posted by beingstill
Side rant: I wish she saw how harmful this behavior was to our kids. She keeps claiming that because they dont know the details, its no different. I say BS. If she is putting time, energy, focus, passion, etc. into that relationship - the kids suffer. Maybe not in the simple tasks of life, but emotionally and other deeper ways. I can't stand to hear her claim the high road with the kids while she is doing this to them. It is sickening.
If the kids don't know the details enough to know that their mother has engaged in a sexual affair with another married man, that she is in love with him, that this is making you sad and ill, and it's hurting his wife and kids, and she won't stop it and is threatening to break up her family (and probably his too, as a result) - then they don't know enough.


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Originally Posted by beingstill
His wife and I talk on occasion, she wants to restore her marriage as well. She is keeping track.
This is an odd reaction for a wife with her own kids to protect. Most wives make the unfaithful husband's life hell - they don't "keep track".

Why isn't she ripping him a new rear end?

What exactly does she know?

Also, what does the neighbourhood tennis club know about his involvement with the mother of the kids he coached? Such a man is a predator. What are they doing to get rid of him?


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
Also, what does the neighbourhood tennis club know about his involvement with the mother of the kids he coached? Such a man is a predator. What are they doing to get rid of him?


This is a good question.


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