Hi, this is my first post and I'm sure it will all sound very familiar, but it feels good to get it out there.
A little background: My wife and I have been together for over nine years, married for five. We had two children quickly after getting married which was earlier than planned, but still part of the plan. Over the last five years we have remodeled 3 homes together, raised the most amazing children and worked our a*ses off trying to create a future together. I built our current home and it is an expression of both of our hopes and dreams. We've had some money struggles and career struggles and of course the intense day to day life of raising small children. About 6 months ago my wife started going out with her friends more and hanging out in a neighborhood bar where her friend works. At first I wanted her to have this, but I was too prideful to go to the stinky bar and stayed home. This started a rift between us which grew and grew. She expressed a couple times that she was having some doubts about our marriage. I felt very content so I couldn't understand where she was coming from. We worked on a few things and I felt we were on our way to a better place. She was staying out more and more and later and later. One day she told me that our marriage was in serious trouble. This time I listened and found this website and went to work trying to reconnect with her. We went on dates and created fun romantic evenings at home together. I did a lot of introspective examination. Then she came home from work and told me that the marriage was over and there was nothing I could do. I was devastated. Turns out she told me this because her friend at the bar was about to blow the whistle on her affair. Her friend told my brother who told me on the same day she said she was leaving. Double kick to the stomach. I felt we had something very special and it was horrifying to see it evaporate before my eyes. After a lot of bitter realizations to her, where she was extremely sorry and remorseful, we both posed the question of reconciliation. I realized that I didn't want it to end if I looked at the big picture. So we set about doing this. She proposed that we split the week with our children and the other half sleeping on relatives' couches. I didn't want this, but felt like things were too fragile to make demands. Ever since that, she has only expressed doubts that this could work. She is making a concerted effort to withhold a decision which is unusual for her, and she has made some reconciliatory gestures. But, I've come to realize that the affair is still going on and the other man thinks she's just trying to leave me. I've been engaged in a very intense Plan A for about two and a half weeks now. I am getting very little back from her, but we remain friendly. I'm finding the ups and downs to be shocking even as I realize this is just going to keep happening. The feeling of powerlessness is taking its toll on me and I endlessly rehearse my Plan B letter. I have given myself until mid March to keep Plan A in place, then to reevaluate or enact Plan B, depending on progress. Mid March seems like an eternity at this point, but I think two months is a good amount of time for me. Here is the first draft of my letter:
(Wife's Name) I love you. I want us to recommit to our marriage. I have dedicated every waking moment of the last two months trying to reconnect with you and express my desire to reconcile. It is taking too great a toll on me. The threat of our marriage ending, the betrayal of the affair and it's continuation and the apparent lack of progress with my reconciliation is pushing me to the breaking point. I will now concentrate on my life moving forward. I need to face the future having learned from this, and make decisions for my health and the health of our children.
There is no excuse for your betrayal. It was the most destructive thing you could have done to us. I know you didn’t do it to hurt me, and I hope you can help me understand your side of this. I fully accept my part in this. I have not always treated you as an equal and I have allowed our life and our kids to come before my attention to your needs. I do not feel that our marriage was beyond help.
I would like you to find your own living arrangements. I would like you to take your possessions with you. I have begun advertising the lower floor of our house to be a rental space. I would like us to be financially independent. Once you have a stable living situation and you can assure me that anyone living with you is a healthy presence for our children, we can negotiate the details of our childrens' living situation.
I will continue to hope we can remain together. I am not doing this to hurt you or to be vindictive. I'm sure you understand that the current arrangement is excruciating for me, and I need that to stop.
I'm prepared to start my life without you. This is an experience which has caused enormous suffering, but also a surprising strengthening of my person and self-esteem at the same time. I deeply regret the damage this will cause our children, but I need to set an example for them. If we end our marriage, I will put their care as my highest priority.
I will not communicate with you except as it pertains to business or our children. If you want to discuss reconciliation, I will only accept your deepest commitment to recovery, and a clear demonstration that infidelity has ended. I propose that we follow the guidelines of Dr. Harley's book. It seems like as good a guideline as I can find.
I am so sorrowful that our life has turned into this. I will forever regret not being able to understand and meet your needs. I take responsibility for my part in this. I continue to hope that we can come through this, but will only accept a healthy outcome whether it's with you or without you. We deserve better than this. Our children deserve better than this.
If you need to contact me, do it in the form of email or text message.
Any comments or suggestions are welcome.