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Good evening all. It's been almost 9 years since my last bit of activity here. I just need to get this all out somewhere and everyone here was so good about listening before. 

This will be long and somewhat drawn out. I will skip around a bit and add information not necessarily in chronological order.While I understand there will likely be some comments that will tell what a wonderful person I am(sarcasm mine) I am going to own my actions and go ahead and say I feel like dirt and frankly don't need the criticism, I can and continue to handle that myself, so don't expect a response to any of it if that is all you have to offer. I know I'm the bad guy here and am not looking for justification or sympathy for where I find myself.

I travel frequently for work and it is not uncommon for me to be gone for a week to a couple months at a time. It was during a prolonged work project that i had an affair with a friend which was more emotional than physical. Well it started as more emotional than physical I will call her Kim. 

We got to know each other pretty well, "work wife" if you will. This was the first I had ever heard the term but these things seem to be common in offices, of which I was not all too familiar with. I knew her for over a year before a drunken moment led to me dropping my guard and getting physical. This rattled me pretty hard and when I sobered up, we talked about it and agreed this isn't right and we need to stop that right away. 

A month or two went by and we ended up spending a night together. We continued this off and on for a year. Not consistently but frequently enough that I should have stopped it long before.

When we parted ways, we agreed that this was something special that we both kind of "needed" at that time, she had been through a pretty rocky divorce and was still shaken by it a year or two after. As for me, I'll get to that in a minute. We did not spend the night together that night. We talked, said things that we felt needed saying, and parted ways almost hoping to work another project together again but as friends, not lovers. 

A little background as to how I got to that point. At the end of 2006, my wife mentioned her feeling that maybe we needed to separate. She said she needs to work some things out but she had been trying to get the courage to say it to me. She said she cared about my well being and didn't want anything bad to happen t ok me but she didn't feel toward me what a woman should feel for her husband. She said at that point she didn't love me. Full story is back in my past posts somewhere. Suffice it to say I didn't handle it well. I offered counseling, negative, I offered to move out and give space, only issue at the time was I wasn't traveling for work at that time and wasn't making enough money to support 2 households and we had no idea how to break this to our son. 

I agreed to just give her her space to work things out. Separate sleeping arrangements under the same roof and so on. 3.5 years no physical contact. (Let me stop here and emphasize my involvement with "Kim" had very little to do with a need for sex. Believe it or don't but this is the truth) we occasionally had sex for the next few years but maintained a basically separation under the same roof. We never talked about what her issues were or if she ever resolved them. After our son graduated high school and went to college, I had walked away from the only skill and work I ever truly knew to the state of the economy at the time. My part time work began to take off and I was able to transition to a new career. My wife had been working at her job since 2007. It was quite a challenge for me to adjust to her new job, new hours, etc and now, with the traveling I had begun to do, things were harder as our schedules didn't exactly mesh and we began verbally talking about twice a week. Texts were mostly how we talked. Later her job became more and more demanding which put additional strain on our relationship. She had a car accident and had some lasting physical issues with her back. I did not push going and doing things or even push the issue of intimacy with her because I knew she wasnt well. We were occasionally intimate and even slept in the same bed, cuddled, etc. 

Work began to intrude more and more for both of us. It was around this time frame I had a nervous breakdown (I wont discuss this in detail) and after a lifetime of fighting myself, I sought help and found I had to be medicated due to a number of issues such as clinical depression, a degree of bipolar and intense anxiety. This was a lifelong condition that I finally KNEW I had to seek help for. Fortunately my wife, while not understanding what I was dealing with or why I had no answers for her when we talked about it, was pretty accepting of it, realized how long I had been struggling and was very understanding. She could even tell if I was about to whack out and either helped me leave the situation, in one case it was a shopping mall, or realized I was in a bad place and knew to offer help but not get upset if I just wanted to be left alone.

Not long after that, I got an incredible opportunity in terms of furthering my career as well as the financial windfall that came with it. We discussed it and even what it meant for us as a couple and agreed to make it happen and we would just try real hard to try and make things work out. I expected to be gone 3-4 months and ended up staying on the project for almost 4 years. 

During this time I came home about every 6-8weeks, we spoke on the phone, she hates facetime so none of that. 

I started to get pretty annoyed at the fact that I would schedule out 3-4 weeks in advance when I would be home and yet she ended up working most of the time I was home. Pretty soon, I began to wonder why I bothered but I was insistent on trying to stay relevant and keep our relationship as alive as possible.  I also found it annoying how I always found a way to come to her but she could never find a way to come to me. We simply just understood that our work was our work..it was what it was and we would try to make the best of it till I could come home and look to the next project. 

It was during this time frame that my dad lost his battle with cancer and passed away, our son graduated college and began a life of his own far from home. I also found out that my wife had rented an apartment closer to work so that she wouldn't have to drive the hour or so home every night after a 12-14 hour shift. I was absolutely livid over this. I had begged her for so long to go to someone in her company to describe the horrible work conditions she was under but she refused because she was scared to lose her job. She maintained this apartment for the better part of a year while I was home between jobs. Hell i even tried to show up and bring dinner either to work or her new place just to be closer to her. Didnt go so well.

After having been home for 8-9 months, another opportunity to work arose. My particular specialty field was less than active so I had set my sights on alternative fields till my work picked up in my field of expertise. As fate would have it, I found myself in a place not terribly far from "Kim."

We did not immediately pick up where we left off because of how we had left things before. 

Months passed and I still had this job but I went home about once every 4-6 weeks. (In case you wonder why the time delay in my trips home, I do contract work and unfortunately never really know when the project will be over, so I do as much as I can for as long as I can to build a reserve in savings till the next project) it was the same as the last project but now when i came home, she had turned into a workaholic and her boss was a slave driver. 

Let me stop here and say that while there is always the possibility my wife was having an affair, given our near 33 years together, I am still pretty certain that she wasn't. 

Our marriage had become and remains as more of cohabitation than a marriage. We watch tv and eat together, talk about work, or rather she talks and I listen. We discuss bills and frankly i feel more like a paycheck than a husband. 

About 5 months ago, I had resumed my affair with "Kim" and realized i had fallen in love with her and she with me. It all fell into place and I could acknowledge it. I even told her and she reciprocated. We were happy together. Let me take an aside here...now, as if I didnt feel bad enough for cheating on my wife, I knew i had let down my parents(their opinion of me is of great importance to me) my son, and pretty much anyone who knows me. i had become a statistic as an adulterer, i had become much of what I always hated. Further, I was leading on a woman who could have used the almost 4 years we were involved with one another, to find someone who could commit to a long term relationship with her as she so truly deserves. 

Well now that is over. "Kim" has decided she needs to step away and let us just be acquaintances/ colleagues. She also realizes I am too much a mess to make things good for both of us.

Yes I am something of a coward for not manning up and doing what needs to be done. 

But now, I finally have begun to let go of what I feel connects me to "home" as it were. I am considering divorce just because I am tired of feeling like I am not a priority and mostly just a means to an end. It doesn't even make sense to talk anymore. 

Oddly, I feel an obligation to her that prevents me from leaving. No I didnt keep that one very important vow, but I feel as if I have kept every other promise I made that day. I won't say she drove me into the arms of another woman. That is intellectually dishonest. I will say that we both had a role to play in bringing us to where we find ourselves today. 

I will hurt her by asking for a divorce...I know this. I could explain why. Part of me says not to mention the other woman yet the other part of me calls on me to man up and admit it. 

So now I ask for advice. I would like to keep my house and help pay for a place for my wife to live that is closer to her work but at the same time, without her here, it almost doesn't seem right to stay in the city i live in...there's almost nothing for me here. Another part of me wants to just let her have the house, I'll pay the mortgage instead of alimony and just try to part on fairly good terms. We've grown apart. We have no relationship to speak of. I just want my stuff. Tools and toys...my stuff. She could even have the rest of the stuff. Saves her from having to relocate. Currently i am trying to bring the home repairs up to date so she would have less to worry with. I just feel like I should conti6to take care of her till someone else does. 

I'm the s@#$@y person here and almost feel like this is a fair....punishment....for what I've done to her. Divorce is one thing. Adultery is a whole other and it's not cool. 

So again with advice...would it be smart to get the divorce and basically walk away from everything and let her keep it or should I push to keep the house and help her financially till she gets on her feet.

What steps would anyone else take if they were in my position.

Thanks in advance. 

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15 minutes ago, jaywalk said:

So again with advice...would it be smart to get the divorce and basically walk away from everything and let her keep it or should I push to keep the house and help her financially till she gets on her feet.

I think it would be wiser to speak to an attorney in your jurisdiction about this. We can't really offer much guidance that isn't emotion-driven. Get a legal consultation first. Explain to an experienced lawyer what you explained here, and see what your options actually are and how feasible either of your two hypothetical plans is, in practical terms. 

Then, ask yourself what you will do if your wife puts up a fight about divorcing. Your plans only sound workable if she agrees to divorce; if she doesn't, you might be looking at a much more complicated process than you're anticipating, in which finances are only part of the equation. 

For what it's worth, I think you are making the right choice by finally deciding to end this marriage. For all intents and purposes, it ended ages ago. I would frankly be very surprised if you wife had never had her own affair; there are multiple indicators that you weren't the only one with someone else on their radar. It seems to be rather moot now, but it's time to do what should have probably been done years ago. 

But I would also ask yourself this question: are you going to be honest if your wife asks you if there is (was) another woman? 

Edited by MissCanuck
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Consulting an attorney about your divorce options is an excellent idea.

Not because the mistress bailed but because your marriage has been more like roommates for years.

Your wife may see divorce as a welcome relief. Your adult son will understand.

Since you've been friendly as roommates, co-parenting and divorcing may not be as mentally draining as you think. You're mentally sexually, emotionally and geography divorced anyway.

There seems to be hesitation because this has become convenient and divorce is a hassle.

Sort of the devil you know type of thing. You may be fearful of growing old alone. Having a free and clear and authentic relationship may also be troublesome for you.

After your consultation with the attorney, talk to your therapist. It's probably best not to mention the affair.  The marriage is so decayed without it, there's no reason to bring it up.

 

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Thank you for responses and thank you for keeping it straight forward with me. I was pretty much thinking the same thing, just needed to say it and be affirmed in my conclusion. 

Probably wrong place to say it but I will say this. As much as I love "Kim" and as happy as we made one another, if I had it all to do over, I wouldn't have gone near her. I've been a bit of a *** before and sometimes cold hearted. I've spoken before I thought and rarely walked it back. I have clinical depression and all but I gotta say...this affair has left me with more bad feeling about myself than any of my depression ever could. 

I would TOTALLY advise against it. Dont be like me, man up and get a divorce BEFORE you get involved with someone else. 

Again. Thank you all

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An attorney can give you options for your location and advise you on best steps for each option. From there you can operate on real information rather than emotions alone. 

I agree that if you want out, get out. However, some locations require a period of separation beforehand, and so you might soften the blow by asking for a separation rather than coming straight out with the D word.

This may go without saying, but there's no reason to tell her about the infidelity. Confessions are usually manipulative. They burden another who can do absolutely nothing with that information but feel lousy. Not a good move when what you want is cooperation.

Edited by catfeeder
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