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Can this marriage even work?


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Question:  As the title says, I'm just looking to know if my marriage can even work and if so, how?

Background: I'm 44 and my wife is 33 in case that makes a difference. We met while working together and she was married at the time. She said she wanted a divorce from her then husband and we started hooking up. A few months later she was pregnant. We decided to try to work things out together and she moved in. I make a good deal more than her financially if that matters as it may have been a deciding factor on her part. We decided to get married a few years into the relationship and were married a little over a year before we had a fight and I asked for a divorce. I realized soon after I loved this woman with all my heart and really didn't want a divorce but she decided to move out and that she did in fact want a divorce. Before she left, I found out that she was talking with someone whom I later learned was an old ex-boyfriend. Its been 9 months since she left and I've always tried to reach out and try to work on things and she finally agreed a week ago to go on a date. We did and it was really good and now a week later we are saying we love each other and want to work things out. 

Issue:  There were some things that happened in the separation that are going to make it difficult for us to work it out. Namely for me, she got a tattoo on her ring finger of her ex's first name and on the side of her palm the day they first met. She says that she got it out of spite (I'm not a big tattoo person) and that she wasn't with him and he was married, although I realize this is highly unlikely. I guess for me I spent so long trying to win her back that now that I have a shot I don't know if it can even work. It's very difficult to see her without seeing the tattoo. She has made arrangements to get it removed even before we started talking. I know that it will take counseling and a lot of patience but that doesn't make it less trying. Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

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2 minutes ago, Twisted Fate said:

We met while working together and she was married at the time.  A few months later she was pregnant.

Sorry this is happening. You may be able to reconcile, but given how things began, you may always have the feeling you have to look over your shoulder.

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The tattoo sounds like it represents who she is though. That's her personality - she goes out and does things based on her emotions (out of spite) and is impulsive. You asked for a divorce after one fight? What was it about? Both of you react strongly to each other and very quickly. I think this bothers you and seeing the tattoo bothers you because it keeps reminding you of your mistakes as a couple. 

Counselling can help but not if you aren't both honest with yourselves about the past and stopping that cycle of reactivity or strong impulse. Hope you're both able to get through this.

 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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Thank you @Rose Mosse . Sorry, I was trying not to write a book but it wasn't just one fight. We didn't fight alot but I think we both would just repress how we felt or let things go until it kinda just blew up. We would fight maybe 2-3 times a year but they would get rough. 

The fight was my fault. It somehow got out of my control and went farther than it should have. Specifically, she had gotten fired from her job and her schedule had started to get out of whack, sleeping in later and not really doing much around the house. I tried to talk to her about it but communication isn't either one of our best qualities and it went down hill. 

I believe you hit the nail on the head about her personality. She is tied to her emotions and is more impulsive based on that at times. She likes to live for now because tomorrow isn't promised. I tend to be more reserved and look at things from a broader perspective but can react more irrationally at times.

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So when you were helping her cheat on her then husband...that was cool? True love written in the stars? Now that you are the husband being cheated on it's suddenly a problem? Why is that? You knew what you were getting into.

You have two choices :

First is accept the reality that she is just a run if the mill cheater and there will always be some side piece around....also she may or may not abruptly discard you for that side piece at any given time. Given her history, the discard is more of a when rather than an if. Of course this package comes complete with her circling back to you for a warm place to land any time her "relationship" with her sidepiece isn't working out so well....or he dumps her. Rinse and repeat indefinitely.

Second is accept the reality that she is just a cheater and divorce her for good. Focus on getting custody and being the best parent that you can be for your child. Maybe evaluate your own decisions and issues that lead up to this mess.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

So when you were helping her cheat on her then husband...that was cool? True love written in the stars? Now that you are the husband being cheated on it's suddenly a problem? Why is that? You knew what you were getting into.

Thank you @DancingFool. No I don't think it was cool which is why I included it to be upfront on how things were. We both didn't like the circumstances under which we met. I justified it at the time based on what she told me and that she was going to seek a divorce (this was before we started getting together but it wasn't long after she said this that we did). I think the biggest incident that pushed her out of that marriage was when they were strapped for cash and went to celebrate her birthday one weekend in another city. He talked her into going into a strip bar and proceeded to spend money they didn't have (repeatedly going to the ATM) getting lap dances from a stripper on her birthday. Even given this, I do think I was part and probably a big part as to why they got a divorce.

 

I know that the beginning started rough and we might not have ever stayed together had we not had a child. But I do think we had a good life and I do think that I had a lot of room to improve in the marriage and things I should've done better. I obviously have alot of my own issues and poor decision making that led up to this which includes a good deal of bad relationships and unhealthy relationship habits

Edited by Twisted Fate
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The thing with cheaters is that they are liars and they lie about everything, especially their relationships. So what she claims about her ex and reality are two different things. The bottom line is that you opted to get involved and that's something you need to sort out within yourself because there are nasty consequences to that.

As for you had a great relationship....sure....but for that pesky cheating thing she was doing when you weren't around. Please realize that the fighting and her calling for a divorce didn't happen out of nowhere. She was already riding the new pony so to speak. For your own sanity, do not kid yourself about that. This is who she is. It's pretty common for cheaters to act weird, pick fights, leave you feeling crazy when the real reason for their behavior is maligning you to justify their cheating. Cheater logic at its finest - I'm stabbing you in the back, but must make it seem like you deserve it.

At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself a simple question - is this acceptable to you? If the answer is yes, then you have no choice but to turn a blind eye. If no, then disengage for good.

You also have a child to consider here and the fact that growing up in this kind of a messy situation is going to cause serious damage. Better to have parents who are divorced and at least one parent who is stable, than two parents in a sham of a marriage where mom is running around with other men and dad is pretending it's not happening. Children are perceptive and do catch on to this stuff more than you realize. 

It's never too late to get your head screwed on straight and start making better decisions for yourself and your child, especially for the child.

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I think you both have a lot of work to do on yourselves before you can ever come together again. 

Your story reeks of the need for instant gratification, immaturity and what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Those among a few other of the most selfish of human traits, that frankly, ya'll should have outgrown by now. 

While the cheating and impulsive tattoo doesn't paint her in great light. You also have some work to do.

It takes two to cheat.  if you threaten divorce, the other person is going to react.  You both play major games with each other's feelings and emotions. 

Your ego did whatever to get her back but now, you realize you fought hard for a bill of goods most would pass on. 

I would think about what Dancing Fool said.  Maybe it's better you divorce and at least maybe you can create a stable life your child.  

Do you think you could start therapy for yourself; ask her to go to couples counseling, and also start a therapy for herself?

Do you think she would do this? 

The child is the one that needs to survive this roller coaster of a marriage. Remember you are teaching her what love is, how a man should treat a woman, what marriage is etc.

I'd maybe focus on my role as parent and see what happens with the relationship once you guys get into therapy and some time has passed.

It doesn't sound like she understands slow and steady. So I am not sure you really have any choice.  It seems she'll say whatever but do what she wants. 

It's up to you if you are going to fall for it again. 

 

 

Edited by Lambert
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Thank you again for your candid advice @DancingFool  logistically, I don't see how she could've had a physical relationship with this person. The way our schedules worked, we were around each other most of the time off of work or we were at work and we worked for the same company. That being said, where there is a will I'm certain there is a way. I do think they were in communication prior to the divorce talk, although she has said otherwise she did indeed lie about things during the separation. I did not notice any signs prior to the fight and divorce talk but she was talking with him that evening and has confirmed that.

 

20 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

is this acceptable to you?

I think the obvious answer is no, its not acceptable to me, which is why I'm currently having a hard time. Am I 100% sure that she had a physical relationship during our marriage with someone...no I am not. Can I rule it out...no I can't. She dated during our separation but I did too, so I cant really fault her there.

 

My biggest issue is I was in complete misery after she left. I missed her and I missed our family. I have other children from a previous marriage and I didn't want to raise another one in a broken household. Our relationship was not great but I though it was good and 90% of the time I was in a happy place and could see it lasting. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel that I would be happy if I left but I don't know how to make it work if I stay.

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Thank you @Lambert

4 minutes ago, Lambert said:

While the cheating and impulsive tattoo doesn't paint her in great light. You also have some work to do.

Yes, I fully admit that I could've been a better husband.

5 minutes ago, Lambert said:

It takes two to cheat.  if you threaten divorce, the other person is going to react.  You both play major games with each other's feelings and emotions. 

Agreed. I have threatened the divorce in the past and I think this was her reaction to that. She said if i did it again, she was gone, I did it again, and she left. There is no doubt in my mind I was fully at fault for that. I knew we had trouble and had talked about getting counseling but we would be really good and I thought it wasn't as high of a priority. Obviously, i was wrong there as well.

11 minutes ago, Lambert said:

Do you think you could start therapy for yourself; ask her to go to couples counseling, and also start a therapy for herself?

Do you think she would do this? 

I've talked to her about getting some expert help as I thought we would need it to unpack things and be able to work things out. She seemed amenable to this. We've only been talking for a week now as possibly reconciling but she seems committed to it and has said as much. I'm going to reach out once we can talk a little more and see what we can schedule.

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16 minutes ago, Twisted Fate said:

Thank you @Lambert

Yes, I fully admit that I could've been a better husband.

Agreed. I have threatened the divorce in the past and I think this was her reaction to that. She said if i did it again, she was gone, I did it again, and she left. There is no doubt in my mind I was fully at fault for that. I knew we had trouble and had talked about getting counseling but we would be really good and I thought it wasn't as high of a priority. Obviously, i was wrong there as well.

I've talked to her about getting some expert help as I thought we would need it to unpack things and be able to work things out. She seemed amenable to this. We've only been talking for a week now as possibly reconciling but she seems committed to it and has said as much. I'm going to reach out once we can talk a little more and see what we can schedule.

If she won't, I think you're a lost cause.  You will both have to be equally committed to making it work. 

I think one of the consequences of being a couple that cheated together, is an underlying mistrust of each other. 

Its dysfunctional by nature.  you're always questioning the love and asking the other to prove its real but pushing them away.

There a lot ego & drama involved. Maybe you're addicted to the drama. Maybe a fear of being vulnerable with each other because you know that dark cheater side. It's so complicated.  You're right to question if it can be salvaged.

Can you think of a happy time in your relationship?

Was it ever light, easy and fun? Or was there always some dirty little secrets involved?  

 

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@Lambert I can think of many times i was happy. We have a blended family with us having 4 kids in the house one week and then just our child the other week. Most of our issues were differences in how we view things with me being more long term focused and her short term. She would get mad if she felt like she wasn’t getting the attention she deserved, which was deserved.
 

I was an only child and tend to like more alone time. I admit that o should’ve been more help around the house, doing chores, and focusing more on her and the family.

 

No big drama issues outside of how we started. I can’t think of any dirty secrets. Light, easy, and fun we did have but I think we also had a lot of pressure with children and work. I feel I could’ve been there more both physically and emotionally.

 

She would yell a lot at the kids which would push me into unhealthy coping mechanisms such as video games.

Edited by Twisted Fate
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3 hours ago, Twisted Fate said:

We didn't fight alot but I think we both would just repress how we felt or let things go until it kinda just blew up. We would fight maybe 2-3 times a year but they would get rough. 

The fight was my fault. It somehow got out of my control and went farther than it should have. Specifically, she had gotten fired from her job and her schedule had started to get out of whack, sleeping in later and not really doing much around the house. I tried to talk to her about it but communication isn't either one of our best qualities and it went down hill. 

 

3 hours ago, Twisted Fate said:

I loved this woman with all my heart and really didn't want a divorce but she decided to move out and that she did in fact want a divorce. Before she left, I found out that she was talking with someone whom I later learned was an old ex-boyfriend. Its been 9 months since she left and I've always tried to reach out and try to work on things and she finally agreed a week ago to go on a date. We did and it was really good and now a week later we are saying we love each other and want to work things out. 

So, work things out - every time she takes off?

SHE has issue's... you both do, if you can't Communicate .

- So, she left... and said she did want a divorce... headed the way of an ex.. and got a tattoo... Weird!

And now, after 9 months of YOU begging for her to return, she agree's  ( I wonder if she's had a rebound & couldn't do it anymore?).

Yup- a few issue's and to consider her coming back, things need to improve!  Or, this idea of 'trying again' will not succeed.

Yah, sadly it often doesn't 😞 . ( Because of the damage from the first BU (hard feelings), plus all of that which caused the BU.

- Communication issue's.. and possibly lack of trust now?

I'd think twice on all of this.  To maybe accept this isn't workable, with how things are between you two?

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2 hours ago, Twisted Fate said:

@Lambert I can think of many times i was happy. We have a blended family with us having 4 kids in the house one week and then just our child the other week. Most of our issues were differences in how we view things with me being more long term focused and her short term. She would get mad if she felt like she wasn’t getting the attention she deserved, which was deserved.
 

I was an only child and tend to like more alone time. I admit that o should’ve been more help around the house, doing chores, and focusing more on her and the family.

 

No big drama issues outside of how we started. I can’t think of any dirty secrets. Light, easy, and fun we did have but I think we also had a lot of pressure with children and work. I feel I could’ve been there more both physically and emotionally.

 

She would yell a lot at the kids which would push me into unhealthy coping mechanisms such as video games.

I wonder if everything was so seemingly normal. Meaning what you wrote, many people experience. Everyday challenges... blended family,  work, kids, chores..  but then for whatever reason (that's what you have to figure out) it escalated to her leaving, monkey branching to an ex and getting tattooed. 

That's the more unreasonable aspect.  What are you in denial about? Those two pictures. They're hard to bridge.  

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8 hours ago, Twisted Fate said:

@Lambert . We have a blended family with us having 4 kids in the house one week and then just our child the other week.

Whose children are they? Yours or hers?

Can you work out a better custody schedule with your children's mother?

If you want to save this, you may consider marriage therapy for the both of you and individual therapy for yourself.

You can fix or change her. Focus on yourself.

Your household sounds chaotic. Who's stuck watching your kids if you're playing video games?

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19 hours ago, Lambert said:

t escalated to her leaving, monkey branching to an ex and getting tattooed.

@LambertSo, we spoke more on this today. She swears that nothing was happening between her and this ex. That he came down with his wife and she was there when the tattoo was placed. 

I started seeing my first wife after I thought she was with someone and then my current wife saw a pic of her on my bed posted on facebook and she said that that is when she started going on dates and that she has slept with people but it wasn't until after she learned I was with someone. 

 

I think, for me at least, that I felt forced into a marriage that I didn't know if I wanted. I do feel like I didn't help enough and put in the support needed to keep the marriage going. I had alot of trouble with my first marriage and I think I brought some of those scars with me. I feel a problem was that I wasnt able to communicate with my current wife without things going sideways. She can be sensitive about things and get overtly emotional and take things I say to a different meaning than I was trying to express.

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13 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Whose children are they? Yours or hers?

@Wiseman2Both of ours. I have a son from a previous marriage and she has 2 children from a previous marriage. We get those children every other week.

 

13 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Your household sounds chaotic. Who's stuck watching your kids if you're playing video games?

She was and I think this was a major area of contention that at the time I didnt fully recognize. She felt like she needed more help and attention on her and although I thought I was giving her that (we would have together time every night) I don't think it was enough or sufficient for her needs.

Edited by Twisted Fate
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1 hour ago, Twisted Fate said:

@LambertSo, we spoke more on this today. She swears that nothing was happening between her and this ex. That he came down with his wife and she was there when the tattoo was placed. 

I started seeing my first wife after I thought she was with someone and then my current wife saw a pic of her on my bed posted on facebook and she said that that is when she started going on dates and that she has slept with people but it wasn't until after she learned I was with someone. 

 

I think, for me at least, that I felt forced into a marriage that I didn't know if I wanted. I do feel like I didn't help enough and put in the support needed to keep the marriage going. I had alot of trouble with my first marriage and I think I brought some of those scars with me. I feel a problem was that I wasnt able to communicate with my current wife without things going sideways. She can be sensitive about things and get overtly emotional and take things I say to a different meaning than I was trying to express.

Only she really knows for sure. But I find this really hard to believe. 

You've both contributed to the problems.  And its going to take both of you to fix them. 

I think you're right to have doubts. Every instance you name can - of course, be explained away..  but put them all together and you see what you are working with.

Regardless of her and the marriage,  work on your issues.  That way,  if she doesn't come thru, you're healing yourself and in time will be a good partner to someone else and more importantly a good dad. 

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You know one thing that keeps people from being happy is the decision to not be happy. Just decide that the BS of what happened while you were apart doesn't matter. It's not a topic that needs to be discussed and dissected. In the words of Frozen, "let it go".

 

Have you read Al Turtle's website, alturtle.com? (Best and most comprehensive website on the internet.)

 

Also, I recommend Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships. Not a relationship book, per se, rather a sociology book with insights into the how and why of breakups (and, in turn, some insights on how to get back together or stay together, if you care to extrapolate on the research).

 

 

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Do any of you date people who are single, or only pursue those who are married.  One thing you can count on, much more cheating.  This is a mess!

Edited by Hollyj
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Ok, well you know how to fix it. Watch your own kids when you have custody rather than dumping them on her to babysit while you hide in video games.

This is not about tattoos. It's about a blended family and shirking your responsibility to your own kids as thier father.

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your marriage can only work if you both want to, too many influences here which is causing harm to your relationship and family environment in general.

That tattoo is really bothering you and she has some issues to sort. Have you tried relationship counselling? Your relationship need to be a sacred place where nothing else should be a priority other than your marriage, kids, a loving, respectful and caring environment at home is really important for healthy growth of the family in general. What are you doing about it?

Both of you need to seriously sit down and talk about this.

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On 2/13/2021 at 6:02 PM, AutumnBorn said:

You know one thing that keeps people from being happy is the decision to not be happy. Just decide that the BS of what happened while you were apart doesn't matter. It's not a topic that needs to be discussed and dissected. In the words of Frozen, "let it go".

Thank you @AutumnBornThis really hit me as something necessary for forward movement. We've talked and have agreed to a "fresh start" although we are of course still going to seek some counseling as I feel the past may come up for both of us. 

Edited by Twisted Fate
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