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This is going to be a long post so thank you in advance for reading it.

My wifes ex has always been somewhere in the shadows. They did talk, I was always afraid this would happen.

I was looking at old photos to make look nice for valentine's day, i saw that around 6 years ago, she started liking her exs posts.

At the time she told me the truth, she had seen him, she said she felt i was distant. I was not in my right mind as it happened while I was having a mental break down.

I was hurt, i felt that at the moment i needed her the most, she went to him, but a year later she told me it was just a lie to hurt my feelings and i gladly embraced that than accepting the pain.

But going through the old photos, it brought everything back, so rather than give her her valentines day card, I confronted her.

At first it was denial and I don't remembers, but then it came out, one or twice perhaps 3 times, I'm not sure.

I left and went for a walk, when i got back she asked if i wanted to talk in the car, she asked if i could ever forgive her, in tears, promised it would never happen again, that the last time she saw him it was to tell him it was over.

I needed to talk more with her as we didn't have much time, and i was freaking out. So we dropped the kids off at grans, she didn't want to talk, just kept saying "i cant deal with this, just get a divorce, stay with your mom, ill end up in hospital" ect ect...

But this is only half the story. I can't tell this story just one-sided or my wife will seem like the villain so you need to know all this below to understand. See ive had severe mental health issues my whole life, the first few years were hard, she had to cope with my mental health on a daily basis and sometimes it was too much, other times i went to my mother for comfort rather than her.

People say i was the perfect father and most loving husband when we had our first child, mabey i was nice but far from perfect and it wasnt long before my mental health got in the way again. 

The affair happened during one very hard mental break down, and it was a huge emotional toll as i had to get put into a mental health facility. The affair happened just before it got so bad, she felt i didn't love her because i couldn't even touch her.

But even after all of this, she came back with me. And as i said she told me.

I went out with her for drinks, and then more and more, see turned out, i enjoyed the alcohol because it numbed the pain and my mental health was better.

It got to the stage i was drunk every day and even in college, i got arrested several times and ended up homeless, when i got somewhere to live i just drank, i would busk for money for alcohol, I'd sell anything in my wife's house for the drink, i got drunk the day my second child was born, i was hanging around the wrong people, id left her all alone with two children so i could selfishly drink everything away.

The drink almost took my life, I i put her through hell with my drunkenness, i was to stupid to see what i was throwing away, i regret every missed second.

After stealing time and time again, coming to see her and hiding alcohol, or only playing with the kids a little then back to alcohol. I almost lost my ability to see my kids due to not being sober yet she defended me, and for years i drunk myself into oblivion.

This entire time she could have left and went home, she could have met another man, but she didn't, she did talk with her ex about it, but only once. She basically had to raise the kids alone.

Last year about a year from today  i finally did it, i gave up the alcohol before it took everything from me. And she gave me a final chance, when everyone in my world had given up on me she gave me that last chance.

This brings me to now. Yes I'm hurt she cheated, I'm hurt she spoke with him even briefly. But what breaks my heart more than anything ever could, is that i caused her so much pain, i abandoned her and my kids, i sometimes break down and cry when i think of all the pain i caused, and yet she never gave up hope id come back.

See you needed to know all this because this can't be one-sided in the circumstances, and if any of you feel angry at the things i did reading this, just know i feel exactly the same.

This is the conflict, she cheated once, went out with him a second time and spoke with him a third time. But she could have left me because of all i did, and yet she didn't, she was at her last straw, and I returned.

At first i didn't want to deal with it, it was just "daddy's back woo he is sober" but I didn't want to think on the pain i caused them. I could only hold on so long so all of this came out in the open on valentine's day.

Yes, its painful to think on her affair. But its painful to think i caused the person i loved so much, all this pain. I find it really hard to forgive myself as i should have been there, helping, taking her pain not causing it.

And when the whole world turned its back on me, she was there, still waiting still loving.

I really don't deserve her love, I didn't deserve her final chance, i despise my past actions, i cry when i think on the pain i caused her.

Yet i was hurt by her affair, scared ill not be good enough and that it could happen again.

This is why my grief is a double-sided sword. I grievee her affair, but i also grievee all the pain i caused and all the time i wasted when i should have been with my family.

I'm one year sober, we want to renew our vows, get some counseling, not just for her actions but also and importantly for mine. She cried in the car, told me how much i had hurt her, and she was right. I did.

So i come to all of you for advice. I don't want to cause my family any more pain, but i feel so selfish when my heart breaks due to the affair, especially after everything she has done and went through.

Do you have any advice? 

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sadly, damage has occurred on both sides.. yes, you two have a lot to deal with mentally & emotionally.

CAN you two get past all of this, heal & be strong again?  I don't know.

With YOUR mental health issue's, have you ever seeked prof help before her?  When with her.. are you on meds at this time?

I know, some people do turn to alcohol, to try & numb the pain - but, as you see, it's not the answer 😞 

Thankfully, I never really did that.. I broke down a few times... I'd live on my coffee/crackers & lost weight.. wasn't sleeping etc... Dr put me on an anxiety med for over a year.... after that & therapy, I weaned off the anxiety meds & was put on something as a 'mood stablizer'.

With time, things have improved a bit.  I only had one instance of where I turned to alcy- but was less than a year- before one day I just stopped.. Didn't want it anymore. ( I am not an alcy).  But, yah, at that time, it became my crutch.

Yes, you two have a ways to go.. not only for your relationship, but YOU as well- for your own mental health issue's.... which I wish, you had gotten some sort of treatment for it by now.

It all takes time.. IF you both feel you can get through this & be stronger, together, yes, get in for therapy to work through this... But, imo, If YOU feel you just can't 'accept & recover' from this damage, is something to also consider... Which is why I am thinking, to not just go as a couple, but do counselling/therapy on your own as well. ( doing this, you can aim at working through all that has happened and focus on your own well being and learn some coping skills).

One day at a time... just do your best to be there for her now, with her.  Communicate, support etc.

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Agree with the one day at a time approach. Take things one step at a time. The damage from the past happened over time. Healing also comes over time. The plus here is that both of you have agreed to counselling. Is this marriage counselling together or individual counselling or therapy? 

I think you should still continue to seek support with individual therapy to help process your actions and guilt. She has to agree not to have any other contact with this ex. It's one thing to say 'it's over' and still remain in contact. He has no place in your lives or your marriage and you shouldn't live in fear that this is a recurring theme or that he will crop up again or cause issues. If both of you can commit to each other and believe in that commitment, I'd say that there's hope. It's all trust and it takes time to rebuild. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, SooSad33 said:

sadly, damage has occurred on both sides.. yes, you two have a lot to deal with mentally & emotionally.

CAN you two get past all of this, heal & be strong again?  I don't know.

With YOUR mental health issue's, have you ever seeked prof help before her?  When with her.. are you on meds at this time?

I know, some people do turn to alcohol, to try & numb the pain - but, as you see, it's not the answer 😞 

Thankfully, I never really did that.. I broke down a few times... I'd live on my coffee/crackers & lost weight.. wasn't sleeping etc... Dr put me on an anxiety med for over a year.... after that & therapy, I weaned off the anxiety meds & was put on something as a 'mood stablizer'.

With time, things have improved a bit.  I only had one instance of where I turned to alcy- but was less than a year- before one day I just stopped.. Didn't want it anymore. ( I am not an alcy).  But, yah, at that time, it became my crutch.

Yes, you two have a ways to go.. not only for your relationship, but YOU as well- for your own mental health issue's.... which I wish, you had gotten some sort of treatment for it by now.

It all takes time.. IF you both feel you can get through this & be stronger, together, yes, get in for therapy to work through this... But, imo, If YOU feel you just can't 'accept & recover' from this damage, is something to also consider... Which is why I am thinking, to not just go as a couple, but do counselling/therapy on your own as well. ( doing this, you can aim at working through all that has happened and focus on your own well being and learn some coping skills).

One day at a time... just do your best to be there for her now, with her.  Communicate, support etc.

I was able to get on the right medication when the alcohol  stopped. Three things happened at the time to now which is. 

1. She only let me stay in the house one day, or at least that was the intention, but due to it being my birthday a few days later, she let me stay until then. The whole time i remained sober. Then she gave me one more week, and at the end of the week she told me I could stay but if i ever touched alcahol again then it was over, i fully agreed. About one week later the worst happened, i lost my closest friend, the man who was not only the retired priest who married us, he was my best friend, i know thats odd to hear, as priests aren't usually friends, but from first meeting him and helping him find a book, to walking while in agony each day to visit when my mental health was bad, and back then, when i first met him, i didnt trust him. But he was a very compassionate, and helpful guide, and was basically my therapist in a way. Ill always concider my sobriety a miracle from him. Well, with the coronavirus going around i wasnt able to visit him, so the sober support from him wasn't able to happen, and then i got the news he passed away. 

I was crushed, we all were, but this is where things changed, see he never drank in his life, temperence? I dint know the name for never drinking and offering that up, and he would always tell me "you need to get off the alcohol, and get back with your wife who loves you and your children who need you."

This was the point i could have fell, coronavirus happening, AA meetings cancelled, mental health support and alcohol support prosponed, and the loss of my friend. 

But, all he ever wanted was me to stop, how could i drink because of the death of someone who always wanted me to be sober and get back to my wife. 

Perhaps some miracle did occur, but it took time. 

2. After all the things i have done, you would expect my wife to be paranoid. She was a little bit for the first two weeks, a few times she took a sip of my juice to make sure there was nothing in it, or if she misplaced her bag started asking where it was as though i took it, but before long, and probably way before i deserved it, she would let me get the shopping, she wouldn't go snooping. She put her trust in me that i wouldn't ever touch drink again and i haven't. 

3. Our children are mine, i know this, the good thing about the ex (she has cut all contact) is he lives the other end of the world. We have both spoken to our oldest son, not about the affair. He knows she did something that broke my heart, and he knows i am also brokenhearted for leaving him alone. She has been an incredible mother, putting the children first and, she could have divorced me many times over the years, met another guy, or just went home to her mother. 

But she stayed, she didn't give up, most people would have lost their partner, i feel lucky in that way 

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14 hours ago, Hollyj said:

What are you doing for your mental health?  Are you seeking therapy and on meds?

I'm on medication now. And have been over the last 9 months which has been a great help. Im intend to do bo single therapy for myself and couples therapy for our marriage 

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14 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

Agree with the one day at a time approach. Take things one step at a time. The damage from the past happened over time. Healing also comes over time. The plus here is that both of you have agreed to counselling. Is this marriage counselling together or individual counselling or therapy? 

I think you should still continue to seek support with individual therapy to help process your actions and guilt. She has to agree not to have any other contact with this ex. It's one thing to say 'it's over' and still remain in contact. He has no place in your lives or your marriage and you shouldn't live in fear that this is a recurring theme or that he will crop up again or cause issues. If both of you can commit to each other and believe in that commitment, I'd say that there's hope. It's all trust and it takes time to rebuild. 

 

 

She has agreed. We had a discussion yesterday. See for me, the hardest thing was trying to find out what i did wrong originally that caused this affair. Her saying it was closure or whatever didn't help at all, so i asked her to tell me what i did, where i went wrong, why i wasn't enough back then. 

And it was her reply to this that made me decide to continue our relationship. 

She said "you did nothing wrong, what happened wasn't your fault it was mine, i screwed up, i made the mistake. I cut all contact with him years ago, we barely spoke, i messed up, i know i did wrong and I'm sorry, nothing you did caused it, i hurt you, I've carried the guilt, i know your in pain but please understand this, i love you, i waited for you to come back to us, he is gone, has been for a long long time, when you left, i didnt go out drnking and messing around, i spent every day with the children, our children. Your sisters friend jane, i saw her on Facebook, after her husband left she was with another man every week, i didnt do that, i raised our children, i never went out, if you dont believe my words at least believe my actions. I broke your heart and i wouldnt do it again, i wanted you, the children wanted you, i didn't need a replacement or a shoulder to cry on, i wanted you. I stayed for you, i love you"

 

She is an amazing woman and mother, and she is right, she didn't even go out, not because of me, I mean, i didn't tell her not to go out or anything, she alone chose not to go down that path. 

Instead she doubled down being a mother and trying to take on the role of father herself too. 

 

See, as upsetting as the affair was, she has been a super hard working mother. 

 

I just want to undo all the damage i did over the years now. To her and the children. I'm leaning every day to be a better father, my precious 8 year old son, he has been amazing. Im so so proud of him, i know the pain i caused him choosing alcohol over him may make him think he wasnt good enough or fear abandoning even though he smiles through it, so i try to talk openly with him, explaining what happened and that it wasn't his fault. 

My almost 3 year old, well, not quite as much aware, I try to tell him how special he is to me every day. 

 

So can we make it work? Yes, i fully believe so, i said to my wife getting a bit of therapy to help her with the pain i caused her may be helpful because there is issues we both need to work through independently. 

 

As for my sobriety, that is my focus. 

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