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Help to reconnect / possible affair

Posted by
JBSHAGGY
on Mar 23 2019 at 18:35
Member since: 23 March 2019
Relationship advice Hi, everyone. This is going to get long, so strap in.

I have been in my current relationship with my fiancee for about 9 1/2 years. We are currently engaged and living together with our three daughters (5, 3, and 1), my fiancee's two nieces and nephew (15, 12, and 9), as well as my SO's mother.

We started off pretty strong. In the beginning I was much more attentive and caring and just generally a much more positive person. We moved in together about 5 years ago with her becoming pregnant with our first daughter, and since becoming parents, we've had our share of struggles in terms of adapting to adult life (less time for friends and pursuing personal interests). We still got along rather well, occasional fights nonwithstanding, and we still certainly loved the hell out of each other.

We had went suddenly from one to four kids once we took in my SOs family, plus a fifth in my second-oldest. I was working 70-80 hour weeks to support us, and in the midst of it all I used the internet as a distraction and escape. Between 2016-18 I developed a consuming phone addiction, getting wrapped up in an online community where I'd focus a majority of my time, to the detriment of my family. I withdrew. I became less patient and more bitter. I wasn't always a total a piece of shit during this time, but it became the norm.

I wasn't putting my fair share of effort into the relationship, and into being a good father. She's been a stay-at-home mother, which has played a part in her growing frustration with us; she hasn't had a lot of opportunity to get out or to really live her life. It doesn't help that she has anxiety and depression, which has only been made worse by our family finding a house three hours from our hometowns, and our friends and family. The combination of a (relatively) remote living location far from friends, and a terribly shitty winter has made it difficult for her to get out, which I feel contributes to her feeling stuck or isolated.

Fast foward to this year: We had a fight early January, which we didn't (truly) recover from for a couple weeks. She'd hardly talk to me, she'd hardly look at me, and was constantly on Facebook.

One day I overheard her BFF (who I've known and been pretty cool with for as long as we'd been together) tell my fiancee to kick me out and find someone else.

This was a massive wakeup call.

I promised I'd shape the fuck up. She told me I wouldn't last a week before falling back into my bad habits. It proved an easily-quashed milestone. Four weeks later, she told me I'd go right back to being a shit after a few months.

Over the past two months, I've limited my phone use to cigarette breaks/when at work. I've kept my temper in check, and I've focused all of my attention on her and the kids. I've been putting forward a consistent, sustained effort to stay as positive and happy as I was when we first got together. I'm also helping her to get her license so she can get out more, and she's looking to get a job soon after.

All of this was helping, for awhile. It was really rough for me to keep my head up and apologize and/or defuse situations where she'd yell at or criticize me -- being apologetic and modest instead of defensive and attacking back. We had a couple date nights (for both our sakes).

There was a period of about two weeks where she opened up to me, became really lovey-dovey, and everything seemed like it was improving.

It was short lived. She started pulling away again, becoming more hostile and just generally annoyed if I want to speak to her at all, and is on the phone 24/7.

I noticed the other week that she's had a lot of interactions on her posts with some guy I'm unfamiliar with, and likewise, she's hearting and commenting on his stuff 'round the clock. I was a little worried/curious, but I didn't think much of it, and I didn't want to annoy her by prying. Part of me was happy she had another friend to talk to.

Curiosity got the better of me though, between her seeming secretive and spending hours texting and on late-night phone calls. I signed into her profile to hopefully put my worries to rest. There was no message history between them, besides from the day prior. There was a bit of flirting (calling each other cutie and sweetie), her telling him she feels trapped and him telling her it'll be over soon, as well as two late-night video chats.

I didn't sleep for the next two days. I'm shattered. Never felt more worthless in my life.

I talked with her mother (who herself divorced her husband after having been cheated on) and she told me a bit about this guy: that he's a friend of a friend, that he was kicked out of his SOs house for cheating himself, leaving his kids behind, and that he's generally a piece of shit. He also lives a few states away. So it's not like she's going to actually run off with him, and my MIL ensured me he's the kind of guy she wouldn't allow in our home. She told me he's not a threat because of his cheating past (due to how cheating broke up my SO's family, she is strongly against that type of shit).

Even so, I'm having a very hard time looking at this as anything but a huge breach of trust. I don't know how to look at this as something harmless, as much as I'd love to. I'm not totally undeserving, I know I fucked up for far too long...

I'm terrified that the longer this goes on unaddressed, the longer he has to continie to drive a wedge between us, and the further she'll pull away. But at the same time, if I try to show concern or ask that she stop talking to him, then I'll get shut down, maybe worse.

I spent a couple days looking at online resources to learn how to cope with emotional cheating, and how to identify warning signs (they are all present), and I believe she poked around in my phone and saw this; her mother told me she thinks I believe shes cheating on me.

She flipped on me a bit that night. After I put the girls to bed I asked if she could spend just a little time with me (otherwise she'd be downstairs on her phone for the next several hours, as had become routine). She got angry and told me to give her space. She later came up and yelled at me more (after I left her alone), saying that all my changed behavior was just me kissing her ass, and she doesn't know what she wants (except for me to leave her alone).

I tried explaining that I have been giving her space: every day before work I took care of the kids/house by myself so she could work out, and every night I'm home I make sure she has as long as she likes to do whatever she wants.

For the first time in a long time, I got angry myself, and suggested out of spite that I should sleep on the couch -- of course, this backfired in that for the last few days she only came into our bedroom to grab a pillow and head downstairs.

I'm lost here. I don't know if I'm just paranoid, and it offended her? I don't know if she's legitimately romantically involved with him, and scared/mad at getting caught? Maybe she doesn't consider this cheating?

It just seems like she hates me anymore. She stopped saying she loves me. She gets mad if I want to speak to her or spend a single shred of my day with her, I almost got told off just now trying to head into the supermarket with her, like she doesn't want to be seen in public with me.

It seems like there's not a single thing I can do to improve my situation. If I'm nice, then she thinks its fake. If I have the tiniest of disagreement, she's furious. If I try to talk, I'm stressing her out. If I get emotional, then I'm trying to guilt trip her. Every. Single. Thing. Everything I do or don't do is a problem.

She did agree (reluctantly) to go to counseling with me, I'm trying as hard as I can to take this as a sign that there's still somewhat of a chance.

I'm fully committed to making this work. I cannot bear the thought of us breaking up. I can't imagine life without her and my children.

I'm reaching out for advice and support, I have nowhere else to turn to or anyone to talk to. I don't know what else I can really do to reconnect and try to heal, and I don't know how to handle her "just friend".

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
TIREDOFLIFE
on Mar 24 2019 at 08:12
Member since: 10 March 2019
Hey mate.

First of all, sorry to hear about your situation. Sounds like a really bad time.

My impression from reading this is that she was getting tired of your past behaviour long before you realised it.

When you made the changes she was already fairly well committed to detaching herself from you and the situation. Presumably when this thing with another dude began too.

Since you've realised the error of your ways and made a genuine change (congrats by the way), she's gotten mad.

I believe, mad at herself, for what she's done, in detaching herself and not giving you the credit you deserve. Mad at you, (this probably sounds weird) but I think that she would be having loving feelings for you again, she's pissed that you've gone back to your old self AFTER she's already started down this path which she would be now regretting at times. But also probably hoping that your changed behaviour isn't permanent. Because then she could feel vindicated in her actions.

Long story short. She's pissed that you've made commendable changes because now she feels like the bad guy for her handling of the situation. And instead of admitting her fault and coming clean she's just holding out hope that you will go back to your old ways so that she can feel justified and no longer be the bad guy (that is the easiest path for her after all so go figure).

As for a solution to this.

First of all, keep doing what you're doing, good stuff. The changes you've made seem to be coming with the right intentions and you're keeping it up.

You also may have been just in time to save your relationship with her, evidenced by the fact she's agreed to counselling and also just that she's still around.

Unfortunately you weren't in time to prevent something developing between her and this other guy.

Counselling is probably a good place to address this. If you want to fully repair this situation she needs to drop this dude from her life and put you back into place as her number one man.

That's going to be a long and difficult process but from what I've read it seems that it is still definitely a possibility.

Just stay strong. Keep trying. And definitely broach the issue of the other guy when the time is right (as I said, probably in counselling).

Good luck

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
JBSHAGGY
on Mar 25 2019 at 01:02
Member since: 23 March 2019
Thanks for your reply.

I haven't really considered part of your assessmen -- that there is a possibility she may at times beleive I'm being genuine and may harbor second thoughts about this other guy (regardless of the fact that they've taken steps to cover their tracks better since she became aware of my suspicion).

It's another point of hope I can cling to when I start to spiral into another depressive episode/panic attack and come back up for air.

Doing my best to stay strong, it's just a million times harder now with this knowledge.

In terms of addressing it, I am absolutely mortified at the thought. She pulled back from me hard simply knowing I was suspicious. I have no idea how volatile it could get if she were confronted... especially if it happens in front of someone. I'm afraid she would just blame me as being paranoid/crazy, break off the relationship/kick me out, etc for the offense of me "accusing" her (especially since I no longer have proof or any way to get it).

Part of me hopes I can ride it out, and when things get better, she'll move off on her own as I keep focusing on self-improvement... and maybe, eventually, she may come clean when we are in a better spot.

I may try to schedule a private session with our counsellor after our initial session as a couple, and go from there.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
TIREDOFLIFE
on Mar 25 2019 at 03:26
Member since: 10 March 2019
Sounds like a good plan.

Im definitely no counsellor haha. I haven't really had any first hand experience in this kind of thing either I should say. So I'm glad that you will be able to get some professional advice.

I do still stick by my initial assessment though. She seems to have feelings for you still and is resenting the timing of your change. Even as she is acting like, or maybe even telling herself it's you she resents.

Once again, good luck with it all.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
JBSHAGGY
on Apr 1 2019 at 17:12
Member since: 23 March 2019
Update: Had a hard time finding a therapist in our area, and shit has been rocky still. Last week I sent her a text begging her to talk to me.

The next day we talked. She told me she was unhappy, she didn't love me anymore, didn't want to go to counseling, and didn't want to try anymore.

We agreed to stay living together, my only other option is to move back to my mother's 3 hours away -- so for the sake of our girls, I'm staying.

In trying, so, so fucking hard to keep things pleasant in the hopes that less drama may imprive matters between us, I talked to her the next day about this other guy. I told her I didn't want there to have to be anymore sneaking around and avoidance, as I figured it was contributing to tension between us, so I swallowed my pride. I told her I was happy she had someone to talk to, because she has issues with depression.

Now, each day I just have to sit here and try to remain genial while she just fucking gushes about this Mr Perfect fucking fantasy man who can do no wrong, and her anticipation for his visit in July.

She wants me to date, which I am trying. It genuinely hurts that she's totally okay with me seeing someone else. Went out with someone last night, and everything about it just seemed so wrong. I didn't like her, we didn't click at all, and though we had some (good) sex, everything felt off and different, and I just hated every bit of it.

I'm so fucking lost. I don't feel like I will ever be able to connect with anyone besides her, it makes me sick just thinking about it. I'm just praying that somehow it'll get better and she'll come back.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
SCOPES
on Apr 2 2019 at 05:30
Member since: 08 June 2016
Yes the grass always looks greener on the other side. Unfortunately she'll find that's not always the case. You've made the effort to become the Kinder and gentler you.

I've been coming to this site for the last three-plus years. There's been a lot said about marriage counseling. Both parties have to be on board in order for it to work. Even though you're not married having kids as I'm sure you know makes things worse.

Court battles, custody battles etc. All the legal ramifications. JBS just not contacting her and giving her space is all you can do. I know this is a really tough pill to swallow. You'll have to be there for the kids of course. She'll realize in the end that this new guy isn't all he's pumped up to be.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
JBSHAGGY
on Apr 2 2019 at 21:45
Member since: 23 March 2019
I'll definitely try to keep my head up, stay hopeful, and just keep genuinely being as good as I can be.

I don't know if they'll progress to the point to where there will be an issue and they break things off -- he's apparently a childhood crush whose been a friend for quite some time (albeit with no contact for a long while? She never talked about him before)... I'm anxious that this is a permanent thing.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
SCOPES
on Apr 3 2019 at 02:17
Member since: 08 June 2016
JBS your kids are really the most important thing in your life other than your job. Which of course you need to support them.

Does mr perfect know about the kids?

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
JBSHAGGY
on Apr 3 2019 at 08:34
Member since: 23 March 2019
I mean, they're facebook friends, so it'd be kinda hard to miss. We also took in three more kids from my ex's sister a few years back that I'm sure he's aware of.

And that's one thing that really fucking gets to me -- we've been through a fucking lot together. More than I could reasonably detail in just a few posts. Years of struggle to get to the place where we are at now, and now that we're relatively comfortable, I'm having the rug pulled out from under me.

I'm losing the family that I've worked hard for years to support. Losing my entire future over some shit that can comfortably lend a shoulder to cry on but doesn't have to do the dirty work of dealing with day-to-day life or looking out for her or her children.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
SCOPES
on Apr 3 2019 at 09:33
Member since: 08 June 2016
Well and I guess that's where I was going with this. Whether or not he knew about the kids. Apparently so through the Facebook connection.

As you mentioned above he left his SO and kids behind. Who's to say history won't repeat itself.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
JBSHAGGY
on Apr 3 2019 at 09:59
Member since: 23 March 2019
I mean, they're facebook friends, so it'd be kinda hard to miss. We also took in three more kids from my ex's sister a few years back that I'm sure he's aware of.

And that's one thing that really fucking gets to me -- we've been through a fucking lot together. More than I could reasonably detail in just a few posts. Years of struggle to get to the place where we are at now, and now that we're relatively comfortable, I'm having the rug pulled out from under me.

I'm losing the family that I've worked hard for years to support. Losing my entire future over some shit that can comfortably lend a shoulder to cry on but doesn't have to do the dirty work of dealing with day-to-day life or looking out for her or her children.

Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
SCOPES
on Apr 3 2019 at 10:14
Member since: 08 June 2016
I think when mr Wonderful realizes what a tangled mess he's got himself into he'll probably back away.
Help to reconnect / possible affair
Reply from
SCOPES
on Apr 4 2019 at 10:40
Member since: 08 June 2016
JBS come back and talk more about this if you'd like to. I really do believe this will come to some sort of resolve

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