My wife is running around constantly
So, to get started and to be honest, I have done a few things in my marriage to cause conflict. I traveled a lot for work in the past year and kind of neglected to talk to my wife enough while away. We were having fights when I was home and I couldn't handle what was going on and I went out and did something stupid and got in legal trouble.(And almost died)(Alcohol) My wife and I have been married for 10 years and we have 4 beautiful children together. For a long time, we were inseparable. I got a promotion at work and started travelling a lot. I found a guy within our company and became buddies with him. I had never in the past gone out much with friends to enjoy the "night life" because my wife and I were married at a young age. This was a new experience for me and I took advantage of it. Eventually, though, I realized that it was causing a strain on my marriage. My marriage was definitely more important to me than this new buddy that I had made. I stopped hanging out with him because I knew it was detrimental to my marriage.
Ok, now for what she did...
I think that my time spent neglecting her(approx. 1 year) caused her to either not trust me, not love me anymore, or not care. She has begun rekindling old relationships with high school friends of her's and is constantly going out with them. She is super distant from me all the time. We aren't intimate unless I initiate it and even then sometimes not. She shows me no sign of affection. It's like we're roommates. Earlier this year, she took a trip with a friend halfway across the country to New York City. While they were there, for St. Patrick's Day, she went out and got very drunk. Her friend told me that they got separated during the night, and that when she(the friend) couldn't find her(my wife), she just went back to the hotel. When she got there, she said she found my wife in the bed with one of the guys they were hanging out with. My wife says this isn't true and that when they got separated, the guy walked my wife back to the hotel and waited with her for her friend because they were worried about her well-being. I, when told about all of this, obviously had issues with the whole thing. My wife says nothing happened and I'm trying to believe her, but I can't help but have the thoughts racing through my head all the time. Every thing that she does and every time she isn't home, I can't stop thinking about that incident.
Since that happened, we haven't been the same. We have some ok days, but we have a lot of not ok days. We fight and threaten divorce to each other, which is not healthy or beneficial to anything. Also, since all that happened, I have realized that what I did was definitely wrong and I have made a complete turnaround and I call her every day, talk to her when I'm home, do whatever she wants me to do, and let her do whatever she wants to do. It has been like this for 9 months and she still is distant from me and she most recently began running around at all hours of the night with her single friends. I don't necessarily think that she is cheating on me, but I still don't think that a married woman with 4 children should be doing what she is doing especially if her husband disapproves and she knows it.
What do I do?
First "No" A married woman with 4 children should not be running around with single friends. I think you tolerate her behavior because you have guilt for neglecting your wife for a year. What motivated her so called friend to informed you about her sleeping with this guy (who by the way could have been an ax murderer, rapist).Getting separated from her friend and putting her "well being" in a total stranger? Did'nt anyone have a cell phone?
You both should sit down and re-establish what your expectations of each other are in your marriage. Do you BOTH want to remain in the marriage?.
Tell her going forward either you go out as a married couple or no one goes out.
You should seek couples counseling to deal with issues you both have. Your children need both parents so put there needs first.
Yes, what friend does that - runs deliberately to tell the one who *isn't* her friend? A true friend would only go so far as to say, 'Listen, you've GOT to tell him' or, were she your friend too, even just slightly or fairly newly, 'Listen, it's your prerogative to be the messenger but if you don't do it within [reasonable timeframe] then the prerogative becomes mine and I *will* because you've involved me and my conscience shouldn't have to suffer for your actions' or just nag-nag-nag, pester-pester-pester or 'sorry, can't this week, next week, ever - busy'.
Not friend, ACQUAINTANCE and past-present competitor or bitter because your wife "abandoned" her (how verray dare she!) or whatever axe to grind OR guilty-conscience self-medicating because SHE'D been the abandoner and can't admit and accept that tarnishing to her shiny-shiny image, least of all as makes her Less Than your wife, her competition. I DON'T TRUST HER AND HER MOTIVES, NOT ONE IOTA, so, objectively, I disbelieve her more than believe her for the record (but personally and intuitively, believe her 0%).
But let's see: is your wife still being friends with, as in still seeing, this woman? Did wife confront her over her allegation? And here's a handy litmus: Ask if you can hire a baby-sitter and go WITH her on one of these jaunts. See what her reaction to that is.
Agree you don't have to feel you lack any leg to stand on re putting your foot down because you admit this behaviour when your own was a giant error. But I'm obviously talking about excesses, considering she's perfectly within rights to enjoy a bit more independence and pleasing herself by now, assuming the kids are no longer tiny and considering she likewise missed out back when she was younger.
But, hell, one whole year is a long time...meaning, big bat-back (heartbreak you to the same extent)...meaning, she hasn't got it out of her system yet (3 months still to go, right?)...meaning, YOU have to step in and fill that gap she's trying to fill and protect as her ongoing insurance policy/safetynet against you ever reverting and abandoning her for-good. OR, it could be that you having introduced her to the 'drug', she is now an addict herself, meaning you're going to have to compete hard to become her Methodone DeLuxe and wean her 80% off it and back onto you and your married social circle. But you did it before so you can do it again.
Book up her diary! Woo her like crazy, like you did before you both got tranquillized by domesticity...which means WITHOUT expecting sex (bar within 3 months) in return for candlelit meal, bouquets, love gestures and tokens, putting the hoover round, etc., etc. Remind her of who/what you were before you went off the rails and why she fancied and agreed to marry you and bake so many of 'your' little pies in her precious oven in the first place. If that doesn't do it after a consistent enough period then you'll know either that her romantic-sexual heart actually withered away to nothing where you're concerned and she's just staying for the kids' and family set-up's sake whilst someone else or elseZ are filling that gap, that bucket, as results in your own attempts just spilling over and out onto the floor, wasted.
I mean, a person can cheat on you with her knitting/his cricket. She's still cheating because that means denying, withholding, depriving of rights that are yours by virtue of the marital agreement and contract and putting those energies basically wholly into whatever else. Taking certain salary and perks without having supplied the corresponding work.
Start with organising fun family outings and then quickly switch to or start adding one-on-ones. Same as dating: slowly, slowly, catchee monkey.
Agree you need counselling together, but as it doesn't count as Fun (which is what she's mainlining), doing that on its own could compound her need to kick up her heels 'out of class'. So make it both.
(Now 'handing you' back again to SG)
Thank you for the contributions. I still am at a loss as to what to do. We decided to sit down and talk about it, but every time we do it only results in us fighting. I do not want to fight with her. She was unwilling to realize that staying out at all hours of the night with her friends wasn't right for her to do. She got very defensive about it and we were basically at an impass. She throws all the things that i've done wrong back in my face and is unwilling to see the way that I have changed and forgive me. It's almost as if we switched places and now that I am trying to repair the damage that I did, she isn't willing to help. In fact, she is counter acting everything that I am trying to do. I cannot stay like this forever. Both of us are miserable and all I want is for things to get back to the way they were at the beginning. I do not see that happening under the current circumstances. What do I do???
What are the "few things" that you did that put such a dent in your marriage that she is now acting out so much?
Did you go to couples counseling during/after this time?
The kids are older now and don't need her constant attention. She has turned around a looked at you and is thinking about whether or not she wants to spend the rest of her life with you. Your wife sounds like she has fallen out of love with you. Agree with Soulmate that you need to woo her back.
Do you know if she even WANTS to work on the marriage?
While I was away for work, I got very busy with the work itself and with the friend that I made. I never did anything, but him and I went out a lot and I just didn't call. There were whole days where I didn't call. She had no idea if I was OK, what I was doing, etc. It was very bad on my part. I do not know if she truly wants to work on the marriage. She still wants to talk about the problems, but is unwilling to compromise anything from her side. I feel like I completely buckled and changed what I am doing in an effort to save the marriage, but she continues to be distant from me and is going out now with her friends twice a week. Here's what I told her, "I don't care if you go out with your friends to get out of the house, but you can't neglect me when you're home". Am I wrong to think this way? How long should it take for her to forgive me for my transgression? What should I do to keep from getting frustrated at the stagnant situation?
Before I say this, marriage is sacred, she shouldn't be cheating. But I do want to raise a question for why her feelings have changed for you - do you make her feel beautiful? It's not just about sex. Are you trying to rekindle your love?
Good question from Shannon re making her feel beautiful.
"It's almost as if we switched places"
I'm thinking you have, yes. Or that you're both trying to make up for lost ground yet are out of synch with it.
It's like this: two kids in the playground... she sat on the see-saw and called to you to sit on the other end, but you went off and played with Little Jimmy on the roundabout and put her nose *seriously* out of joint as well as crushingly disappointed her. Sated, you got off the roundabout, ...but when you walked back over to the see-saw, she had meanwhile got ensconced on the swings... and she hadn't got to try those for YEARS (and yearsandyears). And now you're saying, come back and play on the see-saw and she's saying NAO!...SHANT!...AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME, MLEUGH! Because she learned, through having being forced (or else curl up and die) to play with Little Sharon and Little Sarah. *And* is still sulking.
It doesn't LOOK like sulking ("phew!", thinks she in the back of her mind), but that's what it is. Or was, initially... solely. Now it's whatever portion of both. In other words, sulking's never BEEN so much fun!
And how I know it's the tail end of sulking + her not yet having had HER entire year of ignoring you like you ignored her, is because of this: FIGHTING. When a lover has truly gone off you, i.e. grieved out of their attachment to you whilst still in the relationship, they don't bother trying as desperately as that to make you see their point of view/that your point of view is wrong. Because, they mostly no longer give a flying DUCK WHAT you think or feel. They just go something like, 'Oh..pfff, leave it out!' or 'Tsk!..not this again, or are 'too busy, can we talk about this another time?' or WHATEVER (*including* "what-evaaa").
So she's still attached, that's good. What's not good is if you can't discuss what needs to be discussed without it becoming an over-arousal 'punch-up' situation, because these punch-ups are just laying YET MORE negative sheets into the emotional in-tray when what you want is less. So that you can get to the bottom sheet...the first. So that's why you need counselling. You also need it because she'll be gaining a sense of justice and vindication every time you complain at her about this, and might well have other, PRIOR reasons to need to drag you this way over the hot coals so...may as well get it all out now, right? But does she know when to STOP, is the burning question?
You need a referee more than anything.
Why, might I ask, wasn't this the topic of argument, instead about you insisting she can't neglect you when she's home? Plus, I did already tell you she had another 3 months to go before she gets to "JusticeVille", didn't I? (:-p) In fact, possibly 4 (if one-up-manship is her usual bent and today's subconscious aim). So what happened to your asking for couples counselling, then?
PS: In what ways does she neglect you at home?