Should I get back together with my ex-wife?
July 17, 2014 8:09 AM Subscribe
I could really use some input to help me sort through all of this. At 40 years old, she was having a lesbian affair and asked me to move out. I was devastated. But in hindsight, our marriage wasn't a good one. And I suppose it was just a matter of time before something came along to unravel the whole thing. Now she wants me back. I have no clue how I even feel, much less if I even want to try again. Wall of text inside.
posted by normal_guy to Human Relations (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
We were married for 7 years and have 2 kids. Have been separated for 1.5 years. A relatively amicable divorce was finalized a few months ago.
Not sure what to say about it really. I don't think this is a situation where she's been suppressing her sexual preferences her entire life. I think she just really liked another girl. And our marriage was bad (more on that below) so she probably felt justified. But during the affair there was so much lying and dishonesty and selfishness. And as a result I lost a ton of respect for her. I imagine that's pretty common. When the affair started, I put a tracking device on her phone for many months and didn't tell her. I watched her constantly lie (very convincingly) about where she was and what she was doing. During this time she talked about reconciling. But the secret tracking and subsequent lies undermined any chance of that. I finally told her and stopped the tracking months later. At that point I made up my mind to move on.
She's a decent person and a good mother. I also think she's physically attractive. She does have father issues that manifested in our marriage. When she was a child, her parents divorced and her dad paid attention to his new family (he remarried with kids) and not her. I think caused an unrealistic and insatiable need for love and attention. She also has a very short temper and creates huge issues out of minor events. Things tend to become a matter of principal immediately. There's also a ton of guilt tripping in her arguments: she has a victim mentality view of many situations. She's very socially adept and has good intuition. She told me once that her therapist said she might be codependent (I assume they were talking about her affair).
I am an introvert although very capable socially. I have a good career, a healthy work-life balance, and am physically healthy. I like my alone time and am highly independent. And as a result, I've really been enjoying my newfound single status. I do have baggage like everyone else. I have been excessively dating. Not because I want a relationship but because I have an unhealthy (probably) need for affirmation and vildation. I think I have low self-esteem in some areas of my life and so being "liked" by others feels reassuring. I also have mild ADD I think but I dont take medication. I just live with it and manage. I also have an over developed sense of personal accountability and am very quick to accept responsibility, blame, and subsequent guilt (I'm working on this and it's getting better).
Talk about a disaster in terms of emontiinal connection. We are wired differently. Independent vs codependent. Victim vs overly-accountable. Trust issues vs self-esteem issues. Two good hearted people that enabled all of the dysfunctional qualities in the other. But still two good hearted people... which is what makes this so frustrating and confusing. Our sex life was just okay at the start of our relationship. Then became practically nonexistent after a couple years. We fought like crazy... Her blaming, me defending, then eventually me accepting responsibility for stuff I didn't think was my fault. Eventually resentment set in.
Now she wants to start dating me. She wants to see if we can rebuild something good. I'm curious if two good intentioned people finally change, grow, and build a healthy, posiitve marriage? I love the idea of reconciling for all the obvious reasons. But mostly (1) the kids deserve an intact family, and (2) life would be so much simpler. I'd love nothing more than to find a path to happiness with my ex-wife but I'm also a realist. If we couldn't make it work when the stakes were high, how can we make it work now? She says she's changed and finally understands her role in our bad marriage. And her tone sounds different lately. But I dont know if people really change that much. Ultimately I want to live a happy life. And I know I can be happy on my own (I'm doing it now and it feels good). I am so much happier now than during my marriage And the kids have also adjusted really well. And I dont want to mess that up either. I just fear that by not at least trying, I might be making a huge mistake. But its taken me so long to get to a healthy place emotiinally that I dont want to go though all the pain again.
I'd love to hear from people who've been through something similar and how it worked out for them.