Glad the article helped some. I mean this kindly, ok?
I'm going to make some suggestions. You could think on it.
I think you could firm up your boundaries with wife. And agree to sort with therapist and stop talking so much at home at this time. It is not helping right now. You sound like you just end up triggering each other and it is not productive conversation.
If her choices make it so you decide to tell her in therapy "You know what? I don't want to be here like this. I want a trial separation" you CAN decide that.
If you decide to tell her in therapy that you want to try to repair the marriage? One of your conditions might be "For me to be willing, you have to dump your cheating affair dude Robert." And she will either agree or not. Because she CAN decide that.
If you decide to tell her in therapy that you want to work on the marriage AND try to figure out poly with Robert in the picture -- fine. That's also a choice you each can decide on.
But you each have to own your own part of the choices
and stop getting distracted by side issues. Make healthy choices in good faith. Not make weird choices from fear of losing each other, from people pleasing, in bad faith, etc.
It sounds like she's owning her lying behavior at least. Could say "Thank you. I appreciate you owning that and apologizing. I need time to digest." You don't have to insta-forgive, but you could acknowledge she's trying to own some of it.
but then won't turn around and talk to me about Roberts deceit dishonesty disrespect and lack of trust
WHY is that her job? To talk to you about your feelings about Robert?
Wife is not responsible for Robert behavior. ROBERT does Robert behaviors.
I get that you want express your upset with Robert behaviors. But I think it is probably best to do that part with therapist in an individual appointment and not with your wife.
If she thinks Robert is great? And you think Robert stinks? Fussing at the other one about that is just circle conversation that does nothing but wear you both out.
To me? Going round and round on that doesn't sound like best use of your time right now. Just a big time waster.
It's easy to blame the outsider. Like Robert "possessed" your wife somehow and if you only got rid of him, "normal wife" would return.
But really? Wife is in charge of WIFE behavior. And if she's basically taking you for granted, neglecting you or the marriage, telling lies, done some cheating things? SHE did those things.
You might have to ask her in therapy if she's still in this marriage or not. Because maybe Robert was some kind of eye opening thing that made her realize she wants out of the marriage.
It may be uncomfortable for you to ask. But you kinda have to put cards plain on the table in therapy. Therapy is expensive. No point in beating around the bush wasting time there. Because then you don't have to go the long way around in therapy of "trying to make poly work" or "fixing the marriage" if the real deal is that she's done here. (Or maybe you are.)
I think both of you could be way more honest with each other instead of pussy footing around out of fear.
I'm not trying to be mean, ok? I get this is super hard. I just don't think more loop-de-loos will help any.
Last night I once again looked at the messages that they've been sending each other and he's been outright telling her that I'm being emotionally manipulative, I'm not taking responsibility for my side of the situation, and everything is my fault. He is telling her that she just needs to outright leave to protect herself.
So he does blahblah in her texts. How about you just decide "He's a blahblah talker. I don't need to read it like the daily play-by-play. I don't learn anything new. He's still
a blahblah talker."
Then let it go. Do not look any more. Ask her to put a passcode on her phone so you can't even look if tempted.
You cannot eliminate all your stress right now. You CAN reduce some of it by deciding how and where you will spend your time and energy. Could ask yourself...
"Does peeking at her texts from Robert ADD to my stress right now or TAKE AWAY from my stress?"
I think peeking in her phone at his texts ADDS to your stress. It does not take away. So why bother doing this behavior? It's like you hitting your own self with the ugh stick.
I think you could state your concern ONCE in therapy.
"Wife, I think Robert is snowing you and telling you whatever you want to hear in the moment. I'm scared he's trying to rope you off. And I'm scared that you want to go because your heart isn't in this marriage any more. Is that true?"
People who want to be in their marriage, don't get roped off. People who want to go? Go.
If she asks you things like "If I go off with him and regret it and want to come back to you... will you still take me back?"
You could practice honesty and say "I don't know. I might. I might not. I cannot predict the future. I am uncertain. If you need an answer right now? No. Because I am not enthusiastic about any of this."
Because anything less than an "enthusiastic yes?" Is a "working no."
The feelings may be hard to FEEL. Like feeling scared.
But the actions can be simple. Like speaking your truth honestly. If even at a whisper.
We woke up at 2:30 this morning and had a fight about this...
She told me last night that she can't let go of him because he is the only person that she has an outlet to talk to you about this whole situation,
She can stay up all night if she wants. You don't have to. Let it be her problem. Enforce your personal boundary. Could say "I only talk about this in therapy. So... no, thanks. I need to sleep. I'm not talking right now."
She can call Robert and bother him at 2:30 AM. She could call the therapist. She could call a help line. She could get up and write in a journal. Go watch TV. Bake a cake. Do some laundry. She can deal with her own emotional management at 2:30 AM in ways that do not involve you or bothering your sleep.
she asked "if we're having problems then who am I supposed to talk to ?"
She could talk to therapist in individual counseling about the (you +wife) problems.
She could talk to you in couple therapy about the (you + wife) problems with the therapist there to mediate.
I told her that if we cannot figure out our problems as a couple and how am I supposed to trust anything that she does or says. I broke down to her in a fit of anxiety and anger when I knew that he was talking her in a way that made it seem like she had no fault in this situation and that she was just going along with that reality and believing it as the truth because one person says so and the one person is 5 years younger than us and has no experience with what we're going through.
If you go peeking in her phone to get the new Robert blahblahs and it ends up making you feel angry/anxious? You went cranking your own self up. You could own your own behaviors.
And then if you pour out your anxieties and anger out on her head? How's she supposed to trust you
if you act out at her after cranking your own self up? Use your therapist for talking about all that. Not your wife.
A long time ago my DH told me he is NOT the clean up man. He's fine with poly, and I can date who I want. But if I pick out stupid people to date, and they hurt me? He'll do a limited "I'm sorry you hurt. Do you need a ride to a therapist appt?" but he's not gonna sit there tending to me forever or being like my free therapist. He didn't do anything. He wasn't dating them. He didn't pick out these people. I take up with stupid people and reap the natural consequences of my poor choices? Now HE has to be doing extra work? What kind of business is that?
It's my bag, my emotional management to deal with, my life lesson to learn. And I think that is totally fair. It would be the same the other way around.
Just because you are someone's spouse does not mean you have to put up with off-putting behaviors from them.
I think you could practice some emotional detachment. It doesn't mean you don't care about wife at all. It means... Robert stuff is NOT your responsibility. If she takes up with him she can deal with him.
The therapist got a hold of us this morning and is trying to communicate with the two of us I'm trying to iron some things out before Wednesday before we have therapy and figure out what we need to talk about.
I suggest maybe setting up some individual appointments first. Then set up some couple sessions after that. So therapist hears both sides from each spouse first.
If you could have solved it by yourselves you would have. So let the professional do their job.
In between therapy sessions? Live normal life, get rest. You can't be going round and round with wife about this stuff 24/7. It is not good for your own well being.
Restore some order to your universe.
You cannot hit the "fast forward" button and be done with this tomorrow. But you CAN stop letting this wackadoo run over all hours of the day and night.
- Eat on time.
- Go to work on time.
- Shower on time.
- Go to bed on time.
- Exercise on time.
- Do some fun stuff on time -- video games or movies or whatever you do to relax.
- Keep your therapy appointments on time and only do the talks about this THERE in therapy.
Stabilize things so even if THIS one area is kooky right now, SOME things in your life can be stable.
I hope your appointment(s) are helpful to you one way or the other.