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'What my wife did during our separation makes me want to make it permanent." + UPDATE

'What my wife did during our separation makes me want to make it permanent." + UPDATE

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"What my (37M) wife (35F) did during our separation makes me want to make it permanent."

My wife and I have been married for six years. We have no children. Last July, tensions were high between us. I work the night shift and sleep during the day while she's at work. She was working from home at the time and was very loud. This kept waking me up and making me a very crabby person. So I was admittedly very short with her and she was not accommodating to me at all.

As a result, the time we did have together was very tense between us. It's normally a very happy time, but we weren't able to enjoy it at all. We made the decision to do a trial separation, both go to therapy separately, and try couple's therapy after a few months. I moved out. I asked my wife for ground rules. My exact wording was, "So that I understand this, are we seeing other people during this time?"

She angrily replied, "If that's the first place your mind goes, then maybe it's not even worth it! I want to save our marriage, not give you an opportunity to go screw around!" I apologized and assured her that I only wanted to understand where we stood.

So over the past year, I've been in therapy. I talked to my boss and got my shift at work changed to the day shift because I realized that the night shift was really taking a toll on my mental health. I've learned to be firm but open and communicative and not bottle things up. I honestly feel so much better about myself as a person.

My wife and I started couples counseling at the beginning of this year, and it's been really great for us. We both were open about what was wrong, both recognized the faults that we had, and both committed to wanting to make things better.

We made the decision for me to move back in next month and bring the separation to an end. During our most recent session, our counselor asked if I had completely broken off any relationships that I had during our separation.

I replied, "I didn't have any relationships during our separation. We established ground rules that this wasn't about having fun with other people, it was about getting better for our relationship to survive." My wife replied, "We never established that as a ground rule."

I quoted her words back to her and she responded, "Well, I was letting you know that shouldn't be your main focus. I mean if you were just going to go fool around with random women and not try to improve yourself then there was no point in trying to save things." I responded, "So you were using weasel words to have things both ways. Did you date anyone?"

She, unashamedly, stated that she had slept with seven men during the past year, that it was perfectly allowed, and I was free to be with someone else if I so chose. She stated that if I didn't want that I should have clearly stated it. I countered that when I tried to broach it, she got angry and shut the subject down, and now she was trying to re-write history.

I told her at this point I need to think if I want to move in again or even try any more because it's clear that she treated the last year as a free pass to sleep around on me. She says that I need to grow up and get over it. I responded, "See, that's where you're wrong. I don't need to do either of those things, I just need to get over you, and after today I feel like that's going to be the easier thing to do."

She insists that I'm in the wrong on this and that when you're separated, it's completely understood that you're free to see other people. Honestly, this behavior (the weasel words, deliberately ambiguous statements, and the constant deflection) are the things that triggered me to blow up at her in the past, and the fact that it's still happening is just leading me to feel like I need to file for divorce and walk away.

Am I making too much of this? I feel like I've made so much progress in therapy and I know she has too, but I just feel disgusted every time I look at her. I feel like she cheated on me, and I get so angry. I don't know if there's any way to move forward with her. She keeps saying she did everything right and I need to stop trying to punish her because I didn't explore while I could.

Would I be the worst person in the world for filing for divorce at this point? I feel like I'm too close to this situation and can't think straight. What the hell do I even do at this point? I've been working for a year to fix my marriage and I thought she was too. Now I feel like we've been working on opposing teams.

tl;dr My wife and I separated for a year in order to work on ourselves and our marriage. She stated that this was not a time to find outside partners but slept with seven men in a year and now claims we never established that as a rule. She wants to end the separation and I don't know if I want to after learning this.

What do you think he should do at this point? This is what top commenters had to say:

slepere said:

Trust is dead. Divorce and move on.

stellacoachella said:

divorce and move on, no trust and that will eat you alive and cause you to be paranoid 24/7 and you’ll think ur insane and crazy when you are not

CheapChallenge said:

She definitely cheated. She got upset at you for bringing up sleeping with other people, so she wanted commitment during the separation. And she cheated on you during that commitment. Just move on and be happier. She obviously will only bring you misery.

DrAsthma said:

I say leave her, but I'm curious... What did the therapist have to say about it?

And OP responded:

Our therapist asked me why I believed that we had established ground rules. I quoted my wife back and said that when I had broached the subject she became angry and stated that it was the wrong mindset to have for separation and to me that was her saying we weren't going to date other people.

My wife responded that we had never talked about it beyond her saying that it shouldn't be my focus, we hadn't established ground rules, and I had just made assumptions without bothering to state my understanding to her.

Our therapist then asked how we could be clear with each other so that we both understand the meaning of what the other person is asking and saying. When she said seven men, even our therapist looked very taken aback.

Verdict: Dump her.

About two months after his original post, he shared this update:

I've gotten a few requests for updates, and as much as I'm embarrassed over this whole thing, I think it helps to get it out. We're getting divorced. Shortly after the big revelation, our counselor asked to speak to me one on one. She told me,

"You need to walk away for your own health. You've made so much progress and so many positive changes. This won't work unless you're both trying and Tina is not trying. This can't all be on you because she'll keep dragging you back down."

She told me that she was crossing a line by telling me what to do, but she literally could not sleep after finishing up our session and seeing the look on my face. When I thought about it, she's right. I've been using this time to become a better, more-rounded person while my wife has been using it as a free pass to act like a teen and has kept up the deceitful gaslighting behaviors that plagued our marriage.

When I told her it was over, she broke down sobbing. She begged me not to leave, told me that I could have a free pass to go do what I wanted to get even, and swore that if I'd been clear she never would have touched another man.

I have to admit, I felt myself wanting to say yes, because for a second she was the woman I fell in love with again. But it was just a second that I knew would end, and we'd be back to walking on eggshells and playing head games soon enough.

I told her that we both deserved better than the people we had been to each other, and the fact that she thought I wanted revenge and still blamed me for her actions told me that she hadn't learned to be better.

She told me she'd do anything to make it work and asked what I wanted to see from her. I told her that I'd seen everything I needed from her and if she could only be better when divorce became a reality then she hadn't made the progress I believed she had before that session.

I served her with papers and am moving forward with the divorce. She's asked me to please resume counseling sessions, but I've refused. I know it's the right decision, but I feel very conflicted. There's something inside me that feels like I'm doing wrong, even though I know it's the only way I'll eventually be happy.

Tl;Dr Our counselor told me my wife is terrible and to walk away. I realized it's not just about being better, it's about refusing to accept less than I deserve. I've filed for divorce and my soon to be ex wife is in denial.

Sources: Reddit
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