I totally understand what you are facing. Some men and women face this when "empty nest" comes into focus. Then comes the "young secretary"!
I think some of us have a hard time giving you advice because our spouses are not working or continue to work w/ their OW/OM. That would be extremely difficult and thank the lord I do NOT have to deal with that. We can't say if it's just your pain that is making your paranoid or if it's actual truth that he is continuing an affair.
Alot of times I use to tell myself, if he's cheating he's cheating I can't allow myself to be miserable or paranoid, wondering what if. One day he will be caught if he is. But that can only get you threw so many episodes. Right?
I can tell you that one time dh's new secretary (not the OW)called him to tell him a joke. It was during working hours and they do have to communicate over the phone often but I was FURIOUS! I thought how inappropriate for a man who has been inappropriate in his marriage; she obviously thinks you are "friends" and thanks for the reminder of all your faults and weaknessess! He then reflected back on himself as to why she thought she could call him and tell him that joke. He built better walls after that and made clearer boundaries. But I remind myself we are ALL learning on the job and so is dh. He learned from that experience in how we let our walls down to inappropriateness.
So unless his OW is crossing unprofessional boundaries like sharing jokes, calling him at inappropriate times, off hours, lunches the emotional stuff then it's your husband that has to show you boundaries!! That will help you in allowing him to work with her.
Honestly I wouldn't know because I don't believe I would be strong enough to let dh continue to work with his OW. It would have turned me into an ugly person I don't want to be. Hugs, t
Well to give you all an update, my gut was telling me the truth once again.
I am so sorry to hear of your H's continuing his A.
People have all kinds of problems and face all kinds of challenges during their lives, depression, anxiety, exposure to alcoholic parents, etc. But a tremendous number of people have those exact same issues and never cheat. I am saying this only to strongly advise you to take guilt off the table if you decide to separate/leave your H/M.
In fact, my mother was an alcoholic and withheld affection from us kids and guess what, my H is the one who cheated, not me. No matter what cards we are dealt during our lives, we still know right from wrong and make conscious choices. Your H made a decision to have an affair and you generously decided to try to rebuild and he has cheated again.
I would like to ask you why you felt angst that your H would resent you if you made a line in the sand about him getting a new job after his A? His affair led the need for a job change so why should he be resenting you??? Do you resent him for having an affair? Does he care that you resent him/his affair?
Many spouses struggle to end the fantasyland lure of the affair, so your H is not alone in the department by any means. But your H definitely sounds like he is making the rules regarding rebuilding and I do not believe that will be in your best interest. He didn't want to go to counseling until you moved out? He acted angry about changing his job after his affair?
It is hard to go to counseling and learn and change and grow! He knows he will have to look good and hard at why he did what he did and may feel bad, embarrassed etc. But agreeing to go only after he got caught a second time and you moved out makes me think he wasn't taking the aftermath of the affair/rebuilding too seriously.
I think your moving back to protect the kids also makes me worry that you are spending a lot of effort to make the water appear calm after a big boulder fell into the pond. I respect that a son's freshman year at college is tough and you should have a plan to discuss separating w/your children, but I worry you may be focusing on what is best for everyone else and not what is best for you. You deserve to be on your own priority list!
It must be very scary for you as well. Moving out must have been rough after such a long time together. I am sorry for your distress PC.
It is pretty clear when a WS is truly invested in saving the M - they will go to counseling, they will do the hard, uncomfortable stuff, they will change jobs, etc. Some WS need a bigger wake up call like a separation to get there or else they keep doing their crappy behavior and make you drag rebuilding out of them like pulling teeth, giving an inch only when they see you are ready to leave, etc. That is EXHAUSTING porkchop! And you will be doing most of the work!
What kind of man was your H before the A? Did he treat you with respect and consideration and behaved with honesty & integrity? If he has been a good husband except for this major screwup then a second Dday doesn't have to spell the end of the M. But if he had serious issues w/honesty/kindness/consideration/integrity prior to the A, then that is a much tougher road you are on.
I just worry about your H not getting it that his A has devastated you to the core and that he is only giving in on your 'requirements' for rebuilding if he thinks he may lose you.
I am so sorry you caught him again. Just remember, you deserve better. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.
You are so right when you state that I worry about what is best for everyone else and place my own needs on the back burner.
"He cannot break away from her constant seduction...."
"However, after playing that role for 23+ years, I find myself unable to take on a different role. I do worry about my children, even though they are young adults, their lives will be forever changed if our family breaks up. Therefore, I can not give up until I know I have tried everything in my power to save our marriage."
Change is hard and so scary. Don't think you can just flip a switch and be different. Of course you are worried about your children, your marriage, etc. You are a human being and that is how a healthy person thinks. But, there is a reason you haven't put an end to this insanity thus far. Some people just have to get to an even lower point before they can stand up for themselves. What many of the posters are trying to say though, is you have to demand different to get different. If you let him, your cake eater husband is going to KEEP walking all over you!
It is also obvious that YOU are the only one trying to save the marriage and there is NO power in that scenario. But it is one thing for us to type our responses (and they are done so out of experience and love I promise you), but another thing completely for you to be ready to end it all to help your H see what he will lose if he keeps this up.
You are in a very desperate situation as the only one trying to keep water out of your sinking boat and H isn't even helping - he is too busy w/other things . . .