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Author Topic: My Story New here and needing help

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My Story New here and needing help
OP: March 23, 2024, 11:49:16 AM
This is my first time here and I’m needing some advice. This is long, sorry. TLDR questions at bottom.

W(44) seems to be in MLC. We’ve been together 14 and a half years.  Married twice, first at 3 years, 2nd was Feb 2022. One D(25). This is my first marriage. Her third.

Initial BD 02/01/24 with “I’m unhappy”, “I want freedom”, “I don’t want to have to answer to anybody”, “I don’t want any responsibilities”, “I want to do what I want and don’t care about the consequences”, “I don’t want any expectations”, etc. Monstering, lying, mini bombs, drinking to take the edge off ensues. She switches from mixed drinks and ciders to whiskey.

2/7/24 she gets very drunk and verbally attacks me (she’s never been a mean drunk before) while out of town at a work conference. “I wish you truly 100% loved me for who I really am”, “You never wanted me to be me”, “You always disapproved of me”, “I’ve been torturing you all these years by making you do things you don’t want to do”, “This is all your fault…insert reason”, “You shouldn’t have to change for me”

More monstering and general treating me like $h!te. I catch her in her lies about where she is and who she’s with. More monstering. Culminating in “I love you but I’m not in love with you”, “My love for you is like how I love our daughter”, “I want to sleep with and date other people”, “I want a separation/divorce”, “You’ll find someone better”.  This is on 2/22/24 which is her 44th birthday.

2/24/24 we have karoke at the local bar. She gets drunker than I have ever seen her.  I end up having to have her transported by ambulance to the hospital for meds and fluids. While there she admits to being “in love with” and wanting to sleep with her now AP. I go thru her phone and find some very upsetting stuff. Admits to trying to start two other affairs in the months prior that didn’t go anywhere. Claims she’s been unhappy for about a year (Coincides with us purchasing a business that we run together). Admits that 2/1 bomb drop is because AP told her no and to go home and deal with her $h!te.

Tries to get me to leave her at the hospital, which I don’t. Tells me she would leave me if the situation were reversed. When I finally get her home she packs a bag and goes to AP’s house to sleep it off. Claims she hit rock bottom and comes home next day. I end up taking care of her for 3 days before she’s functional again.

Once sober she claims her drunken admissions were all a fabrication of her drunken mind and that drunks love everybody. Tells me to get over it. Lot’s of gaslighting. More lying. Tells me she’s trying, then goes and sees AP.

3/8/24 W storms out of house in a rage because I’m “trying to control her”. Claims she’s sleeping in her truck. Actually moves in with AP. Refuses to come home.

Rumors start to fly. We live in a small town with a healthy gossip train. And she’s not hiding her $h!te well. And she’s running around b!tc#ing and flapping her lips to people, but I’m expected to stay quiet and happy. She accuses me of making her look like the @$$hole and telling our business when I ask questions of a couple of people (trying to protect the business) as the rumors really get going.

3/16/24 We’re again at Karaoke celebrating an employees 21st birthday (AP is there and W is all over her). W has a few drinks in her and decides to give me back her ring and declare that we are separated. Says she wants to do what she wants to do and she wants to date AP and see where the relationship goes. Also says she promised she would end it with me if she ever wanted to cheat so that’s what she’s doing. Says it’s not my fault, I didn’t do anything wrong. Says she still loves me but it's like a love for an old relative. Says maybe someday she’ll regret it and want to come back. Then she gets upset when I’m visibly upset and crying when she’s done this publicly and with most of our employees present. At least she finally lets go of the lies and pretenses.

Unfortunately AP is an employee of our business that we hired in December. Apparently W quickly started venting to her and it made her feel good that the gal didn’t pass judgement for her feelings. AP pushes her away then pulls her back. Usual trope here. Her being an employee is a serious issue on so many fronts. W handles the scheduling and is protecting her so I can’t do much right now. AP seems to think that the business makes lots of money and that I’m just going to let W have it (so not happening). She’s running around acting like she owns the place. Seriously irritating. And causing problems with other employees. I'm working on this.

W is now refusing to do the couples therapy that she agreed to. Also told me today that the mental health screening (this morning) for an individual therapist told her that she doesn’t qualify for a therapist and that she should go read some self help books. She’s either lying the therapist or me. Probably both. She’s great at minimizing. She doesn’t want to go to a clinic outside of our provider. So therapy is out for now.

Our travel trailer is currently in the shop for some work and is taking longer than expected. She says she intends to move into the trailer when it’s back. She actually seems quite angry that it’s taking so long. I’m not sure if she actually will really go to the trailer as she wants to take things that would only be used in a house. I’m sure she’ll be with the AP most of the time regardless.

The living environment at AP’s house is less than ideal. Living at the house is AP, her prego D(early 20’s), D’s baby daddy, and two other young adults. W makes 6. Plus a ton of dogs and cats. The place is also trashed as the kids refuse to clean up anything. I’ve seen pics, it’s bad. Oh, and there’s no heat much of the time as the furnace has something wrong with it.

We run the business together so we still have to work together and we actually do quite well even now. Although much of the time she’s not happy to see me when I need to come in. Which I am often as I need to be present and visible to protect the business with everything that’s going on.  I’m doing my best to ignore the cycling and monstering. And trying to pick up the slack where she’s dropping the ball in ways she wasn’t before.

So far, distancing is hard. There hasn’t been a single day without some kind of contact, either because of scheduled meetings or issues at work. Many day’s she’s calling or texting about simple stuff that she should be able to handle so it ALMOST feels like an excuse to make contact. If not, it’s a serious executive function issue going on. I’ve stopped initiating contact unless it’s directly about a work issue. I’m also not requesting or providing any emotional or physical contact. I’m doing everything I can to ignore the cycling & monstering.

She’s still wanting me to handle a lot of the life type things that I handle as her spouse. And she’s still acting in a lot of ways like she is. It’s weird. I think maybe a little cake eating. She understands that divorce is not an option. “It’s just a piece of paper”.

One of W’s big complaints to me is that she has spent years being responsible for my happiness and taking care of me. While I am simultaneously controlling everything she does. Figure that out. She has serious problems with being a people pleaser. She was working on that in therapy years ago but dropped it when her therapist retired. I’ve been trying to get her to go back for at least a year.

I am seeing some early signs of cracks in the love fest with AP. AP has her running her around town, running errands, expecting her time and attention, etc. I’m seeing some clear irritation/anger over this.

Yesterday W voluntarily gave me some details of her plans for the day that she hasn’t in a while. It felt like a normal spousal conversation. She also sent one of those “I’ll always be loyal, always be your friend, always love you” type memes. This is the first she’s done that. Then more memes & funny videos today. Just cycling I’m sure. Because she was also b!tc#ing about stuff (below).

So now the questions: #2 is priority for today.

1.   She’s extremely angry that people are starting to come at her for what she’s doing. She keeps telling me about it and sending me screenshots. I keep telling her that I’m not getting any of this directed at me and I can’t control other people. I feel like I should intervein as it seems to be pushing her to be further entrenched in the whole we’re separated and I don’t care what people think (if that was the case she wouldn’t be so angry) line of thought. At the same time I feel like this is a consequence she needs to face. Thoughts?

2.   Splitting of possessions. When she first started this she was fully prepared to be broke, living in a trailer, and only have the clothes on her back. Didn’t last long of course. Now she wants certain things that I have no problem giving her. But she also wants things that I use to make the house run. And things that are only useful in a house type setting. She’s saying that she doesn’t have an income (truish, see #3) and so if I won’t let her take what she wants that she should be compensated so she can buy replacements. I’m really not sympathetic.

I feel like telling her the following when she comes over today:

"I need you to listen and hear what I’m about to say without interrupting or getting defensive. This isn’t an attack and I’m not your enemy.
I am working on an income for you and a way to communicate where we stand financially, but that isn’t a discussion for today as I’m still figuring things out.
You made the choice to blow up my life without my consent.
You made the choice to leave this house.
You made the choice to unilaterally declare us separated so that you could go live the life you want.
You know that these choices are the only reason you would need to replace anything.
You have declared loudly and repeatedly that you would rather be broke living in a trailer with nothing but the clothes on your back than be with me.
You know these are your choices. You know that choices have consequences.
Given these choices I don’t see you as the aggrieved party here.
And I’m not seeing why I should be making sacrifices and spending a ton of money to replace items so that you can live the lifestyle you’re accustomed to.  "

I’m concerned that saying this will backfire in a big way. But it is how I feel. So what do I say?

Note, she accuses me of being a hoarder (I’m not) so I’m concerned she’ll run to that defense/offense.

3.    Financially, the business makes good money but expenses are also very high so the net is not large and we’ve had significant one time costs so cash flow is often negative. In short, were still heavily in the investment phase. Much of the money to fund this is actually coming from loans from my mother. So pulling money out for living expenses really isn’t an option. W handles the front end and really doesn’t understand the financials, nor does she actually want to or remember when I show her stuff. She does have some legit complaints about communication, but I handle all back ends tasks and I’m already working an 80+ hour week to try to get systems set up as well as manage financials and all other admin tasks. Plus managing a good bit of the front end stuff. And the home. I only have so much time and energy and everything is red hot fire grade A top priority.

A friend just told me that she is accusing me of hiding money (as if that makes sense). I’m sure this comes from her lack of understanding and the AP whispering in her ear.

And now the spending is starting. Shopping, vacations with AP, more vacations with AP, etc. Stuff that we can’t afford. And enrages me. Because I’ll be @$!%# if I’m going to be paying for her to have an affair with the AP.

Divorce is not an option financially (nor am I willing). And I can’t separate our finances until we get thru certain things with the SBA.

So for now, what I want to do is:
Work up a budget to show her how $@#$ much I pay for to run the house.
Tell her that I’ll transfer $400 into her account each month to cover groceries.
Tell her that I will not monitor or question anything that comes out of that account, nor will I top it off if the balance runs low.
Have her use a specified credit card for other expenses, but that I will be monitoring and she will need to provide receipts. And that she’s responsible for any expenses that we don’t agree on ahead of time.
Tell her that I absolutely will not be paying for her affair.
Have her come over weekly so we can discuss personal and business finances and the cash flow situation of the business. Hopefully this will help some of her understanding.

I’m sure this will cause some major monstering. But I have to protect our finances. So how do I do this and minimize the damage?

Thanks for those who read this far, it’s much appreciated.
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« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 04:37:53 AM by Songanddance »

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#1: March 23, 2024, 01:56:27 PM
Very sorry that you find yourself needing to be here, but I hope you will find it useful. Weekends can be a bit quiet so I wanted to respond quickly so you know you are heard, although I’m sure others will post soon.

You are very early on in this process, so I imagine you are feeling pretty overwhelmed. Sorry. It’s important though to recognise that bc few of us do our best quality thinking in these circumstances. Which is normal, but also can create its’ own problems.

My first instincts on reading your post are twofold…

I think you need some legal advice pronto bc of the financial and business circumstances. You don’t have to act on it but getting more information can help you understand your risks, constraints and obligations as you weigh your options.

And I think you are trying to control things you cannot control, some of which are not your responsibility tbh. Again, that’s a pretty normal trauma response for some, but it can also distract us from dealing with things as they are as opposed to how we want them to be. And that rarely turns out well for we LBS, particularly when it comes to big important stuff like finances, joint assets and debts.
Why do I say that?
Bc you list a long set of examples of your wife lying, monstering, saying one thing and then doing another, drinking to the point of needing hospitalisation and spending money like it grows on trees. While feeling entitled to contact you about all those little life problems.
What on earth makes you think that someone behaving that way is able or willing to make - and stick to - the kind of adult agreements you are thinking of talking to her about? Or budgets or receipts or indeed being a reliable business partner?
I don’t know what the best solution is but I’d bet my cat’s tail that any solution that depends on her doing what she says or behaving like a responsible adult is pretty high risk for you. Hence, my suggestion to get legal advice pronto.

The heart of my advice is that you stop thinking about protecting OUR money/business and start thinking about protecting YOUR money/business.
And that probably means catching your breath and thinking less about what you want to say to her and more about what you can and will do to protect yourself as much as you can. Bc in the spirit of watching the feet not the mouth, your wife does not currently care about these things in the way you do and does not care what you want or need. Well, not more than the effort it takes to send a meme  ::)
Sorry.
And on your #2 question which you say is a priority?
Sounds like it’s a ‘priority’ bc your wife wants something….and in true MLC textbook fashion, wants what she wants and wants it now…..and I’d humbly suggest that this is a good opportunity for you to start the process of retraining your brain away from that.

Slow your own roll.
It’s ok to say not now, not convenient, need to think about that, give me a list and I’ll look at it. Or just plain No. You do not need to defend, justify or explain your No’s as much as you think you do, and tbh your wife doesn’t care - she just wants what she wants without uncomfortable consequences, right? Not your job to punish her, but not your job to tidy her mess of predictable consequences either.
If that is difficult for you, you might want to muse on why that is.
But we do get how hard it is to change one’s lens to adapt to the situation whilst also finding it surreal and incomprehensible.
My best advice is to go slow, say less and try to focus on accepting the current reality of the observable facts you can see. And to try to take good care of yourself bc this stuff can take a hammer to your physical wellbeing and sanity.

And just to clarify….
You mentioned a daughter? Step daughter? How is she doing? And how much/little does your mother know about what is going on as she provided the loan? Do you have friends or family you can call on for support right now, practically or emotionally? Or an IC to give you a safe place to think out loud while you navigate this incredibly difficult time?

You said your wife is 44? And you? And that you married each other twice? Did you split up in between, or was it some kind of vow renewal.. or have I misunderstood? Not sure if you are male or female but I think you said AP is a she? Doesn’t matter to us, and indeed there are other same sex marriages/partners who post here, but it helps us to give more useful thoughts if we understand some of the details.

So, if you only take one message from my post it would be to accept that your wife has thrown a hand grenade into your/her life and that you need legal advice to help you work out how to protect yourself and your business from her actions bc you can no longer trust her to do so. Oh, and that there are good people here who have walked in your shoes, and survived to be around to provide you with some support.
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« Last Edit: March 23, 2024, 02:14:33 PM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: New here and needing help
#2: March 23, 2024, 03:15:12 PM
Some practicalities- if you are the person in whose name the credit card is and she is an authorized user, you can put a limit on transactions and have a limit for which the company calls you to confirm the charge.

Rather than meet at your house perhaps propose meeting at the place of business. If this continues you are not going to want her in what will now be your space.

Ask a lawyer about what your rights are in terms of AP´s employment. I´m sure that is a sore point in the whole mess.

When she sends. you screen shots of criticism of her actions you have the option of not responding at all. Most LBSers tend to be doers and fixers. You´re going to need to focus those tendencies on the business and leave her to her own devices and consequences.

Please do ask her to put in writing the separation as of the date she made her public declaration of separation. That will allow you to unhook from credit card debts could accrue.

Go into self-care mode and try your best to let go of the urge to help her. She´s going to have to live the consequences before she makes an effort to get out of the hole she´s digging.
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« Last Edit: March 23, 2024, 04:17:32 PM by forthetrees »
me 51
H 51
M 27
BD 1/15/ 10 then BD 8/21/10
D final 8/13

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#3: March 23, 2024, 05:52:52 PM
Thank you so much for the quick replies.

To answer questions:

I am F(43) turning 44 at the end of April.
Step daughter. She's aware of at least some version of what's going on, but is dealing with her own mental health issues and doesn't want to talk about it. She has withdrawn completely.

Second marriage was essentially a vow renewal. My father had missed our first wedding due to a medical emergency and was at the end stages of cancer. W arranged the wedding so that I would have the memory with him present.

Mom is fully aware of what's going on. She lives with me, although is staying at my Uncle's place for now at my request so that I can process. If she was here I'd put on the brave face instead of feeling my feelings.

I have a fantastic support group in friends as well as an IC who specializes in grief and loss that I've been working with since 2020 when my dad was diagnosed. I also found Hero Spouse right after W left, so I've been doing a ton of reading and learning. I am actually doing fairly ok with taking care of myself and have started doing projects and rediscovering aspects of myself that I'd lost. Baby steps and the cycling and mood swings on my side can be wild, but I'm dealing. After the initial devastation and panic attacks I figured out pretty quickly that this has nothing to do with me. So that psychic load is gone.

It hurts so bad, but I don't deserve this and I know that.

Her spousal type requests are being handled on a case by case basis. If it pertains to myself, the house, or the business I'm handling it or telling her how (there's been a lot of having to explain really basic stuff that she should be able to handle on her own). Anything else I'm telling her "I'm sorry, there's not much/anything I can do about that". She doesn't like it, but....

I just find it interesting that she suddenly started the reaching back out on the personal level. More telling me her itinerary today. Telling me that she was thinking about doing something tonight but might not. I felt like she wanted me to ask what. I wanted to, but I didn't. I also find it interesting that she's showing me hints of her irritation at AP with having to take care of her now. I'm surprised to see it so early. I suffer no illusions that this means much. But I find it interesting.

I have a consult with a family law practice in two weeks. That's the soonest I could get in. Most in the area aren't taking new clients right now. I'm also working on finding a lawyer who does HR type work so I can address the AP being an employee situation in a way that best protects the business. Yes, this is indeed a sore point. Having to work with her 4 days a week and be polite is taking an extreme measure of control. Dealing with the fallout with other employees and the general community is also a funfest.

I'll have her write that declaration of separation. It hadn't occurred to me.

I have ZERO illusions as to her ability to behave like an adult or follow thru. Especially on a personal level. She's acting like a 17yo throwing a temper tantrum and I'm treating her as such. Much of the monstering has subsided for the moment because she's mostly getting her way. And I think is cycling a bit toward me for the moment. I'm picking my battles. I do find, even now, that setting boundaries with her works better when there is an explanation. I fully expect her to push those boundaries. And I fully expect to have to enforce them.

Fortunately I have majority control of the finances, check them daily at this point, and I’m really good at keeping records. I can and will shut her cards off if need be. My goal with budgets and financial discussions is NOT that I expect her to actually care, follow, or remember. It's to remove a source of ammunition for her monstering. Once I give her the info she can't claim I didn't, and if she tries I don't need to be on the defense. I can just hand her the paper again and walk away.

Also fortunately, she's still VERY engaged in and concerned with the business. She takes a great deal of pride and pleasure in the business. In short, it's stroking that ego in a big way. This does give me some leverage to encourage cooperation. The areas where she's dropping the ball due to her distraction I'm having to pick up. I'm keeping a very close eye on things.

When it comes to her wanting stuff, she absolutely has exactly no patience and is throwing mini temper tantrums.  I am indeed pushing her off quite a bit and only allowing limited doses and absolutely refusing to fight. Most "I wants" are being met with silence right now. But I do need to get boundaries firmly in place. I'm not at not allowing her here yet. But I have asked her to not be here without my being present. And to check with me first. So far she's mostly abiding by that.

Today she just came and took some clothes. No asking for other stuff. No fighting. She was...polite... I think I almost prefer her a bit grumpy. It's easier to guard my heart when I'm a little bit mad at her. This polite stranger who was the love of my life 7 weeks ago is incredibly painful to deal with. I did hold back the tears until she left.
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#4: March 24, 2024, 01:11:50 AM
I am so sorry about the loss of your father; sounds as if the last few years might have been rather hard for you and now this. It may not feel like it but you are doing tremendously well for just a few weeks in.

Quote
Fortunately I have majority control of the finances, check them daily at this point, and I’m really good at keeping records. I can and will shut her cards off if need be. My goal with budgets and financial discussions is NOT that I expect her to actually care, follow, or remember. It's to remove a source of ammunition for her monstering. Once I give her the info she can't claim I didn't, and if she tries I don't need to be on the defense. I can just hand her the paper again and walk away.

Most of us LBS find that the experience pushes us to have to take a tough look at the core of who our spouse was/is and at who we are too to see old patterns that may not serve us well in this new situation. It’s pretty common that most LBS start to see themselves as overfunctioning adult ‘fixers’ with spouses who even before BD were given to avoidance or underfunctioning as adults in some areas. I see some ‘fixer’ characteristics in you perhaps….Organised, responsible, loyal, fair-minded, concerned about others, maybe a smudge controlling at times, the grown up in the room?

The good news if so is those are good qualities for rebuilding and navigating the effects of BD. The not so good news is that it can also make detachment from someone else’s rollercoaster a bit harder. That our own natural fixer tendencies can be increased as a trauma response bc it can give us a feeling of control when things feel out of control.

And can also lead us to believe that our spouses will be more rational in their behaviour than they usually turn out to be post BD. I don’t know what your wife was like pre-BD, or how much of her behaviour is like a go faster striped version of the worst of her nature and tbh two marriages before she was 30 is a bit of a historic flag of some internal issues perhaps. But if this is MLC, folks will swear black is white in the face of any amount of paperwork or careful calm conversations tbh. And will monster regardless bc it’s not about the facts, it’s about how they feel at a given moment or what they think will work to get what they want in a given moment. Really quite a lot like teenagers tbh…..have you read up about DARVO as a pattern of response in not so healthy folks? Might help you understand the monstering.

Why might this matter? Both your fixer impulses and her feelings impulses will affect how you set and manage boundaries from here on. I honestly think that what makes boundaries difficult for most of us is less about other’s behaviour and much more about our own mindset and our own fears….certainly that was my experience. I found myself having to think things I didn’t want to think and let go of assumptions I did not want to let go of. Far from easy.

I don’t know what your take on boundaries are, how easy or difficult you find them normally, but imho it takes most of us a little while to get the hang of them in this new situation. It usually forces each of us to be a bit squirmily honest about what we are actually trying to achieve and why and the real limits of what we control and how we might need to change our expectations.

So, in the example you gave, it reads as if your underlying motivation is less about the finances and more about trying to influence her ability to monster or complain about it? Is that fair? And, if you knew that you could not influence her monstering (bc it’s not about you or caused by you), would you do something differently?

Boundaries are tricky for most of us particularly with people we love and it can feel rather overwhelming, can’t it? Particularly so early on. And painful bc it forces us to accept presenting realities that are not very nice to accept about ourselves and others in a time of chaos and distress. So, for instance, you say understandably that you don’t want to finance her affair escape. But you also say she has no real income independently and is spending money with AP on vacations etc while you are picking up the business slack. So, in reality, you are at least partially financing it and, as your wife, she does presumably have some legal right to joint assets/income and to spend money on joint cards/accounts she can access. Messy, right? 

Hopefully your IC can help you consider your take on boundaries as you navigate this and you will get some clarity on options when you are able to see a lawyer. But imho the sooner we LBS can look at the practical realities with a clear eye, to see things as they are rather than as we hope they will be, the easier it is to protect ourselves from some of the potential risks legally, emotionally and financially. There are quite a few LBS here - me included lol - who failed to do that and are living with the long term financial and practical effects of it. That may make me a little jaded and perhaps biased, and of course I could be completely wrong, but from what you post, it sounds as if you have rather a lot of potential skin in the joint game right now.

Again jmo, but this does not prevent you from standing for your marriage if you wish, or keeping a door open to the possibility of reconciliation - it just means standing on more solid ground while you do.

What boundaries do you see as short term priorities?
What do you feel you need most right now that you can control?
When is your Mum coming back and how can she support you as you navigate this?
How can we best help you right now?
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« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 01:26:59 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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#5: March 24, 2024, 04:51:57 AM
Hello,

I am so sorry for the situation you are in, but this is a great place to find support. You are in a tough situation on many fronts. The fact that AP is an employee can create a lot of havoc for you and your business. I am glad that you are seeking advice with family law as well as HR as you need in advice in both areas.

While you control the finances, your wife will be entitled to some of the business if not half depending on the laws of your area. Of course, that includes any outstanding debt. It doesn't seem as if your W or the AP understand the dynamics of business and how cash flows work. They just see a lot of money at the end of the day and just assume that all of it is their money. Things like taxes, insurance, leases, utilities, and payroll don't exist in their realm.

My first boundary with your business partner would be that if you are going to do karaoke in the future, she needs to stay sober in front of the employees. I was an officer in the army, our rule was to have a beer with the troops so they could see you as one of them, but never get drunk and do something that would hurt you leadership capabilities in the future. The point of doing things fun with your employees is to build morale not destroy it.

On the home front, you see to be doing well. You have limited your contact and not falling for the bread crumbs she is tossing you. It is very hard to focus on business when your heart is broken, but the fact that you are still pushing through on going to work is a strong statement to your own fortitude and inner strength.

You are very early into the crisis and you need to focus on being the adult in the room as the other characters want to react like teenagers. Be good to yourself. Make sure to rest, eat healthy, and get some exercise when you can. This is all hard as running your own business is very time demanding. Try to find one moment of bliss. It will be these moments that collectively come together that will get you through your day.

Do one fun thing for yourself today,

(((Ready)))

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#6: March 24, 2024, 08:13:13 AM
Dear Bigfoot (love the name, BTW - start as you mean to go on  8) ) - so sorry you are here. My heart goes out to you, I remember how crushing the first 6 months are. For me, even without a shared business to manage, the idea of untangling all the finances and 'stuff' of a long marriage, it was overwhelming. You've had such brilliant advice already. Treasur's metaphor of 'slowing your roll' is a great one to keep repeating to yourself, because many of us, especially when we tend to be conscientious, organised, types, end up feeling compelled to respond (react?) to the demands of our crisis partner. And we can end up dancing to their tune. But I think you get this already, when you say you often don't respond to her demands. Great.

I only have one additional thought, and it is regarding the AP. If she has only been with you since December, surely she is on her probationary period and if you wish, you could legitimately ask her to leave. It's a tricky balance, because stepping back completely from the affair situation would typically be the best approach - let's face it, a house full of scruff-bags AND no central heating is going to get old very quickly. But on the other hand, this AP, she seems to be quite a toxic element in the business - she is already causing damage it seems. I expect you have weighed all this up already, but, seeing as there is nothing you can do about your W's crisis and the affair (a symptom), maybe there is something you can do to protect the business / work force by not continuing to employ this AP.

Wishing you strength. KD
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#7: March 24, 2024, 03:53:26 PM
KD  - loving the term scruff bags - haven't heard that since primary school
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#8: March 24, 2024, 07:37:08 PM
Thank you for the input everyone.

Yes, it’s been an extremely tough four years with having to full time caretake for multiple sick relatives on my side, then their subsequent loss. Moving (and not getting our normal life coping systems back in place). Dad died the day the moving truck showed up. Mom moving in with us and caretaking for her. Buying the business and having little free time. Medical issues with W's mom (Parkinson's diagnosis, dementia, aggression, general failing health). Some issues with her dad as well. A daughter in her early 20's and far too busy to give us any time and attention.

I’ve been dealing with depression over the above that none of us realized was as bad as it was. I just thought it was stress and exhaustion from working all the time. Working with IC on that.

I’d say your assessment of me is fairly accurate. Ironically, I actually hate having to be the one in charge. But I learned long ago that if I don’t step up $h!te tends to go to hell in a handbasket. Which wasn’t a problem for W until BD.

W had a lot of trauma growing up with:
Parents get pregnant with oldest sibling (6 years) when mom is 17. So mom is 23 when W is born.
Loss of one older sibling due to illness (CF) as an infant.
Months later other older sibling (also with CF) gets hit by a car and ends up in a coma for months. He finally comes home but is severely mentally and physically disabled.
Abandonment and separation anxiety issues because sibling is constantly in and out of hospital and parents are focused on his care and in hospital with him constantly. Mom is primarily focused on his care even when home.
Fearful, overprotective, controlling, and judgmental parents with a narcissistic mother.
Sibling dies when she’s 16.
A teacher drops dead in class just a couple months later.
She’s seeking attention and affection elsewhere and gets prego at 17. Marries baby daddy because right thing to do. He is alcoholic, emotional abuser, controlling, cheats constantly. Divorces him @ 7 years.
Ends up with new woman (H). Gets badly injured at work. Marries strictly for medical reasons. Power balance issues ensue. H develops major mental health issues, gets abusive, starts openly cheating. Nasty divorce @ 4 years. H continues to stalk, threaten, and harass us (I am in the picture at this point) until she finally kills herself.
And of course, W deals with none of this emotionally.

Pre BD, W was kind, generous, loving, gentle. With a strong need to get away from life every few months so we took short trips often. Extrovert, spontaneous, but still responsible. Not as emotionally mature as her age would suggest. But more mature in other ways. Way too strong of a people pleasing tendency to the point of being a doormat. Of course, looking back I can see the early MLC signs over the last year.

Her current behavior is definitely high energy replay. Lots of playing, more impulsive, less responsible. It’s like the attitude of a 17yo with the actions of her in her early 20’s. The relationship with the AP she’s replaying the early days of my relationship with her. Right down to the songs she’s singing at karaoke. AP doesn’t realize this of course and clearly thinks she getting something special to her. That darn gossip mill makes it back to me pretty quickly whether I want it to or not.

Sorry, some sarcastic and uncharitable thoughts there. It does make me angry that things that were special between us are now being given to AP.

I’ve not heard of DARVO so I’ll do some reading.

I agree that boundaries are hard. Especially since my default is to do anything I can to make her happy. I am indeed analyzing everything. Yes IC will be helping me with that as well.

On the financial front, I have two goals. Primarily I do HAVE to get boundaries in place to protect myself, my mom, and the business. Secondarily, if I can reduce the monstering by being more transparent and helping to eliminate her misunderstandings & confusion, then I consider that a good thing. She does have some legit complaints on this and I will own that. No expectations here. Just hope that it may help at least sometimes. If it doesn’t work, so be it, I tried. And I can walk away from the argument/monstering without engaging or needing to defend myself. (Bonus points if this happens to make AP realize that W isn’t the cash cow she thinks she is.)

No, neither W nor AP understand the reality of business and just how high the expenses can be. Whereas I am actually an accountant. I just happen to be working the back end of the business these days rather than at a CPA firm.

I am indeed funding her escape at the moment. Which needs to stop for very practical reasons as well as my own rage level. She does have a right to assets and income. However, half of a negative cash flow is still less than zero. Household expenses are coming out of what’s left of savings or from Mom. I’m doing everything in my power to keep expenses as low as possible. Given this, giving her an income at all is actually pretty generous in my opinion. I don’t have one.

Once we get to positive cash flow (hopefully soon) that can be split between us. At that point if she wants to blow it all, that’s on her. I don’t care. But I am wholly unwilling to borrow money from my mom to fund her escape.

At this point W has reduced her hours to not much more than what AP works. Which maxes out at 20 hours a week or she turns into a wilting lilly and has to take time off work. So W is working maybe 25 hours a week. And monstering if she has to come in on one of her three days off for even a few minutes. But she refuses to contact me about this stuff so I can take care of it, so it’s whatever. She can play the martyr (a game her mother is a master at, btw) if she wants.

I, on the other hand, am working 12 hour days 7 days a week. Although admittedly a bit less now as I’m actually taking time to deal with my mental and physical health and get some stuff done around the house that I’ve been putting off. Little things that make me feel like I got something I wanted accomplished for the day.

So as far as I’m concerned, W can go get a part time job if she wants more income. I think it would honestly do her a world of good to be reminded of how much she hates working for other people.

Yes, I have some very real anger here.

And yes, I do have a LOT of skin in the game. Hopefully the meeting with lawyers will help clarify options. Financially, and getting AP out of the business as expediently as possible. Which is complicated because I now have the risk of a huge sexual harassment claim on my hands with W being the direct boss. I will do what I have to to protect myself and my mother.

W has stopped pushing for possessions at the moment. She’s also completely stopped monstering at me. Which I find extremely disorienting. She’s been some level of angry in my presence 95% of the time for weeks. I got used to it. Pretty easily too. That’s leftover trauma from an ex of mine. Something I clearly need to work on. Now she’s treating me like I’m just someone she knows. Indifferent. I’m sure it’s a normal part of cycling but it’s weird and I don’t know what to do with it. It feels like more of a loss somehow. And yet she seems to be trying on a shared and connected life, but without the spousal relationship. Not sure how to handle that. Not sure if I should allow it or not.

How should I be handling the moving aspect? She doesn't understand why I don't want her taking stuff when I'm not here. (When she does, my brain goes into overload looking for the holes in my life. At least when I see it leave my brain knows to not search the house constantly.) She knows her doing this stresses me. Part of me feels like this just makes things worse. But I don't know how to pretend any more than I already am. And I'm still learning to not be honest with her about me.

Karaoke is a monthly event thrown by a local restaurant. It’s not usually a work thing, although a couple of employees often attend. It’s something W does every month. Whether I choose to attend in the future will depend on my mood and whether I can stomach seeing her with AP. Part of me wants to avoid so I don’t have to face it and because I’m afraid of pissing W off. Part of me wants to hang out with friends and kind of hopes it pisses W off.

Mom will come home when I’m ready for her. She is 100% supportive of me and will do anything I ask of her. But from an emotional standpoint she’s not helpful as she has strong ostrich tendencies when it comes to conflict or emotions. So she encourages the stiff upper lip, be strong, don’t dwell on it aspect just by her presence. Which is exactly the wrong thing for me. I need to process and feel so I can deal with this. I can’t be strong for her right now.

At the moment the financial aspect is top priority for me.

I’m not sure what I need really. Hopefully my meeting with my IC tomorrow will help with that. I know she is compiling resources to help me get thru this.

Bigfoot as a user name comes from the fact that we all have huge feet. I’m the smallest in the family at a size 11.
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« Last Edit: March 24, 2024, 08:49:48 PM by Bigfoot »

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#9: March 25, 2024, 01:08:54 AM
Glad that you have a supportive IC, my friend, bc you have a lot on your plate.
What I’m sure he/she will explain is that boundaries are inherently about actions more than words. And are more about what you will allow to take place in your metaphorical garden fence as opposed to trying to influence what others think about you or do on their side of the fence.

So, as an example, you make your choice about going to karaoke - or not - solely based on what feels best for you in the current circumstances, not bc of whether it pisses her off or not.

And she does not have to understand, or agree with, your reasons for not being ok with her removing things from the house without your presence or prior agreement….she just needs to know that it is not acceptable to you at the moment, what the alternative option is and what will happen if she chooses not to respect your boundary eg you will change the locks or pack her stuff in boxes and leave it on APs doorstep etc etc. depending of course on the law where you live. Which usually means that we need to get a boundary clean and clear in our own mind first before we roll it out! And that can be a bit more confusing sometimes than it seems.

It can also be a bit liberating to realise that you are unlikely to please her whatever you do or say….bc it’s not about you….which of course frees you to focus on what is best for you rather than playing some weird lose-lose game or a kind of life Whack a Mole  :)

Boundaries can feel a bit weird if we are unaccustomed to them. And a bit uncomfortable tbh if we are used to a mindset of trying to make someone else happy or being the adult in the room who stops things going to hell in a handcart. Plus tbh trauma bonding is a real thing imho….can skew our lens a bit in the short term and make boundary setting feel a bit scary….might be worth reading up on that too?

If one believes in MLC type crises, and is minded to look at the situation with a kind but detached eye, these folks often seem to blow things up to try to create some kind of magic do-over as a way of resolving earlier life unfinished business. They just do it poorly usually lol. And focus on external magic happy fixes for inside things, so they just carry the baggage with them to other places and other people. If you need a little comfort, given what you said about your wife’s history, you must have been a pretty good and supportive partner to have lasted 14 years before the lid blew off her demons  :) As I learned more about MLC, me - and our mutual friends - now think it was a bit remarkable and a testament to my value as a partner that my xh did not implode before he did given his FOO baggage  ::) No idea if OWife is now doing that job or not, or if he eventually fixed his own damage.

Your anger is understandable bc this is really creating a kind of multi-layered s&itshow for you, right? But imho the more one can get in one’s bones that, although it feels very darned personal indeed, it really never was and isn’t about you at all, it becomes easier to gain a little emotional detachment. You were not the problem or the solution, nor will you be in future. And AP and all the other nonsense is not the problem or solution either.

But you are very early in and that takes a little time to really get. Time will tell whether your wife reaches a point where she can see both the real problem and a more constructive solution for what ails her or not….and that is simply not in your control. All you can control is how you navigate the circumstances in which you currently find yourself regardless. Learning to create a space between your feelings and your actions, the difference between reacting vs responding, is often where your own real control and power lives imho….and it helps you to climb down off someone else’s rollercoaster which can feel like a bittersweet relief when one can bc it’s so exhausting. And trusting that doing that, step by small step, regardless of what happens with your wife, will take you to somewhere that will feel more solid, sane and stable in your own life.

And we are here cheering you on.
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« Last Edit: March 25, 2024, 01:26:11 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#10: March 25, 2024, 02:45:45 AM
I liked your use of words in conjuring up the Land of F&^kwittery, Treasur.

I've now got a mental picture of a beautiful technicolor vista, with a sunrise illuminating a golden road leading to a castle. As we jump into a close shot we see that the road is not made of gold - the sun just made it look like that and it's in fact made of dog s&^t. I'm picturing a musical number with our spouses dressed as tin men and lions and what not singing "Follow the Dog S*&t Road" as they trudge through increasingly deep s*&t towards the castle as the sun turns to a storm and the colour drains out of the scene.

We are of course, the wicked wizards and witches - intent on spoiling their party.... and there's flying monkeys (not ours).




 
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#11: March 25, 2024, 03:13:52 AM
  ;D ;D  ;D I may never hear that famous song in the same way now, Biscuit….

On Hollie’s thread I think, as opposed to here? But hopefully a useful metaphor for a few LBS or one that encourages them to create their own that works….
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« Last Edit: March 25, 2024, 04:19:30 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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#12: March 25, 2024, 06:38:50 AM
I liked your use of words in conjuring up the Land of F&^kwittery, Treasur.

I've now got a mental picture of a beautiful technicolor vista, with a sunrise illuminating a golden road leading to a castle. As we jump into a close shot we see that the road is not made of gold - the sun just made it look like that and it's in fact made of dog s&^t. I'm picturing a musical number with our spouses dressed as tin men and lions and what not singing "Follow the Dog S*&t Road" as they trudge through increasingly deep s*&t towards the castle as the sun turns to a storm and the colour drains out of the scene.

We are of course, the wicked wizards and witches - intent on spoiling their party.... and there's flying monkeys (not ours).

Well, if I am allowed to be (uncharacteristically) earnest - I would say we are Home. But I did rather like the Wicked Witch of the West - great sense of humour!
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#13: March 25, 2024, 11:12:26 AM
I liked your use of words in conjuring up the Land of F&^kwittery, Treasur.

I've now got a mental picture of a beautiful technicolor vista, with a sunrise illuminating a golden road leading to a castle. As we jump into a close shot we see that the road is not made of gold - the sun just made it look like that and it's in fact made of dog s&^t. I'm picturing a musical number with our spouses dressed as tin men and lions and what not singing "Follow the Dog S*&t Road" as they trudge through increasingly deep s*&t towards the castle as the sun turns to a storm and the colour drains out of the scene.

We are of course, the wicked wizards and witches - intent on spoiling their party.... and there's flying monkeys (not ours).

Thank you. I needed the laugh.  ;D
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#14: April 02, 2024, 02:52:18 AM
We are of course, the wicked wizards and witches - intent on spoiling their party.... and there's flying monkeys (not ours).

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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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