My wife started hooking up with other men in 2018. After a brief trip back to her home in Asia she came clean and confessed all. She was clean for two years but by October 2020 she was back on Ashley Madison and seeing multiple men.
She got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. That gave me hope that somehow it was not her decision to cheat and she would find the right medicine and get better. She seemed to cycle between mania and depression.
Finally by October 2021 she had landed her dream job as a fitness instructor and was the happiest I had ever seen her in the 20 years I had known her. We had six amazing months. She told me the desires to cheat were gone.
Then in April 2022 she had another affair with a member from her fitness classes. This one hurt bad because I felt like we had finally worked through the mental health issues and we were flourishing. I don’t know where to go from here.
I suggest you point yourself towards a lawyer’s office. I know, not the advice you were hoping for.
You’re performing a common chump coping mechanism — untangling the skein. You’re wondering why she’s like this instead of asking yourself if this relationship is acceptable to you.
In a way, it’s a stalling technique. You know being cheated on is not acceptable to you. But if you throw your energies at fixing her instead, and unraveling the skein, you don’t have to face a wall of pain — that you don’t matter to her (not enough) and that you need to end things to save yourself.
You’re okay with the current wall of pain because it seems to have a purpose — saving her from herself. Saving your marriage. It seems noble. There’s an entire industry predicated on reconciliation that will sell you a shit-ton of false hope that you can single-handedly fix your marriage.
But you asked me. The Leave-A-Cheater-Gain-A-Life Lady.
I think you should save yourself. I don’t think a bipolar diagnosis is the reason she cheats. But who knows? Maybe it is. It doesn’t change the basic proposition that you matter. You’re being harmed. And you deserve a relationship where you feel safe and respected.
Many a chump has gone down the rabbit hole of “Maybe he has a brain tumor?” or “Maybe she’s Borderline?” Because, gosh, if it has a medical diagnosis, then there is a CURE. And what kind of person leaves their mate when they’re suffering from an illness they cannot control?
Fuckwittery isn’t cancer. And many people suffer from mental illness and don’t abuse their partners. She’s making choices. She had enough executive functioning to land her dream job. But apparently not enough executive functioning to not fuck the clients?
Makes no sense. Unless you realize that you’re being manipulated. And you “helping” her, understanding, living in eternal forbearance of her “illness”, keeps her in cake. You and her double life. Yum.
She was clean for two years but by October 2020 she was back on Ashley Madison and seeing multiple men.
First off, Andrew, monogamy is not a 12-step program. You’re a faithful man, and that’s a stock that trades high. There are a gazillion people on this planet who would cherish you and not hook up with randos on the Interwebz. Know your worth.
Second, hooking up with randos on the interwebz is all kinds of dangerous as a woman. Put aside the fact that it’s harmful to you (you didn’t consent to the STD exposure and the emotional horror), it’s nuts of her. Her desire to be desired is so great, so narcissistically delusional, that she would take these risks. This is NOT a person to trust a shared life with, IMO. Just like I wouldn’t want a partner who bungee jumps, or does Evil Knievel stunt riding.
But, but bipolar!
YOU MATTER, Andrew. It doesn’t hurt her to hurt you. Whether it’s her neurotransmitters who make her devoid of empathy, or shitty character, the end result is a woman who hurts you. You are allowed to save yourself.
Ask yourself what she’s doing to understand you. Where’s her forbearance? Her sacrifice? Oh, she went 24 months without screwing strangers? Bitch cookie.
I don’t know where to go from here.
To a lawyer for a divorce. To the bank to separate your finances. To a therapist for you to help you shore up your boundaries. To the CN communities to give you peer support.
Lots of places to go that aren’t her. Please get out. ((Hugs))