I am a long time lurker of MRP, and under a different account you fine gentlemen helped me through the most difficult situation of my life last year (post has since been deleted for privacy reasons). I am hoping I can get some perspective from some of you again. I have read everything on the sidebar, books included, and my own personal development has skyrocketed because of applying the concepts to my life. I can't even express how much you guys have helped me.
To make a long story short, here is my situation:
I am 32 years old and have been married for 5 years. With her for 10. No kids. College sweethearts. Two years ago our marriage started falling apart for a variety of reasons. We were both to blame somewhat (I was not being a leader, was work-obsessed, and failed to maintain frame on some big tests). I take responsibility for that but what transpired is she took a job that involved lots of traveling and this set up a huge failed branch swing attempt on her part.
Sex slowed to a halt. Reason being she was "saving herself" for this guy she wanted to branch swing to. She wasn't open about this, I figured it out on my own. I tried to save the marriage in my BP way (at the time) but after almost a year we still hadn't had sex, she was still in a long distance emotional affair with this guy, and I left her after becoming fed up with making no progress. No kids, no house, we were somewhat nomadic doing world traveling at the time so logistically it was easy.
After our separation we were still amicable but I was a wreck, depressed, and wanted her back. She wouldn't come back and it broke my heart. I stopped giving a fuck. We tentatively decided to get divorced and I started behaving like a divorced guy. Started a new life in a new city. Friends and family were told we're getting divorced. Tinder hookups, etc. I'm a good looking, fit guy so single life is pretty fucking awesome to me after a shitty marriage. I can pull hot 25 year old girls and that is intoxicating after feeling rejected for so long. Our long distance communication remained amicable during this time, which gave her a false sense of hope that maybe a fresh start would always be on the table.
Overall, I faced and conquered my biggest fear in life: losing her (conquering my oneItis) and made peace with being alone in this world. I made it out of the darkness and into the light. Then she shows back up at my door after 8 months of separation ,out of the blue. Crying, begging for forgiveness, willing to do whatever it takes. Willing to live where I want to live, support my endeavors, be a faithful wife. She is staying with me short-term as I didn't have the heart to slam the door in her face. She's throwing herself at me, wanting to have sex all the time, and is pouring her heart out to get me back. It is devastating to me, emotionally. Here she is: seemingly the wife I've always wanted. But obviously trust is shattered. I know she met up with this guy and probably realized he's not the type to commit (he's her Alpha). I'm her comfort, long-term Beta option. Money isn't really a factor here, as luckily she is not materialistic or gold-digging type and I'm not rich. I'm her comfortable, long term husband option who she took for granted. I am smart enough to realize her "affair fog" has lifted and she feels bad about what she did and I'm her oak tree she wants to swing back to. Obviously I have a soft spot for her, as I spent a third of my life with her and we have countless awesome memories together.
On one hand, I realize how absurd a question it is to consider taking her back. But I realize that even the next woman I'll have to deal with AWALT behavior too and maintain a Captain/First-Mate dynamic from the start, and bank on the fact that I do not really fear being alone so I can create dread naturally. So why throw this away when I can salvage it? Wife is smoking hot, a lot of fun to be around, and checks a lot of the boxes. But, obviously has that ability to deceive, manipulate, and hide affairs at a level that, frankly, scares me. However, i know that all women have this capability and I am partly to blame for allowing her to make it a reality.
I guess I'm looking for any of you older MRPers to talk some sense into me or share their success/failure in similar situations. I take responsibility for letting our marriage devolve into something so broken as the man, but also my responsibility only extends so far and the easier, more tempting option is to just keep going on this solo route I'm on. Finalize the divorce, spin plates, focus on a new career I'm working on and don't plan on remarrying for several years until my life is on track.
Or I can salvage this thing and maintain the leverage I have as the one that took her back. Don't tolerate shitty behavior, be on top of my game, and truly live out the Captain/first-mate dynamic every day. Be ready to walk if she doesn't toe the line. Spin plates on the side and create an environment where she dreads the options I have. This is a fantasy I'm entertaining.
Can anyone relate to my fucked up situation? Has anyone ever salvaged a fucked up marriage and made it work? Or did you find that starting fresh was better long-term?
Thank you in advance for any wisdom you can impart.