I wish I had better news for you. After nearly a year of counseling, talking, and working on our marriage (so I thought), I have discovered that my wife never really gave up the other man. They began communicating only two months after the last attempt at reconciliation.
Just as last time, she is very remorseful and begging me to take her back. I have told her that divorce is where I am headed and that is keeping me sane. We are both still in our house, although sleeping in different bedrooms. She is asking me to give her one day at a time to prove to me that she is done with that part of her life. I can give her a day, but I don't think I can give a commitment. The trust is completely gone. I really haven't made an attempt to deal with the gravity of what she has done because if divorce is the eventual outcome I don't feel I need to and it makes it much easier to get through the day.
Over the past year, there have been times when I didn't feel I was getting what I needed from her. I would talk with her about it and she would tell me I was wrong and that everything was fine and she loved me. It feels better knowing that my instincts weren't that far off. I just didn't know how to interpret them.
I would appreciate any advice on divorce, forgiveness, reconciliation, moving on, etc. I feel like I am in a good place mentally and spiritually, all things considered, but I always respect your opinions and would like any insight you may have.
I wish you had better news for your own sake. People are individuals, they each make their own decisions, and often we are left wondering what could have possibly been going through their heads. Lies typically come to light eventually. "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape" (Proverbs 19:5). And the problem that your wife has is that there is absolutely no excuse for what she has been doing.
"People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house. Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. For jealousy is a husband's fury; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts" (Proverbs 6:30-35).
I understand your position and your loss of confidence in your wife. I wish there was a way to repair this breach, but your wife has managed to destroy most of the avenues.
The decision of whether to divorce your wife has to be your own. I would prefer to see people work out the problem, but in this case, I can see your difficulty. You can't tell the lies from the truth so there is no way to measure if things are getting better or not.
God does allow for divorce when there are continuing sexual sins. "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). Sadly, this appears to be one of those times.
What I recommend is working on one issue at a time. If you decide to end the marriage, then do what is needed. While it is going on, don't go looking for other companionship. A mistake I hear far too often is men who find someone else while the divorce is in process who then commit adultery themselves because they have stopped thinking of themselves as married. Sex is only for the married (Hebrews 13:4). I would strongly recommend that you hold off even thinking about getting married again until after the divorce is final. Don't look for another woman or date. After all, there may still be a chance that something will happen that allows you two to reconcile -- as hard as that is to imagine at the moment. Meanwhile, you need a chance to heal and sort out your thoughts before attempting to find a companion again.
Thank you for your quick response. Your words have been helpful in many ways to me through this trying ordeal. I feel that my wife is in a very bad place both spiritually and emotionally. After the first attempt to fix our relationship, I feel that she went through the motions with me, praying, bible study, sharing, counseling, etc., but never bought in completely. I wish she had taken it to heart more. I think that if she had committed to us for this past year we would have made it. I still have a deep concern for her well-being and want to try to help her get back on track. I don't believe that the new track includes me though.
The other man is not a good person and would not be a good place for her to end up. She realizes this but I don't know if she will deal with him rationally or not. Currently, she says she is done and never wants to have anything to do with him again. I have heard it all before. I have encouraged her to stay at our house (she is...for now) while she tries to figure out what she needs to do to repair her life. How do people stray so far from what they once were? I really do not know who she is anymore.
I am confident and comfortable in my decision to move on, but I would like to see her happy and satisfied with life again. She once again is very remorseful and begging me to give her another chance. I have told her that nothing is impossible, although I cannot think of any way my trust could be restored to a point where I could move on with her. The ball is in her court though and she is welcome to make any effort at convincing me, and until the divorce is final I will take it day by day. Do you think this wise?
As far as other women, I currently have no interest. I was and am completely committed to my marriage and the disappointment I feel will take a while for me to overcome. I have been avoiding the painful issues for now in an attempt to keep things calm and comfortable at home but will need to work through them once the dust settles. This is such uncharted territory for me, but I will proceed with care and caution, and try to make the best choices I can. Thank you again for your time and thoughts.
What you are doing is fine. You are being kind, helpful, and generous. While it looks like the marriage is collapsing, I have known couples who have restored their marriage, even after the divorce went through. Sometimes a person needs to see that the other person is serious before they wake up to the fact that they have to change.