Two months ago, I separated with my wife of about four years (we’ve been together for eight years total). We have been having problems for awhile and two months ago she told me that she has been cheating on me with another guy that she has been friends with, off-and-on, for the past eight months. She said after something physical would happen between them, they would feel guilty and not talk for awhile. Then they would talk again with the intention of just being friends, but would get physical again. When she told me about the affair, I thought about it for a few days and then told her that I wanted to work things out. I also told her that she could still be friends with this guy as long as they didn’t hang out at his apartment. This was a mistake. A few days later, they went to see a movie together but ended up going back to his apartment and she cheated on me again.
My wife and I don’t really fight that much and we are still physically attracted to each other but she says I have not been giving her what she needs intellectually and emotionally (I haven’t wanted to spend time with her, share in her interests with her, talk with her, cuddle with her like I used to, etc.). This is why she cheated on me. I understand and I am not as mad at her as you would think, in fact I feel partially responsible because I have not been putting much effort into our relationship for awhile. My wife and I are still on good terms.
Anyway, I’m not sure whether I made the right decision by leaving and am going back and forth about it in my head. She’s still seeing this guy (I did not object since I left). I’m pretty sure I could get him out of the picture if I rededicated myself to her, but I’m not sure if I should/want to. Basically, I got too caught up with school-related stress and wasn’t as into her as I used to be. However, I miss her and I think I would be more interested in her again if I rededicated myself to her and put in more effort. I feel really guilty about losing interest in her. I made a life-long commitment to her. We were only 21 when we started seeing each other exclusively (we’re now 30) and this has been part of the problem for me. I never cheated on her or tried to cheat on her but in my mind I sometimes get excited about the possibility of being single again. I never got to experience life as a single person after college.
The cheating has made me think a lot about other problems in our relationship. She has had other close platonic male friends before. I never thought this was that much of a problem but now I think it is because it puts her in a situation where she can be more easily tempted. We don’t have any kids. When we got married we didn’t want kids at the time but figured that we probably would someday. She has been wanting kids for the past year but I’m not sure if I do or not. We have a lot of different interests and she wants to do stuff together more than I do (she’s more active). She is pretty liberal politically and I am very conservative politically. She is Presbyterian and I am Roman Catholic. I’m not sure how we would raise our children as far as religion is concerned. We used to go to church together but I didn’t like going to the Presbyterian Church and she didn’t like going to the Catholic Church. It feels weird going to church alone because it reminds us of this major difference between us so now we only go to church on Christmas and Easter. Also, we’re both in graduate school which has put us both under a lot of stress.
Despite these major differences, she is the best friend that I have ever had. We enjoy each other’s company, have had many great times together, and she has always been very loyal until she cheated on me. Her actions are very disappointing but I assure you they are also very out of character for her. She is really a wonderful person. If I was a better husband, she may not have had this affair. She has been a great wife and went seven years without cheating on me. Sometimes I think I’m using her cheating as an excuse to give up. I didn’t even feel that hurt when she told me she cheated which is pretty cold. I think this is because I feel partially responsible by taking her for granted. If she cheated 2 years ago I would have been devastated. I don’t know what to do. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice that may help me make a decision? I need to decide whether we should try to work things out or get a divorce/annulment.