Hello, again. I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful responses. It's given me a lot to think about. I'd like to reply to some of your comments...
Thank you for sharing the needs/wants/likes list idea. For the issues we've come into conflict, having relationships with others and porn, porn would be a "like". I am still trying to sort out exactly where having relationships with others is. I don't know if it's a "need" or a strong "want". Knowing how discontent I've felt when I should have been content, this is a hard one to figure out for me. I guess it's also what has me feeling the most selfish. I'm thinking, when I talk to my wife, of putting it in the "wants" category and see what happens. You're right, though, either way, our trust has to be restored.
Sorry, didn't mean to leave out the common-law marriage people!
I'm hoping our physical separation right now will make it easier to deal with these difficult topics in a way that's not so emotionally heated. It's given us both time to understand who we are individually, I hope.
Yeah, it is sad about the environment our son is in... Poor guy, he even tries to play peacemaker when he senses that we're angry at each other....
In hindsight, I agree with your sentiments. When I was younger and got married I thought thinking about other women was something I'd grow out of because I was so in love. But I agreed at the time, and I didn't let her know when I couldn't maintain our agreed expectations. So I accept responsibility for violating her trust. About the 5 year thing... I don't know... I suppose there would be some small credit given, but mostly disappointment and renewed feelings of distrust.
Thank you for your perspective. You are right, I owe it to my marriage to tell her what I feel, even if I feel she will never accept it, and give her the opportunity to respond and work together. I guess part of me is concerned that, if it doesn't work out, no matter how I explain my perspective, it will just get way oversimplified and repeated by her to others as "he left me so he could f*** a bunch of other people".
You're right. There needs to be a new, healthy way of communicating. The trick has been talking about issues that upset us without sounding like being angry or accusatory of the other person, because we usually end up going down a vicious spiral when that happens.
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts. I have a lot to think about.