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Hi all. I am in my thirties, and have been mostly happily married for just over the last 10 years. My wife and I met when we were in college, and have been together ever since. We've been married just a little over 10 years, and lately have been drifting apart. We have two small children, and she is a great mother to them. For the past few years, it's seemed like her sex drive has been near zero. However, it seems like her interest in sex ebbs and flows over time, like every 6 months or so she'll want some intimacy, then crickets. During the lulls, I have tried initiating so much, hugs, kisses, backrubs, and usually get the 'we can if you want to' shrug. Not very confidence inspiring, and I deal with low self-esteem to begin with. We have not gone to counseling for this yet, but I am hoping to get us both into counseling as soon as possible, to work through our current situation.

To make things worse, we have dealt with infidelity several times in our past, from her end. This typically manifests in online interactions only (according to her). Over the past year, she has been separating herself physically and emotionally from me and the kids. She will spend many hours to herself, engrossed in her phone. I have tried to get her to spend more time with me and the kids, and usually am met with the same indifference, shrug, or just get ignored ('you're gonna miss the movie!' or 'dinner's ready!', and she sometimes will then connect again).

It should come as no surprise that the infidelity has started again. I took my time, and gave her several different options. I played dumb, and mentioned an app I noticed on one of her devices, that's used for anonymous chat. She had an excuse, "Oh, that must have gotten downloaded when I clicked on an ad or something. I'll go ahead and delete that silly thing!" Yeah... Coincidentally, her libido had also picked up around this time, so things seemed to be getting better for us. My wife (in the past) has been very adventurous sexually, until her libido 'off switch' was somehow triggered. I figured this was a good sign, maybe we were getting closer together.

About a week later, I saw from afar that her device had the telltale 'word bubbles' back and forth, and that she was engaged in lots of back and forth typing, when she said she was watching videos, or surfing online. When I looked at her phone messages, nothing out of the ordinary. I was able to look further on her device, and found another similar app. I logged in and viewed several very interesting conversations, photos, and even videos (I didn't have the heart to actually watch the videos, but saw they were of her) being sent to seemingly random guys. . I stayed up all night, and arranged my thoughts into a notepad. In the morning, after I got her some coffee, and gave her some time to wake up, I asked "Are you ready for an awkward conversation?" I started out very simply, asking "What is X app for?" She tried to deflect that this was for researching our recent bedroom forays. I replied "OK, with that in mind...I want you to know I've looked through the messages." She was quiet, and then said something like "OK." My reply, "So, where do we go from here?" I asked her to then open her page on the app, she kept trying to scroll past the embarrassing stuff. I told her that if she was embarrassed for her husband to see, then she should be embarrassed for random strangers to be seeing it as well. After hashing things out, I told her the worst part was the lying. I know she's into things I am not (she has over the past few years come out as bisexual, and is a bit of an exhibitionist). I joked (not funny though) that lately, it seemed like the only thing she wasn't into was her husband.

Trying to salvage things, I told her that if she can be open with me, I can get over some hang-ups that I have had. Part of her thing is that she wants to feel desired, and apparently I am not able to fulfill that role ("You're my husband, you kinda have to!"). I told her I will always love her, and that if this interaction is something that she needs, as long as she is open with me about it, we can try that moving forward. She has deleted all of the 'most embarrassing' things, and we both now are able to view/login to the app. Things that 'do it' for her, don't really do it for me, but if that's what we need to have in our relationship for it to work, I am willing to step outside of my comfort zone.

To put this into maybe more perspective, my parents are divorced, her parents are still together. As a child of divorce, I would do almost anything to spare our kids from going through the emotional trauma that I had to go through. My parents split up because (from as far as I know) they drifted apart, and my mom cheated first emotionally, then physically, with the man she would date for the remainder of my childhood (they are no longer together). I wonder if this is coloring my interpretation of what is happening in my own marriage.

I have asked my wife is she is happy ("Yes, of course!"), if she enjoys the life that we have built together (we have a nice house, in a lovely neighborhood, several pets, two wonderful kids; "Yes, of course!"), and if we can just be for each other, or if I will ever be enough for her (Yes, of course!"). I busted out the "Put yourself in my situation; if you saw I was hiding and sending **** pics to random women, how would that make you feel?" The response did surprise me, she said that honestly, she probably would be ok with it. I've toyed with the idea of creating an account for myself (and letting her know/sharing the login info) for doing just that, to put this theory to the test, but I wouldn't get anything out of it, it's not my kink. Sex with my wife is.

As any typical human does, I've viewed a decent amount of 'adult video' in my life, as has my wife. However, her tastes vary quite a bit from mine (she showed me one of her videos when we were starting to open up again before the infidelity, and it was pretty intense, not something I had done before, or really had an interest in). She joked along the lines of "Oh, it's been SOOOOO LOONG since I've watched Vanilla porn, I forgot!"

After our Big Talk...I've asked some other kind of probing questions..."You mentioned that you messed around when we were broken up that one time...but what really happened?" I try my damnedest not to dwell on the past...but now that we are being open, I have been testing those depths. And, I've found that what I was told at the time was 'nothing' was more than nothing. She has been into less vanilla things for a long time, but mostly in the online dabbling, or in viewing/reading kinky stuff. I told her that when it goes from viewing/reading to doing, and sending photos/videos, that's a whole other thing.

I want to move ahead together, but I still have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my whole body trembles with frustration and depression at times. This varies to feelings of openness and hopefulness, that maybe we can create a new relationship, full of trust and adventuring together, and leave the past behind. But, I don't know if I can face being betrayed and lied to time after time. One of the notes I typed was "What's going to make this time different?"

Sorry for the wall of text. I need some outside perspective on this. Is our marriage salvageable? Is this relationship salvageable? I would do anything in my power to try, and I would hope she would as well. We are trying to find a marriage counselor that is understanding of the situation's ins and outs (infidelity = bad, but kink = OK together?) but have not gotten any one available yet. The part I struggle with is the sharing. I don't know if she will be happy with only my attention and affection. To me, her attention and affection towards me has been down to a low level for so long, I had stopped trying. I am also working from home currently, taking care of the kids when they are home, and trying to keep the house sanely ordered. I don't feel appreciated, and haven't for a long time. She has recently said along the lines of "I don't deserve you!" and I told her that we deserve each other, that I love her and will always love her. I have tried to be accepting, and have let her know to not feel any shame in what she wants and needs, as long as she gets it (mostly, hopefully) from me.

Let me know what you all think. Thanks in advance.
 

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Bro you are going to get some honest responses on this site, it might feel like we are attacking you but we are just trying to wake you up.

Dealing with cheating on her end SEVERAL times...............WTF?? How many dudes have run through your "happy" wife? You talk about protecting your kids from divorce, what about growing up with a father who is nothing but an ATM and basically a rug that gets walked on? Is that good for them? Are you setting a good example, do you hope your kids end up in a so called marriage like yours? If you wouldn't want this for your kids (that might not be yours), why would you want it for yourself?
 

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yeah, this is not going to be what you want to hear. Dealing with her cheating several times?? You are just her doormat man. You have to wake up and smell the roses. She is having her cake and eating it too. We have all gone/are going through the very same thing you are. Time to man up and kick her to the curb. No "i invested all this time, what about the kids??"...you will be much better off without her in your life. It takes time, lots of emotional instability, but it will be worth it.
 

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I told her the worst part was the lying.
This is the dagger in the heart that many people can't recover from. It will taint things forever.

I busted out the "Put yourself in my situation; if you saw I was hiding and sending **** pics to random women, how would that make you feel?" The response did surprise me, she said that honestly, she probably would be ok with it.
Her response didn't surprise me. It goes back to the first quote about her lying. I'm not saying she's lying about actually being ok with you doing what she's done. She's lying to lessen the embarrassment for herself getting caught.

Is it salvageable?

All things are possible, but I'm not sensing she's altogether interested in doing so. Seems like an Eat/Pray/Love situation with a heavy side dish of YOLO and FOMO.
 

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The biggest lie she has told you? The one where she would be ok with you having someone else.

People with an ego like hers, would not be happy with you doing that. And get dangerous when you do. Because it would make her look bad.

And she is bad.

You seem really sweet and gentle and loving. That’s not a bad attribute to have. It’s especially beautiful, because eventually, you’re going to be different.

You are going to be a force to be reckoned with one day, people will nervously look down when you make eye contact.

Not now, but one day, nothing will break you. And you’ll still be that kind and gentle man.

Do you think you can believe this? Maybe not now, but could you?

That’s the beauty of bad people who hurt you. They are a gift. Pass the parcel if you like, now you’re at the first layer of disappointment.
 

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The problem you have here is the questions you asked should not directed to us but to her...you are clearly more invested in this marriage than her, and sadly you can not carry this relationship on your own...how many chances are you going to give before you come to the realization that she is a serial cheater who will not stop....and unfortunately you continue to reward her bad behavior by doing nothing....but if you want my answer to your question...no it is not salvageable by you doing all the work....she sees you as a doormat.
 

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EarlyMM, where will you draw the line as to how much cheating you will tolerate from her and what are you willing to do if she continues down this path? Part of living a relatively happy existence is learning and dealing with folks that don't want the same relationship you desire. What are you prepared to do if your wife is unable to give up her proclivities?
 

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Is she just wanting online attention or is she wanting physical interaction outside of the marriage? Her jokes about “vanilla porn” do sound like her needs are probably not being met. You two will need to figure out what compromise is feasible for your marriage. I personally would not be able to forgive simply because of the lie, which is also what you have said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Is she just wanting online attention or is she wanting physical interaction outside of the marriage? Her jokes about “vanilla porn” do sound like her needs are probably not being met. You two will need to figure out what compromise is feasible for your marriage. I personally would not be able to forgive simply because of the lie, which is also what you have said.
I don't know...she's said that she wanted to feel sexy and appreciated, but that's also a two-way street. I have tried to get her more interested in me, and gave up when she wasn't into it. I have been glad to spice up our bedroom routine lately, but after the infidelity, for me at least it's put a damper on things. I don't want to keep being suspicious, I hate that I am tempted to keep looking at the phone, to see if she's on to the next thing. Her rationale with hiding it was that "I didn't want to hurt you." I'm not sure I understand that reasoning, as finding out the lie hurt so badly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
EarlyMM, where will you draw the line as to how much cheating you will tolerate from her and what are you willing to do if she continues down this path? Part of living a relatively happy existence is learning and dealing with folks that don't want the same relationship you desire. What are you prepared to do if your wife is unable to give up her proclivities?
I told her that I would draw the line at anything physical. "Are you looking for another relationship? That's something I can't go along with." She said no, she was just embarrassed by her desires, and was looking for a semi-anonymous outlet. I'm working on accepting that, as long as she tells me the truth, no more lies and hiding. But I don't know if/how I can believe her.
 

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This is happening because you’ve been passive and weak. Your wife doesn’t respect you, and a woman cannot be attracted to you, desire you and behave appropriately as a wife if she doesn’t respect you. You have been a doormat, allowing her to behave badly, disrespect you and your family and treat you badly. That’s not respectable.

Women (and probably men to some extent) will behave as badly as you let them. And you have allowed her to behave very badly, showing her that you are not a strong husband or man. She has no respect or desire for you. Women respect strength and leadership, and despise weak men.

The question now is, what are you going to do?
1. You need to ascertain exactly how far her betrayal has gone.
That means no more confronting, mouth shut and eyes open. You need to go into full investigation mode, as there is likely much more you don’t know.
VARs, phone/device monitoring, PI if you can afford it.

2. You need to set hard (even extreme) boundaries, and you need to set them right now. Do not negotiate with her, tell her exactly what you will and will not accept in your marriage. If she doesn’t like it she can leave.
No messaging other men - at all, ever.
No messaging apps on her phone, at all.
You get full access to all her devices.

Require her to write out a complete timeline of her infidelity and inappropriate behavior in detail. Tell her that there will be a polygraph to confirm the completeness and accuracy of what she has written. And do it. You do not trust her, she’s not worthy of trust at this point - so if there is to be any consideration of reconciliation, this is a requirement. If you’re willing to try to forgive and move forward, you need to know the extent of what you’re forgiving.

3. Disclose her infidelity to family and friends. It’s not vindictive, it is a reasonable, just, and necessary consequences of her choices. Do not sweep this under the rug, as you probably have in the past.

Once all this has been done, and you have a better picture of what’s going on, you need to question if you really want to move forward with this person.
Or or you might not even make it that far. She’s not in love with you and doesn’t respect you, so she may just decide you’re not worth jumping through all those hoops.
Either way, at least you’ll know where you stand.
 

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read your OP again...WHY do you awnt to "make things work" with this woman. She has detached from you, your kids, and the family unit so she can share videos and messages with "randoms" on the internet? Man, get it together! You deserve much better than this. She is checked the hell out and will keep up her ways as long as you keep allowing her to.
 

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Isn’t it ironic that the people wanting to feel sexy and appreciated, have zero idea how make their own spouse feel sexy and appreciated? Hmmm, how do you get to feel like a man with a woman like that??

Don’t play detective, don’t even ask her anything anymore, no more why this why that, my apologies for putting down your wife. But she sounds stupid. She IS stupid.

Get sexy and feel sexy. Get a haircut, grow a beard or trim your beard, a nice clean white t-shirt is a small start. She is not going to make you feel sexy. She’s hopeless in that department, and I’d say despite what you describe, I don’t really believe sex with her is all that hot. Who would really truly want to have sex with a women hiding behind an online persona???

There’s good sex to be had out there, I hope one day you’ll get that. I don’t believe you haven’t fulfilled her needs in the bedroom, so I wouldn’t even agree to the new stuff she’s trying. You see, the rules will change again. You’ll keep trying this and trying that, and next week it’ll be a different problem. Stop allowing her to make any of this your fault.
 

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Why don't you want better?

You are not going to be able to make her into a good and faithful wife, it's not in her nature. Some people and situations are a lost cause, what I don't understand is why you act like you are? There are lots of women out there who don't repeatedly disrespect you and yearn to the life of a porn star.

But you know who she is, the issue isn't her it's you, why don't you want better for yourself?
 
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the vanilla word is what GET TO ME
it is like your wife has two sides her home life that is important to her and this other world that seems to be
for the moment just on line
getting help will be hard as to get someone that she can open up to and that you can open up to I think you need to try first to get one on one counseling ,

what she calls vanilla is it vanilla
and is what she seems to be into so wild
everyone seems to have a different idea of what kinks are
I for one was surprised to find that some of what I and even what my wife are into fall into kink world

I don't know what is the driving force in your wife on this ,
it seems to be same form of fantasize world that she is living out on the net
one big difference in wen and women is that men seem to be into image more that is why porn is more for the men than women
women seem to be into romantic books like mills and boon or a big hit was some of the bdsm related books that anyone in the bdsm world seem to look on as very bad representation of the bdsm world like 50 shades

as I am no expert but dealing with fantasize world is not easy and often needs pro help that know what they are playing with

I hope you find the right help for you and her and that you keep the lines open so you get through this and keep the kids safe and away from this

as kids get older they have a way of finding out what we think they don't know
 
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I told her that I would draw the line at anything physical. "Are you looking for another relationship? That's something I can't go along with." She said no, she was just embarrassed by her desires, and was looking for a semi-anonymous outlet. I'm working on accepting that, as long as she tells me the truth, no more lies and hiding. But I don't know if/how I can believe her.
Can you dumb down for my benefit an explanation of what she is doing that you consider cheating? What exactly is she doing on the internet visiting dating sites, talking with other guys, sending out/receiving photos, et cetera.) ? Has she actually had a fling with another guy or female? Does her turning down the volume on sex with you correspond to her increased activity on the internet/phone/social media? What are her desires you cannot or won't fulfill (threesomes, open marriage, S&M, boyfriend/girlfriend on the side) ?
 
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