Talk About Marriage banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So my wife had a short, 5 week EA with an ex high school sweetheart. It was conducted on facebook. After I found the messages,(I did not see most of them, but saw the worst of them) she sent a NC, and they have definitely ended all contact.

Its been about a month since this happened. We have had a lot of communication, and some great sex. What was most important for me to understand has been why she did this.

Her reasons have been:
Because she is forty and was feeling like this is it. Is this life with 3 kids, financial stresses, the ups and downs of marriage it! Om was a nice escape.
He was funny, and made her feel good. He made her feel like she was the one that got away.
It was fantasy - she felt it 'safe' as he was on another continent.
She has always been a 'good girl' and it was exciting exploring a bit of her dark side.
She did not realise at the time it was an EA.

To be honest, compared to some stuff I have read here it was a very mild EA. No picture exchanges, no I love yous, and minimal, but some sexual innuendo and finally a sex chat (brief) at the end.

She has taken responsibility, cut all contact, and initially put up with my question after question, and initially my rage.

We have both acknowledged it was a wake up call for our marriage, and we are committed to using this as a way of talking more about needs etc.

My problem now is when I want to talk about it, and I ask questions, she keeps saying we have been over this. Let it go. lets move forward.

Last night I asked whether she had explored any of the subconscious motivations for this. The subconscious exploration is what can prevent it from happening again.

I asked her if she has read any resources around EA's etc.

She got angry and said no. We are okay. We have agreed to move on. Why must you keep going on and on about this.

I don't know. Perhaps I am looking for too much. Perhaps I should just move on, and to a large extent I have. I just wonder if we have unpacked our various roles in this sufficiently.

I also keep asking her how it went from being fun and chatting about books and movies to more. How did it escalate. When did she realize it was getting risky. Why did she not stop it. She does not like these questions.

Am I expecting too much here.

She is a good wife. I do believe she/we learnt a valuable lesson in taking each other for granted.

I don't know, but I still feel a bit unsettled as to the why.:scratchhead:

My wife is not a great talker, and has never expressed feeling easily. Me on the other hand, I work through things by verbalizing them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
Have you taken a look at the book Not Just Friends? A link to the google excerpts, including the table of contents, is in my signature.

The author, Shirley Glass, is considered a leading, nationally-recognized researcher on infidelity (unfortunately she passed away nearly 10 years ago) but her book is the definitive work on the subject--highly detailed, highly readable.

First and foremost, your wife needs to get inside your head and understand the level of hurt and betrayal that you've endured. This book will really help you articulate that. I doubt you'll be able to get her to read it (that's pretty common) but you may be able to get her to sit down and listen to you read aloud pre-marked excerpts.

As far as discussing the affair--schedule the time in. Warn her in advance that you need to talk about it for an hour and then do it. If you can stand it, cut back to discussing it every few days because this will also get you more answers and less stonewalling.

If for some reason you feel a strong, compelling need to raise an issue, give a little warning phrase, like, "I need to ask you a question," because what I've found is that it helps the WS brace themselves. Many people might say "they have what's coming to them, they should listen to whatever, whenever" but what I've found is that if I don't give my husband a chance to prepare for a question he won't like, in the past around D-day he would lash out emotionally. If I gave him just a second to prep his mind, he would respond much more calmly and truthfully.

You need to explain to her that infidelity research shows that emotional affairs create a grave betrayal of trust. Explain it to her! Tell her, "You don't seem to get it. By doing this you knocked out my legs from under me. Now when I look at you, I'm always wondering whether or not you're telling me the truth. I can now see that when you choose to be, you're a skillful liar. Any loving spouse would find this shocking and demoralizing. You don't recover from something like this on a schedule through sheer power of will."

I would strongly consider finding a marriage counselor *trained to deal with infidelity*. Not Just Friends is a great litmus test--if the counselor is familiar with her work and owns and recommend her book, then they've digested a lot of critical issues that may help the two of you progress. You can get the counselor to help probe the hard question of "why." But beware of the counselor who wants to help the two of you move past it and only investigate the deficiencies in your marriage. While your marriage may need improving, 'rug-sweeping' the affair is very damaging--as you seem to realize already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
877 Posts
So, she is still defensive, this isn't good but somewhat normal at a month out. Perhaps she still has feelings for the om (other man).

She isn't getting the fact that you HURT, and you are hurting. She doesn't see the damage it has done to you, or she refusese to acknowledge it. This is considered an affair. She wants to rugsweep it and move on, not good. You ARE going to ask questions and you are going to ask the same questions over and over, she needs to understand this and have some compassion for you.

To her it's over, to you it just started and you are trying to wrap your head around all this. She betrayed you, that's NOT ok. SHE messed up, she chose to do this. She needs to make this up and prove she can be trusted again.

It sounds like you can definitely work this out, but it will take the two of you to do this, not just you!

I would say setup some MC(marriage counseling) asap. I feel there are still deeper problems here that must be addressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
634 Posts
My FWH had an EA on facebook and via email. About 2 months out I noticed how much it bothered him to talk about it. I think he was really ashamed of what he had done. Last night we talked about it for the first time in a long time. I think him having his BF to talk with helped.

As to the why...it took a lot of digging for answers by myself and a few questions. Have you ever tried to get her to tell you what you might have doing wrong in the marriage? It gave me something to focus on and made me realize that all I can do is fix me and my actions. If it happens again, then it is all on him. He is very aware of my future consequences should it even begin again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,948 Posts
Who made the first contact?

Her comments about being bored with her life of 3 kids and marriage, and wanting to explore her dark side are a little disturbing.

Those feelings are probably still there. If the two of you do not deal with how she feels (Marriage Counseling), she could have another EA or a PA in the future. If she cannot recognize the pain she caused you and the potential damage to your family, she is still at risk for seeking excitement outside the marriage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies.

I will look in the Library for more than just friends.

Where we live counseling is a rare and expensive option, we have spoken about it, but affordability will be a real issue.

I think she downplays it, because it was not a very intense, hours online affair. It was obvious to me though that contacts, though brief became important to her. I challenged her on it, and she was defensive and raised the whole privacy issue. So I warned her it was going South, but she told me I was paranoid. This is when my spidey senses were awakened, and I gained access to her FB.

One night I asked her to read me their messages if they were innocent. She did, but left out a few affectionate terms they were using for each other. I called her BS on it, as I had read the messages.

It continued, and then stopped for a bit. After DDay I asked her about the lull. She said he sent her a message about his sexual preferences, and she said it was getting a bit dark.

But, she re initiated contact. It then ended with their brief - 3 line sexual chat, where she invited him to ......

So you see, it was brief. A few contacts every day or every few days. They spoke of little of meaning. A bit of catching up, his divorce, our kids, movies etc.

But what I am stuck on is:
She saw a red flag when he talked of his sexual preferences. But went back and reignited it
I warned her it was going south but she continued.
She escalated it to something sexual. O boy, he sure pounced then, but she initiated it.

I have tried sexting with her when I am away on business, and she wont. But with him, she was the instigator.

I know she had no real intention of hooking up with him. It was a bit of a fantasy. But what has happened to this 'dark side' she needed to explore. And yes, life remains the grind of life. And yes, we are in our forties now.

But like has been asked - why next time will it not become another ea or a pa.

In the same time period she went out on her own one night to see a friends band. I stayed with the kids. At about 9:30 she texted me to say few of our mutual friends were their and she would be home soon. I said I was in bed, hard, waiting for her.

I fell asleep, and at 1:30 a.m woke up and she was not home. I was seriously worried she may have had an accident or something. I texted, no response. I phoned her and and left a voicemail. She phoned back, said she had met up with our friends, had smoked a joint and lost track of time.

She got home at 2:30 a.m and I was seriously pissed. She appeased me, said she had met with friends, it was fun etc. I felt seriously dissed. I know from friends she was there. But I also know guys would have been hitting on her. She is hot. After arguing she bonked my brains out. Twice - very odd!

Anyway, I have posted this all before.

This behaviour is so out of character for my wife. She is the most level headed in our relationship.

I raise this night out, and ask her about it. She insists nothing happened. But it is odd.

So you see, while the ea was mild, and she certainly didn't use I love yous etc, i keep wondering where my wife went for those five weeks.

She is back now, but why will she not disappear again.

Thanks for the input.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
Again, the book is Not Just Friends and many libraries stock it. Look at the link in my signature, too. While you can't read the whole book on google books, you can read a lot of it. Again, just click the link and scroll to the table of contents and see what's there. It's a very practical book. I know I sound like a book salesperson but all I am is someone whose husband had a multi-year EA.

As far as WHY--you know at least some of why. It was escapist, fantasy behavior. There is something in her life, whether it's just right now, or it's always been there, that is unpleasant. Maybe it's stress, or boredom, or anxiety. Maybe it's darker than that and goes back to childhood, or maybe it's just current life circumstances. But yes, you have every right to expect her to do it again--because it's very fun and very addictive. People who do this stuff do it for the same reason some people overeat and others turn to drugs or alcohol. It allows them to forget, just for a few moments, whatever they don't want to face. It is validating, affirming, ego-stroking.

Now here's the thing. People do this because 1. the marriage needs fixing; 2. THEY need fixing; or 3. a combination of the two. What does your gut say about where the two of you fall on this range?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,262 Posts
She wants to sweep this under the rug. If this was you talking with an ex gf how would she react. She really does not grasp or does not want to grasp the hurt and damage this has caused.

Do you have full transparancy email, FB, phone records? You really shoud be in MC. She will not want to go but you go and just tell her when it is. Sooner or later she will attend with you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
MY spouse also had a online EA and he was and still is to a degree uncomfortable with the work our MC is having him do. They don't want to talk about it because it's shameful but it's so important to really get to the heart of it. Those underlying issues must be uncovered. You are right to ask her to explore those motivations. It's the meat of the matter.

Like your spouse, mine gave the exact same reasons, boredom, lack of excitement in daily life, bored at work, she was young and hot......I wasn't fawning all over him with flattery anymore. He could escape into their bubble world. The main "thrill" was the excitement he said. That's all great but there really is more to it than that.....something under all that. He felt "entitled" to have that fun. It also awoke something in him, a lust for adventure as our MC says. How do you get that lust for adventure back into the marriage????? Another issue to tackle.

Being a good person doesn't cut it when she needs to do some repair work here. She might _think_ you guys are ok and to move on but your healing is just starting. I'm eight months out and I still have questions......... how can we not? We are trying to understand how it happened.

One of the things that I just recently realized was I was _angry_ at the fact that is wasn't just one betrayal......it was lots of little ones. Each day he probably had twenty chances to not engage with her....every sent text, every chat window, every time he thought of her instead of me. Every time he tried to find a quiet place to communicate with her (offering to run solo errands). It adds up to maybe 1500-2000 chances to NOT erode our marriage. He failed, instead he went deeper into the EA. That is the hardest part to work on in recovery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,948 Posts
In the same time period she went out on her own one night to see a friends band. I stayed with the kids. At about 9:30 she texted me to say few of our mutual friends were their and she would be home soon. I said I was in bed, hard, waiting for her.

I fell asleep, and at 1:30 a.m woke up and she was not home. She phoned back, said she had met up with our friends, had smoked a joint and lost track of time.

She got home at 2:30 a.m and I was seriously pissed. She appeased me, said she had met with friends, it was fun etc. I felt seriously dissed. I know from friends she was there. But I also know guys would have been hitting on her. She is hot. After arguing she bonked my brains out. Twice - very odd!
She was in "single party girl" mode. Nothing else mattered to her except having fun partying with friends - not you - not the kids - nothing. Saying she will be home soon at 9:30 and showing up 6 hours latter is not a good sign. Where was she? Did they all go to someones house to continue the party?

Oh - the sex was just to shut you up. She is using sex to keep you at home babysitting and she could be using sex to keep getting invited to the "sex, drugs, and rock & roll" parties.

That type of "Girls Night Out" is a very bad sign.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
"So you see, while the ea was mild, and she certainly didn't use I love yous etc, i keep wondering where my wife went for those five weeks.

She is back now, but why will she not disappear again." <-----that is why you both have to get to the root of it.


Mating in captivity by Esther Perel, is another good book, it talks about how spouses become sexually dull to one another-------article below.

"Popular psychology tells us sexual problems come from relationship problems. Poor communication, lack of intimacy and accumulated resentments are some of the boxes checked off to explain this numbing of desire. If troubled relationship = no sex, then it flows that if we improve the relationship, hot sex should follow.

But my practice suggests otherwise. I've helped plenty of couples buff up their relationship and it did nothing for the sex. Because the rules of desire are not the same as the rules of good citizenship.

It isn't always the lack of closeness that stifles desire, but too much closeness. And while love seeks closeness, desire needs space to thrive. That's because love is about having, and desire is about wanting.

Here's the nut of it: Eroticism occurs in the space between self and other.

Now, most of us don't want that uncertainty in the very place where we seek consistency. We prefer to experience the thrill of the unknown elsewhere.

But there's no way around it. Learn to love the unknown right here with your honey. To want, you've got to have a synapse to cross. In short, fire needs air, and many couples don't leave enough air. "

***That's all well and good-----but your marriage still needs to be healed....but the above quote might give a little insight into your question of "where did my wife "
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
She was in "single party girl" mode. Nothing else mattered to her except having fun partying with friends - not you - not the kids - nothing. Saying she will be home soon at 9:30 and showing up 6 hours latter is not a good sign. Where was she? Did they all go to someones house to continue the party?

Oh - the sex was just to shut you up. She is using sex to keep you at home babysitting and she could be using sex to keep getting invited to the "sex, drugs, and rock & roll" parties.

That type of "Girls Night Out" is a very bad sign.
Yes, just where was she during that time?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
I can relate to what you're going through, odball. My wife also had a mild EA. After an emotional confrontation period and a vow for a "new beginning," I still dwell on it, although as time goes on that's fading.

Because I can't be positive I know everything. She insists she's told me everything, but because she lied before, can I believe her? I can't retrieve the deleted texts, and anyway, it's been so long ago (1.5 years) that I should move on. She tells me she doesn't want to talk about it anymore because it's embarrassing. (which I believe-she truly feels stupid about it)

Also there's absolutely nothing in her behavior that's suspicious, and she's open about everything so I really don't bring it up anymore. Just once in awhile we'll talk about general marriage stuff, like spending lots of time together, but I try not to overdo it. The last thing she wants to hear is a constant reminder about an embarrassing time.

My concern with you continually wanting to bring it up is that she might start viewing you as being weak and pathetic. But since it's only been a month, I think you can still bring it up, but do so in a "let's make our marriage stronger" way. That would include the "Not Just Friends" book. Tell her you want to affair-proof the marriage. Talk about it, just don't go overboard and talk about it too much. Work on having some fun also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
To clarify: I have full access to emails, facebook, full transparency. She gave that up without a fight.
Where was she on the "single mode party night" She was at the club where the gig was. Her presence has been verified by mutual friends. She was in the club dancing.......and outside smoking some guys hydroponic weed!
I kind of believe her nothing happened.
But it was wild single gal behaviour. Not my wifes usual style.

Interestingly enough a couple of weeks later same band was playing, same friends. At the last minute we found a babysitter so we could go........but nah, she opted to stay at home rather cos she was tired! Odd indeed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Cubby - I have not been talking about this all the time. After the 1st week or so I let up. My wife is committed to me. I know she loves me. I have messed up a lot in the 17 years weve been together. Drugs. Urrghh. But I have been on the straight and narrow for many a year. She stood by me.

Its the underlying reasons she wants to avoid. She is also seriously embarrassed. She asked me not to disclose to close friends and family. I haven't, apart from good friends we were camping with a few weeks back. They have been through a tough time, and were sharing. I wanted to share, told her I would, and did.

Next morning she asks why did i break our agreement not to disclose. Did it make me feel better (sarcastically) I said actually yes. It was useful to share. These are trusted, pro marriage, trusted friends.

There are problems with me, and within our marriage. My wanting to talk about it is about that. I love my wife, and she loves me. But this happened. All i want is to work out where we are each at, and what is required from both of us.

Ive been psychoanalyzed for years. My mess ups were made public to friends and family. I accepted that, as the wrong doer.

She, she just wants to move on.

Her: It was a silly mistake. I will never do that again. I opened the pandoras box, didnt like what came out and am putting the lid back on it. Really. I hope that lid is heavy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,948 Posts
To clarify: I have full access to emails, facebook, full transparency. She gave that up without a fight.
Where was she on the "single mode party night" She was at the club where the gig was. Her presence has been verified by mutual friends. She was in the club dancing.......and outside smoking some guys hydroponic weed!
I kind of believe her nothing happened.
But it was wild single gal behaviour. Not my wifes usual style.

Interestingly enough a couple of weeks later same band was playing, same friends. At the last minute we found a babysitter so we could go........but nah, she opted to stay at home rather cos she was tired! Odd indeed.
Not odd at all. She could not be the single party girl with a husband in tow. Plus, if it was the same bunch of people, she was running the risk of someone saying some thing about her behavior during the previous party. Or maybe some guy she hooked up with previously would come over and try to hook up again in front of you not realizing who you are.

Was she going alone - until you found a babysitter? Did she change her mind AFTER finding the babysitter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
TDSC60 - We have socialised with same friends since. No one said anything. As to the guy she may have hooked up with - possible....but I dont think so.

I think this behaviour was, at this stage anyway about fantasy and affirmation.

As to the gig, either I was going to go alone, or we would go together. When she decided to stay in, I stayed in with her.

I really appreciate your inputs. I t helps me to sort my head a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Cubby - I have not been talking about this all the time. After the 1st week or so I let up. My wife is committed to me. I know she loves me. I have messed up a lot in the 17 years weve been together. Drugs. Urrghh. But I have been on the straight and narrow for many a year. She stood by me.

Its the underlying reasons she wants to avoid. She is also seriously embarrassed. She asked me not to disclose to close friends and family. I haven't, apart from good friends we were camping with a few weeks back. They have been through a tough time, and were sharing. I wanted to share, told her I would, and did.

Next morning she asks why did i break our agreement not to disclose. Did it make me feel better (sarcastically) I said actually yes. It was useful to share. These are trusted, pro marriage, trusted friends.

There are problems with me, and within our marriage. My wanting to talk about it is about that. I love my wife, and she loves me. But this happened. All i want is to work out where we are each at, and what is required from both of us.

Ive been psychoanalyzed for years. My mess ups were made public to friends and family. I accepted that, as the wrong doer.

She, she just wants to move on.

Her: It was a silly mistake. I will never do that again. I opened the pandoras box, didnt like what came out and am putting the lid back on it. Really. I hope that lid is heavy!
When I confronted my wife, it was done firmly and confidently. I told her if she ever does anything like that again, we're done, I'm moving on. I said that while divorce would be a horrible experience and I don't want one, I told her I could do it and this experience has made me do an inventory in my head of all the single attractive women we know. That scared the hell out of her.

After reading your other threads, I'm not sure you portrayed the confident guy who would move on if she repeats the behavior. Rather than dwell on what happened and why, focus instead on establishing boundaries. The first boundary shouldn't be "not having sex with others", it should be well before that, like at inappropriate talk, etc. Make the tone a positive one, like we're going to build a better marriage because of this. Be more positive and strong rather than weak and lacking in confidence. It's not attractive to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,979 Posts
Her: It was a silly mistake. I will never do that again. I opened the pandoras box, didnt like what came out and am putting the lid back on it. Really. I hope that lid is heavy!
This is where her thinking is very disturbing and you are absolutely right not to just let it go.

I think of it this way--I'd never murder someone. Can't begin to conceive of it. But if the circumstances presented itself--desperation, starvation, fear--whatever--maybe I could. Well, the first time is the hardest. Overcoming some type of moral code or personal limitation is always hardest the first time, because our conscience is so busy telling us not to do it. The second time, not so much. You already did it once--you're already tainted and going to hell--so why not do it again?

Obviously I don't mean the above paragraph literally. I just used it to illustrate how a cheater's mind works. The ones who never dreamed they'd ever do such a thing--once they've done it--that's a huge moral / mental barrier they've overcome. They are FOOLING THEMSELVES if they think oh, NOW I'll never do it again. Yeah, right. NOW that you did it, you've finally developed a conscience. Human psychology generally doesn't work that way.

I'm not saying "once a cheater, always a cheater" which some forum members very certainly believe. But I am saying, do not let this go. Whether she did it because of deficiencies inside herself, or in the marriage, or both--those deficiencies are very much still there.

You're an addict. You understand these things. You've moved mountains to overcome the various reasons that led you down that path. You know better than anyone that you now have to guard yourself. You cannot allow yourself to, for example, get too down about things, or to put yourself into tempting situations. If you want to stay on the wagon, you have to take it seriously. It's not any different for her. But SHE has to be the guardian of HER heart on behalf of your marriage. She has to WANT that. You cannot do that for her, so don't even try.

Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass--again--great book

also,

Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend--several forum members appreciate this book, their spouses had the types of issues your spouse has.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top