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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for some support from people in this forum. My husband and I have been together for 14 years. Early on he had some problems with honesty (not cheating) we worked through them and it hasn't been a problem for years. His mother has boundary problems that caused some of this and we still deal with those today. He stuck with me through the worst of times and has earned total respect. He is a loving and dedicated partner. We had a child four years ago.

He had a female boss at his current job who left for much greener pastures in April. She and a few of his colleagues stayed in touch via text messaging and got together for drinks a few times before and after she left. She started telling them about bringing them to work for her in the new place for lots of money in a fun job. She and my husband ended up texting each other outside of the group and inappropriate jokes and comments became private between them. The was some jokey "I miss you" and "I love you" texts. I didn't know about this. He says now he was trying to kiss her a** and make sure he was the one who got the good job with her.

Two weeks ago we were on a road trip and he was driving. I asked to see his phone to see if his mother was texting us so she wouldn't get hysterical. I could tell he was nervous about giving me his phone (which is not too unusual given the situation with his mom). Instead, I could see this woman had texted him five picture ecards. Not explicit sexually but I couldn't understand why she was texting him at 9pm on a Thursday night. I had no idea they were texting that much. We drove for another two hours before I got up the nerve to say I was uncomfortable and could I see what she sent. He said not, he wished I wouldn't. He then told me he thought it was an EA.

Eventually I did read the messages. He explained that he was flattered that she thought he was so smart and funny. It was very easy for the two of them to flatter each other and it made him feel good. Some of the texts were sexually explicit but not about the two of them. More about her dating situation. There was nothing bad about me or our relationship. Some of them indicate more intent to cheat on his part then he is ready to admit. However, he has admitted it was an EA.

He did not contact her again until she started texting him again and he and I agreed on the best way to handle it. (He told her he had been out of touch because he and I were very busy and work had been crazy). She texted back say he hated her and she missed him. After letting me know what he was going to send he said he didn't hate her but things were crazy. I prefer it be handled like this. I don't want this woman to know she came between us. She can suspect it but she has no right to know. He understands I need to check his phone for a while and will be watching him. He says he is not worried cause he loves me and he understands whatever I need to do to feel safe.

He says he felt comfortable doing this because he knew he would never cheat on me. I think he was in more danger because this is hubris. Also, she is a single mother and has lots of issues herself. He never should have played with he emotions like that. I understand how he got there and our marriage was neglected by me too. He never gave up trying to make love to me even when I wasn't interested. We drifted too far apart during my pregnancy and never came together. Happily this incident has brought us together.

He didn't actually cheat. But he was on the road to doing so. By the time I found out he was about two weeks and several texts in that direct. He met her without telling me to walk her to work the morning of our trip. It was a short amount of time before he would have been cheating. I am pretty confident of that.

So he won't admit that is what he was thinking. Cause in his mind he was focused on trying to get the high paying job with her. I believe that is how it started but he was way past that point by the time I figured out what was happening. He has never denied that until I discovered it he was going to continue things with her and keep hiding it from me. I wish he had told me because if he did, I would believe he didn't intend to cheat. I think he crossed a line where he did intend to do it and now doesn't want to admit it cause we are working through this pretty well. However, if he doesn't admit it, I feel we are still in a danger zone. I think he needs to come clean. He gets upset and says I won't be happy until he says "yes, I wanted to F*** her." even though it's not the truth.

He is a good man who I love and I will do anything to get us back on track. I don't want to nag him away on this one point since everything else he as admitted to and he has kept counsel with me about how to proceed.

Can I let this one thing slide?
 

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Sure you can.

But only let it slide if you want him to resume this EA (assuming it has even stopped and isn't underground) or start another one with someone else in the future.

He was so comfortable about the situation he decided to hide it from you to the best of his ability until you caught him. That speaks so highly about the situation. :rolleyes:

No consequences = No reason for him to change behavior.

Color me skeptical. You should be too.

He violated your trust. He is in a Fog. You would be a fool to start trusting him again right now.

Demand full transparency.
 

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Please get a copy of the book Not Just Friends, the google books excerpts are in my signature. The book will explain exactly how emotional affairs start, function, and end.

Your husband is EXTREMELY unusual in that he was willing to admit to the start of an emotional affair. That is a very good sign in the sense that most people are caught at the next step beyond this one, where they have entered into deep denial, are lying to themselves to justify the affair, and begin to be more and more secretive until they are constantly lying to YOU to keep the fantasy alive.

Emotional affairs, and infatuation, are VERY powerful and anyone reading this underestimates them AT THEIR PERIL. They are escapist fantasies--no different than the person who goes to happy hour every day and drinks just enough to numb their stress (or the full-on raging alcoholic, of course), the person who shops too much for worthless things when they're down and is always behind on their credit card, or the person who eats half the cake when a modest slice would do whenever they get depressed.

You can move on, but there is a reason he encouraged this and didn't shut it down, there is a reason he hid this from you and was encouraging a private, inappropriate relationship with her. The reasons might lie wholly inside him (he is damaged in some way) or wholly with the marriage (it is in a very bad place--but the two of you contributed to that), or a combination of the two.

I also recommend you get a copy of the book, Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend, and walk through the book together.

And, find a good marriage counselor--pro-marriage (many are not!) and TRAINED in infidelity because they will push him hard on whether or not he is still in contact with her.

AND, jokey texts that said "I love you?" That is a new one...


--don't be so certain it was never physical
--don't be so certain he hasn't found an alternate way to keep in touch
--as long as you allow him to get away without an official "no contact" letter (examples can be found on the forum), she will continue to "fish" and there will be no 'ending ritual' that he would have to lose face to break
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your replies. I am feeling very lost. He is a very loving man, who has always expressed his love and lust for me. I certainly took that for granted and rejected him often. Most often I insisted on "maintenance" sex which was just to quickly please him. He regularly insisted I allow him to pleasure me and even begged. I am not trying to be explicit, just give a picture of my part in our marital problems. I wasn't aware of how much I loved him or how much he loved me. I have self-esteem and abandonment issues. My parents split up cause my father was a cheater. He left when I was four and have probably seen him under 20 times since then. It wasn't until I was with my husband for a few years I realized that deep down, I didn't believe men truly love women. He has spent many years showing me through his love that men love women just as much as women love men.

He has been very consistent since this happened about being in love with me and it jibes with the person he has always been. I became very wrapped up in our child and in some ways used my relationship with our kid to get some of the love I needed in this world instead of from my husband.

He has never compared me unfavorably to any woman. He always insists I am all he needs and I know that it it true. However, in the face of me being so distant and not very loving, he was vulnerable to this attention. This woman has a pattern of drawing men she works with into inappropriate relationships, even single ones. It is how she gets by. Not excusing my husband because from what I could see he started it. They are both wrong and both treated me very badly. It is just, I know that is how we got here and I want to do the work to have a marriage where we both feel loved and appreciated. It seems like this thing is a bit of a wake up call and not destructive.

So how far can I push this point. Is there any universe where he was lying to himself so deeply he wasn't lusting after her? If he was, is it necessary to make sure he comes clean about it?

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and guidance.
 

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Rihanna, you sound a lot like me. In my case, there were (likely?) different circumstances that contributed to my pulling away from my husband. But, I did get that wake up call. And I was actually curious about a woman who was supposed to be a mutual friend of ours. I suspect she was interested in my husband nearly all the time we have known her, but there is no way I can prove it. It's just this feeling I have. But my husband was also in the beginning stages of an EA. Never went physical.That much I can say for certain because he'd have to travel about 1000 miles to hook up. AND he'd have to have a plausible excuse. Besides that, there's no way he would go anywhere without me anyway. He is home all day, as am I... both disabled. The point is, he was beginning an EA, but insists he wasn't responsible for how she felt about him. While that is true, he didn't need to be calling her sexy nor beautiful, acting as a knight in shining armor, because her boyfriend wasn't doing it. His excuse was "someone has to do it"...and I told him NOT MY HUSBAND! He finally understood when I told him that. I still check up. I freely admit that. There has been no contact since the NC text was sent. This girl swears all of her boyfriends cheated on her at some point or another. I can't say for certain whether this is true or false, but I suspect it was more likely the other way around.

Anyway, my husband doesn't say the words "I had an emotional affair", I believe, because he was in the beginning stages. He does admit that the conversations were inappropriate. Still, I wish he would say those words. He does see how it hurt me. And we are communicating better now, that's the one good thing that came of this... on both sides. Yes, my side was an EA as well. But I check email, cell...everything. If I am away for a few hours and I get an uneasy feeling, I check the phone bill. He has shown no signs of resuming contact these last 2 months since DD. I don't check nearly as much as I did during the first month tho.

Rihanna, one thing you never said... the job. He was trying to get a high paying job, working under this woman. Please tell me you said no way about him working with her. And, he needs to cease contact, period. Don't let yourself believe that YOU are the reason he has chosen to cheat (whether emotional or physical). HE made the decision to continue talking with this woman.

As for the joking "I love yous"... I know how those can be. Generally, I have only used that as "You got a box of cookies for me? Dude, I LOVE you!"... Not like "I am falling in love with you" but "thanks for doing that for me"... stupid, I know, but I do that kind of thing with my sisters all the time. From the sounds of what you described tho, I'd say it wasn't a joking "I love you"...it was, if anything, a beginning of the EA. Seriously, if you want your marriage to work, he needs to go NC with this woman.
 

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IMO, it's a miracle that your husband even knew the words "Emotional Affair". So many people don't, until they wind up in a place like TAM. Maybe your husband is the one in a million who recogized what he was doing and looked it up online or something? Either way, a good thing that you (and he) nipped it. But as the others are saying, don't trust him yet. You should be treating this as any other affair, because it is (was) an affair. No contact and 100% transparency PLUS you get to ask him all the questions you want and he HAS to answer them without trying to rugsweep. You have the control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Maricha75,

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am lucky because the first thing he said was that he was having an EA. So even when he went back into denial, we both knew that for that moment he saw the truth. He just kept telling himself that the kind of talk they engaged in was friendly and ok because he would "never" cheat on me. He was in denial that he was already cheating on me. His realization of this is a process. We have fought, loved and laughed about all of this. I mentioned something she texted him that was obviously a way of trying to turn him on and a week ago he insisted it was normal friend stuff I didn't understand. Last night I mentioned it and he was laughing at how foolish he was to pretend it was innocent.He seems to have a good balance of feeling worst about treating me and our marriage badly, getting mad at her for treating me and our marriage badly and seeing what a fool he had been. He seems genuinely happy it didn't get much further. When he didn't respond to her fishing, he told me about how tempting it was to just text her that he missed her and he was feeling bad about her feeling bad. Instead he texted me about missing me. We have a very hot and heavy texting relationship now instead of him with someone else. I am asking him directly when I need him to make me feel good by complimenting me and treating me like a girlfriend. I am responding by treating him like the attractive man he is. I was his first serious girlfriend and I am 9 years older. I had a 10 year relationship and 5 years of singledom before we dated. We worked together for a year and after we no longer worked together we started a fling that has lasted 14 years. He has very little experience which doesn't excuse this thing but gives it some context.

I haven't demanded that he tell her no contact because they never acknowledged doing anything wrong. This stopped just short of that happening. I am certain if I hadn't interceded when I did, that would have been the next phase. I prefer he not acknowledge anything was real between them. I fear it will just add fuel to the fire. I think when she stops getting what she needs she will drift away. I know there is a danger that she will wait a while and he will be tempted again. But I he has never done anything like this before and he is making a full effort to be transparent and honest. His love for me and our life is obvious.

Also, I have a dream of showing up when the co-workers are out together to pick him up after one drink. So this lady can see who he loves and that he wasn't really as interested in her as she thought. Just the one time. Might be a bad idea but I am not yet ready to say it can't happen.

He knows he will never work with her again. He knew immediately and regrets screwing it up. He knows if he had kept it proper it wouldn't be a problem. He acknowledges that part is all his doing and doesn't blame anyone else. He seems to have regret and gives no indication of trying to continue any kind of working relationship.
 

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I am looking for some support from people in this forum. My husband and I have been together for 14 years. Early on he had some problems with honesty (not cheating) we worked through them and it hasn't been a problem for years. His mother has boundary problems that caused some of this and we still deal with those today. He stuck with me through the worst of times and has earned total respect. He is a loving and dedicated partner. We had a child four years ago.

He had a female boss at his current job who left for much greener pastures in April. She and a few of his colleagues stayed in touch via text messaging and got together for drinks a few times before and after she left. She started telling them about bringing them to work for her in the new place for lots of money in a fun job. She and my husband ended up texting each other outside of the group and inappropriate jokes and comments became private between them. The was some jokey "I miss you" and "I love you" texts. I didn't know about this. He says now he was trying to kiss her a** and make sure he was the one who got the good job with her.

Two weeks ago we were on a road trip and he was driving. I asked to see his phone to see if his mother was texting us so she wouldn't get hysterical. I could tell he was nervous about giving me his phone (which is not too unusual given the situation with his mom). Instead, I could see this woman had texted him five picture ecards. Not explicit sexually but I couldn't understand why she was texting him at 9pm on a Thursday night. I had no idea they were texting that much. We drove for another two hours before I got up the nerve to say I was uncomfortable and could I see what she sent. He said not, he wished I wouldn't. He then told me he thought it was an EA.

Eventually I did read the messages. He explained that he was flattered that she thought he was so smart and funny. It was very easy for the two of them to flatter each other and it made him feel good. Some of the texts were sexually explicit but not about the two of them. More about her dating situation. There was nothing bad about me or our relationship. Some of them indicate more intent to cheat on his part then he is ready to admit. However, he has admitted it was an EA.

He did not contact her again until she started texting him again and he and I agreed on the best way to handle it. (He told her he had been out of touch because he and I were very busy and work had been crazy). She texted back say he hated her and she missed him. After letting me know what he was going to send he said he didn't hate her but things were crazy. I prefer it be handled like this. I don't want this woman to know she came between us. She can suspect it but she has no right to know. He understands I need to check his phone for a while and will be watching him. He says he is not worried cause he loves me and he understands whatever I need to do to feel safe.

He says he felt comfortable doing this because he knew he would never cheat on me. I think he was in more danger because this is hubris. Also, she is a single mother and has lots of issues herself. He never should have played with he emotions like that. I understand how he got there and our marriage was neglected by me too. He never gave up trying to make love to me even when I wasn't interested. We drifted too far apart during my pregnancy and never came together. Happily this incident has brought us together.

He didn't actually cheat. But he was on the road to doing so. By the time I found out he was about two weeks and several texts in that direct. He met her without telling me to walk her to work the morning of our trip. It was a short amount of time before he would have been cheating. I am pretty confident of that.

So he won't admit that is what he was thinking. Cause in his mind he was focused on trying to get the high paying job with her. I believe that is how it started but he was way past that point by the time I figured out what was happening. He has never denied that until I discovered it he was going to continue things with her and keep hiding it from me. I wish he had told me because if he did, I would believe he didn't intend to cheat. I think he crossed a line where he did intend to do it and now doesn't want to admit it cause we are working through this pretty well. However, if he doesn't admit it, I feel we are still in a danger zone. I think he needs to come clean. He gets upset and says I won't be happy until he says "yes, I wanted to F*** her." even though it's not the truth.

He is a good man who I love and I will do anything to get us back on track. I don't want to nag him away on this one point since everything else he as admitted to and he has kept counsel with me about how to proceed.

Can I let this one thing slide?[/QUOTE]



Are you asking us if you should keep hammering away at him to get him to admit that eventually he wanted to F*** her? Is so, I don't think that's the approach to take. I'd focus your efforts on erecting firm boundaries and clear consequences if he slips up. The "Not Just Friends" book should be required reading here.
 

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Please get a copy of the book Not Just Friends, the google books excerpts are in my signature. The book will explain exactly how emotional affairs start, function, and end.

Your husband is EXTREMELY unusual in that he was willing to admit to the start of an emotional affair. That is a very good sign in the sense that most people are caught at the next step beyond this one, where they have entered into deep denial, are lying to themselves to justify the affair, and begin to be more and more secretive until they are constantly lying to YOU to keep the fantasy alive.

Emotional affairs, and infatuation, are VERY powerful and anyone reading this underestimates them AT THEIR PERIL. They are escapist fantasies--no different than the person who goes to happy hour every day and drinks just enough to numb their stress (or the full-on raging alcoholic, of course), the person who shops too much for worthless things when they're down and is always behind on their credit card, or the person who eats half the cake when a modest slice would do whenever they get depressed.

You can move on, but there is a reason he encouraged this and didn't shut it down, there is a reason he hid this from you and was encouraging a private, inappropriate relationship with her. The reasons might lie wholly inside him (he is damaged in some way) or wholly with the marriage (it is in a very bad place--but the two of you contributed to that), or a combination of the two.
I also recommend you get a copy of the book, Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend, and walk through the book together.

And, find a good marriage counselor--pro-marriage (many are not!) and TRAINED in infidelity because they will push him hard on whether or not he is still in contact with her.

AND, jokey texts that said "I love you?" That is a new one...


--don't be so certain it was never physical
--don't be so certain he hasn't found an alternate way to keep in touch
--as long as you allow him to get away without an official "no contact" letter (examples can be found on the forum), she will continue to "fish" and there will be no 'ending ritual' that he would have to lose face to break
Regarding the bolded part: Could the reason he strayed simply be the dopamine rush he experienced with the other woman? Sometimes I think we (especially the betrayed spouses) overanalyze things and search and search for reasons for the betrayal. Your 3rd paragraph is spot-on.
 

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The was some jokey "I miss you" and "I love you" texts.
How do you know they were "jokey" as compared to serious?

The question is rhetorical, you don't know, you can't know, I'm just trying to make you aware of your own denial. You dismiss those texts as not real because you cannot accept that they might be.

How does he know he would never cheat on you? I bet all future cheaters say that and most might even believe it. Until they find themselves in bed with another person.

He didn't actually cheat.
How do you know he didn't actually cheat?

The question is rhetorical, you don't know, you can't know, I'm just trying to make you aware of your own denial.

He is a good man.. Can I let this one thing slide?
If he came clean on his own, then yeah, you could say he's a good man, he felt guilty, remorseful, etc, and you could let it go.

But he didn't come clean until he was CAUGHT.

BIG DIFFERENCE!

Dont let anything slide and stop assuming nothing is real and that he'd never cheat or that he hasn't cheated or that the sexual "love you" texts were just some sort of joke.
 

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Rihanna, do you honestly believe that "I miss you" and "I love you" texts were jokes? Does that make any sense?

I ask because it doesn't make any sense to me.

Things that don't make sense when a cheater tells them to you don't make sense because they are poorly fabricated lies.

If you believe that he wasn't just trying to cover his actions, I have a nice big bridge in New York I will sell you for a cheap price.
 

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Just so you know-THIS is EXACTLY the way my WH's EA started. It continued for nearly a year. It started out (supposedly)with him trying to stand out to get the better job. Then emailing ALOT. Making light of their relationship when questioned. By the time i figured it out and could prove it-it was in the danger zone for sure. When someone starts an EA with someon at work its very dangerous b/c they see them more than they see YOU. Too much opportunity. Too much temptation. This nearly cost me my marriage.
FYI, my H said in the beginning he knew it would 'never be physical'-later he admitted(after coming out of the fog) that it was likely that it soon would have become physical. So dont believe "Id never cheat on you" If he's texting "I love you's" Hes already cheated.

DO NOT LET THIS SLIDE. I let it slide b/c I was in denial, big mistake. Take control now. Does she have a Husband?
 

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Thank you for your replies. I am feeling very lost. He is a very loving man, who has always expressed his love and lust for me. I certainly took that for granted and rejected him often. Most often I insisted on "maintenance" sex which was just to quickly please him. He regularly insisted I allow him to pleasure me and even begged. I am not trying to be explicit, just give a picture of my part in our marital problems. I wasn't aware of how much I loved him or how much he loved me. I have self-esteem and abandonment issues. My parents split up cause my father was a cheater. He left when I was four and have probably seen him under 20 times since then. It wasn't until I was with my husband for a few years I realized that deep down, I didn't believe men truly love women. He has spent many years showing me through his love that men love women just as much as women love men.

He has been very consistent since this happened about being in love with me and it jibes with the person he has always been. I became very wrapped up in our child and in some ways used my relationship with our kid to get some of the love I needed in this world instead of from my husband.

He has never compared me unfavorably to any woman. He always insists I am all he needs and I know that it it true. However, in the face of me being so distant and not very loving, he was vulnerable to this attention. This woman has a pattern of drawing men she works with into inappropriate relationships, even single ones. It is how she gets by. Not excusing my husband because from what I could see he started it. They are both wrong and both treated me very badly. It is just, I know that is how we got here and I want to do the work to have a marriage where we both feel loved and appreciated. It seems like this thing is a bit of a wake up call and not destructive.

So how far can I push this point. Is there any universe where he was lying to himself so deeply he wasn't lusting after her? If he was, is it necessary to make sure he comes clean about it?

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and guidance.
here it sounds like you are taking the blame for his A. You can take the blame for the state of the marriage. The A is 100% on him.

And you asked if he was lying to himself about lusting for her??? No, but he is quite possibly lying to YOU.

R must be based on truth. All of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Cubby -- Thanks. I guess we are going to have to read that book. I do feel quick to forgive. Consequences if he is continuing to lie to me and if he does it again are the total devastation of a family unit we worked very hard to build. He has family relationships that would be damaged. I don't know this person who had this affair. But I know the other guy really well. I feel like if he tells me about the romance/lust side of things, I can know both men and we can use that to build trust up again. Does this sound reasonable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Cubby -- Yes, just last night we talked about the dopamine he got from this relationship. How those feelings of falling in love are the best high. He started to acknowledge he was experiencing that. It was a way of talking about it that maybe made it a little safer to be more open. I am focused on providing him a safe place to share his feelings with me. I don't feel like punishing him or belittling him. I know he fears this. In the past I held things over his head and didn't let go. I am not that person anymore but he has to learn to trust me too.
 
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