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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
G'day from New Zealand. This is my first time on this forum and in fact my first time ever asking for relationship advice.

I am in my mid-40s with three school-aged children. I work from home in a rural area, so I'm relatively isolated. I have been married to my husband for almost 9 years, previously I have had two long-term relationships (4 years and 10 years) since I was 19 years old.

In each relationship, I have struggled with insecurity issues. I was given up for adoption at one day old and lived in foster care until I was adopted at six months, perhaps it stems from that?

As I've got older, I have learned how to control my fears to stop them harming my relationship - I feel it is a waste of emotional energy to worry about what might happen. If something happens, I will deal with it.

My husband got a new job a couple of years ago that involves some travel away from home - about one week every couple of months. So far, I have managed control my insecurities while he was away, and not ask questions or phone him - he phones me when it's convenient - or made any suggestions I don't trust him. However, last night I had a bit of a tsunami.

He is away for three days at a conference. The first day, he phoned up quite drunk around 8pm and said he was going out for dinner and would text me when he got back to his room. He didn't text, and didn't reply to my texts at 12pm and 2am asking if he was OK. He finally text at 5.30am and said he had got back around midnight and fallen asleep because he was drunk, and he was sorry. I was just relieved that he was OK.

Last night, he send me a text at around 5.30pm to say he was going to the conference dinner, it was a masquerade ball, there was free alcohol, and he'd phone when it was over. At 10.30 he phoned and said he was really drunk, his boss had gone to a strip club and wanted him to go. He admitted he did think about going with him, but he was too tired and just wanted to go to bed.

I lost it and started demanding answers, and he asked if it was the Spanish Inquisition, and I said it was - I know what goes on at conferences... here I am stuck at home with the kids while he's getting drunk on free booze and contemplating going to a strip club... rant, rant, rant. I'm sure many of you in relationships can imagine how it went. Anyway, we talked it through and ended up sorting it out. He was understanding, I was apologetic. He's home tonight.

However, he's off to Europe for three weeks next year. I am not able to go with him as we have no-one who could look after the kids and we can't all afford to fly to Europe. I'm absolutely cacking myself about this now I know his boss is a strip club frequenter who cheats on his wife.

Short story long - I would be very grateful if anyone could suggest some strategies we can use to help our relationship cope with this three week trip, during which communication will be difficult (the time difference is 12 hours).

Some info that may help you lovely forum members advise is that I have absolute confidence in his love and desire for me. We have a good (weekly) sex life. He would be devastated if we split up (in fact, I'd probably cope better than he would because I'm more adjustable). He is loyal. He says I am his best friend and lover and he would never cheat on me. He has been cheated on and he knows how hurtful it is.

I believe he would not have an affair. But I worry that if he gets drunk while away, under the influence of his boss, he may make a mistake that would destroy our family. He does lie to me, but nothing as yet that is a relationship breaker - for example, a couple of months ago he told me he was at a training workshop and would be late home, when in fact he took the afternoon off work and watched a sci fi movie at the cinema (I found out when he left his ticket on top of his drawers the following week). Honesty is very important to me - I'm honest to a fault, but I accept he is one of those people who tweak the truth sometimes to make life easier.

I would put money on the fact he would never stray, even if drunk and surrounded by attractive, interested women, because of his loyal personality and good level of self-control. However, depsite my trust of him logically, emotionally I'm very scared.

He is very trusting of me. Is happy for me to go out drinking with my girlfriends or away on business trips without him (I go away probably for one night once every two years). He finds it hard to understand why I don't trust him and I think he finds my insecurity suffocating - which is why I try so hard to repress it. I love him with all my heart, we have a lovely life together and a great relationship (apart from this issue), we laugh a lot. Breaking up is not an option - especially given the effect it would have on the kids.

We are able to talk openly and I will be discussing this with him. I'm sure there are things we can both do to reduce the amount of stress this business trip could put on our relationship. I just don't know what.

What do other couples do?

PS I'm a bit embarrassed and nervous about posting this online, but just writing it down has helped it going round and round in my head.
 

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You already KNOW your insecurity starts with YOU.

I always tell my daughter (15yo) that a real man won't love her just for her looks, because there will ALWAYS be someone prettier. He won't love her just for her brains, because there'll always be someone smarter. He won't love her just for her personality, because there'll always be someone funnier/wittier/whatever. What she BRINGS to the relationship is the combination of those things plus her love, commitment, spirit, etc.

What he WILL LOVE is her unique COMBINATION of those things! Someone who is prettier than her, will not necessarily have her brains AND her wit (caustic, but funny), etc.

THAT is what YOU need to concentrate on! Your husband loves you for the COMBINATION of beauty, brains, fun, love you bring to HIM and to your children. He is a smart enough man to recognize that and mature enough NOT TO THROW IT AWAY like it's nothing. He's been cheated on, he realizes the VALUE of your relationship.

Instead of concentrating on HIM and what HE MIGHT be doing (but you know he ISN'T ACTUALLY DOING), concentrate on YOURSELF and your children. What are you doing TODAY to make yourself a brighter, happier, more productive more loving person for yourself, your husband, your kids. What are you doing for your KIDS this day that will benefit THEM and ultimately you and your husband?

Stop worrying that a pretty head will turn his! He might look (after all, we're only human), but HE AIN'T GONNA TOUCH. So WHY invent things to worry about.

Also realize that when you suspect him, you are actually insulting him and telling him you think he's the kind of man-wh0re his boss is! THAT is NOT very loving nor flattering to anyone.

1. Concentrate on improving yourself (even if it's a soak in the tub to improve your humor).
2. Concentrate on providing your kids with who/what they need in you.
3. Concentrate on having enough things caught up with the housework that you and the kids can just ENJOY Hubby being home when he first returns from Europe.
4. You TALK like your trust your H. Now WALK like you trust him!

Don't just Talk the Talk, WALK the WALK!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much rosebanks and SlowlyGettingWiser for your replies. What you say is absolutely true - I need to work on myself. I have absolute faith in his love for me, and in fact I'm not insecure about my looks, intelligence, or personality - and between you and me, I don't think he could find anyone better. So that's a good start.

It's just this deep-set suspicion which my poor husband has to suffer. I almost wonder whether it is genetic. My birth mother and adopted family weren't this way, but I met my birth family (an Italian who moved to Canada) and he is a deeply suspicious and over-reactive man.

I am getting better - this the first time this year I've let my suspicious nature get the better of me. I know how insulting it must be for him, which is why I swallow the questions - but for my sanity, I wish I didn't have those questions in the first place. We've had a long chat since we got back and we're going to work on it.

I agree with that keeping busy is important. I am busy but I have almost no human interaction during the day as I'm a remote worker (apart from with the children after school). Isolation is a breeding ground for dwelling on things.

I'm starting to think I'll need to take the boys away for a holiday when my husband's in Europe, or break up my routine somehow. Get away from the daily grind.

Resentment (at being the one left at home doing the hard yards) is part of the problem. And of course I'm jealous that one of his colleagues will be taking his wife and kids with him to Europe. I guess their mortgage isn't as humungous as ours.

Thank you for the opportunity to think this through - responding to replies help me to do this.
 

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Anyone who DOESN'T have insecurities when their spouse gets drunk on business trips with his boss who likes strip clubs is crazy.

NEVER say never to cheating. There are many many of us in CWI who NEVER thought our spouses would EVER cheat.

Why do you have to deal with this all on your own anyway?? There's nothing wrong with asking him to quit drinking when he's away and to keep in touch with you so you know he has.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Hope. I agree you can never say never, but I tell myself that not everyone cheats and my better judgement says that my husband is one of the one who wouldn't. Blind trust isn't something that comes easily to me, so this is eyes wide open trust.

I don't want to rain on his parade and stop him from enjoying those German beers, but I might ask him to keep a lid on it and not get legless. Luckily, he is one of those people who doesn't get amorous or violent when drunk, he gets chatty, a bit opinionated, then falls asleep.
 

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Having travelled the world for work and being on the receiving end of a spouse with abandonment/insecurity issues I can certainly relate to what you're going through. In my case, I didn't want to travel to far off lands and leave my home and wife, but I had made commitments to do the job and provide for my spouse. At times I had a travel rate of up to 40%. It got to a point that whenever I had to travel it would turn into a huge conflict. The crying, insecurity, loathing, and resentment made me feel like I was going out into the world to fight a fight, then I'd come home and be fighting another fight. There was no safe place to be and to exist without conflict. So we broke up (and for other reasons too).

A man needs the comfort and support of his wife. He needs to feel loved and supported. He needs to know that he's coming home to a warm and loving home.

The conflict that results from insecurity takes away that warm and supportive environment. Honestly, when I had to travel and go deal with the challenges of the world, all I really wanted was to be loved and supported and welcomed home with open arms. Instead I was punished and blamed for hurting or abandoning my wife.

Sounds like you got a good thing going. You know it and he knows it. Trust the man. Be his cheerleader, his supporter, his lover, and he'll always want to come home.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Viseral, I absolutely get where you are coming from. While we were talking it over, he said he wants to be greeted home with a hug and me being happy he was home, rather than probing questions and tension. I can understand that - I'd want the same if the tables were turned.

But the other side of the coin is that when you go away, the person left behind is taking on your responsibilities and chores, especially where children are involved (we have three boys). That's not something that should be taken for granted. In my case, being a home-maker is not my only job - I have a full time job as a writer and editor and earn 70% of what my husband earns, yet do most of the child/house/farm work because I work from home. I have chosen to stay in a dead end job (no promotions and minimal pay rises for the last 10 years) for the sake of my family and so that my husband is able to progress in his career. So I have to work very hard on not feeling overburdened and resentful. After all, it is the path I have chosen and I should not punish anyone - especially the people I love - for my choice. Resentment, like jealousy, is a self-destructive emotion... life is short and I prefer to enjoy what I have, rather than get eaten up by negative feelings.

I don't want him to feel guilty when he goes away, I just want him to feel appreciative of me that he can. And he's pretty good at doing that - when he's home.

These background feelings are combined with the fact that the opportunity to stray (if a person was inclined to do so) is much higher when a person is away from home.

Anyway, we are fine at the moment and have talked it out and I think we will have to come to some sort of agreement that he will keep in touch, keep to his word when he says he'll phone, and keep a lid on the drinking when he's away. A small price to pay for my sanity.

Turns out that he barely remembers our conversation on Tuesday night because he had five beers before dinner and then five BOTTLES of red wine during the rest of the evening. I don't know how anyone can drink that much and still be alive!

He asked a couple women to dance (but got turned down), but I'm OK with that. All the other people at his table were dancing and he didn't want them to feel left out. Always the gentleman (shame he rarely dances with me when we go out...).

So really, my insecurities are not completely irrational. When he goes away with the boys for the weekend to the middle of nowhere and plays poker (well, they play poker and he moans about how boring it is), I don't feel insecure at all.
 

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It might help if the OPs husband didn't make out that it was one big masquerade, free-for-all, binge-drunk fest with strippers and a philandering boss.

IMO? The OP has every right to be concerned, and her husband has only himself to blame. He is the only one that can reassure her, and that will have to be with daily phonecalls, a promise to curtail the drinking a little, and to ease up on the strippers and cheating boss stories.

I hate those kinds of business trips! They seem to turn otherwise respectable people into temporary maniacs. I'll never forget when my H called me up drunk (on business) from the CN Tower in Toronto. He thought it would be hilarious. So did the friend he was with, who instructed him to just 'hang up'.

This is probably not much help at all, OldSoulNZ, but unless your husband has a habit of lying to you about more than just sci-fi movies (that, I really just don't GET at ALL), you will just have to swallow it and do whatever you can to get through. As someone else suggested, keep busy.
 

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I think it is completely inappropriate for him to be out dancing and drinking when he's away from you. I've said it before and I will say it again, NO spouse should ever put themselves into a situation where alcohol and members of the opposite sex are involved together and their spouse is not. ESPECIALLY overnight.

Wanting to not be controlling is one thing. Turning a blind eye is another. Read this book - it isn't just me

Dr. Shirley Glass - NOT "Just Friends"
 

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The thing is, when the husbands are off like this on business, it's not like we have a choice in the matter. H can't exactly tell his boss, 'My wife doesn't like it when I'm away.' can he? As usual, we're left to deal with it. The house, the kids, the car, the insecurities, etc.

Last time my husband was away, I stopped for groceries and the car died. I had to walk the 45 minutes home, because I couldn't reach anyone to come help, or drive me home to pick up our other car. Pfff. I remember thinking, 'It figures!!!'. But at least that time, he didn't go out boozing.

The friend that told him to hang up on me is still terrified to meet me, even over one year later. And he should be.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks ladies, makes me feel less like the evil "her indoors" spoiling his fun. I will have a look at that book Hope.

I think perhaps he thought he was just being honest telling me about the strip club invitation... I was probably better off not knowing (in fact that's what flipped me out) after a sleepless night waiting for his text.

You have to know my husband to understand the sci fi thing. As I do so much at home, he feels guilty if he goes to the movies without me - like, if he takes time off he should be at home working on one of his many home maintenance projects. He lied to me because he felt guilty about being self-indulgent. Not that I would have minded - I told him I'm happy for him to watch sci fi without me (he does work very hard), I am not to be lied to.

I do all our finances, so there's not much he can get away with.
 

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Oh, yes, sometimes men are great at being honest at the most inopportune moments...Don't mind me, I've got a lying husband that I'm pissed off with at the moment. :mad:

You're definitely not alone, NZ. My husband's travels are always the source of great anxiety for me because he is a proven liar. Nothing divorce-worthy, just CandieGirl-enraging events. STEAM, SMOKE, RAGE.

Well. It's 'Little Friday' and I'm off to the SAQ to buy some wine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's ACTUAL Friday here in NZ, but we are organising a birthday party (for moi) tomorrow so the wine is on hold for now. My husband is installing a spa bath as my birthday present - his idea and a surprise until one of the kids accidentally blabbed. So you see, I'm very lucky.

Yes, sometimes the lies are infuriating! Like yours, my H's are nothing divorce worthy. He just a natural truth twister - if he's late for work because he has been up all night with insomnia, he'll tell his boss it's because I'm sick and he has to drop the kids off at school. If he forgot to phone him mum on her birthday, he'll tell her he tried by the line was busy. That sort of thing.

Look, I'm not perfect either, so as long as it's not about anything important, then I accept it as just one part of the whole man that I love.
 
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