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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I've been surfing around the site since creating a profile this morning but I haven't been able to find exactly what I'm looking for. I'm sure it's here and I just haven't seen it given how much is posted here, but I figured I'd give it a try and ask my own question about my wife's behavior.

What I'm hoping to get feedback on is what exactly my wife was doing when she was acting up at various times in our marriage. I also would like to know how I should think about it, or what I should call it when we talk about it. I have seen PA and EA, but I don't think they describe her behavior, but I feel somehow like she was unfaithful to me anyway. Please let me know if I leave out something important.

So she has at various times in our marriage (11 years next month) had male friends or acquaintances who have pursued her for sexual reasons. I mean she thinks of them as friends or just good work buddies, but these men obviously think of her sexually. There was one exception, apparently years ago, when she thought of one man as someone who was more than a friend, but denies anything went on other than some kind of emotional connection. With the various others over the years, she had no connection to them like that, but liked their attentions, and most important to me, she lied to me whenever I question her about it so that they could keep it up. She admits thinking about cheating but once again denies it ever happened with any of them.

Today, over a year since the last time this happened, I feel betrayed by her. I found out what had been going on that time, and now I have been able to basically beg her to come clean and she has told me about the others over the years as well. I feel like I have never been able to get a full truth from her since though, and our marriage has also been damaged by her words and actions. When I found out she really became angry with me and spent a few months tearing me down in a lot of ways and for various failures on my part. I admit not being a great husband, but I have been a good one at least and have been really crushed by all this. I also feel like I have worked hard to fix things whereas until a couple of months ago, she did not.

I also feel like she misses her single life now that she is in her mid 30s. I can improve but I am dealing with lingering doubts about us and whether I even knew her well at all. Other times I feel like I am making a bigger thing out of it than I should but I don't know. I feel also like I can't get straight answers from her, though we fight less than we did a year ago or more.

Okay, any ideas? What is this if not cheating or an EA? What should I call what she does or did? What do I do now?
 

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Can't tell you if it's cheating, it is suspicious and aligns with the cheaters script but you're going to need more info before you can confront or act on it in any concrete manner.

Do you have access to her phone/phone bill?
Do you have access to any computer she uses?
Might want to velcro a voice activated recorder under her car seat to listen to what she's saying to who.

Are you willing to do some investigating?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can't tell you if it's cheating, it is suspicious and aligns with the cheaters script but you're going to need more info before you can confront or act on it in any concrete manner.

Do you have access to her phone/phone bill?
Do you have access to any computer she uses?
Might want to velcro a voice activated recorder under her car seat to listen to what she's saying to who.

Are you willing to do some investigating?
Okay thanks and I should make clear much of this is stretching back to before we were married. Married almost 11 years, together 16+. It comes and goes every few years, or what I know about, so that every 2-3 years there's apparently been another random dude in her life. But the worst of it was long ago and I didn't know of it until the most recent incident and the aftermath of me finally being told about it.

In terms of investigating, I check her phone, computer, etc regularly and had only one scare recently that turned out to be a false alarm. Recording I could do but I don't think she's doing anything now anyway. Her communications are mostly text and I have kept good track of that with nothing but her friends being texted.

All this being said, I'm open to the idea of checking further. But if any actual cheating happened, I think it did well into the past. Right now I'm more than anything trying to understand how to process all of this, though of course I'd also want to know if she's up to anything now.
 

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Look... being friends with guys in itself isn't bad, although it could lead to something else. How friendly, as in sharing emotions, etc... will tell you whether it's an emotional affair.

Does she like the attention she gets from other guys? Sure. The question you should ask yourself is why and why doesn't she get it from you?

If it has been going on for years and years, there may be nothing you can do. She's narcissistic and you probably never be able to heap the attention on her that she needs. If that's the case, professional help is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Look... being friends with guys in itself isn't bad, although it could lead to something else. How friendly, as in sharing emotions, etc... will tell you whether it's an emotional affair.

Does she like the attention she gets from other guys? Sure. The question you should ask yourself is why and why doesn't she get it from you?

If it has been going on for years and years, there may be nothing you can do. She's narcissistic and you probably never be able to heap the attention on her that she needs. If that's the case, professional help is needed.
Okay, thanks. I've come to the conclusion from talking with friends and family that in fact I give my wife her share of attention, maybe more than is warranted. Often I get the advice to take her out on a date night once a month and then I tell them that in fact I do that once a week already. Up until maybe a year ago my wife and I spent 90% of our free time together, not as much now but that's good for both of us. Still a lot though. So I don't know where I'm failing her, but I honestly say that I have worked really really hard to be a good husband for our whole marriage and it hasn't helped much.
 

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What you call it doesn't matter. People cheat - call it EA, PA, A, whatever. it's all cheating, and what matters is that it ALL sucks :(

If my hubby did what your wife did, I would call it cheating. She lied to you about what she was up to with other men. Kept it secret so you wouldn't find out. That right there tells you that what she was doing was inappropriate.

But I think the harder part of this is that you have no way of knowing if she's told you the truth. And you probably never will.

I'm in a similar situation - I confronted my husband when I found out he was cheating, but before I got to the bottom of everything he was up to. I've had to decide if I can live with that or not. And I've decided I can - I believe him when he says I know everything now. But that's because he's done pretty much everything a truly remorseful wayward can to prove he's done.

What is your wife doing now? How is she acting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What you call it doesn't matter. People cheat - call it EA, PA, A, whatever. it's all cheating, and what matters is that it ALL sucks :(

If my hubby did what your wife did, I would call it cheating. She lied to you about what she was up to with other men. Kept it secret so you wouldn't find out. That right there tells you that what she was doing was inappropriate.

But I think the harder part of this is that you have no way of knowing if she's told you the truth. And you probably never will.

I'm in a similar situation - I confronted my husband when I found out he was cheating, but before I got to the bottom of everything he was up to. I've had to decide if I can live with that or not. And I've decided I can - I believe him when he says I know everything now. But that's because he's done pretty much everything a truly remorseful wayward can to prove he's done.

What is your wife doing now? How is she acting?
Okay thank you and sorry to hear of your troubles as well. In terms of what she is doing now, she's better and I think she's trying. But basically I found out what was going on from other people about a year and some change ago. This was followed by months of her tearing me down, verbally with some pretty bad insults that I think I'll still have echoing in my head in a decade or two. We fought and argued a ton.

Then there were months of me working hard to fix our marriage but with little help from her, like she was enjoying it or something. I also had job troubles during this stretch which of course made things worse. Around this time, maybe 6 months ago or less, I told her I was leaving if she didn't try. She got better but not great then. She tries to be a "good wife" in an overall sense, but still won't talk about a lot of it until I'm shouting. Then she cries and tells me how cruel I am. I get ugly but I don't know how to get the truth and as you say I may never.

So she's working at it but I think I still am carrying the weight more than she is. Also, I think still she is nonchalant about not acting like a single woman at times and keeping men at a proper distance, but maybe I'm paranoid.
 

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If she isn't cheating, she's looking for some type of validation. She's either doing this because she doesn't get that from you or because she's very insecure.

I suggest you tell her you really value your relationship and want to make it better and ask her to go to marriage counseling. If she agrees, you can get to the root of the issue and make things better. If she refuses you know she isn't invested in your marriage regardless of whether an EA or PA has happened.
 

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Please have a look at the CWI Newbie link in my signature. Your wife is exhibiting classic rugsweeping and blameshifting tendencies - very common for wayward spouses. Just the fact she refuses to talk about it is a HUGE problem.

Start by admitting to your self that she cheated, then go from there. Read up on the 180 - that will help you no matter what happens. You should begin to detach yourself from your wife, because she does not sound like she's invested in your relationship very much at all.

You *could* tell her you require her to take a polygraph. That does give some people the closure they seek. Some, not so much.
 

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GoodForNothing- I don't think you can ever know for sure what the truth is from the past. Either she's telling you the truth or she isn't. At best, her behavior was inappropriate and unfaithful. A loyal wife would shut down the guys' advances immediately.

Instead of beating yourself up about what might have happened in the past, why don't you learn from it and have an honest and open discussion with her about boundaries? The first thing you two should do is read Shirley Glass' great book 'Not Just Friends.'

And, just because words and actions don't always match up, I would secretly monitor her communications (texts, emails, facebook, etc.) regularly. The phrase of the day is 'Trust, but verify.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If she isn't cheating, she's looking for some type of validation. She's either doing this because she doesn't get that from you or because she's very insecure.

I suggest you tell her you really value your relationship and want to make it better and ask her to go to marriage counseling. If she agrees, you can get to the root of the issue and make things better. If she refuses you know she isn't invested in your marriage regardless of whether an EA or PA has happened.
Oh okay thank you. I think maybe she is insecure, but she sometimes acts the opposite. Like she tells me she is very attractive to men and can't help their attentions. Then I worry I am being unfair to her with all this, not her fault or something.

I tell her often how I love her and I praise her quite a bit. But she says I am only her husband and it isn't the same as when other men say things to her.

I asked her a while back, maybe 3 months, about counseling and she refused to go with me. I haven't gone myself. I don't think she doesn't care, but I think she thinks a counselor will attack her. She had problems with her parents about 5 years back and was in counseling for that aftermath of that and she felt counseling didn't help. So she generally distrusts counselors she tells me.
 

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One big question, does she password protect the phone and do the both of you have access to each other's emails facebook ect? If not well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cubby and tom67--yes I have access to her phone and email. Nothing but a scare that was false and she ended up laughing at me when I brought it up. She is very comfortable now about all this and I think nothing is going on, I think she got away with murder for years though. But yes I track her very carefully now though I hate being this way.

Cubby--about the boundaries talk one problem I have is that my wife always just says "sure, no problem" and then kind of blows me off. I've done more than boundaries only, I've had long talks with her about our values and whether we even share any. I doubt even that sometimes, but she thinks I'm blowing it out of proportion. But I've made my boundaries clear and she just laughs and says fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Please have a look at the CWI Newbie link in my signature. Your wife is exhibiting classic rugsweeping and blameshifting tendencies - very common for wayward spouses. Just the fact she refuses to talk about it is a HUGE problem.

Start by admitting to your self that she cheated, then go from there. Read up on the 180 - that will help you no matter what happens. You should begin to detach yourself from your wife, because she does not sound like she's invested in your relationship very much at all.

You *could* tell her you require her to take a polygraph. That does give some people the closure they seek. Some, not so much.
So I can call this cheating? She says no I can't but I've had the feeling that it was. My gut tells me she cheated just by what I know, let alone what I don't know.
 

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But basically I found out what was going on from other people about a year and some change ago.
Your wife's behavior must have been bad if other folks felt they needed to inform you.

This was followed by months of her tearing me down, verbally with some pretty bad insults that I think I'll still have echoing in my head in a decade or two. We fought and argued a ton.
Her being argumentative and criticizing you is a classic sign of a cheating wife. She's trying to paint you as a bad husband to justify her choice in...well...maybe screwing the other man.

She tries to be a "good wife" in an overall sense, but still won't talk about a lot of it until I'm shouting. Then she cries and tells me how cruel I am. I get ugly but I don't know how to get the truth and as you say I may never.
Don't ever shout and get ugly with her. It's unattractive to her and she'll build up resentment toward you. Being the cool, calm, confident guy is attraction to women. A raving, screaming lunatic? Not so much.

So she's working at it but I think I still am carrying the weight more than she is. Also, I think still she is nonchalant about not acting like a single woman at times and keeping men at a proper distance, but maybe I'm paranoid.
Both of you need to be educated about boundaries.
 

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Did you give her permission to sneak around behind your back, lie to you, and carry on doing whatever with other men? If not, then yes, she cheated. Cheating is most assuredly NOT only PIV sex, which I bet is what she's trying to say.

Of course she doesn't want to call it cheating. She's trying to pretend she hasn't done anything wrong. Like I said, classic WS behaviour. Read the newbie link - it explains it all better than I can.

This is also a good book about the slippery slope that EA's are.

Dr. Shirley Glass - NOT "Just Friends"
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Your wife's behavior must have been bad if other folks felt they needed to inform you.

Her being argumentative and criticizing you is a classic sign of a cheating wife. She's trying to paint you as a bad husband to justify her choice in...well...maybe screwing the other man.

Don't ever shout and get ugly with her. It's unattractive to her and she'll build up resentment toward you. Being the cool, calm, confident guy is attraction to women. A raving, screaming lunatic? Not so much.

Both of you need to be educated about boundaries.
I don't know if the others felt the need to inform me so much as gossip from the gossipers got to me. They said it in front of me but it was all patchwork and I had to put together what they were saying.

I don't get ugly as much anymore, but I have to say when I start off trying to calmly talk about such important things, and she just laughs or pats my head, and I get irritated, she gets defensive, etc etc. Then I get mad but of course its the wrong way to do it. It just feels like she gets 90% of the benefits of marriage while I do 90% of keeping it together. But you're right I have to not do that.
 

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There's nothing wrong with being mad at her - I would be FURIOUS if my husband treated me like that. But use your anger to your advantage. Let her know you're royally pissed and that you're considering ending it because of the flippant way she's acting and the way she's neutering you with her reactions. Just don't totally flip on her.
 
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