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She's Obsessed With The Pastor


MrWallFlower

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I'm in my 15th year of marriage and have 3 kids ranging in age from 6 to 13. Ever since the beginning of 2007, when my wife started going to this new church, I've watched her become obssessed with the pastor. Even though he is 15 years older than she is, I believe she is attracted to him. I feel threatened by their friendship and not just because she always dated guys in his age range before she met me.

 

She has a photo of him on her Blackberry and one tucked away (hidden?) in her closet. She also has a box where she has saved every card that he sent her. She would often sing special music at his church and whenever someone does that it is the church's custom to send a thank you card. This bothers me because my valentine and birthday cards to her were not kept.

 

At one point she became the song leader for his church and he started calling her to discuss the music but soon the conversations were more frequent and, from listening to her side of the conversations, not related to music. Eventually they were calling each other several times a day and often talked for 30 minutes or more.

 

I asked her to curb their conversations and told her that I felt it was inappropriate for him to call someone else's spouse like that. She told him how I felt and they slowed down for about a week. I complained several times and each time it would slow down and pick back up. She would tell me that he's the one that initiates the calls, she just answers the phone.

 

Finally, at the end of 2007 I called the pastor's wife to complain. She felt that it was innocent, that her husband just likes to talk alot, and that I was simply trying to control my wife. (she said something along the line of my wanting to have my wife all to myself--well duh!). I learned later that she was angered by my insinuation that her husband was doing something inappropriate.

 

Fast forward to 2009. My wife left that church. Why? Because one of the church ladies she confided in spread the word that my wife has a history of infidelity (yes, it's true). She was so embarrassed that she felt she couldn't face the church and so we now attend another church. However, my wife maintains this phone relationship with the other pastor--only it's somewhat underground now as they have resorted to texting. Typically, he'll text her on Sunday evenings.

 

When she started a new job this past October I asked her not to give him her work number because I wanted to be able to monitor how often they communicated. She agreed.

 

My wife knows I can check the cellphone records to see how often they text/talk but she doesn't know I can actually read their texts. The tone of her side of the texts is kind of flirty. They have pet names for each other. Two texts REALLY bother me. The first one my wife sent him when I became saved/a member of the latest church (not his). She sent him a message thanking him for being so patient with me. Him patient with me!??!? I'm the one who's been patient! The second text was from him to her. One evening our current church had a dinner. My wife arrived late and stayed in her car. I went outside to see what was taking her so long to come in and she looked like she was in tears. I asked if she was crying and she said that she had something in her eye. Later I saw his text message to her saying "adios" because she was now at the church where she belongs.

 

Most recently, I learned that in spite of my request that she not give him her work number, he has her work number and has talked to her at work.

 

I am hurt (yet again) by my wife's actions. This, along with her previous infidelity, has caused me to consider filing for divorce. I'm so new to my church that I don't even know if they permit divorce (Southern Baptist--anyone know?). I have moved into the spare bedroom in the mean time.

 

As I see it, I have the following options:

 

  1. Suck it up and live with it.
  2. Meet with the pastor and my wife and ask them, together, what's up? And/or threaten to tell the deacons at his church if he persists.
  3. Ask my CURRENT pastor to step in and (a) deal with that pastor and (b) counsel me & my wife.
  4. Divorce my wife because, ultimately, she's the problem.

 

What say ye? Are there other options I'm missing? Tomorrow is Sunday--I'm leaning toward #2 because my hope is to "poison the well" at the old church. If I raise a stink at the old church the pastor won't want her around and my wife won't want him to get in trouble so the only safe zone will be the new church where I am. I suppose there is a fifth option: Divorce her and tell the pastors at both churches so everyone knows what a cheater and liar she is--although this would vindicate me, I would feel sorry for my wife. I love my wife but I can't go on being treated like a pu$$y(cat).

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yikes!!!!!!!

 

clearly, i think that this pastor and your wife are having an inappropriate friendship and i don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable with this situation.

 

i would tell her what you know, and insist on going to marital counseling. if she refuses, you might need to figure out your next steps. you are her husband! i would tell the pastor that he needs to stop contacting your wife. though that might drive their interactions even further underground. him being a pastor, you would think he would know to stay out of a marriage. maybe he isn't. i don't know. blah!

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Well, definitely not #1. This is obviously causing you great pain. If your wife refuses to stop contact with this fella, then I think it's time for you to just move on and divorce her. Confronting them will do nothing because you have attempted to force them to stop contact before and it hasn't worked.

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Hmm. If it was me, I'd leave her. I certainly wouldn't want to try and pry them apart - to what purpose? I don't want forced fidelity. I don't want forced empathy or respect. Once those things are forced, they cease to be anything more than compliance. Compliance I don't want. Love, respect, empathy, loyalty - those things are infinitely greater than compliance. And compliance is the best you can hope for by seeking a means to split up the little emotional affair these two have got going. If it were going to be a meaningful turn around, it would have happened by now. More importantly, it would happen voluntarily.

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I would not involve the church or threaten the pastor in any way. Not to protect him but you need to know that if your wife decides to repair the marriage and give up contact with him she is doing so because she really wants to not because the pastor was forced to give her up.

 

You need to know what her real motives are.

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I'm sorry! I just re-read option #3 and I'm not sure I wrote it clearly. What I meant to say was "Ask my CURRENT pastor to step in and deal with the FORMER pastor and also counsel me & my wife." It could also have been interpreted as "Ask my CURRENT pastor to step in and only deal with the CURRENT pastor and have him counsel me & my wife."

 

How did you understand my meaning?

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Three, then Four. The problem is that bad behaviour comes from a source within a person. You can't just tell someone to alter their behaviour. The problem has a root and that must be dealt with. Unfortunately, if your wife is unwillingly to even acknowledge a problem, then there's nothing you'll ever be able to do to fix it.

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Your wife is a serial cheater. Your wife goes to church supposedly to show what a good Christian she is, but all the while she has an inappropriate relationship with the pastor. Prayer and going to church all the time does not make someone a good Christian..not if they are cheating on their partner. She is a classic religious hypocrite. I think you would be wasting your time doing 2 or 3. The pastor knows he is wrong, your wife knows she is wrong, the pastor's wife probably knows the score as well but chooses not to make waves and disrupt her status as the pastor's wife. Your wife won't stop cheating...it will always be with someone, if not the paster, it will be someone else. For your own self esteem I would choose option 4 rather than option 1.

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Yes, she has. Two years into our marriage she comes to me and says she met someone who loves her and wants to be with her and unless I pay more attention to her she is going to leave me for him. She said it was only an emotional affair so I stayed with her, went to counseling. Years down the road, she comes to me again and says she has been e-mailing this guy again. It turned out that she had been with this guy all these years and his wife caught on and was about to inform me. I suspect there are other guys I don't know about.

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Yes, she has. Two years into our marriage she comes to me and says she met someone who loves her and wants to be with her and unless I pay more attention to her she is going to leave me for him. She said it was only an emotional affair so I stayed with her, went to counseling. Years down the road, she comes to me again and says she has been e-mailing this guy again. It turned out that she had been with this guy all these years and his wife caught on and was about to inform me. I suspect there are other guys I don't know about.

 

You are a more patient man than most. I give you nothing but applause for the effort you have put in.

 

However, I am sorry to say that I do not believe your wife will change. Nor do I think she really understands what she is doing. This seems to be a game to her. A game all about her and what attention she can get.

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I agree about her seeking attention. She has a sign on her forehead that says "I'll do anything for attention". Everyone can see it except her. She was sexually abused as a child, has self-esteem issues, being treated for depression (which didn't come about until her affair was discovered). I feel sorry for her because of the abuse and depression but at the same time, I can't live like this. I deserve much better.

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I agree about her seeking attention. She has a sign on her forehead that says "I'll do anything for attention". Everyone can see it except her. She was sexually abused as a child, has self-esteem issues, being treated for depression (which didn't come about until her affair was discovered). I feel sorry for her because of the abuse and depression but at the same time, I can't live like this. I deserve much better.

 

You DO deserve better and don't let her past and your pity for her get her off the hook. Many women (and men) had abusive childhoods - you can't use that as an excuse to cheat on your spouse. And no spouse should allow it to be used as an excuse.

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I agree about her seeking attention. She has a sign on her forehead that says "I'll do anything for attention". Everyone can see it except her. She was sexually abused as a child, has self-esteem issues, being treated for depression (which didn't come about until her affair was discovered). I feel sorry for her because of the abuse and depression but at the same time, I can't live like this. I deserve much better.

 

You pity her and want to take care of her.

 

However, you can't ignore your own needs. Also, I don't let a person's past excuse their behaviour. No matter what she's been through in the past, in the present she has to be a decent human being. She is very much failing at that.

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I'm sad for our kids. They don't know about any of this except I'm sure they're wondering why daddy is in the spare bedroom now. I'm beginning to realize that it will never change. It's not something I have control over or can do anything about. She'll say things like "and we were doing so well"

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I'm sad for our kids. They don't know about any of this except I'm sure they're wondering why daddy is in the spare bedroom now. I'm beginning to realize that it will never change. It's not something I have control over or can do anything about. She'll say things like "and we were doing so well"

 

Yes, she's blaming it on you. You're the controlling one. You're the crazy one.

 

Don't take it for a second. She brought this on herself.

 

And honestly, growing up with divorced parents is a lot better than growing up with a mentally unstable mom who cheats, lies, and doesn't live in reality.

 

I wish you the best and hope you manage to get full custody (I know this seems like a harsh thing to say, but I really dislike people like your wife).

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I'm sad for our kids. They don't know about any of this except I'm sure they're wondering why daddy is in the spare bedroom now. I'm beginning to realize that it will never change. It's not something I have control over or can do anything about. She'll say things like "and we were doing so well"

 

It must be tough when the preacher and his wife AND your wife are making you out to be crazy. I hope you can find your way out of this somehow. The preacher is so out of line, he shouldn't be allowed to preach to anyone.

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Obviously I'm not going to suggest that what's been going on is something that you should put up with. I personally would've been gone after the 1st affair, and most likely a lot sooner than that if I assume correctly the kind of relationship you two have had. But the following statement is not correct.

I'm beginning to realize that it will never change. It's not something I have control over or can do anything about.

In general, people misbehave when they do not fear consequences. And it has always been your job to paint for her a clear bright line that she cannot cross, and place the belief in her that if she violates your rules, there will be significant consequences up to and including terminating the relationship.

 

I mean it's not like you were the one pushing her to do what she has done in the literal sense, but relationships are something that take active measures to sustain. Otherwise they fail. There is no point in arguing against this fact of life. This is not to put the blame on you, but to ignore that you had a responsibility that was neglected would be blind to the truth.

 

I mean there is nothing you can do about the way she acts at the current time because you need help in learning how to manage a relationship, and this kind of philosophical change cannot be learned while in a relationship (too hard to do with your emotions getting in the way). But placing all of the blame on her is only seeing things on the surface and not an accurate reflection of what is actually occurring.

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Do you really believe that her behavior warrants me getting full custody? I don't think she is a threat to the kids. Apart from her poor example she's good with the kids and loves them... She's able to be a mother--just not a wife.

 

I think you should fight for it as hard as you can. You deserves at least that.

 

She may not be a bad mother, but she won't be teaching your kids the right life lessons.

 

With her selfishness, I doubt she'll put up much of a fight to have dependents. Tell her that she can run off with whatever man she wants, you won't fight it, as long as you get to keep the kids. If she's the irresponsible person I think she is, she'll jump on it.

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