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Wife of 12 years had 6 month distance affair on Facebook meeting the guy once.


SURPRISE
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Life goes on .... We are trying to find a middle ground with drinking and keep having a lot of setbacks. In the past months she has lied to me 3 times about drinking and failed the breathalyzer each time. I am getting much better about spotting it right away. It's hard for the lying to not take me back to all of the cheating stuff. She says she will never ever cheat again having learned a hard lesson and I kind of believe her, yet it's just hard to see her look me in the eyes and lie about drinking. I am trying to separate the two but it's tough. After all, she blamed all the cheating on alcohol in the first place. This weekend I found she was drunk at lunch time, after running me around not making sense and trying to blame it on me, I realized she was drunk. I became angry and right away she yelled at me stating "I can do what I want to do!". That set off a terrible day with a lot of fighting and I am raw from it all still. All she had to do is tell me she was going to drink something and I would have let her but she couldn't and I guess it's my fault for having alcohol in the house where she could get to it. Now I have changed the rules to no drinking at home period and I am locking all alcohol up. Only for parties, new years, special occasions etc. If she can't handle that then it's no drinking at all ever. I keep trying to give her room and she keeps failing. This is not the just drink and get drunk occasionally but if I don't monitor her, she goes off the deep end and by the time I realize it and put a stop to it, she goes through heavy withdrawals while detoxing from the alcohol. Yes, she has been through AA and rehab as well. The one saving grace through this all is that she understands why I put restrictions on drinking and does not fight me on it. To top all of this off, she is pretty much starting menopause and saying crazy stuff. Not knowing if it's being drunk or menopause related makes it hard to figure out how to react. I am not sure if I can make it through the next couple years if I have to deal with lying, drinking and menopause. I have a harder time recovering from that out of body feeling you get with things get out of control. This weekend I talked about her getting things worked out or not being with me. She alluded to hurting herself if we were not together and even kissed our kids saying she felt like she was kissing them goodbye for the last time. Of course this puts tremendous stress on me, this is not the first time she has said these things. I have trouble trying to understand what is the driving force behind that as well and I try to take it seriously to an extent. The next day she is always so upset about her actions and apologizing up and down even crying about how bad she treated me. It's a roller coaster. It's not like it's every day though, this is 3 times in one month with only one time being a major fight. Argh .... I guess I'm just venting because I don't really talk to anyone about my problems. I don't want to end up in divorce again, but I kind of feel like it's out of my control if she can't change her direction. It's not like I am too hard on her or something driving her to drink (some angry women here might assume that), she has it pretty good. She's a stay at home mom with two kids living in a nice newer home, driving a brand new BMW and she gets more love, affection and attention then most women (I'm not normal in that department). She can do what she wants for the most part and she can have anything she wants because she doesn't expect it or ask for much of anything. She has always been crazy attracted to me and loves that I am very different so that makes it even that much harder to understand why she would risk it all with the cheating in the past or the drinking currently. All of this is probably all garbled since it's just my thoughts, but for those of you who are in this stuff, it's probably familiar too. I guess for now, I just keep praying that I make good decisions and do whats right for a better future.

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She's an alcoholic, however understand that drinking is the symptom not the problem.

 

She needs to repair what they call "character flaws" in recovery. Her self-esteem issues and lack of self-respect are the problem. She needs ongoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to have any hope of a happy life ... for either of you.

 

Apologies if that's been said already, as I have not yet read the whole thread. In any case, it can't be overstated.

 

She cannot mean what she says, not about drinking or about anything else, because she's lies her entire life to herself and everyone else PLUS she has a distorted worldview that she's OK after this one last relapse or that once you're dry (for awhile) you're actually sober. Abstinence is NOT sobriety. Being dry is just marking time between relapses if the character flaws are not worked on via intense ongoing self-work led by therapy. Look up "Dry Drunk" and definitely attend Al-Anon. I mean you attend Al-Anon, it is for those suffering with alcoholics and addicts not for the addicts. There you will learn much about co-dependence, your significant role in it, and the inevitable cycles that will never end unless serious changes are made by both of you. Real changes, not effort from you and empty statements of intent from her.

 

Also consider both being totally sober. It's best for your health, pocketbook and sets a great example for the kids.

 

"It's not like I am too hard on her or something driving her to drink (some angry women here might assume that), she has it pretty good. She's a stay at home mom with two kids living in a nice newer home, driving a brand new BMW and she gets more love, affection and attention then most women (I'm not normal in that department). She can do what she wants for the most part and she can have anything she wants because she doesn't expect it or ask for much of anything. She has always been crazy attracted to me and loves that I am very different so that makes it even that much harder to understand why she would risk it all with the cheating in the past or the drinking currently."

 

Do not try to rationalize irrational behavior. It'll drive you insane and prevent you from seeing what's really in play. She has self-esteem issues, so considers herself unworthy of all these blessings. The natural result is to self-sabotage. Most people - the vast majority - self-sabotage in many aspects of their lives, some (such as addicts) just take it to extremes. The vast majority of people are NOT afraid to fail, they are comfortable with failure.

 

You are clearly a very positive and pro-active person and appreciative, so you can't imagine why she isn't happy with all you've given her. The reason is because you have a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) while hers is negative and toxic. People, including your wife, are afraid to take the responsibility to be happy or to succeed. Sure, she's "stuck" at home with the kids but she keeps making the choice to self-sabotage (and sabotage you and your kids) instead of starting a home business or hitting the gym daily or whatever might give her some self-worth.

 

Misery loves company, and you're being dragged down with her. Willingly. You've both made that choice. Nothing will change for the better without a serious commitment to PMA and behavioral therapy. This thread speaks for itself - it is already years long. You'll just keep going in circles suffering these cycles and not knowing when the next bomb will go off. It'll probably get worse as she gets older, not better.

 

The sad truth is that you are enabling her. You are, in effect, likely making things worse because the kinder and more helpful you are the worse she'll feel and act out because she'll feel she don't deserve it due to her lack of self-worth or self-respect. Character flaws, faulty wiring or brain chemistry ... whatever it is, it's serious and unlikely to ever change and certainly not without therapy and hard sustained work. By you doing all those things to keep her on the right path, you're just short-circuiting the work SHE needs to do of her own impetus and volition.

 

Positive people like you hear the promises and know that deep down she's an exceptional woman, so you believe that intent will equal action and success because that's how it is for you. You do not like to trash something you've put time and effort into, so you presume others are the same especially when they express that they'll work on it. You focus on the good times because that's just how you are - positive. You see how great the future will be if this problem is just resolved, and you take it for granted it will be because who wants to suffer? You wouldn't, however most people do. People like you take action to resolve problems and lead a happier life. Most people take action to self-sabotage and bring others down with them. It's sad, but true, and the actions speak for themselves.

 

Wish you both very good luck.

Edited by PH Suite
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Thank you PH Suite, a lot of that rings true for sure. I will look in to CBT since that is the first I have heard of that. She goes to the Gym 4-7 days a week and stays fit. Things do get harder if and when she is not working out for any reason so feeling good about herself is tied to that. We did the both of us not drinking for a long time and still had some issues same as when we drink occasionally for the most part. The next step if anything happens again is no drinks period again which I am prepared to do. I am well aware she has some pre-existing self-esteem issue as well as some family issues and loss of her father 5 or so years ago that all come in to play at times. Ironically her ex husband became a drug addict disappearing for weeks at a time, you would think that would make her more self aware. I really appreciate your input! Thank you again!

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Thank you PH Suite, a lot of that rings true for sure. I will look in to CBT since that is the first I have heard of that. She goes to the Gym 4-7 days a week and stays fit. Things do get harder if and when she is not working out for any reason so feeling good about herself is tied to that. We did the both of us not drinking for a long time and still had some issues same as when we drink occasionally for the most part. The next step if anything happens again is no drinks period again which I am prepared to do. I am well aware she has some pre-existing self-esteem issue as well as some family issues and loss of her father 5 or so years ago that all come in to play at times. Ironically her ex husband became a drug addict disappearing for weeks at a time, you would think that would make her more self aware. I really appreciate your input! Thank you again!

 

This all makes perfect sense to me, having encountered this sort of thing before. As I wrote above, most people are comfortable with repeating failures and cycles. They are afraid of success and happiness, not of failure and misery. The reasons why differ, and that's what the therapy is for. Maybe start with couples counselling and if you do I guarantee that the counsellor will immediately say she needs to go solo to start with.

 

By doing all you do, you set yourself up as the enemy rather than gaining goodwill and loyalty for all your effort. More common twisted thinking a positive person cannot wrap their head around, but that's how it is. Let a professional handle it.

 

The working out she does may seem positive to a positive person, but to someone with inner demons it's just a way of keeping those demons at bay - I look great therefore I'm fine. Or maybe it's that if I can still get guys then I have value and self-worth. Or maybe it's just based the narcissism and selfishness of the typical addict. All bad, and typically these types will freak out if they gain a few pounds - again it's just more obsessive and selfish self-obsessive behavior not based in positivity, maybe it's about gaining self-worth by making others on Facebook jealous rather than about feeling great and being fit, which again for a positive person is impossible to grasp.

 

From a distance, someone running with glee and positivity *towards* a goal looks exactly like someone running in abject terror *from* their demons. And when they stumble the demons catch up. That's why you must be careful of projecting your positivity and sincerity onto her words or actions.

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Wow, I am riveted to this thread. PH has some incredible insight and I would just like to add that I was just in a relationship with an addict. It was not drugs or alcohol but an addictive personality with some deep self loathing and insecurities. He is addicted to chewing tobacco and everything he does is either all in or all out, there is no grey area for him. Whether it's love, reading, drinking or watching tv, it's all extremes. I'm so much more laissez faire.

 

Like you I am very positive, I was born optimistic and would have done anything to keep the relationship working and stay with him. In fact, we were together for five years and have now been apart for six months and I'm still hoping we can reconcile even though on an intellectual level I know that I just want to help him and make him happy, which no one can do but him. It's a tough road for people like us to give up on someone when we believe that we can fix them.

 

The key things to remember though are: 1. It's not your fault and 2. You can't fix her. She is in a karmic cycle of sorts and only she can get herself out and she has to hit rock bottom before she will learn and change. You have to accept that it may happen soon, it may take years and it may never happen. As PH said, I think you are enabling her by continuing to love her, stay with her and try to help her to fix herself. Karmic cycles are sticky and you are in hers.

 

I so empathize with you right now. I know the anguish you feel when you love someone so much and you can't make them feel whole. It's a tragedy of life and I send you strength and positive thoughts to have the fortitude to do the right thing.

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Thank you West Coast and thank you again PH Suite. My view of her right now is sort of middle of the road which gives me a little hope for a better outcome even though it will take a lot of work on her part. She's not a negative person and she supports and motivates me well so I can do some great things (2 businesses and one full time job) but she has a negative self image and that seems to stem from her childhood and first marriage to an addict. The result is alcoholism and anorexia both of which she will lie to conceal. Now, after some research on CBT at PH Suites recommendation I have found material that appear to describe her ways of thinking and upon showing her, she completely agreed. She seems to be motivated by this information and has been researching CBT on her own. Last night she was telling me about all she learned on the net and is very positive looking forward to trying to get help with these issues. She is now contacting my insurance company to find a CBT therapist and see what will be covered by insurance. It doesn't matter if they cover it or not, she is willing to go and I will pay for it. I think this is a positive step since it makes sense to both of us and she is motivated to seek help on her own without any threat from me. Until this point, we have been disappointed with the help we have attempted to get (mostly medications) leaving us to run in circles with the same problems. I am optimistic since most of our life together is wonderful and if we can just get a better handle on these issues we could get back to having an amazing relationship again. Anyway, we are going in to the holidays so we have a lot of focus on other things which will keep a lot of this at bay until things slow down. The whole Idle Hands things. Thank you both again for your input, it is greatly appreciated for sure.

 

Here is the sheet I found researching CBT that I showed her, might be of interest to others in the same situation.

 

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That's great news!

 

To be clear, these types usually have two sides. They might be outgoing and bubbly and supportive but that just masks the rot within, the self-doubt, etc. that brings them down. It's never obvious from the outside. For example if a guy tells his wife's colleagues that she's abusing him & the kids at home, and at times violent and even suicidal, her colleagues might protest that it's impossible she's depressed, angry and violent because she's always early, with donuts for the team, leading in sales and as happy as can be. It's a facade, same as going to extremes in the gym or with hair & make-up might be.

 

It doesn't mean they're a negative person overall, just that the root cause is some form of extreme negativity. This dichotomy makes it very hard for "normal" or better-balanced and positive people to wrap their heads around. They want the 'carrot' of the person's good nature and the good times together, but prefer to ignore the 'stick' of their battles with inner demons and the toll it eventually takes.

 

Because of all that, periods of apparent clarity and self-reflection and even self-assessment are not unusual... that's the norm. The positive and proactive type of person, who means what they say and acts on it, presumes the same but the type with depression and self-disrespect usually goes in cycles in which case the good times of clarity and sobriety and pledges to get help are not preludes to action and recovery but only preludes to the next swing down and over time the lows get lower and more toxic for them and everyone involved.

 

Be hopeful, supportive and positive but also beware of this. If she doesn't hold herself accountable, somehow you must - consult a counsellor for clarity on that. Enabling/coddling or doing it for her will NOT work.

Edited by PH Suite
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Wow, thank you, SURPRISE. I think it's so great that you've continued to check in and that you're so positive and committed. My boyfriend and I have recently been having some issues with infidelity and addiction--for him, sex/porn addiction (he says). My posts for the most part have been met with 'leave this loser immediately,' and 'do you have no self esteem?' which is not helpful in the least. Your posts have been incredibly helpful and uplifting.

 

I would love to know what you think of my situation, since you've been through something at least slightly similar, and you seem to have so much insight from the experience. My boyfriend and I have only been together for a couple of years, but it's very serious and I love him very deeply. We continue to talk about getting married, that we're soul mates. To start from the beginning, when we met, he told me he had cheated in the only serious, adult relationship he had had--this ended that (1 year long) relationship about 3 years before we met. He said he was ready for the real deal and that he had learned his lesson never to cheat again. I appreciated his honesty and I believed him, especially since I had also cheated in my last relationship (it was an incredibly unhappy, long term relationship with my high school sweetheart, and it ended only a couple of months later). Things were very, very happy for a year, and then we moved in together.

 

Some red flags started rising--once, we were at a concert and he saw a former fling. He began to text her right in front of me, while we were all in the same room. I don't know what the texts said. He said it was because he thought I'd be mad if he went over to talk to her, and didn't want to make me feel weird. I responded that what he decided to do--text with her privately---was so very much worse. I also kept coming across comments online--him telling other women, women he knows, how attractive they are. All of this, and the fact that our sex life was dwindling--led me to snoop about 4 months ago. I was shocked by what I found--nude photos of 3 different women in his e-mail, all from about the last 6 months (one of which was his coworker) which he had obviously gotten through text messaging. AND he had responded to a Craigslist casual encounters ad. I confronted him, and it took me literally months to get 'the truth.' I put this in quotes because I'm still not sure that it's the full truth.

 

He says that his coworker came on strong (I believe this because I've heard from multiple people that this coworker is extremely flirtatious and obnoxious) and they had a brief flirtation. She sent him the photo, nothing physical happened. The other photos--one was an old fling from forever ago who sent him photos out of the blue. The last was an older woman from the Craigslist ad he responded to. They corresponded here and there for months, and she sent him several photos, which he then posted on his favorite porn site with a story he made up about their affair (I found this too). He says that he has never been physically unfaithful to me, and I believe him. He's always accounted for--even when I leave town, he's always in touch. We're happy and he continues to say that I'm the love of his life, he wants to marry me, etc.

 

His explanation is that he has a sex addiction--specifically, pornography. This is all material to him. This explains why our sex life was dwindling--he was watching porn sometimes multiple times per day and didn't have much left for me. (Can I just say that I am an attractive, smart, successful 27 year old and I take fantastic care of myself.) This isn't the first time he has thought that he might have a problem, as it has ruined his life multiple times in the past. (Cheating, losing jobs...) He also played the 'I was about to propose so I screwed around a little' card.

 

Fast forward several months--he's 'committed' to changing--not interacting with other people sexually, not even watching porn. We're in therapy together, and he's started CBT therapy on his own. Though, about a month ago I did catch him talking with his coworker about a sex dream he had about her, and I tried to break up with him over it (I had given him an ultimatum). He seems to have no control over his urges. He also told me yesterday that he's still watching porn here and there (I could tell because of our sex life). I don't really know what to do. Can he change? Or am I signing myself up for a lifetime of this kind of crap? He hasn't physically cheated, but he has crossed the line SO many times, and lied SO many times. I just love him so incredibly much, and I want to forgive him and help him work through these issues. I do believe that he has an addiction and that these things are tied to that, and are not the fault of me or our relationship. Am I being stupid?

 

I'm also monitoring him, sort of secretly--but he has told me that he wants me to. I look at his messages and e-mail and Facebook. The only thing I've caught him on since July is the sex dream thing--which is bad but I trust that he and this girl would never have anything going on together--it was more like a flirtatious joke.

 

Anyway, I'd appreciate your support, because you seem like a very smart and caring and awesome guy.

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Hi LostinLove7983, thank you for your kind words. Wow, you have a lot to deal with! First off, when you commit to someone enough to move in together, any correspondence with anyone else in a sexual nature is off limits so it's not something he should be doing at all even if someone else does it to him, he has to respond in a respectful to you way and be transparent as well. I have always believed that I would never cheat and women have tempted me before that I have resisted, but at times where I was not struggling with my relationship. Maybe that is why I could resist temptation, but many people can not and fall in to this trap especially if they are having trouble in their relationship or their needs are not being met. I know that porn can be fun to watch, but within reason. I found it useful to include my spouse if and when I were going to intentionally watch something (didn't watch stuff very often though). Guys like excitement and sometimes it might be a little extra attention that fills that void. One time I turned on some porn and asked my wife if she wanted to watch it with me and do whatever they are doing in the porn when it happens. It was fun, we talked, we laughed and had an amazing time together. This is something that we mention to each other and laugh about even 10-15 years later. She made me feel comfortable about it and that may have led to not really caring to watch it for the most part. My whole point is that you have to try to make your own excitement. If you can do that, he will likely want to wait for you then do anything himself.

 

That is only one side of the coin though. It may be that no matter what you do, he is going to have this desire to act out. Part of being at the point of getting married is knowing that you are OK with not having anyone else down the road. If you don't have that down, you shouldn't be getting married. Because of his lack of faithfulness, he should be willing to be transparent giving up all passwords and accounts so that you may "spot check" them if you wish. That would be a good faith thing on his part. You may never even check on him much, but just knowing he agreed and can be checked up on may detour him from sabotaging his relationship. Then there is the 3rd side, I hate to say it because you said you cheated too, but maybe he is just a cheater and will continue to cheat until he finds out it leads to losing people who love you if that even happens. This type of guy does not even need a reason, just an opportunity to be unfaithful. Some guys just look at women as objects.

 

OK, so my take is there are three likely scenarios. They one thing that is true of all three is that they all lack communication. You have to set boundaries and they have to be expressed. For instance ... "I don't mind if you watch porn from time to time maybe sometimes with me even would be nice for fun, but I just asked that you don't take away from us if you do. If porn is a constant draw from us, then you have to stop watching porn." Expressing your concerns and or expectations is important in any healthy relationship. "Any and all private conversation or meeting with the opposite sex is off limits unless the other is aware and does not have a problem with it." The point is, if you are clear, then you have set rules that each much follow to maintain a healthy relationship. Some people have open relationships and that works for them but they talk about it and set boundaries. Each relationship is different, so you have to set yours and don't assume the other knows them. Communication Communcation Communication. "I am feeling unloved or under appreciated, can we sit down and talk about how I / we can make things better?" These things when not under the pressure of a bad fight or argument, can be productive. You can even go as far as to each write down what you need in your relationship and then discuss together 1 line at a time each taking a turn. At that point you compromise to find a balance that works for both of you then you try to stick to it as best you can to keep things moving in a positive direction. One last thought ... responding to Craigslist ad is pretty random. I get the co workers or randoms at a grocery store even, because temptation is in front of you. Doing something like responding to a Craigslist ad is pretty much a sure thing there is an underlying problem in your relationship. Might not be your fault, but by talking about things rationally and calmly, you might be able to get a sense of what is wrong or missing that is causing him to directly seek out someone. That is a major red flag. If you are seeking someone, you are not committed to the relationship. It's not temptation, it's violating the very premise of being together.

 

The sad truth of the matter is that he might not be as in to you as you are in to him. This is something you have to try to figure out. It is easy to be clouded by feelings to not see it. I have been there in my first major relationship / marriage. My ex used to say we were best friends and that she loved me so much, yet after a year dating, the first guy that came that she thought was better and she left. 5 years dating and 3 years marriage for nothing. I was so in love, that I did not take the signs to seriously. Breaking up with me to date someone else then back to me. Stupid stuff like criticizing my new clothes in front of my friends at my birthday party when both guys and girls are standing there telling me how much they like them. Thought she was just being y, but in reality she was jealous that everyone was giving me attention because for some reason she didn't' think I was "all that". So many dumb small signs that I would overlook because of "Love". Don't get in a trap. Write down what has happened to you in the relationship as bullet points and then ask yourself would I do this to someone I love? If you have unresolved issues with items on that list, it would be a good time to try to work them out with him as well.

 

Hope that this all makes sense, I get interrupted frequently at my office so the thoughts might be in the wrong order Relationships are never perfect and always require some kind of work, it's when both people work together that they get their best though!

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Hi SURPRISE, thank you so, so much for responding. This is all very helpful and insightful advice.

 

I have brought up the idea of watching porn together, but at first he wasn't into it, and then, once he came out and said he has a porn addiction, he said that it wasn't a good idea. I agree that if he has a compulsive problem with porn and it affects our relationship, maybe he shouldn't watch it. He has also told me that he thinks his porn consumption is what causes him to have poor boundaries with women. It might be like an alcoholic saying they'll only drink if you're around (which might work, but could lead to some bad behavior on their own time). I do try to keep our sex life exciting, however--I stay in good shape, I buy toys and lingerie, try to be spontaneous, but it's like I'm dealing with a wall. He doesn't initiate, really. And before this all came out, when we did have sex, he just didn't seem that into it (maybe because he'd already pleasured himself to porn that day). Things have improved, however, since we've identified this barrier and begun working through it together.

 

I agree that I should be allowed to check in on him, and he's been very forthcoming with his passwords, even saying that he wants me to check on him to keep him accountable. I've definitely set boundaries since I made the discovery, but he's broken them (the sex dream/coworker scenario). Maybe I need to do this in a more formal way.

 

The Craigslist thing is definitely the worst part---he says he was just showing off, he did it during a porn binge. Sent a (fully clothed) photo to an older woman like, 'What do you think? Cougars at work say I should be a model.' It did seem like he just wanted attention, someone to say he's attractive, not necessarily looking for a sexual encounter. Which is still awful, and truly embarrassing for him. But then he did correspond with her who knows how many times for who knows how many weeks or months. During which I was out of town a couple of times for work. I can't say I don't wonder. This could be pure projection, but sometimes I wonder if he's insecure because I'm kind of the breadwinner in our relationship--I have a great job and am successful and he's scraping by waiting tables. It's like he needs validation outside of the relationship. He is extremely attractive, and he doesn't seem to know that he brings a whole lot of other things to the table--things that he should really focus on.

 

See, the thing that makes this the most confusing is that he swears up and down that I'm the one for him--that he's more in love with me than he's ever been with anyone, that he wants to marry me and spend the rest of his life with me, that he loves having sex with me, that he's not interested in being with anyone else. Of course, my first reaction was, 'don't you love me?' I thought I wasn't attractive enough, not giving him enough, that he just wasn't happy, and I gave him the floor to tell me the truth about whether or not he is satisfied with me. I opened the door for him to leave if that truly was the case, because I would never want to be with someone who wasn't super into me, and I want him to be happy.

 

It's true though--the bottom line is that I would never, ever do the things that he has done to someone I love. And my friends all think that I should leave him. I don't blame them. If a friend's partner was doing the same thing, I would want her to get out.

 

I guess what's keeping me is his promise to change and 'grow up' and be a better man. He keeps swearing to me that he's trying to grow as a person and that he will never hurt me again. Time will tell, I guess. I just don't want to regret not leaving later, if or when he does finally seal the deal with someone.

 

Thanks again for your advice. I truly appreciate it. What a relief--there are good men out there! Also, have you considered starting a relationship advice blog or podcast or something? Because you're good at it.

Edited by LostinLove7983
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Thank you, you are very sweet and so very welcome. I try to give back because this site has been good for me to vent and or receive advice and or perspectives. Between working full time and running two side businesses I don't think I can squeeze it in, but thank you for thinking I can do it. I have been thinking about what you have said today for a while. I am glad that the porn issue seems to be getting better and that you do try to keep things exciting. He may just be uncomfortable with watching it with you. That is why the role playing along with it might break the ice and make it less exciting when compared to your relationship. Something to think about if it comes up again and it probably will. As for the Craigslist issue. my gut tells me that you need to be aware that most of this you have told me would lead me to believe that he may have likely cheated physically or would easily do that given the opportunity. Most men would not admit it even if there was evidence and he is doing way more then most guys I know that have cheated. Most of what you have said sounds like he is pacifying you. No matter what you do, keep your self value and try to live so that you are happy. If you start to lose either one of those consistently, you need to move on. I found life is too short to waste it on people that are not willing to really work hard and or treat you well. Right before my ex left for another guy ending the 8 years together, it got to the point where she went down to working part time in the afternoons and I was full time and writing software for a fortune 500 company as an independent contractor in the evenings onsite a couple nights a week trying to get ahead in life. I called her to ask her to bring home a gallon of milk on her way home since I would not have time and she got mad and refused to do so. The point is that our relationship became very one sided and I did not see it because of my "in love" feelings, but I really was unhappy with how things were going, it just took me to be out of the marriage to see clearly. I needed someone in my life to say "you deserve better then that" so I might understand that it was not normal. Looking back, I wish I would have seen the negative in the very beginning, voiced my feelings, gave her the opportunity to apologize and or correct her behavior and moved on if she didn't. I am pretty sure she would have come back to me again because I would have had the control and she would not like that in the least, but that would have been standing my ground which would have been much better. Part of my problem was that her father sat down with me and told me that she is a very difficult person and it is going to take a special person to be able to deal with her in life. I guess that made me just chalk everything up to that she is just a difficult person rather then not accept the behavior. My parents were not any help as they always kept quiet about the stuff I went through until after the divorce. Anyway, You are in a testing phase for the rest of your life at this point. Make good use of it and make sure you use your common sense. Bad now = worse later then factor in kids. People make mistakes, but if they are not truly remorseful and let it happen again then logically it stands that will become a pattern. If he can't get it together, move out and go back to dating him a little and maybe others to see how it goes. Your new sense of independence might lead you to a better person for you or maybe he will get it together if he's worth it for you by then. If I stood my ground, I would have more then likely been way happier back then. Have a great night and good luck!

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Hey Surprise and Lostinlove, this thread is so intriguing to me. We three sound like we are in the same boat. We are successful, attractive, intelligent, very loyal and have a great capacity for deep love. The funny thing is that all three of us have attracted and given our hearts to people who are broken and for some reason we are holding on to them for dear life.

 

I have been asking myself for the past five months why I am falling apart and obsessing over losing a man who lied with no reason, cheated on me (I think, will never have proof) and basically left because he said he started to resent my success and all the attention I get as it made him feel emasculated. I made a lot more money than him and for the last year we were together I supported him financially so he could join me on a high profile project in Bangkok where he couldn't work. We broke up when we got back last June. Now all I can think about is how can I get him back. It would mean a huge loss of dignity, resigning to being with someone I can never truly trust and minimizing myself so that he could feel like more of a man. My mind knows all of this but my heart won't let go. When I read your posts it makes my heart hurt. We each deserve someone like ourselves but we are such trusting and loving optimists that we hold on to these broken people thinking that we can make them whole.

 

I guess this is just a rhetorical question asking why are we with these people who damage our psyches and cause us so much pain?

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Hey Surprise and Lostinlove, this thread is so intriguing to me. We three sound like we are in the same boat. We are successful, attractive, intelligent, very loyal and have a great capacity for deep love. The funny thing is that all three of us have attracted and given our hearts to people who are broken and for some reason we are holding on to them for dear life.

 

I have been asking myself for the past five months why I am falling apart and obsessing over losing a man who lied with no reason, cheated on me (I think, will never have proof) and basically left because he said he started to resent my success and all the attention I get as it made him feel emasculated. I made a lot more money than him and for the last year we were together I supported him financially so he could join me on a high profile project in Bangkok where he couldn't work. We broke up when we got back last June. Now all I can think about is how can I get him back. It would mean a huge loss of dignity, resigning to being with someone I can never truly trust and minimizing myself so that he could feel like more of a man. My mind knows all of this but my heart won't let go. When I read your posts it makes my heart hurt. We each deserve someone like ourselves but we are such trusting and loving optimists that we hold on to these broken people thinking that we can make them whole.

 

I guess this is just a rhetorical question asking why are we with these people who damage our psyches and cause us so much pain?

 

 

WC, you sound like a dream come true. Let's have lunch. Seriously, I can't imagine anything more empowering as a man than to be affiliated with and adored by the best version of a woman possible. You deserve better.

 

"Rhetorical question" but I'll answer it regardless. It's because winners cannot grasp the loser mentality, or why they'd want to remain losers. We presume everyone wants to improve, especially when they say so because we have integrity in our word and wrongly presume they do too, and ever more so when they're given loving assistance, but actions speak much louder than words and clearly these people don't want smooth sailing and happiness because they're simply not comfortable with it. Most people are comfortable with drama, with failure, with stagnation, with self-sabotage... and with losing. This isn't theory or judgement - step back and observe their actions, which speak volumes.

 

Also winners tend to appreciate those who do them a good turn, so we think if we're supportive and tolerant and understanding etc. it'll buy us goodwill and we'll not have to suffer these transgressions and humiliations again. The devil you know is much better than the devil you don't, which is starting over. But losers don't think that way, they just take and take. They're selfish with no concept of actual gratitude and goodwill. Their actions show they have no self-love, so they certainly can't love and appreciate and cherish us. They might say the right things, they might even believe it, but their past history and their ongoing actions again speak much louder.

 

Clearly I don't know anyone involved in this thread so I'm speaking in general, and everyone has good some qualities. Anyone can turn their lives around, but it takes inner strength, a personal desire, usually after hitting rock bottom more than once, professional help and years of focused effort. However what I have observed time and time again, in every facet of life not just romantic relationships, that losers are legion while doers are precious few, and even providing some people all the help and facility in the world to improve themselves will make no difference to them.

 

Trying to match up two doers, who wish to work towards happiness AND who have great romantic chemistry, as well as compatible interest and values, is virtually impossible. One thing's for sure, we'll never find such a person while wasting time on, or pining for, those who clearly only wish to bring us down to their level because misery loves company.

 

When there's a marriage, especially with kids, and someone who expresses a desire through *actions* to change, at least there's hope and many reasons to try toughing it out. If not, run and don't look back, tough though it may be.

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Hi PH... you are a wise man and if you are ever in the Bay Area (San Francisco) I definitely am up for lunch! I love hanging out with intelligent people. Thank you for the kind words about wanting to be affiliated with an intelligent and successful woman... I'm going to be honest, I'm worried that it will be impossible to find a man that will be happy with me and not want for arm candy but with a bubble gum personality. The male ego can be so fragile

 

My ex had his good qualities for the first four years and was very loving, attentive and adventurous but I wonder now if it was a mask and it came off in the last year to show his true colors. He just couldn't hold it together any longer. Five months of overanalyzing all of this and it's just left me more perplexed. This is my first heartbreak. I was married for 15 years to a very successful attorney and he had brilliant communication skills. We got along well and had healthy conflict but we unfortunately had no common interests. He liked to stay home and hang out, I approach life as an adventure and love to travel, go to the theater, go skiing, try new and exotic restaurants, explore forest trails, swim in the ocean and find things to laugh at until I can't breathe... nothing wrong with either persons preference but just not compatible. We had a very amicable, even loving divorce. We stayed friends and talked for the whole six months it took to complete. We talked every day and encouraged and supported each other as we moved on. He's now happily remarried and I couldn't be happier for him.

 

My recent ex loved the same things I did but didn't have the communication or conflict management skills. We never made the time to go get professional counseling for this which is one of the reasons I am struggling now... I am not a quitter, ever and it baffles me that my ex just gave up without a fight. He is at midlife crisis age and he started to dye his hair to cover the gray coming in, he obsessed over his fancy luxury car, became increasingly meticulous about his grooming and dressing and more insecure about his lack of college degree and my MBA (which I never even thought about). When I met him he was a Levis and t-shirt kind of guy (which I loved) but to keep up with my style he went to True Religion and Seven jeans, Cole Haan shoes and designer shirts from Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. He said it was all for me because he wanted to be his best with me but a few days after we broke up he picked up and started dating a younger Thai gal who speaks little english and works at a Thai massage parlor, ick... complete 180 from me. I clearly really put him off!

 

And now I've hijacked Surprise's thread, sorry! PH, thanks for your answer to my rhetorical question... it honestly does help to read it and I have read your reply three times to try to get it so sink in. Even though my mind has been telling me to run for five months now my heart just refuses to give up. It astounds me the strength of my heart to grasp on so tight to the whisper of happy memories. If I manage to stop thinking about him all day, every day, I will have awakened from a beautiful nightmare.

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Hi West Coast, sorry to hear of all you are going through. You are out of it and you know it's bad, so don't ever try to go back, that would be punishing yourself. There are a lot of men that have no problem with their women making more or being more successful and even encourage it. When I met my wife, she was 4 years older then me stuck in a dead end job although doing OK for herself. I supported her and pushed her out of her comfort zone and she made crazy advancements to the point of where she was known public figure and surpassing me. She recognized she could not have done it without me and appreciated it tremendously even to this day. Then we had our first child she wanted to become a stay at home mom and that is where we are today. I never had a problem with the money she made or attention she received through media or on TV, I was just proud that she was mine. I don't get couples that view it as a competition. I have always believed just do what you can to be a good partner with whatever you can bring to the table whether finance, support or taking care of things. They all make a difference. The only reason I had no problems with all that is because I have good self esteem. I don't base my identity solely on my income or what I can do. You have to be happy with yourself, know you can do what you put your mind to do and not rely on anyone else for any of that. Sounds like he did not have those ducks in a row and no matter how hard you try, that's just not the person he is.

 

To answer the question why we are with these people is multi-faceted. First off there is the factor of how many times we meet people that we feel chemistry with so we take chances on people. Then you add on that we view them like sweet little birds that just need someone to care for them for just a little to be able to spread their wings (we tend to want to care for people). We don't really know what we are getting into until later on. Then top it off with our unwillingness to fail. We will try harder then most to make things work and are willing to overlook some bad faults to do so. The story might be a little different for each person, but the core is the same. In my case, it was the sweet semi innocent woman that had been dealt a bad hand in marriage in relationships before and after (my ex had been not so innocent and not so sweet). I saw my wife's worth even though she did not. She blossomed and things became amazing. Our friendship and love is still strong even though she still has issues and has hurt me deeply. I have so much positive in our relationship that I am willing to fight to try to get over the negative. I have enough good to give it my all, but most people that I read about do not and they are still trying or longing for their ex. If I did not have a strong friendship, if I did not believe how much she loves me, if I did not have so much happy time with her, I would definitely walk away. Each person has their own limits and when I am in the middle of things it can be overwhelming. PH Suite has some very good points. You deserve to be happy just like everyone else here, so make sure you do things to make that happen in your life choices!

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Hi everyone,

 

Hindsight truly is 20/20, isn't it? I think we all need to be better friends to ourselves, first and foremost. Sometimes I try to see it from the outside--if I saw that my friend was being treated this way, what would my advice be? Would I want her to get out, to get help?

 

My friends and family have said to me, 'you're a fixer.' There is this social worker side of me that wants to help people, that doesn't want to leave them alone, that wants to see them succeed and improve and be happy, and that is often let down. I'm also a perfectionist and an over-achiever, and I find it difficult to give up on people. I get stuck in these situations at the expense of my own happiness and sanity, and perhaps this is what you are doing as well. It's hard to catch yourself, but you can start to see patterns and redirect. Before my current relationship, I was with a man for 8 years who was deeply depressed with no support network other than me. I stayed in that unhappy relationship years longer than I should have for that reason---I felt badly for him and I didn't want him to be all alone (he was also struggling while I was flourishing in college and professionally). Now that I'm out of that relationship (20/20) I can clearly see all of the problems, and I am so glad that I got out--there was no way I could ever have been happy with him. SURPRISE, your story with your ex resonated with me. It's so hard to see the truth up close, when we are so invested emotionally in something that doesn't suit us. West Coast, I think what we're learned is that it takes time and space and self reflection to find peace, and I know that you will find peace if you give yourself time and really focus on yourself away from your ex. I've been in your shoes, too, and it certainly didn't feel like things would get better or that I would ever feel whole again, but I did--I ended up so much better off. You have to experience all of that pain and even learn to embrace that pain before you can move forward. It sounds like you're a very empowered and adventurous person and you're going to flourish.

 

Fast forward and I'm in another relationship with a man with serious issues, and I've gotten used to putting up with a tremendous amount of pain and doubt. SURPRISE, you've inspired me with your focus on setting boundaries and communicating. Yesterday, I literally wrote out 10 'Terms and Demands' that I then sent to my boyfriend and said, 'this is what I need from you if this relationship is going to work,' and he said, 'thank you. I wanted that. I can do all of these things' and he sent me a signature. It feels good to advocate for yourself and demand what you want and need!

 

Thank you all! This is such a therapeutic interaction!

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That is awesome LostinLove7983!! I am so glad to hear you moving in this direction! Don't forget to get his list and go over it with him as well! His might be incompatible with you! It's a two way street for success!! I have been motivated lately by my wife praying at lunch time together for us to continue to get better and then for her to get the help and solutions she needs! We need to see them get off their butts and do something and acknowledge the issues! We are worth it!

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Thank you! I think it's wonderful that you and your wife are working together to solve the issues you're having. It does take a great deal of commitment on both sides. The problem I have with my boyfriend is that he seems to think that if we aren't talking/fighting about it at that moment, then everything is okay, and he starts to slip back into his old ways. I'm afraid that if/when this all blows over, he'll go right back to his nasty old habits, feeling safer that he isn't jeopardizing the relationship. Have you had this issue at all with your wife? Like, smooth sailing = safety = back to old ways? You said before that you think he might be pacifying me, and this pattern DOES make me feel that way. Like he's just going through the motions to make me think he's working on things so that I don't leave, but he's not really committed to changing. I hope that isn't the case. I'm glad that your wife seems to be doing a lot to show you that she's committed to being better.

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You are welcome! Thank you. My wife slips with alcohol some times not because we are not communicating but because she does not have the tools to change things. She does get comfortable that I am not breathalyzing her as frequently enough I believe though and then tries to slip the drinking by me. Bad behavior with no tools to change equals more bad behavior. Hopefully the CBT will be a great step in that direction. At this point anything is better then nothing so we at least have a chance of not falling back in the the same old problem. If your BF is pacifying you, he will slip back in to his old ways for sure and you have to have a game plan then before you get emotional about it so you can act on what is best for you at that time. This is again where communication comes back in to play. You tell him "If this happens again, I will leave even if I don't want to leave or even if still love you, there won't be another chance to change because I deserve better." Then you have to live by it. If you don't, get ready to be walked on big time. It's sad, but you will survive and move on to better things if you are forced to. Just like my ex wife. She did not see the value in me clearly until later and now wants to be friends again 20 years after the divorce. Truly her loss.

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What would you say are 'tools to change?' Other than therapy, of course. My partner is also embarking on CBT, which I really hope helps him figure himself out. I've done CBT in the past, and it was a great help to me in controlling my feelings and my behavior around those feelings, especially during very trying times in my life. (I just re-entered therapy this morning because of this issue.) I hope it's helpful for your wife; I'm sure it will be.

 

I feel very weak at the moment and am afraid that my boyfriend IS beginning to walk on me, because I did give him an ultimatum when I first discovered his 'problem,' and then when I discovered the sexual conversation with his coworker a little over a month ago, I tried multiple times to leave but was talked into staying, and didn't follow through. (Have you ever not followed through on something like this with your wife? I've read about co-addiction and co-dependence, and this is one of the traits. We're both with addictive individuals and I hope we're not falling into that trap.) That was what brought on his willingness to go to therapy and seek out a support group specific to sex addiction. Finally. He should have done it months ago, but I think my attempts to walk out the door lit a fire under him. It was the closest he has come to losing me. Why didn't I leave like I said I would? I'm still hopeful that he'll change, and I guess I didn't think that one flirtatious/sexual interaction was enough to end the relationship, though, with all of these things together, it absolutely is. I have a bad habit of minimizing my partner's behavior. I don't know if you do this as well, but I tend to try to be too tough sometimes, tell myself I'm being a baby and things aren't so bad, he didn't TRULY cheat, etc. etc. I need to remember that what he did is unacceptable, there's no excuse, and I'm allowed to be hurt. Do you ever find yourself trying to minimize?

 

I truly will leave if I continue to be hurt, and it's not too late to tell him that again. Thank you for the suggestion. I'm not afraid, for the most part, of being on my own again. My main fear, I suppose, is that I'll leave and wonder if we could have been fine, if he really could have turned himself around. Once again, time will tell. My other fear, or just preoccupation, is that I'm 27 and I AM looking for THE ONE, at this point. It would be a shame to start all over again, when my boyfriend and I thought we were in it to win it. But 27 is not old! This is 2015. It's a silly fear to have. It's not like I'll die alone. Anyway, I digress.

 

Thank you again for corresponding! Yes, it truly IS your ex wife's loss! You seem like a keeper!

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Tools to change are him getting help and or too if you need it, standing your ground is a biggy. If you make a big threat, you have to be willing to keep it or you just end up being walked on. I have been guilty of minimizing as well as over reacting after all, we are human right? They have to understand what we won't except. After many attempts to make things better and if he can't, then leaving should not be a what if. It should be a I did all I could and it was never going to be what I needed it to be to be happy. I deserve better and it's time I stand on my own two feet and find it. 27 LOL, my first marriage ended at 26 I met my wife and I was 29 she was 33. We had our first child when she was 36 and 2nd she was 39. You have plenty of time Thank you, my pleasure. You do too, I can't imagine you would have a hard time with your good attitude and caring, so don't be afraid of doing it over, you would only know what you want that much better and work harder to find the right person!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I go home at lunch and she is drunk. It's only 12:50 pm and the kids are home on winter break. She is trying to do something and acting out of it so I question her and she says she is fine. She's short with me about everything and I ask her if she has been drinking and she says no. I told her it's time to do a breathalyzer test and when we get upstairs she tells me she had a small bottle of wine. I ask her where it is and she said she got rid of it. Come to find out she said she bought it 3 days ago and had it in her trunk. When she took my youngest shopping today, she poured it at her trunk in to a water bottle and brought it in the house when she got home then drank it. She says she tossed the bottle at the store and rinsed out the water bottle after she drank it. I don't know if she drank it and drove but I know they were home at 12:30 when she said she drank it. I took her keys just in case. We went away from the kids and had an argument about it. I know she has a hard time around Christmas since her dad died about 7-8 years ago. She brings that up and just apologizes that seem like pacification. Last year she ruined Christmas by drinking on Christmas eve and I had to do everything I could to hold it together and make Christmas eve OK for my kids. She wanted to keep me in the bedroom with her when she was upset rather then go down and spend Christmas eve with the kids. I had almost forgotten about that until things went wrong today. Everything in life with her is really good then she drinks and I am left trying to figure out what to do. She is planning to get Cognitive Behavior Therapy after the holidays and my only hope is that this helps. I have a tendency to want to end the relationship but I have 2 kids to think about and also I know that if I send her on her own, she is going to fall off the deep end and she has already hinted on several occasions that she would hurt herself if she were not with me. I believe she loves me but this stuff keeps taking a toll on me. She talked with me Sunday night telling me she was having trouble with the holidays and wanted to have a glass of wine and I have never told her no, so I got her one. I only ask that she not drink when I am not around or hide it from me. She can't seem to do that and I am not sure how to handle it. Our relationship has become even better then before but the drinking just puts me in a bad place. If she had asked me if it were OK for wine tonight she knows I would have said OK. She knows if I don't regulate at least some she goes off the deep end and she will end up having to detox with DT's and all kinds of stuff. I love this woman so much and she makes me so happy and so much of our life is amazing. I just wish she could do better. I have made it through a lot of stuff. Now I am back at my office trying to keep it together for the rest of the day when all I want to do is go somewhere and cry. This stuff tears me up and yet she repeats the same thing. I have to figure out my game plan if she can't change this. For now I am going to bank on CBT and see where it goes.

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