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Are my feelings Valid??


starlight
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Hi everyone,

 

I was hoping for some advice. I am 31 and have been married to my husband (38)for almost 9 years. We have two children.

 

When my husband and I were engaged we went to his sister's 21st birthday party. While I was talking to some other people, he was sitting opposite a girl and she had her leg in between his legs and was very overt in flirting. I was upset and I said something to them both about this and then I just forgot about it. Looking back 9 years later, I'm not sure if I ever resolved this and found out why he let this happen.

 

Anyway, everything has been going fine for the past 9 years. I trusted him completely and really didn't have any reason not to. That is until last year. We went to a work dinner of his in other town. He's a sales rep. Throughout the night, he totally ignored me and I noticed that he was flirting with a woman. i know that he hadn't met her before but the flirting was really obvious. When we got back to the motel, we fought about it and I was really upset because I didn't think that he was ever like this. He was also talking to another woman outside briefly and when I went to go outside, his friend pulled me back in so that I couldn't go out. His friend was really drunk and can be a little devious when trying to cause rifts between people (apparently).

 

So when we returned home I really struggled with my feelings. I felt as though I didn't know this person who I trusted and loved. Then I realised that throughout our relationship there have been signs. About 3-4 years ago one of his customers rang his mobile at about 11pm one night. He didn't answer but when I realised that there was a message I asked him if I could listen it said "hey sexy, Linda and I are in real need of some male company" (can't remember the rest).

 

All of these things have started to pop into my head and I feel as though I should've known. But I don't really have any proof. He even said to me the other night that I had no basis to think he was cheating.

 

Next week he has to go away for a night and I asked him why does it have to be Thursday night because he usually takes our daughter to basketball. Now he thinks that everytime I ask him something I am second guessing him. He thinks that it's a trap and he's sick of it.

 

I am hoping someone could help me with advice because I really don't know what's going on.

Thanks in advance

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Wow, this sounds like it could go either way. However, my gut feel from what you have told us is that you might not have anything to worry about. The fact that you are going back nine and four years for examples might indicate that those were not instances you need to be concerned about - perhaps if something was genuinely wrong then your radar would have gone off before now. The fact that he let you listen to that message four years ago might also indicate he did not participate in anything shady.

 

It sounds like you did not have doubts until last year and the flirting with the woman at the party, is that correct? That's positive. But it sounds like you need to get to the heart of that night and your concerns.

 

What was his story about that night, and has that woman re-entered his or your life to any degree that you know about?

 

How has your marriage been otherwise? Do you think he's happy? Perhaps bored? What sort of character does your husband have? Now there's no way to predict cheating, but I expect it's more likely to occur where there is:

(a) Opportunity, combined with:

(b) Loneliness and/or

© Boredom and/or

(d) Weak moral fibre.

 

If you believe he has integrity and is happy, then maybe it's just an occasionally inappropriate flirty style you need to discuss with him. That's different to cheating. But if you think there's something more, then there are also ways and means to work out how to proceed.

 

In any event, I would certainly advise you don't come accross as accusing him of anything. If he is cheating that will only make him more careful. More importantly, if he is not cheating it will only drive a wedge between you.

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I guess thats what you get for ignoring the signs.

 

Id say file for a divorce and move out with your kids to an apartment. You deserve to be nr.1, don't let him use you as a doormat, show him a lesson that there are consequenses to his act of betrayals.

 

Wow, I'd say this is a bit ... off. How can you tell someone to file for divorce when there are two children involved and no real proof of any acts of treachery that he brought on himself?

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To embellish my point a bit, sales reps are inherently flirtatious - it goes with the territory. And the guy that pulled her aside was likely only flirting with her.

 

Honestly, they are usually very good looking and attractive to the opposite sex, but just because others approach them is not cause for unfounded consequences (filing for divorce). That would seem quite harsh (unless you were being sarcastic).

 

Be careful about the advice you provide, Robo. This person's life as she knows may depend on it. And her children's!

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I think your feelings are legit. But Im not sure what you can do about it being that you haven't really found any hard evidance that he's cheating. He's the one who needs to do something about this. He needs to stop being so flirtatous to start. Thats pretty inconsiderate. It makes sense that you would start to question him. Is he able to see things from your perspective and be somewhat understanding of your fears? I would hope that he could be instead of getting angry. Im sure he would feel the same way if the table was turned.

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He's not really understanding at all. My feeling really only came to the surface in August 06 after we went to the dinner. Then came back the memories of what had happened years ago and I don't feel as though they've been resolved.

 

He does have this ability to 'draw people in' and takes great pleasure in practicing this. He is very attractive and young girls especially find him attractive.

 

He doesn't think that he's doing anything wrong and say's that my feelings are not valid and i have not basis for saying anything to him??

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Of coarse your feelings are valid. There is a reason you feel the way you do. There is nothing wrong with feeling anyway, ever. (In my opinion) I think what can be wrong is how you react to those feelings. They need to be talked about before it gets to a point where you can't take it anymore and begin to make assumptions. I would really hope that he would atleast listen to you and try to understand. He should also know that outwardly flirting infront of you is disrespectful. I think it is anyway.

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Your feelings are always valid, in the sense that if you feel 'em, they're real and should be acknowledged. As anggrace said though, the issue is how you react to them. This can be more problematic.

 

What is not clear to me is if this is a concern that is primarily about flirting or if it's a deeper worry about cheating.

 

Flirting may well be what he does as an attractive man and as a sales rep. It would seem to be par for the course. What needs to happen is to have him understand how this affects you, and build some boundaries around the behaviour that you can both live with.

 

If it's cheating, or potential cheating, that is the issue I guess I come back to my original questions starlight - what kind of man is he? Do you think he might cheat if he could get away with it?

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Do you think he might cheat if he could get away with it?

 

I didn't think that this was possible but now I just don't know anymore.

 

Although in the back on my mind I'm worried about cheating a little but I worry I'm more concerned about 'why' he flirts with attractive women and I feel that he leads them on and they may think that he wants something while he's married to me. It is disrespectful and very hurtful.

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When you've told him how you feel, how have you put it? Perhaps this is a communication issue first and foremost, where you need to find a way to express to him how you feel when you witness certain things, and you need to do this in as unaccusing a manner as possible so he doesn't get on the defensive.

 

Maybe you see a counsellor together?

 

Somehow you guys seem to need a tool for understanding one another and getting past the "your feelings aren't valid" stage. He needs to know that what you feel is just what you feel, and as a team it's not good for you to feel bad. As a team you then both commit to resolving the issue: him by doing what he can to empathise and curb behaviour that others and you take the wrong way, and you by having some faith perhaps, or recognising that his personality is a certain way.

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Startlight, read my signature line. I have struggled with trust for so long and it is sooo much easier and healthier to trust, especially when you have to dig deep into the recesses of your memory for the source of those uncomfortable feelings of distrust that back your feelings now. I think we all should strive to avoid invalidating others, BUT I also think it's important to not overshadow your love with dark doubts. It might help if you expressed how much you loved him and held onto those feelings first before launching into the trust conversations. I have a boyfriend who also likes to draw attention to himself, almost ridiculously so, but that's what attracted us to them in the first place. It's fair to want out at any time, but we really need to have a firm foundation for moving on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, hubby is away tonight for work. He wasn't going to stay but decided that he would this afternoon. He told me that he would ring when I got home around 8pm tonight. It's now 11.37pm and he didn't ring. I tried to ring his mobile at 8 and it was turned off, and tried it again at 8:30pm and it was turned on but now answer. I rang the motel where he is staying and they put me through to his room but there was not answer. I don't know what's going on.

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I'd be upset too if I were you. Just for the factor that it was rather inconsiderate of him, to say the least, that he would ring you, and now he's not!

Then too... to turn off the phone so you cannot contact him...hmmm...bad manners at least.

Why do guys do this? If they aren't going to call when they say they will, why bother saying it in the first damn place???

I know this is your husband... but he needs to take polite enough to make a simple phone call. That's NOT asking too much.

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I think if he's openly cheating, and you are concerned about it... to say what you're feeling isn't "valid" is ludicrous! Of course you are valid in your feelings of being worried. How wouldn't be who was married and their spouse was openly flirting while ignoring them?

That's at least disrespectful... very disrespectful.. and you ARE the mother of his two children.

It sounds like he's just saying you are overacting as a smokescreen. He doesn't want to deal with this bad behavior of his.. so he's going to pass it off on you... like it's "your" problem. Wrong!

The fact that you are supposed to ignore the flirting screams to me that he needs to get his priorities in order.

You come first.. not his customers, especially the female ones. He's a married man, he's go no right to be openly flirting. That's rude.

I don't know.. and i don't want to make you worry. You could hire a private detective if you were really suspicious.

You could just be silent and see what other types of behavior he exhibits, if you let this slide.

I hate to have you waiting on eggshells though. It sounds like maybe, going to a counselor, might be in order.

Have you tried that yet?

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Yes. He rang at midnight. He said that he had gone out for tea and had some beers with some builders ????? He said that he left his phone in the room and didn't realise.

 

What I'm concerned about is that he never leaves his phone anywhere. He has it constantly on him and if he does forget it, certainly realises it immediately. He could've gone to the pay phone and spend 40 cents to call me like he said he would.

 

I strongly sensed by his nervous voice that he was lying about having beers with the builders also. Remember, he has this ability to 'draw people into him' In the last six months and again recently (only last week) he has told me that he doesn't tell me the whole truth and finds it necessary to fib about what's happened etc because he's worried about how I'll react and blow everything out of proportion.

 

I have never been suspicious. That's the weird thing. It's only been in the last six months when we went to his work dinner and I saw his behaviour that I remembered all the other things that had happened. And when those things did happen all that time ago, although I was annoyed, I didn't think too much about it and just moved on.

 

 

It's so frustrating. I feel like he is being really dishonest and that he's trying to justify something because I get upset every time something I think is 'suspicious' happens.

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I have kind of finessed some other advice along these lines that I gave recently. I hope you don’t mind me regurgitating my suggestions from different threads. This is what I would do:

 

- Perhaps it might be a useful exercise for you to think now what it would take for him to say for you to feel 100% okay about the current issues. Work it out in your head, write it down, whatever works for you. Think of all the excuses and reasons he could come up with and try each one on for size - does it seem logical? is it the easiest answer? I think it's worth doing this so you can be prepared for anything. You don't want to ask him about this, get a bland reaction that you accept at the time but that drives you mad with questions a day later.

 

- Write down what you need to say, and finesse it until you are comfortable with it. Get some key messages down, like 5 main dot points. Make these points clear about (a) how you're feeling, (b) what has influenced that feeling, and © what you would like to see changed. Make sure you have solutions proposed, not just problems. Be clear what your own responsibility is too - do what you can to be clear it's not all just up to him to change things.

 

- Pick a quiet time, perhaps after he’s relaxed a bit. Do not make it last thing at night, do not do it over the phone/text/email etc. Don't do it if he's whiny about anything or feeling pressured for some reason. Don't do it when driving or on your way somewhere.

 

- Say to him "honey, I have been thinking about the problems we’ve been having recently and have been rethinking my position”. Do what you can to give him warning while also avoiding the "honey we need to talk" line. Have him relax a bit so you are coming accross like you are prepared to make changes to your own perspective – this will make him less defensive hopefully and more open to listening to you.

 

- Go through your dot points with him. If you are worried you’ll forget, maybe even tell him you got nervous so you wrote some points down. Get your points out and read them to him. Be nice and try not to put pressure on yourself. Do not allow interruptions that threaten to derail what you need to say -if he's get difficult just smile and say it's important, and you're keen to see what he thinks, but you need to finish what you are saying first. Make sure your language is about your perceptions of what's happening, not suggesting he's actually doing bad things. Ideally, this is about providing him the chance to address your perceptions, provide some explanation and help you to see things differently. At the worst this is about coming accross as nice and open but paying attention to inconsistencies and being able to address them objectively enough that he doesn't clam up.

 

- Give him the chance to respond. Be open and don't push him. You need to see this as a chance to find stuff out, not to vent. Make sure you leave some silences – if he’s quiet and dismissive then just smile and keep looking at him. Do not fill in any silences with over-explanation or criticism. If he won't respond say that you'll give him time to think about it, but it is important to you and you'd like for the two of you to feel comfortable raising these things. Ask him if you could have handled this better.

 

I could go on but I won't. These are just my own suggestions and might not work, it depends what he's really like and if there really is a problem or secret he's trying to protect. But my overall advice is to just make sure you are as non-confrontational as possible, clear but not accusing. Be open to his views and listen to him. Don't be a doormat though - if he turns into a jerk you don't need to put up with it.

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Hi everyone,

 

I thought I would do a quick update. I really think I'm on the verge of seperating.

 

DH got home on Friday night and he was acting OK. I deposited some money into his account that I owed him on Thursday before he went away and when he came home on Friday, there was hardly any left. He spent well over $100 for one night.

 

I asked him where all the money went, as I can't give him anymore until I get paid. He told me that he won't answer my question, and that he doesn't need to justify where he spent the money. I didn't ask him anything about who he was with or anything - I thought I'd leave that to another conversation.

 

I should note that I pay all this bills out of my wage, and he is supposed to help me out if the kids need something. Now for the past six months, he has been paying extra off the mortgage, but unfortunately, when the kids need something like new sports shoes, uniforms etc, I have to pay for them.

 

So now, because he won't tell me where the money has gone, I am really cranky and cannot talk to him. He is very much one to tell me that he would rather tell me a fib, then to tell me the truth because of my reaction. He thinks everything I ask him is because I think he's having an affair and thereforeeee won't tell me. All I asked him was to tell me where all the money went.

 

So, at the moment, we aren't talking, he's calling me names and is very highly-strung.

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