Impatience was one of my biggest enemies- and I still fight it. It's hard to be patient when you want so much to be healthy. I think you're doing remarkably well.
"There would be no grand absolution, only forgiveness meted out in these precious sips. It would well up from his heart in spoonfuls, and he would feed it to me. And it would be enough."
I just want my marriage back.
"True commitment begins when we reach the point of not knowing how we can possibly go on, and decide to do it
Every time I smell depression or frustration on my husband, I get anxious, too, because I know what sends him off into fantasy land.
Wow, we just went through this again. My FWH first went online when he was unemployed and depressed. That was five years ago. He was employed but still "unhappy" three years ago when he went online again.
Last Fall he was unemployed again, slightly depressed and I was on needles and pins expecting a relapse into his online escape, but it didn't happen. He did things very differently this time.
FWH said that he wasn't even tempted since it isn't an escape anymore. Online affairs create more drama than he really wants in his life.
It took the circumstances being similar, but the actions being different for me to finally "get" that he was done with his former online life/escape.
One thing that has helped a lot with him being online is ongoing discussion on the topic of what he will do, how he will respond if any of those women come fishing. He knows what "fishing" is now, and he and I are in agreement that he will be open about any contact he receives, he will not contact any of those OW himself, and he will be short and not so sweet to those who do contact.
For 23 years he was faithful, so I am fairly certain he knows what that entails. I also know his behavior when things get out of hand, and he is a terrible actor.
As Fallen says, tiny steps is still progress!
It was (is?) a huge struggle for me to get him to understand that even if nothing more happened, what DID happen was enough!!! I even have to question myself sometimes when I am feeling devastated by this and ask "was what he did really that bad?". I know the answer is yes, but I think the question itself underscores the weirdness of this type of infidelity.
Inchoate - Thank you so much for your post. It sounds like you truly 'get it'. We are in MC and my FWBF is starting to realize how hurtful his actions were. He now says his definition of infidelity was far too narrow and he understands now that "even what he did" qualifies. He still minimizes sometimes ("all I did was type things", "I ONLY cheated with my mind and fingers") and it makes me very sad when he does because I figure he just doesn't get it. Time will tell.
You were not, nor are you, crazy for feeling like this is infidelity. It is!
It really has a bizarre quality, since most online affairs happen in your home, with the betrayed close by.
I think it has a real insidious nature to it, because the BS often minimizes the whole thing because it is "only online."
But it hurts all the same!
It's certainly easier to carry out an EA that way. That kind of daily talking allowed me to believe that I had a special connection to the OP. In retrospect, it's so easy to see how a WS/OP can manipulate the chat to appear in the best possible light.
He often said "It was easy...they all talked to me..." and I would look at him and think "If only they knew what you looked like while wooing them in those IM boxes.." I also realize that there were a lot of women still in robes and sweats and hair uncombed utilizing the same method to feed their egos.
I did tell him one time that he took the lazy man's way of cheating. I might have had more respect for him at the time if he had dressed up, cleaned up and gone out and worked on wooing someone IRL. He would have had to put some effort into it.
Now he is working ... very hard...to woo me.
I guess that is what adds to the surreal aspect of the online thing...that "intimacy" that isn't really intimate, person to person, but screen to screen.
The anonimity adds a "safety" factor regarding what a person shares about him or herself. It did add this level of "saying it all" that face to face would not allow for my husband.
I guess for me, it was the fact that my husband has a learning disability that makes reading and writing difficult for him, and then he got so proficient just to screw around on me. Yep that pissed me off. But I've made it through that part of healing. It also helps that he reads what I write now, instead of glancing and putting aside.
[This message edited by decievedone at 1:03 PM, April 23rd (Monday)]
My WH had the Internet Affair as well and even if she was (is) 4000 miles away and I KNOW there was never anything physical between them that means little to me at this point. It was still an Affair. In some ways the IA is worse than the PA because in the IA they share all of their deepest thoughts and feelings with the OP. They have the freedom to say things to them they could or would never say to us.The things he would tell her he was doing to her were always so much more Romantic than anything he ever actually did with me.
This is the most painful thing for me. It didn't matter where she was or where we are. They had such an intimate connection. I think I would almost rather he had just screwed someone instead of falling in love and sharing so much of himself with someone else.
I don't know if I will ever get over the emotional bond they shared. It just kills me.
Better off I sparkle on my own ~ Anna Nalick
Keep in mind that even if it seemed romantic, intimate, etc. it was still fake, just like an in-person EA or PA.
It is SO SO SO easy to present yourself as this glamorous, understanding, articulate person online. You've got all the time in the world to come up with the perfect words, there is the appearance of no interruptions (even if hours or days pass between replies), and the other person doesn't know that you're sitting there in your stinky sweats with nose hair sticking out.
Online EAs progress so rapidly and get so extreme because there is absolutely NO intrusion of the real world, to an even greater degree than usual with affairs, which are by definition all about the fantasy.
Online "lovers" are the most two dimensional, manufactured creatures that ever could exist.
I told my BS that one reason I allowed this to happen and didn't recognize the seriousness of what I was doing until far too late was that it was almost like journaling to me, albeit with an audience. If I were desirable, interesting, funny, sexy, etc., this is what I would be like. And all it was, was two people engaged in the construction of their fantasy selves, who were so much more successful in their fantasy lives than they were in their real lives.
The most superficial "pass the salt" exchange between you and your spouse has pounds more reality and intimacy than any of this online bullshit, I assure you.
[This message edited by Inchoate at 9:54 AM, April 25th (Wednesday)]
Did you ever deny what you were doing was cheating? Just wondering because it has taken a very long time for my WH to admit that he took it way too far.
Even though he knew it hurt me, he considered his online actions all "harmless flirting" for a long time, until the last person, which turned into a heated, year-long EA.
It really does help bring that surreal aspect into some palatable form. It still doesn't "taste" very good, but at least I can look at what you have written and see the fascination and swallow some of the reasoning that goes on behind it.
I am glad the FWS's that have been there are able to be here!
wasfooled, I managed a kind of denial, but it wasn't really specific to the online-ness of it all. Nope, I was one of those who'd convinced myself that I was seeking a little comfort to be able to stay in my bad marriage long enough to wait for a better day . I honestly don't see *any* difference between an online EA and any other EA, other than that they can get a lot more sexual without as much increased risk of a PA than an in-person EA. And in that respect, it's even harder to pretend what you're doing isn't cheating. I recognize that when the EA seems asexual it's harder to recognize that it's still a giving away of marital resources, but when it's all about sexual fantasizing and scenario-writing? Puh-lease!
Any denial I'd managed was completely swept away by the look on my BS's face on D-day, though. :(
It doesn't doesn't matter whether it was betrayal by anyone else's standards, anyway. All that matters is that it was by hers.