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User Topic: Betrayed Men Part 3
caretoomuch
♂ Member
Member # 12625
Default  Posted: 4:30 PM, November 26th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi guys Been away for awhile trying to deal with Day to day crap. Work and the biggest hurdle in my life. I think we are in R . WW still wants to let the water flow under the bridge and out to see. Me,I am considering my options every day. The A takes away the magic eyes alright. Now every other woman is an option....No nothing has happened. Its just the way the world looks. REALITY. Sad isnt it?
Hope the rest of you find happiness in the path you take.


2006..Me 48
WW 47 OCD/ Sex Abuse by brother
Married 21 years,together 27
Teenagers
PA when engaged and now 3 1/2 yr PA with best friend
Dday 10 Nov 2006
Dont feel too bad ,people destroy the ones they love all the time.Its n

Posts: 640 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: floating, 2012..going
takinthelongway
♂ Member
Member # 16054
Default  Posted: 12:26 PM, November 27th (Tuesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I read alot that it is more rare for the WW (in my case WSO) to find their way back to the life partner after initially choosing the other man. It's been termed in other places as the Wayward Wife Syndrome. That they withdrawn long before the life partner got word of this and thus they've already checked out once it hits the fan.

My question...I have been holding on and hoping things will change. My WSO has yet to fully start a relationship with the OM (since he has moved and she said she wasn't ready to full pursue a 'relationship' as we were in limbo), but has her sights set on this. I hear the I will always love you thing, but am told that the dynamics of our relationship are not what she wants (despite the fact that the initial relationship is done and gone and that we'd have to start anew). So is it possible the fog will lift...when are the WSO's too far gone?


BSO: me, 30 (now 31)
WSO: her, 29 (now 30)
D-day; May 20, 2007
Together six years
Co-own house...& pets

Posts: 61 | Registered: Sep 2007
caretoomuch
♂ Member
Member # 12625
Default  Posted: 4:17 PM, November 27th (Tuesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What a question. Trust!?. How can you ever trust what they say again. To me its all just a means to an end. They can do without the sex as long as the other needs are met and the behaviour from us isnt too bad after the A. My WW says all the right things appears remorsful. She has declared she has NO interest in intimacy. If we statr to talk deeper its all "psychbabble". Where am I in all this ,waiting for her to atone for her misdeeds as true remorse would suggest is appropriate.How? By extending herself to my needs.Companionship, affection, Trust, General support,Intimacy, Attending to her attractiveness, Communication etc etc. Yes inspite of all the crap written about this ,this atonement MUST be lopsided. She is the archetect of her rejection of this M. If she now wants this to move forward ,SHE will need to do her work. Her pain if there is any is for her to treat as is mine. But the repair of the relationship is balanced to her side. Thats just the way it is. I dont care about the day to day household crap. Emotional rehab is taht which I need. Her persisting failure will break us up. As above I think she checked out of the M years ago when she serviced the POS. Thats what women do as outlined above.She stays because of the shame financial etc support she gets. There is no real love as we would expect. She is selfish and is wasting my life to get her own physical needs. That makes me a whore of sorts. What do I use to get what needs I have. Money for dinner and domestic support.Perhaps we are all whores exploiting some aspect of ourseleves to get what we want. Love is trusting the other person to give back unconditionally and to be able to trust in this to the exclusion of others. This is not a marriage is just gutless convenience.
A year out and here I am ..this isnt how its supposed to be.


2006..Me 48
WW 47 OCD/ Sex Abuse by brother
Married 21 years,together 27
Teenagers
PA when engaged and now 3 1/2 yr PA with best friend
Dday 10 Nov 2006
Dont feel too bad ,people destroy the ones they love all the time.Its n

Posts: 640 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: floating, 2012..going
hurts
♂ Member
Member # 9444
Default  Posted: 8:46 AM, November 28th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

care - man I can so hear what you are saying. I like the emotional rehab as a requirement. I think that is kind of what I need also, yet I also know it will never appear from W.

I keep getting told that if I choose to stay in this relationship, then I have to accept the status quo. It is true, she is not going to move or to bend over to fix this problem, just as I don't see yours doing.

I know that I am trying to find a balance in his life. I do not choose to move on. And I need to find something of me in the mix. Have you found any of you with in the NEW dynamics of your relationsip. Can you live with this evolving transition from the old to the new M. Can you find acceptance to her stonewalling the emotional and subduing the intimate needs.

I guess it is all in flux. I know I have not found my answers yet either. I can deal with it sometimes and sometimes it overpowers me. But I am trying to find that acceptance. I know that I, within myself am afraid to jump back out into the world and to try and find just another atempt at a relationsip. I carry as many problems as her. So I feel like this is gonna be as good as it gets a this stage of life.

Feeling for you man, hang in there. Try to find something for you in this crap mess.

takingthelongway - man I am out of my league there. I think he thing I am missing is where is her and your committment to each other. Does she just see you guys as a moment in time until OM gets back. How does she stat her feelings to a LTR with you. She can say she loves you but what are her actions to support that, the little ones on the daily basis. Where is your connection.

I think these count just as much as the big ones do, for they are cummulative. As to being to far gone, is anyone ever too far gone. I would tend to believe more that is it worth the effort and the damage to try ad rekindle what is lost. If she waffled because you are in limbo, and you want it, what are you doing to promote you guys. As I understand it, she had an EA and never made it to PA. EA's hurt, I know this, it is a big stick in my back also. But your SO has not jumped to the PA, this is something. If you want to keep a relationship, figure out what you are willing to pay (emotionally) and then persue it. I really do believe that if you risk nothing, you can gain nothing. Bear in mind, I am taking a biger beating emotionaly han I figured. I am not sure I would have jumped in if I had seriously thought about the path I am on. But I am here and I am committed to it. I risk everything, I hope to win someday, but I also realize the trail is very long, quite arduious and may never summit, but I am traveling it.

Choose a path, calculate the expense (to you and to the both of you) and start n it. Every journey begins with the first step. Just remember, your committment is not hers unless you try to bring her on board to the committment. In my case, both W and I do want the same outcome, just a very hard journey with many potholes and roadblocks. They do exist. But a team effort makes them easier.

Good luck, let us know how things fair.

But also as many wisely say here, hope for the best, but be prepared for the worse.


Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
--- Charles M. Schulz
SO if I check my pulse, and it is not there, do I get the day off?

Posts: 8381 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: At Home
caretoomuch
♂ Member
Member # 12625
Default  Posted: 4:38 PM, November 28th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Realized over the past few days ( why I am here) that it really is over. Apart from the history of 28 years (Take away 4 for affairs), she is just another woman who I came to trust more than any other. This trust on which this solemn intimate relationship was based has been destroyed. Thus the relationship is destroyed.Get that level of trust back....I dont think so.
She is now damaged goods.
What she did frees me from any obligation.
Simply put I dont trust her from further behavioural abberations to having my best interests at heart. Whatever the reasons behind her 4 year A (god knows she is mixed up) ,it is NOT to me to fix her. I am not a Knight ISA. She shot my white steed. I just pray I can find someone worthy of what I can offer and hope I can be worthy of them.
I know if there is any infidelity in the future I wont waste my time waiting for them to have some great psychologically introspective epiphany.
WHAT PEOPLE DO( UNDERLINE DO) DEFINES THEM.I refuse to slither into and suffocate in denial. IMHO those that can cope with LTAs double betrayals and all the shit Ive been through simply have something I dont. I suspect what it is cant be got rid of and cant be got.
The only reason WW doesnt want me to go is that if I do go, all will be exposed to people who are closer to her.
It has nothing to do with me.


2006..Me 48
WW 47 OCD/ Sex Abuse by brother
Married 21 years,together 27
Teenagers
PA when engaged and now 3 1/2 yr PA with best friend
Dday 10 Nov 2006
Dont feel too bad ,people destroy the ones they love all the time.Its n

Posts: 640 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: floating, 2012..going
hurts
♂ Member
Member # 9444
Default  Posted: 1:48 AM, November 29th (Thursday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

care - I can so hear what you are saying. I think I am approaching the point also. But yet something in me is going to stay at it. I am begining to think it is truely the coward in me. But I also tend to think is that I am more afraid of myself than I am of anything else.

I condeme her behavior, and yet i keep hearing what bad things i do. And as I become closer to really understanding thse comments as a real truth, well, lets just say I have a hard time walking from it when it should be the other way around. I almost think I would walk off from myself.

I know I am rambling, but I do undrstand (i think) your perspective. I know how had this road is, in my younger days, I don't think I would have tried to stick it out.

I sure hope you can find that path away, and that you do find that all elusive happiness. You sure deserve it.

Stick around a bit, we need your insight and I would hope you might want a bit of support in the journey.

Thoughts and Prayers your way.


Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
--- Charles M. Schulz
SO if I check my pulse, and it is not there, do I get the day off?

Posts: 8381 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: At Home
crdanuk
♂ New Member
Member # 17249
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, December 2nd (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

All of this is pretty worrying stuff. I only found out about A six days ago, and still trying to come to terms with it. To see you guys still dealing with such complex emotions >12 months down the line suggests this is going to be a long road if we (or more appropriately she) chooses ro reconcile.

What were people's initial reaction to the infidelity? At the moment, I'm desperate to make it work although W is not at all in the place (although we are at MC). Is my reaction a common first thought? Does this gradually change over time?


26th November 1997 – first proper “date”
26th November 2007 – D-Day #1
28th December 2007 – D-Day #2
8th February 2008 – D-Day #3
15th February 2008 – WW moves out

Posts: 42 | Registered: Dec 2007 | From: Northamptonshire, UK
caretoomuch
♂ Member
Member # 12625
Default  Posted: 4:27 PM, December 2nd (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi crdanuk. I have thought long about my 1st reaction. I suspect I saw the loss staring me down of my M, the effect on our children. The loss of those "magic eyes" one has for their spouse when things seemed to be going well.
My reaction...INCANDESCENT,NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN, BARELY CONTROLLABLE FURY. RAGE that I had never known before.
The threat this posed to my happiness,self esteem was seemingly overwhelming. I have no doubt I was capable at that time of a serious felony. And enjoyed the revenge.
I now know the A was about them. It didnt define me. I know they have both had their own pain and it continues.
Affairs and consequences should be taught in school as part of life 101.
I immediately set about looking after myself.
What was interesting was the rollar coaster so many talk about. Episodes of that rage bubbled up. I could not really control when they came only barely the consequences.
I started to settle down when my WW told me that she would stick to the M but asked me to stop coz if we stayed together and I continued what I seemed to be doing all I would have left would be a shell of a wife.
At this point if I could go back 20 years pre children I would leave . Even now I fluctuate between running and staying.
WW making the effort to want to be with me seems to defuse despair BUT my problem is I dont have the capacity to drift into denial. The A is REAL all the time.
I wonder if I had caught them full bore in the act whether I would still be here.I have never seen comments regarding this. Hard to deny what you gave seen yourself.
We have an ENORMOUS amount of work to do. Time and WS's behaviour is the key. I think.
You are just starting out. Read these threads ,there is SO much experience and wisdom here. I know we arent you , but people arent THAT much different.


2006..Me 48
WW 47 OCD/ Sex Abuse by brother
Married 21 years,together 27
Teenagers
PA when engaged and now 3 1/2 yr PA with best friend
Dday 10 Nov 2006
Dont feel too bad ,people destroy the ones they love all the time.Its n

Posts: 640 | Registered: Nov 2006 | From: floating, 2012..going
hurts
♂ Member
Member # 9444
Default  Posted: 7:17 PM, December 2nd (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hey cradnuk. Sorry ha you ae here but welcome also. I is a great support. I have been here for two years almost and find the ability to just say stuff and release some tension helps.

I am not in a position to offer anything but support. But keep coming here and you will find a path to follow. there is also some great advice on situaions like yours. As care said, read through he posts, it helps.

keep posting, vent and do what is necessary to take care of yourself.


Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
--- Charles M. Schulz
SO if I check my pulse, and it is not there, do I get the day off?

Posts: 8381 | Registered: Jan 2006 | From: At Home
RonL
♂ Member
Member # 16018
Default  Posted: 1:06 AM, December 7th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I haven't posted much lately, or at all really. Still trying to deal with my issues and I introduced my WW to this site in hope she may gain something from it, not sure if that worked or not. Reading through your posts was pretty depressing as it makes me see I'm in the same boat. We have been in MC for some weeks now, my wife is in IC and sarted AD's yesterday. She told me she needed the meds because she was not happy, apparently all the issues brought up in MC and my attempt to resolve them have not been successful in getting her to feel any better about us. Says she feels panicky about splitting up, she's a SAHM and would be looking at a major lifestyle change. Yet, she also feels panicky about the prospect of a future with me. I've heard her tell me she looks at me and feels nothing, the intimacy is gone because she says she needs to feel a connection to do that. I try to come home in good spirits, strike up a conversation, be supportive but just don't get much engagement in return. I think I know why, I think she's just too far checked out. I asked what changed, was it me? did I turn into something she no lomger wanted to be with or married to? She said no, it was her, she changed. I guess what she wanted and expectations changed. Said something to the effect that I was content with sitting back and let retirement come by. Well I don't really believe that because I've got a long ways to go. Perhaps I was a little too tight with the money and didn't get out as much as she'd like but I'm also trying to save for the kids college and put something away for retirement.

I'm fairly certain she has been NC with the OM but it's possible there has been some texting however I have no proof. I also feel like she will want D or S after the holidays. Strangly I am at peace but what a waste. I've come to conclusion I have no control here, I cannot fix things nor transform myself into somebody else. I can only control my actions and behaviors and will continue to work on my issues. I told her all I can do is love her, try to support her and be her friend. I had to let the anger go as it would tear me up. I can't help thinking though her, for lack of a better description, midlife crisis is going to tube our marriage. She said she didn't want to hurt me and I'm a good guy, in the spirit of the "nice guy" thread in general I guess you'll find me in the caboose with my feet kicked up on the table drinking a whiskey.......it's ok


D Day August 2007
Me BS 46
WW 42
Married 10 yrs
Son 8
Stepdaughter 17

Posts: 70 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: Pacific Nothwest
kxm00
♂ Member
Member # 14075
Default  Posted: 8:37 AM, December 7th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

"Said something to the effect that I was content with sitting back and let retirement come by. Well I don't really believe that because I've got a long ways to go. Perhaps I was a little too tight with the money and didn't get out as much as she'd like but I'm also trying to save for the kids college and put something away for retirement."

That is about the same thing I got from my STBXW. She changed and I was content with life.

You seem to be taking it real well. I wish I could let go as easily as you have. I'm about three weeks away from my D being finalized and almost five months from D-day #2 and I still have a lot of anger.

Here I thought it was only men who had a mid-life crisis. In the end, that is essentially what did in my marriage. It is sad and infuriating.

She came and got all of her stuff last weekend and moved into her new apartment. It was all I could do, not to breakdown in the middle of it. When the van pulled away, I cried and cried. Then the anger came and I changed the locks.

Over the past week, the anger has subsided a bit, but I'm sure something will come which will trigger it again.

The only salvation for me, is knowing it is over vs. hoping it doesn't end.

I can give you one piece of advice, something I wish I had known from the outset.

I recently began reading a book called The Secret. It professes the power of positive thinking. While I don't necessarily buy into everything it says, but I do believe I allowed myself to fall into a trap.

After Dday #1 in June 2006, I spent the next year thinking, "Please don't cheat again. Is she cheating again? Should I check?"

While I think many people have the same thoughts, I don't think it is healthy and conducive to moving forward. If you keep thinking and looking for bad things to happen, sooner or later they will.

I've faulted my wife for not committing fully to R, but in the end, I didn't either and I'm not sure if I really could have. If you are moving forward with R, make sure it is because you really want to and move forward with positive thoughts. Don't do it, just to reclaim what is rightfully yours.

And if, after several months, the trust is still not there, maybe it is time to let go.


D-day: 6/25/06
D-day #2: 8/16/07 Found out for sure she was seeing another OM while we were deciding to divorce, separate or work on the marriage.

Divorced 3/5/08.


Posts: 183 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: PA
thyme2go
♂ Member
Member # 12908
Default  Posted: 7:17 PM, December 11th (Tuesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you are moving forward with R, make sure it is because you really want to and move forward with positive thoughts.

kxm00... good point to those who are seriously trying to R.

She said she didn't want to hurt me and I'm a good guy, in the spirit of the "nice guy" thread in general I guess you'll find me in the caboose with my feet kicked up on the table drinking a whiskey.......it's ok

RonL... good to see you around. I am sitting right next to you!

-t2g


BH - no longer 48
3 DD's - (27, 24 and 17)
Divorced on 8/6/09

Posts: 9144 | Registered: Dec 2006 | From: Eastern Washington
thyme2go
♂ Member
Member # 12908
Default  Posted: 2:50 AM, December 17th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


-t2g


BH - no longer 48
3 DD's - (27, 24 and 17)
Divorced on 8/6/09

Posts: 9144 | Registered: Dec 2006 | From: Eastern Washington
wildturkey
♂ Member
Member # 13629
Default  Posted: 5:47 AM, December 17th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

RonL, I can relate.

At some point in our M, steady, loyal, reliable and dependable became boring to FWW.

Her new needs became fun, excitement, danger, living on the edge, living for today. I didn't meet those needs, OM did. Of course, OM took her out on dates, while I took care of the family, which is of course, dependable, reliable, trustworthy, you know - BORING!


Me - BS
Her - WS
married 20 yrs


I'd like to believe in the healing hands of time
but the truth is I really can't say,
if I'm getting better,
or just used to the pain.

Tracy Lawrence


Posts: 512 | Registered: Feb 2007
RonL
♂ Member
Member # 16018
Default  Posted: 10:14 AM, December 17th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Man I was stronger a few days ago. I can't help the feeling that the cause of her unhappiness is ME. Not necessarily our communication issues but yours truly. I try to strike up a conversation when I get home but don't get much more than one word or one sentence answers. We don't talk much about us, I don't know if it's because I'm afraid to ask or she'a afraid to face up to what she really feels. She's now moved into the spare bedroom, I guess I've been trying to give her some space and time to figure out what she needs and wants. She's really changed, I think she looks at a future with me and thinks she's going to miss out on many things...WTF?????....like what?????What do you want to do??????

Right now I think what she wants more than anything is her financial independance. She's signed up for some courses so she can find some gainful employment. I've been happy to pay for it but can't help wondering if she'll leave once she get's her financial foot under her. How long do you give someone? how long do you remain little more than a roomate and coparent????How long do you ramain loving and supportive with no fucking clue if it's making a difference or things are improving? The limbo land is killing me, screw the whiskey and pass the tequila....sorry for the rant guys

[This message edited by RonL at 10:37 AM, December 17th (Monday)]


D Day August 2007
Me BS 46
WW 42
Married 10 yrs
Son 8
Stepdaughter 17

Posts: 70 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: Pacific Nothwest
kxm00
♂ Member
Member # 14075
Default  Posted: 2:20 PM, December 17th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ron,

Rant away. Has she given you a reason for moving into the spare bedroom?

-Kevin


D-day: 6/25/06
D-day #2: 8/16/07 Found out for sure she was seeing another OM while we were deciding to divorce, separate or work on the marriage.

Divorced 3/5/08.


Posts: 183 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: PA
thyme2go
♂ Member
Member # 12908
Default  Posted: 4:42 PM, December 19th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

At some point in our M, steady, loyal, reliable and dependable became boring to FWW.

Add stable to the mix and you have me! IMHO the above is anything but exciting... and probably boring to those that love drama in their lives. But I won't/can't change. STBX can have all the bad boys she wants. I prefer to have nobody if it means I must turn "wild". Heck... I don't even care to go to bars. I would rather be hiking, riding my bike, fishing, taking pictures or roasting marshmallows.


RonL - any better today?


-t2g


BH - no longer 48
3 DD's - (27, 24 and 17)
Divorced on 8/6/09

Posts: 9144 | Registered: Dec 2006 | From: Eastern Washington
SerJR
♂ Member
Member # 14993
Default  Posted: 10:18 PM, December 19th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I just want to say that I agree with you 100% on that t2g. If you're not yourself in a relationship are you really even there? You'll find more happiness when you find someone who appreciates you for who you truly are.


Me: BH - Happily remarried.
Hope is never lost. It exists within you - it is real. It is not a force in and of itself - it is something that you create with every thought, action, and choice you make. It is a gift that you create for yourself.

Posts: 17093 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Further North than South
RonL
♂ Member
Member # 16018
Default  Posted: 1:01 AM, December 20th (Thursday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

See my post in general, could really use your guys' thoughts on this one


D Day August 2007
Me BS 46
WW 42
Married 10 yrs
Son 8
Stepdaughter 17

Posts: 70 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: Pacific Nothwest
Strider75
♂ Member
Member # 13596
Default  Posted: 9:20 AM, December 21st (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I posted this in General too...but thought it would look good hanging on the wall in here.

Sudden Divorce Syndrome

Divorce may be the worst thing that can happen to a man's health, finances, and emotional well-being. Yet one in four men who will get divorced this year don't have any clue that it's coming. Here's how to avoid the surprise.

By John Sedgwick,

Like every husband who suddenly turns into an ex, Martin Paul, a pleasant, unassuming 51-year-old, knows exactly where he was when it happened. He was sitting on the back porch of his pricey hilltop house in the Boston suburbs one sunny Saturday morning, relaxing over coffee.

Paul is a professional collector, primarily of coins, but of other rare objects as well: Sonny Liston's ring belt; a submarine that appeared in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. It wasn't easy to build up his collecting business, but he had finally got it humming, and he was pulling down close to seven figures a year. Plus, the oldest of his three sons had suffered a frightening brain injury, but after two years of treatment, he had finally recovered enough to go to college. For the first time in a very long while, life was good.

And so, that Saturday, he wanted to tell his wife he was thinking about finally easing off a little. They'd started going on expensive vacations in Europe and Hawaii, and he figured she'd be pleased at the prospect of taking more trips together, or at least at the prospect of seeing him around the house a little more, and not buried in his basement office. He had met her in graduate school over a quarter century ago, and they'd had their ups and downs, but he was still crazy about her. And he thought that, with a little more time together, she'd be crazy about him again too.

But no. She scarcely listened to any talk of retirement, or of vacations, or of anything he had to say. She had plans of her own.

"I want a divorce," she said.

Paul was so stunned that he thought he must have misheard her. But her face told him otherwise. "She looked like the enemy," he says. He started to think about everything he'd built: the thriving business, the wonderful family, the nice life in the suburbs. And he thought of her, and how much he still loved her. And then, right in front of her, he started to cry.

That night, he found a bottle of whiskey, and he didn't stop drinking it until he nearly passed out.

Things turned sh---- very fast. His wife took out a temporary restraining order, accusing him of attempting to kidnap their youngest son. The claim was never proved in court. Then, with the aid of some high-priced lawyers, she extracted from him a whopping $50,000 a month — a full 75 percent of his monthly income. Barred from the house, he was not allowed regular access to the office he used to generate that income. (On the few times he was permitted inside, his wife did not let him use the bathroom. She insisted that he go outside in the woods.) "My lawyer kept telling her lawyers, 'You're killing the Golden Goose,'" recalls Paul. "But they didn't care."

Crushed by the payments, and unable to work, he soon faced such a severe cash-flow crisis that he had to declare bankruptcy. His wife still did not relent. She charged that Paul had been abusive toward one of their sons. Paul says the charge is absurd, but it did its work, limiting his visitation rights.

Paul was sleepless and nerve wracked; his spirits plunged. He still missed his old life with his family. He missed the sound of it — the bustle of all the activity, the life. "I can't stand the silence," he says. "I miss hearing my wife breathe as she lay in bed beside me." In his desperation, he twice overdosed on prescription medication, but managed to call 911 each time before the drugs took full effect, and medics rushed him to the hospital in time. "I don't want to die," he says wearily. "I want to live. But I can't live with this torture." He did manage to keep a few mementos of his former life. Pictures, mostly. But also the kids' baby shoes. "I was always the emotional one," he says. "But that's all I have — the shoes, a few pictures. That's all. I used to be jovial, happy. But not now. I'm a broken man."

Sudden Divorce Syndrome. You won't find it in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that bible of psychiatric illnesses, but you will find it in life. In a 2004 poll by the AARP, one in four men who were divorces in the previous year said they "never saw it coming." (Only 14 percent of divorced women said they experienced the same unexpected broadside.) And few events in a man's life can be as devastating to his physical, mental, and financial health.
"I meet men all the time who are going through breakups, and it's very common for them to say it caught them by surprise," says Los Angeles-based sex therapist Lori Buckley, PsyD, host of "On the Minds of Men," a weekly relationship podcast on iTunes.

The warning signs are usually there, claims Buckley, but the male mind is simply not very adept at recognizing them. "When women make up their mind that the relationship is over, they stop talking about the relationship," she says. "Men interpret a woman"s lack of complaining as satisfaction. But more often, it's because she's simply given up."

To understand how common this scenario is, consider figures provided by John Guidubaldi, a former member of the U.S. Commission on Child and Family Welfare. Nationwide, Guidubaldi reports, wives are the ones to file for divorce 66 percent of the time, and, in some years, that figure has soared to nearly 75 percent. "It is easier to end a marriage than it is to fire an employee," says Guidubaldi. If she wants out, it's over. "You can get a dissolution of marriage on the basis of nothing."

Oftentimes, men have a divorce sprung on them in midlife, when their kids are more self-sufficient and they've finally started to think they were over the hump. Like Martin Paul, they could start to relax. But that's exactly the time of life when the instance of divorce begins to swell (another occurs shortly after marriage). Joe Cordell, of the law firm Cordell and Cordell, which specializes in representing men in domestic cases, attributes this to wives deciding as they approach age 40 that it's now or never for getting back into the marriage market. It's the same phenomenon as rich guys trading in their long-time partners for trophy wives. Only it's the women who are shedding men

It didn't used to be this way. While divorce has been legal for nearly two centuries, it was long a topic of such mortification that it was considered a last, desperate resort. The 1960s changed all that. The free-love decade both increased the inclination to divorce and dropped the social resistance to it. The rising financial independence of women began to free them from a need to stay in a stultifying or abusive marriage. As a result, divorce soared, doubling by most measures. But the stereotypical divorce story — man marries, starts a family, meets a younger woman, and leaves his wife — just isn't as common as we are led to believe.

"Marriage changes men more pervasively and more profoundly than it changes women," explains sociologist Steven Nock, author of Marriage in Men's Lives. "The best way to put it is, marriage is for men what motherhood is for women." Marriage makes men grow up. Nock observes that many men before marriage are indifferent workers, and, after hours, are likely to be found in bars or zoned out in front of a TV. After marriage, they are solid wage earners, frequent churchgoers, maybe members of a neighborhood protection association. But divorce takes that underpinning away, leaving men strangely infantilized and unsure of their place in the world. They feel like interlopers in the stands at their children's soccer games or in the auditorium for their school plays.

Compounding this pain, men find the deck is stacked against them. The divorce system tends to award wives custody of the children, substantial child support, the marital home, half the couple's assets, and, often, heavy alimony payments.

This may come as startling news to a public that has been led to believe that women are the ones who suffer financially postdivorce, not men. But the data show otherwise, according to an exhaustive study of the subject by Sanford L. Braver, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and author of Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths. "The man is in a lot poorer condition than the popular media portray," he says. "This idea of the swinging, happy-go-lucky, no-worries single guy in a bar... that's just not it at all." The misconception was fueled by Harvard professor Lenore Weitzman's widely cited book, The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America.

Weitzman's 1985 tome claimed that postdivorce women and children suffer on average a 73 percent drop in their standard of living, while the divorced men's standard of living increased by 42 percent. Years later, Weitzman acknowledged a math error; the actual difference was 27 percent and 10 percent, respectively. But Braver says even that figure is based on severely flawed calculations. Weitzman and other social scientists ignored men's expenses — the tab for replacing everything from the bed to the TV to the house — as well as the routine costs of helping to raise the children, beyond child support. Even the tax code favors women: Not only is child support not tax deductible for fathers, but a custodial mother can take a $1,000 per child tax credit; the father cannot, even if he's paying. As "head of the household," the mother gets a lower tax rate and can claim the children as exemptions. If the ex-wife remarries, she is still entitled to child support, even if she marries a billionaire. Indeed, every year men are actually thrown in jail for failing to meet their child-support obligations. In the state of Michigan alone, nearly 3,000 men were locked up for that offense in 2005.

But for many men, the real pain isn't financial, it's emotional: "Men depend on women for their social support and connections," says Buckley. "When marriages end, men can find themselves far more alone than they ever expected." In a large-scale Canadian survey, 19 percent of men reported a significant drop in social support postdivorce. Women are customarily the keepers of the social calendars, and all that is implied by that, providing for what University of Texas sociologist Norval D. Glenn calls the "intangibles" that can create much of a man's sense of place in the world. More often than not, wives send out the Christmas cards; they stitched that cute Halloween costume their daughter wore in second grade; they recall the names of the neighbors who used to live two houses down. The men who bear all these unexpected burdens do so alone, in a strange place, while their ex-wives and children live in the houses that used to be theirs. For an ex-husband to enter that house can feel like trespassing, even though it was paid for with his own money, or sometimes, built with his own hands.

Long before his wife came along, a frame-store owner named Jordan Appel, 55, had built a fine house for himself atop West Newton Hill in one of the fancier Boston suburbs. He loved bringing in a wife and then adding two children. "It felt so wonderful to say 'my wife' and 'my children' and feel part of a community." He volunteered for the preschool's yard sale; his wife took up with a lover. Sometimes she slept with him in Appel's own house; in time, she decided to divorce Appel. As these things go, he was obliged to leave the house, and, as it happened, the community too. Money was so tight that he ended up sleeping in a storage room above his frame shop two towns away. His ex-wife works part-time on the strength of Appel's child custody and alimony payments, and spends time with her boyfriend in Appel's former house. She lives rather well, and he has to make $100,000 a year to support her and the children, which amounts to 70-hour workweeks. One day, he went back to his house and discovered many of his belongings out on the sidewalk with the trash. "My body feels like it's dissolving in anger," he says. "I'm in an absolute rage every single day."

"What are five of the biggest stressors a human being can face?" asks Ned Holstein, MD, executive director of Fathers and Families, a Massachusetts-based reform group for divorced dads. "One: the death of a child. Two: the loss of a spouse. Three: the loss of a home. Four: a serious financial reversal. And five: losing a relationship with a child. All of these except the first are combined in a father's experience of divorce. People always think the man is a lone wolf and he can take care of himself. Well, he's also a human being, and people don't think through what that means for men."

As hard as such deprivations are on the psyche, they can be devastating to a man's health. Recently divorced men are nearly nine times more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts, according to a study by sociologist Augustine Kposowa. "It's not so much the loss of money," he says, "but the loss of children that propels men to suicide." Or it could be a combination. Infuriated by his obligation to pay child support for three children he rarely saw, Perry Manley snuck a hand grenade inside a federal courthouse in Seattle last year and was shot to death by security personnel after they spotted it. The death was termed "suicide by cop." Kposowa has also detected an increased incidence of motor-vehicle accidents among divorced men, either due to a lack of concentration, sleeplessness, or, more darkly, suicide "cloaked as an accident," he says.

Compared with married or single men, divorced men are nine times as likely to be admitted to the hospital, to report difficulties at work, or to suffer significant depression. According to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, they suffer the effects of divorce with the intensity that their wives experience the death of a close friend. And they suffer physical maladies. "Their blood pressure goes up, and so does their cholesterol, and that drives up hypertension, heart disease, coronary artery disease, and peripheral vascular disease," says psychiatrist Arnold Robbins, associate editor of the Journal of Men's Health & Gender. Researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have noted that emotional stress can lead to a dangerous ballooning of the left ventricle, which they term "broken heart syndrome." Says Dr. Robbins: "A lot of metabolic syndromes kick in too, like borderline and type 2 diabetes. There's cirrhosis of the liver from too much drinking. Even prostate problems. It's not a pretty picture."

Scientists have recently come to some possible conclusions as to why this might be so. It may be as simple as a loss of being touched. James Coan, PhD, a psychologist in the departments of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Virginia, found that, for a husband, just holding his wife's hand is enough to reduce the stress associated with the anticipation of pain. Regular sex helps insulate a man from chronic stress, and that can pay off in increased longevity: In a study of 1,000 middle-aged men by researchers at Queen's University in Belfast, men who had sex at least three times a week had half the risk of heart attack or stroke of men who had sex less frequently.

Distressed by such facts, men's groups are springing up around the country. "Think of it," says Stephen Baskerville, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, in Washington, D.C. "A father could be sitting in his own home, not agreeing to a divorce, not unfaithful to his marriage vows, and not abusive, and the next thing he knows, the court has taken his house, his children, and a lot of his money, and then forced him to pay his wife's legal fees and even her psychologist's fees. And he can be threatened with jail time if he resists."

So, how to avoid Sudden Divorce Syndrome? One way, of course, is to avoid marriage. Another way is by working on your marriage when it can still be salvaged. Statistically, end-stage marriage counseling is rarely effective, despite what the counselors might say. Instead, husbands might be wise to pay attention to the essential ratio that — according to John Gottman, PhD, a world-renowned researcher of marriage stability — governs marital success or failure: five to one. That means husbands (and wives) should direct at least five positive remarks or actions to their spouses for every negative one. Any less and the marriage is in trouble. Or, following the much-admired work of Howard Markman, PhD, who holds couples workshops (loveyourrelationship.com), husbands should attune themselves to their wives' "bids" — for attention, for affection, for all the things that sustain a relationship — and do their best to provide for them. In truth, husbands are not built for the demands that wives often place on them; they are less inclined to talk things out or to display emotion. But then, marriage isn't easy for either party. When a wife wants out, it is usually not out of selfishness or senseless cruelty. Sometimes the love simply runs out. Husbands should do what they can to keep that love alive. That way, they might hang on to the many delights that marriage affords and spare themselves the countless horrors that divorce can bring.

But such advice comes too late for the many men like Martin Paul and Jordan Appel, who have already fallen victim to the syndrome. For them, the best, and perhaps only, cure will be time — time to forge a new relationship that can undo the ravages of the previous one. After all, most divorced men, like most divorced women, do remarry. A second marriage is a triumph of hope over experience, yes, but it's the best chance to restore the health and security that so cruelly has been taken away. Even without remarriage, the overwhelming sense of upheaval will gradually fade if the men can only persevere. And, in time, the experience will evolve into a memory that, however bitter, yields a gift of wisdom.


Sometimes I wish there was a way to have do-overs in life.

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