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Long-term EA - need your advice

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Jenna2 posted 5/22/2019 14:18 PM

Hi,

We are 14 months in and Iím still not sure whether weíre in R or not. Really need some help and would appreciate any opinion from the SI community.

WH was in a 10-year long-term EA which he never admitted. His perception is that it was only a good friendship as he told all the women he met online that he was not looking for relationship but friendship. He made sure the women are living thousands of miles away so there was no chance to meet up. He was addicted to the affection these women gave him and the good feeling of being wanted.

There was only one particular woman that lasted that long because she was hoping that one day his relationship with me would end and she would have a chance. I stumbled on their text messages. There were sexual contents and ďI love youísĒ. He admitted that he cared for her as a friend. He said if he didnít care for her, it wouldnít have lasted that long. That hurts!

WH hates to talk about his EA and his reason is that the discussion will send me right back to the rabbit hole. I sensed his defensiveness and anger every time when I brought it up when something triggered me.

Other than that, he has been doing the right thingsÖ deleted all the online accounts and went NC without me asking. Said heís sorry and he fucked up. He learned a lesson blah blahÖ He has been nice and affectionate to me and doing a lot around the house (acts of service). Guess thatís his love language.

Should I just let it go and not bring up the EA? This means that I have to bury my emotions and not share any awful feelings he caused me. I have a hard time accepting the fact that he never admitted that it was an EA but to me clearly it was. And it was a LTA too. I feel that Iím still on the fence.

Thank you for reading this and your opinion is much appreciated.

maise posted 5/22/2019 18:48 PM

Hi Jenna2,

I am not 14 months out just yet but am close to a year and have experienced some similarities. I also noticed a few things throughout our post that I wanted to point out.

This:

He was addicted to the affection these women gave him and the good feeling of being wanted.

is what they call the "ego kibbles"...this is what waywards like about affairs because it fills the voids they have within themselves that they refuse to heal and instead use people for. This is part of the 'escapism' that they get from affairs. Their "high". There is deeper rooted issues that cause WS's to go toward this route of escapism that have nothing to do with you. Your WS will have to get into IC and do a lot of self-reflection to understand the why's behind his actions and to heal the issues that got him here and begin applying and learning healthier coping skills.

This:

WH hates to talk about his EA and his reason is that the discussion will send me right back to the rabbit hole. I sensed his defensiveness and anger every time when I brought it up when something triggered me.

is not him holding himself accountable for the hurt he's caused you or the way that he has betrayed you. As long as he does this there will not be healing for himself to be a safe partner for you.

This:

He has been nice and affectionate to me and doing a lot around the house (acts of service). Guess thatís his love language.

is not enough. This is not him trying. This is what my WS does to "pacify" the moment. To say she's trying. The real effort would be more than this. It requires internal work on themselves so that they can show up for us in the ways we require if we gift them R.

and this:

Should I just let it go and not bring up the EA?

this is rugsweeping the issue. He will continue to do it and you will stay unhappy. This is not a good idea, and I recommend that you please not do this. There is healing that needs to occur here on a massive scale with a lot of effort from both parties. You healing you, him healing himself, and then him showing up for you in the ways you need to get past his betrayal so that you two can build a healthier marriage if there should still be one.


I suggest IC for you to help you through this.

I wish you much healing and peace. I hope this helps.

[This message edited by maise at 6:50 PM, May 22nd (Wednesday)]

sisoon posted 5/23/2019 10:38 AM

I think Maise is right.

'Eog kibbles' are a form of external gratification. The person who seekse that has a hole inside them, but it can't be filled in externally - the validation has to come from within.

The cure for your H is to figure out how to validate himself and how to stop seeking external validation. This usually requires therapy - and people don't go into therapy unless they want to change.

But your H doesn't want to change....

Are you willing to live with your H as he is? If so, great, though you may benefit from IC to help you navigate through it. If you don't want to live with your H as he is, then it's time to move into ultimatum mode - you tell him to fix himself or be gone - or just go straight for D.

I'm not saying you need to make decisions and take action today, but you describe a situation that's pretty dire, and you're the only one who wants to change.

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:40 AM, May 23rd (Thursday)]

The1stWife posted 5/23/2019 10:43 AM

My H had a 4 year EA that he refused to admit was anything more than a friendship.

It finally ended and it was rugswept. Never discussed again.

Then 15 years later he had another EA. He was going to D me after knowing about the Affair for 10 days.

I believed he had the second EA because there were no repercussions from the first one.

You H sounds like he is trying to make amends. But it should be more than just a few small things. It may need to include counseling to find out why he did it for starters.

If heís not willing to discuss it to help you heal - that could be a problem.

sewardak posted 5/23/2019 11:03 AM

"If heís not willing to discuss it to help you heal - that could be a problem."

in fact, it should be a dealbreaker

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 12:48 PM

maise, thank you for your advice. I appreciate it.

There is deeper rooted issues that cause WS's to go toward this route of escapism

I agree with the ego kibbles thing 100%.

H went to IC reluctantly at my request when we were 2 to 3 months out. He was told his issue stemmed from being friendless. It is true though. He was content living a life without any friends. His best friend is/was me. All of my friends became his friends too but they are basically my friends. He had friends when he was younger but since he left his hometown he didnít bother to keep up with those old friends.

He said he started the dating site accounts due to curiosity and eventually got hooked on and got out of control in the end. That is what he believes that got him into trouble.

The real effort would be more than this. It requires internal work on themselves so that they can show up for us in the ways we require if we gift them R.

He did not totally shut me down when I brought it up. He just got irritated and said he wanted to move forward and forget about the whole thing, and thatís what addicts do to avoid the problem by not going there. I donít know how to respond to that, other than calling it rugsweeping!

I suggest IC for you to help you through this.

I went to IC for myself at the beginning. Didnít find the counseling particularly helpful. I was recommended to read some books including After the Affairs which I found very helpful.

swmnbc posted 5/23/2019 13:08 PM

My husband's affair was long-distance too, though he still managed to sleep with someone who lives 7,000 miles away!

There were two weeks when I thought it was "just" an EA, and I was devastated. Your pain is real and if he's really sorry, then he'll be empathizing with you rather than worrying about how it makes him feel to have to talk about it.

Have you read Not Just Friends? Ask him to read it and then see what he says about "I love you" and sexual content being something friends do.

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 13:14 PM

sisoon, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your frankness.

'Eog kibbles' are a form of external gratification. The person who seekse that has a hole inside them, but it can't be filled in externally - the validation has to come from within.

I agree and will try to discuss this with H over the weekend. Our son has graduated from university and just moved back to live with us so it is kind of difficult to have a private conversation.

The cure for your H is to figure out how to validate himself and how to stop seeking external validation. This usually requires therapy - and people don't go into therapy unless they want to change.
But your H doesn't want to change....

H did go to IC at my request but stopped going after a few sessions. He said he knows how to deal with his issues, meaning he stopped all his stupidity and never looks back. He assured me many times that it will never happen again. He also knows that I donít blind trust him anymore.

I just donít know how to get past his unwillingness/failure to admit it was an EA and not a friendship! We went to MC after IC was done. Even MC was unable to make him to admit it was an EA. Was it ďbrain fogĒ that he has? I am still trying to figure out how to make him see it from my angle.

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 13:21 PM

The1stWife, thanks for your input. I would love to hear more about your successful R from two affairs. What did you and your H do to make it a success?

If heís not willing to discuss it to help you heal - that could be a problem.

I know this. I said to him this morning: Can we talk? Maybe over the weekend.

nekonamida posted 5/23/2019 13:23 PM

There were sexual contents and ďI love youísĒ. He admitted that he cared for her as a friend. He said if he didnít care for her, it wouldnít have lasted that long. That hurts!

No one I know sexts and says "I love you" to their friends. This is a lie.

Should I just let it go and not bring up the EA? This means that I have to bury my emotions and not share any awful feelings he caused me. I have a hard time accepting the fact that he never admitted that it was an EA but to me clearly it was. And it was a LTA too. I feel that Iím still on the fence.

Nope, nope, nope! You will be dealing with this indefinitely if you accept his lies as truth and rug sweep this. It will eat at you for years to come. And hell, he might pick the EA back up when he thinks you've calmed down or even find a new one. And why not when he believes that you too think it's "no big deal"?

Stop accepting his answer. Tell him straight forward an EA involves him saying anything to an OW that he would not say in front of you and when questioned, start quoting the sexual parts of his messages back to him. Ask him if you too can send messages like that to your male friends. Make him squirm underneath the hypocrisy. And if he doesn't acknowledge the breach of trust and the disgusting behavior of keeping an OW around in the background if you and him don't work out, then you will have to seriously ask yourself if you can stay married to him knowing he will likely do this again and again.

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 13:24 PM

Sewardak, thank you.

"If heís not willing to discuss it to help you heal - that could be a problem."
in fact, it should be a dealbreaker

I really want to make it work so Iíll keep trying for now.

nekonamida posted 5/23/2019 13:31 PM

Jenna, you can't R alone and you're not just going to forget that this happened even if he never cheats again. You don't have to file for D right away but at least check out the 180 in The Healing Library and follow it. Get some space from him. Make it clear that his behavior is unacceptable and you will be healing and moving on with or without him if it continues.

In many cases like yours, you have to get to a place where you are willing to lose the marriage in order to save it. You may have to sit down and list out everything you would need to R and stay married to him. Honesty like admitting to the EA. Transparency where you have access to all of his devices, email, social media accounts, etc. And mandatory IC/MC. And if he won't do it, then you file for D. R doesn't work unless both the WS and BS are 110% committed and right now he is not even at 50%.

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 13:41 PM

swmnbc, sorry to hear about your Hís long-distance affair. I guess distance is not an issue when it comes to affairs when the whole world is connected with computers and cell phones.

Your pain is real and if he's really sorry, then he'll be empathizing with you rather than worrying about how it makes him feel to have to talk about it.

Good point. I will bring this up again at our next convo session. I once said that if he feels bad to hear me out, thatís the same reason he started the mess because itís all about him and his entitlement.

Have you read Not Just Friends? Ask him to read it and then see what he says about "I love you" and sexual content being something friends do.

I made him read some materials at the beginning. He hates to read books. I have ďNot Just FriendsĒ but he refused to read it. Ugh!

The1stWife posted 5/23/2019 13:56 PM

Jenna in answer to your question about how we survived his affairs.

First EA I knew it occurred. He refused to admit it. He loved the attention. Never once acknowledged it was pushing boundaries and disrespectful to me.

Second EA turned PA - that OW told me he admitted the first EA and he knew it was wrong. That was on DDay2. That EA turned PA was about one year.

After I learned the Affair continued and he was still cheating while I thought we were reconciling- I was done!

Now earlier that day he told me he wanted a D. Second time in a week. I was devastated. I thought we were making progress. Later that day he says he doesnít want a D. He changed his mind. Yet again. I was through this a few times with him over the past three months.

But this time I was done. I called the OW she told me everything. Calm and respectful conversation on my part. No yelling. I then confronted him with ďI know everythingĒ and Iím done!

Calm and rational. No yelling. Two days later I told him I was Divorcing him. I had no choice. Again calm and no yelling.

Now heís begging for a second chance. I decline. I am doing the 180. If kids are around I talk to him. If not I ignore him.

He is still begging for a chance. Iím still not willing to R but I told him he was on his own and would get no help from me. If he could turn this around - good luck. I really said it to shut him up.

Somehow he showed signs of changes. Real changes that have stuck around to this day - 6 years later. He shows me every day he is making amends and that I am important to him and our marriage is important to him. It took a long while before I stopped thinking of leaving him - to get my trust back and get past the issues he created.

I believe my telling him I was D him made a difference and my calling the OW so I stopped being lied to were the two things that knocked him off his ego trip. He was no longer in charge of our lives. I took back all my power and control.

He finally realized he screwed with the wrong person. I feel bad but for a few years I was vicious at Times. Once after an argument he wanted to go to MC. Well he had refused any counseling during his Affair. And I was so angry that he only wanted to go now b/c he was afraid I was leaving him. So I told him ď I went to counseling for 3 years and addressed my issues. You can go alone and fix yourself.Ē

Vicious. But I stood up for myself on everything I needed to. I was no longer a doormat. I no longer agreed to things to keep the peace. No meant no. And he now knows I have the strength to walk out the door and leave him. He never expected that would happen. He never saw me for the strong person I am. He completely underestimated me.

He communicates now. He calls me when traveling more often. He considers me in making plans. He is transparent all the time. He no longer lies or hides things like he did during his Affair.

lieshurt posted 5/23/2019 13:57 PM

I really want to make it work so Iíll keep trying for now.

Unfortunately, you can't reconcile this way. As long as you are doing the work, you are basically running around in circles not getting anywhere. You must draw a line in the sand, state your requirements, and lay out consequences and follow through with them should he fail to abide by them.

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 14:02 PM

Nekonamida, thank you for your comments which is very much to the point.

No one I know sexts and says "I love you" to their friends. This is a lie.

I agree. A total lie although he doesn't see it that way. He thought he was helping OW. She demanded him to say the I love you's and he complied. That's his version though.

You will be dealing with this indefinitely if you accept his lies as truth and rug sweep this. It will eat at you for years to come.

I know this. Thatís why I am in need of help.

start quoting the sexual parts of his messages back to him.

I did. He provided an interesting answer to this oneÖ OW was learning to become a masseuse and she is a virgin therefore no clue about sex. H tried to help her to arouse men. WTF!

Ask him if you too can send messages like that to your male friends.

I asked and he kept quiet to this question.

Despite the wrong doing my H did, he is basically a very kind and caring quiet guy. Always helpful. I just find him being too patient and too nice with strangers (KISA).

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 14:17 PM

Nekonamida,

you can't R alone and you're not just going to forget that this happened even if he never cheats again

I know I canít R alone. The thing is, everything seems normal and we are both happy on the surface. I feel it is like a time bomb ready to go off when I get triggered. I know the right way is to have an open and honest discussion and try to resolve any underlying issues. Just wish he was more willing to talk openly about his EA.

I read through all the articles in The Healing Library including 180 and found them helpful. I raised the possibility of separation (temporary). He has reno work to do in the house so he refused to leave. He said I can leave but he would prefer not. And, why should I leave when Iím not in the wrong?!!!

You may have to sit down and list out everything you would need to R and stay married to him. Honesty like admitting to the EA.

I will do this. Since DDay, I have access to his phone and email and FB account. However, his EA communication happened mostly at work.

I am hoping we can resolve this road block with time. [Sigh]

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 14:31 PM

The1stWife,

Wow, very inspiring story! I picked up a few things from your story that will definitely help me with my situation.

First, you are very calm and composed. I need to work on that. I tend to be emotional when I speak about his EA. Secondly, 180 really worked. I have yet to apply that. Finally, you were able to risk the M to save it. I do have fear about this one. So, a lot of food for thought!

Thank you again and congrats on your successful R!

Jenna2 posted 5/23/2019 14:39 PM

lieshurt,

you are basically running around in circles not getting anywhere. You must draw a line in the sand, state your requirements, and lay out consequences and follow through with them should he fail to abide by them.

I know. I am going to have a big talk with H. I need to prepare a list of what I want to see happen and go from there.

Thank you all for your advice. I understand what I need to do. I hope to give you all some good news in the coming weeks/months.

sigma1299 posted 5/23/2019 17:10 PM

Hi Jenna. I'm new here so if I'm outside forum practices apologies... I'm a WH who had an EA and have also had close female friends. IMO there's no moving forward until he admits, and more importantly, takes ownership of the relationship and what it really was. By definition friendships are emotional, the difference is the affair part. That part being where he gives feelings and energy that are yours to someone else.

As a WS his obligation, if he wants R, is to do anything and everything YOU need to recover. The onus is on him, not you. It's his obligation to do the heavy lifting, if you want R it's up to you to try to be open and accepting of it. Whatever you need, whenever you need it. That should be his mantra. Anything short of that and IMO his commitment is questionable at best.

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