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My Wife Had an Intense, Highly Deceptive Affair, Part II

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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 2:53 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

What is she going to do to help you feel safe while she's gone?

She will be communicating constantly to help me feel safe, and that’s a fine gesture on her part—but it’s probably more about her anxiety, not mine (she hates traveling alone and the nights without me next to her).

I’m going to spend time with the kids and my family—maybe even bicker a bit with you crazy folks tongue —but I’m ultimately looking to let my mind settle a bit. I also have a shoulder injury to rehab, PT, IC and a dinner and play on Thursday night.

And I appreciate the kind words and support, HellFire.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741043
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 4:49 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Your wife didn't want to have sex with you for over a decade. You discussed this with her A LOT. She knew how it made you feel. She DID NOT care.

It's called divorce. That is the proper response for someone who was in the Dr's situation. Poor coping behaviors of any type (cheating, lying, online EAs, prostitutes, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, whatever) are NEVER justified by the behavior of your spouse. We do not justify bad behavior here on SI; we advocate for responsible behavior. If you are miserable in your M, you get a divorce. Right? You don't create a fantasy life.

It seems that there is a lot of dysfunction in the M, most likely due to codependency on both sides. And it ALL needs to be addressed if this marriage is to survive (which is what Dr. seems to want). That is all anyone is saying. There are simply more layers than originally known.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5606   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8741059
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 5:41 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

It's called divorce. That is the proper response for someone who was in the Dr's situation. Poor coping behaviors of any type (cheating, lying, online EAs, prostitutes, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, whatever) are NEVER justified by the behavior of your spouse. We do not justify bad behavior here on SI; we advocate for responsible behavior. If you are miserable in your M, you get a divorce. Right? You don't create a fantasy life.

We can debate what defines cheating, but you can’t redefine my M. I was not cheating (by any standard); my wife knew about my online activities and the porn I was relying on in place of a satisfying sex life. There was no dishonesty.

(*Please* read that past paragraph a few times before responding again in my thread.)

There are plenty of marriages that involve far more external intimacy than online entanglements and porn—the common denominator for those to function is transparency. You don’t have to agree with those marriages or mine.

And your arrogance to suggest that I failed to respond "properly" by divorcing my wife and splitting up an otherwise happy home is beyond my comprehension. I understand that my aversion to D is not shared by all on this forum, but so flippantly suggesting I failed because I didn’t D quickly enough is beyond ludicrous. There was more to my life than sex.

You have no shame and you’re being purposefully dense in your responses.

(To everyone else, my apologies for all the silly back-and-forth. Time to go reset and play with my kids at the park.)

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741066
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ButAnyway ( member #79085) posted at 6:26 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

It's called divorce. That is the proper response for someone who was in the Dr's situation. Poor coping behaviors of any type (cheating, lying, online EAs, prostitutes, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, whatever) are NEVER justified by the behavior of your spouse. We do not justify bad behavior here on SI; we advocate for responsible behavior. If you are miserable in your M, you get a divorce. Right? You don't create a fantasy life.

It seems that there is a lot of dysfunction in the M, most likely due to codependency on both sides. And it ALL needs to be addressed if this marriage is to survive (which is what Dr. seems to want). That is all anyone is saying. There are simply more layers than originally known.

I don't necessarily disagree. However, I've started looking at some situations a little differently. In severely dysfunctional M's, when both parties are contributing, more or less equally, to the level of dysfunction, then I'm more leaning towards them staying M'd, rather than D'ing and potentially ruining two other peoples lives in the future. I understand its contrary to the concept of Reconciliation, but the more I've seen, some people are simply too broken to be fixed, and when both people in a relationship fall into the "too broken" category, then traditional views may need to be reevaluated.

posts: 124   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8741076
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 6:47 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

It's called divorce. That is the proper response for someone who was in the Dr's situation.

You don't get to decide what is ok in anyone's marriage other than your own. These two adults decided this was ok in their marriage.

We do not justify bad behavior here on SI; we advocate for responsible behavior

He was responsible. He went to his wife. For years. He proposed this idea. She was ok with it. Had he kept it hidden,or had she said no,and he did it anyway, I would agree with you.

Many people agree on alternatives in their marriage when one doesn't want to be physical with their spouse. Most divorce. Some open their marriage, which is what happened here. They get to decide if that's ok with them.

These 2 grown adults agreed this was ok. You don't get a vote.

Honestly, since you are concerned with proper responses,the "proper" response to finding out your spouse is cheating,is to divorce. If we all did that, there would be no reconciliation in my marriage,or yours. You cheated on your husband. So you know that secrecy is key in an affair. Doc was honest and open. His wife knew everything. And she approved. That's not cheating..not when your spouse gives their stamp of approval.

[This message edited by HellFire at 6:56 PM, Monday, June 20th]

posts: 4513   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8741083
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:58 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Hey,

Couple quick random responses.

One, regardless of all the stuff you wrote, you need to go NC with the OBS. 100 percent. This has nothing to do with cheating, or risk of cheating. No contact means no new hurts. The OBS has to get on with her life without you and your wife in it. Same for the two of you. The ONLY reason to be in contact with OBS is to confirm continued contact between your wife and the AP. Period. nothing else good can come from it, staying in contact with her can drag you or her under in circumstances where you are doing well. You do not owe support or anything else to the OBS. I don't mean that callously, but after the discovery period nothing good can come from it. Trust me, I can point at other posters here, and also even myself. I had a lot of problems breaking contact with the OBS of my husband's AP. It's toxic. Moving forward is your number one priority. NO contact means no new hurts. Both of your households have to be closed to the other, unless there are future discoveries the other needs to know. Emotional support - ABSOLUTELYU NOT. This is an issue of boundaries.

Second, I am not disappointed your wife doesn't want to post here right now. It's early. I truly believe she needs to get more of a handle on what she has done to you without having the extra opinions and pressures. The most successful couples who use this site together were almost always further out than the two of you. People take sides, understandably and it can become it's own source of conflict as you have already started to see. Anything she writes will be judged against what you are reporting. (And vice versa) Later on, when she gets her bearings I do hope she will reconsider, but I think it's unrealistic she is going to log on and post here and not read your thread. Even though it’s against the rules some members would make her aware of what you are saying anyway. They will ask her about things you wrote. Better that she comes back to this when she gets more perspective.

Many will disagree, but I have seen so much damage occur with both people posting so early on. When Mrs. Walloped arrived, they were a couple years out and it still was a lot for her to manage. I have never seen so many statements and questions, and then eventually she read her husbands thread and had to be hosptalized.

I think this site is helpful to both sides, don't get me wrong. I have told you it saved me. It did. But, when both are on early it's very difficult, especially for a WS who is in the state your wife is in right now. What she needs is above what we can offer her outside of a basic road map of where she needs to go. She needs to get on her journey and then hopefully she will come back and find some fine tuning.

Lastly, I agree with the basic premise Owning it now is trying to get you to see. You have been in a codependent relationship for a long time, it will need to be addressed on both sides. I am not going to call your behaviors into question, but they do beg for questions you need to answer for yourself. You are too busy defending it for reasons that are valid to get under the meat of what is happening. You shouldn't NEED this online life, you constructed it under a codependent relationship where you agreed to get your needs met elsewhere because your wife was unwilling to meet them. There is much to look at there.

I do not think BSR is silly at all for bringing it up as you do. BSR is probably one of our most insightful members. I think you do have to look at why you would accept this arrangment rather than insisting on a fully satisfying intimate life with your wife. But, you do not need to explain it to us. More, this is something that can't be ignored in your own recovery from codependency. It is an aspect that plays into the full picture of dysfunction in this relationship and it’s relevant.

This whole infidelity issue on your wife’s part is going to cause a complete renegotiation of your marriage in ways you can not even fathom right now. I would highly suspect after some work neither of you are going to agree to this practice you formerly accepted without much resistance.

. I think your defensiveness over this is a bit concerning. H and I did swinging early in our relationship so I get it. Where there is defensiveness there is something unresolved.

This is not about agreed upon beghavior but the state of the two who agreed to it. Your wife has terrible self esteem and people pleasing tendencies. I do not aim to malign you for doing something she agreed to. I am saying you will have to reevaluate the health of such an arrangement moving forward. It won’t play between two healthy people and that’s the crux of what owning it now is saying.

Besides that most couples who have arrangements for intimacy from outside sources and it be. Healthy means it’s allowed on both sides. After your wife’s cheating this would never be permissible for her. (Probably wouldn’t have been to begin with- it sounds like it was a one sided arrangement) if it’s permissible for you it’s only proof your wife is still people pleasing and doesn’t feel worth asking for this to stop.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:35 PM, Monday, June 20th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8741087
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Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 9:02 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Doc. Please explain further about your WW being anxious on her work trip because she gets anxious when you’re not in bed with her.

I mean she wasn’t anxious when you weren’t in bed with her when she was in bed with AP. Also, being anxious when away from you doesn’t really square with your WW wanting out of the M.

Is her anxiety about being separated from you a pre A, post A, or both situation? Is her anxiety your interpretation or your WWs feelings that she’s expressed to you?

posts: 486   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8741104
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redrock ( member #21538) posted at 9:45 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

I think that it is not silly, but wrong, of posters to hold him to a standard of authenticity in marriage that was not possible. You want to hold him to the authentic marriage standard when he was in anything but. He wife feels used by sex. It is a transaction for her to obtain…. mostly control.

Did he make an arrangement that that those in a healthy marriage would make? No. Did he choose an alternative to divorce that kept his life whole and functioning… yes. If Dr and Mrs get to the point of rebuilding their marriage, they will have to deal with their choices and how it further festered the existing wound in their marriage. Accountability is not the same thing and equalizing his behavior to hers.

Right now they need space and focus to work on themselves. I think at this point Dr needs to detach from his need to fix and get some breathing room. To build up the stamina to turn away from the relationship toward himself. And there is plenty of work to do. No one gets through life without damage. We each have our own , FOO, and on issues.l to deal with.
Let’s start with 14 days without being pulled into a victim convo about how his wife’s behavior is rooted in her resentment and pain due to him.

I respect Hikingout very much but can’t agree on 100% NC with BS. I don’t think that it would be healthy of Dr to develop a friendship or to be a source of support for the other BS. However, it’s too early for full NC.

Dr. Be honest with yourself, you have enough to do, you can’t white knight or be a safety net for her. What I would not do is close the door. Kind but distancing, rather than a sounding board. You’ve both been through the same trauma. It may feel great to have an outlet that understands your situation well(with the side benefit of pudding off WW). But it’s not a good idea to extend or deepen that entanglement.

Your wife has shown very little propensity to be pulling herself out of the fog…, yet. I get it, it takes time. In that same vein, it is going to take time to examine how your puzzle piece worked with hers. Why is that… for you. Your stuff not hers. And it took you time to get in the frame of mind to operate in your marriage. It’s going to take time to examine that and find healthier patterns

At the end of the day , you are in limbo, not Reconciliation. And the parameters of that limbo are negotiated. Right now, focus on your kids and you.

I don't respect anyone that can't spell a word more than one way:)

posts: 3486   ·   registered: Nov. 6th, 2008   ·   location: Michigan
id 8741112
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SI Staff ( Moderator #10) posted at 9:51 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

The very first clause in the Guidelines page is Please show respect for others.

Please, everyone, show respect for each other.

posts: 10009   ·   registered: May. 30th, 2002
id 8741113
shutup

hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 9:57 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

I think that it is not silly, but wrong, of posters to hold him to a standard of authenticity in marriage that was not possible. You want to hold him to the authentic marriage standard when he was in anything but. He wife feels used by sex. It is a transaction for her to obtain…. mostly control.

I do agree. But I feel the posters you feel are doing this aren’t. They are pointing out it’s a faulty construct that has to go moving forward. And I do think he has to take some responsibility for things moving forward with the new info he has.

The reason I was so hard about nc with the obs is she tried to solicit an affair with him. Also he reports wanting to be there to “emotionally support” her. His words. Huge boundary issues here.

I would highly recommend full Nc unless new pertinent info has been obtained or b/c NC between their spouses are broken. Anything else like providing emotional support that’s an absolutely not. I think we have to be clear where the line is in these circumstances. The obs clearly has faulty boundaries and I think dr strange can firm up his for his own good. He is not responsible towards her emotional support nor should he think that is a healthy thing to do.

[This message edited by hikingout at 10:12 PM, Monday, June 20th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8741115
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 10:09 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

One, regardless of all the stuff you wrote, you need to go NC with the OBS. 100 percent. This has nothing to do with cheating, or risk of cheating. No contact means no new hurts. The OBS has to get on with her life without you and your wife in it. Same for the two of you. The ONLY reason to be in contact with OBS is to confirm continued contact between your wife and the AP. Period. nothing else good can come from it, staying in contact with her can drag you or her under in circumstances where you are doing well. You do not owe support or anything else to the OBS. I don't mean that callously, but after the discovery period nothing good can come from it. Trust me, I can point at other posters here, and also even myself. I had a lot of problems breaking contact with the OBS of my husband's AP. It's toxic. Moving forward is your number one priority. NO contact means no new hurts. Both of your households have to be closed to the other, unless there are future discoveries the other needs to know. Emotional support - ABSOLUTELY NOT. This is an issue of boundaries.

It's not "regardless of all the stuff [I] wrote." The "stuff" I wrote is very relevant. I'll restate my position on OBS though if it's helpful.

1. I have no intentions of reaching out to OBS again on anything other than social coordination for our children, etc. If me or my WW are going to bump into her or AP, we want to know (at least for right now). And I feel OBS has a right to the same information on our end. I do not plan on discussing the affair recovery with her any further.

2. I will remain as limited emotional support for her if she reaches out. What that means to me is brief conversations that lack detail on my M. I will continue to do it because I believe it is the right thing for me to do on a human level *and* because I want to maintain a positive relationship with her should my WW and AP reconnect at any point in the future.

My wife is aware of my current position on OBS and if she's unknowingly to me still upset, it is her issue to deal with. I have given the topic a tremendous amount of thought and made concessions to find a compromise. I'm fine with where things have landed and if my wife is not, it's just another example of her agreeing to something she doesn't agree with.

Second, I am not disappointed your wife doesn't want to post here right now. It's early. I truly believe she needs to get more of a handle on what she has done to you without having the extra opinions and pressures. The most successful couples who use this site together were almost always further out than the two of you. People take sides, understandably and it can become it's own source of conflict as you have already started to see. Anything she writes will be judged against what you are reporting. (And vice versa) Later on, when she gets her bearings I do hope she will reconsider, but I think it's unrealistic she is going to log on and post here and not read your thread. Even though it’s against the rules some members would make her aware of what you are saying anyway. They will ask her about things you wrote. Better that she comes back to this when she gets more perspective.

Many will disagree, but I have seen so much damage occur with both people posting so early on. When Mrs. Walloped arrived, they were a couple years out and it still was a lot for her to manage. I have never seen so many statements and questions, and then eventually she read her husbands thread and had to be hosptalized.

I think this site is helpful to both sides, don't get me wrong. I have told you it saved me. It did. But, when both are on early it's very difficult, especially for a WS who is in the state your wife is in right now. What she needs is above what we can offer her outside of a basic road map of where she needs to go. She needs to get on her journey and then hopefully she will come back and find some fine tuning.

I'm not all that disappointed either. My WW is too fragile to open her life up to the internet. Unlike me, she deeply cares what every single person thinks. I'd have lit myself on fire already if I shared her view.

Lastly, I agree with the basic premise Owning it now is trying to get you to see. You have been in a codependent relationship for a long time, it will need to be addressed on both sides. I am not going to call your behaviors into question, but they do beg for questions you need to answer for yourself. You are too busy defending it for reasons that are valid to get under the meat of what is happening. You shouldn't NEED this online life, you constructed it under a codependent relationship where you agreed to get your needs met elsewhere because your wife was unwilling to meet them. There is much to look at there.

I do not need that online life. Eliminating it post-DDay has been the single most positive thing to come from the affair. I hated those relationships and I hated using porn frequently. That entire aspect of my life was horribly unhealthy and bad for me, so I'm not defending doing it, I'm defending against the accusation that I was cheating.

That very much matters to me, so if I appear defensive, it's because I feel strongly about the topic. You agreeing with Owning's premise is to agree that I was cheating. But it's not an opinion that has any value. She was wrong in writing it and now you're wrong in agreeing with it. Is it defensive of me to call you wrong in this case or is it foolish of you to double down on an ignorant opinion? Perhaps both.

I do not think BSR is silly at all for bringing it up as you do. BSR is probably one of our most insightful members. I think you do have to look at why you would accept this arrangment rather than insisting on a fully satisfying intimate life with your wife.

I accepted the ridiculous arrangement because I didn't think the topic was worthy of D. That's the reason. It was very straight-forward to me. I was largely happy with my life and felt my kids were in a happy home. I was largely unhappy with my sex life and took action to sort it out with my wife. I failed in doing so and settled for a very toxic sex life. Even looking back now, I don't think D was justifiable--though I would have insisted on MC years ago in retrospect.

As for BSR, she created a very poor straw man argument. I wrote that my WW, who had unprotected sex with another man behind my back, was less trustworthy than me, who did not cheat in any way. She responded by conflating my WW's sordid affair with my transparent online sexual activities. It's an obvious false equivalency. It was an incendiary line of posts. So you can tell me she's insightful--and perhaps she is--everyone has an off day and a handful of posts define no one. Where you lose me is in suggesting agreement with her.

I'll need you or someone else to explain to me in very specific terms how I *cheated* on my wife for any of those posts to have value. Alternatively, you could agree that you've overstepped in this accusation and we can all move on as friends again lol.

I think your defensiveness over this is a bit concerning. H and I did swinging early in our relationship so I get it. Where there is defensiveness there is something unresolved.

I was wrongly accused of cheating and I called out the libel. Dismissing my response as "defensive" without acknowledging that I was wrongly accused of something is disingenuous of you.

This is not about agreed upon beghavior but the state of the two who agreed to it. Your wife has terrible self esteem and people pleasing tendencies. I do not aim to malign you for doing something she agreed to. I am saying you will have to reevaluate the health of such an arrangement moving forward. It won’t play between two healthy people and that’s the crux of what owning it now is saying.

Besides that most couples who have arrangements for intimacy from outside sources and it be. Healthy means it’s allowed on both sides. After your wife’s cheating this would never be permissible for her. (Probably wouldn’t have been to begin with- it sounds like it was a one sided arrangement) if it’s permissible for you it’s only proof your wife is still people pleasing and doesn’t feel worth asking for this to stop.

I have no intention of participating in any online relationships. Again, that's why an improved sex life was one of my requirements of R (one that you helped me explore a bit; and I'm appreciative of that). I'm going right to the source of the problem so I don't have to deal with the various symptoms ever again.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741116
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 10:39 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

First and foremost, I only come on to write on your string because I truly want you and your wife to achieve R if it's possible, and that's what you want. I also want both of you to heal and feel happy with the lives you created. I have no ill intention towards you whatsoever.

I agree it's not cheating for the record. As I mentioned long ago, H and I were swingers. I agreed to it, but I didn't like it and eventually I made us stop. It was my people pleasing, lack of boundaries, etc that allowed me to agree to it in the first place. I don't go around and say "that was cheating". I agreed to it. But it was hella unhealthy. That's why I relate to what was being said on all fronts.

Secondly, perhaps I see Owning it now and BSR just differently in what they are saying because I know them well as posters. I didn't read owning it now accusing you of cheating. I read her to say what you used to cope with the marriage was unhealthy. I know she said you could get a divorce as one example of choices that you could choose from instead of living things in a way that you tell me you hated. There are many other choices as well. All would be healthier. That's what I was agreeing to, and in your reply it sounds like you agree with that.

BSR is good about asking questions to get you to do introspection. I know her as a poster that way, but maybe you don't. She has been a designated guide on this site because I think others know her this way as well. So, all in all, I apologize I don't see the sinister. I see people who want you to examine your choices, and maybe choose differently moving forward. So, on that level I agree with what is being said. If it’s not that way, then I apologize. I just didn’t read it that way.

As for the no contact with the OBS, my concern is more with the OBS than with you. She seems very sloppy in her boundaries, and honestly you have to be clear with what yours are. Emotional support is dangerous for you. Your job right now is to protect yourself. And, if you want to R, I think keeping it to new info only is much cleaner and keeps you out of common pitfalls that I have been in, as well as other posters.

That's it. I am not trying to disrespect you. I am trying to point at what I see in your posts. I think you are being defensive more than you are aware here about that situation. But, I think it's because of your OWN feelings about what you had to do to manage your sex life and your marriage. I don't mean it in any other way. You have feelings to resolve about this, and it comes across because I see knee jerk reactions to things that you are interpreting based on your own filter regarding the online stuff. If you didn't have feelings about it, you really wouldn't be triggered by what you are perceiving as insinuations.

I am sorry too if I did miss where you were being accused of cheating here. I think if anything there were details pointed out by BSR in hopes of your own introspection that ended up making bigger questions to others like Owning it now who may not have known that part of the story.

It's cool though. At any time, just tell me not to post to your page. I am happy to be respectful of anything you need. But, I will give you what I feel is the truth back. I know you were resistant to what i said about the sex stuff at first, but that too was for your greater benefit, at least with the limited lens I have to a stranger on the internet. And, honestly I don't really expect you to trust an anonymous stranger on the internet anyway. I can only give you my experience, and that's all I have.

You will do whatever you like of course with whatever feedback you are getting. I am glad that the online stuff was put away. You need to put away all the crutches that you came up with to deal with this relationship. If it is to succeed, then it will need to be crutchless.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:18 PM, Monday, June 20th]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8741120
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 11:20 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Doc. Please explain further about your WW being anxious on her work trip because she gets anxious when you’re not in bed with her.

I mean she wasn’t anxious when you weren’t in bed with her when she was in bed with AP. Also, being anxious when away from you doesn’t really square with your WW wanting out of the M.

Is her anxiety about being separated from you a pre A, post A, or both situation? Is her anxiety your interpretation or your WWs feelings that she’s expressed to you?

She has always been a nervous person (from childhood) and one of her big anxieties is traveling (especially by plane). She also doesn't like nights away from me or vice-versa--she doesn't feel safe. It's always been an issue, though I will say it was suspended during the affair--she had one (real) work trip and she was not anxious about it, but rather eager to get some space from me. And obviously she had no anxiety sleeping next to AP two nights instead of me (though she was irrationally concerned during the affair that he could kill or something, which is why she was telling her mom where she was all the time).

It could also suggest her anxiety is more of a self-made construct than an uncontrollable feeling. I'm certainly not trying to be dismissive of those with severe anxiety, but there is some seemingly obvious narcissism to my WW's anxiety--it just makes more things about her. The plane isn't going to crash, but days leading up to the trip we have to focus on her irrational fear of flying.

As for squaring it with her possible exit, I *think* the truth is she really didn't think anything through--at all. Not even for a moment. I don't think my wife would handle being a single mom very well and her anxiety is a principle reason. During the affair she was a different person though--she had a tremendous amount of confidence--there was none of her usual fearfulness that has consumed so much of her life.

And she acknowledges the confidence part that she felt from the affair--and I'd say it extended a week or two post-DDay too. By the time I was back from Italy in mid-April, she had returned to her usual self though.

There's a ton for her to dig in during IC just in all that alone.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741128
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 11:25 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Dr. Be honest with yourself, you have enough to do, you can’t white knight or be a safety net for her. What I would not do is close the door. Kind but distancing, rather than a sounding board.

That's what I am doing though. We text a couple of times a month for a few minutes. We had that one huge in-person conversation in early April and then a couple of longer text exchanges in mid-April, but the last two months have been fairly scarce. I'm keeping my contact with OBS as discussed.

I'll likely stop addressing the topic in this thread moving forward--at least for the foreseeable future.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741129
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 11:37 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

And she acknowledges the confidence part that she felt from the affair--and I'd say it extended a week or two post-DDay too.

It’s that self adulation - pretending to be who you wish you were instead of who you are.

Also, I had a friend who also ended up being a wayward and I too think she used her anxiety as a way of getting the focus on her. I don’t think it’s narcissistic, it comes from that "deep lacking" that ws have. Ws all do it in some way, that attention seeking thing. I personally know I am not narcissist, but I needed attention badly like obnoxiously. It began as a coping mechanism adopted in childhood that came from deep neglect, sexual abuse, and the chaos of the household taking precedence over anything normal or any attention to me that would have been there.

The reason I say this is a true narcissist is often untreatable. It’s up to you if she truly is a narc to get out of there and to protect your children at all costs. Narcs damage their children probably worst of all.

Otherwise it will serve the marriage better if she can find awareness for some of her behaviors that make her seem narcissistic. Otherwise, the resentment in you will only deepen, and everything she does will seem like it comes from selfishness rather deeply rooted behaviors that she learned early on and has until now no reason to change. That being said, you were looking for how to measure progress, this is one thing. You will find she becomes more aware and at first you will see her still do the behavior and then correct it, then you will eventually just see less of the behavior.

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

posts: 6154   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8741130
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WalkinOnEggshelz ( Administrator #29447) posted at 11:41 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

***Posting as a member***

I was not cheating (by any standard); my wife knew about my online activities and the porn I was relying on in place of a satisfying sex life. There was no dishonesty.

It’s very clear that you don’t feel that you stepped outside of your M with your actions. I’m not here to try to change your mind on that. What I wonder though, what does your wife really think about it? I ask that because of this line of thinking.

I didn’t *want* to talk to other women online. It wasn’t something I decided on doing and told my wife she had to accept. I spent endless hours talking with her about all of this as it was a major issue for me in the M.

I will tell you that I don’t think it is something my wife developed a real view on. I don’t think she ever did the internal work/thinking to arrive at a conclusion as to the best path forward for our marriage (or her)

I would be willing to bet that she had a lot of internal work/thinking and arrived at a pretty specific conclusion. I would also be willing to bet that even if she agreed to it, that came with a price.

I am not blaming you, do not misinterpret me. I am saying that her own issues and insecurities can and most likely were exacerbated by any action that could be construed as rejection by you. This is all something she will need to take a deep dive into and figure out that internal dialogue going on during and before her affair. My point is that it can be relevant…for her in particular.

I understand the dynamic. I was in a marriage that had similar issues. Every time my husband tried to talk to me about it, I would break down in tears, he would feel bad, and the can got kicked down the road again and again.

I will tell you that in order for R to occur, you may need to have many discussions about this with her again, but she will need to learn to be vulnerable with you.

I don’t think this is a straw man. I think that of the two of you really open up and do the work for an honest R, this topic will continue to come up. Both of you will need to be honest and again vulnerable with your feelings on it. Have you done that in the past? Possibly, idk, but I do know she hasn’t, not if she is here.

I know it’s difficult to discuss anything that might point blame to you. It makes your hackles go up. I don’t think anyone here is blaming you for your wife’s affair. That is on her 100% and she needs to work through and own her actions. Perhaps once you are healed enough, you will be able to view the dynamic through her lens and she will be able to do the same for you.

Me: WS late 40’s
Him: BH (HoldingTogether)
D Day: 7/24/2010
If you keep asking people to give you the benefit of the doubt, they will eventually start to doubt your benefit.

posts: 15361   ·   registered: Aug. 27th, 2010   ·   location: Texas
id 8741131
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 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:05 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

HikingOut, I've found your posts to be among the most valuable things I've read in my time on SI, so my previous post was not in anyway a personal attack. If I'm going to participate in this forum, I'm going to do so honestly and openly. So we've hit a point of some disagreement here, and that's ok with me--hopefully it is for you as well.

The reason I was so hard about nc with the obs is she tried to solicit an affair with him. Also he reports wanting to be there to "emotionally support" her. His words. Huge boundary issues here.

I would highly recommend full Nc unless new pertinent info has been obtained or b/c NC between their spouses are broken. Anything else like providing emotional support that’s an absolutely not. I think we have to be clear where the line is in these circumstances. The obs clearly has faulty boundaries and I think dr strange can firm up his for his own good. He is not responsible towards her emotional support nor should he think that is a healthy thing to do.

I'm just addressing the above to acknowledge I have nothing additional to add to the topic; I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.

I agree it's not cheating for the record.

The record has been amended. grin

As I mentioned long ago, H and I were swingers. I agreed to it, but I didn't like it and eventually I made us stop. It was my people pleasing, lack of boundaries, etc that allowed me to agree to it in the first place. I don't go around and say "that was cheating". I agreed to it. But it was hella unhealthy. That's why I relate to what was being said on all fronts.

I'd like to understand more on that, but I understand if it's too personal or if you'd prefer to discuss through PM. Were you actively having sex with other people and not enjoying it? Were you enjoying the sex, but not enjoying how you felt about yourself afterward? Were you resentful/angry to your husband for asking you to do it even though it's something you agreed to do?

And how did you go about ending it? Was it an ultimatum from you? Were you willing to separate if your husband didn't agree? And I assume the swinging happened before your affair, but do you connect that lifestyle to your affair at all?

Secondly, perhaps I see Owning it now and BSR just differently in what they are saying because I know them well as posters. I didn't read owning it now accusing you of cheating. I read her to say what you used to cope with the marriage was unhealthy.

I don't know them well, but it wouldn't matter how much I liked or disliked either--their words speak for them. OwningItNow accused me of cheating--she bolded it in her last post and wrote this yesterday:

If I were married to you, I would 100% consider this cheating.

No need to gaslight me--she can speak for herself and you can agree or disagree with her. My opinion on the topic is that the term "cheating" has a lot of grey area and I don't consider online sex or EA's the same level of deception as PA--but I recognize the opposing views and can appreciate them. None of those distinctions matter in this situation as I did not cheat on my wife at all, through any lens, including hers (most importantly).

I know she said you could get a divorce as one example of choices that you could choose from instead of living things in a way that you tell me you hated. There are many other choices as well. All would be healthier. That's what I was agreeing to, and in your reply it sounds like you agree with that.

Again, we're living in the margins here--healthier for who? This is a big topic. If my wife and I could maintain a happy home with a dysfunctional sex life, I believe that would be "healthier" for our children than D. And as a parent, I'm acting on behalf of my children with virtually every decision I make. So for a poster on this forum to tell me negotiating an unhealthy sex life was worse than D is patently absurd by any real world standard--there are a tremendous amount of variables to consider, so her comment was not helpful or informed, it was arrogant and flippant.

And she would have almost certainly had the same advice for you as a swinger--you clearly should have just divorced your husband then because OwningItNow knows what's best for you and those in your life. There's a huge line between advice and support and some of the egregiously arrogant and sanctimonious posts that I've seen from certain members of the community. And I recognize it appears as though I'm being overly defensive about it, but I see them as bullies and have no use for their advice.

I think you are being defensive more than you are aware here about that situation.

My defensiveness about OBS is because I'm ok with my wife being upset that I'm not no contact with her. Perhaps it's punitive of me. Essentially, I'd never normally let this topic cause a conflict in my M, but in this case, I believe the perimeters I've established are not only fair, but also the safest path for me forward.

I don't want to bend for my wife's irrational fear of me having sex with her behind my back. If I ever had sex with OBS (and I won't), I'd sit down and tell me wife exactly what I was about to do *before* I did it. I don't live in the shadows and have never had an issue being entirely transparent with my wife. And I get it, I'm writing on a forum populated by many people who have not lived their lives with similar guidance. But that's ok--I have my own, different weaknesses.

It's cool though. At any time, just tell me not to post to your page. I am happy to be respectful of anything you need. But, I will give you what I feel is the truth back. I know you were resistant to what i said about the sex stuff at first, but that too was for your greater benefit, at least with the limited lens I have to a stranger on the internet. And, honestly I don't really expect you to trust an anonymous stranger on the internet anyway. I can only give you my experience, and that's all I have.

You will do whatever you like of course with whatever feedback you are getting. I am glad that the online stuff was put away. You need to put away all the crutches that you came up with to deal with this relationship. If it is to succeed, then it will need to be crutchless.

Please keep posting. We needed a few bumps to build a friendship worth having! laugh

[This message edited by Drstrangelove at 12:34 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741133
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:30 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

It’s that self adulation - pretending to be who you wish you were instead of who you are.

Also, I had a friend who also ended up being a wayward and I too think she used her anxiety as a way of getting the focus on her. I don’t think it’s narcissistic, it comes from that "deep lacking" that ws have. Ws all do it in some way, that attention seeking thing. I personally know I am not narcissist, but I needed attention badly like obnoxiously. It began as a coping mechanism adopted in childhood that came from deep neglect, sexual abuse, and the chaos of the household taking precedence over anything normal or any attention to me that would have been there.

The reason I say this is a true narcissist is often untreatable. It’s up to you if she truly is a narc to get out of there and to protect your children at all costs. Narcs damage their children probably worst of all.

Otherwise it will serve the marriage better if she can find awareness for some of her behaviors that make her seem narcissistic. Otherwise, the resentment in you will only deepen, and everything she does will seem like it comes from selfishness rather deeply rooted behaviors that she learned early on and has until now no reason to change. That being said, you were looking for how to measure progress, this is one thing. You will find she becomes more aware and at first you will see her still do the behavior and then correct it, then you will eventually just see less of the behavior.

I also don't think she's a narcissist--it much more seems like a deep lacking. And she absolutely was projecting who she wanted to be during the affair--and it reminded me so much of who she was when I met her. A face she was showing the world. Then when she transformed into the scared, anxious girl I've been married to, I took some of the blame on myself, but it was her taking the mask off. She's always been the scared little girl she was as a child.

And that's good advice on what to monitor. I'm seeing her very frequently do or say something alarming and then correct or apologize for it. It's frustrating, but I've been taking it as progress.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741135
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 12:54 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

It’s very clear that you don’t feel that you stepped outside of your M with your actions. I’m not here to try to change your mind on that. What I wonder though, what does your wife really think about it? I ask that because of this line of thinking.

We've discussed post-DDay as well. Admittedly, I can never be entirely sure what my wife is really thinking (the whole agreeing to things she doesn't agree with). As best I can tell though, while she doesn't view it as cheating, she didn't like it as it made her feel devalued. She's frustrated looking back because she couldn't communicate how she felt to me.

I also should note, while I am being defensive about me not cheating, I do also empathize with my wife on the topic. I did not see this through her lens until recently--for her it was "don't ask; don't tell" and it made *me* feel devalued--like she didn't care about my sex life at all. I now see it was doing great harm to both of us. Again, that's why fixing our sex life is critical for me to R with her.

I would be willing to bet that she had a lot of internal work/thinking and arrived at a pretty specific conclusion. I would also be willing to bet that even if she agreed to it, that came with a price.

She hasn't said as much, but there's no doubt in my mind that my behavior online added to her resentments of me and further hurt our terrible sex life.

I am not blaming you, do not misinterpret me. I am saying that her own issues and insecurities can and most likely were exacerbated by any action that could be construed as rejection by you. This is all something she will need to take a deep dive into and figure out that internal dialogue going on during and before her affair. My point is that it can be relevant…for her in particular.

100%

I understand the dynamic. I was in a marriage that had similar issues. Every time my husband tried to talk to me about it, I would break down in tears, he would feel bad, and the can got kicked down the road again and again.

I'd have preferred tears to her blank stare--at least I would have known she cared.

I will tell you that in order for R to occur, you may need to have many discussions about this with her again, but she will need to learn to be vulnerable with you.

I'm seeing progress on this often. Her lack of vulnerability with me was clearly a major issue for our emotional bond. She is forcing herself to open up more now and I appreciate the effort.

I know it’s difficult to discuss anything that might point blame to you. It makes your hackles go up. I don’t think anyone here is blaming you for your wife’s affair. That is on her 100% and she needs to work through and own her actions. Perhaps once you are healed enough, you will be able to view the dynamic through her lens and she will be able to do the same for you.

I find that part a bit passive aggressive, but perhaps I'm being defensive. The trouble I'm having with all of this is I don't think it's fair to label me defensive if we agree I had a right to defend myself from the false accusation. If we don't agree to that, then let's dig into it again...just kidding. grin

I have no doubt I'm coming off guarded on plenty of topics. My heart and mind are Swiss Cheese right now. But I'm absolutely open to seeing all of this through my wife's perspective; hopefully she'll be able to more freely discuss it soon.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741139
default

 Drstrangelove (original poster member #80134) posted at 1:29 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

With all the fun today in the thread, I didn't get a chance to give an actual update.

My father-in-law called me this afternoon. He apologized for not calling me sooner and wanted to make it clear I was very welcome to come and visit when my wife and kids go up to their cottage this summer. I accepted his apology and told him I'd let him know about the invitation. To clear the air, I did point out how disappointed I was in his inaction while his daughter's world was on fire and he understood he didn't do nearly enough.

Overall, he was concerned for our marriage and felt helpless to provide support. He's worried about his daughter and what would happen if we split up. I just suggested he continue providing a listening ear when she needs it.

So I've now talked with my WW's entire family (MIL and SIL also)--they've all apologized to me and all expressed concern for my WW and our marriage. On one hand, I've let go of my anger for them at this point, but on the other hand, it's hard to know how genuine any of it is. Their interest is with their daughter and therefor being kind to me is in their best interest. I don't think I could ever allow myself to be as close to them as I once was, and I think that's for the best.

As for the trip, it looks like it's about three weeks away at this point (dates not final yet), so I have time to decide what to do. My gut tells me that the healing move is to go--to be the bigger person and demonstrate that to my wife as well. However, I also have real concerns that I'll find myself in a negative headspace from all the triggers and something bad could happen between my wife and I and I'll be trapped in a very bad spot. I'll need to be more comfortable than I am now to risk it.

Another thought is that I think by going next month I open up the assumption that they'll all be welcome back to my house next Christmas (should my WW and I make it that far)--and objectively speaking, maybe they should be welcome--but I'm terrified of what my mental and emotional state is going to be next Christmas for the one-year anniversary and having them all in the house I know will be the king of all triggers. I feel like if I don't go visit them this summer, I have a built-in out should I want it in the winter.

Me: BH, 38 (37 at time of A)
Her: WW, 38 (37 at time of A)
A: 9/21 - 3/22 (3 month EA; 3 month PA)
DDay: March 15, 2022
Status: Limbo

posts: 806   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2022
id 8741140
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