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What is this behavior?

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 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 12:52 PM on Friday, January 6th, 2023

This is my friend's story. She and I have been friends since school. And I have taken her permission to post her story here.

My friend, P married a guy, M 5 years ago. Right from the beginning of their marriage he has been showing lots of red flags. Few examples: a month after their marriage P saw a message on his phone that said,"miss you a lot." That was sent by a woman. Later he started going out to a gym with a female friend of his. He refused to take his wife with him to this gym. He started coming home late and always lied about where he was and who he was with. He is a party animal. So every weekend he goes to some pub with his friends to party. His friends would, very oftenly, bring their respective wives to these pubs but he would rarely bring P with him. He would dance with stranger women in parties (revealed by his friend's wife).

Aside from these obvious red flags, 2 years after their marriage P caught him sexting a coworker of his. This was the first time he was caught red handed. But then he apologized and acted like he was remorseful and somehow successfully manipulated her to forgive him. He also told P that it was just chats and nothing physical happened with this coworker. P called this coworker and she told P that this was 1 year long affair and nothing physical had happened. P ate this shit sandwich and agreed to give him second chance without making him walk through reformation path. She didn't follow any of the steps that are usually advised on this forum. That was her big mistake. He didn't change but got more careful in covering his tracks. Then a year later dday2 happened. One night he was as usual late from work. He said he would be at home by 1 o clock at midnight. Around 12.30 P called him to ask where he was. He picked the call to respond. While P was talking him, she heard a woman's voice in the call. The voice said,"who are you talking to?". When P asked him who this lady was, he said "there's no lady here. It's all in your mind. Stop doubting me" and he hung up call. She called back but he didn't pick the call. Next day, at home when she confronted him, he goes with the same "it's all in your head" routine.

This is when she realized that nothing has changed in him since the first Dday. He still carries the same red flags that he carried before dday1. Not only that, one night he went for party and was super drunk and messaged P's sister around 3 mid night, calling her 'Babe!'. When he is drunk he is a complete different person. He gets abusive. Throws foul and derogatory terms at her and her family. Couple of times he hit her. When he is sober he is polite and soft spoken until he gets angry which is very frequent nowadays and many times he gets angry over silly reasons and tend to overreact.

From all the things P has told me about M, he looks like a complete narcissistic, manipulative, self absorbed, and insecure person. P is complete opposite to him. She is very sweet, and completely harmless person. She is an introvert. She does know how to make friends with people who are safer and good to her. She never wishes harm to anyone. But she is too ignorant and naive. She believed that him hitting her when he was drunk is 'not that serious of a problem'. Him texting her sister and calling her 'Babe' is, according to P, bad but not that bad because he was drunk. She has found many screenshots taken by him of him texting to prostitutes and has evidences of payments made to these people. But for some odd reasons, him trying to have his way with these prostitutes really doesn't bother her that much. He always maintained that they were just texts and he never met them. Her only problems were his affair with coworker, his continuing lies and lack of physical and emotional affection from his part.

Until recently she truely believed that his affair with his coworker was only emotional and through text. She had taken screenshots of those chat messages they shared before dday1. Until now she never completely read all these messages. She only read few selective messages that confirmed their affair. That's it. I was skeptical about that relation just being only emotional. So I asked her to read them. And yes, as I expected, these messages clearly indicated that it was also physical affair. A couple of messages revealed that they used to have their affair meet after office hours. Ap once wrote what she wants to do (sexual) next time they meet. And that meet did happen. This was a wake up call for P. Until now she was in this naive believe that 'it was all just text. Just emotional etc". She never wanted to believe it had gone physical. She really didn't believe until now that emotional affair is a form of cheating. She only saw it as 'inappropriate'. Evidences were so clear and infront of her all the time. She didn't wanted to look at them. Few months back she reached out to me after dday2. It took 2 months for her to give me every detail that he had done. After hearing her out, I carefully pulled out every detail, every lie he has told her, every evidence that points to what exactly he has done and painted a clear picture of what this guy really is - a classic, remorseless, non-empathetic, pathological liar and a serial cheater.

Now she gets it. She is furious. Extremely sad and depressed. She went to her parents house for few months to think this through. Meanwhile, I gave her all the standards advises that are given on this website. Refereed her some books related to infidelity. Talked about doing 180. Asked her to go to therapy. Asked her to expose him to his and her family. Told her to meet an attorney to know her rights and how she could protect herself. Her husband is a lawyer. So he knows more about law than her and so he could use it against her to harm her and her family legally if she went on divorce path. So asked her to be prepared for it. I gave many more advices. She followed none of it. She cried every day but followed none of my advices. She did absolutely nothing during the days she was with her parents. She has a job. She works from home. So i don't know if it's because of the job or something else that she couldnt to do anything to heal or come out this mess. She used to say she wanted divorce. She wanted to leave him.

Now, everybody in her and his family knew their marriage is in trouble but didn't know why. So they came forward to resolve it through talks. P never revealed to both families what M has really done to her. So they all thought it was usual martial problem which can be easily fixed through talks. So they fixed a date to talk and reconcile P and M. And only few days before the TALK, P revealed to her family what all M has done. They were shocked. No doubt. But it seems it didn't help her cause. They were already in reconciliation mode and so they asked her to rug sweep it and give him another chance. And during the TALK, she revealed only a tiny part of M's indiscretions infront of his family but again it was too late and too little. He had already manipulated them to believe that 'she was at the fault here'. They also forced her to rug sweep it and reconcile. Worst part here is she didn't defend herself. She had all the cards but didn't reveal any of them. She immediately agreed to go back to him. And within a week she went back to his house. He acted nice for few days and immediately went back to his old habits. Nothing changed.

She still cries and whines about what he does. I asked her, "why did you go back to him?","why didn't you stand up for yourself?", "why didn't you reveal all the evidences you had infront of his family?". She replied," because I still love him. I don't want to loose him." I asked her, " Even after all the shit he gave to you, all the mental abuse he put you through, you still love him? Even after knowing what kind of a person he is, you still love him? Why? How?". I seriously couldn't wrap my mind around this. So this was not a rhetorical question but a genuine frustrated curiosity. She only replied, "I know it's weird. But I can't help it. I am addicted to him. I can't function without him." And yet she acts surprised when he does something he always do.

So my question here is: what is this behavior of P?
Is she in some form of fog? Or Stockholm syndrome? Or is this what true love looks like?? Will she ever come out of this trap?
She is very depressed and feels lost and clueless. I have no idea what to tell her. Even our other friends are clueless about this. Hence, I came to you.

Sorry, if my English is bad. English is not native language. Also, sorry for this super long post and thank you for your patience.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772272

EvenKeel ( member #24210) posted at 2:19 PM on Friday, January 6th, 2023

I also stayed way to long in a M.

It was because you WANT to believe them. You want to believe in the person you think they are.

If your friend is not on SI, I would encourage her to do so. She can just be a lurker until she is ready (no matter which forum she falls into).

Sometimes it is easier to hear your advice from a person she does not know.

When your friend finally does reach of point of moving in a different direction, she will know in her heart she tried everything. That she can still love him while loving herself more.

In the meantime, just keep listening and supporting her. She is in a place right now where she is paralyzed.

IC would be help her tremendously if she is not already doing so. Encourage her to get help instead of asking her "why" all the time. She is stuck.

posts: 6893   ·   registered: May. 31st, 2009   ·   location: Pennsylvania
id 8772286

emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 5:26 PM on Friday, January 6th, 2023

Lurkingsoul - you're a good friend.

Look into Co-Dependency. I'm certainly no expert but your friend sounds like a classic case. There are many others here who have more experience than I. Good luck to you both.

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

posts: 2104   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8772387

tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 5:45 PM on Friday, January 6th, 2023

Definitely a case of CoDependency, get her the book Codependent no more.
Maybe reading and improving herself will give her the strength and ability to walk away eventually.

Me: FBSHim: FWSKids: 23 & 27 Married for 32 years now, was 16 at the time.D-Day Sept 26 2008R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 20174   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8772391

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 6:53 PM on Friday, January 6th, 2023

Emergent8 and tushnurse: thanks for those replies.

I did think this is a case of codependency. I also explained her what codependency is and she seems to agree to that. I have recommended books related to codependency but she don't want to read them. I don't know if this is because of her fear of facing the truth or something else.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772401

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 7:40 AM on Saturday, January 7th, 2023


Thanks for the reply. No, she is not on SI. I requested her many times to visit this forum and be a lurker. I also explained the advantages of it. But she doesn't do that either. Like I said she has not followed through any of my advices. Weird thing is she constantly seeks advices from me. I had already advised her to visit IC. She seemed interested for a while but her husband talked her out of it. I don't know how long she will be paralyzed like this. I hope she comes to her senses very soon. Meanwhile, I will listen to her and support her as much as possible. That's the only I can do now.

[This message edited by Lurkingsoul12 at 7:47 AM, Saturday, January 7th]

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772460

Beachgirl73 ( member #74764) posted at 1:20 PM on Saturday, January 7th, 2023

You certainly are a good friend. Please, please tell her that whatever she does she not get pregnant! Adding children would make leaving this entitled jerk even harder.

posts: 137   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2020
id 8772464

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 2:26 PM on Saturday, January 7th, 2023

Fear. Often fear is the motivating factor.

Fear of the unknown

Fear of being single again

Fear of having to stand on your own two feet

Fear of never finding another relationship or partner

I also agree that co-dependence is a big issue too.

People are afraid of change. They would rather stay with the "known" than face the uncertain outcome with the "unknown".

Maybe you need to cut her off from whining and complaining to you and tell her if she’s not prepared to do anything to change her situation, she at least needs a good counselor to support her. Because she is mentally being beaten down and maybe with professional counseling she will change her mindset.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13929   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8772467

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 8:28 AM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Beachgirl73: Yes, we all have warned her about the implications of getting pregnant and having children in this situation. She did agree to it. But considering how she has not followed through any of our advices, I highly doubt she will say no to pregnancy for long. Also her mother tried to convince her that pregnancy and children will turn him around and make him a responsible husband. So don't know who she will listen to. Finger crossed!!

Thefirstwife: right now her only support base is us,her friends. Her family has turned their backs on her. Her in laws don't know the whole truth and have been mislead by her husband for a quite a time. Her husband has convinced her not to visit any counseler because according to him she is grown woman and can deal her issues on her own. And yes, I do sense fear is a bigger factor here. All her life she has been pampered and has led a struggle free and very comfortable life. So uncertain future and uncomfortable challenges might have paralyzed her now. May be she will have to go through more pain to gain enough courage to say 'enough is enough'. My concern is what all price she say pay to get to the point.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772520

Hippo16 ( member #52440) posted at 12:32 PM on Sunday, January 8th, 2023

There's no troubled marriage that can't be made worse with adultery.If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, why not bungee jumping off a bridge span? For an extra thrill, don’t anchor the cord.

posts: 901   ·   registered: Mar. 26th, 2016   ·   location: OBX
id 8772526

Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 5:42 AM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

Your friend is not just codependent, she is subservient. She is letting him run their family however he wishes. It’s his rules only. She sees what he does and then turns a blind eye, 1950s style.

Unfortunately she has absolutely no confidence. And because of that she cannot make decisions or take action for herself. It is very sad.

And the tragic part is because of this lack of self respect, it will be very hard to get her into IC and help her rebuild her self image.

I guess just be the best supportive friend you can be as long as it doesn’t affect you.

I am sorry.

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

posts: 3605   ·   registered: Apr. 17th, 2017
id 8772589

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 10:10 AM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

It is sad your friend cannot see how abusive and toxic her marriage is.

Would she be able to go in a girls weekend trip or overnight with you and other supporters?

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13929   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8772600

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 1:13 PM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

Thefirstwife: well, she has already stopped talking to some of our friends who were pressing her to get out of this marriage. She found such advices annoying and unhelpful. I and another friend of ours were the only two people who didn't outright demanded her or pressed her to end this marriage. She wanted to save her marriage and we both gave her plenty advices with respect to that. But marriage can't be saved by one partner. Anyways, I don't think she would want to spend time with friends she doesn't talk to now. And some of her girl friends are wives of her husband's coworkers and friends. And he has warned those husbands to not let their wives interfere in his marriage. So i doubt he will say okay to weekend trip with these girl friends. But still I will relay your advice to her. Thank you.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772609

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 1:22 PM on Monday, January 9th, 2023

Stevesn: I forwarded your post to her and she replied, "It's very true". She knows it. She just doesn't have the will or inclination to pull the plug. She is in a limbo right now. Don't know what will it take to find her courage. However long it takes, she will always have me and my friends to support her and give strength to her. Thanks for the reply.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8772611

emergent8 ( Guide #58189) posted at 3:53 PM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Bumped as per OP’s request.

Me: BS. Him: WS.
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
Happily reconciled.

posts: 2104   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
id 8791836

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 3:56 PM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023

He cheated again. She is finally done with it. She going for D.

She wanted me to thank you all on her behalf for the your advices. Thank you guys.

[This message edited by Lurkingsoul12 at 3:59 PM, Saturday, May 20th]

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8791837

BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 4:40 PM on Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Hey LS. Always horrible to hear of another DDAY but something that is what is needed to get someone off the fence. (And by that I mean me - it took me too many DDAYs to get off the fence.). I hope she seeks the support and resources that will help her.

You are a good friend.

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 5985   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8791839

 Lurkingsoul12 (original poster member #82382) posted at 3:04 PM on Sunday, May 21st, 2023

BearlyBreathing: True. Some people need more ddays to take necessary steps.
Now, she is doing alright. She has pcod. Stress doesn't go well with Pcod. And, her husband's affair took her stress and anxiety off the charts. Now, she is undergoing treatment for it. Today, the first time in many years, she has taken a week long vacation. She is now determined to get out of infidelity and this marriage.

posts: 457   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8791913
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