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General :
A WS's boundaries in life, in general.

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 NotMyFirstRodeo (original poster member #75220) posted at 5:51 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

It may not need to be said. But we'll operate with the presupposition that a WS has/have/had a lack of proper boundaries with AP's. With that said we can table that aspect of boundaries.

My question is more precisely about what BS's have observed of their WS's boundaries with friends, family and in general, others that are not AP's (nor known objects of desire/passion/etc.).

As a rule, do WS's struggle with proper boundaries* of all sorts or is it a more "selective" issue with AP's/sources of desire? What's your experience?

*when I say proper boundaries, I am speaking of a lack of boundaries and not overly strict boundaries. Although it'd be interesting to see how great a divide separates a BS that experienced extremely strict boundaries VS the loose boundaries extended to the AP.

Stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.

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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 6:46 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

Hmm, this is interesting.

Obvs my xwh had crap boundaries or I wouldn't be here. But now looking back on it, I don't so much notice poor boundaries as I do a complete lack of connection. My xwh had no friends. He wasn't close with his family really. he spent no time fostering friendships or relationships (marriage included). He placed no value in 'needing' people, in fact was pretty vocal about how much he disliked everyone.

So poor boundaries yes. But also just a complete lack of value or care of interpersonal relationships. Maybe that is partly why it was so shocking to me that when he did choose to 'value' a relationship, it was with a fucked up 18yo kid. Which also speaks volumes to his overall mental state IMHO laugh

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"Being weird is just a side effect of being awesome."– Unknown

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Darkness Falls ( member #27879) posted at 6:57 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

EllieKMas, that’s interesting that you say that, because my BH is the same. No close personal relationships, dislikes social interaction, hates his coworkers and pretty much everyone. Always talks about how stupid everyone is and how society is useless.

Yet, he has never cheated and has always had strong boundaries (easy to do, I guess, when you dislike everyone 😂).

WS - remarried to BH but not in R

D-day 2010

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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 7:21 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

I trust my H not to cheat again, but I absolutely don't trust his intuition on what's appropriate.

The most recent issue, which is a good example of the things that he does: He's in a position of power at a local veteran's organization. A woman came over to talk to him, but the music was loud and they couldn't hear each other, and all the chairs were occupied, so he patted his knee and invited her to sit on his knee while she was talking to him. I was sitting right next to him. Later I told him "Don't do that. For one thing, it's disrespectful to me. I don't like it. That's my spot and mine alone. Also, people could get the wrong idea and start up the rumor mill. And you're in a position of power and that probably made her feel uncomfortable. Sometimes people have a hard time refusing those in power." He apologized and said he never would have asked her to do that if I hadn't been sitting next to him, and I believe that, but it irks me that I even have to tell him these things. I remind him to gauge it against behavior that's appropriate at work. If you wouldn't treat a woman like that at work, don't do it elsewhere either.

This is a really interesting topic.

[This message edited by 13YearsR at 7:22 PM, Friday, October 8th]

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

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suddenlyisee ( member #32689) posted at 8:04 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

Two different relationships, two different takes on this:


Ex wife was a substance/sex addict. Like a dog off a leash at a 4th of July picnic - she ate off every plate available and was always climbing in someone's lap or slapping her tongue all over them. Zero boundaries.


Current wife has more of an adapted boundaries issue. Per her own evaluation and that of family; after being marginalized in FOO and previous relationships, she's evolved an exaggerated coping mechanism over the years and tried to become invulnerable.

She's 'empowered herself' to avoid needing to rely on anyone - instead preferring to make known her list of preferences and requirements. Current social norms encourage this - but it's become extreme for her.

The result is rigid expectations of others, near constant disappointment and a propensity to 'tell it like it is' the second she's feeling slighted. (VERY clear boundaries for others, right?)
She clings to this like a shield - even though it's horribly unsuccessful/unproductive..

It's, of course, near impossible to connect with someone like this - you try and try and even grand gestures are just mostly disappointing to her. Even having it better than she ever has, her bloated expectations leave her feeling - you guessed it - marginalized.

To compensate herself for the disappointment, she wears a distorted "strong woman" persona.

"I don't need your help, your permission or your approval" That's fine if you're choosing a new job, buying a car, planning a vacation or picking out furniture. It's a recipe for disaster if you're out in the world missing the intimate connections that you routinely crush and happen to come across someone new who shows interest in pleasing you.

I know my behavior towards others is directed by empathy for them. I don't do things that would hurt them, because that would hurt them. I naturally expect this to be reciprocated. With 'normal' people - it generally is.

I think people like her just sometimes don't give a fuck how other people feel, because those people disappoint them..

Semi-pro BS in R

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Notaboringwife ( member #74302) posted at 9:21 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

My husband was a natural, gentle flirt with women in my presence. No boundaries ever. I used to think it was cute.

After his affair, this is no longer acceptable. Ever.

It's your road & yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning... you can start over and make a new ending.

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 10:18 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

If there isn't a desire, the boundary isn't being tested.

That's why so many of us prior to an A live with poorly defined, untested boundaries. I am less susceptible to an A now than I was before my WW's A. Like sure I wouldn't hit on a woman, but also, a beautiful woman never threw herself at me in a state I might find interesting (drunk, on travel, etc.). So how could I say that I wouldn't have told myself a series of lies to allow my boundary to fail?

I would even say that I can understand how fWW got involved with her AP, the ramp and slow erosion or passing through a porous boundary. Each previous action becoming the excuse for the next while simultaneously promising "well, I won't do XYZ, I can stop at any time, no one has to know, no one will get hurt." etc.

At some point their boundary does fail as a result of allowing the desire and other components to come together. The draw of an affair is very strong. The apparent energy and "aliveness" one feels when engaging in something as simple as "just holding hands" or "just kissing" is enough. Throw in the actual sex, and look out boundaries!

Almost everyone engaged in an A knows it is wrong, but has a feeling that they "can't stop" despite telling themselves they can stop whenever they want. It's like a drug addiction. To continue the analogy, "I won't do hard drugs" seems simple enough, but then you get prescribed pain killers, and oh, they feel good, and what if you just take one more than you need to? That's not abuse, you only have the 30 pills anyway. Pretty soon you are violating that original boundary to continue to get that high.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 10:33 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

If there isn't a desire, the boundary isn't being tested.

I don't understand this statement. Do you mind explaining?

My H had no desire to take anything further with the woman he asked to sit on his lap, but he was definitely out of the acceptable, normal behavior range, IMO.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

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LostInHisFog ( member #78503) posted at 11:38 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

sad recalling examples of this has made me go "how did I not see what was going on with his As due to his piss poor boundaries in general", and now kicking myself all over the kitchen.

Yes, his boundaries were... breaking, broken, paper thin outside of infidelity boundaries. Looking back, his social boundaries are messed up.

Some examples

When out if he was the designated driver of the night he still got drunk because of the cliche "everyone else was doing it so I would too." Resulting in many a expensive taxi ride home (insistent by me, he would have driven drunk) only for it to be my problem, going to get car next day, deal with parking tickets etc all my fault because he is a safe driver even when smashed duh

No filter, would comment on others wardrobe choices like “those pants give you camel toe” or to a guy “great tits” if he thought their shirt was too tight.

At a engagement party he was getting into an over exaggerated story about a car he liked and even though this was a dinner party, subdued, with a mix of people, he would describe his love of this car by re-enacting jerking off and coming... at the fricking table. Mortifying.

Pre COVID it wasn’t uncommon for the neighbors to throw large Saturday BBQs when the weather warmed up. He would avoid (to a point it was obvious and made them uncomfortable) all the teen girls saying to me afterwards that he didn’t want them to think he was pervert shocked like he couldn’t see that you can have normal conversations with teens and no one would think it was sexual, HE made it weird by having that mindset.

Two-faced interactions and overshare. To me he would bitch and moan about everyone EVERYONE( including APs FYI) really disrespectful disparaging shit, yet to their faces he was their best mate and he would put me down by over sharing criticisms. Like there was no loyalty, someone always had to be the villain, hard to explain.

Other than his affairs I would have said the man could not keep a secret, loved to gossip and manipulate those into sharing secrets, stuff that was completely none of his business, just so he had something juicy to tell someone else.

Uncomfortable flirting

Would still use terms/slurs considered highly inappropriate now, politically incorrect, and he wouldn’t stop because apparently everyone including me are just too sensitive and we can’t take a joke.

The list goes on but it’s that whole can’t see the forest from the trees scenario. Grouping all these bad boundary examples together I can see the forest but at the time since it wasn’t 24/7 all I saw was the trees.

[This message edited by LostInHisFog at 12:09 AM, Saturday, October 9th]

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 11:50 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

If there isn't a desire, the boundary isn't being tested.

I don't understand this statement. Do you mind explaining?

Sure. If I am not attracted to a woman and feel a pull to do something with her, then I don't have to set and maintain a boundary on appropriate behavior with her because I wouldn't want to engage in inappropriate behavior anyway.

If I don't like chocolate, not eating chocolate isn't a boundary I have to set and engage willpower toward. I just don't eat it. You put chocolate in front of me, no thanks, I don't like it. That's not a boundary, but a preference.

If I like chocolate, but I know it's bad for me, I have to set a boundary to not eat chocolate. You put it in front of me and I say, "I'm not eating chocolate, it's bad for me". But deep down, I want to eat the chocolate. That's a boundary.

ETA: As it relates to an A, most people are only aware of the chocolate, and that it is bad for you. They don't try the chocolate and thus have no idea how delicious it is. But you walk up an stick a piece in their mouth, do they spit it out or swallow?

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 12:05 AM, Saturday, October 9th]

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 12:18 AM on Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Sure. If I am not attracted to a woman and feel a pull to do something with her, then I don't have to set and maintain a boundary on appropriate behavior with her because I wouldn't want to engage in inappropriate behavior anyway.

Thank you for clarifying.

My H doesn't always behave appropriately with women that he doesn't feel a pull to do something with. (See my comment above.) His internal boundary regarding propriety is set too loosely, IMO, and he's sometimes surprised to be told that he's out of line. I don't think it has anything to do with intent in his case.

In the lap-sitting instance, he said that he immediately knew that it was out of line. I don't know if that's because he saw my raised eyebrows or because he recognized internally that it was oogy.

This is interesting.

[This message edited by 13YearsR at 7:31 PM, Saturday, October 9th]

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 1:04 AM on Saturday, October 9th, 2021

NotMyFirst,

As a rule, do WS's struggle with proper boundaries* of all sorts or is it a more "selective" issue with AP's/sources of desire? What's your experience?

I think in my Ws case she does not maintain proper boundaries with other people and this is what leaves an opening for APs. For example my W brothers old friend, kissed her on the cheek in front of me and she thought nothing of it. I watched with morbid curiosity, perhaps like a scientist dispassionately watching an experiment, there was also an element of humor.

Yet she is certain she has no problem setting limits to her interactions with other people.

Some of this came from her Mother who was a people pleaser, but also very stern with her immediate family members, which makes her predisposed to praising others and disparaging her family. This normalizes it.

She doesn't struggle with boundaries as much as she doesn't know she has a problem with them.

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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 2:48 PM on Monday, October 11th, 2021

She doesn't struggle with boundaries as much as she doesn't know she has a problem with them.

Yes, this. It's a constant learning process. lol

This thread led to a good discussion with my H last night. We had been drinking so I don't remember all of it (the bar handed out free Jello shots when my Cowboys scored. It was 44-20. lol) but I do remember him agreeing that he doesn't always know where the line is, and saying that he's solid at shutting down advances or extricating himself from situations where he feels the advances coming.

[This message edited by 13YearsR at 2:49 PM, Monday, October 11th]

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

posts: 547   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
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HardKnocks ( member #70957) posted at 4:33 PM on Monday, October 11th, 2021

Yes, across the board. KISA with employees, male and female. Need to be liked. He's a very successful businessman, but for some reason failed to internalize his success. External validation is a critical issue (along with the obvious lapses in character and integrity issue).

He is continuing to work through it in therapy.

BW 30 year marriage.
DDay2 2/20 5 month PA
My Ducks are Aligned and I'm Good to Go! :)

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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 6:01 PM on Monday, October 11th, 2021

My W is co-dependent. I believe a large proportion of WSes are co-d. So she definitely lacked boundaries before her A - I just didn't realize how messed up her belief system was.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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csaiht ( member #77335) posted at 5:00 AM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

He's in a position of power at a local veteran's organization. A woman came over to talk to him, but the music was loud and they couldn't hear each other, and all the chairs were occupied, so he patted his knee and invited her to sit on his knee while she was talking to him. I was sitting right next to him.

I no longer believe that men don't know what they're doing in these situations. They wouldn't do it to their boss, or another man, for example. They know what they can get away with and who they can do it to.

Me: BW Him: xWH
both in late 30s
Together 19 years, married 12
young kids
Dday 1 - Feb 2020 PA
False R for 8 months
Dday 2 - Oct 2020 Discovered a 9 year long PA/EA & other EAs
Separated - Aug 2021

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marriageredux959 ( member #69375) posted at 4:36 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

Yes.

This is *exactly* what I mean when I say that infidelity does not happen in a vacuum. IMHO there are *always* other problems.

I would wager that the other problems likely have to do with either compulsion/addiction issues, and/or boundary issues.

Husband has boundary issues: KISA across the board, people pleasing, validation seeking, collector of real and imagined merit badges and gold stars on his chart.

IMHO that started as a pretty darned healthy and insightful coping mechanism as a child being raised by narcissists. He found a legit way to shore up his own self esteem.

It became a classic tragic flaw, a virtue carried to such an extreme that it became a vice, over a lifetime. It was way out of balance. All validation and perception of self worth came from external sources. Of course, the need for constant validation was well modeled by narcissistic parents. In that case, their egos were way overweighted.

Husband followed the people pleasing and validation seeking into infidelity only once and felt miserable over it.

We've struggled and struggled hard with his validation neediness, people pleasing and absence of boundaries throughout our entire marriage, however. It was so severe and so self absorbed and so all consuming that in many if not most situations that involved the two of us, and God forbid that he caught even a whiff of the possibility of validation, *I* was not allowed to have preferences, wants, needs, or boundaries of my own. Katie bar the door, or better yet, just get the hell out of his way, already.

It's interesting; his narcissistic parents are so demandingly and aggressively needy of validation that it's often embarrassing to even squicky, and sometimes downright surreal.

They are clueless.

Their inflated egos completely block their perception.

I don't pick up 'ego driven' in that direct way from Husband. It has always felt more like a Drowning Man trying to stay afloat (Husband)than a Resource Guarding Dog growling and snapping and wolfing down a bowl of food so no one else can have any (his parents.)

It felt more like Husband sucked all of the air out of the marriage just trying to catch a decent and overdue breath for himself, like he'd been oxygen deprived for his entire life.

We both see this clearly now.

Great thread.

[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 4:40 PM, Friday, October 15th]

I was once a June bride.
I am now a June phoenix.
The phoenix is more powerful.
The Bride is Dead.
Long Live The Phoenix.

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Underserving ( member #72259) posted at 5:12 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

What made my husband’s A so mind boggling to me is that he had never crossed any lines before when it came to women. I didn’t ever catch him staring at other women. I’ve never seen him be flirty, or even overly friendly. He’s actually a pretty quiet guy around people he doesn’t know very well. I used to joke with my sister that he would never cheat because he didn’t even know how to flirt. Joke sure was on me 😂 (you have to laugh about this shit sometimes) Even now, I can’t really picture him being the way he was with his AP. It’s still so hard to reconcile that person, with the man I’ve known 15 years.

However, he has only in the past couple of years established some boundaries with his family. They spent most of his life, and our relationship, being allowed to say whatever they wanted to him. His mother would have times she hated me, and blamed me for him not coming around. It was mostly because HE didn’t want to, and nothing to do with me. Her and his 2 sisters would text him talking shit about me all the time, and he never did anything about it. He would just say "it’s easier to ignore them." That’s what led to him not allowing me to go through his phone. I saw too many texts with them saying untrue crap about me, and then I’d be pissed off. His mother ended up passing away in 2012. His sisters kept up saying whatever they wanted until after d-day when he finally told them to never talk about me to him again.

This one is harder to admit, but he didn’t have very good boundaries with me either. I also talked to him however I wanted. He had the same mindset "it’s easier to ignore, than it is to engage." All that did was create distance and resentment.

BW (32)Found out 3 years post end of AD-day 12-9-19In R

Infidelity brings out the cuss in me. I’m not as foul mouthed in real life. ;)

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fournlau ( member #71803) posted at 5:15 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

My WH has always had boundary issues with women. Always overshared about our M and his issues with me. Spoke about sex with them and acted like it was normal.

Examples:

Let a woman dressed in a bikini sit on his lap while at a bar during deployment.

Asked women from work how they felt about me being overweight and him wanting me to lose weight and me not "complying". (Of course according to him they all agreed that he was well within his rights to ask this of me rolleyes )

Had a full on conversation with a woman online (while playing Everquest) about how she enjoyed being eaten out while her H sucked on an ice cube (and told me it was because he wanted to try that with us!).

I could go on but you get the picture! Also, yes, I've asked if any of this would have been acceptable had I done them. He of course said not in the least! Duh! Double standard for sure!

Had I done the things he's done, we would be divorced!

He has even admitted that while doing those things, he didn't think there was anything wrong with it. He has apologized but I feel that he still thinks some of these things are no big deal. Unless I do them that is!

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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 5:22 PM on Friday, October 15th, 2021

I no longer believe that men don't know what they're doing in these situations. They wouldn't do it to their boss, or another man, for example. They know what they can get away with and who they can do it to.

Good point. I don't think it's necessarily a conscious choice, though. I don't think they do a run-through in their heads before they do stupid, sexist shit. "I wouldn't ask Bob to sit on my knee, so I shouldn't ask Susan." God, it's so ingrained.

My H works in a male-dominated industry and is surrounded by truck drivers all day. He likes to hire women because just their presence improves the vibe and tames the locker room talk. He'd never in a million years ask a female coworker or employee to sit on his knee. I'm sure he thought he was being chivalrous when he did it at the post. That friggin' KISA crap in action again.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

posts: 547   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8693454
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