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.
I didn't feel attacked, moreso explaining what I was agreeing with. I do a lot of posting on my phone and that makes my communication worse. I was agreeing mostly with there is some cleaning up of some disfunctional behavior on both sides of the fence.
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.
That's fine, I just think the reccoomendation here has nothing to do with your wife's feelings, or thinking you are going to cheat with this woman (you would have already if you were going to), or anything like that. My feelings towards it are just a result of personal experience. I will allow you to have yours. My husband and I had two employees that were basically married in the eyes of the state anyway, and so I knew both of them very well. The woman knew our finances well, she was our bookkeeper and office assistant. They fucked in our house many times a week for 18 months. I think she had a calculated affair with my h in order to have an easier life. The man, I had quite good feelings towards, he is a good man but in the wake of this betrayal he was off the rails. I had to eventually say "Look, you and I are good. I think we both need some privacy now to deal with our own individual situations. I am asking that you only contact me now if you need to confirm something or have new information that I need to know" and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. He did still contact me when he felt he learned something I might not know, but it was mostly NC. That being said, I won't bring it up any more. You will figure it out on your own.
I'd like to understand more on that, but I understand if it's too personal or if she'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 with 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?
I don't have anything to hide, I have said a lot about this situation in my time here. There are two types of people in this world in regards to sex - some need emotional intimacy, some can do it for the act of doing it. Generally, either gender can fall under either of these categories. I have known men who would never have sex until in a serious relationship, and I have known women who will just fuck someone and walk away with no thoughts about it. Like they had just been hungry and had eaten dinner. I also know people who are one of these in one stage of life and change in another change of life.
In my early days I was a fuck and forget. Like your wife, I used sex as a transaction - usually for some sort of validation - occasionally to try for some gratificaiton. After some time, I learned that as a female you are going to get the shit end of the stick a whole lot if gratification is what you are after. Most men in a no strings attached situation either don't know what to do or don't care to do it.
Women are programmed so strongly in terms of sex as well. I didn't want to believe the programming so some of my early days was about rebelling more than the experiences I was actually having while doing it.
When I met my husband, I was in my early twenties. I had a failed marriage already to someone I dated all through high school. He never wanted to have sex, he didn't participate in the household, he basically acted like my son. I gave ultimatums and talked until I was blue in the face, he didn't get it. So, it didn't last. I had been divorced a year when H came on the scene and I was in no way looking for anything serious. He too had been divorced less than a year, also in a sexless marriage and I think we were both anxious to get out and experiment. For the first part of our relationship, we weren't exclusive. But we were very honest with each other and had a really nice friendship with a side of benefits. So we would tell each other our crazy fantasies and eventually we decided together maybe it's the time to go try some of it out.
So, we did that. This was 25 years ago or more, but the internet was a thing and we used it. We met different people, attended parties and clubs and all that stuff. What I found was it definitely made me feel depressed after it, terrible for my self worth. I didn't have the perspective of sex being "special", but maybe my programming or morals were saying otherwise. The quality of the sex, not good. I need many times with the same partner to get comfortable. Honestly, the best part was after when we were home together (it creates hysterical bonding. I didn't learn about HB from having an affair, I learned about it when we were swinging. That is most of the pay off for a lot of couples who do it)
The last year of it, we were talking marriage, and were mostly seeing one couple exclusively. I decided I liked the voyeurism more than the participation. We were swingers for over 2 years and I think I climaxed one time out of all our experiences and it was with the couple we were exclusively seeing that last year. It's kind of a high pressure environment to be honest, and I am not uninhibited enough to overcome that.
When we decided to get married, I told him that I wanted to have a monogamous marriage. Being around other married swingers, we saw the pitfalls of it - people falling in love with other people, people breaking promised boundaries, all sorts of stuff that I knew if we were going to have a lasting marriage we needed to minimize the chaos we were going to bring to it.
I didn't give him any ultimatum, he respected the decision. Though for all those years of marriage I knew all I would have to do is say "let's do it again" and he would have been creating an account in two seconds.
I don't relate it to my affair because I know what led to my affair and it was all me. All my lack of communication, all my lack of opinions, voice, etc. Also my affair was over two decades later. Was there some resentment from that time? Maybe. I knew it wasn't logical though. I think part of me my whole marriage never believed I would be enough for anyone, this was reinforced by numerous times having to remove porn from our sex life. It would get to be he wouldn't touch me without it on. He also has a specific fetish that is hard for me to relate to, and that added to my insecurities (though it's integrated in our sessions now and not only doesn't bother me but is now something I enjoy)
We now will watch porn from time to time with no complaints from me. But, it's not a centerpiece of our relationship, more to mix things up now and then. I definitely feel like he has learned to be "just with me" and it's made our intimacy feel whole and something that I enjoy more than ever.
The only other thing I relate to it is that it did make me feel like he didn't find monogamy as important as other people did. It easily folded into my justifications at the time. Thinking, he'd watched me do way worse than the 3 times of vanilla I had with the AP. But, alas betrayal is betrayal and these were just lies I told myself.
When H cheated on me, I was challenged again with his feelings of the importance of monogamy. But, during our recovery since his affair, I think he has taken that on himself. It's left me feeling like it's a battle I no longer have to fight. That's way over simplification but I don't want your thread to get derailed by my admissions so I will just stop there.
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).
Fair enough. I am not here to take up for owning it now, nor do I believe that she needs me to do so. I only brought up my perceptions of what she was saying to clarify what I was agreeing to. And, I do agree with the premise that these behaviors were overall unhealthy for both of you.
However, please do not accuse me of gaslighting, I am not gaslighting you just because I didn't read what someone said the same way. As a ws, that's a sensitive word and I don't want to be associated with anything of the like. I also probably didn't read as thoroughly as I should have, but I still walked away with the feeling people were questioning new information they didn't have before. I had read that stuff earlier and had forgotten it myself.
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.
Again, not going to argue for what she was trying to say. I think the healthiest thing that could have been done is to stop and realize you were not enjoying this lifestyle, to cease it, and to have you all get outside help. BUT, if it were that easy, I sure wouldn't be here either - it would have been far less problems for us to go to MC or something years ago rather than to deal with this shit. I know Owning used divorce as an option, and it was in fact one option, so I personally have no issue with what she said and still do not.
We say divorce for things here all the time - I say all the time I should have gotten divorced rather than cheating. Why? Because the damage to both of us was tremendous. I am happily married today. I am happy we didn't get divorced. But, would I choose it over cheating now? Yes. It would be less destructive 100 percent. But cheating is not the only thing that can be destructive and have better alternatives.
For 10 years you say you hated the online stuff, but used it to substitute for a healthy sex life so you could stay married. I don't think it's flippant to say divorce CAN be a better option. Whether it is for you or not, is something else entirely. The best option is to recognize our shit and fix it, but we're human and we don't always do that. Anyway, what you did for 10 years is less important than what you do now. Anyone's disapproval of that past history isn't out of alignment with what you think about it, in all truth, that outside of it not being cheating it still wasn't healthy especially if you hated it?
Again, I am not here to patch things up for the two of you, nor do either of you want that. I am simply stating I do think that when we are emotionally triggered by something someone else says here, there is something there to dig on. There were times that I got some feedback and it sent me spiralling, only to figure out that what was wrong with me wasn't what they said. It was how I felt about the topic entirely.
I don't want to rehash or have a fight with anyone about this because I am certainly not upset about it now - but I want to give you an example and I can only think of one good one. Once hellfire explained to me why I was not a good mother. I was fucking livid - how could she say that, I always put my kids first. I did everything for them. And, months later I realized it hurt because I was not being a good mother because when I cheated on my husband I also cheated on them. I threatened a big part of their security and future. So my reaction to her had nothing to do with what she said. Had I not cheated, and that hadn't resonated on some level to me I would have been like "whatever, lady". This is why I don't think I am being disingenuous to say you are having a deeper reaction and it's coming out in defensiveness.
I have some idea that if you reread this string 6 months from now you would see a lot of things differently, but it's your string and it's whatever you want. I personally do not believe owning is a bully, but I know she has a very black and white view after going through her own tremendous shit show. I also personally believe you don't get out of infidelity and fix your marriage without getting pretty black and white. (I used to be a grey person more than I am today , and you are also grey). Anyway, like Forrest says "That's all I have to say about that"
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.
There are some bullies here, maybe. It used to be way worse. I don't think that way - I think we all have our own experience and we are all triggered by different things. And, honestly, if I had said no to the swinging and he still wanted to persue then the relationship would have and should have been over - our vision would not have lined up, he would have needed to find someone else to fill that vision with. So, I don't take offense if that would have been the advice.
How many Bh’s have told you to divorce since you have been here! Lots of them! So this is not the problem.
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 everyone in my life, let alone 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 weaknesses.
I addressed this already, my advice isn't about how your wife feels. I think BS's have to do things out of necessity and that is prioritized above the WS's comfort. For many, many reasons. I just think this is bad for you long term, but you will have to decide when that is. Keep in mind not all BS's are good people, it's hard to see that when you see someone in front of you in pain. The OBS in my situation is a good person, but he was starting to do say and do some things that were detrimental to my R out of his own pain. He had a different agenda and his was revenge. Beware. And again, that's all I have to say about that.
I think right now, you are four months out, and this online sex issue isn't the top thing to be solved now, especially since you did recognize it wasn't good and have ended that chapter of your sex life. But often we don't see wounds until they are pushed on and in some ways you may decide later some of these "bullies" did you a favor. You have your own personal cognitive dissonance surrounding that, and the long and short of it is your defensiveness stems from that. It's a clue for things you need to work on to get past this area of your life.
You may be angry with yourself for accepting that way of life, and have a lot of shame around it. Perhaps it even was emasculating to you to have to turn to online rather than your own wife. People then turning around and questioning if it was cheating is causing that shame to come up even though the shame doesn't stem from feeling like you cheated. Does that make better sense? It doesn't matter what happens in this forum really, but it does often point out to us what hurts deeply. I think that period of your life hurts deeply, and likely does for her on some level too. It's not in our programming about marriage so some things even when consensual won't sit right. I do not think that's what her affair is about and I wouldn't make it the focus right now. You both have bigger fish to fry in the big picture for some time to come.
[This message edited by hikingout at 2:35 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]