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Soft 180 for MH's?

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 8:41 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

While the litmus test for whether or not something is an EA includes secrecy/deceit, I don't think something is automatically NOT an EA just because there is no deceit.

To reiterate, yes anything you feel you need to hide from your SO is probably and A and is wrong. But just because you tell you SO about it, doesn't mean that you aren't having an A, or otherwise cheating.

"It's not an EA because I tell you about all our interactions" is like saying "It's not a PA because I tell you about it when we have sex."

If an intimacy boundary, however you have defined it, is being crossed, there is an A. Even if there isn't deceit. If he is dumping his emotional energy into her that should rightly be directed toward you, it doesn't matter if he tells you about it.

As with all "getting out of infidelity" advice, the biggest problem is that it's hard to enforce a boundary without essentially threatening divorce. "You can talk to all the women you want as much as you want, but not as my husband". Something like this. Now, the reality is that there can be in between consequences for something like this. "As long as you are dumping your emotional energy into another woman, I'm not going to dump my emotional energy into you".

As you say, a sort of soft 180. Focus on yourself, and when he is willing to be a real partner, he can rejoin you. Alternatively, if he refuses to show commitment and devotion you expect in a marriage, you will be better prepared to make it on your own.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 8:42 PM, Thursday, September 8th]

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

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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 8:56 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

MIgander - Nothing turns on it, but it was me who compared you to the frog in the burning water and asked when you would get out of the bucket. Your response is that you wouldn't separate unless his current, ongoing EA turned into a PA. In saying that, you are making it clear to us (and to him) that his EA is therefore NOT a boundary for you. Previously in this thread, you have indicated it is unacceptable to you but your actions doing match with this. Your husband hasn't in the past demonstrated himself to be someone who is overly concerned with your comfort/happiness/well-being to the extent that it interferes with his interests/desires. Why would you expect this to be any different.

Please know that I'm not saying this to be harsh. I also want to put on record that I don't think his actions here seem to be a reaction to or a response to your A. Quite the contrary, it seems like an ongoing pattern that has existed prior to your A. It may be that he's using your A as justification now, but from what you write, it doesn't sound like he's trying to justify wrongdoing, it sounds like he's denying that any wrongdoing exists.

The thing that has ALWAYS stuck out to me about your story is your husband's previous financial abuse. Can you tell the story about the watches? I think it would be illuminating to some.

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 986   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 9:03 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

"As long as you are dumping your emotional energy into another woman, I'm not going to dump my emotional energy into you".

thanks TIF. This is essentially the conversation I had with him today. "I'm not romantically interested in men who disrespect me, or own/work on their own baggage." His big ask for healing (aside from sex) is that he feels pursued. I have done a fair amount of pursuit and can honestly say that there was more I could do/have done (in terms of frequency). I did reply though, "I am not interested in romantically pursuing men who are disrespectful of me and who aren't actively working on themselves."

So, there's that. We have MC tomorrow, which is good.

And yeah, unrequited love is still love. It's also misplaced affection/energy that rightfully belongs to your spouse first.

H also brought up how he used the silent treatment earlier as a way to detach since I was so disrespectful of him. He then turned and said that I would have wanted engagement back then, so I should be empathetic and give that to him. I admitted, "I was very disrespectful of you back then and you were right to disengage. How is that any different for me now?" He hasn't replied to that as of yet...

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 9:21 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

For me, I see myself holding firm to my boundary for respect in regards to being his exclusive romantically intimate female relationship. I will also be respected in regard to my boundaries. And held as a person to be loved, not perfected.

These are great goals/boundaries. That you are not currently (nor have you been) getting from your spouse.

Whether I get that or not from H, that is the outcome I will hold to in my life and future.

Have you clearly communicated these boundaries/goals to him? If yes, then he is giving you his answer. Like we tell all BS's - he's showing you who he is....

Ball is in his court on that one, we will see.

Why would you give him the reins to YOUR life?

Look setting healthy boundaries is HARD. It just is. It's really scary drawing that line in the sand. But when you DO, you realize in a very visceral way that you cannot control other people. You can't and you never can control others - no matter how nice, accommodating, agreeable, loving etc you are. The scary part of defining your boundaries is that you may be called upon to make a hard decision when you are dealing with someone who can't or won't respect them. That you may be viewed by the other person as a 'bitch' or as being 'unreasonable' or 'controlling' or whatever. But IME the people who generally have a hard time respecting healthy boundaries are the ones that benefitted from it when you didn't have any.

I remember at the end of my false R wrestling with this with my xwh too. That I laid down my line, and he immediately started calling me controlling and going on about how unreasonable I was etc. But MY boundaries were never about controlling him, they were about reiterating to myself what treatment I would or wouldn't accept. Once I had them in place, my path forward became real clear real damn fast.

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

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 9:22 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

it doesn't sound like he's trying to justify wrongdoing, it sounds like he's denying that any wrongdoing exists.

This is it for the money.

Ugh. Watches. Well, basically H thought he was entitled (while I was at home w/ the babies) to have hunting trips with the bros and buy all the kit and kaboodle that goes with it (and not the Cabela's brand either!), since he "worked so hard and sacrificed so much for us." Meanwhile, the only clothes I got for years were handmedowns from friends, Christmas presents from sisters/mom or clearance or thrift store. And the clothes were not "pretty enough" for him. He told me several times that certain clothes I had were "frumpy."

Anyway, he got to get whatever clothes and hunting gear or basement building supplies he wanted, but there were times the power would be shut off or the gas shut off. Frequently we had notices that we were going into foreclosure being 3mos behind on the mortgage. Because I enabled him by co-signing on a house I didn't want that was too expensive for us on just his salary. We also had near constant annual notices of tax auction notices from the county for lack of property tax payment. I also forgot about the nastygrams from the IRS and State Treasury asking for their tax money. Politely of course. I was the one who decided to take on Bank of America to get out of the foreclosure, had to show up to the county clerks on several occasions to pay our back taxes in person.

There were also multiple occasions where I only had $25 for groceries to feed us and the kids. For several years since I got back into work and earning 6 figures, I had PTSD at Kroger- my card had been declined so often. And H would complain that the food I served at dinner wasn't good enough.

I also had the joy of going into the bank after HIS CAR WAS REPOED and explain to them that my H never bothered to get the account information and thus stopped paying. H blamed the dealership for using our old address on the account. I mean, if you have an auto loan due... and you know the bank but not your account... there's a branch office not far away you can go ask...

Also, H insisted I lie to his dad about our financial circumstances as his dad gave us a bunch of money to even get approved for the house. I also had to lie to his dad about the repo- his parents and family thought the car was stolen until H revealed my A. I talked to his dad about the financial lies I've been keeping quiet. You should have seen how high his eyebrows climbed his forehead...

And the watches... H needed an IWC watch after my A to PROVE I loved him. I took a 401k loan to finance that and pay off some other debts. It wasn't enough since he had to pressure me into it. THEN, because I really was sincerely processing my remorse, H wanted an Omega to PROVE again that I loved him and was sorry. I did get him the Omega with some of my and his bonus money.

H had a Rolex that he sold to get into our house (when I was at home w kids). He bitterly regretted it, counted it as the "sacrifice he made" for us to get into a house we couldn't afford. So, after I said, "IC or D, the papers are written and I am ready to file, your choice." His grandpa (essentially my gpa of 13yrs at that point) died. I didn't find out he was dead until I was sitting in church at the mass where his name was called as one of the departed we prayed for. *ETA* H had been getting progressively "mournful" over the great watch that got away- the old Submariner that he sold and sacrificed for our family. For a house HE wanted and that I was uncomfortable buying... for good reason. YET... I'm bad with money???*

Anyway, H inherited $27k from him. $20k went to back taxes to the IRS- they were going to garnish... and he took the rest to buy a Rolex he wanted. That he never told me about. That I found in the top of the desk drawer 2 years later. I was told for years not to go into his desk. I wanted the check book 2 weeks ago and looked for it in the desk. 1st day of school, H was getting out the door and I was in a rush. Found the watch. WTF! That was when I snapped. Well, that was the start of the snapping anyway. H justified it as, "I wanted something to remember gpa by, so I bought it with my inheritance money. I had to spend most of it on the taxes, so I didn't get to enjoy that. I made a sacrifice for you guys, I deserve the watch."

You deserve a watch that costs more than one of my kids' tuition at the parish school. And, yah, its inheritance and not necessarily marital funds... but... bitching about paying back taxes? Being financially disciplined is difficult for him- he can't just go and buy what he wants anymore and blame me for blowing money on groceries. It's a major change in him, one I appreciate. One that he holds up as "Look what I've done for you and our M! I've fixed our finances (we work on them together now) and I don't negatively compare you to other women any more!!"

Well, at the risk of sounding unempathetic... wow. Glad you're doing your chores.

So yeah, that's the financial abuse history. H gets what he wants when he wants it. It's HIS trust fund (which he had the entire time we were struggling to pay utilities), HIS inheritance, HIS watches, HIS HIS HIS.

MC is trying to get us to work more as a team. I used to think I was too inflexible and uncompromising. Now I'm seeing it for the projection it is.

I will add that I am ADHD and in my untreated years, impulsive. Yah know, buying swimsuits that were on sale or avocados that only my DD and I liked... or icecream that wasn't on the list... or cleaning supplies. Ajax is a luxury.

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:26 PM, Thursday, September 8th]

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 9:34 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

But IME the people who generally have a hard time respecting healthy boundaries are the ones that benefitted from it when you didn't have any.

AGAIN!! THIS IS SO DEAD ON!!!

Yeah, enforcing boundaries... not fun. My hope is that I will protect myself from his gaslighting and keep my sanity.

I'm willing to wait and see right now because H is being reactive to this- it's the first time he's ever scheduled MC! I plan on enforcing my boundaries there tomorrow. If he can't live with that, and get in IC and become a man I can feel romantically attracted to... then there won't be any pursuit and we will have to look at other arrangement.

H reads here what I post. I recently had to change my password as he read my PMs. I'm not going into detail on what I'm willing to do if I don't see the progress I need to see. That is for me to know. And to do. H is likely going to read this and freak out at me tonight (like he did Tuesday) and pester and bother me in bed again.

I'm going to stop for today and spend time w kids. I haven't been productive at work the last 2 weeks because of this. It started when H started seeing J for lunch again. Next Tuesday he is going to hang out with her and some other people at the battery expo after work. They're going to a bar. H wanted to know if the group (all 4 of them) could come over. I said the guys, sure. Not J. I would prefer to meet her at a bar somewhere with her BF like I've been clearly asking for the last 2 months. H backtracked and said J won't come over. I'm not cleaning up for him. If he wants to impress his buddies with an immaculate house mid-week on a school night, he can lift that load. I mean, beyond what I need for sanity that is. I'm a clutter bug, but HATE food mess laugh .

*ETA* I just asked him if I could join him and his buddies after the expo Tuesday and meet J... let's see how that goes.

[This message edited by MIgander at 9:40 PM, Thursday, September 8th]

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8754420
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emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 10:20 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

H reads here what I post. I recently had to change my password as he read my PMs. I'm not going into detail on what I'm willing to do if I don't see the progress I need to see. That is for me to know. And to do. H is likely going to read this and freak out at me tonight (like he did Tuesday) and pester and bother me in bed again.

I appreciate you are keeping some cards close to your chest so feel free not to respond. Why was he reading your PMs? Why did he freak out at you on Tuesday? Because of something you posted? What issue does he take? Does he think you mischaracterized something or does he just not like you getting advice that threatens the status quo of your current marriage. Also, pester you in bed? In reaction to something here? Am I understanding that correctly?

Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.

posts: 986   ·   registered: Apr. 7th, 2017
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 11:05 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

H read on Tues I know not why. MC challenged him on some things? Dont know? I did agree to stop posting here. H doesnt like the way I talk about him and having our story shared online to a bunch of strangers on the internet who dont know him. He doesnt like advice that tells me to enforce boundaries. He hates when people say we should S or D.

Pestering in bed... Tues night he came in after I was asleep around 1030 according to my fitbit. I took a sleep gummy and was very groggy. I dont remember exactly why he was upset. I think because he saw me post here. He was panicking that we would D. He wsnted me to empathize with him, wake up fully and promise to not D or something or stop posting here. Agsin, I was very groggy. He was very angry and yelling. I told him i needed a time out and he went away angrily until abput 1230 according to my fitbit.

He threw the way he treated me after my Dday and suicidality. That he was never too tired to listen. I told him i had a gummy and am groggy. Eventually i did wake myself up more fully, mirror him and empathise. Then i went back to sleep.

Time outs not respected. Yelling and anger

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

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Buck ( member #72012) posted at 6:21 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

Michigan, personally I think EAs are a tricky thing to define. The friendship to EA distinction is a lot like the art to porn distinction; everybody determines the "line" somewhat differently. There are definitely black and white instances but there are also gray areas where folks might vehemently disagree. Also, some of what your H said sounds like regret for not straying after his spouse had a PA. Speaking from experience, that does sting and it makes you feel like a fool for being faithful to someone that didn't show you the same courtesy. And, hell, I could be completely wrong because I'm just going over what I know about you situation based on what you've posted. So no offense meant, just offering a viewpoint.

I realized after years of "struggle", much like you describe here, that I had to recognize my WW had changed if I wanted to continue the marriage. To make it work for both of us, I had to let go of the resentment, shame, regret, etc. We wouldn't be able to move forward unless something like that happened. I also think a lot of the comparison to other women and financial stuff you husband is doing is to punish you. That's understandable to me too. I'm betting he feels like he's sacrificed for you and his family, hey it's what men do, and you gave up the goodies for nada to another man. That shit is difficult to overcome.

I think to continue the M in a MH situation in particular, you both have to draw a line in the sand and say bygones. You have to agree you both did shitty things to each other and put the past in the past as much as possible. Some things make this harder than others. Working with the AP, your H feeling like the scales aren't balanced, need to punish, embarrassment, triggers, pain, regret, shame, fear, and a whole lot more make this a herculean task IME. I communicated this to my wife, we discussed boundaries and other marriage changes we thought needed to happen and agreed upon a timeline to regroup. In our case it did not work out. I filed for divorce and it should be finalized later this month. It's been fucking gut wrenching but I now see it's something that at least offers the opportunity for future happiness. Staying mired in a miserable marriage made that impossible.

posts: 371   ·   registered: Nov. 4th, 2019   ·   location: Texas
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 1:38 AM on Monday, September 12th, 2022

Hi Buck,

Im sorry to hear about your D. I have put H in a bad situation with my A and my AP moving to my building. H amd I are discussing a potential lateral move I could make in the future to another org structure thats in another building on campus. At the end of the day, it sucks that I even opened up this pandoras box at all and noe H has no way of feeling safe regardless of where I work, so long as he holds on to the person I was instead of the person I am becoming.

That whole bygones thing is exactly what our MC wanted us to work on- making a list of every resentment we have had since childhood on up. I think the idea is to lay it all out there for each other to see. Then we can deal with it all with greater visibility.

For me, I am hoping to outline patterns in my pwn anger and resentments so i can target them more precisely. Im sick of allowing my triggers to jerk me around. As soon as I raise my voice or harden my tone, H just tunes out. Trouble is, i end up triggering even harder because i feel like he is dismissing me. I have improved on giving myself a time out, either in my head or verbally. Today was a bad day though and i am pissed at myself for getting into a big stupid argument over his assumptions and not listening to my ideas fully before judging them (as inadequate) or making assumptions about them. I do this to him too, infer things he isnt meaning by the words hes using.

Sometimes though, i feel like he knows which words to use to get a rise out of me. I mean, how can you not after 15yrs of M?

Either way, we both know how to push each others buttons expertly. And i was hung over after being out w my friends last night.

This post got into the weeds a bit. H still DARVOd me when I brought up how I felt in the argument, made it about him. I still raised my voice and hardened my tone and told him what was what (he saw that as tslking down). I just dont know how to talk to him sometimes and he doesnt know how to listen when i am getting upset.

Yeah, we are listing resentments for next MC so hopefully we will know exactly what is being released between us amd what is baggage from FOO.

H has reached out to J to schedule a meet up, we will see what happens. He questioned me on why i wanted to meet her and whether it was something negative on my end and whether we should talk to MC about it. I told him i wanted him to set it up as a matter of being respected.

H compared it to how i felt meeting up with my college friend K when we were dating. H didnt like K and her H, B, because their house was small and kinda shabby, their food wasnt all that great and they liked board games and were engineering nerds like me. I liked K because she was smart, kind, generous, enthusiastic and extremely hard working. She went from dropping out of college at 19 to raise her baby (dad left and didnt give her a dime in CS😡). Then got back into the same engineering school I studied in when her son went to kindergarten. Worked her way to a chem e, masters and phd in biochem. While raising a kid, while marrying her old highschool bestie, B and living in VERY tight circumstances to do so.

H doesnt like that i make fun of J for being entitled, overly self indulgent, irresponsible and in general someone who likes to put others down to feel good about herself. So, since i point out these things, I have stirred up a similar feeling of reluctsnce in him to bring her around.

Thats where the similarities between the situations stop. Once removed from emotions, i think most logical people would think that a hardworking, generous and strong minded person of the same sex would be a good friendship to be nurtured. My logical brain says that a seofish entitled spoiled overgrown teenager of the opposite sex is not a good friendship to be nurtured.

H isnt living in his logic brain though... hes living in his lizard brain with this thing with J because A. Its an established crutch behavior and B. My affair has crushed his ability to be anything more than reactive until he hates his life enough to want to change it for himself.

So thats where i am at. Had a lovely night out with the girls though and got a ton of basement work done!

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 1:22 AM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

The friendship to EA distinction is a lot like the art to porn distinction; everybody determines the "line" somewhat differently. There are definitely black and white instances but there are also gray areas where folks might vehemently disagree.

Maybe there is an angle of reason we could take to figure out if this EA is an EA or a friendship.

Now, I mentioned Shirley Glass's quiz before.

If you haven't read it here it is:

Quiz: Has Your Friendship Become an Emotional Affair?
Directions: Circle Yes or No to the left of each statement.

Yes No 1. Do you confide more to your friend than to your partner about how your day went?
Yes No 2. Do you discuss negative feelings or intimate details about your marriage with your friend but not with your partner?
Yes No 3. Are you open with your partner about the extent of your involvement with your friend?
Yes No 4. Would you feel comfortable if your partner heard your conversation with your friend?
Yes No 5. Would you feel comfortable if your partner saw a videotape of your meetings?
Yes No 6. Are you aware of sexual tensions in this friendship?
Yes No 7. Do you and your friend touch differently when you’re alone than in front of others?
Yes No 8. Are you in love with your friend?

Scoring Key:
You get one point for each yes to questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and one point each for no to
3, 4, 5.
If you scored near 0, this is just a friendship.
If you scored 3 or more, you may not be "just friends."
If you scored 7-8, you are definitely involved in an emotional affair

OK, so the key here is he is claiming that maybe so long as he is open (3), doesn't cross a physical or emotional boundary (2, 4, 5, and 7), and isn't in love (8), that maxes him out at 1 and 6 being true. "See not an EA!" (he would claim)

I think the real key questions might be missing from the list. Have you asked him if there is any sexual tension? Does he find her attractive? If you weren't married would he try to date her or pursue her as a casual sex partner?

I think these are pretty important questions when asking if an opposite sex friendship (or any friendship where sexual attraction is possible) is really platonic or not. Especially if booze is involved, it seems like one slip away to jump straight into a full blown A (instant flips on 2,3,4,5, and 7 if he drunkenly kissed her and didn't tell you about it). They are sitting there building up what amounts to a pretty solid emotional connection, and the only thing keeping them apart are boundaries that have proven to be porous.

You two should be able to discuss this pretty openly to set whatever additional boundaries would make you feel safe.

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

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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:19 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Hi TiF,

I find your wisdom really applicable lately.

That said, if my wife were to say, "TIF, I don't like that you and fWW friend spend time together without me." I would drop any such activities and set that boundary. At the end of the day, I'm married to my wife and she has to come first. If my friend is causing my wife grief, then she isn't really a friend of the marriage even if I feel like she is helping me in the marriage.

From another thread. I wish that my H would follow this with J. We're working this through...

I'm going to copy and paste your questions and answer them to the best of my knowledge:

Quiz: Has Your Friendship Become an Emotional Affair?
Directions: Circle Yes or No to the left of each statement.

YES 1. Do you confide more to your friend than to your partner about how your day went?
-Sometimes, yes he did.

YES, but rarely and vaguely 2. Do you discuss negative feelings or intimate details about your marriage with your friend but not with your partner?
-He discusses how he's having a rough time, but not about details. H discusses his problems with me though.

NO 3. Are you open with your partner about the extent of your involvement with your friend?
-He hasn't been in the past and at times I wonder if he's ramping up activity with her the more unhappy/conflicted he is with me.

NO 4. Would you feel comfortable if your partner heard your conversation with your friend?
-Probably not- he has difficulty sharing, like a kid caught sneaking screen time on YouTube.

NO 5. Would you feel comfortable if your partner saw a videotape of your meetings?
-Probably not- H has been reticent of me meeting her.

There are, but unaware 6. Are you aware of sexual tensions in this friendship?
-H isn't aware, but then, he's good at sticking his head in the sand. There was tension with his previous EA with my friend, with the WW T and also with J. He's VERY careful about not letting things get "inappropriate" and personal. To me, that means that there's a large potential for boundary crossing. I had (let it go) a friendship with a good HS friend of mine and there was NO sexual tension. H has even said I can start up a friendship with him again, if I like (HS friend knows about my A and has supported H through it). I don't have to worry about boundary crossing because I know his are good and mine are good too.

MAYBE 7. Do you and your friend touch differently when you’re alone than in front of others?
-N/A... not around them, don't know. H claims it appropriate, and has lunches with her in groups, but I have NO IDEA how they behaved on their 1-2x weekly drinking lunches ALONE for the 1st 1.5yrs of their "friendship" after my A was discovered.

NO 8. Are you in love with your friend?
-That's a no- he doesn't respect her, respects her less than me (which is saying something- he doesn't really respect me very much in the areas of relationships. Others yes, but in this... NO).

From the outside in, I would score it a: 6
If you scored 3 or more, you may not be "just friends."

And the MAYBE is what is killing me. SLIPPERY SLOPE.

Does he find her attractive?

He doesn't admit it, but she checks all the boxes. Cute (LinkedIn pic), blonde, petite, dripping in designer clothes and always "put together." Does it count if it makes logical sense, but isn't admitted to??

If you weren't married would he try to date her or pursue her as a casual sex partner?

Definitely not date in a serious manner. He made it clear she's NOT M material. Casual sex... I don't know. She's very drug addicted and a hot mess in her personal life... but I don't trust that doesn't have anything to do with whether a man seeks out casual sex with someone. If you're looking for an uninvolved fling, the lifestyle stuff doesn't matter as much. I mean, how many times have we seen people dating hot messes only to ditch them when it came time to be "serious?" I mean... Legally Blonde was about that on a certain level.

I'm still uncomfortable with the friendship. The only thing keeping me on the fence here is that H is seeing how much this affects me negatively, that he could lose me over this and that he's intentionally setting up a meetup with her BF and limiting (as he says) his contact with her.

At the end of the day, I have no fucking clue what he's doing with her. Snapchat is the next thing that has to go. And any other apps with deleted convos. I know too well how that gets abused...

Am I being paranoid? I feel like I am sometimes... overreacting. I have done that in the past, according to H. My emotional volume is dialed up to a 7. Like, where people who have a problem with something might react quietly and firmly, I react loudly and demandingly. Both a HUGE turnoff for H. He used it in the past to deflect criticism and belittle my needs. Not as much anymore (I've dialed myself back from a 9), but it's still there.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8755238
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:04 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

You know your level of paranoia better than any of us do. I will say that I'd be OK with my W seeing everything I've done with and hearing every I said to other women since we committed to each other, even though I've worked away from home with/for some very sexy women. (Mind you, I haven't worked with or for anyone I think is sexier than my W, so I can't claim any high moral ground.)

IDK whether your H is rebelling against the bonds of M or still just so hurt that he's thrashing around, which may earn him some slack. IOW, I don't think you're crazy to question his commitment.

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.

posts: 27569   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8755243
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 7:01 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Well, I was giving him all the benefit of the doubt that I could imagine being possible in his case. Not necessarily suggesting he would score a 2.

Presumably he's read "Not Just Friends", right? I mean, it's not the bible, but out of all the books I've read, it has been by far the most useful in understanding both the why/how of the A, and how to set boundaries to reduce the risk of an A.

EDIT: If he hasn't, please read it together. If he has, refer to windows and walls. "Friend of the marriage" etc. in terms of why this friendship is damaging.

[This message edited by This0is0Fine at 7:03 PM, Wednesday, September 14th]

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

posts: 2091   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8755254
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 7:23 PM on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

H hasnt. I have. I have requested he read it, but aside from reading it out loud for him, I dont know what to do to get it started.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8755258
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 2:15 AM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022

I have requested he read it, but aside from reading it out loud for him, I dont know what to do to get it started.

MIG I say this with great affection for you but please STOP trying to 'get him to do'. He clearly has NO desire to do or not do whatever. You're tying yourself into Gordian knots trying to get him to do things, or feel things, or act a way, or not act a way.

I get it. I promise I do.

But your level of focus on him isn't healthy for YOU IMHO. And it pulls your focus from your own betterment and healing.

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

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3561   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8755319
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humantrampoline ( member #61458) posted at 3:54 PM on Thursday, September 15th, 2022

I agree with EllieKMAS that you should keep the focus on you around this.

With respect, I feel the Not Just Friends quiz is written around the partner potentially getting into an emotional affair self diagnosing. In order to do that, they have to care and want to monitor and adjust actions.

As a BS whose WS went through a acquaintance -> friendship -> EA -> PA, I found myself questioning all the signs along the way and when I should have been aware something was off. Only my WS knows how and when it changed. He was largely open with me about the behavior and thoughts. I mean, right up until he wasn't.

In terms of signs based on the quiz questions, there were a few things.

There was a day/two events where the AP had some suspicious behavior and body language to me. She kept approaching my husband every time we were separated. I noticed her body language (no touching or anything) and a few times excused myself from my current conversation and approached them. Both times she walked away without acknowledging me. My WS seemed oblivious, and I have reasons to believe he was. I wondered if I was overreacting and said nothing.

A month or two later, she gave us a gift certificate to a bar after we did her a favor. My WS asked if I wanted to go use it at a later date, and I said sure. In the car, he asked if we should invite AP and her husband. I said sure, and we called her over Bluetooth speaker phone. She sounded excited and said yes, but it would be just her. My husband said we were in the car on the way and would meet her there. Then she abruptly backed out. I think that both WS and I missed that cue.

Another time AP texted him a "Happy x holiday. What are you up to?" He told her he was prepping for a colonoscopy, and she responded with a pun. He read the messages out to me at the time. I thought it was a bit strange to be telling her about the colonoscopy prep, but otherwise didn't think too much about it. Again, I questioned if it was just me.

Later he told me she kept asking to meet for a drink and talk. He asked me what I thought. I said he should go if he wanted. Maybe she had something specific to talk about the children. We werent living together, and he went alone. He told me that during the drink she kept complaining about her husband and marriage and bragging about herself. He asked what I thought about that. We had a discussion about boundaries, and that I absolutely wouldn't accept him discussing our marriage with another woman, and that he shouldnt be discussing hers. He disagreed but also said they didnt discuss our marriage and he wouldnt. I said I thought she was unhappy and shopping for a new husband and was pursuing him. He promised not to see or talk to her again. He did and lied. That's when it became a PA.

When I asked why he did that after d-day, he said he wanted to find out if she was interested in him in that way. I guess my point is that it was his desire. His choice. His pursuit. My feelings on it didn't matter. That seems to be your husband's attitude.

There was nothing I could have done to stop it that I didn't try to do. Maybe. Or maybe I was a big, fat, trusting, and gullible idiot? There waS one marriage counselor who told me I was stupid for letting him go for a drink with another woman.

If I had personally taken the EA quiz, I don't know. Were those signs or not? The AP did pursue and definitely was trying all along. She told him she was trying to communicate her interest for a long time. For her, it was an EA much longer. If I had asked my WS if he was sexually attracted to her, I think he would have said she was pretty. His attitude seemed more detached than sexual tension.

If your affair had that type of progression, i can understand that you would be trying to evaluate his friendships. I would think and act differently now than i did back then, but in my case my WS definitely had an EA/PA and acknowledges that. Sorry. I hope I didn't make this all about me. It's just that I can really sympathize with your feelings here. It's a difficult situation.

posts: 564   ·   registered: Nov. 17th, 2017
id 8755386
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 5:53 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

Hi guys,

Thanks for the continued feedback.

Ellie, you're dead on, I keep getting enmeshed, which I did again over the weekend. I've since sorted out what in the situation was mine, his and ours... which really helps. It's on him to decide whether or not to break his little bubble of... I don't know how to say it? Privacy around the "friendship"? H has decided to set up a meet up with J and her BF. We're looking at mid-Oct here. Until then, H's agreed to "slow down" on communications. I'd eventually like him to realize that he's been doing this repeatedly in our M and figure out why he seeks intimacy or fantasy or "crushes" on other women when the going gets tough with us. But you're right- I can't FORCE him to.

Sisoon, I think it's a combination of resorting to old maladaptive behavior and lashing out. Things get hard for H, H walls off, draws into his entitlements and basically says, "F-U" in his anger at the state of our M. Then... I wall off, withdraw and defend myself against his hurtful behavior. I do point out to him when I'm too tired or hurt or scared to engage. H hates it because he sees it as avoidance on my part and another way that I'm not "giving him what he needs" in our M.

Thing is, I have a hard time coming humbly and asking pardon when I don't have a clear idea of what I'm responsible for or what I agree I did that was hurtful. Especially while he's lashing out. I'm getting better at sorting quickly when I've done a passive-aggressive jab, but when it comes to stuff like being on time, or buying something that he wanted as an apology (yeah, I know, repeat behavior), I often feel like the deck is stacked against me, or bigger things (like running a car refi to save $$/mo), go ignored while the negative is what is homed in on (me and the kids asking H to do things at the auto show).

Like, I'm in charge of what I say and do, but I'm not in charge of his choices and actions in regard to them? I don't know, it's been a stressful week and I'm tired.

HT:

I feel the Not Just Friends quiz is written around the partner potentially getting into an emotional affair self diagnosing. In order to do that, they have to care and want to monitor and adjust actions.

This is VERY true. And the root of my uncertainty and ambivalence about our M- especially while things are difficult. It's tough because H is very deeply wounded from my A still. He hasn't really taken the responsibility for his own healing though, and the above won't happen until he does. It's one of the biggest injustices of my A- H is broken by my choices and has to clean himself up. I can help, but I can't DO it FOR him. sad

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8756025
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 10:18 PM on Monday, September 19th, 2022

Right now, I'm seeing this as a question: does the WS have a right to make demands in R.

Look, you both have to participate in building an M that you both want. If you can't agree on what that M will be, you can and probably should either walk or go back to the negotiating table. There's no disgrace in walking when you can't agree.

Does your H value you as a person? Does he value your personhood? Do you want to be in this relationship? If so, what does it do for you? I'm asking - my bet is that you have the answers. I can answer for my own sitch, but not yours.

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.

posts: 27569   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8756097
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 MIgander (original poster member #71285) posted at 6:12 PM on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

Quick update here, some good progress to report.

H owned up in MC yesterday that his walling off and anger at not getting what he wanted out of our relationship (closeness) was in part due to how he saw his parents being so closed off and distant from one another. I saw him put 2 and 2 together- that he can be hyper sensitive to any kind of withdrawal or overwhelm on my part and take it as me refusing emotional intimacy because he saw it so much with his parents. I used to blame myself so much for him not being happy and get so enmeshed with him- trying to MAKE him happy and PROVE that I deserved his love- because I would take responsibility on myself for his emotions.

So, I can let some of that go now- the need to control his emotions and blame myself for his unhappiness in the lack of emotional intimacy in our M.

Also, I found a hotel key from a place we hadn't visited together in Traverse City in his desk. It shocked me. Like WTF is this key sitting here for? I racked my brain for any time that H had been on an overnight without me this summer. I couldn't think of anything, dug through the calendar and didn't see anything... but there was still this key. I checked out the hotel, and it seemed vaguely familiar. It was the one H mentioned J going to with her BF the same time as our trip to our family friends' cottage where H was texting on Snapchat with J all evening by the fire.

Also, WTF with that stupid desk! No wonder he's not wanted me in there... he keeps squirreling shit away mad

I called H, and tried being indirect about it, "what do you think of staying in TC and looking at the foliage this fall?" Then said F-it and asked him direct. "Look, I found this hotel key in your desk drawer looking for stamps. WTF??" H explained that at his last lunch with J and friends, she was pulling out her card to pay from the wallet and the card came out of the purse with it. She flung it at him saying, "Here! You take it!" angrily as that was the place she hated going to with her BF.

By the way, I checked out the hotel online and it looked lovely, remodeled, clean and family friendly. Yeah, it wasn't a "luxury" place with sexy/moody décor but, whatever, it was NICE. Spoiled bitch. Don't like the accommodations, how about you get off your ass and book something you like for your BF as a show of appreciation for living with him rent free?

Yeah, I'm that kind of petty judgy. blink

ANYWAY... After H told me that, I told him that I had been thinking about any time that he could have been away without me on an overnight and OMG was he sleeping with her? I said, "WTF did she think it was ok giving you a hotel key? Who does that??" After which, H admitted, "Yeah, the relationship is fucked up and unhealthy. I'm going to cut it off. I can see now how weird it is."

So, lights went on! Hopefully a combo of the MC, my boundaries (hey, get your ass on the phone and make a meet up happen- I'm not tolerating this anymore) and him actually reflecting on how off the thing they have going is...

So, yeah, small wins are what's keeping me in it.

Sisoon, thanks as always for the good questions.

Does your H value you as a person? Does he value your personhood? Do you want to be in this relationship? If so, what does it do for you?


I do believe H values me as a person, or is doing it more now than ever in our M. He's been much more patient and understanding of when my brain gets foggy, my being tired or spacey and my own depression lately from my menopause starting. I think he's coming to appreciate how much I've had to struggle with over the years with my own baseline FOO things as well as starting to own how much his own actions contributed to my stress. That's opening room in him for compassion and seeing me as more than just a wife appliance in charge of making him happy.

I do want to be in this relationship. We're having more and better days (although the last few weeks have been hard between the J thing and me digging deeper into my FOO trauma/resentment). Our lows are lower (and not helped by my hormones), but H is being more open with his struggles and anger and negativity around our M and my behavior. Which I kind of addressed on my other thread. Don't get me wrong, I have difficulty dealing with his hurts from my behavior, but I'm much more... happy? optimistic?... that the M will work the more H is being honest with me and himself.

What does the M do for me? It challenges me to grow and heal in ways that I wouldn't have had I married a yes-man kind of BF that I had prior to H. It challenges me to be a better parent by giving a better example to my kids of what determination, healing and hard relational work look like. How people have to be intentional, get coaching and push through the hard things if they want any chance of an M actually working out. To learn and teach myself that I deserve respect and kindness and consideration in my relationships and learn how to push for that in effective ways.

It was interesting, in our last MC session to hear H actively asking for better ways to communicate his desires of me, better actual verbiage. If I had a dollar for all the times he's been frustrated with having to "read a script" or walk on eggshells and watch his every word with me (I am a sensitive person now? I think I always was, but buried it), I would probably be able to retire a LOT earlier. Anyway, his words around that would hurt and discourage me as we were in MC for that VERY THING. That careless words from him were the source of great pain to me and the kids in our M. He had grown up watching his gpa say whatever the hell he wanted and his mom dragging his dad down and between them figured if he wanted to get his way, he had to push back on me and say what ever he wanted to say, how he wanted to say it. That that was the only way to be "honest" was by being blunt or completely tone deaf and inconsiderate.

So hearing him openly ask for better communication strategies from MC was a relief to me. It showed H wanting to change and welcoming growth. And actually being open about wanting intimacy with me and understanding he was getting in his own way by the way he was communicating with me. And then wanting advice on how to change that.

Thanks all for hanging in on this thread, I know I go back and forth between rage and despair and cautious optimism a TON. duh

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Back at it again- bantering w the younger woman. Lied about blocking phone calls and deleted texts. Carried on with her. Financial infidelity again- who says you only cheat with lovers?

posts: 839   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8756393
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