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surviving
Shayla - you said, "He got a random wrong number text from a woman, and started talking to her, then met her and had sex. I just can't wrap my head around that, who does that?"

My answer to that is "are you kidding?"  ALL sex addicts do that.  My husband included.  He not only had a 14-year affair with someone we both knew, he would take anyone that was available, including a stranger in the mall that had on a short skirt.  Who does that?  Every man caught in the sex addict trap for sure does that.

I also don't trust my husband.  He lied for 35 years, why believe him now.  If we ever had a disagreement, he was the nicest person to me for a couple of hours, or even a couple of days.  Now that he has admitted to 35 years of affairs, he is nice to me again.  But the niceness ALWAYS wore off.  Since this is a much more serious offense, I wonder when the niceness will wear off and he will return to his cheating self.  I always wonder if I will hang around long enough to find out.

My husband also said he would always be there for me, I just need to call and he'll come home to help me.  He has been taking me to therapy 3x a week (knee replacement surgery).  The other night he wondered if I could get someone else to take me because he wanted to do something else.  He asked if that bothered me and I said, "Yes."  How dare he put something else in place of helping me.  So, he backed off and said he would take me.  Boy, the niceness is starting to wear off, huh?

I feel your pain.  I wish this hadn't happened to either of us, or anyone else on this forum, but it is what it is.  We just have to figure out what to do next.  I am still in that figuring out mode. 

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TimT
Shayla wrote:
...This is the type of help we have mostly gotten from our counselor so far, I'm wanting to work on real issues.

What are the real issues for you? What do you need from your counseling experience that you are not getting?
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Shayla
Yes, that affair does scream sex addict to me, but is he really a sex addict or just a self-centered jerk? And does it matter which one he is?

The last time, we were going through this I read that "God, will start with the one that is willing to change" I took that to heart and really focused on changing me, instead of trying to change him. I've since read it again, but I'm getting to the point where I am no longer willing to change. There has been no payoff for my efforts. I just want to be me and not have to try so hard.
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Shayla
TimT wrote:
Shayla wrote:
...This is the type of help we have mostly gotten from our counselor so far, I'm wanting to work on real issues.

What are the real issues for you? What do you need from your counseling experience that you are not getting?


Well the first time we went, I told him I would like to figure out why my husband cheats, what we can do to keep it from happening again, and how can we rebuild trust.

We also need to work on communication.
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surviving
Shayla - I think "sex addict" and "jerk" are synonyms, don't you?  I see no difference.  I know that my husband says he was double-minded.  When he was acting out, he wasn't thinking about anything or anyone else.  When he was with me and the children, he wasn't thinking about acting out or his latest fling.  That sure is reassuring, isn't it?  The Bible says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  Boy is that the truth!

It sounds like you need to find another counselor.  My husband's counselor was amazing and hit him between the eyes so many times.  The counselor would not allow him to blame me.  After my husband faced the music, he saw that he was making up all these excuses, and blaming me for them when he had made it up in his head.  I wasn't doing those things at all, he was just making them up to give him an excuse to fulfill his sexual addiction.

Yes, you need to work on yourself.  But, there is nothing you could have done to cause your husband to cheat.  That was his idea and his idea only.  You had nothing to do with that.  I hope your husband comes around soon.  Keep the faith. 
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flight
Hi Shayla, I want to comment about this also:

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He got a random wrong number text from a woman, and started talking to her, then met her and had sex. I just can't wrap my head around that, who does that? 


Lots of guys, me included. I am not sure if he is a sex addict, but that certainly could be determined. I know I went through a phase where I didn't graduate from the excitement of dating. And I was deadening the pain of lonliness by meeting people online for lunches and to go out dancing and sometimes for sex. I was always focused on the flirting. It was the excitement of someone taking an interest in me and the high from seeing how far I could take it. I got a wrong number and kept the woman on the line talking and laughing to see if we had anything in common and could meet. So it could be just a temporary thing he was/is going through and certainly improper boundaries. 

Unless he is a sex addict, there is almost always something wrong in the relationship when affairs happen. Not that that excuses such poor behavior. If you are communicating and acting lovingly and have good boundaries, affairs don't often happen. You have to find out what you both brought to the relationship and see what state it his been separately from the affairs. As you said, you can only change yourself so being honest there is a good starting point.

You also seem understandably ambivalent about his attempts to honor you now. I found that the 5 love languages book was very helpful to me. It shows how you can fill each others' love bank. He may need to learn your love language and feed that. You also can accept his attempts and realize he may be speaking his love language to you. But I sensed that you were just in a place where you might be resentful and therefore either not willing to accept his attempts or to exact some kind of toll before you would. I can tell you as a man and from my relationship, I was so frustrated that I tried everything I could to love my wife the way she wanted to be loved, but I felt it was a bottomless chasm NOBODY could fill. And she would question everything. My motivation mattered when it shouldn't. Was I only doing it because I was desperate? Because she threatened to leave? Why didn't I do it before? Now it is too little too late. The worst one is expecting us to be a mind reader, "If you loved me, you would know what I need you to do for me. If I have to tell you to get you to do it, it's worthless". That last one is the kiss of death. If someone believes that, you might as well just sign the divorce papers now because nothing will ever be accepted as good enough.

And lastly, he many not have been acting lovingly, but he can still love you and behave badly. The two are separate things. He can be giving acts of love now that he was giving before and it still mean something to him and his intent for it to mean something to you. Texting you during the day would be something I would do to show you love and it is something that would mean a great deal to me if my wife did it to me. But he needs to realize that love is not enough and his lack of understanding and respect for you and your marriage will keep you from loving him.
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surviving
Flight & Shayla - I disagree with Flight's paragraph:  Unless he is a sex addict, there is almost always something wrong in the relationship when affairs happen. Not that that excuses such poor behavior. If you are communicating and acting lovingly and have good boundaries, affairs don't often happen. You have to find out what you both brought to the relationship and see what state it his been separately from the affairs. As you said, you can only change yourself so being honest there is a good starting point.

I am sorry, but it doesn't matter what kind of marriage you have, good or bad, nothing, and I mean nothing, causes an affair.  My husband was cheating before we got married, so I did nothing wrong or right to make him continue in his affairs.  Every excuse he made up, never happened.  So for us, there was nothing wrong in the marriage to cause him to cheat.  He was a cheater before I met him, but I didn't know it. 

I don't believe there is anything you can do to prevent an affair.  Some books/blogs say there is, but in our case there isn't anything I could have done that would have prevented his affairs, since they started before I met him. 

Maybe TimT can chime in here and tell us what he thinks about this. 

I just can't believe that all I did for him and our children, how I worked for him for free (so he wouldn't have to pay an outsider), how I was at his beckon call morning, noon or night, and all that would have prevented an affair.  Not hardly!

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Shayla
We both agree that we like our relationship. I've been more than willing to explore anything I need to do better or different, but he has been adamant that he's cheating has nothing to do with anything I did or didn't do.

I do acknowledge his efforts and show appreciation. I don't want revenge, I really do want our marriage to work. It's just that him doing things the same as always does not make me feel safe and secure. Part of the problem is if you take away the cheating and lying, then we have a good relationship, if I become more like him, and put everything in a box and lock it away in my mind, then we have really good days and enjoy being together, but that doesn't help with the lack of trust.
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Shayla
surviving wrote:
Flight & Shayla - I disagree with Flight's paragraph:  Unless he is a sex addict, there is almost always something wrong in the relationship when affairs happen. Not that that excuses such poor behavior. If you are communicating and acting lovingly and have good boundaries, affairs don't often happen. You have to find out what you both brought to the relationship and see what state it his been separately from the affairs. As you said, you can only change yourself so being honest there is a good starting point.

I am sorry, but it doesn't matter what kind of marriage you have, good or bad, nothing, and I mean nothing, causes an affair.  My husband was cheating before we got married, so I did nothing wrong or right to make him continue in his affairs.  Every excuse he made up, never happened.  So for us, there was nothing wrong in the marriage to cause him to cheat.  He was a cheater before I met him, but I didn't know it. 

I don't believe there is anything you can do to prevent an affair.  Some books/blogs say there is, but in our case there isn't anything I could have done that would have prevented his affairs, since they started before I met him. 

Maybe TimT can chime in here and tell us what he thinks about this. 

I just can't believe that all I did for him and our children, how I worked for him for free (so he wouldn't have to pay an outsider), how I was at his beckon call morning, noon or night, and all that would have prevented an affair.  Not hardly!



In our case, it isn't the relationship. But I still want to believe there is something I can do to prevent future affairs.
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TimT
surviving wrote:
...I don't believe there is anything you can do to prevent an affair.  Some books/blogs say there is, but in our case there isn't anything I could have done that would have prevented his affairs, since they started before I met him. 

Each affair, and the circumstances surrounding it, are different. There are very few rules that fit every one. In some affairs, I do believe preventative actions taken in the marriage would have likely prevented the infidelity. In other affairs, nothing the betrayed spouse could have done would have made a difference.

I know there is always the risk of casting blame on the marriage (or, worse yet, the betrayed spouse) when I write something like this, but I do believe that some affairs are born out of vulnerabilities that have been left in a marriage. This does not excuse the unfaithful spouse, nor does it blame the betrayed spouse. There are always other choices to be made and the unfaithful spouse is responsible for making the choice of betrayal.
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surviving
TimT & Shayla - In our case, my husband was addicted to porn since age 11.  He had already had a few affairs under his belt before we met.  When we decided to get married, he thought his porn addiction and sexual addiction would be stopped because we were married.  But, the porn went on and then the affairs got worse and more frequent.  Now that he has been caught and confessed, he says porn taught him to seek other woman and that they were a gift to him.  Porn twisted his brain into thinking that he didn't have to be faithful, he could have a picture, Internet porn, strip clubs, prostitutes, massage parlors with a happy ending, emotional affairs (even with his youth group girls) and a full-blown physical affair that lasted 14 years.  So, in our case, my husband says there was nothing I did to cause him to have his affairs, and there was nothing I did not do that caused him to have his affairs.  He was looking for porn sex, and I didn't provide that.  He had to get it elsewhere because porn said woman owed it to him.  He hasn't seen porn in over two years.  He hasn't sought another female in over two years.  He is in recovery.  He has set strict boundaries and so far has kept them (as far as I can tell).  He is home in the evenings (which before was the time he sought porn sex).  He isn't angry anymore (at least 95% of the time).  He hasn't yelled at us in about 1 1/2 years.  He has started serving us - where before he expected us to wait on him hand and foot. 

As I said before many times, there is nothing that "caused" my husband to cheat.  It was his decision.  It was his choice.  He didn't have to cheat, he could have worked things out or just left.  I never gave my husband permission to cheat.  He never asked if he could.  He understood that this was something that was owed him because of porn's teaching.  He now is out of the affair fog and realizes that he was wrong and porn's teaching was horribly wrong. 

Sorry that I went off topic again, but sometimes rambling can help someone else. 

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Shayla
TimT wrote:
surviving wrote:
...I don't believe there is anything you can do to prevent an affair.  Some books/blogs say there is, but in our case there isn't anything I could have done that would have prevented his affairs, since they started before I met him. 

Each affair, and the circumstances surrounding it, are different. There are very few rules that fit every one. In some affairs, I do believe preventative actions taken in the marriage would have likely prevented the infidelity. In other affairs, nothing the betrayed spouse could have done would have made a difference.

I know there is always the risk of casting blame on the marriage (or, worse yet, the betrayed spouse) when I write something like this, but I do believe that some affairs are born out of vulnerabilities that have been left in a marriage. This does not excuse the unfaithful spouse, nor does it blame the betrayed spouse. There are always other choices to be made and the unfaithful spouse is responsible for making the choice of betrayal.



When it is something within the marriage that causes one spouse to choose to cheat, doesn't it still come down to there is something broken in the one who cheated? Otherwise wouldn't both partners cheat, since they both are in the same marriage?
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TimT
Shayla wrote:
When it is something within the marriage that causes one spouse to choose to cheat, doesn't it still come down to there is something broken in the one who cheated? Otherwise wouldn't both partners cheat, since they both are in the same marriage?

Yes. I hesitate to use words like "never" and "always" but I can say that in my experience, there is always something broken in a person who knowingly becomes involved in a secret affair, whether the unfaithful partner or the affair partner. Even in circumstances where an empathetic response might recognize a history of disconnection and loneliness in the marriage (the perfect setup for a hollywood movie affair!), an affair is not the only choice. It is not a good choice.

If repair is going to happen, there needs to be attention given to that "broken" part.
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LLL2015
Shayla wrote:
Another thing that has been on my mind, the counselor has talked about things we can do for each other to show we care. My husband has been trying to do some of these things fairly regularly, but it doesn't matter much to me. It's things that says he is thinking of me, but he does those things anyway, cheating or not.

I understand how you feel when you stated that the caring acts do not matter much to you. My husband also demonstrated caring acts before his affair, during the affair, and now after the affair. So what has changed? Why do these acts now seem not to make a difference? Could they be triggers - painful reminders of the infidelity and betrayal? Could it be due to insecurity of not knowing whether to trust our perception of genuine acts of love/care? Could there be anger or resentment scratching the surface? I believe each person likely has his/her own reasons, which most likely are tangled up and intertwined with many issues surrounding the affair and marriage.
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