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should there be a boundary??
July 21, 2005
4:32 pm
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Anonymous
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I feel like kind of a low-life for even bringing this up but answers are not otherwise forthcoming. As some of you know, I found this site while sturggling with loss issues surrounding the end of my extra-marital affair. That affair lasted about 18 months of active communication and other stuff and had been in existence off an on for about 27 years. In that 27 years, I got married to my wife of now fifteen hears, having been with her for 23 years as of June, 2005; and had four additional very short-term affairs. So...I'm pretty much a low-life to start with I guess.

Anyway, I wrote an email to the long-term affair woman saying that I had had no remorse for my indiscretions outside of my marriage. Absolutely true. When I ended this affair, my wife commenced a cross-examination as she had discovered most of the aspects of the affair. In a very un-me like manner, I was completely honest about all of it...this was despite my counselor's and my AA sponsor's advice in that those were details she didn't need, tell her there were a number of infidelities and refuse the details. She didn't ask a lot of details but she did want to know names and places. when I told her I didn't think those details were anything other than hurtful (per advice of the mentioned people) she said, 'just more secrets.' So, I told her what she asked. She later said the other guys were right and the details were not important (after she had them).

I want this marriage to work and to be on a healing track. I love my wife. I have very little remorse for my past conduct. I don't know why. Counselor and sponser say things from ...you are so compartmentalized that you may not have felt remorse for a long time and you may not, to the remorse will come when you can handle it, to you may not love her. Last night, she asked me about the email saying no remorse and whether I felt remorse for the conduct, the lying and all of the related deceit. I told her I was very sorry I hurt her but that I really didn't have remorse like I thought I should have. As you can imagine, that didn't set real well.

Here's my question. I do not want to be a man of secrets anymore, but I don't want to hurt my wife anymore and I do want to preserve this marriage and give love an opportunity to grow. How do I be a person of no secrets when the information she seeks is potentially very hurtful stuff? Also, I do not remember ever feeling with my wife, the magnitude of the physical feelings of completion and fullfilment that I have with long-term affair woman. I want that with my wife but I can't seem to get there. It just was there with the affair....not with the other four but with the long-term one, it was absolutely there.

Any thoughts would be helpful...if this can be sorted out as I am a little disconnected here.

Thanks

July 21, 2005
5:19 pm
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star eyed
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charolina's dad,

wow! i give you a lot of credit for what you write here... and want to thank you because it helps to get the perspective of someone on the other side. (my ex cheated on me while we were supposed to be committed- we were in a dating relationship on and off throughout the past year.) i would like to respond to your questions and ask if you can share insight with me?

i think it is so important to be honest, no matter or not if it hurts your wife or not. i am in a situation where my ex was advised by her counselor "to let me go" and "not share information" too.., but the truth that i learned 2 months later is that she wanted to be honest... and she perceived my actions to be completely shutting her out of my life and i perceived her to be doing the same -- now it's two months later and it just sucks... she's back in this other relationship, which she considers to "not be a choice" and so on.. she emphasized that after she told me she cheated on me, she wanted to be back with me and make it work. i was in no place at the time and told her i needed space and time and needed her out of my life for a while... she remembered me saying ' i want you out of my life' and didn't hear the rest-- it was quite emotional at the time.. anyways, she's in a stage in her life where she's just learning how to feel, let alone learning how to express them, and she is trying hard to be honest and have no secrets-- i think she too struggled with compartmentalizing her life for so long and to be honest still does (she's only be in therapy for 2 months), but all i needed was for her to tell me the truth, but ONLY what she wanted to tell me because that then can only be the truth-- for so long, i had been trying to get information and had to ask the right question-- the best way is when the person (for example- you) is in a state of absolutely honesty and the other person doesn't have to ask the questions anymore - it's too draining and self-defeating-- it makes you feel like you're begging for information and all you want is to able to make the best decision for yourself. that's what i wanted-- the truth for me so i could stay or go. it's clear she still wants both relationships and she can say what she wants, but i in my recovery have to be able to do what i want for myself and irregardless of whether she gives me the information or not, i have to do that... i think the same is true with your wife, although i think it can be painful, your wife is trying to decide what to do for herself, for her life. she needs that information or else you are trying to control her.. let her decide...

it also sounds like you want to be with this other long-term affair person, so how come you are not just ending your relationship with your wife and going that way? it sounds like that's how you have been living so what made you go on living that way for so long? there must be some reason?? what is it?

on the question of remorse, i am going to be honest and say that's sad. it's sad to me that you do not feel remorse because it says to me that you may not be able to feel or empathize what the experience of your wife has been like. i'm not trying to be harsh, just trying to say that it sounds like you are having a hard time understanding your feelings and feeling them. you also say you love your wife-- what does that mean to you?

star eyed

July 22, 2005
1:48 am
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lost and found
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cd, i am on the other end of your problem. my alchoholic husband has had many affairs over the course of the marriage. he has never given me names or places. i do not go anywhere in public with him because of this. i never know if i am talking to one of his lovers or not.that bothers me alot. i mean alot. i would feel better if i knew names, places, and friends involved.

July 22, 2005
2:18 am
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how would u feel if u found out your wife was having an affair? my dad has no problem sneaking around and he sees nothing wrong with it, but if his wife or girlfriend should run around then he thinks the world is about to end. there is no end to the drama. your story bothers me on many levels, first, that you entered a marriage contract that u obviously never honored. u have given away parts of yourself that belong to your wife. long story-short;;;after six failed marriages and alot stupid crap, my dad asked me once why he couldn't keep a good woman
answer---you have to be a good man to keep a good woman.
sorry, u have hit a nerve.

July 22, 2005
11:12 am
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Good morning boys and girls --

Thank you for your comments. Re: how would I feel if my wife stepped out on me. I don't know that I would have the strength to stay and be supportive. That sounds like a chicken-shit answer and certainly not the kind of deference she has given me. And really doesn't explain the lack of remorse. Maybe because my co-dependency seems to blossom in the victim role and, with my wife, I am the victimizer.

The affairs were easy, un-emotional (save one) and over very quickly. It was easy to justify them or rationalize that it was no-harm, no-foul; she would never know, etc. Three of the four were where I was the one who got picked up (kind of a heady thing for a guy full of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy -- you know, little jab of power and feeling that I must be okay if she wants to be with me.

Re: long-term affair woman. I ended that after she started with the 'very attractive' man she met in alanon. Perfectly okay to be in a relationship with me and another guy....and her husband. Guess my sense of insecurity and inadequacy and feelings for her only go so far. The only rationalization/justification I ever had for that relationship was that all of the deceit and dishonesty required to maintain that relationship was that it was all for the greater good, that we were always supposed to be together, that we had plans to be together (in June, 2005) and would live happily ever after. In May, she decided that 'very attractive alanon boy' was who she wanted to be with but still wanted me in her life. Hard to come up with a rationalization/justification for that one on my end. But, like I said, my co-dependency seems to blossom like crazy when I feel like I am the victim.

I had a long discussion with my wife last night (her inception) about these issues. She says the absent remorse is my inability to take responsibility for my actions, that she wishes I felt worse but that that was my issue, not hers. She said she felt like having a revenge affair but couldn't go through with it. Yes, I trust her.

As Anthony Hopkins says in 'Meet Joe Black,' "[love is] trust, responsibility, taking the weight of your choices and feelings and spending the rest of your life living up to them. And, above all...Not hurting the object of your love. Multiply this by infinity and take it to the depth of forever and you will still have barely a glimpse of what it is." That seems like as good a definition as I have heard. I am re-comitted to my marriage. I want it to work, I don't want to hurt her anymore and I don't want to be the guy who sleeps around on his wife.

July 22, 2005
11:23 am
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exoticflower
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"[love is] trust, responsibility, taking the weight of your choices and feelings and spending the rest of your life living up to them. And, above all...Not hurting the object of your love. Multiply this by infinity and take it to the depth of forever and you will still have barely a glimpse of what it is."

THat is really wonderful CD thanks for sharing it. i'll have to re-watch that one.

I think, and I know that you have heard this from me before, that you have all the promise in the world just seeing here how committed you are to taking responsability for what you did and then for actively choosing to correct these things, not for sense of obligation but because you love your wife and truly want her to have the man in you that YOU beleive she deserves.

That said, i have to say that to some degree ignorance is bliss. THe nature of these relationships sound brief and meaningless enough that it could only serve to hurt her further and confuse the major matter of your long term infidelity...I asked my ex and wanted to know everything, and he told me. It really just served as another reason to be angry and resentful, as did the third girl and later the others i found out about on my own. If i had not known, I could have put my focus on me and what I wanted from him, if we could work things out, rather than putting all of my energy into remorse and hurt and helplessness regarding these women too. I guess I feel like I didn't really want to know these things, I wanted him to know that the things where wrong and what it did to me more. If that makes sense.

I am confused by your lack of remorse, and am not sure I believe that, as you are here asking questions and thinking about it...clearly there is some sense of remorse, and I think a good sort here.

July 22, 2005
11:35 am
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on my way
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your heart seems to be in the right place...and that is a HUGE beginning.

July 22, 2005
12:50 pm
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EF --

Thank you. My psychologist says the remorse will probably come when the layers come off or the compartments open. Just wondered mostly whether I should be telling my wife (I am 'absolutely no contact club' with the other) that I question things like the depth of my love because I seem to feel little remorse or sorrow for being such a shit to her.

The line is way at the end of the movie, where Joe Black is telling him he is taking his daughter because he 'loves' her and he tells him (JB) that he doesn't know what love is. The other great line in the movie is Jeffrey Tambor's line when he tells Joe Black that he knows Alison loves him (Quince -- the Jeffrey Tambor character) because she knows his secrets. He says...'You know each other's secrets, Your deepest darkest secrets, and then you're free... Free to love each other Completely, Totally, With no fear.' This is kind of contrary to the not telling my wife advice; but is absolutely what I want with her --- and not to cleanse my soul but because I want there not to be a part of me that she doesn't know. I want to be a man of no secrets and I want to stop behaving in such a way that I feel like I have to have secrets.

Here, it seems to me, is a key. I trust my wife enough to be vulnerable to her. I have never had that level of trust with anyone, ever....and I don't have it all the time with my wife, I want it though and I want to have the guts to step up to the plate and feel like she won't abuse my trust....like I have hers.....think I found the remorse. I am such a shit.

July 22, 2005
1:24 pm
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exoticflower
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Well, congratulations...is that the right thing to say to someone who is isulting themself?

I would just wonder if you want to tell your wife to bring about your remorse from her reaction, or to help yourself to feel better? Can she benifit from you telling her this? OR will it hurt her more? Her self esteem must be pretty rocked from all of this, even with you taking the steps that you are, does she really need this extra bit of doubt right now?

I think you should work it out for yourself first and give it some time to know what it is that you are talking to your wife about first...you don't seem sure yourself, why upset her with fears you don't really understand yourself yet?

July 22, 2005
1:39 pm
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kathygy
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You need to rebuild trust and intimacy with your wife. That requires open and honest communication in a safe environment. You don't have to tell your wife any details but if she asks I would tell her. The more honest you are and the more honest your wife is about her feelings the deeper intimacy you'll have and sex will be more meaningful.
I think it is also very important that your wife feels like you hear her and understand her feelings.

I could be wrong but I wonder if you lack remorse because on a deeper level you felt angry at your wife for not satisfying your sexual needs the way the other woman did. Hence you felt justified. Something to think about.

July 22, 2005
11:59 pm
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cd-i am very glad for you that u are working the 12 steps. you are obviously doing your best to make some changes to better your life. way to go!!! As far as the affairs go, its done and over, you can't go back, forgive yourself, promise yourself you wont do it again, and go on.

July 24, 2005
5:02 pm
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star eyed
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CD,

it's interesting that you decided to go with your wife.... it sounds like you are committed to making it work and to breaking thru your issues, so i give you credit for that... i just hope you stick with it...

what made you finally decide to do this and do "no contact" with the other woman?

July 24, 2005
5:08 pm
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exoticflower
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Star eyed, I can assure you, if my husband didn't do 'no contact', he may as well just stick with the other woman, becasue he's never coming near me with a ten foot pole again...I say with a strait face even after staying with my ex for ages after I found out...and beleive me, I made his life a living hell for it every moment while he continued keeping her in it, and in the end, left his ass, pretty destroyed myself, too. I think what CD is doing is the ONLY right way he could work it out with his ex, just in my opinion. I know I shouldn't speak for people, just sharing my own experiance a bit.

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