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Joined: Jul 2002
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You know, I have been on this board for over 2 years now. I have thought I was one of the crowd for so long. But I have just recently, ie last couple of minutes started to wonder if the ending of my marriage was so similar after all.

My question is... my ex was having SEVERAL affairs at once. All with essentially UN-relationshipable men. ie 2 via internet and clandestine meetings and then the most recent concurrently going on one in which she met a divorcee from the area. Now HE might have represented a real affair as most here have found themselves dealing with. But I don't really think so since she 'stopped contact' per her, for our 4 month recovery, immediately returned to him at the end of recovery, then, again per her, is not seeing him any longer.

Most of the WSs that post here talk of the incredible 'love' and 'connection' they felt for the OP. My ex just seemed to 'use' them. I read it in the way she wrote her emails to them and tried to justify 'their' infidelity at her hands. I never once heard any real 'longing' or 'love' in her letters to them. I never heard her say anything about it to me when we were 'trying' to reconnect.

I guess what I am trying to say, Most here were associated with a WS who was 'significantly' involved with a real 'love interest'. ie, you were left because your husband/wife began to be drawn to a CERTAIN man/woman who was filling needs. My ex was like a 20 year old boy, having 3 going at once, with none-the-wiser.

I am sure one is NOT better than the other, however, some of the dynamics of 'needs being met' just never seemed to make much sense to me when I looked at things. I KNOW that I didn't meet all her needs, but... isn't this a strange way to have them met?

Any thoughts???

<small>[ January 20, 2004, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: Formerly Confused ]</small>

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my first thought when I read your post was ... is WS a sex addict or something (and I don't mean that in a faciously)?

<small>[ January 20, 2004, 09:54 PM: Message edited by: Stung by a Bee ]</small>

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Actually I would think it would be worse for a spouse to be involved in multiple affairs period. But multiple affairs at the same time is mind boggling.

You can fine little solace in that because its hard to find any unselfish explaination (all affairs are selfish by nature but there can be unselfish parts within them) short of either being a sex addict or being narcissist.

Both are pretty tough to accept.

I think its very important to attempt to identify why the multiple affairs at the same time if your goal is to save your marriage.

This goes beyond simple forgiveness and whatever the reasons they need to be addressed in order for you and your marriage to recover.

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My marriage is over. We are divorced, and I have no respect for her what-so-ever. I literally almost killed myself trying to 'change' to make her happy and realized after she left again that there is NO making her happy. Her unhappiness does not stem from me or what I do or don't do.

I don't think she is a sex addict. I think she is so extremely insecure in herself that she craves CONSTANT reassurance in her worth. The trouble is, and I hate to sound so very harsh, but other than how beautiful she is, she has few redeeming qualities.

She is a teacher, which in itself is great. However, she did nothing but complain about it for 10 years. She wanted to quit, and was planning on quitting as soon as I finished my training. She would require homework, and then let it pile up in our house until months went by and then she would just throw it away. Never grading it. She is EXTREMELY personable however. She is fun to be around, until you get to know her and realize that she is very shallow in almost all aspects. It is sad, because I loved her inspite of everything that I found disappointing.

She lies to everyone. It only takes a bit to start hearing inconsistencies in her stories. So much so that my friends picked up on her ADMITTED embellishments after being around her for only a couple hours.

NO, I don't mean to just harp on her. I really don't. I do find that the reason I loved her so much was because I TOLD her I would love her until 'death do us part'. But when I take that away and look at the person, other than being very beautiful and a great cook, there is just not that much there. She wasn't caring. She wasn't interactive with our children. In fact, she would do NOTHING, until I got home, because it was 'too hard' to do anything with 2 young boys in tow. I always took them everywhere with me, to be with them, but also to 'give her a break'.

I don't understand it. I don't know. I don't want to feel angry towards her, and truthfully over the last couple weeks have made great strides in this aspect of my life. I feel much more dissappointment in her as a person and mother. I would feel the same given anyones choices, actions, and lies concerning their situation.

I don't understand the multiple affairs however. Sometimes I wish that it would have been with the 'PE' teacher or someone that she worked with. AT least I would have felt that my family was torn apart because of SOMETHING. I don't mean to minimize the pain suffered by anyone on this board, but I am almost envious that so many WSs at least 'SAY' they were in love or getting something from their affairs. She just blamed me for everything, but never once said that what I was doing was really lacking. Just that 'the affairs have nothing to do with our marriage'.

Perhaps my biggest difficulty with all this is the complete nonesense in trying to understand. If she had fallen in love, so be it. Wrong, but at least I could understand. I doubt that I will ever understand. I try to understand less and less, and it has helped. I try to just accept what has happened and shake my head when I think about it. It has helped,

but I still just don't understand.... heh heh heh....

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I too will never understand the mind of a ws. The thought process of my w regarding the A is way beyond me. She cannot answer my questions regarding her A. And to this day i sometimes wonder where she was coming from. I think you are right in just shrugging it off. I try to think of it as a sickness and tell myself that I'am trying to reason with a sick person. That helps me deal with it when it comes up! Isn't marriage a real trip?

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FC,

I agree with you. There is a big difference. And from what I've read on the site from Harley, he thinks so too.

I've frequently said that if it was just a workplace affair, which is what he claimed at first, I could have dealt with that. That it still wouldn't have been right, but I would have been able to understand and get past it. It could have been a wake-up call for our marriage.

But that isn't what happened. It turned out, he met her through personals out on the internet. And she wasn't the first. And he'd been doing porn, phone sex lines, and who knows what else for practically our whole marriage. He just hid it well. He basically stayed with me, and did personals behind my back, until he found someone "better," i.e., someone he liked more, and then moved on. He didn't care if he left me alone - just wanted to make sure he was happy but never had to be alone.

And I found that he has already done the same thing to her, though they have been seeing each other only about 2 years now. She had a habit, at least after he first moved out, of kicking him out of their trailer (yes, they live in a trailer - how Jerry Springer, huh?) every few days and then letting him come back. And one of the times, I found out he moved back in on a Thursday, and the following Monday, I found a brand new ad from him complete with picture out on one of the personals sites.

Your ex sounds a lot like my STBX. This was all just too much to overcome, because I think it has far less to do with me not meeting his needs than it does with him having ongoing problems before we even met that he hid from me well for years. I see a lot of passive aggressive tendancies in him, and I highly suspect he is narcisstic as well. Everything is about him, what he feels, and what he wants. It didn't matter that he was shopping around behind my back, because if he was honest and told me first, he might have ended up alone for a while. It didn't matter that he blindsided me and left me alone after 10 years, just as long as HE didn't have to be alone, and had someone already lined up to be with before he was done with me.

Frankly, someone who could do those sorts of things is not someone who will ever be willing to work at a marriage. Well, not true. I do believe anyone can change. But I see that change here is highly unlikely, so I'm cutting my losses now. Planned, serial affairs (or simultaneous affairs!) are much different than the "opportunity" affair.

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I don't have any advice. But I think "unrelationshipable" is my new favorite word.

Mike

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My situation isn't exactly like yours. My TBXW had several affairs over seven years. That's what I know about (and she told me I now know everything); for all I know there were others and some ONS thrown in as well. Kind of a moot point now.

Where my TBXW differed from your XW was in her ability to mask how unhappy she was. She had me comprehensively fooled for the whole time. Everybody around us thought that we had a great marriage. Turns out, it was pretty much a fraud.

And, she's not without redeeming qualities. She loves our two kids, no doubt about that. She seems to be good at her work. She's very ambitious and driven.

That said, I do wonder about her moral compass, but again, it's kind of moot. Basically, after we talked reconciliation in November, she told me that she's always known that she needed to be with a different kind of person in order to be happy. I'm X, and she needs somebody who's Y. That was the explanation I needed; finally I could stop obsessing about whether or not it would have worked if I'd only been a little bit more this or a little bit less that.

The marriage was stillborn. It never had a chance.

Oddly enough, however, she's since asked me to come back, AGAIN. This time it was premised around the fact that being a single mother actually doesn't live up to the fantasy image she'd harboured for a few years. She's learning that the hard way. But, during that conversation I also told her that one thing I hadn't heard her say was, "I love you, you're the only one for me, I never want to be without you, etc." Wisely perhaps, she didn't then turn around and say that. It was a bit of a relief that she was willing to be honest about that.

I don't know if she ever felt a great love or connection to any of the OMs. I think she did with #3, because she had an ongoing EA with him for a few years afterwards. They're still friends, and after we curtailed our efforts to fix the marriage, she resumed contact with him. If we ever got back together, she'd once again have to sever all ties to him.

I've finally given up asking "why", because I think I now know why. But that doesn't change the fact that the whole crappy mess still makes me angry. I'm tired of being angry. I just want to consign the whole marriage to the dustbin of history where it belongs, and I can't do that as long as I'm still angry. I probably need to forgive her, at least to myself, and then find a way to stop thinking about everything, but I'm not sure yet how to do that.

Anyway, sorry to ramble... don't know if this helps or not...

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I've been reading a book I like a lot. It's called "Infidelity A Survival Guide" by Don-David Lusterman. In it, he talks about all sorts of causes of affairs other than unmet needs. For example:

Life Crisis Affairs - losing a child, buying a home (you find someone you "can really talk to" during this stressful time)
Sexual Identity Affairs - experimental or discovery/acceptance of sexual identity
Exploratory Affairs - something is wrong but the person isn't sure just what and hasn't decided whether they want to stay or leave
Tripod Affairs - people stay in an unhappy marriage and use the affair to try to find companionship or adventure.

There are others, this just gives you an idea. I think Dr. Harley's theories are applicable to most of the affair types but not all of them.

Plus, there are simply some people who are not capable of committing to a marriage, and you can Plan A and POJA and avoid LB's all you want, but they are still going to become miserable and look for happiness outside themselves.

Edited to add:
I certainly know where you're coming from, wishing your situation were more like the others here. It offers an element of security to have a book to follow, a checklist to complete, and to be able to reassure yourself you've done everything that could be done. Being on the fringe is kind of... unnerving.

<small>[ January 22, 2004, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: turtlehead ]</small>

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Formerly Confused:
<strong>

My question is... my ex was having SEVERAL affairs at once. All with essentially UN-relationshipable men. ie 2 via internet and clandestine meetings and then the most recent concurrently going on one in which she met a divorcee from the area. Now HE might have represented a real affair as most here have found themselves dealing with. But I don't really think so since she 'stopped contact' per her, for our 4 month recovery, immediately returned to him at the end of recovery, then, again per her, is not seeing him any longer.

</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I work in health care.

Whenever I encounter a woman doing this to her body .... using sex to gratify non-sexual needs, I ask her if she came from a sexually abusive background.

Often, the answer is "yes". Sometimes, a woman cannot remember until weeks or months after I've initially asked her. The memory can be pushed far into the shadows of her mind.

Pep

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Hi FC,

I was wondering what your xW relationship was like with her father.Like most WS we hear about here,there is a high degree or some degree of emotional investment in the affair,they think they are "in love" etc.

But your wife might have a fear of intimacy and any emotional involvement which may be why she had so many men in her life at the same time but broke things off herself *first so as not to become too attached if she let the relationship(s) continue.Much like "serial" cheaters behave.

Your xW may be "addicted" to that emotional high one gets from starting a new relationship with someone of interest.Or maybe she has abandonment issues,something like that.Maybe she was too afraid to voice her feelings to you and instead chose to seek affection elswhere so as to avoid any conflict with you.

Has she ever been in therapy,did you ever go together? I don't know your whole story.


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My question is... my ex was having SEVERAL affairs at once. All with essentially UN-relationshipable men. ie 2 via internet and clandestine meetings and then the most recent concurrently going on one in which she met a divorcee from the area. Now HE might have represented a real affair as most here have found themselves dealing with.

This is close to my story. I had internet A's that meant close to nothing to me emotionally... until the last one. He got to my heart... I cared about him, and he helped me feel cared about and understood.

Most of the WSs that post here talk of the incredible 'love' and 'connection' they felt for the OP.

If I had been found out sooner, I would not have had a real emotional connection to deal with, either. The one that I call the OM, however... I felt a strong connection with.

My ex was like a 20 year old boy, having 3 going at once, with none-the-wiser.
I am sure one is NOT better than the other, however, some of the dynamics of 'needs being met' just never seemed to make much sense to me when I looked at things. I KNOW that I didn't meet all her needs, but... isn't this a strange way to have them met?


I can't speak for your x's heart or mind... but I was much the same way in my actions, at least for a while, and I was getting SOME of my needs met that way. I, myself, needed to feel attractive... sexy. I did not get that impression from my husband, but I got rave reviews from the online A's (including meetings). I didn't have anything in common with most of them, or else they themselves had just wanted a "one-night stand", so there was no real connection beyond that. So I got a bit of reinforcement by getting those needs met, but then my other needs were not met (understanding, appreciation, encouragement, etc)... so I kept looking. I found what I was looking for in the OM, and I stopped looking anywhere else. It was a process for me. Now my H is working very hard to learn to meet those needs of mine... and I'm hoping to be able to love him again like I did at one time, as well.

I will also say that I didn't recognize the process in that way when I was in the middle of it. It's only in looking back that I can see it.

I don't know if that was any help at all... but your story is the closest that I've heard to my own on these boards, so I thought that I should share some of my story.

SMH

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I do believe that my ex was sexually abused, at least to some degree. I am not convinced of what went on with her while she was young. But she did relay a few stories of being 'used' by highschool boyfriends. She did not know her father after about the age of 9. He was alcoholic and they divorced at about that age I think. We never really talked about her young childhood.

She is very insecure. She thought I was going to leave her, so I really believe that she had to be the one to leave. She had convinced herself that I was going to be 'the typical doctor who uses his wife to get him through training and then dumps her at the end for the big boobed nurse.' She will strike out at a moments notice to avoid being the one who potentially gets hit. I look at her and I pity her. I see someone whom at one time I would have given everything for, and that is perhaps what hurts the most. The difficulty in watching her essentially destroy her life.

We were in court yesterday. She lied to the judge about so many things I couldn't believe it. Simple things like she moved to a condo and she says that the basement is heated. My children and the builders say it is not until she has it finished. Saying that there is a park across the street. There is a sign on a gravel pit saying 'Future park', this sign has been there for about 4 years. Lying saying my sons are great swimmers, because she now lives next to ANOTHER gravel pit, filled with water... literally along her 'backyard'. My youngest son, 7, CANNOT SWIM. I have been trying to teach him for several years, and the last time he was in a pool was last fall while we were in the Bahamas, and he COULDN'T SWIM. But she told the judge they were both 'great swimmers'. Saying she offered me the dog, when in fact, I recognized she was gone and asked my boys about it and they said she gave the dog away.

IT is frustrating, and freeing all at once. I realize the sadness and frailty of my ex more so today than at any other time in my life. She has stooped so low as to endanger her own children, and lie about it in order to get her way. I see the last 15 years of my life everytime I think about it, and find the inconsistencies fitting into place better. Why things would be said that turned out not to be true. I can now understand the sadness within my ex. She can never live a truthful life again. She will have to lie to everyone to cover up everything she does on a daily basis. She lies to her friends. She lies to her children. She will have to lie to her significant others, because how do you say that you screwed up and had affairs in the way she did.

I know that I can openly state anything that I did, didn't do, or was accused of to anyone of my friends, family, or future love. While I am not proud of some things, NOTHING was a lie. NOTHING was betrayal. And nothing was selfish. I was stupid in some things. I felt the pangs of depression at time. I am guilty of being narrow minded at times. But beneath it all, I am without a doubt proud of my core values and beliefs. And I would not give that up for any amount of wealth, prestige, or 'solace' that her way of dealing with the world could get me.

Why did she do it? I don't know. I will never know, and lord help me if I ever really understand. I am so sorry for her. I work on forgiving her daily. I learned yesteday that there is even less of the woman I married than I thought there was left in her. I realized yesterday that there will be no changes in her of consequence. I learned that she is in this life for herself, and she will chisel out what she can make of it by whatever means she has at her disposal. The only problem is, the only real skill she has is deceit. And that is truly pathetic indeed.

<small>[ January 24, 2004, 09:21 AM: Message edited by: Formerly Confused ]</small>


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