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In some ways, it would be better if I thought my H was an aberration - if I thought that it was just really bad luck that I ended up with someone who would do what he has done. Unfortunately, after coming to this site for nearly a year, I know too well that that is not the case - there are far too many others in the same boat.

Why would anyone have any confidence that relationships have much chance of being permanent, or that one's spouse is going to remain faithful? If my kids ever marry, how can I be happy for them, knowing too well that the probability of their spouse leaving them is so high? More importantly, how can they ever feel safe in a relationship, always waiting for the other shoe to drop?

I have learned that when one's spouse is irritable, it does mean they no longer love you. I have learned that you can't count on your spouse to tell the truth about what he is feeling, even when asked directly. I have learned that you can't count on your spouse giving you even the slightest hint if something you are doing or not doing bothers him. I have learned that it is essential to go along with whatever your spouse wants, and never expect him to consider what you want. I have learned that given the opportunity, most people will be unfaithful, and willingly give up their family and their values to pursue pleasure.

I have learned that people will blame their spouse for any problems in their lives. I have learned that they will have affairs, and then decide that they must have been unhappy in the marriage, or they wouldn't have had an affair. But yet the other spouse could not have known they were unhappy, could not have done anything about it, because the betrayer didn't know he was so unhappy, until, as I read somewhere, the OP told him so.


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Nellie,
Boy, you have said it all. You have learned alot as I have learned also. You sure have a way with words.
I'm sorry you haven't learned a happy ending, but then again, there are different happy endings.

Almost Happy

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TIME


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Nellie,
Are you talking about my W,again???
--Murph

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Nellie,

I too agree with all you said. I learned those same lessons in five painful weeks that started on XMAS day of all days.

My H left for OW he met 3 days earlier. It is bad. He already lives with her. I had NO CLUE there was a problem. We were happy.

I have three girls and fear the day they get engaged. It is a cruel world and someone , somehow, has to raise the standards of marriage, trust, faithfullness and committment before the whole country is one big divorce.

I agree with you all the way.


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Nellie,

Although my H & I are in recovery, I understand where you are coming from. I feel the same way about a lot of things. It's scary to now know, and be aware of..that you cannot fully trust your spouse and that they will knowingly hurt you.
I hate having experienced it.

I'm really sorry that things didn't work out for you.


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I am sorry that you feel this way. I know that it can be difficult, but hanging onto all the negative stuff only keeps you in a negative state of mind.

My parents were married 50+ years until my mother died. I have a sister who has been married for 35 years. And they were/are happily married. Affairs happen for several reasons and with a lot of stuff involved. Yes, many of us do not meet emotional needs, but some of it also stems back into the betrayers past (family issues or upbringing we know nothing about).

I know that I have learned not to trust completely and I feel the reason for this is that it helps keep the other person more in-tune to the relationship. I have also learned that affairs open eyes and hearts. I have also learned that it can bring deeper and more powerful love together again. I have learned that in the long run, it can lead to better and more positive things.

I have learned that I want and need to spend more time with the man in my life. I've learned that neither of us is right nor wrong... we have different views, and appreciate each others and are willing to give to each other (not just one sided). I have learned that he and I are better together than we are apart. This is the depth of the love I have learned.

I pray that everyone here learns good things and stops concentrating on all the negative. I wish you better days to come.

[This message has been edited by Fiancee (edited February 07, 2000).]


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Since you asked ...

I think that nellie (myself included) and Fiancee are talking about two different types of people. I married a woman like N describes. I fully beleive this.

I think that some marriage can survive regardless, but both parties MUST have the moral fortitude to keep their promises, regardless. If not, adidios.

Background has a huge amount to do with it! Nellie, I would suggest that you are capable of passing along to the kids who is worthy of marriage and who is not. What this site has tauaght me is that I can teach my babies these lessons despite our failure, by CONTRAST. This experience is not all for naught.

Eric32


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Nellie,

Your children may have an opportunity that you didn't have , you can teach them about emotional needs & about how to fulfill them, how to take care of their (future) spouses.

If we all here had have these teachings probably this site wouldn't exist. If we look closer we'll realize that the lessons from this site & Dr. H's books apply to just about any close relationship, namely friendship.

Ultimately, if we can "spread the word" lerning from our pain & setting the example to our children & other human beings in our life we will be an instrument to help others to be happy, and in doing so we may reach happiness ourselves.

Alex

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Live and learn (but when?)


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Sure hope this is just a vent & not how you truly feel. If this is how you feel, then you have learned absolutely nothing. Are you just going to negate your marriage and all that came with it?
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Prayers & God Bless!
Chris

Last edited by MBLovebanker; 03/18/11 06:53 AM. Reason: removing non-MB reference

Prayers & God Bless!
Chris
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The only person we can change is ourself. This, I do believe in.

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Nellie,
Given the &%^$ that you have gone through....and this site knows of, what, maybe 20 % what you have had to deal with....I can certainly understand your perspective.

However, growing up...which many of us have had to do here...is alot about learning how to deal and move on with life's good, bad, ugly and evil.

Yes, we too, are on a better path but I really do believe that much had to do with how he was raised. Regardless of what his feelings were for the "dark side"...he would never have been able to deal with the wreckage, devastation and permanent losses of his selfishness.

Nellie, don't let the kids see this destroy you.... (or them)..they need you to show them how to deal with this issue.

If you can teach those kids of yours that nearly every one of their actions has widespread repercussions for others...I'd say you've succeeded in teaching them about responsibility. (and then, when they become engaged...you pass them the HNHN book and hope they'll let you discuss the history of mom and dad)

-Tina


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Nellie,
I understand how you feel. I went through that too. Now, I realize that just because things didn't work out this time, I have learned a lot!
that a relationship takes work
that everyone has needs, and even if something isn't important to you, it might be (probably is) important to someone who is important to you.

It has also given me a small amount of HOPE.... yes, HOPE. I know now that I have the skills to recognize things that can cause problems in a relationship, and how to deal with them. And that hopefully someday, I can use the things I have learned and have a happy and healthy loving relationship with someone who will appreciate all that I am.

Ok, I'm an optimist .

It took me a while... quite a while to get to this point. It wasn't easy, but I made it. I hope you will find the bright spots to this too.

Thoughts & Prayers,
Butterfly
(with mending wings)

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There are deep sorrows and killing cares in life, but the encouragement and love of friends were given us to make all difficulties bearable.
-- John Oliver Holmes

The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
-- Elie Wiesel



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expanding on the optimist vs. the pessimist....

It isn't about the glass 1/2 full. It is about thinking in terms of "always, everyone, all situations" in negative contexts, and leaving yourself feeling very helpless..... An optimist says "This particular individual in this particular situation, and does not label everything negative, but identifies the individual instance that is negative...... There is no room for "always, everyone, all situations" in a negative context for an optimist.

But, when the optimist thinks of themselves, in a positive fashion - then the terms "always, I am....." is to credit yourself.

Isolate the incidents, and don't think in terms of generalities when dealing with a negative issue. You are not calling the situation positive, but you are also not making the mistake to say that all relationships are negative.....

I don't know if I am making sense here, but Nellie I see a fundamental thinking flaw with some of your statements - that sets you up for depression and hopelessness.

Your husband is not ALWAYS a self centered betraying inconsiderate father and husband. He is RIGHT NOW, however.

This does not mean that your husband always will be this way, nor does it mean he always was this way. You are not always going to be burned for loving someone, Nellie. Not all relationships end up like this, Nellie - but if you put any creedence to the power of projection of attitudes into outcomes, then you must definitely begin to think slightly different.

I care a lot about you Nellie, this is why I am saying this. I am not perfect either. I can't even stand to be around myself on some days. Not ALL days, but some days.

I can't stand to be around my husband on some days. Not ALL days, but some days.

My husband is a jerk and a self centered person on some days. Not ALL days, but some days.

My husband was a bad husband for a period of time in his "bad brain period" (and I'm not so sure that he has fully recovered at this point....), however, he is not always going to be in a "bad brain period", and he is not always going to be a bad husband.

I am not always going to feel hopeless. I do feel hopeless sometimes. But not always.

Think about your thinking process, and help yourself, to know that you are a worthy trusting person. The fact that your husband proved himself untrustworthy for a period of time, does not negate your ability to trust or love.

Hang in there Nellie, you DO have a future, and a hope. Perhaps you are losing your hope for reconcilliation with your husband, but you still have a future.

tnt


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Nellie, you have nailed it.

And know what? As a result of thinking pretty much along the same lines (also as a result of "research" I've done on infidelity, both by following people's stories on MBF and by reading books on the subject), I've concluded that infidelity is a problem of epidemic proporations. Many statistic seem to indicate that after several years, one or both partners cheat in over 90% of all marriages.

I also feel that infidelity is probably the root cause of the great majority of troubled marriages and that most couples counselors fail because they haven't even begun to realize this, and so fart around with a lot of side issues. (I'm speaking from bitter experience here.)

Not very hopeful, huh? I don't know what to do about this either, except, in the future, avoid long-term commitments. I'm more and more coming to think that if you want an intimate relationship, do try and make it eternal. Accept it for what it is.

My W and I had a great, wonderful, exciting courtship for about 6 months after we met. We went out together on weekends, sometimes took trips together and had a great time. Things started going downhill when we got engaged and really began to nosedive when we started living together and got married. (I know some marriages at least go for a few years, maybe even a decade or so, before they hit the wall, but mine didn't, maybe because it's the 2nd for both of us, I don't know.)

But I think that if we'd just been content to have a great short-term romance, and then stayed friends and maybe occasional lovers living apart, we would both have been much, MUCH happier in the long run. (It was my fault. I wanted to be with her all the time. Now I don't think that's good for people.)

The institution of marriage has got to change and I predict that it will, drastically, over the next couple of decades. I certainly go around recommending against it to all my younger colleagues, not that they listen.

Regards and blessings,

--Wex


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Almost Happy,
Thank you. I just wish I hadn't had to learn any of this..
Murph,
Nope, it's just that your W and my H were both abducted by aliens from the same planet.
lonelymom,
I think one of the tragedies here is that in many cases there is no way for the betrayed to have had a clue. Either the marriage really was happy, and the prospect of a new relationship is a strong enough force to pull apart even the strongest of marriages, or the betrayer was unhappy with the marriage and purposely hid that fact from the betrayed, or the betrayer was unhappy with himself, and the affair let him escape from himself and blame it all on external factors.
No Trust,
Yes, it is scary to know you can never fully trust.
Fiancee,
If the betrayer shows remorse, and is interested in working on the marriage, perhaps the marriage can be stronger after an affair. But there are two sorts of betrayers (at least): ones who show remorse immediately or within a short time, and the rest, who convince themselves that they "had" to have an affair, who continue to blame the betrayed, perhaps for the rest of their lives.
Eric,
I agree that there are two different types of people. I am just not at all sure that I would be able to identify who was worthy of marriage and who was not - I would never have predicted that my H would be unfaithful.
Alex,
Yes, I could teach my children about emotional needs - but I am not sure how that would apply to my own situation. I tried to discuss the topic with my H, and each time I mentioned an emotional need, he denied that it was an important factor. He claimed that there are other emotional needs other than those on the list, but he wouldn't tell me what they were.
Chris,
No, this is not just a vent. I am certainly not going to negate everything that came with my marriage - since that included my six children. My H has admitted that he has not been truthful for years. At first I thought that he was just looking at our history negatively because of the affair, but I am no longer sure. Perhaps the one thing that we will be able to agree on is that our marriage was a sham. He complained after he left that one of the things he didn't like about me was that I was oblivious - perhaps he was hoping that I would somehow figure out that he didn't want to be married to me - though he did not even hint that that was the case.
RCoaster,
Unfortunately, I have changed. I used to be basically optimistic and trusting - and look where that got me.
Tina,
I hope that I can teach them about responsibility, in spite of the fact that he is demonstrating that lack of responsibility can bring happiness, at least in the short term, and possibly in the long term.
Butterfly,
Unfortunately, I still have no idea what went wrong in our relationship, and probably never will. He has given me very little information as to what he thought our "problems" were - just that they would not have been resolvable, even if we had dealt with them early in the relationship.
TNT,
True, not all relationships end up like this - but enough do that I believe it is unwise to hope that any given relationship would be any different. No, he was not always a jerk. All my life I believed that you could count on a good person staying that way - and knowing that that is not the case is the worst part of this. I could deal with the knowledge that some large percentage, even 99.9% of people, were jerks, if only one could assume that the few good people would stay that way.
Wexwill,
Glad (sort of) to see that I'm not the only negative one around here.

Unfortunately, my H and I were together for almost a quarter of a century before the marriage fell apart.


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Nellie,

I think you are right in questioning whether us betrayed's can choose a partner that is trustworthy and sincere. I guess I never expected my husband to do some of the things that he has done. I thought that I could identify this in a person, as I had first hand experience the first time in marriage. I thought my current husband would never do this to me, as he explained he understood the hurt and rejection he felt when his first wife did this to him. I thought by my current's husband's actions when we were first married that he shared many of the same values, morals, and goals with me.

It hurt real bad when I discovered that he didn't measure up. But, the healing begins when I realize that this is his problem, and not mine. My standards aren't wrong, he just has had a period of time where he hasn't been able to live up to my standards.

That is his problem. Did it affect me? Absolutely. Does this mean that I made a bad choice? I am not sure. I think my husband gave me every indication that he could live up to my standards. I think I made a good choice in my husband..... But, I did not control what information that I based my decision on. So was my decision bad? No, I guess not, because he gave me all indications that he could live up to my expectations.

What was bad? hmmmm..... I think for my husband, it was that he didn't know how to be completely honest. That he thought he was worthless if I didn't think highly of him. His pride prevented him from honestly communicating that he was unhappy, that his needs weren't being met, that he was attracted to someone besides his wife. His pride and frustration and his lack of courage within himself ultimately caused this infidelity.

I don't think that my husband knowingly deceived me when he married me. I don't think he would have married me if he thought he would be going outside of our marriage for needs that he had, or thought he had. I am not hung up on that part of the betrayal.

The betrayal, was to himself. I think that yes, he betrayed his marriage, he betrayed his vows, he betrayed his expectations, he betrayed his own value. I just happened to be married to him at the time that he was doing all this self-betrayal.

I do believe that the betrayal is more about them than it is about us.

Nellie, do not doubt yourself, or your ability to trust, love, be loved or anything about yourself. You are a worthy loving person, and you are kind and honest. Do not allow your husband's betrayal to cause you to diminish who you are.

He betrayed your relationship, he betrayed himself. Do not allow him to betray YOU. You deserve so much more.

TNT


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Nellie,
so goood to hear that balanced side of your post....our kids are so much smarter than we realize.

Honestly, all we can do is equip them with the right tools to make the best decisions at appropriate times. Down the road, we have no more control over their minds than we have over our husbands who "warped" for moments, weeks, years or whatever. That's not abdication speaking...it's merely a reality about control.

Continued good thoughts for you

TNT - I really like your post because it mirrors some of my own relationship with my husband. I'm the optimist and he is not necessarily a pessimest but he is extremely critical....everything turns ABSOLUTE with him...even now....well into a solid recovery. However, I'm much more in tune now into his behavior and it makes it much easier to understand what is going on and what I can reasonably do to impact and change the direction. thanks !

-Tina


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I went back and read passages of my bible after all this happened. I can't speak to all those who married under different faiths, but my basic (extremely basic) knowledge of other religions leads me to believe that somewhere in the premises of other faiths there are also these same pearls of wisdom. I'm going to interpret a bit here, and I fully understand that someone better versed in the bible will most likely correct me, but here goes anyway. As for the design of humans to hurt each other there is certainly some validity. That's why our marriage vows have both sides of the coin, and Corinthians details ways in which to treat each other in marriage. Even though I'm a betrayed, no matter what happens to my relationship the chances are I'm going to hurt my partner again. I'm going to do it. Not intentionally, but it's still going to happen, and I have control over my actions. I'm not perfect. Neither is my partner. Why would I expect something from him that I'm not? I think it's pretty well impossible to find that perfect man out there. So by grand design we are going to hurt each other. It's going to happen, over and over again. The only thing that will lessen the frequency, and provide the greater hope is to respond with love. I've read several relationship books, and they all say it, but more importantly my foundation of faith says it. You can disagree with me if you want, but if you are looking for the strength to love...look to your faith. We all need to revisit it sometimes.

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TNT,
Unfortunately, I am no longer sure that my H didn't intend to betray me when we married - I am not even sure that he didn't betray me before we married. He admits that he hasn't been honest for many years. I believe that the lack of honesty is a character trait that I probably should have recognized, but somehow completely missed.

The way he has been dealing with the kids I believe is a result of his desire not to antagonize the OW, and I think largely explains (though certainly doesn't justify) some of his inconsiderateness.

I think self-esteem has a lot to do with it for him, too. I, too, didn't have enough information to base a decision on when I married him - although in retrospect I can see that he always suffered from low self-esteem and depression, but I don't really blame myself for not knowing that there was a link between that and infidelity back when I was twenty.

The lack of honesty is what really bothers me. I really had NO idea how dishonest he was. I do remember him lying to me, but I don't think more than once in the last 25 years, until the affair began. Apparently he was lying, or at least concealing information, constantly, however.

Tina,
The tendency to look at everything as absolute is characteristic of my H as well. In the past 10 years or so, he has increasingly shown resistance to examining alternatives - there is only one solution to every problem.

Beth,

This is not an issue of expecting him to be perfect. It is not an issue of being able to forgive an affair. The part that is most difficult for me is that he gave absolutely no indication that there was anything wrong with our marriage. Even when asked directly, he would deny being upset with me. If he had needs that weren't being met, I didn't know what they were - and I still don't know. He pretended that everything was ok. I couldn't trust him even to tell me that he wasn't happy, or that there were problems in our marriage - he apparently purposely hid that information from me.


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Nellie - BTW, this is a really good thread, because it's hitting on some very basic issues. I think there's a tendency for a lot of us on this forum to get OVERoptimistic about the chances of rescuing our spouses from their EMR's. You've given us a good reality check.

I don't consider reality checks necessarily negative. I wish I'd done more of this kind of thinking before I married my present W. You see, I was in my 1st marriage for a long, long time w/ a woman who cheated serially on me I don't know how many times, with both sexes. (1st time she told me about - never after that.) You'd think I would have learned. But N-O-O-O-O-O-O!!

TNT is right on when she says [QUOTE] I think you are right in questioning whether us betrayed's can choose a partner that is trustworthy and sincere.[QUOTE/]

So what do I do? When I'm courting my present W (#2), she tells me in graphic detail about just about every man she ever had (even a brief) relationship with. Turns out she cheated on virtually every partner that she was in a long-term relationship with, including H#1. She used to tell me stories of how she cheated on H#1 with his best friend while he was staying with them. Idiot that I am, I was amused. I guess I got what I deserved!

--Wex


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