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. <P>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?<P>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. <P>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. <P>
Nellie,<BR>Boy, you have said it all. You have learned alot as I have learned also. You sure have a way with words.<BR>I'm sorry you haven't learned a happy ending, but then again, there are different happy endings.<P>Almost Happy<P>-------<BR>TIME
Nellie,<BR> Are you talking about my W,again???<BR> --Murph
Nellie,<P>I too agree with all you said. I learned those same lessons in five painful weeks that started on XMAS day of all days.<P>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.<P>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.<P>I agree with you all the way.<BR>
Nellie,<P>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.<BR>I hate having experienced it.<P>I'm really sorry that things didn't work out for you.
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.<P>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).<P>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.<P>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.<P>I pray that everyone here learns good things and stops concentrating on all the negative. I wish you better days to come.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Fiancee (edited February 07, 2000).]
Since you asked
...<P>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. <P>I think that some marriage can survive regardless, but both parties MUST have the moral fortitude to keep their promises, regardless. If not, adidios. <P>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.<P>Eric32
Nellie,<P>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.<P>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.
<P>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.
<P>Alex<P>------------------<BR>Live and learn (but when?)
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?
Prayers & God Bless!
The only person we can change is ourself. This, I do believe in.
Nellie,<BR>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>Nellie, don't let the kids see this destroy you.... (or them)..they need you to show them how to deal with this issue. <P>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) <P>-Tina
Nellie,<BR>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! <BR>that a relationship takes work<BR>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.<P>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.<P>Ok, I'm an optimist
. <P>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. <P>Thoughts & Prayers,<BR>Butterfly<BR>(with mending wings)<BR><P>------------------<BR>There are deep sorrows and killing cares in life, but the encouragement and love of friends were given us to make all difficulties bearable. <BR>-- John Oliver Holmes<P>The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.<BR>-- Elie Wiesel<P><BR>
expanding on the optimist vs. the pessimist....<P>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.<P>But, when the optimist thinks of themselves, in a positive fashion - then the terms "always, I am....." is to credit yourself. <P>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.....<P>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. <P>Your husband is not ALWAYS a self centered betraying inconsiderate father and husband. He is RIGHT NOW, however. <P>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.<P>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. <P>I can't stand to be around my husband on some days. Not ALL days, but some days.<P>My husband is a jerk and a self centered person on some days. Not ALL days, but some days.<P>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.<P>I am not always going to feel hopeless. I do feel hopeless sometimes. But not always.<P>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.<P>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.<P>tnt
Nellie, you have nailed it.
<P>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.<P>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.)<P>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.<P>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.)<P>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.)<P>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.<P>Regards and blessings,<P>--Wex
Almost Happy,<BR>Thank you. I just wish I hadn't had to learn any of this..<BR>Murph,<BR>Nope, it's just that your W and my H were both abducted by aliens from the same planet.<BR>lonelymom,<BR>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. <BR>No Trust,<BR>Yes, it is scary to know you can never fully trust. <BR>Fiancee,<BR>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. <BR>Eric,<BR>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.<BR>Alex,<BR>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.<BR>Chris,<BR>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.<BR>RCoaster,<BR>Unfortunately, I have changed. I used to be basically optimistic and trusting - and look where that got me.<BR>Tina,<BR>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.<BR>Butterfly,<BR>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.<BR>TNT,<BR>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.<BR>Wexwill,<BR>Glad (sort of) to see that I'm not the only negative one around here. <P>Unfortunately, my H and I were together for almost a quarter of a century before the marriage fell apart.
Nellie,<P>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.<P>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.<P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>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. <P>I do believe that the betrayal is more about them than it is about us. <P>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. <P>He betrayed your relationship, he betrayed himself. Do not allow him to betray YOU. You deserve so much more.<P>TNT
Nellie,<BR>so goood to hear that balanced side of your post....our kids are so much smarter than we realize.<P>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.<P>Continued good thoughts for you
<P>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 !<P>-Tina
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.
TNT,<BR>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.<P>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.<P>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. <P>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.<P>Tina,<BR>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.<P>Beth,<P>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.
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.<P>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!!<P>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/]<P>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!<P>--Wex
Nellie,<BR>I've got to admit there have been many moments that I have shared the exact sentiments you have expressed here. Typically those feelings come on my "down" days, but in truth, they are always there. I have benefited from this site very much, but I've also learned some hard lessons and, like you, found that the pain I've experienced (from my affair and my H's 2), and the pain I've witnessed in others, leaves me feeling a bit less hopeful than I'd like to be.<BR>Sharing your pain,<BR>FC<BR>
This thread makes me so sad, but I can understand the feelings that have been shared here. After experiencing the pain of infidelity and the heartache of betrayal, it is easy to become cynical about marriage. <P>This site can give a lot of comfort and good advice, but it can also let you get caught up in the pain and disappointment that occurs when one of the members discover that they have been lied to, again. That the promise to recommit to the marriage has been broken, again.<P>It does seem like the success stories are few and far between, while the failures are rampant and well documented here. And even the success stories have setbacks. Plan A doesn't always work to win the spouse back, and Plan B doesn't always shock them into coming home.<P>But I bet if everyone of us think about it, we can name a couple that does have a successful marriage, one without infidelity. And we can think of success stories if we try. Lonestar & Petunia; DuncanMac & Suse; PEPPERMINT & FIRESTORM (soon).<P>I wrote my husband a note today that said basically this: We have had almost 25 years together and they have been far from perfect. His affair was the worst of it, but that was only a small part of our life together. I refuse to let eight miserable months negate the rest of it. He has been the best thing that EVER happened to me, and if the only way to avoid this heartache would have been to not ever have him, I would choose this temporary pain and misery.<P>Everything in life is a risk- jobs, relationships, having children, driving on the interstate, etc. Nothing is without risk. The only way to avoid possible heartache and pain is to avoid everything that might possibly cause it. That would also mean avoiding every possible joy and pleasure.<P>Even now, I know that the happiness in my marriage has far outweighed this pain. Plus I know that nothing could be worse than this, so I'm looking to the future knowing that it will be better than what I feel right now.<P>Sometimes this site gets me down too, so I take frequent breaks. I also tend to stay in the Recovery Section most of the time. I wish everyone here could have the kind of recovery that they want. Barring that, I hope everyone here will find peace and happiness. This site, for all its problems, has been a blessing for me, my husband, and our marriage. <P>Thanks to you all!<P>Peppermint
Wex,<BR>I really don't know what I missed about my H that would have clued me in to his later infidelity. He did have an occasional interest in porn, but it wasn't overwhelming. I did, in retrospect, have some clues that he was less than open about his emotions - but I would have been less shocked if he had run off and become a hermit in Tibet than I was that he cheated. <P>facing choices,<BR>I doubt that these feelings will ever go away. So many people say that it gets easier, and it has not. It may be different than it was a year ago, but it is not easier.<BR>
Peppermint,<BR>It is not the year of misery that negates the marriage - but the prospect of spending the rest of my life having to deal with the fallout. If it weren't for the kids, I would absolutely wish that I had never met him. The happiness in my marriage did not outweigh this pain. No amount of happiness could make up for this. <P>Oh yes, lots of things could be worse than this. My sister divorced her unfaithful H, raised her children in poverty while he enjoyed a six-figure income, and just when her life was improving, her son was murdered. Life does not necessarily get better. Quite often it just keeps getting worse. <P>
Nellie - I have to agree with you - I, too, don't know if I can ever trust someone again and have another relationship. If relationships are about nothing except getting needs met, how can either person feel truly loved for who they are, for the uniqueness of themselves? If all that matters to a spouse is getting their needs met, then I guess it doesn't matter to them who meets them, only that they are met. So if the current spouse doesn't meet them, you are then justified in finding someone who will? This seems to be merely reducing people and relationships to basic terms of "getting" instead of giving. It seems that the difference between the betrayers and the betrayed comes down to this - the betrayers only care about what they need, not about what they need to give. The betrayed ones seem to not be as concerned about what they need, but about what the relationship needs, but, as you said, the betrayers very often do not articulate their needs or their unhappiness. In other words, they do not take responsibility for themselves and their part in the unhappy relationship. If they did, they may have to face themselves and the fact that they are really unhappy with themselves, not just the spouse. Betrayeds usually tend to neglect themselves and their own needs, trying in vain to make the betrayers happy, but to no avail. The betrayers take the easy way out, merely replacing one "needs provider" with another - one that will more likely meet their "needs". Seems to me that this is selfish and shallow in the extreme - that marriage vows mean nothing, your spouse who loves you means nothing, promises made mean nothing, honesty means nothing, a shared life that is basically happy means nothing. Shouldn't we be loved more for who we are, and not solely for what we do? Also, some betrayers "need" things that are unreasonable, things that cannot be given. Then what? Are we required to give in to emotional blackmail in order to keep our spouse? <P>My H (now ex) walked after 17 years, in order to get what he wanted with another woman. The woman he picked has been divorced twice, is mentally unstable, and apparently has not much moral fiber or strength of character. I was a loyal, hardworking, loving, tolerant wife to him, even when he neglected our marriage and refused to be honest. But, as long as she met the need that I could not provide, that was all he needed to throw away 17 years, a person who loved him unconditionally, his home, his honor and his integrity. Says a lot about his lack of judgement, I say. All I can do is shake my head with disbelief. So I guess I am better off without the likes of him. But if one cannot trust the person you spent half your life with, trusted with your life, then who can you trust?
Lady M,<P>I agree with you completely. Betrayal is most often not about something missing in the marriage, but something missing in the betrayer. <P>I realize that some betrayers do articulate their needs or their unhappiness, but many do not. <P>Yesterday my H emailed me and said that he was going to be working too late to take the kids on Friday night for the next couple of months, so he wouldn't be taking them until Saturday on his weekends with them. I don't mind - but the kids certainly did - not that they will ever tell him. I am guessing that the "couple of months" will likely become semi-permanent.<P>I am here alone tonight with four kids, two of them with high fevers, on my 20th anniversary.<BR>
Nellie - I almost made it to 20 years total - the divorce was final three days before our 19th anniversary.<P>I was just thinking also - so many betrayers say and do so many of the same things. Is there some book or website that they all visit to learn the standard lines and responses. It seems so many people here who have been betrayed have such similar stories.<P>I hope you and the kids are doing much better tonight - last night must have been awful. I will keep you in my prayers.
Lady M,<P>Thanks. One of my kids is doing better - but today another one, and I, started coming down with the same thing. <P>It must be a book - I suspect the betrayers were using the same script long before the internet existed.
Nellie,<BR>The problem is that society teaches us to be hedonistic. Pleasure is key. I say that doing what is right is key which leads to much nicer pleasure. This is a little known secret that Satan won't tell us because he likes to keep us in the dark.
Nellie, why do I keep coming to your posts even though I think you are so negative? I'm drawn to you. You are very articulate, and a good mother from what I can see. So I like you right away.<P>I also cannot judge you for your negative views, even though I am concerned about what you will pass on to your children. We are in a very different place: my h also lied, cheated, treated me with hate. But as you said it is the fallout that hurts so much. In the fog and illusion caused by his own stupidity, he saw the error of his ways.<P>
Sorry, I was interrupted. I really can see how this would sour you on all marriages, but you really are drawing the wrong conclusions. Marriage and family is still the best part of life.<P>professorg is right, though it's not just hedonism, more like self-centredness run totally amuck. But I don't believe "society" was ever much better. Always been a fallen world.<P>But there are people who still value right from wrong. And in response to Lady, I now see Harley's point 100%. Yes, we are all in marriage to have our needs met. One sided love can and should be given at times, but cannot be sustained over the long haul. Harley's book, "Give and Take" makes the point much better than I ever could.<P>It has been a hard road towards recovery, but I can't imagine the other road, and my h came very close to ending it just like that. Some on this board have gone through hell in plan A 'cause they really believe this behavior is uncharacteristic of their spouse and that the erring one can recover. (Don't necessarily mean the betrayer, for some it's the other one who won't work on the marriage.)<P>But none of us got here overnight. For me, it was a slow but gradual progression to indifference. But I see it only in hindsight, would not be able to figure it out if we weren't together. So that's the hardest part for you, you can't figure it out unless he'll have long, calm talks. Even if he doesn't want to get back together, he owes you that much.
Also, I look at it this way. My W has not so much betrayed me as betrayed our relationship and our marriage. Since she's half of the relationship and marriage, in betraying them, she's also betrayed herself as well as me. I find that it helps to think in these terms.<P>--Wex
professororg,<BR>I agree that society does promote hedonism. It has gotten noticeably worse since the mid 1970's, in my opinion.<P>Schizzo,<BR>I don't expect that my H would ever be willing to have a long, calm talk about anything. It is so much easier for him to just "put the past behind him" as he advocated to our oldest daughter.<P>I don't agree that everyone marries just to get their needs met. I can't imagine a more negative view of marriage than that.<P>Wex,<BR>Yes, he has betrayed himself as well. But, so far, it has had not obvious negative consequences for him. My oldest daughter once said that he will regret it when he is old - but by then it will be too late.
yeah, I'm one of those optomistic types, but I certainly wouldn't advocate putting blinders on and strolling through life unhappily. My husband too didn't express all the negative feelings about our marriage until I was face to face with a computer screen reading an email where he was telling his EA that he was pretty sure I knew it was over. (Up until that point I had no idea it was even close to over.) He concealed his emotions, but only started lying while the affair was in full force. I guess I seperate the dishonesty of an outright lie from just lack of communication. He's not a talker, never has been, never will be. He doesn't communicate feelings, he communicates facts. From other books I've read this is a common male behavior pattern. What this site has helped me do is be a little bit closer to having ESP. I can make educated guesses to what he might need, when he won't or can't tell me himself. It has taught me to ask the right questions to get the info I need to help build a relationship on a better rock. Maybe I was cynical about marriage from the beginning, and that is why it is easier for me to accept this now. I walked down the aisle on my wedding day and heard the worse over the better. I saw the worse as challenges to meet rather than obstacles too large to overcome. Gee even the song we danced to on our wedding night has the lines "Tell all the friends who think they're so together that these are ghosts and mirages all these thoughts of fairer weather. But, we'll sit here in our storm and drink a toast to the slim chance of love's recovery." There wasn't even a thought of infidelity in either of our minds at the time. Marriage takes work. All good things in life take work.
Chris,<P>you said:<BR>Sure hope this is just a vent & not how you truly feel. If this is how you feel, then you<BR>have learned absolutely nothing. Are you just going to negate your marriage and all that came with it?<P>I feel the way Nellie feels, exactly. Even though I'm the one that cheated, and even though I know it wasn't my H's fault that I cheated, I DO know that we had problems. I DO know that I tried DESPERATELY to talk to him and tell him how I felt and he ignored every single one of them. It was always "my fault". I DO know that I had other choices besides cheating and very much regret having done that. I should have never married him in the first place and should have just kicked him to the curb instead of cheating. However, looking back over the way my H treated me after the confession, and at times before the confession, my answer to your question is a resounding YES. I wish I never met him, I wish I never married him, and as long as I can manage it, I will never, ever let another man touch me as long as I live. In the past 8 months or so since my divorce, I've discovered how honest men can be when it sinks in that they are not going to get a piece of *ss anytime in the foreseeable future from me. It is downright pathetic the lies some men tell themselves (and me) trying to get me into bed, or whatever.<P>Nellie,<BR>If your kids want a committed relationship, tell them to write a contract instead of getting married. That way, everyone knows the conditions that apply at separation and they won't have to walk around with the big "D" on their forehead should the other person bail. Marriage is not about commitment. It is a stupid legal framework. Commitment is about commitment, and you don't need a piece of paper to have it.<P>What I've learned is that people use you as long as it is convenient for them. Most people get married because the other person has something they want. Most people don't consider for a second what they are willing to give to sustain the relationship. I gave for 8 years. Probably seems like nothing compared to your 19, but I'm just as pissed that a single day was wasted on my ex.<P>Like you, I believe that when bad *hit happens, it is simply bad *hit. Trying to put cake frosting on a turd doesn't change the fact that it is a turd. This stuff I hear, like, it was for the best...You learned this and that, blah blah, You know, there are some lessons that don't NEED to be learned. I'm with you. Call it like it is. You don't need to feel like your life has been "blessed" because you married your H or that this is in some way "good for you". Gag. Sometimes, when bad stuff happens, all you can do is survive and cope. What is the point of investing so many years of your life if they are just going to haul butt? You said one time, "would you buy a house if you knew that it had a 50% chance of it falling down in 10 years?" Hell no. but of course, so-called love makes everyone think it won't happen to THEM. So, my new response(s) to when some guy tells me he "loves" me is:<BR>a) prove it<BR>b) so, what do YOU want?<BR>c) if you think you're getting sex now, you're wrong.<BR>d) ok, that is nice, but no, I won't follow you for your job or quit mine.<P><p>[This message has been edited by TheStudent (edited February 11, 2000).]
Beth,<P>My H agreed after he left that I shouldn't have been expected to read his mind, or vice versa. But then, he said a few weeks ago that if we had "faced our problems" we would have divorced long ago. Apparently in his opinion our problems were so severe that no amount of work would have enabled us to resolve them even if we had been aware of them early on, yet not so severe that he couldn't ignore them for 19 years, and apparently for me still to have no idea what they were. Doesn't make much sense to me.<P>TheStudent,<P>This is definitely one of those lessons that doesn't need to be learned. And I hate the fact that my kids are learning it as well. Lots of bad things happen that nothing good comes out of. Your frosting analogy is certainly apropos, and it is going to be hard to forget that mental picture!<P>My H and I lived together for more than four years before we married, and I did feel a greater sense of committment after we married. Of course I don't know if he felt that way - apparently not as strongly as I did, anyway.
In my opinion, there is no logic to support either the proposition that this kind of behavior will occur in future relationships, nor the proposition that success is guaranteed in future relationships.<P>Ultimately, I think it comes down to what you believe about YOURSELF, not what you believe about other people. And about this point I'm very clear. While occasionally things happen that are out of my realm of ability to influence, the vast majority of things that happen in my life are my own doing (good and bad). I do believe that the breakdown of my marriage was in part my doing, but I also categorize my husband's run from the situation as one of those unusual "out of my influence" things. If I had better skills in the marriage though, it would never have happened. But I do believe very strongly that I will do much better in my next marriage and that will likely make that marriage better (even if it's with the same man). I also believe that my strong guidance will make the difference for my children, so they will understand the concepts of love, commitment, honor, and values despite my husband's behavior.<P>Nellie, I know this brings you down and you have a right to feel that way towards your husband, who has really let all of you down. But I don't think it helps you to extend it to the rest of humanity. Look at all the great people on this board who really do care about their marriages and families. There are plenty of people like this in the world.
Distressed,<BR>It may be that if I had better marriage skills, this could have been avoided, but since it seems like the marriage skill I was most lacking in was the ability to read his mind, I don't have a clue what I should have been doing differently. As just one example, he said he didn't like the kids being in daycare - but after he left he complained that I hadn't gone back to work full-time. Yet he had never mentioned wanting me to. <P>Yes, there are some very good people on this board. And there are undoubtedly some very good people out there in the real world, but I do not believe that it is a very high percentage.
Nellie, <BR>Another book you might take a look at is Harville Hendrix's getting the love you want. It explains why we are attracted to a particular type of person, and gives some explanation as to how we can change ourselves so that our relationships are more fulfilling in the future. Working on a marriage is really hard when only one person is doing it. That appears to be your case, as your husband has moved out of his own choice, and is still with the OW. I wish I could run up to him, and slap some sense to him, but alas I can't. I started that way, (or at least it appeared that way to me) But he stayed in the same house. Even came to bed with me, just refused to deal with anything, and was very adamant that he saw no hope. (He was going to give us two months as a gift to our friendship just to make sure he was sure.) The solace I can give you in this whole thing is that you are a strong enough woman to take care of the things that are within your control. The factors that contributed to the breakdown of your marriage that were yours you can take care of. It will increase your chances of a successful relationship in the future with whomever your heart falls in love with. It will also increase your chances of meeting a better partner.
Beth,<P>One of the problems is that the kind of person I am apparently attracted to is not the kind of person he is now, but rather the kind he appeared to be 25 years ago (or even a couple of years ago). Therefore, apparently basic personality and values are not static. I am not just talking about morality and committment. All of his values have undergone a complete transformation - even values that are completely unrelated to infidelity, values that are not necessarily right or wrong, but are important when deciding whether you are compatible. How could someone who a few years ago gave up his job to farm full-time under rather primitive conditions have turned into a card-carrying Yuppie? How could someone who in the past accused me of being a snob based on some innocent comment I made about education, tell me now that he wants our kids to be friends with kids of their "intellectual level". How could someone who never pressured the kids about their grades now panic because he didn't think our seven year old was reading well enough? How could he accuse me of giving the kids "negative images of learning", when our two oldest homeschooled kids are now excelling in college? <P>How could someone who told a prospective employer that he valued job flexibility because his family was so important to him, now see the kids only approximately the "standard" amount, which he is now cutting back, at least temporarily, to only one night instead of two on "his" weekends? How could he say that he would do whatever is necessary to preserve the atmosphere at the OW's house - apparently including bringing the kids home if they disrupt it? How could a father, knowing that his children are sick, not even ask how they are doing? <P>This is not about his relationship with me any longer. He claimed that he doesn't like my basic personality, and that basic personalities don't change, and I must have been hiding it (apparently for years). Was he just doing a really good job of hiding his personality for 25 years? I don't think that is possible. His personality has changed, and not just in his relationship with me. If you meet someone whose personality seems compatible with yours, there is no way of knowing if it will change completely, virtually overnight-5, 10, 25 years later. <P>There is no point in putting any effort into finding an appropriate marriage partner. It is not just that my H disappeared and became someone I don't recognize, but I don't recognize the father of my children, either.
Nellie,<P>I felt the same way you did about commitment and marriage. With both of my husbands, I was in it for life, no matter what. The only good reason I can think of for getting a divorce is if a person or their children are at risk of bodily harm. <P>If a person leaves their children on someone's doorstep, they can be prosecuted for abandonment. How is divorce any different? If you are the one left behind, then people say "oh, you'll find someone better", like the solution is just to keep swapping partners till you "get lucky" and find one that sticks around.<P>I went to a symphony last night with a bunch of friends. All of them were in "pairs" (dating, not married). It was wierd, I didn't really envy them. Most of them have had numerous boyfriends/girlfriends and it all just seems so ridiculous. More than half of these people probably won't even be talking to each other in a year. Even though I sound real bitter sometimes, I still have to think it is better to have a friend (male or female) for life than it is to be just another ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. Removing the element of sex has allowed me to really get to know the men I hang out with now. I think that at first a few of them wanted some kind of dating/relationship thing, but since I'm not up for that, they now know that they have no need to "impress" me anymore or just show me their good side. Every time I see this change occur, it convinces me even more that my choice is a good one. I don't have to find out months or years down the road that the "person" they pretended to be at first is not who they really are. Or to put it another way, I haven't invested myself in a so-called relationship or sacrificed anything major, so I don't care if they "change" somewhere down the road. <P>Choosing not to find another "partner" is not as depressing as some might think. Just wanted you to know that there are other options that can be quite fulfilling that have nothing to do with scoping out another person to marry. If I sound bitter, it is because I'm mourning my loss of innocence concerning most people's lack of commitment, not because I need to find a replacement. I happen to agree with you that the vast majority of people have no concept of what it means to be committed. I also believe that you don't need to find another mate to make your life worthwhile. I highly resent the notion that lessons learned from failed relationships (like the ones we've learned this year) mean a thing or even mean that future relationships will be better. All we can do is find some way to cope.
TheStudent,<P>According to what I have read, children are generally much better off with a single parent than with a stepparent as well. About the only exception is when the stepparent comes into their life when they are very young. Adolescents find it particularly difficult adjusting to a stepparent. And then you have to worry about the relatively high risk of sexual abuse, especially of adolescent girls. <P>Not only would I have to worry about these factors, but with the knowledge that I know have that a new personality came emerge overnight 25 years later, I can not imagine ever feeling anything but terribly tense in a relationship. You can be as open and honest as possible, but it is likely that the other person is not going to be, and there usually is no way to tell.
I'd have to agree. Having two parents that don't live together or communicate well is much,much more disruptive than having a single parent. Then people say "but the children need a father". I agree that both boys and girls need the influence of a good woman or good man around. This can be accomplished by having good male or female friends nearby while the child is growing up. And I mean *friends*, not the constant in and out of dating relationships. People's needs for companionship can be met in other ways. Too many people get married because they want reliable sex and someone to cook and clean for them, or alternately, someone to go make the money for them. It has nothing to do with how to best raise a child.<P>In addition, I believe that if men/women waited to have children until they could responsibly care for them by themselves (should the need arise), most dependency issues would not be a problem. <P>A few people here have expressed some concern about your (our) negative views about marriage and the message you are sending your children. I'm more concerned about the message that it is ok to glom on to someone else and call it commitment. Or that you have to somehow prop up their "hope" of finding someone worthy of commitment, when we both know that the statistics don't bear out this "hope". Furthermore, the costs of having this "hope" far,far outweigh any possible gains, as we've both seen. The children are the ones who suffer for it.
Well, I've read through this post and it is very controversial. I will only say this:<P>Nellie, can I hit him with that bat now?
<BR>I'm sorry for your Pain.<P>TheStudent, <BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Marriage is not about commitment. It is a stupid legal framework<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I would be very careful in calling marriage a stupid legal framework. It is a union that was established by God. Which is a covenant that includes committment. It is the individual who forgets about the committment. <P><P>------------------<BR>"If you can learn from the mistakes of others, you won't have to make them youself."<P>firstname.lastname@example.org
Nellie,<BR> Interesting post going here.It makes you really think about ever getting married again after a divorce.I don't know about you,but my whole concept of the definition of marriage has changed.Seeing my sister go through her divorce(her H got into drugs),several cousins and friends,and now probably me,makes me wonder if it's all worth it.When I took my W to the marriage councelor(for what that was worth)he told us something I'll always remember.He said most marriages today only last about 10 years or less.He said if we had managed to stay married for 22 years without killing each other,that we must of been doing something right or we never would of made it this long.I think that's a pretty good definition of a long-term marriage.Both my parents and my in-laws have been married for over 50 years.I've heard them fight and nag each other,and even though they aren't"passionately in-love"with each other,they are probably doing as good as it gets.Sometimes I think people expect too much out of a marriage or expect their spouse to constantly keep them happy.You know as well as I do,happiness comes from within yourself,not from another person.They can contribute to your happiness,but they shouldn't be the ultimate source of it,or you'll eventually be let down.I believe most problems can be worked out if both parties want to make the marriage work.My folks had problems you wouldn't believe compared to ours.I think some people just don't have a lot of tolerance for their spouse's shortcomings,or are opinionated in the way things should be.Unfortunately,these traits don't bode well for them in any relationship.Some people just aren't cut out for a 50/50 relationship.I realize now just how self-centered,and arrogant my W was.Perhaps your H is the same way?Anyway,something for you to think about.Talk to you later.Take care. --Murph
Jamie-lee,<BR>Well, if I was married to God, then I wouldn't have anything to worry about. Now that I'm celibate, you could say that I am married to God. <P>When I said that marriage was a stupid legal framework it is because that is how most people treat it. Commitment is in the heart, not on a piece of paper. The simple act of getting married does not symbolize commitment at all. Maybe in an ideal world, but not in ours. To risk sounding sacriligious, even marriage in the bible seemed to be more about property rights than the joining of two souls. That is why it was ok to have multiple wives in the Bible? As long as the H knew the kids were his, then it was ok. The wife was supposed to be obedient too. I guess you'd have to be in order to put up with all those other women hanging around and calling it legit. The way marriage is presented in the bible is not presented as a joining of two souls. It is one guy who has some obedient woman to do his bidding so that he can have some reliable offspring (preferably male).
Murph,<BR>Yes, it appears that my H did expect me to somehow keep him constantly happy, an impossible feat.<P>I read an article in today's paper discussing "positive illusion" - the characteristic of seeing their partner's good behavior as reflective of their personality, and their bad behavior as a function of external factors, even after the "infatuation" stage is over. Supposedly those who see things that way are more likely to be happy, even if it is not realistic. People who feel this way are also more likely to resist "alternative partners". People are less likely to be unfaithful if they see their partners as better than they actually are, and others as worse than they actually are.<P>If this theory is true, it would be great for those couple where positive illusion characterizes both partners. Relationships where it characterizes neither probably wouldn't last very long. The problem arises where one partner sees things this way (as I think I did, up until discovery), and the other sees things the opposite way. Then the more positive partner invariably suffers.<P>jamie-lee,<P>Go ahead - a bat, a frying pan, whatever...<P>TheStudent,<P>The article I was talking about above implies that one's chance for happiness is greater if you are unrealistically optimistic - but only if the other person is too. I suspect the chance of two unrealistically optimistic people finding each other is fairly slim - and the worse case scenario, the one that seems most likely to set yourself up to be hurt, is when you are the optimistic one and the other person is not.
A woman in her late 70's said this to me (obviously, I can't quote exactly, but will attempt to at least get the gist...
):<P>The lifespan of people is growing longer and longer with each passing decade... used to be mothers died in childbirth or soon after, and fathers lived into their 50's, after fathering umteen children with several different women...<P>Marriage was meant to last an adult lifetime, to be sure, but an adult lifetime was much shorter than it is now. Also, women married at 15 at some times in history, and she was lucky to live to 30!<P>With this in mind, marriage was meant to last between 10-20 years, not 40-50-60 years that it does now that people are living well into their 70's, 80's and even 90's...<P>So, what do you think of that??<BR>
TheStudent<P>Didn't mean to offend you, just thought your wording was a little tactless that's all. Didn't want anyone else to get the wrong idea. SORRY<P>------------------<BR>"If you can learn from the mistakes of others, you won't have to make them youself."<P>email@example.com
Jamie-Lee,<BR>I wasn't offended. I'm frequently argumentative these days. What Nellie said about unrealistic optimism afflicts just about everyone on their wedding day. Everyone goes into it thinking it will last forever. I was just venting my frustration that more people can't stay the course.<P>Nellie,<BR>I read something the other day that goes:<BR>"if a man sin against thee...if he repent and confess, forgive him...But if he be shameless, and persisteth in his wrongdoing even so forgive him from the heart, and leave to God the avenging". I know it is a tough row to hoe when you are the one taking care of the kids. They really are a blessing to you, even if their father is an alien. Your H has made his choices. Maybe he'll feel remorse someday. Maybe he won't. I'm guessing if he doesn't, he'll never fully have the love and respect of his children, not to mention you. That is a pretty terrible thing to lose.
Sheryl,<P>I read somewhere though that if you made it to your 40's, your probability of living to a ripe old age has not changed much since Revolutionary times. The average lifespan was shorter mostly because fewer people made it to adulthood, as well as the fact that more women died in childbirth.<P>TheStudent,<P>My H is certainly well aware that he has lost the respect of our two oldest, but he seems to see it as their doing, not his.
Well, I still believe in the framework of marriage. I don't think this one experience could alter my perception of marriage as basically a good thing. People make marriage bad or good. It's all in the way they learn and grow together. I can understand the bitterness. Even my minister was very bitter after his divorce and didn't remarry for a very long time. Who's to say what's right or wrong? All I'm saying is that learning how to build a good relationship can only benefit you whether you decide to pursue one later on or not. Learn, and then teach your kids how to be a good marriage partner. That way if they decide marriage is the right institution for them they'll have better odds at success.
Nellie<P>I didn't say we go into marriage just to have our needs met. That's ridiculous. But I thought having married for "love" and having found a true "soul-mate" that the love would carry us through. It doesn't. Meeting each other's needs is a learned behavior, and I did a really bad job because I did not understand any of this. I too thought of him as better than he was, and it wasn't good for either of us.<P>We all need to be loved and accepted as we are. While I loved him as this wonder-man, he found someone else to love him as he truly knew himself to be. He could tell OW #2 about #1, something he had been holding inside.<P>I'm not defending him, but I've been trying hard to understand better so we can get on with our lives.<P>I read a really good book the other day by a former divorce attorney - How to heal a painful relationship. It deals with letting go and making peace with the other person, even if it is to divorce as friends not to restore the marriage. It's by Bill Ferguson.
Amazing, huh? Ah well, it will just take that much longer for him to recover the love of his children, if it ever happens. Even if he somehow manages to get on decent terms with them, there will always be a distance there until he can fully own up. Even THEN, he will have a tall mountain to climb. I know. My dad was a serious alcoholic throughout most of my childhood. Even though he stopped drinking about 15 years ago, it has taken this long for me to trust him. Even though he had started taking responsibility for his behavior at least 10 years ago. It is funny. I find that the men I tend to attract are those who cannot take responsibility for their behavior. If you teach your children anything, you need to teach them the importance of personal responsibility AND that it is perfectly acceptable to hold another person accountable for their behavior. I know they are getting a good lesson about what NOT to do from their father. Sometimes that can be just as instructive!!
The statistics are such a devastation to our marriages and homes....
My WH justified his affairs to our teens by stating the statistics and trying to "normalize" his actions....he also told them that kids should have hardships in their lives to make them a better person, and that kids are resilient....all in attempts to minimize, legitimize his immoral behaviors...
I leave the typo for your enjoyment