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Take some deep breaths, hug your daughter and roll with the punches, TFC. A couple of strong positive steps and a small step back only mean the trend is still upward. Give your sister and your friends a call just to chat, plan what you're going to review with your IC this week...anything to keep your balance, okay?

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The vacation that he was going to take DD on alone has now become a FAMILY vacation!

Today he noted that other people get so much of his time, and he understands that must be difficult for me. He asked if I could try to understand that I get a part of him that no one else does and try to see if I could be in a M with someone with his career.

We are making strides here ...

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There are indeed very good signs. He's either initiating relationship talk, or participating in such discussions in a rational manner, and that's a good thing.

Could it be those phone calls to XOM early last week were your husband telling XOM to get lost, as it were?

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That is what I'm hoping ... he never mentioned them. The only thing he said was that he distances when XOM calls him, and he knows he shouldn't. But he never said a word about his call to XOM. I told him that I really hoped he would consider telling XOM to cease contact immediately and he just smiled. Maybe he already had and was glad I stood firm? It doesn't matter why, I'm just glad I haven't seen any further contact.

And he's really displayed patience with me as well as indicating that he's wanting to work on the R.

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That he triggers (and gets a little distant with you) when XOM calls isn't surprising. It's human nature.

Stay with your plan, TFC, roll with the punches, and I think you'll realize great rewards a few months down the line.

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Remember the gal H had the inappropriate IM with? She lives in the state he's visiting - they are sort of still friends. I've explained to him that it appears as though her interests are beyond just a friendship. He has agreed not to discuss our M with her, or anything too personal. I thought I could be "cool" about them seeing each other while he was there, but then they hung out the other night. Ever since, I've been going nuts. Honestly, I don't want them to be friends anymore. As far as I'm concerned she was never just interested in a friendship with my H, and the friendship that they had was inappropriate. Can I respectfully request that they no longer hang out? Is this even appropriate?

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I expect all personal contact with females to cease immediately.

TFC, you made the above one of your boundaries and then apparently agreed with him it would be okay to associate with her so long as he didn't discuss your marriage? You're sending him mixed signals and confusing the issue.

Look, it's as inappropriate for him to "hang out" with members of the opposite sex out on the road as it is for you to hang out with guys when he's not around. Members of the opposite sex are only friends when they're friends of the marriage. When he gets home, I would POJA this calmly and carefully, explaining how it hurts you for him to even be associating with that other woman in a social context.

But put this backsliding in context with the progress made over the past week. Don't let the low points in the roller coaster ride affect you so much because it appears they'll be offset by high points...and the trend is still upward. The glass is still half full, TFC.

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You're sending him mixed signals and confusing the issue.

I sort of am ... that list was not given or discussed with him ever. But I should have known myself better than that - I should have known that I would never be ok with them hanging out.

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Don't let the low points in the roller coaster ride affect you so much because it appears they'll be offset by high points...and the trend is still upward. The glass is still half full, TFC.

Half full indeed! I am grateful for the progress we've made - I just wanted to be sure that we continued this progress while also being completely honest with him about my feelings. I just want to be sure I approach this subject gently ...

Not sure how to bring it up, but I feel like I need to say something about it. Any woman who's tried to bed my H is NOT a friend of the M (just as any man behaving/talking with me in that manner is not welcome as a friend either).

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Hmmmmm...a little bit of 2X4 time, TFC! Brace yourself.

I don’t think that you haven’t brought up your boundaries with him yet is germane to the question of why you aren’t enforcing them, TFC. You knew about the boundary when you were presented with the issue of him being around that “friend." When he brought it up, you had the opportunity to broach the subject of inappropriate friends in a calm non-accusatory discussion. If he disclosed the fact he would be interacting with her, he was effectively asking you whether it would be all right or not and he didn’t get the response you had a great opening to present.

Lady, please watch for opportunities that come at you out of the blue to bring commonsense boundaries up...for both of you. There’s no requirement to lay all the boundaries out on a table in front of him all at one time. Actually, that’s probably counterproductive. POJA him. Heck, you might even be proactive. Ask him what boundaries he thinks he will need in place. You’ll need to phrase it differently, of course, unless he’s read SAA.

Okay, nothing’s been lost except for a few days worth of time that is meaningless when viewed in context. The neat thing about human emotional interaction is the trolley always comes around again. There are always second chances.

How about bringing this subject up in another conversation, saying you fooled yourself when the subject came up before, but you’ve had a lot of time to think about it and you’ve realized it’s not a good thing for either one of you to have a friend who isn’t a friend of the marriage. Pick your time, place, and atmosphere and try to get a POJA with him. Use the example you used in your last post if you want to.

Better yet, if you have an example of a male friend in your life (past or present...based on an actual event or a potential one) who you might should drop (or have already dropped) for the same reason, make that a part of the discussion. (Or use the example of a girlfriend/sister/coworker/whoever whose experience would contribute to what you're trying to get across. Heck, ask your IC for an example.) Something like that would be a very powerful anecdote he could not help but understand.

Homework assignment <grin>: Read or re-read Not "Just Friends" by Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D. That book is a lengthy discussion of inappropriate friends.

Half full observation: Evidently, he's being very open -- tending toward transparency -- because you apparently knew beforehand he would be seeing/talking to her.

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I know ... I should have enforced my boundaries. I was just telling my best friend last night how I've been so bad in the past with just pushing my boundary line back further and further each time he approaches it and how I have to stop doing that. Then what did I do? Ugh! So disappointed in myself!

I will re-read "Not Just Friends" - matter of fact, I'll begin tonight.



Edited to note that I have also pushed my boundaries back for myself - otherwise I couldn't have had an affair. Which is why it is so important that I learn to stick to my boundaries.

Last edited by time_for_change; 05/22/07 02:07 PM.
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TFC, we all like to think we're so not the children we once were. We see a three-year-old pushing disciplinary boundaries with his or her parents and we nod knowingly. That's what children do, we say.

To me, the problem is adults do the same things a three-year-old does every chance we get. We are a competitive species and most of us take every occasion we have to test boundaries, and often for the same reason a three-year-old does...we want to see if the boundary is still there. If it is, the three-year-old inside all of us is reassured and we back off...until the next time.

Lady, if you don’t enforce the boundaries with a three-year-old, the toddler’s development ultimately suffers, right? The result of keeping a particular boundary in place might be the child never develops a sense of self-discipline that leads to a good work ethic that leads to a productive job that leads to a great career that leads to...etc., etc. If you don’t reinforce boundaries in a relationship, it can lead in a few short steps to a marriage that is a relationship in name only.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Correcting that three-year-old can be done lovingly and very gently...and I’m not suggesting keeping boundaries in a marriage means a nuclear attack at every transgression, an unrelenting baleful vigilance, or anything else down that road, okay?

Excellent! Your edited note is a very crucial thing to know about yourself. I don’t know what your friend told you, but I believe you should get feedback from your IC about this also. You can’t afford to be the three-year-old pushing the boundaries to see if they’re still there, right?

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H just informed me that he may be traveling across the globe for a work "opportunity". While I'm excited for him, shouldn't something like this be discussed before its decided on? Though its not yet definite, he's already made up his mind ... all on his own.

I don't think this is a huge step back or anything, but it upsets me. Oh well.

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You already know the answer to that question, TFC, and you know which of your boundaries his announcement violates. We talked about opportunities yesterday, right? So...what’s the best thing you can do today for the marriage and your family? How will you go about accomplishing that?

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Yup ... "I won’t accept independent behaviors."

So, the only thing I can do for me and DD is to calmly let him know that I would appreciate a discussion about things of this nature prior to decision-making. Looks like I might be introducing H & POJA today.

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I think that's appropriate. Calm and gentle is an excellent way to set up a discussion. Personally, I worry about the effect the more extended absences will have on your daughter.

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Me too. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

But I don't think I can do anything about it ...

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Today was a day of steps backward ... first the trip, then some stuff about business, now he's decided to work on Monday. He says he committed to that first, but that doesn't make me feel any better. He will have been gone almost 2 weeks and we were having my parents watch DD so we could do something fun together then having a family night. Now, looks like we're just having a family night. I am just sick of our alone-time getting put on the backburner to everything else. I am just so sad. But, I guess this just toughens me up ... or breaks me down - not sure which yet.

Last edited by time_for_change; 05/23/07 05:30 PM.
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It's the roller coaster you see referenced on other threads, TFC. It's going to last for a while, so try not to let it hurt so badly. This too shall pass, as they say.

Stay strong.

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One of the things that was important to me in our M was spending quality time alone together. So it hurts that he is choosing to work during that time instead. I decided to tell him this, but also asked if he would prefer that I cancel having my parents watch DD.

He told me that he felt I was "baiting" him by asking about canceling babysitting. He said that I needed to learn that he wouldn't baby me through all this. That I needed to stand up for what I wanted ...

So, I told him "Well, I'm standing up for what I want. And I want us to have time alone together on Monday." He said that he would finish up by early afternoon so that we could keep our plans ...

I'm so glad I decided to confront the issue head-on instead of standing back and assuming our plans would be canceled.

Last edited by time_for_change; 05/23/07 07:13 PM.
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Cool. I see several things here.

See if you can get confirmation on this from your IC, but I think you did two important things here, and you got an important clue about communication with your husband.

First, you confronted the issue directly instead of letting it fester in your mind and spoiling your outlook on every day between now and Monday. It probably would have poisoned every interaction with your husband in that time frame, and there’s the potential it would also have influenced interactions between you and your daughter.

It’s much better to have the issue out in the open and settled one way or the other. Internalizing emotional issues almost always leads to unwanted, and usually some unnecessary pain. I think this is a good lesson you can benefit from, and one you should keep at the front of your mind from here on out. Don't suppress "stuff," okay? (At the same time, don't get confrontational when it's not necessary, right?)

Second, I think there’s a very good chance you standing up for what you wanted reinforced an idea in your husband’s mind that you care enough to want to spend time with him. Indirectly, I think that’s very important in helping him heal from your affair…which he still hasn’t done. Like that three-year-old we talked about, he’ll come back to touch the injury again and again, testing to see if your love is still there.

Finally, you spelled things out for him in very clear language and he didn’t have to interpret what you were trying to say. I don’t know if you never understood his desire for straight talk before or whether you’ve just gotten away from it, but most men are like your husband. We’uns don’t like having to ask if she meant this…no, no…she probably meant that…well, maybe…etc., etc. We get confused, TFC. <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Don’t be circumspect because you only make us guys wonder where you’re coming from, okay?

A final note. How’s the issue of couples counseling or IC for husband coming? I think you two could make very fast progress if you had a couples counselor working with you and acting as a facilitator in conversations between you two. I think a few sessions with SH would be great. I have in mind the fact that your husband seemed to “get closer” to you a couple weeks ago on the phone (with the detachment from strong emotions the separation gives one). He might open up in a phone session more easily than he would be able to do with even the most non-judgmental counselor in person. Whatcha think?

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