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Wow! Thanks to everyone for their replies. I'm surprised that so many people took the time to read my story and reply (sorry it was so long). A lot of very helpful comments. Especially the one from Alonewithouther. It's great to hear from someone in a similar but role-reversed situation; it gives me a better understanding of what my wife is going through. And thank you iam for pointing out that I should thank Alonewithouther. Because of my current indifference to my marriage, I can't fully appreciate the pain Alonewithouther is going through, but his forum name pretty much says it all, and makes me sad.

I'm pretty new to webposting and there are a couple of replies that mention troll and troll-alert. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds like they're suspicious of my sincerity. If that IS what it means, sorry if I don't sound sincere, but I am. If it's not, can someone please tell me what troll means? And all the acronyms made it hard to read - kept having to go to another page to decipher them. Hope you don't mind me spelling things out here, I'm not used to the lingo yet.

JustLearning, thanks for your help, and no, it doesn't feel like a 2x4 \:\) A couple of responses to your post. First, I am not paying for my online, I hate to even call it an affair anymore because it feels more like a friendship. True, when I first met this woman online, I paid to see her. But currently, my only contact with her is via email, IM, and phone -- everything's free of charge. Second, I have read about emotional affairs, and I agree that mine was an emotional affair for the first 2+ months. But since my wife and I have been in counseling, our communication has improved a lot, and the unmet need for communication that my online affair provided, is now being met by my wife. I don't feel a need for communicating with the other woman like I used to. She really is a friend. She's just like another friend I had, that my wife wanted me to stop seeing. It was a woman at work who I had a really nice friendship with. She was very approachable, very easy to talk with, and I felt more open with her than with my wife. I knew her for 7-8 years, nothing ever physical between us, and she recently retired. We kept in contact via email about once a week, but my wife didn't like it because she was always suspicious that something more could develop. She's a friend, plain and simple, nothing else. And the woman I met online is exactly that now. As I said in my original post, I can certainly understand my wife not wanting me to maintain contact with the online woman. I'm sure most here think I'm deceiving myself, and maybe I am, for all I know. I've told my wife that I'm still in contact with the other woman, but I don't initiate anything. My wife is very understanding of me trying to work this whole thing out and figure out my own thoughts. And like mel_vin points out, I truly am lucky to have a wife who tolerates me. It's part of what makes me feel undeserving. How can I be so uncommitted while she is? She deserves better.

I agree with you JustLearning that emotional affairs are at least as destructive as physical affairs. I completely agree, I think what I did WAS an affair, and I think emotional involvement with someone is worse than physical involvement because it involves deeper aspects of the mind. My relationship with the online woman has fizzled from an emotional affair to a casual friendship. Our emails are things like: "How's it going? How's your dog? Did you get your car fixed the other day? I had salmon for dinner last night." Stuff like that.

I read about the three states of mind in a marriage, and I completely agree that my wife and I were both in the withdrawal state and that now she is out of it (in conflict I suppose?) but I am still in it. Your comment that a person in withdrawal doesn't often post, maybe that suggests that I don't want to stay in withdrawal? Or maybe, like mel_vin said later, I'm just looking for validation. I don't know, I hadn't thought of that. Maybe it's true.

The addiction part, I knew that was coming. I only found this website yesterday and I've read a lot of the freely available articles. I may be wrong, but I think because of Harlan's models of infidelity, people who regularly visit here and subscribe to his precepts will automatically categorize ANYONE who has an affair as addicted. I don't think it's any use in arguing my point, but I'll just say that I have been through addiction before (substance abuse and alcohol), and I know from experience how controlling an addiction can be. I don't feel controlled at all by the affair I had. And the thing about knowing it is wrong means it is an addiction? I don't feel that it is wrong. When I couldn't stop taking drugs or consuming alcohol, I knew that was wrong. I'm sorry if I can't explain myself any better. All I can say is this really doesn't feel wrong to me. (Hit me with a 2x4, go ahead, I know you will \:\)

"Why not have some fun, some love, some attention, and a good marriage?" Who wouldn't want that? I sure would. But why don't I have the desire to work things out so that I have that with my wife? I don't know. It's one of the things I struggle with, how to get the desire to work on my marriage back. I've been in invisible divorce for long enough, that I wonder if I've killed my ability to get anything back. I'm going through the process, and ideally the best outcome would be for my marriage to be restored, but nothing has lit a spark in me yet. The "are you happy," "are you proud" questions, I'm sort of neutral. I'm not real happy or proud, but at the some time, I not unhappy and not ashamed. mel_vin asked a little later if I'm completely open about my online relationship. Yes, I am. Very shortly after I told my wife, I called my mom and dad and explained to them what happened. I also spoke to one of my sisters about it and a couple of my friends and told them exactly what happened. I would've told more people, but then my wife and I started counseling and our counselor advised both of us to NOT discuss things with family and friends. She had her reasons, but my wife and I have decided to go against her advice. Our counselor was ok with us doing that, as long as we were both in agreement.

Your last part about possibly having one heck of a marriage, and we can be happy if we give this thing a shot. I keep hearing that from our counselor, an online counselor I spoke with, others I've spoken with. They all say our situation is completely fixable and has a high chance of success. I keep hearing that, but so far, both my wife and I agree that the process seems painfully slow. My mom emphasized several times to me that I have to have patience, that it took a long time for our marriage to disintegrate and it'll take a long to rebuild it. Intellectually, I understand that, but it doesn't make it any easier when going through it. My wife and I both feel like just giving up at times. Is it really worth it? With only one life to live, maybe we should just take the easy way out, end things, find other people to be happy with, and move on. We both think that sometimes.

And your PS about not feeling sorry and apologizing, yes, we've addressed that too. In counseling, my wife sometimes feels as if SHE's the one who did something wrong. In honestly explaining my feelings to her, I've told her that it should be ME who feels sorry for everything, but I don't. I can't help it, but that's way I feel. Some people say you choose how you feel. I can't. For me, feelings come and go, and I don't have a lot of control over them.

mel_vin, I don't miss the other woman when there is no contact, but I don't want to break contact because I enjoy talking with her. I formed a friendship with her, a human bond. We care about each other. I'm sure most people, when they hear "porn star," think slut, tramp, sex-crazed, etc. One of the biggest benefits I have gained by meeting her is that she has de-mystified porn for me. She's a real human being with thoughts, cares, emotions, just like the rest of us. My initial attraction to her was my conflicting feelings of her as a genuinely nice, caring person and my stereotype of a porn star. "When you know breaking contact is the right thing to do," I don't know that. I know it would make my wife more comfortable, but I have to say that this woman cares about my marriage. (Ouch! I can feel the 2x4's coming!! \:\) Seriously, she does. She's not interested in breaking my marriage up. She knows what I'm going through. She's had several relationships like this occur in the past, and she has used her experience to help me deal with what I'm going through. I've explained many problems to her, and she has always sincerely tried to help. It might sound unbelievable to many of you, and I'm sure many of you are shaking your heads in disbelief, and I'm sure I'd be shaking my head too if I wasn't in the middle of this situation.

My wife has told me that in this crisis, she has spoken with other people about us and told them things that I might not like. While that might have bothered me in the past, it doesn't now. Because of what I've been through, who am I to get upset about her revealing intimate details of our marriage. It might not be the best solution for working on a marriage, but we're working towards "something," whatever that is, that will work for both of us. Might not be by the book, but if it works, hey, why not?

"Everytime you want to talk to this girl." Again, it's not like I have a desire or need to talk. We chit-chat from time to time, casual banter, and that's it. It's not like she's fulfilling an emotional need. She was for a time, but not now.

The kids thing, yeah, I agree, that's really the toughest part of this whole thing. My parents divorced when I was 17 and it really affected me. It was probably a major contributor to my getting involved in drugs and alcohol, and I would hate for that to happen to either of my kids. It's the biggest reason why I don't want to get divorced.

I do think about what my wife and I had a long time ago. It would be nice to have that back, but I just wonder if it's too far gone to ever get back. It seems like it is. And I agree that marriage is work, but it should be work that you love to do because you love the other person. You care about the other person in a unique way that makes you want to work. At this point, I don't care like that. One of the things our counselor has told me is that even if I don't feel like doing things that express love to my wife, I should do them anyways. And if I do them enough, I'll eventually feel like doing them. That's hard for me because I feel like I'm faking my feelings, I feel hypocritical. Another counselor says NOT to fake things, that if I do, my wife will sense that and it may backfire. Too confusing!

Alonewithher, thanks again for your thoughts and advice.
1) I'm being brutally honest with her. I hate that it sometimes hurts her a lot to hear my thoughts and feelings, but she want's the truth no matter how much it hurts.
2) 6 months is exactly the time our counselor said to measure improvement. If we don't see any improvement in 3 months, re-assess what we're doing. If no improvement in 3 more months, then there's no point in dragging this out. Full restoration would probably take close to 2 years.
3) We're working with our counselor on how to meet each other's needs. She's very good at knowing where each of is in our current situation and just how much space we each need and much interaction we should attempt. We're not diving in trying to meet every need -- we're taking baby steps right now. For me though, I feel like I'm faking it because my heart's not really in it. The counselor and my wife know this, but the counselor says we can work with that. She's very pro-marriage btw.

Thanks again. I told my wife about your post and will show it to her soon. She's glad that I have a chance to see things from her side and from a male perspective. I hope your situation improves. Sounds really awful. I'll be thinking about you.

Stellakat, I'm not sure how to interpret your posts. Sorry.

iam, in your second post, you said you still stand by your first post, but in the view I have of your first post, it says

Here's my short reply to your long post....

**EDIT**

Edited by Revera ( 20 minutes 6 seconds ago)
Edit Reason: TOS

Don't know what that means either. Sorry.

Resilient, thanks for pointing out the unremorseful part. I had read that but had forgotten about it when I described my situation as different. One of the main reasons I think my situation is a little different is that the online affair I developed happened because my wife prompted me to view porn. I don't think that happens very often. At least I wouldn't think many wives would suggest that. But, hey, I've been wrong before \:\)

The other thing that feels different to me is that it seems that in most of the accounts I've read about affairs, the affair is discovered accidentally, while in my case I choose to tell my wife about it. And later, Harley describes that the affair usually continues, but in secret. I'm not doing anything in secret. In fact, just tonight while I was talking with my wife about my posting here, I told her that the last email I sent to the other woman was a week ago, that I had received a reply from her over the weekend, and I had not sent a reply back. I even printed the email for her so she could read it. Again, I may be wrong, but I don't think many guys would be that open about their continuing to contact the other woman. And lastly, in most of the stories I've read, it seems that once the affair is in the open, the guy is sort of shocked into realizing he made a mistake and really loves his wife and wants to repair the marriage. I haven't experienced that. And I've been honest with my wife that I don't feel that way. It's hard for her to deal with, but it's the truth.

Thanks for the "very fixable" opinion. Even though at this point I don't feel that way, it's still good to hear people say that.

Hey lousygolger, I'll bet you're not lousier than me!! I went golfing once and it was so humbling and frustrating, I never did it again. \:\)

1. Faking it, I know, I agree with you. I hate going at this half-heartedly. One of the only reasons I do is my counselor says it's ok to feel that way now, keep at it and things'll change. I'm going with the flow, but it's not very satisfying.
2. I stopped paying a long time ago (long relative to this 4-5 month crisis). And yes, she does answer. Stop calling her - that's a tough one. I know that subscribers to the precepts of this website will vehemently disagree with me on this. I just haven't bought into that yet.
3. Haven't told the kids anything. Counselor said it's not appropriate at this time. At some point, I truly do want to describe what happened to my kids, just so that they understand that marriage isn't all that easy, that porn is something to stay away from, that dad's human after all, that human relationships are complicated, ....... lot's can be learned from this.
4. Thanks for your story. I think that's the first success story I've heard that I could identify with. It helps. It creates hope. Thanks.

Well, that sort of ends the constructive posts that I read. I guess the two from medc and Pepperband were those 2x4's you were talking about! I see what you mean. I really am pretty new to webposting, and I feel somewhat like I'm in a foreign country -- I know enough to communicate, but I don't get all the cultural idiosyncracies. I guess some folks either don't believe me or don't think I'm being sincere. I hope you can realize that I AM being sincere and am only here because I'm in the middle of a situation I never dreamed I'd be in, I didn't want to be in it, I fell into it accidentally, if I could rewind the clock, I'd do it much differently, and I'm just trying to get some perspectives from people that might help me sort all these confusing feelings out. Thanks for those of you who respect that. Peace.

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 Originally Posted By: brwmb
They all say our situation is completely fixable and has a high chance of success.


As long as you continue to allow other women to meet your ENs (emotional needs) you'll not see much progress towards "in-love" feelings for your wife.

And yes, all of those other females are meeting a sub-set of your ENs, that should be met by your wife, exclusively.

And BTW, you continuing to communicate with those females, despite your wife's protest, is withdrawing love units from her love bank. They're known as Lovebusters. Empty lovebank, perceived dead marriage.

Also, most conventional counselors are not proficient in Harley's PRO-marriage concepts. The majority are navel-gazer-do what-feels-good variety. Virtually clueless when it comes to counseling infidelity. But they try, and fail miserably. And married couples suffer from their ignorance.

Ask your counselor if s/he is "PRO-marriage" and see what they say. Ask them what their plan is to recover your marriage, ask them to lay it out for you.

Harley, he gives you a PLAN, one that works. His marital coaching, bar none, yields the most success. Between Dr Harley and his children (Steve and Jen), who also Coach, they have more than 50+ years experience specializing in infidelity.

I've been here 8 years and have seen THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of your story turn around.

Stay, read, learn.

Jo

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 Quote:
"Everytime you want to talk to this girl." Again, it's not like I have a desire or need to talk. We chit-chat from time to time, casual banter, and that's it. It's not like she's fulfilling an emotional need. She was for a time, but not now.


If this is true, then WHY aren't you willing to end contact with OW. You may not love your wife right now, but you say that you care about her and you KNOW that talking with OW is hurting your wife immensely. Why not stop just to save her from hurting?

I am a betrayed wife. My husband had a three year affair. I can tell you that the pain your wife is experiencing is worse than anything she has probably ever experienced. You cry thinking that you can relieve some of that horrible pressure on your chest, and you cannot cry enough to get it out. Have mercy on her. If you are indifferent to OW and she is really no more than a casual friend...give her up to save your wife from this pain.

You are in a fog right now. You don't want to save your marriage because you have checked so far out that you don't remember what your marriage was like. You need to have faith that what you had in the beginning of your marriage can be re-achieved. And you have to work on recovery based on those rational beliefs, NOT on your emotional response. Emotions will steer you wrong on this one.

Can you suggest your wife post here? There are lots of things that she can do to help your recovery while you are still foggy.

hicktownmommy


BW 37 (Me).
F?WH 35.
06/97 Married.
Three sons...4, 5, and 7.
06/04 EA begins (Unknown to me).
02/10/05 D-Day EA (Unknown PA).
02/24/08 D-Day LTA 3+ YEARS! (same OW).


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And brwmb, you do know that LOVE is a verb, actions. Feelings follow actions.

But I'm sure you knew that, yes?

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****edit****

Let's avoid speculation and MB please.

Last edited by Dufresne; 08/06/08 11:54 PM.
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****edit****

Last edited by Dufresne; 08/06/08 11:55 PM. Reason: as per above
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brwmb,

So let me ask. Why are you here? What do you really want?

Your marriage is fixable, but not with the woman you had an affair with still in your life.

The process of rebuilding your marriage is not secret, but it is a process. Feelings change, which is why we don't promise to "feel in-love" till death do us part. We promise to love, which is a verb, an action, till death do us part.

It is your call really. It can be done, but it takes a plan and I don't mean my diet plan: I plan to lose 20 lbs. That is not a plan that is a wish. A plan has action items, milestones, evaluation criterion, the whole thing down to the details.

To make this work you two need to develop a plan that specifies how you are going to live, how you are going to show respect for one another, how you are going to spend your free time, and how you are going to act as humans with honor.

This is really very very simple, it is just not easy.

God Bless,

JL

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I hate ppl like this... I mean no feelings about there spouse of XX yrs together. Not wanting to listen...

****edit****

Last edited by Dufresne; 08/07/08 12:05 AM. Reason: see above edits

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1. The fact/idea that your wife 'told'/'encouraged' you to use porn....

does not remove the FACT that it was a bad bad idea..

bad on her side.
bad on your side....

and you are not a victim to that choice...you still had the right to say ...

nah...I don't think that turning to a third party that does not have any respect for anyones marriage is a good idea

you are a grown man ...man up to the fact that the turn to porn independantly from your wife wasn't a good idea..
no matter the ten helpful bedroom tips you got from her...

one sided third parties who have no respect for the sanctity of a marriage...be them pornographic like the last one...or like your other emotional affair with your office mate....
or her emotional affair haven't worked for your marriage yet...

it smacks of a teenager saying...but my friend told me snorting the herion would make me feeeeeeel better...

As in all marraigebuilding...the time has come to take a long hard look at your independant behaviors in the marriage...

and decide if those acts of independance serve you and your marriage well
and decide if those are the acts of the type of man you are..

make no mistake it IS our actions that define who we are and what we believe....

and evaluate if your actions with this OW....
and the other OW (emotional affair)

create the person you want to be....

and if they do...

then you shouldn't feel bad...
but you should also wish for the same type of marriage for all your children

this is a legacy that could explode in vile

and just know that while you don't buy the addiction theory...

the continued contact that you engage in...
exactly feeds the thought patterns and brain waves needed to make it as if it is a normal thing to do...

normal friendship relationships that spouses have with others...honor the marriage unit...
in otherwords...

the friends are an asset to the marriage package...
and often come to dinner now and then with the whole family...

are you ready to have your friend break bread with the children...
ready to invite your friend and her husband/boyfriend/flavor of the month....out to dinner so the four of you can sit over margaritas and talk about how the friendship came to be...

etc etc etc

who knows what you want in a marriage...
because you aren't and don't act married...

it is the act of loving
it is the act of cherishing
it is the act of honoring

that feeds and creates a marriage

that feels loving
that feels cherished
that feels honored and fullfilling...

you need to take a deep look at you and your acts..
and take down the walls that you have built up that let you act the way you have and do...

you don't feel these things...because it takes layers and layers of rationalizing your thoughts and actions of independance in the marriage...so that you could have the emotional affairs...

all the justifications
all the denial that it isn't normal to share more with others than your wife
all the blame of what she lacks to make it happen...
your friends demystifying of porn is a good feeder in to all this crap...who wouldn't want a front row view of insight in to a person who statisctically chooses a career so very very different....
that in and of itself feeds your emotional affair...and fits nicely in to your thought processes of making it a normal friendship....

affairs are insidious tiny little creepy things...that enter in to our thoughts in tiny tiny increments....

tiny acts of saying something to the OP that you would never ever ever say if your wife was at your side...

they build over time in to full blown affairs...
and the person in the affair...

says
it just happened
we didn't mean for it to happen...
no one made it happen...

all lies...
thousands and thousand of brain cells made it happen in act and thought...

in putting the OP's needs above the spouses....

drop the time line given by the counselor it's a fake thing in which you don't have to anything but sit back and wait for the six months to pass.....to say...se we tried but it didn't work...

especially for you who so readily uses other peoples thoughts to guide you...

ie
my wife said use porn
my counselor said I only had to try for six months...

I don't mean that meanly
I mean it sincerely...

start with each tiny act you do...
stop and ask..
does this thought
does this act
do these words honor my wife
honor my marriage
and make all moves all acts from that point of view...

in other words inspite of your feelings start ACTING married..


you didn't fall in to this accidently...

this is the EXACT creation of your actions....
exact...
you did this.
all of it...

you stand at the cross road...
you are not a victim to your place in the road...nor a victim to the path you choose....


ARK^^ (perhaps the biggest waste of bandwith known to man.... ;))

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how many other names have you posted under while on MB?

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A troll is someone who likes to stir up the waters. They're "trolling" for a reaction.

I've re-arranged some snippets from your last post so that I can address several related statements at once. I hope you don't feel like I've taken anything out of context. If you feel like I'm twisting things around please say so and I'll adjust my style of responding.

Obviously, the first thing I want to harp on is the OW (other woman). Here's what you said about her in your last post:

 Originally Posted By: brwmb

I don't feel a need for communicating with the other woman like I used to.

"Everytime you want to talk to this girl." Again, it's not like I have a desire or need to talk.

I don't miss the other woman when there is no contact, but I don't want to break contact because I enjoy talking with her.

Stop calling her - that's a tough one.


On the one hand, you don't feel a need to connect to her. You don't have a desire or need to talk. You don't miss her when there's no contact.

On the other hand, you enjoy talking with her. Stopping the calls would be tough.

So, which is it?

Pretend she's a restaurant. Does the restaurant have blase' food, you don't really care to eat there, you totally wouldn't miss it if you never ate there again?

Or do you enjoy the food and would you have a really tough time making a decision to never eat there again?

My interpretation: this woman is MUCH more important to you than you care to admit. Maybe you know you're addicted and are trying to keep the level of your attraction to her a secret. Maybe you don't really care whether you talk to her or not but your pride won't let you acquiesce to someone else's request that you eliminate OW from your life. The reason isn't really important. What IS important is that you're catering to your selfish desires rather than protecting your wife from exquisite pain and suffering.

You may not feel motivated to honor, cherish, and obey your wife right now but you have to walk the walk or the rest will never fall in line.

 Quote:
"When you know breaking contact is the right thing to do," I don't know that. I know it would make my wife more comfortable,


What more do you need to know? I'm being serious here. What could POSSIBLY motivate you more, as a husband, than your wife's comfort? And I assure you, it's MUCH more than mere comfort. I can tell you of minutes in the dark hours of the morning that are so long and heavy they each take an hour to pass. Of emotional pain so severe that it hurts every nerve in the body. Of anguish so exquisite that the thought of food sends you running to the bathroom to dry heave.

Even if you and your wife ultimately decide to split, don't you see the advantage of learning how to be a good husband to someone? These are skills you're going to need eventually, with her or someone else. Heck, these are skills you'll use with your colleagues, friends, and children. You may as well start learning and practicing them unless you want to spend the only life you have in emotional divorce and leaving pain in your wake. Not an attractive legacy and I'm sure you want better. Your posts show you're clearly capable of much better.

 Quote:
"Why not have some fun, some love, some attention, and a good marriage?" Who wouldn't want that? I sure would. But why don't I have the desire to work things out so that I have that with my wife?

Because you are in withdrawal.
Because your love bank is depleted.
Because you are still communicating with OW.

That's a short list but each item is a doozy. It's no wonder you don't have a desire to work things out right now! I guarantee this can change. You will be absolutely astonished how much this can change.

 Quote:
My wife and I both feel like just giving up at times. Is it really worth it? With only one life to live, maybe we should just take the easy way out, end things, find other people to be happy with, and move on. We both think that sometimes.

It is absolutely, totally, 100% normal to feel like giving up.

Marriage is kind of like a garden (you thought I was going to say a box of chocolates, didn't you?? \:D ) If you keep at it a little bit every day, you keep the weeds at bay and the pests and diseases have little impact on your healthy plants. You enjoy bountiful harvests. It's rewarding and satisfying.

But if you neglect the marriage, weeds creep in, the plants suffer stress, disease takes hold, insects move in. The harvest is of poor quality and low quantity. You look at the garden and think "this is going to take SO MUCH work to set right again! I'd rather just till up a fresh spot and plant new seeds."

Well, you can till up a new spot and plant seeds. Just like you and your W can throw in the towel and find other people to be happy with.

EXCEPT: Neither of you would have learned the skills required to garden! If you give up now, you won't have the skills required to have a good, happy, bountiful, productive, satisfying marriage.

You can read the concepts here, or a gardening book, and say "But now I understand!" The truth of the matter is, it's not merely a matter of intellectual understanding. It also requires DOING the actions, practicing them, failing some, getting better, honing your skills.

Who better to practice good marriage skills with than your wife, who knows all your warts but still accepts and loves you? She's invested in you. You have children together. You will one day have grandchildren together. Your lives are permanently intertwined. You both have many good and valid reasons for wanting this particular marriage to be strong and happy.

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I do think about what my wife and I had a long time ago. It would be nice to have that back, but I just wonder if it's too far gone to ever get back. It seems like it is. And I agree that marriage is work, but it should be work that you love to do because you love the other person. You care about the other person in a unique way that makes you want to work. At this point, I don't care like that.


Because your garden is full of weeds. When it's producing a bountiful harvest, it WILL be easy. You'll enjoy spending time on it. You WILL get back what you had a long time ago, but it is going to be so much better. I can't explain it adequately. It's like the old happy carefree days, but better because you will know how very precious that happiness is. So you take care to tend it and preserve it. You appreciate it even more because it's potentially so fragile. You will have the necessary skills to protect it and keep it strong. And you can look back over your lives together at the good and the bad and say to one another "Wow. Look how far we've come. Look what a great thing we've made."

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The other thing that feels different to me is that it seems that in most of the accounts I've read about affairs, the affair is discovered accidentally, while in my case I choose to tell my wife about it. And later, Harley describes that the affair usually continues, but in secret. I'm not doing anything in secret. <sharing email stuff deleted> And lastly, in most of the stories I've read, it seems that once the affair is in the open, the guy is sort of shocked into realizing he made a mistake and really loves his wife and wants to repair the marriage. I haven't experienced that.


My H was involved in an intense EA and he chose to tell me about it. While trying to recover, I became involved in an EA and I told him about it.

My H's EA continued blatantly. He got paged and read her notes to him in front of me. He went into his office and closed the door so he could chat w/her on the computer. He made many phone calls to her and did not try to hide them from me. He shared bits of their conversations with me. It was EXTREMELY painful for me.

Get rid of the OW.
Learn about POJA (Policy of Joint Agreement) and USE IT.
Learn about LB (Love Busters) and eliminate them.
Learn about EN (Emotional Needs) and meet your wife's while allowing nobody else (especially a female) to meet yours.

Do this, steadfastly and without fail, for six months, then assess how you feel about your M. It won't be all roses (yet) but it will be better than it has been in YEARS, if you truly implement these tools.

I think you have three problems in your marriage right now:
OW
Independent Behavior
Lack of POJA

Of course, that's only on your side of the equation. I can't address your wife's side because I haven't heard her story and she's not here asking for advice.

You guys could be SO VERY happy. It's blatantly obvious. All you have to do is learn the tools here and use them.

However, if you just play at these tools, or move on to greener pastures, you'll be miserable again in just a few years (or less). That, too, is blatantly obvious.

Why?

You could be happy - a HUGE success - because you guys have so much going for you. A long history, kids, a desire to repair the marriage, no resentment to the point of hatred on either part.

Or you could be miserable because really the ONLY thing that is lacking in your marriage is an understanding and implementation of Harley's concepts. And if you choose not to learn them, you'll suffer the same miseries in future relationships, plus carry the pain of loss and guilt at not having really tried in this one.

I'm serious. The ONLY thing you guys need is these tools. You two could be FABULOUS together. I wish you could see it from my perspective, gained from both personal experience as well as reading about countless others' on these boards. You could have something precious beyond measure.

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It's frustrating to read your post because of how you think. It's very much focused on how you feel.

You made a committment. Your feelings have nothing to do with your vows. You didn't say, "Till I don't love you anymore and I get tired of putting in the effort."

You said, "till death do us part".

One big thing to get out of the way:

Your relationship with OW who is "just a friend" is inappropriate. Why? Not because YOU think it's in appropriate. It's because your wife does.

You are getting emotional needs met by a female other than your wife. Your wife is unhappy about this friendship/relationship. End of debate. What your wife did x amount of years ago is irrelevant. Her behavior doesn't justify yours.

So what do you do since you don't have "feelings"?

You fake it till you make it. Emotions follow actions.

So have NC with OW and start dating your wife again. Let go of what's happened. Once emotions come back you'll see how inappropriate your relationship with OW is, email limited or not.

YOUR WIFE, not you, defines appropriate level of contact with memebers of the opposite sex.

You re-engage with your wife.

Ok, so this EA has been a wake up call for her.

So you don't FEEL like committing or re-engaging with your W.

Let me tell you something: My parents divorced when I was 24/25. It f*ed me up for years and led me to make very crappy decisions in my life, to include getting in relationships I shouldn't have gotten into. Why? Because my parents were too focused on their divorce to give good guidance.

Your kids may leave your home at 18, but they still need your guidance for years to come. You have 20+ years of life experience to guide them with that they haven't gone through.

Leaving their mom "just because I'm tired and not in love anymore" is not something they will like or understand.

Your big problem is that you're thinking like a wayward. It's all "my feelings" "my way of thinking" "my justifications for my 'friendship'". Me, me, me, me.

So step back and try to practice some empathy because what you're doing to your wife right now is emotional rape.

Now way to mince words about it. You're raping her emotionally.

Are you human and did things and conditions get you to this point? Yes.

But you're human, not an animal that thinks only with instincts and hormones. You have free will.

So free will needs to be engaged and this inappropriate contact that YOUR WIFE doesn't like needs to end. Find a male buddy to hang out with and confide in. Go get a priest/rabbi/minister/reverend to ask how his day was, dog, dinner, work.

So stop the "me" thinking and focus on your kids if your wife isn't motivation enough. THEY are the reason to get off the immature teenage mentality and re-engage with the woman who gave you the greatest gifts of your life: your kids.

The kids look to you. The kids will still look to you after they leave the home.

What lesson do you teach them about marriage and committments when your actions are "leave when the feelings aren't there anymore".

Marriage is a committment. Emotions have nothing to do with it. They will come and go.


D-Day 28 Feb 06
Plan D (Not by choice) - 24 March 06

DD6
DS4(Twin1)
DS4(Twin2)

She moved away with the kids April 08. I contested it and got a lot more time with my kids. She's unhappy that I want to stay involved in their lives and don't settle for being an "every other weekend" dad.

Never going to happen.

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"YOUR WIFE, not you, defines appropriate level of contact with memebers of the opposite sex."

I totally agree.
This is not a question to be decided between you and an OW, but between you and your wife.

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It hurts to read your thread. You don't care about your wife's feelings, or you wouldn't be so cavilier about continuing to see the woman with whom you have a relationship that you choose to define as not an affair. So, if it's not an affair in your mind, then it's not an affair and therefore you have every right to continue doing it, right?

I wish you would get your wife on this board because I'd tell her to head for the hills. You will bring her nothing but pain as long as you continue with your attitude and behavior.

I had had enough after six years of doing what your wife did, and I told my husband to leave.

There are women who will stay longer. I just finished the book "Losing It" which wasn't about losing weight so much as it was about a woman who spent 20 years with a man who didn't care about how she felt. She was told she should stay for the sake of her son, and she realized she needed to leave for the sake of her son.

If you have a daughter, ask yourself if you would like her to marry a man like dear old Dad. If you have a son, ask yourself if you would like him to treat his wife like you treat your wife.

IMHO, it would be better for you, your wife, and your children if you left your family.

Cherished

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I would like to take a slightly different tack...

I do not ask these questions to condemn or attack you. You don't even need to reply to me. The answers are really for you.


What value do you place on your word? Was "...love and honour, forsaking all others, till death do us part" relevant or more of a ritual for you?

How do you provide an example of a functional and loving marriage to your children? Would they learn to overcome adversity in a relationship? Could you advise them or their grandchildren in later years?

What lessons have you learned that would prevent a repeat cycle in a future relationship/marriage?

What positive aspects of your present marriage deserve appreciation? Where can you say a hearty thank you to your W?


But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams -Yeats
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Well, I think I need to exit this forum. It's not what I was looking for.

I mean c'mon medc, "how many other names have you posted under?" What's up with that? I told you I just found this website yesterday and made my first post. What a way to welcome someone.

And all the other posts that got edited, I can only assume they were derogatory posts. What am I supposed to think?

hicktownmommy, I was hoping to get my wife to post here so that you could see both sides of the story, because there are always two sides, but I've told her there's way too much negativity here. She still may, but I won't encourage her, and I don't think I will anymore.

JustLearning, "why am I here, what do I really want?" I want to hear from others who've been in a similar situation of indifference and find out what they did and what happened. The plan that you mention, that's what we're going through counseling for.

A_Pretty_Face, "I hate ppl like this." Thanks, that's wonderful to hear you say that. Harley's three states of mind in marriage include withdrawal. Our counselor actually has 6 or 7 states of mind, and 2 or 3 of them fall within Harley's withdrawal state. Our counselor has placed me in the "indifference" state of mind, sort of at the extreme end of Harley's withdrawal state. That's where I am. I'm being honest with you about that. My counselor knows it, my wife knows it, and we're working on it. Sorry if you hate me for that, but that's your problem, not mine.

ark^^, I agree with much of what you say. I chose the things I did, they didn't just happen to me. In hindsight, both my wife and I can see how choices we made in the past made me more susceptible to making bad choices later. Am I ready to have my friend come to dinner with my family? Absolutely. My wife and I have been talking about her and the other woman speaking on the phone together. I'd like my wife to know her and see for herself that she's a very nice person, cares about both us, wants our marriage to work out, etc. Our counselor has advised against that, but my wife is curious to know this woman, and we're thinking about it. And my other office friend? Sure, no problem. My wife and I have been to her house several times for dinner. In fact she even sort of DOES have a boyfriend of the month. She's married, has open physical contact with other men with her husband's ok, and she and her husband are one of the happiest couples I've ever seen. Surely it's not conventional, but it works for them. A lot of the other stuff after the etc etc etc sounds like psycho-babble to me; not all of it, but a lot of it does. The fact is, I've reached a state of indifference in my marriage, and my wife and I are trying to work on things knowing that I'm in that state.

turtlehead, thanks for your reply. It makes the most sense of anything I've heard so far. I know it took you a while to compose all that, and I appreciate it. Thanks for explaining trolling -- no, I am not trolling. (Actually, just happeneded to think, maybe medc is trolling, trying to get a reaction from me, maybe that's it.) Your question of which is it? It's exactly that. I don't have a need to call but I enjoy it. Just like I don't have a need for a glass of wine with dinner, but I enjoy it. It's just like that. Your comment on pride getting in the way, maybe you're right about that. I don't know, but it's something to think about, thanks. The catering to selfish desires part, yes, you are right about that. It's sort of a blow-up over pent-up resentments. We were in counseling 12-13 years ago for marriage problems, and that counselor identified that I felt like I was "walking on egg shells" whenever my wife was around. Whatever hobbies I picked up, she shut down. I quit piano lessons because she felt I was playing too much. Then I had to quit homebrewing because she complained. Then she complained that I exercised too much, etc, etc. Our current counselor explained that I was using these activities to satisfy an emotional need for acceptance when all I was getting from her was rejection. It's been like that for at least 12-13 years, and it's part of why I'm at the stage of indifference. I've had enough of the controlling influence, and, yes, it's a selfish statement that says "I'm not going to take this anymore, I don't care what you think." Yup, that's selfish, but it is what it is, and it's where I'm at right now. (And btw, you can see in my first post that she was at that same point 2-3 years ago. I'm not blaming her, and I'm not trying to defend my actions. We both made our bed and now we're having to sleep in it.)

Your interpretation that the other woman is much more important than I care to admit, etc. I don't agree, but if you're like others who believe I'm in Harley's fog, then you probably won't agree with me either. Let me put it this way: if the other woman called me up and said she didn't ever want to talk with me or email me again, I'd be ok with that. Sure, I'd wonder why and would probably ask, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.

"What could possibly motivate me more than my wife's comfort?" That's a penetrating question, a good one. A VERY good one. ................. thinking .............. I don't have an easy answer for you, but I will think long and hard about that one. Thanks for phrasing it that way.

The garden analogy and the work involved is good. But let me give you a counter-analogy that I just thought of, sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it relates to something my wife and I were discussing last night. I didn't think she'd appreciate this thought, but I told her that if she wants me to be honest and tell her all my thoughts, then I would. With all the emotional energy we're expending trying to work through things, and the thoughts we both have of giving up, I wondered -- wouldn't it be nice to just stay in frivolous relationships with women who just want to have fun, no strings attached, and get away from all this complicated relationship stuff? Why do we have to work so hard? Why not take the easy way, have fun, and forget about the long-term relationship and the monogamy myth. Why not? Deep down I don't really believe that, but when I'm in the middle of all this craziness, sometimes I just feel like escaping. Or maybe polyamory is the way to go. What's wrong with loving more than one person. Solomon, supposedly the smartest man that ever lived, had something like 900 wives, didn't he? My wife actually didn't mind me saying that and understood how I could feel that way. So anyways, back to the garden analogy, instead of trying to create a wonderful garden, why not just be a weed \:\) Weeds don't take much tending at all, they can grow just about anywhere, they don't need watering, and at least in my yard, they thrive all over the place, .... and some of them actually have pretty flowers! Why not be a weed? ...... Now that I think of it, your garden analogy hits closer to home than I thought. That's pretty much the way we tend our actual garden at home. We let the weeds go for too long, and then just nuke everything with round-up periodically. Mmmmmm, .... garden -- marriage -- garden -- marriage, ... makes me wonder......

The comment "Wow, Look how far we've come. Look what a great thing we've made" sounds wonderful, but it sounds so unreachable. It sounds too idyllic at this point. If someone told me they felt that way, I'd think THEY were in a fog, that THEY were just deceiving themselves that everything was wonderful again. I know, that's a negative viewpoint, but from where I am, I can't imagine getting to a place like you describe.

Well, my earlier statement about not wanting to post here again, maybe I'll re-think that. I do feel a lot of negativity here, but turtlehead, I like what you said. Thanks.

pomdbd3, yes I did say until death do us part, and I'm not wanting a divorce. I'm just at the point of indifference and figuring out how to get out of that. The other woman relationship being inappropriate because my wife thinks it's inappropriate. Sorry, you're talking to an indifferent person, remember? That doesn't work for me right now. If you take the poj thing, or whatever it is, joint agreement, then we're in disagreement over whether to continue the online relationship or not. Should'nt we BOTH be in agreement that the relationship should either be allowed to continue or should be stopped? Shouldn't **I** feel it's inappropriate too? Oh yeah, I'm in a fog, I forgot, I'm not thinking straight.

"YOUR WIFE, not you, defines appropriate level of contact with members of the opposite sex." Sorry, no she does not, I'm indifferent, remember?

Your parents divorced, so did mine and messed me up too. That's why I'm not leaving.

============

Here's why I'm pretty sure (would be totally sure if it weren't for turtlehead) that I won't be posting anything more here. In spite of the uncaring feeling I've projected, I'm been dealing with a lot emotional hurts too. Wondering how life got so crazy, what am I doing, where am I going, why do I feel the way I feel? I was hoping for a more objective or encouraging "you can do it" kind of environment, but it seems that the posts have become increasingly judgemental, critical, like people here are chomping at the bit to crucify. (What did those edited posts really say?)

My wife and I both read the "For Newly Betrayed Spouses" post in the "Just Found Out" forum. Wow! I couldn't believe that. Such an aggressive, antagonistic tone. Maybe tough love like that works a lot of times, especially with deep addiction, but because of the indifferent state I'm in, I'm glad my wife doesn't want to follow Plan A, Plan B, Plan D. If she did, no problem, that would make it easy for me. My life would be a whole lot simpler. What's making it difficult is that she's staying with me, working with me, counseling with me, essentially forcing me to deal with the issues. If she followed plans A,B,D, that would be such an easy way out for me. Sorry, but I think that model is a little too rigid for our situation.

The feeling I get from most of the posts here is that subscribers to Harley's model feel almost religious about their convictions. It's either follow Harley's model, or you're doomed. Human relationships aren't that simple that you can cast them all into one model. Yet most of the people here seem to think you can and that Harley's model is the be-all and end-all for understanding human relationships. I guess I should've expected that since I am, after all, posting on the marriage builder website. It's just that I didn't expect to stir up such strong, vicious reactions.

One of the things I like about our counselor is that she is very flexible. She has said that we're an unusual couple and that we're not following the textbook process toward recovery. But that's ok with her; she doesn't give us this "do it this way or else it'll never work" attitude. She's working with the problems we've presented to her and she's very creative. She can quickly perceive where both my wife and I are at and always has ideas about how to proceed. (BTW, Resilient, yes, she is Pro-Marriage, very much so.) She has a plan but sees that with us, she needs to modify the plan as we go. Like I said, we're not the typical couple. Harley may have a plan, but it's a generic plan. My wife and I need a customized plan, and that's what we're getting. In the header to this forum it says that the advice offered here is only peer advice, it's not professional. I think I'll be better served to stick with professional advice.

For those of you who had constructive things about my situation, thanks -- I appreciate the time you took to think about the issues and respond. At this point, I'm not planning on seeking any more advice on this website. I'm becoming more gun-shy about hitting the submit button. You can post replies if you like. I may view them, but I doubt that I'll have anything more to say.

....... uh, except for this, ..... I was just about to post this reply when I saw the most recent one from Cherished. I appreciate your honest comments. Your sentiments are exactly how I feel at times -- that my wife deserves someone better than me. I can't promise her anything at this point, and I do care enough about her to not want her to go on believing things will work out. I want her to be happy, and I think she could be happier with someone else. She has told me that part of the reason she wants to work things out is that she fears the uncertainty of starting over. She's comfortable with me and it would be easier to just work things out than start over. So, part of her reasons for wanting to keep things going is convenience. But I really don't want her to keep believing in me when my heart's not in it. She's waiting, but God I hope she doesn't wait six years like you did. If I could see that happening, I think I WOULD consider leaving just to spare her the pain. As far as an example to the kids, all I can say is that I want to teach them that you can't just assume your marriage will function forever without proper care. If you let it go too long, this is what can happen. Thanks for your honesty.

Geez, I'm never going to finish. Just saw another post by imagine. Interesting that you brought up the marriage vows. I recently searched out and found our wedding book that contained our vows. I wanted to see if they'd help in stirring up anything inside of me. They said the customary "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" but noticeably absent was the "forsaking all others" part. It's part of what made me think maybe polyamory IS possible. I don't strongly believe that, but it does make me wonder. Example to the kids at this point is really an example of what NOT to do. Lessons learned, just like I said above, don't assume marriages can withstand pressures of daily living unless you pay attention to them. My wife and I didn't. And a repeat relationship/marriage? Are you kidding? I know my wife would want that, but not me, not for a long time, if ever. I like companionship, don't get me wrong, but I'm very comfortable living on my own, and I think it would take me a long time to get over the emotional baggage I've been living with for so long. If it weren't for the kids, leaving the marriage would be so tempting right now if it hadn't happened already. Positive aspects? We raised decent kids - they've avoided drugs, alchohol, no car accidents, doing well in school, have nice friends. First and foremost I thank her for being a great mom. We also had a lot of good times when we were much younger, and I thank her for that too. We share household duties, and I thank her for the work she's done for me.

You know, I just happened to think, maybe posting to this forum is meeting an emotional need for communication that should be met by my wife. Did you guys ever think of that? Someone asked me a time or two why I was posting here and what did I want? Maybe that's why. Maybe it's satisfying a need I have to express my feelings. Another thought I just had is that maybe I'm here because I AM in a stage of indifference but feeling guilty about it and I want to see if anyone else has been there and climbed out of it. Anyone? I'm not really looking for responders who haven't been there but just want to preach the Harley mantra or who think I'm a bad person and just want to get angry at me. Lousygolfer's the only one I've seen on here so far who may have been in my situation, but I wonder if he had reached the stage of indifference and remained in it for a while after the affair was revealed.

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brwmb,

I've walked in your shoes, too.

My question is this...

In your marriage, both of you having EA's...do you think making choices from your feelings (or non-feelings) is really working for you?

What if...you were to act from your beliefs (not DJs) and the feelings follow?

What if you gave your six months of NC with OW...period...nada...so you could eliminate her influence from your life and marriage for six months while you guys really focus on owning your own stuff, getting in the 20 hours of Undivided Attention (UA), playing again (reminds us we are allies even when we see each other as enemies); do verbal and non-verbal communication exercises twice a week (can count towards the UA time); date and discover one another and each other as who you are today...and at the end of six months, either you both agree to work another six months or go ahead and leave the marriage?

What can you really lose?

We control who influences us...we determine how wide we hold that door open...you don't need another friend in your life...no extra fantasy...not one more day of the same ol' stuff keeping you both in cycles you probably are sick of by now...

Freedom tastes like the sweetest water on earth...refresh yourself in it. Free yourself from your downward spirals...change your life...change your actions and where you action from.

You can do this.

LA

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brw,

You asked for "thoughts".

Here they come.


First, I see your very very very "special" and "unique" story as extremely ho-hum and typical.

Here it is in a very short nutshell.

You and your wife have been married awhile.

You and your wife began to drift apart.

You and your wife failed to meet one another's emotional needs, and didn't put a lot of effort into doing so, even though you both recognized the fact that you weren't!

Your wife had a brief EA, or at least was on the verge of one, or you think she might have been, or something like that.

You and she never even addressed the issues that led up to the problem that was GLARING YOU IN THE FACE at that point in time.

You both went about, ho-hum, and hoped the problems would just "go away", only your RESENTMENT about the EA (or whatever it might have been) led you to decide that you were somehow justified in now having your own little affair.

Throw in some porn as a sideshow. You are paying a wh0re, online, and you have somehow become emotionally attached to her. And you have convinced yourself in the process that your wife is somehow the bad guy, because she doesn't somehow meet your sexual attractiveness needs.

There isn't anything really special here, to tell you the truth.



Your justifications don't hold water.


The fact that your wife suddenly became somehow sexually unattractive to you around the time that you became suspicious of an EA on her part is not a big surprise. You two never dealt appropriately with what you thought was her EA - and the result? YOUR RESENTMENT, AND THE FALLOUT, WHICH IS NOW YOUR AFFAIR.

Could have predicted that.

So I say, "typical".

You never took the steps to protect your marriage.

You still can, you know.



Start now.

See, you are in a state where you sincerely believe that your OW has nothing to do with your feelings. You. Are. Wrong.


Stop all contact with her, for about two months. Meanwhile, implement a plan where YOU go about meeting all of your WIFE'S emotional needs, for the same two months. Spend a minimum of 15 hours per week with your wife in pleasurable experiences, like recreation, going out on dates, having fun times together - just the two of you.


Then, see what you say about "not having any feelings for her".

Take the challenge.

What do you have to lose? After all, you are the one who said you don't want a divorce. A couple of months of investment (instead of paying that OW for companionship) in YOUR WIFE, and you might just find out that you DO have someone who lives right there with you.

Only you HAVE to put your heart into this investment. Make this a real investment, as though your future depends on it. Those kids you mention? They are counting on it.


SB


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Our new marriage began that day. Not easily, but it did happen.
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BRWMB,

I've been deeply hurt by betrayal. It affects me nearly every waking moment. In light of that, I am willing to put myself 'out there' to try and help you.

Please don't disappoint me.

I've noticed your posts are very lengthly. I'm taking this as a good sign as a troll does not have such patience.

Can you answer these two questions?

1- Do you love your wife?
2- Do you respect your own self worth?

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 Quote:
Let me put it this way: if the other woman called me up and said she didn't ever want to talk with me or email me again, I'd be ok with that. Sure, I'd wonder why and would probably ask, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.


If this is true, I'm sure the reverse is true also. Thus it would hurt neither you nor your OW to cut contact, and would begin to ease your wife's torment.

Sounds win/win to me.



(Not to imply for a moment that I think that an OW's feelings should have any bearing on the decision for No Contact. Been through having my feelings take second place to a wh*re, and refuse to ever go there again, not that it is likely the way my DH now adores me.)


A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.
~ English proverb



Neak's Story
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