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Joined: Jan 2009
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Hello there...

My husband and I have been married for 17 years and dated for 6 years before that. We were both virgins when we got married. My husband is in the military, which has meant lots of transitions, moving, and time apart. When we were married 3 years my husband had a "quickie" with a woman he worked with, it was fast, and there wasn't even kissing. There was no emotional connection, and I met the woman and she was very honest with me that she went out of her way to seduce my husband and wasn't even embarrassed or ashamed of it. It was like he was a number on her headboard. When she found out he had never been with another woman it was like there was a huge target on him and she did everything she could to get him to have sex with her. This happened when he was gone for 3 months to training. I found out about it, and although I was tremendously hurt, because it was devastating to have this happen, there was an odd sense of relief that he would now know what "else" was out there and that part kinda made me happy. I will be honest in that my reaction to this probably was not the normal one, but it was pretty easy to "get over" and move on from all things considered.

Fast forward 11 years to about 3 years ago...we were in the midst of being transferred and I had to take our three children to stay with my parents for several months while we got everything squared away. During my absence a woman he worked with told him that she had fallen madly in love with him. She began texting him non-stop and propositioning him. She came from a very broken home and she was into all sorts of bad things like drugs, drinking and everything. My husband did not outright reject her but rather thought he might be able to help her with all of her troubles (he tries to fix everyone...) Of course, I had no idea what was going on, and he was actually living at the unit "with" her (and all the other people at his unit if that makes sense)...

My husband is not a big drinker, but she did get him to go out with her and several of the other people from his unit and he got drunk and they ended up having sex twice. Then we moved, and they continued to talk on the phone (when he was at work) and texted, and emailed (to an account I didn't know about) for about 9 months before I found out about it.

When I found out about it, I did confront the girl. She was honest with me and said that she had begged him to leave me, that she wanted to marry him, and that he was the only person she could ever see herself loving. She said that when she would ask him to leave me and our children that he always told her that he would never do that, that he loved me too much. Eventually she told him to never mention me at all because it made her so angry. She told me after she realized that he was not going to leave me she hoped that she could be his mistress and he would support her (this is how her mother currently lived)...he of course refused, so then she just played a game basically with him. They did a lot of sexually explicit talking, and she sent him tons of pictures, which he did not return. While my husband had told me pretty much everything about it, when I surprised the girl with a confrontation, she confirmed everything he had said, and even things he hadn't...like the fact that he was very clear that he loved me, and yes, he did "love" her but that it wasn't like what he felt for me, and that he would NEVER give me up. I actually felt sorry for this girl in a lot of ways, and I was very honest with her in that I totally understood her love and affection for my husband...obviously I thought he was pretty incredible too...but that someone was out there who could love her the way she deserved to be loved, and she shouldn't settle to live life the way her Mom was.

I have forgiven my husband. I love him tremendously, and there is NO doubt in my mind AT all that he loves me the same. Our marriage is better today than I could have ever dreamed possible, and I have to say that it is in part because of the horror of that terrible affair...truly. I can not express the hurt and pain I have suffered from it, the feeling of being shattered into a million tiny shards that take tweezers to recover--but I am whole again, truly, and I am although not thankful for the affair, I am truly thankful for the results of the affair which is a far greater love and respect for each other and a more committed marriage than we had ever aspired to.

All that to say, my husband is being sent overseas in a few months for the service, and suddenly, despite my recovery and feelings, I am paralyzed with fear. He HAS been gone before for a month here and a month there...and I never had any issue with it to be honest--I just knew in my heart I did not have to worry...and right now he could not say or do anything better than he has to assure me that I have nothing to fear at all, he is a different person, and will not ever make that mistake again, and I know that but still...he will be gone for 6-12 months before he can come back for a visit, and I know there are women where he is going. (and no, seriously, the military doesn't stop this stuff, the entire environment is conductive to affairs, and at every unit we have served at there have been LOTS of them and marriages destroyed)

My real issue is that I can't help but think that despite him believing himself being strong enough, and yes, my having faith in him that he is strong enough, that he hasn't been approached by a woman since the affair. (I know this will sound crazy, but my husband is a woman magnet, besides being attractive, he is very personable, has a wonderful sense of humor, caring, thoughtful, and talks about me and our family with great affection all the time which according to this other girl was one of the big reasons she loved him, she desired to have that in her own life!)

My husband is absolute in his insistence that he is NOT the same man who made those mistakes and that he sees things through different eyes now. I do believe him. I truly do. That said, whether irrational or not, I have such compelling fears.

So all this to say,
1) how can my husband be so sure of his reaction to a woman coming onto him for either a full blown affair or a one nighter? I believe him, but I believed before? I know this to be a trust issue, and I *do* trust him which is why I do not understand my reaction to it now...he HAS been around hundreds of women and some of them HAVE come onto him and he has rejected them. Is this just because he is going so far away?

2) how can I "affair proof" my marriage when my husband will be in another country? Does anyone have any tips for how to handle this so that I don't go mad and I don't drive HIM mad when he is going to be working so hard?

3) how do I reconcile my forgiveness, love, and passion for this man with the fear I have that him being separated from me is the catalyst for the affairs? Each time it happened was when we were apart...is there some kind of unresolved issue I have not addressed that is causing this reaction?

I want to be whole and complete while this trial happens, I don't want to make this whole seperation MORE difficult because I can't get my head straight about this...I know that it is up to me to get my mind clear about this, but I don't know where to start...I hope that someone here might have some suggestions for me...

Thank you in advance!
Sim

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Sim,

I'm sorry you're here. But this is a good place to be if you want to "Affair Proof" your marriage. There are some military members on this board and I'm sure you will attract some responses from them. I'm in the military myself.

Have you and your husband read Dr. Harley's book "His Needs Her Needs" (How to affair proof your marriage)? That would be a great place for both of you to start.

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I know that but still...he will be gone for 6-12 months before he can come back for a visit, and I know there are women where he is going. (and no, seriously, the military doesn't stop this stuff, the entire environment is conductive to affairs, and at every unit we have served at there have been LOTS of them and marriages destroyed)

Well... True that there are affairs in the military....Not exactly true that the military doesn't do anything about it. If your husband is being deployed to a hostile environment like Iraq or Afghanistan there is a standing order forbidding fraternization. I.E. No inappropriate opposite gender relationships. No sex. I was at a training base in Texas where they would train military members for deployment. The fraternization order was in effect there as well. One couple got caught. They were brought up on charges of fraternization, disobeying a lawful order, etc... Because they were in the Navy and this was an Army base they flew a Navy Captain (Equivalent to a Colonel) from the east coast for Non Judicial Punishment. Needless to say he was not happy and he threw the book at them.

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So all this to say,
1) how can my husband be so sure of his reaction to a woman coming onto him for either a full blown affair or a one nighter? I believe him, but I believed before? I know this to be a trust issue, and I *do* trust him which is why I do not understand my reaction to it now...he HAS been around hundreds of women and some of them HAVE come onto him and he has rejected them. Is this just because he is going so far away?

2) how can I "affair proof" my marriage when my husband will be in another country? Does anyone have any tips for how to handle this so that I don't go mad and I don't drive HIM mad when he is going to be working so hard?

3) how do I reconcile my forgiveness, love, and passion for this man with the fear I have that him being separated from me is the catalyst for the affairs? Each time it happened was when we were apart...is there some kind of unresolved issue I have not addressed that is causing this reaction?

There's a guy on here who would be much better at answering your questions than I am. His user name is RIF. He's been deployed for 18 months. His marriage has been recovered for a long time. His wife had multiple affairs. I'm sure he would have some excellent advice.

Unfortuantely I haven't seen him on here in about a month.

There's another guy here who could give you some good advice. His user name is Mortarman. I believe he's retired military. I'll put a request out for him to look at your thread.

One of the things I might suggest is keep daily contact and ask your husband to give an account for his time everyday while he's away.

Hope this helps... I'm sure there will some Vets who will give you some great advice.


BH, 46
STBXWW, 41, Serial Cheater
D-Day #1 5-26-2006 (Our Wedding Aniversary)
D-Day #2 12-26-2007
D-Day #3 5-11-2008
Separated 1-5-2008
STBX filed for divorce March 2009
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Simplicity,

It's good that you came here. And hopefully, you and your husband can find your way by using the principles here as well as the help that this blog can provide.

That being said, before I answer your questions, let me give you some insight into what the Harleys believe about the military and marriage. And that is, in the current way the military does things, that the two are incompatible to having a great marriage. Now, some do make it work. But, it is always a strain.

If you read up on the principles here, you will see that things needed for a healthy marriage, many of them, are impossible to do with a military member on deployments. Like time spent with each other. Dr. Harley recommends over 20 hours a week in time spent with each other that is undivided. That cant happen with a soldier on deployment. What about meeting needs? Well, let's say that your husband's #1 need is sexual fulfillment (SF). If he is gone for 6 months or a year, how is that need going to get met? And if it isn’t getting met by his wife (and please remember, ALL needs are equal...which means it doesn’t matter what the number one need is, it needs to be met), then it puts a strain on his love bank...making him ripe for an affair. Then, some one shows him TIME and attention. Someone peaks interest sexually in him and then BAM...it happens.

It is as predictable as it is sad!

So, what does Dr. Harley advise? Well, when I counseled with Steve Harley, he said the BEST option was I needed to get out. Here I was, 21 years in...a first sergeant who would be up for promotion to sergeant major within the year...getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan (after just coming back from Bosnia a year earlier...and it was that deployment that my wife started her affair), and this guy was telling me that I needed to give up the job I loved, give up my promotion, etc because my marriage was in crisis. But Steve told me that I could have my job or my marriage...but I wasn’t going to have both. After talking to Steve, I retired 5 months later.

So, my first answer to you is that your husband needs to get out. First of all, for you...as you should be his first priority. And second for his career and retirement. Now, why would I say that he needs to get out to save his career? Because, for four years of my career, I was an Inspector General (IG). And one of my many jobs was to investigate when soldiers had done improper and unethical things. Sex with a subordinate is unethical, immoral and illegal. Adultery is unethical, immoral and illegal. Both are inconsistent with being a good soldier and serving honorably. You see, your husband's two affairs not only dishonored you, but also dishonored the military and his service to the military. Because of that, he has not served honorably.

I know that may be tough to hear, but the military does not look at a public life and a private life being separate (and you know that!!). And I can tell you that when your husband has crossed the line, he has endangered his career, and his retirement. Which is also YOUR retirement! I once investigated a married sergeant major who was committing adultery. He had 32 years in the military...and overall, a very successful career. When he was caught in adultery, he was investigated and given a dishonorable discharge. He lost his retirement in the process.

Thirty two years he built that to have it all taken away. Thirty two years his wife stood beside him and helped him build that retirement, only to have him lose it all over some fling with a 22 year old.

So, I can tell you...especially since he has had affairs with co-workers (which brings in fraternization problems), that he is in danger to lose everything! All it takes is for someone to say something. Or one of his disgruntled OWs to march into the IG’s office and make an allegation. And his career will be over.

At this point, I would advise he retire as soon as he can, if he is eligible. I know that the paperwork will take some time, and because of this deployment, he may be frozen in place until he gets back. So, I will answer your questions about this deployment.

Quote
1) how can my husband be so sure of his reaction to a woman coming onto him for either a full blown affair or a one nighter? I believe him, but I believed before? I know this to be a trust issue, and I *do* trust him which is why I do not understand my reaction to it now...he HAS been around hundreds of women and some of them HAVE come onto him and he has rejected them. Is this just because he is going so far away?

It is NOT a trust issue! He has proven to be untrustworthy, especially in these circumstances. So, this isn’t your issue...it is his. And yes, it is because he is going away. Have the two of you take the Emotional Needs (EN) questionnaire on this site. I am betting SF and/or affection are his top needs. And one thing we know around here is that if a spouse isn’t filling them, then they are open to someone else doing so.

The real issue here is boundaries. Your husband has weak boundaries. He allows himself to befriend females. Since he has done this twice, you would have thought he would be taking extraordinary steps to stay out of the presence of any other females, except in groups and in a work environment.

Quote
2) how can I "affair proof" my marriage when my husband will be in another country? Does anyone have any tips for how to handle this so that I don't go mad and I don't drive HIM mad when he is going to be working so hard?

Number one is to get him home and not deploying anymore. Which means he must retire. But since he probably wont be able to do that before this deployment, then you need for him and you to maybe go to the Marriage Builders weekend or counsel with the Harleys and help set up a plan of action. Added to that, he needs to know all of this stuff on here (all of the principles) to understand why he has done what he has done and how to protect himself from doing it again. Again, the big thing will be boundaries. But, he also needs to know what I learned as an IG...and that is all soldiers think they can get away with things...right up until they are caught! So, he is flirting with disaster if he doesn’t set up these boundaries and stick with them.

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3) how do I reconcile my forgiveness, love, and passion for this man with the fear I have that him being separated from me is the catalyst for the affairs? Each time it happened was when we were apart...is there some kind of unresolved issue I have not addressed that is causing this reaction?

How do you do this? Get him home. There is no other shortcut to that. There is no other choice.


Standing in His Presence

FBS (me) (48)
FWW (41)
Married April 1993...
4 kids (19(B), 17(G), 14(B), 4(B))
Blessed by God more than I deserve
"If Jesus is your co-pilot...you need to change seats!"

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Simplicity, here are a few more things to consider too:

First off, is your H deploying with anyone that he knows? A 'buddy' that might be able to help him stay straight? Another guy who's got decent moral character that could be made aware of his past issues and might be willing to be his "accountability buddy" during this time? Perhaps even someone who's going to have a wife back where you'll be staying during his deployment? That might be an option to help both of you...to reassure you that he's not straying, and to help him remain accountable to someone who is onsite and WILL hold him accountable.

Failing that, you might consider having a similar discussion with the chaplain of the unit he's deploying with.

Additionally, I'd suggest that you try to take time prior to his deployment going to a marriage counselor together...one who can help your H quickly develop stronger boundaries, and give him tools and suggestions for enforcing them.

Hope this helps some.

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Hello Ma'am,

I am not married, nor have I ever. I am on this website because I like to keep up with a couple of my buddies going through divorce.

I am in the military and have been through several deployments and have seen many "things".

One of the things is it depends on where and which base he gets deployed, some are easy to get away with "things" while others are extremely hard. Most bases instill a General Order 1 that forbids any contact with the opposite sex whether you are single or not. Even if a wife is deployed at the same base with her husband, alot of the bases still do not even allow the opposite sex member to even set foot in the other person's room.

However, with that said, it is still possible to find secluded places and people still do. I agree with Mortarman about your husband getting out. It is very easy to get attached to someone in a deployment because you see them everyday and work with them everyday, sometimes in a life-threatening environment, which can cause more intense feelings for another person.

I'll be honest with you, I feel it almost impossible to "affair-proof" a military deployment, especially when your husband has cheated on you before and without serious repercussions (spelling) I still frequently deploy and have several friends in the deployed area, so if you want more in depth answers please ask.

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Wow...thank you all so much for your thoughtful and helpful replies!! I really do appreciate everyone's insight and advice! This is a terrible position to be in for both of us.

To answer a few of the questions so that maybe it will help...my husband is being deployed to a combat zone, but will be performing a support role, not an "active" one. He will not even be located in the country where he is "helping" but a neighboring one. Unfortunately, for these particular assignments people are more or less hand picked, so it is not like an assignment where a whole unit is being sent over there together--rather, it is simply him who will be joining a group who are already there. I hope that makes sense...but I know that it would have been comforting to BOTH of us if he had been able to deploy with people he knew. I admit to being very general in terms of this whole military thing because of the repercussions. I am fully aware (as is my husband) of the risk he took when he had the affair with his career...and yes, I do agree it was dishonorable on more levels than could be mentioned here. He has however, served honorably before and since, and would be devastated to end his career at this point.

We HAVE to make it to his retirement now. He has two and a half years until retirement (One being spent overseas and then the last year at a location close to home)...and I assure you that we have been counting the days until this happens. There is NO question that military life is completely and totally destructive to marriages. We both know that now, of course, we both know that the same thing could have easily happened in an office building, or any other work environment, but when you are actually living with other people half of your life, it is a very different and often difficult situation.

I also wanted to say that I meant no disrespect to the military with my saying that this was something that they do not try to stop, I do not like blanket statements and should have not used one in this case. I understand orders, but in our experience at the places my husband has been stationed the last 17 years I have to say that none of them have really taken this seriously. Half of the time the superiors were involved in the same things. I know our experience is probably not the norm, but my outlook at this point is that this is a REAL issue in the military (at least our branch), and the whole "what happens at the unit stays at the unit" cover their butt routine is alive and well.

I am not surprised by the answers here...my fear was that there was no way to truly affair proof my marriage while he was gone, and that it would be up to him to set the boundaries. I know he can do this...the issue is how I get my head "in the zone" to be completely supportive and not that fearful frantic wife I could be while he is gone. I want to support him. There is no choice here, we have to do this, and he does want to honor his country by doing this good service--and I do not want to be a hinderance or a burden to him through it...I want to be what he needs, in as much as I *can* be what he needs while he is gone. I agree totally that boundaries ARE the issue he has, and three years out from the affair he is convinced he knows how to handle this and that he will never put himself in the position to be tempted again. I believe him on that level too, but he has not been tested, and the proof is obviously in the testing, not the resolve, no matter how strong.

We do have the book that was suggested, we read it right after the affair (I didn't state this before, but I thought it was obvious perhaps--I did take responsibility for the areas in our marriage that I was at fault in, clearly, not to take the "blame" for what happened but rather because I knew that there were areas in our marriage that we both could be better at...) but I think it would be a good idea for us to reread and restudy--I also printed the question forms off the site and we will be doing those together this evening...and of course, I will totally be letting him read this thread, and any others he might want--he might even want to talk too...I don't know, but he is aware of all of these feelings and feels helpless to help me because how can his words be enough? Actions are louder, but how can he prove his actions when he is thousands of miles away. Such a terrible place we are in.

Quote
Since he has done this twice, you would have thought he would be taking extraordinary steps to stay out of the presence of any other females, except in groups and in a work environment.


Yes, he has done this, completely. I don't really have any doubts that he will continue to do this...but he is not in control on where he is being sent. He doesn't have a choice. He does not go anywhere or do anything that puts him in a position that has women in it outside of work. I don't know if that is what you meant or not.

It is rather defeating at the moment to consider that we are between a rock and a hard place. There is no way to get out of this deployment, and retirement can't happen until after anyway. Then I try to consider this is the chance for us both to prove what we are made of. Already, we have felt used by God (we are believers) through our experiences that have helped others, and I know that this can be another one of the desert experiences for us that will bring us closer to God and to each other. I can see GOOD from this, but I don't know how to overcome my fear.

I want to be clear too, my husband is not afraid. I am. He is absolute in his stance on this issue. I have nothing to fear. He has changed every part of himself that would have ever made those mistakes and to him there is NOTHING that will make him break his vows to me because he would never hurt me, dishonor me, or abandon me that way ever again. He is like a rock about this. Absolute and sure. The issues here are mine, the fear and the worry.

Perhaps there is no way around that then?

Thanks again for all of your suggestions, help and advice. I will let my husband read it all when he is home tonight and will write more, at least his response when he returns!

Have a great and happy day!
Sim

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Sim,

You can read my H's and my story on several posts here. But, basically, we are in recovery after an A that occurred during deployment.

My H and i have read this thread together. We agree that retirement is the goal to get to and then retire as soon as eligible. The military separations are very tough on marriages.

For this upcoming deployment, we have the following suggestions:

1. once you know the unit where H is assigned, contact the Chaplain to assist in identifying an "accountability buddy", maybe the Chaplain himself or someone else.

2. Identify activities to keep him busy when he is not working. These activities should be with the accountability buddy or battle buddy and should not include women.

3. He should communicate as often as possible with you about what he is doing in his non-work time.

4. He should understand as much as he feels he is strong, that being away makes him vulnerable and subject to risk and he needs to take extraordinary precautions to avoid the vulnerability. You as the BS and he should agree on these precautions.

Finally, your H is fortunate that he was not caught or reported on his previous A's. Mortarman makes excellent points about military men and women who lose everything so "close to the finish line". In our case, these concerns were never a thought for either my H or the OW. People who slide into A's don't think of long-term security, their future or anything other than the A. Hopefully, discussing this with your H can help boh you and him.

Best wishes for a safe deployment.

AM


BW - 65
WH - 60
M - 35 years
D-day - 17 Apr 08
DD - 44, DS - 30, DS - 23
H broke contact 11/1/09
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Thanks Army Mama! I was thinking as I drove home of the exact same thing, in regards to the chaplain.

Here's a solution...

Sim I understand what you said that it appears your husband has got his stuff together again. And that you are the one with issues, and your feelings are causing fear. So, here is a possible solution...

As soon as he gets in country, he goes to the post chaplain's office and sits down with the chaplain and explains the situation. The chaplain and himself then help him get an accoutability buddy (the chaplain could be the guy) who would account for what he is doing and where he is.

Now , the idea is not to necessarily to keep him out of trouble, as you aid it appears that he gets it and probably wont get into trouble. But, the buddy will keep him from crossing boundaries that might lead him to trouble AND the buddy would keep the chaplain uptodate.

In return, the chaplain would keep you abreast of what is going on and answer any questions you may have as they go along. He might do so by email, phone or letter...which will help you allay those fears.

I hope that helps. I understand the situation you are in right now. And I do hope he is doing the honorable thing and moving forward. But he also owes you and should do everything in his power to make you feel safe. I think the plan above might go a long way towards doing just that.


Standing in His Presence

FBS (me) (48)
FWW (41)
Married April 1993...
4 kids (19(B), 17(G), 14(B), 4(B))
Blessed by God more than I deserve
"If Jesus is your co-pilot...you need to change seats!"

Link: The Roles of Husbands and Wives

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