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#2901554 08/07/17 01:16 AM
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I'm stuck. But first the background: I am mildly autistic (aspergers) but was not diagnosed until recently. I live a normal life, except that I'm constantly confused and anxious about social and interpersonal relationships. I have been married for 16 years and have 4 children (7-13, so they're all in school). My wife has had depression for much of our marriage. She has been in cognitive therapy for the last few years, and recently was feeling well enough to got off her meds. We think at least some of the depression is because of my anxiety, but there is also a family predisposition.

At the end of last year, her sister and husband moved away, so we all took up World of Warcraft as a way of keeping in touch. Of course, my wife was immediately addicted. She played most of each day and had many friends online.

In March, she took an alone vacation to visit her sister at her new location. I was very supportive of this (she says that due to my aspergers, and the difficulty in getting my out of my comfort zone, she doesn't enjoy vacations as much when I'm there). She told me one of her WoW friends was there, and asked if I was okay with her meeting him for a lunch. Again, wanting to support her, and trusting her, I encouraged her. (I will call him D)

Around then, she also started exploring her sexuality (also at my encouragement). She purchased some toys. Some she told me about, and some she didn't. And also started reading romance novels-- mostly YA (like like Twilight) but also some really steamy titles.

Fast-forward to the end of April: she received a text and I off-hand as I asked if I could see it (seriously, just curiosity) She emphatically said "no"... one week later, we were preparing for a family vacation. After she was asleep, I tried to use her phone to find one of our other devices. On a whim I decided to check her text messages with D (remember, I was still trusting). I was very disturbed, because she had deleted all messages exactly one week before (corresponding nicely to when I asked to see). In the intervening week, she had spent considerable time researching dating websites (D was putting himself out there), they had had conversations that were mildly sexual, and she indicated that she looked forward to spending time with her on WoW. She also explained what due to the vacation she wouldn't be online for a week. Her explanation showed not just a lack of enthusiasm, but downright derision to the destination (Disneyland).

I confronted her in the morning. She said she had accidentally deleted the conversation. She said she has sometimes flirted with him, but never overtly seated (no pics). She says he's just a stranger and I shouldn't worry. She says she is not attracted to him physically. She was angry that I had checked her phone despite her asking me not to (she says she had told him/vented about our marriage she didn't want me to see). She was not remorseful at all. I asked why she didn't just leave me, and her only answer was that she was afraid of that (of being on her own, not afraid of me)

Needless to say, the vacation was stressful. We had some conversations about boundaries (I thought she violated them, she didn't agree) and the only boundary she would admit to was that "she's crossed the line if she ever finds she prefers him to me". I think that's crazy, because if you ever cross it, it's too late.

I started seeing the therapist again (the same one my wife sees-- she's a specialist in addiction, depression, aspergers, and marriages). We began laying some groundwork for couples sessions that would take place as soon as my wife calmed down enough to be receptive for them (estimate: a few months)

Another month passed. Things had seemed to be getting better (more/better sex, she quit WoW, etc.) and I had been trying to honor her request to not check her phone, but the possible scenarios wereeating me up inside so I checked it again. It wasn't a thorough check because I had to abort, but I saw more things that disturbed me: They said they missed each other ("I miss my WoW friend"). My wife was also sharing intimate details with him-- as in how I had really improved my sex game, but it just felt empty to her. (D replied that it sounded like she was falling out of love with me. She didn't reply to that.

I did not tell her I checked her phone, but told her that I could tell she was very unhappy and that something had to change (marriage counseling, or we would have to divorce. After a few hours, she chose "change". On the spur of the moment, we got my mom to watch the kids overnight and went away to a little bed and breakfast. This was a very nice date until the morning when I opened my big mouth with a Disrespecful Judgement about her romance novels (ugh... those DJs are my main weakness, and that's definitely due to how autism has wired my brain). She confronted me about checking her phone again (turns out she did catch me but didn't let on). She was furious that I had seen her thoughts that weren't for me, especially after she had made it extremely clear that I wasn't to check her phone. And he's just a stranger that she talks to for a neurotypical (NT) perspective about our marriage. And she can't trust me... But she will still do marriage counseling.

Fast forward until two days ago. I was walking towards her and noticed her hide the phone and then suavely opened a game she plays. When I was next to her she enthusiastically showed me a new level. When she was done showing me, I asked if she had been texting when she hid the phone (she admitted "yes") and who (she also admitted she was texting D). I asked her if she had sent him a specific innuendo she had recently made to me (which was very similar to her earlier banter with him) and she said she had not sent that, but it would be fun to (??).

On the advice of my therapist (she replied to me because this constituted a crisis for me) I tried to ask her about her relationship to D-- since I thought we were doing better, she would not need a NT perspective. She told me D was her friend, and that she hasn't violated any boundaries she set for herself. She would not elaborate on the boundaries. When I asked what we should do if we had different boundaries, she said that she felt I was controlling her and I just need to trust her. And she does not like me looking over her shoulder and prying into her texting.

*phew*

So here's the question: Does this sound like an emotional affair in full bloom, or just a budding one? I want to check her phone again to see what their recent interactions have been. However, if I am caught, she will be beyond furious. I personally agree with the "don't trust your spouse" advise here, but my wife is requiring me to trust her. If I show that I don't (by checking), I think I t will be such an incredible love buster that I don't think we'll be able to recover... So how do I square the two needs (her need for me to trust her even though I think I shouldn't, and my need to investigate), and what do I do that will have the greatest chance of success?

AFAIK, our therapist is still planning on our first couples session in 10 days, and one of us will be telling the other of an emotional need that is not being met. The therapist will decide who goes first based on which of our various needs is the most dire.

I really love my wife. I really miss when she would share her intimate thoughts with me. I don't want to lose our family. We're just getting to the point (kids are old enough) where we can finally start having some real fun together.

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I saw the Dr's advice-- that if I check and find out she's innocent, then I can go on my way assured. But that if I find something, I'll be glad I checked. That was my logic the 2nd time I checked, but o wasn't prepared for what I found: not nothing, but not something either, so I didn't get any resolution I was hoping for.

I am worrried that if I'm wrong and she is not out of line (they really are just friends who communicate as occasionally) as she says, and I check her phone, everything will blow up. I should add that I am very bad at lying (my anxiety usually makes it obvious). The only way checking her phone could succeed is if she doesn't ever ask me about it.

If what I find is clear evidence, it's easy: plan A for as long as can and then plan B. But I don't know what to do if I find more ambiguous evidence. (And being on the spectrum virtually guarantees that anything I find will be)

Thanks again!

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband
ISo here's the question: Does this sound like an emotional affair in full bloom, or just a budding one? I want to check her phone again to see what their recent interactions have been. However, if I am caught, she will be beyond furious. I personally agree with the "don't trust your spouse" advise here, but my wife is requiring me to trust her. If I show that I don't (by checking), I think I t will be such an incredible love buster that I don't think we'll be able to recover... So how do I square the two needs (her need for me to trust her even though I think I shouldn't, and my need to investigate), and what do I do that will have the greatest chance of success?


ACH, welcome to Marriage Builders. Sorry for the reasons that have brought you here.

Trust is not an entitlement for wayward spouses, it must be earned. If your wife wants to be trusted, she can do certain things, such as end her very inappropriate relationship with this man and open up her phone to you. But hiding things from you will not foster trust. Do you feel like you "trust" her now given her behavior? Of course not.

And why don't you trust her? Because she engages in untrustworthy behavior. People who have nothing to hide, don't hide. A innocent person would WANT you to look at her phone because it would prove her innocence. So, if she wants to be trusted, she can stop her untrustworthy behavior.

BUT, don't say that to her at this time. In the meantime, she is having an affair but you need to get better evidence to stop it.

My suggestion to you would be to be a better snooper. Get her phone and install spyware. A good one is webwatcher. Can you get her phone for about 15 minutes and do this? You would need to study up on it and practice on your own phone first. Another way to spy is to place voice activated recorders in your home if she speaks to him on the phone.

GET this evidence FIRST and stop accusing. Come back and we will help you with next steps.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband

I am worrried that if I'm wrong and she is not out of line (they really are just friends who communicate as occasionally) as she says, and I check her phone, everything will blow up. I should add that I am very bad at lying (my anxiety usually makes it obvious). The only way checking her phone could succeed is if she doesn't ever ask me about it.


Opposite sex friendships are dangerous to marriages and if she won't end this "friendship," then she is clearly putting her friendship before her marriage. Almost all affairs begin as opposite sex friendships. The Risk of Opposite-sex Friendships in Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

You have a right to see everything on her phone. No spouse has the right to SECRECY to harm her spouse behind his back. In order to recover your marriage she will have to end her friendship and she will have to be completely transparent in order to earn this "trust" she wants so badly. Don't say this to her now, but keep this in your hat for now. FOR NOW, just quietly install spyware on her phone and get the evidence.

Read this:

Originally Posted By: Dr Bill Harley
For an unfaithful spouse to engage in an affair without detection, two separate lives must be created, one for the lover and one for the spouse. A certain amount of dishonesty is required in both of them, but the major deception is with the spouse.

So one of the most common clues of an affair is an unwillingness to let a spouse investigate all aspects of life. If two lives are necessary for an affair, and if a spouse is curious enough, the secret second life is relatively easy to discover. Difficulty in getting a spouse to talk about events of the day can be a sign of trying to hide the second life.

One of the most common smoke-screens used by unfaithful spouses is to express shock that their spouse would be so distrusting as to ask questions about their secret second life. They try to make it seem as if such questions are an affront to their dignity, and a sign of incredible disrespect. They figure that the best defense is a good offense, and so they try to make their spouses feel guilty about asking too many questions.

I am a firm believer in letting each spouse do as much snooping around as they want. Nothing should be kept secret in marriage, and no questions should be left unanswered. If a spouse objects to such scrutiny, what might he or she be hiding?

here


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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There's no way my wife or I would be okay with the other having lunch with someone of the opposite sex. That's already "out of line" right there.

If I had lunch with another woman, I'd expect to find the locks changed when I got home and my stuff sitting out in the rain! laugh


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
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If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Originally Posted By: markos
There's no way my wife or I would be okay with the other having lunch with someone of the opposite sex. That's already "out of line" right there.


Ditto!!


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Update: I realized I could check the phone bill to see the frequency of her communication with him. It was way higher than I expected (but way lower than a few months ago). Even though it's lower right now (only 350 messages last month, compared to almost 2000 messages in April) that's still not the "occasional" communication she told me about.

I decided to speak with some of our mutual friends that she might have confided in, and found that as far as they know, it's not physical-- but she does require him to get through the depression. Definitely not the "stranger" she said he was, or a friend she "occasionally" talks to.

This friend also shared that when my wife asked my permission to meet D, that was at the request of our friend-- my wife had been just going to do that in secret, but the friend convinced her to ask me. After the meeting, my wife told the friend the same thing she told me: that D is not physicalt attractive to her.

I have every reason to believe our mutual friend is telling the truth that she knows. Given all that, it's definitely an emotional affair. However, I think she's in denial of this fact.

I decided to confront my wife with the phone bill to catch her in her lie. Of course she wouldn't admit to lying and doubled down on her interpretation of their relationship (he's just a friend!) I finally told her I didn't believe her and that we needed to meet with the counselor about this, and soon. At least she agreed (though very tersely). But then she said she would pack a bag and leave and I wouldn't see her until the appointment (Thursday).

At least we'll get to talk about this in a place where a trusted 3rd party can explain to her what's going on (but more importantly help us mediate a very tense topic). Hopefully it will open the door back to plan A, otherwise it will be plan B... which nobody enjoys.

Thanks!

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CF, you are making strategic mistakes and are headed to disaster. Do you want some help?


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband
Update: I realized I could check the phone bill to see the frequency of her communication with him. It was way higher than I expected (but way lower than a few months ago). Even though it's lower right now (only 350 messages last month, compared to almost 2000 messages in April) that's still not the "occasional" communication she told me about.


That is good, but it does not help you learn the truth. Did you read our posts about installing spyware on her phone? You won't know the truth untll you read the content.

Quote:
I decided to speak with some of our mutual friends that she might have confided in, and found that as far as they know, it's not physical-- but she does require him to get through the depression. Definitely not the "stranger" she said he was, or a friend she "occasionally" talks to.


Your wife is not going to confide anything to her "friends," unless they are supporters of an affair.

Quote:
This friend also shared that when my wife asked my permission to meet D, that was at the request of our friend-- my wife had been just going to do that in secret, but the friend convinced her to ask me. After the meeting, my wife told the friend the same thing she told me: that D is not physicalt attractive to her.


The friend is a fool. First off, a true "friend" is not going to help her married friend meet another man. SEcondly, people lie about affairs so it is silly to imagine your W told the truth to this friend. This means nothing.

Quote:
I have every reason to believe our mutual friend is telling the truth that she knows. Given all that, it's definitely an emotional affair. However, I think she's in denial of this fact.


The silly "friend" can only repeat what she has been told.

Quote:
I decided to confront my wife with the phone bill to catch her in her lie. Of course she wouldn't admit to lying and doubled down on her interpretation of their relationship (he's just a friend!)


Which is why you should never confront without evidence. Now your wife will only go further underground.

Quote:
I finally told her I didn't believe her and that we needed to meet with the counselor about this, and soon. At least she agreed (though very tersely). But then she said she would pack a bag and leave and I wouldn't see her until the appointment (Thursday).


Going to a marriage counselor will be a disaster and you will probably end up put out of your house in a "trial separation." You have no idea what you have done. Marriage counselors have no experience with infidelity and as such, don't understand the fog of the wayward spouse. As a result, they tend to validate marriage wrecking ideas of the WS.

What will you do if you are asked to move out to give your wife some "space?" What if the counselor, who is not experienced with infidelity, tells you that there is nothing wrong with her having "friends?" Accuses you of being controlling?

You have much better options than taking your chance on a MC, who have a failure rate of 84%.

Do you want help saving your marriage? There is not much we can do for you if you persist in following your OWN PLAN.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband
.This friend also shared that when my wife asked my permission to meet D, that was at the request of our friend-- my wife had been just going to do that in secret, but the friend convinced her to ask me. After the meeting, my wife told the friend the same thing she told me: that D is not physicalt attractive to her.


I am truly shocked that you would even go along with such a marriage wrecking idea, even if she did "ask your permission." Do you and the "friend" not understand how you are contributing to the demise of your marriage?

It's important that you understand it is not caring to be an enabler.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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I need to correct a misconception: The friend did not encourage my wife to visit D. She realized that she couldn't stop my wife, so asked her to at least ask me for permission.

I have enough evidence to know that her behavior violated my boundary substantially. What should it matter to me if it was crossed by a kilometer or a mile?

When I told the MC about the frequency of their communication, she was shocked and agrees that it is okay. I am confident MC will not call my behavior controlling.

What I'm stuck with is this commundrum: how do I unilaterally decide how we're going to fix the marriage without actually being controlling? Negotiation is required (not my strong suit). I will not remain an enabler to my WS behavior. So I have to figure out how to adapt the plans to our individual situation.

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And yes, MelodyLane, I do want your help to avoid strategic disasters.

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband

What I'm stuck with is this commundrum: how do I unilaterally decide how we're going to fix the marriage without actually being controlling? Negotiation is required (not my strong suit). I will not remain an enabler to my WS behavior. So I have to figure out how to adapt the plans to our individual situation.


It took me a few years to sort the connundrum out for myself. I remember feeling stuck.
What it boils down to is that
#1 it takes two to "fix" a marriage. Both must participate of their own choosing. You can only fix your side but that doesn't fix the whole marriage.
#2 Boundaries or when-to-call-it-quits are not about making her do or not do something. Boundaries are you doing or stopping doing something yourself. Controlling yourself. You are in the right place to get help with being strategically unilateral for your health, safety, and giving the best possible opening for her to join you in valuing the marriage without being abusive or controlling.

Last edited by buildsherhouse; 08/08/17 12:06 PM.

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Originally Posted By: AConfusedHusband
I need to correct a misconception: The friend did not encourage my wife to visit D. She realized that she couldn't stop my wife, so asked her to at least ask me for permission.

I have enough evidence to know that her behavior violated my boundary substantially. What should it matter to me if it was crossed by a kilometer or a mile?

When I told the MC about the frequency of their communication, she was shocked and agrees that it is okay. I am confident MC will not call my behavior controlling.

What I'm stuck with is this commundrum: how do I unilaterally decide how we're going to fix the marriage without actually being controlling? Negotiation is required (not my strong suit). I will not remain an enabler to my WS behavior. So I have to figure out how to adapt the plans to our individual situation.


It sounds like you have your plan so I won't comment. Let me know if you are interested in this program and I will be glad to help.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Hello Confused Husband-Have you read the basic concepts of the Marriage Builders program? And do you have Dr. Harley's book Surviving an Affair? This program has a specific plan for destroying an affair and recovering from it - the book goes into very specific details. It sounds like maybe you aren't familiar with the concepts - a lot of what you're doing isn't in line with the program and will make things worse, not better. If you haven't done so, I'd get your hands on Surviving an Affair and start reading it ASAP.


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