Welcome to the
Marriage Builders® Discussion Forum

This is a community where people come in search of marriage related support, answers, or encouragement. Also, information about the Marriage Builders principles can be found in the books available for sale in the Marriage Builders® Bookstore.
If you would like to join our discussion forum, please read the Announcement Forum for instructions, rules, & guidelines.
The members of this community are peers and not professionals. Professional coaching is available by clicking on the link titled Coaching Center at the top of this page.
We trust that you will find the Marriage Builders® Discussion Forum to be a helpful resource for you. We look forward to your participation.
Once you have reviewed all the FAQ, tech support and announcement information, if you still have problems that are not addressed, please e-mail the administrators at mbrestored@gmail.com
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#3016820 02/12/23 06:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
This it the name that a trusted counselor used today to describe my wife’s actions. Here’s the setting:

Way back in 2004 I faced divorce from my ex-wife’s infidelity with a coworker. I survived alone for 16 long years, and often was here on MB getting & giving advice & support. Finally, in January, 2018 my prayers were answered and I suddenly met a woman who lived 2000 miles away in CA via online mutual friends. Turns out our parents were college classmates way back in 1951!

We courted, using the finest MB & other resources. We tried to vett our relationship the best & deepest way we could. No question was too hard. No stone left unturned. I asked her to marry me December, 2018. We were engaged & got married October, 2019. So the best part of 2 years of due diligence & prayerfulness.

Rapidly after the wedding, some emotional distance developed. She seemed to have a “I’ve crossed the finish line, snagged my man who is a great provider & is a well respected & known professional in his field, I’m going to relax & be who I really am”, not who I pretended to be.

Covid happened soon after in 2020. We were 2000 miles apart pursuing our professions and locked down anyway. Same for much of 2021. 2022 was more “normal”, but then she scheduled a massage for both of us at a place I’ve purchased her prior gift certificates for when I’m gone = 50% of the time. This would be only my 2nd professional massage in my life - 64 years. The only other one was also with her as a couples massage done by 2 ladies in a pro salon.

Back in our courtship, working through our due diligence from MB checklists, the subject of massage came up and we discussed it. It was not an area I was familiar with so far as going out to a salon to have it done (my mother was a self-trained masseuse and would do us her kids & my Dad), Besides Mom, I had only had 1 male chiropractor & 1 male PT specialist work on my body over my lifetime.

My wife had had multiple massages & chiropractors & her ex husband & son are PT over the years before I met her.

We both made an “enthusiastic joint agreement” that her having a male massage her would not work for me as her husband - who loves to give her a massage & does a darn good job she says. Here’s my why: 1) Men as a rule, get aroused by seeing the female body & then touching the female skin & body. 2) Regardless of the code of ethics, a male massage therapist will touch 95% of my wife’s body in a darkened room with incense, candles & soft music. That same male will either get aroused or have to major resist it. 3) Regardless of the code of ethics, the male massager will see much of her body, and very likely private parts as she turns & re-arranges on the table.

My wife went into her massage, not telling me it was a male. She emerged an hour later and when she walked into the lobby, she had the exact replica look on her face as when she has just finished with a very satisfying sexual orgasm with me. There was a glow, a peaceful smile, her hair messed up, she was very happy! The only way I found out the gender of her massage giver was the receptionist unwittingly asked her in front of me if she wanted to reschedule with “Brad” for the next time.

Once in the car, the truth came out. She’s been going to this place & having this guy massage her for who knows how many times. She admitted she is completely nude while this man massages her. Of course he “drapes her”, but that’s rather irrelevant from what I’ve experienced on my own. She has been touched & seen by another man when we had a joint agreement NOT to do that!

I asked her about our joint agreement from 3 years back. It was to be No male massage for her. I told her I felt betrayed & disrespected as her husband. She became very angry & defensive and threw up all of the typical “it’s medical, it’s biological” arguments.

My main problem is the massive disrespect I now feel from her blatant disregard of my feelings & wishes as her husband. “Soft adultery”?? Maybe it rises to that level. It’s been 2 months now. My feelings of rejection & betrayal have not subsided at all. My trust for her is at a very low level. I’m considering all options at this point.

I’m open to any & all points of view on this. I’ve done life for going on 65 years. I know a serious problem when I see one. This is a serious problem I’m asking for help to think through.

God bless.

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by High Flight
Covid happened soon after in 2020. We were 2000 miles apart pursuing our professions and locked down anyway. Same for much of 2021. 2022 was more “normal”, but then she scheduled a massage for both of us at a place I’ve purchased her prior gift certificates for when I’m gone = 50% of the time.
I'm sorry that you're back here with this problem, so soon into a new marriage.

I think we spoke on an earlier thread about Dr Harley's recommendation for couples not to spend nights apart. You did not agree with Dr Harley, and you wrote to tell him so, and why. Did you ever get a response from him?

I don't think your having been separate for 50% of your marriage has helped your wife feel connected to you. Also, it doesn't seem that you knew her as well as you thought you did. Would you agree with that assessment?


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
BW, Thank you for the sympathy. This was the most carefully processed relationship I had ever done, and our friends & family were amazed at how thoroughly we pursued the relationship. Following the courtship rules isn't a guarantee of success. It merely gives success a greater chance is my assessment. It is also my assessment that people can & clearly do break promises and "enthusiastic joint agreements", and that has consequences.

I did not hear back from Dr.Harley. The facts are that this world is chock full of marriages that are doing just fine even though the spouses due to many factors (missionary journeys, sick parents, military deployments, career re-assignments, we can go on almost infinitum), are required to survive being apart for extended periods of time. I am in full agreement that ideal = not a single night apart. Reality in this fallen world just doesn't afford that to many, many of us.

So the idealistic recommendation, while a welcome aspiration, just cannot be achieved for multiple millions of couples worldwide. I refuse to accept that being apart somehow de facto means your marriage is doomed to fail. That isn't observable fact. Does it make it harder? Clearly! Guaranteed to fail? No!

Last edited by High Flight; 02/12/23 10:00 PM.
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by High Flight
Does it make it harder? Clearly! Guaranteed to fail? No!
Dr Harley has never argued that nights apart are guaranteed to fail. Please don't twist his words.

If you are confident that 50% of time apart made little difference to your marriage and the current situation, that's fine.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by High Flight
I did not hear back from Dr.Harley.
But I think he responded to your question on the radio show. Somebody posted the link to your thread, but you didn't acknowledge whether the email was yours or not.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 20,366
Likes: 3
B
Member
Offline
Member
B
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 20,366
Likes: 3
Was that your question on the radio show about the nights apart?

Is your W still ok with going to a male masseuse after you confronted her? Why did she not tell you about it?


FWW/BW (me)
WH
2nd M for both
Blended Family with 7 kids between us
Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
Originally Posted by SugarCane
Originally Posted by High Flight
Does it make it harder? Clearly! Guaranteed to fail? No!
Dr Harley has never argued that nights apart are guaranteed to fail. Please don't twist his words.

If you are confident that 50% of time apart made little difference to your marriage and the current situation, that's fine.


SC, my recollection was Dr. H (make no mistake - who I have enormous respect & regard for) was very strict on his thinking that nights apart would in reality spell doom for marriages. It has been a LONG time since I was a regular on MB forums. I don't post here often at all anymore. Haven't for many years.

So I took the time to re-read Dr. H's position. It seems (I may be mistaken because again, I'm not on here much now), that he has a whole new section in Q&A about marriages that are faced with enduring distancing at nights / days, etc. He breaks these down into logical sections like military, airlines, business travelers, etc. Over and over he uses various words that include "Very negative effect on marriage...marriages are usually very precarious...very high risk of infidelity and divorce...usually have troubled marriages..." etc., etc. It's pretty easy to conclude that Dr H believes that nights apart / distanced marriages are, maybe I should have used the words "nearly" or "almost" or "more or less" -- then the word guaranteed to fail? And I would AGREE that they are, especially if there's no intervention efforts, no wise learning of the pitfalls & difficulties that are to be encountered. Again, I'm proud of him that he's trying to help save these marriages too.


I'm thrilled to see our great Dr. H taking on the real world of marriages that have careers that require distance & nights & days apart. I appreciate that he highlights the obvious difficulties these create. I'm super proud that he's involved with trying to get the US Military via the Chaplains offices to be extra vigilant for the challenges distance creates for marriages. This is awesome, real world work! Because we live in a very real world with military, law enforcement, airlines, truckers, missionaries, executives, traveling doctors & nurses, etc., etc., who are often gone for long periods of time from home. And frankly most all of us greatly benefit from these sacrifices others (like the aforementioned) make for us! But YES, it's really really tough on marriages. Dr. H is correct!

I'm sorry if you mistakenly jumped to a conclusion that I would even WANT to twist Dr. H's words. That's not my intent, nor purpose. I'm here to learn & share just as any normal person would. Let me in a fully kind tone, share with you that I believe that a kind dialogue first vs harsh scolding goes a long way towards civility and understanding for everyone - and yes, words on a page are extra hard to hear tone of voice, etc. so we have to give one another benefit of the doubt. That's how I want to live.

Last edited by High Flight; 02/13/23 10:08 PM.
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
Originally Posted by SugarCane
Originally Posted by High Flight
I did not hear back from Dr.Harley.
But I think he responded to your question on the radio show. Somebody posted the link to your thread, but you didn't acknowledge whether the email was yours or not.

If he did, I have no awareness of it. I've never listened to his radio show. Frankly wasn't even aware of it before as I haven't been on MB for awhile. And I'm not a radio listener type.

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
Originally Posted by BrainHurts
Was that your question on the radio show about the nights apart?

Is your W still ok with going to a male masseuse after you confronted her? Why did she not tell you about it?

Thanks for your reply BH & questions. Hate to admit, but I wasn't aware of Dr. H's radio show until recently, likely because I'm never been a radio listener type. Have no idea if he dealt with any question I asked? I haven't been on here for some time now.

Great Q you ask. She eventually apologized but with great anger at me for finding out and being opposed to her getting a male massage. Originally she claimed not to recall our policy of joint agreement ref massage, but after I shared exact details & timing, she backed down, but with alot of anger oozing out. So eventually, after getting caught, she states she won't go anymore, however there's zero perceived enthusiasm in her demeanor, voice or actions. So this is not an "enthusiastic joint agreement" by any means, at least not at this time. I'm praying it will turn into one with time, dialogue & prayer.

Why did she not tell me? I can only surmise, but my thinking is she never agreed with my value-based position originally. At the same time, she was very interested in us getting married. She's highly intelligent and knew that it was a serious values based "cannot stand" for me, so she went along with it originally. Which of course means, there's a dishonesty quotient now in play too.

Does 50% time apart take a toll on a marriage? Of course it can & will if not intentionally managed with great MB type tools! Does it usually have to end in divorce? That's the Million $$$ question!

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by High Flight
My wife went into her massage, not telling me it was a male. She emerged an hour later and when she walked into the lobby, she had the exact replica look on her face as when she has just finished with a very satisfying sexual orgasm with me. There was a glow, a peaceful smile, her hair messed up, she was very happy! The only way I found out the gender of her massage giver was the receptionist unwittingly asked her in front of me if she wanted to reschedule with “Brad” for the next time.

Once in the car, the truth came out. She’s been going to this place & having this guy massage her for who knows how many times. She admitted she is completely nude while this man massages her. Of course he “drapes her”, but that’s rather irrelevant from what I’ve experienced on my own. She has been touched & seen by another man when we had a joint agreement NOT to do that!
I don't know what your counsellor's definition of "soft adultery" includes, but this is adultery. Just because it took place in a therapeutic setting doesn't make it not-quite-as-bad-as-an-affair.

If a wife wrote on here that her husband had been visiting massage parlours and getting a happy ending - i.e. an orgasm - we would tell her that this is adultery and she needs to take the steps to protect her marriage. What your wife has done is no different, and the steps you need to take are the same. Your wife has been involved in sexual encounters with another man (is it the same one every time, or is there more than one?)

In a traditional marriage, a spouse does not need a separate enthusiastic agreement from the other spouse that adultery should never happen. The marriage vows are the enthusiastic agreement. The way your wife seems to be behaving now suggests that since she resents you for forcing her into a renewal of your specific no-male-masseurs agreement, and since she is therefore not enthusiastic, the agreement is not really an agreement and therefore null. She can continue with her massages because she didn't really agree with you in the first place.

This is adultery, and you need to follow the appropriate parts of the book Surviving an Affair. The OM is a therapist, and while you probably don't have enough proof to expose him (unless your wife confesses and supports you in making a complaint), you can certainly raise the issue with his professional body. If I understand correctly, in the USA a therapist having sexual encounters with a client is enough to get them disbarred. You could raise your concerns about what this man is doing, and it might turn out that you are not the first to do so.

In a traditional affair, the unfaithful spouse and OP must have no contact ever again. Can you be assured of this in your case, and can you be assured that your wife won't just switch her massages to somewhere else unscrupulous? If she thinks that therapeutic or quasi-medical massages are exempt, will she take the required steps to protect her marriage and you?

And finally, the conditions that made the adultery easy must be changed. That takes us back to your lifestyle, and the fact that you spend a lot of time apart from each other.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 15,818
Likes: 7
M
Member
Offline
Member
M
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 15,818
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by High Flight
Does 50% time apart take a toll on a marriage? Of course it can & will if not intentionally managed with great MB type tools!

What MB tool would that be? The only MB tool I am aware of for nights apart is to change circumstances so nights apart aren't necessary any more.

Originally Posted by High Flight
I'm thrilled to see our great Dr. H taking on the real world of marriages that have careers that require distance & nights & days apart. I appreciate that he highlights the obvious difficulties these create. I'm super proud that he's involved with trying to get the US Military via the Chaplains offices to be extra vigilant for the challenges distance creates for marriages. This is awesome, real world work! Because we live in a very real world with military, law enforcement, airlines, truckers, missionaries, executives, traveling doctors & nurses, etc., etc., who are often gone for long periods of time from home. And frankly most all of us greatly benefit from these sacrifices others (like the aforementioned) make for us! But YES, it's really really tough on marriages. Dr. H is correct!

Originally Posted by High Flight
I did not hear back from Dr.Harley. The facts are that this world is chock full of marriages that are doing just fine even though the spouses due to many factors (missionary journeys, sick parents, military deployments, career re-assignments, we can go on almost infinitum), are required to survive being apart for extended periods of time.

That's a common urban legend, but it's not true. Those marriages are not doing fine. They are replete with infidelity, divorce, detachment, and other problems. Dr. Harley has done a lot of work to try to study these marriages and has worked with military chaplains and studied couples and has yet to find one couple that has stayed in love through deployment. Not one. Some couples are able to recover from that trauma afterward, but the risk is insanely high, and there is no tool that sustains love through deployment or massive separation.


I think your basic problem here is that your wife is not interested in a marriage where she has to adjust for you, where there is a rule that neither of you will do anything if the other is not enthusiastic about it.

The only solution to that is to sell her on the idea. You show her the basic concepts on this site and ask how she feels about them, particularly the policy of joint agreement. She probably will explain that she does not like the idea at all and finds it constraining or controlling. And then your only route to success is to top off your account in her love bank and then win her over. (Which is impossible to do if 50% of your nights are apart and you're not getting 15+ hours alone together every week giving each other your undivided attention.) But that's the way to go.


By the way, I know you said you aren't a radio listener, but do you get how really awesome it is to hear Dr. Harley basically give people free sessions, five days a week? There's no substitute for that level of help. Listening often will help you through problems you don't even know are problems yet. Literally the best Marriage Builders resource is to listen to that show day after day. It's an app on your phone, or you can listen online from a computer on a link I'll post below. I used to listen while driving or walking. These days I put it on in the background daily while I'm working. My wife and I love discussing them with each other. My older kids have heard many of them.

https://www.marriagebuilders.com/listen-now.htm

Last edited by markos; 02/14/23 08:02 PM.

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, 19 years. Father of 8.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
H
Member
OP Offline
Member
H
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by High Flight
Does 50% time apart take a toll on a marriage? Of course it can & will if not intentionally managed with great MB type tools!

What MB tool would that be? The only MB tool I am aware of for nights apart is to change circumstances so nights apart aren't necessary any more.

Originally Posted by High Flight
I'm thrilled to see our great Dr. H taking on the real world of marriages that have careers that require distance & nights & days apart. I appreciate that he highlights the obvious difficulties these create. I'm super proud that he's involved with trying to get the US Military via the Chaplains offices to be extra vigilant for the challenges distance creates for marriages. This is awesome, real world work! Because we live in a very real world with military, law enforcement, airlines, truckers, missionaries, executives, traveling doctors & nurses, etc., etc., who are often gone for long periods of time from home. And frankly most all of us greatly benefit from these sacrifices others (like the aforementioned) make for us! But YES, it's really really tough on marriages. Dr. H is correct!

Originally Posted by High Flight
I did not hear back from Dr.Harley. The facts are that this world is chock full of marriages that are doing just fine even though the spouses due to many factors (missionary journeys, sick parents, military deployments, career re-assignments, we can go on almost infinitum), are required to survive being apart for extended periods of time.

That's a common urban legend, but it's not true. Those marriages are not doing fine. They are replete with infidelity, divorce, detachment, and other problems. Dr. Harley has done a lot of work to try to study these marriages and has worked with military chaplains and studied couples and has yet to find one couple that has stayed in love through deployment. Not one. Some couples are able to recover from that trauma afterward, but the risk is insanely high, and there is no tool that sustains love through deployment or massive separation.


I think your basic problem here is that your wife is not interested in a marriage where she has to adjust for you, where there is a rule that neither of you will do anything if the other is not enthusiastic about it.

The only solution to that is to sell her on the idea. You show her the basic concepts on this site and ask how she feels about them, particularly the policy of joint agreement. She probably will explain that she does not like the idea at all and finds it constraining or controlling. And then your only route to success is to top off your account in her love bank and then win her over. (Which is impossible to do if 50% of your nights are apart and you're not getting 15+ hours alone together every week giving each other your undivided attention.) But that's the way to go.


By the way, I know you said you aren't a radio listener, but do you get how really awesome it is to hear Dr. Harley basically give people free sessions, five days a week? There's no substitute for that level of help. Listening often will help you through problems you don't even know are problems yet. Literally the best Marriage Builders resource is to listen to that show day after day. It's an app on your phone, or you can listen online from a computer on a link I'll post below. I used to listen while driving or walking. These days I put it on in the background daily while I'm working. My wife and I love discussing them with each other. My older kids have heard many of them.

https://www.marriagebuilders.com/listen-now.htm


Thanks Markos for the thoughtful reply. A few points to include to reach a deeper understanding:

1. My wife & I intentionally used the majority of MB tools & materials to help construct our relationship. All the quizzes, surveys, books, principles, tools. We were VERY attuned to Dr. H position on separation being essentially a sentence of "high risk", "very precarious", "very negative" impact on marriage.

2. Both of us know MANY marriages that have survived & thrived even during extended separation periods. WWII. Missionary Journeys. Long Distance Trucking. Airline careers. Executive travel. Etc. Here's a few names: Ken & Barbara M - 71 yr marriage (extensive exec travel & missionary journeys). Keith & Helen W - 68 yr marriage (WWII, Exec travel) Ralph & Blanche W - 48 yr marriage (long distance trucking). Ralph & Ann W 72 yr marriage (WWII, Exec travel). Bob & Joanne O - 17 yr marriage (Delta Airlines & USMC). Pete & Jo K - 20 yr marriage (exec travel & sales). John & Dawn H - 42 yr marriage (extensive mission travel, gone for months at a time).

3. So my wife is aware of the MB concepts, tools, principles. I don't have to sell her for the first time, but perhaps re-visit & resell?

4. Going to down load the MB APP. THANKS! Will begin listening to the podcasts.

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,482
Likes: 9
Originally Posted by High Flight
Thanks Markos for the thoughtful reply. A few points to include to reach a deeper understanding:


2. Both of us know MANY marriages that have survived & thrived even during extended separation periods. WWII. Missionary Journeys. Long Distance Trucking. Airline careers. Executive travel. Etc. Here's a few names: Ken & Barbara M - 71 yr marriage (extensive exec travel & missionary journeys). Keith & Helen W - 68 yr marriage (WWII, Exec travel) Ralph & Blanche W - 48 yr marriage (long distance trucking). Ralph & Ann W 72 yr marriage (WWII, Exec travel). Bob & Joanne O - 17 yr marriage (Delta Airlines & USMC). Pete & Jo K - 20 yr marriage (exec travel & sales). John & Dawn H - 42 yr marriage (extensive mission travel, gone for months at a time).
Despite this list, posters here would prefer to take Dr Harley's advice, based on his experience with couples, which is much greater than yours will ever be. Did any of those marriages 'survive and thrive" through the affairs which some of them inevitably went through? How would you know? What if they simply did not tell you?

Even your personal experience with your own 3 marriages confirms Dr Harley's observations. In your first marriage, you had an affair, ended your marriage and married your affair partner. In that second marriage, she had an affair and ended the marriage. In this third marriage, your wife has had sexual encounters with her therapist. All these affairs have been facilitated by the long periods of time you have always spent away from home. I have no idea how you can defend spending 50% of the time away from your wife with this history. It's hardly a recommendation, and one would think you had learned by now.


BW
Married 1989
His PA 2003-2006
2 kids.

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Search
Who's Online Now
1 members (1 invisible), 25 guests, and 44 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
IrishTurtle, Sanvi9, TempName, ChellyAlicia, DagnyDrew
71,754 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Forums67
Topics133,555
Posts2,322,901
Members71,755
Most Online3,185
Jan 27th, 2020
Building Marriages That Last A Lifetime
Copyright © 1995-2020, Marriage Builders®. All Rights Reserved.  |  Web Development by SunStar Media.
Site Navigation
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5