Marriage and the Husband-Wife Relationship/Confusion
QUESTION: My husband and I have been married for the past 9 years & 3 months. We separated about 3 months ago as the result of an argument. We lived together for about a year before we married. He has been married twice before & I have been married once before. We fell in love shortly after meeting. We have always adored each other. I found out early in our marriage that he is an alcoholic. As time went on in our time together, he started drinking more & excluding me from his life more. During the last year, he had become more distant. He would go to work, then stay out until the bars close-going from bar to bar. I would call him to find out when he was coming home, & he's placate with with a statement that he was on his way. This was rarely the case. He started not participating in family trips / outings, etc. This was the root cause of the fight we had when we decided to separate. Our sex life started dropping off to sometimes once a month. He started having trouble with maintaining an erection as well. Throughout all of this, he still maintained that he was in love with me. He'd call me several times a day & tell me that he loved me several times during the conversation.
After we decided to separate, he stayed at the house for about a week until he found another place to live. I was distant & slept in a separate room despite his urgings for me to join him in our bed. I did not tell him that I loved him. I was so frustrated & mad at him, that I felt if he just saw how upset I was, he'd figure out that he needed to change his habits. I never stopped loving him. I really didn't even want him to go, but I never told him until after we split.
To make a long story short, about 2 weeks after we separated, he started an emotional affair with another woman. He at first denied it saying that she was helping him sort through some problems he was having with our relationship. This has now escalated into an adulterous affair.
A short time after we separated, he & I started going out together & sleeping together. We both admitted that we are still in love with each other, but he feels that he does not want to come back home. He says that he feels at peace & is free.
When I found out about the affair, I asked him to stop seeing her & to give us a chance to work on finding out what went wrong with us. He refuses to stop seeing her saying he is in love with her, still says he's in love with me, has spent time with & has had sex with me. We started going to counseling last week. Our next appointment is this week. He agrees that we need to find out what we lost.
My question is this: Is it possible to save our marriage with all of what's been going on, especially if he will not stop seeing this other woman? Is there anything I can do? I am so confused.
ANSWER: Hi Stephanie~
It sounds as though he could be leading you on. As long as he's still involved with this other woman, you need to make it crystal clear to him that you will not continue being with him, doing things with him and most of all sleeping with him, any longer, period! You have to say what you mean and mean what you say or he will not take you seriously or at your word. You have to be ready, willing and able to back up what you say. If you allow this to happen he will keep taking full advantage of you as long as you let him. He can make a choice to be with you and dedicated to you or he can opt to move on with his life w/o you in it, and stay with this other woman.
Don't feel that you have to settle for this crap from him. Is it possible to save your marriage with all that's going on? The honest answer is no. And here is why I say this. I feel compelled to be very forthright and honest with you. As long as there is another woman involved there is no way this marriage can be salvaged or saved. She's a distraction for him and something to run home to at night and when he's not getting along with you. First things first you must STOP having sex with him. He'll use this to keep a connection with you. And as long as you're sleeping with him, he has this control over you, so that he can control and manipulate your emotions (and being a woman, we can get emotionally and overly attached at times) and use this against you, especially when he sees you're particularly vulnerable.
For him to not agree to stop seeing or having anything to do with this woman, show his lack of dedication to you and the marriage. If he truly loved you and wanted to be with you, then he'd at least make the effort to make the marriage work. His actions speak way louder than his words ever will. There might even be times when he tells you what he thinks you want to hear.
The best thing that you can do for yourself is to be flat out honest with him and tell him what it is you want, need, desire, deserve and expect in this marriage. And if he can't give that to you then you need to reevaluate this relationship and do whatever it takes to move on with your life w/o him in it. If he's not willing or able to commit to you and the marriage. You deserve way better than he's currently capable of giving you. Why bother to be married if he can't act like a husband and be dedicated to you?
It's normal to be confused right now b/c this is a difficult time in your life. You have to decide that he's not going to change and when he's not worth waiting around wasting your time, effort and energy if he can't give you what you need and want out of this relationship. No one wants their marriage to end. It's not about him anymore, it's now about you and what you need to do to make you happy. I hope this helps you some.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Your previous advice was helpful to some degree. I now have another query sort of along the same vein, or at least related to my seemingly endless situation:
Since my last question, my husband & I have been back & forth about reconciling. This has gone on for months. He agreed on multiple occasions to stop seeing the other woman, only to resume his affair & lie to me about it. After dealing with the humiliation, rejection, deceit, & infidelity by becoming extremely depressed, I decided you & everyone I know might be on to something-that I should move on. One night over 3 months ago, I partied with my daughter-in-law’s father (who is single). We had a great time together along with his daughter, my son, & some of their friends. He & I went to a bike rally that same night where he paid for a tattoo that depicted a ban sign (like the no smoking sign) across a tattoo that I had gotten previously to honor my husband. That night, this other man & myself had sex. It was one time. After that, I also met & had sex with another man a couple of times at the house that my husband & I used to share. I was unsatisfied with these other men. All I could think about is how I truly wanted my husband & no one else. At this point, I did not tell my husband about these episodes. My husband knows both of these men. I knew that he knows one, but didn’t know he knew the other.
About a month or so ago, my husband started wanting to spend more time with me. We would meet after work & talk (mostly me) about what went wrong with our marriage. He still continued some sort of contact or relationship with the other woman. He would again lie about it. Without going into boring detail, he wound up injuring this other woman. That night, he showed up at my house, drunk & saying how he’d messed up & wanted to be with me.
The next day, we got into another argument when I assumed that he had injured this woman, then ran to me. He then demanded I come home with him. I did not, as I was angry with him. That night, I went out with friends from work. He called my phone repeatedly. I refused to answer it. When I got home, he had smashed in the windows of my car. He said it was because he wanted to talk to me & I wouldn’t talk to him.
Since then, we have had many arguments. He has moved to another town with his job. He has sworn off this other woman, or so he says. I have been privy to a telephone conversation between them in which he called her baby & told her that he loves her. Right now, we are at a stand still. We have spent time together & it has been really good between us until I leave to go home. We have been searching for a way to start over, but haven’t found it yet.
This past Sunday, I went to see him. I thought that maybe if we put all of our cards on the table then wipe the slate clean, so we could start fresh. So, I told him about the men that I had sex with & I thought he would be flattered to know that I only wanted him-no one else. We spent most of the night together & it was happy. I went home to my own apartment smiling, because I thought we had made some progress.
He called me the next morning to tell me that he’d had a bad dream about what I told him-imagining me with these other men. He says he is hurt by this & feels like it just happened yesterday instead of 3 months ago. He then told me that he had only been with one other woman & that to even the score, he should have sex with someone that I know, or just anyone in general. We argued by phone & text all that day. I told him that I thought he would be flattered (as I mentioned earlier) that although the other men had been nice looking & whatnot, that I wanted no one else except him. That it meant nothing to me in the long run. He took great offense to this. I honestly didn’t mean it to hurt him. I have apologized profusely for even telling him about it. I just wanted him to know that I had tried to move on, but didn’t find it was what I wanted or needed & that I still love him. He professes to still love me, but is angry & hurt now. We both say that we want to work things out. I feel that the maturity of our relationship is below par right now.
There is a purpose to me going into all of this detail. My husband has asked me to find out if his reaction of believing / saying that he should have meaningless sex with someone I know, or even someone I don’t know to “even the score” & send me a video of it, a normal reaction or is it normal to feel this way, because I had sex with two other men?
His reaction is not uncommon. Though there is a difference between saying it and doing it. A person might say it to hurt the other person and get back at them for hurting them to begin with. As I said it really depends on the person and if they would actually act out and sleep with another person to even the score. Which in reality is a ridiculous thing to do, b/c two wrong don't make a right. And it only causes more problems, hurt and pain when something is done out of revenge and anger. It seems as though in his eyes it's okay for him to do this to you, and then to lie to you and go back on his word, but it's not okay for what you did. In other words it's a double standard and he's being a hypocrite. If he doesn't get his way then he makes life miserable for you, and he'll punish you by destroying your things. Where's the logic in all this? I'm not trying to come down on you or judge you and your husband at all. Rather I'm judging his actions.
Believe you me, I totally get where you're coming from on saying you love your husband and don't want anyone else, and just how badly you want it to work out. This is why you're enduring and you're putting up with his nonsense. Been there and done that. This why my first marriage ended and I had to make the choice to divorce him (he never wanted a divorce), and we had three children together. My former marriage was horrible and very ugly and volatile. We were both abusive to each other mentally, verbally, physically and emotionally. I couldn't take it any longer after five yrs of marriage, I'd finally had enough. I had to make that decision and had to do what was in the best interest of myself and most of all my children. I didn't want them growing up in that sort of environment. It was unhealthy for everyone involved.
You have some tough choice and possible changes to make in your life. Only you can be the one to decide what's right and what's best for you. I know you feel that if you hang on, someway, somehow you think it might change one day, the chances of that happening are slim. But it's not impossible. He has to show you through his actions that he can and will change (and not just for a short period of time). You deserve way better than he's giving you. Don't feel you have to settle for anything less in life.
To answer your question, the answer is yes and no. Yes, it might be a typical reaction in the heat of the moment and when he's very hurt and angry at you for doing this to him. And now he know how it feels to be on the receiving end, just like you felt when he did this to you. And no b/c not everyone thinks this way. Or looks to hurt a person when they've been hurt and betrayed by someone they love. If that makes any sense whatsoever. I hope this helps answer your question.