I am am 51 year old male who has been married to his wife for 27 years.
There have been four distinct occasions when my wife “fell” for someone else, three of them led to no sexual or physical intimacy.
The one came about when she was open with me about her “interest” in him. I didn’t like the situation and sensed it was getting close to an affair. So I pressed, she broke and we split for 6 months.
We never stopped loving each other and we actually secretly dated each other while we were both exploring other relationships.
Ultimately she asked me to come home. That was 4 years ago.
Now she is out doing her music thing, which I support, and she is interacting with two men.
The first is an older gentlemen (more of a teacher guru) who is helping her expand her creativity. He is married and seems to have pretty decent boundaries and almost like therapy is allowing her to get this “thing” out as to why she’s been doing this over the years, so it’s more than unconventional, it’s fringe. He’s 3000 miles a way, but they have Skype sessions (which she tells me about, not the details) and messaging etc.
She most likely won’t have sex with him for many reasons, but the emotional attachment is obsessive.
The second also is a married man. He is a music professor who is miserable in his marriage, and has professed his interest in her. She has explicitly expressed this would be a non-sexual relationship. But she is taking his class and using his services.
There is clearly an interest in what these men have in knowledge and ability that can “help” her.
She writes poetry to the first guy. (This is used to help her transcend the lustful desires to spiritual higher ways) without acting out physically on them.
I know it sound nuts, but I see it working.
At the same time I’m halfway through your book and many things are resonating with her behavior. So my question is maybe unique — Is she a cheater? All the letters in the book are about actual cheaters, she physically has not cheated.
She asked me to be patient and trust her through this. We have set some boundary agreements, but she won’t show me any of the emails.
I did see a few and a message when I used her computer (she had me listen to to a podcast); she left the browser open.
I have told her I know what going on, and she has acknowledged it. I feel like a chump in many ways.
Mr. Husband of a Poet
Dear Mr. Husband of a Flake,
Is any of this okay with you? The emotional investment in other men? The marriage policing? The batshit crazy poetry-as-cold-shower thing?
I’m thinking it’s not okay, or you wouldn’t be writing me or reading my book.
You do get a vote here. You don’t have to be cool with whatever Ms. Lustful Spiritual Pathway is shimmying her tambourines at today. Not supportive is actually an option.
“We” set boundaries, she reacts with secrecy — what’s your next move? The vagary of “I know what’s going on”? Shrug. Whatever, dude. Me and Guru got a date.
It seems like you might just be on the verge of enforcing a boundary if it weren’t for being stuck neck-deep in spackle.
(Spackle, for the newbies, is the act of slathering filler over unsightly evidence, and spinning excuses.)
Every time sirens go off in your head that Things Don’t Feel Right — you spackle.
my wife “fell” for someone else, three of them led to no sexual or physical intimacy
And you know that, how? And why are you using the language of “falling” in love or infatuation with someone and not the behavior as it affects YOU?
My wife has had four relationships with other men where she behaved secretively, and gave me reasons to distrust her, which led me to believe she was having affairs, although only have proof of emotional affairs.
Sirens a little louder now?
I want you to give up a few mindfucks, Mr.
1.) That your wife is a Great Artist. One of the most pernicious myths in our culture is that artistic greatness equals license to be an asshole. Unfortunately, you can be both things at once — a really great artist AND a flaming asshole. The painter Gauguin abandoned a wife and six children so he could paint Tahitian hotties. I don’t think narcissism gave him better color sense. He was a dick who could paint.
Your wife may or may not possess artistic talent — it doesn’t give her license to treat you like shit.
More often than not, people approximate narcissism for talent. I Am Behaving Like a Total Shitheel, But It’s Just In Service to My Art.
“Art” is the cover. Really, they just want to swan about with self importance, book a couple workshops in Taos, make pet portraits out of driftwood…
Consider that your wife might not be that talented. Except with her double lives. Or that her artistry and “poet” status is really besides the point.
It’s spackle to think you have to accept her shit as part of some Larger Creative Good.
2.) That everything’s okay so long as she didn’t fuck anyone. You don’t know if she did or didn’t. What you know is self-reported from a very unreliable narrator, so my money would be on her fucking around.
But it doesn’t matter — emotional affair, physical affair, she’s treating you like a chump. Promising “boundaries” and then violating those boundaries. Investing all her energies in relationships other men, one of whom professed “his interest.” (In what? Harmonic scales? What do you think?) Do you want an open relationship? Do you feel safe? Or would you prefer to be in a monogamous relationship? If so, stand up for that.
3.) That she’s a prize. She’s a fuckwit, and she’s got you pick-me dancing.
He is a music professor who is miserable in his marriage, and has professed his interest in her.
And you know this… because she told you? Marriage policing is not a good look on anyone. But what’s particularly conceited is that woman who thinks Everyone Wants Her. And tells you about it.
First, you’re her husband. That’s disrespectful and cruel. Second, it’s an invitation to the pick-me dance. Ooh! I must fight off all these suitors! Boy, she really is a charmer. I need to fight to keep such a muse!
Bullshit. She’s a needy cow.
Mr., this whole shit show works for her.
Does it work for you?
I think you know enough about who she is. The question is, what are you going to do about it? You only control you.