I’m eternally grateful to my friends for directing me to your site, even though it complicates most of the advice I’ve been hearing about my marriage.
Here’s my situation: I’ve been married to John for 9 years. We have an infant son. About four months ago, John told me he and one of his teammates from softball were developing feelings for each other and had essentially spent the last two weeks in an emotional affair.
Shocked but fighty, I said he could take that moment to choose between her and his family, and if he chose his family, he was going to have to walk the walk.
As part of choosing us, he agreed to immediate and complete no-contact with the OW. He quit the softball team and doesn’t speak with their mutual friends. He gave me all his electronics and agreed to have a professional search his phone so I could see any deleted data. It’s been five months, he’s been strict with the no contact (I hired a PI… not too trusting), and he seems to be deeply reinvesting.
At times, it seems obvious that our marriage has a future. I know no one is perfect, he did confess very early, the phone search seems to confirm a lack of physical intimacy. He’s being really great now.
I think I really can get past the pain if he’s just an idiot who played with fire, let it get out of hand, and had to run back to his real life with his tail between his legs. However, there’s a sticking point. Although electronic records confirm the sexual texting with OW was only happening for about two weeks before D-day, they also show he’d sent this woman non-sexual text messages almost daily for the prior 8 months.
My husband is notorious for never remembering to reply to his friends, and his text ignoring has been a major issue in our marriage. I hate that for those 8 months, I wouldn’t get what time he’d be home for supper, but she’d get funny stories and thoughtful news items.
And then some history: there have been two other times in our marriage where he had friendships with women that made me uncomfortable. In both cases he reassured me and also completely cut off contact with the women in question. I was left doubting if there had been a real issue.
So now, what do I do with someone who has never truly cheated and will demonstrably toss all other women out the window when our marriage is threatened, but who has routinely spent time and energy on emotional *friendships* with women, and whose curiosity: boundary ratio is exhausting for me at best?
Not Too Harsh in Colorado
Don’t you have an infant to be exhausted by? Do you really need to be chasing your husband’s wandering
dick friendships too? (Is there a way to child-proof that? Velcro tethers? Socket-plugs? Monitors?)
Big step back, Colorado. This is a pattern. While purportedly committed to you, he pursues other women. That’s where he invests his time. (And finds more time for softball too!) When busted, he promises to end it. Finds a new Schmoopie. Rinse. Repeat.
Google the abuse cycle. You’re living it.
But, but! Emotional affair!
You’re doing the pick-me dance for your husband’s attention. You’ve temporarily won the turd. Whether he consummates his affairs or not doesn’t lessen the toxic power dynamic here. He “invests” in you. You have deep sunk costs — a marriage and a baby — and he gambles that. Repeatedly. Essentially threatening abandonment and never letting you feel secure in your attachment to him, or his commitment to your shared life.
Enter private investigator, stage right.
Marriage policing is what frightened people do. It’s trying to control the uncontrollable. Trust But Verify is what foreign nations frenemies do to each other. This is fine when we’re dealing with copyright piracy or Soviet spies. It’s not okay between partners.
I’m not snoop judging you — chump’s gotta do what a chump’s gotta do. I’m saying — IS THIS HOW YOU WANT TO LIVE?
Well, obviously NO, Tracy. He’s being “really great” now!
Yeah. How’s that been working for you?
You can invest in his potential to be a grown-up loving partner — and our evidence of that is what? His dick is tethered to a bedpost? Someone took his Twitter away? He’s being nice to you? — or you can invest in yourself.
Examine what ties you to him and if you really need it that bad.
Fact is, this guy’s character is A-okay checking out on his young, vulnerable new-mom wife. That’s a shit stain that is very hard to rinse.
My husband is notorious for never remembering to reply to his friends, and his text ignoring has been a major issue in our marriage.
Red flag. Ignoring texts, dark periods of off the grid — CN, raise your hand if your cheater’s cell phone dropped in the craziest places.
Also, it’s a dynamic of You’re Not the Boss of Me. Lack of accountability is as delightful in friendships as it is in marriages.
agreed to have a professional search his phone so I could see any deleted data
For the phone you know about. This is a very easy work around. Ask a few thousand people here how they know.
YOU’RE SO GLOOMY, CHUMP LADY!
Bad character is what it looks like. You’re asking a unicorn-skeptic if you have a unicorn.
No, I don’t think you do. That’s as un-harsh as I can be.