I had been with my husband for 17 years and married 11 of those years. I found him emotionally cheating three times before and I chose to continue the relationship not realising I was being gaslighted and manipulated.
I went down the If-I-Just-Fix-This-About-Me path and boy was he good at finding ways to blame me for him choosing to step away from our marriage. The good ol’ “We’re just friends, I am allowed to have friends.” Or the one that sticks with me: “Why should she lose a friend because you don’t feel comfortable? You’re just making it something it isn’t because you are trying to stop me having friends.”
He would take time off work to have “just friends” lunches, but would be angry at me for suggesting we both play hooky and have a date. He would get annoyed and say we can’t afford to do that, I can’t lose my job. He would sneak around to talk to her and message her, delete all interactions so couldn’t see the texts or call logs.
He stopped using social media to connect with her, as I ended up with his log in details due to the first infidelity.
Each time he would minimise it, then saying course I blocked her, and don’t talk to her, she means nothing to me. But them go right back. The list goes on and I could probably fill pages.
The latest one, I don’t know how, but I woke up and said no to his narrative and no to his blaming.
I noticed your book had a lot of discussion surrounding the choices of the cheater committing sexual infidelity, but not so much regarding emotional affairs.
My question is, what is your opinion on emotional affairs? Do you think they are just the same amount of betrayal?
Duped and chumped four times
I don’t have a betrayal scale. This is one of those “How many cheaters can dance on the head of a pin?” questions. There’s only one question — is this relationship acceptable to you?
You keep going down rabbit holes, chasing what you think he’s up to, with phone tracking and his login details. You keep weighing “friend” versus “fuckbuddy” on your own betrayal scale. Oh, friend? Well, then proceed.
Instead of stepping back from this whole clusterfuck and asking yourself, do you WANT a partner who continually steps out on his marriage? Who would rather invest in his “friends” than his partner of 17 years? Do you want to keep eating rejection for breakfast?
Fuckbuddies are furtive. “Emotional affairs” are in your face. Yeah, you’re not as interesting as my co-worker’s texts. Yeah, I’ve got plans Wednesday through Tuesday, that don’t involve you. Yeah, I’d rather spend my disposable income on people who mean nothing to me, versus you, who mean LESS than nothing.
Is that the marriage you want? He’s devaluing you. He gets off on it. He keeps doing it. Whether he dips his wick, well, that adds another layer of abuse, because physical affairs risk a chump’s health. But it’s all abuse, if you ask me, which you did.
You know he is “gaslighting and manipulating” you — isn’t that enough? Do you need more of a reason? You have a partner who will not deal honestly with you, with whom you do not feel safe or trust. Those issues are deal breakers every bit as much as physical betrayal.
I went down the If-I-Just-Fix-This-About-Me path and boy was he good at finding ways to blame me
Where’s his self-improvement? You okay being the only person examining themselves about HIS issues?
“We’re just friends, I am allowed to have friends.”
Sure, he’s allowed whatever he wants. Doesn’t mean you have to stick around for it. He’s not entitled to your continued presence in his life.
“Why should she lose a friend because you don’t feel comfortable?”
Translation: Her feelings are more important than your feelings. Also, he imagines this woman would be just crushed without his friendship. Crushed! (God, the delusions of cake-eaters.) Again, this is more DARVO shit. She’s the victim of your Unwarranted Jealousy.
“You’re just making it something it isn’t because you are trying to stop me having friends.”
More self-pity mindfuckery. If you were dealing with an honest broker (you’re not), you could have a legitimate conversation about together time, and feeling neglected, but recognizing each other’s needs for socializing. But he’s not asking questions about how any of this makes you feel — he’s going on the offensive. Why?
Because he’s not interested in how any of this makes you feel. He does, however, enjoy the power trip of withholding and rejecting you. (And shady is as shady does. Deleting messages? Going back for more, four times that you KNOW of? Secret lunches? Yeah, it’s probably a physical affair.)
I think you should have a long and meaningful conversation with a divorce lawyer. If your husband wonders what’s up, say, “Why should he lose a client because you feel uncomfortable?”
Then serve him.
He’ll have so much more time for his friends.