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does casual sex ruin/ help progress in healing?

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cinnamongurl posted 3/28/2013 06:19 AM

BSO says he doesn't think we can heal together unless he has casual sex with other women. He says its unfair that I got to do it and not him. He says he should have done it a long time ago, then he would be happier now. This tears me to pieces! I mean, he's right. It is unfair to him that I was the one who went outside of the relationship and now he's expected to forgive something he can't understand? But the idea of it makes me sick to my stomach. I don't know of I can go through it, but I also don't want to hinder any progress or potential progress he may make.

He's been very angry and depressed lately, as we approach my first dday. I hate to see him so upset, and I need him to know I'd do anything for him. As long as it helps him to heal.

Has this worked for anyone? On either side of it? As the BS did having sex with someone else help you regain a little confidence in yourself? And WS, did this help your BS understand better what you did? Did it help to bring you together? Is this a fair way to be able to see each other more realistically and be able to move on?

I'm just trying yo work through this whole process and I don't want to set back any work that has already been done by us together. I'd really appreciate input from all sides of this.

tryingmybest2011 posted 3/28/2013 06:36 AM

Um, no. This idea flitted briefly through my mind in the early stages of the infidelity tornado. A childish reaction - one of many - part of my protest to the injustice of it all. "Well, he did, so I get to."

No, I don't get to. And when thinking clearly, or at least out of the storm, I don't want to.

Him having casual sex will not speed his healing. It will not put you on a level playing field. It will not treat his depression. It will not fix any problem you have in your relationship, or within himself.

Did it for you?

If he wants to address his healing, he'll need to go through the same process we all do, BS and WH alike. A steady and honest look in the mirror. His thought process around this issue, from your post, is a faulty one.

Nuh-uh. I would not accept this as part of a solution. If he wants to have casual sex with other women, that isn't something that should be part of your relationship. I can't think of much that would be more un-related to the health of a relationship than having sex/seeking affirmation outside of it.

OK - long way to go for a loaf of bread. In short, NO!

EmotionalFool posted 3/28/2013 06:38 AM

errrrrrrrr.. NO!!!!!!

If he cant deal with it, you guys should take a break. I had this crazy idea that if I let CL have another physical relationship that will strike a balance. (Those crazy days right after Dday).

I am so thankful and happy that he did not go ahead with it.

Basically I was asking him to scarifice his morals and integrity. After all he has been through I wouldnt want him to inflict this self disgust, guilt and that crawling feeling under the skin on himself. Its just not worth it.

If he really wants to experience another relationship .. let him go!!!

I know how hard it is to even think of this option. ((CG))

[This message edited by EmotionalFool at 6:39 AM, March 28th (Thursday)]

sadone29 posted 3/28/2013 09:08 AM

Hell no! That will only cause more pain. WH was the one to suggest I do that. There's no way I'd suddenly let go of my values just to even things up. For me, it would do the opposite of giving me confidence.

wildbananas posted 3/28/2013 09:15 AM

Hell no... if anything, it would just add another layer of muck you guys have to slog through. Things would become that much more complicated.

Bad, bad idea...

Aubrie posted 3/28/2013 09:57 AM

Here's the problem with that "logic". The BS feels it's unfair and the WS "deserves" to feel that kind of betrayal as well. That they can't possibly start to heal till they are "even".

One problem with that...when is it ever even? And who decides when it is? See, each person is individual. That means that each person's level of hurt and betrayal is different too. Some can heal from an EA but not PA, and vice versa. Some things are dealbreakers to some and not others.

So is his plan to sleep with other woman as many times as you were with OM in an attempt to make you feel his pain? What if he does but develops "feelings" and it goes into not just PA but EA territory? What if you can't handle the betrayal of not just a PA but an EA as well? Then what? Are you a hypocrite because you aren't willing to work it out since you started the whole mess to begin with?

See, it's just this crapstorm of crazy. You're throwing blows back and forth in an effort to make the other feel worse or make things "even" or whatever. That never works.

I need him to know I'd do anything for him. As long as it helps him to heal.

Be sure your guilt for your own actions don't cloud your vision of what is right. You are "allowed" to have boundaries, dealbreakers, and respect as well. kwim?

Some people call me a hypocrite because I say I couldn't handle the same betrayal I dished my husband. I don't think it's hypocrisy, but boundaries. I'm "allowed" to have those, despite my past. I'm nobody's whipping boy. That path of degradation and "I'm gonna make you suffer" can take people to really dark, dark places. Beware.

uncertainone posted 3/28/2013 10:36 AM

He says its unfair that I got to do it and not him. He says he should have done it a long time ago, then he would be happier now

How? How would him fucking someone else make him happier? Does it erase what you did to him? Does it laser target that pain YOU caused him somehow making it vanish? Nope. It gives him a chance to inflict pain and maybe that's what he wants. So now you have a choice.

Unfair...Christ, when do we leave the nursery school playground and actually read the rules? There is no fair. There's life. You get "shit that happens to you, for 200 alex" "shit people do to you" "shit you do to yourself". Everyone does. It's how "you" handle that neat little grouping that is who "you" are.

For some of us that have graced this forum we understand all to well what betrayal, pain from others, "unfair" treatment looks like. At some point we failed the final jeopardy question epically. For some of us that hurt far more than anything anyone else ever did or could think about doing.

If he wants to join that group (and it sounds by his thinking he's well on his way) we'd welcome him and help him heal just like we have everyone that has thought they were entitled, justified, so very different, never could ever consider have been here. Oh, and the fact he's being "honest" about it? Won't help him, unless he wouldn't give a shit any way. I can absolutely guarantee that!

So again, you have a choice. If he makes that choice do you wrap your shame and guilt around you and hunker down in "deservesville" or do you make healthy choices this time?

numb&dumb posted 3/28/2013 10:57 AM

Short answer is no.

This is a common thought process that most BS ponder.

The pain, unfairness (It is much deeper than that, but that is the best label I can come up with now) and the feelings and "missing out," are common. I have had them myself. My W even suggested to give me a pass. I didn't take her up on it and told her that I would need to D first. That stopped the offer.

Your BSO is working through some very bad thoughts. It is important on how this gets approached by you. While drawing boundaries for yourself is a good thing, the fact that he told you about it leads me to believe that he is acting from a place of deep pain. He has not come to terms with the unfairness of this. It is in part trying to get you to empathize with him. He believes making you a BSO will help you understand.

I got some really good advice from another BH when I was working through the unfairness parts of the new M.

It did not go away overnight, but it helped me understand that what I really needed was to restore the balance or equity to the M.

You have to find a way to reintroduce that equity into the relationship. From his perspective he feels it is "unfair," that there were different rules for each of you. Had he known these rule at the time, he may have taken advantage. Hindsight is always 20/20.

As he has got this far and not acted on these impulses tells me it is not something he really wants to do. Desperation is a very dangerous place.

I would clearly explain that this is not something you would be comfortable with, but you can't stop him. If he does do this you would have determine at that time if you wanted to try and reconcile. Provided he doesn't tune you out I would discuss what can you do, outside of a free pass, to help him feel that some sense of equality is restored to the relationship.

Share your pain, remorse and how hard it is for you to change what made going outside this relationship a choice that was acceptable to you. Approach it with gentle humility. If he is not receptive, you may have to wait for a moment when the anger has been processed.

At the end of the day he needs to be able to be comfortable with who he is. Becoming somebody he is not shows that he let this process take something very important away from him. While he thinks it will "fix" things, based on feedback from some MH I have read, it doesn't even come close.

IC (if he isn't already) can help him. Detaching from your relationship might be a good thing for him to do as well. Letting go of the outcome is an important step and detaching (with a gifted professional) can lead him there.

PS- If he is receptive to hearing you, write him a letter he can read when he is the right mind. He can refer back to it when he gets these thoughts. My W did for me and it still helps me to read it.

He is looking to restore balance to the relationship. Explore ways outside of the current proposal that can give him that feeling until he is in a healthier and more accepting place. Show him your remorse, pain and how you have to live with yourself everyday knowing what pain you caused in him. Words are harder for him to believe, letters, actions may be the only thing he will respond to at this time. You know him better than I do, so tailor it to him.

Good luck. Sorry for the length, just trying to pay things forward for you and your BF.

KBeguile posted 3/28/2013 11:39 AM

Others have posted more well-spoken and -thought-out answers, but here's my Short & Sweet version:

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

"You don't throw gasoline on a fire."

And I know the counterexample is "what's good for the goose is good for the gander," but the underlying presupposition to that one is that the behavior needs to be something equitable. This, despite outward appearances to the contrary, is NOT an equitable, sustainable balance.

6number posted 3/28/2013 14:37 PM

I don't agree with the idea of a revenge affair because I don't believe in the idea of an affair to begin with. To me, there is never a reason to cheat.

One of the things I take some small measure of solace in is that I've never broken my vows. I'll never have to tell my kids or my family that I cheated. Perhaps that might also help your spouse.

It doesn't make up for the anguish, sleepless nights, self doubt and the rest of the baggage but it's something to hold on to.

Edit - I'm sorry. I just realized your not married. I don't think it's a good idea.

[This message edited by 6number at 2:39 PM, March 28th (Thursday)]

6number posted 3/28/2013 14:47 PM

To Aubrie,
You're betrayed husband can't cheat because you claim to be nobody's whipping boy? You're saying the betrayed are whipping boys? I've never thought of myself like that but I suppose there's some truth to it. Still, it seems a bit harsh.

[This message edited by 6number at 2:49 PM, March 28th (Thursday)]

JanaGreen posted 3/28/2013 14:58 PM

6number, I think the difference between an affair and a revenge affair comes into play with the "whipping boy" thing. The motivations behind an affair generally (as far as I know, anyway) aren't to punish the BS (although sadly that's the end result), whereas the whole point of an RA is to inflict punishment/pain on the spouse.

6number posted 3/28/2013 15:27 PM

Good point Jana. I guess another way to look at it, again I don't agree with it, is that it's simply an eye for an eye. From that archaic perspective, what's wrong with a revenge affair? There is some logic (warped logic in my view) behind it.

I wonder if some waywards don't breath a silent sigh of relief once they discover that their betrayed have also fallen. My wife never suggested that I cheat but from what I've read, some waywards do offer it. It's crazy but let's face it, once we're in this club we're living in crazy town.

IForgiveHer posted 3/28/2013 15:32 PM

[This message edited by IForgiveHer at 5:02 PM, August 21st (Wednesday)]

RemoursefulGirl posted 3/28/2013 15:32 PM

No way! My Bh had 2 revenge affairs within a month after my DD. All it did was help him see what else is out there and how much fun "casual sex" is. Sure, it helped him gain confidence but its a risky thing to do.

Aubrie posted 3/28/2013 15:33 PM

You're betrayed husband can't cheat because you claim to be nobody's whipping boy? You're saying the betrayed are whipping boys? I've never thought of myself like that but I suppose there's some truth to it. Still, it seems a bit harsh.

6number, that is not how I meant it at all.

I've seen some WS put up with all kinds of crap and abuse from a BS because "they deserved it". So, because I cheat, I have to put up with abuse, degradation, and "revenge" affairs from my husband? When is enough, enough? When does a BS say, "Ok, I've beaten you enough. I forgive you now. OK, I've screwed around on you enough, we're even. I've called you horrible names and thrown stuff at you enough. We can move forward now."?

I came to SI looking for help to become healthy. I needed a map. The wonderful people here gave me that. Part of healing is instilling boundaries. What a person will/will not put up with. What is healthy, what is not. I was abused in my past. Today, I know what abuse looks like. I will not put myself in a situation to be abused again. Even if it's at the hands of my husband.

Is my husband "within his rights" to treat me like pond scum because I cheated? If he thinks he has that right, cool. But I also have the right to say, "Ya know. I'm becoming healthy. What you are doing to me isn't. I don't have to take your abuse. I will face your anger. But I will not face abuse and degradation." That is a boundary.

There are WS that get caught in the shame spiral. "I deserve this. I hurt them so bad and they just can't help their pain." Sooo...what happens if the WS ends up a bloody, dead mess in the floor because the BS was releasing their anger because they are "within their rights"? Or the BS gives their WS an STD because they had a revenge affair or 10?

If my husband decides that I need to be "punished", we're at a crossroads. There is a difference between consequences and punishments. kwim?

I didn't have my affair with the mindset, "I'm gonna make my BS hurt so bad, it'll make his head spin." Never one time was he a thought. It was all about what I could get out of the A. Sadly, my husband was collateral damage.

Personally, (and my husband agrees with this as well) I think it takes a different level of anger/hate/cruelty for a BS (who knows the pain of betrayal) to say, "I'm gonna make your life a hell just like mine is. Then we'll be even." I don't know that I could fix a relationship with someone who intentionally went in to kill my soul.

All just my opinion and I don't mean to hurt or offend anyone.

[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 3:39 PM, March 28th (Thursday)]

sosorryididthis posted 3/28/2013 15:41 PM


[This message edited by sosorryididthis at 5:43 PM, July 22nd (Monday)]

uncertainone posted 3/28/2013 15:51 PM

I wonder if some waywards don't breath a silent sigh of relief once they discover that their betrayed have also fallen

Not if they love them. Who would want anyone they cared about to feel guilt and shame? Breathe a sigh of relief? Far from it. Now, it's fun shit like "ok, we talk about the horrible shit and fall out of your choices from 4-5 and my choices from 6-7"...unless, of course evening the score is the only goal in which case stay tuned for pain because "my pain" will always be worse than "your pain" and what I did was sooooo six Taylor Swift break up songs ago.

cdnmommy posted 3/28/2013 16:02 PM

I think if a wayward is breathing a sigh of relief over becoming a Madhatter, that is a sign they have some work to do.

Cinnamongurl, there is no way his cheating will do anything to help you "heal together". If you were splitting, I can see dating someone new helping him move on (maybe) but there is NO progress to be made together if he takes this route.

Has he read anything on SI? Many BSs have considered this, and some have done it with or without their WS's blessing, and I have never seen it help.

JanaGreen posted 3/28/2013 16:05 PM

I want my husband to understand how I feel. That doesn't mean I want him to feel it himself. KWIM?

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