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Enforcing boundaries

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theansweris42 posted 11/2/2013 21:47 PM

About 12 weeks past DDay. My boyfriend and I have been trying to reconcile. About 8 weeks ago, he came up with a "Recovery Plan" that he and I discussed and he promised to adhere to. On it was pretty basic stuff, access to his email, personal stuff, promises to work on our intimacy/sex, etc.

Then about 6 weeks ago, I wrote him a list of "my boundaries" complete with consequences. The boundaries were pretty basic (no contact with OW, no more new female friends, let me know where you'll be and when you'll be home). The list was basically a list of "complete dealbreakers" where I told him that if he broke any of these rules, it would severely stall our attempts to reconcile, and it would show me that he doesn't care, etc.

In the past two weeks, two "small" things have happened where he "broke" one of my boundaries.

In the first case, he was at an event (I can verify that he was there -- We use Life 360 and he was at the place where he was supposed to be). He told me that he'd be finished by 9pm. Well, 9pm rolled around and I didn't hear from him... Then at around 10:15pm he finally texted me to tell me that the event had just finished.

When he got home, I wanted to calmly tell him that I didn't appreciate that he broke my boundary, but I wound up having a panic attack because all the bad memories of him coming home late with no explanation last year came flooding back.

He said he didn't think it was such a big deal because I knew where he was.

He apologised after I had my meltdown and promised to change his behaviour. I believe him.

This morning, I went to check his work mobile (routine check to convince myself that I'm not an idiot for trying to trust him again) and he had changed his password. I immediately asked him for the new password and he told it to me, saying that the password expires every 60 days because it's his work mobile. I checked the phone and there was nothing suspicious, but I'm still annoyed that he changed the password and didn't tell me. It was on his "recovery plan" that he would continue to be open and honest with me, but didn't bother to tell me when he changed his password. He kind of got uppity this morning and said "I had no idea you were checking my work mobile" and kind of made me feel like a jealous freak of nature.

In both of these situations, I don't think that he was engaging in any sketchy behaviour, but I'm just annoyed that he isn't considerate enough to think about my current fragile state (him being an hour late, even though I know where he is is still torture for me, and him changing his password immediately makes me think that he's up to some sketchy shit, even though he wasn't).

I've asked him again today to please be considerate and think about me when he does things. He seems annoyed because he doesn't view these things as a big deal (in his mind, he wasn't up to anything bad, so he can't see why I'm getting so upset).

How do I "enforce" these boundaries when they are such "small" violations of what I had requested? I can understand his point of view, but at the same time, I wish he could see that these small violations cause me a lot of unnecessary distress.

sisoon posted 11/3/2013 13:25 PM

Many years ago I used to panic if my W was late - and I couldn't check, because it was long before cell phones were available.

It turns out I suffered from a fear of abandonment from my childhood, a classic FOO issue. I resolved it in IC. I have no idea if you have this sort of issue, too, but it's pretty common.

Any fear of abandonment is exacerbated by D-Day, when BSes learn we really have been abandoned. Even if we didn't fear it before, D-Day teaches us to fear abandonment in the future. I don't think WSes really get this.

At the same time, I can easily see your BF forgetting to tell you the first time he's is forced to change his p'word, and I can almost see a long delay in informing you of the new ETA, if he gets really involved in what he's doing. IMO, it's not a clear cut decision.

But if it's clear cut for you, so be it. The only person you need to satisfy here is yourself, and that 1:15 delay in texting you is problematic for me.

IMO, the facts you relate could justify another chance, and they also justify ending your relationship. For me, if I saw a good future, I'm likely to count these lapses as 2 strikes. If this is just a continuation of disrespectful behavior without improvement, I'd end it - but only you can decide for yourself.

theansweris42 posted 11/3/2013 21:02 PM

Thanks, sisoon.

Yesterday, again something happened -- he's given me full access to his electronic devices and yesterday in his iPad history showed about 10 searches of "topless beaches" and "nudist beaches."

Part of the commitment deal was that he was going to give up porn (he admitted to having a problem with porn -- was masturbating to porn every morning just like brushing his teeth), and that if he faltered in any way, he would be open and honest with me. After seeing the history, I asked him at dinner if he had anything to tell me. He said no.

I confronted him.

His excuses were "I saw something about topless beaches on TV, so I wanted to search it" and "I only agreed to give up watching porn movies. That's what we agreed to."

That he can't see that "I promise to give up porn" implicitly states that he isn't just giving up porn movies, and that he can't see that "I will be completely honest with you if I do in any situation", but then fails to tell me about his internet searches clearly yielding pornographic results (one of the results was a hardcore porn video site that he said popped up, but that he didn't click on it) when he knows that I have access to his stuff completely boggles my mind.

Why wouldn't he just tell me about it when it happened instead of sticking his head in the sand?

I said, the conversation could've gone like this:

"Hey, TIA42, I saw this show on nude beaches last night. Blah blah, have you ever been? Anyway, I did some searching online about it, so please don't worry if you see anything troublesome in my history. In fact, let me show you now."

Instead, I found it myself, overreacted, and wound up screaming at him about making promises he doesn't intend to keep.

I'm at my wit's end right now.

theansweris42 posted 11/3/2013 21:02 PM

Double post. Oops.

[This message edited by theansweris42 at 9:02 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

trynhard posted 11/4/2013 18:24 PM


I think you have a problem. His sexuality sounds like everyday. Is this a mismatch for you?

These are my thoughts on your choices...

You can join him in his sexuality...daily perhaps to lead his focus away from porn and to you.

You can accept his porn.

You can fight him like you are today... control him, force him..

Or.. Find a new BF.

Perhaps you can find a man who knows how to value you enough to work on attracting you to want to have more sex.

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