It was our staff Christmas party on the weekend (my wife and I own half the business but she doesn't work in the business). Before going I can honestly say I had the thought that I would love a martini before dinner, but I know my wife can't drink a whole drink to herself so I thought I would share something she would enjoy. I also know that drinking in general makes her uncomfortable even though we often enjoy a glass of wine together while cooking and over dinner. She was also going to be our DD for the evening. When she said she would stick to wine I took this as an invitation to have my martini, despite the fact that there was a little voice inside me saying no. That is bad. That is old thinking. That is wayward thinking. I feel terrible for saying it but the honesty in it is freeing as well.
At one point I got up to speak with some of my staff. When I went to sit next to my wife again someone had taken my chair and was speaking with her. I looked around and saw one of my female staff sitting at a table looking a little uncomfortable as the people directly across from her were leaving. I decided to sit down and chat with her to make her feel more comfortable (Knight in shining armor?). Another female employee who works in the same department as the first one then joined us and we chatted for a while. I ordered a scotch at some point (yes I had a scotch too!!), and for some reason asked the first woman to try it and tell me what she thought. (Wrong on so many levels). I think I was looking for an "ew how can you drink that?" Trying to impress? But not in a way that is sexual as I am not attracted to her in anyway. Trying to be the cool boss? In thinking on it now how inappropriate for a boss to ask that of an employee under any circumstance.
Anyway my wife was scared to tell me all of this as in the past my response would have been defensiveness. But I get it. I really get it and feel like I have been getting it for sometime. The scary part is that my behavior that night sure as hell doesn't reflect that. I have not behaved in a way that allows her to feel safe and that makes me sad and upset. My poor wife, behavior like that must make her question every interaction I have every single day. She can't be with me every minute so how do I help her to feel safe. I obviously need help with listening to the voice that says what I should do rather than what I want to do and boundaries.
You said you understand your wife's points. What points?
behavior like that must make her question every interaction I have every single day
You assume she "must," or she told you she does?
Anyway my wife was scared to tell me all of this
Tell you what?
Your inner voice is trying to talk to you -- stop drowning it out for the whim of the moment. Couple that ignoring with alcohol, and you could find yourself in a pickle again. Plus, it just isn't trustworthy behavior.
You titled this post "Just talking" To be honest that sounds as hollow to me as saying "we're just friends"
From what I'm reading, the problem isn't the alcohol:
1. There's what seems to be a lack of respect for your wife's pain/wishes. You drank knowing she finds it uncomfortable when you drink. You talked socially, probably (?) flirtateously with not just one, but two women and you did this in front of your wife, in front of everyone. I wonder how humiliated she felt? Yes, she may well question what you're like when she's not there, if that's how you behave in front of her. My WH did something similar to me, before DDay. The memory of it will never leave me. You did these things with part of you knowing it would pain your wife, but you did them anyway. Why?
2. The way you write it, seems as if you felt you had little choice in it all, especially when you found your seat was taken.. You had plenty of choice, lots of small choices. For example, you could have grabbed a chair from another table, or just stood next to your wife until the other person got the message, or said (with a smile) excuse me, I'd like sit down"...and probably a whole lot of other options. Why, when you saw your wife talking to someone else, was your first reaction to go and talk to a lone woman?
3. The whole asking the woman to taste the whisky screams 'flirting' to me. Flirting isn't always about sexual attraction, often it can be about validation. But that flirty need for validation is dangerous. I'm sure most of the WS on here would tell you that. It's playing with fire. But you deny flirting?
4. In fact, a lot of your post seems to be a kind of denial of intent. Do you have a problem admitting to yourself that you are the person who cheats? That you are the person who flirts with someone else in front of your wife? Do you find it difficult to have people think badly of you...and do you find it difficult to even admit your stuff ups to yourself? Maybe something to explore in IC?
5. You say your wife is scared to talk to you about this stuff? Why? Is she scared you will leave? Or explode at her? Something else? Not being able to talk to you and call you on your behaviour is a huge issue, not just her issue, yours too. Well, it is if you really want to R and work on the M together,rather than rugsweeping.
I'm sorry if that all seems a bit harsh. I don't want to put your back up, but I would say that if you feel yourself reacting strongly to something, it's a good idea to dig deep and work out why.
I wish you well
[This message edited by Softcentre at 12:57 AM, December 18th (Wednesday)]
Took a while, but I like the me I am, without him.
"Until God opens the next do
Not what I meant! I meant I was just talking on this forum, not that I was "just talking" to those women. I am learning that accuracy in what you say and what you mean is so important
Next time take that chair and move it over next to your wife. She was talking to someone else? After you move the chair, reach over and take her hand. That is a Knight in Shining Armor :)
Thank you Softcentre. Very good questions and very insightful. Hard to read at first, but that is old wayward me rearing his ugly head. Discussed your questions in IC yesterday and it was great. To answer your question, yes I do have a hard time with people thinking badly of me. Something I am/need to work on. Thanks again for your insight.
I'd like to say something that my IC said to me the week after she'd said some hard things:
"Really well done for facing those things and coming back here."
I hope that doesn't sound patronising? But you're doing that hard work and it's good to see. This from one (despite being a BS) who knows how hard it is to face our shadows
And if sharing drinks is something you and your wife normally do, then it would be doubly hurtful to see you doing it with someone else.
It's good that you're looking at things from her perspective now. That's great.