I came in the room and walked over to the computer, which is how I discovered who he was writing to. The message was very generic and also mentioned myself and my friend's wife, so that we were included. It seemed very innocent...and yet he knows that I am not cool with his contacting his exes (which he had done with another ex months ago before I found out about the affair), and earlier that day he had just reassured me after I had been triggered by something else and was quite upset. He assured me, comforted me, and all was good.
I don't know how to set healthy limits, or what they might be, or what do to now. I certainly let him know calmly that I was upset by what he was doing, and he actually canceled the e-mail. Then we talked about it upstairs. I said it wasn't even about jealousy at this point, it was about his pushing my boundaries. I asked him why he did that? He said he was feeling so happy from our evening, he just wanted to be expansive about that and share it with others. Just so happens the person he wants to share with is an ex. Hmmm...
So after an initial angry outburst, for which he apologized quickly, we talked about it. I was planning on sleeping in the other room, but he apologized and asked me to stay, so I did. However I just feel sort of numb right now. I thought I had been clear that *any* friendly contact with women, let alone an ex, was off-limits. Is this unreasonable?
I don't know - what is a healthy limit in terms of e-mailing, facebook, etc.? How do you define these limits?
me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”
My H had terrible boundaries (obvious now but I had NO clue) and it's taken months for us to work out what feels right for me and for him too. He was resistant at first, not because he wanted to continue wayward behaviours but because he didn't see the relationship between poor boundaries and As. Truly, he felt he was being "nice" to these women and that because he wasn't sexually attracted to them, he could safely interact. It caused a lot of stress between us but talking, talking, talking and more talking was the "cure". It sounds like your H is the same?
As I said before, it's a process, it's a path, I wish I could say that my H gets it ALL now but at 7 months out I would say that he has come a very long way but there are bound to be more bumps in the road. I will say that H is feeling so much more secure and happy with the new boundaries.
I think you and your H dealt with it very well. You talked, you explained why you were hurt and how it made you feel unsafe, he listened and hopefully truly understood.
p.s. we have basically gone to a "no personal emails to members of the opposite gender" plan and he left FB, he has LinkedIn still but I have his account on my phone too, so I can look at it whenever I want to. H feels much better about it.
Before I felt safe with him having more contact with women, but of course that led to his doing things I was not be comfortable with in his relationships with some of them. He is in IC and I think it is going to take a long time for him to fix the reason why he does this in the first place. He has some deep personality problems. But in the meantime, there seem to be these boundary issues. Mainly it is him being inconsiderate or insensitive of my comfort level when he is very aware of my concerns. If I make a rule, he usually finds a way to push my boundaries in some other way.
I feel kind of stumped about how to establish boundaries, though I have said I do not want him to pursue friendships with women at all.
Then we'd go to MC, reiterate the convo in front of her, and suddenly the lightbulb would go off. He may have some kind of conversational filter with you on top of not being able to express good boundaries. Maybe an objective 3rd party perspective would help cement things?
That may seem extreme, but that is my bottom line now. And amazingly, it has not ruined his life. He is somehow able to maintain working relationships and casual friendships without 24/7 private electronic communication, just like we did before we all had cell phones and Facebook. This has meant that he occasionally receives a private message on Facebook from a female acquaintance, and he simply doesn't respond. Maybe they think he is rude, but I don't care. And apparently he has decided he cares more about staying married to me than he does in cultivating friendships with random female acquaintances.
At this point in my marriage, there is NO WAY I would be okay with my H exchanging messages with an ex, so I don't think you are being unreasonable. I know I used to have NO limits for that type of thing and just trusted my H implicitly, but that hasn't worked so well for us!
ETA: I will add that I don't think my H would have ever agreed to this boundary before our last DDay and before he read "Not Just Friends." That book has done wonders for him understanding his own behavior and how crappy boundaries lead to destroyed marriages.
[This message edited by MylarPineapples at 5:28 AM, January 2nd (Thursday)]
I'll echo Jrazz and MP - discuss this with your H and agree on a measurable boundary. If you can't agree on the boundary, maybe R isn't possible now/yet. It may be necessary to use an MC session or 2 to get the importance of adhering to agreements across.
I'm glad you are going to read the book - it has really been eye opening for both my H and I. I think you should ask your H to read it too. If he's not a big reader, it's also available on audio.