Back story: This weekend there is an annual convention for a hobby H is very involved in. He always goes to this convention. I have never gone with him, as I don't share this interest with him and I have never really hung out with that group of people - they are really "his friends" and not "our friends", and being that I'm naturally pretty shy this is kind of uncomfortable for me. He has always included our eldest son in this hobby, and has always taken him to this convention.
Last year, H was secretly planning to bring Coworker #1 to this convention, just the two of them. He told our son that he wasn't going to bring him (because he obviously couldn't bring our son on a date with his OW), which caused a HUGE amount of hurt feelings on my son's part and an argument between them. H told me at the time that he just wanted to hang out with his friends for once without having to cart one our kids along, etc etc. I thought it was odd, but I supported him and told him if he needed "guy time" without our son then he should take it. I talked to our son about it, and tried to make him feel better. H ended up cancelling his "date" with Coworker #1 at the last minute and taking our son after all, he says because he realized how odd it would seem to his friends that he had brought this random girl with him and he was afraid it would get back to me. I learned the real story about what had gone on some time later.
Fast forward to now: The convention is this weekend. It is a HUGE trigger point for me. H and I discussed it a couple of weeks ago, and I told him how the prospect of him going made me feel. He said that if it bothered me that much then he wouldn't go. I told him that I didn't want him to miss out on something he looks forward to every year, but I also didn't want to sit home wondering what might really be going on either. We decided to compromise, and agreed that I would go along with my H to the convention. Although I have no interest in this hobby, we have also talked about how it's important for us to try to be more involved in each other's social circles and lives outside of our home, so it seemed like a good idea on several fronts.
Now, this convention runs Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I have to work nights that weekend, so H took Friday off and we planned to go together on Friday. Today he suddenly says, "So do you mind if I go on Saturday with *male friend*?" This seems to me to kind of defeat the point of our compromise. Also, in looking back at his text messages, he made plans with *male friend* a week ago to go to the convention with him on Saturday (AFTER we had our initial discussion) and never mentioned it to me until now.
I got pissed. I told him that I feel like he was being dishonest with me - either he never truly intended to not go without me, or he changed his mind after the fact when he got an invitation and just chose not to mention it to me. I told him that it was meaningful to me that he had said he would give up going this year to protect my feelings, and now I feel somewhat betrayed and misled.
He just keeps saying that he was just hoping I might feel more confident now (since things in our M have been going so well in the last couple of weeks) that he was not trying to meet up with any OW. He is refusing to see that to me, that is NOT really the point. He just keeps saying "If you really don't want me to go, then I just won't." But he is not STATING anymore that he won't go, he's waiting for me to tell him not to.
I feel like it's the same pattern as with the cheating. I TELL him how hurtful something is, and he promises to not do anything to hurt me again. UNTIL the opportunity comes along, then my feelings don't matter so much. I told him this, and he just said he doesn't think it's the same thing at all. I just basically want to tell him to forget about going with me on Friday and go whenever with his friends, I really don't care. I don't WANT to go to this stupid thing to begin with!!! I was putting myself out there to try to strengthen our marriage, and now I feel like his taking me on Friday is just him throwing me a bone so he can go with his friends on Saturday which is what he really wants to do. He knows that means I will be sitting at work on Saturday wondering WTH might really be going on, and he says he doesn't want that, so "If you really don't want me to go I won't." Of course I don't want him to go! How many more times do I have to say how hurtful it is to me! But I am expected to be his mother and tell him what he can and can't do.
Ugh, I am so angry right now. Am I being a looney toon about this?
Too bad he didn't stop to consider the consequences before he chose to have an A right? Well this is a consequence. Buuut... I agree with what you're saying, if you tell him not to go he's doing it to appease you and that may well just piss you off (at least it would me). This is an opportunity for him to do the right thing. To help you heal rather than reopen the wound.
Talk talk talk.
Seems deceitful and manipulative especially how he puts it back on you. He wants you to be the bad guy and tell him he can't go, when he was childish all along. You are his partner not his parent, he needs to be an adult.
I would be ticked.
I'm just feeling really hurt about it. This particular interest of his is something he has used to initiate his relationships with ALL the OWs, so I am really beginning to hate it. Maybe I just attach too much importance to minor things, but I really felt like his voluntarily sacrificing that time with his friends and us going to together instead (even if it was just for the day instead of the whole weekend as he'd like to) was meaningful and symbolic of our new start. I guess I was the only one who felt that way.
I would love it if he would give it up, but I know it will never happen. I won't even go there - that would be a battle I would never win. He has a large amount of his identity wrapped up in it. Thanks for your reply and the hugs.
[This message edited by MylarPineapples at 1:22 AM, January 8th (Wednesday)]
It didn't stop till I threatened to kick him out and instead kick his butt in the basement for 2 months. The only reason he got the privilege to stay in the basement at all was that he promised to do the things I set out. I had spent 3 weeks trying to nice him. It so didn't work.
1. Seek IC on his own, set it up, attend them and grow. Staying static or not putting 100% was unacceptable. I wasn't going to define how he had to grow, just that it couldn't stay the same.
2. Make an appointment for STI testing at our mutual drs - test for everything even though he said it was only kissing. Bring me the test results.
3. He could not enter the bedroom or ensuite bath. That was to be my safe zone and if I needed time away from him that could be where I could go (I have health stuff, so leaving the house isn't usually practical for very long)
4. Had to text a NC letter to her and then keep NC. Even if she responded (oh and boy did she) he couldn't and had to let me know if she ever contacted or saw him.
5. Had to evaluate seriously and figure out why he couldn't respect my boundaries and why he couldn't figure out things without me walking him through them (ie I would be upset by x sort of behaviour. seriously dude, if I can say 'if it was you that was x and me that did that, how would you feel' and you can go 'ohhhhh' why the hell can't you do that on your own??)
6. He had to be accountable and transparent.
If he failed at any of those things, he was out and he damn well knew it. Any of those may be what you want or not - the point is that you need to put your big ol' bitch boots on and let him truly have it if you want change. Otherwise he'll continue to run you over because it's easy and it's worked so far. Make it NOT work.
I've been lucky in that my WH decided that it was time for him to change and dump the FOO issues and entitlement. To date he has been doing the full list (though he has been allowed back in our room now) and has figured a lot out in a short time. He's also been working seriously on healing the relationship he had with the kids, which has been amazing for them and me. I'm watching him talk himself through logic jumps he was unable to do before - like how he was very entitled as the male child and how he's actually passed some of that on to our kids and that he had to stop that crap in it's tracks. I'm now working through feelings of frustration that he didn't do this earlier, because this isn't the first issue we've had - just the first A.
My Opinion: Your husband is being manipulative and he went back on his word -- Both of you had an "agreement" about this Convention and weekend; and he basically LIED....when he made plans with his guy friend behind your back for Saturday!
HE KNOWS THIS....and YOU KNOW THIS!
Now, he wants to put everything on your back with his "whiney, pitiful, little boy act" and make you out to be THE BIG BAD MOMMY who tells him:
"He can't go out and play with his little friends!"
What a crock of crap!
Personally - I'd tell my husband:
"IF YOU GO on Saturday - your belongings will be piled in the middle of the driveway in black trash bags, when your butt comes home!" But that's just me.
I don't allow my husband to manipulate me any longer - those days are long over.
Your husband gave you THE PERFECT CHANCE to do exactly what you really want to do, when he said:
"If you really don't want me to go I won't."
THEN - I'd give some very serious thought to how I was going to convince him he really does want to give up this little hobby of his...IF HE WANTS TO REMAIN MARRIED TO ME!
I can understand being alone; but I hate being with someone and feeling lonely.
1. You and WH agreed to go on Friday only to the convention, since you have to work.
2. He contacted a male friend and made arrangements to go on Saturday, when you would be unable to attend.
3. Later, he "asked" you if it would be okay to go with a friend, making no mention of the fact that he had already put that plan into motion.
This isn't just being insensitive to your feelings. Of course he should realize how upsetting it would be for him to go to this convention. But he LIED. He pretended that he hadn't already made arrangements. There's no such thing as overreacting to a lie at this point (well, I guess stabbing him in the head might be an overreaction). He is supposed to be earning back trust, through openness and honesty. Instead, he tried to fool you again. And then he runs off to the bedroom and won't talk about it? Bull SHIT.
I understand what you're saying about "If you don't want me to go, I won't" crap - he should voluntarily decline to go, to respect your feelings. But since he seems incapable of that, I agree with Dare2Trust: tell him. His reaction will give you more information about what your marriage's future holds. If he cheerfully agrees and drops the subject, there's reason for optimism. If he chooses to get butt-hurt or resentful about it, things look a little bleaker.
Me: WH, 51
Her: BW, 51
D-day: 12/27/2013 (about A that happened 14-15 years ago w/coworker)
I was told to NOT offer my opinion/suggestion/desire. I was to tell him to make the decision that was best for his family/marriage. Period.
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
He told me that as embarrassing as it is to admit, it was actually hard for him to fully figure out what I wanted at first. For 15 years we did it one way and all of a sudden there was a new way.
I asked him to post his thoughts but he was exhausted and has a crazy busy day today so I doubt he will. I'll try to get the gist down instead.
He said he really needed to see me break down to "get it". Every time I really allowed myself to feel and express he learned so much. He says it's not fair to me but that it really truly helped him to understand the depth of pain and despair. When I could freely express (no brave face) it was much easier for him to see which path to take.
It actually doesn't seem at all fair to me but I remind myself that it's a process. We are both learning a new way to "be" in our M.
I hope that made sense.
H and I "talked" (loudly) about this again today. It was incredibly frustrating for me. I told him that for me, the BIG DEAL is not so much him going to the convention itself at this point, it is the fact that I feel betrayed, misled, and disregarded in the way he has handled this whole thing. He said he doesn't feel like he did anything wrong because I never explicitly said, "You are not allowed to go to the convention without me." My response was no I hadn't, but I had told him my feelings about it, and HE had told ME that he was not going to go without me - and that I need to know that I can trust his word and that he will follow through on promises he makes to me. He said that he doesn't feel like not telling me his new plans right away was a lie of omission, that he was just "waiting for best time" to bring it up. He said that in his mind he didn't do anything wrong, because he hadn't *actually* gone without talking to me about it and he could've just cancelled his plans at anytime.
Every time I tried to discuss my feelings or how these issues relate to our M in general, he just kept steering the conversation back to this convention, how important it is to him, and a discussion of can he or can't he go. I felt like he was not addressing anything I was telling him because he was just focused on getting what he wants. When I brought up what I see as the parallels to his behavior when he was pursuing OW, he chastised me for "dredging up everything I've ever done in the past." I got very frustrated and told him to forget about me going on Friday, and that he should decide what he wants to do for himself. The conversation ended with him saying, "So that means I'm not going at all?"
So now he is acting all depressed. I would like to believe he is sad about this coming between us, but I think it's far more likely that he is upset that he didn't get what he wanted. I don't really care to ask him what he's feeling, because I don't care to hear anymore about how important this stupid hobby is to him. After I told him I wasn't going to go, he started going on and on about how he wanted to share this with me so I could have a better understanding of this interest that's so important to him; as he was saying that, all I could think was how nice it was that he wanted to share all of that with his OW last year.
He seems hell bent on making this about his wants/needs and you being the bad guy. To be honest he is very lucky that you haven't told him to shove his stupid hobby up his ass where his head seems to be residing these days!
My H was gym addicted during A time, swore it was all about staying healthy and looking good for ME etc. He had the beginnings of a slippery slope happening there but none of the actual As were involved at all and I still told him how his going made me feel after DD and he's never been back. I'm sure he misses parts of it but he knows what a trigger it is for me and so he doesn't even want to go. Your H needs to really GET that part. He needs to really WANT to help you feel safe and loved and like #1. (sorry if I'm repeating myself, I'm a serial poster today)
p.s. I'm very curious what the hobby is but I'm trying to not be nosy
we've had multiple good conversations about how important it is for us to be totally open and honest with each other
OK...then you need to be 100% honest and let your husband know: You do not want him going to this hobby/convention without you...and he AGREED he would not go without you. SO- him making plans with is friend behind your back WAS deceitful; and you do not want him to go on Saturday.
This man is playing "word games" with you - simply because he wants to get his way; so he can go to the convention with his friend. It's that simple.
I'm enraged on your behalf - because this man is manipulating you BIG TIME!
I got very worked up about it too and, like you thought I was over reacting, and blowing things out of proportion, but I assure you you are not. I spoke to my IC and our MC about it, I wanted it to be him that saw it and got it. I didn't like as gonnabe says being put in a lose lose situation, nor in the position of being his mummy and telling him he couldn't go.
He knows full blooming well your feelings, like mine did. He has a choice to make like mine did. In the end after discussing it a lot with counsellor a x2 I simply said, part of me feels scared to tell you I'm scared about you going, and another part of me wants you to go out and have a nice time. ItS your decision.
I did not make the decision for him. He decided not to go. And didn't sulk about it!. It spoke greatly to me about his consideration for my feelings and my healing.
I also like what gonnabe said and think that it is also a very good way to handle things. Keep the focus on the decisions HE needs to make for the greater good, and not let him squirm out of things and decisions he should be making and not putting on you and behave in the fashion of running away to bed early, and ignoring you.
I've rambled a bit here about my own sitch, I'm trying to give context and just want you to know I SO empathise with your frustration and understand totally you questioning yourself and wondering of your overblowing things, you're not, he is and it's because you are a reasonable kind person that you're questioning yourself, it's a shame he's behaving so immaturely and I considerately (IMO). Hope I haven't overstepped the line here by saying that.
Please keep us posted .
Big hugs and thinking of you
On way of looking at it:
Without infidelity, this would probably be no big deal. With any infidelity, it's could be a small issue - but you'd have to confront it because it could so easily turn into a big deal. With infidelity connected to his hobby and the convention, it's a big deal from the start.
Another way of looking at it:
You discussed it, and...
HE had told ME that he was not going to go without me
It went off your radar, and it should have. He played a giant trick on you with his new decision. That behavior - changing a decision unilaterally - really effs up R.
He said that he doesn't feel like not telling me his new plans right away was a lie of omission....
Wow, I got angry when I read that! A lie is a lie! And, oh, gee - he wraps it around violating a commitment to you. And he doesn't see this as another betrayal?
He sounds like my 4 year old GS. It's very funny on my GS. It's very troubling in an adult who claims to want to R, IMO.
He said he doesn't feel like he did anything wrong because I never explicitly said, "You are not allowed to go to the convention without me."
If he's R'ing to please you, it'll never work - he'll resent you to the max. He needs to commit to R because HE wants R.
He should know that his hobby itself is a slippery slope and act accordingly.
Is this a deal breaker for you? If it is, you could tell him, it's his choice - convention or you.
You mention multiple ows associated with this hobby. Have you considered making dropping this hobby a requirement for R?
Bottom line: I don't think your H is ready for R. He may become ready, but he just doesn't get it yet.
Have you considered doing the 180? Not to manipulate him, but to get you out of his sphere of influence. IMO, there's almost nothing you report that computes out to his being a good candidate for R.
[This message edited by sisoon at 5:52 PM, January 8th (Wednesday)]
This is the frustrating part: He KNOWS I don't want him to go. He always knew this. I have TOLD him that I am not comfortable with him going. In his mind though, there is nothing wrong with trying to manipulate me to try to change that and get what he wants. He doesn't SEE it as manipulation - he sees it as continuing discussion where he can keep trying to come at the issue from different angles until he gets the result he desires. Looking back, he has always done this, and it usually has worked. It is exhausting.
I don't want it to be my job to police his behavior anymore. I don't want every issue to have to come down to me telling him that he is not allowed to do this or do that because it is hurtful to me or our relationship. I am sick and tired of me telling him that something hurts me and upsets me and getting the response, "Soooo.... Can I still do it though?"
Sisoon, your post really got me thinking. Honestly, I am not ready to D over this convention so I am not going to threaten that. However, you bring up some really good points about R. While I have felt like we have been making great progress and he's been doing a lot of work, I now realize that he's been doing everything I have ASKED him to do (reading, Retrouvaille program, establishing NC for the most part - he still works occasionally with one OW) but he hasn't actually initiated any of it himself. It makes me wonder if he does the things I ask him to do because it makes him feel good - makes him feel like he is being a good husband, and alleviates some of his guilt. I wonder if he is doing these things when we're in our little bubble at home together because it feels good to him, and he gets positive strokes from me for it, and not because he truly believes deep down that there is a problem that he wants to solve.
Things for me to think about...