How do you define cheating or an affair?
My BH and I were together in a monogamous relationship for 8 years before we were married and we were young. During that time, he was often depressed and flirted with girls to make himself feel better. He would flaunt this in front of me at times, especially through college.
A few of these girls he had even been more risky with, two he "made out" with (one the night before her wedding), one he "touched" once (originally telling me he had "fingered" her and then recanted that story a couple years later saying it was only "feeling her up" through her jeans), and several were just inappropriate situations that were close to the fire but never quite in it. He shared a bed on a trip in college with a girl who kept trying to get him to have sex with her; he talked dirty on the phone to one. I had one indiscretion during those 8 years, phone sex with a guy friend in college. And that's one too many.
So during our discussions about my A, when he gets mad and says "I have always been faithful", I can't help but get mad too. And if I try to point out that he wasn't always "faithful" he blows up completely. The other night he said "that's it, I'm sick of this s#!&. I want a divorce." He didn't mean it and said it in anger, but he will not at all see that he has a pattern of skirting just close enough to the line, but not crossing it.
My A was 12 years ago, nearly 2 years into our M (last 2 1/2 mos) and since then I've been completely NC w/AP and have not so much as hinted sexually towards another man. But a few years ago, my H had a very sexually explicit conversation with an old female friend (the one he "fingered"...no wait, I'm sorry...just touched through jeans) who he had reconnected with. When I confronted him about it he also confessed to an inappropriate relationship with another girl he worked with that he said had already ended. He said that they had been very flirty and somewhat sexual in their conversations. They would see each other at the gym and he had had a "crush" on her.
Now if those two girls are mentioned he says "don't even try to compare those two to what you did. I didn't F@#$ someone else!!" And he now says that neither of those two girls would have happened if it hadn't been for my A. He says he has had low self-esteem ever since we had our issues back then (12 yrs ago he suspected something, confronted me, I lied about it, ended it and completely hid it away until 1 month ago).
So I'm finding our discussions completely unproductive unless I allow him to just berate me or cry or whatever he feels like doing and I say nothing unless it's "I'm sorry" or just cry too. I'm trying to be patient. I know what I did was horrible and I lied about it on top of it. Should I just "take it" for now?
Is it wrong that I consider what he did when we were dating to have been cheating? And to consider what he did after my A to be cheating too? Maybe not on the same level. I told him I'm not trying to compare and I fully understand that what I did was on a bigger scale. But for him to say he's been completely faithful like he's always worn a halo and I'm some she-devil temptress who is just so horny and broken that I can't control myself is not fair either. I guess nothing is fair in this situation, right?
And here's my other concern: we are "separated" according to him. But we are still living in the same house, eating together, watching tv together, etc. We just have separate bedrooms, he is not wearing his ring (I'm wearing his ring for him I said until he decides if he is ready to wear it again) and are not being intimate. But he is talking to at least two girls that I know of (and guess who one of them is? yep, old jean fingers herself). Pattern?
Thanks for your input. I'm a big girl...I can take it.
If he is intentionally flirty in front of you, that sounds like someone who likes/wants to be in control. Power is everything (just my opinion). So, he may say that his actions were not during the marriage. Or, he never had actual sex, there was no orgasm, etc. Sounds like he wants to justify his actions by comparing them to yours.
Cheating is anything that you do behind your spouses back. Could be financial, emotional, or physical. Or, it could be something that makes your spouse feel uncomfortable; unsafe. Men going to a strip club, looking at port, etc. Women flirting with men, going to chipendales.
Im sure others wil come along to share their opinions and experiences. In the top left corne there is the healing library tab that has lots of helpful information.
"You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions, not his memory." - Kuato in Total Recall
What he did was totally not appropriate. But my suggestion would be to sort of separate the incidents in your conversations/arguments. I don't think it will be productive to throw it back in his face when he's expressing anger toward you. I think I would try to discuss in a calm setting that you are hurt by his actions too and try to agree to discuss each A individually.
Have you discussed if you are working toward repairing your M? IMO, If he wants to fix things with you, he needs to stop contact with other girls. If he wants to be separated, you should stop hanging out together while you're both home.
It is counterintuitive really... the less we defend our well-being, the more well we feel. ~ Nancy Colier
With your husbands (and your) history, however, I would recommend setting very strict guidelines, and avoid situations with the other sex when you're not both together.
You need to focus on yourselves and your marriage and how to make it better.
But in terms of "what is cheating"
It's what you decide it to be. My BS never had a problem with harmless flirting, but after my A I wont flirt because now I define my flirting as cheating for myself.
Find your limits together, and enforce them.
Best of luck.
"The truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable."
Cheating is whatever YOU and your husband define it to be.
"Look, as sentient meat, however illusory our identities are, we craft those identities by making value judgments. Everybody judges, all the time. Now, you got a problem with that, you’re living wrong."
[This message edited by SlowUptake at 12:57 AM, January 9th (Thursday)]
"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." Pythagoras
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Jovie, I knew about his indiscretions during our dating relationship. A few of them came out early on because he wanted to make me jealous. We had sex shortly after we started dating and several months later he confessed to me that he had been a virgin and I was his first and only one. We were teenagers (me, 17 and he, 19) and had been close friends for nearly five years. I was not a virgin. I'd slept with a former boyfriend. This really bothered my H, BF at the time. He held it against me for several years often making me think he was going to do something with other girls or at least showing me that he could.
So I knew about this cheating and would end up forgiving him because I felt like a "slut" who'd given up my virginity to the wrong guy. And that's part of my problem now. I have always forgiven him, at least verbally. But I held on to the pain for a long, long time. And 18 months into our marriage when he started withholding sex from me to get what he wanted sexually (by this point he wanted "wild sex") and was writing in his journal about how I was boring, he was no longer attracted to me, he loved me but I wasn't the woman he thought he married, it just hurt so bad and the camel had enough straw. And that's when I had the A.
Now he doesn't want to discuss any of that. The bottom line is: I f$&@!ed someone else and he has always been faithful. Jovie is right, for now I'm just trying to be quiet and hope that we can get to a point where he is willing to discuss his actions and accept what he has done as well and we can try to move forward. I'm just very worried about his current activities, but right now I am trying to not intervene.
Again, thanks for your responses.