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Question: how WS explains erratic behavior to family

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SpotlessMind posted 1/22/2014 18:27 PM

So, if you were or are attempting R, would you be okay with your WS explaining weird, cheating behavior to his family as "marital issues?"

His family separately contacted him to let him know how concerned they were by his strange behavior during his visit last summer (I was not there--it was related to him constantly checking cell phone/driving all over in an attempt to have sex.) They also had concerns about how tired he looked over our visit at X-Mas (related to a cheating-related fight.)

He's telling them it's because of "marital difficulties" and I am really upset and hurt, bc I feel like he's throwing me under the bus.

But maybe I'm being too sensitive? Help?

[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 9:24 AM, January 23rd (Thursday)]

unfound posted 1/22/2014 18:46 PM

I would not be okay with that.

If you dn't want these people knowing your business, that's understandable, but there's a way to explain it without blaming the M.

scarednbroken posted 1/22/2014 19:12 PM

Actually I would also have a problem with this. It makes it sound like you are part of the problem. When it is all him. Not you. My WS blames me for all his stress. All his behaviors. As a result his family thinks I'm the bitch. I derserve no sympathy when I feel tired or crappy bc of dealing with our marital issues. Bc I have been covering for him for years. It's tiring. Exhausting work to cover all the time. Even tho you are in R the two of you need to agree on something to say that lays the blame at his feet so you can feel at ease.

solus sto posted 1/22/2014 19:16 PM

I would have a HUGE problem with this. It's blameshifting at very best.

He wasn't checking his phone and incessantly texting because of "marital issues."

He was having an affair--and that's ALL on him.

Not the marriage.


And if he were not to come clean with his family, and FAST, this would be of deal-breaking proportions to me.

And I don't say that lightly.

Skan posted 1/22/2014 19:48 PM

Blaming you via "marriage problems" while he's still f-ing around is pure bull. I'd set them straight.

Way too soon after DDay, my FWH and I had to go to his sister's to help settle his mother's estate. I cried most of the time I was there, went for walks by myself, actually hid a lot of the time, because it was Too Damned Soon and I was walking around with my skin hanging off. His family was really concerned for me and mind you, these were people who were crying too because they were going through their dead mother's things! He told them that he had hurt me very badly and that my pain was all his fault and to please go lightly on me. And they did. His eldest sister figured out what had happened and has been in my corner since.

Had he said anything other than what he did, had he blamed my actions on "martial problems" or anything other than being all his fault, I would have outed him to all of them instantly. At the dinner table. Because that would have been him throwing me under the bus and there was no way in hell that THAT was going to happen.

So no, IMO, you are not being sensitive. You're seeing things very clearly.

SpotlessMind posted 1/22/2014 19:54 PM

Thank you all so much for your responses. At least now I don't feel so crazy for taking this so personally.

I do feel like it's a case of him not taking responsibility for his actions. I understand him maybe not wanting to give details, but all I wanted was a "hey, I made some bad choices that affected our marriage, and we're working on them."

Skan, your WH's response made me cry. How perfect. I would give anything for my husband to "get it" enough to have said something like that. :(

[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 7:55 PM, January 22nd (Wednesday)]

SpotlessMind posted 1/22/2014 20:03 PM

(Oh, and to be clear--he's not still effing around now. At least, I don't think he is. I believe he hasn't since DDay. But he was trying to during his July visit...and during December visit, he looked haggard related to more TT and an affair-related fight.)

Dare2Trust posted 1/22/2014 21:26 PM


My Opinion: It time for your husband to be HONEST with his family about what's going on -- and this doesn't mean he's required to share any "affair details." But he does need to explain EXACTLY what's causing his "strange, erratic behaviors"....other than some blanket statement like: "marital issues" -- which does give some indication that YOU ARE AT FAULT.

He can give his family as simply statement like:
"I engaged in an affair, which has ended... WIFE and I are successfully working things out. We don't choose to discuss any details at this time; and we would appreciate your support."

If your family is not aware of the affair: I believe they should be told too.
It's not your place to "hide your husband's dirty little secrets"...He needs to be accountable for his own affair behaviors/choices.

I'd also suggests: Your husband needs to STOP threatening to "out-disclose" any of your short-comings to your family. That's mean-spirited, and abusive behavior on his part.

Ostrich80 posted 1/23/2014 02:17 AM

I would not be ok with his explanation. Marital issues...due to his infidelity. He's leaving a very important part out, the part where he is 100% responsible for. I'm sure he would like his family to think otherwise but that's not the truth.

SpotlessMind posted 1/23/2014 11:19 AM

Thanks, Dare2Trust and Ostrich.

I agree. I am not okay with him telling his family that we are just having "marital issues." Though I struggle a little with thinking that's me intruding on his family relations? I don't know.

Some background: When we visited in Dec, I caught him in a lie regarding the circumstances in which he rented a hotel room to have sex while out there in July. He claimed it didn't change any of the sexual details, but it triggered me to start digging again, and when I started asking SIL questions about his timeline back then and she said, "you don't think he was cheating, do you?" I broke down sobbing. Since at that point she knew, I then talked to her more, bc at that time I needed the support, and when WH found out he got really angry. That was the second time he threatened to disclose a bunch of unrelated and personal things, but to his family. (He's done that three times) The intense anger came as a shock, bc before we went, he'd originally offered to tell his entire family all about the As, and I said I wasn't sure i wanted that yet. Now, based on his extreme response, I wonder if he really would have gone through with it.

I understand his desire to handle his family himself. I actually regretted telling SIL, and swore her to secrecy (which ugh, also feels wrong of me, too). But at the same time, I don't think I can change that it's a deal breaker for me if he won't take the responsibility, somehow.

We have talked and I think what it comes down to is maybe unresolved anger issues on his part, prior to the As. Which baffles and saddens me, bc he's told me many times how he was also to blame, and how he wishes he'd talked to me, and how he wasn't as unhappy as he thought.

So, is that even fixable? And if he's still angry about that stuff, does that mean he felt/feels entitled to the affairs?

It's so disheartening, bc I feel like if that's true, it not only means that he sometimes blames me for 100% of marriage issues pre-A, but also blames me in part for the As. And I know that reconciliation is impossible under those conditions.

Dare--I pointed out his use of threats as a way to control when he's angry, and he's going to an emergency IC meeting today to discuss.

[This message edited by SpotlessMind at 11:21 AM, January 23rd (Thursday)]

Dare2Trust posted 1/23/2014 12:12 PM


Being unhappy does not entitle anyone to have an affair...regardless of "the degree of unhappiness."

And any "Blame-shifting" is totally unacceptable.

If your husband truly wants this marriage to heal, and reconcile: HE MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE and accept full responsibility for HIS CHOICE TO ENGAGE IN ADULTEROUS BEHAVIORS/ACTIONS.
It's really that simple.
And that includes -- NOT shifting any blame onto you, period. Especially with his family!

Again: The answer to your question in my opinion is:
NO, it is not OK for your husband to explain his weird behaviors to his family as "marital issues" if this gives his family the IMPRESSION that you (the wife) is the problem!

It's really time for your husband to "man up" and accept responsibility for his own behaviors/actions -- and stop blaming you.

steadfast1973 posted 1/23/2014 16:04 PM

Our families don't really care enough to worry. Our friends, though, have asked. He just "we're going through some stuff". They have an idea, judging by the wife wanting a girls' date to talk about "stuff" without kids around. I also know that they went the same "stuff" about a year ago...

SpotlessMind posted 1/24/2014 10:39 AM

(((Steadfast))). I'm sorry to hear about your families.

Both of our families are dysfunctional in different ways, but you're right--it's still nice that they care enough to check in.

So, we both went to our own counseling yesterday and wow, so helpful. Basically it boils down to us getting caught up in crappy and damaging fight patterns regarding these things.

Also, husband does have some unresolved anger issues from pre-A, but it's not just directed at me, and is a result of him following years of FOO patterns, where he was taught that you don't talk about feelings and pretend things are ok while you stew inside. Until things had been bottled up for too long, when his dad would finally explode.

Compounding the issue were my FOO problems. Since my mom always blamed everyone else for every little thing that didn't go as planned, I have an intense need to defend myself from anything I see as unfair blame. This played into my freak out over his family's possible interpretation of things . Also, both of my parents have zero skills in managing frustration tolerance.

The ridiculous thing is that ultimately, he is fine with my suggestion. We basically had a damaging, debilitating fight over nothing---which is scary. It's scary to think we both love each other and are both committed to R, but can both escalate an argument so much that we are left feeling hopeless and damaged.

Both our therapists gave us ideas and tools for walking away next time, when anger first starts to surge. Hoping we can learn and grow from this!

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