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Serial Deceivers

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KatyDo posted 2/17/2014 11:48 AM

I wasn't sure what to call this post. I've been reading some books and articles and there seems to be a distinction made between those who have a one-time mistake, and those who continue lying, deceiving, and cheating over many years.

According to my WH he has never had a PA, but did have the 2-year EA. Also he would be overly interested in women all along the way, setting up lunches, dinners, and other ways to create more intimate situations. He would always say that he was "just friends" with these people, and it was sometimes true. However, he also found people with shaky personal boundaries, those looking to flirt with something more.

Right when we met I said I hated both cheating and flirting. At times I can't believe that's just who I ended up with. I also wonder why he still wants to be a different kind of person, when the other way he was came so naturally. With DDay he decided he wanted to change and is in intensive IC. But why not have an open marriage, or whatever he wants, and stop torturing me with the idea that he could act like a married man? Then I could get on with my life without him instead of being on this roller coaster of a relationship.

I think some of it comes down to charm, his way of seeming to be what I need at the time. And I've read about the betrayal bond - it's harder to leave someone who hurts you and then makes it better. You actually really believe the person is getting better each time and that your struggle has been worthwhile.

Anyone have any advice for dealing with serial deceivers?

Lionne posted 2/17/2014 11:56 AM

It stops when you say it does. While I detest conversations that blame the victim, the fact remains that we sometimes allow people to treat us badly. We fall into a trap of saying, "well, it's not as though he slept with her" " he always come home" "he's such a good dad" We make excuses for his bad behavior.

Have you read Codependent No More? Not Just Friend? Both books may provide you with insight and strength.

You need IC to figure out why you are putting up with less than you deserve.

cl131716 posted 2/17/2014 12:09 PM

I don't really have any advice but I can relate to what you are going through. My WH has never had a PA (that I know of) but he's had quite a bit of inappropriate behavior and "friends". He's also been emotionally abusive. I KNOW codependency was my issue and why I put up with it for so long. I never put my foot down. I am still sort of in limbo only because I just started to stand up for myself and decided there are certain behaviors I will NOT tolerate any longer. He's also promised to change and in so many ways seems better. It's easy to take the "trying" as a sign of change and sort of excuse everything. One thing we had a huge issue with was jealousy on his part. I catered to him for so long by always reassuring him I was faithful. I changed many behaviors and constantly walked on eggshells. I finally brought the issue up to him and it was one of those things he was working on. Instead of accusing me he started telling me how he "felt". Same result, just a different tactic. I have finally said ENOUGH and last Friday I put my foot down. I told him I would no longer stand for it and he needed to keep those thoughts to himself unless there is actual evidence of me doing anything. I will no longer be his punching bag. All those thoughts stem from his bad behavior that he is projecting on to me. It's not fair. Since I made it a deal breaker, he hasn't even suggested I may be unfaithful. Imagine that. Point is, he was getting away with treating me that way because I was ALLOWING it.

[This message edited by cl131716 at 12:10 PM, February 17th (Monday)]

blakesteele posted 2/17/2014 12:29 PM

I feel your pain KatyDo...I really do.

Gently.....the term serial deceiver has some weight to he was actively doing this.

wonder why he still wants to be a different kind of person, when the other way he was came so naturally.

and this

I think some of it comes down to charm, his way of seeming to be what I need at the time.

My thoughts on this are that he, unless he is a deranged, is not fully aware of his actions. Yes he was aware of his choices....but if he is like many WS he has learned to ignore his own feelings.

He still HAS those feelings...and they still influence him....but since he has coped with life by ignoring them he is unaware of factors at play within him.

I get the serial deceiver term in the context that he has for a while now done certain things. Just caution you for assuming the wrong motivator.....maybe its not that it is natural to him so much as has become comfortable to him. Nuance I know...but comfort levels can change a lot easier than natural character traits.

Also, outward appearances can and usually are deceiving. Some of the most outwardly confident people are the most inwardly insecure folks.

Your husband most likely learned this deception, learned to play a role when most of us did....during our formative years. FOO coping mechs are born then.

The big question for a BS is.....can my fWS change to become more aware of their feelings in time to prove to BS a level of commitment they were not capable of before their A. A level that would have prevented their A in the first place, and a level that will prevent future affairs. In your specific case, can your husband look into the WHY he is flirtatious....and can he change his ways to establish boundaries and address what ever he is coping with so that external validation is not a key for him to handle life as an adult.

Coping mechs have their place....when we are kids we simply lack the emotional maturity to handle certain parts of we find ways to mask our hurt and pain. Kicker is, as adults, these get in the way of honest, mature interactions and intimacy.


ladies_first posted 2/17/2014 15:15 PM

But why not have an open marriage, or whatever he wants, and stop torturing myself. with the idea that he could act like a married man?

Do you want to lower your expectations? Or do you want the pain to stop?

KatyDo posted 2/17/2014 16:08 PM

I would say I started shifting my approach in the past couple of years - away from the codependent model, and toward greater expectations and importantly consequences for him. I would let my anger and upset show rather than make things easy for him by "getting over" things quickly and being the good soldier pushing forward at all odds.

In the past I'd certainly made efforts to stand up for myself - agreements, discussions, insisting on marital therapy etc etc. More and more it became about just setting my personal limits - with a consequence, such as leaving the room, the house, wherever we were. It had an impact, but not as much as his own decision to change at DDay. Prior to that (though I didn't know it) he was just placating me with no intention of changing. So he would find a new way to violate the spirit of whatever agreement we had come to so painstakingly. In between we would have loving, fun times, so it was easy to think we were gradually improving.

Blake I really appreciate your insights into my WH's behaviour. He has done a lot of "stuffing" his feelings, and having them come out in all the wrong directions. I too, wonder what motivates his flirtatious behaviour, and I hope it's something he can work out in IC. I believe he has an enmeshed relationship with his mother for starters, and is always looking for some kind of validation and approval from women.

I do know he is much more receptive to listening to me once I do raise a complaint, and he is trying proactively to be a better person after his decision to change. Before he would actually get angry with me for feeling upset - not a winning combination lol.

As for the open marriage thing, I was trying to say (since open marriage is not for me) that if I knew that's what he wanted I could leave and make a clean break instead of feeling toyed with through the years.

If anyone else wants to weigh in, I'd be glad of the insights.

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