I'm fairly new here. DD was July 2013 of a PA that went on for most of 2012. After a couple months of TTs, MC and IC I discovered 3 other PAs and additional online encounters. Two PAs were still going on until the day in July I was told about the one that was over already (guess it was easier to tell me about the one that had already ended first, but he did email the others later that night to say he wanted to end it and focus on his family). I asked him to move out for a few days in Oct when he was still refusing to stop lying, so I could get my head straight and in that time got a lot of information from the OW (they were all married as well and knew he was). He finally came around, realized that he wasn't protecting me by lying and we have been in R ever since. He has been nothing short of amazing, transparent and remorseful in that time which has helped a ton, but I am dealing with PTSD as well as the typical rollercoaster.
One of my biggest struggles still however is that these PAs were not about sex for him, in fact he had performance issues with them many times because he wasn't attracted to them. They were all much older and he felt the sex was a chore to get what he was really addicted to, which was validation. He has extremely low self esteem, had some undiagnosed issues prior to this and his IC has told him this was a way of punishing himself because he felt unworthy. He purposely chose people he wasn't attracted to - women who messaged him and were attractive or younger were too good for him in his eyes and he refused to meet them in person. I have a hard time understanding how he was so willing to risk everything that made him happy (he has never denied we have a loving and passionate marriage still) for people he didn't even like to be around, and who weren't even offering him 'fun and adventurous' sex (ie if the emotional wasn't there I just assumed the physical must be) He really can't tell me what they had to offer him, it was just 'all bad' in his eyes...yet he did it time and again and he's not denying that...I know that may sound weird and I am thankful he didn't care about them or that this wasn't a sex addiction, but it also made me feel like his boundaries were so frail that literally anyone could break them, even people he wasn't attracted to or enjoyed the company of, if that makes any sense.
The IC has been very supportive on my end, and he has seen 3 different ones who have all felt the same things about what this was for him. But they have also been 'hard on me' in that they feel I should be thankful that he never cared for these people and wasn't even attracted to them or ever in the 'fog'. I realize all that, but the bottom line is he still had PA with these people, whether he enjoyed it or not and I'm not willing to just downplay that like a fool...he still did this..the As still existed regardless of why. The grass is always greener no matter what the situation and there's a part of me that wishes it was younger women he was attracted to, so at least it felt 'worth it' in some way to him at the time...I wish it didn't feel like he just prostituted himself to whoever was willing to be an enabler for his disease. His IC feels I should be over it by now or at least able to move on happily knowing how much he loves me and never wanted this secret life he was leading, but I'm less hung up on the wanting it part then the fact that it just happened...I actually told her once "can I not just be upset and feel betrayed that this happened, even if it's because he was ill?".
Has anyone else been in this type of situation where WH was not attracted to or interested in the OW in any way and basically used them? I'm sure SA affairs are very similar, but his addiction wasn't the sex. I feel bad complaining when I know so many are going through much worse situations, but I also feel like there is no one who understands ours and it's been very frustrating. It's ruined my relationship with MIL because she attacked me when she realized his IC was focused on his upbringing and childhood, so she lashed out on me instead saying I caused the As and was an abusive wife (not once I have talked down to that man and he has no relationship with MIL at the time because of those accusations)...easier to point the finger at me I guess. Just feeling alone eve in reading the books or browsing through the forums...am I the only one who's WH wasn't even attracted to the OW?
I for one wouldnít find any comfort in knowing my spouse cheated with someone they didnít fall for per se. Several reasons for this:
First of all Ė itís generally acknowledged here on SI that infidelity happens because two people are open to cheating. Has relatively little (if anything) to do with how the other person looks or his/her personality or whatever. This is probably why so few infidelity-based relationships last. So yes Ė your WH didnít select them for their looks, he selected them for their availability.
Second: If he decided to cheat with any random person irrespective of how they emotionally charged him heís basically saying he risked everything for a very low price.
I wouldn't feel so alone really. I'm not certain where the idea came from that As were about love or lust, but mostly they're about attention for a broken, needy WS.
That said, I'm not sure where all of these ICs are 'hard on you' and think that because he wasn't in some fog (not sure I'd buy that completely) that you should be overjoyed. Your WH did what most WHs did - found someone(s) that would shower them with attention and adoration and give them a nice ego boost.
Why does your WH keep changing ICs, and are they the ones telling you this insight, or is this him relaying what happened during his appointments?
No A is good. Whatever the reason, a betrayal is a betrayal. You were betrayed multiple times. That's pretty bad. Based on you saying that 'others have it much worse', I think you might be downplaying this. This is why I ask if you're getting the IC comments from your WH. If so, you are probably getting the pieces he wants you to get to justify his behaviors. That's really standard too.
EDIT: What is his illness? I'm really confused if the As are being blamed on an illness that isn't SA.
[This message edited by painfulpast at 12:47 PM, April 3rd (Thursday)]
I'm asking a similar question as BIGGER:
Are you getting your information from your WH's 3 Counselors - OR, is your WH "telling your what his Counselors SAID?"
Personally, this is my opinion: -- If you're being TOLD all this information by your LONG-TERM-CHEATING-HUSBAND:
---I'd probably discount a lot of his denial that he wasn't attracted to HIS OTHER WOMEN. That makes little, or no sense to me.
--I'd also discount his denial that his affair weren't about sex-- OTHERWISE: Why didn't he simply keep the affairs on the level of EMOTIONAL AFFAIRS, rather than allowing the affairs to evolve into Sexual Affair.
Many, many people engage in Emotional Affairs, that never evolve into engaging in sexual encounters.
If your WH is being honest -- and he did engage in several Sexual Affairs with women who truly disgusted him; simply because they "validated him in other ways" and because they were "simply available"....
I suggest the following to you:
-- You have a long, hard road to Marriage
Reconciliation ahead of you...especially if your WH continues to change Counselors; and does not find a Counselor he likes, and trusts...and STICKS TO ONE COUNSELOR to help him with his many issues!
---I hope you are seeing your OWN Individual Therapist to help you with your struggles - since your say your are dealing with PTSD.
---In reference to your other post: I hope you can come to terms with your turmoil over these OWs your husband cheated with. Eventually the goal should be --That your feelings towards these WOMEN is "indifference"....not revenge.
Edited to add:
We were posting at the same time.
You explained that your WH's Counselor had permission to reveal WH's information to you from their sessions.
SO: It appears to me... your WH choose these AFFAIR OW; because these Women were easily manipulated, and used by him.
AND - He was attracted to WHAT HE COULD GET OUT OF THEM!
To answer your question:
NO - I haven't been in your situation. My WH claimed "to love" the women he had his secret 2 year affair with; and he claim to highly enjoy his adulterous sex with her.
[This message edited by Dare2Trust at 1:05 PM, April 3rd (Thursday)]
I can understand being alone; but I hate being with someone and feeling lonely.
"Oh, why do my actions have consequences?" ~ Homer Simpson
"She knew my one weakness: That I'm weak!" ~ Homer Simpson
Has anyone else been in this type of situation where WH was not attracted to or interested in the OW in any way and basically used them?
FWH's AP was categorically unattractive. I'm not saying this out of spite - it's more baffling than anything. She was rude, mean, a felon, and looked like someone had hit her in the face with a hot sack of nickels. When his coworkers found out, they were astonished.
It's always about what's going on inside the WS in the end. I can completely vouch for a PA having little or nothing to do with what the AP looks like. Unfortunately.
[This message edited by Jrazz at 1:25 PM, April 4th (Friday)]
I just question if anyone else has been through similar
Again, most of us have. Affairs are about attention, not sex. This isn't unique. My H had an EA, because it was safe. He didn't want sex, he wanted attention, so he found someone far away. That way, there was no chance of sex. Sure, they'd plan to meet in this city or that, and she even went, but he didn't.
I think your scenario is much more like most than you want to admit, or are aware of. Affairs aren't about getting sex, or the best looking person. They are about getting attention.
...sometimes the thing that's so attractive about the AP is that they are:
1) Interested in the WS. This feeds the self-esteem monster.
2) Available...meaning they bare willing to have sex with a married person. Again, sometimes the breaking of those taboos makes the WS feel more desirable because the AP is having to overcome social hurdles in order to 'want' the WS. Again, feeds the self-esteem monster.
3) Reassuring. They usually tell the WS whatever they want to hear about the good or bad of the affair...this goes both ways though, as the WS is usually returning the favor. They help to justify.
You'll notice that I didn't mention looks in there once. You ever heard that expression "A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2"?. When the brain is in a chemically-altered state, physical attractiveness becomes relative to other traits.
"Now I know that's contradiction, wants and needs in competition/But it's hard to stay on point with such extremes in opposition."
Regarding the IC telling you that you should find comfort in that is a little crazy. ALL As are hurtful.
[This message edited by Jovie at 1:24 PM, April 3rd (Thursday)]
What he didn't realise was she was playing the same game.
For me it's a double edged sword. I am grateful he didn't really want to be with her or love her BUT then you have the fact he could betray me just to get his kicks with anyone who was interested and 'good enough'.
[This message edited by olwen at 2:04 PM, April 3rd (Thursday)]
I would be worried about the comments by your WH about why he cannot tell you what they had to offer him. This is what he needs to be addressing in IC with a skilled IC, that specializes in addressing infidelity and infidelity related issues. If he has been in IC since July 2013 and if you are not seeing any progress, I would be worried.
I realize that the As don't have to be physically attractive...I wasnt' implying that they do. But when there's no chemistry and you can't keep it up for them - is that normal??? He literally prostituted himself to grandmothers, so I'm sorry but whether they were physically attractive or not is not the issue so much as the fact that he couldn't even stay sexually aroused by them, yet he went back for more. I understand it was about validation and attention, I understand that he could have just kept that part online ...oh how I wish he had! That part is where I feel I relate to others and our situation is not so out there, he wanted reassurance, self esteem and validation as many do. These people did pursue him to meet in person and he did make the stupid move to agree to it - he made that choice, no one forced him to. I still do not feel he was 'attracted' to them - we're just using the same term to represent different things...yes he was drawn to being bad, to keeping secrets, to becoming someone he wasn't in his real life, but he was not attracted to these people specifically...they could have been anyone and to him if he was attracted to them it was a deal breaker.
Perhaps I worded what I'm feeling and after incorrectly, but I'm not concerned about his IC, nor looking for diagnosis of what this was about for him or if I should stay or go...those parts I get and I'm confident in knowing exactly what this was, even if I don't understand why. But is there anyone else who finds themselves wishing their spouse was at least attracted to the OW to make it 'worth' the risks? It just really feels more wasteful knowing that he didn't want to spend time with these people, didn't enjoy them sexually or even emotionally, and that basically they were nothing to him, yet he did it anyways. Like I said grass is always greener, and I know this logic is probably not healthy for me, but it just feels so much more wasteful knowing that even in the time he didn't 'enjoy' any of this or have any 'benefits'...this was his dark side, this was his rock bottom, I get that but it's so frustrating to feel like he wasted everything and he can't even say it was for a reason like 'she understood me', I was attracted to her, I felt like I was validated...no, it's I hated myself and I did it anyways because it was easier than killing myself.
JRazz - completely agree, this was what was going on within him and IC is trying to get to the bottom of that
Jovie - thank you, your words have reassured me that these As can occur when the attraction just isn't there...I believe him on that, but some of would have me believing I'm a fool for trusting that, so I do appreciate the insight as another WS.
meplusfour - he has provided insight, and the IC is getting to the bottom of it, but he is 'kicking himself' in the sense that he feels like logically he just doesn't understand what drew him to do these things when even at the time he was disgusted with himself and them...he very much says it was something to do with becoming the low person he felt he was inside. I agree that if IC isn't working it's time to switch, I don't care if it's 3 or 10 as long as he finds the right fit to get healing...I would hate for him to stay with 1 IC...if he had, the first guy told him men should have sex 3-5x a week and if he's not getting it, demand it and if he's still not, then he's validated to get it elsewhere...OIY
My husband is a sex addict. Acted out for YEARS. And yet, the times he actually had intercourse with his two PA women, women that he had engaged in long-term EAs with, (really better characterized as extended flirtations) was FIVE. He screwed "only" two women five times during a 20+ year time period. And he had lots of opportunity. It really isn't always about sex. When I asked him why he took it to that level, he said they expected it.
They were attractive women. But not good people. When I said this to him, he commented, "do you think I was looking for GOOD people?" He, too, suffered from low self esteem, these people served to validate a persona that he invented to keep himself from severe depression. It doesn't stick.
You are in the early stages of trying to process this. Read what we have written. Sit on it a bit. Eventually you will be able to internalize it and understand it better. And live with it. Not forget, but accept what happened.
And if that IC is really saying that you should, in ANY WAY feel "good" about any of this, well, he/she has obviously never been in our shoes.
His IC is not IMO the best he could get (I adore mine), but we are trying to keep consistency and not switch yet again. Thankfully after their appointment yesterday she referred him to psychiatrist to get to the bottom of the personal issues she believes this stems from so at least it will be an additional perspective.
He wasn't attracted to her for sex, but he had sex with her to feel validated? How can a man feel validated, good about himself, etc, by a woman so gross he really doesn't want to have sex with her? That same woman somehow is an ago boost just by making herself sexually available? The woman who is so ugly he doesn't want?
This is a lie that doesn't even make logical sense.
And if he was cruising sex sites and "turning down pretty girls" (and how can you confirm this?) for ugly ones and telling himself he had a psychological reason I think he is still delusional. 99% of the pretty girls on hookup sites are just cam girls, escorts, scam sites etc trying to divert traffic to their pages. Attractive young females don't need to troll the internet trying to give away free sex.
Also, OP have any of your therapists actually said to your face that you should feel lucky? I would find that shocking. Also I think being an IC to one person and then MC to the couple is no bueno. I've been seeing the same therapist for a year, love him, and I would never even consider asking him to be MC if that situation ever came up (not married just hypothetical). It would be a disaster for our relationship as therapist-patient and just not worth it.
I hate to be so blunt and this isn't directed at the OP or any one person but when he was with his mistress he was talking so much shit about his wife that you don't even want to know. So was he lying then about how he feels about you? Or is he lying now about how he feels about her?