So many people think online cheating isn't cheating because the OP isn't "real." There may not have been actual physical contact. But the emotional connection, the obsession, the deception...it's all painful regardless of the lack of actual sex. It's still pulling your energy from your marriage and giving it to your OP. It's still giving more of yourself to your OP than your spouse. It's still wrong.
In my heart, I will always consider it cheating. I can't help it. His serious emotional connection to this latest woman (and flirting with countless other women) ripped my soul out.
Ho hum. I'm sad again.
Better off I sparkle on my own ~ Anna Nalick
I was going to say, and I'm not sure I'm going to manage it well, that I think cyber-cheating is kind of the gold standard of cheating. In no other form do we see the core of cheating--all cheating--for what it is:
An artificial fantasy world, created, controlled and nurtured by a person with huge emotional defects, ostensibly for their satisfaction but ultimately to their detriment and the detriment of those who truly matter.
I remember sitting at the computer chatting with OM wondering what he looked like at that moment, what he was doing, etc, and in the back of my mind I knew that it was all fake but I silenced that voice of reason. Bleh.
"There would be no grand absolution, only forgiveness meted out in these precious sips. It would well up from his heart in spoonfuls, and he would feed it to me. And it would be enough."
My husband travelled 4 days a week - and all of this apparently started during that period. He lined people up in advance of whatever location he would be at - just for that one night stand. (The number of men/women available for this type of relationship floors me)
While I searched his computer for more information on what he as doing - I discovered unbelievably graphic IM and e-mails to - (I do not kid) 100s of women or men/women couples. I found videos of him jacking off - pictures of him nude.
What shocks me more than anything - is that he was the most straightlaced person I have ever known. Friends call him Pastor. He was so honest and respectful - and I know that all of you feel this way - but I would have never believed he was capable of these things. Even now, knowing the things I do, I find it hard to believe.
The other thing that hurts unbelievably - was that it WAS done while I was in the room, sitting next to him, not just when he was out of town.
He has been going to counseling for about a year -and I do think it is helping him - he is trying to figure out why he chose this world rather than chosing to communicate with those close to him. I think I want to try to reconcile - we have to daughters and I want to try to see if its possible to not upset their lives.
He had lost his job and then took this traveling job and its like he just cracked.
The problem - am I being terribly naive? I just can't believe that somehow I am not responsbile for this behavior. That I should have known about all of this. And that it will all happen again the next time his ego takes a major blow. My self esteem is at an unbelievable low.
What is it that makes someone turn to the IM/Chat environment to connect and become so intimately involved with total strangers? He actually seemed to have two lives. And to believe that there is nothing wrong. To be able to compartmentalize this behavior.
I ramble - I'm sorry. Am interested in anyone's opinions. Thanks for listening.
I got married in 2000 to my now ex-husband. Before we had gotten married he had a PA with a very good friend of mine (he was off with her while I was at home planning her bachelorette party, nice) but after a few months apart we got past it and got married a few years later. In February of 2002 I came home early one day and got the mail (he usually got home before me) and opened the phone bill. I saw at least two pages worth of 800 numbers. No charge for them so thinking that we were still getting 'billed' for phone internet I called one of the numbers. I was greeted with the answering machine for 'Backdoor to the Manhole'. It was a gay phone sex line where they work it so it's charged directly to your credit card rather than the phone bill.
Of course I was crushed. I am not bi and was not ok that my ex-H was either. But, we went into therapy to try and work things out. We were doing well, or so I thought.
I went away on a business trip in September and when I got home I logged onto my computer. I started to type in a website of a contact I met; the website started with a 'A'. As my Ex wasn't really savy with computers and didn't know to clear the history what site do you think came up? Yep, AFF. He was still logged in too and I got to read his advertisment looking for 'Men, Women and Couples for Discreet relationships' as well as all the email disscussions with the people that responded to these ads.
I ended it that night.
Fast forward to October of last year. I had moved across country after my divorce from my Ex and started over. I met a wonderful man and was scheduled to marry him in November. Life was great. I went into his office while he was in the bathroom to get an envelope to mail something. He practically errupted from the bathroom when he realized that I was in his room and stood in front of the computer screen and started talking very fast.
Of course, my warning bells went off. After some arguing he showed me that he was indeed cybering with someone. What made it worse is that he was pretending to be the woman.
I lost my mind. I was set to marry this man in just over 2 weeks. He knew all about what happened with my first husband and how much this sort of thing would bother me. He told me that because of a former sexually abusive relationship where his GF would withold sex from him for various reasons he would get online and use this as a way to feel powerful. He said that he was in no way attracted to men nor was he emotionally involved with anyone but me.
We worked it out with therapy and counceling and anti-depressants. He had been feeling very stressed, depressed and did this to decompress. The time right before the wedding was indeed hellish; we were so strapped for cash, trying to do a million things and having quite a big problem with my family. I did end up marrying him and so far we've been ok. He has a *very* high sex drive; I cannot keep up with him. I always am afraid though if I say 'no' that he will go on the computer and that makes me even less interested in saying 'yes' if you know what I mean. We have had some 'bumps' post marriage where I got upset due to him speaking with women he works with or goes to school with but he was always quick to show me their conversations. He works mostly with women and has to be availible via phone and IM due to the nature of his job. But still.
I still get uncomfortable when he is in his office on the computer. He leaves the door open now but when I go in there and if I sense even the slightest uncomfortableness I freak out.
I don't know if I will ever be able to trust anyone on the computer; I have no reason to. I just don't know how I can be sure he's not doing it anymore. I thought about the keylogger thing but he is a techie type guy and most likely would know if there was something new on his computer.
[This message edited by PleaseNotAgain at 2:02 PM, April 27th (Friday)]
What a nightmare!
It is devastating enough to be married once to an online addict, but to go through it with another man...omg!
Keep posting, here and in JFO or General!
Your feelings of discomfort are to be expected in light of what has happened to you!
Is your current husband working hard to be an open book for you? If he is, then installing a keylogger would not be a problem for him, since it would make you more comfortable, unless of course he is able to hack it and keep information from you.
It has taken a long time for me to be comfortable with my husband being on the computer. I still verify that he isn't doing anything underhanded.
I am bumping this for you to get more support, but wanted you to know this is a very good place to land for help.
Ever since I've known WH he has been good friends with an ex of his. I've often felt uncomfortable and excluded by their friendship, but I could never seem to get the message across to WH.
Last year we emmigrated, and I thought the distance (12,000 miles! ) might create some distance emotionally between them.
Six weeks ago I found out he had been emailing/texting/IM her and her sister telling them that he wanted to get back together with her, and it was just a matter of sorting the lease on the house out here, saving money etc, and he would be back in the UK and they would be together and it would all be perfect......
I don't know if he was serious about it. He is homesick and lonely and depressed, and that is what drove his behaviour.
He committed to NC when we decided to start trying again, but I know he is still texting her at least. What's to say he isn't still emailing, just on a different account? It could just have been driven further underground now.
Someone (I think it was kwash) said that they have to keep reminding themselves how bad it was - I feel like that. I mean, he's still here, nothing physical happened. Why am I this upset? I have to sit and run those emails through my head to make it clear why things can't just go back to normal straight away. I do this to make sure I stay strong in asking for what I need from him.
I'm just waffling now. It is still so raw and incomprehensible, I still feel like I'm walking around in the dark.
10/09/07 - he's back, doesn't know what he wants, agreed to D
01/10/07 - returned to the UK, told me he loves me
Thank you. :) Yes, my current husband is working very hard to try and make me comfortable again. He's in the living room with me now on his laptop rather than in his office like he used to be.
We've decided to try and channel his attentions away from his computer; he just got a motorcycle and pretty much all he does online now is look at motorcycle gear for the both of us. Hopefully that trend will continue.
I still get scared alot and think t myself that I am just an idiot for staying and it will eventually happen again and I will be hurt even more. I don't know what I would do!
In my heart, I will always consider it cheating. I can't help it. His serious emotional connection to this latest woman (and flirting with countless other women) ripped my soul out."
I totally agree with you. Whether he was on line with her or across town in bed with someone else makes no difference to me. It was/is still an affair and a betrayal of vows. It IS adultry as far as I am concerned. He would have these chats to the point that he would sit at his computor and actually jack himself off while talking with her and then they would sign off and he would come kiss me good night and tell me he loved me. Not many men that have JUST jacked themselves off with another woman's words as his motivation will be able to then turn around and make love to their wife so Yes he gave HER what should have been MINE. Internet cheating is cheating no matter how you look at it as far as I am concerned.
[This message edited by decievedone at 3:46 AM, April 30th (Monday)]
The moods (FLOABWord) overtaking one while just relaxing and chatting online can be extremely powerful. And looking back, it seems to amount to an extreme amount of mutual ego stroking. It just progresses until written lines which wouldnt have been crossed yesterday, seem much easier to cross tomorrow... that is (I think) due to the extreme comfort and familiarity with the OP, and they with you. I cant speak to what makes them actually cross over into RL affairs--phone, meeting up, etc, as mine didnt go that far. However this last was completely different than the first, it was much more "progressive", exchanging of RL info, ages known, etc, with a new "bridge" into the real world utilized this time--- cam and voice clips. But I drew the line there. But if there had been a future
EA I cant say with certainty WHERE it wuddve ended up, as I no longer trust my own motivations and behaviors... at all. (Its moot now--I will never find out at this point, and donít want to.)
>>my husband, unshowered, unshaved, in sweats and a robe was able to attract so many women online. ....I would look at him and think "If only they knew what you looked like while wooing them in those IM boxes.."
I think this is something I need to speak to. I used to believe that too, and can see why'd youd think a person talking to your H would be disillusioned when suddenly faced with his true dishevelled appearance.But over the last few years
Ive come to realize its not true. Perhaps in cases of lying about ones age etc, but generally, personality is the HEART of the online beast. And when the point is reached where images are shown, the mutual posittive reactions just reenforce the affair. Another "line" has been crossed in other words.
>>I did tell him one time that he took the lazy man's way of cheating.
Thatís a valid point. The development of the internet has revolutionized commerce, information exchange, entertainment..... .and infidelity. Pffth. Sauce for the goose I guess. With access to people globally now, and bringing more-than-willing partners right to your desk, its a growing problem.
>>That's true, that it's not really intimate, but being behind a keyboard unseen can also almost give you permission to say things you might never say to someone in person. It builds intimacy, but a very unhealthy intimacy. It's false.
One of the most profound things Ive seen regarding the mentality of an OEA, and your statement speaks volumes to me personallly. (I actually have it as wallpaper on my desktop. :-) Great call Fallen. But why I seem to NEED
that unhealthy fakeness is still beyond me. :-( I cant stress enuf how false it is, (at least while its remaining strictly online) yet while the fog is still all about one's head, the warm feelings seem real enuf. At the very least it feels like a real friendship. But when its terminated, those fake "feelings" seem to evaporate into dust instantly. In both my experiences, the NC
letter was not met with OP's remorse, or regret, or tears, or apologies, or reluctance to let go. Its was met with extreme...anger. Complete with colorful
metaphors. :-\ My BS and I have talked about this and she suggested
accurately I think, that its basically a "fix" that youre suddenly denying the OP, and it just pisses em off no end that you ripped it away. On the WS end, being the one who's termintaing it, its odd how a seemingly caring relationship online ending suddenly doesnt produce any feelings of missing the OP, or guilt at cutting them off. Just disgust with them, with yourself, and remorse and regret and guilt at hurting your innocent BS. All over something... FAKE.
>>Online EAs progress so rapidly and get so extreme because there is absolutely NO intrusion of the real world, to an even greater degree than usual with affairs, which are by definition all about the fantasy. Online "lovers" are the most two dimensional, manufactured creatures that ever could exist.
Perfectly stated. But as the WS I have to be careful here not to come off as using all this as an excuse to minimize the affair. I fully agree that the hurt caused by this transfer of intimate attention thru the keyboard is NOT fake. And the BS's betrayed feelings are comepletely valid.
>>They had such an intimate connection. I think I would almost rather he had just screwed someone instead of falling in love and sharing so much of himself with someone else.
My BS feels the same way, so Im not about to belittle those feelings, they're perfectly vaild, and cause me pain everytime I hear it and realize the damage that Ive done.
But IMO "falling in love" as wasfooled2 talked about only "feels"' that way while the fog is heavy. Real love doesnt dissipate so rapidly when the gig is up. And I dont personally believe falling IN love can be acheived strictly online. But all this is based on MY experience--yours and others' could be different as well.
The denial that an OEA is truly infidelity is pretty common at first I think. And it can take a long time for the WS to truly see its validity. What finally changes is accepting that your behavior IS causing your BS PAIN. If you move wrong and pull her hair for instance, and she says "ow" do you continue. or tell her you didnt mean to hurt her, so whats the big? Emotional pain from a WS's OEAis much worse Id wager.
Im way behind in this thread, and with this post. :-( But I'm reading all of it, and youre all answering a lot of what I was going to bring up, so in the end my delays are saving me work. ;-) Thank you all for taking time to convey your insights, and for starting this thread.
[This message edited by Off-SwitchBroken at 1:39 PM, April 30th (Monday)]
Wow! Thank you for adding to our little corner of SI.
I am so happy that here, on this thread, the WS's are so forthcoming in helping the BS's and giving us some perspective.
((((Fallen, Inchoate, OffSwitch))))