Now to the point of my post…one of my new hobbies is a running club. With all the work travel from my former job I had no social life independent of my wife’s family and her few friends. The running group plays a zany follow-the leader game. Beer is part of the game… partly an incentive to run and partly as a social aspect. It is a mixed-gender club with nice fun people. It is also full of silly behavior and high-school humor. Mostly teasing and light-hearted vulgarity with the expected sex jokes of teenagers. But it’s all in good fun…a way for professionals to be inappropriate in a way they just can’t be at work (teachers and engineers seem drawn to this game). We’re all good friends so we keep it from getting creepy.
My involvement creates a few difficulties for my wife. One is that she doesn’t know exactly where I am and she can’t contact me. Taking phones on the runs is somewhat perilous for the phone (trail running, water crossings, etc.) and is discouraged for social reasons. I also don’t know how much time the run will take...this is follow-the-leader. Nor do I know where I am on many runs and couldn’t even find my car if I wanted. Plus, I’m in a group with women. She does not like to run nor does she like beer (and she’s not one that enjoys zany stupid antics).
I’ve wanted my wife to meet the people that I run with so she knows who I’m out with. I’ve recently organized dinner dates (something my wife enjoys) with different folks from the club. This has worked out very well and a few couples we’ve seen socially again. One point my wife has brought up in an unhappy moment is that I self-select who she meets. This is true…and I do pick the people I like and hang with.
There have been two instances recently where my behavior has been a clear problem. Once, I drove home without realizing how much I’d had to drink…the alcohol didn’t hit me till I was in the garage. She (nor I) wanted to ever do that again. The other, most recent, was me staying out all afternoon and into the evening without getting in contact. The run coincided with a music festival so it started at noon and I wasn’t home until after 10pm. The runs are usually at 3pm and I’m home by ~11pm if I stay for the after-run dinner (or earlier if not). At the music festival run she was expecting me home earlier and was upset that I didn’t call. She is completely in the right that I should have called independent of what I was doing. What I was doing was taking care of other members who drank too much at the festival and made sure they got to a safe place or got a ride home. That added the few hours extra hours to my arrival.
My wife asked me to post to this forum to get some feedback on my participation in this club. I must say that this is a very important social aspect in my life and would loath to give it up. She is not a social person and this is one of the few reasons I have to even leave our property now (I work at home). It is very good for me mentally/emotionally to have this social contact, especially with a really fun group of people. Plus I get needed exercise with an amusing game. I also feel it's some needed personal time away from my home life.
Does anyone have any comments or advice?
What I was doing was taking care of other members who drank too much at the festival and made sure they got to a safe place or got a ride home. That added the few hours extra hours to my arrival.
What prevented you from calling your wife?
I must say that this is a very important social aspect in my life and would loath to give it up.
More important than your wife's feelings and/or needs?
It is very good for me mentally/emotionally to have this social contact, especially with a really fun group of people. Plus I get needed exercise with an amusing game. I also feel it's some needed personal time away from my home life.
I don't know if you realize this or not, but your entire post sound very selfish. It's all about you and what makes you happy.
I guess I don't understand why being with this group of people is more important than working on your marriage. If this particular social group isn't your wifes thing, why don't you find something that the two of you can enjoy together.
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
My involvement creates a few difficulties for my wife.
The conversation should have ended here. Your W, whose trust you are striving to earn back, doesn't want you hanging out with this group. That's it. Done. Find something else.
From your join date, I'm guessing your last d-day was fairly recent. Correct me if I'm wrong about that, but I'll continue under the assumption that you're less than a year out until you do:
Now is not the time to do what you want without regard for your W's feelings. There's never a good time to disregard your W. but I get that sometimes there are disagreements and compromises need to be made. I just really believe that after recently blowing up your marriage is not the time to ask her to compromise. It should be all about her and what makes her feel safe right now.
She doesn't like the running club? Quit. Period. Show her that she's your priority. Give her what she needs.
DS is right, you're coming off a bit selfish here. That may be something for you to work on in IC.
I'm getting a sense that you don't understand that there are consequences for having betrayed your W. There are. This is one of them.
It is counterintuitive really... the less we defend our well-being, the more well we feel. ~ Nancy Colier
How about running from home, alone. Or have a guy friend who SHE can trust show up and you two run, if you need a partner.
And for your park/trail runs away from home skip the club and make it an event that includes your wife. "Hey, hon, I know you are enjoying that new book. Let's go to the park together. I'll run, loop by you here and there, and you can enjoy your book. When I'm done let's have a snack, and take a walk". Something like that, perhaps?
My xAP, when she was done with me, used her athletic pursuits as a candy shop for finding all the other lucky "dildo's in her drawer" she was luring in. Her BS...well, I wish him the best with all that "innocent healthy pursuits away from him" activity. Sort of how I feel for your BS, and how she must feel about your insistence on the whole "loath to give it up" rationalization.
Is it "very good for you mentally and emotionally to have this social contact"? Really, really? Are you buying that? Is your BS?
If you need social contact, I am assuming you and your wife can figure out something that is an "US" thing. A healthy, fun, and perhaps new and novel and exciting you and her thing. As opposed to a you going off on your own, isolating, and enjoying "zany stupid antics" with boys and GIRLS, and drinking, and reliving high-school, and making teenaged level sex jokes, without your phone, while your wife sits at home enjoying her wonderful isolated BS time which you gifted her.
You asked for opinions. Hope you "have your listening ears" on, as I've been told, in so many words, by others on this site, when I've needed it.
Deep down, I think you know what the right path is here. I don't know you at all, but your post has some of the hallmarks of an intellectually gifted, self-centered, rationalizing justifier of a very high order. How do I come to that educated guess? I stare at one in the mirror each and every morning.
[This message edited by JustDesserts at 9:05 AM, August 13th (Tuesday)]
If you have to talk yourself into why something is ok, most likely, it's not really ok.
There are a million other ways to run. I liked JD's suggestion. Include your wife. Do you have a Greenway in your town? Use it. Maybe you could start your own running group. "Men with Boundaries R' US" or something.
Think about it for a minute ok? Turn the tables. If your wife had cheated, would you feel comfortable with:
1. No set schedule
2. mixed gender
3. sex jokes and horsing around
5. no way to contact
My guess is....no. So why would it be ok for you?
The whole idea of introducing her to your group is cool. In theory only. Why? Because we all know that when a newbie is introduced to the group, everyone is going to be on their best behavior. They're going to want to "feel her out" and see if she's "cool" or whatever. They will not be their true, authentic drinking, "high school" selves. Your wife probably won't see that side of them till several visits in. I've seen it happen a hundred times in multiple settings.
Find a hobby. There's nothing wrong with that. But please, make sure your wife is safe and secure with your choice. What's more important? Running thru the wild with a bunch of drunk, sex joking, high school-ish, inappropriate people, or your marriage?
You asked for advice. It's probably not what you want to hear. But I sincerely hope you are open and receptive to what everyone has said.
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?
But for the sake of argument, I'll propose an alternative.
If (and only if) your wife would find it acceptable, then you two establish clear boundaries for a trial period: say two weeks? At the end, she evaluates whether her concerns have been assuaged. Boundaries might include:
a) they make waterproof, strap-to-your arm phone cases, you know. Discouraged for social reasons? Boo fucking hoo. Decide who you're more worried about disappointing: your running buddies, or your wife. Put a GPS tracker like Life 360 on your phone and keep it on your person at all times.
b) Text her when the run is done, and periodically throughout the evening. If she says, "Come home now," you say you have an early-morning meeting and excuse yourself.
c) If any of this junior-high sex talk dovetails into something inappropriate, you leave. Immediately.
d) Obviously, you limit yourself to like two beers.
Again, this is only if BW feels she could possibly be comfortable with the situation if boundaries (to which you both agree) are respected. If not: you quit. Or, find an all-guy running group. My BIL runs with a few "old guys" at 6 a.m. every day.
Now, this specific issue that you posted about today, stop. If it makes her uncomfortable, stop. If you can't contact her or find a happy medium together then stop. Addicts are encouraged to stop going to the places they used to before to get their fix as well as to cut off all toxic relationships with past users, don't you think this would apply as well?
[This message edited by stilllovinghim at 9:34 AM, August 13th (Tuesday)]
I "allow" my WH to keep up with his tennis habit, even though it involves a sacrifice on my part. I think the exercise is important; he loves it; and I know all of his tennis buddies (and their wives) and know they're FOTM. They go out for a drink once a week after playing and engage in all sorts of childish humor -- I really don't mind. He needs to decompress and I think it's healthy for him to have social outlets other than me. (I know a lot of BSs don't agree on this one. Maybe I'm a too-trusting idiot still.) Two of his good friends know about the affair, so he know he needs to behave.
Point being, you have a LOT of options for exercise and for safe socialization other than this particularly toxic-sounding environment, which would honestly be totally unacceptable to me. And I'm sure you're posting because you want us to sign off on it. Well, our opinion doesn't count for shit. Only your BW's does, and you should get that at this stage in the game. I feel sorry for her that she had to resort to the "post it on SI and see what they think" gambit. This suggests you really need another mediator to help you listen to her better -- are you guys in MC?
[This message edited by Blobette at 1:24 PM, August 13th (Tuesday)]
Well, our opinion doesn't count for shit. Only your BW's does, and you should get that at this stage in the game
Yes, his opinion does matter and he has a right to it.
If you can't post in here without projecting/lecturing, then please stay out of this forum.
I am a BS and I would never join a club that is both genders without my spouse. Like you said it is sooo High School.. Hint..Immature. selfish aren't those all character traits of a teenaget in high school?? Aren't those character traits of a cheater? Food for thought.. I am not calling you a cheater now. Please don't take that wrong...Just wanted to clear that up...
Also if you are just diagnosed as Bi Polar doesn't drinking mess with the meds??
Oh and I work from home and I love to run too. I run my treadmill..I also bike. All activities I do by myself. Without alchol.
Any activity that has you gone for hours, drinking, with friends of both genders, with no phone, participating in inappropriate (especially for someone with boundary problems) humor is a BAD idea.
I think if I was your BW I would be convinced you are either involved in an A or searching for your next AP with this club. I can't imagine how hard those times must have been for her while you were with your club.
I never had any issue with him running with the club aside from the fact he was rarely home when he said he would be, which with hindsight I now know was because of his A.
Now I trigger when he runs because I don't know where he is exactly and can't reach him, plus I worry about him running into OW while on the pathways.
From my own very similar circumstances I'm firmly with all the other members who have said if your wife wants & needs you to quit, do. Right now it's about doing everything in your power to make her feel safe and secure.
Is there a guy from the running club you could run with outside of the club?
It's a slippery slope.
Thing is, she's probably feeling like crap asking you not to go running in the first place. A massive part of her wishes you'd just get it yourself without her having to prompt you. Yet, in order to work towards a healthy marriage and communicate she's reaching out to you and explaining.
Think about it this way. SHE KNEW the responses you would get on here and hence suggested you post. I'm glad you did. Sometimes, others perspectives, strangers who have no agenda with you, can strike more of a chord, than the one you love.
Strangers can sometimes point out the unreasonableness of one's actions and help put things in perspective.
I don't think you should quit. After all it would make you miserable and she doesn't want that either BUT make it safe. I like all of 20's suggestions. Follow those and I think you're on the right track to a decent compromise.
What struck me most about our conversation was one of the ways in which trust was severely broken. She said she was completely blindsided that I would be unfaithful. The fact that I had kept both affairs hidden and she never suspected (either in her mind or in her gut) was truly devastating to her confidence in anything I said or did. This feeling of loss of confidence in herself (e.g. intuition, etc.) and in her partner’s life is horrifying . I did not truly appreciate this before.
I’m still thinking, writing and discussing many other things in the replies. It has been a great help to me (and, hopefully, for our marriage) to see things from so many different perspectives.
Two things stood out in those talks that I was not clearly appreciating. One was that, many years ago, I had hurt her deeply about her appearance. She recalls at one point I told her I was not attracted to her and that I found a more athletic physique attractive (e.g. runners, etc.). It is clear to me that I was childishly retaliating for being hurt. But the hurt I inflicted on her cut deep, and it has lasted. So the fact that there are women runners in the group that I might find more attractive is a compounding issue.
The other is not keeping in mind the gravity of problems that have already occurred with my runs (i.e. not calling/being out of touch, staying out late/long, one instance of arriving home intoxicated). I talked around these things but didn’t really understand their effects. As I wrote in my earlier post…the trust and confidence I broke with my affairs makes any behavior seem suspect. She can only trust what see sees. And these are not good instances or trustworthy behaviors to see…including my defensiveness about not wanting to give up this group.