In MC, we have repeatedly discussed my WH fantasizing about other women. It is a topic that I cannot seem to get my arms around, because we never really have a good discussion on what is acceptable. We seem to always end with, "He says he's working on it."
Some background, WH says that when he is in meetings he will sometimes pick a female to give extra eye contact to when he's talking and fantasize about her. Or if a female is giving a presentation, he will let his thought go there. In general, he has fantasized and masturbated to thoughts about coworkers. His affair was with a coworker which started with him just fantasizing, but evolved into him following it through. He has said since that he is practicing the "bouncing eyes" and stops fantasy thoughts immediately. I think he is doing better, but there are days that I feel when he leaves for work he is heading to "fantasy sex land".
I get that we all find others attractive and we are trying to be honest with each other. Therefore, when we talk about fantasizing we have broken it into three tiers:
Tier One: Quick flash of what she looks like naked
Tier Two: Picturing her having sex with him or someone else
Tier Three: Masturbating with thoughts of her
1) Since the A, obvious I am hypersensitive with any fantasizing about other women, but I am trying to understand what is manageable. It is possible to control and shutdown before he gets to tier one? Or is Tier Two where you have control?
2) As for Tier Three, we took the suggestion from an SIer to ask for permission to masturbate. It sounds crazy, but it has been HUGE to help build trust. He says he could only masturbate thinking of women other than me, as that is part of the fantasy. Is that typical? Do you not masturbate thinking of your spouse? Or is it a mix?
Thank you for being brave and helping. This has been quite the experience and discussion in MC.
[This message edited by ILINIA at 5:28 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
When I was single I was sort of *on the hunt* - I would check out women pretty much where ever I went. I would sort through who was there and then of the attractive ones I would check for a wedding ring. Of the remainder I would try and make casual eye contact. If the eye contact was returned in a positive way I would strike up a convo.
Once I was in a relationship I never really fantasized about other women. Sure I would notice a attractive person. But this is sort of like looking at a beautiful and exotic car with LESS emotional attachment. With the car I could think about what it would be like to drive the car. With women I would not think about having sex with them but would just appreciate the spectacle.
Now I am certainly no Don Juan. My single life consisted of a series of long term relationships (only 1 ONS). So I am probably not the type of guy you are wanting to answer your question.
[This message edited by Razor at 5:54 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
He has a LOT of issues with sex... Lord.
When I was married my eyes still wandered. Doesn't mean that I was fantasizing about what sex would be like with them. But, I probably noticed and looked at women, body parts more than I should have. It's one thing to notice someone. It's another to take that second and third glance. I work with almost all females. Some are very attractive and single but I never entertained any type of relationship with any of them. I kept my boundaries in person and in my mind.
Dday, an unremorseful spouse, a resulting divorce, and being in a new relationship has changed my mindset.
Things with my SO are very different than what my marriage was like. She is very attractive (inside and out) and is a wonderful person. She knows about my past betrayal so we can discuss it openly and comfortably. My ex was large chested whereas my SO is not. She will ask me if I would prefer or want her to have a boob job. (her first husband complained about their size on their honeymoon. Who the heck does that!) For me it is a no brainer. I love her chest the way it is. Doesn't matter if they are smaller. To me, they are perfect. And I tell her that size does not matter. What matters to me is someone whom I find attractive and who will be faithful to me.
Me and my SO have spent a lot of time talking about our current relationship and what we would want for our future. We openly talk about things in the bedroom and what boundaries look like. What each of us is comfortable with. As a result, we skip over nude scenes in movies. Some of these commercials that come on that are geared towards men come on and we change the channel. She has met all of my coworkers; again they are mostly female. My coworkers all know I am in a committed relationship and I have SO's picture all over my cubicle.
At my job I meet with many families; usually the mothers. So I see all types of women throughout my work week. But at the end of the day, I know that I have a fantastic SO. Intimacy is fantastic even though we can't always be together (currently in different states for the holidays). She can get my libido going like to one else and I am 100% committed to her. I have no reason to fantasize about anyone else. There will always be someone with bigger boobs, longer hair, less wrinkles, etc. But that is not what I want. There is only one person I want to be intimate with and that is my SO. We have a great relationship and I want to keep it that way. Sometimes that mean that I literally put up blinders; even at work.
For me, it is my deep love for my SO that drives me to protect my eyes. I also have to guard my mind as well. Since we are apart for the holidays I could easily let my eyes and mind wander to fill the void. And, we can't exactly meet each others' sexual needs right now. But, we talk about it. Even if we need to take care of our own business, we talk about it. And my mind fantasizes/thinks about being with her.
I know that I have taken a very aggressive and proactive approach to protecting my eyes and mind. But, I believe that my SO and our relationship is worth it. Communication is a huge, important factor. Since your WH's A was with a coworker, then I think it is very vital that he works on how he thinks of those at his work. And I believe that there should be an in depth discussion about the matter.
Just my two cents
"You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions, not his memory." - Kuato in Total Recall
A good experience in the bedroom is not based on just a set of boobs, or a nice body. Yes, I know that we need to be attracted to someone to become aroused. A good time in the bedroom begins by having a connection before the clothes ever come off. Intimacy with my SO is better than it ever was with exWW. SO knows and understands me and I know and understand her. Through good communication we know what the other likes, dislikes. As a result, she can satisfy me like no one else because no one else knows me like she does. I've had the same female coworkers for several years and they do not know me like my SO. Sex to me is more than just having the big O. That could happen with anyone. But I get so much more from my SO.
I could please a different woman every night for the rest of my life and never have a real relationship. But, like most of the BS's here on SI, we made a commitment to please just one person for the rest of our lives. And we expected the same in return. If my mind is wandering and thinking of other women then I am not being faithful.
[This message edited by gotmylifeback at 7:15 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
When my wife and I were having problems pre-affair and we' were having sex very infrequently, and we were arguing and not getting along, I still fantasized about her. She has always been incredibly creative and fun and everything I ever wanted in bed.
[This message edited by bobf at 6:44 PM, December 8th (Sunday)]
I admit, I am a bit torn. It seems like you can control the type/amount/depth of fantasies, therefore, if he can't or won't, I am assuming it is a HUGE red flag? I feel like our can of worms keeps getting bigger.
Razor - When you typed "on the hunt" it struck a note. When I listen to him talk about this subject, it is hard not to jump to that he was still "on the hunt" and not invested in our relationship.
Gotmylifeback - You sound so happy and at peace, it is nice to read that on SI! Thanks for giving your thoughts on working with attractive women, it gives me an idea of what's healthy and ideal for me. Also, you made me think that it is all related to intimacy. We are trying to break the barriers down, so that like you, we can toss anything on the table to discuss.
bobf - Like GotMyLifeBack, I felt a little jealous when I read your post. I think we all want to be the person that our spouses fantasize about, that we are enough for them. It is so painful to find out that others occupied that space in their head.
stillprettyupset - I get it. I think after the A we all get a bit "aggressive" in our thoughts. It does help to get your opinion on coworkers, as I think WH had an unhealthy "habit"
[This message edited by ILINIA at 8:18 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
I used to date an alcoholic, he told me everyone drank too much, I was being boring.
I married a pervert, he told me every guy thinks about sex with everyone all the time, to lighten up and I needed to think about sex more often (home with newborn and 2 year old).
Thank God in between I have dated guys who were not alcoholics and perverts and I can tell you they are like the guys who responded above. Decent people who can be trusted and who want a close committed relationship with one person. These types of people don't get excited by other women, they get excited about their closeness with their spouse. These guys are out there, as evidenced by the guys who responded to you.
With my SO, I feel a lot safer. And I have made a conscious effort to discuss this with her. I have also worked on me and becoming a healthier person. We have talked about keeping my eyes open and just being in the moment and focusing on looking at each other. This was not easy at first. But we worked together and communicated. It took me having to open up and share this difficulty and it took her to be patient and understanding. Change is possible and the end results can be more than worth it.
I can watch a movie that has a nude scene and not have sexual thoughts or fantasies of the woman on the screen. But, if I didn't have any barriers then I know that I could easily let my mind wander and thoughts could dwell on fantasizing about being with the screen character. I choose to guard by mind. Again, because we have good communication, I know that my SO is very sensitive to nudity on the screen. We talked about it and we skip over the nude scenes. Or, if we are at the movies we turn our heads or close our eyes. I CHOOSE to do this for my SO. It takes very little effort on my end. But, if makes her feel special and builds up our relationship then I would be stupid or selfish to not do this. I could argue about it being "no big deal" or "I've never had to look away for anyone" but what is more important? It's not about me being right or her being wrong. It's about building up the relationship.
WH says that he had always done this since he was a teenager, through his first marriage, and through ours.
Just because he has "always done this" doesn't mean that he has to continue. Does he want to change? Maybe he doesn't know how or doesn't see it as a problem. But, if something bothers you then it is a problem; especially when attempting to R. Some wives are ok with letting their husbands view porn. Some are not. Every person and relationship is different. Communication is vital. And part of a healthy marriage is making adjustments, compromises, and doing things that we may not want to do because it is important to our spouse.
[This message edited by gotmylifeback at 9:09 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
I think that I took for granted that if he masturbated it was about us and our "escapades", so it is a hard to hear that he masturbated to dozens of women, but I was not one of them, since I was the "wife". He has described his fantasies and they are pretty tame. The commonality is that the women always orgasms and are "satisfied". Well, that led to some interesting questions like "do i need to be louder", "do I need to say your name?", etc. etc. Basically, he just wanted to feel like he was this great lover.
Also, I feel like he was really closed off about sex and expressing himself. We never did it more than once in a night, we rarely could change positions, he was highly sensitive if I said something or if I kid stirred upstairs, and he would not let me go down on him. I always assumed it had to do with ED and he was not confident that he would be successful. Sometimes I feel like there was always these red flags, but I didn't want to ask and bruise his ego.
Scientist, cantgetup, and homewrecked have me thinking:
Do you think this is confidence or intimacy issues related and fixable? Or am I just screwed?
eta: He's not a porn or strip club guy. I always classified him as "cerebral" and not the typical "red hot blooded American male", so when I heard about this, I almost fell of my chair. It seems like he is trying to change it by doing the bouncing eyes and we are talking about it a lot. I just had no point of reference and the MC didn't seem all that concerned, but I would keep trying to get a better understanding, so I wouldn't let it drop. Sometimes I wonder if he even had a decent point of reference of what is healthy and what is not. Obviously, I am hypersensitive about it.
[This message edited by ILINIA at 9:54 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
edited for typos (I always have to!)
[This message edited by gotmylifeback at 10:39 PM, December 6th (Friday)]
Maybe it's just the problem of conversation, like, if I suddenly find myself talking to her after thinking of railing her, what would happen. I can't keep my fucking mouth shut as it is, something like "Oh yeah, soccer Sunday, right, wear that dress I was pounding you on the hood of your car in my daydreams" coming out of my mouth is a very real possibility and I just don't want that to happen.
Also I get bored fast and the whole set up for fantasy sex takes too long. Drinks, movies, the really weird and circuitous series of events that makes it okay.. the whole thing ends up with her leaving in disgust because I spent the entire fantasy bitching about the bullshit way Saruman got killed off.
Anyway, I don't really go past tier 1.
He refused to admit even looking at other women, but hey, we all know he's a liar. He is also emotionally unavailable.
I think shame is a huge barrier to honesty. The upside to your post is that at least he is being honest about his fantasies.
it is my deep love for my SO that drives me to protect my eyes. I also have to guard my mind as well.
That^^^ Is Beautiful. It is being faithful inside - true to himself, and honoring of his relationship.
It just rocks!
SG mentions not wanting to be the thought police. Me neith.
I also think it's sick - like an addict justifying his hit.
"I'll work on it."
Really? That's either addict-thinking, or he's 13 years old. It's bullshit, and I wouldn't tolerate such a level of disrespect.
I think cantgetup asks the key question, and it's the way to avoid being a mind-cop.
Forget about what he's thinking.
What are you thinking?
Is it ok with you to tolerate such a level of disrespect?
I know I sometimes sound rough, I'm sorry - I've just seen too much abuse and fuckery here, and I want you to get *clear* soonest, that's all sister...
I'm telling you, stop trying to fix what is in his (sick) mind -
and turn all that energy instead into you, and firming up your boundaries.