-I don't think it is SA, but could be something else.
-I do give him credit, as he was the one that brought this fantasizing to my attention after the A, he did feel like it was not right.
-He realizes now how unhealthy it is, he said prior to the A, he never thought much about it, as it was always people that he would never pursue a relationship with. He sees now that it is a slippery slope.
-He compared it to being an alcoholic and an addict. He believes it is controllable. And realizes that you only get "one look", if he thinks about a second look then he has mentally visualized a wall
- He thinks it does have to do with lack of intimacy, never letting me in, and his ED issues were a huge embarrassment/shame to him.
- He did not use visions of me to masturbate, because we had so many struggles with sex/ED that he knew that I knew he wasn't a great lover and had flaws, so to pick me it would be counterproductive. He would pick someone that obviously didn't know these things. As stated above, he realizes this is wrong on so many levels. Since the A, this has ceased.
- He feels he was always secretive and guarded, because he was the black sheep in his ultra-conservative family. When we got married he projected that onto me like I was a parent or authority figure, so he stayed secretive and guarded. He would never talk about sex, whereas, i would by books, etc.
-He has been very honest and answered all my questions. Sometimes during our conversation, I felt like some of his ideas where still from when he was a 16 year old boy and that he finally figured out that here is a different way to do things
-To clarify the "He's working on it" was our MC talking not WH
-In all honesty, it's a lot to take in. I do feel like the past 12 hours has pushed this conversation miles ahead of where it was, so I think that gives me better footing.
Even though we had a good conversation, it isn't done and our can of worms is bigger. I still question his moral and ethical fiber, as fantasizing about several COWs is deeply unsettling and then one of those turning in to an PA. Also, I feel instead of one PA, I now have a dozen other "fantasy betrayals" and I am not sure what to think about that. Argh.
It is sad to think that we were so surface-level during the 10 years of our marriage. You really don't know all the baggage someone brings.
Thank you for the 2x4s and blunt honesty. I need to hear it, because no one wants to go through this again, so my eyes are wide open!
Eta: gotmylifeback- thanks for the link. I'm going to show it to WH, it is pretty spot on.
[This message edited by ILINIA at 9:51 AM, December 7th (Saturday)]
Do you think this is confidence or intimacy issues related and fixable? Or am I just screwed?
I may have missed it in your comments, but in his fantasizes do the co-workers perform oral sex on him or is that taboo even in his dreams? I just wonder whether he transposes his real-life boundaries and constraints into his fantasy world, or is it only in fantasy that he can enjoy things such as oral sex. I am not sure why, but I suspect that if you were loud and screamed his name, that would be very disconcerting to him. I could be wrong, but I think that might really freak him out.
Back to your original questions, when I fantasize about women in real life, it is never about someone I just saw in passing and no one I work with. It is always someone I know - - a former GF or the woman that cuts my hair (she is my current go-to girl). Or I replay a real-life episode over in my head. None of the women I fantasize about are potential real-life partners (alas, my hair stylist is off-limits so I must be content with a shampoo and occasional down-blouse).
When I was married, I did not fantasize about sex with my wife. However, before we were married and while we were living in separate cities, I would begin to fantasize about her the longer we were apart and leading up to seeing her. So it was "anticipatory masturbation", which just goes to show that the heart is not the only organ that absence makes grow fonder.
[This message edited by LeopoldB at 11:56 AM, December 8th (Sunday)]
In our case the following were true for my WH:
1. WH exhibited both passive aggressive and emotionally unavailable behavior
2. seemed to be the result of an emotionally toxic mother and father who although he is very nice, will do just about anything to avoid conflict
3. the result was that WH learned early his anger and any feelings that were not totally bottled up and under control were not ok.
4. early in our relationship, I gave WH a lot of attention so the fantasizing stopped; but once we had kids it ramped back up. Definitely the result of wanting to feeling needed and adored.
5. WH was sexually abused on two occasions as a child, by other boys. He never told anyone. As a result, he grew up feeling frightened of his sexuality.
6. WH was an awkward teen and teased about being gay as a teen. This fed into #5. Fantasies were safe. He didn't have to worry about rejection.
7. WH's father told him as a teen to just masturbate because he couldn't get in trouble that way. Somehow, in WH's emotionally stunted mind, masturbating and fantasizing were ok
8. My WH was abusing alcohol, overworking, and acting out sexually (fantasizing and ultimately cheating). Nothing to the level of addiction, but it was clear he was using all of them as an escape.
I don't know if this is helpful. When I agreed not to divorce my WH, I told him no masturbating unless he asks me for sex first and I decline, and NO fantasizing ever. Of course it is impossible to monitor that, which is probably why trust is so hard. There is no way to verify…However, the best thing for that is him being in IC and working on it, so it is obvious he now knows how damaging and dysfunctional his behavior was.
Fantasizing about other people, including coworkers to them can feel safe. They can get their pleasure fix without emotional attachments. Some spouses might be ok with this as long at it stayed in their partner's mind without acting out in real life.
But, thoughts can lead to actions. Especially a coworker that you see every day. So when there is A, steps need to be taken to prevent it from happening again. I means a mindset change. Fantasizing about you the spouse instead of coworkers. It might mean being vulnerable to your spouse. It might mean relearning how to be intimate. Or, maybe learning to be intimate for the first time. I dunno, these are the things I would want to see if I was reconciling wit a WS.
"You are what you do. A man is defined by his actions, not his memory." - Kuato in Total Recall
I personally usually only have fantasies that involve my wife in one way or another. There have been some "RA Fantasies" since D-Day and most of those have still involved my wife.."honey, I'm sorry I cheated on you...let's have sex with that hot chick over there to make up for it" LOL! (See my other threads about her offering me a "free pass")
To me actively fantasizing about other woman on a regular basis, especially co-workers is unhealthy and dangerous. I'm not saying that an occasional fantasy makes you a terrible person, in fact it's normal, but at some point that fantasy crosses into obsession.
Variety is hard for many men to give up. It's that something new and different that is so appealing.
Even if it is just the thought of it. Look at the porn industry millions of guys a day masturbating to pretty young girls. It doesn't matter if the guy is 18 or 70 the object of the sexual desires often remains much the same.
We are going to schedule a MC appt for this week as this as the main topic again. I am hoping with my "SI education" from my peeps, we will have a more productive session. The MC focuses on men and men issues, so when he didn't make a big deal of it, I didn't make a big deal of it. But then I festered on it and realized it really bothered me, so its back on the table.
Hopeful30 - Your WH has had some traumatic childhood events. Did you know prior or with the A is everything coming to light? It is interesting how childhood dysfunction can grow and sprout. It seems like the road keeps getting longer some days!
gotmylifeback - I think he considered his coworkers "safe" that nothing would ever happen. He also had a couple women from high school and college, so it wasn't all young coworkers. I asked him yesterday to list them as I was already shocked, but wanted to see if I should really be creeped out if they were all young women. There were a couple his age and one that is a good five years older, so I stayed in just the shocked phase. I did learn that my friends and his friend's wives were off limits, so there is some control there.
LeopoldB - Nope no oral anywhere. I asked him again today and it literally is just having a woman orgasm. The more I read about responses, I think it is intimacy and insecurity. TMI - With ED, if he got hard, I would stop whatever he was doing with me so we could do it and he could orgasm. I was worried that we had such a short window and wanted to make sure he was satisfied. I figured I was the easy one! I think that started a bad cycle and did not help his confidence. He wouldn't talk about it or ask me to do anything differently. He would get more withdrawn. It could be part of the reason why he became preoccupied with orgasms. Oh, he would love that I am typing this out!
He had a semblance of control w/regard to the fantasizing. He didn't fantasize about women whose husbands he knew, he didn't fantasize about my friends; he fantasized about strangers, mainly: the woman on the golf course bending over to pick up her ball, the woman jogging past, the woman taking our order in a restaurant. He read a lot of books and employed a variety of tactics to change his focus. For 3 to 4 years, it worked. But he became less diligent and the fantasizing led to an actual PA.
That said, your WH being honest with you is huge. You know that. What most BSes complain about is the lack of honesty. So celebrate that he's telling you the truth and is seeking a solution. Also, I believe that anyone who wants to change can change. The less addicted, the easier the path. But change CAN and does happen.