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User Topic: WH reason for affair is empty love tank.
SimpleTruth
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Member # 38507
Default  Posted: 2:48 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

A book his counselor has asked him to read says about the same thing about affairs and my WH has latched on to that explanation. He is reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman. Gottman says that "problems in the marriage that send the couple on a trajectory to divorce also send one (or both) of them looking for intimate connection outside the marriage. Most marital therapists who write about extramarital affairs find that these trysts are usually not about sex but about seeking friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern - the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer." This is the only thing about affairs in the book.

How would you respond to this?

Why is the marriage to blame? WH says he wasn't looking for an affair and that he got from the affair (support, understanding, attention, etc.) what he wanted from me.

Yes, there were marriage problems. Problem is, when he and I talk about the past we remember things differently. Although hurt and upset (we had just met his 7 year old OC for the first time from Affair#1), I was there for him as best as I could be at that time but he pushed me away. He didn't want to deal with the problems. He ran away instead of trying to fix it.


D-Day 10/15/2012

Separated (3/8/2013) and in limbo.


Posts: 41 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: USA
Duffy1958
Member
Member # 39755
Default  Posted: 3:21 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

That whole summation would piss me the hell off. .

You don't take a hatchet to your spouses forehead because they have a fly on it. B.S.

Any counsellor or book which tries to lay responsibility for this lying, cheating mess on you is cruel & wrong. You don't look outside of the marriage to fix some "lack" within
your spouse.

I would either come to terms with counselor or find a new one. There are stories of bad counsellors.

That makes me so mad for you. I'm so sorry. It is a double betrayal.

Take care & don't let them/him get away with this B.S. There are things in the healing library. I read a lot. Nothing comes to mind but look around for support.

Ask your husband, so if we end up in financial ruin, can I expect you to jump ship & gain a new identity? It makes as much sense. What B.S.


Me-SAHW soon 55
Him-asshat age 60
Married 3.5 years together 13.5
Step-children 8 altogether Grandchildren.
Cheaters are the same yesterday, today & forever. They may have different caveats but they lie the same & pull the same shit.

Where i


Posts: 114 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: California
silverhopes
Member
Member # 32753
Default  Posted: 3:52 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Yup. So far, that was the real problem I had with Gottman's book. His portrayal of affairs.

As a certain wise person here says, that has stuck with me - we are all responsible for our own choices. He had other choices than to cheat. So no, the marriage isn't to blame for the affair. What is to blame is, he decided that it was OK. He decided that the answer to "be intimate with someone other than my wife" was yes. That's where the problem is.


Find peace. Or sleep on it.

Infidelities are like icebergs - they may take many different shapes and sizes, but they all damage your ship.


Posts: 3901 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: California
standinghere
Member
Member # 34689
Default  Posted: 4:42 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Problems with marriages don't lead to affairs. That is where your husband is heading off down the wrong track.

Sure, there was a problem in the marriage, ALL marriages have them, my marriage still has them, always will.

But, having an affair is a destructive way to deal with them. Sort of like deciding to set your car on fire BECAUSE THE TANK IS EMPTY.

My wife and I still have struggles with intimacy, that are entirely from her end of the relationship. We always will, almost certainly, because of what happened to her in the past. I expect to have to deal with that.

I can deal with it by talking, going to counseling, being supportive, and working together...or amicably and respectfully and thoughtfully ending the relationship...or...I can go and fuck someone else.

That choice is what defines the problem as "ours" vs. "mine".

Your husband is blame-shifting.


BH - Me - Late 30's (now late 40's)
WW - Her - Late 30's (now late 40's)
4 Children
Her - Love of my life...still is.
Reconciled - Partly...she can't get over it.
Her - Thunderstruck by what she did.

Posts: 936 | Registered: Jan 2012 | From: USA
JustWow
Member
Member # 19636
Default  Posted: 6:20 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

In my book - (yet to be published - lol) a person going outside of their M to fill their love bank is caused by deficiencies in the MORALS of the WS, not deficiencies in the M.

There are a bazillion healthy, honest, mature and productive ways to solve an "empty love bank" problem. An A is not one of them.


BW - Reconciling

edited for typos (I always have to!)


Posts: 3604 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Midwest
frankiebaby
New Member
Member # 39602
Default  Posted: 6:25 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

That is some bullshit, and if any counselor gave me that line I'd give him one he'd never forget.

My WH and I were married for six weeks before he went out and cheated on me. That's a hell of a short time to decide he couldn't forge enough "friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring and concern," to drive him to screw some other woman.

Okay, I'm going to stop right now because I'm getting heated. God, I hate him so much my hands are shaking. lol

[This message edited by frankiebaby at 6:25 AM, July 22nd (Monday)]


Posts: 38 | Registered: Jun 2013
karmahappens
Member
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 6:27 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Why is the marriage to blame

It isn't.

The AP and WS are to blame.

It's called accountability.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3793 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
Take2
Member
Member # 23890
Default  Posted: 6:54 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Well isn't that convenient...

But aside from the lack of accountability in his excuse - if you were to buy into the empty love tank as a "why", doesn't that raise a bunch on new questions:

Does he have a defective love tank? A hole in his love tank? What if his love tank is a gas guzzler? Is he self-sabotaging by draining the tank at night when nobody is watching? What if he only registers "strange" fuel as filling the tank?

My love tank was storing only fumes, memories, and hope for a lot of years - I didn't cheat.


"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." Joseph Campbell...So, If fear was not a factor - what would you do?

Posts: 4112 | Registered: May 2009 | From: New England
newnormal
Member
Member # 21925
Default  Posted: 6:55 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Gottman did say it correctly as you wrote: empty love banks CAN lead to D or A. 3 different choices: deal with it, leave or cheat....and the answer to which choice is the worst: ding, ding, ding: cheating.


BS 43 (me)
FWH 48
D-day 9/07

Dont retreat, reload.
"Pull that knife out of your back - and sever the fuel line to that bus you got thrown under" Bufffalo


Posts: 1033 | Registered: Dec 2008
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 7:05 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Duplicate

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:09 AM, July 22nd (Monday)]


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8543 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 7:08 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

His counselor should focus on his thought patterns and coping mechanisms, not do marriage counseling with just one half of the couple.

It sounds as if he's being armed with "reasons" that are superficial and, worse, are ultimately harmful to R.

I say this because my husband spent IC--something HE badly needed--focusing on how others had shortchanged him, rather than exploring whether his perceptions were reality-based or shared, or on the destructive choices he was making.

Heading down the wrong path with his IC was a catalyst for my husband to have the affair that ended our marriage.

I would not be at all comfortable with this focus in IC. Dissection of your marriage belongs in MC, where your perceptions, too, are heard.

I'd ask your husband to focus (and this may require switching ICs) on the thought processes that made it okay, in his mind, to have an affair, and on gathering the coping mechanisms so he doesn't go down the same path again.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8543 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
wincing_at_light
Member
Member # 14393
Default  Posted: 7:09 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Best response I ever heard for the "empty love tank" reason went roughly like this:

"So you had an empty love tank?"
"Yes."
"Well mine's now empty, *and* you've punched a hole in it, so you'll be understanding if I have an affair or three?"
"You wouldn't do that. It's not how you are."
"So an empty love tank isn't really is reason then, is it?"


Machiavellian idiot savant

Posts: 6743 | Registered: Apr 2007 | From: Indiana
BostonGirl
Member
Member # 33930
Default  Posted: 7:10 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

I know that book well. That statement in no way condones extramarital involvements, but tries to explain the motivations, what gets an affair started and keeps it going.

The entire book is essentially about how to stave off that emptiness in a marriage. I think the thing that is lacking from that book (maybe it can't include everything or it would be a six volume set!) is why people have great difficulty embracing or living those seven principles, which are things like "really get to know your partner well" and "cultivate appreciation."

I guess I don't see the part you quoted as a statement of blame of one party or the other. But I do absolutely think its true that two people can be in the same marriage and have very, very different perceptions of what's going on, what's working well and what isn't. Intimacy is ultimately about letting your spouse in to your own inner world and being a welcome participant in theirs too. Either party can put up barriers to block that...


It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.

Posts: 133 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Boston
RockyMtn
Member
Member # 37043
Default  Posted: 7:11 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Gottman is right in the sense that most marital therapists say that (those who write books). Even the all-hailed Shirley Glass writes a lot about friendship, support, attention, etc. being the goal for WS - I see it come out in her many anecdotes.

Anyway...just sayin'...Gottman is not alone here. SimpleTruth, your husband's counselor is not alone and, dare say I, not necessarily a total douche. Your WH has, admittedly, latched onto this. The therapist may be layering this idea with a whole lot of other stuff (kind of like Shirley Glass does) that you aren't being told because it doesn't suit WH's agenda.

I actually hate what Gottman has to say and Glass' book made my skin crawl in some areas (great in others). I won't go into all the reasons why I disagree with the statement, some have already mentioned.

[This message edited by RockyMtn at 7:13 AM, July 22nd (Monday)]


Me, BS, 30s
Him, WS, 30s, Steppenwolf
Kids: Yep
D-Day 1: September 2011, 6 week EA
D-Day 2: January 2013, discovered EA was a PA; there was another PA in 2010. All TT.
Goal = serenity.

Posts: 667 | Registered: Oct 2012
SimpleTruth
New Member
Member # 38507
Default  Posted: 8:24 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

I don't know his counselor's view on infidelity, but I'll be finding out on Tues. WH asked me to go with him. Even if the counselor's view is the same as Gottman's that doesn't mean she is a bad counselor, it just means she isn't the right one for people dealing with infidelity.

I don't agree with Gottman. That doesn't discredit all of the other research he has done. I just don't believe that marriage problems and an empty love tank are reasons for an affair. Those reasons seem to put the responsibility for the affair on both spouses, rather than on the WS.

So my next questions is this: How do I know he will not have another affair? Based on my WH's reasons for affair, I guess I can affair-proof our marriage by keeping his love tank full. For my WH, that means letting him rugsweep and blame shift. Sorry, I did that after finding out about A#1 and OC and that didn't work. His reasons for A#1 were "it was just sex" and "it felt good to be wanted by somebody else."

What will happen if I get sick, we go broke, etc. and I'm not able to keep his love tank full like he needs me to?


D-Day 10/15/2012

Separated (3/8/2013) and in limbo.


Posts: 41 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: USA
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 8:48 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

The question you should be asking yourself is "why do I want to be married to this man?" A marriage cannot be affair proofed. Your husband has shown you who he is. Are you facing your problems?

Posts: 5617 | Registered: Jul 2002
karmahappens
Member
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 9:01 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

What will happen if I get sick, we go broke, etc. and I'm not able to keep his love tank full like he needs me to?

This is when unhealthy people (some) search for relief outside a marriage.

When you have 2 healthy people in a M they work on these problems together.

His love tank has nothing to do with an A. He might have sad, lonely feelings, might not be happy or have a bank full of money.

It isn't an excuse to cheat. It's a time you turn toward your spouse/partner and dig deep together to solve issues.

You can not fulfill him. He needs to be content within himself.

If you have to worry about "keeping him happy" I would pack my bags now...

We create our own happiness and nobody can control our actions...period


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3793 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
solus sto
Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 9:24 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

His problem is not that YOU are not filling his "love tank."

It's that HE is not doing the real work needed to become a safe partner.

If he lacks appropriate coping mechanisms, he'll fall back on faulty ones when the going gets rough.

So, if he lacks healthy coping mechanisms, he needs to LEARN them. That is what IC is for.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 52, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8543 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
tushnurse
Member
Member # 21101
Default  Posted: 10:45 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Ok I may have a differing view here, so bear with me as I try to get this out in writing.

Gottman's book actually helped us a lot in healing, and starting the hard work of R. It helped us understand that we each function from a different place. That being said, it in no way excuses the WS behavior. My H found understanding this helpful in figuring out his why. Yes he felt his tank was empty, but WHY?!? I was there for him, I was a good wife, willing to have sex, always ready to hang out together, cook, clean, and be a good family. But for some reason he felt empty. THAT HAD NOTHING to do with ME.... I was upholding my end of the deal.
IN the end it was a combination of things that made him feel that way. One was I was raised to be independent, and never rely on a man to do anything for you. So I didn't need him to change light bulbs, mow the yard, fix the weed eater. I was capable of doing all of that. He said that he just didn't feel NEEDED. He realized I loved him, and I showed him that love, but he wanted that NEED. Well that was his own FOO issues. Once he figured out the why, he realized it was much better to be WANTED than NEEDED.
He also was dealing with the whole mid life, is this really as good as it gets stuff too. He was tired of struggling financially, and not having the picture perfect life. Again, because of FOO issues, once he realized that NO ONE has the picture perfect life, and that he could accept what he had, and be happy with it, or he could spend the rest of his life miserable, and unhappy he had to make a decision on how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Miserable, or happy.

So As far as say I had an A because my tank was empty, and that's the end of it, I call BS. You have to push deeper. You have to understand why it was empty. You have to fix the holes that caused the tank to get empty. Then you can feel loved, and fufilled.


Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 15 & 17
Married for 22 years now, was 16 at the time. .
D-Day Sept 26 2008
Fully R'd, and Happy Happy Happy

Posts: 8194 | Registered: Oct 2008 | From: St. Louis
SimpleTruth
New Member
Member # 38507
Default  Posted: 10:52 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Yes, I know a marriage cannot be affair proofed. I want him to accept responsibility for his affairs and the aftermath. He just started seeing counselor, which is one of my conditions for R.

I have a set date in the near future when I will decide if he's someone I can have a healthy marriage with. I don't want to waste years of my life waiting for him to change. Either he will or he won't. I will be fine without him.

Im very thankful for SI. Without insight from here i would probably still be living with him, rugsweeping, and blaming myself. I'm taking care of myself.

I'm just looking for insight from others on material my WH is reading (it's a decent book, i just dont agree with author on his reasoning about affairs) and his reasons for affair.


D-Day 10/15/2012

Separated (3/8/2013) and in limbo.


Posts: 41 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: USA
why2008
Member
Member # 18378
Default  Posted: 11:04 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

I think "not just friends" explains affairs way better.

Not happy, mommy issues, what the fuck ever... use any "reason" you want, people cheat because it's easier than working on a real relationship. When you make the commitment to marriage it's just that, a commitment, it's not a relationship where everything is handed to you.


Me - BS - 46
Him - WS - 44
Two daughters / 10 and 7

Posts: 4074 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: Maryland / DC
myperfectlife
Member
Member # 39801
Default  Posted: 11:26 AM, July 22nd (Monday)

Just had this conversation with a friend.
I love the book and I think it helps people realize how to show each other they love they appreciate.
HOWEVER, no one is responsible for anyone else's happiness.
You don't love someone in a certain language to PAY them to stay in the marriage.
It's like others have said before, chances are neither of the couple are getting their tanks filled in an unhappy marriage, but usually only one of them cheats.
It's not my responsibility to "keep" my spouse in the marriage. That is a decision only he can make. Full tank, empty tank. (Don't we all know miserable couples who stay together decades without infidelity?)
The basic point is that if someone is living life with a rusted out tank full of holes, nothing anyone does to fill it will keep it full.
My WS said I was doing everything right. But he still cheated. He cheated because he wanted to.


I cannot be responsible for another's personal growth.
DDay#1 of a "cheatillion" 4/1/13
Divorce final 11/04/13

Posts: 452 | Registered: Jul 2013
BostonGirl
Member
Member # 33930
Default  Posted: 12:01 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

Well, you know, I'll weigh in as a WS here and say that "friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern - the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer" was in fact a huge part of why I stepped out of my marriage.

WSs get a lot of flak here on SI because there are lots of other, better, more productive and honorable ways of addressing marital unhappiness than getting involved with someone else--for instance, talking about problems, seeking counseling, or getting a divorce. I sure as shooting did the first and at the time couldn't even begin to afford either of the latter two options. It's a bitter irony to me that this very book was one that came highly recommended. I saw us all over the pages of the book and tried repeatedly to get my husband to engage about it. He read the book too in fact and would even cop to identifying with quite a few of the issues... But in his characteristically passive and conflict-avoidant way, did absolutely nothing to take the messages to heart or put the principles into practice, despite the fact that I explicitly asked, begged, him to. This was one of the final nails in the coffin, that showed me quite clearly that "friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern - the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer" were totally vanished from my marriage and I was completely heartbroken.

I never had any illusions that what went on between me and my AP was love or "lurve" or that we were reasonable partners at all--but the attention, affection, and pleasure from his company only served to make clear that my love bank was not only dead empty but was gathering cobwebs in the corners from disuse. It was the wake up call about how bad things had truly gotten in my M. I broke it off with my AP, came clean to my H, and demanded that things change. It was only by "going nuclear" and demanding change that my marriage started to change--through some long hard years and a separation--but it never would have changed without the perspective I got from my A on exactly those points.

This history has been less than welcome on SI, but that's my story and I'm telling it truly. Both my husband and I learned tons about ourselves and each other along the way and we are still learning. One of the major things we have taken to heart is that good marriages happen due to the active, intentional efforts of both parties. Ironically the Gottman book is now one of our main touchstones as we go forward--both as a reference about the past, as an example of what things were like when I was trying my hardest to improve our marriage and he was completely checked out, and now as a resource to be taken seriously and to be a model of how we can build our best possible life together.


It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.

Posts: 133 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Boston
why2008
Member
Member # 18378
Default  Posted: 12:35 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

BostonGirl, I'm glad that you are happy in your reconciliation.

It was only by "going nuclear" and demanding change that my marriage started to change--through some long hard years and a separation-

Seems like "going nuclear", having long hard years and a separation could have been done without an affair and all the pain and damage that comes with it.

-but it never would have changed without the perspective I got from my A on exactly those points.

I haven't lived your life or been inside your head so I can only say that I really don't understand how it would take the euphoria of an affair to make someone realize that their marriage was lacking. The first part of your post clearly states you were unhappy in your marriage and were unable to get your H to listen.

I was not in your relationship but I can say in my relationship, when I discovered my WS's affairs he said that he tried to talk to me about his unhappiness but I can't remember one single conversation we ever had about his unhappiness.

I do agree with your statement "good marriages happen due to the active, intentional efforts of both parties" but can't accept or really fathom how infidelity is a beneficial catalyst to drive those changes, in my relationship.


Me - BS - 46
Him - WS - 44
Two daughters / 10 and 7

Posts: 4074 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: Maryland / DC
cancuncrushed
Member
Member # 28156
Default  Posted: 12:44 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

I struggle with this. We were disconnected due to 20 yrs of work travel.So I can feel guilty with this. But then I get angry. I was empty and rejected and alone. I did not have an affair. ANd having children made him feel ignored? If your out of town, its 100% my job, he had no idea what went on in their lives either... I still, had no affair.... If having an empty tank causes trouble in a marriage, then how can an affair not cause trouble in a marriage? It seems very convenient for the cheater. when I experienced the same empty tank, and never cheated. I cant accept that as the reason. I lean more toward "Young hot sex mixed with a good time and alcohol." In addition to low self esteem. One is no better excuse then the other. It all makes me angry And I did try to communicate about all the above. Tried to fix things early on. He denied any problems existed. So how can he come back with "problems".


a trigger yesterday

Posts: 891 | Registered: Apr 2010 | From: athome
karmahappens
Member
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 12:45 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

WSs get a lot of flak here on SI because there are lots of other, better, more productive and honorable ways of addressing marital unhappiness than getting involved with someone else--for instance, talking about problems, seeking counseling, or getting a divorce. I sure as shooting did the first and at the time couldn't even begin to afford either of the latter two options

So because you did the first but couldn't afford the latter it justifies the A?

WS get flack on SI for not owning their shit, surprisingly enough, so do BS's.

None of us are perfect, but you can NEVER justify having an A.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Anaïs Nin
Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
We have R'd

Posts: 3793 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 12:48 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

cancrushed hit on something that I've seen my many years at SI. If you really look at the bad marriages so many times the BS has had, what I consider a "reason" to cheat, but didn't. Blaming the marriage is so bogus. Adults know we need to make our own happiness not depend on others. It seems to me if you want and value your marriage you work on the problems inside the marriage. Going outside is an excuse that should never fly with a BS, imho.

eta: Books are wonderful to help us learn, but to use them to justify bad behavior is not a good reason to read.

[This message edited by Skye at 12:49 PM, July 22nd (Monday)]


Posts: 5617 | Registered: Jul 2002
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 1:18 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

I agree with Gottman's statement, but I don't see it as a justification for an A; as I read it, it's just a description. The problem is that your H or his IC may see justification.

Also, the statement says nothing about As in good Ms. Our M was fine ('very good,' said my W). She cheated because of her personal issues and poor boundaries, which she's now dealing with. You know what? It would have been a lot easier on her, me, ow, and ow's family if she had just gone directly to dealing with her issues.

To me, the irrefutable proof that M problems don't cause As is that the overwhelming majority of SI members are either BSes or WSes; there are few Madhatters here. If M problems cause As, I'd expect to see many more Madhatters.

WSes cheat because the vast majority of them are unwilling to deal with their M and/or personal issues directly (and unwillingness to deal with an M issue is probably due to unresolved personal issues, so IMO it all come down to personal issues). Cheating allows them to avoid these issues.

I admit I'm angry as I write this, but my statement stands on its own even when all emotion is removed:

WSes cheat to avoid recognizing and/or dealing with their own or M issues.

If your H's IC doesn't believe that, your H needs a new IC, and the IC needs to do some rethinking of her beliefs about M and fidelity.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:25 PM, July 22nd (Monday)]


fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 9986 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
BostonGirl
Member
Member # 33930
Default  Posted: 3:31 PM, July 22nd (Monday)

"that I really don't understand how it would take the euphoria of an affair to make someone realize that their marriage was lacking. The first part of your post clearly states you were unhappy in your marriage and were unable to get your H to listen."

Long story short, we are and have always been excellent teammates, in the sense of coworkers--there have always been areas of important responsibilities (money, kids) where we trust each other completely and work as a great team. That's not true in every marriage and I always valued it in mine, not least for my kids sake. It was only the part about love, warmth, intimacy of all kinds (we didn't have sex for a few years because he was totally uninterested) that had gone completely to hell. He was pleasant and dutiful but otherwise completely checked out. It was very confusing and painful, incredibly hard to understand what was going on and why my attempts to solve problems like a responsible grown up (by talking about my concerns peaceably, not angrily, and trying to acknowledge how I might be contributing to any weird dynamics) wasn't working.

In hindsight my husband now totally admits that with his extreme conflict aversion (stemming from major FOO stuff he had never recognized), there was no way in hell that we could have solved this stuff by talking like reasonable grown-ups. The way he learned that you deal with interpersonal conflict was to just pretend it isn't happening and it will eventually go away. Somehow he understood that you don't treat other problems that way (leaky roof, weird car noises)--those he would address head-on--but with his wife... Avoid, pacify, deny, sluff off. It had to get to the point where he realized "ignore it and it will go away" translated to "ignore your wife and she will divorce you" before he started to wake up.

Believe me, I would have preferred it all to have gone down another way and I tried like hell to do that. Failing that I tried to live with the absence for the sake of my kids and that was awful too. Took a brief reminder of being involved with someone else to remind me emotionally that it wasn't always that way with my H and to demand that things change, one way or another.


It'll all be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.

Posts: 133 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Boston
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 12:58 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Took a brief reminder of being involved with someone else to remind me emotionally that it wasn't always that way with my H and to demand that things change, one way or another.

Are you fucking serious with this shit? Reminder? Please explain to me how cheating reminds you of an emotional connection you lost with your husband.

Boston Girl, I've read quite a few of your posts. You've conflated your choices with a kind of aversion therapy for your husband and actually push that as some sort of good idea.

"Well, sure, I'd have rather had a nice chat but failing that release the hounds!!!!"

When your BS found out was your response, "so, what have we learned?"

Look, emotional abandonment is no joke. It's a cruel and sterile way to live. I would imagine the anger at that unilateral choice would be monumental. How does cheating solve that? How did you breaking your moral code (maybe I'm assuming far too much here) in any way address his choices?

Did he magically go, "holy shit, she fucked someone else, NOW I get it", or was it more, I don't want to lose her so I need to shape up and fly right for a bit here?

Understanding, respect, caring, concern isn't just something a partner needs to demonstrate in a marriage. It's also something we need to have for ourselves. Affairs are the absolute antithesis of that.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
krazy8516
Member
Member # 40076
Default  Posted: 1:11 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Yes, there were marriage problems. Problem is, when he and I talk about the past we remember things differently.

This has been driving me crazy! Why do I remember moments of love and support, and yet he feels like I've never been there for him! I feel like he takes everything I say and do, and twists is just right so that I could out looking like a huge asshole. Just the other day (before I confronted him with what I knew about his affair), I was getting ready to leave the house to run to the store. I kissed him (even though I don't even want to touch him lately), and made my way for the door. He stopped what he was doing, and said to our daughter (21m old), "I guess I'll get you a washcloth in a minute. I need to go kiss Mommy good bye because she obviously isn't going to." WTF dude? I just kissed you and said "I'll be back" like, 30 seconds ago! No wonder he has such a hard time remembering past events - what happened less than a minute ago has already left his mind.

We're fighting a losing battle here. They're only going to remember the truths they've formulated in their heads.


me: BW, 30
him: WH, 25
us: edging closer to R every day

married 2y, together 2.5y
1 beautiful daughter, 23m

"Someday soon, I'm going to put my life together; Win or lose, I'm starting over again."


Posts: 368 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: Texas
ArableSands
Member
Member # 39830
Default  Posted: 1:14 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I'm with the small group defending Gottman. Our MC swears by his work and she also made it clear that cheating (I REFUSE to call them "affairs" ... it's fucking CHEATING or BETRAYAL) is a result of a willful choice by the betrayer. Something in the betrayer's mind broke and made it okay to escape into cheating. What that something is varies from person to person.

I'm reading two of Gottman's books right now after reading the Glass book NOT "Just Friends." I think all of what he says is pretty much right on. I also agree that he in no way is trying to blameshift cheating to the failings of a marriage. He's merely saying that the majority of betrayals take place after a marriage becomes dysfunctional due to the behaviours of one or both partners. He's not discussing causation, just correlation.


Posts: 224 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: Vancouver, Canada
atsenaotie
Member
Member # 27650
Default  Posted: 1:22 PM, July 29th (Monday)

How would you respond to this?


SimpleTruth,

Blaming his affairs on an empty love tank that you did not fill is a bit like blaming a gas station for running out of gas. Sure the gas station can provide what you need to keep going, but there is some personal responsibility to monitor the systems and take appropriate actions.

1. You have to stop in to visit the gas station from time to time and actually pump the fuel into your tank to fill it, it does not magically appear. You have to watch your tank's gauge and anticipate problems. You are a fool if you just drive until you are out of gas. You have to plan for these periodic stops and accounts for the fact gas stations are not always open.

2. You have to exchange something for the gas. You give the gas station money; gas station fills your tank. You give your spouse strokes, respect and attention and ideally your spouse fills your tank. If the gas station kept taking your money without filling your tank you would take action.

I kinda’ liked WAL’s suggested response. I would tell him that is a load of crap.

There is also literature out there that purports that the partner feeling the least loved in a M relationship is often the partner putting the least effort into the relationship.

Gottman says that "problems in the marriage that send the couple on a trajectory to divorce also send one (or both) of them looking…]

I think the real question for your WH is “Why was he the one who looked for attention outside the M and not you? What is he going to do differently than the last time he had an A so that he is not that person again? If it were a quid pro quo that lack of spousal attention lead to an A, there would be many more M with both partners having A at the same time. The real question is why does your WH respond to a perceived lack of attention from his spouse by looking for attention elsewhere rather than dealing with his spouse?


FBS 54
Separated and Divorcing

Posts: 4113 | Registered: Feb 2010 | From: FL
PeaceLove187
Member
Member # 33559
Default  Posted: 1:26 PM, July 29th (Monday)

It had to get to the point where he realized "ignore it and it will go away" translated to "ignore your wife and she will divorce you" before he started to wake up.

BostonGirl--why didn't you divorce him before turning to another man? What was it that made you choose deceit and betrayal over the honesty of filing for divorce?


BW--Me, 57
FWH--Him, 59
Married 35 years
Empty Nesters

Posts: 636 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Midwest
Sal1995
Member
Member # 39099
Default  Posted: 1:27 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Gottman says that "problems in the marriage that send the couple on a trajectory to divorce also send one (or both) of them looking for intimate connection outside the marriage. Most marital therapists who write about extramarital affairs find that these trysts are usually not about sex but about seeking friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern - the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer."

I have no doubt what Gottman says is true. Makes sense to me. My wife had sex with the OM 2-3 times a week for 10 months, but I know her well enough to know that she's hardly a sex addict. There was definitely more than sex at play here.

The problem is that I craved all of those things as well and never once considered cheating on my wife. Not for a second.

And objectively, my wife was very resistant to increased attention, caring and concern from me. If she wanted those things, she sure as hell went about trying to get them the wrong way practically our entire marriage.

Now less than 6 months removed from D Day, she has become very skilled at getting them now that she's desperate to keep the marriage. Go figure.

An affair is a selfish series of bad behaviors committed by someone who has chosen to put their own desires and needs over the person they are supposed to be committed to for life. There's no excuse for it, but the only way there might be an excuse is if the WS spent years trying to improve the marriage and to make themselves a better spouse, before finally giving up. And even then divorce is the better and more honest option. But how often does that attempt at self and marital improvement occur? Less than 5% of cases. Certainly not in my case. My wife only became concerned about saving our marriage after she got caught trying to destroy it.


Me (BS)-45, WW-42
PMs with men only, please
DDay 2/17/13, 9-10 month PA/EA
Final NC late Feb. '13
M - 18 years, 4 children
Reconciling

Posts: 1356 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
Missymomma
Member
Member # 36988
Default  Posted: 1:32 PM, July 29th (Monday)

ST - Our MC has us read Gottman but is very clear that she does not agree with his theory on affairs. It is ok to tell his IC that you do not agree with this theory. That what you are looking for is described in "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair". Which is always highly recommended on this site. It is also highly recommended by our MC. Our MC has about half of her practice dealing with SA marriages. So she has a lot of experience in dealing with infidelity. It is possible that his IC either doesn't have much experience with affairs or is actually biased because she has had one of her own. These are questions you have a right to ask of his IC.

BG - If living with someone that is conflict avoidant and refused to face problems in the relationship was justification for having an affair, I and many other BSs would have done it! It is not justification for having an affair. Affairs are about selfishness and brokenness. Don't lay that at the BS's feet.

[This message edited by Missymomma at 1:35 PM, July 29th (Monday)]


DDay - 6/15/11
R started - 7/1/11
False Discl- 9/27/12
Real Discl - 2/12/13
Poly - 3/1/13 Pass!
Me - BS (46)
WH - 52 (SA, NA, WA)
Kids: 2 littles and 1 grown
The road to recovery is long and hard. Some days I am up for it and others not!

Posts: 1084 | Registered: Sep 2012 | From: Texas
Sal1995
Member
Member # 39099
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Simple, if you file, maybe your WH will have an empty bank account. That will give him something else to worry about and might help him get over his "empty love tank."

Sorry to sound flip, but the things WS' say to justify horrible behavior makes my head want to explode.


Me (BS)-45, WW-42
PMs with men only, please
DDay 2/17/13, 9-10 month PA/EA
Final NC late Feb. '13
M - 18 years, 4 children
Reconciling

Posts: 1356 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Texas
ArableSands
Member
Member # 39830
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, July 29th (Monday)

The real question is why does your WH respond to a perceived lack of attention from his spouse by looking for attention elsewhere rather than dealing with his spouse?

That's the core question for pretty much every betrayed spouse here, astenaotie, thank you for distilling it.

For my wife, I think the answer is pretty clear. She wanted to find the emotional support and understanding she needed from a friend who was a father figure, who resembled her late father in ways she most admired and missed. It was easier to do that and engage in cheating behaviours that distracted her from the real world than it was for her to face me with the problems that were eating at her and risk a huge argument and a divorce.

The tragic irony in my case is that by the time her cheating started, I had opened up and was more like myself than I had been in years.


Posts: 224 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: Vancouver, Canada
phillygirl
Member
Member # 9078
Default  Posted: 1:35 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Wow. Bostongirl. Just wow.
It was only by "going nuclear" and demanding change that my marriage started to change--through some long hard years and a separation--but it never would have changed without the perspective I got from my A on exactly those points.

If your H was such a lousy husband you could have just left him. Period. You did not have to subject him to the pain of an A on the way out.

You had an A because you wanted to eat cake. You didn't like your M, but it was too inconvenient financially and otherwise for you to leave, so you chose to get emotional fulfillment elsewhere.

Your H was in that same M. I bet his love tank was pretty empty too. So while you were off having cake, he was...what? Sitting there stewing with his empty tank.

All BS's are not perfect, angelic spouses. Some deserve the nuclear option - divorce. None deserve their WS licking cake crumbs off their lips in the BS's face. That never works out too well for anyone involved.


Me - BW
Him - WH
Divorced - 7/2013

Posts: 825 | Registered: Dec 2005
tryingagain74
Member
Member # 33698
Default  Posted: 1:35 PM, July 29th (Monday)

My response?

Phooey.

XWH told me that he "wasn't getting his needs met." When that happens, you talk about it with your partner. If that doesn't change anything, you go get counseling. If that still doesn't help, then you could either try a trial separation or get a divorce.

There are many steps that one can take to have his/her "needs met" or to have his/her "empty love tank" filled. Being deceptive and bringing a third party into the relationship is not one of them.

I'm angry for you. That is terrible advice.

(((ST)))


BS (Me) 39
Happily liberated!
Two DS and One DD
It matters not how strait the gate,/How charged with punishments the scroll./I am the master of my fate:/I am the captain of my soul.--"Invictus," William Ernest Henley

Posts: 3572 | Registered: Oct 2011
Housefulloflove
Member
Member # 38458
Default  Posted: 1:41 PM, July 29th (Monday)

The oldest excuse in the book. "You didn't fulfill every need so I had to get it fulfilled elsewhere".

No.

Marital problems won't turn a person into a cheater. Just like financial problems won't turn someone into a thief!

How you respond to a problem is a reflection on who you are, and when someone's response is so fundamentally fucked up it's because THEY are fundamentally fucked up. It's the not the situation that creates the affair.


Me-29 Starting over
ExWH-29 Probable NPD, PA, manchild
3 beautiful young children
DDay 1/20/13 Admits PA
No remorse so NO R. DIVORCED! 9/2013

Posts: 541 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: USA
HurtButHopeful?
Member
Member # 25144
Default  Posted: 1:56 PM, July 29th (Monday)

"problems in the marriage that send the couple on a trajectory to divorce also send one (or both) of them looking for intimate connection outside the marriage. Most marital therapists who write about extramarital affairs find that these trysts are usually not about sex but about seeking friendship, support, understanding, respect, attention, caring, and concern - the kind of things that marriage is supposed to offer."

Yes, a M in trouble leaves both partners emotionally isolated. At some point they need to commit to reconnecting emotionally, or D'ing so they can find someone else to reconnect with...IN THAT ORDER.

Gottman implies that married people have no choice but to go outside the M for emotional bonding when their M is in trouble.

He is WRONG. Seeking emotional bonds (and/or sex) with people other than your spouse, is WRONG, no matter how broken the M is.

He doesn't address the promises people make to each other on their wedding day, and that they are broken when a person CHOOSES infidelity. He doesn't address the deceit of infidelity.


Reconciliation means that we both are authentic and vulnerable. I still have my H, and he's a better man than ever!

Posts: 1716 | Registered: Aug 2009
LosferWords
Guide
Member # 30369
Default  Posted: 1:59 PM, July 29th (Monday)

My wife's affair started before she met me. Maybe my lack of existence in her life had something to do with that empty tank?

Posts: 6705 | Registered: Dec 2010
ArableSands
Member
Member # 39830
Default  Posted: 2:03 PM, July 29th (Monday)

How you respond to a problem is a reflection on who you are, and when someone's response is so fundamentally fucked up it's because THEY are fundamentally fucked up. It's the not the situation that creates the affair.

Love it, House. Well put.

We still have to work this out in MC, but I think what broke my wife was the tension between the risk of losing me forever and the intolerable pain and anger she felt from years of me rugsweeping her concerns and gaslighting her. She couldn't bear the thought of not being with me, and that fear drove her to make a Monumentally Fucking Stupid Choice. (MFSC, soon to be trademarked)

Understanding this is helping me clear the way to eventual R, if we stay in MC and we're able to work through the pain on both sides.

People like yourself here at SI are instrumental in saving both marriages and the people in them, by the way. Thank you, and everyone here at SI.


Posts: 224 | Registered: Jul 2013 | From: Vancouver, Canada
myperfectlife
Member
Member # 39801
Default  Posted: 2:15 PM, July 29th (Monday)

The real question is why does your WH respond to a perceived lack of attention from his spouse by looking for attention elsewhere rather than dealing with his spouse?

And the answer often is that...it's the path of least resistance.
It's easier to start fresh with someone who doesn't know the WS, all their faults, their shortcomings, their annoyances. They get all they want within that bubble with only their charm and possibly good looks. This AP never sees them digging in their nose, leave dirty cups laying around the house and their inability to make simple, timely decisions.
The WS gets all the EGO tank filled with ZERO effort.
If it were that easy to keep a marriage going, no one would ever divorce.
Basically, imo, the WS is just too lazy to put in the effort, too lazy to go to counseling to learn ways to put in the effort, or too lazy to file for divorce before they move on.
Lazy/scared/conflict avoidant. Whatever. Issues or no issues- I think the marriage vows are pretty clear when it comes to infidelity. There's no valid reason to do it.


I cannot be responsible for another's personal growth.
DDay#1 of a "cheatillion" 4/1/13
Divorce final 11/04/13

Posts: 452 | Registered: Jul 2013
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 2:17 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Fuck that love tank stuff, I want a sex jet. With lasers.

Anyway, the idea that an affair is a response to an empty love tank somehow loses the intermediary connection of "WRONG" there. A) EMPTY LOVE TANK - B)WRONG - C)RESPONSE

A to C skips B. We can swap out B with all sorts of shit, from divorce to counseling.


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7428 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
Tearsoflove
Member
Member # 8271
Default  Posted: 2:49 PM, July 29th (Monday)

I'd tell him that the book you choose to read and discuss with him is "Not Just Friends" and unless he reads that one, there is no reconciliation. I would not accept him reading a book that allowed him to blame the marriage for his choice to cheat.


"Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand." ~Homer Simpson


Posts: 4033 | Registered: Sep 2005
Lovedyoumore
Member
Member # 35593
Default  Posted: 5:00 PM, July 29th (Monday)

Using the logic that problems in the marriage cause affairs, then every marriage is looking at an affair. But, that is not true. Why?

All marriages have some kind of problem because the union is made up of fallible humans. Marriages cannot be affair proofed because every single one of us comes from a different beginning. What would send you over the edge would be every day life for someone else that would never cheat. Affairs come from poor coping mechanisms to life's everyday, mundane issues. No matter how much a spouse "works" on the marriage, they cannot "work"on their marriage partner's internal compass. Sooner or later the possibility of dipping outside the marriage will present itself. The outcome depends on each person, not how much the other partner has done or not done. The cheater owns it and should claim it.


Me 52
WH 52
Married 30+ years
Together trying to R

I tell people I am tired but really my heart is broken and I am sad.


Posts: 1447 | Registered: May 2012 | From: Southern, bless your heart
Topic Posts: 48