Last Chance

I just want to thank you guys for all the help and advice you have given me over the last couple of months. I have gone from being anxious, depressed, confused, lost, sad, grieving, to healthy. It's amazing. It really is. My relationship with my husband has been getting better and better over the last couple of months. 

Until this last week. I was contacted by a stranger on Facebook who sent me three screenshots of my husband's current online dating profile on Tinder. I didn't open the message until Monday morning. Thankfully I waited because I was on vacation in Dubai and my vacation was pretty great. I had done a lot of thinking about my relationship on the flights home in a practical, emotionally detached, risk-benefit kind of way. 

I confronted my husband. He says he set it up because he was lonely (I was gone for 24 hours at that point) and was feeling depressed and insecure that he was getting older, having erectile dysfunction issues and was in debt and overweight. He wanted to know if he was still desirable, that he still had it. He said he did some flirting but didn't call or have sex with anyone. After a couple of days, he shut it down because he felt stupid and deleted it. 

Unfortunately, I have no evidence to know whether this is true or not. And so I am left with a fairly tough decision... accept that this was a stupid mistake and try to move forward or abandon the work and the four years of marriage and my home and my life and start over again. 

The good thing is that he has been profusely apologetic and accepts full responsibility for his actions. He has not blamed me, which he usually does although he does point out it is difficult to be intimate with someone who was as stressed and negative as I was prior to the last few months. 

I have taken the wait and see approach. It really is up to him. He says he will go to counselling. He says he understand that this is kind of it for me. The last bit of slack I cut him.

He can take the victim, self-pity approach if he chooses. That is not my responsibility. That is his choice. I have only good things ahead of me in life. He can come along if he wants, or he can self fulfil his prophecy of failure. I am willing to love, I am willing to help, I am willing to support, but I am not willing to rescue or save. He can only do that himself.  

Hi DO....

I Love your outlook!

Commitment (faithfulness) has got to matter in a marriage...But without Forgiveness and Grace many marriage's that could end well never get the chance...

Wishing you the best...

C

Thank you C

Tonight, in a very damaging way I learned I am not willing to forgive him and work with him yet. Monday I found out about the dating app. Tuesday and Wednesday, he went to Search and Rescue. Thursday, he worked out of town. Friday through Monday he went skiing with a group of strangers (I was supposed to go, but backed out on Monday because I didn't think it would be healthy). Tonight, he came home at 8 pm and unpacked and started packing for going out of town again. 

 

Maybe I should have had more patience, no, actually, I should have had more patience. But I didn't. When he told me he was leaving for out of town, I lost my temper and started throwing things. In front of my 17 year old daughter. Who became extremely upset. 

Like J says, own it. I have failed. I am not strong enough to fulfill my vows. I am walking away right now. Separation first, we will see after. It is going to be a long road of self discovery and some anger management classes. Thank you for all your insight and advice. 

It's simple really DO

I did the same kind of things for too long...(anger out bursts based on her decisions that made my feelings a non issue) it came down to me having to decide a few things.. One, am I able and willing to accept this Independant life style of hers, that made me feel abandoned and lonely much of the time? or No? Secondly, is she trust worthy, and can I trust her based on everything I know about her? I decided yes for both, so I had to completely learn to accept her life style and more importantly, how to live peacefully and contented with in myself all the time, especially during these times she decides to head off on her own...There is no excuse for Anger, but it can definitely be our go to when we feel unappreciated, abandoned and not a priority for our spouse... I can tell u this, if I find my wife on a dating site after nine years of marriage... it's over..

i will pray for you 

C

Thank you for your prayers

I guess the issue is that I am willing on the surface, but not really able. And trust is definitely an issue. 

I would have thought I was strong enough to handle this, but apparently not. Good to know. 

Thank you for your prayers.  

DO.......I Think You Are Owning it Actually

I read through the things you're saying and how you reacted to your husband and I caught your mention of me.  I wanted to share some things that I've gone through myself and tell you what I think about your conclusions where you thought you were strong enough to handle "this" as you said.  I have gone from being anxious, depressed, confused, lost, sad, grieving, to healthy. It's amazing. It really is. My relationship with my husband has been getting better and better over the last couple of months.   Let me say, there is strength in what you just went through.  And the fact that you say it's amazing is as I hear and see it, a form of self validation for having gone through all of that, and then come out Okay.  And the fact that you say it is geting better and better I can relate to as well.  And coming from this side of this hearing you, I see that you did that, and you own it as well.  That does feel good and it is very validating..but without taking anything away from what you;ve done, that really is all about you as it is with me and this is something I just wanted to point out to as you as my own conclusion to this.  Everything you've been through both good and bad is yours and yours alone.  What ever it is your husband is going through, is his in the same way. 

As you described it here:

Until this last week. I was contacted by a stranger on Facebook who sent me three screenshots of my husband's current online dating profile on Tinder. I didn't open the message until Monday morning. Thankfully I waited because I was on vacation in Dubai and my vacation was pretty great. I had done a lot of thinking about my relationship on the flights home in a practical, emotionally detached, risk-benefit kind of way. 

I confronted my husband. He says he set it up because he was lonely (I was gone for 24 hours at that point) and was feeling depressed and insecure that he was getting older, having erectile dysfunction issues and was in debt and overweight. He wanted to know if he was still desirable, that he still had it. He said he did some flirting but didn't call or have sex with anyone. After a couple of days, he shut it down because he felt stupid and deleted it.

Let me say, that in my past but not while I was married after my divorce....I went through something very similar to your husbands experience for the very same reasons.  In this case, it was what I'm calling a validation affair since there was no future or even chance at anything ever becoming of it.  This woman was much younger that I was and she actually approached me.  She wanted something from me that I had, and I wanted something from her in the same way but those two things were different yet, it was stated outright or it was more openly discussed and everything was out in the open.  There was no illusions or thoughts added into it on my part, that it was anything different than what it was, but at the end what I realized what I needed was that validation and this came about at the end of a relationship where I was simply devalued to the point that I needed someone else to hold me in esteem.  I needed to feel valued and I simply was not.  But what I was really needing underneath that was my own validation.  I found once I got there, and once I was in that kind of relationship, that once I got what I needed...it was pretty much done and over.  And in the same way, what this younger woman needed she got too.  Our expectations were in line, with what we both wanted and at the end, there was no misunderstandings and our feelings, needs and wants were fulfilled and validated.  Basically, I met this woman in a Art class and my art instructor even warned me when he saw my skills and all the years I had been doing what I do, as he said it " don't be surprised if the other students don't hone in on you and start to bug you and ask you questions and want you to help them.  And let me know if they do and I make sure they leave you alone"  That in itself, was a form a validation and I quickly responded by saying that wasn't a problem. I was so use to being the foreman and having people come to me that teaching or showing other people how to do things, answer questions and give tips or advise were almost second nature.  And I had to do that while I was doing my own work so I learned how to manage that at the same time.  So simply put, I had the skills or the ability to do what he was concerned about, and had also learned how to pick and choose or send people away...or choose to stop and take a moment to help as long as it was not interfering with what I was trying to do.  I had done that for so long and for so many years, that this was the norm where I worked...but now I was the student and I was not suppose to do that which my instructor acknowledged while recognizing my skills.  It was nice to hear on both accounts that he was thinking of me and having my back as well as validating my skills at the same time.  I was not in the market to meet anyone new, but when I befriended a number of students in the class, this one gal made me a proposition which was a reasonable thing all things considered.  She had a particular interest in what I was working on, and expressed her desire to learn more in depth and offered to hire me to teach her on the side.  I will not deny I was not flattered but also, I won't deny my attraction to her as well.  As it turned out, I did follow through on our business arrangement but now in the course of our business, I was picking up the definite signals that there was also another intention on her mind.  I was walking into a situation, knowing my own attraction to her, and within what was appropriate there was a line that was now appearing that I had to make a choice. It was clear that she was not looking for a relationship with me and it was clear that she was enamoured with my skills and ability that she admired and was drawn to which was huge part of that for me.  But I really didn't need that validation from her since I pretty much owned these facts as well.  Not in a arrogant way, only that I recognized them in the same way the instructor did.  But those were also recognized at work, with customers and now in a different setting.  But I didn't need any more of that for myself because that had already been long established and validated to the point, that my needs there were met for myself...and I really didn't need more than I already had?  It's always nice for reassurance and reconfirm, but I was satisfied with myself within all those abilities.  What I really needed was more along the lines of what you said about your husband.  He had self doubts about his ability to have sex because of his ED.  He had doubts about himself that he was still attractive.  He had doubts about himself, period...and those doubts needed to be put to rest or validated or not?  He is are unsure about anything...you need to be sure or to know in order to put something to rest once and for all? And in respect to what I did or why I did it once that relationship went beyond just being a teacher...was validation that I was still acceptable, desirable and still had value to someone else?  And now here is a this younger attractive woman....who had that to offer me and I accepted it for what it was, and that's alo that it was.  I've heard of this in other contexts and I even recognized it then, that this teacher or role in that capacity can attract people for the same reason.  They are flattered to a certain extent, to have the attention and the special treatment and to be singled out for that to be bestowed upon them and they can bond with that authority for that reason alone.  It is a need in them for something that aso needs validation or they feel attracted to for what ever reason outside of just wanting them to teach them or remain only in that capacity.  You hear of this inappropriate type of teacher student relationship in schools....but in my case, this woman was older and in grad school so and this was just between her and I so there was really nothing inappropriate about it except for one thing.  I was betraying myself and my own set of values when I stepped over the line and made in personal.  So in respect to what your H told you.....I might actually believe him in this case.  If he was only flirting and it he did not follow through....I'd say that this sounds like the very thing I did as well?  I had a legitimate reason to meet with this woman, and the only thing illegitimate about it had only to do with me.  This woman had no problem with anything on her end and our expectations of anything more was non existence.  This was not an emotional affair in that context...it was a physical one.  I didn't need any emotional validation...what I need needed was all physical.  That I was physically desirable and at least desired on that level at the very minimum.  There is certainly and emotional component to it and that is true...but the fact is, the validation came when it became physical.  But even with that....I had a boundary I would not cross and that was actually having full on sex..and that's where I crossed the line.  This was my own line that I had....how I saw it, and that sounded similar to your H except...I did make physical contact on a number of occasions due to the teaching...but then that turned into mutual affection and ( petting ...that sounds so clinical ) which basically amounted to what a couple of teenagers would do up to the point of actually having sex if sex what considered taboo.  Nothing new in that concept so that's not hard to understand that boundary.  When it came right down to it....I just needed to know and have a genuine response which was what I needed.  And it was confirming at a time, when I needed it the most but had lost my own ability to validate myself in that way due to all the things that had gone before including getting divorced which was extremely difficult and very hard on my self esteem.  But in reality....that had been going on for years before that...so I was in desperate need for something to give that to me that was outside of myself.  And this came at time when I was done with the relationship I was in that ended up just contributing to this issue and only made it worse.  The only mistake I made in terms of doing anything wrong...was not filing leaving and was still involved with another woman  who I had quit and was done but had not left yet or was ready as you say?  I was not strong enough, to do it right and went behind the back to do it which was how I betrayed myself.  I broke my own rules or my own values....in order to get what I needed or wanted and that was the defining line in anything like this as I have come to understand for myself.  This is what amounts to integrity right there.  There is nothing that can account for or make up for a lack of integrity and either you follow your own rules and of what you know is right...or you break them and that is the only thing I did wrong.  It didn't matter what anyone else thought or what rules they lived by or follow....when I applied the golden rule to that instance....I failed to pass the test based on my own behavior and what I would find acceptable or not.  The way I see it, the golden rule...is the litmus test for integrity and a way to guard against hypocrisy and the way to know the difference.  If I cannot pass the golden rule test, then something is wrong with what I've done?  In the moment, you may not know it....but afterwards you do by the way you feel about it later. And if that tells you anything, it tells you not to do that one again.  I can always forgive myself for not being aware of just not knowing something at the time ( being naive, ignorant or emotionally weak in the moment ) what I have a much harder time forgiving myself for is knowingly betraying myself when I make the choice or decision to go against myself   ( or sin...as one way to say that )  The bottom line there is, knowing better or not knowing better....and there is a difference for sure.

And when you say "trust" is really the issue or a definite issue? Who's trust are you talking about?  Your own of course....his trust or his ability to trust...is his problem not yours.  Your ability to trust yourself, comes when you stop doubting or have self doubt and that is resolved to the point that you now own that yourself.

I want to acknowledge something I just read in another post my by Chevorn, that had to deal with emotional affairs and it may be the one of the most profound things I've read here to date even that was not her intnetion in sayng it.  In contest to the topic at hand...it is still very validating for me to hear....but way beyond that in the big picture or the meta-topic of "relationships" of any kind ....no matter what kind they are.  This is a univeral truth that she came to herself...but as I am saying ..it applies universally across the board in ALL relationships and any one you could name...male , female, friend, lover, co-worker or family member.  So without further adieu  here is what she said:

"There's a lot, a whole lot hidden about them.   I discovered that I was putting my own fantasies and desires into the "information gaps" of a ( LD internet and phone)  relation.   You might keep an eye out for that.  It's a path to some sadness, or was to me. "  I might make a bold statement, and I don't think I'm wrong here....but that the part or last bit there that said   "or was to me".  I might say as that bold statement...that "No, that was not just her.....that's everyone period.  Every human being on the planet including "me".

DO, what makes you weak, also can make you stronger......or not.....depends on.......that's the answer there.  If you learn why and how that makes you weak..and you learn not to repeat it again and resolve it for yourself,  you just learned how integrity works....and integrity is what feels good.  No integrity...feels bad, makes you sad and makes you depressed.  Moments or weakness or have a moment when you lose sight of it...does not necessarily mean you don't have inegrity...and it only means your human.  It's when you choose...or make a conscious decision...to go against yourself and you know better and but choose to do so anyway....that is the defining line between integrity and no integrity in my mind but first you have to know the difference.  If you don't know the difference and you are full of self doubt and fear.....you're apt to break someone's else's boundary and do hurtful things with no intention at all.  No one does everything, always, never or all the time in anything.  If they do, and they show a pattern of always doing the same thing repeatedly and never learning from their mistakes.....or rationalizing that what they're doing is Okay when it's not Okay.....that's just denial.....but with denial.....comes no integrity.  It may not be intentional....but at a cost and this I think is what the cost is.

There are two things that come to mind and one of them comes from the Four Agreements book.  The 4th and most difficult agreement in the book as listed is "being impeccable with your word". And let me say, I fail and still fail there on a daily basis but this is not about lying or not lying or speaking only what is true in absolute terms.  This is the voice of integrity coming through you....from the inside out....and it speaks of your own integrity...even if you fail at times.  You fail  because your human and no one is perfect.  But strength comes from integrity and that kind of strength is something you have to earn for yourself.  You earn it, from doing it and sometimes you fail....but failure doesn't mean your weak.....failure comes from trying and attempting to do it at the end of the day.  If you never try and your never fail......that is what is weak.  If your H is weak..and he lacks his own integrity.....and you've done all you've done and feel good about yourself like you said and it feel like your relationhsip is doing better or improving for you and you alone.....that does not account for your husband and how he's doing and the tendency as I have found with my wife in the same way?  When I am doing better and feeling better and she's not.....instead of finding ways to bring herself  "UP" with me....she will try and pull me "down" to her to make things even.  She is the weak one in this case...but the bringing me down aspect does not come across as weak...it comes across and dominating and controlling and aggressively attacking. Instead of validating herself for herself and getting integrity for herself....she tries to get it from me....through me...which is very co-depenent.  What sucks and what makes you feel bad is the lack of integrity....that comes with co-depencence.  When you feel better and your doing better than before and you come through all you've come through to get there.  That is strength...not weakness.....you need to own that much for yourself.  Own...then live it....and make it a practice.  The practice part is a life long commitment and there really is no ever getting there however the bar is set and you own lines are drawn in your own picture you want to live by...and now all you have to do is stay within those lines and not cross over them.  That doesn't count for a bad day, a mistake or just a weak moment.  Weal moments can be any time....but patterns happen everyday all the time.  That's the difference and how I can tell for myself if I am doing Okay and living up to my own expectations of myself that I can own and hang my hat on and say....I did Okay.  I'm not perfect...but perfect isn't the goal.....integrity is.  That's how I see it...and that's what I've learned.

J