Confused, What's Going On?
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 02-21-2012, 06:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Confused, What's Going On?

I really could use some of your opinions and/or advice. We've been married for 8 years. We have three kids, two of which are from her previous marriage. She was married once before, this is my only marriage.
I will be the first to admit that I have trust issues. I have been stung before, it hurt like hell, and I don't want it to happen again. And so I have monitored my wife for most of our 8 years together. I have checked behind her back through cell records, looked through purses, and I have checked our Internet history. I have questioned her about numbers, grilled her about browsing through some Facebook pictures of a guy she went to school with. And I will admit, that even though at the time there appeared to be red flags, none of the "clues" led anywhere, or appeared to.
Within the past year I've noticed some subtle changes in my wife. She has always been hard working, takes great care of the kids, enjoyed going to church. She has been getting more friendly with a few of the 20 something year old group of girls from work. Some are not married, so they still party, date around, don't have the responsibility of family. While she does not hang around with them after hours, she goes on and on about them here at the house. So, a part of me wonders does she "envy" their lifestyle?
We have had arguments regarding trust and other issues. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it has escalated to the point where I accuse her, without any evidence at all. As you can imagine, this has gone over like a lead balloon. She has threatened to leave me on several times before when our arguments have got really heated. We have always cooled down and got things working again. However, in the past few months, we have had arguments that have escalated to the same point. Only this time, she will calmly take her ring off and announce it's over, with very little emotion. She says that "it's the same thing over and over" And sees "no change." We just had one of these arguments about two days ago. We're wearing the rings, talking, and carrying on "like normal," but I feel like jello on the inside. I have no idea what my wife is thinking. ZERO idea. I don't know how she feels about me. I don't know how serious she was about leaving. I feel blacked out, so to speak. And so I'm back to speculating again. Is s he being distracted by something or someone from work, perhaps?
A friend of mine, who has always teased me about being paranoid regarding the wife, thinks if there was a time to really spy or monitor, this would be it. His rational is the lack of emotion when she said it was over, and her getting friendly with younger women who don't really share her lifestyle.
I just want validation from her. I want us to have a heart to heart, and for her to tell me how she feels.
Please advise...
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

If I understand correctly, you grill her about things and accuse her of affairs with no proof, and now you're wondering why she seems emotionally detached from you?

I don't understand why this is in the CWI section of this forum. Unless those "red flags" were big, waving ones (like she's been secretive with phone and computer - taking phone to bathroom, minimizing chat screens when you walk into the room - I am inclined to doubt your judgement on how "red" these flags were.)

ETA: I see in another post of yours that she is being suspicious with the phone. That is a valid red flag. Did you ever figure out what that number was?
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

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Originally Posted by SomeLady View Post
If I understand correctly, you grill her about things and accuse her of affairs with no proof, and now you're wondering why she seems emotionally detached from you?

I don't understand why this is in the CWI section of this forum. Unless those "red flags" were big, waving ones (like she's been secretive with phone and computer - taking phone to bathroom, minimizing chat screens when you walk into the room - I am inclined to doubt your judgement on how "red" these flags were.)

ETA: I see in another post of yours that she is being suspicious with the phone. That is a valid red flag. Did you ever figure out what that number was?
I did ask about that number. And I felt like a total jerk when I found out the answer. It was a cell phone her mom had been borrowing. Her mom was house sitting for a couple that had gone to Florida for a month. They had left a cell phone there, and gave her permission to use it. The story totally checked out, I called the number myself, and guess who answers? My mother in law.

Last edited by Regretful; 02-21-2012 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

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Originally Posted by Regretful View Post
I did ask about that number. And I felt like a total jerk when I found out the answer. It was a cell phone her mom had been borrowing. Her mom was house sitting for a couple that had gone to Florida for a month. They had left a cell phone there, and gave her permission to use it. The story totally checked out, I called the number myself, and guess who answers? My mother in law.
It is possible, then, that she keeps her phone with her because she doesn't want you to pry into things like her mother's phone calls and interrogate her over things.

Ordinarily, I would say that someone being secretive with their phone was up to no good. But, I do think it's possible for someone to get this way just out of defensiveness. It may even be a bit of a "F-U" to you - she's not doing anything, but she knows you get mad if you can't pry, so she won't let you. Seriously, those things are perfectly possible.

So, I'd go back to the assumption that she is NOT cheating.

It's really not cool to monitor her and interrogate her and accuse her. This may come as a shock to you, but that sort of behaviour is on lists with titles like "Is your spouse controlling?" or "Am I being emotionally abused?"

I would say that you need IC to deal with your inability to trust. As for how to turn things around with her: well, if you can set aside the paranoia, and let her know that you are doing so, then you can maybe do something about it. It sounds to me like she is checking out, emotionally. If she's innocent of any cheating, I can't say that I blame her.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

In my opinion the best thing both of you could do is to get into MC to learn to communicate. It may not hurt for you to get into IC for a few sessions to help you learn to cope and control yourself. If you keep this up, the odds are you will drive her away. MC may help both of you to understand each other, that is if you are able to obtain a good counselor.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

Your wife probably learned through the years that you don't trust her even though she hasn't done anything to warrant your distrust. She might have grown tired of it and checked out.

As for the 20-something lifestyle - I do envy them sometimes. They are still young, have their whole life ahead of them and they are much more energetic. They still have choices to be anything they want to be. On the other hand, they still have much more headache ahead of them than the older growd. Just as they have opportunity to make good choices, they have opportunity and will make bad choices. That's where "If I only knew then what I know now" comes into play.
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

[QUOTE=FourtyPlus;597706]Your wife probably learned through the years that you don't trust her even though she hasn't done anything to warrant your distrust. She might have grown tired of it and checked out.

As for the 20-something lifestyle - I do envy them sometimes. They are still young, have their whole life ahead of them and they are much more energetic. They still have choices to be anything they want to be. On the other hand, they still have much more headache ahead of them than the older growd. Just as they have opportunity to make good choices, they have opportunity and will make bad choices. That's where "If I only knew then what I know now" comes into play.[/QUOTE

Is it possible to "win" her over again? Provided I leave the paranoia and mistrust at the door, and attempt to be a better man, without all the BS? Or if somebody has "checked" out, is it over with at that point?
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

It's possible to "win" her over again, yes. I don't know if it's possible to win HER in THIS marriage, but such things are possible.

It's also possible that it's too late.

But, you really need to get a grasp on your jealousy and control issues. That has to be your number one priority.

I don't know exactly how that will come about. I do think that at some point, you're going to have to apologize to your wife for your behaviour up to this point and show her that you're taking steps to change.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

First of all, you NEED IC (individual counseling) to address and resolve your trust issues that pre-dated your marriage. I'm sorry to say that you made a bad choice in getting married without having dealt with your past relationship ordeals which you then carried over to the marriage.

Now as far as how to 'win' your wife back, that is going to be tough because it would require a leap of faith on the part of your wife to trust you again. That can only happen IF you have enough courage to let her go and convey this to her in a sincere fashion. If she perceives that you love her enough to let her go and find peace and happiness somewhere else, she MAY think about possibly giving you another chance.

I leave you with the following in the hopes that it will help you in your situation.

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Originally Posted by marduk View Post
I happened to be thinking today about the past year of my marriage. Everyone on these forums were so instrumental in my being in the great place I am today I thought I would post a note about where I was, where I am, and what I’ve learned.

A year ago my marriage was a mess. After 3 kids my stay at home wife spontaneously decided to start going out with her girlfriends again, including a “girls trip” to Vegas. She started a crazy fitness routine, including marathon running and triathalons. She started leaving me at home with the kids 2-3 evenings a week. A rough summer. I was insecure, controlling, alone, and afraid.

Thanks in part to the folks on this forum, life is much better now. My wife only goes out with her friends maybe once a month, and the last time she did, she came home early, threw her arms around me, and told me she’s so happy she gets to come home to me. She goes to the gym maybe once or twice a week for an hour or so in the early evening. When she does leave on races out of town the whole family will go on a camping trip together so we can be there for her at the finish line. The stress level in the house is much lower, and our happiness and respect for each other is much higher. Are things perfect? No – we still fight, have conflict, and disagree. But they’re shorter-lived, not has hostile, and just plain don’t seem to hurt so much. What’s changed? Me. Here’s what I learned:

1. Let her go. You can fight, hold her back, be controlling… and you’ll just look petty, insecure, and weak. Be cool, act secure, give her a kiss and say “have fun.” If she’s going to cheat or leave, she’s going to cheat or leave. It’s better if it happens sooner rather than later in my book. A marriage is a choice, a decision that’s made one day at a time. You’re in or out. This was really, really hard. But I've learned that nothing lasts forever, life is change. We can grow together or apart. I can't force her to decide to want to be with me.

2. Set boundaries, and then stick to them. I found in my marriage that it wasn’t ok to say “I don’t want you to do that” but it was ok to say “would you be ok with me doing that?” And then hold her to it. 9 times out of 10 the behaviour would go away on its own if I stuck to it. For example: if it was ok for her to be gone 2-3 nights a week so would I. After a couple of weeks she was dying to sit on the couch and watch a movie after we spent the evening with the kids together. Conversely, if it's within your boundaries, be cool with it. I started to let her off the hook for minor annoyances a lot more which cooled the stress levels.

3. Be ok with losing her. Seriously. After one of our last bad fights before things got better, I reconciled myself to thinking this might be it. The end of our marriage and little family. I thought out how things would be living on my own, sharing custody of the kids, etc. And as tough as it would be, made peace with it. It wouldn’t kill me, it wouldn’t kill my kids. Very negative experience and one I’d like to avoid at all costs, but we would survive. This changed my attitude and clinginess significantly… and to be blunt scared the hell out of my wife. Just last month she told me “I think you’d be more ok without me than I’d be without you.” And for our marriage, that balance of neediness works. I think it’s an alpha male thing, not sure but it seems to work.

4. Do my own thing. I’m out at least once or twice a week doing martial arts, yoga, weights, cross-fit, trail running, hanging with buddies… you name it. Gives me perspective and gives my wife time to miss me. And I’m in kick ass shape compared to last year, and now instead of me worrying about my wife getting hit on I’m having to deal with having her be upset because other women check me out when we go out. I’m going on a weekend martial arts training camp… and my wife couldn’t say a word after going to Vegas last year. Another thing: I make sure I either do something fun with the kids when she goes out (she’ll have to decide if it’s more important to miss out on family fun or friend fun) or I have fun while she’s out. Even something stupid like a scotch and cigar in the back yard when the kids go to bed so I can kick back and listen to the complete lack of complaining about the cigar stink. Ahh…

5. Be a father to our children. Not just “quality” time but real time. Conversations, walks in the park, helping with homework, taking them to soccer, etc. all seemed to help big time. Not just with my wife, but with all of us. And I also found my “father voice,” the voice of discipline and reason in the family. My kids listen to me a lot more, not in fear, but they know they have to listen. Now my wife comes to me when the kids don’t listen to her, not the other way around.

6. Get some buddies. Guys need close guy friends to do guy stuff. Complain about their wives. Be stupid and macho. Whatever that means to you, it worked wonders for me.

7. Fight different. Walk away rather than blow up. Mean what you say and stand up to it. For example, if I threaten that if she keeps doing x that means I'll do y, then I bloody well do y if she does x. This had two effects: I thought about what I said more, and so did my wife. I think my wife has a need to be able to hold me at my word, even if that’s a bad thing. Not sure why. Using few words in a fight, slowly and quietly while looking her directly in the eye seems to also work. Once it’s said, don’t repeat it. It is what it is.

8. Act from a place of strength. I don’t think my wife wants a weakling. She may say that she’ll want me to be more intimate, vulnerable, etc… I think that’s actually BS. Or at least that she doesn’t mean weak or actually vulnerable. If you have flaws or weaknesses either accept it and move on or fix it. I don’t let my wife try to fix my flaws any more. If she brings something up and tries to fix it I’ll ask her to mind her own business (gently). Not a behaviour that impacts her, those I’ll always try to listen to her on. But I don't let her judge me or try to live up to her expectations any more. I define myself, I don't let her do that for me.

9. Be decisive. Again I think this is an alpha male thing. Make plans. I planned a few date nights, and didn’t ask what she wanted to do. Instead I planned stuff I thought might be fun for us, and asked if she was having a good time. She was, especially if it was stuff she didn’t normally like to do (one time we went to a tattoo expo – I have one small tattoo and she has none – but got us out of our element and we had a blast!) Now if she asks me “what do you want to do” I answer with what I want. Works in bed too – I just made sure she felt comfortable in saying “no.” Don’t bully, be decisive and adaptable.

10. Know what I want from life. This is hard in today’s world. I had to pull my head out of my ass and figure out that I don’t want to sit on the couch every night and watch TV. So now I don’t. At least not every night.

11. Do more macho stuff. Fix something around the house. Dig a big hole in the back yard and plant a tree. Fixing her car, for example, seemed to turn a light bulb on in my wife’s head that reminded me that I’m a man and not one of her girlfriends.

So that’s my list. Hope it helps some of the guys out there. Your mileage may vary, and my marriage may still fail, but I’m in a much better spot in the past year than I have been in a long, long time.

Thanks for everything!
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Confused, What's Going On?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Regretful View Post
I will be the first to admit that I have trust issues. I have been stung before, it hurt like hell, and I don't want it to happen again. And so I have monitored my wife for most of our 8 years together. I have checked behind her back through cell records, looked through purses, and I have checked our Internet history. I have questioned her about numbers, grilled her about browsing through some Facebook pictures of a guy she went to school with.

We have had arguments regarding trust and other issues. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it has escalated to the point where I accuse her, without any evidence at all
This is so not ok. I can understand you being burned in the past but outright accusing your wife of things she hasn't done is not good. At all. It's toxic and unhealthy & no doubt is going to have an adverse effect on your marriage.

How would you feel if she acted this way with you?

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If I understand correctly, you grill her about things and accuse her of affairs with no proof, and now you're wondering why she seems emotionally detached from you?
This would become very exhausting. And it's no wonder she is telling you she is fed up.

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Originally Posted by FourtyPlus View Post
Your wife probably learned through the years that you don't trust her even though she hasn't done anything to warrant your distrust. She might have grown tired of it and checked out.


And I just want to add, that eventually she has prob come to the conclusion that no matter what she does, you will view it as wrong so she may even not share the most basic things with you for fear/anxiety taht you are going to be upset. And I mean things like when she has spoken to a girlfriend or if she went to the store for fear you are going to reprimand her and accuse her of doing something she isn't.

I was with a man like you once and it did not end well. A marriage w/o trust isn't much of a marriage.

I would suggest sitting down and talking to her about how you feel and how you have trust issues and realize it's badly effecting the marriage. Get into individual therapy to deal with these issues. Also, marriage counseling won't hurt either. Ask her what she needs from you and vice versa. You said you want to be validated so let her know what that entails. She should do the same for you.
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Last edited by Jellybeans; 02-21-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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