After an Affair - Husband's Female Friend
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Coping with Infidelity Relationship recovery from the destructiveness of infidelity.

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Old 07-17-2012, 05:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy After an Affair - Husband's Female Friend

My husband and I have been together since we were teenagers, married now for twenty five years, with four children, two still at home.

Two years ago I discovered my husband was having an emotional and sexually charged affair with a woman from his office that included long cell phone conversations, sexting, phone sex, nightly facebook sex-chats, coffee meet-ups, some sexual touching and kissing .

He ended it when I found out, appearing to be very remorseful and promising no contact. He however lied about all the details for a year afterwards, continued to talk with the OW and even tried to start it up again when he saw her flirting with another co-worker at the company Christmas party. For the past year he has had no real contact with her, although she does answer the phone occasionally and he sees her once or twice a week when he walks by her office. He now hangs up when she picks up the phone and stays away from her office area as much as possible. After it ended she sent him a nasty letter and since then he genuinely dislikes her, so I have little fear of the affair reigniting.

But the OW is not who I'm worried about right now.

My husband has a female former co-worker who has been his friend for years now. Their friendship consists of coffee dates every couple of months, occasional long conversations on his cellphone, and some texting. This woman is about the same age as the OW and very pretty (like the OW). I never had a problem with their friendship before the affair, but I definitely do now. I feel this woman is a big ego boost for my husband--- probably always was, but I never noticed. He insists they're only good friends.

This woman is a trigger and a concern for me for other reasons too:

- She is a friend of the OW, although they are not close and she doesn't know about their affair.

- Because they were good friends, I was sure she was the OW when I first discovered the facebook messages on my husband's phone.

- The OW told me that this friend was the one I should really be worried about. (my husband says she just made this up).

- My husband has told me that he knows this friend better, and likes her far more than the OW, and at one point when they worked together a few years ago he felt very close to her, and even called her his “work-wife.” He always insists, though, that they've never been more than good friends.

- Although my husband has always been pretty open about his friendship with her, when looking through his phone records I see that there were a few more calls than I expected and that they lasted longer too (one was seventy minutes long). And I did unexpectedly discover them once at a coffee shop, but my husband is sure that this is the only time he didn't tell me about it.

- My husband adamantly refuses to end the friendship. I think he is unable to feel even a smidgen of empathy for me on this--- frustrating since I know in my shoes he'd feel exactly the same way. I have talked to him about it for seven months now, and I have even tried to compromise (meet with her for coffee on weekends instead of during work hours, call from home, not cell-phone, etc....I was open to suggestions) but he has refused to budge, basically ignored my feelings and even broken an agreement with me twice not to call her. (His excuse was that our agreement wasn't valid because I was angry at the time we made it and he therefore felt coerced.) I now realize I was foolish to even consider compromising on something this important to me. I've told him that I will not be triggered for the rest of my life every time they talk or meet up. This has to end.

After six months of talk, in desperation I phoned his friend and met her for coffee. She was very warm, friendly and surprised that she was the source of all our marital conflict. I explained what had happened in our marriage (no names or details), and she immediately suggested that she would no longer call my husband or take his calls, and she told me I should have called her earlier. She totally understood my situation, and said she would feel the same way under the circumstances.

My husband, my soulmate, however went ballistic when I told him I had called her, and he has carried a low-grade anger about it ever since . He feels I was being manipulative and controlling by talking to her. I told him that if I was going for coffee with a married man I would definitely want to know if his wife was upset with it. I figured she had a right to know too.

My conversation with her didn't stop him from talking to her though---he figured out that if he called her from his office number she would think it was someone else and pick up. When he did get through, however, she told him that she would not have answered if she'd known it was him, and that she wouldn't be talking with him again until I was comfortable with their friendship. This made my husband even angrier with me.

Now I need to know what his plans are for the future with this woman. I want to put the affair and aftermath behind me, and start building trust and intimacy in our relationship. I want no more worries about other women, no more suspicions, no more snooping. And I don't want anymore surprises. When I asked him what his plan was now that she's not taking his calls, he said it was to convince me that I'm wrong about his friendship and that I should be okay with his resuming it. He said he has no plans right now to call her, but when he does he'll be sure to tell me first. Unfortunately this isn't good enough for me. I don't want him to have any further contact with her. I want him to put our marriage ahead of some flirtatious coffees and conversations with a pretty girl.

Anyway, I feel I let him off the hook too easily from the start, especially after I discovered a year later that contact with OW had never ended. I should have set up boundaries and conditions from the beginning and now I feel it may be too late. I feel he has lost much of his empathy for me, and has become complacent. He knows I'm not going anywhere.

Any comments/opinions/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No contact with her, ever, or you're gone. Simple as that.

His actions have to have consequences.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: After an Affair - Husband's Female Friend

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Originally Posted by flora_matlock View Post
I feel I let him off the hook too easily from the start, especially after I discovered a year later that contact with OW had never ended. I should have set up boundaries and conditions from the beginning and now I feel it may be too late. I feel he has lost much of his empathy for me, and has become complacent. He knows I'm not going anywhere.

Any comments/opinions/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Yep, that's exactly what you did. But there's no reason you can't set up the boundaries now. He isn't going to like it - tough tittie to him.

He KNOWS you're not going anywhere? Why is that??
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: After an Affair - Husband's Female Friend

Sorry, but if he can't respect you enough to NOT have this woman as a friend, then the hell with him. I'm sorry for being so blunt, but that's a game changer in my book. As for him knowing you're not going anywhere...well, YOU can change that. It's summer and you can send the kids somewhere for the week (maybe). Then, you give him the ultimatum one more time - her or me. If he answers incorrectly, have it set up to go to a girlfriend's house or something like that (but no guy friends!).

He needs a shift in his paradigm.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What have you done to repair your marriage; both the problems that existed before the affair and the damage that the affair caused? Or have you just swept it under the rug?

A book that gets recommended often is "Not Just Friends". You might want to get it for both of you to read.

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I did not set up red lines with my stbx and now I am heading to divorce. It was my weak mind and lacking of action that killed the last chance of a happy marriage. You need to stand up to the bully to let the bully respect yourself.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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He is emotionally involved in this friendship. It needs to end yesterday. I'm happy to hear you contacted the woman and her response and attempts to avoid him - unfortunately your hubby has experienced the affair 'high' and misses it fiercely, this is pretty obvious from his reaction. Until he can admit it is what it is and take steps on his end to emotionally reconnect with YOU he is in denial and justification mode.

There are several posts on the 180 that may be helpful for you. Chasing yet another affair after the one 2 years ago would tell me that he didn't learn from his past betrayal, he's after more fun and for whatever reason. It also sounds like the OW he had an affair with 2 years ago was the one that ultimately ended it. This new woman ended it. He's not doing the work to end damaging relationships and commit fully to you. He's not learning or changing his behavior. For me this would be a mile high warning flag of a serial adulterer. You are going to have to get hard core with this guy to have even a hope of a real change.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: After an Affair - Husband's Female Friend

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Originally Posted by flora_matlock View Post
Now I need to know what his plans are for the future with this woman.
His plans involve genital contact.

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Originally Posted by flora_matlock View Post
I don't want him to have any further contact with her. I want him to put our marriage ahead of some flirtatious coffees and conversations with a pretty girl.
I don't blame you. But what you want is only half of the equation. The other half is what your husband is willing to give you, and what he can get from the OW.

Right now, the OW appears unwilling to have an affair. So it looks like you quashed that. But, your husband clearly wants that option put back on the table.

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Originally Posted by flora_matlock View Post
Anyway, I feel I let him off the hook too easily from the start, especially after I discovered a year later that contact with OW had never ended. I should have set up boundaries and conditions from the beginning and now I feel it may be too late. I feel he has lost much of his empathy for me, and has become complacent. He knows I'm not going anywhere.

Any comments/opinions/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
It's not too late to set boundaries. However, setting boundaries is useless if you're not willing to enforce them. In that case, they're not really boundaries. They're just requests. And they're easy for your husband to continue to ignore.

You have two choices. He isn't willing to show you the remorse and transparency that you want. He's also fairly upfront about wanting to have inappropriate relationships with other women. So, you can stay or you can go.

Good luck.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ummm I hate to break this to you, but your husband needs to do a lot of work on himself. This OW is sort of irrelevant at this point. What is relevant is his actions are all self-serving and wreak of ‘entitled’ behavior regardless of and against any consideration of you. These are probably the same core ideals that allowed him to stray in the first place.

You’ve expressed and so forth, so he can’t deny or claim he doesn’t know your thoughts. And you, by not enforcing this boundary without any major ramifications have pretty much let him know he can keep getting away with it. I’m sorry, but as long as these traits are present, there will always be a high risk of another affair. He is only thinking about himself.

So, what do you do? Work quite hard on yourself and your self-esteem. Get help. You need to get the point where you are strong enough to do whatever it takes to enforce your boundaries (different than rules or attempts to control others); Sort of like what you will tolerate or not tolerate.

Don’t expect him to change... just play out the end game for him: When you get strong enough, you won’t put up with being a secondary consideration in a relationship. You’ll want to be an equal consideration for any man you would spend the rest of your life with. He won’t meet this, and you’ll leave to find someone who shares that same ideal. That’s his choice. So either he also works on himself to learn to respect the marriage as much as himself, or he can watch as you walk off into the sunset on your own journey.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for all your comments and suggestions. Many of them confirm what I've been thinking lately, that I have to take another stand. I'll always be grateful to a poster called "butwehavekids" on another (now defunct) infidelity website---he gave me the strength to give my husband an ultimatum that finally resulted in the truth after the year of lies.

Yes, I've suspected that he might be emotionally attached to his friend, but he's pretty convincing when he denies it. He's in sales and is good at the spin (although I'm now pretty good at detecting it). I don't think he's being honest with me or even himself about both his feelings for her and what he's getting out of their friendship. It's evident by his steadfast refusal to give up this friendship for the sake of his marriage, and his inability to see this request as both reasonable and a perfectly logical consequence to having an affair.

As far as working on our marriage goes, my husband has been an extreme rug-sweeper. In fact after I first confronted him and he confessed to "inappropriate conversations", he suggested we go for a nice walk on the beach because we shouldn't "let this ruin our day."

He has never once in the last two years brought up the subject of the affair, even when I was going through the worst of it. (He has, however, lately felt the need to talk about his anger towards me after I met with his friend.) I know it's been really hard for him to talk about, especially at first, because he feels a lot of guilt. I've always taken this into consideration and have mostly limited our discussions to once a week. The problem with limited discussions, especially at the beginning, is that things take a long time to get resolved.

He's also adverse to reading anything affair-related. I think he's sick of the subject. Actually I don't think the few things that he has read have had any influence on him whatsoever. The first reading material I gave him was "Joseph's Letter" (I found it particularly moving and handed it to him with tears in my eyes.) He read it and proceeded to lie to me for a year. I bought him a thin book about how to help your betrayed spouse, and he barely finished half of it and never mentioned it again. Just this week I went to Staples (our printer is broken) to print out a copy of "Understanding Your Betrayed Spouse - A Quick Reference Manual for Betrayed Spouses" which describes brilliantly what I've been going through. I put it together in a folder and before he left on a trip this week cheerily handed it to him through the car window. He immediately became angry, took it from my hand and threw it on the seat beside him. "I'll read it later." I took it back and said it obviously wasn't a good time. He said reading it was the last thing he wanted to do, and he didn't need to read anything more, and he knew what it was going to say already. I said that I knew he was over it all, but I wasn't, and I'll need his help to move on. I called him on his cell a few minutes later, but he wouldn't "talk". He said he would read the article when he got back, and then suggested I "go out and enjoy the sunshine, take the kids to the beach." He didn't call me last night and I haven't heard from him this morning. Right now I don't care. But he'll likely call in awhile and act as if nothing happened and everything's just fine, and I'll be confused again.

I truly think my time for talking is over. I'm reading the 180 and I have to make some plans. I'm pretty sure he thinks I won't leave because I haven't so far, even after discovering that the contact hadn't ended. When I spoke to him recently about how hard it would be on the kids and how sad I would be for them if it didn't work out, he just told me not to be so melodramatic.

The problem is I'm scared stiff of losing him and breaking up our family, but I know I can't go on like this.
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Old 07-18-2012, 05:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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PHTlump and Racer, I posted my response before I read your comments. I'm going out now and I'll read them when I get back. Thanks for responding!
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Flora, your description sounds just like my man. Over the last year tho since DD I have fought tooth and nail for his help in dealing with this i.e. talking and dealing with it. He told me a little while ago that come June the discussions would finish.

Silly really because every discussion we had I had to fight for, and we had a circular pattern every time. I ask to talk, he refused, got angry, defensive, walked, all back to 'normal' shortly after, I need to still talk, I bring it up again, he gets angry, I say fine let's split, he talks. And again.

I didn't know if he meant that (June the talk ends) or not. 2 weeks ago I brought it up (it now affects me in about a 1-3 week cycle, usually nearer 3 weeks than 1, and the issues have become very small now. A massive difference and improvement to what was a 3-7day cycle some time ago with long discussions) and he said he would no longer discuss it. I began detaching, and finished with him yesterday. I will no longer be the person who makes all the effort to help me get over what he did. I am not sure I even love him much anymore. He is a massive rug sweeper...like yours. I could imaging him saying all those things u said...the one about going for a walk and not letting it ruin your day nearly made me laugh out loud. And like yours, he is happy to talk when he is angry about something.

I think there is a particular kind of person, the typical cheating type, that fits our men's profiles. It is that selfish attitude when it comes to our feelings and their actions around someone attractive of the opposite sex. Mine would also have the same reaction if I tried to get him to read anything to help him understand himself/me. I tried with a few things. He was good with the 1st, after that no interest. And then totally dorogatory.

I think u have to find a plan b. And accept he probably won't change. This behaviour is in their make up. And u found this one, this 'affair' (I would bet my life on the fact it was regular sex, no way just kissing), do u think in all your time together she was the 1st? Best of luck. Harden up!

Last edited by Remains; 07-18-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Yes, I've suspected that he might be emotionally attached to his friend, but he's pretty convincing when he denies it.
There are two possibilities. Either he is so attached to the OW that he's willing to jeopardize his marriage over his relationship with her, or he thinks you're all bark and no bite over the issue.

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I truly think my time for talking is over. I'm reading the 180 and I have to make some plans. I'm pretty sure he thinks I won't leave because I haven't so far, even after discovering that the contact hadn't ended. When I spoke to him recently about how hard it would be on the kids and how sad I would be for them if it didn't work out, he just told me not to be so melodramatic.
If he loves you more than he loves the idea of consorting with other women, then it's possible that using the 180 to detach from him will force him to give up his ideas of infidelity and commit to your marriage. Or, failing that, you filing for separation or divorce may do the trick. Of course, there's no guarantee that anything will cause him to give up his fantasies.

The other danger of the 180 (to your marriage) is that you actually stop loving him. That means your tolerance for this abuse lessens and you may divorce him even if he tries an eleventh hour commitment to you. I don't think that's a bad problem to have. I think it's untenable being the only spouse fighting to save your marriage.

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The problem is I'm scared stiff of losing him and breaking up our family, but I know I can't go on like this.
There is a saying here that, in order to save your marriage, you sometimes need to be willing to lose it. It seems clear that your husband isn't going to respond to another talk, another book, or another demand. He might respond to a deliberate campaign of action on your part aimed at letting him go.

So start the 180. The next time he brings up the OW, tell him you won't apologize for not allowing him to have girlfriends while he's married to you. Then tell him you're going to take a walk and enjoy the day.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your wise responses. Racer, you said my husband's actions were
Quote:
all self-serving and wreak of ‘entitled’ behavior regardless of and against any consideration of you. These are probably the same core ideals that allowed him to stray in the first place.
This is so true. You also said that his friend is almost irrelevant at this point and you were so right.

Someone mentioned a few months ago that I should be suspicious since he showed so little remorse or willingness to work on our marriage, and that I should do some more investigating . So I've been in major snoop mode since then (while keeping up my Stepford wife persona so he's not suspicious). And this is what I've found:

- He's been visiting tons of mobile porn sites, including one I'll call "AM" because for some reason I can't use the name on here, and xxxcupid.com, both internet membership sites for people looking to hook-up for affairs. He also seems to have a couple of email accounts I am not aware of. (Only able to see the website data from iphone).

- There's a man registered on "AM" who I'm 90 percent sure is my husband (same city, age, weight, and writing style). I can see when this person is on-line, and all the times that he's logged in have coincided with times that my husband is available (he travels a lot, but I check in by phone or gps). I created several fake accounts to try and lure him in, but so far no luck (although he does take a look at my profiles).

- I asked him for the on-line password to our charge card so i could view our account statements and he seemed reluctant to give it to me. (Later I noticed that he changed it after he gave it to me.) We also receive monthly paper copies by mail, but the past few statements are missing from the stack. I'm thinking that he got rid of them because they show his membership payments to "AM." I can request copies of them from the bank, which I intend to do but I'm going away next week for five days and don';t want them to arrive while I'm away, so I'll have to order them when I return.

- I just discovered that some of his phone company records are on-line and so was able to see that his texting sky-rocketed last summer for about four months. No idea who he was texting at that time. Also saw that his data use on his iphone has increased substantially in the last few months.

- He has occasionally disappeared at strange times, e.g. he missed watching fireworks with the family because he apparently lost us in the crowd, but he was strangely not at all upset by this. Also he has taken his phone into the bathroom with him on occasion.

- He sometimes turns the ringer off on his phone and then pretends that he doesn't know why it doesn't ring.

- He isn't interested in using our laptops (they both have spectorsoft secretly installed) and keeps saying he wants an ipad which he knows can't be monitored.

The question is whether I should confront him now, or wait until I have definitive proof, i.e.the phone records. All of this investigating is taking its toll on me. I'm stressed, losing my appetite again, etc. But I don't want to confront him without hard evidence that makes denial impossible. When I asked him last week if he had been deleting things from his phone (I shouldn't have asked, I know), he immediately denied it and then had the audacity to say he was extremely offended that I would accuse him of lying. I let it go and pretended that I was just worried that about him starting it up again with the OW at work.

I'm thinking I will meet with him, tell him that I have some concerns and would like to ask him some questions. I'll tell him that I already know the answers to some of them, and I'll therefore know if he is being completely truthful or not---and if he lies, I will be through with our marriage. I will never accept lies again. If he comes clean, I'll tell him that I can see from his actions he is no longer interested in having a monogamous marriage with me, and that he is free to pursue other women, but of course I will not be in his life if he does. If he is truthful I will need time to digest whatever it is he tells me, but I'm wondering how I'll ever be able to trust him again.

And if he gives me the email and "AM" passwords I'm immediately going on-line and changing them. Last time he deleted everything before I had a chance to see it--that won't happen again.

I'm feeling pretty strong right now. Anybody have any suggestions or comments about this? They'd be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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he sounds disgusting and you sound desperate- just like me and my husband. i really hope for us we find someone much better.
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