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Confused? Affair - Refused Vs Refuser

I am a little confused about when a member of ILIASM, a refused person has an affair or "outsources" for intimacy I see comments from fellow members like:

I am so Happy for You
You deserve this
Way to go
Glad you're finally getting some
Congrats
Good for you
Your refusing wife/husband deserved it

It's a cheering section, an overwhelming response of support and kudos for cheating on their spouse.

Then when a ILIASM member has their spouse to cheat on them then comments are:

That's awful
I'm so sorry for you
You need to divorce that witch
I know it hurts but hang in there
You don't deserve this
I know it's so painful

It's an overwhelming response of sorrow, sympathy and support because they are the victim of a cheating spouse.

I understand a refused thought process here. They aren't givin it to ya so go get it somewhere else. It seems to me that people who have affairs seem to separate themselves and the act and justify it as if its only them involved and doesn't affect anyone else, except for the spouse which they usually have already written off in their mind. If that's the case then why not go the divorce path vs an affair. The affairies don't think or realize how deeply this act hurts and impacts families usually not just one, but 2 families. It seems to be the norm and almost glamorized in our society and here on this site. Refusers, most refusers I venture to say, have feelings and a heart. Sometimes they are not mean, terrible people they just need to get some help in one area or another. Most do not want to live the way they are living they would much rather be close, loving and in a great relationship. Maybe they don't know how. I'm sure some are cold and maybe calculating using sexual refusal as a weapon and a tool to hurt or manipulate their spouse. There are some I'm sure who are just plum mean and spiteful. Even the mean and spiteful in my humble opinion do not deserve to be lied to, cheated on, disrespected, humiliated, or deceived. It's more honorable and forthright if you take care of your business with your spouse and if you are to that point then leave the marriage. I would guess its just as hard and painful to go through an affair as it is to go ahead and separate or divorce, seems to me. Maybe even harder going the affair route especially if you get caught. Even if you didn't get caught you've still got to live with yourself. One is just morally, ethically, and religiously a more sound decision for everyone involved.

A refused spouse does not deserve to be rejected either. I know it is also humiliating, disrespectful and somewhat deceiving. There are different elements to an affair vs. rejection. There are many similar emotions, and there are a few more emotions involved with an affair. It's hard to explain until you've been on that side of the fence. It just so earth shaking for your spouse to be living a total separate life. Just the gut wrenching fact that someone you loved was so deceiving. Being intimate and sharing themselves and your family's lives with this stranger. This stranger knowing you, about you and your kids and you not even knowing they exist. Knowing they talked about you and your spouse has divulged all this private, personal information about you and your lives. It's very intrusive and you feel violated.

I also understand the thought process of being supportive to a refused person because they were not intimate with their spouse and that refusing spouse went outside the marriage to someone else. I am sure that is devastating also.

I wonder if some of you have suffered both refusal and an affair your spouse was involved in. I would like to know what your feelings are. Are they the same in comparison or is one worse? I realize most of the refused have gone a long time sometimes years without loving intimacy from their partner. I know what affect this can have on someone. It's very mentally and emotionally draining. It has to be exhausting.

Then when an affair is involved it is also mentally, physically and emotionally draining. It's all compacted into usually a short period especially when they've been caught. So it's like compounded 100x over and its a 365 days a year you live in anguish just trying to heal and get your life back on track. There is no in between or down time or happy good times. It's been 3 yrs since this all started for me and my family and I can say its been hell the whole time. So much crap involved just trying to take one hour at a time, day by day.

I realize we are going to disagree here on this issue and I totally get that. I assume if I were on the refused end I would think similar to you. I would not think as some of you do that an affair is okay. It's just my religious beliefs, my upbringing as a pretty moral, ethical, truth tellin person. I could never fathom doing that to myself or my family. That's just me. I am really interested if anyone has been on both sides and the comparison of feelings and the emotions of each experience.

Just seemed really weird to hear comments that are total opposites regarding affairs the refused have vs affairs refusers have. There are always two sides to each story and sometimes if you knew the whole story you might understand things in a whole different light. Both sides have their faults and flaws and both sides have to see and admit their own shortcomings. This is simply my opinion and feelings on this issue. I'm sure I'm wrong in some aspects I'm trying to learn and get a better understand.
RRRW RRRW 46-50, F 56 Responses Jan 25, 2013

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Hello RRRW,

I've read your stories and it really appears that you understand the pain you put your husband through. However, would that epiphany have ever happened without the affair?

I'm having one now, but I don't have an eye toward reconciliation. I think it's pretty well impossible at this point. But, it seems in your case, that the affair finally brought everything to the surface to really deal with it.

Or am I off base here?

As for the dichotomy of feelings about affairs, there is a perceived injustice to it when a refusing spouse cheats. What it says is "sex isn't the problem, you are". If they're willing to go out and **** someone else but not you, what does it say? When a refused spouse goes out, it really is about getting something they're not getting elsewhere.

I speak from experience here. My refusing wife cheated on me, so I'd like to think I understand both sides here.

You know, I do think I have a strong understanding of the pain my husband has endured. He doesn't think that I do, but I feel I do. I do not feel like I would have had the understanding of this pain if it had not been for the affair. I know my husband and I know what it took for him to actually have an affair. It went against his morals and ethics and what he genuinely felt was right and wrong. I know he did not want to hurt me or anyone else.

I really do not think he thought there would be reconciliation either to tell the truth. I think he really didn't think rationally during this period. I do think he probably thought he wouldn't get caught and that it would be over before I ever had any inkling. I don't think he really cared at the point he made the decision to take that first step. I do think he thought if I did find out I would leave him or kick him out as soon as I found out. I think he was prepared for our marriage to be over in a way, and then sometimes I think he still loved me and didn't really want to leave us. I am still fighting for reconciliation at this point and I guess I'm an optimist, probably a naive one, but I love him and he's a good man and good men are not easy to find. I know him and his heart and I'm not going to give up on the hope of a better life and future with him. Sometimes it's hard, almost unbearable but I just can't let him go. I will if that is what he ultimately decides.

I think you are right it would definitely sting more if a refusing spouse went out and had an affair. I do understand that dynamic of being refused in a relationship and how it would really hurt the refused. Especially if the refused is truly good to their spouse and really doesn't offer a reason to be refused. Reason meaning dysfunctional issues or actions such as verbal, physical or mental abuse. I do also know that when you love someone so deeply and care for them more than anything, trust them more than anyone that it also packs a huge sting too. Cheating just hurts! Especially when you are so invested in that person and believe in them so much.

I'm sure in some cases the refusing spouse may not be getting what they need out of the relationship too and possibly be part of the problem of refusing too. This was not my case, there were a few minor things I wanted and felt I would like to have had during our marriage. Like more time alone, I wanted to feel special and important to him, just like he wanted to feel special. We felt special in different ways though and didn't figure that out to make it work. I wanted date night to be treated like he use to treat me. To feel like he cared and wanted to be with me. This is not the cases in all relationships, but marriages work both ways and each person has to evaluate their own part of the dysfunction. I'm not saying refusing is right it definitely is not. Sometimes I think we just loose sight of what we should be doing for each other as spouses, life takes hold and is leading you around by the shirt collar in a flat out sprint, Pushing you in ever direction. Then we get selfish and take each other for granted maybe not even realizing it. It just rolls down hill from there.

The just of it is, no you are not way off base. Please know that it wouldn't have taken another woman to make me change because I did get help and change not knowing there was an affair going on. It did take him telling me straight and being scared of loosing him and I knew it was really serious. Do I think I would have had the epiphany or understanding I have going through all of this and the affair, no I do not. I have said and do mean this, if it takes the affair to make me see what I was doing to him and how miserable he was with me in our intimate life then that is what it took. I just want to move on, heal our marriage and live life like we never have. I'm still fighting I have no idea what's going to happen still. I don't know if he will ever forgive me and be able to move on. I'll have hope I guess up until papers are signed if it comes to that.

Ok I hope I'm not being really stupid Smithy what does jmo, ymmv I am half scared to ask :-)
What does the flag button do?

Just my opinion and your mileage may vary, Rw. Nothing bad. :)

JMO - Just My Opinion
YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary

The flag button is to report a post to the EP adminstrators (SPAM, abusive, etc).

(jmo & ymmv)

And for completeness' sakes I'll add a few more internet common acronyms:

AFAICT as far as I can tell
IIRC if I remember correctly
IMHO and
IMNSHO in my (not so) humble opinion
TIA thanks in advance

also, in chat windows:

BRB be right back (also bathroom break) and
AFK away from the keyboard

HTH (hope that helps) -Peter

thanks everyone for explaining my shorthand! and hth (hope that helps) is one i have seen used lots lately!

Oh okay. Thanks

You can tell I'm green. Told you first time every on a site like this :-). I have chosen not to be on face book because I was afraid it would absorb me and my time. Now EP has my attention. It's kind of like you want to read up and see how people are doing and read their stories. I don't see how everybody does all the different site it's so time consuming. On factor I'm dealing with is the fact my Internet stinks its sometimes almost as slow as dial up have Hughes Net. That's another reason it takes me so much more time its a huge different from regular fast speed Internet. I can knit a sweater sometimes waiting on it to come up. Shewwww. I haven't ventured all that much outside of this group. I haven't found a group yet that I like to read regularly like this one. Thanks to all who have given tips and advice and just sharing!

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I agree with you all there has got to be a better way I want to read all comments too and I just scroll down looking for the dates that I haven't read. I think you should be able to see the most recent post highlighted in some way or when you read them they are different shades or colors. Maybe a read button changing the color of the paragraph would be good that way you know you have read it or some kind of system showing what you have and haven't read. ?

RRRW, suggest you reply at the top to past posts. it just took 10 minutes of searching to find your latest reply, ow!

I thought you had to reply under the persons posted comments that your replying to. Do I reply to everyone from the top? Sometimes I get confused on where to reply.

yes usually always replies post directly on comments. this story has so many comments and so many replies that often you've got to scroll, expand, and search multiple times to find the latest. there are comments that have more than 20 replies. you generated a lot of discussion! and we are interested in your ongoing story. might be time for a new story/update. we are hoping for you and i for one keep an eye out for updates. it's hard to find them in the ocean of comments & replies here.

jmo, ymmv.

This story has made me want to suggest changes to how EP handles comments and comment notifications. They really need a "display in order of most recently updated" option or "display only new in the last day" or something. :-) It's not your fault RW. It just is a very involved thread.

I agree it should allow to tag a name or to put all the recent answers on top with a "see full thread" options. I hate having to go look for a certain thread, plus EP doesn't open the link for me anymore or notify me, so I have to go look and it takes too long, or I get distracted and forget what I was looking for.

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The thread has moved along a bit, but, in your position Sister R, I dunno that I'd be all that interested in the "cheer squad" stuff you perceive when someone cheats / gets out / whatever. If it doesn't resonate, best just pass it by. You have your own unique dynamic to attend to - well, your part in it anyway. There's nothing YOU can do about his part of the dynamic.

And that (him working his half of the circle) seems to be where this is failing. See, if (as described in your input here) an evening usually consists of him absenting himself to the garage and there mowing into a few or more brews until bedtime, that would NOT be indicitive behaviour of someone heavily invested in the relationship. Particularly when it is a known consequence of his choice to drink is that he becomes a surly person - even less inclined to engage in anything meaningful.

I can see that you (and assorted other ILIASM members) have chased the "why" of him, and you,over the hills and far away> No point in me speculating on that. Even if I fluked the exact reason, it would not change your dynamic one iota. That would apply if you fluked the right answer too.

To an outside observer, this looks all but done. For whatever reason, he will not work his side of the circle. He may be justified in his own mind for this or not. He may be doing so on a rational basis or not. He may be half full of ink a lot of the time, or not. But he ain't doing his job. And, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I'd suggest you prepare for this to be the state of the union indefinitely. If that would be a dealbreaker for you, then best start your preparations for that time now.

Tread your own path.

I agree with you about just passing comments by that do not resonate. I just felt like from reading stories that there was a lot of encouragement to end marriages and move on etc. I get why this advice is given and sometimes it is time for relationships to end and stop the bleeding. I just think if there is respect and love in a relationship then it's best to try to work it out. If you can and if you can both meet in the middle. I think many agree here. Then there are some who are really negative in their current situation and project really negative feelings on to other posters. Some may need encouragement either way to stay or to leave. I also realize that some situations are clearly unhealthily and even abusive and I also get that sometimes it takes great courage to make the move and get out of a bad marriage.

My husband's behavior has not been reflective of someone that wants to work on or invest in the relationship I know this. Also I think drinking does affect any other positive or meaningful aspects of the relationship. His drinking is really hurting any chance for positive interaction or chance for true intimacy. Just the last few days he seems to be drinking less and maybe improving attitude some. I'm always hesitant to even mention progress because if I do it usually goes the other way. I really feel like I am nearing the edge of the cliff and if we don't start the decent down
then the only way down for me is to jump and take a leap of faith and see what happens. Either push his hand or move on. I've been thinking of this deal breaker theory and thinking somewhat on a what next theory. Don't want this, but realize we can't live the way we are. Thx

Yeah. Looking down the barrel of the ILIASM loaded gun is not a whole heap of fun I agree.
Sometimes, it is prudent to make appropriate preparations for if the gun goes off. Each spouse has a finger on the trigger, and whereas you may well know what's in your mind, you can never know for sure what's in someone elses.

RRRW,

In your current situation, the 'why' does not matter. Refuser or refused, who did what and when ought not to matter if both you and your spouse truly want to have a joyfully intimate and loving marriage. Nothing will change if one spouse (whichever one it is) is trying to bridge the intimacy diivide and the other is putting up walls.

The quality of your emotional connectedness to each other and the marriage continues to erode unless both of you really want to pull out all stops and save the marriage. Even then, the chance of a reinvigorated marriage is slim. Here's the thing - if your spouse keeps putting up roadblocks, there may be a time when you need to accept that he is not as invested in you or the marriage's quality as you are. He may not be willing or able to love you the way you want or need to be loved. You may both stay together for whatever reason other than being 'in love' and the absence or limited emotional connection or intimacy could be a daily reality. If this is not the path you would opt for, then its important to set boundaries, timelines and enact consequences, even though it would be painful. Be well.

Lao Tuz. You seem very wise and have good insight from what I read. I think you are correct. I know this in my mind that there is a time line, a line in the sand, and we are soon to approach that line. I do still believe strongly in love and its powers to beat all. I think love, true love, can overcome and minds and hearts can be mended. I still want to think our marriage can be better than ever, but like you said though we have both got to want that. My husband has been a very good wall builder over the years and he's not been very quick or steady at the demolition of his walls. This hurts progress and healing. Some people are a little slower at getting to the point of tearing down the walls. If the walls don't come down soon and if he doesn't let me back in then there is a time and a place that I will make some kind of action plan to move forward. I have always wondered if I, so to speak, put my foot down and conveyed my boundaries what would happen. Either he will make a turn and try if he loves me, or he will be fine with the boundaries as they are and he will be ready to move on without me. I won't sit loathing forever on the past I just can't do it, it's too hard.

I know this man like the back of my hand, but I can't figure him out. He's been really nice to me lately calling to talk to me during the day and not texting actually calling which it is good to hear each others voices. He seems pretty upbeat during the day similar to old familiar times, but then some nights, most nights, he comes home and is ok until he starts drinking then you can tell the depression hits and he has a semi bad attitude about life. He's been coming home a little earlier lately and has been talking more to me here at night. When he drinks he sits in the garage and watches TV and stays out there til time to go to bed. Some nights he will sit with us and watch TV. I think he doesn't really want to drink in front of us and mainly his daughter, plus he doesn't want me to know how much he's drinking. He's basically in the binge category from what I have read. I don't know what to do about it again I have to walk a very narrow, tight line with him. I have talked to him about the drinking and our oldest emailed him about his drinking also. It really scary me and it tears me to pieces to see him going down this drinking path when he never wanted to do that in the past he was always against drinking or having it around the kids. We were not tee totalers, but drank maybe a couple of times a year is all. At this point I just have to keep looking up and having faith. Thanks for your comments I do take them seriously and look at them tiring to be opened minded and be true to myself.

To your original posting. I think I can shed some light on this... maybe I'm right.. maybe I'm wrong.

When a person who has been faithful and is continually being refused is cheated on it is literally 'pouring salt in the wounds'. However, when someone who has been denied affection and being that 'special someone' for another person finds at least a little piece of that it is a 'balancing of the scales'. Not a balancing in the sense of 'getting even', but rather in balancing the ongoing pain and rejection with pleasure and attention/affection bringing at least some measure of joy back into their lives. We're happy for that person to have gotten some balance back to their life, not for 'striking back'. On the other hand we see the person who refuses THEN cheats as having basically broken their marriage vows not once but twice in two similar but different enough ways to be deeply hurtful. They broke their vow to love and cherish you, to truly share their life with you, and THEN they broke their vow to be faithful to you. Betrayal after continuing abuse if you will. Does that put things into a different light? It isn't viewed as 'you both cheated on your spouse', thus you are 'equally' guilty.

My only advice is probably that which you don't want to hear. It sounds, quite honestly, like your marriage is broken beyond repair. What you want is what you had at the beginning of your relationship with your husband. You will NEVER have that again. Ever. Now that is very painful to realize, but once you do you can decide if you can build something new and different with this same man that you both will enjoy. That is when I finally made the decision to leave. I realized I would never have what I first had, AND I realized there was no possibility I could build something new with her that I would find enjoyable. While I don't pretend to know your situation well enough to 'judge' and certainly make no claims to be some kind of 'relationship expert' I do have an opinion. I don't think you can. I just don't think the two of you are in the same 'space' as to what would be a 'good relationship' between you.

Great comment Shoreboy! Like +++++++++++

RRRW, I have read your stories and ALL the comments! You have certainly inspired a great deal of discussion and some outstandingly good information has emerged from many of the commentators.

Everyone else has dealt very effectively with the points you raised in your story. So I want to address some of the other apparent facts about your marriage. . . .

His affair looms large in your mind. Even though you have forgiven him and want to move on, your words show that the impact of this event on you was enormous. I suggest it may have been your first real indication that life is not a fairy tale. You married very young, you had a very happy family and you saw life as sweet in every way. This affair has had the effect (IMO) of jolting you into the real world – where pain and loss of trust and many other negative things exist. It also caused you to make the very painful discovery that YOU were not the great wife you thought you were – that much of the problem lay with you and your own behaviour.

So I think the “weight” you attach to the affair is much more about the loss of your own world view and your view of yourself, rather than the reality of the affair. Don’t misunderstand me – it was not a good thing for you. It did hurt and you did feel betrayed. But in real life, these things happen. But losing your rosy view of the world, and your role in it, meant never again being able to believe in your fairy tale life . . . and that loss seems to me to be the worst for you.

Secondly, as it does still loom so large in your mind, are you (unintentionally?) making him aware of your feelings about it all the time? Have you genuinely “laid it to rest” – or does it creep up now again in conversation? If you can honestly say you do not reference it, then you are certainly doing well.

From an outside point looking in it seems to me that your husband (from what you say) is the one who cannot move on. Why, I wonder? There could be many possibilities IMO. Perhaps his guilt over the affair keeps him married to you when he really would prefer to be out of the marriage.

Perhaps his anger with you over the sexual relationship is so strong it will never abate. If you are freely and happily having as much sex as he wants for three plus years and he is STILL not happy, I doubt there is anything you can do to make him happy.
His drinking seems to be an indication of his depression and general unhappiness. You have said frequently that you will give him a divorce if he wants one. Fair enough – but maybe you are taking the passive route when a more proactive one might serve you better?

Consider this: have a serious “talk” with him about your marriage. Tell him that you are now three years down the track from the affair and have been doing everything you can to fix the marriage, but that he seems as unhappy as ever. Ask him to tell you “why” that is so. If he says it is because he cannot forgive you, ask him if he can realistically perceive of a time when that WILL happen.

Point out to him that you have taken responsibility for your role in the downfall and done what you can to fix things. You cannot do more – unless he tells you specifically what that might be. And if he refuses to do this, then his lack of forgiveness is about punishing you endlessly . . . .

I read that you feel you “owe” him for sticking with you for all the years when you were not meeting his needs. May I put it to you that this “sticking it out because of guilt over previous actions” is NOT in the best interests of either of you. IF your marriage is to have a future, HE needs to move on as well. Sticking in a position of deadlock because he is punishing you and you are punishing yourself is MOST unlikely to result in any form of future happiness IMO.

I believe you need to be firm with him about this. You can be kind, understanding, supportive and acknowledge your role. But being a doormat for him because of your own guilt is NOT helpful. Tell him that HE needs to decide (1) if he wants to stay married or get a divorce and (2) whatever his decision, HE needs to put in the required effort. Tell him you are more than willing to meet him half-way, but that you can no longer put up with his attitude that your marriage difficulties are all down to you. You have acknowledged your errors, worked hard to overcome them and asked his forgiveness. If he cannot forgive and move on, then your marriage IS over.

I suspect he gets some kind of long term sweet revenge from treating you as he does. He probably justifies it in his mind as “she mistreated me for so many years, let her see how she likes it when it happens in reverse”. He may not realise this consciously – but I suspect it lies under his apparent inability to move forward. You may need to point out to him that, whilst you understand this type of thinking and the reason for it, it is actually DESTROYING any chance the two of you have for a happy future together.

This approach will require you to be assertive. It will require you to believe YOU are worthy of a good relationship. It will require you recognising that you no longer “owe” your husband anything - the bill is paid. Can you do it?

The outcome will go one of two ways – he will recognise the truth of what you say. OR he will rant and rave at you about how HE put up with you but YOU won’t put up with him . . . this latter response will clearly show you that you are trying to make a happy marriage with a resentful, mistrusting, unforgiving man. Either response could result in him deciding to stay – or to go.

But if he chooses to stay and refuses to trust you, forgive you for the past and rebuild your relationship, then YOU will need to decide to leave him. Because if you stay once this is quite clear, you are knowingly choosing to martyr yourself to a bitter man.

At this point, it seems to me that there is little value in endlessly going over the past. The future is what counts. If you cannot fix your marriage, you tell your children and other interested parties that you both gave it your best efforts, but it was not to be. And now you have decided to separate and get on with your lives as individuals and friends, but not as marital partners.

RRRW,

When I read your stories, I get the impression (rightly or wrongly) that it is only you who are totally committed to saving your marriage but your husband is not, and he is now turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

This OW, is she totally out of the picture? Are you 100% confident that he is no longer in contact with her?

I just find it strange that you have given your husband solid sex and intimacy for 3 years, and he still has not forgiven you. Surely 3 years is enough to show you have really changed.

You need to have a *heart to heart talk* with him. Instead of telling him what you want for both of you, ask him what he really want for both of you.

Have you consider marriage counselling / couple therapy? You may need a professional to help both of you communicate to one other and help you through this.
Best of luck.

Imtosexy I have been the one who is totally committed to making our marriage work and he has not been on board he still acts like he's not sure what he wants. He knows this too and has admitted that I've done all I could. I know there is a lot of anger and resentment issues he has to work through and he's a pretty proud, hardheaded, stubborn man. He is turning to alcohol knowing full well and even admitting he cannot drown his sorrows or his problems and that they'll be there when he gets up the next morning. He knows this. I know he is disappointed in himself and he's really been messed up over all of this.

The OW works in the same company still, separate buildings but same company. I think there has been no contact now since August 2011. Am I totally positive? No I'm not. I think it's true, but he's not helped me or given me anything to hang on to letting me know for sure. I think that's part of the punishment for me still just not telling me anything about any of it. He doesn't like to discuss it at all. I could talk about it if he could, but he doesn't or isn't to that point if he ever will be. I've heard through the grape vine that her and her husband are working and doing good, that's just what I've heard. Who knows, I don't know anything.

He's never let me back in yet, he's never let his heart open up to me yet. That's why the intimacy lacks. I think he is convinced that I will never let him down I really do. It's just a matter of whether he wants this life with me or not. As far as counseling goes I went 3 times, first time he was supposed to be there and didn't show up, ouch that hurt. He went once by himself and that was it. I am open to anything and wold love to get some professional help. I don't think he will. If we had help we might have been way passed this or way down the road anyway. If he had committed a while back, gone ahead and retired and gotten out and away from her I think we would be in a different boat by now too.

Oh, me! Thanks for your input and suggestions I appreciate it.

RRRw, do you think it will help you if you hire a private investigator to find out whether there is still contact between the two of them?

In this way, you will know for sure and this, in itself, may help you make informed decisions. The 'not knowing' and your husband not helping you in anyway to gain the confidence you need to trust him again could well be the reason why you cannot put all these behind you and move on.

If you find out that the affair is still ongoing, then leave him with a clear conscience.
If you find out that the affair has ended, then give him an ultimatum; he has to give you his decision by such and such a date.

You need to do really *something* quick. As you say, right now, he is depressed, internalising his anger and drinking more and more.

By doing nothing and not resolving this conflict quickly, the marriage can reach the point of return.

If the level of trust is so deeply marred that hiring an investigator seems like something valuable why do it? Doesn't that in and of itself indicate the marriage is beyond repair? So... what value is found either way? Either you find out that suspicions are valid and there is ongoing betrayal, or you acknowledge your trust is so deeply lost that you feel betrayed enough to 'snoop'. Lose/lose in my opinion and you are better off saving the money to 'cushion the blow' financially of leaving. Just my two cents on the matter of course.

"If the level of trust is so deeply marred that hiring an investigator seems like something valuable why do it? Doesn't that in and of itself indicate the marriage is beyond repair? "
---------
No. Absolutely not.

I'm not a fan of these kinds of hyperbolic, absolutist, and self-justifying kinds of dilemmas, which actually are often used by wayward spouses to cover their tracks.

What it indicates, is a lack of trust, based on the history and facts as they are. Trust, is not a fixed point. Therefore, no, it does not mean that a marriage is "beyond repair"? Who decides what is beyond repair, and by what criteria?

It's silly. There are plenty of marriages that can come back from an ACTUAL affair, but somehow, hiring an investigator to corroberate a story or get the proof someone needs for a bit of peace of mind in a decision --- no way, THAT's too far.

ITSexy. I feel confident that there is no physical contact at this point. I don't feel the need to hire anyone at this point I should have done that along time ago when it started. I really don't think they talk but I'm not confident of that though because it has happened before. If I ever find out different then I will be ready to end it. He seems to be better or trying harder last week or so maybe. Idk.
I do know for a fact he not been ready to start new with me or work on our issues yet and that is a problem. I don't want to give up too soon if there is still hope. Don't get me wrong there are.certain instances that would make it over real quick it's a day by day thing still I do agree something needs to happen Soon.

Shoreboy. I think ur right don't think I need to hire anyone and or snoop at this point. I am not naive after All of this I realize it could be they have talked and of so I will find out I always seem to. I do need him to want my trust and my respect again that's up to him to a certain point.

Apocrypha. Not an option and no need to hire anyone I could have done many things to tract or snoop on him but did not take that route. I agree with you on that point i would do my own investigating to a point early on and I'm still alert for now. I found out myself through much pain what was happening and now it's time to build trust again. If my husband doesn't reach this point then we r in trouble because I have to have trust and so does he that is what our relationship was based on all those prior years. I do think there is still a window of opportunity here it hasn't closed shut all the way. It's a fine line we are walking right now though.

It's incumbant on both of you to build trust. If there's an affair, it's incumbant on the cheater to make it his or her problem to demonstrate that things are on the level. That might mean opening accounts and passwords, and accounting for whereabouts, and not giving attitude about it either. Trust is earned.

I agree with you whole heartedly. I think he's been so mad at me over all of this that he can't let go of the past or the anger and resentment yet to move on to building trust again and caring about trust and rebuilding. We will see.

For how LONG will you you take the "we will see" tack? You have already endured nearly three years iof this behaviour from him. Yet you continue to "wait" for him to change. You do know that the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour, don't you?

I note that you avoided making any comment on my post about challenging him. If you feel unwilling or unable to challenge him (with respect, affection and honesty - NOT in an adversarial way) then maybe you should consider some intensive individual therapy for yourself . . . ./ .

RRRw, you dare not challenge him because of his anger issues, am I right? You 're frighten he will implode at you the way he did that night when he told you that this is all your fault.
Thats why you dare not broach the subject of his drinking to him.
You need to learn to lay some boundaries with him, otherwise, you are enabling his behaviour. Give him an ultimatum! Tell him to stop messing you about. It is not fair on you.
Trust me this is the only way to end this issue. Two years ago, something similar happened to me, my marriage was also wrecked by a woman who also has daddy issues, related to my husband past. There was no affair or anything that sort.
My acoa husband behaved just like your husband. I did what you did even down to writing the letter. The problem ended when I laid down boundaries.

In my case, the drinking problem was a case of "too much heat for me". I was able to manage a lot, but I was not able to manage that on top, and I knew it. I explained the boundary I had, the consequence (I would seek full custody, and I would enlist her own family for support). I would check the bottles and I would ask her questions about her drinking, which she was expected to answer without rolling eyes or demonstrating any BS to me for the question, because I was protecting myself and the kids. I was more than prepared to cut bait with that. And I followed through, and continue to check in on regular intervals with the drinking. That problem ended.

I think you are right ImtoSexy I know you are about the eventual ultimatum. That is what I've been thinking and praying about to know when and what to do. I have to be ready myself when I issue that ultimatum though because he very well may be fine with it.

I have talked with him about his drinking and that we cannot go on like this. I'm really not afraid of his temper or anger. I wish I could help him blow up on me and get it all out once and for all! It would be better if he would just somehow get it out so we can move forward. It's very hard to know what and when to make the "move" and when to push the buttons. At this point I will continue to pray for guidance and follow my heart. It's been hard but I know the "Ultimatum" is probably going to have to happen to get movement out of him. It may and it may not get the results I want, but it will force his hand and he will have to show me his cards finally I guess.

Apocrypha that is good that the drink quit and is not a problem. Really my kids are grown 20 and 24, but his drinking does have an effect on them. I don't really have any leverage other than stating I'm done I will not live this way and what is the next step am I going or are you. I've given him opportunity after opportunity to leave and be free of me. I've told him if I can't make you happy and I'm dragging you down and your drinking because of me then I certainly want you to move on and be happy and quit drinking. I know it's not all about me, but that's what I've told him. I recently gave I'm financial figures, said we could make it with 2 households and showed him what I calculated. Gave him our debt to income ratio including rent for one of us and it was in line and under the maximum allowed for a home loan. I showed him how we could stop putting back in his 457 and 401k for now because I feel certain he will be retired within a couple of years. It wont hurt to stop that he will anyway when he retires. We can make it, but he keeps saying we can't and he's not going to live on a little money and have to scrimp. I think it's just an excuse. If that is true then why the H E double hockey sticks won't he get over this and quit living in the past and give this a second chance? He wears me out.

Also, he's the kind that if I TELL him you are going to do this it just makes him that much madder or worse at drinking or whatever I'm saying. Too prideful sometimes. Pride is a good thing, but pride can also be very damaging and work against you too.

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"I wonder if some of you have suffered both refusal and an affair your spouse was involved in. I would like to know what your feelings are. Are they the same in comparison or is one worse?"-----------------When the months long affair was revealed, at the end of a years long aversion to intimacy, the affair became the intense finale to the aversion. So, they were not seen as seperate things, but rather part of the same miserable overture.In my experience, the deadlock was intensely unpleasant, but also there was a sense of co-dependency in it. While we disagreed, we were still partners and both of us locked into flipsides of the same misery. Indeed, as my wife pointed out - she was also in a sexless marriage. That was a shrewd point she made, knowing that I knew she didn't WANT to feel like her skin was crawling if I touched her.The affair revelation was a thunderclap. I tend to view tenacity as a virtue in itself (and could certainly be argued that that is still the case). I felt, when I was involved in this gridlocked relationship, that we were partners in misery, but partners nonetheless. The discovery that my "reward" for patience, for not rocking the boat, for doing everything she said and for overcoming every hurdle she threw, was that she LEFT ME BEHIND to find it elsewhere.... well it cracked the foundations of my whole sense of integrity and dogged loyalty as its own reward.There are the issues you deal with, and then there is the added issue of someone choosing FOR YOU. It was intolerable that my wife chose to carry on as she did, while I continued to writhe in denial and continue to find ways to cope. It did not HAVE to be that way. Had she TOLD me the score that she already knew, I could have had some chance at choosing it or not. And at that point, I likely would have been game. Instead, I felt violated, and wound up with PTSD for two years, ON TOP of the initial issues that we eventually had to address.I'll pose it back to you, RRR. Suppose your hubby came to you and said, "Hun, I love you and I don't want to leave you, but I have some things I need to experience in my life. We both know you don't want to explore intimacy with me, and I don't want to pressure you to have intimacy you don't want to have with me. There is someone in my life who wants to give it a whirl with me, and I don't want to hurt you, but if you don't want that with me anyway...would you support me going out THIS Friday with so-and-so, on a date that will likely result in sex? And if so, how would this be easiest for you to handle?"What would you say to that?

Rw, let's focus on your marriage. What other people do in their situations really doesn't matter one iota in your marriage. The pain from your husband's affair in 2009-early 2010 is behind you. That has happened.

Here's what I am noticing. Whenever someone brings up a suggestion or a question that might be something you haven't tried or considered but that might break the deadlock you respond telling them about how you've done that already or they don't understand, that's not how your marriage is.

If you've tried everything then you need to get a divorce. There's very little trust in your marriage.

If we don't understand and how we are interpreting your marriage is incorrect keep in mind that it is your description of the marriage that is giving us our impressions. Then when someone sees a glaring issue you defend and backpedal such that you explain how your marriage is not that way.

Denial will get you nothing but gridlock.

Defensiveness helps you in no way.

Over and over I see it.

To me it feels inauthentic. It feels like you are putting on a show "as if" your marriage was perfect bar the affair.

Here's the thing about people who come across as inauthentic here: they often do in real life too. A person who is inauthentic and says they take responsibility for their husband's affair doesn't make progress. She may want to but her authentic feelings show through.

I think you are hiding a lot behind this indignation about us. Counseling, help here, forgiveness only works if you're authentic about working it.

Answer Lao below if you want to start an authentic conversation. Answer me and tell us about how your marriage really was before the affair, before the refusal.

Another absolute GEM to consider.

Change: You said what I was thinking throughout this entire thread but could not articulate.

Cwdyg. I don't know what too say. I've been very honest in everything I'm saying. I am not sure how I'm back peddling that I'm aware of. My marriage before the affair was on all other points fine. The sexual tension and rejection and arousal issue if the only thing we really had to deal with. We had a good marriage other than that. Got along, worked together raised some really responsible, good kids together. We like doing things with our kids, laughed, had fun. I am not going to say we never disagreed, we fought we did just like other married couples. I don't know what you want me to tell you. It wasn't bad it wasn't dysfunctional other than our opposite sexual desires at the time.

I'm not sure about divorce at this point it may happen. I feel like if it did happen there would be a lot of smiling faces here saying I told you so. That's the way I feel anyway. The trust level is not like it once was YET. If we both get on board with this heeling and rebuilding then it can once again be just as strong. I have a lot of faith in this man and I think he will be able to trust me again someday not to far off if we ever get back on the same road.

I am honestly not putting on a show here what would be the point in that? I'm not sure. I am very sincere in my work and I am authentic person. No one in my real life wold describe me an not authentic or genuine. That's all I can say I do not need to make you feel one way or the other you will make up your own mind about me as you read it and see it.

What is being said here is sometimes hard to hear.

That doesn't mean we are making up our minds about you based on anything other than how you present yourself here. There are a lot of people saying similar things, so I don't think I'm way off base here.

It's easy to spend a life believing all is great bar the sex. Or all is great except the... finances... or the whatever. And perhaps you are a person who doesn't like to go deep or be deeply vulnerable and open/honest. Read my stories and you will see that I've learned how to be that, but it has not been easy.

My story you can read but I will also tell you the pertinent points. As it pertains to a SM, my XH became angry and abusive shortly after we married. He was rather sweet before hand but once I became his family things were different. I didn't look closely enough at how he treated his family and they treated him before we married. I should have and now I look very carefully at those things when I date.

6 months into the marriage two relatives landed on our laps who were teenagers. They had nowhere to go, so we became a family. My XH continued with the anger but I had two extra reasons to make it work at that point and I was determined not to fail at this marriage/family for their sakes. So we plodded along.

He became verbally abusive. I defended myself and the kids. He got physically aggressive (not abusive yet, just threatening). I left. The kids were his blood relatives, not mine and I feared leaving them behind. So I came back. We were safer together than apart, I feared. In all of this we were sexless. I chalked it up to stress, anger, conflict, fighting... you name it, I just assumed it had a reason. Inside I didn't believe I was attractive enough to him and if I wasn't attractive to him - an angry, often mean man who didn't have much joy in life - then I must be pretty awful.

This all played right into a lot of dynamics from my own childhood. I was adopted after being abandoned as an infant and being in foster homes and orphanages for a while. Then I was adopted by a woman who suffered deep mental illness and that was very difficult too. I had lots of stuff that played in my head that were early tapes that matched the things he was saying and I was saying to myself. All the while, I wanted sex from him. I longed to feel close to him. But in part because I never really knew closeness from early on I didn't know how to make it happen. I needed him to lead me there. But I had attracted a man who was comfortable with my not knowing closeness and not knowing how to create it. In many ways we were perfectly matched as long as neither of us grew or changed much.

But when I did... when I did individual counseling and pushed myself to learn closeness because my teenage adopted kids needed that level of honesty and raw vulnerability both modeled for them and provided to them... I learned to give what I had not been given. And in that I grew to a place where I understood the lack that I had experienced my entire life was not normal. I needed that warmth, that embrace, that desire, that sense of being ok being myself without apologies with my lover. And he did not.

Ultimately he did get physically violent with me at the end. He intentionally and passive aggressively withheld sex and made promises to make me stay that he had no intention of fulfilling. And I stayed, because I wanted it to work very badly. He gave me permission to outsource. I had a FWB but it wasn't an affair because it was given with permission.

He was not a sex person. He was not a person who understood even the words I am saying here. To him - and many who are not sex/connection people - that sounds like a fairy tale. In my soul I knew it was real, so I left my marriage and decided to no longer settle for what I had, just because I made a vow. Lots of things in life happen that shouldn't because they hurt people. Lots of things that hurt people also end up helping people. I should not have been abandoned as a three day old infant and yet I was. And in the long run I am such a better person and a more empathic person for it.

I share this with you because it is my authentic me. If you read it and don't connect with it in any way, perhaps we just don't connect or perhaps you aren't a connection person. But the people here generally are. So if my authentic, deep story seems unrealistic or like something you can't relate to then I think the answer is we are fundamentally different and perhaps that just is what it is.

I tend to think you are here wanting to open up, though. You've stuck it out through some tough conversations and some things that others might just delete. So perhaps its just a different experience you aren't used to yet?

Change. I am a connected person I think I am caring and very sympathetic and empathetic and want to help others I have a loving heart . I get your story and it does help me to see into your life and what you have had to endure. I can understand that you have endured much and you are still standing. You are very strong and I feel for you and your struggles. I know sometimes on here especially for me is that I don't know the full story and I certainly didn't want to judge even before I am aware of what some one has gone through.

As far as my history goes I grew up in a loving home I knew I was loved. There wasn't a lot of affection shown by my mother she grew up that way not much hugging and stuff like that. That's part of why I am that way I guess but it's weird I was affectionate to my kids made sure of it. I hug my good friends and tell them I love them so I know I'm not totally unaffectionate or loving. My husband grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional family. Mother had him at 17 divorce a yr later. He was moved around and didn't have a real stable situation. He has a acholoic step dad he lived with and an acholoic father who was not reliable and never grew up was self centered he would say he was coming and it show stuff like that. He just didn't have a great childhood and that even makes me feel terrible after what I've done to him. It does explain a lot about our issues though. I commented some on this somewhere but I had some bad experiences really young like 4 or 5 with older cousins and it really screwed with my mind about sex and what it was and it made me feel it was bad and dirty and shameful. I have grown a lot and am ten times better that I have ever been about my perception of sex now. I'm trying to be open I thought I was being pretty open I'm not hiding anything since I wrote my first story on here I've told it the way it was and the way I saw

I have to go back to work now but I will catch you later on. Bless your heart Change I don't remember about your feelings on religion so I don't want to offend you in anyway but I pray God will help you with your struggles. You deserve better no one deserves some of the things you have had to endure.

Thanks RW. I am spiritual but was raised in a home that was nearly atheist so I've come to my own faith on my own. I believe in a higher power and that's as far as I go with it, but I respect others' rights to feel what they feel in their hearts. You aren't offending me. I understand the place you're coming from, even if I've never stood there myself. So thank you for the well wishes. :-)

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-----" If my husband had taken the divorce route I would have changed just like I did and showed him I did truly love him.</P><br />
RRRW - looking back would you have preferred that he simply divorce (and divorce in his own way which might have meant walking away and letting an attorney do the talking) vice having the affair?<br />
<br />
Do you believe that the pain would have been less had he opted to divorce relative to the pain of the affair?

Mvcmvc. Of course I didn't want a divorce still don't. I wish he had approached that first with me before deciding to have an affair and give us the time to see if we could work through it or if indeed he wanted a divorce. He would have never ever had the attorney deal with me he would have. We wouldn't do each other that way I am positive of this. I wouldn't do him that way either.

As far as the pain goes a divorce would have been devastating to me and still would. I made the statement to the OW that I have gone through a lot and have been crushed, but I may have to go through the hardest part still if we divorce and I loose him. I truly believe in my heart if he had gone that route with me we would be the happiest couple alive because I do not see me doing anything any differently than I did. I knew my husband was at his wits end with me and we were headed in a direction I didn't want to go. I didn't know he was seeing another woman initially. If he had done like he did do me, meaning blow up and show his feelings by his actions without already starting an affair I can say with the utmost confidence he would have been happy with me for sure. If I had done exactly what I did I got the silver bulletin so to speak for myself which was a decent testosterone level and also made great progress on my attitude and thought process of me being a sexual being and that it was okay for me to be this way. I had a lot of issues not only physically, but mentally.

Thank you all for this discussion. This is ILIASM at its best. As much pain as we all have suffered, and as much pain as we may then provoke, at least we're on the path to authenticity, love, fun, and acceptance of ourselves, our spouses, and our lovers. It may be hell, but it's all good.

RRRW,
To be honest with you, Im totally confused. To me, you do not fit the image of the typical 'refuser'. You seem to take far too much responsibility for issues in your marriage and keep beating yourself over it.

I have been reading your backstory, your husband is an acoa (son of an alcoholic) who is turning to drinking. Is your husband an alcoholic btw?

IDK. I'm scared to death he might be. He was at his moms for 3 1/2 mos and didn't drink so I was hoping that was a good sign he is not an alcoholic. A few times he stayed with here and didn't drink. I can't say a whole lot to him it makes it worse our oldest daughter just talked to him about it pretty frank. We all hate he turned to drinking it is killing us for him and his health. I know he doesn't want to be this way.

Actually not unlike my own wife and me, as well, when either of us were off sex. Most portraits of intimacy averse people in ILIASM are painted by their spouses, with their motivations and feelings assigned. I have found that the "profile" here is not uncommon at all, when we stop to listen

RRRW, the issue of trust keeps coming up a great deal in your questions and in your comments. Can I ask, is it because for all the changes you have made, and the increased frequency of sex, you are still unsure if you and your spouse have intimacy? Does a part of you wonder if he is in love with you?

Here's another question. Do you feel that your husband is withholding a part of himself from you? Do you feel that he is withholding intimacy and connection? If it helps, lets move away from the commonalities of refused spouses and focus on what you are experiencing with your spouse. There is alot more to the dynamics going on in your marriage.

YES! Lao!

Now that I have empiracle proof that I can handily dismiss the notion that my wife is not a "sex person" (as I do with about 95% of such advice on this board), and now that I can dismiss the notion that I'm a trollish, insensetive oaf who is terrible in the sack because I can't entice my wife, we can now get to the real meat and taters of the dynamic.

Circling back to her limits and inhibitions (which are only with me), I'm able to see how it's eluded us for so long, in both of us supporting those limits as part of her identity. This notion of "he/she is not a sex person" is, IMO, the most harmful piece of well-meaning, self-justifying, untested and unchallenged group therapy that this group poses.


Your question, Lao, digs right where I've landed too, about why it's such a challenge, and what happens next. This is about a fear of real intimacy and authenticity, being "present" with somebody who KNOWS you, who can really hurt you, and having the courage to RISK exposing or pursuing authentic desires to someone who you have something invested in, or even yourself - if your desire disagrees with some fundamental aspect of your aspiration as a person.

There are a lot of folks who can have crazy wall socket sex with people who aren't their spouses, simply because there's less invested and it's less complicated or risky.

But Apocrypha, in the case of RRRW she has proven herself to be not a sex person. She does not understand what we mean when we talk about the passion and the intimacy we crave. We CRAVE the sex with the people with whom WE ARE highly invested. Whatever term you want to use to describe it or if you choose to see it as refusal to be vulnerable, intimate and honest or not a sex person.

To me, THEY ARE THE VERY SAME THING.

My XH is afraid of vulnerability. He would rather pick a fight, yell, scream, pick at me, he is known to be this way in his work life, personal life and as a child. He has his reasons. Any time he could choose to be authentic, genuine and honest about his feelings or his motivations he instead chooses to be a bit of a brat, in general, because at least then (as he reported to me) "No one picks on the big angry guy".

Does it surprise you, really, that he is not a sex person? Is he asexual? Probably not. But does the fear of sexuality, vulnerability, intimacy and showing the genuine self overcome any pleasure he may derive from his sexuality? Oh yes.

So he is not comfortable being vulnerable and therefore, not a sex person.

I get the same sense from RRRW. She sees sex as something uncomfortable, a responsibility, something she gives him. Based on her defensiveness to a lot of the posts back to her here I see a lot of discomfort with being authentic. So yes... I think she is also not a sec person and not a person comfortable being vulnerable.

When I say not a sex person I mean they do not feel comfortable being vulnerable and intimate and completely naked and real within their own skin and especially with another person. As the challenges of marriage and the investment increase so do the threat. My XH used to say to me "I wish you didn't see straight to the heart of me." No truer words have never been spoken by him to me... and I could not MAKE him share himself with me.

People here say "sex person". A long time ago I made the point that to me, it's "connection person". There are connection people and there are I prefer no/less connection people. I still think that's true although for the sake of simplicity I too use the term sex person.

It's a good litmus test. If someone has discomfort with sex, their own bodies, their own expression on the outside of what's inside then they probably aren't going to be so comfortable with being quite that vulnerable with others, either.

I would like to add that something I have mentioned often before and that is the refused spouse also has a responsibility for his or her part in the dysfunction. Certainly, being refused does not mean one has a monopoly on positive character traits or behaviors. RRRW's spouse is also responsible for how the marriage evolves, post affair and meltdown. I recall the tremendous work that ModLulu put into recreating hers once her spouse rededicated himself to her and the marriage. She took ownership of her issues and her role unflinchingly. I wonder if RRRW's spouse has the same dedication and self awareness to do the same. Its worth some thinking.

I think that pretty generally speaking Lao most people don't have those skills, no matter if refused or refuser. Most people if there is an affair keep moving forward because that's what you do, not because they uncovered every rock and looked at every internal and relational aspect of the situation that unfolded.

LaoTzu

The answer to the first two questions you've ask are yes. When working through something like this there is a lot of heart ache and ups and downs on both sides. My husband has a really different take on things he is not your typical cheating spouse that is so sorry and begging you to stay and forgive Him. He never even had to ask for forgiveness i gave it to him right away. I may have made it to easy on him, but I did feel a lot of it was on me too. I really feel like the cheating spouse kind of because I'm the one that has had to prove I love him, prove to him I can change, prove to him that we can make it and get over this. Right now we are dealing with issues of him "being in love with me" he does love me, but has made that typical phrase many cheating spouses do, " I love you, but I'm not in Love with You". He had strong feelings for this woman, I even know he fell in love with her. I know this. It is hard to deal with, but on the other hand I get it. He would have fell head over heals with whomever if they were giving him attention and the "wanted" feeling. I'm am still wondering if he will ever be able to fall back in love with me and get over his feelings for her. Hence the intimacy issues. If I felt or if he was at a point to decide he's in it for the long haul and shows by his actions then I feel the intimacy can and will come back. That is something he'll have to decide and want with me. I can and want intimacy with him like never before. IDK. I want to hope that his feelings for her are just lust love and not real true love and that he can love me once again like he needs to in order to have a healthy loving, affection, sexual marriage. I think many of you will think that this cannot happen, but I believe that it can if we both want the same things. Right now my husband has been so screwed up, me too, by all of the things we have gone through its awful and it's hard to pull out of and get back on a peaceful progressive path.

He is definitely withholding from me and has been as far as getting close intimately for quit some time. I think he's afraid to trust me and he has a right to be leery. I think he's still punishing me and he's very hardheaded and doesn't want to give in to me of that makes sense. He is still blaming me for everything he really is. I really do believe the passion and intimacy and love is still there for both of us. There is a lot that has to be sorted out to uncover to move forward.

RW, I don't think anyone here would say that you don't get to feel hurt about having been on the unexpected end of an affair. Judging others about their choices is another matter.

But it seems like you vacillate between sublimating your hurt/taking responsibility for his choices and letting your true anger come out when you talk to people like Cheaters12 etc.

You CAN be hurt and you CAN be angry. But you also have to accept that it is what happened in response to the unhealthy dynamic in your marriage at the time. He does have to apologize and be vulnerable and learn to be soft and kind and take responsibility for what he has done and the choices he made. It wasn't the right choice, but I can understand feeling like he had to take care of his own needs.

Has he said that to you, though? Has he come out and said he was feeling neglected so he cheated but otherwise he never would have in a million years done that? Has he said "after so many years of just not feeling good enough I decided to take care of myself. It was a choice I made but I would not have gone anywhere near that if I had you the way I do now. I am sorry we couldn't have talked about this earlier, I wish I could've done that."

I just wonder how much forgiveness he deserves so far.

This comment is very very very good.

@ Change - exactly - I am wondering how much of commitment RRRW's spouse has for the revitalization of the marriage. One thing which most members in this forum get is that we need to take responsibility for our choices. We cannot languish in the victim's role - mainly because it is disempowering and also quite unfair. Those who have taken thhat long hard look in the mirror annd seen their dark and light annd grey come away with a far richer appreciation of themselves and a more balanced appraisal of their situation.

CWDYG. I don't see myself as a "non sex or no sex person" it's not that. I don't have a fear of being vulnerable I don't believe. I did have issues with my own body image, not being comfortable in my own skin, and a lot of my issues with all of this is due to a childhood experiences that I've gone through. This also made me feel ashamed and embarrassed about sex. Things we endure as children really flow over into who we are and what we feel and think about many things. Sometimes we don't realize this, but I think it's true. I think my husbands childhood help make him the person he is and made him crave love, attention and affection things he did not receive as a child. Imagine how I feel after thinking all of this through, oh boy, it hurts me because I let him down like everyone else in his life. Of all people i should have been the one to take care of him! That is really soul crushing to me. I think back to our wedding day and how young we were and how he loved me so dearly and how he was so hopeful to just be loved by someone. ;-(. Sad Shewww. Tear jerker for sure.

Idk, maybe I was not a sex person, but I am now very much so. With t levels up, working on my mind, image perception, a new understanding and drive I have turned the corner.

Change. Early on he did say he was sorry and I know he truly is. He has said to me that he would have never strayed if he had what he needed from me even just half of what he needed would have kept him happy in my opinion. He really loved and adored me at one time, but I get how that faded with how I was. He did also say he finally just got tired and decided to do something for him, not somebody else just him. He has always taken care of everyone else so have I other than him. He really has said these things to me that you mentioned. He had some clarity early on about should have talked to me, and several other things It seems like as time went on he got harder and harder toward me, colder. It kind of went from some clarity to cold hearted and not feeling much or not telling me anyway. He's at a point were he is either going to come out of this or he's not, seems to me. Lots of anger, resentment, guilt and more anger. He is going to have to make a choice whether to get over it and forget and forgive the past and move on or move on by himself. He so dang prideful and hard headed.

"He is going to have to make a choice whether to get over it and forget and forgive the past and move on or move on by himself. "

Then, as our dear Baz would say, you need to run the clock on this. Yes, he does need to figure out whether he can get over it or not and forgive the past. Say... 90 days of exercises on forgiveness?

"So he is not comfortable being vulnerable and therefore, not a sex person."
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Why complicate matters then, about a "sex person" when you already know that what you are really talking about is intimacy with a person, or in a relationship scenario, with whom he feels vulnerable?
Tends to be a rude awakening for folks here, as it was for me, when a "non-sex" person enters a perfect storm in which they feel ok feeling vulnerable or feel less vulnerable (ie. outside their marriage), and where suddenly, and inexplicably they feel like a "sex person". They feel "swept away". "It just happened."

There are several people here who have been with folks who spent most of their lives celibate. And after they split, their "non-sex" ex-partners took up the hobby with surprising ease.

For folks who intend to pull their marriage out of the fire, rather than eject, in most cases abandoning "sweet lemon" self justification that their spouses are "just not sex people", will serve better, because it allows us to focus on the issues at hand. Namely: improving intimacy and trust.

Apocrypha, some people are not happy, comfortable or fulfilled in themselves alone. There is no way that they can be ok being vulnerable with others. Vulnerability requires that they let someone in to even the darkness within them and if they perceive that to be truly bad about themselves they will hold others at arm's length so as to not be found out. The intimacy required in marriage is, yet again, messy. It is not pure white or crystal clear. It is murky, unknown, it is surrendering and yet challenging and intriguing for some or makes others want to flee.

Too often here we are married to people who are quite simply, unhappy within themselves. They can not be a happy and healthy half of a marriage because they are not happy and healthy as individuals. So they can not improve intimacy and trust in the marriage because they not there yet as individuals. Theyare too afraid to go deep within themselves to improve themselves and become healthy. That makes them people who are afraid of vulnerability, they are afraid of connection.

It's easy for some people to have sex with random partners. It's easy for them to have wild crazy sex... even sex that feels deep and intimate because the darkness hasn't come out yet in the relationship. It's fun, it's exhilarating and it feels so easy and so right in the moment. The harder stuff IS the intimate stuff.

You can not determine for sure if someone is an intimacy/connection/sex person until much later in the relationship. If you are comfortable being naked and vulnerable with someone sexually before the relationship has reached much depth but not once it has then I would suspect the issue to be vulnerability/intimacy felt threatening.

There's also the possibility that physically someone else was a different kind of lover than the spouse but I tend to suspect relationship dynamics at play there as well. Sometimes action in the bedroom reflects passive aggression, resentment, anger, disconnect, sadness etc in the relationship. Those things can and should be worked on in a marriage and I would say are normal... until they are no longer normal and are now destructive to whatever is left of the marriage.

More than anything the litmus test of whether a marriage will survive to me is whether both partners are actively working on the true problems, see them as problems and are willing to challenge their thinking and their past thoughts/beliefs/values/choices to get there. Even a truly intimacy averse spouse can change, but they have to want to and put in the work.

There was a time when I was in the emotional mindset of a refuser type. Even though I didn't refuse sex I did lots of things to put up walls, keep intimacy from becoming too overwhelming and basically keep myself safe from a relationship I wanted to be in but I didn't know how to be in healthily. I will write a story about that relationship sometime soon.

I agree Change.
Apocrypha, I actually have serious doubts that a genuine Refuser will find a happy and fulfilling sex life with someone else. Consider the characteristics Change describes:
"some people are not happy, comfortable or fulfilled in themselves alone. There is no way that they can be ok being vulnerable with others. Vulnerability requires that they let someone in to even the darkness within them and if they perceive that to be truly bad about themselves they will hold others at arm's length so as to not be found out"

If a person withholds sex because she/he is uncomfortable being vulnerable with someone else, it is unlikely that will change in a new dynamic. There MAY be an intial period of sex when the relationship is new and sex is less about opening ones real self to another and more about hormonal flushes . . . But once a new relationship moves to a longer term and more intiate level, it is very hard to imagine how this person (who has previously shrunk from intimacy) could suddenly embrace intimacy and become sexually responsive . . . .

Given that I was, by any definition commonly slung here, a "genuine refuser" and I totally was able to seek a happy and fulfilling sex life, my perspective on that is going to be different.

I actually have a pretty keen memory on the mindset I had when engaging in sexual relations DURING my period when I was off sex. It was much easier when it was in a situation with less investment - a new person, a scenario where I was getting to know someone, but before I could really be hurt much, myself.

This fear could be triggered by a person, by a scenario (such as a wedding itself - how many stories here had things go awry starting on their wedding night - I'm not the only one). It is NOT necessarily tied to the person, though it is a mercy to think of it that way if it proves too arduous to continue.

Please understand ... I'm not even close to saying that people should stick to it no matter what, and that people who dump out are taking "the easy way", lest anyone make a mistake. I am saying, basically, you grow as an individual, or you die as a couple. If your partner chooses not to grow, that's on them. You can, however, set the pace and invite them to join you or make their own path.

Apocrypha, at that point in time you had a refuser mentality. You were shut down. You were walled off. You weren't able to be open and vulnerable. You'd been hurt and the choice you made in that relationship was to protect yourself.

Without working on yourself and deciding to change it, you would've been the same. But yours was in response to hurt and you WERE willing to grow.

But let's be honest here - your self awareness, willingness to look in the mirror even at things you don't like and most importantly, do something, even radical, about it is way higher than most people's. Average people, not refuser "types", even.

If you have that kind of an engaged partner who is above the 90th percentile in those respects then they can work on themselves and make progress.

But maybe some can't do do within the context of the current dynamic between the two. Growth happens when things change and sometimes we have to lose everything and rebuild. Not everyone can work on a marriage and themselves at the same time. Some can leave the marriage and then work on themselves. Then they may be healthy enough for the marriage, which may no longer exist by that time.

"You'd been hurt and the choice you made in that relationship was to protect yourself."
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I'm not sure if "reflex" is really a choice. The choice came in realizing that unless I did something to override my learned reflex, I was going to lose out on a wonderful opportunity, that had already begun to decouple from me.

The reflex, btw, was a mistrust of my own desire. Not necessarily really having to do with anyone else. I'd learned to feel rewarded from controlling and overrulling it, as a survival mechanism for extricating myself from a relationship with a seductive sociopath.

Yes, I tend to be pretty self-aware, but not so much that I would have bootstrapped myself up on my own, had I not had the sense to see that my partner had stopped bugging me and was starting to make her own connections outward, "growing". I needed to hurry up and choose.

And choose you did. Many of our partners see it and don't choose. I don't think they want to lose the marriage, really, but they don't want to push through whatever fear they have in order to keep it.

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A cheer for an affair is a cheer for a break in the deadlock.While I happen to think it's a choice that leads to more problems than it solves -most likely a demise of the primary relationship instead of its maturation and recovery - it means that someone is DOING something that will likely end up in change.

Sometimes a sledgehammer is needed in these situations. That is what the affair did - it sledghammered both into talking. Too bad it had to come to that but these oftentimes intractable dysfunctional dynamics oftentimes require this approach. That is, if one is serious about getting things off top dead center and nothing else has worked so far.

"A cheer for an affair is a cheer for a break in the deadlock". Excellent point Apocrypha - I think that sums it up perfectly. It is not the affair per se that is applauded, it is the fact that the sexless relationship is now being seriously challenged by action.

Like you, I think an affair is often NOT a great way forward - BUT it still has great power to invigorate and inspire ACTION in the refused. And from this comes a resolution (one from a number of different types) to the original problem.

Enna I get what you are saying about how an affair has great power to invigorate and inspire action in the refused. I get the cheer for a break in the dead lock, but there just seems like there could be another way. Maybe not, IDK. I know people go years with no results from trying many different tactics.

I just know how much I loved my husband and I know that is hard to understand, but I truly loved and love him more than anything and the effects an affair has is so very devastating when you love and trust someone so deeply. If you don't really love someone then it can't be as hard as if you truly love your souse? I would think a marriage without love would not survive an affair and the spouse would be more hard hearted and mean spirited about the whole thing and play the victim card. Unless they stayed together for very important reasons, kids, expenses etc. I really do not believe that was a plan or something my husband had decided on. I think he started going through a lot of changes in life, new promotion to a supervisors position, our daughter getting married, getting older, retirement from his current job and moving on to a new career somewhere doing something he was unsure of everything at this point in his life. Unsatisfying sex life on top of it all. Then enters mistress and lands right on his new supervisor path and she starts working on him from day one. It's a challenge to this woman, it boost her ego and she is very needy person with issues like the rest of us. I don't think he was in divorce mode with me at all! I don't think he was in affair mode with me until she came into his daily path! I did not help my husband arm against this behavior at all I basically disarmed him and threw him right into her flippin arms.

I didn't mean to go off on that got into left field. I just want to say and I do think many of you agree that an affair is not the answer and if there is any other way around it, beside it, over it, beneath it, you need to try to take another road if at all possible. An affair invigorates and inspires acton, but an affair can drive everyone involved totally nuts. I'm serious, nuts as in the big house, straight jacket nuts. It's not glamorous and it cures nothing. It messes with everybody. It's so humiliating, degrading, frustrating, emotionally damaging, so much mental anguish comes with this. It causes irrevocable damage that can never be taken back or away. The kids feel humiliated too, embarrassed, their family violated by this stranger that has been intimate with their father. A man that everyone adored and looked up to. ( still does- he just doesn't realize it) It does hurt your reputation in society, maybe it shouldn't matter, but it takes something away from ones reputation they have built. It strips the cheater of so much too. While its giving them a much needed boost and something they have been needing tremendously, it destroys them from the inside out also. I think that a lot of the time the bad out ways the good when it comes to affairs. It usually isnt worth all of the effort and all the pain. Usually if asked many would say knowing now what they do they would not do it over. They would do it differently. Or at least this is what my husband has said. I think he means it. He didn't want to hurt us, him included and that other family too, I know this. Talk about some deep feelings, emotions are all over the place. It really reeks havoc on everybody remotely involved in some way. I know a lot who have participated in an affair do not like to hear this, but it is true. If you haven't been caught then you haven't felt the intense range and the full ramifications of this act. I know a lot who have had affairs have had to imagine what if my spouse found out or my kids or family there is no way you can even imagine what it would be like til you go through it. Words cannot describe the pain involved and the anger, frustration. shame, guilt, heart wrenching, gut twisting pain.

If you go back and read through many stories in this group I think you would see what I'm talking about as far as comments to people who have stepped over into that threshold of no return. I know I'm new here and a lot of you have been through many years with one another and know a whole lot more about their stories. I do not pretend to judge anyone for their actions. I just wanted to explain the thoughts and opinions of the other side and it might provoke some thought or possibly intrigue or entertain another solution to the problem.

enna,
"A cheer for an affair is a cheer for a break in the deadlock"

Then this should be good does not matter who initiated this either the "Refuser" or the "Refused". Then we should be cheering affairs it no matter who initiates it. That's the double standard/hypocricy i am trying to tell for last 4 days. My point is that then RRRW is right in asking her first question, why different response to different people. And please stop trying to understand/findout who i really am. Values and morality should not change just because the shoe is in someone's feet.

If a refuser is refusing to have sex with their spouse BECAUSE they are having an affair (often the case) then the AFFAIR is the CAUSE, not the RESULT of the SM. Therefore, it is not a break in the deadlock but the most outward symptom of it. If at the end of months/years of SM a refuser decides to try something they haven't tried before and meet their own needs that's a very different situation. So different responses to different situations.

We've answered your question about why different responses. We've done so in many different ways and many people have answered. RRRW seems to get it now, but you don't. You still won't come out and say who your original screen name is though.

RRRW says:
"I get the cheer for a break in the dead lock, but there just seems like there could be another way. "
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There is. I posed it upthread.
Suppose your husband said at the time, that he intended to "outsource" with this woman, that he did not intend to leave you, but that he had to lead his life. Suppose he asked your feelings on how you wished to be involved with the new direction in his love life, that he intended to take, rather than finding out after the fact. Suppose he said he had a date lined up for next Friday with someone who was enthusiastic about exploring with him the parts that you were content to leave behind?

No betrayal. No deceit. Totally up front.
What would you have done?

BTW, I AGREE with you, having had a cheating wife, who also was intimacy averse to me within the context of our marriage - I'm 3 years out now, and still PTSD over certain triggers associated with the affair. I have learned to adapt to avoid some things, but there are permanent reminders.

I don't agree with what another poster said, which is that the cheating CAUSES the SM. It's more than feasible to carry on with a robust sex life with more than one partner, with enthusiastic sex with both.

So Apocrypha, you do not agree that in some situations a spouse has an affair, falls for that affair partner and loses interest in sex with their spouse? Do you not believe that some people start an affair and then withdraw from their spouse out of guilt or some other emotional experience during the affair that leads to sexlessness? Frankly I have a hard time believing that you do not agree that cheating can lead to sexlessness. I didn't say it is always the cause, I said around here it often turns out to be the case.

Of course it's feasible to carry on a robust sex life as you and your W have done in an open marriage. I am not sure most of the marriages here are in a strong enough place or would want to do it in the first place.

It seems like where you and I often disagree is along the line of ideal marriage vs marriage in reality.

In an ideal marriage there should be no refusing. In an ideal marriage there should be no affairs. In an ideal marriage there should be support, acceptance and love between the spouses.

In reality marriage is dirty. The closer two people become the more they seem to claw for their independence and put up boundaries and barriers so that they do not lose themselves to that vulnerability. For some who just really do not like vulnerability and for whom intimacy feels threatening, their walls go up sooner and quicker than others.

Ideally speaking people SHOULD be more self aware than they are. But people AREN'T actually that. So most DON'T tell their spouses they are going to outsource because in reality, that is what they can handle. Should and shouldn't are judgments that don't always apply to real life.

The reality is that while it is more than feasible to carry on with a robust sex life with more than one partner, for most people here seeing their spouse with someone else will hurt both the marriage and themselves individually. yes, I know you have chosen this route. It doesn't mean that everyone else here will choose the same for themselves. Yes, it's feasible. It's also feasible to never have sex again. It's also feasible to live in a box under an overpass. It's feasible that I may be President someday. It doesn't mean it's realistically going to happen or something I will choose.

It depends on how you (or me, or anyone else) defines a "robust sex life" IMO.

I know I am perfectly capable of having good sex with someone who has little long term meaning in my life. The sheer physical pleasure is a "high" in itself.

BUT, if I have a choice (and fortunately for me I do), then I am not interested in sex like this IF I can have a fulfilling sex life with someone who matters to me. The emotional connection, the intimacy of a long term commitment and the "history" of the relationship all enhance the sex to a level that is beyond anything I could ever experience in a casual relationship.

I personally cannot conceive of seeking an external sexual relationship when the "internal" one is great! WHY would I seek out an inferior experience to supplement a suuperior experience??

IF a primary relationship is NOT fulfilling the needs of one (or both) partners, then the inclusion of other sexual partners may well be warranted. But if the primary relationship is completely satisfactory, then it seems strange to me to want sex from another person outside the dyad.

Of course, other people view sex very differently and there is nothing "right" (or "wrong") about differing view points - to each his/her own! However I do consider myself VERY fortunate that Baz and I are on the same page on this issue - variations within a dyad would certainly lead to conflict and hurt IMO.

“I personally cannot conceive of seeking an external sexual relationship when the "internal" one is great! WHY would I seek out an inferior experience to supplement a suuperior experience??”
You are pre-supposing the disqualifiers, in the same way everyone does about all kinds of things. You pre-suppose that it would be an inferior experience, as opposed to a different experience. You pre-suppose that it would be a completely separate experience from your present one, and that the interplay between them would have no effect, and that it would be meaningless, or that having meaning would somehow invalidate other feelings. There are cultures where this is really quite “normal”.
Beyond that, there’s what’s plainly in front of us. Certainly most folks who love their spouses and don’t want to leave (they choose sides when they are caught), can also love their affair partners.
This is not really that hard to conceive at all. It might not be something one chooses to pursue, because some of the complications may be unwanted and not worth the risk, but I don’t see it as being difficult to imagine if we use an everyday apt comparison as an onramp.

"it seems strange to me to want sex from another person outside the dyad."
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Strange to want sex with another person outside of your partner?
I don't think that's terribly realistic, Enna. No fantasy, ever? I'll assume you are talking about the pursuit, and not the wanting.

Depends, really, on what the sex means to the person who seeks it.
Or, what the acceptance of the sex outside the marriage means. It might be an antidote to a notion that marriage is a closed box. It might mean a feeling of freedom and surprise. It might be an avenue to self growth - the same kind of growth that we ALL experience in serial relationships, where we act differently or learn new things that we'd wished we'd known in the previous relationship (and where we can apply those lessons immediately).

I'm not saying those things are worth the cost. It depends on your partner and what you want.

"So most DON'T tell their spouses they are going to outsource because in reality, that is what they can handle. Should and shouldn't are judgments that don't always apply to real life."
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Yes, most people don't have that conversation because they are afraid of their spouse's reaction, and because they can't imagine starting that conversation about what they are going to do.

And yet, they can actually DO the thing they are going to do.

I chafe a bit about the term "reality" as if it is a fixed point. I prefer "authentically" in that there is a choice to have truth and to live truthfully. If I accept "reality" then I accept the limitations in myself and my partner as they are, and I might as well ditch out now, because, goddam, I can't imagine the pressure of that scenario. But honestly, is it really saving any trouble? I hae a feeling those chickens will come home to roost eventually.

If I choose "authentically", then I don't have to pay interest. If my partner chooses not to use the pressure as motivation to step up, and not to let me step out, then there's really only one choice left.

Change, I will certainly go along with saying that an affair must stop, and likely all outsourcing arrangements, if there is no intimate connection at home.

I often get the feeling that we are totally not on the same plane Apocrypha! Without TMI (I hope!) may I assure you that my sexual experience is such that I am more than qualified to comment on extra-marital sex!

And for me, the reality remains this: I can thoroughly enjoy sex with a person without whom I have a deep connection. BUT if I have this option (sex with someone I am committed to and share an intense intimate relationship with) , then IMO that sex is SO much more worthwhile than the physical pleasure to be gained from a non-connected sexual partner.

And I am only speaking for myself here - not for anyone else! - but if I am having a great and fulflling sex life with the person I love, I do not need or want sex elsewhere. I don't fantasise about it. In my mind it would be like having a wonderful meal - and then going out for pizza!!

And Apocrypha, I KNOW it would be inferior! It has nothing to do with the other person, his abilities as a lover, or anything at all to do with the other person. But I have had lots of sexual partners and I know very well, that for ME, sex without the loving intimate connection, IS inferior to that which is on offer in my relationship.

Using the meal analogy, it would be like having Macdonalds after being used to cordon bleu. . . !!

Apocrypha. I am answering your question from way above. I haven't read all of the comments under that question yet, but I can answer for myself. If my husband came to me and told me he was going outside of our marriage I would have responded with trying to talk to him seriously about our marriage and relationship and what was missing and what we could do about it. I feel like I would have done the exact same thing I did when I thought he was heading toward possible discussion of divorce. I would not have been okay with him outsourcing and I would have granted his wishes for a divorce if that is the direction he chose to take. I would not have been able to live with that. Although I did live with it at one point after finding out there was someone else.

I feel certain if he had told me he was going to start seeing someone that I would have turned it around, dug for information and medical help just like I did when I knew there was a serious problem. I don't think the outsourcing or an affair would have ever happened. If I jumped on him like I did and started showing my affection and love he would not have been interested in the other options. I believe he would have rode it out a while longer to see if I could really change and show my love for him in the intimate way he needed. He would have been very happy and satisfied with me. Now after all thats happened and the water is murky and not clear it is very hard for him to see and his sense of direction has been compromised. I hope that makes sense.

I would have rather him done that and been honest with me so I would have that final chance to save our marriage without involving another woman and family. He could have had his choice divorce me and go outsource or he could have given me the chance and tried one last time. I would have taken that request from him very seriously and would have done anything to save our marriage and most of all restored the deep, true love we once had for each other. It would have been a lot better than the deceit, betrayal, lies and everything else that goes with a secret affair. That is how I feel about it.

Again, Enna, your response carried a payload that I don't think you can see: the assumption that any offroading MUST lack connection (the prerequisite for the kind of sex you enjoy most, and that I do too). So I don't think we are that different, at least in that respect. :-)

Apocrypha, to me if I am outsourcing without my significant other's knowledge then there will be a lack of connection because I will have guilt attached to my actions. My heart would not be fully open to that experience. That's me.

To me personally I need that intimate connection in my primary relationship. It takes me a while to build it. That is not to say that intimacy can't exist in other relationships but where I focus that energy is on that one relationship that is my primary partner. As evidenced by my marriage, in the past I haven't known how not to strive for that relationship with my primary partner even if he doesn't want that from me.

14 More Responses

You know marriage is one of the longest of commitments yet there is no training for it at all. You get much more training for getting a driver's license. I kind of think it's no wonder there are so many that fail at it because they really haven't any idea about what they are supposed to be doing. Everybody is winging it and mostly imitating whatever they saw at home and these days that can be a pretty sorry example indeed. Marriage as we see it is about ownership we contract with someone to own each others sexuality and mostly neither person has much of an idea about what that responsibility might entail. Our sexual behaviors are learned in back seats of cars or at least they were in my generation no telling where the younger folks picked up their experiences but for many it's not exactly a great experience nor is it one that will teach them to be a good lover.

I can only imagine how much better off we would all have been if we had some guidance in how to please our mates and how to enjoy sex. But most people come with a full bag of hangups unfortunately which often don't manifest until after the wedding cake has been swallowed. Affairs are much more common than most people seem to think and these days with the internet facilitating meeting people hooking up is amazingly easy. But it seems that under present circumstances there are just tons of people out there that could care less about sex and who could care less about their partners sexual satisfaction we call those people refusers but actually I think they are much worse than that. These people aren't really capable of living in our world because they have no imagination and they lack empathy and those key factors make them unable to exist in our world. A hardcore refuser type will never be able to crossover and live in our world because they cannot sense that it exists.

There are others that are not hardcore but get off the path because they get distracted by something who knows what it might be. These it may be possible to bring back which by a huge effort if they can reestablish the relationship perhaps it can limp along and survive. But it will never be what it was because there will always be that suspicion there that they may fall back into their old ways again and that can't be helped because once you get burned you will always be wary of hot stoves. We are all human beings and we all have our weaknesses and strengths.

I'm not sure if the idea of forgiving an affair by someone who has been refused would actually be valid when they have been driven to it. When the other person will be required to forgive you for refusing them which in my mind is a much more serious "crime" if you want to call it that or start being judgmental. But why be judgmental at all? What the two of you really have to do if you want it to work is try your damnedest to develop amnesia and I seriously mean that for both of you. The closer you can both come to a clean slate with each other and attempt to rediscover some love for each other the better off you will be. Because love for each other is the only thing in this whole mess that matters anymore. It don't matter what anyone else thinks at all what matters is what you see when you look into each others eyes from four inches apart. If you see love then you got a chance and that is your only chance because if that love isn't there for both of you then you are both wasting your time. I hate to tell you that but it is the harsh truth if you two can't find that love you might as well move on now and not waste each other's time.

Very well said Warrior.

Warrior you hit the nail on the head if we don't have love then we might as well move on. It's there for me and I don't know for sure about him. I want to believe its there time will tell. The trust thing is huge too and it will take some years to iron that out for both of us. I do think it will be easier for me to trust him than him trust me at this point. If we do work it out he'll never have another affair without first leaving. He wouldn't do it again I'm sure and he won't have a reason to either.

The affair was likely a symptom of the refusal and if the two of you can rebuild some sort of relationship there wouldn't be any reason for it to recur. It's very hard to open yourself and equally hard for him and it seems that communication wasn't good to start with. That really needs to change spending time together and learning to enjoy each others company again will be a critical step for both of you. It takes more than just sex to build a satisfactory relationship. Non sexual touching and learning to think about each other and recognizing things that please each other is terribly important. The more engaged you become with each other the better because it will give you a chance to build love which is your shot at salvation.

But WP, the affair began in 2009 and ended in 2010. They are still deadlocked over whether or not he will still have contact with the mistress. That's a lot of their life stuck in this limbo.

If they can't engage with each other and that means totally such as leaving the mistress behind there's no trust being established that's like holding back aces when you are playing poker and that kind of dishonesty is surely going to doom any kind of further advancement. It has to be "All In" for both parties or it's time to fold and walk away. Because unless there is a total commitment you are both just prolonging the agony.

Warrior. The amnesia thing, I didn't comment on that, but I totally agree. I have said to my husband and I've meant this with all my heart that I want a brand new life with him, I don't want the old one back. I want the from this day is a new beginning and what's behind us is gone and we are just working on the present and not even worried about tomorrow. I can do this I can leave this affair in the dust. I don't know that he can leave it in the dust or our past sexual history either. Only he knows this, and I really don't think he even knows yet. Shewwwww. Hangin on! Don't get me wrong this time in our lives we will never forget, but we can sure claim some heavy amnesia when it pops into our minds. We can forgive and we can move on God willing. Thx for your insight

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I just wanted to say that I'm going to be out awhile I didn't want you to think I was finking out on anyone or hiding.

It's has been overwhelming a little. Last night I went to bed and couldn't stop crying mainly no all because of what I had done to my husband. A lot of you think I'm still hung up on the hurt of the affair and i am so self absorbed in my pain, but I think more about my actions, what pain i caused, how i could have changed along time ago and how dumb I was.

I haven't felt well all weekend with headache + so I'm giving my eyes a break,my mind and heart too :-)

Some of you hope I don't come back, but I'll be back soon. Thanks to everyone who's been respectful to one another. I did not mean to disrespect anyone or judge anyone as it has been pointed out to me.

You sparked a lively, informative discussion!

Hang out here and learn some more. You are welcome to stay as long as you like.

You are brave for sticking with this discussion. It will do you good and maybe some of us also.

<p>To Cheaters 12: you are in pain. I expect that is because you have been cheated on. You are hurt, disillusioned and very angry. You are focussing on how much "better" you are than the person who cheated on you.</p><p>That is natural. Your response is normal, and understandable. But sadly, it is also very limiting. At some point (and this may be in the future for you) it will be necessary for you to do the following things:</p><p>1 acknowledge you are in pain and that you have the right to feel like that. </p><p>2 forgive the person who cheated on you - you don't have to condone the cheating, or forget it happened, but you DO need to let go of the bitterness, resentment and anger.</p><p>Resolve to "let go" of the pain so that you can rebuild your relationship on a positive basis. Or decide that you cannot do this, and seek a divorce. Only you can know which is right for you.</p><p>But please note: These are the ONLY two choices. There is NO third choice which says "I will hang onto my pain, hurt and anger and punish him/her for the rest of my life by refusing to get over it - and by refusing to end the relationship." </p><p>3 examine your OWN behaviour in terms of the cheater and the cheating. Did you do something (or not do something?) that helped provoke the situation.</p><p>Let me give you an example from my own life here. My first husband was a serial cheater. He had his first extra-marital sex on our honeymoon!! And for the next ten years he was constantly unfaithful to me. I don't believe I "caused" this behaviour, but I DO believe I misjudged my choice of mate. This person had serious issues that the young Enna did not realise - so I chose badly. </p><p>So sometimes the part we play is not so much that we do something "wrong" TO our partner, but that we choose a partner who is not right for us.</p><p>Or it can be that we DO behave in a way that provokes the very behaviour (the cheating) that we don't want to happen. For example: I have a very good friend who had three young children. She decided to have a fourth child. Her husband did NOT want another child. But she said "Oh, he'll love the baby when it arrives" and became pregnant. He didn't "love the baby" - first he had an affair; then he left the marriage. . . . .</p><p>And here on ILIASM the greatest cause of "cheating" is the denial of intimacy and sex by one spouse to another. That is in itself a form of cheating, as others have said.</p><p>So YOU need to examine (logically and without emotion) what role YOU played in his/her cheating. It probably wasn't intentional - you did not set out to make him/her cheat. BUT it happened - and it happened to YOU - so you cannot escape taking some responsibility for it.</p><p>4 You need to "chalk it up to experience" and continue to live your life as productively and posively as possible. Human beings have a great capacity for forgiveness and for turning bad experiences into something positive. Is it easy? NO! But is it worthwhile? Definitely! Living a "half life" of resentment, bitterness and anger is NO way to live! You get just ONE life - make it count! Be happy and make others happy.</p>

Enna,
Thanks for your kind and generous words and thoughts. Yes I am hurt and I am in pain, but, no there was no cheating involve either by me or my H. The main reason he was not interested in sex was because we gradually lost our emotional intimacy ( many reasons including lack of open communication involving trust and ?vulnerability). we just did not try to resolve it and it went for few years. gradually he got hooked into ****. Once a person becomes **** addict, it's difficult to get him to have sex with us. Real humans cannot compete with **** videos. I am mad and angry at him. I am hurt. However, I do still see a hope because he is trying to correct himself now. I know that had he cheated, there was no second chance. I do believe in forgiveness. We are humans not saints, so, we all will make mistakes but we do differentiate between the mistakes.
One of the main reason RRRW is having a hard time forgiving is because her H cheated even though She seems to be very compassionate and loving person.

There might be treatments for this problem that he can avail himself to if he is willling. There is a blog on Psychology Today called Cupid's Poisioned Arrow (along with her book) that discuss this issue, and her research, in depth.

that would be Marina Robinson is the author.

Yes I have done lots of research lately on a web site called " yourbrainonporn.com" . It does talk about rebooting, relapsing etc. so lets see where it goes.
I know that I may sound judge mental and many people on this blog hates me now. But trust me I understand other's pain and hurt (be it the refused or refuser). Even refuses are kind human beings with issues/problems. Discussion should be a guide towards a solution and sometimes it does appear from some of the posts that they are more interested in trashing/hurting their STBX then resolving the issue one way or other and move on with their lives. Maybe I haven't gone through what a lot of people in this blog has endured, however, I still believe that inflicting hurt to others never minimizes our hurt.

-----"many people on this blog hates me now"

No one knows you so stop personalizing and stop the passive "you hate me now' language.

Read, learn, grow.

I totally agree with this statement:
"I still believe that inflicting hurt to others never minimizes our hurt."

And I understand that for you, this particular issue (cheating) is a total deal breaker. I just want to help you to recognise a few things that may soften your attitude to the "cheaters" amongst us. . . .

Very few ILIASMers "cheat" to "get back at" their spouses - almost all do so in order to SAVE their marriages!! This might seem strange, but it is because the thinking goes something like this:

"I love my spouse very much and most of our marriage is really very positive and worth saving. But I am at my wits' end trying to cope without sex. Now, if I can get sex elsewhere - in a "no strings attached" "friends with benefits" relationship - I can have my sexual needs met WITHOUT leaving my spouse."

So, many of us (but by no means all) try the "outsourcing" plan. ( I originally coined this term "outsourcing" for this option because I saw it as quite different from a decision to have an affair in the usual sense.)

But, if you read my story "Outsourcing your needs", you will see that I discovered quite quickly that what seemed like a good plan was in many ways fraught with unseen difficulties.

Naturally I never told my spouse I was "outsourcing". I saw that he would be hurt by that and I did not then (or ever) want to cause him pain. But as I had lived in complete celibacy for over thirteen years, my OWN pain had reached a point of needing drastic action. There were only two (of the three) choices possible for me at that point.

The third choice, putting up with things as they were, was no longer a viable option. I chose the "outsourcing" option as it seemed to me that it might allow me to continue being with my husband and not have to leave our marriage - something I didn't want (and I knew he certainly did not want) to happen.

This then was the second possible choice - the third being to end the marriage. If you read my story (named above) you will see that eventually I did leave my marriage - and if you read some of my other stories you will see how painful this was for me and for him . . . . .

From the beginning I have accepted that my husband was NOT trying to hurt me by withholding sex - it was just that he is NOT a person who is comfortable with intimacy, especially sexual intimacy. But unfortunately, I AM a person who needs that type of relationship if I am not going to wither and die. And I do not say this lightly - I was in a mental health hospital being treated for suicide ideation before I finally realised my life was truly in jeopardy if I stayed in this relationship . . . . .

Four years later I can honestly say that my Ex and I have a loving and close friendship AND I live with a wonderful man whom I met here on ILIASM! The outsourcing option did NOT work for me, but it does work for some.

And I do not regret trying that option - had it worked as I hoped, I may yet be married to my husband whom I loved very much. It is true that it would not have been an ideal solutuion, but then neither of the other alternatives are ideal either!! Staying in a marriage that is sexless is soul destroying in the long term - and leaving such a marriage (whilst it offers a new chance at life) means giving up on a relationship and a person that matter very much to you . . . . No, there are no "good" choices in these situations sadly.

So, when you think about "cheating", please realise that this is certainly NOT a "black or white" issue in our ILIASM community. It is a potential "solution" to an untenable situation for some of us. And for a few, it works well. Others have no success with it. But in most (all?) cases, it is certainly NOT done to undermine the marriage or to hurt the Refuser spouse . . . .

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To RRRW: I have considerable respect for you in your genuine desire to repair your marriage. And for taking responsibility for the part you played in the downfall of your marriage. It seems to me, after reading most of your posts, that your and your husband are not very compatible - for many reasons, not just a difference in libido. And that suggests to me that it may well be time to set aside the old hurts (on both sides) and accept that the best way forward for each of you is as individuals.

It IS very VERY hard to accept that separation is possibly the best solution, especially when you have tried so very hard to regain your marriage. But sometimes it is necessary to look objectively and coolly at the relationship and not fall into looking at it through the prism of "I want / don't want" or "I believe / don't believe" etc. Instead, just evaluate the REALITY of the relationship, rather than continuing to hope for changes that are not forthcoming - from one side or the other.

I realise this is not addressing your story - but I think that has been done very well in the previous 284 responses! Rather, I think it is time now for you to really think about whether you are staying in this marriage because you REALLY believe it can be what you BOTH need - or because of guilt, or firmly held beliefs, or . . . . (insert any reason of your own here).

You will often see the phrase here "the authentic you" - and one of the truths of the authentic you and the authentic me (and everyone else's authentic selves!) is that we are rarely as bad as we believe ourselves to be - but equally we are rarely as good as we would like to be! We often hold tightly to beliefs such as "I value my marriage" etc. (which are GREAT if the marriage is working BTW) in the face of undeniable evidence that the marriage is not actually something to be cherished, worked on and clung to.

When anyone of us invests a HUGE amount of effort in preserving something that has little (if any) chance of being successful, it is important IMO to ask ourselves: "Why am I doing this?" The answers can be widely diverse. They may include: "Because I don't like to give up (or give in) on something." "I believe that marriage is forever." "I think I can "fix" this marriage." "I love him so much." "I could never love anyone else as I love her." "I am worried no-one else will want me." "What about the KIDS?!!"

Whatever the "reason/s" are, they need to be coldly and clinically dissected. You (and anyone else in this situation) needs to take their ego out of contention. For example: do you believe "Marriage is forever" or do you just THINK you believe that because you grew up with this concept? Sometimes when we challenge our long held beliefs we discover they are really just mantras we have clung to in order to support our current decisions, rather than our TRUE beliefs . . . . .

If you can genuinely examine the reality of your relationship with your husband and honestly decide that your marriage is worth preserving (even if it does have flaws), then you will know that the effort you are expending is justified. And with that will come an acceptance that you cannot change him - nor he change you! But if you clinically dissect your relationship and (reluctantly) accept that there is very little of a solid basis on which to build a future, then you know what you need to do.

Enna30. Finally, somebody I recognize I thought were the heck is Enna and Baz. I always appreciate your input as I think you are a sincere person with a geniune want to help not hurt.

I really don't understand how you can get that my husband and myself are not compatible from reading my story other than libido. Now my libido is where it should be, now I have that immediate arousal just thinking about him or his voice. What about that- wow!

I do think people can change, there are certain character attributes you can not change and will remain engrained into the very core of who we are. A lot of the same beliefs I have, so does my husband. We agree on many issues as far as moral, ethical, religious and even political. We do have some differences also, but I think you need to have some variations because opposite poles attract and that makes life not so mundane and boring. We grew up together, we have a lot of history together. Do I want to give this up without a fight and everything I can possibly do to make our marriage and our family work once again like we did or even better? Our family, our little family of four always had the best time, lived together, raised our children to be wonderful human beings, both of us. Am I holding on to an unachievable dream? Am I setting myself or him up for failure? I don't think so. All I or he can do is do the best we can, follow our hearts and try to do Gods will. I have said I do love my husband more than anything and I do. I would be way gone if a true undying love wasn't there. After all we have gone through and he has had chance after chance to leave don't you think he would have fleed like bat out of hell if he didn't love me. I still do not feel sure nor do I even pretend to know our future because I do not. I do believe that marriage is meant to be forever when ever possible. I do not think when someone is abused, including refusing, battered and repeatedly cheated on, that can't get along in any situation then there may be cause for divorce. What if you hit on every other cylinder, but one need, a major need I realize, but if you get along other than one issue and you recognize that issue and move for improvemnent and actually do make good on the improvemnent then what do you think? What if you have fun together, enjoy each others company, even through all of this and even through times of separation and being together you feel the sexual, flirting tension you once did? Not just me feeling it I could tell he was feeling it too. Even if my husband decides he wants a divorce today, I will say okay if that's is what you want and the way you feel then go ahead and file. I do mean this. Do I want it, know I don't. I have stated the main, number one reason, I want this to work and continue is because he is the love of my life. He is the one that was put her for me, in my heart and soul I believe this. He may not feel the same and if he does I've made it clear that I will concede.

I'm really not of the mind I will never love again, but I know I will never loose love for my husband. Honestly I think he will always love me. Will I find love like I have for him? I don't think it's possible. Love on some level yea probably. I'm not worried at this point about anyone wanting me. I really think we both can move on and find someone else, but will we always wonder and will we always wish what if we had tried harder, given each other the chance? IDK.

I'm not ready, don't feel it's time to throw in the towel yet. I think I will know and I think he will too if that time comes, then I will have to deal with it from another perspective. Until that time my gloves are on and my hearts in it. :-)

Great response!! You have clearly identified that you have genuine and honest reasons for staying together - and so does your husband. In this case there is every likelihood that the two of you WILL make a success of yor marriage. . . . And no-one is happier about that than me!!

You both have some way to go in order to turn around the pain of the past IMO - you to overlook his affair; him to overlook your apparent disinterest in sexual intimacy. But as you BOTH want to make things work, I'm sure this will happen in due time, provided neither of you tries to force the agenda.

I have a dear friend who leads a marriage renewal course - and I'm wondering if such an activity (usually involves a wekend) would suit you both? I have no idea what is on offer in your area - and you would need to be convinced it was helpful and not judgemental in nature. But it could be something to consider - if not now, then in the future.

Meanwhile you have my sincerest and warmest hopes for success in your marriage. {{{hugs}}}

Thank you Enna I have looked into weekend retreats or really one on one therapy, intense therapy. So far California would be about $6500 or more to go. It would be with it to me if it helped us for sure. There are others I've looked at and checked on they are all higher. I would like to get the information from you on the person you know. I contacted this lady in CA and she has CDs of self hypnosis for relaxing, for people who have had negative sexual thoughts from the past or something that may have happened to you. I ordered them and I have been enjoying it and hoping they help me. I emailed her and asked her opinion too on some counseling. If she knew anyone closer in my region. She's a sex therapist, RN, and I don't know what all she's has a lot of titles. Haven't heard back from her yet.

Now all I have to do is get him to where he would consider going. We will see. Thanks again Enna30 I hate that. Their are people that have been offend by my comments. I really didn't mean to sound condescending or judgmental. Have I seemed that way in other topics and stories? I hope not. I really don't mean to be judgmental and I do understand some situations are so dire and things do happen.

Sorry! My friend lives here in Australia. She and her husband conduct the weekends together for their Church. I have not attended myself but I know others who have and have heard them say it was very worthwhile. Not at all sure that the money-making ones would be worth it. . .you would need some VERY definite proof of its effectiveness before paying big money!!

As for seeming judgemental, I do not see that in your posts. I think your approach varies from others here because you are (in essence) on the "other side" - but that does not mean you are judgemental in your comments.

I am sorry some people have acted so nastily - sadly there will always be some here for whom anyone who thinks differently from them is a target for their cruelty. But there are many GREAT people here who willseriously challenge your thinking and challenge you to see things differently! But these are the ones who help us row and develop as people - as opposed to the ones who just post nasty comments!!

GROW and develop!!

Enna, I disagree completely. Her post begins by judging the actions of others here and being closed-minded to the hurt of others here that she is speaking to. Walking into an AA meeting and saying "drinking alcohol is the worst thing that you could ever do to those you love" is not an effective way of getting help for her own problems.

In fact, coming to this group and pointing at us and saying "you guys" anything does not help any marriage. I think my new response to these people is simply going to be "Tell us about your situation in your marriage" because all I see is a distraction from continued major issues in hers.

Affairs or not, we settle down to the business of self-growth and exploration here as part of the process here pretty quickly.

That is certainly true of the early comments - but I think the latter ones represent an awareness of how the issue can be perceived from both sides.

But Change, I do agree wholeheartedly with you that RRW is in denial about many aspects of her own situation (your comment an hour ago) and that the existing gridlock is unlikely to collapse. I can see she thinks it will - but I do not know "how" she thinks that can happen - until or unless her husband recapitulates entirely. And from her posts that seems HIGHLY unlikely. . . . .

RRRW, what would it take for YOU to go fprward - without expecting your husband to change his behaviour in any way? If you can honestly say tat this can happen AND put it into practice, your marriage may yet be saved.

But if saving the marriage depends on HIM changing his behaviour, I think you are smart enough to realise that just is NOT going to happen. . . .

Would she want her husband to completely give in and agree with her?

I don't want someone I love giving up that much of themselves anymore than I want myself to give up that much of myself. I'm struggling with feelings about this myself this week as my lover is away speaking at an event where he is so happy that it is making me reflect on a lot of things... On the one hand I love hearing and seeing him so happy (he sends pics daily). Some are a little more dark about myself than I'd like them to be. Insecurities, questions, too private to go into here. But would I want him to give this up that makes him so happy - and I mean, just completely HAPPY - to calm my insecurities or make me feel better. Oh No No No No. But I still need to explore this about me.

Rw, I doubt you actually want your h to admit that he is a horrible man for having sexual needs and for meeting those needs when in your marriage they weren't being met. I want a man who is able to take care of himself and be happy no matter if I am around or if I am not. Your h had needs that weren't being met. That is his truth. If he completely recapitulates and backs down from that, you lose the essence of what is him.

If you love him, then love him. It's a verb.

Change I don't see how my early comments are so judgmental of anyone. I was making a statement as to comments I see when an affair is admitted to or put out there for others to know about in this group. That is what I have experienced. Go back and read some of the stories and comments regarding affairs you might be surprised at what you find. You might find some judgmental comments there too. It just depends on what your experience has been as to how judgmental some comments are to you. I did state I would never have an affair that is a statement IMO about my self I said nothing about judging anyone. Where did I say "you guys" ?? Or pointing a finger at anyone, didn't mean for that to pop into anyones mind when reading. You know some comments made by you, me and by others no matter how hard you try may sound judgmental to someone reading. It depends on if they have a close personal issue that hits home for them and what they have intensely experienced.

I'm not quit sure at all what you mean by distraction from continued major issues? See it seems to me when reading your comments it's like you are after me somewhat and you want to disagree with anything anyone says even remotely positive. That's the way I feel with some of your comments. there are many comments i read and know they are not getting me at all i don't feel that way with all your comments. That's my opinion when reading certain comments not to be hurt you or judge you in anyway it's just how I perceive some comments not all of them, but some. I think Ive hit a nerve in the beginning of my story and I didn't mean to come across as judging or thinking I am any better than anyone and I didn't mean to make you or anyone else feel bad when reading it. Although sometimes I read things and it is offensive to me or I don't agree, but I do really try to be respectful and not mean or ugly about it. Your comments have been respectful but I think what I'm writing and meaning is totally different than what you get when you read them.

Enna his behavior cannot remain as it is now and us continue for any length of time. His drinking is interfering with the heeling and intimacy of our marriage at this point. I've given him time to come around and I'm just about to the end of being able to continue on without some kind of change and commitment from him. He hasn't been able to change yet, I think there is still the possibility all be it slim. With God involved anything is possible and that is where my hope and faith lye. Like I've said he's stubborn and it takes him a little while longer to digest and process things and get over things too. I'm over it quick with the usual things you have little spats over, not affairs, but normal everyday things. He takes 2 or 3 days to get over a dispute and I'm over it in 30 min max. I think he realizes it is getting really old and something needs to happen, that maybe what he's waiting for? For me to make the move forward and initiate that change.

Change - I'm not sure about where the comment came from that I want my husband to totally give in to me. I want him to come around and work with me is all. I do not want or expect him to admit he's a terrible man for having needs. I've been reiterating what a good man he is trying to reassure him and get him to liking himself again so that he can transition into loving himself again so he can love others. Right now my husband is angry at himself and the world and is not happy with himself or anyone else.

I do not need him to admit anything to me, but I would like him to show me he loves me too and let me in and not keep me pushed so far away. I do love him and I have been proving it by action (verb)

RW, The comment about him giving in to you was in response to Enna. Sometimes we get to talking to each other in threads on here instead of the OP. I was responding to where she said " I can see she thinks it will - but I do not know "how" she thinks that can happen - until or unless her husband recapitulates entirely. And from her posts that seems HIGHLY unlikely. . . . . "

And to answer you, major distractions to me include questions that are unrelated to you talking about YOUR situation.

Had your story said "When I read here I feel sad thinking about the affair my husband had. I hadn't met his needs and I take responsibility for that but it has hurt my heart, damaged my self esteem and our trust. I am not sure that we can get past this..." basically been about YOUR marriage. This story is a question of "you guys", the audience you wrote it to. It's an easy way to distract from the real problems going on in a situation.

You have stuff going on in your marriage, still. That should be your focus. Whether other people are having affairs or not is really of no concern when it comes down to the details of is your marriage going to come back from this or not. The entire population of Nebraska could start having affairs tomorrow and your marriage will be unimpacted. So whether we cheer affairs here by some people and jeer them by others or not it does not change the fact that what this group does BEST is help people see their marriages differently. So let's not get distracted from the issues in your marriage... you've identified them as lack of trust going forward, he doesn't seem to be meeting you halfway or willing to forgive your mistakes in the process. It's been three years since a (6-month) affair and it's still very present in the forefront of your mind. That makes it hard to move forward. That's the important part of your story.

The rest of this thread is lots of flared feelings and some genuine authenticity and some not. But it's not really relevant, at the end of the day, if it doesn't help you or someone else move forward. If it's just back and forth then it doesn't really matter.

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Wow! For a super-newbie to social media I am stunned at the authenticity that I read behind the majority of these posts. Clearly we all share similar experiences but how we interpret them seems to depend on what phase of "the sexual marriage" we are in, how old we are and how conventional we appear to be. I feel "outed" by many of these posts; IMHO our roles are fluid/interchangeable.we can all be the refuser/rejected one/victim as well as as the persecuter/abuser/dominant giver... over time our personalities all change/adapt to our circumstances/life to provide us with optimum survival tools/behaviors to enhance our survival and help us reach our goals. Ultimately what what each person in the marriage wants is not shared or communicated and as such their is no unity or intimacy. Perhaps one person may try to bring harmony to the relationship...but it is still considered a selfish action as they are doing so on their terms. But how do you move forward then? Personally I choose to focus on my kids..but I know they are not truly benefitting. Do we all need to become accomplished actors? Perhaps its the only choice to ensure a future. I don't know. Thanks to all of you for being so generous. I really wish I could share RRRW's optimism and courage.

WHO ******* CARES WHAT YOU THINK!
AND YOU SHOULDN'T CARE WHAT WE THINK.
LIVE AND LET LIVE

You must have a ton of anger and pain. It is okay for people to express their opinion.. It is not okay for you to ridicule/cuss them out for it. That is abusive.

Ocean if you don't care and you want to let live then why are you hanging around here being negative? Just a thought something for you to ponder

RRRW, she is still here because she is hurting. There are a lot of people who are hurting a lot here and if they feel attacked by a post, they attack back.

I should just have an affair and then I wont hurt and get cheered on LOL.
Damn it.

Oceansun,
I really think that you are hurting and in pain. Please learn the art of forgiveness and respect for others. It will reduce your pain.

Please go troll another person, Please, and learn the art of ******* off, again.

I'm sorry you are hurting I really am, but you don't have to be mean to others. Your comments are not real nice. You said who cares what you**** think that's kind of why we are all here to think, take suggestions, listen and learn. That's all I was saying

It seems that many of your are up in arms about me putting In cheering on someone having an affair, but have you gone back and read some stories you might see what I mean. Not everyone does it, but there is a lot of encouragement from what I have read regarding affairs.

If I told you my husband wants nothing to do with me, and i have been thinking about suicide, and then months later I post that I found someone who makes me happy, what would you say to me? NOooooooooo stick to the original plan?

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<p>You wrote this on Jan 2, 2013; -----"Sometimes I wish he would come in and just say I am moving out we need to separate because he is not to the point of working on anything or putting any real effort in. I don't want a divorce and I will not file because of this, but I will give that to him if he so chooses. I do not want to go through another Christmas wondering what my new year will be like. It's my fourth Christmas and 3 yrs of dealing with this all. I know it takes time, but its getting close to times up."</P><br />
<p>What is your plan if your husband continues on his "not to the point of working on anything or putting any real effort in."</P><br />
<p>You said "I know it takes time, but its getting close to times up".</P><br />
<p>You said you will not file because of this, then you say its "getting close to times up".</P><br />
<p>What is your next move?</P>

When I say times up meaning I will ask him to leave. Either separate or divorce me. I do not want the divorce I want to work it out that's why I said I would not file. If he wants a divorce he can file. You know I don't know when the times up will be, I love him I want it to work, but there are times I just get so very tired. In my case it's like I'm the one who cheated in most cases, I'm the one asking for forgiveness and to work it out. He hasn't done that he hasn't forgiven me. He's still here that could many several things, who knows.

The work on yourself begins as you start to imagine your post relationship self and begin preparing and living your post divorce life. Who will you be and what would you do as a divorced woman? Imagine it happen and begin living your salvage plan NOW, before its over.

Next, with respect to the marriage, the chance for real work and real change BEGINS when you introduce the consequence as more than an abstract threat.

If you are saying you won't file, what other options do you have, if you want intimacy in your life?

Believe me I imagined post self. Not probably as much as I should, but I think I will love my children, someday grandchildren hopefully, and try to establish me with out him. I have confidence in who i am and my faith that i will make it. I shared this with my husband and told him not to feel bad if this is the course we end up sailing on. Never thought it would come to me having to this about this, but it is as close as it will ever be to me right now. If we make it through and can find renewed love and strength I will never, I think, have to fear it again.

Believe me I know there is a serious, real as real, threat that separation and divorce may very well happen. I won't be the one issuing papers though because that is not my heart. If my husband, no let me say when my husband sees his clear path, and he will because he wants intimacy and he will not continue to live a life without it, then that will be the deciding factor. It's not that I don't have a backbone, I do. If I think when the time is right and no progress is being made I will tell him to move out and separate and he will. I do have respect for myself. That's my plan on this day.

why are you going to ask him to leave? Why don't you leave?

I can and would i have told him that. We still have a 20 yr old daughter at home and he said he would leave. We are both very respectful and care about each other. The way I feel I don't care where I live or what I get and he gets. We have both said you can have what you want if it happened. Nothing matters to me in this house more than my family I would give it all away to make things right if I could.

2 More Responses

RRRW said (below): "When this started in Dec of 2009 my husband just blew up one night and let me have it no holes barred. (He blew up because he had acted on the affair by now- I didn't know it though) I started scrambling for help I didn't want to loose my husband I didn't know he had started an affair. I did not know there was another woman involved until March of 2010."<br />
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RRRW, what I want you to understand is simple: Change is hard but it is absolutely essential if anything but gridlock is going to happen in marriage, politics or anywhere else. Any kind of change will shake things up and move things instead of keeping them stagnant. <br />
<br />
Your H cheated. That changed the dynamic in your marriage and suddenly he felt strong enough to talk to you directly and angrily about what was going on. THAT was what led your marriage to change. But he couldn't do that until he had changed something else by having the affair.<br />
<br />
Is it right, from a moralistic black and white place? No. But the other option would have been waking up one morning and finding he had taken half the household belongings, hired a lawyer and left you, not for another woman but because he just couldn't take it anymore. That also would have created change. Or you could have woken up one morning and realized he was completely disconnected from you and deeply depressed with many internal emotions that plague him and tear him down. <br />
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Outsourcing, for most, is a temporary measure meant to help the refused sort out their options in a marriage that is dysfunctional. We push the talk here but sometimes a) the refused isn't as assertive as they should be until something changes and b) the refuser isn't listening until consequences are clearly on the table.<br />
<br />
An affair is a symptom of problems in a marriage. We know these marriages have problems. The affair that follows makes logical sense and is a step in some direction... it is moving away from gridlock. <br />
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I can't say what will happen next in any marriage. But I can say that if they stay in gridlock, they will stay in dysfunction. So a step towards something distasteful like outsourcing is a step towards progress.<br />
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Your H kept up the affair for a few months after blowing up at you about it and continued to be mean to you about it because he wasn't sure your turnaround would last. He didn't trust you because there were problems in the marriage that you either didn't hear him talking about before the blowup or he didn't feel comfortable talking to you about or that you would care about before the blowup.It took an affair to get your marriage out of gridlock. In that respect your story is identical to all the outsourcing going on here.

This is a great comment.

CWDYG. I think you are exactly right. I'm not sure about the affair giving him strength to talk to me. I know he wasn't scared to talk to me he wasn't a very good communicator. Maybe it did give him strength, but he was always strong and was at one time always truthful to me. I didn't listen I didn't hear how he was hurting or I would have done something bout it I didn't want to crush my life long love.

You are right too about him not trusting me in turning around and I recognized that and also I understand why he felt that way. On the other hand, he had someone who stoked his ego, made him feel great and was giving him the needed attention I should have been giving him. So really it was addictive, a high like cocaine I think. It had to feel so good to him, but then it made him feel bad to because he does have a conscious. I true wish the blow up could have come before the affair because there was a good chance I feel that I would have reacted the exact same way. I don't see how I wouldn't have, because I didn't know he was in the mist of an affair. You are right though it did cause change and break gridlock. It definitely was due to issues in the marriage and that was my low desire and rejection that's it in a nut shell. We didn't have any other issues really. I think we both suffered from some childhood stuff that shaped us into who we are that made us what we were. I just hope we can crawl out of it. Do I deserve another chance, I don't know, but I think he does.

Let me say this too many have thought I was trying to put myself above them by saying I would never have an affair. I do not judge anyone on making that choice and I really get why some get so overwhelmed with grief that this is the way to save themselves. I may have done the same thing if I was in many of the women's shoes on this site. I mean I forgave my own husband for having an intimate, sexual relationship because I understood the cause and effect of it all, so why would I judge anyone else.

Thanks for you comments I read them with an open mind and you are right what you say is so true. It may have taken an affair to cause the change we needed. ?

RRRW, I understand clearly what you mean when you say that you wished your husband could have had the BLOW UP before the affair.
Mine did , and it woke me up and snapped me out of the hole i was in. I didn't see how lost from my own life i had become, and until that moment couldn't see how much pain it was causing my husband. When you are that lost , you don't even see it.
I have had many people on EP ask me how to show their spouse how bad things are without hurting them.....I don't know that you can.
I do know that for me, the moment my husband said , enough, i can't do this anymore, i'm moving 3 hours away and taking a new job, it was enough for me.
Everything was crumbling before my eyes.....I hadn't seen what i was missing out on , let alone what he wasn't getting from me.
He told me that over the years , he had "offers "from other women, but knew that that wouldn't have helped anyone, so he didn't. I am VERY lucky that he didn't take that path.
I would never judge anyone who had an affair due to a SM, we all have our limits. But i think that somene who has not tried the "I have had it , i'm walking away from us " talk should consider it first. What have you got to lose when you are in that much pain ?
I do not only say all of this from the point of the refuser......in recent times i would be classed as the refused, while my husband became the refuser.
We have worked through this and are now pretty much in the middle, but i have felt the pain of being in both positions.
I now wonder about who it is that is INDIFFERENT to the others needs.
Is the refuser indifferent to the pain/ needs of the refused?
Or is the refused indifferent to the pain/ needs of the refuser?
There isn't always only one who is suffering.

"if they stay in gridlock, they will stay in dysfunction. So a step towards something distasteful like outsourcing is a step towards progress."
--------

Yes, but. The point at which the rubber first touches the road, is where one spouse discovers that the affair has already occurred, and not before.

Yes, when faced with a consequence instead of a "talk", there is a good chance that the stakes will be high enough for an intimacy averse spouse to challenge her position, but she will now do so in the context of betrayal, which clouds the emotional waters and adds to the heap of problems you dealt with initially.

"Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn't you tell the world, EH?"

Not necessarily, Apocrypha. Many affairs here last a short while and then the refused leaves, having gained enough strength internally to make a change. It may not change the refuser. But something will change. I just can't predict who, what or how. But there will be change.

Happiness. Thanks for telling me your story and posting on here I really appreciate it. I have tried to explain to people that it wouldn't have taken an affair to make me change I know that in my heart. Nobody believes me on here, some of my friends and family know this though. I am so glad there is someone out there that had this experience. Don't ever take each other for granted and realize each others needs. Talk about things. I am about to cry because there is someone who was like me. Someone who didn't know how they had lost themselves and how they were hurting their husband. I'm am not the only one. Wow. Not because I want people to believe me I don't care, but just to help me to know I am not crazy. Oh how I wish I could show this to my husband. I usually share everything with him, but he is very private and would not want me to share a lot of what I have about him and our marriage. I wouldn't care for him to read anything I've said, but he would be mad at something things I have divulged. Even though its anonymous.

I feel so much remorse for the pain I caused him and my family. I am so ashamed of myself and hold a lot of guilt over hurting him so immensely. I didn't want to hurt him, cause all this pain for everyone. He's a good man with a good heart and I understand why he fell for this woman and how vulnerable I made him. You are very lucky you got that wake up call don't ever forget that call you don't want to hear that again. Take care of each others needs. If you haven't read His Needs, Her Needs, Affair Proofing Your Marriage, you should get the book. It's a good catalyst to discussing needs and wants. Best wishes God Bless Your Marriage. I hope you never get to that point of the talk again either way. Thanks again for sharing with me!

"...and then the refused leaves, having gained enough strength internally to make a change."
------
The decision to leave is the thing that spurs the chance of action. As in, the intimacy seeking partner seeks to change the situation, providing an imminent consequence.

I think this can be done irrespective of an affair, but I will have to consider my position.

An affair denies the intimacy averse spouse the opportunity to consider their position as an active choice, rather than the default condition. The fear of an authentic but awkward declaration that allows BOTH partners to choose their relationship is so great, they cannot stand to look their spouse in the face and say what they intend to do.

As a result, WHEN the bomb detonates, it will happen as a result of carelessness, chance, or anger, allowing the intimacy averse spouse further opportunity to see herself as a victim.

People don't enter affairs with the intention of bolstering esteem enough to split. They go into affairs with the into on of trying to avoid a difficult choice.

Not everyone will be lucky enough to get the chance that i got to save our marriage.
I am simply sharing my story to show others that it can be done.
We don't know about this problem until we are already living it. No one tells us that this can happen , and what it can do to an otherwise great relationship.
I wish it was included as an add on to sex education for young adults.
We may all be able to pickup the signals alot earlier and avoid further pain.
We also need better communications skills in being able to discuss things without the need to blame each other all the time.So much of this suffering is avoidable if the problem is handled right.
RRRW .....not everyone will see that what we are saying is going to work for them , but it should at least be considered.

Apocrypha, I agree. I am not saying it is ideal but it is often the way things go. It is not the only way and really shouldn't be. But some people don't feel the strength to enact consequences until they know they are desirable by someone else.

Fair enough. I can admit that a bit of outside affirmation can spark the engine again (and I have written about it in my own profile), albeit the order in which I went about it was different from that of an affair. I paid my cost largely up front, rather than buying it on credit. The way we went about it, my partner understood that this was a choice we both were making.

This did not make it easy, in the aftermath of that choice. It actually went as batshit crazy as any "normal" person here can imagine it would be if it was them doing the same thing. Essentially, because I'm not a "special" person, or a different kind of person than anyone here. It was incredibibly difficult, to the point of "what have I done?". But there was never a hint of deception about it and because of that, there was no wiggle room to pose ourselves as unwilling or unwitting victims in what was happening to us.

There is a point in an affair, or perhaps in the second one, where the esteem is mostly repaired and where you realize you aren't a troll who got lucky, and then where you realize you aren't a troll at all. And this is where you have the muscles to make differentiated choices, which set the pace for growth as a couple. Except, if maintaining a secret life, that growth sticks with the secondary couple, and just leads to further resentment in the primary relationship. It ends in either leaving the primary relationship, or getting caught.

I agree with you in as much as it IS the way things go. My point is that I think the affair maintains a facade in which the intimacy averse partner is not aware of the growth. It's an easier route up front, but I think riskier on the back end.

If the goal is to just get it over with an leave anyway, then why not organize and plan the retreat? What's the intention? What's the goal?

Exactly. Totaly agree with you Apocrypha

Many, many people do gain the strength internally and go. The majority here realize soon enough that the affair isn't the long term solution but that they have options. I won't call them all out here but some of them have outed themselves on this very thread.

"I can't say what will happen next in any marriage. But I can say that if they stay in gridlock, they will stay in dysfunction. "

1000% agree.

10 More Responses

I didn't read the whole thing. but cheating is bad. Cheating is messed up, no matter who is doing it. Unless it is an open relationship, cheating is just ******* wrong. End of story.

If I lived in a sexless marriage, maybe I'd go to a counselor or talk to my partner about it. (even though I'm sure his libido isn't an issue here).. I've been cheated on, multiple times.. I don't know what you're trying to prove, but cheating is never and will never be a good thing.

No I am not married or have ever been. I don't know what it's like to be married, but.. I probably sound naive when I say this. But I love my guy. And if I ever felt the need to cheat, I would tell him. I would never dream of lying behind his back, I just couldn't live with myself.

Red, I am assuming you and your BF have sex.

If suddenly and for a prolonged period he no longer wanted to have sex with you... for months, years at a time, maybe throwing you some pity sex two or three times a year... what would that do to your relationship? If every time you suggested or initiated sex he came up with another excuse - you didn't take out the garbage, you forgot something he asked you to do, you've gained some weight... always different... what would that do to you? what if he said he was just under too much stress or too tired... for years? What if you went to counseling and the counselor said "Well, he has a point. You should take out the garbage and if he isn't as attracted to you as before, well, go to the gym." You do those things and now he doesn't want to because work is stressing him out and he's upset that you "made him go to counseling" and "it's all about sex for you, isn't it?"

What would you do?

Integrity is not doing the right thing when situation is easy, it is doing the right thing when it is hard to live with it's consequences. Yes divorce does screw things up for the family but nothing screws things more than affairs.

Actually, abusing your spouse screws up the children, the spouse, the marriage and leads to affairs and hopefully later, divorce. Abusing your spouse includes withholding intimacy, love and affection and situating yourself as their only option.

Change,
So you mean to say that you support affairs only if it leads to divorce. So if it is not leading to divorce, you are against it. How do you know that each affair will lead to change/divorce? Some affairs go on for ever.

I support anything that leads to change. The first step in getting something different to happen is doing something different. The marriage has gone to ****. They aren't talking, they aren't having sex, they fear communication, whatever the issue is... something has to change. Affairs aren't my preferred method for making change happen. But in their own ways refusers have usually pulled out of the marriage and checked out because they too don't like the way things are going. They both know change needs to happen, but they don't know how to make it happen. Any choice that gets you out of gridlock makes SOMETHING change. In RW's case it made her husband blow up at her in a way that she could hear. He probably would say he had dropped hints, talked about it before. She would probably say she had no idea. That's how these things go when things are this disconnected. They don't communicate, directly or indirectly, verbally or otherwise. Affairs ALWAYS lead to some kind of change. Every new choice leads to some kind of change. You do something new, you shift your perspective. Even if it's just in the heart of the person having the affair, something shifts. Sometimes they run home to the spouse and realize their mistake. Sometimes they realize (as most do here) shortly into the affair that it is a short-term solution that let them realize how barren the marriage is and then they leave. The majority of those in that situation do not get found out or tell on themselves... they then leave the marriage and take that secret to the grave. But sometimes you have to dip a toe into doing what you said you'd never do to push your boundaries and create change. Change is hard. But change - any movement, even in a direction we as a society don't usually encourage - shifts a person's thoughts, belief systems and the way they see themselves. An affair changes things. no way around it.

I've been here two years + a little now. Most people outsource for a short while and then decide what they already believed is absolutely true: the marriage isn't sustainable. Some, like awake for the dance and filtermachine are so dedicated to their marriage that they leave here for a while thinking its our influence that is clouding their judgment. But then they come back after realizing that no... the marriage really just isn't sustainable.

We all have our journeys. I am not proud of the fact that I let my XH abuse me. No way. I carried that shame for a while, it still flares up. But I have forgiven myself because it has brought me on a journey of growing and changing and becoming such a more vibrant and genuine version of myself.

I had to experience that I was in fact co-dependent and abused to learn not to be. I had to experience myself making some ****-tastic choices to remember that I wanted to make good ones. We make mistakes. All of us. Every one of us is here because we have let ourselves end up here. But we have to experience ourselves trying ways to change in order to implement change.

Changewilldoyougood. It always does, even if it hurts you, others and has unforeseen consequences. Life is a choose your own adventure. God gave us free will to experience ourselves doing lots of different things and determining if they are right for me or not. that includes the wrong things, sometimes. I know very quickly if something feels wrong to me as I am doing it and it has nothing to do with what the Bible says or someone tells me.

Affairs aren't right but sometimes they are a means to something right. Some people don't know the marriage is over until they cheat.

Cheaters12...you say "Yes divorce does screw things up for the family but nothing screws things more than affairs". Do you realize there are many people, myself included, whose affair has saved their marriage? My affair has made my sexless marriage bearable, it has kept my family in tact.

Change,
I really appreciate your insight and thoughtful writing. I do agree that a change needs to happen, however, we just have fundamental difference in what way this change should be made. you believe that any change whether it is positive (discussion, communication, therapy, divorce) or a negative change ( affairs, prostitution etc) is ok as the end justifies the means. I do not agree with that. Now you may ask me why I look at them as positive vs. negative. The reason is that all these positive changes only happens between the already involved people who are in pain. It does not involve others. However, the negative changes involve others (all who cheat/have affairs do not live in SM marriage). Most of the people who are in this blog because they are in pain and hurt. How is hurting more people can be a good thing? Aren't we here to help each other and reduce hurt/pain or is it that if I am hurt, I do not care whether I hurt Other 10 people or not as long as I can make my pain bearable. Life can never be always only about us. That's the reason I am always against affairs no matter what the reasons are. May ve I am still a novice who believes in preserving some aspects of our values.

Im out of my element here! -slithers away-

haha ;)

Cheaters12. I am with you on the above comments, but it seems to me that people that do cheat innately think they are only involving their spouse and that its not against anyone else. Well I know they are not having an affair to hurt their kids, mothers, fathers, etc, etc, but the end result is IT HURTS THEM tremendously. My husband wants to think differently because he doesn't want to think he hurt his girls or anyone else that deeply, but you see he did. He never, ever put himself before his children, but he did here in this case. I do know my part in this.

My youngest 17 yrs old, my oldest still at home at 21 adored their father. Don't get me wrong they deep down do still adore him, but he's made a big ole dent in their hearts right now. It can be rolled out though and we're working on that. The oldest told him Dad you didn't just lie to Mom, you lied to us, you didn't just deceive Mom you deceived us too. When he was going to leave after the girls found out and we both thought he need time or space and we sat the girls down to tell them he was leaving for a while and needed time, my youngest sat their tears welling up she just got up and went to her room. He tried to stop her but she didn't have anything to say- she's like her dad she doesn't like to discuss it or communicate well. The other one is like me, she jumped up started crying pointing her finger at him and telling him, (keep in mind, I told them about my part and what I had done to their dad and was as honest as I could be about it), she said, Dad you are not just leaving Mom here, I don't care what she's done, we haven't done anything and you are leaving us too. Well, he cried and she cried and sat and stared at him. The next thing I know he was motioning for me to come to the bedroom. Long story short he was crying asked me for two weeks to break up with his mistress. Telling me it didn't start this over night and he couldn't end it over night. I didn't know who she was, if she was single, didn't know he worked with her nothing. So I tried to figure out why two weeks? He never would tell me why. We sat he cried, I cried, I dried his tears, consoled him, and he told me he didn't know how you could care for two people. Oh, boy. If I had been told this would happen and I would do what I did I would have said you are freakin nuts! Now when I look back I really question myself wondering why I did what I did and I should have said hell no get out your not getting two freakin weeks. Did I, oh no, miss compassionate, caring did not. I prayed oh God help me here help me know what to do. I told my husband okay. I gave him 2 weeks to break up with this woman, yep you heard me right. OMGEEZ
So he stayed and I didn't make him leave that night. I thought to myself why 2 weeks I just couldn't figure it out. I didn't want him leaving here and go straight to her, you know. I didn't know if she was single or married. Plus, huge impact was my kids, and I really didn't want him to leave either. Wimp. He wanted two weeks because he worked with her and he was leaving the 2 nd week and would be gone out of town and that would separate them for that many days I guess he thought that would give him a week to console her and say good by and make a plan and then he would be gone the following week. I wondered if she was going to meet him, but she didn't i had proof. That's all I can figure, of course, I had to go the next two long weeks wondering why, what was happening, if he was with her blah, blah, blah. Torture I'm telling you. I don't know why I went half cocked on this story got off base as I can do.

The just of it is, you do not enter an affair to hurt anyone not even your refusing spouse I know he didn't do this to hurt me. Some of the stuff after he did do to hurt me, deserved it I guess. You do hurt a lot of people though and it may not be fair because of how you have been treated by your spouse. In my case all of our family was devastated because we seemed to be the perfect family and couple and would have been if I had been a good wife. I didn't want to be a bad wife, who wants that.

The woman who cheated with my husband told me once that a sin was a sin and I told her you are right I do believe God will forgive one sin as he would another, but this sin was not the same as any sin. This sin dragged along so many innocent people and ripped out hearts and that it didn't just affect 2 or 3 people it radiated out, the ripple effect was huge. She has no idea how many people felt the effects of this sin. It also took a message and gave a wake up call to a lot of family and friends and it made me an advocate of getting the message out that if it can happen to us it can happen to anyone and to be aware of your actions and treat your spouse right.

Change does not often come through therapy, discussion, communication. Those are talking situations, not doing situations. When people have the talk before they have an affair it is often not believed, perceived or responded to. Nothing has changed, just talking. In the refused they haven't changed so the way they talk about things hasn't changed. In RW's case when her husband had an affair he changed and the way he talked to her CHANGED and she was able to hear him and CHANGE on her end.

You seem to think that anytime someone else could get hurt should be avoided at all costs. I do not. I have faith that people can manage through hurt and learn and grow for themselves, even when others hurt them. Should we set out to hurt others? No. Should we avoid hurting others at absolutely all costs? No. If we do that then we end up coddling them and protecting them from the very things that give them the opportunities to discover their own values and their own character.

If you are talking about children getting hurt because of a spouse's affair - for instance... well, why would a child need to know about a spouse's affair? They can know mom and dad are having problems and I promise you, kids are far more resilient than you are giving them credit for.

If we are talking about other relatives... if their hurt over your spouse's (hypothetical) affair is so deep that it pains you to think of their pain then I think they are overinvolved in your life or you are too focused on their feelings.

Trust people to be able to handle the tough stuff in life. If you give them the idea you don't think they can, some of them will believe you. That does them a disservice.

RRRW,
I am so sorry to hear your full story. I do hope that you and your H can learn to forgive each other and live a happy life.
However, this is the exact reason i keep on saying that "Affairs/Cheating" never helps anyone. You can come up with as many excuses/reasons for our actions but the bottom line is that affairs are all about ME ME ME ME and simply ******* ME, no matter whatever BS reasons you can come up with. If you are not happy in a marriage, get the **** out of it (separate/divorce i don't care), but do not make the married life all about you and your sex. Marriage is not only about SEX. It is much more than than. Take a moral high ground and move on. No one has given you the right to hurt others (your spouse/kids/family/other's spouse), doesn't matter what has happened to you. We are not a society of an eye for an eye (you hurt me by denying sex, i will hurt you by getting involve else). Yes we all get tempted (specially when we have lived in SM for this long), but please do not glorify or condone affairs because it is hard/diffcult to control ourselves.
Yes i am preaching here, because i do feel that WE or US is lot more important then ME ME and ******* ME. Please understand that a ME only attitude never helps marriage/family/kids.

But ME is what happens when a refuser starts to refuse. Don't you see that???

They forget or ignore or no longer notice that there's another person in the marriage... A person with real feelings. Then it all becomes about them.

Why is it ok for refusers to inflict the pain of rejection, which leads to divorce and pain for others like kids, parents, friends but it's not ok if in an affair if there is pain?

Do you actually believe the affair causes the pain? Or is it the conduct between the couple and the fear of them splitting up that causes the pain for those outsiders? If Rw had said she was ok with him outsourcing and it wasn't a problem for her then why would anyone else have cared?

You can say that's ridiculous, of course she's going to care that her h cheated on her. Of course that's going to cause her pain.

And I would say to you that of course being sexually rejected by your spouse is going to cause you to feel rejected and to feel pain. No matter how may times a refuser says he shoud "keep it in his pants" or "all he/she wants is sex".

Stop trying to judge one person's pain as greater or less or one person's choice as better or worse.

The fact of the matter is that this is one option some people choose to try and figure our the individual solution to ther SM. STOP JUDGING and accept that everyone s doing the best they can.

And C12, I would still lie to see you be honest on this board. If you've been an active never for 30 daysad lurking dice June, tell us who you are.

Otherwise you seem lie a judgmental troll because your posts on this thread are so one-dimensional. Reading your other stories might help me understand you.

*member lurking *since - typing too fast, in a hurry.

Cheaters12. Are you talking to me about my having an affair? I'm confused I didn't have the affair you know. I am against affairs if at all possible. Maybe I miss understood you I hope so.

RR,
No i was not refering to you but others on this board.
Change,
Why do you have to know so much more about me? We are discussing the issue here and not my life (although i gave you a short description earlier). You say that i should stop judging others specially the refused here. I would expext the same from everyone here about the refuser also as the benefit of doubt does need to go to everyone and not to the one side. I see everyone judging every refuser here without knowing anything about them. Just today in one of the story, a lady said that she was mad at her refuser husband for 5 years and then they found out that the gentlemen died of cancer and the reason refuser was not able to meet his wife's needs had nothing to do with his action but it was because of his cancer. I am just being a devil's advocate here (you may call me a troll, doesn't matter). What i am trying to say is that please be objective about all the issues and do not just take one dimentional view.

1. I am asking you to be honest about who you are. You called us hypocrites in this thread for posting our beliefs about affairs on this board under pseudonym and yet you have a pseudonym for a pseudonym. Also, you keep saying that you "constantly read XYZ on this board" yet your account was setup a few days ago and what you say you have read here is in direct contradiction to what those of us here have both said and read here, for years. And we have the time-date stamp to back up our membership. Frankly, I think you're new here, you're a refuser who's been cheated on and you're angry. You may even be a spouse to one of our refuseds here. So tell us who you are if you've been here before. And show us where you've read all this "yes! just go outsource! it'll make you happy and solve all your problems" bs you keep saying that is everywhere. It's pretty simple really. Instead of more shifting goalposts, more blame throwing as is typical of a refuser prove me wrong. Show us who you are.

If I gave the benefit of the doubt to a refuser what good would that do anyone coming here for help? Then I could just say "try to have more patience, try more massages, spend more time talking"... do you actually think they haven't thought of that before posting in a place like this with their heart raw for everyone else to see? Since you're new here as of three days ago I will let you in on something the rest of us figure out in about three days... bacon-scented candles don't work. If you don't know what that means, then yeah, you've only been here three days.

My objectivity IS there. Yours is not. You are making excuses and continuing to accept excuses. Replace the word REFUSER with ABUSER. Would you defend an ABUSER like this?

For instance "I would expext the same from everyone here about the abuser also as the benefit of doubt does need to go to everyone and not to the one side."

Really? In your mind the benefit of the doubt should go to an abuser? Because many, many, many of our spouses are abusive. But we should give them the benefit of the doubt...? or are saying that if they are emotionally, verbally or physically abusive then that's not ok after all. So if they refuse that's fine but as long as they are nice about it?

"Just today in one of the story, a lady said that she was mad at her refuser husband for 5 years and then they found out that the gentlemen died of cancer and the reason refuser was not able to meet his wife's needs had nothing to do with his action but it was because of his cancer."

I don't see that story. Point me to it. Did he get treatment when he had problems sexually? If so, did the doctors just miss it? Did he talk to his wife? Did they snuggle? Were they emotionally intimate and was he non-blaming about his sexual issues? Adults who have health problems are supposed to deal with them. If those health problems impact a healthy relationship with someone they love, doubly so. Perhaps if he had sought treatment he would have SURVIVED as might have his marriage.

16 More Responses

RRRW, I am curious.

In real life, how many people know your husband cheated?

And in real life, how many people know you cut yourself off from him sexually?

Many know he cheated because he let it go on and on and it was with someone at his work place and the longer it goes the better the chances of getting caught. Not as many know about my end of it, but there are many who do. More than you think really. The people who count all know I've told them in detail about my refusal and my part in this. I've told them I have much blame and he would have never done this if I hadn't been the way I was. My girls, my sister, his sisters, his mom, his niece, my dad, really close friends and anyone who I have ever talked to I have always taken my blame and explained how I was. If a conversation were to come up about it with anyone I find that is an opportunity to share my story in hopes it won't happen to them. I've talked with many friends at work and they all know how I feel about it to. I've taken every opportunity and it is very important to me to share my faults in hopes that someone else will not fall in the same patterns I did.

I have always said he's a good man and he deserved better of me and that is the way I have approached it with anybody I talked to. Usually when a conversation starts about this the first words put of my mouth are telling my faults and what I did to result in this. I have never bashed him or bad mouthed him in any way. If someone were to talk negatively about him I would be the first to take up for him and once again point out my issues and how it affected him.

RRRW, You told everyone about your husband's infidelity and your part in why he did so! Well.... that, in my opinion is attention seeking behavior. How does letting everyone know help you heal yourself and your marriage? Broadcasting the negative aspects of your life with him is as bad as condemning him. Just an observation, but his affair has become your obsession. Get over it and work on your marriage with your husband ONLY, if that is your choice! However, involving everyone is probably not beneficial. It is simply not any of their business.

Sure speaking truth and sharing pain and hurt is an attention seeking behavior but having an affair is not. Good god.

Kelki has a point RW. His affair was four years ago, your discovery almost 3 years ago. I understand pain takes a while to heal from. But if you don't heal from it and move forward to a place where it doesn't hurt so much your marriage can't improve and heal. Yes, you can have sex and affair proof your marriage but you also need to be able to move on and be together without those painful memories everywhere. Forgiveness is hard, especially when we feel we have to forgive ourselves as much as the other person. But 4 years is a long time. I hope you aren't still hurting over this one way or another in the next 4 years. Maybe it's time for you to be the one to break the gridlock and make a step towards forgiveness in all its depth and glory.

RRRW, This comment lead me to that conclusion;
"The people who count all know I've told them in detail about my refusal and my part in this. I've told them I have much blame and he would have never done this if I hadn't been the way I was. My girls, my sister, his sisters, his mom, his niece, my dad, really close friends and anyone who I have ever talked to I have always taken my blame and explained how I was. If a conversation were to come up about it with anyone I find that is an opportunity to share my story in hopes it won't happen to them. I've talked with many friends at work and they all know how I feel about it to. I've taken every opportunity and it is very important to me to share my faults in hopes that someone else will not fall in the same patterns I did."

My question is "Why do you feel all these people need to know about what did or did not happen in your bedroom?". Geez, why don't you just post all the details in the local paper or start your own chapter of a Cheated Spouses club. Really, RRRW, ask youself if this is going to save your marriage? Didn't the weirdos who stuck their nose in your business do enough damage? How often have you told the story in the last few years? At some point, you are going to have to accept the past and forgive him and yourself and move forward. Change is right, 4 years is a long time!

Cheaters12, FYI! Many people get into affairs to fill a need not get attention. That is why affairs are often kept discreet. Sometimes, an affair partner is the only person who understands the pain and hurt and that connection becomes part of the healing process in a sexless marriage. Most of us in sexless marriages would be mortified if our families knew that there is no sex in our bedrooms.

I agree Kelki. My husbands affair, my affair, have nothing to do with attention. It is fulfilling something we aren't getting and giving to each other. If our sons, friends or relatives spend the night, I always sleep in the master bedroom with my husband. No one knows the dynamic within my house. It is a decision that my husband and I have made together, regarding our marriage. Our friends and families see us as a married couple, which is what we are. The intimate issues of our marriage is exactly, that "ours".

Change. It's been 3 yrs I have gone through 4 Christmas dec 2009. Not that it matters. Here's the thing I was ready to let this go and move forward right away. He was not ready and he's still not ready. He is the one that has kept this raw and has kept the hurt fresh. The OW's husband found out in May of 2010 they were supposed to stop having contact then. They work together still do. He is in a different building but they are still working in the same company. They talked to each other many times after this and every time my sixth sense would kick in and I knew something was going on. I don't know if they were physically together or not after everyone found out I wonder, probably were. After everyone found out though it would have been a lot harder because her husband was watching her like a hawk, I was watching for signs I could smother my husband I knew I couldn't, and everyone they worked with knew it and was watching them like hawks too. If they were smart they wouldn't have because her husband wanted to kill my husband (I didn't really want to kill her, but I could have strangled her with my own bare hands) I really did want to hurt her, but I took the stupid high road for many reasons and never got my hands on her. Did talk to her a few times and wrote her a 20 page letter. I've never been a violent person, never fought, always was the piece maker. Anyway, got of track, but I was really trying and I believe I could have let it go along time ago, but things kept popping up and he wouldn't let it go so how could I let it go. One time he said its just me and you and I thought okay let's do it. Then I find out they had talked. That undermines everything. I had to blindly trust him while he still went to work with her and still is going to work with her. He's never tried to gain any trust back from me and that is really important. I don't want to go through all of it, but there have been many things that have happened after they been found out that know body knows but me and them. Her husband doesn't know half what I know.

We have a common good friend that my husband confided in and I told him I thought she wouldn't leave him alone. He affirmed my thoughts and said it was true. My husband kept picking up her call though he didn't have to do that he could have ended it too. He didn't want to. Here's the thing though she told me she loved her husband and she would go home and work on her marriage and trying to make it better, but then wouldn't leave mine alone. She was very selfish didn't care about anybody but herself. She still wanted to feel in power with my husband and in the mean time fix her marriage at mines expense. Time after time I would discover things along the way and it was like always coincidence or I would walk right into it. It was like my guardian angel was helping me out to know when something was a rye. I believe my h would tell you that he is the one that couldn't move forward and kept it alive and fresh in our minds and hearts. My opinion and what I told him was, it's happened, it's over, forget it and roll on. What is in the past, is in the past. Live in the present day by day. I was ready to not ask or talk about it if he could have moved on. I knew so very much about their relationship and how he felt for her that is something a wife should not ever know.

I am soooo ready to get over it believe me I have come along way. I've stopped obsessing over images and thoughts everyday now and she doesn't pop into my head that often I'm working on that. When he doesn't pick up my call right away though it still send a shock of alarm. I guess you have after shocks when something reminds you of his behavior. It's hard.

Really Kelki? All I'm saying here is I felt the need to explain that I was part of the problem that he did not cheat on me just to cheat on me. Yes if I can tell my story and keep one couple together and they can learn something from it then so be it.. I don't go around telling every flippin stranger. Good close family and friends yeah when it cam up I would say its a lot on me. I made him so vulnerable I did this to him. The blame is not all on him. I wanted all of our family, immediate family, to know my part I wanted to own up to my issues and part in this whole thing.

It's was not a self serving act here I opened up and told my iniquities and failures that played into his actions. I did not give details of our six life, I just said I rejected him so many times and I had low libido and that I did not do him right. That I was to blame just as he was. That's all.

I know it's embarrassing, but we did have sex just not enough sex for his needs. Would you rather I not own my part in this affair and just let everyone think what they normally would? Do you suggest I just keep my mouth shut and let him go down in flames himself! Believe me there is nothing I wanted more than for him to end this before anyone found out. I begged him to stop and it would just be me, him, and her that knew, but that wasn't the case.

If he would have never started this, talked to me first, kept it in his pants or stopped the affair NO ONE WOULD HAVE KNOWN ANYTHING

RW, I'm going to start at the bottom. When you say things like "kept it in his pants" it does sound disrespectful towards his and all of our needs to be sexual in marriage. I know that's how some women refer to sex but it is distasteful at the very least and it alienates those of us here who do not ever view sex that way. It paints you as a typical refuser who sees sex as "a man not keeping it in his pants." Incidentally, I am female but have a different perception of sex than you, so I am curious... in your lexicon should I "keep him out of my pants"?

Yes! You should have kept your mouth shut. It was nobody' s business but his and yours. As for the affair, whatever happened was between him and the OW. I agree with CWDYG. I do not know if you will ever be able to respect or trust him again.

RRRW, you may not like what I have to say next but please consider it nonetheless. If you have to watch your H or his mistress like a hawk to make sure they aren't cheating then you do not have a marriage. You have a child.

If he knows how you feel about continued contact with her and he continues contact with her, then your marriage is over. period. No trust can be rebuilt.

With enough pressure and effort on your part I bet he will stay married to you. But you will have to watch him like a hawk and you will never really know what he wants... you will only know what he does under your pressure.

If he wants to be with that other woman, he will. Or he will be with you but WANT to be elsewhere in his heart. You deserve a man who will both be with you and WANT to be with you. You can not know what he wants in his heart by asking him. Watch his actions when you release all this "watching like a hawk" stuff and "every time something was happening I caught on to it" stuff. Newsflash: For every rat you see there are 100 below decks. You didn't catch every time...

If you can't trust him, you're done. You haven't forgiven him and he hasn't forgiven you. There's no forgiveness, there's no trust and you don't even really know what he wants... you only know what he's saying while he's feeling pressure and fear of getting caught.

Let him free of all that and see what he does. It will tell you everything you need to know.

Esjey25. I have forgiven him I forgave him right up front because of my part in this and I believe if God can forgive him and me then I can forgive my husband too. He's not had contact with her from what I know since August 2011 they have not been talking is what I'm told. I have been told by others that she is still with her husband and they are doing well. Who knows. I agree on trust its got to be there. It's gonna take awhile though for him and me. I can trust him again once and if he decides he wants my trust back and starts showing me that. I have known my husband a long time and I know how he is. There was no way I was going to keep my thumb on him, check on him, and stuff like that and him not get really angry. I have had to walk a fine line with him and this subject. I have had to blindly accept and work with my feelings to overcome these feelings. I'm still scared about them talking or something. I'm kind of coming out of that a little it seems to be better. It's hard!

Kelki. Did you see my response to you on how my husbands affair to come out below. Just wondering its way down the line. Thx

Cwdyg. It wasn't out of disrespect for my husband I made the keep it in your pants comment. I was a little heated and up set and that point I wrote that. I have never said that to anyone I have never talked bad about my husband to anyone. I have always taken up for him. I know I rejected my husband more than I ever should have, but the fact is too that he did sleep with another woman. I still firmly believe you should not have an affair just because their are issues in this marriage. So does he. he's told me that since the affair. He told me I didn't deserve this that no one deserved that. I also believe you shouldn't refuse your spouse too but you also have to figure out a happy medium for both parties. I don't think I could have kept up with my husband all of these years because he literally could have done it morning and night 3 x a day would have been fine with him. I had no desire or libido or arousal go without that and see how you feel. I would have given anything to have been sexual and loving and affection and made my husband happy.

I don't really see how that comment makes it sound like it is disrespectful to his or to all of your needs to be in a sexual marriage. I'm confused on that one. You think you have an idea of what kind of woman and refuser I am, but I really don't think you do. I have been really humble and good to my husband through this whole ordeal. I really have. He's probably treated me, no not probably, he's treated me the worst in our whole life's during this 3 yrs because he's still blaming me for everything and not taking his part in this as of yet. Sorry about the comment didn't mean to offend you I was just mad at being fussed at for taking p for my husband and taking my part in what happened.

I don't know if our read my full response maybe you did and your still telling me to keep my mouth shut. Idk. I didn't tell details of our sex life. I did tell that I did not take care of him like I should have and that I let him be vulnerable and that is what lead this affair. I am a very polite, smart person and I don't go running around telling things I shouldn't. Especially, when it comes to my husband I still love him, I'm still good to him and would never intentionally hurt him. I know your going to say well you rejected him, had I know what I was doing to him I would have changed I had no idea the pain he was in.

You said you dont think i can respect or trust him wrong, im sorry. i can trust him again with my whole heart when we work through all of this and i still respect him never lost my respect for my husband. I have always been very proud of my husband. it really kind of gets to me the way you speak to me, that's what made me so mad last night in writing the comments about if it never started, stopped the affair or kept it in his pants. You are pretty judgmental I think in your statements. That's my opinion. Usually the comments don't get to me to much. You just seemed to be fussing at me for things I didn't do and wasn't guilty of. Don't know wh it got to me like it did maybe all of it just got to me.

RW, "keep it your pants" is the same as telling a woman to "keep her legs shut".

You do not understand how disrespectful that is because you and I view sex differently. I view sex as a life-affirming act. I need it, I crave it. At times when I had no libido I still needed sex for the connection it brought me. Not having it - it is not about an ******. "Keep it in your pants" is amazingly disrespectful for someone like me.

I don't know your H. I don't know how he views sex. Most people here are sex people like me. This is why we say "the sex people should be with the sex people." Your libido is back and yet, you still are not a sex person. you still don't know what I'm talking about.

Good God, this post proves VB right... the sex people must be with the sex people.

If we were lesbians, you and me, RW, we would be horrible sexual partners to each other. We view sex differently and we feel differently about it. I am offended by the idea of "keeping it in his pants", "keeping her legs shut", "she should just put out" etc because it trivializes something that is so much more than any of that... to me. I know there are people who view it differently.

You and I are never going to agree on these things because we view sex differently. To me, it is the act of physically expressing a connection between me and my lover. It is a dance, an experience of souls being playful and laughter and the glow in his eyes and the gentleness of my touch... To you... what is it? You talk a lot about you didn't take care of his needs...

But if you simply don't see sex in the same way I do... can you ever meet a real sex person's need for that connected intimacy as a non-sex person? I mean that as respectfully as I can muster, simply as a delineation between someone who sees sex as I do and someone who does not understand that. We are wired different.

Huh.

RRRW, When you talk about sex with your husband it does sound like it is a responsibility not an amazing, intimate experience that your both love to partake in. You see "sex people" truly live for that connection with another person. We know if someone is going through the motions to please us. That is why I feel it is so important to keep it between the two people who share it. Sexual intimacy is a spiritual journey not a duty. This may be a conversation you have with your husband, SOON! I apologize for being harsh, I just know how painful a sexless marriage can be and wanting that connection and not getting it feels like a slow death.

Kelki. How on earth do you read from my comments and come to the conclusion that I feel sex is a responsibility and not to be enjoyed? I have stated that I do have desire and arousal now like I did when I was 18. Even when I had sex with him before there were times I was not into it, but there were many times I was there full of intimacy, connection and love.

If my husband hadn't had an affair it would have been able to be kept between two people. Since he did and decided to continue and didn't think he would get caught by anyone else or that she would ever tell anyone he made it between her husband, me, her and him and on top of that everyone at their work already knew about it. He and she are the ones that made it everybody else's business not me.

I get where you come from as far as the pain of a sexless marriage and reference to being a slow death. I totally get what you are saying and although I do not fully know from my own personal refusal I do see what I've done to my husband and how I've crushed his soul over the years. So I get it as much as humanly possible. IMO.

I don't really like the reference to a sex person and not a sex person, I know what y'all are saying, but I don't see my self as a non sex person especially now. All I needed was a little help in the T levels and some work on my self image and sexual confidence. I was or did consider myself to enjoy sex and did have desire before marriage and birth control. I think some of the not a sex person can be a sex person with a little help in whatever area they need it. There are Some people I'm sure that are flat out non- sexual. Majority of the time when we had sex I enjoyed it the couple of times a month we did do it. So does that mean I am a sex person or not a sex person? Confusing. Some of the refusers out there may be sex people they just need a little help, but the refused has it in their mind that they are just not a sexual person and that is the way it's going to be. Maybe your refuser wants that help, maybe they don't want to be considered not a sex person. Just something to think about.

Addicts don't want to be considered addicts and yet they are. Liars don't want to be considered liars and yet they are.

You talk about "when we did it I did enjoy it." I have never thought of sex in that way. I know this may be hard for you to believe if you've never thought of sex in this way... but to me it is essential and magical and connected and intimate and I am 100% free, without inhibitions about my body or my mind or anything else during sex. There's a switch in my head that makes everything from the day go silent and sex isn't enjoyable, it's life affirming.

Being a sex person LIKE THAT, like I describe, is a different way of being. That kind of sex person should be with That kind of sex person for best experience. If you are the kind of woman who enjoys sex once you have it but you don't/didn't miss it when you didn't have it before then I don't put you in the same column as me. Now, that is not me saying I am better than you. In many ways my expectations of sexual experience are going to be different than yours and I may have a harder time finding someone comfortable being that open with me. But that is why it is essential for me to find someone compatible. My range of acceptable compatibility is more narrow than most people. I have expectations of what sex will be like and if it doesn't meet those pretty regularly it does not feel good to me at all.

I hear you being defensive about whether or not you like sex. That is NOT the kind of "sex person"/"non-sex person" delineation meant here.

And the refused here do not have it in their mind that someone is not a sex person. They only arrive here after generally years of believing its because they are awful or bad in bed or unattractive. They usually arrive here believing they are unlovable, not that there is something wrong with the compatibility between the spouses in the bedroom.

Incidentally, this thread is an example of a distraction from the issues in YOUR marriage that still exist that I referenced earlier. You have daily sex with your H now but he still isn't satisfied. The question really should be whether or not he ever will be and if so, by what?

I'm not quit sure what you first line comments mean I don't know if you are saying I'm lying again or what.

It is great that you have been blessed with an apparent health sexual image and have been able to throw a switch and turn the world off and tune everything out. What I wouldn't have given to be able to have done that. I am a worrier by nature so that is not or was not easy for me to do in the past when I did have young children and 15 things to do in a night before I put them to bed. Once I got in the bed my mind would not stop the wheels would keep clicking about what had to be done in the morning, who needed lunch money or book money, what I forgot to do before I laid down and then on top of that I worried myself to death that my girls might hear us if we did do it. I know it was stupid but that is how it was for me. All of this on top of no libido, no immediate arousal, no desire and exhaustion. Sometimes even a little resentment because I did everything supper, dishes, kids needs and he sat in the chair until he was ready for play time with me. It just seemed like sometimes there was no consideration for my feelings too, just like he felt.

Well, I don't put us in the same sexual thinking or feeling category either. Because I didn't have the desire or need for sex that often. I did want it and usually I was on a 10 day to 2 week cycle kind of. I did want it at times but certainly not like he did. Once I started with the testosterone cream I am now a different person who actual has feelings in the lady's parts when I see him naked, and I actually look, never did look before, shoot never looked at myself to embarrassed. I have feelings where I should down there at the sound of his voice and the immediate thought of sex. Imagine not having that, it makes a huge difference. I can't explain the difference the higher t level has made for me. Plus I also know I have had a huge attitude adjustment. The T cream alone may have very well changed my marriage before the affair if I had gotten it. I really believe it would have made a difference enough that he would have been happy and i would have enjoyed sex much more because of the arousal and desire i experienced after getting my T levels up. I would have been able to respond genuinely to him and pretty much at his first touch. I am sure I would not have experienced such a drastic change or difference like I have because of all we've been through. I know I have learned many valuable lessons through this process and I have grown. I'm not naive enough to think that the Testosterone level would have made everything perfect, but it would have went a long way. By the way, just FYI, I do miss sex now when we are not having it very often :-) that is a good thing, I think,me missing it. We have our ups and downs and your not really into sex sometimes on the downs although I think I am even on the downs, I'm available if he is.

I do understand also the thought process of a refused person that would think what is wrong with me, why don't they love me, or something is wrong with me. Of course, we know that it's not just something wrong with the refused, it's the refuser and many other elements of a relationship that contribute to this dysfunction.

You keep mentioning the distraction from the issues in my marriage and what you referenced earlier. I did respond to that and tried to explain some of our history. I'm sure that one of the many questions regarding our marriage is will he ever be satisfied with me again. I have to think about this all of the time. I am terribly paranoid about this and when there is another woman it makes it 1000x worse because you question how she is vs how you are and what he thinks. He may not ever be satisfied and it will hurt me terribly, but if that is the truth of this matter then I will have to accept that. Thanks for reminding me. I'm doing my best and that is all I can do at this point.

My point, RRRW, by saying that he isn't satisfied is that you are doing everything he's ever asked of you and far more than would satisfy 95% of us here and still he isn't satisfied. I don't mean that she is better than you in bed. What I mean is that maybe he is not able to be satisfied or may not be fully clear about WHAT exactly he wants. He said sex but now has sex and still isn't satisfied. I am saying maybe there are more problems here that are HIS and not yours to own or work on.

I truly believe he doesn't know what he wants. Nothing is satisfying him or making him happy. He needs to be happy with himself again and he's not there yet. It seems like in the last little bit he's been trying harder and been better. I just hope it can continue to improve. It is his to work on I agree. Thx

22 More Responses

I have thoroughly read your post and most of the comments below. Although I respect other people's opinions and they don't bother me, in this case I really don't understand why people have gotten so defensive about what you said. You said that you can understand both sides. You obviously have a stronger opinion about cheating, considering what you have been through, but it seems to me that you have taken responsibility (which most people don't do after an affair, especially if they were the one cheated on). You have also made great efforts, from what you said, to make things right in your marriage. Good for you and congratulations for doing what most people are too selfish to do in your situation, which is to love, when you want to turn and run or seek revenge. I know. I have been on practically every side of this situation. So now here is my feedback to your post. I have known my husband 26 years, been married for 25. He cheated within our first year of marriage and many times since. Many of the affairs I found out about later in the marriage because he didn't want me to find out. His explanation was that he cheated because I wasn't "there for him." He said it was sexually but also he said he craved attention. I was busy raising a family, running a business and being the responsible one, looking out for the future of everyone involved. We had 6 children and he helped very little around the house or with any of our financial stuff. He acted pretty much like a teenager, no matter how much I begged for his help, he just bushed it off. So I would end up exhausted at night, falling asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. He said that being tired was my fault because I was always doing too much, and I blamed him for not helping out enough. It never changed. He thought mostly about himself (still does) and sought to get his way (attention) in places he vowed on our wedding day, not to. Like you said, it hurts when someone you fully trust divulges your personal information to a stranger. Over the years, I tried as hard as possible to be there for him in all the ways he needed, but it was never enough. There was just no pleasing him. It's like his heart has a hole in it that can never be filled. He is an emotional vampire, sucking all the love and life out of me, with no thought of my needs and no thought of the greater good of the family. Being the devoted, loving wife that I am, I forgave, tried harder, trusted again and moved on, time after time. As time went on I realized the devastation being caused (to me and to my children) and yet as I weighed my options I felt that divorce would be worse for the children that remained in the home. He has also rejected me sexually and felt even justified for what he has done (his way of getting over his guilt). This angers me because I never cheated on him and he still won't take full responsibility for his actions. His last affair, he said, was emotional, 2 years long, and only ended last year. I still feel the effects of it. He again said that because I don't give him what he needs, he turned to another for support and strength. So who's to blame? I tried as hard as I possible could, it was never enough. I feel he has a personality defect or a childhood trauma that causes him to never be satisfied (sexually or emotionally). I feel my family is best served by us remaining together (most of his cheating has remained a secret from the children). I feel emotionally devastated after trying to be a devoted, wonderful wife and only being criticized and told I've caused all of his pain and troubles. So in the marriage I have remained, devoted and hurting. Then out of nowhere, I met a man about a month ago. He said we are kindred spirits because we have walked much of the same path. Although we have only spoken a few times and were brought together innocently through a casual meeting, we both feel we are meant to be together at this time. Neither of us have ever cheated on our spouses, we are God fearing Christians, and always try to do good for others around us, but we are in terrible, terrible pain. However, we want to keep our families in tact for a few more years. We haven't done anything inappropriate and I'm not saying I have the right to cheat, but I do believe that God has placed this man in my life at this time to help me. I have suffered so greatly because of my husband and haven't been able to find the courage to believe in myself. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes we need others in our lives to help us out of difficult and painful situations. I know that my life has changed for the good since I met this man and I won't turn away from him for that reason. I will not sleep with him but I cannot deny what he means to me either. You said you wanted to hear both sides. I guess I feel that no one can judge. Am I justified for what I'm doing? How long can a person take being rejected? Is it ever right to have someone in your life secretly if the intentions are good? Is a "wrong" always a "wrong"? I love my two boys and they are thriving right now so I will not divorce until they are done with school. I know the affects of divorce on children and refuse to bring that kind of intentional harm to them. But I also have needs in the meantime and feel this is meant to be. I have to feel better about myself or I fear the stress may eventually kill me. You see, no one has walked in my shoes and therefore should not judge me either. I hope that we CAN offer help and support here on EP and not tear each other down or judge. We get enough of that in the real world don't we?

" it seems to me that you have taken responsibility (which most people don't do after an affair, especially if they were the one cheated on). You have also made great efforts, from what you said, to make things right in your marriage."

If she has taken responsibility and made great efforts for her husband's affair then why is her focus on HER pain instead of the pain he felt by rejection? If she made great efforts to fix things in her marriage then now she should have a healthy, happy and intimate marriage and therefore she would have a clear understanding between what that is like and what the sh*thole marriages that are abusive are described here and therefore realize that those refuser spouses are still abusive, neglectful, selfish and not getting it.

One of the things I learned by leaving my SM is that you don't take someone's words alone and take them as gospel as you are doing here. You look at their actions. A person that was truly taking as much responsibility as she claims and truly working as hard on her marriage would not post a story like this. She says she understands why her husband cheated... but this story proves to me she really does not.

Life,
people are mad at RRRW because she is showing them a mirror and guilty people do not like to see themselves in the mirror.

Change,
I see that on this blog there is compassion and empathy for only the refused but not for the refuser no matter what happened in their life and what they went through. What a hypocrisy.
RRRW, I commend you for speaking the truth and sharing your story. You have accepted full responsibility for your actions and have amended for it. I am just waiting for a refused person to take responsibility for their cheating/affairs. However, I do not expect that because they are too engrossed and self obsessed with their life to care about anyone else.

Cheater12,

You choose what you want to see. There is and has been compassion and there are efforts to provide understanding. Your every comment has been a judgement. RRRW asked why and the complexity of the why was provided. Whether it is accepted and understood or not is up to her. You apparently have no interest in they complex interpersonal dynamics. That is your prerogative. However, I am betting RRRW has garnered useful information.

Kelki. I know you don't know the story you haven't read it in my other posts, but I didn't not out my husband! Once I found out I held it and didn't tell anyone. I didn't want to tell anyone I didn't want anyone to know simply because our families and a lot of people loved and respected my husband had him on a pedestal and I didn't want them to know or think any less of him. Her husband outed them when he found out I didn't! I didn't. I wanted to keep it a secret between him, her and me and I dealt with it for a good while all by myself. When someone left a message on the other husbands phone that his wife was having an affair with my husband that's how it came out. It came all out. That's when I went to bat for my husband I did not out him I have to much respect and love for him than to do that and I love my family to much to do that to them.

You might want to ask how it came out first rather than assuming but that's okay.

C12, you say you are a member here under another name but apparently you aren't willing to post these thoughts under that anonymous pseudonym. Over and over you have seen what you wanted to see in our posts. I am one of the ones here who does have compassion for refusers. I have compassion and empathy for RRRW and what she has been through but I don't agree with the way she's gone about posting here.

I did not cheat. I do not feel guilty, as I did not cheat. So why, in your mind, do I disagree with what she says?

And C12, when you said this "I am just waiting for a refused person to take responsibility for their cheating/affairs. However, I do not expect that because they are too engrossed and self obsessed with their life to care about anyone else." my mind instantly thought of a half dozen people here who DO take responsibility for their outsourcing as how they have responded to the situation in their marriage. I can't think of one who would say that they would have cheated if it had not been for the SM but I can think of plenty who have said "this is the choice I made in handling my relationship and I take responsibility for my choice." For many in their unique situations they would say it was better than breaking up a family, leaving an ill spouse, leaving during bankruptcy etc. Everyone's situation is unique and to think that you believe you have the answer for everyone is laughable at the very best.

Cheater: "people are mad at RRRW because she is showing them a mirror and guilty people do not like to see themselves in the mirror."

The people who are MOST mad at RRRW are the ones who have NOT CHEATED. All I see on this thread are that those who have chosen to "outsource" are the ones who are the most calm, reflective, and moderate in their answers to RRRW. Those of us who have NOT outsources are MORALLY OUTRAGED at her judgmental attitude - and yours is 1,000x worse.

To state that the "worst thing you can do is cheat" is simplistic, self-aggrandising bullsh*t of the worst order. There are MANY MANY things FAR WORSE than cheating on a spouse in a relationship.

Hence all the "**** you"s LOL

-----" I am just waiting for a refused person to take responsibility for their cheating/affairs."

C12: then you are blatantly ignoring those who stepped up to the plate and DID take responsibility for our behavior. A few of us did BEFORE we took that step. zsuzsilowinger is spot on: the outrage is coming from those who have NOT stepped out. You claimed you have been reading these stories on here since June 2012 but it is painfully obvious from a macroview, by some of the claims you have made about the supposed counsel the majority is doing (just get a divorce or have an affair) that you are simply not up to speed with respect to what is being offered as advice on this forum.

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RRRW, I'm sorry that you are going through such a difficult time, must be awful for you.
I have respect for couple who try to work on their marriage after an affair, myself I dont think I can do it, so an affair is a deal breaker for me.

I used to be like you and think 'how could someone have an affair and destroy the lives of their family'. Until it almost happened to me!

At that time, I lost so much weight, constantly fighting over our sexlessness and another crisis,
and three men were propositioning affairs to me. The constant rejection by my husband, I believe, has messed up with my head, I was not thinking correctly. I was very tempted (especially after my husband provoked me in a fight) but I never took it up. It could easily have
happened. We're okay now.

Myself, I believe some of the marriages here on EP are dysfunctional (codependent) from the word go.
Two people with issues, from each end of dysfunctional spectrum (one intimacy adverse, the other co-dependent/people pleaser) coming together, so the marriage is unhealthy and messed up from the word go.

I often wonder why we don't out them as sexless abusers in the divorce process. Most people don't hesitate to out the other as having had an affair, even during the marriage and if "trying to work on it". I think because the SM makes us feel horrible about ourselves whereas an affair seems more like "all their fault". The whole "cheating is never the answer" line we hear so often from the black and white, can't see any shades of gray (let alone 50) crowd.

ImtoSexy. Our marriage is not as traumatic or in drama now, but it takes a lot of heeling and opening up and forgiving to get through this, both of us. It is still day by day feelings still somewhat raw. I'm still trying to get my husband to forgive me so we can move on into the future and for him to trust me to take care of him. I will take care of him no doubt whatever it takes, if I fail again, I know I'm out. I'm not going to fail though I have so much more knowledge and a list of helpful suggestions lined up just in case I need help. I'll do anything it takes counseling, supplements, sex therapy whatever. I will not fail this man again. Right now I have desire and drive so its so much easier to show your love. Energy or not, tired or not, I can respond with a libido. I had nothing before.

The rejection of your husband has messed with your mind for sure. I know I messed up my husbands mind it wears on you and drags you down. It's hard for someone one with a healthy desire to understand why their partner doesn't want it, want them. You are not engaged in rational thinking in my opinion when going into an affair or considering one, or some are not let me say, I don't think my husband was rationally thinking at all I know him to well, so I get what you mean about that.

You were very strong to resist temptation and I'm so glad to hear you are doing okay now and I hope it continues to be more than okay for you. God Bless You and Your Marriage

Scottysdad, i'm not sure that the refuser is the one acting like the victim. When you read about how miserable the refused are, they sound more like the ones who hold that position.

RW I am glad to see you empathize with her so vulnerably. Thanks for that.

Scottysdad. I agree with your statement that rejection and refusal is part of the reason a marriage fails. Sometimes it's all that and sometimes it's not, but the refuser and the spouse that goes outside if the marriage have a hand in the demise of a marriage.

I am sure that many claim the role of victimhood and spread bad terrible rumors and shares details that should not be shared, but I do not feel the victim here and I have not shared or smeared his name in anyway. If I live him that would be stupid to do that and I love him.. Even if he decides to leave me I will never bash him and will always stand up for him. I don't believe in hurting anyone anymore that you can help, especially when you are fully aware of a situation. If you know better you can do better. I don't believe in hurting the kids and if their dad has been a wonderful loving father all of his life and good to his kids like mine has there is no way I could bad talk him. If you could ask anyone in my life that I have talked to about this they would tell you have have stuck by his side, never bad mouthed or talked down about him and mostly took up for him. Don't get me wrong, I shared my pain and anger and all other emotions with one very close friend who loves my husband like a brother and if I did say something she would usually take up for him. Everyone needs someone to talk to.

CWDMG. There are many shades a gray I agree it's not all black and white.

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Wow RRRW, you have so many responses ,I couldn't read them all, and so many of them are harsh.
I think you have written something important.
I have been on both sides of the story , with the same man.
20 years married and 26 years together. And my story is still being written.
My husband could have gone elsewhere , while i was lost , having kids, working , dealing with family illness , stress etc.
I could have done the same, in recent times , while he was lost for the same sort of reasons.
But we didn't .
I have always said, if you are not happy in a relationship, leave , before you start something else. My husband has always agreed.
Each case of a SM is different , how much , how often , and the only difference is , how much do you love your partner, no matter the lack of sex.
If you can still see your spouse through all the pain , and you know that they are still the person you love, then you don't give up. "There is no right cookie , just pick one , and take a bite ". No relationship is immune to these issues.
I have absolutely no religious beliefs , so this plays no part in my behaviour.
Because i have seen this from both sides , i understand very well, what emotions and reasons are behind the refuser.And i don't like this term, it's not that simple.
For me it's a case of , what am i prepared to live with, v's , what am i prepared to live with. To make it simple, i would rather the divorce, than the slim chance of a fractured marriage with a history of affairs.
You are not wrong.

I agree with what you are saying. I am saying this from the view point that too many think that there is a perfect partner.
I am saying that, you only know what you know , and you have to chose whether to make the best of it.
No one knows what they are getting into. We can only hope that it turns out to be all that we hoped for. I can only speak from my own frame of reference, like all of us here.
When i say that there is no right cookie , i don't mean that you can't spit it out.
I just mean that we all take a chance , hope for the best, hang in as long as we can, and hopefully, live a life that we are "mostly "happy with. Nothing is perfect. I am very sorry, if i upset you in anyway, this was not my intention.

No one here is asking for perfect. OMG, we are not asking for perfect. We may be asking (or some of us hopefully, demanding) not abusive, not disrespectful, not intimacy averse at this point.

We will never get PERFECT, and we do not have to settle for less.
Any SM is already in a lot of trouble, but secrets can make it worse.