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#61404 - 08/10/04 09:41 AM How do I deal with the other women?
lonelyone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 3
Loc: LA
Hello everyone. I could really use some advice and you appreciate any replies all points of view are more than welcome and needed. I have been with my husband for 11 years and we have been married for 61/2 years. About three years ago there was a huge change in my husbandís behavior. At that time I was studying for my bar exam and during that time I neglected my husband, I was not emotionally advisable to my husband. If I could take that back I would, my primary focus was that test. During that time he became friends with a sister-in-law of a couple we were close to. I knew that my husband was around her but I presumed that she just went out with everyone in a group. I even asked him and he told me that he didnít talk to her outside of the group. Well, it was a lot more than what he stated. I found out, then he made several promises to me that he would cut all contact with this women. He lied several times and this went on for a year and a half. This girl tortured me, she would call me and play the messages he had left for her. She is also a survivor of SA

During that time I asked my husband if a priest ever abused him, somehow I just knew it. When I asked my husband this he completely broke down. He had repressed the memories and it didnít hit him until I said something to him. I so regret the way I asked him, I feel that itís my fault that all of this came out. When my husband confirmed that this was all true I read every book I could get my hands on. I gave myself an education on the subject. I believed that I needed to know what we were dealing with and were to go for help. My husband is to this day very secretive about this issue and only a few people know, those whom he chooses to tell. I made a promise to him that I would not tell a soul and I have kept my word. I got my husband into therapy but it does not seem that it has helped, he has more bad days than good and horrible flashbacks. He says that I could never understand, but he is so wrong. I am a very empathic person. I get so angry when he says that I could never understand.

For a long time my husband says stop trying to save him, and he was right I was trying to save him. I know now that I canít save him and that he has to be the one to say I am not getting the help that helps.

Now for the last year there is another women in the picture. She is also a SA survivor. He lied to me about being friends with this woman but again I find out on my own. When I found this out I was totally devastated, I felt so betrayed and rejected. I cried all the time and it put me into a sever depression. I had many conversations with this women and as it turned out she has lied to me about many things. She said that they had stopped talking, but they didnít, I have found him at her house on several occasions. I tried to explain to her that getting involved with a married man is wrong but she doesnít seem to think that itís that big of a deal. I made the mistake of telling her how hurtful all of this has been. I also told her that if she cared about my husband she would leave us alone. I told her that my husband has a bad enough self image that how could her special friendship with him help. She has never been to therapy to deal with her own stuff. To make a long story short she doesnít see how this relationship interferes with our marriage, her taking what little my husband has to offer, the lies and the deceit, the nightmares I have about them, every time I donít know where my husband is thinking in the back of my mind is he with her, having a problem with trust. This woman doesnít see how her relationship with him, and yes she has feelings for him interferes with our marriage. . Tonight she called my husband to let him know that she had to go to the ER, this is after they havenít had any contact in a month. I find her call completely manipulating. Why doesnít my husband see it that way? If any one can give advise or comment on why a women like this would not see the problems she is adding to our lives or if anyone could explain a person like this to me I would really appreciate it.


I am now in therapy because all of this has really been difficult. Please understand that I love my husband, truly. Also I donít want to make this sound like I am not at fault for things in my marriage believe me I know what mistakes I have made. Thanks for any help.


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#61405 - 08/10/04 11:43 AM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Hi Lonelyone.. I feel bad for you.. this is my absolute worst nightmare being with an SA survivor.. if he was to start acting out with other women. Thankfully he has not but he has told me a few things about past sexual relationships which I think were pretty inappropriate, and I konw enough things that went on to really hate a lot of his exes and his "acting out" partners.. while I cannot comprhened what it must feel like to have this going on while you are still married, its pretty painful for me nonetheless.

First off, you have to remember that what he is doing is "acting out" - he likely does not have any real feelings for these women. For a variety of reasons, SA survivors often "act out" with other people - a predisposition for doing this kind of thing is partly the result of what happens to their brain/nervous system during sexual trauma. (If you want more info. on why SA survivors sexually act out there are probably a lot of old posts that someone could pull out and post for you).

That being said, it must be scary as hell and absolutely devastating to have these other women hovering around and this situation is NOT healthy or acceptable by any means.

It is absolutely and positively 100% your husband's responsibility to cut all ties with these women, to tell them to go away, to stop calling you and to protect you. He has a commitment to you through marriage and he must respect that. Otherwise this marriage you have with him is pretty much a non-starter. The commitment he made during his marriage vows to choose YOU ABOVE ALL OTHERS absolutely MUST be respected - that is the foundation upon which marriage is built. And without this commitment, is there really a marriage? I dont know if you are a fan of Dr. Phil but he always says "you dont solve a problem IN your marriage by going OUTSIDE your marriage".

While you can start to understand that due to his SA background, he may have had a predisposition to sexual acting out outside the marriage, but hopefully now you are both in a position where you are aware of what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour - and continuing to fool around with others, is absolutely and positively NOT ACCEPTABLE by any means, SA or no SA, no matter what you have done and your own mistakes in the relationship there is NOTHING that can justify his fooling around. Dont let him feed you any bullshit about how its your fault or anything.. dont let him prey on any insecurities you may have about things you have done, because it absolutely and positively is NOT YOUR FAULT if he fools around. He is choosing this behaviour, he's a grown up, with full control over his actions. You are not forcing him to act in any way.

You dont deserve to be in a situation where you are always waiting, holding your breath, wondering what is going to happen. As I already said - there is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NOTHING that you have done, not focussing on your bar exam, not taking care of yourself first that is even REMOTELY to blame for his behaviour. If he had a problem with anything you were doing, he could have damn well told you how he feels so you can work it out like two adults. Likely his SA had an effect on him feeling that it was not a safe thing for him to ask for his needs to be met, however, that is HIS problem and you do not deserve to have that heaped upon you. However instead of talking to you, he has chosen to keep contact with other women, HE is choosing NOT to tell them to stay away and leave you alone. It is HIS responsibility to protect you and your marriage from these women.

While it is admirable that you are trying to "save him" unfortunately all to often SA survivors turn on those who try to do that. My fiance too gets really aggressive with me when he percieves me to be getting too intrusive with his recovery. At that point i have no choice but to back away and focus on myself.

While it may seem scary, your best bet may be the "tough love" approach. Stand up for what is right, for the appropriate behaviour that you deserve, and dont settle for anything less. Focus on saving YOURSELF and your dignity and let him fight his own battles with saving himself. Draw the line on acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and dont stand for anything less. Tell him that its absolutely UNACCEPTABLE in your books to continue on with these women. Now - be aware that it IS a scary thing to stand your ground becuase chances are after you draw the line he may "up the ante" and start ot be more threatening, etc.. but eventually if you dont give in HOPEFULLY he will come around. There's of course no guarantee, but you DONT deserve the torture of being in a relationship with other women hovering around. Eventually the mental anguish will cause so many problems for you that you may wind up losing your grip on what's acceptable, normal, healthy and safe. You could wind up depressed and unable to function eventually.

Its important ot recognize you can't save him from himself. But you can save yourself from this craziness....

With respect to these women contacting you - I would have no hesitation to say to them to leave you alone. Try as HARD as you can to keep your dignity in the midst of such painful exchanges. Keep your pride and your dignity intact. Dont get into anything with them that has to do with your husband - its obvious that the first woman anyhow will say and do things that are pretty hurtful and you dont deserve it. If she calls or tries to contact you, I'd just hang up on her, disconnect your voice mail for awhile, dont give her the time of day. She sounds really nutty and you probably cant reason with someone who's in that kind of mind set so dont even try. You dont deserve that hell. If she's really out of control and the emotional toll she is wreaking on you is extreme, I might even go so far as trying to get a restraining order (depends on the laws of your region of course - in that case if she violates it you may want to keep messages, etc as evidence.. of course you probably know all that having legal education!!!).

Good luck - keep posting to us.

PAS


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#61406 - 08/10/04 05:56 PM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Lonelyone
as I read the first part of your post I was preparing to give you a bit of hard time, but then I read this.

Quote:
For a long time my husband says stop trying to save him, and he was right I was trying to save him. I know now that I canít save him and that he has to be the one to say I am not getting the help that helps.
Unfortunately, it seems to be our call. And please believe me here, I'm not using this as an excuse.
It seems to be the same with drink and drug addicts, even smokers like me, WE have to make the initial move, and then find the courage to stick with it.

So I changed my mind some by the end of your post, and I largely agree with PAS.
"if" he's made the committment to himself to change, then I think you have a right to be an equal part of that committment.

The acting out behaviours are incredibly strong, I acted out in toilets with strange men, but the drive to do this alien thing was monsterous.
I'll put a link here to an article I just posted on the Male Survivors Forum about sexual addiction.
The chemical changes described there I can vouch for, the rush is better than cocaine and lasts longer.

http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=004244
My Problems, by InjunE ( sorry, no replies by partners on the male forum please. But I'll copy the article here if partners are interested )

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#61407 - 08/10/04 07:02 PM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
I guess I'd just add to what others have said by suggesting you take care of yourself first. And if he's actively cheating on you, I don't see how it's possible to stay with him and take care of yourself.

I would suggest that infidelity would be grounds for at least a temporary separation until he decides how he plans to behave and then take it from there.

As for the other women, they aren't the problem. There will always be other women, it's how your husband responds that's the issue.


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#61408 - 08/11/04 06:18 AM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Dan88 said:
Quote:

As for the other women, they aren't the problem. There will always be other women, it's how your husband responds that's the issue.
And I agree. You are letting your husband off the hook in a big way if you think that talking to this woman or getting her to realize or deal with anything is going to get HIM to take more responsibility for the relationship he ought to be having with you.

This may sound harsh, but if the "little your husband has to give" is not making its way to you, then it has much more to do with him than with wherever else the energy is going. My boyfriend of 8 years developed an inappropriate friendship that sounds a lot like the one your husband has with this woman. When he broke it off, he didn't pay more attention to me. He just started hanging out at the bar and playing video games. \:\( It took something else for him to start directing his energy into anything that would give back to him, that was basically the point of it all (including the other girl), putting his energy into something that meant nothing.

Focus on today with him, let him know that you are emotionally available in the present, and that you will not push him or try to save him. And stick to it, from now on. That is the best you or anyone can do, and by doing it, you deserve NOT to have anyone throw your past mistakes in your face. That includes your husband, and yourself. For what it's worth, I don't think you're doing such a bad job.


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#61409 - 08/18/04 03:10 PM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
FastForward Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Hi,

Sounds like you have tried hard to save your marriage but you cannot do it by yourself. All you can do it take care of yourself and live my your standards and within your boundaries.

It may be extremely difficult after 11 years but you need to take care of yourself. It may cost you your marriage but you have tried for a long while now and it may be time for a stronger message. I am not excusing your husband, or the other women, but it seems like there is something stronger there than the marriage vows.

Take good care of yourself; in the end it may be all that you are left with.

_________________________
FastForward

L&P - always.

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#61410 - 08/22/04 05:31 AM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
Mezzo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Oregon
Dear LoneyOne,

My heart goes out to you, I share your pain. My husband's acting out behavior is different from your husband's but both behaviors seem to be terribly important to both men because of their past abuse. Please don't think you had anything to do with your husband's current behavior with that other woman. I am learning that when men start to deal with their past abuse, they become very self centered and feel that their hurtful behavior to their spouse is somehow OK. We are seeing a therapist who is very direct with my husband and helping him see how his behavior affects me and that he must be accountable for his own behavior, despite his past abuse. Please encourage your husband to seek a good therapist who has experience with helping men who have been abused, for his own healing. After that is in place, please get some couples counseling so you both can hear each others pain. You are entitled to some peace and hope. I believe you will be OK. Blessings to you.


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#61411 - 08/22/04 06:34 PM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Welcome Mezzo,

And thank you for making such a kind and supportive first post. That is really what this community is all about... sharing our experiences and trying to help each other get to a place we'd all like to be.

I hope you'll stick around here and keep reading and posting, that support and help is here for you too whenever you need it.

I hope everything is going well for you and your husband.

SAR


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#61412 - 08/22/04 06:57 PM Re: How do I deal with the other women?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Mezzo
When I read your reply just now I read this sentence -
Quote:
I am learning that when men start to deal with their past abuse, they become very self centered and feel that their hurtful behavior to their spouse is somehow OK.
and thought "somehow OK" No, I don't agree with that!
But I re-read it and gave it some thought, and now I understand.
It's the "somehow" that's the important word, not the "OK".
Saying we're "self centred" is absolutely right, I certainly was, and add that to our confusion, fear and all the other emotional things going on we do make a lot of assumptions. Especially towards our partners, and one of them is that you will "somehow" understand what we're going through.

But we barely understand it ourselves, especially early on. And often we don't have the courage, or the adequate words, with which to explain it to our partners.
So it's one of our many assumptions - that it's "somehow OK" to have acted out / cheated with someone else.

My wife found out about my acting out with strange men by being unable to resist reading part of my journal. I was in therapy at the time, and we talked very frankly and deeply about what was going on for me, but the acting out bit hadn't come into the discussion at that point.
It would have done, I'm certain of that, but being placed in a position of having to discuss it before I was ready was very difficult for me as I hadn't got it sorted out in my own mind, I had to struggle for the right words and thoughts quickly and ensure they conveyed what I wanted to say.

Sitting in front of a loving partner and discussing our acting out / cheating is just a bit scary :rolleyes:
We try to explain the drives and motives in such a way that it doesn't sound as though we're making excuses for 'sleeping around and having easy sex' - and that ain't easy. And if we go the other way we risk being seen as though it's "somehow OK"

So, I agree with you now, and join SAR in thanking you for a wonderful and supportive post.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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