Circumstantial existence

helping-othersEver since I read Walking the Journey’s post last month titled I know what I would do. I have been thinking about this concept of whether or not I would want to or be able to tell a friend that their spouse is cheating, or if my friend is the cheater, would I want to, or be able to talk with them about their choices. I have actually never known first hand someone who was being cheated on (and the faithful partner didn’t know) or known someone who was cheating.

Prior to discovery of my husband’s secret life, I knew lots of couples who had divorced, mostly parents of our kids’ friends, but I really knew nothing about the deep whys for the divorce. Mostly it seemed like the couples had grown apart. There was never talk of cheating, just irreconcilable differences. Also, most of the people I was/am closest to are still married and I have never heard anything about cheating by either partner. I had never, for example, actually had a friend, or even an acquaintance that I knew was being cheated on. Lucky me?

Now, when it comes to my own family, most of the divorces happened when the couples were young. My parents for example. There WAS cheating involved, but already after my mother had asked my father for a divorce. My father is a coward. He begged my mom not to throw him out, then he found her replacement, and left. Dick move, I know. They were 25 years old. A few of my siblings have divorced. There is the story of my sister whose husband came home and told her he wanted a divorce, and by the way, he was already involved with someone else, a man. So yeah… that situation was extremely complicated. My sister had little clue that he swung both ways. Well, actually he didn’t. He is gay. Always has been. He grew up Mormon and he didn’t think he had a choice, so he did the traditional thing and got married and had a kid. He put on a good show, for a while. Regardless, no one knew he was a cheater, who was cheating. Hindsight is always 20/20.

During the cheating many of us have zero idea. Not lying here… I had absolutely no idea my husband was even capable of cheating. I know that sounds crazy, but I have written about it here, many times. I still absolutely 100% stand by my feelings. My gut never told me my husband was having sex with other women. Is he a flirt, sure, but a full-fledged cheater? With me at home, his best friend, mother of his children, by his side. We got along, have a business together, we still had sex, good sex. It’s the truth. Also, the truth, most affairs aren’t even about sex. Yeah, weird right? I had no idea. In the throes of trauma I told many a therapist that I wish I didn’t know. The pain of knowing my life partner was lying and betraying me, for years, hurt. In order for my husband to live an honest and true life, to recover, he had to be able to come clean. There is no “going it alone” when it comes to recovery from addiction. When the truth was revealed, I wanted to die, but it was the only way. I do still wish my husband had come clean to me on his own. The call from the other woman was horrifying, traumatizing, humiliating. I still hear her voice sometimes. I still hear her words sometimes.

So, now the question. If I knew, would I tell? It depends, but I don’t think so. Will my divulging something (even if I know it is true without a shadow of a doubt) solve anything? Will it help, or will it hurt? Even contemplating blowing up someone else’s world is like holding a ticking time bomb. What will detonate a bomb, and what will neutralize it. It’s complicated. There simply is no “one size fits all” scenario. The other woman detonated a bomb in my face. It catapulted me into trauma and pain I never could have imagined. It helped Blue Eyes in the fact that his coming clean provided for a diagnosis and treatment. Cheating is not black and white. But it did not help me. In any way.

Blue Eyes has a friend. Let’s call him John. He and Blue Eyes have known each other for a while, definitely pre-SA diagnosis. When Blue Eyes was diagnosed and started his recovery process, he told John all about it. He had a gut feeling John would be a good friend to confide in, and Blue Eyes was open and honest. He was looking for non-judgmental friends. Turns out Blue Eyes is either an addict magnet, or there are a lot more sex addicts around than any of us might have imagined. With Blue Eyes’ truth unfolding, John shared his own story. Because Blue Eyes is a guy, he doesn’t know as much as I would at this point. Apparently sharing too much is uncomfortable for guys. I, on the other hand, share EVERYTHING. Anyway, turns out John was born inter-sex (what is intersex).

John described himself as an hermaphrodite, apparently an old term for a person born with physical characteristics that do not neatly fit male or female norms. I had heard the term before, but really never understood what it meant, fully. Turns out intersex encompasses a lot of different characteristics and Blue Eyes doesn’t really know the intimate details of his friend John’s situation. No doubt there were issues if not at birth, then as he matured. At this point John clearly associates with being male. He is about as hetero male as they come (by my subjective definition). He is, unfortunately, sterile. He is married and has been married, to a woman, for decades. They have children using his wife’s eggs and donor sperm. All the kids have the same donor dad, so they all look like siblings, but they don’t look like John, obviously.

During the process of John describing his past to Blue Eyes, he also talked about an older woman who came into his life when he was in college. He had a sexual relationship with this older woman while he was with his wife (girlfriend at the time). He continued to have a sexual relationship with the older woman throughout his marriage. It’s my understanding that this woman used some of the same blackmail tactics that Blue Eyes’ acting out partner used. A couple years ago the woman moved to our area, creating a lot of stress and anxiety for John. Last year the woman suddenly died. John was relieved, and happy. Happy that that “stage” of his life was over for good. According to Blue Eyes, John has also confessed to obsessively masturbating to porn, and he clearly has a drinking problem. Addicts know, co-addictions are quite common. When there is a hole that needs to be filled, sometimes it takes more than one drug to do the trick. Likewise, sometimes an addict goes into treatment for one drug and ends up picking up another drug to take its place. John is not in recovery for any drug or addiction.

I do not know John’s wife well, but I have met her a few times. She’s a rock of a woman with a strong personality. I could easily contact her. She’s on Facebook. She lives right across town. I know something about her life that she does not. That was one of the biggest issues I had in the early stages of discovery, that people knew things about my relationship with my husband, my best friend, the father of my children, my business partner, that I did not. It hurt badly. At the time of discovery Blue Eyes was no longer seeing the other woman, just like John is no longer seeing his other woman. But John is still participating in secret and potentially destructive behavior, if you view him in terms of addiction. Excess. John recently had his license revoked for driving under the influence. He wasn’t with his wife. He wasn’t even in the same town as his wife. A lot of his destructive behavior is away from his wife, especially the sexual behavior, at least if what he tells Blue Eyes is the truth.

I have never even contemplated the idea of, anonymously or not, telling this woman what is going on and what has gone on behind her back. I just don’t feel like it is my place. This whole situation of do you tell, or not, is a dicey kettle of fish. In my mind, there is no reason for me to upset this woman and disrupt her life in such a horrible way. She appears to be happy. John, on the other hand does always feel like he is about to fall off a cliff. Blue Eyes recommended his therapist to John plus he has invited him to his Buddhist Sangha and he has invited him to his SA group. John did see the therapist, for a while, but has avoided the other meetings. The Peacemaker (my younger son, 25 years old) asked what I was writing about here. I told him. He chimed in that he thinks John should be forced out into the open. He obviously doesn’t want pain to rain down on the wife & children (as was done to us), but he does feel like John is walking a very tight rope. He knows how painful it is to find out someone you love has been lying to you, but he also knows that the only way his father got help was through being outed. His comment, “sometimes we have to go through a lot of pain to get well. You just never know how much this guy is hiding inside himself and if that could eventually lead to suicide.”

There are so many different ways to look at this situation, but I can’t do it. I can’t be the one to ignite this bomb.

58 thoughts on “Circumstantial existence

  1. So complicated and not a one size fits all situation indeed. For me, if I knew a friend was cheating I would encourage them to end affair, get therapy and come clean. If I knew a friend was being cheated on, man that’s harder. It would depend on my relationship with them and whether or not I knew for sure. I hope John and his wife get the help they need.

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  2. Pingback: Sexually Transmitted | Tearing at the Fabric

  3. My thoughts on this are that I would want to know, but outing someone would feel like none of my business. That fateful day I accidentally picked up my husband’s cell phone thinking it was mine and the text message popped up, “When can I see you again?” I held it up for my husband to see. No name. Just a number. He could have spun that in so many ways, but after a feeble attempt at denial, the whole story came pouring out. He was exhausted from his double life and wanted out. I had trouble wrapping my brain around all of it even with him telling it. I’m not sure if I would have believed anyone else and I’m sure he would have found a way to convince me it was BS.

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    • I agree, Maggie. BE could have spun it, but he wanted out. In the case of John, I don’t feel it is my place to try and convince a woman I barely know that her husband has been acting out sexually. I understand intimately what that means, but as we know, most people absolutely DO NOT understand and it takes a while to get it, and that is only if a person wants to understand. I think the best thing for John is for BE to be there for him as a friend and hopefully he will see that his acting out behavior (both sexually and with alcohol) are medicating wounds that are far too deep for him to handle without professional help. The affair was in the past and spanned decades, but it is there. It really has nothing to do with the wife, and I do agree that she should know, but that is John’s responsibility. I’m not convinced that me outing him would have the results I would want, so I stay out of it.

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  4. “…or there are a lot more sex addicts around than any of us might have imagined. …”

    YES. It’s been discussed in our POSA group a few times. So many women / spouses struggling and suffering, yet they won’t reach out to a group. SAs have many groups. There are so many traumatized, betrayed women and men who just don’t reach out for support. So very sad.

    “…John is not in recovery for any drug or addiction. …” That’s so very sad.

    Do you know 100% that she doesn’t know? Especially with the blackmail?

    I completely understand not wanting to open the can of worms if she isn’t your close friend.

    “… John, on the other hand does always feel like he is about to fall off a cliff. …” So very sad.

    “… His comment, “sometimes we have to go through a lot of pain to get well. You just never know how much this guy is hiding inside himself and if that could eventually lead to suicide.” …” YES. I know this issue quite well. It’s a good point. Your son is wise.

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    • BE’s brother committed suicide in 2010. Our son was a junior in high school. He was devastated. His uncle seemed to have everything. We can be there, but we can’t solve their problems. It is all so sad. I won’t say anything to the wife either directly or anonymously. She definitely doesn’t know and her husband can deny and I think the whole thing would be a mess, and it would destroy the friendship John has with my husband, which I think would be bad for both of them. xo

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      • The suicide (or even suicide attempt) stuff really gets my mind going. I’m hoping to work on it in marital EFT therapy today.

        You’re right; we can’t solve their problems.

        I jumped to action and I did solve a problem – my husband is alive – but now I have PTSD from that horrid scene. Of course I’d do it again, though.

        There are so many people not living in integrity, eh?

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        • Yes. A lot. I hope the therapy helps you with your PTSD. What a miracle that you were there for him. My sister attempted suicide years ago when my children were young (husband out of town, of course). She didn’t want to die, just needed to acknowledge to the world that there was something drastically wrong, mentally. Earlier that evening on the phone she had confided in me that she had been sexually molested, three separate times. I ached for her, but hoped talking it through would help. It didn’t. It sent her into a spiral. Thankfully she called 911 on her own before passing out and was taken to a psych ward where her treatment began. I went and cleaned up the mess at my parents house. She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder with Bi-Polar tendencies. A mouthful of words to say she was mentally ill and suffering tremendously. She finally got the help she needed. xo

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          • I’m so sorry you were in that situation, Kat. Cleaning up a mess. Trying to help; holding it together. The crucial pice (IMHO) is our intentions. We were trying to help.

            And yes, those long psych labels. OY

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    • It does all depend. I think at certain points in time, if someone had seen BE with another woman (remember he was diligent at never being caught, as long as he kept the OW happy it all stayed their “little secret”) he would have had plausible deniability. Even on that fateful day that the whore-der called my phone he could have denied it. But he was done, spent. He didn’t want to live the lie anymore. In effect, he outed himself. He briefly and lamely started to deny, then sat down and spilled his guts. He hated who he was and what he was doing (and I totally believe that) and wanted the secrets revealed. I was able to have compassion even through such debilitating pain. You know how important it is to get addicts into proper recovery, but they have to want it. It’s a dilemma.

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  5. It isn’t about, for me, deciding whether it’s my place or not. “Place” is irrelevant. The question is: Does this person deserve to know the truth? Because we all know that “seeming happy” and *being* happy are wildly different. That cheating spouses have other behavior, besides cheating, that has seemingly no other cause other than “he’s just been kind of an asshole lately/for the past few years./He’s always been kind of a dick.” And a myriad of other excuses we conjure up for them. ie “His family is a nightmare.”

    Does that person deserve to live in reality, rather than the fantasy world the cheater is creating around her?

    There is one situation where I didn’t tell. A woman named Mary in my neighborhood. Her “husband” was her long-term boyfriend of 8 years and they had three children together, in a cute little house, and she was a SAHM. One night, some friends and I went to a karaoke bar – I never went out; this was the first time ever since I was 20, and this was when I was 31 – and I saw some horn-dog couple in the corner, making out. Turns out, it was Mary. She avoided me at first, then came over to ask me “to be cool. John doesn’t know. I’m just getting MINE, like he does.” She knew he cheated frequently.

    John was and is an asshole. He’s always away on business and would brag about his conquests to other guys, when he drank too much, at neighborhood bbqs.

    But Mary was an asshole too. That night, I learned that she’d go out a few nights a week (have her mother watch the kids) and “hook up” with whomever she felt like going home with… but I told Mary that I wouldn’t tell John.

    Because I don’t think John deserved to know. He saved a lot of money by not marrying Mary and “letting” her not work to stay home, in his home, with their children. He treated her like a wife appliance without any of the benefits of being a wife, including the expectation of fidelity. Mary knew this. It’s crappy but they were terms she accepted. I thought, “You know what? They deserve each other.” They were both getting a free ride from each other.

    Regardless, after I saw her there (and she knew about W’s cheating because it was still fresh and it showed on my face), she started working again within a few months. She left John. She never told him but I think she was afraid I would tell him and that he’d be really nasty about support and custody. He would have been. And I’m glad she thought that… but it could have been anyone because she wasn’t hiding it all that well.

    So, that’s my qualifier: Does this person who’s living in the dark deserve to know?

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    • Likewise, I can’t possibly pass judgment on whether the wife “deserves” to know. As I said to Paula, these people are BE’s friends, not mine. He wasn’t seen in public with another woman. He shared in confidence with my husband some very personal details about his life. In my limited experience and opinion, I do believe he is an addict and needs help. At this point he does sound potentially suicidal. I have no idea the consequences to him or his wife and family, of being outed, or not being outed. It’s complicated. I don’t actually believe John has created a fantasy world. I believe they have a strong marriage. They have raised three children together, youngest started college this year. John has demons. I think John needs help, but pretty sure she sees John for who he is… she doesn’t have the whole story, but she’s not living in fantasyland either. She knows her husband drinks in excess and got a DUI. I’m sure she realizes there are reasons. I have only witnessed them together once, but like I said, she’s a rock. I don’t think it’s an act. He keeps his secrets due to fear, just like BE did. In his case my guess is his sexuality caused some serious mental issues during adolescence and he’s never really dealt with them. For BE it wasn’t so much “his family is a nightmare” as his family was seriously abusive, mentally, physically, emotionally, and sexually from a very young age. The shaping of an addict, no excuses, it just is.

      It’s complicated 🤷🏻‍♀️

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      • I find judgement to be a wonderful and necessary thing… we make judgements all the time, whether we’re conscious of them or not. They often protect us. They can change, based on new information; it’s important to be *open to changing* our judgements though and not hold onto the original one stubbornly. But I absolutely judge, myself and others and pets and places and all of things… all the time. We all do. We HAVE to.

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          • I defer to Brene Brown: Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy,silence, and judgment. It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life. The antidote is empathy.”

            As such, if we fear we are going to be judged and not understood we will continue to keep silent.

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            • I acknowledge that this happens, but I don’t agree that it should. I have a post about Brene Brown and shame. I don’t agree with her that everyone feels shame and if we don’t there’s something wrong with us. Perhaps it is merely semantics, but I don’t feel shame. I don’t keep secrets, I don’t keep silent, and I am not concerned with the judgment of others. Thus it being incredibly difficult to absorb my husband’s secret life. But I do now understand.

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  6. My take is this. If I know, for sure, I will tell. If it’s hearsay, and I don’t know the people well, let sleeping dogs … lie 😉.

    I am all about having the information to make informed decisions. My former BFF is married to a man who has cheated. She does not know. Or appears not to know. I have not told her. For several reasons. She is a deny-er, it appears to be about paid transactions rather than emotional connection, it may have stopped in recent years, I have only second hand (but reliable) information. I would want to know. I feel she does not want to know.

    I have known lots of infidelity in our acquaintances, mostly at some distance, the closest one being the betrayed. I never thought it would be us either.

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    • I don’t know these people. They are BE’s friends. Being in the position I am in, wife of a sex addict, I look at things through a specific lens. If I didn’t believe that John was an addict, I definitely would not have written this post. Everything here is hearsay from BE and shared in confidence. I realize information is information, but I’m not the type of person to meddle in other people’s affairs. Pre discovery I would not have even contemplated telling anyone anything. My concern here, strangely enough, is for the safety of John. I believe he could be suicidal. Does outing him make him more or less vulnerable? I simply have no idea. xo

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  7. This –> “There simply is no “one size fits all” scenario. The other woman detonated a bomb in my face. It catapulted me into trauma and pain I never could have imagined. It helped Blue Eyes in the fact that his coming clean provided for a diagnosis and treatment. Cheating is not black and white. But it did not help me. In any way.”

    As I wrote, I just wouldn’t do it. I might go the person cheating or the affair partner, but that would be dependent on my relationship with them. I would never go to the betrayed partner. Probably. Most likely.

    But as you said, there is no one size fit all scenario. Each situation is different.

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    • It is so complicated. I have to go with my gut on this. I don’t think it is my place. My husband is trying to help his friend in the best way he knows how, by example and with lots of friendship, and unconditional love. The issue is, I think, that if the truth is revealed, John feels he may lose his wife, his family, everything. But he isn’t ready to admit he has some serious problems. We simply cannot fix anyone else. I know what John is doing has nothing to do with his wife and everything to do with his own demons. Sad, for him, but as long as his wife is clueless, she is not in pain. Some people go to their grave with secrets like John’s. Thanks for commenting!

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        • For my husband, yes, absolutely. For John, he needs recovery. I hope he is able to get it some day. Steps 1, 4, and 8/9, he won’t be able to do that work without coming clean. For sex addicts, a lot of the addiction lies in the secrets and the shame. John is definitely not a happy man… and yet he has what appears to be the perfect life. It’s a dilemma and one of the aspects that keep people in the addiction so long.

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          • 1 and 4 don’t require me tell anyone.

            5 was messy but it doesn’t require me telling his partners. The Big Book suggests I go to clergy, doctor, or an understanding friend for that part.

            Steps 8 and 9 also don’t require me to tell someone the entire truth unless it serves a higher purpose. I shouldn’t unburden my conscience at someone else’s expense.

            The amends should be for me, not for them. This is part of my struggle – amends vs punishment. Where and how to make amends in a way that is appropriate?

            Shit is hard…but if it wasn’t this it would be something else.

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            • SA is a bit different I guess. In my husband’s group and with the assistance of his sponsor, he was guided to full disclosure with a specialist. Unless a sex addict comes clean to his intimate partner and cuts all contact with the affair partner/acting out partner, there is no way he is in recovery. Rigorous honesty is key. Most sex addicts are outed actually, by the affair partner in many many cases. Sometimes the intimate partner senses or finds something. Like an alcoholic, sometimes the behavior spills out all over the spouse over many years and in that case S-Anon can be very helpful. Regardless though, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who withholds the truth in the guise that he will hurt me. I have lost some friendships in this process because the friend (acting out partner) also kept the secret from me, you know, to protect me??? I know in my case I required the truth, as much of it as he could remember. I was already traumatized by a woman calling my phone. I needed to know what my reality was. Lie detectors are quite common with sex addiction disclosures. Keeping secrets just doesn’t work. And yeah, this shit is hard, all the way around.

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              • That’s interesting. I don’t know much about S-A.

                What I do know is that it isn’t my thing and my only point of reference is the AA and Al-Anon.

                I think this goes back to John right? Should he take the secret elsewhere (before the grave hopefully) or does he find a place for it that doesn’t burden his wife. The AP is dead so the secret belongs to him now. So even on SA or elsewhere, how does traumatizing her so he can be without a guilty conscience benefit his wife?

                Yep. Shit is complicated.

                Thanks for the conversation. Always my pleasure.

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                • Yes, John. John is miserable with his secrets and is still medicating with obsessive porn, masturbation and excessive drinking. He needs more than merely unburdening himself of the secret multiple decade affair to be in a better place, in my opinion. Many men will tell you that the process of unburdening their (often decades of them) secrets is difficult (and usually not done by their choice), but is crucial and freeing. It’s about telling the truth. Open communication and not feeling like there are secrets between us is crucial to our success. I think most SA partners will say that knowing the truth is important to their healing. They have already been hurt, so spill. In regards to John, he is miserable and my husband just told me… John said he relates well to my husband’s brother. The one who committed suicide. Thanks for chatting.

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                  • The thing is: John is miserable because of John. His wife might also be miserable, is putting on a brave front “fake it til ya make it!”, but has no idea WHY. And the whys are important. You feel crazy when you’re doing everything right and things are STILL feeling wrong. You think you’re the problem.

                    Does she deserve to know? Does she blame herself for her husband’s moods and distance? Does she deserve to know that it’s not her who’s causing this?

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                    • Pretty sure she doesn’t blame herself for anything. She’s a strong woman and like a lot of us, basically raising her children, and her spouse. Pretty sure her husband has always been moody, this didn’t just happen. The older woman may even pre-date the wife, actually pretty sure she did, but she was a drug, wife isn’t. Just like BE, John’s issues predate the marriage. Also, not sure there is any distance? The OW is dead. John is the same John she’s always known. Just because he shared in confidence to BE some of his deepest secrets, doesn’t mean anything is different. I had zero clue about my husband’s secret life. I wasn’t unhappy. I suspected nothing. BE had always been exactly as he was the day of discovery. A broken kid trying to be a successful adult. That part I knew. Just didn’t know he was addict broken. The women/porn/etc… were all distractions to the real underlying issues.

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                    • And there aren’t any OWs to be had? No more diseases to be exposed to?

                      Many of us Betrayed Wives were, are, and appear to be strong women. Many of us knew our husbands were a little “moody” and let their assholery through every once in a while. Because that was who they were. They were good-looking and usually well behaved and had sex with us all the time and stuffing down all the little, shitty things seemed worth it.

                      But cheating, leaving us out of the loop of reality, making our futures completely unstable? It’s cruel whether we know about it or not. What if John is spending marital assets and 401Ks and mortgaging their properties on porn sites, adult fees, and whores? Cheaters don’t keep their nastiness in one tidy box, safe from everyone… they just cover everyone else’s eyes.

                      And John thinks that the only one who deserves to live in Reality is John. We know that because that’s what he DOES. His sad sausage/poor me TALK is just that… talk. If he felt badly, truly, he would do something about it.

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                    • He told my husband and my guess is that was HUGE. I believe that long term OW who predated his wife was at one time a bandage on a very large wound. Then she became a very bad habit. Not sure about any of the other facets of their marriage. Doubt he’s cheated with anyone else or he would have divulged. And who ever really knows, both our husbands could be off cheating right now. I don’t think John thinks he’s the only one who deserves to live in reality. I think he’s scared. My husband felt like shit for years and never did anything about it.

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                    • Yes, absolutely correct. That’s what addicts do. From a very young age BE felt horrible about himself. Felt like he was the only one who masturbated and that it was bad. His parents made him believe he was a bad person. At BE’s first 12 step meeting he cried like a baby because for the first time he realized there were other men like him.

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                    • …and because of this, his wife didn’t deserve to know the reality of her marriage and how her husband’s adult, long-term choices against her and her future affected her.

                      John’s whore died. He didn’t change. His preferred flavor of drug was discontinued. He didn’t make some big choice to stop and change. He’s got a big whole and needs to fill it. His wife has no idea. He might give her an STD, if she doesn’t have one already, and fill up his black whole with their retirement.

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                    • Maybe, maybe not. John stopped sleeping with the OW years ago. She moved to our city to torture him. I am not defending John, just understanding him. I stated in my post this is a dilemma. I’ve made my decision based on what I do know and how I perceive my position in this situation.

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                    • Oh I totally understand where you’re coming from. We’re different people, you and I, different lives, different circumstances and all we can ever do is go with our instincts. A big melting pot of experiences and opinions. And we keep on spinning. Sorry I didn’t mean to abandon the convo. I had a meeting. Damn job. 🤪

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                    • I do think the sexual health aspect is a really hard one. Having contracted potentially life ending STIs, that is a factor to me in tell or not tell, and yet, it still does not filly compel me to think I should just tell everyone I suspect’s partner. I really don’t know what the answer really is. It is far more complex than black or white. I wish I had been able to protect myself. But it’s a bit of a shut the stable door after the horse is bolted situation as well. I would have already have contracted both STIs even if someone told me early in the affair.

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                    • I’m definitely not go to be the one to say anything, but I suppose BE could suggest to John that he get tested for STI/STDs. The affair was a long time ago and preceded the wife actually, so who knows what comes from where if in fact there are diseases to consider. It is so very complicated. Do most of the VDs have symptoms?

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                    • I know without symptoms there would have been absolutely no reason for me to be tested throughout our marriage. We were married in California in 1989 and a venereal disease test was required. We also had genetic testing because BE is Jewish and there are hereditary diseases that they test for. We both came back clean. We both had had a couple sexual partners prior to each other. HPV is scary. Did they find it because you had testing after finding out about Rog’s affair?

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                    • Yep. I was in my 40s, one sexual partner ever, 3 late teens, getting an STI screen. I cried in that consult. Silent tears seeping down my face. All that effort to stay safe, to educate my kids about safe sex and respect….the tears flowed.

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                    • I sent BE to the county clinic for a full panel and then I went to my internist. It was a tough and tearful conversation with her, but I wasn’t embarrassed as I know a lot of women are. Embarrassed or not, it needs to be done. I was just so very sad. Lots and lots of tears, basically for the innocence of what I thought my relationship with BE was. I remember the day well.

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                    • I wasn’t embarrassed either. Just gutted that my communication about if you ever fuck up, use a condom (due in no small part to my dad’s gay cheating in the 70s and 80s…) fell on deaf ears. I just said, never infect me. I have no way of protecting myself if I don’t know…waste of fucking breath

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                    • We never had that conversation I guess because I just assumed he would never ever do such a thing. His Dad gave him a condom to carry around in his wallet when he was in high school. His parents literally beat it into his head, no drinking, no drugs, no unprotected sex. EVER. Due to his medical issues, the no drinking and no drugs were critical to his survival… apparently “bareback” is more fun than life itself.

                      Liked by 1 person

            • Also, regarding amends, my husband could go ahead and do all the amends work he wanted for himself, but if he wasn’t willing to do something for me, then I didn’t really give a fuck. He hurt me desperately. If he wanted to/wants to stay in a relationship with me he better be doing amends every day and by that I mean being honest, sticking with his promises, being kind… basically being the partner I deserved all along. I also asked my husband to write a letter to his 8 year acting out partner. One that would never be sent. A letter where he was open and honest (in his recovery, not in his addiction) about what their relationship actually was. He finally did it and it really helped me believe in him. Believe he could do the hard work. I get that the addict looks at all this within his own little vacuum (and 12 step promotes this), but when an addict is trying to maintain a marriage, he better start thinking about the other people as well.

              “He’s as sick as his secrets.”

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              • I don’t mean his amends should only be for himself. I mean his amends need to be made for him to be the person he wants to be. In your case, his amends means being a better husband, provider, partner, and lover for you. That was is amends…by living the life he wants to be he is better for you.

                If he was only doing things to fix them for you eventually he would grow to resent them and find a new way to act out.

                That is why we make amends for ourselves.

                For example, if a partner is a relationship that isn’t where they want to be the amends means leaving, even if it hurts the other person.

                That’s what I intend.

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                • Absolutely. BE is the one begging to stay. I never ever cheated on him or turned my back on him when he needed me. He’s lucky to have me, but he knows where the door is if he doesn’t want to continue doing the work necessary to be a viable partner.

                  Liked by 1 person

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