Another Neighborhood Marriage Bites the Dust

by Doug

As I was getting the mail out of our mailbox recently, our next-door neighbor, Dave, pulls up onto his driveway, gets out of his car and saunters over to me.  As he approaches, he says, “I don’t know if you’ve heard…but Pat and I are getting a divorce and we’re selling our house.”

I think my jaw hit the ground.

I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me! I’m shocked and so sorry to hear that.”

He replied, “Yeah, we just don’t have anything in common anymore.  We’ve been together for 42 years and married for 36, and we just drifted apart…” (It was evident that this wasn’t a mutual decision and that he was the one who was driving the breakup.)

After a few more minutes of discussion, our conversation ended and I scurried into the house.  I immediately told Linda and the shocked expression on her face was quite evident as well.  Her very first question was, “Is there another woman?”

I said, “I don’t know, but I doubt it.  Who would want Dave?” 

It turns out I was very wrong.

Dave and Pat

Dave and Pat have been great neighbors of ours for a little over ten years.  They are a very outgoing, friendly, caring, helpful couple.  But they also could be a little irritating at times.  Both are the type who are often just a bit too happy.  You know the type. The loud, bubbly type who hysterically laughs at things that aren’t that funny – which comes off as being somewhat fake. 

Dave also seemed to talk about only three subjects: Tattoos, guns (he’s a competitive shooter) and their dogs.

Dave also has a way of turning every conversation back to be about him.  As an example, Linda just had her knee scoped, and Dave asked her how it went.  Linda replied simply by saying, “Pretty good.”   Rather than asking any further questions for clarity or how she was feeling, etc., Dave instead went off on a 10-minute spiel about his own knee operation experience.  He does that sort of thing all the time.  (A bit of narcissism perhaps?)

I’m sure that there are things about Linda and I that annoy them as well.  But all in all we got along great.

Some of the Signs

Anyways, we had noticed over the last several months that there were changes that were going on with them.  For starters, they weren’t hanging out on their deck like they used to.  Every evening Dave would to sit in his Adirondack chair with a drink, a laptop and a cigar – for hours, while Pat would read a book or work on one of her craft projects.  Now, they seemed to just come home from work, close their garage door and stay in for the night.  Linda and I had often wondered aloud about what the heck was going on with them.

The biggest changes we saw were with Dave.  Over the last year or so, he’d gone from having one tattoo on his shoulder that he has had for years, to the point where he now has a “sleeve” on both arms.  He was so proud of his tattoos that he didn’t think twice about ripping his shirt off on Easter Sunday and showing my daughters – and anyone else who would take notice.  He also wore “wife-beaters” virtually every day – and everywhere – to show them off. (midlife crisis, perhaps?)

The other thing that I noticed with Dave is that no matter when you talked to him – morning, daytime or nighttime – you could smell alcohol on his breath.  And on the rare occasions that you didn’t, he was never in a very good mood or the least bit talkative.

Also, on the weekends they would rarely do anything together.  Dave would go shooting, workout or run errands, while Pat would go off on her own, doing whatever it was she was doing. 

So, two weeks pass since my shocking encounter with Dave at our mailbox and neither Linda or myself had an opportunity to talk alone with Pat about what was going on.  Well, last Sunday Linda was out watering our veggie garden and Pat was out doing the same.  So, Linda went over and gave her a big hug and talked for quite a long time.

Here’s what we now know…

  • Obviously, the “we don’t have anything in common anymore” line was a load of crap.  Dave met a 30-something waitress while on a work-related trip to Phoenix a year or so ago.  They’ve been communicating ever since via text and Facebook, and he’s made a few additional work trips out there as well. 
  • The other woman has two young kids and lots of tattoos.   (There’s no doubt that the tattoos were the common thread that brought them together.  Dave would often approach other people in bars and breweries who had tattoos and strike up a conversation.) Is being a 58-year-old step dad in the cards? 
  • Pat also thinks that he has some sort of a relationship with a  woman who lives locally as well.  Though the details on this person are still a bit fuzzy.  (More info to come perhaps?) 
  • Dave is carrying on as if everything is hunky-dory and that they’re going to be friends after the divorce.  Pat says, “To hell with that!”
  • Their adult kids are pissed off and refuse to talk with Dave.
  • Dave is indeed an alcoholic and often self-medicates with other prescription drugs.  He is also ADHD.   I would think that as a quality control engineer, he must be a fairly high functioning alcoholic.  (Or the quality of the products where he works – suck!) 
  • Dave is very self-centered. (We already knew this!)
  • Pat is moving into an apartment at the end of the month, while Dave is buying a townhouse closer to his work.  She will eventually move back to New York (Dave was transferred here ten years ago.)
  • They are sending their two beloved golden retrievers to live temporarily with their daughter and her husband in New York.
  • They had planned on retiring in a couple of years.  The impending divorce will destroy that notion.
  • Pat is done.

I’m sure there is more that Linda relayed to me that I’m forgetting, but it sure seems like a familiar script that is being played out.

There must be something in the water!

The thing that is very curious to both Linda and I, is that on our 22-house cul-de-sac neighborhood, there have been 6 marriages that have experienced infidelity (including ours).  Four ended in divorce while the other two survived. 

Linda brought that up to me the other day and asked what the difference was between those who have made it and those who chose divorce.

We briefly thought about it and there was one very general  observation (as we don’t know each circumstance intimately) that we came up with:

None of the couples that divorced tried to save their marriages after the infidelity was discovered. 

Either the betrayed partner decided that infidelity was a deal breaker, or the unfaithful person left the marriage. (3 of the unfaithful persons wound up living with and/or marrying their affair partners.  It still remains to be seen what Dave will do.)

None of these couples went to counseling.  They didn’t stick around for several weeks or months to try and work things out.  Nothing.  They pretty much filed for divorce right away. 

Those that are still married (including us) put in the work, struggled and fought for their marriage.  And one thing that rang true in both instances…there was a strong woman who fought like hell for her marriage and wouldn’t give up, while their dumbass husband was trying to figure their shit out. (This is not to say that it couldn’t have been a strong man and a dumbass wife.  But in this instance, it was the other way around.)

This situation next door is not a pleasant one and it really sucks.  We hate to see our neighbors go – and another marriage end!

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Photo credit:  Jesper Sehested

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45 Responses to Another Neighborhood Marriage Bites the Dust

  1. Nearly Normal August 28, 2018 at 11:04 am #

    Sad story, Doug.

    I have heard another spouse approaching divorce say, “We’ve drifted apart,” but there was actually infidelity by the one who said it.

    Out of curiosity, since you mention dumbass husbands/wives, of the six cases of infidelity in your neighborhood, were they all male? If you don’t feel comfortable saying, don’t sweat it.

    • Doug August 28, 2018 at 12:26 pm #

      Hey NN, Yes I think the “We’ve drifted apart” phrase is basically the same as “I love you but I’m not in love with you” – and we all know that often means there’s infidelity. Anyways, 5 of the 6 infidelity cases in our neighborhood were males. All but one were long-term marriages – 15 years or more, and the one that wasn’t was the instance where the unfaithful was a female (less than 5 years married).

  2. Hopeful August 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm #

    I find it to be such a chronic occurrence that others do not hear what you say or ask any questions. It is very rare that someone listens to everything I say and then asks a follow up question. Or if I ask them a question they never ask a question back. And I just happen to know everything about their life and they know nothing about me. It seems to be a societal issue in my opinion. I was raised the opposite to not talk about myself and ask many questions. Taking an interest in others and being a conversationalist is a lost art form these days.

  3. Rose August 29, 2018 at 12:56 am #

    But here’s the thing. We NEVER know what’s going on with anyone. My husband’s cousin…sister of the other cousin who was trying to get into his pants–has said to me on numerous occasions “But you guys are the PERFECT couple!!” Really? Did it look that way because we never argued in public? She’s not the only one who has said that. People don’t have any idea what I’ve gone through. How could we possibly know about others?

  4. Sarah P. August 29, 2018 at 4:32 am #

    Doug,

    Great article but my heart breaks for Pat. I hope she gets 80% of his assets and then finds her own 30-year-old waiter.

    We are back from Hawaii and survived the hurricane… not a great experience, but we are alive.

    Wanted to talk about that “something in the water” thing Doug mentioned. He said:

    “The thing that is very curious to both Linda and I, is that on our 22-house cul-de-sac neighborhood, there have been 6 marriages that have experienced infidelity (including ours). Four ended in divorce while the other two survived.”

    I am going to do the math. Let’s round 22 down to 20. Let’s round 6 up to 7.

    20X5 = 100

    7×5 = 35

    That means Doug and Linda live in a cul-de-sac where around 35% of the couples have experienced affairs. (I did not use exact math.)

    That seems about right in terms of the statistics and is average for a random sampling. It doesn’t matter if you are in a cul-de-sac in the Midwest or an apartment in Manhattan or a suburb of Los Angeles. No matter where you go, human nature does not change.

    That thing in the water is called HUMAN NATURE.

    Anytime my husband announces a male coworker or acquaintance has filed for divorce, I say, “So that does the other woman look like?”

    He always says, “Well it could be that some people grow apart.”

    And I say, “Yes, people do ‘grow apart’ when another woman has gotten in between you.’

    And he will say, “But so-and-so is “such a nice guy” and he could not possibly do that.”

    And I will say, “I wager a bet on our entire retirement fund that so-and-so the ALLEGED ‘nice guy’ is a cheater. I have NEVER heard of a man file for divorce unless there was at least one back-up, preferably two. I do not know of any man who wants to give up a marriage where his wife cooks, cleans, and provides regular companionship just so he can loose half of his income, endanger his retirement, tick off his children and lose his maid (aka wife) just because they grew apart. A man NEVER leaves that set-up unless there are tangible back-ups in line.”

    And he will disagree. And I will say go ask the gossip grapevine. And 100% of the time I am right.

    By the way, some betrayed male spouses will leave because their wife refuses to stop cheating. But, I have seen most stick it out if they can because who wants to break up a family?

    It reminded me of this story that still angers me to this day. When my husband and I were in our 30’s, my H worked with this really nice nurse who was in her 60’s and close to retirement. She was the nicest, most ethical, sweetest, and giving person. She won awards because of patient care. Both she and her H had been professionals so that they could retire and live their dream life. They had just bought a brand new sailboat and they had also bought land in a beautiful part of our state where their is an adorable touristy town in the mountains. They were having a gorgeous and huge brand-new house built on acreage. The nurse was making all the design decisions because that was a “woman’s job” according to her husband. Then one day, her husband wanted to decorate. He became very adamant about changing the floor plan (which they did and which cost a lot of money) and choosing everything from the wood floors to the countertops. They were not her taste but he became so angry when his wife said no to his decorating choices that he would pitch a fit. His wife did not want to lose her marriage over decorating choices so she let him take over. Then, he wanted to start sleeping on the sailboat so that he could putter around it and get used to it. She had to commute and so she could not sleep on the boat with him. When my husband told me all of this, I told him her marriage might be in trouble and maybe he could gently ask her to figure out why the sudden change with her husband. Well, he was too embarrassed to do that and did not want to scare her. I don’t blame him because she was the last person on earth anyone would want to see hurt and it could have caused unnecessary suspicion. (Well, this is before I started writing for EAJ as well.) The day came when their enormous, custom lodge on acreage in the mountains with river-frontage was done being built. She was so excited to see it for the first time and he had told her to wait until the weekend. Before the weekend came, he filed her with divorce papers. Then he took his lover, who he had met at his professional job, up to the lodge to “christen it.” His wife never got to see it. He threw her away for his much younger lover. He retired, he married his lover, and they are living in that beautiful custom dream home in the mountains lazing the days away. To this day, the nurse is still single and devastated.

    Stories like this make me lose faith in humanity. I am still heart-sick about this. His wife’s good nature, unconditional trust, and kindness caused her to believe her husband was the same way. She never saw the red flags. She couldn’t even (metaphorically speaking) see the color red, so how could she recognize a red flag? It would have been too far outside her context of how life worked.

    I cannot imagine the unbearable pain to be married for years, have a family, save all those years for a retirement– build the dream home you worked for and saved for, for 40 years– and then when the dream was finally realized, have it all taken away by a husband who had no conscience and another woman who also had no conscience. She saw $$ signs and an early retirement. She was glad to take advantage of it, even if it meant destroying an ENTIRE family with adult children and grandchildren.

    It also reminds me of another weird story. I helped my husband find his first job. He still works within the same company but has switched locations. The head doctor (a man) assigned his wife (a nurse) to be my husband’s Monday-Thursday nurse. (His Friday medical assistant was a spouse poacher but that is another insane story). Anyhow, the head doctor and his nurse wife were eager to befriend us, even though they were much older. They all had grown kids and few friends. They had just married a couple of years before. The story they told us was that he had been married for 25 years and one day looked up at his wife with a PhD and was no longer in love with her because she was ‘too intellectual.’ So he divorced her for being ‘too intellectual.’ Low and behold… after his divorce came through, he and the nurse were sitting in a staff meeting and locked eyes and decided they were soul mates. This nurse was single– divorced twice with adult kids from two different men. Of course, they had worked together for 15 whole years but only (allegedly) “noticed each other” after his divorce was final. So since he was my H’s boss, we would go and have dinner with them as couples. I was always slightly uncomfortable with the nurse/wife of his boss because she said very little and was very careful with her words. She always appeared to be observing me and sizing me up. (I was pregnant). And anytime I would ask her questions, they were yes and no answers. She smiled and played coy and pretended to be this very moral person. And I could not judge because they got married while they were single.

    But then I got a “second opinion” but not intentionally.

    I wanted to have my child in a hospital and hour away where I had used to live and where my OB was located. So I had my first child in a massive hospital system that was different than the one my H worked for. During my three days there, many nurses came in and out. As we were being discharged, one last nurse came in and was showing us how to use the car seat properly and talking about discharge paperwork. She found out my H was a doctor and asked where he worked. My husband told her where. She asked if “head doctor” was his boss. He said head doctor was his boss. Her face went white as a ghost. She asked if ‘head doctor’ was married to ‘nurse.’ My husband said that was correct– that they had met when single. Well, this nurse had a far different story because this nurse was best friends with head doctor’s ex wife. In fact this labor and delivery nurse and her own husband had been friends with head doctor and head doctor’s ex wife for those past 25 years. This L/D nurse told us that the reason head doctor and his wife grew apart was because of the nurse head doctor was now married to. I asked her if there was an affair. The L/D nurse said her best friend (head doctors ex wife) had found the evidence of an affair but head doctor refused to admit it and instead invented an alternative story. I was in shock. My husband simply refused to believe it. Well, my intuition told me it was correct. That would explain why when head doctor and nurse wife hung out with me and my H, nurse wife was so guarded around me. People who meet me in person soon find out I have extremely strong ethics. I give off that vibe by the way I “show up” in real life, by the way I conduct myself, and by the way I speak. So I am sure that wife/nurse could see that about me even though we never discussed infidelity. She could probably tell that I would lose all respect for her– and I would have. I did not really like her in the first place because I always sensed extreme insincerity. The last time we socialized them was when I put my foot down. My H was moving to another hospital within the same system. About a month before that, the hospital group held a dinner dance. Our child was about a year and half. So I bought a very classy floor length gown and we went to the dinner dance. Head doctor and nurse/wife wanted to hang out with us and of course my H was still enamored by their ‘social face.’ I had seen through it. Head doctor and nurse/wife got drunk. My husband and I do not drink alcohol. I have not been able to drink alcohol since my mid-20’s because it causes my genetic disease to become active. But, my H doesn’t drink alcohol because he thinks it is a disastrous lifestyle choice. So we were sober. Head doctor announces all four of us should dance. And we all stood up. Head doctor grabbed me by the arm and pulled me onto the dance floor. Head doctor yelled to my H to dance with nurse/wife. I looked at my H to see what his reaction would be. Well, my H would never say no to his boss so he gave me a look like “just grin and bear it.” I watched my H dance appropriately with nurse/wife. He danced in front of her and did not touch her. In the meantime, (and this process took about 5 seconds) head doctor had pulled me into his body and put his face on my neck and all I could smell was alcohol and all I could feel was a hard on. So, I immediately broke away from him and said I was ‘dizzy’ and sat down and waved for my husband to come back. I pretended as if nothing happened so head doctor could save face. I pretended as if I was dizzy from dancing and just wanted to chill out. Then I let a few minutes pass and said we needed to get home to our infant. On the way home, I told my H what his boss did. My H simply could not believe it because his boss was such a “nice guy.” (And of course, this is when I also realized that the labor and delivery nurse that I had met was definitely telling the truth– head doctor and nurse had an affair and that was why he left his intellectual wife). My H and I were 31 years old at the time and head boss was in his early 50’s. Head boss and nurse/wife organized a going away party for us. I could not bring myself to go and I became physically ill thinking about it. I could not stand the stress of seeing head doctor again. So, my husband called them and said I had gotten ill. I told him to PLEASE go to the party without me, but he opted to stay home. I went to bed for the night and I have not seen head doctor or his nurse/wife since. Thank God. That was over 15 years ago and I still don’t want to have anything to do with them.

    By the way, at 31, I drastically tightened by boundaries after that. I had a long talk with my husband about being a married woman and how as a married woman I should not dance with any other man because it was not appropriate. It was better to draw a hard line than to open oneself up to that again. At that point we had a long talk about how we should conduct ourselves as a married couple. We agreed not to have close friends of the opposite gender and we agreed that we would be professional at work and draw lines. When I say a “close friend of the opposite gender,” I am NOT talking about being friendly to people of the opposite gender, not talking about shooting the breeze with people of the opposite gender, or talking about recent movies, books, or making small talk about life and general happenings with the opposite gender. That’s fine. It’s what people do in social settings.

    When I say no close friends of the opposite gender I mean that neither of us would have dinner one-on-one with the opposite gender alone. Neither of us would have a text buddy of the opposite gender where we were texting that person day and night. Neither of us would Facebook. Neither of us would have secret email accounts or secret phone numbers. (My computer and email is password protected and so is his. Our phones are also password protected. We do not share passwords since private info about others comes to our email accounts. I don’t talk to him about the people I help and I don’t ask about his patients. And he has no access to email accounts where people email me private info about their lives. I behave as as therapist in that everything about others is kept private). And we agreed that we would not tell people things that we had not first told our spouse. So, any time I complain about my H or my in-laws, he KNOWS. I have taken these issues up with him many times. He would never be surprised if he were to read things I tell others because I have always discussed such things with him first and usually many times over. Of course, I only talk about 5% of my relationship with him to others and keep it to the minimum on this blog. But, my rule is, if I cannot say it to him, I don’t say it to anyone else. And even then, I keep it to a minimum.

    Whether he abides by those rules, I don’t know. He is his own keeper. I am my own keeper.

    With my ex-fiance, I had no rules. Vacations for him to see female friends without me? Sure. His female friends staying with us? Sure. He had lots of female friends. Dinners out with female friends without me? Sure. He needed to spend hours counseling his female friends through a break up? Sure! We had an understanding that we were a monogamous couple. We had discussed monogamy at length and what monogamy was: you don’t hold hands, kiss, declare your love to someone, or have sex with someone outside of our relationship. If you start to become attracted to someone else, you talk it through as a couple. He agreed to these rules and I TRUSTED him. There was no leash or boundaries because we were both adults. Well, he wanted the rules to apply to me but NOT to him. But, stupid me did not have to know the rules applied ONLY to me. Because he was so special that the rules applied to everyone else in the world except for him. He was too special for rules of common decency. But no, he would not tell me that– he would just pretend so that I would be loyal while he did who knows what. Also, this was before I had heard the concept of an emotional affair. So I did not realize having a close female friend could lead to an emotional affair and that could lead straight to the bedroom. I had no clue. Because when I had male friends, it never turned into anything. I had always had a lot of male friends– many of them gay men. And also female friends. We all hung out in large groups together. I was used to having groups of male and female friends and a male friend was never converted over to a boyfriend…. except for my ex-fiance. That was the only time that had happened and it was wild. I did not know it was possible. He was attractive but came off as ‘goofy.’ One night we went dancing with a group and I learned that ‘goofy’ act he put on was a social face. We both drank a beer and his ‘goofy act’ dropped. And we went from just friends to more-than-friends over the course of three hours. I had no idea what was below the surface until I saw for myself. And he and I had an insane attraction to each other that lasted our whole relationship. And I learned the difficult lesson that you can have an insane attraction to someone emotionally, intellectually, and physically and it doesn’t make a difference in terms of whether or not that person will cheat. The therapists I had tried talking to about it had nothing to say. My case broke the old model of how they treated infidelity. I did everything right according to the old model of infidelity and he still cheated.

    So there are my thoughts on infidelity for the day. I don’t understand why people must hurt others. I told my fiance if he ever was attracted to someone else and felt it couldn’t work, he had to tell me and he had to tell me the truth– that is he met someone else and he had fallen in love. And he promised. But he was too cowardly to do even that.

    Sarah

    • Hopeful August 30, 2018 at 1:46 am #

      I am glad you are all home safe! I totally agree with you related to all of these stories. My husband is the same way and always gives others the benefit of doubt. He says or used to say I was negative or seeing the worst in people. To me it is reality. People reveal themselves. And I totally agree that no married man is going to divorce and leave his current situation without something lined up. My husband is the perfect example. He thought about leaving me since he did not admit to what he did. He never wanted to leave but due to the shame and wanting to save face he seriously thought about it. But he never did that. I think a big factor for men is their image, the worry about the kids and financial is a huge one.

      • Sarah P. August 30, 2018 at 5:36 am #

        Hello Hopeful,

        Thank you for your comment and good to hear from you. 🙂

        Lol– being negative and seeing the worst in people. I look at facts. And most of the time the facts are UGLY. Recognizing the facts has nothing to do with negativity!!

        Sarah

        • Hopeful August 30, 2018 at 9:01 am #

          Exactly! I could not agree more. Just another form or example of gaslighting. Something was always wrong with what I was doing. Everyone else was fine just not me. It never made sense to me. That was the benefit to dday. I was not crazy for those 10+ years. It was his way to cope and make himself feel like less of a person.

  5. Rose August 29, 2018 at 7:55 pm #

    What do you guys think about the privacy Sarah mentioned? My computer and phone are both password protected. H has no access to either and that’s the way it’s going to stay. We are not Facebook friends and it is staying that way too. He used to want access to my email; I said no. I said I am not hiding anything, but I don’t want to have everything reviewed and scanned because I can’t trust him at all. He once found my high school diary years ago and scanned it all to a hard drive (which I found and destroyed). That’s another long story but he will NEVER have any access to my information except the financial things we share on a Google drive (not my personal financial info). I see no reason for him to get into my email. Now, that said, he is a delete-aholic. Every day for years now he has deleted emails, DAILY, even though he says I can get in anytime I want. Earlier this year he was pissed that I was looking at his Facebook messages, but then again, he had a lot to hide. He got into the habit of deleting texts and emails a few years ago with A#2 and has kept it up. Even though I told him he didn’t have permission to delete anything, it continues. But do you think any kind of privacy is important in a marriage? Even if we had a “normal” marriage? I’m just too private of a person and don’t want to worry about what I say or how I say it for fear of getting the third degree—even if I’m not doing anything wrong!

    • Hopeful August 30, 2018 at 1:42 am #

      I think anything that is said or done should not be kept a secret. Before dday I was more flexible on this. However after being lied to for 10+ years to my face that was a boundary I set. Granted I cannot have access to my husband’s emails for work or his answering service calls due to being in the mental health field and patient confidentiality. There is no getting around that. Saying all of this in this day and age with technology if someone wants to find a way to communicate or cheat without someone knowing they will. My expectation has been that nothing should be kept secret. He uses the standard that I or our kids should be able to see anything he says, sends, posts etc. He says he feels so much better knowing he has nothing to hide. I have passwords to everything except his work email. I have access to his credit card, bank account etc. He has never asked for mine but he knows that he can trust me 100%. But I do not worry that he would turn anything against me or use anything I have on file.

  6. Rose August 30, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    Hopeful, I might agree if my H were a different person. But he has been so deceptive to me our ENTIRE marriage that I feel I get to keep some things secret now. For example, I keep a journal on my laptop. After he tried to get into those files, I encrypted them. He doesn’t get to read that…no how, no way.

  7. bor August 30, 2018 at 12:26 pm #

    Privacy at work or home leaves your marriage vulnerable. We must trust our spouse to be their own keeper. She used her work computer and phone to keep her secret second life. In the wake of my wifes affair citing her need for privacy or she could get fired if the company knew i had used her computer. That wasn’t going to work, we had marriages coaches from marriage helper and our own counselors tell her that she needed to give me access but she didn’t. This allowed her to continue her affair even while in counseling. After three relapses and a final last chance grab at trying to lure her AP back. every time it was with her work computer which she uses exclusively we have two home computers that she rarely uses except if she needs to print something from home. If i could i would put key logger on her work computer. I cannot trust her good intentions in not being transparent. I said she has to allow me to see her work computer if i ask for us going forward. It took till almost 2 years for her to give me complete access and it has delayed and destroyed much of my love for her. To constantly have to trust what the US says leaves the BS in an unsafe environment and wears the BS out to the point of not being able to be all in and live a detached life as to the outcome of the relationship. This has cost us years to rebuild and keeps our marriage in crisis as i am now ambivalent about do i want to stay. She has relapsed to her old self and i find that concerning as far as i have asked her to try to be more open to new rituals of habit and have had much resistance to her doing anything that doesn’t feel “natural”. Our LMFT has asked her to put more personal effort into meeting my needs as it seems i am able to meet hers she has no complaints. I am waiting to see how it is going to work out.

    Can anyone comment on an EFT counselor? I mentioned this at counseling and was told by the LMFT that she thought it was too formulaic and not individualized. I know Affair recovery Rick Reynolds has a positive opinion for it to help the US gain empathy. Thoughts?

    • Hopeful August 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

      I understand. Unfortunately my husband would loose his license and violate patient confidentiality if I had access to his work email, computer and phone calls. Saying that he had zero issues at work with staff or patients. He never miss stepped in the slightest in that environment. He kept his betrayal very secretive and compartmentalized. We had major discussions and boundary setting related to all aspects of life. Even though there were no issues we dissected every part of his life and the expectations. There is no way to ever know 100% what he is doing. He never spent a dime on these women in the 10+ years however he took cash out. Never in unreasonable amounts but I would have no idea if he paid for anything with that. And with secret apps, burner phones, free emails etc really anything can be done. I did check everything for a while after dday. I got to the point where I told him I am not a private detective, I am not your mother, I will not spend my life checking in on you. We have set boundaries I expect you to follow them. If there is any deviation it is best to own up to it and tell me immediately and we will deal with it together.

      I am not familiar with that type of therapy. The only I have experience with is cognitive behavioral therapy. I did not focus on the type but found someone who was licensed and specialized in infidelity. My therapist had a long career, had seen and heard everything. Also I wanted a therapist that was open to helping me through whether I stayed with my husband or left him. Not all are that way.

    • Fatherof4 August 30, 2018 at 2:51 pm #

      I agree that if the spouse knows you can watch their phone, emails etc there is nothing to stop them from using burners, secret emails, or other phone apps to communicate to side step your monitoring. My advice, GPS the car. If they are lying to you about where they are going & spending their time, they are lying about the communication as well. You’ll know pretty quick. Then throw in the towel and get a good lawyer.

  8. Rose August 30, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

    My H did that too…after promising me no contact, he used his work phone and email with her. He could have been fired had he been found out. I had no access to those devices at the time. I thought about doing a keylogger but decided against it. It would not have made a difference; the CS will always find a way if that’s what they want to do.

  9. Rose August 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm #

    BTW, talking about gaslighting…he’s tried it twice this week after not doing it for years. The first time this week, it was something he said I told him but I have no memory of it. Two days ago, I asked him to take some meat downstairs and put it in the fridge. I found it in two different freezers yesterday. Last night I said “I asked you to put this in the fridge” and he said “No, you specifically said to put it in the freezers.” It reminded me of the old days where he tried to make me think I was nuts by making things up and moving things out if their places so I said “I’m not nuts. You heard it the wrong way.” He got angry and went to bed because I called him on it.

  10. Sarah P. August 30, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

    Bor,

    I have read studies about emotionally focused therapy and if it is helpful for infidelity. While some individuals feel EFT has worked wonders, the research indicates its not the best healing modality for infidelity.

    However, on a personal level, I love EFT. I think it’s great.

    My fear with your wife is that she might have a personality disorder. Personality disorders are resistant to any type of therapy. However, if they agree to therapy, it needs to be REBT. That’s the only one shown by research to break through to some people with personality disorders.

    I am sorry about everything.

    • Bor August 31, 2018 at 4:57 pm #

      Albert Ellis, i ran across his work during this whole thing, i found the rebt very interesting and did look to find a REBT therapist that also specializes in infidelity. i haven’t seen any certified rebt in my searches where i live. my biggest issue seems to be find someone that is helping the US see their issues and work through them. Our LMFT therapist seems to think it was just my wife acting out. no other motive. So where does that leave me? Why did she feel the need to act out? These are questions that she likes to tell me”because you …..” I have a hard time taking the blame because I was or wasn’t doing something. I think The why Answers need to start with “because I ….Think a certain way about men, have hid in my shame, Flirt to get attention, feel validated because of low self esteem etc…” I need her to really be introspective and give me a solid explanations. I just feel like i am hanging on to someone i just cant trust to be there for me with out her doing her own work.

      If i could find fault in me i would own it and be a lot more sure of the why. We were both unhappy with the marriage at the time but only one of us decided to cheat and then couldn’t stop them selves after discovery. She went to counseling during the emotional affair to get marital help. Yet she did not invite me to therapy, and couldn’t admit to the therapist what was going on for over six months of secret lunches, emails, texts phone calls and yes personal visits to his house to hang out. I would have to be crazy and stupid to think that she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong. She hid it all, to me our Au Pair, family. Only shared it with a couple of work friends and a girl friend who is my non verbal sons RPM therapist to help him communicate. Her friend told her what she was doing was wrong. The therapist lived only a few blocks from the AP so my wife would lie to me about going to her house. thus the need for my wife to put her friend in the position to hide or not hide her affair. Her friend chose to hide the affair by providing the alibi if needed when questions were asked. Where do I find a therapist that is going to call out her for the issues she may look at and look deep?

      • Sarah P. September 1, 2018 at 12:04 am #

        Hi Bor,

        Yes, Albert Ellis is great– the founder of REBT and the first form of CBT.

        I have never looked into whether or not an REBT certification exists. One of the people I respect most is Marsha Linehan. She founded DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). It has been found to really help with borderline personality disorder and other severe and complex mental disorders, particularly those that involve serious emotional dysregulation.

        Bor, I am hearing their are bigger issues in your family besides her affair. What is the story with your non-verbal son? If he has a Rapid Prompting Method therapist, that would indicate he is on the autism spectrum and he is one of the 30% who are non-verbal.

        Having a child on the spectrum is a strain on any marriage. I have a child on the spectrum.

        You are dealing with several things:

        -An unhappy marriage for both of you
        -A marriage where she acted on the unhappiness but you did not
        -A non-verbal child on the autism spectrum
        -A wife who has no insight and is unable to get you the answers you need

        Bor, I want to know where your children fit into this picture. How many of them do you have?

        How many of them have different issues and what are the issues?

        Is your wife still having the affair?

        As a mom and wife, I would first want to find out how your kids are doing.

        Because if you wife was off having in affair, she probably was not being a mom. That must have been difficult for them. What is the fall-out here? Are they aware?

        What I would like to see is how your kids are doing and figure out how to put your family back together. Instead of focusing on her getting insight right now, I want to know what your family life looks like. I want to know what is happening with the kids and who is caring for them.

        I want to know how they are impacted. I want to know if she is being a mom.

        Anytime there are children at home, both parents need to find a way to create stability throughout this time. A stressful home causes autism to get worse– much worse. So, I really want to know where your family stands.

        I would recommend family therapy with a therapist who knows family systems and is sensitive to what families with children who have special needs require as support. I think you need to look at where the kids fit first. I really want to know how they are doing.

        My marriage has had ups and downs, but I have always been mindful about my children’s needs first. That is– how are they affected by the ups and downs? I attend to my husband’s needs too, but as an adult I need to ensure my children are shielded from ups and downs.

        So what is the scoop? Would you like to email me?

        Sarah

        • Bor September 2, 2018 at 10:45 am #

          Hello Sarah, certain truths are universal about affairs.You can’t be giving your attention to a new relationship and be giving your attention to your family. Yes she wasn’t being a great mom during her affair. She is now. what is the damage to my kids? That i wonder about. I have 4 at the time of her affair they were 11 boy girl twins boy with Autism. boy 14, boy 17. They all know. My wife used the autistic boy to go over to his apartment so he could ride the elevator. My daughter knew of him from reike. It was something mother daughter used to do before the affair. She had my daughter go with the AP during the physical part of her affair to a matrix energetic s training seminar. Both of these items I wonder how much of this had caused my autistic son to go into a health spiral. I found notes she had written during that time that she wondered the same thing. if she was responsible for his medical issues. If she was she compartmentalized them and continued. Nothing was going to stop her affair only if the AP cut it off. My son lost both a retina from self injurious behaviors and came down with a mysterious spasms symptoms that my wife at that time wife was completely ineffectual with dealing with. The medical was in her name and i had my own separate, kids were under her. I begged her to get my son off some medications she put him on to the point of tears. I begged her to take him to an ophthalmologist, when he started to hit himself in the eyes. I had to fashion a make shift hocky helmet and mittens with duct tape to keep him from doing this. All the while he would cramp so bad that it looked like he was suffering from tetnus. Wiki tetnus. He had every one of the symptoms. My wife was insisting we go to yellowstone after he had his first 7 hour retina surgery. I was there she wasn’t. My 14yer old asked me what was up with mom? I was beside myself, alone. I had a moth prior to that had rotator cuff surgery. my wife didn’t come with me nor did she stay home that night. My au pair did. If fact if it wasn’t for the au pair it would have been near impossible for her to have carried on the affair. My daughter now feels and is now in counseling for transgendered issues she feels she has. I have to reflect that she has anxiety issues and self issues. She has always been harder on her self then necessary. So how much of that is fall out from the affair piled on? She watched me crumble as a father from what emotionally the affair did to me.

  11. Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 12:49 am #

    Hello all,

    Just chiming in about privacy and affairs. The world caters to wayward spouses and they have all the tools they need to hide an affair. It’s easy to carry on a double life. I have seen some cheaters use a strategy were there are no passwords on anything at home and no Facebook accounts or social media. They create an air of transparency intentionally to make their betrayed spouse feel secure. Then have a burner phone and possibly burner laptop that they keep at work in a locked desk drawer. If they work in a corporation, this is the easiest way of all to carry on a double life. A spouse cannot just walk through corporate doors and look for their husband. They must announce themselves, get a security badge, and get escorted upstairs. Many people have desks that lock in their cubes. Even if a wife or husband were to show up at their spouse’s corporate office, they would not be able to go through the desk drawers. Sometimes, people actually had lockers that locked in addition to their desks and the lockers were in a completely separate area. When I worked in corporate environments, it was HIGHLY frowned upon to bring family members into the office anyways. Families were supposed to wait in the lobby and if someone wanted to introduce their coworker friends to their spouse, the spouse would wait in the lobby and the employees would come down and they would all go to lunch. So, if someone is in the corporate world, leading a double life is easy as pie– especially if the affair partner is a coworker. Trackers on a car may not help because affair partners at work simply go to the corporate cafeteria for lunch or find a quiet spot somewhere on the corporate campus to carry on an affair. And yes, people going into the broom closest is real.

    It’s even easier at places like Microsoft– almost every employee has their own office with a locking door and no window into the office. These offices are large and when Microsoft is “getting ready to ship,” it is not uncommon for employees to have a fold-out bed or sometimes a futon in their office and they sleep in their office all week and keep 5-days worth of clothing there. Microsoft has showers and restaurants onsite. The campus is a “cheater’s dream” because if someone wanted to carry on an affair with a coworker, there would be no way for a spouse to know if the cheating spouse keeps the burner phones and laptops in their locked office. Then they could also have sex in the office. And then go take a shower. There would be no trace of an affair partner that is a coworker unless the cheating spouse brings home an STD or if the other person contacts the betrayed spouse. I loved Microsoft’s set up when I was there– but this was before my fiance had an affair. I did not even think it would be the perfect place for an affair– I just thought it was a great work environment for tech workers. I loved the private offices and the restaurants, gym, showers, and everything else on-site.

    I think some forms of privacy are helpful, in terms of self-protection for the betrayed spouse. Rose gave the example of her husband going through her high school journal. That was NONE of his business.

    I had a jealous boyfriend one time. He found all this artwork I did before I met him. The artwork had nothing to do with him, but they were my sketchbooks, and I wanted to one day write a graphic novel with them. Graphic novels are a genre different than “comic books.” They have illustrations, but maybe not on every page. Their plots are usually about human interactions, rather than superhero stories. There was nothing offensive in them– but I had not made copies of them and he tore all them up just to get revenge. So much original art went missing. I had sent some copies of my art to a good friend overseas, but that friend lost some of it in a fire and recently sent me scans of what was left for a birthday present. The friend knew my ex tore up most of my originals all those years ago. Why did he do that? He got mad at me one day for something trivial. I was not paying enough attention to him and spending too much time sketching and also trying to meet some deadlines for some documentaries I was working on during my early 20’s. All of the documentaries were educational type stuff– all rated G– and I sold them to high schools and universities. But, my projects took the attention off him and so he destroyed about 7 years worth of sketches, paintings, and stories. YES, I broke up with him soon after that.

    Anyhow, I have found that people who are emotionally abusive will do things like that. Or they will get in and read your private diaries or things that have nothing to do with them.

    That’s a betrayal when Rose’s husband read something that was not his business and had nothing to do with him. It’s an emotional betrayal. How dare him read something that she chose not to share and that did not impact him in any way. How dare him cheat on her. Sometimes cheaters are the ones who snoop the most.

    Caveat: Before a betrayed spouse is betrayed, they may not snoop. But, after betrayal, they can snoop all they want to get the facts. WHY? Because what their spouse did has life-altering implications for the betrayed spouse and the BS needs to know where they stand so they can formulate a plan. Most of the time, the cheater does not tell the truth. They will withhold facts, spin the truth, or lie. So a betrayed spouse is often left having to find things on their own.

    Anyhow, cheaters will cheat– even if all their computers are open. They will just buy secret computers and phones to lull the betrayed spouse into a false sense of trust. It’s a strategy and it’s one used all the time.

    Some people just stink.

    Sarah

  12. Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 1:43 am #

    PS-

    I would ask all betrayed readers to journal what they are going through because it’s healing, but hide it.

    Here is something I deeply regret. My best friend and I got to go to France together for junior year abroad. She had never left her midwestern town of 30,000 people and found herself on a plane to Paris with me bawling her eyes out. Lol. That did not last for long. I had been to France before and knew what we needed to do. Anyhow, we lived in a dorm and went to a French university. Our French department in the United States said grading did not approximate and that we would get at least all B’s just for being in France. They wanted us to come back fluent and did not care if we attended classes. They just wanted us to be fluent when we returned and that was how we were to be assessed. So do you think two 21-year-old female best friends living in the same dorm focused on going to class? Heck no. If they wanted fluency, we had to get out and get to know people. I kept detailed journals everyday about everything: what we ate, what we did that day, sketches of the people we met, crazy things we experienced, and sketches of the places we saw. My dad also sent me with a video camera because he wanted me to make educational documentaries for French departments. He had a film studio in our house- a production company — and he showed me how to edit and do sound and I did 6 different films about France. They sold like crazy in the early 1990’s because there was no product on the market that showed France as it was, got unscripted interviews with real French people etc. But, that was beside the point. My handwritten journals were the gem. They detailed every moment and every experience and had beautiful sketches and also humorous illustrations. The events of that one year were exciting enough to fill several lifetimes. I made photocopies of all those journals and gave them to my best friend. They were amazing. She said re-reading them was a life line anytime she was going through a hard time. And they were PG rated. We mentioned the names of people we dated and the rated G things we did- but nothing sexual. They were more meaningful to both of us than almost anything because they took us back to a time and place where everyday was exciting- everything was new- everything was fun. She calls it the best year of her life. Well, the guy I dated found them and destroyed them just to get back at me for not paying attention to him. There was nothing offensive in there, but he knew what they meant to me. He ripped them all to pieces right in front of me and threw them on the grill and burned them. All because I was not paying enough attention to him. I never cheated on anyone. Anyhow, I called my best friend and her copies were safe and sound. I told her she did not need to send them right away but that she could do it when she had time. Well, we both got busy and forgot about it. She started dating a guy – she was in another city many states away. One day he found the journals and started reading them. She asked him where he got them. He had broken into her locked filing cabinet. She asked him to put them back because they were the only copies left. She told him how much they meant to her and how that was the best year of her life and nothing could top that year. He apologized and put them away. Then he asked her more questions about that year and she told him all kinds of details about a guy she had loved and lost and how those journals I wrote were a part of her. They were the most meaningful thing she had. Because I wrote them for both of us at the time. (Also they French department gave me a 4.0 after reading them and hearing how I became perfectly fluent. The professors loved them too. They also scored me departmental Honors). They were a really big deal to both me and my friend. Well, fast forward a year. I asked her if she could make copies. So her boyfriend who read them was now her fiancé. She went to the filing cabinet and they were gone. She asked her fiancé where they were. He coolly said that he had shredded them. She thought he was joking. He was not joking. He told her that if she wanted a life with him, she had to forget about that “stupid year in France.” Those journals made her so happy that he could not stand it. So he shredded them. They broke up. He was a jerk in the end. Not having those journals has really impacted me. I stopped drawing for a long time. I stopped journaling. That precious year is lost to us, except for what she and I can pull from memory. But we will never be able to read a detailed description about each day ever again. We are both trying to remember all the bits and pieces so we don’t forget completely. But those works of art are gone. Since then it felt like I have lost an arm. I have not, but that experience was so traumatic from the perspective of an artist that my hand gave up the will to draw until recently. I want to start again and reclaim that part of myself.

    This is just me venting, however there is a lesson here. There are many ways to deeply wound a partner that are abusive even if there is no infidelity. I lost something significant when that boyfriend tore up all my work. I went from being a daily artist— sometimes a painting or detailed drawing per day— to no artist at all. That trauma made my drawing hand give up.

    For those betrayed spouses out there, did your CS do any other things that made you lose parts of yourself completely before the affair?

    And if you journal- hide them. I cannot tell you how precious these journals are now that I will no longer see them again.

    Why do some spouses or partners want to destroy things that are allegedly in competition with them? Some cannot stand that we have a hobby or talent that brings us joy. They see that hobby as competition.

    Has anyone else experienced this with a hobby?? Any hobby or anything that your spouse couldn’t stand because it brought you joy and had nothing to do with another person getting in the way. It’s so disheartening and it’s abusive. That act of tearing up my journals was abusive just as it was abusive when my friends fiancé tore up her copies— the only copy in existence.

    Sarah

  13. Rose August 31, 2018 at 2:13 am #

    My high school diary was a compilation of lunacies that any teenage girl would write. It got stuck in a box a long time ago and frankly I forgot about it. It was next to a huge roll of notes that my best friend in high school and I wrote to each other. I treasured those because she committed suicide at 21; I miss her every day.

    Anyway, putting boxes away after our move, H found all that and decided not only to read each and every page without my permission, he took all of it to his work and scanned it. Anyone there could have read it. I was a raging maniac when he told me. In front of him, I lit it all on fire and burned it, including those precious notes from my friend. Then I found the hard drive he scanned it to and destroyed that.

    What he meant to do with this was “catch” me in a lie and gaslight me while he was having his affair. He’d ask me questions about this guy and that guy, and IF I gave him different answers I was clearly lying. I was supposed to remember things I had written more than 40 years ago and get the details straight each time. If not, I was gaslit into thinking I was losing my mind. Apparently if I was “lying” it was okay for him to have his A.
    Now you may think we should be open and have no secrets. Well, that journal was MINE. MOST if it was pretty funny…the rest sad. I had a miserable teenagerhood with no dad and plenty of guys and drugs. H had NO permission to read it much less take it. Had he asked, I would have let him read the rants of a girl I didn’t even know…but he didn’t. Instead he stole from me.
    So. Now I live my life password-protected. But the boundary I had was that he, because of at least 3 affairs, didn’t get that right anymore. And he has ignored me and thumbed his nose at me and has done as he pleases, deleting emails, texts, and having secret Facebook friends.
    I am dealing and working on Plan B, really I am. But I wish for a relationship where I could be truly honest and trust again. I don’t think that will ever happen. Yes, this has been an extreme case of emotional abuse.

    • Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 2:42 am #

      Wow Rose,

      That is a TOUGH story and I am so angry. Those notes between you and your best friend were SACRED. (I assumed he read those too? Or was it the journal?) Those notes were all you had left of your friend. And he had no right to steal that from you by reading your business. He had no right to look into your past and snoop and attempt to gaslight. I AGREE this should all be password protected. No more transparency for him.

      Rose you are the only person I know of except myself who was with someone who wanted detailed questions about your past before you knew him. The guy that tore up my journals had a mental breakdown and would not get help. His mental breakdown was caused by the idea that he was not my first lover. When I met him, I had been single for months. But a couple of years into the relationship he started to obsess over a boyfriend before him who I had no contact with. I am NOT friends with ex’s. Anyhow, he went loopy. He somehow built up a “story” in his mind where the guy I dated before I met him was a better lover. Say what? Yes, that is what he fixated on. He wanted me to answer every detail about how they guy made me feel between the sheets. And I don’t talk about those things to people– especially not to someone I was dating. I have no idea where it came from. His parents even intervened and tried to get him hospitalized. They saw I was as loyal as the summer days in Alaska are long. They told me he had some kind of anxiety disorder as a kid, but had thought it went away. I hung in for a year after he became obsessed with the boyfriend before him. The last straw was when he tore up my art to get revenge for dating someone before him. It was IRRATIONAL. I was never promiscuous, not a flirt, and had been single for quite a while before even meeting him. So is that what your H got hung up on? Did your past experiences before you met him cause extreme insecurity? Or was it something else? Why would he care about what happened 40 years ago? But it’s still not his business.

      Maybe he was trying to catch you in a lie to reassure himself you lie too and that gives him permission to lie. (But you alluded to that). Talk about grasping at straws on his part. What a violation and it is abusive.

      Sarah

  14. Rose August 31, 2018 at 2:20 am #

    BTW Sarah, when H began having a sexting relationship with his cousin, it destroyed me. The 2-year A he had had was bad enough, but I thought I was healing 6 months later. I started playing my beloved cello again and feeling pretty good about how things were going. When I found the obscene emails, I stopped playing. That was 3 years ago. I haven’t had the motivation or the peace to play again. Someday I might get the music back but it’s gone for now.

    • Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 2:59 am #

      Rose,

      So you totally get it when your ‘art’ is stolen from you.

      I am thinking of that song Bye Bye Miss American Pie and the line “the day the music died.”

      Well, your H took that music in your for now, but I have a feeling one day you will be playing that Cello again and fiercely playing it with all your heart and soul poured into it. It may not happen this year, but I see it happening.

      I started taking violin lessons with my autistic child to help him. He wanted to take the lessons but I knew if I was not there, I would not know how to help him practice. (Because I never played the violin before). So we sat in lessons together. I picked it up quick, but he did not and refuses to continue. It is very sad. The fact that he could not pick it up seemingly overnight so discouraged him that he now cries if a mention a violin. I have packed them all away in the garage– the violins and sheet music. Otherwise he cries. That saddest part is that I was his biggest champion and never criticized. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement. But then he would see me play the violin to demonstrate and he would burst into tears because I was picking it up quick. Very sad. He is the kind of kid who wants to be a virtuoso overnight. Or he wants to draw perfect art the first time. If he does not, he bursts into tears.

      I am sorry to hear about your teen years, Rose. I am sorry your dad was not around. That breaks my heart, Rose. A lot of people had lots of guys and drugs in their teen years. I did not because I was TERRIFIED of both as a teen. But, many of my friends were involved in that stuff. It didn’t matter to me and I never judged them- never. I knew they were doing the best they could and I was there to support them because they were in a lot of emotional pain, but I was not there to judge. I also stuck up for any gay students– not because I was gay but because they were treated like sub-humans and that was UNACCEPTABLE to me.
      Most things in the world I don’t judge. The only thing I really judge are affairs because of how innocent people get hurt. Otherwise, I could care less about sexual orientation, gender orientation, drugs, drinking etc. I also don’t like abusive people.

      Can you tell us about your friend who committed suicide? That is only if it’s not private. Maybe one day you could compose a song for her on your cello telling her how you feel from the depths of her soul. I know she would appreciate your song. That might be a way to reclaim your music– you are doing it to honor her.

      Sarah

  15. Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 2:24 am #

    PPS-

    My boyfriend destroyed the journals as well as 7 years of sketchbooks. Thankfully one sketchbook from that period exists but I was about relationships in general. I did a comic book about crappy relationships and it was based on a bad break up with my first love.

    My boyfriend after that did not get that one, but he got the rest.

    One of the reasons I read Chump Lady’s website is for her art. Her art style is not the same as mine, but I used to do many sketches like hers that made a statement about some theme in relationships. Drawing what stupid people did and said was my daily form of venting. I did not necessarily draw people I knew. It was more along the lines of observing something idiotic people do in relationships and then turning it into a satirical sketch. It was not about people I knew— just about general observations of human nature. And before I lost the will to draw, drawing was my preferred form of communication. Words came later. The drawing was the most important part. But then I lost the will to draw and writing had to become my primary form of venting. I deeply want to get that artistic side back. One more clarification about drawing. What my boyfriend did was the straw that broke the camels back. I had started out at the university with one of my majors being in art. We had to take all these drawing classes with nude models standing there. There was this one male nude model twice my age who would try to follow me home and he would always sit faced towards me showing his family jewels. I was relieved when we got women to pose nude. One semester we were perfecting drawing nudes in charcoal. There was a female model who was probably a dress size 16 with long, blond hair. She was curvy. Big hips and thighs, a tummy, big boobs, large butt. I liked drawing her because she metaphorically represented “Gaia” or “Mother Earth” in Greek mythology. She looked like how I would picture Gaia looking if Gaia were real. She was not thin at all but had that kind of earth Goddess body type. It did not matter if she was not thin according to Hollywood standards. She was actually the most beautiful person we drew. One of my nudes of her was really good. (And I was my worst critic). It was on extra large paper- about 40 inches tall and maybe 20 inches wide and I don’t do vulgar drawings. They are tasteful and I always focused on looking at the female form as a work of art and left out sexual details by drawing strategically. So they were very tasteful and beautiful nudes that showed women in their best light and showed all bodies are beautiful. My art teacher asked if he could put it into a competition and I said that was fine Each year the teachers would display what they thought to be the best work of their students. He told me it had won first place in a juried competition. He told me I could come and get it later. I procrastinated and waited a couple of weeks. By that time, someone has stolen it. And it was my only copy. I was so ticked off. So when that boyfriend of mine destroyed what was almost all my life’s work, I gave up. Thankfully, my parents had framed my best art pieces long ago and they are still displayed in their house all the walls. But that’s all I have left.

    It’s amazing how even non-infidelity events can destroy certain aspects of a person. My art is an extension of myself. With so much of it destroyed by my ex, I lost a huge part of myself.

    So to all readers — if I started drawing my little cartoons again, would you be interested in seeing them with posts? I am not trying to copy Chump Lady. But it turns out she and I have a lot in common just from reading her bio. She is the only other American I have come across who has British Master’s degrees.

    Should I try to get that part of myself back?

    How about you? What parts of yourself were lost during the affair? What do you want to get back?

    Sarah

  16. Rose August 31, 2018 at 2:54 am #

    Sarah…he read all the notes from my friend too. Yes, I think my “lies” excused him to do whatever he wanted. And yes, he’s hung up on my past. Why? Not a clue. But there was at least an entire year where he reduced me to tears every single day by demanding details. He’s sick.
    I cannot believe sometimes that this is me I’m reading about. I should put it in a book.
    Oh yes, one time around the diary episode he called a therapist for me and said I was exhibiting “dissociative” behavior. I know this because I saw the email back to him. Another attempt at trying to prove I was nuts.

    • Sarah P. August 31, 2018 at 3:04 am #

      Rose,

      Wow… telling a therapist you were exhibiting dissociative behavior. That is sick stuff. Profoundly abusive. He was intentionally trying to drive you crazy and then he was making sure if he succeeded, there would be a therapist on his side.

      What is wrong with him? Was he abused?

  17. TryingHard August 31, 2018 at 8:28 am #

    Wow. The old we grew apart or i love you but I’m not in love with you. Same thing right. The neighbor sounds like a real prize. Tattoos and all. Are you shocked Doug to figure out he falls in the narcissistic spectrum? I hope Pat gets everything.

    I live in a 6 unit condo bldg. three affairs, 2 divorced. Do we fit the National stastic too. Also as my lawyer told my friend who was convinced her husband was not cheating when he left her that normally there’s a Barbie or a Bruce in the picture when long term marriages unravel. I’ve found this to be true 100% of the time.

    As far as privacy i snooped. I GPSed his car. I used a key logger in his work computer. Easy to install and easy to use. I also figured out how to watch his web activity on his tablet and i linked his search engines from his work computer and phone. I could also see his activity where he went with his phone which was really handy when he went out of town. Found out they, it was a boys golf trip, we’re going to Breastaurants!! Not that i believed they were but he always downplayed that they didn’t. I also watch his FB acct. am i safer? Lol heck no. If he wants he can set up fake accts. I found one burner phone when he knew i was watching his normal phone. So where there’s a will there’s a way. And i may have seen something i thought was perfectly innocent or seen his GPSed activity and thought nothing of it. But who really knows who he was meeting on his 15 minute stop at a gas station. He’d admitted before to using a pay phone at a gas station of all things!!! Lol who uses pay phones anymore and how the hell did he find it??? Snooping can be a total waste of time if you don’t know what you’re doing. And it’s exhausting!!

    I don’t snoop anymore. Like Hopeful i don’t want to. I’m not his Mommy. But if i i had any feelings he was being less than honest, I’d hire a PI quick. Also a computer hacker. I know there’s ways to send an email and once it’s opened a program is installed that one can see everything that is being done on that computer. And it’s done covertly. The user never sees it. It can also be illegal as hell. Wouldn’t care. They’d have to catch me first and prove it was me. Lots of ways around that.

    And no he lost his right to privacy when he lied to me. That doesn’t mean i want to know everything. But i keep my eyes wide open never the less.

    Being so vigilant made me very anxious and my therapist assured me that were there a next time i would know. And i think i would. I know what to look for. I know his patterns. I watch for changes in him. Sometimes he will get a little too cocky about himself and i reign it back in quick. He’s taught me well. Sometimes people get what they ask for and certainly what they deserve. Gone are the days that i innocently give the benefit of the doubt to anyone! Yes I’m spicey like that now. Seasoned with pain and hurt and disappointment will do that to you.

    • Doug August 31, 2018 at 9:03 am #

      Hey TH, No I’m not shocked at all. I’ve had a feeling that he is narcissistic for some time. Like I said, every conversation comes back around to him somehow. He also has ADHD, btw. Linda talked to Pat the other day and their divorce is close to being finalized. She demanded – and was granted – a lump sum payment from him in lieu of alimony. She did not disclose the amount or percentage, but she wanted the lump sum because she is concerned that his alcoholism and other crazy behaviors might cause him to lose his job, thus effecting any alimony she would have received otherwise. Good for her. I think Dave is shitting his pants these days as their house hasn’t sold yet – when he was sure it would sell the first week on the market. Plus he now has to liquidate some other assets to cover whatever the lump sum might be. Meanwhile, Pat is moving out in a week come hell or high water.

  18. Hopeful August 31, 2018 at 8:30 am #

    My stories are not that dramatic. However anything I did was degraded by my husband during the “affair years”. My work did not matter. I had to figure it out or find someone else to support me. He was the “bread winner” in a major way. Factually yes he made a ton more than me. But I sacrificed a lot career wise and monetarily to get him to that point in his career. Also I still to this day believe as in many cases because of who I am and how supportive I am it allowed him to do what he needed to be successful. I was raising our kids with little help unless I hired someone which was my responsibility. I could go on and on. Basically anything I did was diminished. If I volunteered he made fun of me for wasting my time.I know sometimes feelings like that can come out of concern that someone is spreading themselves too thin. But that was not the case with him. It was confusing and still makes me sad. He has to work at being supportive and not thinking of himself first. I can see the effort now. The positive is he has never been happier and that motivates him to reassess how he is dealing with any situation.

    As far as reading someone’s private journals that is horrible. For the writer it signifies so much and is an amazing tool. I think just like reading an email or text it can be hard to put your place in someone’s shoes when reading their writing. And for me post dday writing was the only dependable outlet to say whatever I wanted. When I look back I am so glad I used that as one tool.

  19. TryingHard August 31, 2018 at 8:55 am #

    Hopeful, i hear exactly what you are saying. My h encouraged, practically insisted that the i be a SAHM and raise our children and run the home. I was ok with that. I’m the in between generation where some my age carved out careers and some stayed home. Long before the acronym SAHM became practically a political cause !! It was my job and i was damn good at it too!! He was the “breadwinner” and he was good at that as well. Never told him he wasn’t. Never expected or needed or wanted more. I drive in my own lane.

    Back in the day there was very little access to good daycares as there is now. And our parents made it very clear they would not be babysitting if i wanted to do something as silly as work outside the home. So i was the dutiful wife, mother and daughter and assumed my role of SAHM. I regret it to this day.

    Now of course hindsight is 20/20 but were i to do it over I’d have stayed working. Regardless that my income was a mere pitance to his. I should have stayed and persevered. I should have remained financially independent from him. I should have carved out my own life and career/life separate from his and our family.

    I’m not saying SAHM aren’t of value because they are. It’s damn hard work and we get very little respect for what we do. Yes my h belittled me too. I wasn’t nearly as important as him and his work!! That was ok. I let him think that. Big mistake. BIG MISTAKE.

    I hear you. I was right there with you. Maybe we will remember all these valuable life lessons for our next life 😂

  20. TryingHard August 31, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    Doug— good for Pat. I too was advised to go for lump sum. Pats very smart and sounds like she was prepared for something like this. I’m wondering if she sensed something was up prior to DDay?

    Housing market is pretty good right now so he’s probably asking too much for the house. Lol i love it when a plan comes together and cheaters get their come uppance. Looks like life is getting very real for him. I hope Pat is signing a quick claim deed to the house and takes her money and runs!

    • Doug August 31, 2018 at 9:51 am #

      From what Linda has told me, Pat didn’t really have a sense prior to D-day, but now that she looks back she sees all the signs. She did make the comment that Dave pretty much forced her to have sex the first time – almost 40 years ago. And he always flirted with and talked about nice looking women whenever he was out at a bar or brewery. I’ve also noticed him staring at my daughters’ rear ends on several occasions. Basically, he’s a horny old man! I didn’t mention this in the post, but he was trying to persuade/pressure Pat into swinging. She obviously refused, and I guess he is using that as one of the reasons they “have nothing in common anymore.” I think that Dave feels that after he gets divorced and he’s in his bachelor pad, that he’s going to be getting laid every weekend with someone different. Not gonna happen!

  21. MJ August 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    This is not unique at all and this just happened to me as well. This was a second marriage for both of us and we had been together for 17 years. Our marriage was not perfect but we had a good relationship, enjoyed mutual activities, chose to spend most all of our free time together and were planning for his retirement (was to be this month) and were going on the road to travel the USA while I worked remote. We had been in counseling for about 6 months prior to finding out about his affair….we were struggling with balancing our marriage, translation…I did 80% of everything and he struggled to do his 20%, I nagged, he stonewalled, we fought. I can easily own my part of the problem, I heard myself and did not like what I would hear but felt powerless to stop it as I was overwhelmed and frustrated. Well on Valentines at dinner out he decided to tell me he thinks we should stop trying and get a divorce…I was like what????? Now mind you I had said that maybe we should divorce several times, I know I shouldn’t have said that but I just wanted to get across how serious my pleas were but for him to say it was way out of character. We talked and talked, he then said he was committed to working on our marriage and told me how much he loved me. We then actually had the best month of our marriage we had had in close to two years…we were both trying and it was better. Then he lost his job (I suspect due to the same issues he had at home…struggling to complete his part)…shortly after that there was a password on his phone…then he kept going to talk to people at the company that just let him go which was odd…then I found messages on his phone…then when confronted he admitted to the affair and said it started after he lost his job. The other women, was in her 60s, married and was the receptionist at his job, she put the password on his phone, gave him a secret “burner” phone that she paid for so she could talk to him, took him to dinners and basically told him he should leave his wife to be with her and she would get a divorce too…so that is what he did. He left our marriage, a wife who loved him, a family who loved him, destroyed our retirement plans, negatively impacted our financial future, lost the respect of his family and friends. I actually wanted to work on our marriage but her influence was stronger than mine. Iwas like seriously…women who buy burner phones for other men are pros at this and this is not her first rodeo. Fast forward 6 months…..I miss him but am happy. She won’t see him but once a month or not at all, has not filed for her divorce but talks to him just enough to keep him interested so he hangs on. I have moved on..bought a beautiful new home, have started new friendships and am putting my life back together, while he lives in an RV with no cable or internet, keeps his clothes in his truck and is completely neglecting his health. He has to keep working as he can’t afford to retire but yet he waits for her….I guess “love” is blind as they say or is it stupid??? Oh and to end the story…this past week he text me that he misses all of us…must be lonely in “cheaterland”.

  22. Nikki August 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. It is extremely sad that after so many years of marriage–mine was 27 when I found out about the infidelity and 30 by the time my divorce was final. The one thing I want to add to your “why do certain marriages make it through infidelity and others don’t”.

    I was the wife who fought like hell. I thought initially it was a deal breaker and then I changed my mind. We went to couple counseling, intensive three day (Florida-live in PA), two affair recovery weekends, individual counseling, depression meds for my ex, read everything I could and shared on infidelity, addiction, male depression-blogs (Story Minded), joined as a life time person to your sight; books, you name it.

    He was not in the right place to heal even though he came back after discovery begging and promising so many things he’d change and do better. I could no longer take the narcissistic behavior being told to stop crying bc it made him feel bad and I should be happy some days. So I filed for divorce. He told me that wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to take a break, maybe date and then talk to see where we were. Clearly, he lost his sh** (he was 58 years old at the time). I had to take what pride and self esteem I had and get away from this toxicity.

    Fast forward after two of our children got married and divorce is final and almost two year final…he comes to me and says he wants me back–realized he was so messed up…etc.

    Bottom line, I want a relationship where we can sit with out kids and grand kids harmoniously. I thought could I get back with him. So I took it slowly–and told him –I need to see his ability to pursue this, maintain it and “date me”— bascially it boils down to this… I always did the heavy lifting in our relatioinship. And to date–He still cannot sustain maintaining a relationship.

    I hope this helps someone….but for me, I had to say, I worked my you know what off…I did all I could do. What did I learn? I can only change myself and respond to my situations. I cannot change anyone else.

    thank you for all you do to help so many–too many people who have been affected by infidelity!

  23. Gigima September 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

    Nikki…..your story has resonated so much with me….I found out about my H affair four months post-op from Bariatrics surgery….he had been involved with this married woman, 17 years his junior, over Facebook for the last year prior to my surgery….I have done EVERYTHING you did as well and fought like a hell-cat to save my marriage…..although some progress has been made, I feel like what has been shattered (trust, love, respect, credibility) will NEVER come back, or at least not to the degree it used to be before D-day….the pain and rage I’ve been left with is something I have never experienced before; sometimes I even scare myself with the magnitude of the rage I’m able to feel, I spent a week in a mental health facility because my therapist believed that I was capable of inflicting serious harm to my H….and I believed her….I did not know I had it in me to feel that depth of murderous rage and intentions to carry it out, and I almost did….I taped my H in his car while he was having phone sex with the woman (she lives 2,500 miles away in another country, so they’ve never seen each other face to face) and I went postal on his butt…..I couldn’t believe that my husband of 27 YEARS married could be doing this to ME….he even asked me for permission to go travel and see HER for a few days!!! WHO DOES THAT?!?! Fast forward 18 months and we’re in a somewhat better place; He ALLEGEDLY hasn’t contacted her again (it should be noted that SHE dumped him when I kicked him out of our house and I called HER husband to let him know what was going on) and SUPPOSEDLY they haven’t spoken ever again (will I believe him blindly ever again? I highly doubt it) but my gut instincts have not alerted me, so he MIGHT be telling the truth, I just don’t know anymore…..am I wrong for not letting go of the past as a learning stepstone to be able to read the signals if he ever cheats again? We have been on the brink of divorce a few times, so that doesn’t scare me anymore, but I AM approaching 50 years old and I DON’T want to try dipping in the dating pool at this stage in my life (I have never dated anyone but my husband since I was 14 years old, I don’t even know how dating is done nowadays) and we’ve been having consistent couples therapy and individual therapy as well, so we’re not in as deep a crisis as we were 18 months ago, but neither are we where you’d say we’re completely stable either….I’m just SO TIRED of the pain and the stupid triggers that can just undo me one thought at a time….only my faith has sustained me this far….

  24. TryingHard September 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi Nikki
    You story reminds me of the saying that one can have many loves in their life, but never the same one twice. This is so true. While I love my husband and I’m certain he loves me, it’s not the same love. And maybe that love would have continued to evolve as relationships age but I don’t believe in the same way it is today. Something is gone forever.

    I don’t see you had any other choice than to divirce your husband. I also hear you when you say you did everything to overcome the challenge of infidelity. I get it. I’m glad you aren’t beating yourself up for making your choice

    So 2 years after divorce he comes back hat in hand and wants reconciliation? And doesn’t have a clue how to win you back? Wow. Just wow on his part. He’s like a lost soul wandering the earth with absolutely no clues or direction. He’s moved by whichever the way the breeze blows. That is sad for him. But I’m glad you stood firm and stuck with your decisions and choices and convictions. I know it couldn’t have been easy. You had a chance to get your old life back I’m certain was in your mind. That comfortable familiar, only Nikki it wouldn’t have been the same at all. Sure on the outside but never at the core. It’s what all we betrayed who have reconciled know. It’s not the same. For some different is ok. I know it is for me right now. I’m not going to say it’s better because for me it’s not. I’m better yes because this lesson has taught me a lot as I am certain yours did too. But our relationship better? I don’t think so. Once that level of trust is gone it’s gone. No one can ever win it back.

    So I’m hoping you’re at peace with your choice to divorce. I also hope you’re at peace to saying no when he tried to come back. I’m so sorry for all the pain you endured

  25. Mel B September 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing, it is good to know I am not alone.

  26. Sarah P. September 3, 2018 at 3:21 am #

    Hello Bor,
    There is a LOT going on with your family- especially after you add in the autism. I have some very real concerns and feedback. I have asked Doug if I could email you offline because I think it’s more respectful to give this type of feedback off-line.

    As always, even though this is a blog, everything is treated with the same confidentiality as you would expect from a licensed therapist that you would visit in an office setting. I can give you some ideas on what I think is going on and work on looking for an therapist you can see in your area.

    Sarah

  27. Rose September 5, 2018 at 11:04 pm #

    Sarah…could you send me an email or could you send me yours? Not looking for free advice, just wanted to answer something not in public.

  28. Doug December 12, 2018 at 5:06 am #

    A bit of an update to this saga…

    Pat and Dave have sold their house (hasn’t closed yet) and each have moved into their respective apartment/condo. Pat called me yesterday asking if I’ve seen Dave in the last few days as he failed to show up at their house Sunday to take out the last of his stuff and help clean the place. He also didn’t show up for work and hasn’t been answering his cell phone. Plus, his car is parked at his new condo but when a friend knocks, nobody answers. I tell her the last time I saw him was last Thursday. My other neighbor calls me asking me the same questions.

    20-minutes later my neighbor shoots me a text telling me that the cops are at Dave’s condo and are about to forcibly enter the unit. Not good!

    The last time I talked to Dave on Thursday, he told me his new girlfriend was coming into town for a visit. So I’m thinking that perhaps she didn’t show up and he was distraught and he was either drunk as hell or he killed himself. OR…she came to town, and being the gold-digger that she is, robbed him at gun point and he’s in his condo tied up or something. (My mind sure thought the worst based on the info I was provided)

    Fast forward an hour…My neighbor called and said that he had talked to Pat and the cops entered the unit and found Dave dead. Apparently he died from either a heart attack or stroke, though I’m sure they will do an autopsy and toxicology to determine the cause of death. No word as to whether the girlfriend ever showed up.

    I talked briefly to Pat later last night and she was sad but was doing relatively well. Her words to me were that she “felt so sad for him.” What makes matters more sticky from a legal perspective, is that Dave and Pat’s divorce was just finalized last week and they were supposed to close on their house this Friday.

    Anyways, sad ending to a sad story.

  29. TryingHard December 12, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    Oh no! Doug that is crazy !!! Wow i feel sorry for his ex wife not having all the financial stuff from the divorce settled before he died. Maybe he hadn’t changed beneficiaries yet either. Oh lord please don’t tell me he had and now the OW walks away with his assets.

    • Doug December 13, 2018 at 6:54 am #

      Gosh, I don’t think he’d be that stupid, but ya never know. I’m guessing his kids are now getting it. What’s ironic is that Pat demanded a large cash divorce settlement because, as she told Linda, she “wasn’t sure how long he was going to live.” Crazy.

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