Emotional Cheating?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Emotional Cheating?
4
Mon, 02-24-2014 - 2:23pm

My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for a little over one year.  As in previous posts, I have said that my husband really enjoys watching porn and taking pictures of other women. He has taken pictures of other women he works with and saves them on the computer.  Apparently, he has been like this since high school.  (He is not 40).  He does not keep anything secret and is upfront and open about everything. I think he believes that being open makes the act itself OK.  Well, years ago (about 11 years ago he really liked this woman he worked with at the time.  They never dated.  But I knew from what he had told me that he really really liked her.  He believed that it was "love at first sight".  Well, after he left that job about 10 years ago he went on with his life, met me, we got married, etc.  On our computer he has three pictures of her that he downloaded off the internet.  Pictures of her he found on the staff page of where she worked, her linkedin profile and her facebook profile.  So, these are not pics she sent him, but nonetheless it makes me feel as though he is still hung up on her.  I confronted him about it and he lashed out, saying I am being ridiculous and that pictures mean nothing.  He has not spoken to her or seen her in 11 years.  He was very upset with me and told me that if he didn't want to marry me and if he was still hung up on her or anyone else for that matter, he would have pursued those people and not married me.  And that hers are not the only pictures on the computer.  He said that by having pics of women he found and finds attractive it helps him fantasize.  He also accuses me of destroying our relationship by not trusting him when he is open about everything, the computer the phone, everything.  What he doesn't realize is that by having these pics he is the one destroying our relationship.  He said he is curious about people and looks them up.  But why save the pics?  I asked him to delete them and he did, but that doesn't matter. He always knows where to find them.Thoughts?  Does he really want her and married me because he couldn't get her?  What he really wanted?  I just feel as though he really compromised and didn't marry me because he really wanted to.  And the thin is, I didn't want to get married, He is the one who insisted. Thoughts?  Please help?  I feel as though this marriage is nothing...

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 02-24-2014 - 7:38pm

Hmmm, well....you knew he had this kind of habit, fetish, or what ever you want to call it, correct?  So, I guess I am a little confused with your sense of suprise and inference that these pictures of the past coworker and crush are ruining your marriage.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that it is inappropriate for a married man to be saving these pictures, but if I am understanding you correctly, these are simply pictures of adult women and he is not acting out in inappropriate ways (i.e. he is not having sexual relations with other women, with prostitutes, and these are all adult pictures whether he knows them personally, or not).

I guess my thoughts are, partially based on the fact is sounds like he is open with you, is not hiding these things, etc. etc. that this a quirk you knew about before marriage and that is why he is so frustrated with you right now.  Again, I don't pretend to understand why he feels the need to have pictures of these women and I am not saying he is right and you are wrong, I just have a feeling that secretly you were hoping he would stop after you two were married.  

I think he is right about one thing: he married YOU.  

At the end of the day you are the one who is there, we here on the board are not.  And on the surface it may seem like "heck yea, get out of there" type of thing what I am hearing from you is a basic insecurity that I usually hear from a second wife, not so much from a betrayed spouse.  I hope that make sense.  

Just my two cents, right or wrong.  :)  

Serenity

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 02-25-2014 - 1:34am

I looked back at some of your previous posts. Like you said, he has been doing these things for a long time and you were aware of them. So I can understand why he thinks that if he is open about his behaviors that they are "okay", because you decided to marry him even though he did these things.

Having pictures of other women so he can fantasize about them? I don't blame you for not liking that. If it was a porn star or picture in a magazine at least its someone anonymous. Taking pictures of women that he knows, without their consent, is creepy stalker-ish...but you've known this about him for years.

Who knows why he is so attached to the pictures of the former co-worker. He sounds obsessed. Did he really want to marry you? Yes, he probably did---but could it have been for reasons other than romantic passion? In past posts it sounded like you were supporting him financially and making him look "normal and respectable". I think there are more important questions to focus on: why did you marry him knowing that he engaged in these behaviors that have bothered you for years? Did you think that somehow he would magically change? Now that you are legally bound, can you live with his behavior? (because it sounds like he has no intention to change for you; and if he has a psychological issue then maybe he cannot change without professional intervention) If you cannot live with it then you need to see a divorce lawyer to find out what it will take to get out of the marriage.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Tue, 02-25-2014 - 9:27am

So, something funny happened last night.  After returning home around 8 pm (after work and a workout at the gym) my husband wanted to sit and talk.  I was pretty distant with him all day because  I felt hurt and upset and didn't really want to talk to him.  To be honest, for most of the day I was grappling with the idea of leaving him once and for all.  But, I get home and he wanted to show me something on the computer.  I obliged him and he showed me that he had deleted everything.  I asked him if he deleted them off the harddrive but saved them on a flashdrive and he said no.  He showed me the contents of all the flashdrives we have.  Then he gave me the password to his email address and to his cell phone account.  We have a shared account but we cannot access each other's individual account.  I asked him why he is doing all this and said that the relationship we have is more important to him than pictures.  He said he is tired of having me accuse him of things he's not doing and he is tired of always having to defend himself.  I said, fine, I am glad you did what you did, and hopefully you won't regress.  Its just very strange to me that after years of such behavior he can flip a switch and change.  Thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Tue, 02-25-2014 - 1:44pm

My thoughts are that he knows what to do or say and when to act, in order to appease you. In your previous posts you said that you were leaving him, moving out, etc yet the next time you posted you were still together with him. You never explained what happened to make you change your mind so we can only guess that he somehow convinced you to stay--but he obviously didn't make a permanent change in his behavior. I don't believe that he can "flip and switch and change". Not a real lasting change, but he can probably put his behaviors aside for a while until you're not upset.

Like I said in my post above, can you live with his behavior? If it resumes in 6 weeks or 6 months or 6 years, what then?