I don't know what to make of this

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
I don't know what to make of this
24
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 6:38am
Hi everybody!

I guess I need your help because I don't seem to be able to make sense of things anymore.

My husband and I have been married over 10 years, in a wonderful, close, fulfilling relationship. We had our ups and downs, like everybody else, but worked out through the rough patches and overall enjoyed a very healthy marriage.

Now, a little while ago, I noticed that my DH had been going through the personals on the internet. I assumed it was just a bit of idle curiosity and didn't want to make a big fuss about it and didn't even mention it to him. To make a long story short, I later found out that HE had also posted a personal ad on a specialized site which he was regularly checking. So I created an imaginary ad, contacted him as if I were a stranger, and now he's responded to "me." So I know it wasn't just idle curiosity, and it hurst like crazy.

I am devastated by the lie he has been feeding me. I don't know whether I should talk to him right now, knowing that I won't trust a word of what he says. I have also fantasized about keeping a online relationship going with him for a while and then confronting him.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 9:56am
Well, if your in for a penny, your in for a pound. I know it's upsetting, but perhaps you just need to see this through. Continue chatting with him on-line. Not enough to give yourself away, but enough to find out what he's looking for. Perhaps he's just looking for a little outside flirting. Mostly harmless on standard scales, but I'm sure it hurts you to see it anyway. Lead him on a bit, and see if he's looking for more than that. Arrange a meeting. If he meets you, confront him (let him show up first). I think it's the best way to find out. He may just chicken out, or back out of any meeting. Which means he was just curious and nothing serious was intended. I'm always one for wanting more details before making accusations.

Those are my limited two cents off the top of my head.

Brokk...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:00am
Confront him immediately. I cannot suggest enough that you do NOT pursue this personal ad chase and then confront him. Games are not the answer. I know you are angry, and will probably sabotage any game-pursuit anyway, so don't even bother going any further with it.

Needless to say, it's an extremely bad sign that he answered your ad (and that he evidentally had an ad out too) and that he took this beyond idle curiosity. I think your marriage hasn't been nearly as good as you thought it was. Be prepared for a rocky road ahead. I think it's going to get ugly. Be prepared that this *may* be the end of your marriage.

I don't know what else to say, except that I wish you the best. Take care of you. You'll need it in the times ahead. You need to think of YOU first.

But get to the root of the problem. His advertising in the personals is a symptom of a problem in your marriage (of which you are evidentally unaware). You two need to figure out what the problem is, then figure out if it's not too late to do anything about it.

I can't imagine how much your hurting (((((Pink Butterfly))))). I wish you strength to do what you know must be done.

Sally

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:05am
Just had to say that I don't agree with Brokk. The damage is done already IMO. The fact that he is LOOKING says there is a problem. At some point, the problem must be addressed. Even if he chickened out in this scenario and never met up with her, she will already feel betrayed. His chickening-out will not make her feel much better in the long run.

Sally, who hopes his advertising is still in the early stages.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:09am
Title: You are in a tough, tough spot...

...and my heart goes out to you. I know you are really hurting.

I would recommend against "I have also fantasized about keeping a online relationship going with him for a while and then confronting him." This will DRAMATICALLY reduce your crediability in any sort of discussion / confrontation on the issue. Beyond that, I can't see anyting but hurt coming from it...hurt for you as he shares with you "the stranger" the problems in your marriage, and hurt for him once it is revealed how he was deceived. I know you don't have very much sympathy for him now, but BELIEVE ME...if reconcilation is something you do desire, his preception and eaction to be beng "caught" versus being "deceived" will be dramatically different. If you "catch " him...as you have...then perhaps he will confess and you all can discuss what led to this behavior. If you DECEIVE him, his first reaction will be anger...and that anger might never past...instead, he might use your behavior as a justification for his, and reconcilation could be doomed.

There are lots of resources on this site for spouses in situations such as yours...and since I am not a professional, I won't even begin to try to tell you what your next steps should be.

I **CAN** tell you as a man that he will feel there is a distinction between looking at ads, or even cultivating online relationships, and having actually acted on something (meaning meeting up with someone, let alone the next step of engage in anything physical with anyone besides yourself). I understand you might not see the distinction...that all you know is that you feel hurt and betrayed. But...again with an eye towards reconciliation, if that is what you want...HE will. All that is to say that if he hasn't yet actually met with anyone...then this might indeed simply be the idle curiousity you first felt it was...gone terribly wrong. You can then address WHAT made him take these steps...WHY he felt bored / trapped / frustrated / whatever.

I know many women don't see it this way, but most MEN DO. There IS a difference for a man between a casual flirtation or interlude with someone you don't even know and infidelity. All this is to say you might have a perfectly recoverable situation that can be discussed and sorted out, if you chose to...if you can resist the urge to inflame it into more than it has to be. Basically I am saying that you should try to resist the urge to PUNISH him...if you want to recover. At this point...assuming you still want your marriage (versus, in my mind, the real possibility that after sexual infidelity I might not want to save my marriage if I were a betrayted spouse) try to get him to admit his behavior and then uncover WHY it occurred. Get him to do this will be much more difficult if you come at him with guns blazing...he will only get defense, and angry.

All IMHO...

Good luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:34am
I believe you should see it through...I had a friend who had a boyfriend who did the same thing...she answered his ad as if she were someone else and he wanted to meet her for a drink. He pulled into the parking lot, saw her, and sped away.

If you call him on it right now before he makes his intentions clear of why he's on-line, he can lie through his teeth that he just wanted to talk to someone who could help him to be a better husband to you, or something else. You want to believe it's not as bad as it is and you will want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Remove the doubt. Logic is born out of assumptions...don't confront his logic, because it will be based on an assumption that you cannot prove right or wrong at this point. Find out what his true intentions are through the method you are following, then you no longer have a he said/she said situation on your hands.

Now these actions of his are indicative of something going on with him and his view of your marriage. He is taking a big risk in order to find something that he's looking for. Perhaps you can find out what he's looking for through your anonymous communication with him. He may be feeling that he is on the down slope of life and trying to do something to boost his self confidence, he may be feeling that he's missed out on things that he doesn't want to get to the point where he may be too old to enjoy. People fear regrets and will take drastic actions to get rid of them.

IMO, you can't move forward without the truth and he's lying to you right now. Unless you find the truth yourself, you will not feel as sure as you should when making the right choice to protect yourself.

Curtis

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:38am
Isn't this the basis behind the Pina Colada song? Wasn't a man and his wife on the outs, he posted an ad asking if someone like Pina Colada's and getting caught in the rain... and his wife, unbeknownst to him, answered the ad? That had a happy ending, unless I misinterpreted the song.

Curtis

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:04am
I agree, and disagree at the same time. I agree about the "men see a big difference". That's why I suggested she follow through. So she could see what side of the line he's on. Since he's already looking, and hiding it from her, I don't have much faith in "then perhaps he will confess and you all can discuss what led to this behavior". I'd rather hear what he'd say to some other woman, and find out if he's serious about following through on this.

"If you DECEIVE him, his first reaction will be anger"

TFB. He's already deceiving her, and the trust has been broken. I have no faith that she'll find out the truth by confronting him at this stage. He could (and probably will) say anything he thinks she wants to hear. She'll naturally *want* to believe him, because she believed her marriage to be strong and healthy. I think that is the road to self delusion. She's setting herself to believe him if he chooses to lie.

After all, it's not like she started this process, or trapped him into it...

"Basically I am saying that you should try to resist the urge to PUNISH him...if you want to recover. At this point...assuming you still want your marriage (versus, in my mind, the real possibility that after sexual infidelity I might not want to save my marriage if I were a betrayted spouse) try to get him to admit his behavior and then uncover WHY it occurred. Get him to do this will be much more difficult if you come at him with guns blazing...he will only get defense, and angry."

I agree on the "attack" bit. However, I think she should follow through to help determine if her marriage is worth saving. I don't think of it as punishment. I think of it as "fact finding". I understand he's going to be angry about her sneaking around behind his back. As far as I'm concerned, his actions justified it. I think she's be foolish *not* to sneak around and find out what he's up to. She has no reason to trust his story at this point.

Brokk...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:23am
For the sake of discussion, to Brokk and Curtis and anyone else who thinks she should actually go along with this:

What do you expect to happen if she does go along with this and finds out that her hubby chickened out and didn't go through with it? I have a really hard time understanding your POVs - even if it turns out 'for the best', meaning that he is just looking (and I think we've established that it's beyond the idle curiosity at this point - the minute he placed an ad, and ANSWERED hers, the line was crossed), and he's not yet willing to go through with it, is she supposed to suddenly trust him? I'm trying to imagine what the happy ending would be in your scenarios, but I can't see it.

I think he's gone far enough already. The thought of trying to answer an ad and chat with a man you already know to be your husband is too much for me to imagine - I could never manage it. I'd sabotage the whole thing. He'd see right through me.

But mainly, I'm trying to understand a POV which is entirely unlike my own. I'm still for immediate confrontation. If I were her I wouldn't care less if it came out as an attack or not. Sounds like he deserves it. HE made the mess, HE can clean it up.

Sally, who doesn't think life should be based on one-hit-wonders.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:38am
Title: I understand what you are saying, and I understand the logic...I just don't agree...


...but I am not saying you are wrong.

If I understand you, you are saying "I want to see what their intention was, so that I can determine if I want to remain in a relationship with them or not". Fair enough.

What I am saying is that I think I'd prefer to head off a wrong turn before they go too far the road. I am thinking that once I discovered that they were arranging a hotel room for a booty call with a man who they didn't know was me, my heart will turn cold. Thus, I RATHER discover what the issue is before we get to that point.

I guess I am saying that at THIS point, "he" hasn't "done anything yet", so we assume. But, he might, if given a set of circumstances (you might say circumstances that "permitted it", I might would say circumstances that "encouraged it"). I would rather head him / her off NOW, and get to the root of the problem, and recover the marriage, before they / we get to a poitn where the ship can't be turned around.

In my mind, all cheaters aren't total scum bags. Some are...some are just determined to find someone to do the dew with...that was their intent all along. But others might simply be pushing the boundary...peering over the edge. I just rather pull them back from the edge versus pretending I was on the other side waiting to catch them.

I mean, how would you ever reconcile whether not they would have gone ahead and "cheated" if they didn't have someone to "cheat" with?

One other note...it occurs to me that the "pretense" game might get pretty complex after awhile. She responds to the ad...he shows some interest. So...who is suppose to suggest a meet first? If he never suggests a meet...should she suggest one just to see if he "takes the bait"? I mean...if he never does anyting more than flirt a little bit and whine a bit about his marriage, is she supposed to turn up the heat? If not, then at what point does she say "gotcha"! And then, when she does that...what is he guilty of...having put up an ad? She knows he did that already...

The more I think about this, the more it sounds like a bad idea. Speaking just for me...and how my psyche works...I would be MUCH better off if she confronted me early...thus we can deal with what HAD taken place...versus she trying to lead me on, only to come back later with "I just wanted to see how far you would go". For me, including THAT with whatever reasons I had for posting the ad in the first palce would be more than enough reason to terminate the marriage.

"TFB. He's already deceiving her, and the trust has been broken."

"After all, it's not like she started this process, or trapped him into it... "

"I understand he's going to be angry about her sneaking around behind his back. As far as I'm concerned, his actions justified it."

These all sound like they are more rooted in, as Dr. Phil says, being "right" versus reaching a solution. I rather save my marriage...assuming I want to save my marriage...versus being "justified". BUT...I do see your point.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:46am
Title: GMTA...


I essentital just posted the same question....

BTW, Brokk...what does TFB mean? I forgot to ask in my counterpost to yours...

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