Marriage Advocates

Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15

Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/16/15 04:56 PM

Dear MA members,

I'm delighted to be here and to offer any service and insights that could help other save and heal their marriages.

( Announcement here in case you missed it)

I have a new Musing on Marriage(tm) article, just for MA, posted here . It's called The Grown Up Christmas List and although it has an intentional holiday slant, my hopes, dreams, wishes, and suggestions are for every day of the year.

I'll be hosting an Ask Me Anything thread here on this board weekly, on Wednesdays, between 6 and 10 pm CT. During those times I'll be available live to answer any questions on marriage and relationship healing. Outside those times I'll monitor and respond as time allows. We can decided - collaboratively - if we want a new thread each week or if we should just hang out on this one for a while.

A very special thank you to the MA board of directors for their gracious invitation and all the behind the scenes work it takes to make something like this come together. It's my honor and pleasure to be here.

P
Posted By: SmilingWife

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/16/15 06:47 PM

Welcome. I enjoyed the article and I look forward to your threads.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/16/15 06:48 PM

Thank you! I look forward to some great conversations with folks here.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:12 AM

Well, peeps, here we are. Wednesday night at 6pm. I'm available until 10 pm CT for questions, comments, or conversation on marriage or any marriage related topic.

As some of you may remember I offered marriage coaching from something like 2002 through 2009 or 2010. The last few years have been filled with kiddos heading off to college, getting married, and, this year, a couple of grandbabies.

I still keep in touch via facebook, email, phone, text (you know all the techno goodies) with so many wonderful people I met at MB or later at SYMC. Hubby and I will be taking a cruise with some of our SYMC friends early in 2016.

I did a stint of prison ministry from about 2004 through 2010 and it's possible I loved that as much as I loved coaching.

The last several years I've been deeply involved in health and nutrition and have considered offering coaching on those topics at some point as well.

I'd love to hear what's going on in your lives and do my best at answering any marriage related questions you might have.

P
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:21 AM

It's great to have you here, Penny! Thank you so much for this opportunity.

My particular focus is on communication, and I emphasize validation as a way to make it better between partners. I personally have found the "standard tools" (i.e. Active Listening, I messages) to fall considerably short outside a counselor's office.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts and experience with coaching couples how to improve their communication skills.
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:22 AM

Hi Penny

I'm here making cookie dough and will read along. smile
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:37 AM

Hi Fiddler -

What a wonderful question. Communication is, as you know, utterly essential to making a marriage safe, creative, vibrant.... any number of adjectives we could come up with to say "healthy and happy". And, as you suggest, it's not as simple as just a non emotional exchange of information.

We all have baggage - for lack of a better word. We all experience shame, fear, resentment, anxiety.... all those things that get in the way of clear and open communication.

The problem with so many of the communication techniques is they don't take into account the need for individuals to own and regulate their own emotions in as a foundational point of communication. Unless, and until, we can hear what our partner has to say and at the same time own and regulate our own emotional response to that we're going to get caught in the cycle of "I feel bad and it's your fault" - which of course is never helpful.

In working with couples, and actually in other classes I teach, one of the first places we start is with emotional regulation skills. It's the step that comes before communication techniques - it's emotional muscle building that decreases baseline resentment, increases baseline compassion and connection, and then allows the individual to take in information and process it calmly an in a way that takes everyone's best interest into account.

Does that make sense?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:38 AM

Living Well - I am clearly spoiled by facebook. I tried desperately to hit the "like button" for your post smile

It is salad night here - please feel free to send cookie dough my way!

xo

P
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:45 AM

Penny, what you are talking about in reply to Fiddler sounds a lot like where my therapist started with me, mindfulness and self compassion practice.

Is this close?
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:46 AM

Penny, that makes perfect sense to me.

Could you share some your approach to getting couples to build their emotional muscles (I love that image!)?
Posted By: wiser_now

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:47 AM

Hi P,

It's Nyneve, a former village elder here, enjoying that fact that you are also here.

Welcome! And... carry on!

To anyone who drops by... this woman is a gem!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:52 AM

Hi Miranda,

Sounds like a good experience smile I imagine there are many different ways to get to the same place of calm, compassionate, and able to tell the difference between what is my stuff and what is someone else's. And then, of course, to own my stuff and let you own yours.

The process I've used involves a short series of informational lessons followed by a daily practice. Everyone I know who's done the practice expresses good results. I have a student who tells me every time I see her that it changed her life.

Did you experience good results with the work you did with your therapist? And did you find it helped in marriage or other relationships?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:56 AM

Fiddler -
Ok, good. Sometimes I think I could be the queen of run on sentences!

Does what I posted to Miranda answer your question?

It's a simple daily practice that requires maybe 3 minutes 6-10 times a day. Easy to learn. Fairly easy to do. Requires the discipline to do it - pretty much like learning any other skill.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:57 AM

Nyneve!

YOU are a gem.

xoxo
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 12:57 AM

I'm just going to go straight to your article...

What are your thoughts when one of the big stressors during this holiday season - or even other holidays - is differing levels of importance of the holiday? For instance, if someone has never really celebrated the holiday at all?
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:02 AM

Thank you - your answer to Miranda helps clarify it a bit. Would you be willing to share a bit about what the practice involves?

Yes, discipline...I'm gonna work on that.

Someday... wink
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:03 AM

Harley used to say, and I tend to agree, communication isn't really the problem. Couples communicate all the time. She knows he hates it when she leaves the mail all over the kitchen table. He is completely aware that she can't stand his bowling buddy who drinks too much.

The problem is the inability to discuss those things in a way that sets aside blame, resentment, and reactivity and to make choices that balance the needs of the individuals with what it takes to make a marriage work.

So, is the problem communication, the exchange of information, or is it the ability to sit with one's own emotional response and not expect someone else to make it better?
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:10 AM

Honestly Penny my mindfulness practice sounds a lot like what you advocate. My therapist wanted me to meditate but I could never settle down to formal, extended single meditation. So I started taking "mindfulness breaks" throughout the day and checking in with myself physically and emotionally. It's been really beneficial.

But I had a LOT to work through. And still have more to do. But my work with this therapist has been life changing. In some ways my getting stronger has "upset the apple cart" in my marriage. But it was necessary growth. Ultimately it is making the relationship better, able to go the distance for the love my haul.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Fiddler
Thank you - your answer to Miranda helps clarify it a bit. Would you be willing to share a bit about what the practice involves?

Yes, discipline...I'm gonna work on that.

Someday... wink


Yep, for sure.

So if you have some familiarity with anger management techniques you know they rely on a conscious response to stimuli. E.g. count to ten, take a walk, think before you speak, etc. The problem is, our unconscious response is something like 200x faster than we can think. So by the time you can say "I coulda counted to 10" it's entirely possible you've already said or done something that's not in your best interest or your spouse's or your marriage (or fill in the blank with any other kind of relationship. During a very stressful time I once told my boss to ... well .... it wasn't pretty...)

What we need to do, then, is to create an automatic response to stimuli which decreases our sense of self worth or value (anything where we are tempted to say "I feel bad and it's your fault"). You can think of it as piano lessons for your emotions - creating a neural pathway that we don't have to think about consciously.

The practice itself (and this is very abbreviated) involves recalling emotionally difficult incidents from our past, inducing self compassion, and then seeing the humanity in the other person so that we can feel the same compassion. When we have a balance of compassion we can make choices that honor our humanity and that of the other - these are ethically positive choices that take care of us and at the same time allow us to create and maintain essential boundaries.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:13 AM

I'm not familiar with Harley's work (although I hear others here mention him). I have a broader definition of communication than simply an exchange of information. Just as effective listening involves much more than hearing the words, but "decoding" the underlying message. That is, the message is often not to be found in the words alone, but in other places such as non-verbal signals as well as what is not said.

Whenever there is reactivity in an exchange, I believe that communication has in fact ceased altogether. When our lizard brain is triggered we are unable to hear the other person.

So it does seem to come down to managing one's own emotions - which is probably why you start with that. I would include that element under the heading of "communication" because without it, there is typically not even an exchange of information, let alone hearing each others' feelings and unspoken messages.

ETA: What you describe sounds similar to something I heard about from Pema Chödrön called "tonglen".
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
Ultimately it is making the relationship better, able to go the distance for the love my haul.

Gotta love autocorrect ROFL

Here's to your haul, Miranda! wink
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
Honestly Penny my mindfulness practice sounds a lot like what you advocate. My therapist wanted me to meditate but I could never settle down to formal, extended single meditation. So I started taking "mindfulness breaks" throughout the day and checking in with myself physically and emotionally. It's been really beneficial.

But I had a LOT to work through. And still have more to do. But my work with this therapist has been life changing. In some ways my getting stronger has "upset the apple cart" in my marriage. But it was necessary growth. Ultimately it is making the relationship better, able to go the distance for the love my haul.


I love it! Mindfulness breaks sound delicious. And courageous.

If we never upset the apple cart where would we find growth? Change always involves discomfort. And - I really believe we don't embrace change until maintaining the status quo becomes too uncomfortable.

P
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:18 AM

Lol. Yeah that was an interesting "slip"
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Fiddler
I'm not familiar with Harley's work (although I hear others here mention him). I have a broader definition of communication than simply an exchange of information. Just as effective listening involves much more than hearing the words, but "decoding" the underlying message. That is, the message is often not to be found in the words alone, but in other places such as non-verbal signals as well as what is not said.

Whenever there is reactivity in an exchange, I believe that communication has in fact ceased altogether. When our lizard brain is triggered we are unable to hear the other person.

So it does seem to come down to managing one's own emotions - which is probably why you start with that. I would include that element under the heading of "communication" because without it, there is typically not even an exchange of information, let alone hearing each others' feelings and unspoken messages.

ETA: What you describe sounds similar to something I heard about from Pema Chödrön called "tonglen".


Omigosh, I haven't read Pema Chodron in years. Her work was an absolute lifesaver when my life was falling apart.

Harley was (is?) very mechanical and didn't really do the touchy/feely stuff, which is why I eventually expanded my training and points of view. I still like the concept that couples know what each other's buttons are and choose to either ignore them or worse - push them.

At the same time I don't disagree with what you are saying - that true communication at the level of intimacy is much much more than that.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:25 AM

Originally Posted By: LivingWell
Originally Posted By: Miranda
Ultimately it is making the relationship better, able to go the distance for the love my haul.

Gotta love autocorrect ROFL

Here's to your haul, Miranda! wink


I needs an LOL button .....
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:27 AM

Miranda - I love your sig line, btw.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
I still like the concept that couples know what each other's buttons are and choose to either ignore them or worse - push them.
Oh absolutely - indeed, according to Hendrix (Harville, not Jimi), that's precisely why we choose them!

The positive thing for me is that while my FOO is ***mumble mumble*** years in the past, my wife can bring those issues to the front & center in an instant. And so I can use the times when my buttons do get pushed as pointers to my own unhealed areas.

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
...true communication at the level of intimacy is much much more than that.
I think this is so important. I see "intimacy" as about sharing innermost thoughts and feelings and having them accepted and cherished. (Easy to say, not so easy to do!) As a guy, I have struggled a lot to even be at all aware of my emotions, let alone share them. I have certainly found gender differences in that area, but have also found that heart-centered communication tends to level the playing field quite a bit.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:34 AM

Thanks Penny. It's supposed to inspire me. It's where I'm attempting to go. But it's a scary journey for me. And a long one.
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:42 AM

Hi Penny,

My husband of 2.5yrs announced 3wks ago he was having an affair and filed for divorce the next day. We had been separated for 9mo due to DV and isdues stemming from his childhood that included aging out of foster care...physical...psychological and sexual abuse. He was a drug and alcohol addict for 25yrs and got sober 5yrs ago. He became a Christian 5yrs ago as well. Things started off bad after the honeymoon that I attributed to work...school...my son..gym...things that took away from family bonding. Now he's had an affair and filed for divorce because this woman loves him for him. I don't want a divorce but there is no communication at the moment...if I try...all I get in return is hate. Stuff like you never loved me..you never wanted me...you'll thank me for divorcing you someday...your future husband will silently thank me someday...I'm never coming back...etc. No matter what I say...he doesn't believe it and redponds with something crappy...so I've gone silent. I don't know what to do...anything at this point is just begging..clingy..blah blah stuff that feels desperate and unattractive. Thoughts on how to handle things in light of me wanting to save my marriage when it's only me trying?
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:43 AM

We are 43 and 47yrs old...2nd marriage for me and 3rd for him.
Posted By: right here waiting

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:47 AM

Glad you've checked in on this thread, Alwayslookingup. Penny can help.
Posted By: LivingWell

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:48 AM

Originally Posted By: right here waiting
Glad you've checked in on this thread, Alwayslookingup.

thumbsup
Posted By: SmilingWife

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:50 AM

Just want to say I am reading along! Love it!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:51 AM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
I'm just going to go straight to your article...

What are your thoughts when one of the big stressors during this holiday season - or even other holidays - is differing levels of importance of the holiday? For instance, if someone has never really celebrated the holiday at all?


I suspect this is true in more homes than we know. For more years than I'm going to own up to, I've been the one to drag out the decorations, put the lights on the tree, fight with those little plug in lights in the snow village.... gar....

I think this question brings us right back to what we've been talking about. Communication, intimacy, and emotional ownership.

Is one partner saying blaming the other for making the holiday less than jolly? Or - in the shortcut sentence outlining blame: I feel bad (because I have to put up the danged tree every year!) and it's your fault. See, as soon as we go there we claim victim-hood and no one wins.

And then of course there's the backflash of defensiveness. "Well I'm not the one who wants the tree in the first place - you should be happy to put it up. You're the one who wants it!

And then we're off to the races.

But the issue really isn't the tree or the holidays. It might get more emotional play because holidays and our traditions around them are tied to our past and our sense of self.

The real issue is we feel unlovable (if you really loved me you'd gladly help with the tree), or inadequate (I must be a bad mate because I'm just not into this holiday thing), or powerless (I'm stuck in this situation). As we know, intellectually, no one *makes* us feel anything. When we get into these situations of feeling unloveable, powerless, or inadequate*no one else* is making us feel that way. They are simply reminding us we sometimes believe those things to be true about ourselves. And because those beliefs are so painful to face we go to blame rather than confronting our own core beliefs.

We are more susceptible to the ugly siren song of those painful core beliefs when we are under stress. It's like the double jeopardy of the holiday season - extra stress and emotionally laden traditions and outings.

If we focus only on communicating (as in talking) about the mechanics of the holiday and don't firsts learn how to own and regulate our own emotions we're almost certain to either stay stuck in the same patterns or to increase the unpleasantness around the entire issue. We have a limited foundation for self compassion balanced with compassion for our mate.

Some simple things we can do to decrease our stress levels any time of year are to increase our connection to our deepest self. We can do that by taking time to appreciate art and nature, to do small random acts of kindness, to contribute to and engage in a community that shares our values, to spend time with loved ones just enjoying each other's company, and to take care of our spiritual health. When our stress levels decrease our ability to think and behave compassionately increases. The greater our ability to do that the greater our ability to initiate and navigate a conversation about the holidays, what it means to each partner, and how to create a collaborative experiences that honors each of you.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:54 AM

Quote:
Oh absolutely - indeed, according to Hendrix (Harville, not Jimi), that's precisely why we choose them!

The positive thing for me is that while my FOO is ***mumble mumble*** years in the past, my wife can bring those issues to the front & center in an instant. And so I can use the times when my buttons do get pushed as pointers to my own unhealed areas.


Oh for real! believe this is why we have relationships. In order to be able to see and heal our inner demons. So vice versa. Hoo boy - that makes for a fun ride smirk

Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Alwayslookingup
Hi Penny,

My husband of 2.5yrs announced 3wks ago he was having an affair and filed for divorce the next day. We had been separated for 9mo due to DV and isdues stemming from his childhood that included aging out of foster care...physical...psychological and sexual abuse. He was a drug and alcohol addict for 25yrs and got sober 5yrs ago. He became a Christian 5yrs ago as well. Things started off bad after the honeymoon that I attributed to work...school...my son..gym...things that took away from family bonding. Now he's had an affair and filed for divorce because this woman loves him for him. I don't want a divorce but there is no communication at the moment...if I try...all I get in return is hate. Stuff like you never loved me..you never wanted me...you'll thank me for divorcing you someday...your future husband will silently thank me someday...I'm never coming back...etc. No matter what I say...he doesn't believe it and redponds with something crappy...so I've gone silent. I don't know what to do...anything at this point is just begging..clingy..blah blah stuff that feels desperate and unattractive. Thoughts on how to handle things in light of me wanting to save my marriage when it's only me trying?


I am so so sorry to hear that. I can only imagine your heartbreak.

Do you know how long the affair has been going on?

How long were you together before getting married?

I know there are lots of suggestions here and on other marriage boards have you tried any of them?

And possibly most important - do you have a good support system? Are you taking good care of you?
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:03 AM

The affair started in October 2015 according to him...his pastor suggests as early as August or September as one of the church members came forward to say something didn't seem right on Facebook. We have not been FB friends for a few months. So I never saw anything hinky. We dated for almost 1.5yrs before getting married and yes I have a huge support group. Everyone is shocked. Seems very out of character but now I'm unsure if this is just the real him and the man I married was the man he hoped to be.
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:04 AM

Nov 7th was the first kiss and mid Nov was sex...according to him
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:09 AM

Do I move on...keep trying...go radio silent with all communication? Not sure how to handle things right now.
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:12 AM

I read "regulate your own emotions" as "calm your lizard" in Al parlance.

My poor lizard never rests around my husband. Lizzie gets tired and then I get reactive.

LOTS of history.

What self soothing techniques do you advocate? For example, recently I thought my husband was insensitive to my needs when I was very sick (strep and flu). There is nothing I can do about how he chose to act, but I can't quite forget it.

When I tried to talk to him about it, he responded with, "if you get mad at me, I can get a good mad on right back at you for being mad at me."

Lizzie fled. Subject dropped.

I haven't self soothed on the matter enough to bring it up again, and honestly, bringing it up again feels pointless and stupid and masochistic.

In my defense, I was SO DAMN sick.

Do you just let that stuff go? Seems sensible, but not quite right.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:22 AM

Addiction is an intimacy issue - and an issue with those painful, faulty, core beliefs of unloveable, powerless, and inadequate. Intimacy always begins with self intimacy - the ability to see ourselves for who we are and to fully and deeply love and appreciate ourselves. People with addictions have such horrifically painful beliefs about themselves they are terrified of self intimacy.

In order to avoid looking at what they believe themselves to be people with addictions will use just about any kind of substance: religion, sex, drugs, alcohol, work, facebook, video games, spending, gambling ... and the list goes on.

True healing requires not just stopping the substance abuse. It requires work similar to what I talk about above in reference to communication. Looking at, embracing, and healing the inner wounds that feed those faulty core beliefs. Until a person does that kind of work they may stop abusing one substance but they are guaranteed to find another. There is some very interesting research on women who had gastric bypass surgery and then replaced their food addiction with other addictions including gambling and shopping.

In reading your story about your husband you can see the seeds of addiction in his childhood traumas. He is desperately looking for love and not understanding that the only love that will allow him to heal is self love - the very thing he can't imagine.

It is vitally important for you to know you can't fix him. Only he can do that. The late John Marsh was a dear friend and colleague of mine. He was doing ground breaking work in the field of sexual addiction and healing. He used to say, "When someone decides to get well nothing will stop them. Until they decide to get well there is nothing you can do to make them." Such a hard lesson and so very true.

It's also important to know you can't fix your marriage either. Until he decides to get well (not just stop abusing substances or seeking distraction with an affair - but truly well) the possibility of intimacy does not exist. That's not to say there is no hope. There is always hope.

For you, the most valuable thing you can do is to work the same king of self healing for YOU. Along the way you'll gain confidence, set good, ethical, boundaries, create a home that is safe and nurturing for your child(ren), and increase your own self intimacy. All those things send the most powerful message possible to your husband about self value and respect.
Posted By: Alwayslookingup

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:28 AM

Ok...sigh...thanks. Feels hopeless.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:40 AM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey
I read "regulate your own emotions" as "calm your lizard" in Al parlance.

My poor lizard never rests around my husband. Lizzie gets tired and then I get reactive.

LOTS of history.

What self soothing techniques do you advocate? For example, recently I thought my husband was insensitive to my needs when I was very sick (strep and flu). There is nothing I can do about how he chose to act, but I can't quite forget it.

When I tried to talk to him about it, he responded with, "if you get mad at me, I can get a good mad on right back at you for being mad at me."

Lizzie fled. Subject dropped.

I haven't self soothed on the matter enough to bring it up again, and honestly, bringing it up again feels pointless and stupid and masochistic.

In my defense, I was SO DAMN sick.

Do you just let that stuff go? Seems sensible, but not quite right.


Sadly, we can't just let stuff go. Nature, and our emotional inner world, abhor a vacuum. We have to fill it with something. All the stress soothers I mentioned above are good for that: art and nature, friends who inspire us, community, acts of kindness, our spiritual path...

The problem with bringing it up again is that your husband is unwilling (or most likely unable) to be with you in your space and to hear you without his own stuff getting triggered. You are both stuck in the "I feel bad and it's your fault" space. And that's a pretty sucky space to be in.

Some things to consider -
Is there ever a time when he is more receptive to hearing your pain? These would be times when his stress soothers are in higher gear.

Is there a time when you are able to frame it without anger or confrontation but rather as a "we" thing you'd like help sorting out?

What is it you are looking for from him after the fact? There is nothing he can do to make you feel better when it happened. That's always going to be crummy. Often people say they want an apology but then when they get one - even a truly heartfelt one - they're not satisfied. Is what you are looking for a heartfelt acknowledgment of your experience?

A couple of things to think about -
Generally speaking men experience shame and women experience fear. Can you see this at work in your relationship?

When something happens that reminds us we sometimes believe ourselves to be unloveable, powerless, or inadequate almost always the person behind the reminder is experiencing the same thing. If I took a guess and said you were feeling unloveable at the time you were sick and your husband failed to help out - would it be possible to see he might be feeling the same way about himself?

If you can recall how icky it feels to believe yourself unloveable - and you can project that with compassion for your husband when he felt the same way - can you get to a place of calm collaboration where you could bring it up in a way you have not done in the past?

These are all core intimacy, compassion, and commumication skills that are essential to crafting a marriage.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Alwayslookingup
Ok...sigh...thanks. Feels hopeless.


I was married to an addict for close to 10 years. I'm sorry. I understand.

I really want you to hear with your heart, though. It is not hopeless. It's true, your marriage may not survive this. I hope with all my heart it does and that he decides to grab healing by the horns and give it everything he's got. The most influential thing you can do toward that end is to your own work. Every tiny step you take toward self love, self respect, self healing increases the level of safety and health in your home and your family. You are the best hope for marriage.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 02:45 AM

Originally Posted By: SmilingWife
Just want to say I am reading along! Love it!


Thanks!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 03:46 AM

I should have stopped being surprised, years ago, by the beautiful and amazing synchronicity life offers up - especially on the deep subjects that touch us to the core.

Tonight we've been exploring the topics of communication, intimacy, self intimacy, emotional ownership, compassion, and how all those things spiral together in relationships. Every uncomfortable opportunity for growth is also an opportunity for courage, self exploration, self knowledge and spiritual awakening.

Relationships are the gardens of personal growth. The closer and more intimate the relationship the greater the opportunity for growth becomes. I wrote an article years ago about the dangers of fairy tales and the myth of "happily ever after" (I'll find it for you if you're interested), relationships are *supposed* to raise our demons. They're not supposed to be a sea of endless calm. Our partners are exactly right for us for what we need to learn -- and we for them.

I tend to believe the deepest, most powerful, lesson we need to learn is self love, value, respect, and compassion and then to extrapolate those things on to the world around us. The more we internalize those things the better we are at kindness, honesty, transparency, boundaries, courtesy ... in short the better marriage partner we become. And the better partner we are the less likely we will be to accept poor treatment - not out of anger or entitlement but out of respect for ourselves AND for our partner.

For the last couple of weeks hubby and I have been listening to a series of lectures on intimacy and growth. Tonight's conversation echoes so much of what we've been contemplating. I love it.

Thanks for the kind welcome and for sharing your stories, thoughts, and input. I'll be online for a little while longer and then checking in periodically throughout the week. I hope you'll come back next week - same bat time same bat channel for more Ask Me Anything.

P
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 03:48 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Sadly, we can't just let stuff go. Nature, and our emotional inner world, abhor a vacuum. We have to fill it with something. All the stress soothers I mentioned above are good for that: art and nature, friends who inspire us, community, acts of kindness, our spiritual path...


I'm not sure I agree with this. There are people like my mother who will never in a million years acknowledge the pain they have caused because to do so means an annihilation of self. You have to let their behavior go or you will be me. Yikes!

I don't think emotional vacuum describes it. I'm mad and hurt and scared and in despair. Perhaps those activities might displace some of those negative emotions -- I'm not convinced as I walk 5-10 miles a day in the Rocky Mountains with my dogs.

What I find soothing is to create as much emotional distance between him and me as I can -- if I don't need him he can't hurt me.

Is that even a true statement?

Originally Posted By: penny
The problem with bringing it up again is that your husband is unwilling (or most likely unable) to be with you in your space and to hear you without his own stuff getting triggered. You are both stuck in the "I feel bad and it's your fault" space. And that's a pretty sucky space to be in.


I think he feels just fine. I don't think we are "both" anywhere near the same place.

Originally Posted By: penny
Some things to consider -
Is there ever a time when he is more receptive to hearing your pain? These would be times when his stress soothers are in higher gear.


That's a good thought. I have tried to use the passage of time as a soother for him, but it appears we are equally skilled in pulling the past into the present.

Originally Posted By: penny
Is there a time when you are able to frame it without anger or confrontation but rather as a "we" thing you'd like help sorting out?


I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 months after we decided to reconcile after my affair.

Health is a huge trigger for both of us.

I despise being dependent on anyone. DESPISE IT because, in part, I always get let down.

Originally Posted By: penny
What is it you are looking for from him after the fact? There is nothing he can do to make you feel better when it happened. That's always going to be crummy. Often people say they want an apology but then when they get one - even a truly heartfelt one - they're not satisfied. Is what you are looking for a heartfelt acknowledgment of your experience?


I'm very practical. An apology does me no good.

What I'd like is a plan such that if he ever does that again, I have someone to call which I don't where we live.

Quote:
A couple of things to think about -
Generally speaking men experience shame and women experience fear. Can you see this at work in your relationship?


Sort of.

Originally Posted By: penny
When something happens that reminds us we sometimes believe ourselves to be unloveable, powerless, or inadequate almost always the person behind the reminder is experiencing the same thing. If I took a guess and said you were feeling unloveable at the time you were sick and your husband failed to help out - would it be possible to see he might be feeling the same way about himself?


I want to be agreeable, but no. I think he felt noble.

Originally Posted By: Penny
If you can recall how icky it feels to believe yourself unloveable - and you can project that with compassion for your husband when he felt the same way - can you get to a place of calm collaboration where you could bring it up in a way you have not done in the past?


On this fact pattern, I think my husband believes he did everything right.

In general, I'll have to think about that. I started to tell him something sort of intimate about me (I quit smoking and now vape and all that willpower that has gone to not smoking for the last 38 years is now available for other applications) and then thought, "nah--too much damn trouble" because all I will get is a lecture on why I am wrong and he is Right.



These are all core intimacy, compassion, and commumication skills that are essential to crafting a marriage.
[/quote]
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:14 PM

LadyGrey - I have a super full day today and tomorrow but I'm going to my best to get back you. It might be in short bursts. Thank you for your response!

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 01:31 PM

Hi Penny,

Welcome. Glad you are back here. I won't ever be able to participate live in these discussions because I have church activities and am not home during the times you will be "live." So I'll just post my thoughts after the fact.

Self-regulation and self soothing seem to be your recommendations as well as having compassion for the other person, but is there such a thing as having too much compassion?

My parents fought loudly and often throughout my life until they divorced when I was in college. If they were screaming at each other in the car, then my modus operandi was to pretend to be asleep. If they were home, I spent time in the backyard. I realized quite early that neither one really "heard" what the other one was feeling. They heard words but not the meaning behind them. I would fantasize about sitting them down and saying, "Mom, you think dad is so mean but you don't hear how scared he is. He is scared he is unlovable and you are going to leave him." "Dad, mom needs to know that you value her, you love her, you respect her. She is feeling so unloved right now."

I was 13 when my "boyfriend" was hit by a drunk driver and killed while playing putt putt golf. His younger sister was my best friend and I comforted her, but a few months later she turned against me with an anonymous letter writing campaign. In high school, a friend helped me see that when she saw me, she saw her brother and she had no idea how to cut off that relationship that caused her so much pain. ( I was with her and her family when we went to pick he and his friend up and the police were there as it had happened a few minutes before.) So I was a constant reminder...

Both of these things caused me to understand the importance of putting myself in the other person's shoes and that they normally have a reason for lashing out and hurting people that stems from their own hurt.

My problem tends to be that I see the other side so much that I decide my side doesn't matter. I need to be able to see my side as valid as well. Plus, because I am so even keeled and happy my husband doesn't really take my complaints seriously. It is only when I break down that he thinks...oh I need to help her. It isn't that he doesn't love me. I think it is that I am so independent and have been his helper for so long that he thinks I am doing well and it is so hard for me to ask for what I need and so he thinks I am ok...

We have been married for over 25 years. He is a surgeon and the last few years have been really tough. He was struggling with burnout ( He says that each patient takes a piece of him and now he has no pieces left..) He isn't your typical surgeon, but is kind and compassionate. The nurses and patients adore him. Then we had a stressful legal situation on top of the burnout. Then he had a major medical issue that landed him in the ICU for a week, thankfully he is ok now but he has severe headaches and fatigue that is worse with lack of sleep and stress... ( Yeah, his job is full of that.)

God made him who he is, a compassionate guy who truly cares and worries about each patient. I love that about him. He cares about details. He is only working half time, but even that has been really tough for him. Now he is facing the fact that he cannot do what he used to be able to do, which of course is really hard for a man to face..

So I have always weighed..does he have enough energy to go out on a date.. Do I initiate sex..it has been 3 weeks? I have gotten better about just asking for what I want and then not taking it as a personal rejection if he says no. ( Not that I would have said anything out loud. I just would have internalized it.)

Not sure what my question is exactly except that I guess life is about learning to be happy when it is just life that you were dealt. Nothing will ever be perfect no matter what technique you use. You may not get what you want, you just need to learn to be happy in spite of it. I just wish things could be different.

Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 04:08 PM

Quote:
Self-regulation and self soothing seem to be your recommendations as well as having compassion for the other person, but is there such a thing as having too much compassion?

...Both of these things caused me to understand the importance of putting myself in the other person's shoes and that they normally have a reason for lashing out and hurting people that stems from their own hurt.

My problem tends to be that I see the other side so much that I decide my side doesn't matter...


Is that too much compassion for others or too little compassion for yourself?
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/17/15 08:50 PM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
Quote:
Self-regulation and self soothing seem to be your recommendations as well as having compassion for the other person, but is there such a thing as having too much compassion?

...Both of these things caused me to understand the importance of putting myself in the other person's shoes and that they normally have a reason for lashing out and hurting people that stems from their own hurt.

My problem tends to be that I see the other side so much that I decide my side doesn't matter...


Is that too much compassion for others or too little compassion for yourself?

As a codependent,conflict avoiding, enabler I would say I have too little for myself. - JMHO.

Enjoying this thread - Thanks Penny for joining here! smile
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/23/15 09:09 PM

Originally Posted By: LadyGrey


I'm not sure I agree with this. There are people like my mother who will never in a million years acknowledge the pain they have caused because to do so means an annihilation of self. You have to let their behavior go or you will be me. Yikes!


Yes, there are a whole lot of people walking around with a whole lot of pain they don't talk about. I don't know that I would say that's the same as letting it go. When I think of letting it go I mean that it no longer creates any significant emotional response. Pain that isn't talked about but still hangs around creating resentment or anger or deep sadness -- not the same as letting it go.

Quote:
I don't think emotional vacuum describes it. I'm mad and hurt and scared and in despair. Perhaps those activities might displace some of those negative emotions -- I'm not convinced as I walk 5-10 miles a day in the Rocky Mountains with my dogs.


I'm sorry frown I would agree that is not an emotional vacuum. And I would also say mad and hurt and despair don't exist in the same space as letting something go.

Your walk sounds lovely. I hope it helps to some extent. And it may not be enough. The things I reference are areas of deep connection for most human beings. We all have areas that are fuller (like your walk in the Rockies with your dogs) and areas that are less full or even empty. The more areas we can fill the better able we are to withstand stress - including painful relationships. That's not to say that if you could fill every area of connection to the tip top you would not find your husband's behavior painful - but I do suspect you would find more options for addressing it in ways that you could feel good about later.

Quote:
What I find soothing is to create as much emotional distance between him and me as I can -- if I don't need him he can't hurt me.

Is that even a true statement?


Is it true for you emotionally? If so, then of course it's a true statement. It's your emotional experience.

Originally Posted By: penny
The problem with bringing it up again is that your husband is unwilling (or most likely unable) to be with you in your space and to hear you without his own stuff getting triggered. You are both stuck in the "I feel bad and it's your fault" space. And that's a pretty sucky space to be in.


Quote:
I think he feels just fine. I don't think we are "both" anywhere near the same place.


Hmmm ..... do you really think he feels just fine? How terrible that would be for him if he felt great about neglecting his wife when she was ill -- or any other time for that matter.

I don't think you are in the same place as in agreement. I wonder though, if I or some other neutral party, had a chance to speak with him openly and honestly if he would say he feels great about things or if he would say he felt disconnected, disengaged, lonely, powerless...?



Quote:
That's a good thought. I have tried to use the passage of time as a soother for him, but it appears we are equally skilled in pulling the past into the present.


Yes. I understand. This is the skill building I work with for couples so they are able to have those conversations without getting triggered. We all do it to some extent - and more so when we are under stress.


Quote:
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 months after we decided to reconcile after my affair.

Health is a huge trigger for both of us.

I despise being dependent on anyone. DESPISE IT because, in part, I always get let down.


I am so very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I can imagine health is an enormous trigger.

I really despise being dependent as well - and for much the same reason. When my mother was ill, about a year and a half ago, I had to reach a breaking point before finally reaching out to friends for help. It was incredibly difficult. I can't say I'm a whole lot better at it than I was then smirk


Quote:
I'm very practical. An apology does me no good.

What I'd like is a plan such that if he ever does that again, I have someone to call which I don't where we live.


I tend to think of an apology as the statement of desire to repair something that's been hurt in a relationship. But without some expression of understanding what the harmed party experienced a plan for how it won't happen again ... well .... not all that helpful.

I love that you say you are very practical smile

Quote:
A couple of things to think about -
Generally speaking men experience shame and women experience fear. Can you see this at work in your relationship?




Originally Posted By: penny
When something happens that reminds us we sometimes believe ourselves to be unloveable, powerless, or inadequate almost always the person behind the reminder is experiencing the same thing. If I took a guess and said you were feeling unloveable at the time you were sick and your husband failed to help out - would it be possible to see he might be feeling the same way about himself?


Quote:
I want to be agreeable, but no. I think he felt noble.


Heh. Well I appreciate your desire to be agreeable. Always more pleasant than disagreeable! But I like your (quite agreeable!) honesty even more.

How do you mean you think he felt noble?

And, if you don't mind my asking - what made you decide to end your affair and come back to your marriage?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/23/15 09:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Hi Penny,

Welcome. Glad you are back here. I won't ever be able to participate live in these discussions because I have church activities and am not home during the times you will be "live." So I'll just post my thoughts after the fact.

Self-regulation and self soothing seem to be your recommendations as well as having compassion for the other person, but is there such a thing as having too much compassion?


Hi Marta! Thanks for your kind welcome. Once we get through the holiday crazies I hope I can catch up with you a little sooner. I appreciate your post and your patience.

A good friend of mine who was the head of my Board of Advisors at SYMC had a phrase that I absolutely love and have pretty much stolen. She would talk about the meed to be a "compassionate hardass". I love that so much!

I think there's a misconception that being compassionate toward someone means letting them do whatever they darn well please. Or, taking care of their needs at the expense of our own - or even at the expense of other family member's (coworker's, friend's, etc) needs.

I take a more Dalai Lama Buddhist view of compassion where it guides and informs ethically positive behavior. That behavior is defined as "my desire to seek happiness and avoid suffering are equal to your (singular or universal depending on the issue) desire for the same.

So if we look at compassion in that light - being a doormat in order to appease someone else is neither compassionate nor ethically positive. It creates an imbalance and eventually causes some level of harm. Now, obviously, not every interaction can be completely "fair" (although my ocd little personality might wish it to be!). It's the overall picture of the interactions within the relationship we need to look at.

Sometimes one partner is going through a rough patch - work or parents or whatever - and the other pulls a little more of the burden. And then things shift and the roles are reversed for a while. That is normal healthy give and take. It's partnering.

Quote:
My parents fought loudly and often throughout my life until they divorced when I was in college. If they were screaming at each other in the car, then my modus operandi was to pretend to be asleep. If they were home, I spent time in the backyard. I realized quite early that neither one really "heard" what the other one was feeling. They heard words but not the meaning behind them. I would fantasize about sitting them down and saying, "Mom, you think dad is so mean but you don't hear how scared he is. He is scared he is unlovable and you are going to leave him." "Dad, mom needs to know that you value her, you love her, you respect her. She is feeling so unloved right now."


What a beautiful gift you have to be able to see both sides and to do so with deep understanding. You have stated, very powerfully, in one paragraph what some people struggle for years to understand.

Quote:
I was 13 when my "boyfriend" was hit by a drunk driver and killed while playing putt putt golf. His younger sister was my best friend and I comforted her, but a few months later she turned against me with an anonymous letter writing campaign. In high school, a friend helped me see that when she saw me, she saw her brother and she had no idea how to cut off that relationship that caused her so much pain. ( I was with her and her family when we went to pick he and his friend up and the police were there as it had happened a few minutes before.) So I was a constant reminder...


I'm so sorry.

Quote:
Both of these things caused me to understand the importance of putting myself in the other person's shoes and that they normally have a reason for lashing out and hurting people that stems from their own hurt.

My problem tends to be that I see the other side so much that I decide my side doesn't matter. I need to be able to see my side as valid as well. Plus, because I am so even keeled and happy my husband doesn't really take my complaints seriously. It is only when I break down that he thinks...oh I need to help her. It isn't that he doesn't love me. I think it is that I am so independent and have been his helper for so long that he thinks I am doing well and it is so hard for me to ask for what I need and so he thinks I am ok...


Have you told him this - the way you have just shared it here?


Quote:
We have been married for over 25 years. He is a surgeon and the last few years have been really tough. He was struggling with burnout ( He says that each patient takes a piece of him and now he has no pieces left..) He isn't your typical surgeon, but is kind and compassionate. The nurses and patients adore him. Then we had a stressful legal situation on top of the burnout. Then he had a major medical issue that landed him in the ICU for a week, thankfully he is ok now but he has severe headaches and fatigue that is worse with lack of sleep and stress... ( Yeah, his job is full of that.)

God made him who he is, a compassionate guy who truly cares and worries about each patient. I love that about him. He cares about details. He is only working half time, but even that has been really tough for him. Now he is facing the fact that he cannot do what he used to be able to do, which of course is really hard for a man to face..

So I have always weighed..does he have enough energy to go out on a date.. Do I initiate sex..it has been 3 weeks? I have gotten better about just asking for what I want and then not taking it as a personal rejection if he says no. ( Not that I would have said anything out loud. I just would have internalized it.)

Not sure what my question is exactly except that I guess life is about learning to be happy when it is just life that you were dealt. Nothing will ever be perfect no matter what technique you use. You may not get what you want, you just need to learn to be happy in spite of it. I just wish things could be different.



How long has it been since his medical issue with the fatigue and lack of sleep? I'm sure it is especially hard on him since, as a physician and surgeon, he is used to being in control.
I'm guessing you are close to 50?
Do you feel like you are too compassionate in that you understand what he is going through and that you take better care of him than you do of yourself? Your husband sounds like a wonderful person - I wonder, does he understand you feel... what would say .... as if you don't have a fully engaged partner?
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 12:04 AM

Good evening, everyone. Merry-whateverr-it-is-you-celebrate!

What shall we talk about this evening?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 01:29 AM

Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

While you all are elbow deep in wrapping paper and pie crust I'll just take a little minute for a monologue here.

About a month ago hubby and I had a chance to take a mini vacation / second honeymoon in conjunction with a one day marriage enhancement event. In Nashville. So flipping cool ... but I digress... We covered lots of topics during the day and then ended with a really cool exercise I thought I would share.

We were asked to define, first individually and then together, the goal of our marriage. What is it that we, as a couple, want to do. So, it could be great sex is our goal, or raising children, or travel, or amassing wealth, or ministry, or whatever.

It was interesting because we had a shared goal almost immediately and, I don't think it was something either of us would have come up with on our own.

With a shared goal then we created policies/practices which support the goal. This could be considered a code of conduct which is fairly static in order to create the foundation for achieving the goal.

And then after that projects and plans. These ere changeable and move and flow with life events. So if child rearing is the goal one week it might be homework and another project and yet another trips to the museum.

Finally we defined what the bigger picture of what it will look like as the goal is reached. This is an expanded vision of the goal. Again, if the goal is child rearing it might be healthy children who exhibit emotional and physical wellness and who are well adjusted.

We meet once a month and take a look at how we've done with the policies and practices, the end vision, the goal, and then we discuss project and plans for the next month.

I was thinking, today, that one could use this kind of flow chart for marital healing. Agreeing to meet meet once a week or month or whenever allows it to be incremental and gentle. Although there is a long term end goal there is the ability to stay with where one is today and to take baby steps toward where you want to be.

Thoughts?
Posted By: SmilingWife

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 01:57 AM

HI Penny,

Sorry it is dead tonight. Love your threads.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 02:15 AM

No worries on my part smile

Hubby, cats, small dog, and I are just hanging out and chatting. Well .... the dog does not chat but the cats are quite vocal.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 02:18 AM

I can talk about what is on my mind tonight...and that's being open to the possibility that things can change.

Oh, I don't mean drinking a big ol' glass of kool-aid and jumping on the naivety train of baseless optimism. I mean rejecting the big ol' glass of resentment, past disappointment, and anger that tells you that things can't change. I mean rejecting the extremes and finding the balance...the balance where you are open to the possibility of seeing change when it exists...and not killing it in its infancy.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 02:41 AM

Mmm hmmm. Some days it's just so dang hard to let go of the resentment, disappointment, anger, fear and to choose to replace those things with a more positive point of view. It really is rejecting the extremes and seeking the balance.

It's also about being the kind of partner you would want to have. And, no, I don't mean the doormat kind. I mean honorable, honest, kind, confident, with good boundaries, a sense of humor, sense of self, and the ability to be independent while at the same time having a desire to be partnered.

I was so incredibly traumatized when my marriage ended. I tried so hard to make it work. And I really (really really) wanted to blame my ex for everything that went wrong. But when I got completely honest with myself I had to face the fact that I intentionally overlooked red flags early on and chose to allow the kind of treatment that eventually created an impossible situation. Like we were talking about above - I did not take care of myself or my needs / integrity.

The most important (and probably only) change I could make was how I interacted with myself first and my partner second. So elegantly simple. And so very hard to do - at least for me.

P
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 02:46 AM

I think that's probably the saddest part of anger and resentment, really. It becomes so easy to abdicate responsibility for examining your part in the events - regardless of the size - and to examine them, learn from them, and grow.

I tried so hard with my first marriage. It was very hard for me to get to the point where I just accepted that it wasn't going to work. It was admitting a mistake...a failure. At least, that's how it was in my mind at the time.

Now I accept that I had to go through all of that to reach where I am now. If I'd had the skills I needed to skip right past a relationship like that, I would have picked someone else...and skipped right past that part...AND on to the next part of the learning.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:05 AM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen


Now I accept that I had to go through all of that to reach where I am now. If I'd had the skills I needed to skip right past a relationship like that, I would have picked someone else...and skipped right past that part...AND on to the next part of the learning.


Omigosh. So true. And I really like how you say that.

JustJ used to say all relationships end. Some end at death and some before then. That's always struck me as a really essential thing to take to heart. I think, too, that when we are able to reframe, as you have, failure as a learning opportunity there's so much more we can do with the ending of a relationship.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:16 AM

So what tools can we use to work on the reframing? I think that's helpful information for those in the midst of a marital crisis. So often, it's very hard for people to reframe it as learning and focus on their part. Certainly, our amygdala isn't going to encourage us to think about it this way.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:33 AM

Ahh.... if only we could stay calm and rational at all time, hmm?

In order to be able to reframe we need to be able to own and regulate our own emotions. We need to take responsibility for how we feel and react to situations in which we find ourselves. And to do that we have to create an automatic response that is faster than conscious thought.

There are probably several methods for learning how to create that automatic response. Last week we talked about mindfulness training as one such method. The practice I am most familiar with and have taught with excellent success is a series of exercises one does throughout the day for 6 weeks. It probably takes 1-2 minutes each time -- so maybe a total of 20 minutes per day for six weeks. The result is decreased baseline resentment and increased baseline compassion and calm.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:37 AM

I don't know. As you well know, I used to think that it would be better if we all stayed calm and rational all the time. However, even I know that approach has its drawbacks. For instance, during sex. That's one of the most obvious - and positive - but there are others.

Our emotions are our body's way of telling us things. Again, balance. grin
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:38 AM

David Schnarch's work on fusion and differentiation is also excellent in this whole conversation about emotion, reactivity, responsibility, blame, and intimacy.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 03:38 AM

Originally Posted By: AntigoneRisen
I don't know. As you well know, I used to think that it would be better if we all stayed calm and rational all the time. However, even I know that approach has its drawbacks. For instance, during sex. That's one of the most obvious - and positive - but there are others.

Our emotions are our body's way of telling us things. Again, balance. grin


Ha! Good point!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 04:02 AM

Happy holidays everyone. Wishing you peace, love, safety, beauty, laughter, and every good thing.

See ya next week.

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/24/15 11:06 AM

Penny,

Thanks for your words and for being willing to be here. I'm sure everyone was traveling/ busy with relatives, etc. As I mentioned before, I doubt I will ever be able to participate on a Wednesday night.

Medical issue happened in the fall of 2014. He was dealing with a lot of stress and burnout before that, which probably caused the medical issue.

He is a really wonderful man and it tears me apart to see him suffering.

Last night was horrible...can't talk here too public..

Thanks again for being here.
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/30/15 08:54 PM

hey Penny,

Are you around tonight?

(although I've just realized that as I'm in GMT it's not even near your tonight :))

MUN
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/30/15 09:01 PM

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
hey Penny,

Are you around tonight?

(although I've just realized that as I'm in GMT it's not even near your tonight :))

MUN


I am here tonight... Or.... middle of the night your time? smile

If you have a question or comment you can post it any time. Even if I don't have a chance to get to it during the week I try to login early on Wednesday and catch up. I was just looking at Marta's post from last week, in fact. And who knows? Once we get the holidays behind us maybe life will go at a leisurely pace!

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/30/15 09:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Penny,

Thanks for your words and for being willing to be here. I'm sure everyone was traveling/ busy with relatives, etc. As I mentioned before, I doubt I will ever be able to participate on a Wednesday night.

Medical issue happened in the fall of 2014. He was dealing with a lot of stress and burnout before that, which probably caused the medical issue.

He is a really wonderful man and it tears me apart to see him suffering.

Last night was horrible...can't talk here too public..

Thanks again for being here.


Marta,

I've been thinking about you all week. I really appreciate your sensitivity in keeping private things private. There's such a fine line between reaching out for very needed support and respecting your partner and your marriage enough to know what is best not shared.

I hope things were calmer over the holidays for you. You can always PM me with questions if that would help. And if you are looking for more in depth help and support I'm available for coaching as well.

We recently went through something similar on a much smaller scale. It is so hard to see someone you love in pain and suffering. And, no matter how wonderful your spouse, or you!, are, it's challenging for a marriage.

my best to you,

P
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/30/15 10:16 PM

Well I suppose my question is about hope and forgiveness and knowing when it is time to move on. I'm in Ireland, conservative and Catholic and even now Divorce isn't the norm.

In April 2014 I got the whole ILYBINILWY speech. There followed 6 horrible horrible months where I did everything I could to be the perfect wife only to discover an affair with a colleague followed by a skype call to me and my two boys (than age 12 and 8) telling us he had found the love of his life and was leaving us to build a new life with her.

That was November 2014 and since then I've kept moving forward, addressing the parts of me which needed work and keeping life as normal and positive as I could for my boys.

But through it all I've had an instinctive gut feeling that there was still hope. You cannot divorce here unless you are seperated for 4 out of the last 5 years but in order to secure myself and the boys I've had to proceed down the Judicial Separation route. And that has been so painful. I know on a practical level I need to do this but my heart is heavy. I'm pushing a process which I don't want which will end my marriage which I don't want but WS is so far gone that without securing myself and my boys he will leave is destitute and destroyed.

So why do I still cling onto hope? Why do I still want to believe that he might yet realize that he has made a tremendous mistake and be willing to do the work on himself which might allow us address the issues which lead to the affair.

My head knows that I need legal protection and JS is the path I need to take, but my heart is heavy and no matter how hard I try, I cannot let go if the belief that he may yet turn and I shouldn't close the door to reconciliation just yet.

And yet, I know holding on and believing in the power of reconcilliation is holding me back and keeping me trapped in a past which is gone forever.

MUN
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 12:18 AM

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
Well I suppose my question is about hope and forgiveness and knowing when it is time to move on. I'm in Ireland, conservative and Catholic and even now Divorce isn't the norm.[/pquote]

Hello from across the pond!
I remember Ireland's divorce laws are far less liberal than here in the US and I've always admired that. There are times, we all know, when divorce might be the answer but those are much fewer and farther between than what our US culture proclaims so avidly.

Quote:
In April 2014 I got the whole ILYBINILWY speech. There followed 6 horrible horrible months where I did everything I could to be the perfect wife only to discover an affair with a colleague followed by a skype call to me and my two boys (than age 12 and 8) telling us he had found the love of his life and was leaving us to build a new life with her.

That was November 2014 and since then I've kept moving forward, addressing the parts of me which needed work and keeping life as normal and positive as I could for my boys.


Omigosh, I'm so sorry. What a terrible experience for you in so many ways. Hearing those words, in that way, and having to see your children's world turned upside down in a skype call.

When you say you did everything you could to be the perfect wife - can you expand on that?

And tell me about your relationship with your husband over the past year? Are you in contact with him? If not - who decided to end contact and how was it done?

Quote:
But through it all I've had an instinctive gut feeling that there was still hope. You cannot divorce here unless you are seperated for 4 out of the last 5 years but in order to secure myself and the boys I've had to proceed down the Judicial Separation route. And that has been so painful. I know on a practical level I need to do this but my heart is heavy. I'm pushing a process which I don't want which will end my marriage which I don't want but WS is so far gone that without securing myself and my boys he will leave is destitute and destroyed.


This is where the divorce laws are in your favor. Affairs can turn into long term relationships, it's true. But there's a better chance it will end. Having to wait at least 4 years for a divorce allows for the crazy neuro-chemistry to wear off and some level of rational thinking to return. This is where it becomes so important to understand the stages of what we call love and to use that information to create a strategy of behavior. AND in understanding those stages to understand your own emotional reactions and to know that in order to increase the likelihood of success you will need to do things that feel completely non-intuitive.

Get a hold of read Helen Fishers "Why We Love". She pioneered the work in understanding ... well... why we love. I'm sure there have been others since then but I know her work is solid and it's beautifully written.

Quote:
So why do I still cling onto hope? Why do I still want to believe that he might yet realize that he has made a tremendous mistake and be willing to do the work on himself which might allow us address the issues which lead to the affair.


You have hope because you are deeply attached to your spouse. You have history. You made promises, babies, a home, a life. Those things don't just disappear. And they don't disappear for him either - although he may not be able to find them right now.

BTW - I don't know if I would say issues led to an affair. Poor boundaries and related poor choices lead to an affair. Issues are opportunities for growth.

Quote:
My head knows that I need legal protection and JS is the path I need to take, but my heart is heavy and no matter how hard I try, I cannot let go if the belief that he may yet turn and I shouldn't close the door to reconciliation just yet.


What's the timeline for the separation? Do you have a little time to play with or are you up against a financial deadline? I agree - you will very likely need legal protection. If you have a little time to hold off I'd like to talk about strategies you may not have tried yet. You can do both - the JS and the other strategies but I'd like it better if there was time between.

[quoteAnd yet, I know holding on and believing in the power of reconcilliation is holding me back and keeping me trapped in a past which is gone forever.

MUN


ALL of the past is gone forever. Good. Bad. Indifferent. None of us can go back. And, really who would want to? Growth and change occur in the present and into the future. YOU hold every single key to your future. I hope with all my heart part of that future is staying married and growing your marriage into something better than it's ever been. People do it all the time. Most of them don't post on forums or even share their stories with their closest friends or families. These folks are unsung heroes of marriage and family. Hang in there - it's not over yet.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 12:26 AM

Well, hear we are again smile

I hope everyone is having a safe and peaceful holiday season. We have a wild NYE planned here tomorrow - babysitting grandbabies smile What a hoot those little people are.

I have a new article in the works which will be posted on the MA blog sometime in the next week. I'll be talking about marriage vows in general and about "for better of worse" in particular.

I'm looking forward to tossing that around next week.

What's on everyone's mind this week?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 12:44 AM

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote an article about the warning signs of an affair . One of the most searched questions is "is my spouse cheating" or "signs of an affair" or similar. I know it's hard to imagine now but when I wrote that there was no facebook, no twitter, and texting was for teenagers. Heck! There were no smart phones!

The infidelity landscape has changed dramatically in the last 10 or 12 years. How affair partners meet, start atd crannies that are brand new to human experience.

I'd like to hear from you -
What were the signs your spouse was involved with someone else?

Did these new technologies play a role in either the cycle of the affair or its discovery?

When the affair ends and you begin to talk about creating healthy boundaries to protect your marriage - how do you address things like facebook and smart phones?

What's worked for you? What are you still struggling with?

P
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 09:07 AM

Thanks for your reply Penny

When I said I did everything I could to be a perfect wife I mean in the sense of trying to re establish friendship and closeness and intimacy while at the same time keeping on top of running the house, childcare, making him feel loved and valued etc. He has worked overseas for the last number of years coming home most weekends or maybe every two weeks. As a result I had become very independant here and had a routine built up with the children which allowed us keep everything running smoothly. One of the things he accused me of was of shutting him out and making him feel like a stranger when he was here - I don't/didn't agree that was the case but decided to redouble my efforts to make him feel included, make him feel valued and loved etc. He also put a lot of pressure on me regarding sex and intimacy which I tried very hard to respond to irregardless of my needs being met. Now, I'm not talking a SSM here - not even close but he decided I was cold and unreceptive and made him feel unloved. Now let's be honest, it's hard to be intimate with someone who isn't in the counrty and when he is, is rude and dismissive and passive agressive if he doesn't get his own way. But I pushed myself to respond to him, to make him feel that his needs were being met.

In retrospect, I realize that the more I addressed his needs, the more resentful he became because I was removing his ability/reasons to accuse me of being the source of all his unhappiness.

In March of this year he left his project in the Middle East and moved to France to start his new life with OW. He's back here about once a month when he spends time with Ds9. Ds13 basically wants nothing to do with him and as a result WS is spoiling DS9 rotten to keep him onside.

I have tried numerous times to reach out and show him there is a way back. No pleading, no begging, no more lying down like a doormat but I have made it very clear that if he's willing to end his affair and get help addressing his own issues, that I'm willing to see if we can make something good out of this horrible situation - we're together 18 years, married 15 and despite what he now believes, we had a good marriage. In fact, during a marriage counselling session before he finally bailed he admitted to the counsellor that our marriage was 80% good - I reckon that's a pretty decent pass rate and worth fighting for.

We were a busy prefessional couple with two small children and the economic crisis made him working overseas a necessity. And that lead to distance opening between us and him deciding he didn't want family responsibilities any more etc. etc. there was no major issues, no violance, no substance abuse, dammit, even very few disagreements. We had a good marriage and a wonderful family life.

So timeline to Judicial Seperation. I submitted my paperwork last spring but as he isn't in the country he's slowing everything down. Initially he refused to engage at all but at least at this stage we seem to be moving. Although this isn't what I want, I need to push it as he's refusing to support me or the boys and playing mind games with regards to access. I'm on social welfare following a serious illness and he's refusing to support his kids so I've had to borrow from family just to keep things going. And so, I've had to go the legal route to get court ordered maintenance. Hopefully this will be in place within the next month or six weeks but it's hard to know with him out of the country and it seems, doing everything to stall it.

And all of that said, he seems utterly miserable. I convinced Ds13 to spend some time with him when he came back after Christmas and DS said he's grey and gaunt and just oozes unhappiness. DS challenged him as to whether he was happy and he admitted No, he wasn't. But it seems to me that he's not willing to accept that that unhappiness is his own making and he is the only one who can do anything about it.

It's all such a mess. His selfish behaviour and lack of boundries has destroyed his family, caused huge unhappiness to me and his children and left us all in a financial mess. And he doesn't even seem to be enjoying the new life he so desperately wanted.

It's hard to keep going

MUN
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 03:15 PM

Thanks for all that. Some questions:

What does his family say? Close friends of the marriage? Have you asked them to talk to him on behalf of you, your children, and your marriage?

How about faith community?


When you say the door is open if he works on his issues - what are the issues?

Is this a first marriage for both of you?

Talk to me about counseling - did you go before or after you knew about the affair?

I'm sorry if I missed this - do you know when the affair started? Not just when he said it did - but in retrospect were there hints before that?

Is he slowing down the JS to avoid financial responsibility or to slow down the process of ending your marriage?

I'll leave these here for you and be back a bit later to comment on the rest of your post.

hugs to you

P
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 12/31/15 04:49 PM

Thanks for your reply Penny, I'll try to answer some of your questions
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


What does his family say? Close friends of the marriage? Have you asked them to talk to him on behalf of you, your children, and your marriage?

How about faith community?


His family never approved of our marriage - they felt that I thought I was better than them and his mother in particular made the early years of our marriage incredibly difficult. Eventually I cut all contact to protect myself although I never stopped him seeing them or bringing the boys to see them.

And from what he has said, they're perfectly happy for him to up and leave. I reached out to his father last Christmas and again in the spring and was basically told to "eff off", they never liked me anyway.

Most of our friends were originally my friends, he doesn't keep friends, I've never met anyone from school or his childhood. He makes superficial friendships and then moves on. So basically in leaving us, he has left whatever network of friends he had. I assume he has some social contact with colleagues etc. but lasting or deep friendships are not something he seems to value.

As for a faith community, he's pretty much turned his back on the church. Church community here is very different than in the US. I attend mass in our local church and have got to know some parishioners but not in a community sense as such.

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

When you say the door is open if he works on his issues - what are the issues?


He's always been immensely selfish resorting to rudeness and passive agression when he didn't get his way. And given the environment he grew up in (IMO, utterly disfunctional with a mother whom I believe displays narc tendencies) I always made excuses and rolled with it to keep the peace.

He's also very insecure and needs constant affirmation. I used to laugh at the fact that when I cleaned the kitchen nobody noticed but when he cleaned the kitchen I used to have to comment on every element he cleaned and tell him how wonderful he was. He would literally point from counter to counter telling me what he'd done.

And as his affair would indicate, he has difficulties with boundaries.


Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


Is this a first marriage for both of you?


Yep, I was 29 he was 25. We had been together about 3 years, travelled the world together for 12 months prior to our wedding and all seemed good.

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


Talk to me about counseling - did you go before or after you knew about the affair?



The marriage counselling was after I discovered the affair. After the ILYBINILWY speech he asked me to take the boys to his project in the Middle East for their summer break. I did, literally into a war zone, as I firmly believed that if I didn't, we had no chance of rebuilding anything as he was going regardless and I knew that if I refused to go the marriage was dead.

While we were there I discovered the affair and demanded myself and the boys be flown home. Even at that stage he refused to end the affair saying that this was his only chance at happiness. A week later he followed us back here via OW in France. And then told me he had decided to end the affair and work at our marriage. And we had this cake eating for about 4 months where he would come back here, attend MC and then go back to his project via OW until the final decision to leave us completely just before Christmas last year.

We attended about 4 MC sessions which were helpful and even he admittd he wished we had done it sooner. (I had pleaded with him to attend MC long before this as I was painfully aware of the distance building between us)

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


I'm sorry if I missed this - do you know when the affair started? Not just when he said it did - but in retrospect were there hints before that?


She's a colleague, younger, child free and I get the impression set her sights on him. I believe he got emotionally involved end of 2013/early 2014. He clims the affair became physical April 2014 which I think is probably true

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Is he slowing down the JS to avoid financial responsibility or to slow down the process of ending your marriage?



I don't know, probably a bit of both but primarily driven by a desire to avoid financial responsibilities. let's face it, paying maintenance to me and my kids is going to take some of the shine off his high flying lifestyle.

Thanks for your time

MUN





Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 12:07 AM

Hi everyone,

Here we are again - Wednesday night AMA. Got your questions and comments queued up and ready to go? I hope so! I really look forward to this time each week.

I'm going to respond to MUN's post, above, in little chunks and to whatever else is on your mind in between.

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 12:25 AM

Just dropped in to say hi!

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 12:35 AM

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName


When I said I did everything I could to be a perfect wife I mean in the sense of trying to re establish friendship and closeness and intimacy while at the same time keeping on top of running the house, childcare, making him feel loved and valued etc. He has worked overseas for the last number of years coming home most weekends or maybe every two weeks. As a result I had become very independant here and had a routine built up with the children which allowed us keep everything running smoothly. One of the things he accused me of was of shutting him out and making him feel like a stranger when he was here - I don't/didn't agree that was the case but decided to redouble my efforts to make him feel included, make him feel valued and loved etc. He also put a lot of pressure on me regarding sex and intimacy which I tried very hard to respond to irregardless of my needs being met. Now, I'm not talking a SSM here - not even close but he decided I was cold and unreceptive and made him feel unloved. Now let's be honest, it's hard to be intimate with someone who isn't in the counrty and when he is, is rude and dismissive and passive agressive if he doesn't get his own way. But I pushed myself to respond to him, to make him feel that his needs were being met.

In retrospect, I realize that the more I addressed his needs, the more resentful he became because I was removing his ability/reasons to accuse me of being the source of all his unhappiness.


An interesting thing about sex in general, obviously individuals may differ, but generally speaking - women need to feel connected to want sex and men need sex to feel connected. You could say it's a rotten mix up of nature, I suppose, but if you look at it another way you can see that pushes couples to stay engaged with each other - to create closeness.


I'm sure he was resentful the more you met his needs and removed his excuses! I've never been a huge fan of long term needs-meeting and tryin to be the perfect spouse. For one thing -you can't do it all that long before it takes a toll on you and your willingness to stay married, and somehow it smacks of being responsible for the affair. Which, you are not.



Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
I have tried numerous times to reach out and show him there is a way back. No pleading, no begging, no more lying down like a doormat but I have made it very clear that if he's willing to end his affair and get help addressing his own issues, that I'm willing to see if we can make something good out of this horrible situation - we're together 18 years, married 15 and despite what he now believes, we had a good marriage. In fact, during a marriage counselling session before he finally bailed he admitted to the counsellor that our marriage was 80% good - I reckon that's a pretty decent pass rate and worth fighting for.



Every time you reach out you let him know you are at home ready and waiting once he ends his affair. While that is a good thing for him to understand - doing it over and over again has the possibility of reinforcing the affair because it basically gives him permission to keep doing what he's doing with no real consequences. He can have the OW and if it doesn't work out or if he tires of her, you are at home waiting. At some point he needs to feel as if the door to his marriage is closing. You have to trigger his attachment chemistry.


Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
So timeline to Judicial Seperation. I submitted my paperwork last spring but as he isn't in the country he's slowing everything down. Initially he refused to engage at all but at least at this stage we seem to be moving. Although this isn't what I want, I need to push it as he's refusing to support me or the boys and playing mind games with regards to access. I'm on social welfare following a serious illness and he's refusing to support his kids so I've had to borrow from family just to keep things going. And so, I've had to go the legal route to get court ordered maintenance. Hopefully this will be in place within the next month or six weeks but it's hard to know with him out of the country and it seems, doing everything to stall it.


I'm so sorry. All that being the case you are probably doing the right thing. You have to protect yourself and your children.


Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
And all of that said, he seems utterly miserable. I convinced Ds13 to spend some time with him when he came back after Christmas and DS said he's grey and gaunt and just oozes unhappiness. DS challenged him as to whether he was happy and he admitted No, he wasn't. But it seems to me that he's not willing to accept that that unhappiness is his own making and he is the only one who can do anything about it.


I suspect he is utterly miserable. The problem is, once you get into these situations you're like the monkey with its hand in the cookie jar. You don't want to let go of the cookie but you want your hand back ... and you're completely paralyzed.

An important thing to remember - most of us don't make changes unless the status quo becomes too painful. So, we don't change our diet until our health declines enough to be a more painful than change. Ditto with stopping smoking. And so on...



Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
It's all such a mess. His selfish behaviour and lack of boundries has destroyed his family, caused huge unhappiness to me and his children and left us all in a financial mess. And he doesn't even seem to be enjoying the new life he so desperately wanted.

It's hard to keep going


Yeah, I'm sure it is. The betrayal of infidelity is so nightmarish. The person we love and trust with every part of our lives is now the person we can't trust with anything.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 12:39 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Just dropped in to say hi!

-ol' 2long


Hi!!!

How are you??

I can't even tell you how often I think of you and wonder how you are doing smile

Are you still living and working in the same places? We're still in the frozen tundra flyover land. I bought a house a couple years ago and I spend far too much time scheming my next project. Hubby was a little taken aback when I tore the kitchen cabinets off the wall right before our big TG event!

Good to hear from you smile

P
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 12:41 AM

Another hot topic that we have around here...a stonewalling spouse.

What techniques and approaches do you recommend to help get from the power struggle (stonewalling) into a collaborative approach?
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 01:18 AM

Things are going well, though my marriage is nothing like I would have ever wanted it to become. It's hard to describe. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary. She made reservations where we went on our honeymoon. Except for physical intimacy, which is infrequent, we get along great and have good times together. The affair is always in the back of my mind, and my wife has "helped" RM professionally recently. She drops "hints" about professional contact once or twice a year, always with someone else present (sometimes a lot of someones), probably in an effort to "ease" me into accepting they'll be working together again at some point? She doesn't know how much I know, though, which admittedly isn't a whole lot - just enough to know she's never stopped keeping secrets.

I tried to explain this in posts elsewhere, but it really is hard to do. Maybe the best way I can do so is to ask folks who've dealt with long term affairs to remember the first year or so after d-day, and how they felt, and try to convey that how I feel now about whatever this is, is nothing like that at all.

Maybe the point of all this is to simply say that I'm happy, my adult kids are happy, and we're all thriving financially as we look forward to retiring in the next several years.

Most importantly, I will never derive my sense of self worth from anybody else.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 01:32 AM

]Hi AR -

Stonewalling can be a form of verbal and emotional abuse. It's not the same as taking a time out to compose yourself and to figure out how to compassionately and respectfully address and issue. Rather, it's a way to stop an issue from being addressed.

Stonewalling can take all kinds of forms. Forgetting. Procrastinating. Forgetting and apologizing but never actually getting around to addressing the issue. Bullying, e.g having a temper tantrum whenever the issue is raised, blaming you for the fact the issue exists, threatening you every time you bring it up. I suppose the list of creative ways people have to stonewall is almost infinite.

Stonewalling can also be a signal that the partner just doesn't have the resources to address the issue ... or the emotion the issue raises or is surrounded by. Things I can handle in the middle of June when the sun is shining and I'm sitting on the patio with a glass of wine may be completely overwhelming when it's the dead of winter and dark and cold. All times of stress are going to make it more difficult to address issues.


So how do we address it? First let's look at the big picture and our own actions. Is there another way I can approach this topic? Is it possible my spouse is just overwhelmed with life events right now and this is too much to deal with? Can we discuss it in smaller chunks? Can we make an agreement to put a discussion on the calendar?

Although we tread on dangerous ground when we start thinking we can control another's response by "behaving correctly" or "doing it right" we can also go too far down that road and think we have no responsibility in how we behave towards others.

As a first approach I always prefer open and courteous communication. "Honey, I know this topic is challenging for us. Is there a time we can put it on the calendar to discuss?"

Or if it's a promised action that never seems to happen - "Honey, we've talked about [fill in the blank] and it doesn't seem to be getting done. Could we discuss alternatives?"

Alternatives are creative and collaborative. They happen when we assume we are on the same team. Maybe that things we really wanted our spouse to do a certain way would be just as good done another way -- if only we could get to having a collaborative conversation about it.

My first line of thought is to assume it's more about resources and energy than it is about abuse. I think we underestimate the power of creativity and collaboration.



Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 01:41 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Things are going well, though my marriage is nothing like I would have ever wanted it to become. It's hard to describe. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary. She made reservations where we went on our honeymoon. Except for physical intimacy, which is infrequent, we get along great and have good times together. The affair is always in the back of my mind, and my wife has "helped" RM professionally recently. She drops "hints" about professional contact once or twice a year, always with someone else present (sometimes a lot of someones), probably in an effort to "ease" me into accepting they'll be working together again at some point? She doesn't know how much I know, though, which admittedly isn't a whole lot - just enough to know she's never stopped keeping secrets.

I tried to explain this in posts elsewhere, but it really is hard to do. Maybe the best way I can do so is to ask folks who've dealt with long term affairs to remember the first year or so after d-day, and how they felt, and try to convey that how I feel now about whatever this is, is nothing like that at all.

Maybe the point of all this is to simply say that I'm happy, my adult kids are happy, and we're all thriving financially as we look forward to retiring in the next several years.

Most importantly, I will never derive my sense of self worth from anybody else.

-ol' 2long



I'm so happy to hear things are going well and you are happy smile

I can imagine your experience now is completely different than that first year after DDay.

Can I ask you some things?
Do you think she is still involved with him in any way other than professional?

Do you think she ever feels regret about the affair?

When you are totally honest with yourself how do you feel about her professional involvement with him?

When you say you would not have wanted your marriage to become what it is, what would you have envisioned instead?

Are there secrets in marriage you think are ok to have?

You know I always liked to pick your brain....

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 02:10 AM

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName


His family never approved of our marriage - they felt that I thought I was better than them and his mother in particular made the early years of our marriage incredibly difficult. Eventually I cut all contact to protect myself although I never stopped him seeing them or bringing the boys to see them.

And from what he has said, they're perfectly happy for him to up and leave. I reached out to his father last Christmas and again in the spring and was basically told to "eff off", they never liked me anyway.


Oof. Wow. That's .... well, I don't know that I have words for it. I'm sorry. I find family estrangements particularly painful.

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
Most of our friends were originally my friends, he doesn't keep friends, I've never met anyone from school or his childhood. He makes superficial friendships and then moves on. So basically in leaving us, he has left whatever network of friends he had. I assume he has some social contact with colleagues etc. but lasting or deep friendships are not something he seems to value.[/quote}

So there is no one who could advocate for you who would make a difference? You want the friend he would be really sad to lose - is there anyone like that?

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
As for a faith community, he's pretty much turned his back on the church. Church community here is very different than in the US. I attend mass in our local church and have got to know some parishioners but not in a community sense as such.


What about your priest or minister? Would your husband be at all swayed by hearing from him?

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
[quote=Penny_Tupy]
When you say the door is open if he works on his issues - what are the issues?


He's always been immensely selfish resorting to rudeness and passive agression when he didn't get his way. And given the environment he grew up in (IMO, utterly disfunctional with a mother whom I believe displays narc tendencies) I always made excuses and rolled with it to keep the peace.

He's also very insecure and needs constant affirmation. I used to laugh at the fact that when I cleaned the kitchen nobody noticed but when he cleaned the kitchen I used to have to comment on every element he cleaned and tell him how wonderful he was. He would literally point from counter to counter telling me what he'd done.

And as his affair would indicate, he has difficulties with boundaries.


Tell me this, when you were dating or first married - did you see these as issues or were they more like eccentricities that you almost liked?


Not to discount the affair or the pain it causes which is horrible. Sometimes I think the issues are the less the .... well .... issue and the lack of connection, engagement, and intimacy is really the big deal. When we are connected and feeling loved / loving we don't really care about the very same things that make us absolutely insane when we are not feeling connected. We will never be able to "fix" all the issues in the marriage - all the things about our spouse that make us roll our eyes bite our tongues.

So rather than work on issues maybe the first line of recovery is to find a way to recreate emotional intimacy. How do we do that? Contrary to popular thought - I've not found the "relationship talk" to be all that helpful in recreating intimacy or affection. Quite the contrary. No one falls in love by having a talk about what they need to change. People fall in love through shared, enjoyable, experiences. This is important when we look at what it takes to heal and recover a marriage.



Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
Yep, I was 29 he was 25. We had been together about 3 years, travelled the world together for 12 months prior to our wedding and all seemed good.


Yes! That seems like a fabulous shared, enjoyable, experience!


Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
She's a colleague, younger, child free and I get the impression set her sights on him. I believe he got emotionally involved end of 2013/early 2014. He clims the affair became physical April 2014 which I think is probably true


That's a really long time for you to be facing this.

Have you considered Protection Phase or no contact? My preference is typically for you to be out of contact and into Protection Phase sooner rather than later.

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 02:45 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy



I'm so happy to hear things are going well and you are happy smile

I can imagine your experience now is completely different than that first year after DDay.

Can I ask you some things?


Sure.

Quote:
Do you think she is still involved with him in any way other than professional?


Really? No. I think she's afraid I might get angry, though, so she keeps it a secret. And that bothers me. Last time I knew they were in contact some years ago, I still had her password, and I saw even then that she'd rebuke his advances (inuendos about getting together out of town somewhere, never specific), but he'd keep at it. I don't fully trust her, and I certainly don't trust him. He does have a GF now, but having a wife didn't stop him from having an affair.

Quote:
Do you think she ever feels regret about the affair?


Yes, though she never was remorseful to the degree that most websites that are part of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (borrowed from Chumplady) would probably insist that it isn't enough.

Quote:
When you are totally honest with yourself how do you feel about her professional involvement with him?


I hate it. I'm so indifferent that I think I'd rather be divorced than put up with it long term. But then I have a pretty good suspicion that she'd be devastated if I divorced her. And my son, who's dealing with depression and loves her very much, would be even more so.

Quote:
When you say you would not have wanted your marriage to become what it is, what would you have envisioned instead?


Well, I've been married a long, long time. I was only 22 when we married, and thought I had all my husbandly roles, responsibilities, and integrity all figured out before hand. When the affair started, I just thought our marriage was mediocre, or that's what happened to everybody, because it was never really BAD. Just not quite right in ways I couldn't put a finger on at the time. Of course, in retrospect, it all made sense. I guess nowadays I envision something more like a Frank Pittmanesque mature relationship where romance might come back at any time, but even without much of it, we'd be pretty comfortable with one another in our later years. In some ways, we've achieved that in the last few years. But then there's been this undertone that I first suspected but recently verified, starting about a year and a half ago when she donated money to his non-profit.

Quote:
Are there secrets in marriage you think are ok to have?


No. Secrets are harmful when revealed. Private matters are just revealing.

Quote:
You know I always liked to pick your brain....


he he... What's left of it! smile

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 02:49 AM

What is Protection Phase or no contact and what's the point of it? From my ebook:

Quote:
Protection Phase is a strategy that protects the marriage by protecting the partners from each other’s destructive choices and chaotic behavior. It is also a time of self care and nurturing for the betrayed partner.

ProtectionPhase allows the betrayed spouse to recharge his or
her personal batteries, to detach from the partner's affair, and to reengage in life. Protection Phase allows the betrayed spouse to find peace and calm in the midst of chaos and to reconnect with his or her inner strength. It allows healing to begin.

No matter what happens with the marriage, the person who carries out a strong Protection Phase is ready to move forward and to heal. It is always the goal that this healing occurs within the marriage. Therefore, it is vital that the betrayed partner have good reserves of energy and strength.

Reconciliation and healing are difficult processes needing a clear head and calm heart. Protection Phase, when done well, will help you reach that place. If the marriage ends, Protection Phase creates a level of detachment and courage to help the betrayed partner move forward with dignity and
empowerment. Protection Phase is, in itself, the framework within which healing takes place.

For Protection Phase to be successful, there are multiple layers of measures, or things to do. First and foremost of these is a complete separation from your spouse, in which you have no contact with him or her whatsoever. There is no such thing as limited or minimal contact within Protection Phase. The only exception to this are extremely urgent (as in
life and death) situations requiring the engagement
of both partners.


As I said to MUN, I really prefer to see the betrayed spouse move to Protection Phase sooner rather than later. There's just no good way to stay in contact with someone who is betraying you, your marriage, your family and your trust.

If you can achieve the virtually impossible and stay calm and caring - what message do you send? That the affair really isn't all that troubling and that you're willing to take the blame for it by attempting to become the perfect mate?

And if you fall into a perfectly human response of becoming clingy, needy, and losing your temper to the point of throwing a sugar bowl across the room you simply reinforce their belief that you are not someone they want to live with.

The caveat to this is you have already betrayed the marital trust through abuse, addiction, or another betrayal. Although nothing makes an affair ok - these are situations requiring more complex strategies and special handling.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 03:10 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long


Really? No. I think she's afraid I might get angry, though, so she keeps it a secret. And that bothers me. Last time I knew they were in contact some years ago, I still had her password, and I saw even then that she'd rebuke his advances (inuendos about getting together out of town somewhere, never specific), but he'd keep at it. I don't fully trust her, and I certainly don't trust him. He does have a GF now, but having a wife didn't stop him from having an affair.


Do you ever talk about it? Would you consider bringing it up?

I wouldn't trust him either - especially as he continued to make advances long past any interest on her part and in fact quite the contrary.

I actually would trust her - at least based on what you tell me.



Quote:


Yes, though she never was remorseful to the degree that most websites that are part of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (borrowed from Chumplady) would probably insist that it isn't enough.


Yes. The age old battle of how much we would like them to demonstrate remorse compared to how much they actually do. (Love the RIC moniker, btw!) I can't say in all the years I've done this I've seen anyone display the "correct" amount of remorse. That's not to say it never happens - I've just never seen it.

I've said it forever, you prove you're right or you can stay married. You might not be able to do both. (Words I have to say to myself. Every. Single. Day. .... I like to be right wink )


Quote:

I hate it. I'm so indifferent that I think I'd rather be divorced than put up with it long term. But then I have a pretty good suspicion that she'd be devastated if I divorced her. And my son, who's dealing with depression and loves her very much, would be even more so.


Indifferent about her? About staying married?
I think staying together out of compassion and commitment are good things - assuming you are not harming or being harmed in doing so.

Do you think it would be significantly different if there was no affair?

Quote:
Well, I've been married a long, long time. I was only 22 when we married, and thought I had all my husbandly roles, responsibilities, and integrity all figured out before hand.


Omigosh.... right?! And now we look at kids that age and shake our heads at how young we were.

Quote:
When the affair started, just thought our marriage was mediocre, or that's what happened to everybody, because it was never really BAD. Just not quite right in ways I couldn't put a finger on at the time. Of course, in retrospect, it all made sense.


What part of it makes sense now?
I always felt that way about my first marriage. Not bad - just not good. Lack of connection and engagement. Lack of true intimacy. Of course I was barely 19 and my H was 22. How can you have intimacy at that age when you don't even know yourself?


Quote:
I guess nowadays I envision something more like a Frank Pittmanesque mature relationship where romance might come back at any time, but even without much of it, we'd be pretty comfortable with one another in our later years. In some ways, we've achieved that in the last few years. But then there's been this undertone that I first suspected but recently verified, starting about a year and a half ago when she donated money to his non-profit.



So.... if I'm hearing you right..... there was a feeling of a mature, stable, relationship for a while. And then you noticed something was 'off' and then discovered she had donated to his non-profit?

Not surprising. Intimacy doesn't really coexist with creating a secret relationship with someone else, does it? Did you talk to her about it? That would be a foundational piece of that mature relationship - the willingness and ability to bring up and resolve difficult topics.



Quote:
he he... What's left of it! smile

-ol' 2long


Heh. For real! And some days it's a whole lot less than others!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 03:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Penny,

Thanks for your words and for being willing to be here. I'm sure everyone was traveling/ busy with relatives, etc. As I mentioned before, I doubt I will ever be able to participate on a Wednesday night.

Medical issue happened in the fall of 2014. He was dealing with a lot of stress and burnout before that, which probably caused the medical issue.

He is a really wonderful man and it tears me apart to see him suffering.

Last night was horrible...can't talk here too public..

Thanks again for being here.


Hi Marta -

Just wondering how you are doing.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 03:53 AM

Alrighty, peeps, until next week ...

may you be blessed with every good thing

xo

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/07/16 07:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


Do you ever talk about it? Would you consider bringing it up?


We never talk about it. I said my peace some years ago when I really thought she did "get it" that I wouldn't stay married to her if she had anything to do with RM. Life was pretty good after that.

I am considering bringing it up.

Quote:
I wouldn't trust him either - especially as he continued to make advances long past any interest on her part and in fact quite the contrary.

I actually would trust her - at least based on what you tell me.


Interesting. I'd like to hear more.

Quote:

<sigh> Yes. The age old battle of how much we would like them to demonstrate remorse compared to how much they actually do. (Love the RIC moniker, btw!) I can't say in all the years I've done this I've seen anyone display the "correct" amount of remorse. That's not to say it never happens - I've just never seen it.


And if the correct amount is something defined by the RIC and required by forum colleagues (no kidding), then who'd want to stay married under the conditions required to get the couple there?

Quote:
I've said it forever, you prove you're right or you can stay married. You might not be able to do both. (Words I have to say to myself. Every. Single. Day. .... I like to be right wink )


I've been less interested in being "right" as being happy with myself and my personal values. I do have a pretty hard boundary that former affair partners can't be in contact if they want to stay with their spouses or SOs, and I'll have to make a decision about the current situation, accordingly.


Quote:
Indifferent about her? About staying married?


Interesting. Never made the distinction. But now that you've asked, I'd have to say that I'm definitely not indifferent about her, but I am indifferent about staying married. I'm actually rather fond of her.

Quote:
I think staying together out of compassion and commitment are good things - assuming you are not harming or being harmed in doing so.


I agree. Hence the current turmoil.

Quote:
Do you think it would be significantly different if there was no affair?


As in, never was an affair? Or that there's not one currently? I don't believe there's one currently. But now that RM lives 45 minutes away (she helped him find local work), I don't know whether they've met in person. I suspect they have, but probably not for affairing.

Have to run to a meeting. More in a couple days.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/08/16 01:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Quote:
When the affair started, just thought our marriage was mediocre, or that's what happened to everybody, because it was never really BAD. Just not quite right in ways I couldn't put a finger on at the time. Of course, in retrospect, it all made sense.


What part of it makes sense now?


My figuring out why my marriage was mediocre. The affair and even the marriage didn't make sense.

Quote:
I always felt that way about my first marriage. Not bad - just not good. Lack of connection and engagement. Lack of true intimacy. Of course I was barely 19 and my H was 22. How can you have intimacy at that age when you don't even know yourself?


Yep. I was 22 and my wife was 21. She often says we got married too young. I agree, now. But it's not like I can do anything about it now.

Quote:

So.... if I'm hearing you right..... there was a feeling of a mature, stable, relationship for a while. And then you noticed something was 'off' and then discovered she had donated to his non-profit?


Yes. I suppose things were stable, even though we weren't that intimate that often. Some other things were still missing, and still are. Mainly, she hasn't said ILY in about 5 years, maybe a lot longer than that. I "reciprocate" I suppose, because I don't say it either. Last time I complained that she doesn't say it, she said people say it so much it doesn't mean anything anymore. So I asked her, "and what does it mean when you don't say it at all?" I think she said "nothing, too" or something along those lines. For years after the affair, she'd say "I don't think anybody should be able to get married". She said it to our son as well (our daughter has been married for about 11 years, but even she's heard this one). Then, she stopped it for a few years, and started again about the time she donated money to him. So, I looked at his FB page, saw that he'd moved back to town, and then checked the email account and saw the record of the donation, and forwarded job openings - one of which he's now working.

Quote:
Not surprising. Intimacy doesn't really coexist with creating a secret relationship with someone else, does it? Did you talk to her about it? That would be a foundational piece of that mature relationship - the willingness and ability to bring up and resolve difficult topics.


I had been hoping I wouldn't have to, before I found about the donation and stuff. When I first found it a few months ago, I was angry enough to stow it and see what she did next. I guess I figured I needed to decide how to divorce without losing my shorts. I do need to talk to her about it. Frank and earnest.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/12/16 10:40 PM

I may not be able to log in when you're online next, tomorrow. There've been couple of new developments in the intelligence area. Plus, we're continuing to have good times for the most part. So I don't think SHE thinks there's anything going on, but I do know there's contact, at least via email. So I think I need to formulate a plan for moving forward. I don't think this requires a divorce, and I'd frankly rather get midieval on some folks than lose half our assets in an expensive divorce. So ideas on how to pee in this particular cheerio bowl would be welcome.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/12/16 10:57 PM

Hi Penny

What with differing time zones and a crazy schedule over the last week I haven't had time to respond to all your posts. I've read them a few times tho and have taken on board what I can.

Right now WS is facing what might well be a major crisis within his own family - I'd support if he was here but as he's not and I've been fired from that Job I can only watch from the side lines and make sure my boys don't get caught up in any unpleasantness.

I look forward to reading your words of wisdom while you're all happily making zzzzzzz's tomorrow

MUN
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/13/16 04:30 PM

Originally Posted By: MaidUpName
Hi Penny

What with differing time zones and a crazy schedule over the last week I haven't had time to respond to all your posts. I've read them a few times tho and have taken on board what I can.

Right now WS is facing what might well be a major crisis within his own family - I'd support if he was here but as he's not and I've been fired from that Job I can only watch from the side lines and make sure my boys don't get caught up in any unpleasantness.

I look forward to reading your words of wisdom while you're all happily making zzzzzzz's tomorrow

MUN


Believe me, I understand about the over enthusiastic schedule! I need to get just a little better at manipulating time wink

I'm sorry to hear about the family issues your H is having. Is it possible this is an opportunity for you? We know he's miserable in the affair - which means there are cracks. Maybe there are some things we could do to widen those cracks and increase your visibility as it were.

If you don't want to post details publicly feel free to PM me.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/13/16 05:15 PM

Good morning peeps -

Just a fyi, I might be a little later than 6CT this evening. I have a family obligation with my son (who just graduated college and starts his first real job in a couple weeks!! woo hoo!!)

Go ahead and post any thoughts or questions.

I'd like to spend some time discussing Protection Phase (aka Plan B, going dark, no contact) and how it plays a role in ending affairs and saving marriages.

xo

P
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/13/16 07:55 PM

It's Wednesday already! Wow. We're looking forward to seeing you, even if you are a bit later than usual.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/13/16 11:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Good morning peeps -

Just a fyi, I might be a little later than 6CT this evening. I have a family obligation with my son (who just graduated college and starts his first real job in a couple weeks!! woo hoo!!)


Congrats to your son!

Quote:
Go ahead and post any thoughts or questions.

I'd like to spend some time discussing Protection Phase (aka Plan B, going dark, no contact) and how it plays a role in ending affairs and saving marriages.


I might have to sit this one out then. I don't think it was ever productive for me to try to do anything to end my wife's affair. She needed to want to do that herself (and better yet, want never to have an affair in the first place). And since she obviously didn't, except on her strange "friends" terms, I would have been much better off by now if I had simply ended my marriage.

Yeah, I'm jaded. Pretty angry with myself for not having taken a hard line after d-day.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: whatdoidonow

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 12:58 AM

Hi Penny, you are working with me off line, but my hope is that you can give me a couple of new tactics to use with my husband. I do not want to go straight to legal separation right now and I am feeling I need to know what Plan A etc is and how I can become more of a safe place for him to be.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 01:05 AM

And.... here we are smile
Posted By: whatdoidonow

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 01:24 AM

Hi Penny, you are working with me off line, but my hope is that you can give me a couple of new tactics to use with my husband. I do not want to go straight to legal separation right now and I am feeling I need to know what Plan A etc is and how I can become more of a safe place for him to be.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 01:31 AM

Originally Posted By: whatdoidonow
Hi Penny, you are working with me off line, but my hope is that you can give me a couple of new tactics to use with my husband. I do not want to go straight to legal separation right now and I am feeling I need to know what Plan A etc is and how I can become more of a safe place for him to be.


I have to tell you I struggle with this. I personally tend to be unable to keep my own emotions and responses in check in a situation where I'm being betrayed. Either I melt down and lose it or I withdraw into chilliness.

From my observation I'm not the only one. Some people can do it for longer than others but I don't know anyone who's able to do it well for any significant length of time.

So the problem becomes who is going to be the greater threat to the marriage? The person having the affair? Or you?

In short, I can't say I'm a big fan of the Harley Plan A - at least not for more than a brief stint. Willard Harley (MB founder) isn't a big fan of a long term Plan A.

If you have a history of being abusive, or are an addict, or have grossly neglected your spouse/marriage/family I agree there are things you need to do to prove that you are able and willing ..... are doing what needs to be done to address those things. That's where Plan A has some merit for a longer period of time. If, otoh, you've simply been part of the normal ups and downs, disagreements, and daily chaos of a normal marriage - you don't have to prove that you are good enough. In fact - quite the opposite. You need to KNOW that you are good enough and that an affair is not ok - no matter what.

So let's say you are in category two - a normal boring marriage with kiddos. Here then are the messages you send by being "the safe place" (can't say I'm loving that phrase in regard to a spouse having an affair):

1. You have the emotional fortitude to slap a smile on your face, be the perfect mate, have sex, and be kind generous and caring.
Message: It's ok to have an affair. I'm happy to share you with someone else. Those vows we took didn't mean all that much to me. And I really don't have enough self respect to demand better treatment.

2. You try to do the above but you find yourself snapping, chilly, sarcastic (this would be me), or losing it completely and having an all out verbal brawl.
Message: I'm a nightmare on wheels and no one would want to be married to me.

When I was on the boards at MB and even to some extent at SYMC there were people who tried to do Plan A for years - and then wondered why they felt like a doormat. Or why their spouse would go back and forth between them and the affair partner.

Well, heck, if I had two people doing their best to make me happy - playing one-up-manship against each other? Heck - I might go for it too. That's a pretty sweet deal.

P
Posted By: whatdoidonow

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 01:39 AM

Okay, I agree and I do believe that for the most part I am good enough. What do I do from here then? What is Plan B? I am trying to read as much as I can about all of the different perspectives and I don't which way is up right now. So many people are telling me to just leave, get the separation/divorce. I feel like I just found out and can not run away just yet.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 01:58 AM

2Long -

There are a couple things that make me think I would trust your wife. There seems to be no suggestion of an affair in years. Contact, yes, but affair, no. Also - you've been able to observe that she's rebuffed his attempts to reignite anything.

I do understand that she's donated to his projects and helped him with his career. Is there any possibility she does those things not because she wants to but because she's afraid of what he might do or say if she didn't? Are there details you know that she doesn't know you know? Things that you think she would be terribly embarrassed or hurt to know you know? Or afraid of what you might do if you found out?

It's always surprised me that you don't talk. What would you have to lose? Maybe if you could co-create a safe space to be vulnerable and share you would find out things that painted a whole world of details onto the picture you have - changing it entirely. How terrible would it be to find out that was true another twenty years from now.

I completely agree with firm boundaries particularly when it comes to people who meddle destructively in your marriage or family - and that's come to include more than just affair partners for me. The thing is - and you know this - the only person who can maintain, uphold, and protect your boundaries, is you. The only way you have a firm boundary is by enforcing it. If you are not at a place where you are willing to do that then consider changing what you tell yourself about your boundaries. You might find that's a more peaceful place to be.

"Pee in the Cherrios" Well. I probably would not be good at that.

However, I am pretty good at saying - "Is there a time we can talk?" and then planning ahead how to say what I need to say. I tend to write it out in bullet points.

I hear you say you're quite fond of her and that she (and your son) would be devastated if you were to leave. Divorce would be a tragedy.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 02:25 AM

Originally Posted By: whatdoidonow
Okay, I agree and I do believe that for the most part I am good enough. What do I do from here then? What is Plan B? I am trying to read as much as I can about all of the different perspectives and I don't which way is up right now. So many people are telling me to just leave, get the separation/divorce. I feel like I just found out and can not run away just yet.


Plan B is similar to Protection Phase. Having worked extensively with Harley's techniques before starting SYMC and evolving those concepts slightly I would say the foundational difference between Plan B and Protection Phase is the "why" or the focus.

Protection Phase is all about protecting the marriage. Its primary focus is not about manipulating your spouse to do anything. I always saw and, when I was volunteer coaching for Harley, suggested Plan B as a wake up call for the WS.

Now that's not to say there are not things within no-contact that we hope will get triggered - especially long term attachment. But the primary focus remains on protecting the marriage by protecting both partners.

P
Posted By: whatdoidonow

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 03:01 AM

So do you think it is time for me to go into Protection phase or should I just let the dust settle a little bit and reevaluate.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 03:08 AM

Originally Posted By: whatdoidonow
So do you think it is time for me to go into Protection phase or should I just let the dust settle a little bit and reevaluate.


What's the status now? Is he at home? Home and with her? Not home at all? And what is he saying about the affair and the marriage?
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 03:54 AM

I'll leave you with some definitions from my ebook:

"Intervention Phase, the first step of addressing a partner’s affair, has much in common with the intervention process used for years by the families and loved ones of addicts of all sorts. Intervention Phase raises the bottom for the addict, making the reality of his or her destructive behavior hit home sooner and with more force than if the addict was left to his/her own devices. Intervention Phase is a process that is best undertaken from a place of compassion understanding that allowing an affair to continue unchallenged causes harm for all involved.

"Protection Phase, the second step, is initiated within a short time if the efforts of Intervention do not bring about a timely end to the affair. Protection Phase is a strategy that protects the marriage by protecting the partners from each other’s destructive choices and chaotic behavior. It is also a time of self care and nurturing for the betrayed partner."

Until next time...

P
Posted By: whatdoidonow

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 04:48 AM

Thanks Penny,
He was home last night, but back at the condo now. I do not know the status of where the OW is but she lives in CA and the condo is in Seattle. I called him tonight to tell him I am sorry it takes such extreme circumstances to get me to listen to him and it does not say much about my paying attention to him that I did not notice he was so miserable. He said that the affair was his choice and not I guess to blame myself for that. I said then that it is two separate issues and then I let it go for tonight.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 04:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Well, heck, if I had two people doing their best to make me happy - playing one-up-manship against each other? Heck - I might go for it too. That's a pretty sweet deal.


[pick your favorite fantasy or sci-fi tough warrior character:]
"There is no honor in that."

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Well, heck, if I had two people doing their best to make me happy - playing one-up-manship against each other? Heck - I might go for it too. That's a pretty sweet deal.


[pick your favorite fantasy or sci-fi tough warrior character:]
"There is no honor in that."

-ol' 2long


Exactly!! Which is why I do my very best to understand where my boundaries need to be and to keep them well fortified. No one is immune to having an affair. It just depends on what the stressors and trigger points are. That's the work of Recovery - being transparently honest about your own vulnerabilities, taking responsibility for them, and creating solid boundaries so you don't end up someplace without honor.

Most people don't plan to have affairs. Like the frog in cooking pot, it happens so gradually they don't realize the danger until it's too late.

Boundaries that you and I know are essential are often poo pooed and laughed at by a culture that has an ambivalent relationship, at best, with commitment, hard work, and sacrifice.

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
2Long -

There are a couple things that make me think I would trust your wife. There seems to be no suggestion of an affair in years. Contact, yes, but affair, no. Also - you've been able to observe that she's rebuffed his attempts to reignite anything.


Awesome. I was hoping you'd elaborate on this. smile


Quote:
I do understand that she's donated to his projects and helped him with his career. Is there any possibility she does those things not because she wants to but because she's afraid of what he might do or say if she didn't?


I've considered the possibility. But some of the comments she's made in the past few months make me think this is unlikely. She's said many times over the years that she likes old town [town east of here] for it's Victorians and its holiday displays. She helped RM get a job near there last year, and he moved there. She's been going there to visit another, female friend/colleague, who knows RM, over the holidays for more than a decade now, and I've often wondered if he was at those meetings. I think she's trying to put back together the working relationship she had with them when the affair started. And I might be able to accept that (the desire, at least, if not the working relationship, since a couple of them, including my wife, are nearing retirement - one has retired) IF she were open and honest with me about it. Instead, she's been very secretive.

Quote:
Are there details you know that she doesn't know you know? Things that you think she would be terribly embarrassed or hurt to know you know? Or afraid of what you might do if you found out?


Yes. She doesn't know I know she helped him find work back in CA, and she doesn't know I know she's involving him in the local museum project. She's even said in the past (when I found that RM was her webmaster for her non-profit, about 8 years ago) that she was afraid of what I might say to her students. This was when I put my foot down when she asked her students to send their photos from the field class to RM for inclusion on the website. He never did (and probably never would have, as I'm pretty sure he's afraid of me), and I very quickly shut down the website by helping my W create one of her own that I maintain.

In the current situation with the museum, the other people involved in selecting his non-profit to promote their cause are long acquaintances of mine as well, from when I was on the board of our old house group 15 years ago. I feel VERY betrayed that my W has allowed them to believe that he's just a colleague she went to school with and not someone she had an affair with. So, she's lying to them (by omission) and expecting me to protect the lie by keeping my mouth shut. She doesn't know that I know about that collaboration, though she might suspect.

Quote:
It's always surprised me that you don't talk. What would you have to lose? Maybe if you could co-create a safe space to be vulnerable and share you would find out things that painted a whole world of details onto the picture you have - changing it entirely. How terrible would it be to find out that was true another twenty years from now.


Perhaps like you, I tend to be rather sarcastic. Initially, I tend hold things in while I contemplate what I want to do about them. When I was a snoop, my imagination would often get carried away. When I did confront with what I knew, I'd be angry and sarcastic. And of course, when you "talk" about things you've learned via snooping - even if you don't reveal that's what you've been doing - you lose that source. My W isn't stupid, and always figured out how I learned something and gone deeper underground. This even though she's not particularly computer savvy. So we always go back to an uncomfortable stalemate, until she slips up or her actions clue my hunches to dig some more. But I am tired of living like that, however well we get along otherwise.

Quote:
I completely agree with firm boundaries particularly when it comes to people who meddle destructively in your marriage or family - and that's come to include more than just affair partners for me. The thing is - and you know this - the only person who can maintain, uphold, and protect your boundaries, is you. The only way you have a firm boundary is by enforcing it. If you are not at a place where you are willing to do that then consider changing what you tell yourself about your boundaries. You might find that's a more peaceful place to be.


I'm pretty good about keeping myself happy most of the time. But I'm always open to new ideas. I'll ponder this.

Quote:
"Pee in the Cherrios" Well. I probably would not be good at that.

However, I am pretty good at saying - "Is there a time we can talk?" and then planning ahead how to say what I need to say. I tend to write it out in bullet points.


I've thought about texting something like that. She's going to be away at work today and tomorrow, but will probably call tonight. i had seen that she has a meeting about the RM collaboration this weekend. I thought it was Saturday. But this am she asked me if I wanted to go to one of our favorite swap meets that morning. She may have forgotten, though.

Quote:
I hear you say you're quite fond of her and that she (and your son) would be devastated if you were to leave. Divorce would be a tragedy.


And "leaving" is never as simple as the word implies. We'd have to sell this house, as neither one of us could afford to buy the other out - unless we came to some agreement regarding keeping the family trust intact even if our marriage is not. But then one of us would have to be able to afford to live on their own, with a similar financial impact.

"Kids" dealing with affairs early or midway into their marriages/lives don't really understand the tradeoffs after 40 years of a marriage that's pretty good for the most part, when you're approaching retirement.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: whatdoidonow
Thanks Penny,
He was home last night, but back at the condo now. I do not know the status of where the OW is but she lives in CA and the condo is in Seattle. I called him tonight to tell him I am sorry it takes such extreme circumstances to get me to listen to him and it does not say much about my paying attention to him that I did not notice he was so miserable. He said that the affair was his choice and not I guess to blame myself for that. I said then that it is two separate issues and then I let it go for tonight.


I LOVE that you differentiate between his choosing to betray his vows and your marriage and the things you wish you had done differently.

He's absolutely right. The affair was/is his choice and you are not to blame for it. At the same time, there is dignity and integrity in offering an apology for those things you believe were hurtful to him personally and harmful to your marriage. They are indeed separate issues.

This is Intervention Phase as it should be. Well done.

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 05:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
No one is immune to having an affair. It just depends on what the stressors and trigger points are.


This is going to come across as arrogant: I'm immune to having an affair. Maybe a better way to say it is that I don't believe that "we're all wired for affairs" is a true statement. I do believe that some people are more susceptible to their own temptations and/or have weak or indefinite personal boundaries that make having an affair either "easy" to contemplate or get drawn into.

It's been 15 years since d-day for me. I've had a lot of time to contemplate "what ifs". Initially, I found myself remembering and pondering instances before d-day when I felt tempted or attracted to someone. I can still picture those incidents in vivid detail. In most cases, I never said anything to the person I was attracted to, and the feelings faded away. In those cases, I thought that they weren't aware of my attraction to them. But after d-day, I learned that my W even could sense them, and she said at least 2 of them knew. Hm...

Then, I went through a period of anger and frustration where I would contemplate having an affair of my own. I even developed crushes on a couple women I knew. But, if anything, I got better at keeping those feelings to myself, as my own experience with my W's betrayal prevented me from feeling anything less than utter disgust at the thought of doing the same to her, or hurting the love interest in the process.

Now, if I ever do become involved with someone other than my W, it'll be after we divorce. Probably long after.

So, yeah. I think I'm immune. razz

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 05:32 PM

What if one of those women had actively pursued you at your time of most hurt / resentment and least resistance?

Of course, we can never know for sure "what if?" but ..... what if?
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 07:05 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
But, if anything, I got better at keeping those feelings to myself, as my own experience with my W's betrayal prevented me from feeling anything less than utter disgust at the thought of doing the same to her, or hurting the love interest in the process.

Now, if I ever do become involved with someone other than my W, it'll be after we divorce. Probably long after.

So, yeah. I think I'm immune. razz

-ol' 2long


I think this is like addictive substances: Cocaine, Heroin, Nicotine, etc (and Alcohol to a lesser extent.) For the most part, addictions happen, and they're a horrible thing. But there are a few folks who just don't have the "addiction" gene or whatever.

I've done a fairly large quantity of both cocaine and nicotine in my lifetime, and walked away from both without much of a backwards glance. I consumed ridiculously large quantities of alcohol for a period of years, then tapered off and pretty much quit entirely. No big deal. I'm an outlier. I don't get addicted. I can't explain why. I just don't.

Maybe you are "affair proof" 2long, in the way that I am "addiction proof"
Posted By: LadyGrey

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 07:50 PM

Malcolm Gladwell has a very interesting article on addiction in his book The Tipping Point.

His premise is that given enough exposure, we will all become addicted to addictive substances. For some, that may be one cigarette or one line. For others it might be 300 cigarettes or 10 grams. No way to know going in.

I tried to find a link but couldn't. I think all his books are fascinating, but if I had to pick one, it would be The Tipping Point.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 08:03 PM

LG,

My threshold must be incredibly high for both nicotine and cocaine. I smoked from the time I was 15 until I was 32. My daily cocaine use ran for several years, until I decided I was tired of working myself half to death and never having any money to show for it.

I'll look into that book... sounds fascinating.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/14/16 09:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
What if one of those women had actively pursued you at your time of most hurt / resentment and least resistance?

Of course, we can never know for sure "what if?" but ..... what if?


Well, one did, apparently. But it would have been before d-day. This gal works in my field, and went with me to a couple of my favorite field sites. My W went along on the trips, because they were in the same state as her OOSP property. She stayed at the house, and my friend and I spent all day for about 4 days in the field alone. Nothing inappropriate ever happened, and the gal now has 2 kids with another colleague/friend of mine. At the time, I suspected there was interest on her part, but I didn't really put 2 and 2 together at the time. But even though my marriage was rather mediocre at the time, and this gal is (still) attractive, I am pretty sure I wouldn't have responded in any inappropriate way. After d-day, my wife told me she knew about the gal's attraction to me at the time. She might have been hoping something would happen to make her feel better about her own affair.

I had a few other instances I could have taken advantage of, when things weren't going well with the marriage but still before d-day. One was while I was teaching a lab class during my PhD program. One of my students, a stunning brunette, came to my office during my afternoon hours (when few people were around), stood next to my chair and leaned over my desk to place her chest within about a foot of my face (she was wearing a low-cut, form-fitting shirt), and after asking for help with one of the problems out of the textbook, asked me if there was anything she could do to earn some extra credit for the class? Anything at all??

I told her I didn't give extra credit, but I'd be happy to help her with any problems she might have during and after class, or during office hours.

She never came back to my office, but she did okay in class. Not great, but she passed.

She was really cute. crazy

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 03:02 AM

I guess a topic I would like discussed is how to get two people who are very, very conflict avoidant to discuss conflict.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 03:31 AM

Hi Marta smile
.
I wonder if a change of perspective would be helpful? Instead of viewing differences of opinion as "conflict" could you start to view them as opportunities for improving your relationship?

There's really no such thing as conflict avoidance. There might be conflict postponement but eventually whatever it is is going to cause enough trouble to require action of some sort. And, if we've managed to postpone any conversation long enough it's quite possible the issue at hand has grown from the proverbial molehill to the size of the mountain.

It only takes one to begin a conversation. Probably you'll have to do that thing I do when coerced by my children to get on a roller coaster - feel the terror and do it anyway.

It helps to have some stock phrases in your back pocket. Things like:
Is there a time we could plan to chat about a couple of things?

I want to talk with you about something difficult and I'm requesting you to hear me out before responding.

I'd like to revisit a topic from last week and I would like it if we could stay with just the facts and not emotion for right now.

I want to discuss some things and I'm nervous to bring them up.


At some point it's up to you to decide how important it is to discuss important things in your life. Or, as I say to my health related coaching clients - how much does it have to hurt before you are willing to make this change? It must trouble you that there are things not being talked about or your wouldn't bring it up. How troubling does it have to be before you are willing to do something different. That line is different for all of us. Some people have a low threshold for sweeping things under the rug - others can do it for years. And yet we always have free will - we can always decide right now is the moment I do something different.

I read a mini rant this week by one of my mentors - I don't have it verbatim but essentially it was, "If you want to improve your marriage - TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. Grow your career - TAKE MASSIVE ACTION. Get control of your health - TAKE MASSIVE ACTION."

If you wait until you feel like doing it it will never happen. Change first and wait for the feelings to catch up.

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 07:35 PM

Thanks Penny,

I'm not sure I'm making myself clear... I think we are both terrified of hurting each other. We have never raised our voices at each other ever. We are constantly apologizing to each other in case we hurt each other by anything we said or did. We tend to talk gently around issues. I don't know how to explain it or if I can. I will bring up an issue, but often soften it.

Here is the closest description I can come to it:
http://www.couplesinstitute.com/learning-to-work-with-conflict-avoidant-couples/

We are good friends. We like each other. We get along well, but there is no passion. Our life has focused on his career and over the last decade his burnout, career issues, medical issues, etc.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Thanks Penny,

I'm not sure I'm making myself clear... I think we are both terrified of hurting each other. We have never raised our voices at each other ever. We are constantly apologizing to each other in case we hurt each other by anything we said or did. We tend to talk gently around issues. I don't know how to explain it or if I can. I will bring up an issue, but often soften it.

Here is the closest description I can come to it:
http://www.couplesinstitute.com/learning-to-work-with-conflict-avoidant-couples/

We are good friends. We like each other. We get along well, but there is no passion. Our life has focused on his career and over the last decade his burnout, career issues, medical issues, etc.


Interesting.
Do you feel you are enmeshed - as the article above calls it?

Is one of you overly clingy?

Do you suspect a personality disorder?

I assume, since you raise the question, there are issues you believe one or both of you are not bringing up. Correct?

How do you feel this is harming or restricting your marriage?
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 08:51 PM

Well, people on this forum have called us enmeshed. I am pretty much my husband's only friend, though he has been trying to reconnect with a few and reaching out to our pastor as a friend. I think he relies on me way too much emotionally. It is so strange because the world sees him as a confident surgeon. My middle son mentioned when he shadowed my husband at his practice how everyone came to him. He is president of the practice. When egos come into play with the other physicians, they all come to him to help work it out.

Yet, so many times he has seemed paralyzed and looking to me for guidance. He had a situation that happened shortly before we left and he called me practically in tears... But no one but me had no idea about any of this.

I guess I want HIM to decide what to do about his job. I don't feel like it is my place to make that decision. Yes, he can ask me for my opinion. Yes, I have told him this and he is getting better. Once he was trying to decide whether or not to cancel surgery and go to the er and he said, "I know, you can't tell me what to do..."

I want him to be the happy confident man I fell in love with. Although anxiety/stress was a small part of him, it seems to have magnified. The thing is no one else sees this but me. I convinced him to see a therapist and they laughed and joked and had a great time. He kept asking him what was stress because he felt like my husband always looked so calm, like he was smoking weed or something. He is on the outside.

And perhaps that is my problem. I wish I got the confident, happy, no stress guy that everyone else sees. But if that is an illusion then I have a choice to love the person that he is. I just don't like that person very much. ( That feels so incredibly disloyal and unloving to say that.) I like confident happy guys.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/18/16 08:53 PM

The other problem my husband has is the inablity to say no... He hates disappointing other people and so do I. That said, I have learned to say no and he is learning. We just don't know quite how to say it to each other.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/19/16 10:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Hi Marta smile
.
I wonder if a change of perspective would be helpful? Instead of viewing differences of opinion as "conflict" could you start to view them as opportunities for improving your relationship?

There's really no such thing as conflict avoidance. There might be conflict postponement but eventually whatever it is is going to cause enough trouble to require action of some sort. And, if we've managed to postpone any conversation long enough it's quite possible the issue at hand has grown from the proverbial molehill to the size of the mountain.


This is true, whether it's a mountain in both parties' minds or just one's.

Quote:
It only takes one to begin a conversation. Probably you'll have to do that thing I do when coerced by my children to get on a roller coaster - feel the terror and do it anyway.

It helps to have some stock phrases in your back pocket. Things like:
Is there a time we could plan to chat about a couple of things?


I don't do well with stock phrases, and I was just stewing on what I imagined to be "going on," so I just texted her from work and said I think we need to have a conversation about [RM], since I see that he's moved back to the area and is working on the same project she is. She texted back asking for clarification a couple times, then called me. So we had a 15 minute phone conversation about it. We'll go into more detail this evening. I need her to tell me "the whole story, which is complicated" (her words). They apparently both applied for the same job that she got last summer. She's working for a friend of mine who I went to college with, but haven't seen in about 20 years. His W, mine, and RM all work in the same field. So he applied for another job consulting for my friend and is working for him on the same project my W is working on, but not directly. They have met in person around when he got the job, so my W told my daughter (also working on the job with my W), and asked her what she should do. My daughter said she should tell me right away, but she said she couldn't.

So here we are. I told her that we need to be open with one another. She was afraid to tell me for fear of how I might react, so I told her that this conversation was to help both of us reign in our imaginations of what the other is or isn't doing/thinking.

I can't say what I want, personally, going forward. Part of me still thinks that their history was too long (to date, more than half our marriage) for me to want to stay married. I definitely don't want to end up like Eleanor Roosevelt, with her H's VLTA partner coming to his funeral (I've since learned that Eleanor was no saint in the marriage department herself).

But we'll see. Part of me is certainly aware that i've had nothing but the online evidence and my imagination to go on for all this time. She seemed to realize that she, too, based her reluctance to tell me on her own assumptions of what I'd do when I found out.

Anyway, that's what I did. A big part of why I did it now is that last night I woke up about 2am all tensed up, dreaming dreams about contact and secrecy. I needed to get this out so we both can sleep better going forward.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/19/16 10:36 PM

2long, I've known you a long time and I just want to say

WOOOOHOOOOO!!!! I am so impressed and so happy to hear you are broaching this conversation.

Quote:
can't say what I want, personally, going forward. Part of me still thinks that their history was too long (to date, more than half our marriage) for me to want to stay married. I definitely don't want to end up like Eleanor Roosevelt, with her H's VLTA partner coming to his funeral (I've since learned that Eleanor was no saint in the marriage department herself).


I get it. I'm a runner by nature - it's my first instinct. Maybe just take it one conversation at a time and see what unfolds? You don't have to decide about anything more than that.

Wishing you luck and peace and everything good.

P
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/19/16 11:07 PM

I'm a runner too. A runner and an ostrich. So I'm very impressed by your decisions here. And very interested in where this will lead for you.

Hang in there 2long. I'm rooting for you!
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/20/16 12:50 PM

...and then we didn't talk about it. Just had a "normal" evening. She made a nice dinner since she was off work yesterday, and we watched some scifi shows, and went to sleep.

Tonight she teaches, then she's out of town next couple days.

I don't feel all that different, actually. I feel as though I just got confirmation of what I've sensed all along - that her continued feelings for RM, however low-key, are still a wedge between us limiting our ability to be intimate even if we are able to be open with one another.

But it took a long time to get to this point (25 years). It's not going to sort itself out, and I'm not going to have a solution over night.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/20/16 04:38 PM

Penny,

Just wanted to say thanks for peeking in other than your regular scheduled time. I've got to take my daughter to the doctor at 2:30, then I do my children's choir at 4, followed by dinner at the church, then Praise Team Practice at 6, choir at 7. I typically don't get home until 9:30 or so and then it is catching up with hubby. I might get home earlier since I won't have to wait for my daughter to get through with youth, but we'll just see. I'm really sorry I can't make the regular scheduled time.

Here is another example:
I have been frustrated over our lack of frequency and variety of sex and yes, I've brought it up a couple of different times. Has there ever been a fight about it,no. I've tried sharing my fantasies..no response either in sharing his or fufilling mine, I've given him a book to read...nope. Typically, right after the time I share something like this he tries hard to have more sex, but then life gets busy and stressful and we are back to our usual pattern.

For this last time, I wrote him a letter outlining 5 things I would really like. ( I might pm you the letter.) Even though I put it in an obvious place, it was a busy week and he didn't notice it for a week. He then said, "Interesting letter.." I smiled. Then he said something like , "I'm sorry you haven't been satisfied." To which I said, "It isn't that I don't enjoy what we do, I would just like to do it more often and try a few things." I said this with a flirty smile.

So a couple of nights later, he tried one of the things. Then we left out of town. We had a kid in our room, so nothing was possible anyway. Anyway, we have not ever discussed or talked about what was on my list. ( Which I asked him to do...) That is also typical. We just never discuss them... To be honest, it is hard for me to bring things up like this and I feel defeated when it just isn't resolved. But then maybe he is scared to say, "I'm just not comfortable with this.." Don't know... As I said, I'll send you a pm so you can read the tone of my letter. I think it was ok.

Hope a lot of people participate tonight. It must be rather frustrating to put yourself out there and get a lack of response... So hopefully tonight will be better!

Thanks again.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 12:06 AM

I have to confess, sometimes when I login on Wednesday nights and open to this page I hear an announcer's voice in my head saying "annnnnnd we're back!" I want to say thank you again to the MA board and the members for the invitation to be part of MA.

Good to see everyone. I'm going to do a little catching up. Feel free to post thoughts and questions.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 12:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
I'm a runner too. A runner and an ostrich. So I'm very impressed by your decisions here. And very interested in where this will lead for you.

Hang in there 2long. I'm rooting for you!


**spoiled by facebook: Like**
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
...and then we didn't talk about it. Just had a "normal" evening. She made a nice dinner since she was off work yesterday, and we watched some scifi shows, and went to sleep.

Tonight she teaches, then she's out of town next couple days.

I don't feel all that different, actually. I feel as though I just got confirmation of what I've sensed all along - that her continued feelings for RM, however low-key, are still a wedge between us limiting our ability to be intimate even if we are able to be open with one another.

But it took a long time to get to this point (25 years). It's not going to sort itself out, and I'm not going to have a solution over night.

-ol' 2long


No, you're not going to sort it out overnight smile

It may be that she has some level of feelings for him and it may even be that those feelings will be a wedge between you. But I have to say I don't think that is anywhere close to the wedge that failure to communicate creates.

To a large degree how you feel about a person or situation is outside conscious control. So she doesn't hate him? Ok. So what? It's actions that count. Is she still having an affair? Chances seem pretty slim. From what you wrote yesterday it doesn't even sound like she likes him all that much. To me, it sounds like her fear of your reaction is greater than any feelings she has for this guy.

So where is the wedge? Some imagined feelings? The imagined reaction you will have? Those things aren't real. They are fears and fantasies - stories each of you are making up in your heads about what is going on with the other. These imagined events are not the wedge between you. Neither of you really knows the other and neither seems to be willing
to breach the stalemate of silence and imagined disaster. That's the wedge.

Your marriage has so much potential. Far more than so many others. You like each other, you enjoy each other's company, you have shared interests, you are caring, you've done a wonderful job of parenting your children, and much more. The tragedy is not the affair. The tragedy is, after all these years, letting one more day slip by without taking the risk to be truly vulnerable and intimate.

I had a very deep family loss a little over a year ago. Every single day I am struck by how short our time together really is and how important it is to be kind, open, honest, authentic, and loving with the people close to us. Every day we don't do that is a day we can never get back.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 01:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Well, people on this forum have called us enmeshed. I am pretty much my husband's only friend, though he has been trying to reconnect with a few and reaching out to our pastor as a friend. I think he relies on me way too much emotionally. It is so strange because the world sees him as a confident surgeon. My middle son mentioned when he shadowed my husband at his practice how everyone came to him. He is president of the practice. When egos come into play with the other physicians, they all come to him to help work it out.



Ok, well people on forums have called me a lot of things smirk What do you think?


Quote:
Yet, so many times he has seemed paralyzed and looking to me for guidance. He had a situation that happened shortly before we left and he called me practically in tears... But no one but me had no idea about any of this.

I guess I want HIM to decide what to do about his job. I don't feel like it is my place to make that decision. Yes, he can ask me for my opinion. Yes, I have told him this and he is getting better. Once he was trying to decide whether or not to cancel surgery and go to the er and he said, "I know, you can't tell me what to do..."

I want him to be the happy confident man I fell in love with. Although anxiety/stress was a small part of him, it seems to have magnified. The thing is no one else sees this but me. I convinced him to see a therapist and they laughed and joked and had a great time. He kept asking him what was stress because he felt like my husband always looked so calm, like he was smoking weed or something. He is on the outside.


So ..... how long has it been since you've seen the happy confident man at home? Has it been this way for a long time or is did it change with the health issues?

And .... not wildly impressed with the therapist. Men in general don't go for therapy willingly and for someone as successful as your husband it clearly had to be the result of a significant life event. It's too bad he wasn't willing to be more direct in calling BS on the joking, laughing, and looking calm.


Quote:
And perhaps that is my problem. I wish I got the confident, happy, no stress guy that everyone else sees. But if that is an illusion then I have a choice to love the person that he is. I just don't like that person very much. ( That feels so incredibly disloyal and unloving to say that.) I like confident happy guys.


Yeah, I understand. I know from personal experience serious health issues can completely change a person and a marriage.

FWIW I don't think you are at the end of this process. And, I don't really think you're enmeshed. I think you've hit a terribly rough spot, you're both reeling, and you're figuring out where you're going to land when the dust settles. Being considerate and kind in discussions around big issues (or little ones) is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite, I would say. If more people could do that the world would be a much more pleasant place.

And, given you're going through a rough patch, it's probably quite normal that you're sorting out when and how it's a good idea to address issues. I tend to be blunt and blurt things and then realize maybe I could have done a better job of approaching the topic with kindness and even a little cushioning. And even with all my foot-in-mouth tendencies I would have the same reticence about when and how to raise sensitive topics while things are still in flux. Frustrating? For sure! And it can feel like it will last forever - but it won't.

You and your husband seem like really good caring people. Maybe look for another therapist or coach who would be willing to be a little more direct?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 01:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Penny,

Just wanted to say thanks for peeking in other than your regular scheduled time. I've got to take my daughter to the doctor at 2:30, then I do my children's choir at 4, followed by dinner at the church, then Praise Team Practice at 6, choir at 7. I typically don't get home until 9:30 or so and then it is catching up with hubby. I might get home earlier since I won't have to wait for my daughter to get through with youth, but we'll just see. I'm really sorry I can't make the regular scheduled time.


You are very welcome smile And, no worries at all. Clearly you are a slacker - LOL!

Quote:
Here is another example:
I have been frustrated over our lack of frequency and variety of sex and yes, I've brought it up a couple of different times. Has there ever been a fight about it,no. I've tried sharing my fantasies..no response either in sharing his or fufilling mine, I've given him a book to read...nope. Typically, right after the time I share something like this he tries hard to have more sex, but then life gets busy and stressful and we are back to our usual pattern.


What does he say about how he feels about it? Not: how does he feel about your feelings or what you are sharing, but how does he feel about your sex life? Does he feel his libido has changed? Is he embarrassed? Frightened? Unwilling to look at what's changed?

Have you read David Schnarch's book "Passionate Marriage"? I think you would find it very interesting. It's been a long time but in short his premise is the sexual relationship of the couple is the barometer of the entire relationship. So, for example, if there is a lack of engagement or intimacy in sex you would find the same thing is true of the relationship as a whole.


Quote:
For this last time, I wrote him a letter outlining 5 things I would really like. ( I might pm you the letter.) Even though I put it in an obvious place, it was a busy week and he didn't notice it for a week. He then said, "Interesting letter.." I smiled. Then he said something like , "I'm sorry you haven't been satisfied." To which I said, "It isn't that I don't enjoy what we do, I would just like to do it more often and try a few things." I said this with a flirty smile.

So a couple of nights later, he tried one of the things. Then we left out of town. We had a kid in our room, so nothing was possible anyway. Anyway, we have not ever discussed or talked about what was on my list. ( Which I asked him to do...) That is also typical. We just never discuss them... To be honest, it is hard for me to bring things up like this and I feel defeated when it just isn't resolved. But then maybe he is scared to say, "I'm just not comfortable with this.." Don't know... As I said, I'll send you a pm so you can read the tone of my letter. I think it was ok.


I don't know if this is helpful but I'm going to put it out here for you to think about it. In general - women experience fear and men experience shame. And they bring those things with them into conversations (or fights) around issues that have emotional weight.

It feels to me as if the issue of sex, although it looks like one issue, really isn't. It's one thing for you and something completely different for him and you are each "hearing" it through the filter of your own perception. It feels to me, and I could be way off base, as if you are terrified that you've lost forever the happy confident husband you once had - and that it's especially manifesting in sex and decision making. And he is not just embarrassed but ashamed of what he perceives as utter failure as a husband and a professional. At work he can mostly keep it together but you are the safe place where he can fall apart. However - that doesn't really feed or perpetuate the marriage you used to have. Right now, you don't have the partner you once did and still really desire.

So, how do you grow through this? Cuz, you're not malicious people taking pot shots at each other. You're victims of a pretty crummy curve ball. Since you are the one taking the initiative most of the work may fall on you - at least at first. I would see if you can get inside his view point. I know you want him to see and understand yours - that's important and I believe it will come - and I think the gateway to that is first getting inside his emotional pov. Don't ignore the issue - but draw him out. Really listen. And probe. And listen some more. And probe some more. Gently and with love - because you want to understand. And then let's see what changes and what we can do with that.



Quote:
Hope a lot of people participate tonight. It must be rather frustrating to put yourself out there and get a lack of response... So hopefully tonight will be better!

Thanks again.


Thank you! I appreciate the thought and your willingness to participate. Sometimes people just need to watch and listen for a while before putting their toe in the water. We are at #5 on the Trending Topics and have more than 2000 page views so I assume someone is reading smile

Funny story - when I was first at MB, just as a poster, back in something like 2000, two friends and I had a thread on the Just Found Out board. It started when one of my friends discovered his wife's affair and it just meandered along from there. Every day the three of us would log in and chat, share, commiserate and tell stories of whatever was going on in our lives. Eventually the thread got to 400 pages - the first of the monster threads. It was just us - no one else ever posted and it never occurred to any of us that anyone else ever bothered to read it. As it turns out, apparently it was like the a little entertainment series that tons of people read and we had no idea until my friend the OP decided to close the thread and asked to have it moved. You never know who is lurking and never posts but who really needs to hear what someone else has to say.

xo

P
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:02 AM

I read every week, Penny. Thanks for having this thread even if it seems at times that no one is listening.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:08 AM

Originally Posted By: believer
I read every week, Penny. Thanks for having this thread even if it seems at times that no one is listening.


waves


You are very welcome!
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:25 AM

I agree with most of what you said here, but there are a couple points she made during the phone convo that are disturbing to me. She said "I can't say I don't still have feelings for him, and I can't say he doesn't still have feelings for me." And "you can't expect me to turn off my feelings for him." Also "we work in the same field and share the same interests." "I don't expect you to want to be as excited about my interests as I am, and I'm just not interested in your hobbies."

But we do get along, that's true, even if we're not intimate very often.

I wonder, though, about what is reasonable for me to "expect" her to do for me, though. It does look like they'll be working together on at least two projects for the forseeable future, though. Maybe not in person on the museum project, but probably on the work related one.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: AllyCat

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:38 AM

Hi Penny,


I'm reading as well, just reading the stories. I do have a question for you. My husband and I were really happy, and didn't have any huge issues. I trusted him implicitly. Then one day he just left, while blaming me. It was just suddenly OVER. Wanted to be divorced and sell the house. I only found out 2 weeks later, that he was in an EA for two-three weeks, and had left me for the OW. After 6 months, of him on,y refraining that it was all my fault, and over, he had a sudden change of heart and came home.


There are several problems (1.5 year into recovery), but there's 3 main ones. I feel he has justified the affair in his mind (and it's all my fault), 2 I don't trust him, and 3) I'm not even sure I forgive him.

So here is my question to you, what does forgiveness look like in this context? How should I feel and know that I've had enough "forgiveness" to continue on this path? We say the words a lot, but I'm not sure what it means. Are relationship now is only a shadow (maybe 1/100) of what it was before. Which is really heartbreaking and begs the question If it's beyond repair.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:42 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I agree with most of what you said here, but there are a couple points she made during the phone convo that are disturbing to me. She said "I can't say I don't still have feelings for him, and I can't say he doesn't still have feelings for me." And "you can't expect me to turn off my feelings for him." Also "we work in the same field and share the same interests." "I don't expect you to want to be as excited about my interests as I am, and I'm just not interested in your hobbies."


You know what I would say here, right?


Quote:
But we do get along, that's true, even if we're not intimate very often.


You do! Better than a whole lot of people I know. Probably better than a whole lot of people you know.

Quote:
I wonder, though, about what is reasonable for me to "expect" her to do for me, though. It does look like they'll be working together on at least two projects for the forseeable future, though. Maybe not in person on the museum project, but probably on the work related one.

-ol' 2long


And you know what I would say here, too.

Come on over here to the frozen WI tundra and be me for a few minutes. If you were me - what would you tell you? You're a good person. And I know how smart you are. You know this stuff. You give excellent advice to other people all the time. If this was someone else - a couple who clearly cared about each other - what would you say?
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 03:17 AM

Originally Posted By: AllyCat
Hi Penny,


I'm reading as well, just reading the stories. I do have a question for you. My husband and I were really happy, and didn't have any huge issues. I trusted him implicitly. Then one day he just left, while blaming me. It was just suddenly OVER. Wanted to be divorced and sell the house. I only found out 2 weeks later, that he was in an EA for two-three weeks, and had left me for the OW. After 6 months, of him on,y refraining that it was all my fault, and over, he had a sudden change of heart and came home.


Hi AllyCat smile

So he moved in with her for 6 months and then came home?

When he says it was all your fault - can I ask what specifically he says? What terrible things did you do that made it ok to have an affair?

Where is the OW now? Does he see her? Was it someone you know?



Quote:
There are several problems (1.5 year into recovery), but there's 3 main ones. I feel he has justified the affair in his mind (and it's all my fault), 2 I don't trust him, and 3) I'm not even sure I forgive him.

So here is my question to you, what does forgiveness look like in this context? How should I feel and know that I've had enough "forgiveness" to continue on this path? We say the words a lot, but I'm not sure what it means. Are relationship now is only a shadow (maybe 1/100) of what it was before. Which is really heartbreaking and begs the question If it's beyond repair.



Does he still say the affair was all your fault?

How did the affair end and what kinds of agreements did you create when he decided to come home? How about boundaries to protect your marriage going forward?


I think very few relationships are beyond repair. The basics of marital success are pretty simple - it's the willingness to accept responsibility and make changes that are really the issue. Infidelity affects something like 80% of marriages. That's a whole lot of people - and most of them stay together. People don't have problems in their marriage because there was an affair - there are affairs because there were problems in the marriage.

That is not to say affairs don't happen in good marriages - they do. All the time. But even in those cases there is a problem somewhere with understanding how affairs start and the boundaries needed to protect the marriage before there's a slippery slope to fall down.

Trust has to be earned. You can't just "decide" to trust someone. Consistency over time is essential in building or rebuilding trust. And, once it's been lost - that consistency will need to happen over a longer period of time.

So, if he is still actively saying the affair was your fault there's no way you can trust him. Nor should you. I'm not saying he is actively looking to have another affair - but as long as he is unwilling to look at how he crossed boundaries that allowed feelings to develop for someone else you have no way of feeling safe and protected that he's not going to do the same thing again.

I personally think Recovery is as hard or harder than Intervention or Protection Phases. This is where each of you needs to take a look at how your patterns of behavior either protect or risk your marriage. And then you need to own those things and make changes. AND you have to do that while you're figuring out which end is up and how to heal some pretty big wounds. All while walking on eggshells.

Forgiveness is such an emotionally laden word and I think it means something different for everyone. I don't know that I can give you a good answer about that. What I can talk about is how do you move forward and heal.

First you have to have some sense of partnering and co-creation in the marriage. It can't be just you.... or just him .... engaged in and doing the work of relationship. It needs to be shared. You need to come to agreements about what is safe behavior and what is risky behavior. And then, how you create boundaries between your marriage and the risky behaviors and transparency between the two of you. Shared. Together. On the same team.

You need to be able to own and regulate your own emotions so you are not blaming each other for your feelings or actions. From that place you can choose to work toward the future instead of constantly being pulled back into the past. This is how you find trust again - and I imagine how you forgive.

I think it's also vitally important not to punish. There seems to be a natural human tendency that when things begin to get just a little bit better we feel connected just enough to spew all the things that have disturbed, troubled, or pained us. I knew a woman once who would use the minutes right after sex to tell her husband all the things she couldn't stand about him.

Or we seem to have this perverse desire to ruin a good moment by dredging up old yuck. You know, like when you've had a good day and your spouse hugs you and says he loves you.... and your first thought is "Oh yeah, you love me so much you left me for someone else." That's not honesty - that's punishment. These are traps we all can be tempted to fall into.

Working on those things and making small improvements - along with really good transparent communication - those are the keys to Recovery.

Glad you chimed in!

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 03:54 AM

Alright folks, as always it's been my pleasure. I'll pop in during the week as time allows. Until then - wishing you health, peace, love, and every good thing.

P
Posted By: MyRevelation

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I agree with most of what you said here, but there are a couple points she made during the phone convo that are disturbing to me. She said "I can't say I don't still have feelings for him, and I can't say he doesn't still have feelings for me." And "you can't expect me to turn off my feelings for him." Also "we work in the same field and share the same interests." "I don't expect you to want to be as excited about my interests as I am, and I'm just not interested in your hobbies."

But we do get along, that's true, even if we're not intimate very often.

I wonder, though, about what is reasonable for me to "expect" her to do for me, though. It does look like they'll be working together on at least two projects for the forseeable future, though. Maybe not in person on the museum project, but probably on the work related one.

-ol' 2long


2long,

Due to your ages, assets, and children, I understand how complicated and painful a D may be, but the above is basic "SELF RESPECT" territory for me. Your WW is still rubbing your face in her A and yes, the A is still ongoing, at least emotionally ... she just admitted as much.

I'm 55 now, with many of the same trappings that you face, but if faced with the same circumstances, I'd simply have to say something or bust. Put the same load you've been carrying on her shoulders for a change:

"You know, I've heard just about as much as I'm going to about "your feelings for OM". After all we've endured over the last 40+ years, if you can't show me enough respect to remove OM for our lives, then I have to respect myself enough to remove myself from this situation. I have been way too nice with regards to OM over the years and now look where its gotten me. It is way past time for you to make a decision regarding our future. I am done sharing you with OM, you can cut him out of our lives immediately and permanently or you can explain it to our children why you've chosen to blow up our family so you can salve "your feelings". I'm tired of stuffing down "my feelings" just so YOU don't have the face the consequences of YOUR choices. Now, are you going to start helping to shoulder some of this load together, or are we going to blow everything up and walk away carrying our own pieces individually."

You know, as well as the rest of us, that as long as WW is in contact with OM, fer "feelings" are going to continue. Once permanent NC is in place, then "feelings" disappear over time. Your WW is queen of the long term cake eaters. Seriously, how long has it been ... 20+ years of "feelings" for OM. She needs to face some serious consequences that will make her have to evaluate the true cost of maintaining those "feelings".

We've butted heads and had great discussions ... you are one of my favorite posters, but I've got to tell you, I'm pissed off at your WW for you. There is simply no reason for you to have to tolerate the words you quoted above from your WW.

Regardless of the play nice limbo advocated by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, there really comes a time when you just have to reach for the F-it button.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 04:32 PM

never mind. Better as a pm
Posted By: AllyCat

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 06:36 PM

Penny,

The story has been rehashed so many times which is why I didn't go into details. We've been together since we were 16 and 17 years old. My husband finished high school and went to trade school to become an electrician. My family is extremely difficult (I'm Vietnamese and they value education very much) he's French Canadian. They disapproved of the relationship (in terms of torturing me everyday to break up.) When I was 18-19 years old, both me and him had a discussion and decide we would tell my parents he was going to school to become an engineer. I went to medical school. It went on for 15-16 years, although we probably lied about once every second year. So maybe 10 times in the 18 years we were together. Right before our wedding, without any prompting, he told his family about the lie, and warned them not to say anything about his job because of the lie.

We were married for 7 years, quite happy. Lots of intimacy. We are very very close. And then in 2014, a week before Christmas, he met the OW. She's a secretery with porn-star dressing habits. From what I understand, he told someone he found her hot, the person then told her, and she asked for his phone number an cold called him. And off it went. There was intimate contact 1 week before he left, but he didn't sleep with her. He one day packed his bag (I meanwhile had NO IDEA anything was happening) and he left, consummating the relationship 48 hours later.

After leaving (maybe about a week) at that time I had NO explanation other then confused 10 minute ramblings about "I can't be in this anymore) did he say "it's because you forced me to lie about my job, you viscous evil person" and it was that reason there was no talking, saving the marriage etc. no counseling. Of course this was all while he was with OW. The discourse continued, the blame got worst. I had lied and destroyed him, his self esteem etc... Which was crazy to me because in the 19 years together he NEVER mentioned it bothered him. And he agreed and went a long with it. And at the base, it consisted of a lie every second year.

After six months, apparently the lie was now *forgivable* and he wanted desperately to come home. No longer wanted a divorce etc. There was a lot of crap along the way though.

As to answers to your questions. I don't remember any specific agreements made. I didn't ask for transparency, because we WERE transparent before that. I asked that there was NC, knowing he would go into withdrawal, and he did. About 2 months after going home he was trying to contact her etc, and more hell for me. I believe she told him never to contact her again, which might have been the reason he stayed. Not sure. After the intense withdrawal he was normal again, and has been that way for over 1 year.

We had a lot of MC. And he always says "I'm sorry about the affair, it was wrong but you lied about my job" that to me, is blame. And he psychologically believes this, so it's been very difficult for me to get pass it. There's no other issue that the MC could get down to. No other problems in our marriage that needed fixing. All she was dealing with was fallout of affair.

I see these continuing statements as justification. He doesn't admit that he just got his head turned by a sexy, easy woman and threw his life away. It's safer to cling onto the story of "the lie" and I think that's seriously rewriting history. He also says things like "I didn't have a choice to go along with the lie" etc, which again, is bull, especially when he was 37 years old, and never spoke to me about it.

What's obvious to me, is just writing it down. I'm beyond angry still. And that's not go through everything that it cost me. Professionally, financially etc.

I've had a lot of help from the people on MA. Many who feel there may have been a deep rooted self esteem issue on his part, but to be honest after hours and hours of therapy with the MC that has never come out. Not once did she feel he had a self esteem issue.

I gues that I've answered my own question, that this is certainly not what forgiveness looks like. And while I do on the surface try and be a good wife and all, there's a simmering resentment just under the surface. And it comes out sometimes. With a little snarky comment like you mentioned... I always tell him "if I die, please wait 24 hours after I'm in the ground before screwing someone else. Just for appearance sake"

And a part of me does feel this, because in his head, the fact that he wanted 48 hours before having sex with the OW means he didn't really *cheat on me* and somehow he's better then every other cheating man. He negates the EA that went on for 1 month before. Forgets that he went to a hockey game and made out with the OW and then came home and pretended for weeks that everything was ok. Not to mention the hurt that he WALKED out on a 18 year relationship without so much as a glance backward for a woman that he didn't even know when he birthday was.. Or her middle name.

Prior to this my husband has no female friends (period) and he doesn't do things that I find risky. It basically comes down to "when is the next attractive Asian girl going to hit on him" and my marriage will likely be over again. And this time for good.

It's mostly why I'm at lost of what to do next. We've done MC, who was excellent but were unable to unearth anything. We were transparent and he didn't engage in risky behavior. My marriage cannot be made better because I thought I was the happiest and luckiest girl to be married to him. So what's left? Anger, mistrust and a marriage that is pieces of what it was before. And so I think to myself, is it forgiveness that's missing? I was in IC for 1 year after all this happened, without any great improvement.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/21/16 07:09 PM

Originally Posted By: MyRevelation

2long,

Due to your ages, assets, and children, I understand how complicated and painful a D may be, but the above is basic "SELF RESPECT" territory for me. Your WW is still rubbing your face in her A and yes, the A is still ongoing, at least emotionally ... she just admitted as much.

I'm 55 now, with many of the same trappings that you face, but if faced with the same circumstances, I'd simply have to say something or bust. Put the same load you've been carrying on her shoulders for a change:

"You know, I've heard just about as much as I'm going to about "your feelings for OM". After all we've endured over the last 40+ years, if you can't show me enough respect to remove OM for our lives, then I have to respect myself enough to remove myself from this situation. I have been way too nice with regards to OM over the years and now look where its gotten me. It is way past time for you to make a decision regarding our future. I am done sharing you with OM, you can cut him out of our lives immediately and permanently or you can explain it to our children why you've chosen to blow up our family so you can salve "your feelings". I'm tired of stuffing down "my feelings" just so YOU don't have the face the consequences of YOUR choices. Now, are you going to start helping to shoulder some of this load together, or are we going to blow everything up and walk away carrying our own pieces individually."

You know, as well as the rest of us, that as long as WW is in contact with OM, fer "feelings" are going to continue. Once permanent NC is in place, then "feelings" disappear over time. Your WW is queen of the long term cake eaters. Seriously, how long has it been ... 20+ years of "feelings" for OM. She needs to face some serious consequences that will make her have to evaluate the true cost of maintaining those "feelings".

We've butted heads and had great discussions ... you are one of my favorite posters, but I've got to tell you, I'm pissed off at your WW for you. There is simply no reason for you to have to tolerate the words you quoted above from your WW.

Regardless of the play nice limbo advocated by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, there really comes a time when you just have to reach for the F-it button.


Oh definitely, I'm with you on this. We still haven't had time for "that in-depth conversation", but we will. And these points will be high on my list of things to address.

I had a response to Penny's latest post to me all written up last night, but at the time I wasn't in the best of moods and so I didn't feel like retyping it when it apparently disappeared. I was on my PC laptop, which has all kinds of useless and dangerous keys on it that Macs don't have, so I blame it on the PC, but I'm still not upset about it.

My W is out of town today and tomorrow, working on the job that RM is consulting for. I don't think he's there, but I don't know for sure yet how often he's directly involved with the others. My daughter works with my wife on this project, and I doubt RM would have the guts to come around her. She'd probably whup his arse if he did (and probably could).

It is weird, though, being in my early 60s and still dealing with this while contemplating retirement. We've accumulated a lot of stuff - all in our family trust - and I'll be damned if I'm going to put myself in a dire financial situation into retirement over concerns of this twit's interference. My W is quick to take responsibility for the past, and so far as our marriage problems related to the affair go, she's right to do that. But RM also needs to take part in "getting lost", and I won't be party to letting him avoid his responsibility, especially if he does what he does to stay involved with my W.

The marriage? I don't know what it is right now or what I want to make of it going forward. It is my choice to make, though.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: MyRevelation

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/22/16 04:23 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long

Oh definitely, I'm with you on this. We still haven't had time for "that in-depth conversation", but we will. And these points will be high on my list of things to address.

I had a response to Penny's latest post to me all written up last night, but at the time I wasn't in the best of moods and so I didn't feel like retyping it when it apparently disappeared. I was on my PC laptop, which has all kinds of useless and dangerous keys on it that Macs don't have, so I blame it on the PC, but I'm still not upset about it.

My W is out of town today and tomorrow, working on the job that RM is consulting for. I don't think he's there, but I don't know for sure yet how often he's directly involved with the others. My daughter works with my wife on this project, and I doubt RM would have the guts to come around her. She'd probably whup his arse if he did (and probably could).

It is weird, though, being in my early 60s and still dealing with this while contemplating retirement. We've accumulated a lot of stuff - all in our family trust - and I'll be damned if I'm going to put myself in a dire financial situation into retirement over concerns of this twit's interference. My W is quick to take responsibility for the past, and so far as our marriage problems related to the affair go, she's right to do that. But RM also needs to take part in "getting lost", and I won't be party to letting him avoid his responsibility, especially if he does what he does to stay involved with my W.

The marriage? I don't know what it is right now or what I want to make of it going forward. It is my choice to make, though.

-ol' 2long


Good luck on the "in-depth conversation" that I hope comes this weekend, my cyber-friend.

My guess is your WW will avoid it like the plague and will do everything in her power to kick this can down the road some more. Here's wishing you strength to maintain the testicular fortitude to force the issue and set some firm boundaries.

You deserve better than you've been getting ... it's about time your WW started doing some of the heavy lifting that you've been shouldering by yourself for way 2long.

I'll be thinking of you this weekend from under a foot or more of snow ... stay STRONG and FOCUSED!!
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/22/16 06:56 PM

You bet!!

Stay warm. I'm off today, and working on my hobby stuff this weekend (alternating with house upgrades on my 2 day weekends). Life will be good. I insist.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/24/16 04:26 PM

Had the conversation this morning.

Wow. Mostly not what I expected, but some of it I did.

first, I needed to be brought up to date on RM's story, since I had only a very limited view of it. He's been married and divorced again, was in a serious relationship with a wealthy gal who was violent, got arrested by her daddy and spent time in jail. Sued the city and won, but the suit is under appeal. Is in another relationship (his fifth since his first divorce).

but in spite of his utter screweduppedness, he's her "friend." And their friendship is a privacy matter, not one of secrecy. We have different definitions of secrecy.

She insists there's nothing romantic going on, but she won't keep me posted, and certainly won't share the emails with me. She asked if I'm reading her emails. I have been reading her public email, but I told her that I haven't been reading her hotmail account since she had to change her password a few years ago. Told her that I felt better when I couldn't read it anymore. She said she writes emails to him as if I were reading them, so I asked why not just cc me? She won't do that.

I feel relieved. I at least know where we're at now. Don't agree with her and don't feel we've really got a marriage here.

I'll have to think about what I want going forward. I definitely wish we'd divorced 25 years ago, but that's history. In the meantime, I'll continue to live for myself.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 01:32 AM

2long, maybe I have this all wrong, but from here, it looks like this man is a predator. That is really sick that he has her thinking so twisted that she feels like she has to protect his friendship over protect your marriage. Because you have it together and he so clearly doesn't.

What can you do to stop him from taking advantage of your wife any further? You two deserve so much better than to have this POS in your life or hers.

I had a manipulative friend like that once. It was so weird. I was SO FORTUNATE my then-H B insisted I get him 100% out of my life. It took me many years to understand how much better my life was without this "friend." He took similar advantage of other friends from years ago, staying at a friend's house, making it a mess, when she was trying to sell it.

I totally understand how it's not an affair, but even a friendship with this dude is destroying your marriage.
Posted By: MyRevelation

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 02:50 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Had the conversation this morning.

Wow. Mostly not what I expected, but some of it I did.

first, I needed to be brought up to date on RM's story, since I had only a very limited view of it. He's been married and divorced again, was in a serious relationship with a wealthy gal who was violent, got arrested by her daddy and spent time in jail. Sued the city and won, but the suit is under appeal. Is in another relationship (his fifth since his first divorce).

but in spite of his utter screweduppedness, he's her "friend." And their friendship is a privacy matter, not one of secrecy. We have different definitions of secrecy.

She insists there's nothing romantic going on, but she won't keep me posted, and certainly won't share the emails with me. She asked if I'm reading her emails. I have been reading her public email, but I told her that I haven't been reading her hotmail account since she had to change her password a few years ago. Told her that I felt better when I couldn't read it anymore. She said she writes emails to him as if I were reading them, so I asked why not just cc me? She won't do that.

I feel relieved. I at least know where we're at now. Don't agree with her and don't feel we've really got a marriage here.

I'll have to think about what I want going forward. I definitely wish we'd divorced 25 years ago, but that's history. In the meantime, I'll continue to live for myself.

-ol' 2long


2long,

This all comes back to the point of my previous post ... SELF RESPECT, and she is disrespecting you and has made it clear she intends to continue to do so, by giving her relationship with RM priority over your M.

It really is that simple.

We are all wired differently, but I really believe it's ultimatum time and make sure she knows that if she chooses poorly, you will no longer keep her secrets for her, and she's going to have a lot of explaining to do to a lot of people.

In addition, you've known about RM for years. I'm guessing you have quite a bit of info on him. Does he have a soft spot? Is there anything at all that you can use to hurt him ... reputation, financially, career wise, etc.?

Furthermore, this POS has been fishing in your pond for way 2long. There should be some serious consequences for his repeated trespassing. At the very least, I think I'd look up the new relationship woman and share the details of RM's very long term "friendship" with your WW, and how that "friendship" was likely the cause of all of his other failed relationships.

Normal advice here is to no give too much head space to OM, but you have a completely different animal on your hands, and I'd do whatever was in my power to mess with his life for a change.

Still pissed off for you!!!
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 03:42 PM

Quote:
but in spite of his utter screweduppedness, he's her "friend."


Did you ask what he contributed to the friendship? If so, what did she say?
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 06:33 PM

That gets into the realm of "who I am."
Posted By: Rich57

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 09:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Miranda
I'm a runner too. A runner and an ostrich. So I'm very impressed by your decisions here. And very interested in where this will lead for you.

Hang in there 2long. I'm rooting for you!


**spoiled by facebook: Like**


Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: believer
I read every week, Penny. Thanks for having this thread even if it seems at times that no one is listening.


waves


You are very welcome!


Just repeating the above and saying the same thing!

And giving you your own button, for future use.
Use the quote button and you can reuse it.... smile smile smile



Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/25/16 10:26 PM

that's a big "like", Rich...

Very nice and fancy... good job.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 12:33 AM

HAHA!! Love it!

Hi everyone smile

I saw all the posts coming in this week. I had a few minutes to peek at a few of them but not in any depth. I'm going to trot off now and read a little more.

Anything special anyone wants to talk about tonight?

P
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 12:35 AM

Yeah, "amicable divorce."

I know there's no such animal, but pretty much feel like I need one.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:21 AM

Originally Posted By: AllyCat
Penny,

The story has been rehashed so many times which is why I didn't go into details.


I appreciated you writing it all out for me!

Quote:
We've been together since we were 16 and 17 years old. My husband finished high school and went to trade school to become an electrician. My family is extremely difficult (I'm Vietnamese and they value education very much) he's French Canadian. They disapproved of the relationship (in terms of torturing me everyday to break up.) When I was 18-19 years old, both me and him had a discussion and decide we would tell my parents he was going to school to become an engineer. I went to medical school. It went on for 15-16 years, although we probably lied about once every second year. So maybe 10 times in the 18 years we were together. Right before our wedding, without any prompting, he told his family about the lie, and warned them not to say anything about his job because of the lie.


Ok, got it.

Quote:
We were married for 7 years, quite happy. Lots of intimacy. We are very very close. And then in 2014, a week before Christmas, he met the OW. She's a secretery with porn-star dressing habits. From what I understand, he told someone he found her hot, the person then told her, and she asked for his phone number an cold called him. And off it went. There was intimate contact 1 week before he left, but he didn't sleep with her. He one day packed his bag (I meanwhile had NO IDEA anything was happening) and he left, consummating the relationship 48 hours later.


Yep. Ok.

Quote:
After leaving (maybe about a week) at that time I had NO explanation other then confused 10 minute ramblings about "I can't be in this anymore) did he say "it's because you forced me to lie about my job, you viscous evil person" and it was that reason there was no talking, saving the marriage etc. no counseling. Of course this was all while he was with OW. The discourse continued, the blame got worst. I had lied and destroyed him, his self esteem etc... Which was crazy to me because in the 19 years together he NEVER mentioned it bothered him. And he agreed and went a long with it. And at the base, it consisted of a lie every second year.


I suspect that it did bother him all those years. But you know how it is - when things are good and no one else is turning your head, the things that bother us don't seem all that big. But then when things get rocky all of a sudden they seem mountainous.

An important generalization to keep in mind: women experience fear and men experience shame. That's not to say that we don't each experience both but in general men tend to shame. So..... I would have to believe there was some deep seated feeling of not being good enough (not being lovable or adequate!) by being who he was, a man with an honest education and job, but instead had to lie about it to appease your family. I wonder too, if it wasn't exacerbated by the fact that you didn't tell your family to back off - that he was completely fine just the way he was.

Again - all of this will seem smaller and less significant until under stress or someone else gets in the way.

Quote:
After six months, apparently the lie was now *forgivable* and he wanted desperately to come home. No longer wanted a divorce etc. There was a lot of crap along the way though.

As to answers to your questions. I don't remember any specific agreements made. I didn't ask for transparency, because we WERE transparent before that. I asked that there was NC, knowing he would go into withdrawal, and he did. About 2 months after going home he was trying to contact her etc, and more hell for me. I believe she told him never to contact her again, which might have been the reason he stayed. Not sure. After the intense withdrawal he was normal again, and has been that way for over 1 year.


Well, actually, you didn't have transparency. The minute he saw this woman and thought she was "hot" the first person he should have told was you. And then you could have discussed how to make sure the boundaries around your marriage were secure.

Quote:
We had a lot of MC. And he always says "I'm sorry about the affair, it was wrong but you lied about my job" that to me, is blame. And he psychologically believes this, so it's been very difficult for me to get pass it. There's no other issue that the MC could get down to. No other problems in our marriage that needed fixing. All she was dealing with was fallout of affair.


Did your counselor point out that he was complicit in the lie and, additionally, lied by omission when he didn't tell you it troubled him? Also a failure of transparency, btw.

Quote:
I see these continuing statements as justification. He doesn't admit that he just got his head turned by a sexy, easy woman and threw his life away. It's safer to cling onto the story of "the lie" and I think that's seriously rewriting history. He also says things like "I didn't have a choice to go along with the lie" etc, which again, is bull, especially when he was 37 years old, and never spoke to me about it.


Right.


Quote:
What's obvious to me, is just writing it down. I'm beyond angry still. And that's not go through everything that it cost me. Professionally, financially etc.


I'm sure you are. I'm sorry. This is a place where some emotional regulation and healing work would be of great benefit for both of you.

Quote:
I've had a lot of help from the people on MA. Many who feel there may have been a deep rooted self esteem issue on his part, but to be honest after hours and hours of therapy with the MC that has never come out. Not once did she feel he had a self esteem issue.


Well that's just silly. Everyone has self esteem issues in one way or another. I would say, however, it's more of an emotional regulation issue which will address self esteem at the same time. This is work I could do with you (preferably both) or I could refer you to someone.


Quote:
I gues that I've answered my own question, that this is certainly not what forgiveness looks like. And while I do on the surface try and be a good wife and all, there's a simmering resentment just under the surface. And it comes out sometimes. With a little snarky comment like you mentioned... I always tell him "if I die, please wait 24 hours after I'm in the ground before screwing someone else. Just for appearance sake"


Heh. Yeah, I have the same sarcastic tendencies. Sadly, it's not particularly helpful - as I'm sure you've found. It's punishment. Whenever we get into these places of blame we're abdicating our own emotional responsibility.

What I believe each of you wants is to be heard and validated. To feel valued and to feel as if you bring value to the relationship. You can't do that when resentment is in the picture. A hard fact of life I had to come to grips with is no one else can help us heal our resentment. Certainly they can do things to heal the relationship - but as we all know, no matter what the other person does, if we're feeling resentful it's not going to work.

Quote:
And a part of me does feel this, because in his head, the fact that he wanted 48 hours before having sex with the OW means he didn't really *cheat on me* and somehow he's better then every other cheating man. He negates the EA that went on for 1 month before. Forgets that he went to a hockey game and made out with the OW and then came home and pretended for weeks that everything was ok. Not to mention the hurt that he WALKED out on a 18 year relationship without so much as a glance backward for a woman that he didn't even know otehe birthday was.. Or her middle name.


Right. Although, I'm not sure I'm buying that he really believes that. It's a good way to keep from feeling a whole lot more shame.

Quote:
Prior to this my husband has no female friends (period) and he doesn't do things that I find risky. It basically comes down to "when is the next attractive Asian girl going to hit on him" and my marriage will likely be over again. And this time for good.

It's mostly why I'm at lost of what to do next. We've done MC, who was excellent but were unable to unearth anything. We were transparent and he didn't engage in risky behavior. My marriage cannot be made better because I thought I was the happiest and luckiest girl to be married to him. So what's left? Anger, mistrust and a marriage that is pieces of what it was before. And so I think to myself, is it forgiveness that's missing? I was in IC for 1 year after all this happened, without any great improvement.



I'm so sorry. It's really striking how really good marriages can be completely kicked to the curb by events that seem to come out of the blue.

I'll admit up front that I'm biased but I don't believe most MC know what to do with infidelity and the emotional regulation work needed for healing. Again, I'm biased but unless you start with the ability to own your own emotions and the skills to heal your inner wounds you're going to be stuck in a cycle of resentment and distance punctuated with awkward moments of almost intimacy.

P
Posted By: WhoAreWe

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:34 AM

Men with chronic serious health issues, does that increase the urge to have an affair for some of those men?
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:55 AM

Penny, are we in the peanut gallery allowed to butt in on someone else's problem? I feel like Ally missed a couple of critical points in her story. It's my mama bear coming out.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:56 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Had the conversation this morning.

Wow. Mostly not what I expected, but some of it I did.


I'm really glad to hear you are talking about this. You can't solve anything until you can talk about it.

Quote:
first, I needed to be brought up to date on RM's story, since I had only a very limited view of it. He's been married and divorced again, was in a serious relationship with a wealthy gal who was violent, got arrested by her daddy and spent time in jail. Sued the city and won, but the suit is under appeal. Is in another relationship (his fifth since his first divorce).


Well. That's charming. JustJ said a lot of things I really love. Another of my favorites is something like, "If they're over the age of 30 and still "not living up to their potential" it's not likely they ever will."

Remind me I want to come back to this topic of smart, talented, women and men who are .... well .... toxic.

Quote:
but in spite of his utter screweduppedness, he's her "friend." And their friendship is a privacy matter, not one of secrecy. We have different definitions of secrecy.


Yes I'm sure she does believe he's her friend. He's not. I don't think he knows what it means to be a friend.

To be fair - you also keep things secret from her. Transparency has to go both ways.

Privacy about a friendship would, for me anyway, look like openness about meeting, times together, issues in his life, etc. Failure to communicate that he's working in the same place? That's not privacy - that's secrecy.


Quote:
She insists there's nothing romantic going on, but she won't keep me posted, and certainly won't share the emails with me. She asked if I'm reading her emails. I have been reading her public email, but I told her that I haven't been reading her hotmail account since she had to change her password a few years ago. Told her that I felt better when I couldn't read it anymore. She said she writes emails to him as if I were reading them, so I asked why not just cc me? She won't do that.


I'm glad she asked about her emails and I'm glad you discussed it. The fact you are talking about him and about the things that have troubled her in the past is very very good. I get that it's uncomfortable and you want to run .... but these are good steps! Growth is rarely comfortable. If you want your marriage to improve it's going to be uncomfortable. You're going to hear things you don't like. You're going to have to say things that terrify you to even think about saying.

I was going to say no one ever said it was going to be happily ever after - but I guess that would not be accurate - lol. So I'll say this - whoever claimed happily ever after lied - plain and simple. There's no such thing. It's work. Hard, scary, tempestuous work.

Quote:
I feel relieved. I at least know where we're at now. Don't agree with her and don't feel we've really got a marriage here.




No one said "agreement" was part of marriage. The best marriages I know disagree on some really enormous issues. I think you have a "fuzzy" marriage. You don't have a shared vision of why your marriage exists and what the important essentials of that shared vision look like. There's no focus.


Quote:
I'll have to think about what I want going forward. I definitely wish we'd divorced 25 years ago, but that's history. In the meantime, I'll continue to live for myself.

-ol' 2long


And the entire universe would be different if you had smile I'm glad you didn't. I'm pretty sure your kids are glad you didn't. And I bet your wife is glad you didn't. If I could wish something for you it would be that you had pursued active conversation at every opportunity. Talk to your wife about these things as much or more as you talk about her.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:57 AM

Originally Posted By: believer
Penny, are we in the peanut gallery allowed to butt in on someone else's problem? I feel like Ally missed a couple of critical points in her story. It's my mama bear coming out.


Far be it from me to turn down a raucous conversation! Go for it. (Unless Ally objects)
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:03 AM

Originally Posted By: WhoAreWe
Men with chronic serious health issues, does that increase the urge to have an affair for some of those men?


Really interesting question. I can't say I have any info on that. I just did a (very) quick google search and found a ton of stuff on spouses who cheat when their partner is ill - but not the other way around.

What are you seeing that prompts the question?

And, hi! Thanks for joining in smile

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:07 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Yeah, "amicable divorce."

I know there's no such animal, but pretty much feel like I need one.

-ol' 2long


I've seen one amicable divorce, actually. And probably hundreds of .... not so amicable, shall we say? The odds are not in your favor.

Having been through not only a non-amicable divorce but one that included a (true) psychopath for the opposing attorney - I'd really like to suggest that open, authentic, emotionally healthy conversation is far less traumatic. And, who knows, you might even get something good in the end. Without spending tens of thousands of $$.
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:11 AM

I'll delete it if she objects.

What she missed was the timing of the affair. Her husband has always been very supportive of her dream to be a cardiac surgeon. That is a difficult field for a female, only 3% make it - the field is 97% male and they seem to like it that way.

She's gone graduated from med school, done her surgical training, residency, and the affair hit in her last year of residency. She's struggled through that, has studying to pass the licensing test, and looking for a fellowship in the aftermath of the affair. For me, those were the days I barely was able to feed myself and show up at work.

Consequently, Ally is struggling even more, and has been daily for over a year. Plus they are living in different cities and only see each other on the weekend after a 5 hour drive.

It's taken her 10 years or so to get to the level she's at and she could lose it all. I think the marriage could be saved, but am afraid it's more important right now for her to put her effort toward the career she's worked so long and hard for.

How does one recover from such a mess?
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:22 AM

Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
2long, maybe I have this all wrong, but from here, it looks like this man is a predator. That is really sick that he has her thinking so twisted that she feels like she has to protect his friendship over protect your marriage. Because you have it together and he so clearly doesn't.

What can you do to stop him from taking advantage of your wife any further? You two deserve so much better than to have this POS in your life or hers.

I had a manipulative friend like that once. It was so weird. I was SO FORTUNATE my then-H B insisted I get him 100% out of my life. It took me many years to understand how much better my life was without this "friend." He took similar advantage of other friends from years ago, staying at a friend's house, making it a mess, when she was trying to sell it.

I totally understand how it's not an affair, but even a friendship with this dude is destroying your marriage.


This is a fabulous insight. I'm really impressed - I have a nose for predators and it didn't even cross my mind until I read this. There are clues and red flags all over the things your wife told you about him.

So this brings us to what I said earlier about wanting to talk about really smart, talented, women who get taken in by these men.

First - for me, the easiest way to identify a predator is in retrospect. By that I mean do they have a trail of destruction in their wake? Failed relationships, groups that fall apart after they join, constantly changing friends, financial instability, etc. On the surface they are often very charming - able to spin a good story and suck you in.

Often they have leaky boundaries and will disregard yours. One hallmark of this is assumed intimacy far too early in the relationship. Pushing into your affairs in a way that is inappropriate for how long or how well you've known them. Asking for favors that are too big. And so on.

Second - there is a specific type of women these sorts of men prey on most often. They are also the type of woman most likely to fall for them. These woman are: highly intelligent, compassionate, intuitive, and most likely to work in teaching, nursing, counseling/therapy, ministry, or other caring fields. They have the ability to see the "potential" and the strong desire to "save" or "fix" these men.

Sandra Brown's work on this topic is absolutely fabulous. It not only changed my life, quite literally, but also a lot of my work with women. An index of her articles is here - http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/sandra-says-column-index
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:33 AM

Originally Posted By: believer
I'll delete it if she objects.

What she missed was the timing of the affair. Her husband has always been very supportive of her dream to be a cardiac surgeon. That is a difficult field for a female, only 3% make it - the field is 97% male and they seem to like it that way.

She's gone graduated from med school, done her surgical training, residency, and the affair hit in her last year of residency. She's struggled through that, has studying to pass the licensing test, and looking for a fellowship in the aftermath of the affair. For me, those were the days I barely was able to feed myself and show up at work.



Ahhhh..... interesting. Congratulations, Ally.


Yes, me too. I couldn't hold two thoughts together and answer the phone at the same time.

Quote:
Consequently, Ally is struggling even more, and has been daily for over a year. Plus they are living in different cities and only see each other on the weekend after a 5 hour drive.


Mmm. Yeah. It's virtually impossible to repair a marriage under those circumstances.

Quote:
It's taken her 10 years or so to get to the level she's at and she could lose it all. I think the marriage could be saved, but am afraid it's more important right now for her to put her effort toward the career she's worked so long and hard for.

How does one recover from such a mess?


Well, Ally needs to decide which is the priority. And she has the right to choose her career rather than a marriage where she was betrayed. No one would blame her for that. It's a huge accomplishment to do what she's done. I would just say, for her own peace of mind, to pick one and go for it. Or, find a way to get the marriage and the career closer together geographically if she really wants both. Either way she would be taking care of herself by working through emotional regulation and healing. No matter where she goes or what she does it's an invaluable tool.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:44 AM

Originally Posted By: MyRevelation


2long,

Due to your ages, assets, and children, I understand how complicated and painful a D may be, but the above is basic "SELF RESPECT" territory for me. Your WW is still rubbing your face in her A and yes, the A is still ongoing, at least emotionally ... she just admitted as much.

I'm 55 now, with many of the same trappings that you face, but if faced with the same circumstances, I'd simply have to say something or bust. Put the same load you've been carrying on her shoulders for a change:

"You know, I've heard just about as much as I'm going to about "your feelings for OM". After all we've endured over the last 40+ years, if you can't show me enough respect to remove OM for our lives, then I have to respect myself enough to remove myself from this situation. I have been way too nice with regards to OM over the years and now look where its gotten me. It is way past time for you to make a decision regarding our future. I am done sharing you with OM, you can cut him out of our lives immediately and permanently or you can explain it to our children why you've chosen to blow up our family so you can salve "your feelings". I'm tired of stuffing down "my feelings" just so YOU don't have the face the consequences of YOUR choices. Now, are you going to start helping to shoulder some of this load together, or are we going to blow everything up and walk away carrying our own pieces individually."

You know, as well as the rest of us, that as long as WW is in contact with OM, fer "feelings" are going to continue. Once permanent NC is in place, then "feelings" disappear over time. Your WW is queen of the long term cake eaters. Seriously, how long has it been ... 20+ years of "feelings" for OM. She needs to face some serious consequences that will make her have to evaluate the true cost of maintaining those "feelings".

We've butted heads and had great discussions ... you are one of my favorite posters, but I've got to tell you, I'm pissed off at your WW for you. There is simply no reason for you to have to tolerate the words you quoted above from your WW.

Regardless of the play nice limbo advocated by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, there really comes a time when you just have to reach for the F-it button.


You know, I have a strong bias against ever telling someone else it's time to end their marriage. That's a really personal decision that should not be influenced by outsiders.

However, I AM a big fan of ultimatums. As long as you mean them and are able to follow through. Otherwise they're just threats and manipulation. I have pretty hard boundaries about what I allow in my life and I've learned to "just say no" as the saying goes. Can't say it's been an easy process getting to this point but it's worth it.

I would consider exploring Sandra Brown's work first and see if you think your wife fits the profile of the sort of woman these toxic men prey on. Before you get to the ultimatum place there might be a few really powerful conversations you could have.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: 2long
Yeah, "amicable divorce."

I know there's no such animal, but pretty much feel like I need one.

-ol' 2long


I've seen one amicable divorce, actually. And probably hundreds of .... not so amicable, shall we say? The odds are not in your favor.

Having been through not only a non-amicable divorce but one that included a (true) psychopath for the opposing attorney - I'd really like to suggest that open, authentic, emotionally healthy conversation is far less traumatic. And, who knows, you might even get something good in the end. Without spending tens of thousands of $$.


Well, though I'd definitely like to not waste tens of thousands of dollars, and though I am still "fond" of my wife in many ways, I'm also developing some level of disgust toward her and am not attracted to her.

She's out every evening this week with some teaching, a meeting about the museum and probably the plan to give his non-profit a big pile of cash to host a display at one of his events this summer, and work the next couple days out of town. And I'm loving being by myself. I really enjoy my time away from her.

I'll certainly try to keep the lines of communication going, but I really think she's far too set in her ways to come around now.

We'll see.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:47 AM

Quote:
JustJ said a lot of things I really love. Another of my favorites is something like, "If they're over the age of 30 and still "not living up to their potential" it's not likely they ever will."


I plan to steal this and use it for my own purposes!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:52 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Quote:
JustJ said a lot of things I really love. Another of my favorites is something like, "If they're over the age of 30 and still "not living up to their potential" it's not likely they ever will."


I plan to steal this and use it for my own purposes!


LOL! I remind myself of it regularly. You should give her a shout someday. She'd love to hear from you smile
Posted By: AllyCat

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 03:37 AM

Penny,

Believer did fill in some details... I actually judged them to be non-important which is why I left them out. We are living far apart, and there's no possibility to move closer together at the moment. I did feel that since we saw each other every weekend (albeit for about 12 hours), it was ok. I have to see this thru until the end, as because of the affair and general messed up-ness I failed my liscensing exam which may have already been a career ending move. So I've struggled to try and study this year. It also feels as though he might have cost me the career.

The other thing which I feel has me at a standstill, is he isn't very committed or doing enough to help heal the marriage. It consistently feels like I do the heavy lifting. He's impatient with healing, he doesn't let me express many of my feelings, etc. he feels as he's been home for a little over 1 year, I should be over it and we should pretend it never happened. I was actually thinking yesturday about *sincere apology* and I have to say, it's lacking in that department as well. We seem to get along better when he was here for the first 3 months of fellowship, to get me settled in, but the distance is hard.

To be honest Penny, I really don't feel that any agreement in transparency would even be respected. "Tell me the next time you see a hot Asian girl you want to sleep with" seems unlikely to me. He couldn't even keep his marriage vows, so asking for that seems like it would be futile. Also as he's not that committed to making the marriage work, and barely expends energy to do that, I can't see him doing much more of any heavy lifting.

I'm very, very discouraged tonight. It seems like a complete waste of time and energy at this moment.
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 03:59 AM

Don't get discouraged, Ally. We're going to help you.

I'm giving your husband too much credit because he was a great partner for 18 years. His timing to go off the rails is what was so disastrous.

You've mentioned that he is miserable away from you even for one night and now seems depressed, not working out or playing football/soccer like he used to. The depression and fear of losing you may be hindering his efforts. Things did seem better when you were together, but he had to go back to work.

You really need to be together to even have a chance to develop some more positive experiences. I know you have a home in the other town, and he has a good job. But could you rent out or sell the house? It's only a house. He is in a field where he should be able to land a job anywhere. We would snap him up immediately where I worked.

My preference would be for you to concentrate on your career because I think you are a great cardiac surgeon. I do think you passed at least the written test but maybe lacked some confidence in the oral. I know it's awful to do it all again, but you are so close. You can't give up now.
Posted By: AllyCat

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 04:10 AM

Believer,

I wrote on my other thread. The people on MA have kept me going for over 1 year now. First after the affair, and now, there are some very special members pushing me really hard to hang in there for the next 6 months. But honestly, the conflict at work, the conflict at home, the stress of studying. Hostile environement. I feel so alone (IRL) just feels like I'm drowning. Everyday, getting through the day, studying is hard. I always relied heavily on my family, on my cats, on my husband, my friends from work....

And now it just feels like all of it is gone.

Can he sell the house? Yes he can sell the house. He did try to find a job, but here in Quebec City there was NOTHING. Literally no chances for work. Montreal is much larger, more industrial, more large companies. In Quebec City, everyone works for the governement. We just didn't think it was practical to sell the house, and get a new job when we could see each other every weekend. There's other fellows that do it... However they all didn't go through the abandonment, affair and fail their exam either.

Quitting and taking a lesser job? I think that will have to be his choice. So far he hasn't taken that road, and I'm not going to ask him to. I think he should decide what he's willing to do.... If that makes sense?
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 04:28 AM

I thought he did want to quit and you asked him not to do it for you. I think it's time he did something. Yes, others live apart, but not so soon after an affair has threatened the marriage.

Can he take a leave of absence for 6 months to give yourselves some breathing room? The housing market is hot there, and some say overvalued for the economic conditions. The worse you'll lose is the house you loved. Put aside any equity for the next recession which should come in another 2 or 3 years. Then you can buy again.

I don't blame you for feeling down. You're alone and under constant stress. Don't give up. Study and trust that this is going to work out.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 04:58 AM

Originally Posted By: AllyCat
Penny,

Believer did fill in some details... I actually judged them to be non-important which is why I left them out. We are living far apart, and there's no possibility to move closer together at the moment. I did feel that since we saw each other every weekend (albeit for about 12 hours), it was ok. I have to see this thru until the end, as because of the affair and general messed up-ness I failed my liscensing exam which may have already been a career ending move. So I've struggled to try and study this year. It also feels as though he might have cost me the career.

The other thing which I feel has me at a standstill, is he isn't very committed or doing enough to help heal the marriage. It consistently feels like I do the heavy lifting. He's impatient with healing, he doesn't let me express many of my feelings, etc. he feels as he's been home for a little over 1 year, I should be over it and we should pretend it never happened. I was actually thinking yesturday about *sincere apology* and I have to say, it's lacking in that department as well. We seem to get along better when he was here for the first 3 months of fellowship, to get me settled in, but the distance is hard.

To be honest Penny, I really don't feel that any agreement in transparency would even be respected. "Tell me the next time you see a hot Asian girl you want to sleep with" seems unlikely to me. He couldn't even keep his marriage vows, so asking for that seems like it would be futile. Also as he's not that committed to making the marriage work, and barely expends energy to do that, I can't see him doing much more of any heavy lifting.

I'm very, very discouraged tonight. It seems like a complete waste of time and energy at this moment.


Sorry about that we just had an escaping dog emergency.

I am so so sorry you are discouraged. You've had a horrible experience that no one should have to face. I have friends who are doctors so I have a little idea of your career load - but certainly not the high level you've been working toward. How long do you need to be separated?

Yeah, the distance is hard. It would be hard on a stable and deeply committed relationship. It's virtually impossible to regain a level of safety and intimacy at a distance - especially if you don't have a plan of action. I'm sure it was better when he was there with you full time.

If I was going to put that together for you I'd have you both working first on emotional regulation skills. I talked about what that looks like early in this thread; the first week, maybe. You both really need that. We all do, but it's especially essential in recovering from marital trauma. Then we'd talk about how to best use your time together - and why. Those two things, if you could both do them, could make a big difference.

Don't give up, though. I really think you have something there that can be healed.

Again, sorry so late in responding.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 05:10 AM

Thanks for the rest of that info, Believer and Ally.

More than ever I think you have more to build on than you give yourself credit for.

What about renting your house?

And I really think it would be ok to ask him to be closer to you permanently. I know, we all want them to know what we want and need and to do it without asking. I go to the head of the class when it comes to pride and independence. It's been a huge leap for me to be able to ask for things I need.

Think about the emotional regulation work. It's fairly easy to learn and to do and I think you would find it very helpful.

Hang in there. You can do this.

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 01:27 PM

Yesterday, I left the house at 7:30am and got back a little after 9pm.

Maybe next week we could talk about having fun as an old married couple. Is that even possible? Also, how to have fun conversations.

We work, really really well together. We can talk about the kids, about responsibilities and how to get them done,etc. But what about just laughing until your sides hurt? Talking about nothing... I don't know...the kind of things you used to do?
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 02:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Yesterday, I left the house at 7:30am and got back a little after 9pm.

Maybe next week we could talk about having fun as an old married couple. Is that even possible? Also, how to have fun conversations.

We work, really really well together. We can talk about the kids, about responsibilities and how to get them done,etc. But what about just laughing until your sides hurt? Talking about nothing... I don't know...the kind of things you used to do?


For sure! I think it's absolutely essential for a happy marriage.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 06:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: MyRevelation


2long,

Due to your ages, assets, and children, I understand how complicated and painful a D may be, but the above is basic "SELF RESPECT" territory for me. Your WW is still rubbing your face in her A and yes, the A is still ongoing, at least emotionally ... she just admitted as much.

I'm 55 now, with many of the same trappings that you face, but if faced with the same circumstances, I'd simply have to say something or bust. Put the same load you've been carrying on her shoulders for a change:

"You know, I've heard just about as much as I'm going to about "your feelings for OM". After all we've endured over the last 40+ years, if you can't show me enough respect to remove OM for our lives, then I have to respect myself enough to remove myself from this situation. I have been way too nice with regards to OM over the years and now look where its gotten me. It is way past time for you to make a decision regarding our future. I am done sharing you with OM, you can cut him out of our lives immediately and permanently or you can explain it to our children why you've chosen to blow up our family so you can salve "your feelings". I'm tired of stuffing down "my feelings" just so YOU don't have the face the consequences of YOUR choices. Now, are you going to start helping to shoulder some of this load together, or are we going to blow everything up and walk away carrying our own pieces individually."

You know, as well as the rest of us, that as long as WW is in contact with OM, fer "feelings" are going to continue. Once permanent NC is in place, then "feelings" disappear over time. Your WW is queen of the long term cake eaters. Seriously, how long has it been ... 20+ years of "feelings" for OM. She needs to face some serious consequences that will make her have to evaluate the true cost of maintaining those "feelings".

We've butted heads and had great discussions ... you are one of my favorite posters, but I've got to tell you, I'm pissed off at your WW for you. There is simply no reason for you to have to tolerate the words you quoted above from your WW.

Regardless of the play nice limbo advocated by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, there really comes a time when you just have to reach for the F-it button.


You know, I have a strong bias against ever telling someone else it's time to end their marriage. That's a really personal decision that should not be influenced by outsiders.

However, I AM a big fan of ultimatums. As long as you mean them and are able to follow through. Otherwise they're just threats and manipulation. I have pretty hard boundaries about what I allow in my life and I've learned to "just say no" as the saying goes. Can't say it's been an easy process getting to this point but it's worth it.

I would consider exploring Sandra Brown's work first and see if you think your wife fits the profile of the sort of woman these toxic men prey on. Before you get to the ultimatum place there might be a few really powerful conversations you could have.


I will do this. In talking with her this morning about another problem not related to affairs, she inadvertently helped clarify part of the reason she insists on keeping her friendship with RM "private." Because of her upbringing, especially the contrast between her very loving and caring grandfather and her abusive alcoholic father (who managed to be a good grandparent to our kids without ever really apologizing for being a lousy father), I can see her as a rescuer that's very reluctant to let go of relationships with even toxic people. It took her many years after we got married to be able to finally say "no" to her dad. Her affair and her insistence on keeping a private friendship after it is as much a subconscious spiteful decision as it is one of reluctance to end friendships.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 07:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

To be fair - you also keep things secret from her. Transparency has to go both ways.


I thought about this issue a lot last night while she was off teaching. Here's the thing:

After I told her I'd been reading her email up until that summer when her account was hacked and she changed her hotmail password, the only thing left that I'm not being transparent about is my posts here. She knows I have friends from MB and SYMC that I've stayed in contact with, but though I've told her about this forum when it formed, I haven't told her the name.

One of the things that was most upsetting to me after d-day was seeing her emails to him where she talked about ME and what I was doing, to HIM. She was still doing that to a small extent even when I last read her hotmail emails to him. Also, she frequently would sent him job opening announcements, and the email hack occurred right after he'd accepted one of the jobs and was planning to move nearby. He told her when he'd be in town next, and she agreed to meet him for beers. Fortunately, something happened and he turned down the offer (I spoke with someone about it who had contacts where he lived, and he was "talked to", but neither I nor my "someone" knows what was said). So, I'm almost 100% certain that his applying for the job where she's working, and offering to help with our local museum is due to her telling him about the opportunities. Until she can prove otherwise, AND until she can get rid of him and prove that to me, I ain't getting any more transparent for anybody. razz

The ultimatum I could give her (soon, and without directly promising divorce) would be that if she doesn't tell the LLC friend of mine who they're working for and the museum support group who he is and why I won't stand for them in contact, then I will.

I want to get my waterfowl coaxial and have more conversations with her about the contact before I do, though. (Like: "if this were just a harmless friendship, you wouldn't mind me telling my friends who he is.")

-ol' 2long
Posted By: TC_Manhattan

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 07:53 PM

"Waterfowl coaxial"

I LOVE it!
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/28/16 08:12 PM

Originally Posted By: AllyCat
Quitting and taking a lesser job? I think that will have to be his choice. So far he hasn't taken that road, and I'm not going to ask him to. I think he should decide what he's willing to do.... If that makes sense?


When my first husband and I were having our first round of real problems, he took a relatively temporary assignment in Canada (several thousand miles away). The baby and I visited him for a little less than half of that time, then I started a job back home.

I found out later that he was VERY resentful that I didn't move up there with him for the whole assignment. He never told me that he wanted me there the whole time, and when I presented my reasons why I should stay home, he always made it sound like he agreed.

Seems to me you are doing what he did.

If I had known how much it meant to him for me to be there, I would have been there the whole time, even if it was more expensive for us and more inconvenient for me. He was worth it.

He didn't get that message from me, though - and he was even more upset that I didn't just know what he wanted. He thought it was obvious.

I know you and your H have talked about all of this, but you are a nice person who doesn't like to put others on spot.

I think you should flat out ask him to quit and take a lesser job for the next 18 months. It's his choice whether or not he agrees to do it.
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/29/16 01:39 PM

Quote:
So this brings us to what I said earlier about wanting to talk about really smart, talented, women who get taken in by these men.

First - for me, the easiest way to identify a predator is in retrospect. By that I mean do they have a trail of destruction in their wake? Failed relationships, groups that fall apart after they join, constantly changing friends, financial instability, etc. On the surface they are often very charming - able to spin a good story and suck you in.

Often they have leaky boundaries and will disregard yours. One hallmark of this is assumed intimacy far too early in the relationship. Pushing into your affairs in a way that is inappropriate for how long or how well you've known them. Asking for favors that are too big. And so on.

Second - there is a specific type of women these sorts of men prey on most often. They are also the type of woman most likely to fall for them. These woman are: highly intelligent, compassionate, intuitive, and most likely to work in teaching, nursing, counseling/therapy, ministry, or other caring fields. They have the ability to see the "potential" and the strong desire to "save" or "fix" these men.

Sandra Brown's work on this topic is absolutely fabulous. It not only changed my life, quite literally, but also a lot of my work with women. An index of her articles is here - http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/sandra-says-column-index


I think this is fascinating given today's headline about a teacher helping the inmates in California escape

Teacher arrested for allegedly helping 'Hannibal Lecter', accused mastermind of Calif. jailbreak
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/30/16 12:49 AM

So here was a suggestion from a friend of mine, based on what a good friend of his did after living with his wife got too difficult for him but divorce would have been expensive (or they had all their property in a family trust, like we do).

He waited until 3 days before Christmas one year, and agreed to meet her and their adult kids for a family holiday at relatives'. Then, while they were on their way to the relatives', he went home and moved all his stuff into an apartment. He still pays bills, talks to his wife almost daily and cordially on the phone, but he seldom sees her.

Pretty weird, huh?
Posted By: Blair

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/30/16 01:15 PM

A person who was to meet family members for a special holiday party but moved out of the family residence instead seems dishonest to me because of how it involves the extended family.

It might be a good idea to separate but remain married. However, if you want a relationhsip with someone else but you are still legally married, what is your plan to work through that? Is sex and dating okay for you when married or when separated?
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 01/30/16 02:56 PM

Penny:

I'm posting this here as it goes with my previous question:

Ok, so this article describes us:

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/mary-morrissey/4-ways-communicating-relationship

I don't understand how you fix this. They say to be curious...but I ask a question and I know what he will say before he answers it. Or... if I use those question things from date sites ( What superpower would you like to have? What is your saddest memory from childhood?) I get a one sentence answer, maybe...

I just don't get how to have fun conversations.
Posted By: ComingHome

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/03/16 11:21 PM

Hello Penny ,

I have been married for almost 16 years and been with my wife for over 20 . Unfortunately I decided to have an affair and I have been having it for over 1.5 years .
I have been flip flopping the whole time and I can't keep myself away from my AP and I can't find the love or passion I once had for my wife!
Because I can not find in my heart to repair my marriage ( my wife was always willing ) I believe that now divorce is the best thing for everyone.
But my major feeling of loss is the security I had with my wife , mostly financial. I know , I feel like such a scumbag for even saying that but it's the truth.
How could I have changed from a loving , caring and loyal husband to this person ? I feel I need to live with myself, and by myself. So I can get myself back on track and prove to myself that I can be independent.
Sorry , there ...is no question in this !

Thanks
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/03/16 11:47 PM

I think that divorce, in your case, would be the right next step here. Just remember, while you're finding yourself, that your wife might not care once you've figured out who you are and dealt with your issues.

People in affairs are not worth fighting over, IMHO. (part of my "jading" since my wife's affair).

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:09 AM

Hi everyone!

It's our weekly version of Ask Me Anything.

How is everyone's week going?

We've been shoveling out the last 2 days. I've decided people should not live where they need to shovel water.

I'm going to catch up and I'll be back!

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:21 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta


Maybe next week we could talk about having fun as an old married couple. Is that even possible? Also, how to have fun conversations.

We work, really really well together. We can talk about the kids, about responsibilities and how to get them done,etc. But what about just laughing until your sides hurt? Talking about nothing... I don't know...the kind of things you used to do?


Yes! Let me answer a couple things and let's talk about that.

Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:28 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

To be fair - you also keep things secret from her. Transparency has to go both ways.


I thought about this issue a lot last night while she was off teaching. Here's the thing:

After I told her I'd been reading her email up until that summer when her account was hacked and she changed her hotmail password, the only thing left that I'm not being transparent about is my posts here. She knows I have friends from MB and SYMC that I've stayed in contact with, but though I've told her about this forum when it formed, I haven't told her the name.

One of the things that was most upsetting to me after d-day was seeing her emails to him where she talked about ME and what I was doing, to HIM. She was still doing that to a small extent even when I last read her hotmail emails to him. Also, she frequently would sent him job opening announcements, and the email hack occurred right after he'd accepted one of the jobs and was planning to move nearby. He told her when he'd be in town next, and she agreed to meet him for beers. Fortunately, something happened and he turned down the offer (I spoke with someone about it who had contacts where he lived, and he was "talked to", but neither I nor my "someone" knows what was said). So, I'm almost 100% certain that his applying for the job where she's working, and offering to help with our local museum is due to her telling him about the opportunities. Until she can prove otherwise, AND until she can get rid of him and prove that to me, I ain't getting any more transparent for anybody. razz

The ultimatum I could give her (soon, and without directly promising divorce) would be that if she doesn't tell the LLC friend of mine who they're working for and the museum support group who he is and why I won't stand for them in contact, then I will.

I want to get my waterfowl coaxial and have more conversations with her about the contact before I do, though. (Like: "if this were just a harmless friendship, you wouldn't mind me telling my friends who he is.")

-ol' 2long


Yessss..... those are important issues. And. Transparency is more than just those things.

How about how you feel about your marriage all these years? Your sense of distance and loss because she is in contact with him. That you really like her but you don't want to do this any more.

I think those things, who you are at your core, what you think and how you feel, are as important, if not more so, than the mechanical issues of whether or not you are reading her email.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:37 AM

Originally Posted By: CajunRose
Originally Posted By: AllyCat
Quitting and taking a lesser job? I think that will have to be his choice. So far he hasn't taken that road, and I'm not going to ask him to. I think he should decide what he's willing to do.... If that makes sense?


When my first husband and I were having our first round of real problems, he took a relatively temporary assignment in Canada (several thousand miles away). The baby and I visited him for a little less than half of that time, then I started a job back home.

I found out later that he was VERY resentful that I didn't move up there with him for the whole assignment. He never told me that he wanted me there the whole time, and when I presented my reasons why I should stay home, he always made it sound like he agreed.

Seems to me you are doing what he did.

If I had known how much it meant to him for me to be there, I would have been there the whole time, even if it was more expensive for us and more inconvenient for me. He was worth it.

He didn't get that message from me, though - and he was even more upset that I didn't just know what he wanted. He thought it was obvious.

I know you and your H have talked about all of this, but you are a nice person who doesn't like to put others on spot.

I think you should flat out ask him to quit and take a lesser job for the next 18 months. It's his choice whether or not he agrees to do it.


How are you this week Ally?

CajunRose, I agree completely. I would do the same thing, Ally, and then I'd be completely irritated when my partner couldn't read my mind and do what I wanted. Recently, at our house, we had the same thing happen in reverse. My hubby, who very much wanted something I was tentatively working on, intentionally sat back and refrained from saying anything about it. I was absolutely certain he either didn't care or he was actually opposed to the idea. It could have been disastrous.


ETA: There's so much ego and pride and fear that gets in the way of transparency, vulnerability, and intimacy. This looks like an instance of women and fear - afraid of not being wanted or cared about enough, afraid of speaking up because we want our partners to just *know*, afraid that if they don't intuitively know it means they don't really love us.

This struggle of wanting the wayward spouse to go to the moon and back to prove their remorse and their love is virtually universal. Also virtually universal is their inability to do enough. No matter what they do they can't take away the pain, grief, or anger that's ours to heal.

You're far apart and you're both miserable and missing each other. What do you have to lose?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:53 AM

Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay


I think this is fascinating given today's headline about a teacher helping the inmates in California escape

Teacher arrested for allegedly helping 'Hannibal Lecter', accused mastermind of Calif. jailbreak


Isn't it??

When I was doing prison ministry, a few years back, I worked in a Men's high security facility. I learned that women volunteers in men's correctional facilities are the most likely to bring in drugs or other contraband, to start inappropriate relationships with offenders, and to pose a security risk. Apparently women actually become volunteers to do just that!

Sandra Brown's work is really wonderful. I find her a little strident but considering her history and the work she does it's not surprising. Her books were very helpful, after my divorce, in figuring out where I abandoned my own values and let my then-husband ignore my boundaries.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:56 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
So here was a suggestion from a friend of mine, based on what a good friend of his did after living with his wife got too difficult for him but divorce would have been expensive (or they had all their property in a family trust, like we do).

He waited until 3 days before Christmas one year, and agreed to meet her and their adult kids for a family holiday at relatives'. Then, while they were on their way to the relatives', he went home and moved all his stuff into an apartment. He still pays bills, talks to his wife almost daily and cordially on the phone, but he seldom sees her.

Pretty weird, huh?


Weird? Maybe.

Seems pretty passive agressive to me. Not the arrangement. I have no issue with the arrangement. It's the sneaking out, right before a major holiday, while the rest of the family is out celebrating - apparently at his suggestion.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 01:27 AM

Originally Posted By: ComingHome
Hello Penny ,

I have been married for almost 16 years and been with my wife for over 20 . Unfortunately I decided to have an affair and I have been having it for over 1.5 years .
I have been flip flopping the whole time and I can't keep myself away from my AP and I can't find the love or passion I once had for my wife!
Because I can not find in my heart to repair my marriage ( my wife was always willing ) I believe that now divorce is the best thing for everyone.
But my major feeling of loss is the security I had with my wife , mostly financial. I know , I feel like such a scumbag for even saying that but it's the truth.
How could I have changed from a loving , caring and loyal husband to this person ? I feel I need to live with myself, and by myself. So I can get myself back on track and prove to myself that I can be independent.
Sorry , there ...is no question in this !

Thanks


Hi ComingHome -

Thanks for joining in. I know you don't have a question but I hope you don't mind if I comment.

Couple of questions:

I assume the OW and your wife know about each other?

Have you read anything about the biochemistry of what we call love?

What's your relationship with your wife like now? Do you see each other? Do you have children?

People trying to end affairs always want "closure". They want it to be neat and pretty when it's over. If you are waiting for that - it's not going to happen.

The way you end an affair is to gather your wallet and keys, walk out the door, close it and don't look back. Don't call. Don't text. Don't drive by. Don't ask about the AP. Walk away.

Is it going to hurt? Yup. Like hell. For a while. Two weeks. A month. The less contact you have the shorter that time will be. And then you'll wonder what you saw in her. And, it's not that you can't stay away from the OW - you are choosing not to. When you own it you can change it. You are not a helpless victim - you call the shots.

There is no way you can rekindle feelings for your wife while you are involved with someone else. There are things your wife could do that might jumpstart how you feel about her - have her call me and I'll give her some suggestions. But you are completely short changing your self by considering you can restore a marriage and have someone else in the background.

As completely unreasonable advocate of marriage I can't imagine how divorce is best for everyone.

How can you have changed? It's what an affair does to us. You probably don't know this - I've been on every side of the affair triangle. I've been the AP, the WS, and the BP. Pretty much they all sucked and no one, on any of the legs of the triangle, is at their best.

Most people end up in affairs because they don't understand what risk behavior looks like or what boundaries they are crossing. Once they've crossed them and the biochemistry is kicking out all those feel good chemicals - it's too late, you're off to the races.

I had a client many years ago who had a long term affair. She had a job where she traveled and she lived part time with the AP and part time with her husband and neither knew about the other. It was truly a double life. And she was miserable. She said her R with the AP was basically the same as with her husband. It wasn't any better - and in fact it was a lot worse. It wasn't more exciting. Sex wasn't fabulous. It was the same boring come-home-and-watch-tv relationship she had with her husband. That's how all long term relationships are.

She called me to help her end the affair. We created a plan with all kinds of safeguards for helping her through the withdrawal period. And she failed.

Then her hubby found out. And next the AP found out. And then her life really fell apart while she waffled back and forth. We lost touch for a couple of years and then one day out of the blue she emailed me to say she finally ended the affair permanently and she her husband were re-creating their marriage from the ground up. She's a friend of mine of fb and I see her posts once in a while - she and hubby are doing wonderfully.

People in affairs do things they are not proud of. I'm not sure ending the marriage is going to make you feel any better about yourself. At one time you took a vow to figure it out - for better or worse. I would challenge you to keep that vow.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 01:32 AM

Originally Posted By: 2long
I think that divorce, in your case, would be the right next step here. Just remember, while you're finding yourself, that your wife might not care once you've figured out who you are and dealt with your issues.

People in affairs are not worth fighting over, IMHO. (part of my "jading" since my wife's affair).

-ol' 2long


I would really love it if we didn't suggest divorce to people on this thread. You might be right - it might be the right answer for this marriage. It might be the right answer for your marriage.

But it's a very personal decision. Online spaces, especially for people who are dealing with very challenging issues, can be places of undue influence. We can't possibly know what goes on in someone else's life and home. I believe it's better to err on the side of challenging people to find their core integrity and compassion and to act from that place.

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 01:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Marta


Maybe next week we could talk about having fun as an old married couple. Is that even possible? Also, how to have fun conversations.

We work, really really well together. We can talk about the kids, about responsibilities and how to get them done,etc. But what about just laughing until your sides hurt? Talking about nothing... I don't know...the kind of things you used to do?


Yes! Let me answer a couple things and let's talk about that.



Hi! smile

The answer is pretty simple - as are all profound truths - it's novelty.

You can't do it by asking questions. Yes, curiosity is wonderful. I tend to think my level of curiosity puts a cat to shame. But really? When you're doing the same old stuff day after day - there's nothing to trigger that curiosity.

You need novelty. Something new! Something a little risky is even better - especially if you want to trigger lust. (Our own delightful Star*fish has a wonderful saying "risky = frisky". It's perfect.)

So let's go back to the couple falling in love. Why are they curious about each other? Because it's all new. But the newness of someone in your life can't last forever any more than the new car smell can. Seriously - how many times can you hear and enjoy the same story?? If you want the benefits of newness with the same person you have to have new situations.

(This is super - extra - special important for couples recovering after an affair, btw.)

Couples I work with routinely get the assignment to do something new together. If it makes one or both of them a little anxious - even better! Suggestions: take a class (wine, painting, cooking, skating, sky diving, horseback riding, photography, movie making, the list is endless). Volunteer somewhere. Learn a language. These are all things that will inject new interest into your time together and give you something to talk about. I have to imagine they'll also provide fodder for some great laughs. *This* is what people do when they're dating.

Challenging or difficult situations are also openings for profound conversations. Those of us who have been through the trauma of an affair will note some of the most intense conversations during these times. (Errr.... not recommending this, though!)

The things that create opportunities for curiosity are also the risky behaviors for affairs - for exactly the same reasons. Affairs often begin when two people start talking about a difficult period in their lives. Or they meet while playing on a volleyball league. Or in a class.

Novelty triggers a dopamine response which makes us feel good. It's why we rearrange furniture, paint the living room, change our hair style, switch religions, or find someone new interesting. When we have a feel-good experience with another person we associate that feeling with that person. The more we associate good feelings with someone the more we like them. Stack up enough of those times and it's possible to tip the scale toward falling in love. Or.... if it' someone we've been with for a long time, triggering some of the passion from our earlier days.

Thoughts?

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:15 AM

Hubby and I visit museums of all sorts (music, art, children's, ethnic, science) we go to movies that make us think (and look things up), we argue philosophy and politics, and we seek out small hole in the wall restaurants. We are rarely bored when we do those things.

When we hang out at home with just ourselves for company? Meh - He's a wonderful man and I love him dearly - but the stories don't change much. And, I'm sure he would say I'm a wonderful woman and he loves me dearly - but I'm kinda bossy. Put us in a museum and we are crazy about each other. Novelty.
Posted By: ComingHome

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:27 AM

Hello Penny ,

Thank you for responding.

Yes , my Wife knows about my AP , and my AP knew I was Married before we even started up .
We don't have kids but we have two dogs and two cats , ( this may get silly ) one dog we had for 13 years and I'm very close to him , my Wife tells me that he misses me a lot and I miss him ! We ( pets and all ) were a family .
I have been living back in forth with my AP and Mother since D-Day !
My wife and I get along pretty good , we talk , text and still see each other at a lot of family functions, because My mom , sister or myself will invite her .
My family is pretty upset with me for doing this , because she has become part of the family and a good friend to my mom .

I have not read anything about the biochemistry of love , I'll have to Google that .

As far as affairs go , I've been wanting to end it for a while , but it's been such a battle and I can't even count how many times we broke up .
I have read and read and read all the " ending the affair " info and most of makes sense but I always cave in !!
I was just celebrating my one week NC with my AP and my wife and I where talking about what we could do to fix our marriage , which I was feeling pretty numb about , my heart was not into it , I felt like I had to fake it and have faith that my "real " feelings would return , which is a miserable feeling.
And then bam , I get an email from my AP and try as I might I couldn't resist to reply. I could almost feel my ego wake up in excitement! Then a text here a text there , now we're texting regularly and meeting up seems inevitable .
My hormones start racing , my ego is pumped , I feel like a teenager in love and then I start to justify the behavior with any excuse I can think of . I try to tell myself what I'm giving up and try to bring myself back to earth , but the throught of this instant gratification wins out .
My wife knows I started texting my AP again and I'm just going in circles.,
Posted By: ComingHome

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:38 AM

Your response to Marta, about novelty!!
That was just great !!
I hope I get the opportunity to try it !
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:47 AM

Originally Posted By: ComingHome
Hello Penny ,

Thank you for responding.

Yes , my Wife knows about my AP , and my AP knew I was Married before we even started up .
We don't have kids but we have two dogs and two cats , ( this may get silly ) one dog we had for 13 years and I'm very close to him , my Wife tells me that he misses me a lot and I miss him ! We ( pets and all ) were a family .
I have been living back in forth with my AP and Mother since D-Day !
My wife and I get along pretty good , we talk , text and still see each other at a lot of family functions, because My mom , sister or myself will invite her .
My family is pretty upset with me for doing this , because she has become part of the family and a good friend to my mom .

I have not read anything about the biochemistry of love , I'll have to Google that .

As far as affairs go , I've been wanting to end it for a while , but it's been such a battle and I can't even count how many times we broke up .
I have read and read and read all the " ending the affair " info and most of makes sense but I always cave in !!
I was just celebrating my one week NC with my AP and my wife and I where talking about what we could do to fix our marriage , which I was feeling pretty numb about , my heart was not into it , I felt like I had to fake it and have faith that my "real " feelings would return , which is a miserable feeling.
And then bam , I get an email from my AP and try as I might I couldn't resist to reply. I could almost feel my ego wake up in excitement! Then a text here a text there , now we're texting regularly and meeting up seems inevitable .
My hormones start racing , my ego is pumped , I feel like a teenager in love and then I start to justify the behavior with any excuse I can think of . I try to tell myself what I'm giving up and try to bring myself back to earth , but the throught of this instant gratification wins out .
My wife knows I started texting my AP again and I'm just going in circles.,


Well, my little dog and the three cats are definitely family, so it doesn't sound silly to me smile

If you really wanted to end the affair you would tell the OW to never contact you again. You would block her email. You would change your phone #. You would block her on fb/twitter/instagram/etc. You would give your wife access to everything - and, actually, have her check it before you do.

*Of course* you feel numb and empty. It's called withdrawal and grieving. If you didn't feel those things you would be a really ugly person, indeed. But at some point, and wishfully before we are 21, we have to stop believing that how we feel is rationale for how we behave. I know, I know.... I'm howling into the wind on this one. We're taught from birth that how we feel is the yardstick by which we measure our choices. Doesn't turn out all that well a fair amount of the time. We need to have an internal compass (I dunno - let's call it a conscience) that keeps us heading in the direction of integrity, honor, and growth -even (or especially!) when we don't want to.

So if you read my posts just above your most recent one I talk about how to keep a marriage fresh and fun. It's the same sorts of things people do when they are having affairs. Affairs are risky! They're forbidden. This triggers all kinds of yummy feel-good chemistry in your brain. As you say, you feel like a teenager. I'm tellin' ya - there is 0% chance that will last once the relationship becomes "official". Unless of course you do the things I suggest to trigger it - but then why not do those things with your wife?

The woman you are having an affair with is not some amazing, goddess who will make the rest of your life wonderful. You are not going to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. I'm sure she's a perfectly fine human being (although I have to wonder about what kinds of issues she has that she was willing to get involved with a married man...) but really, she's just another person who happens to be a trigger point for some very powerful chemicals. Leave your wife, get through the ugliness and heartbreak of divorce, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll wake up one morning not too long after that and wonder why on earth you sacrificed all that for this completely average person next to you. I'll also predict that whatever issues you are having with your wife you will continue to have in your new relationship - they're not going to go away and, in fact, they are likely to be bigger and better.

What does your wife have to say about all this?

The book you want, btw, is Helen Fisher's "Why We Love"

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:49 AM

Originally Posted By: ComingHome
Your response to Marta, about novelty!!
That was just great !!
I hope I get the opportunity to try it !


smile (I know a few things wink )

I hope it's with your wife.

But, really, you need to end the affair first. Block the email and phone. Send a very firmly worded no contact letter - and make sure to copy your wife. I'll help you write it.
Posted By: ComingHome

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:44 AM

Hello Penny ,

My wife believes that something within me has caused me to have the affair . The affair is a side effect of somthing much deeper with in me , that I need to figure out what it is.
She also thinks that I am not the same person I was a few years ago , I have changed into a completely different person that she doesn't know anymore .
Yes, I should have blocked her better, changed my phone number and email , but your right , I didn't want to end it. I don't want to end it. There I said it !
But I have to end it !

Thank you for your help !
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:47 AM

Originally Posted By: ComingHome
Hello Penny ,

My wife believes that something within me has caused me to have the affair . The affair is a side effect of somthing much deeper with in me , that I need to figure out what it is.
She also thinks that I am not the same person I was a few years ago , I have changed into a completely different person that she doesn't know anymore .
Yes, I should have blocked her better, changed my phone number and email , but your right , I didn't want to end it. I don't want to end it. There I said it !
But I have to end it !

Thank you for your help !


Your wife should call me.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:55 AM

Alright, peeps, that's a wrap. See you next week.

xoxo

P
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:02 AM

Thanks, Penny!
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 12:27 PM

Thanks Penny...novelty.... But then shouldn't our trip to Hawaii have proved a fodder for conversation and fun. It really didn't. I was still rubbing his head... We still had long periods of silence...

I'll look around to see what I can find. We live in a small town though... There is a small county museum here. We used to go to concerts, but now the lights and loud noises really bother his head, so that is out.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: 2long
I think that divorce, in your case, would be the right next step here. Just remember, while you're finding yourself, that your wife might not care once you've figured out who you are and dealt with your issues.

People in affairs are not worth fighting over, IMHO. (part of my "jading" since my wife's affair).

-ol' 2long


I would really love it if we didn't suggest divorce to people on this thread. You might be right - it might be the right answer for this marriage. It might be the right answer for your marriage.

But it's a very personal decision. Online spaces, especially for people who are dealing with very challenging issues, can be places of undue influence. We can't possibly know what goes on in someone else's life and home. I believe it's better to err on the side of challenging people to find their core integrity and compassion and to act from that place.

P


K.

The reason I suggested it in this case and cases like it is because I think that both the BS and the WS benefit most, and quickest, if the WS is given the freedom to do what they want in the open, with all the consequences and responsibilities that go along with it.

No waffling. No BS feeling as if they've inadvertently protected the WS' secrecy and enabled the affair.

I wish I'd done it. (I still might)

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:33 PM

Originally Posted By: 2long
.

K.

The reason I suggested it in this case and cases like it is because I think that both the BS and the WS benefit most, and quickest, if the WS is given the freedom to do what they want in the open, with all the consequences and responsibilities that go along with it.

No waffling. No BS feeling as if they've inadvertently protected the WS' secrecy and enabled the affair.

I wish I'd done it. (I still might)

-ol' 2long


That's why I like Protection Phase wink I'd really like his wife to call me.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 02:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Thanks Penny...novelty.... But then shouldn't our trip to Hawaii have proved a fodder for conversation and fun. It really didn't. I was still rubbing his head... We still had long periods of silence...

I'll look around to see what I can find. We live in a small town though... There is a small county museum here. We used to go to concerts, but now the lights and loud noises really bother his head, so that is out.


What did you do in Hawaii?

I like trips. They can be lots of fun. They can also be times of additional stress (we have a cruise planned and it's almost more work than it might be worth!). Plus there's the *expectation* that it will be fun. My exH and I traveled a lot. It was not fun.

I like the every day sorts of novelty better (haha!! there's an interesting confluence of thoughts). The things that intertwine with your every day life.

Find different concerts to go to. Folk music. Jazz in the park. Watch art films. Volunteer somewhere. Get a kitten. Plan a remodeling project. Buy a camper. Go camping! Remodel and old camper. Restore an old car. Tear the kitchen cabinets off the wall....(hubby was not thrilled when he left me home alone one day and came back to find the contents of half a wall of cabinets all over the dining room and holes in the wall, but we sure had something to talk about.)

We all feel resistance at the idea of trying something outside our comfort zone. But, if we were dating someone new and attractive we'd be doing all kinds of thing we never thought we'd do. I can't tell you how many classical or heavy metal loving friends I have who suddenly fell in love with (previously detested) country music because of someone they were dating.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:05 PM

Smile, yeah we are in the middle of remodelling. We finished our middle son's room. ( Although I want to buy a few more decorations and some new bedding to put on when we have guests.)

We are tackling our oldest son's room next.. We are painting it the same color. First we have to take off the border wallpaper and then he will have to patch the holes in the closet from when our dogs got trapped in there. ( Long story.) This room is our mission storage room, so I'm not sure how much I will decorate it when we are done.. ( Middle one is the guest bedroom.)

Then it is on to the guest bathroom..which is HORRIBLE and the only original room from when we moved in here 18 years ago. We are having our contractor from previous remodels help us with taking out the bathtub and putting in a shower, putting in tile, replacing the granite. We'll paint.

We have a 5th wheel. We need to put a time on there for our camping getaway. Our last one in the fall got cancelled when our oldest got suicidal. We are planning on going to Colorado this summer again in it. We always take it to the college parent weekends.

We live on 50 acres and hubby has tons of plans for all of that.

Here is the thing, though, Penny and maybe it is my mind set. Yeah, we do all of that well. But it feels like project after project after project or trip after trip after trip. We do it well. We plan well. We execute them well. But it is all work. I don't want work. I want fun and something where I can just enjoy it and not have to do anything...

We do volunteer together. We lead a mission trip twice a year and we are always working on stuff for that as well. We do it well. We are good leaders if I do say so myself.

I guess maybe I'm just wanting a fantasy and I just need to accept that this is the way life is.
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:23 PM

Maybe scrap the remodels and do something "fun" instead? Or does your sense of duty and responsibility and obligation place you under so much stress and pressure to constantly be "working" that you cannot enjoy any "time off"?

You are not OBLIGED to do project after project. You are choosing to do so. If you don't enjoy it, then why are you doing it? Because you feel you must? Why is that?

Not intending to be judgmental. Truly curious. And hoping the exploration of this topic will help you.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:32 PM

Well, the remodel needs to be done. I'm embarressed to have anyone stay over. That bathroom has mold growing. I try to clean the toilet, but it never really looks clean. The wallpaper is peeling, etc.

I enjoy doing the mission trips. I actually don't mind leading them either.

Traveling... hubby loves doing that. I've gotten a lot better and hubby has to as far as if something doesn't work out ( the hotel in Honolulu was HORRIBLE...we were right above the bar and they partied until 2-4am every night...) he doesn't blame me for it and I am getting better about saying things like that happen, so I'm not miserable like I was before because things didn't work out perfectly. However, the best kind of travelling for me would be to just go along for the ride. I can make the best of things and have fun in spite of things if I don't plan them. Somehow I can give grace to other people but not to myself. I don't beat them up over bad plans...I find it funny or amusing...not so much if it happens to me. But I am stuck planning them... ( You are so good at it...)

I'm just not sure how to just have fun with him and to be honest, I'm not sure he knows how to have fun period.. No wait, he is learning to play the guitar. He wants to shoot his guns and will probably set up the gun targets and stuff I got him for Christmas this weekend. But that isn't fun for me..
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Smile, yeah we are in the middle of remodelling. We finished our middle son's room. ( Although I want to buy a few more decorations and some new bedding to put on when we have guests.)

We are tackling our oldest son's room next.. We are painting it the same color. First we have to take off the border wallpaper and then he will have to patch the holes in the closet from when our dogs got trapped in there. ( Long story.) This room is our mission storage room, so I'm not sure how much I will decorate it when we are done.. ( Middle one is the guest bedroom.)

Then it is on to the guest bathroom..which is HORRIBLE and the only original room from when we moved in here 18 years ago. We are having our contractor from previous remodels help us with taking out the bathtub and putting in a shower, putting in tile, replacing the granite. We'll paint.

We have a 5th wheel. We need to put a time on there for our camping getaway. Our last one in the fall got cancelled when our oldest got suicidal. We are planning on going to Colorado this summer again in it. We always take it to the college parent weekends.

We live on 50 acres and hubby has tons of plans for all of that.

Here is the thing, though, Penny and maybe it is my mind set. Yeah, we do all of that well. But it feels like project after project after project or trip after trip after trip. We do it well. We plan well. We execute them well. But it is all work. I don't want work. I want fun and something where I can just enjoy it and not have to do anything...

We do volunteer together. We lead a mission trip twice a year and we are always working on stuff for that as well. We do it well. We are good leaders if I do say so myself.

I guess maybe I'm just wanting a fantasy and I just need to accept that this is the way life is.



So then, none of those things are *novelty* for you. They're the run of the mill things you've done forever. You have to do something outside your comfort zone and outside the everyday box. I'm kind of with HOTI on this - ditch those things and do something else. Just the idea and the conversation of ditching them might be something new.

Most of our lives are pretty run of the mill - and that's a really good thing. If everything was constantly in flux and you had no idea what would happen next there would be so much stress you'd probably fall apart. But a little bit of new/unexpected/change is keeps the fantasy alive.

It's really hard to think outside the box. We're probably hard wired (I have no reference for this other than my own thoughts) to keep doing what we've always done even when it stops working all that well -- or at all. It's really really challenging to think of and then DO something different. That's where you fantasy is waiting for you. And - that's why people end up in affairs.

Don't tell me what you are doing .... tell me what you're not doing smile

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:46 PM

Originally Posted By: holdingontoit
Maybe scrap the remodels and do something "fun" instead? Or does your sense of duty and responsibility and obligation place you under so much stress and pressure to constantly be "working" that you cannot enjoy any "time off"?

You are not OBLIGED to do project after project. You are choosing to do so. If you don't enjoy it, then why are you doing it? Because you feel you must? Why is that?

Not intending to be judgmental. Truly curious. And hoping the exploration of this topic will help you.


Hey stranger smile

Hi!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Blair
A person who was to meet family members for a special holiday party but moved out of the family residence instead seems dishonest to me because of how it involves the extended family.

It might be a good idea to separate but remain married. However, if you want a relationhsip with someone else but you are still legally married, what is your plan to work through that? Is sex and dating okay for you when married or when separated?


Hi Blair, thanks for chiming in. I just saw this and I agree completely.

P
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:54 PM

dance classes? (of some crazy kind you'd never think of) art classes? cooking classes? wine tasting? tea tasting (teavana stores are starting to have this, call and ask, it's cool!) coffee tasting (check with your local roasters, this is fun and educational)

scuba classes? rock climbing? improv comedy group? craft classes of some random kind? Get a catalog from the local community college, pick something TOTALLY random.

the goal isn't to enjoy the ACTIVITY it's to enjoy EACH OTHER. I think that's where you get hung up sometimes Marta. You only view something as a success in very limited, narrow terms. Any of these things are successful if they turn out to be an ADVENTURE. Be Merry and Pippin, just go along for the journey, and see what happens. Talk to some Ents. Don't worry about the outcome. That's not the point.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Don't tell me what you are doing .... tell me what you're not doing smile

P



I'll be thinking about that... Not sure what we are not doing as we cram a lot of life in.

Neither one of us can stand art and we avoid art museums like the plague. Should we do that anyway? That said, there is just a small one in the town that is 30 minutes away. We'd have to travel 3 hours or more to get a "real" one.

We don't dance. I took dance for 13 years, but when we were dating it was a disaster. We got in fights and agreed to not do it for the sake of our relationship. He doesn't have a clue how to lead. I don't have trouble following other partners who lead with confidence, but he doesn't do that and then I try to lead and then he says stop leading.. It wasn't fun. But I would dearly love to do ballroom dancing.

He wants me to take a concealed handgun class with him. I'm going to but only because I know that I should... Guns make me very nervous.

There are a TON of things we could do in the bedroom, but even the plain vanilla stuff we haven't done that I asked for in my letter has never been addressed. We have a very, very small repertoire... I even underlined things in a book called Sheet Music that I would like to try... He hasn't cracked the book..

I'll keep thinking.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 04:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
? wine tasting? .


Have to tell a funny story about this one. We went to one of these despite the fact that we don't drink. I did learn a lot and realized that wine does taste different when you shake it... Anyway, we tasted a red one and hubby whispers to me, "Mouthwash tastes better than this!" I started laughing and punched him in the ribs and told him to shush or he would get us kicked out.

That was on our anniversary trip. It took him a good 3 or 4 days to unwind, but then we did have fun.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 04:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
d

the goal isn't to enjoy the ACTIVITY it's to enjoy EACH OTHER. I think that's where you get hung up sometimes Marta. You only view something as a success in very limited, narrow terms. Any of these things are successful if they turn out to be an ADVENTURE. Be Merry and Pippin, just go along for the journey, and see what happens. Talk to some Ents. Don't worry about the outcome. That's not the point.


I get what you are saying, but I don't want it to start a fight or a conflict and so it needs to go well.
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 04:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Miranda
d

the goal isn't to enjoy the ACTIVITY it's to enjoy EACH OTHER. I think that's where you get hung up sometimes Marta. You only view something as a success in very limited, narrow terms. Any of these things are successful if they turn out to be an ADVENTURE. Be Merry and Pippin, just go along for the journey, and see what happens. Talk to some Ents. Don't worry about the outcome. That's not the point.


I get what you are saying, but I don't want it to start a fight or a conflict and so it needs to go well.


Why does it necessarily HAVE to start a fight or a conflict if it doesn't go well? Why is that the default?

Even with as much of a problem as my husband is, this is not how it works with us. When something goes awry, if we're having an "adventure" it's just something to laugh and talk about. We don't approach these things with a need for perfection. We approach them with a need to have an experience and a good time.
Posted By: CajunRose

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 04:17 PM

Marta, I think you're back to the mindset where you are too hard on yourself.

Life isn't perfect. No one expects you to be perfect either. Just do your best and try to have fun. Some of our most fun days have been when everything that could go wrong did. We learned to laugh about it and keep going - together.

You like dancing. Your husband isn't that good at leading. So get him in a class - something you've never done before. Salsa, line dancing, swing. Make complete fools of yourselves. It's okay.
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 04:43 PM

Marta: Exclude anything that one of you already knows how to do / is good at. Try something that NEITHER of you has any clue how to do. That way you will both be new and both make mistakes and both will be sharing the experience of a new activity.
Posted By: Rainshine

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Don't tell me what you are doing .... tell me what you're not doing smile

P



I'll be thinking about that... Not sure what we are not doing as we cram a lot of life in.

Neither one of us can stand art and we avoid art museums like the plague. Should we do that anyway? That said, there is just a small one in the town that is 30 minutes away. We'd have to travel 3 hours or more to get a "real" one.

We don't dance. I took dance for 13 years, but when we were dating it was a disaster. We got in fights and agreed to not do it for the sake of our relationship. He doesn't have a clue how to lead. I don't have trouble following other partners who lead with confidence, but he doesn't do that and then I try to lead and then he says stop leading.. It wasn't fun. But I would dearly love to do ballroom dancing.

He wants me to take a concealed handgun class with him. I'm going to but only because I know that I should... Guns make me very nervous.

There are a TON of things we could do in the bedroom, but even the plain vanilla stuff we haven't done that I asked for in my letter has never been addressed. We have a very, very small repertoire... I even underlined things in a book called Sheet Music that I would like to try... He hasn't cracked the book..

I'll keep thinking.


How about a square dancing club? It is easy to learn, with no judgment, light exercise, and the people are great! Afterward you could get a light snack...alone.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:07 PM

I'll see if there is any square dancing nearby. Our community college offers flower arranging, dog groomin and small business classes... I guess part of doing this is I would get stressed out. If I don't know how to do things or feel like I look like I fool I stress out. Some of our "fights" if you call them that on vacation are becuase I don't know where we are going or what to expect and my blood pressure rises and my voice rises and hubby gives me that look and or tells me to get control of myself... Then I feel like a failure and cry....

So it needs to be something I can be good at.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:11 PM

Because I freak out and my husband ( mr. cool and always incontrol, especially in public) doesn't like it.
Originally Posted By: Miranda
Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Miranda
d

the goal isn't to enjoy the ACTIVITY it's to enjoy EACH OTHER. I think that's where you get hung up sometimes Marta. You only view something as a success in very limited, narrow terms. Any of these things are successful if they turn out to be an ADVENTURE. Be Merry and Pippin, just go along for the journey, and see what happens. Talk to some Ents. Don't worry about the outcome. That's not the point.


I get what you are saying, but I don't want it to start a fight or a conflict and so it needs to go well.


Why does it necessarily HAVE to start a fight or a conflict if it doesn't go well? Why is that the default?

Even with as much of a problem as my husband is, this is not how it works with us. When something goes awry, if we're having an "adventure" it's just something to laugh and talk about. We don't approach these things with a need for perfection. We approach them with a need to have an experience and a good time.
Posted By: Chrysalis

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:12 PM

Marta: You both hate art? That's a perfect choice then. Go to the museum 3 hours away, make a day of it. Give yourselves 1-2 hours to find something in the museum you like (maybe go off separately for a scavenger hunt?) Just. One. Thing. Make it a challenge, make it fun. Then go out to lunch and drive home telling funny stories about the awful stuff you had to wade though to find just.one.thing.

Although as an artist, it pains me to have anyone say that they hate art. But that's me, not you.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:16 PM

I guess it is so hard to do that without thinking, "I wasted a full day doing this when I SHOULD have been: painting, organizing mission supplies, etc Anything that is more productive than doing something we both hate.." Does that make sense? ( I'm sorry about the art...probably from elementary school where I got straight minuses and my art teacher thought I was horrible. I couldn't ever do it right. Couldn't wait until it wasn't a requirement anymore... Now music, I can't understand how anyone would hate that... I got straight pluses in that in elementary...

Originally Posted By: Chrysalis
Marta: You both hate art? That's a perfect choice then. Go to the museum 3 hours away, make a day of it. Give yourselves 1-2 hours to find something in the museum you like (maybe go off separately for a scavenger hunt?) Just. One. Thing. Make it a challenge, make it fun. Then go out to lunch and drive home telling funny stories about the awful stuff you had to wade though to find just.one.thing.

Although as an artist, it pains me to have anyone say that they hate art. But that's me, not you.
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Blair
A person who was to meet family members for a special holiday party but moved out of the family residence instead seems dishonest to me because of how it involves the extended family.

It might be a good idea to separate but remain married. However, if you want a relationhsip with someone else but you are still legally married, what is your plan to work through that? Is sex and dating okay for you when married or when separated?


Hi Blair, thanks for chiming in. I just saw this and I agree completely.

P


I forgot to respond to this. My friend has somewhat different views on how to deal with a mediocre marriage than I do, and his friend definitely does.

If I were to do something like that, I wouldn't be sneaky, and no, I wouldn't date if I wasn't divorced.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: 2long

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta

Neither one of us can stand art and we avoid art museums like the plague. Should we do that anyway? That said, there is just a small one in the town that is 30 minutes away. We'd have to travel 3 hours or more to get a "real" one.


Reminds me of something I discovered about myself about 20 years ago. I didn't think I liked art all that much, though I've been known to paint (not recently, though). But my wife dragged me with her GS troop to the Getty and I found myself absolutely riveted by a Rembrandt they had on display. I must have stared at that painting for 20 minutes! And I've always, apparently, been a sucker for van Gogh.

Quote:
We don't dance. I took dance for 13 years, but when we were dating it was a disaster. We got in fights and agreed to not do it for the sake of our relationship. He doesn't have a clue how to lead. I don't have trouble following other partners who lead with confidence, but he doesn't do that and then I try to lead and then he says stop leading.. It wasn't fun. But I would dearly love to do ballroom dancing.


I'm thinking now of my response to the Rembrandt here, and my memories of square dancing in elementary school (outwardly, I hated it like all the other boys, but truthfully I enjoyed myself): Maybe he needs to give it another try? Maybe with a good instructor?

Quote:
He wants me to take a concealed handgun class with him. I'm going to but only because I know that I should... Guns make me very nervous.


Me too, though I did train to use them so I could protect myself while working in the arctic. I don't own a gun, though.

-ol' 2long
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda



the goal isn't to enjoy the ACTIVITY it's to enjoy EACH OTHER. Any of these things are successful if they turn out to be an ADVENTURE. Be Merry and Pippin, just go along for the journey, and see what happens. Talk to some Ents. Don't worry about the outcome. That's not the point.


Yes!! Exactly!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta




But I would dearly love to do ballroom dancing.

He wants me to take a concealed handgun class with him. I'm going to but only because I know that I should... Guns make me very nervous.

There are a TON of things we could do in the bedroom, but even the plain vanilla stuff we haven't done that I asked for in my letter has never been addressed. We have a very, very small repertoire... I even underlined things in a book called Sheet Music that I would like to try... He hasn't cracked the book..

I'll keep thinking.


Trade a ballroom dancing class for a handgun class. I would dearly love to do both smile Then I could be a Jack Bauer spy in heels!

It might be too early for bedroom adventures. Baby steps.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Miranda
? wine tasting? .


Have to tell a funny story about this one. We went to one of these despite the fact that we don't drink. I did learn a lot and realized that wine does taste different when you shake it... Anyway, we tasted a red one and hubby whispers to me, "Mouthwash tastes better than this!" I started laughing and punched him in the ribs and told him to shush or he would get us kicked out.

That was on our anniversary trip. It took him a good 3 or 4 days to unwind, but then we did have fun.


Yes!!! Exactly this! It doesn't matter if you like wine. It matters that you like each other and enjoy being together!

Great story, btw
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 05:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
I guess it is so hard to do that without thinking, "I wasted a full day doing this when I SHOULD have been: painting, organizing mission supplies, etc Anything that is more productive than doing something we both hate.." Does that make sense? ( I'm sorry about the art...probably from elementary school where I got straight minuses and my art teacher thought I was horrible. I couldn't ever do it right. Couldn't wait until it wasn't a requirement anymore... Now music, I can't understand how anyone would hate that... I got straight pluses in that in elementary...

Originally Posted By: Chrysalis
Marta: You both hate art? That's a perfect choice then. Go to the museum 3 hours away, make a day of it. Give yourselves 1-2 hours to find something in the museum you like (maybe go off separately for a scavenger hunt?) Just. One. Thing. Make it a challenge, make it fun. Then go out to lunch and drive home telling funny stories about the awful stuff you had to wade though to find just.one.thing.

Although as an artist, it pains me to have anyone say that they hate art. But that's me, not you.


If you enjoy each other it's not a waste! If you want the fantasy you HAVE to set aside the painting, organizing, etc. No one has a belly laughing, rip roaring, romantic, adventure while engaged in the routine obligation. Can't happen. Go for the adventure!

Love your idea Chrysalis. We may try that at the museum next week.

Marta, I actually failed art too. My dad and my grandfather and my brother are/were all wonderful painters. Fabulous landscapes, still lifes, and abstracts. When I was growing up my parent would always say, "Your brother draws so well! And you are very good at spelling." Guess which one of us grew up to be a writer? It wasn't until I took art out of the "stretched canvas" box that I began to enjoy it. I love 3d art (sculpture, architecture) and now I do wild and exotic faux painting. If I have to sell my house I'm in trouble - but I love it. The point is - you can re-think and re-make what you are good at and what you enjoy.
Posted By: Rainshine

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 06:03 PM

Marta-

When we went to a square dance club, they actually planned the first half for a quick lesson and second half for full blown dancing. They split us up and gave each of us a very skilled partner. Each square was full of experienced dancers who guided us along and it was so fun. No comparisons, because we were separated at first. When I finally got to dance with hubs, he knew as much as I did. He actually had fun. But it wasn't the best use of time for us right now. All of the people were begging us to come again. And most people were over 55. Some of them take it to the extreme with making costumes, competitions and teaching clinics. There were several clubs in the area and they alternate nights. So one could visit a club each night of the week. Usually it would be in a church or Elk's lodge. Another thing I liked about it is that we could've taken our kids along to learn. Family or couple fun.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 06:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
[quote=Marta]


Trade a ballroom dancing class for a handgun class. I would dearly love to do both smile Then I could be a Jack Bauer spy in heels!

lol LOL!!! AS she breaks one of her heels...dammit!!! That is funny!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
[quote=Marta]


Trade a ballroom dancing class for a handgun class. I would dearly love to do both smile Then I could be a Jack Bauer spy in heels!

lol LOL!!! AS she breaks one of her heels...dammit!!! That is funny!


HAHA! I'm sure it would frighten my poor hubby half to death if I was dancing in heels and brandishing a handgun. I'm not known for being incredibly graceful!

This just came in my email and we are so going!

http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2016/w...gn=winteroflove
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 07:07 PM

okay, that's freaky...

lol, says the woman who's attended BDSM events, swinger's parties, been a regular performer in Rocky Horror Picture Show, done body painting at a modeling shoot out, served as a corset model, attended International Mr Leather (more than once!) and much more

I'm up for just about anything.
Posted By: wiser_now

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 07:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
[quote=Marta]


Trade a ballroom dancing class for a handgun class. I would dearly love to do both smile Then I could be a Jack Bauer spy in heels!

lol LOL!!! AS she breaks one of her heels...dammit!!! That is funny!


HAHA! I'm sure it would frighten my poor hubby half to death if I was dancing in heels and brandishing a handgun. I'm not known for being incredibly graceful!

This just came in my email and we are so going!

http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2016/w...gn=winteroflove



Given the discussion-of-late, I was understandably worried about visiting the link you provided. I *did* (mind you) but I was a-skeered. Just sayin'

Carry on!
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 08:01 PM

Marta: The change of perspective you need to adopt if you wish to be happy is to stop thinking of projects as "useful" and "productive" but to think of fun time spent with hubby as "waste" or "selfish" or "unproductive".

Here is the "trick": if you do not add some fun time with hubby to your schedule, there is a good chance that you will not be able to continue doing the productive stuff. Why not? Because either you will have a breakdown or your marriage will fail. Or maybe both.

You are probably stuck in the thought that you are weak and that if you merely applied sufficient willpower you would be able to be productive close to 100% of the time. False. No one can be that way. You are human. You need time to relax and recharge. That is not being weak and selfish. That is being wise and gracious. Everyone has a breaking point. Wise people do not allow themselves to get too near theirs. You will likely find that you can do more good works and help additional deprived people if you allow yourself to enjoy your marriage rather than seeing it as only a vehicle to engage in service to others.

The more energy and goodwill you generate within yourself, the more you have to give others. The more you are burdened with "why can't I have more sex with my husband" or "how can we find time for our marriage when there are so many projects and obligations weighing us down", the less you have to give others. You probably can't see it from inside yourself. You are, after all, giving 100% of the time and energy you have. What you don't see is the additional energy you would have inside yourself if you were happier. And from where you are, the thing you need to get happier is more time spent alone with your H doing fun things.

Think of this as a compliment. There are plenty of people (myself included) to whom I would suggest spending more time helping others. Giving to charity. Getting outside themselves. You are not one of them. You already do enough for others. You need to learn to do more for yourself.

It is like the Giver and Taker. Being 100% a Giver is NOT good for a marriage. Everyone in every marriage needs to bring their Taker to the table some of the time. You do not allow your Taker to come to the table often enough. It seems you feel almost sinful if you allow your Taker to express itself. But it isn't wrong or sinful or selfish. It is smart. If you want to maximize what you can give away, you have to maximize what you have available. And I think you will find you have more available to give if you allow yourself to Take a little more first.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 09:47 PM

Originally Posted By: wiser_now
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Marta
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
[quote=Marta]


Trade a ballroom dancing class for a handgun class. I would dearly love to do both smile Then I could be a Jack Bauer spy in heels!

lol LOL!!! AS she breaks one of her heels...dammit!!! That is funny!


HAHA! I'm sure it would frighten my poor hubby half to death if I was dancing in heels and brandishing a handgun. I'm not known for being incredibly graceful!

This just came in my email and we are so going!

http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2016/w...gn=winteroflove



Given the discussion-of-late, I was understandably worried about visiting the link you provided. I *did* (mind you) but I was a-skeered. Just sayin'

Carry on!


lol lol lol

Can't much say I blame you.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 09:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda
okay, that's freaky...

lol, says the woman who's attended BDSM events, swinger's parties, been a regular performer in Rocky Horror Picture Show, done body painting at a modeling shoot out, served as a corset model, attended International Mr Leather (more than once!) and much more

I'm up for just about anything.


We may know some of the same people .....
Posted By: Miranda

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 09:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
Originally Posted By: Miranda
okay, that's freaky...

lol, says the woman who's attended BDSM events, swinger's parties, been a regular performer in Rocky Horror Picture Show, done body painting at a modeling shoot out, served as a corset model, attended International Mr Leather (more than once!) and much more

I'm up for just about anything.


We may know some of the same people .....


Let's take that up off the main forum then... lol. I don't want to scare any of these nice folks any more than necessary.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 09:50 PM

Originally Posted By: holdingontoit
Marta: The change of perspective you need to adopt if you wish to be happy is to stop thinking of projects as "useful" and "productive" but to think of fun time spent with hubby as "waste" or "selfish" or "unproductive".

Here is the "trick": if you do not add some fun time with hubby to your schedule, there is a good chance that you will not be able to continue doing the productive stuff. Why not? Because either you will have a breakdown or your marriage will fail. Or maybe both.

You are probably stuck in the thought that you are weak and that if you merely applied sufficient willpower you would be able to be productive close to 100% of the time. False. No one can be that way. You are human. You need time to relax and recharge. That is not being weak and selfish. That is being wise and gracious. Everyone has a breaking point. Wise people do not allow themselves to get too near theirs. You will likely find that you can do more good works and help additional deprived people if you allow yourself to enjoy your marriage rather than seeing it as only a vehicle to engage in service to others.

The more energy and goodwill you generate within yourself, the more you have to give others. The more you are burdened with "why can't I have more sex with my husband" or "how can we find time for our marriage when there are so many projects and obligations weighing us down", the less you have to give others. You probably can't see it from inside yourself. You are, after all, giving 100% of the time and energy you have. What you don't see is the additional energy you would have inside yourself if you were happier. And from where you are, the thing you need to get happier is more time spent alone with your H doing fun things.

Think of this as a compliment. There are plenty of people (myself included) to whom I would suggest spending more time helping others. Giving to charity. Getting outside themselves. You are not one of them. You already do enough for others. You need to learn to do more for yourself.

It is like the Giver and Taker. Being 100% a Giver is NOT good for a marriage. Everyone in every marriage needs to bring their Taker to the table some of the time. You do not allow your Taker to come to the table often enough. It seems you feel almost sinful if you allow your Taker to express itself. But it isn't wrong or sinful or selfish. It is smart. If you want to maximize what you can give away, you have to maximize what you have available. And I think you will find you have more available to give if you allow yourself to Take a little more first.


^^^ This.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/04/16 09:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Miranda


Let's take that up off the main forum then... lol. I don't want to scare any of these nice folks any more than necessary.


grin
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/05/16 01:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
^^^ This.


Hey, you knew they must allow an old eeyore like me to hang around for a reason. Even us blind monkeys type something useful on occasion.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/09/16 09:27 PM

Hold... I think I figured out my compulsive need to fix:

http://www.pete-walker.com/codependencyFawnResponse.htm


Also, this cycle of self talk is just so me...

http://www.pete-walker.com/managingAbandonDepression.htm
Here is an example of the layered processes of an emotional flashback. A complex PTSD sufferer wakes up feeling depressed. Because childhood experience has conditioned her to believe that she is unworthy and unacceptable in this state, she quickly becomes anxious and ashamed. This in turn activates her Inner Critic to goad her with perfectionistic and endangering messages. The critic clamors: "No wonder no one likes you. Get your lazy, worthless ass going or you'll end up as a wretched bag lady on the street"! Retraumatized by her own inner voice, she then launches into her most habitual 4F behavior. she focuses immediately on solving someone's else's problem and becomes servile, self-abnegating and ingratiating (Fawn/Codependent). Unfortunately this dynamic also commonly operates in reverse, creating perpetual motion cycles of internal trauma as 4F acting out also gives the critic endless material for self-hating criticism, which in turn amps up fear and shame and finally compounds the abandonment depression with a non-stop experience of self-abandonment.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/09/16 09:53 PM

Excellent self awareness!

Two things you can do today to start changing that dynamic?

P
Posted By: holdingontoit

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/09/16 11:14 PM

Oops.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/09/16 11:42 PM

Hold,

Why oops??

Penny,

I need to go back and print them and read them carefully. Some of it, I had already been working on. For example, it isn't my job to fix my husband. Even when he had a hard time around Christmas and called me panicked... I just told him to call his partner and went back to sleep. I haven't gotten in the middle of trying to fix his relationship with my middle one. I just repeat "You are not responsible for this over and over."

As far as the negative self talk... I'm noticing what events/things trigger it. I try to put on music. Yesterday I posted on a Facebook group of ladies that are working on boundaries about how the Devil was really saying some nasty things to me in my head... It helped to hear them say positive things. That is all I can think of off the top of my head. I will have to read them again more deeply and think about it...
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/10/16 06:35 PM

From the article you posted, Marta -

"A child who is never comforted when she is depressed has no model for developing a self-comforting response to her own depression."

If you like to read, you might try Frank Peretti's book, THIS PRESENT DARKNESS http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005WK6...oks&sr=1-1.

He does a great job of describing depression and discouragement as physical demons in a spiritual warfare. It really helped me short-circuit my negative self-talk, and it worked for years. When I feel discouraged, I picture the demon perched on my shoulder, and it goes away, almost like magic.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/10/16 07:17 PM

Thanks believer. I will check it out.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/10/16 07:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Hold,

Why oops??

Penny,

I need to go back and print them and read them carefully. Some of it, I had already been working on. For example, it isn't my job to fix my husband. Even when he had a hard time around Christmas and called me panicked... I just told him to call his partner and went back to sleep. I haven't gotten in the middle of trying to fix his relationship with my middle one. I just repeat "You are not responsible for this over and over."

As far as the negative self talk... I'm noticing what events/things trigger it. I try to put on music. Yesterday I posted on a Facebook group of ladies that are working on boundaries about how the Devil was really saying some nasty things to me in my head... It helped to hear them say positive things. That is all I can think of off the top of my head. I will have to read them again more deeply and think about it...


That's a good start!

Keep in mind, your brain is less likely to hear a negative (not, un, non) than a positive.

I think an excellent practice for you would be daily affirmations. These are positive statements about what you are building in your life.

For example:
I am strong and healthy
I am intelligent and make excellent choices
I love who I am

You create these - as present tense positive statements. The most powerful tool we have for transformation are the words we tell ourselves. Change your language - change your life.

Second, a gratitude journal. Write in it and read it every morning. The large and small things you are grateful for. And - how you can find gratitude in your current marital/life situation. I'm not saying it will be easy - I am saying it will change your life.... for the better.

xo

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/10/16 08:06 PM

Penny,

Smile...that is what I am having to do with my Bible study.. I am having to write down gratitudes every day. So yeah, I have a page full of things I am grateful for in my marriage.

We also have a vision statement. In the new woman of strength and dignity class, I wrote this statement and am supposed to read it many times throughout the day...

I AM A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY WHO OPERATES FROM A PLACE OF GOD-GIVEN STRENGTH, NOT FEAR. I GENTLY TELL THE TRUTH AND ASK FOR WHAT I NEED. I GIVE MYSELF AND OTHERS GRACE IF THEY HAVE A POOR REACTION TO THOSE TRUTHS/NEEDS. I ADDRESS PROBLEMS WHEN THEY ARE SMALL AND WORK KINDLY AND GENTLY WITH OTHERS TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS. I EMPATHIZE WITH THOSE THAT ARE STRUGGLING BUT AM ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY JOY IN THE LORD. I RELEASE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS OR MAKE THEM HAPPY. I LOOK ON MY WEAKNESSES AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY GOD’S STRENGTH AND GRACE.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/10/16 11:57 PM

Hi Everyone.

A couple of announcements before we get rollicking this evening.

If you have not seen it, my new article for Marriage Advocates is available here:

For Better or Worse

I just finished setting up my Twitter account (I know, I know .... welcome to the 21st century) you can follow me @PennyTupy

And, finally, I will be on vacation Wed 2/24. I'm not sure about Wed 3/2 - we haven't finalized when we're coming back. As soon as I know I will post it. While I'm gone you are welcome to continue to post questions. The board will keep an eye on things so try to stay out of trouble wink

xo

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta
Penny,

Smile...that is what I am having to do with my Bible study.. I am having to write down gratitudes every day. So yeah, I have a page full of things I am grateful for in my marriage.

We also have a vision statement. In the new woman of strength and dignity class, I wrote this statement and am supposed to read it many times throughout the day...

I AM A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY WHO OPERATES FROM A PLACE OF GOD-GIVEN STRENGTH, NOT FEAR. I GENTLY TELL THE TRUTH AND ASK FOR WHAT I NEED. I GIVE MYSELF AND OTHERS GRACE IF THEY HAVE A POOR REACTION TO THOSE TRUTHS/NEEDS. I ADDRESS PROBLEMS WHEN THEY ARE SMALL AND WORK KINDLY AND GENTLY WITH OTHERS TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS. I EMPATHIZE WITH THOSE THAT ARE STRUGGLING BUT AM ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY JOY IN THE LORD. I RELEASE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS OR MAKE THEM HAPPY. I LOOK ON MY WEAKNESSES AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY GOD’S STRENGTH AND GRACE.



Sweet! Sweet! Sweet!!

Are you including marital challenges as things you are also grateful for? I do health and wellness coaching as well and one of the things I have people will illnesses do is keep a gratitude journal that is specifically targeted to what, about their illness they are grateful for. No one likes it - to begin with but it is a powerful way to claim your own power and to change your perspective.

Do you also have affirmations about things that you specifically want to improve for yourself? So, for me, I have one that says, "Choosing healthy fruits and vegetables makes me happy." Some days, I'm not really sure I believe it and that's ok. Affirmations are for things we're creating in our lives - so they should be a little hard to believe.

Would it be ok if I made two suggestions on your lovely piece above?

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:46 AM

Yes, I would love suggestions!
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:47 AM

I was reading an article yesterday that suggests social media and smart phone use is a greater cause of divorce than infidelity.

Quote:
elity, according to figures published by Accord, the Catholic Church’s marriage advisory service.

Between 2011 and 2015, phone use or texting rose from 16 per cent to 21 per cent as a highly relevant cause of problems in relationships.

Over the same period, infidelity as a cause of problems rose from 18 per cent to 20 per cent.

However, the greatest (at 58 per cent) cause of problems in relationships in 2015, as consistent with previous years, was “not listening to or ignoring” a partner, and “anxiety/stress”.


http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-af...elity-1.2528589

I have to ask, how much of that smart phone/social media use is part of an affair in progress?

So. What do you think?

P
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:49 AM

I love your article, BTW...

Had a break in between children's choir and adult choir since I'm not on praise team this week. I have to leave in 10 minutes. Hubby is on call, so when I get home at 9, I may have a chance to get back on before you sign off... If he is home, I will visit with him and just check in the morning.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:54 AM



Originally Posted By: Marta


I AM A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY WHO OPERATES FROM A PLACE OF GOD-GIVEN STRENGTH, NOT FEAR.

I GENTLY TELL THE TRUTH AND ASK FOR WHAT I NEED.

I GIVE MYSELF AND OTHERS GRACE IF THEY HAVE A POOR REACTION TO THOSE TRUTHS/NEEDS.

I ADDRESS PROBLEMS WHEN THEY ARE SMALL AND WORK KINDLY AND GENTLY WITH OTHERS TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS.

I EMPATHIZE WITH THOSE THAT ARE STRUGGLING BUT and AM ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY JOY IN THE LORD.

I RELEASE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS OR MAKE THEM HAPPY.

I LOOK ON MY WEAKNESSES AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY GOD’S STRENGTH AND GRACE.



You operate from a place of strength! Keep fear out of the equation and out of your consciousness. Don't give it a place here.

You give yourself and others grace. Period. No need to qualify it.

You empathize with those who are struggling. AND.... when you say "but" you invalidate what came before. Honor it by saying "and". (I work hard to do this at every opportunity. Sometimes I literally have to force the words out of my mouth!)
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
I was reading an article yesterday that suggests social media and smart phone use is a greater cause of divorce than infidelity.

Quote:
elity, according to figures published by Accord, the Catholic Church’s marriage advisory service.

Between 2011 and 2015, phone use or texting rose from 16 per cent to 21 per cent as a highly relevant cause of problems in relationships.

Over the same period, infidelity as a cause of problems rose from 18 per cent to 20 per cent.

However, the greatest (at 58 per cent) cause of problems in relationships in 2015, as consistent with previous years, was “not listening to or ignoring” a partner, and “anxiety/stress”.


http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-af...elity-1.2528589

I have to ask, how much of that smart phone/social media use is part of an affair in progress?

So. What do you think?

P





I do not about affair stuff, but it definitely effects communication. For example, when my husband first started his practice, he had a pager. So if he was on call, he had the pager with him. So we would find a phone for him to call in. Now, his partners get him to ask questions 24/7. They can send him an x-ray to look at...ask to change the schedule, do a patient, etc.. Before, when we had no pager we just had us..no one could find us. Now, I often feel like I compete with the phone. I'm not glued to my phone at all. I often leave it somewhere and have to figure out where to find it. I do not do any electronics when I am with him and try to give him my full attention.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta
I love your article, BTW...

Had a break in between children's choir and adult choir since I'm not on praise team this week. I have to leave in 10 minutes. Hubby is on call, so when I get home at 9, I may have a chance to get back on before you sign off... If he is home, I will visit with him and just check in the morning.


Thank you!

I'll watch for you tomorrow. Even if I only have time to see the posts in my email I'll know to check in smile
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 12:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


Originally Posted By: Marta


I AM A WOMAN OF STRENGTH AND DIGNITY WHO OPERATES FROM A PLACE OF GOD-GIVEN STRENGTH, NOT FEAR.

I GENTLY TELL THE TRUTH AND ASK FOR WHAT I NEED.

I GIVE MYSELF AND OTHERS GRACE IF THEY HAVE A POOR REACTION TO THOSE TRUTHS/NEEDS.

I ADDRESS PROBLEMS WHEN THEY ARE SMALL AND WORK KINDLY AND GENTLY WITH OTHERS TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS.

I EMPATHIZE WITH THOSE THAT ARE STRUGGLING BUT and AM ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY JOY IN THE LORD.

I RELEASE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS OR MAKE THEM HAPPY.

I LOOK ON MY WEAKNESSES AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY GOD’S STRENGTH AND GRACE.



You operate from a place of strength! Keep fear out of the equation and out of your consciousness. Don't give it a place here.

You give yourself and others grace. Period. No need to qualify it.

You empathize with those who are struggling. AND.... when you say "but" you invalidate what came before. Honor it by saying "and". (I work hard to do this at every opportunity. Sometimes I literally have to force the words out of my mouth!)


I see and agree with every one of them but the poor reaction... That is my problem. If I even think he will frown, look disappointed or have any bad reaction to what I say or think, I will not say it. So I need something in there about saying truth without caring... not sure if that is what I mean about their reaction. Does that make sense. So much of what I do or say is for people's reactions...so instinctual that I don't even realize I'm doing it. I forget what I think and just morph into the other person. Hard to explain, but it is like I don't even think what I used to think... Not sure if that even makes sense.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 01:06 AM

Yep. I understand.

Lesseee.....what if we broke it up a little so the grace and compassion part are not qualified?

I honor and value myself and my needs regardless of the reactions of others.

I offer grace and compassion to myself and others.

Or, I honor myself by offering grace and compassion to others.

Or, I honor myself by living compassionately in grace.

??
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 01:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Marta


I do not about affair stuff, but it definitely effects communication. For example, when my husband first started his practice, he had a pager. So if he was on call, he had the pager with him. So we would find a phone for him to call in. Now, his partners get him to ask questions 24/7. They can send him an x-ray to look at...ask to change the schedule, do a patient, etc.. Before, when we had no pager we just had us..no one could find us. Now, I often feel like I compete with the phone. I'm not glued to my phone at all. I often leave it somewhere and have to figure out where to find it. I do not do any electronics when I am with him and try to give him my full attention.


B and I are both technophiles so is an issue with us. We are both guilty of sitting together at the table completely engrossed in our phones/tablets/laptops. We have an agreement that when we're together we put the electronics away - but it doesn't always happen that way.

I can see it being an issue that causes a lot of conflict. And, I've been the betrayed partner in my past marriage and I can say no irritation about too much fb on the phone even comes close. Another woman on fb on the phone? That would be a deal breaker.
Posted By: Marta

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/11/16 01:16 PM

Hi Penny,

Oh, yeah that would be a deal breaker for me as well. My husband doesn't do Facebook. I only started FB a year ago, really for our mission work. Many of our newer participants communicate this way. The only people I follow are our youth minister and pastor's wife. My other 200 "friends" I only check if I am stuck somewhere with nothing else to do...so maybe every couple of weeks or so.. ( Or if my mother in law asks me if I saw what she posted. Smile.)

For my husband it is communication with his PA or partners ( all male) or mission work stuff. The only web stuff he does is reading RV websites or his latest obsession Hickok45 videos as he demonstrates his latest gun ( He is responsible for his last several purchases.)

Thanks again for the insight. Have a good week.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 12:17 AM

Hello and happy Wednesday everyone.

Tonight I'd like to talk about affair risks. What are some of the situations and behaviors that put us on the slippery slope?

Looking forward to your input. And, as always, any questions or thoughts on any topic are welcome!

P
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 12:55 AM

So, what are risk factors? I think at a very basic level we could talk about situations and behaviors that put us at risk. And, possibly, what happens when the two collide.

Risky situations are, most typically, times when we are experiencing greater than normal stress and our emotional connection to our spouse is lessened. These could be good times as well as more difficult.

An exciting new job is a wonderful life event - and it comes with new stress. Ditto with a baby. Or building/moving into a new house. I'm sure you can think of many more.

When our ordinary routine is disrupted sometimes one of the first things to go is our one on one quality time with our spouse. It's so easy, when things are good and we're feeling connected / working as a team to take it for granted and let it slide while we sort out our new routines. And, really, there's nothing wrong with that .... as long as we have a firm timeline for re-establishing our couple time AND for avoiding risky behaviors at the same time.

Other risky situations are the more difficult times every marriage comes up against. Aging and ailing parents, job loss, financial difficulties, kids in trouble, illness of one of the spouses, and so on. Sometimes these situations disrupt our couple time routines and we feel as if we are ships passing in the night. Other times, we can be thrown together almost 24/7 and find we're too irritated and frustrated to want to spend quality time together.

It seems to me, and you may feel differently about it, it's more difficult to create a time frame for re-establishing quality couple time during the latter situations than the more positive change times of stress. And, again, as long as we can recognize that these are risky situations and not get involved in risky behaviors we're probably going to be ok.

And then, of course, there are those times when multiple stressors seem to hit all at once. We have a baby, our spouse changes jobs, and we decide to move into our dream house the week before a parent falls and breaks a hip. We've probably all been there.
Posted By: Ace

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 02:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
So, what are risk factors? I think at a very basic level we could talk about situations and behaviors that put us at risk. And, possibly, what happens when the two collide.



Not sure if you're still here, Penny but I wanted to say "thanks" to you for all you've contributed to MA. I'm not around much...hope to be back more soon, but I've checked in occasionally and noticed your Wed. evening sessions.

My situation is different from most in that I had what I called AEA's or "Almost Ea's" because I was vulnerable due to a disconnection nearly from day one. (Story linked to my sig line.)

I got my non-intimate jollies from other guys and told my H about it/them. He didn't care....he almost liked the fact that I was able to talk with other guys so he didn't have to invest in our R.

Eventually, he got lonely, vulnerable, met OW and, as they say, rewrote our marital history.

For me, a major risk was a willingness to remain disconnected, which lead to both of us getting emotional needs met by others.

I shared my stuff; he kept his a secret. That's why I called my scenario "almost EA's".

I know, weird, eh?

Again, thanks for being here.

Ace
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 02:53 AM

Risky behaviors are, to some degree, going to be different for different people. Understanding your own areas of weakness is important. Or, if you like, having a clear picture of what's attractive to you so you know what to avoid.

For example, I like really smart people who are a little offbeat, funny, physically attractive. But, no matter how pretty someone is, if he doesn't engage my brain it's not going to go anywhere. So, for me, smart, attractive men, who think outside the box would be a weak point - especially under any of the situations we talked about above.


And what starts the slippery slope? Well, it's the same sorts of things we did when we were dating: conversation - especially about topics with any kind of emotional import, recreation, and shared experiences with high emotional content. We fall in love with people we feel good being around and with whom we share deeply emotional events. I can't tell you how many times someone has told me about their affair, or their spouse's affair, that began because they were talking to a friend or co-worker about an emotional life event such as a kid in trouble or a parent. And, of course, the big no no is talking about your marital issues with someone of your sexual preference.

When we understand those things we can begin to make a list or graphic of different levels of risky behaviors. In some addiction recovery communities the concept of Green, Yellow, and Red Light behaviors is used.

Green Light behaviors are always ok

Yellow Light behaviors are risky when the marriage is experiencing a stressor which creates a distance between partners

Red Light behaviors are always risky
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 03:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Ace
Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy
So, what are risk factors? I think at a very basic level we could talk about situations and behaviors that put us at risk. And, possibly, what happens when the two collide.



Not sure if you're still here, Penny but I wanted to say "thanks" to you for all you've contributed to MA. I'm not around much...hope to be back more soon, but I've checked in occasionally and noticed your Wed. evening sessions.

My situation is different from most in that I had what I called AEA's or "Almost Ea's" because I was vulnerable due to a disconnection nearly from day one. (Story linked to my sig line.)

I got my non-intimate jollies from other guys and told my H about it/them. He didn't care....he almost liked the fact that I was able to talk with other guys so he didn't have to invest in our R.

Eventually, he got lonely, vulnerable, met OW and, as they say, rewrote our marital history.

For me, a major risk was a willingness to remain disconnected, which lead to both of us getting emotional needs met by others.

I shared my stuff; he kept his a secret. That's why I called my scenario "almost EA's".

I know, weird, eh?

Again, thanks for being here.

Ace


Hi Ace,

Thank you for your kind words and warm welcome smile

Interesting you should mention your AEAs; I had a friend many years ago who, I believe, did the same sort of thing. She had male friends that she kind of adopted for things like hiking or shopping or gaming etc. I don't believe there was ever anything physical or even overtly romantic (although I could be wrong, I never asked) just recreational. Her husband was also not all that available or enthusiastic about recreational needs and I don't know that he cared all that much that she had these other friendships. They are still married and it's been .... oh my .... 40 years.

So what is the status of your H's affair and your marriage now?

P
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 03:13 AM

My husband's affair began when he was walking our dog and saw a neighbor crying on her porch. She was distraught because the fighting was getting heavy in Iraq and her husband was deployed there.

Being the caring man that he was, he stopped to comfort her...
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 03:16 AM

And then what ....
Posted By: Ace

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 03:48 AM

.
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 03:48 AM

And then he kept walking the dog and checking on the neighbor. Her husband came home safe and sound 8 months later, and she left him and her 12-year-old daughter to move in with my husband.

Your idea of people bonding over very emotional things made me think of it. She was afraid for her husband, and my husband was very supportive of our soldiers.

Like you said, it was a slippery slope.

I hung on for 3 and a half years, and then divorced him. The OW dumped my husband the week our divorce was final. Her husband had divorced her by that time.
Posted By: Ace

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 02/18/16 04:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Penny_Tupy


So what is the status of your H's affair and your marriage now?

P


It's been 10 years this spring since my H's online/phone/US Mail EA. They never met in real life but they had phone sex, exchanged trinkets, he rented her a PO box and took her emails at work where I had no access......until I did....looked online while at his work to find something and....voila! D-Day 2 occurred.

There were a total of 4 D-Days in 6 months and I gave up.

He had a sudden awakening when he realized I was serious and he defogged ...or I should say "started" to defog rather quickly.

I gave him an ultimatum and he said he'd do anything to help me heal for as long as it took. I found MB, started posting, called Dr./Mrs. Harley, signed up for one of the last MB Weekends and we attended in early 2007.

I set a high bar and did not expect H to follow through....but he did. He even made the MC appointments to see our really tough MC on a regular basis for several months.

Anyhow, 10 years later, we're still together and doing well for the most part, but recently I've been challenged by triggers, which I'm beginning to realize will never ever totally go away. I'm still learning tools to deal with them....how to recreate memories....trying to focus on the future and not dwell on the past.

H understands this process could possibly last the rest of our lives. I thought that if I quit posting and reading about affairs so often, it might lessen my triggers and it has to a certain extent.

Our tough MC says we should see him every year for a tune-up whether we need it or not. It's been over 18 months so we're getting ready to see MC to help us with some recent bumps in the road. I've posted some of it on my recovery thread....(sorry, can't remember how to link to it) but it's on the recovery forum.

Gotta run but again, thanks for all your help.

Ace
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/01/16 02:32 PM

Hi everyone,

We will be travelling tomorrow night during our usual AMA time. If you have questions or comments before then feel free to post. I'll do my best to look in earlier in the day if I have internet access.

Otherwise, see you all next week!

P
Posted By: believer

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/10/16 03:08 AM

Hey, Penny -

A quick question for when you're back.

How does a person handle horrible or no gifts from their spouse on birthdays or holidays? I've been chatting to another member here about it and really can't give advice.

In both of my marriages, my husbands started out good until we married. Then they started disappointing me with their gifts or lack of them.

Material things aren't that important to me, but I need to know that my partner is thinking about me and trying to please me. And I'm easy to please, but seem to have set the bar too low.

I'm talking about little to nothing on important holidays, and I'm not going to buy "he just doesn't think holidays are that important", because he clearly did while courting me and also did with the OW.
Posted By: right here waiting

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/10/16 03:58 AM

Hey, everyone, we've just gotten word that Penny has had a family emergency that had her in attendance at the hospital instead of interacting with us on this thread.

Not sure when she will be able to resume discussions here, but we'll keep you posted as we are updated. In the meantime, we ask for your thoughts, prayers and good wishes for her and her family.
Posted By: Penny_Tupy

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/16/16 02:25 PM

Good morning, everyone. Thanks to RHW for posting the above announcement for me. I will be here this evening, although likely for an abbreviated time. Looking forward to resuming our discussion.

xo

P
Posted By: SmilingWife

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/16/16 11:35 PM

I have an issue. My husband and I are not of one mind on how to handle our money. Maybe someone who knows our story can tell a brief summary of it. But I don't know how to approach him now.
Posted By: MaidUpName

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/31/16 07:48 AM

I hope everything's ok with Penny - I miss catching up with her discussions on a Thursday morning.
Posted By: AntigoneRisen

Re: Penny's Ask Me Anything 12-16-15 - 03/31/16 02:22 PM

She will check in and respond as she can, though that may not be often.
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