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Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 24th July 2018, 8:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: SC USA
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Looking for unbiased thoughts

First time posting, wish I had found these forums much sooner. This will be long and I do apologize for that- what I am hoping for is an unbiased opinion or ideas on what to do/how to proceed.
My husband is having an EA...I’m going to “timeline” this as it may be too long for most if I type everything out. Let me start out by saying there isn’t anything about this man that I do not adore- I don’t typically go for blonde hair/blue eyes but he sends me to the moon! He was everything and more- intelligent, kind, compassionate, caring, gentle, sweet, funny and nerdy, a bit on the shy side. Not afraid to voice his opinion on things, and more emotionally in-touch than any other man I have encountered. He is the man who will cry looking at pictures of puppies and babies. My viking, my Bear. He accepted me as I was and never asked me to change- was fine with me not wearing makeup or dressing up except for special occasions, I was overweight, etc. More perspective: There's an age gap -he's 25, I'm 38. I'm his very first relationship, his first kiss, first everything. I have a 13 yo daughter (he calls her his bonus daughter, they adore each other), been a single parent since pregnancy until he joined us. We were “that” couple- incredibly affectionate, touchy-feely whether at home or out and about, did everything together and we had an incredible sex life. I will admit he initiated most of the touchy-feely contact as I am more reserved- I love and crave affection but it’s difficult for me to express it. I am a Capricorn, ISTP-T (16 personalities Virtuoso). Before anyone jumps off the handle at me: I was extremely reserved about his age when I found out how old he was. It took a lot of convincing on his end to bring me around to looking past it, and yes it did affect how I interacted with him physically when we first met face to face.

2012 -Met online over an mmorpg. Became friends, gaming buddies, eventually more. By Sept 2013 we were officially “together” and working towards being in the same country (i’m USA, he’s Sweden). We married in 2015, he had to return to Sweden Nov 30 2015 for what was supposed to be a 3 month wait (ended up being 14 months). June 2016 I purchased us a home (I had been trying to purchase a home for the better part of 4 years at this point) and moved (alone- he was unhappy he wasn’t there to help move). Oct 2016 he told me he was getting depressed and confessed thoughts of suicide- I tried my best to talk him through it when all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and hold him close. Nov 2016 I went to the hospital, he was a wreck since he wasn’t there. He landed stateside Jan 2017. First few months were good- we were actively trying to conceive but then I started to have some female issues. Stress about work and finances- he wasn’t making any effort to find a job or begin driving. We had one car to share, and I know that I began to push him about getting his license and finding work as we were quickly blowing through the money I had saved. Finally got his license in June (he cried) and a 3rd shift job at a warehouse (he cried then too). We decided on 3rd shift until we could get a second car, and then he planned to move to first shift. Very physical work and it took a toll on him. I did my best to mitigate and help, but he seemed to resent anything I tried or suggested. We bought a new car, he applied to transfer to days but was not accepted. Began to exhibit signs of depression in late October (crying in the car/on the phone, in his sleep). I began looking for things to help but again, he seemed to resent my efforts. By Thanksgiving he was telling me how much he hated his job but didn’t want to quit since we had the car payment, yet wasn’t willing to look for another job. By December, he had lost roughly 125 lbs (he was 355 lbs when we married, down to 220 on a 6’5” frame).

Dec 2017 is when things began changing. The first week he was invited out to eat breakfast with coworkers (his first invite out)- he didn’t want to go but I encouraged him as I had been hoping he would make friends. The second week he was no longer acting like he hated work, now was laughing and eager to go in, would leave an extra 15 minutes early. He began staying on his phone, Facebook and Messenger constantly (he was never a social media person, I had to beg him to accept my friend request on FB years before!). Suddenly he was more self-conscious of his clothing, his hairstyle. The messaging became an issue just before Christmas. We were laying in bed, had been talking and cuddling a bit- he had stayed up an hour later than normal for us to have time together before I left for the day (he normally would have been asleep). His phone kept pinging, I figured it was a friend from Sweden, but then I noticed the look on his face when reading the messages. It was a very intimate smile he only ever used after we made love, his “I love you” smile. So I asked who was messaging him. Turns out it was a female coworker, I will call her A. We discussed the frequency of the messaging, after a few minutes he handed me his phone and began crying. I told him I trusted him, and handed his phone back without looking, and he went to sleep. I couldn’t shake the feeling in my gut, so that night I met him at his work for lunch, and we went through his messenger convo with A. It was bad. Within the space of three weeks, he had friended her on FB (he sent the request), was telling her she was his best friend, how special she was to him, she was so beautiful, how she would only ever see the good side of him because of how he felt about her… some of the things were the very words he had said to me over the years. I was sick and heartbroken. He cried, we went directly home to talk it out. I asked him what he was thinking, he was cheating- he admitted he knew it was wrong but didn’t know why he allowed it to continue. He vowed to fix it, he loved me and wanted to give me the world and I meant everything to him. Said he had an emotional/mental breakdown at work during the first week of December and she was the one who was there to pick him up. I asked why he didn’t call me, I would have gone to him immediately… he said he didn’t think I would care. No words for how bad hearing that hurt- I can’t even imagine his pain at that moment. He wrote her a message explaining how he had betrayed my trust and their friendship couldn’t continue. She responded back with sad faces and crying faces, began approaching him at work complaining about the evil wife not letting him have friends…he finally blocked her on FB and messenger. He volunteered to install a family GPS app on his phone (I use it on my daughter’s phone) so we could always see where the other was at. We had complete transparency (we had always shared passwords on devices so that was nothing new).

A bit about her. 40 years old twice divorced, has a biracial teenage daughter with the same name as my biracial teenage daughter (even born same month). Similar to me in many ways: she’s artsy-crafty/DIY, wide range of musical interest, similar tastes/opinions in nearly everything. Same natural hair color (but she dyes hers darker). She wears alot of makeup, whereas I wear little to none except for special occasions. Unfortunately she also has a history of being involved with married men- multiple confirmed affairs with coworkers at that warehouse, including a manager who elevated her to her position before leaving the state to save his own marriage. My husband admitted he was aware and she had confirmed the affairs but didn’t see it as a red flag, as “she’s so sweet and genuine, she couldn’t really do it again, she told me the last one nearly destroyed her”.

He attempted to go NC with her 3 times after the initial “we can’t be friends” message. Each time she approached him upset about not being “allowed” to be his friend. It was a cycle: We’d begin to do better, then suddenly he was distant again, his attitude and behaviour would change. I’d ask if he was talking to A again, he’d start pulling complaints about our marriage out of thin air. Things he’d never voiced before, he’d cry about being “flawed” and “broken”, ask if I thought he “was okay” and how he was “an evil man” and a “bad person”, say that he got married too early (but he pushed getting married??) and eventually leave the house, returning a few hours later with his list of complaints and promises to do better, tears and “do you think I’m okay?”. At first it was “we didn’t have quality time” -so I made the time. Cancelled all my commitments for my daughter’s extracurricular activities so I could be home with him. Started going out to his work every night to spend his 30 minute lunches with him (it’s a 35 minute drive, his lunches started at midnight, I would get home at 1:15 am only to be up at 4:15 for my own work). Next time it was "you didn't help me with x,y,or z" so I took a step back and started looking at what I could do to better help out- fixed. Third time it was “you were mean to me, said things that hurt, condescending, judgemental, etc”. So once again I began self-examination to see where I could have possibly done or said anything and I apologized for the times I may have made him feel inadequate. In fairness, I can only pinpoint ONE time I said something mean- I am guessing it was the tone or words used at other times that made him feel that way. I began watching my words, voice, volume. We began marriage counseling, each time he began talking to her again started acting strange and he would confirm it and cry, one time telling me she “has the most beautiful eyes” he’s ever seen (?!) and he adores her. In late January he sent her a final NC message and I sent her one as well, asking her to please respect us. She said she would… and then went to my husband at work and cried about how the message I sent “hurt her” and it was “cruel” and she would forever be damaged by me. He continued to see her at work and lied to me about it, declined an offer to switch to day shift and told me he “forgot” about it, disabled the GPS app and said it “made his skin crawl” (turns out he was going out to eat with her after work and didn’t want me to find out). Around that same time he began making a big deal about our joint checking and how he felt I controlled the money (he had a debit card, a credit card and full access to our savings?). On Feb 17 he told me he wasn’t sure he wanted to have a baby anymore, he was worried I was “too old”. Feb 21 I got devastating news from my OBGYN- possible cancer. They were scheduling me for a hysteroscopy with anticipation of a hysterectomy. He was a mess… we went to the beach that weekend. Sat morning I went to wake him up after a long night of romance, lovemaking and walking on the beach only to have a text message from an unsaved number pop up as I was leaning over the bed. It was her. During conversation he accidentally called me by her name through his tears, told me “I wish you could feel how I feel when she talks to me”, admitted he gave her his cell # after she told him she was suicidal- earlier that week rumors were rampant about how much of a homewrecker she was, how she was getting my husband to cheat. She told him she couldn’t take it and wanted to kill herself, so he told her to text when she had those feelings… she never stopped messaging. We both cried all the way home, held hands the entire time (5 hour drive, we always held hands while driving). He refused to cut off contact with her again. He started acting more and more strange- the man I married, my best friend, was becoming a complete stranger to me. We would go out and I could tell he wasn’t there with me. He never wanted to talk- conversation waned, when he did talk it was like speaking to a completely different person. Sentence structure, topics- he was using words and phrases he wouldn’t have used before. He stopped calling me the pet names he gave me. He shaved his beard (something I loved, he used to brush it daily, but she prefers clean shaven men), cut his hair, changed his clothing style and began listening to country music (her favorite). He told me he stopped every morning to pray to God (on her advice- he was non-religious, I never ever pushed God on him as I respected his religious views). Stopped referring to “home” - it was now “the house”. I took him to get his own checking account and took him off the original. He came home on the 27th with a new keyring- a leather wrist wrap. It was “a gift” from her. I told him how it bothered me, and he cried and asked if it bothered me because he cherished it, or because it was from her. On the 28th, he told me he “needed space” and didn’t know if he was “strong enough” to deal with my medical issue. Said he was confused as to how he could love two women at the same time, he had never dreamed about anyone but me but now he was dreaming of her. Said he needed to “find himself” and was afraid if he allowed himself to hold/kiss/be with me that he would “lose himself” in me and never find out who he is. Said he wasn't sure if he loved me or was afraid of being deported, that he worried our love was "conditional". Told me he could see all the changes I had been making but needed time. On March 16, he took his wedding ring off and told me he was moving out immediately after I read through his text messages with her. Said everything there could be “taken out of context” and even though I “had a right to read them” he was angry. Left the house at 8 pm, returned at 3:30am and threw his ring at me in bed, crawled into the shower and cried. Told me I was a “prison warden” and made him miserable. Made arrangements later that day to rent a room with a coworker. Said he only expected to be gone a maximum of 6 weeks while he worked on himself. Those plans fell through. March 21 was her last day at the warehouse- she quit due to “not being able to handle being labeled a homewrecker”. He came home late that morning. March 22 was my surgery- he refused to allow anyone else to take me (“I’m your husband it’s my responsibility”) but refused to comfort me.

On March 31/April 1, he asked for a divorce while we were at my brother’s house for Easter. Said some hurtful things, his reason for the divorce was because he's "tired of pretending to love" me. Said he had been falling out of love with me since May 2017. Cried the whole weekend but insisted on getting up to watch the sunrise and hold me each morning- we were married at sunrise. It’s our thing. Called me his wife, his first love, was very affectionate. Has since said that's not what he meant since he was drunk when he said it, he loves me as a person and thinks I'm an amazing woman but isn't in love with me anymore. When we got home, he fell back into jerk mode so I asked him to move to the spare bedroom unless he wanted to start being nicer. He has since referenced how I “kicked him out of his own bedroom” as if he did nothing wrong. He cried himself to sleep every night- I could hear him, yet if I tried to talk to him he yelled at me, called me names. He was always mean and angry towards him. Refused to smile, only gave me dirty looks and one work responses if I spoke to him at all. On April 9 at 5am he totaled our first car. He called me for the first time in weeks and I dropped everything to go to him. We rented a car for a week while insurance was deciding, during this time he used that vehicle to go out with A. Then we had to share one car for almost 3 weeks. He accused me of not changing after all when I told him I was not okay with him taking my car to go out to dinner with HER, went from "we can possibly reconcile once he has found himself” to "no hope of reconciliation". We purchased another car for him -I allowed him to choose it and he insisted it be titled and registered in his name, since he’s here in the US with “no security” and “has nothing”. I’m on the title as a lienholder. On April 18th he called me while on his way to work and asked me to shut his pc down (he never forgets to turn it off)- he had left his FB messenger open to his conversation with her on his desktop- she had sent him an image that said “sometimes the love of your life comes after the mistake of your life” to which he responded “Don’t I know it” with a kissy face. I cried all night.

By this time, I had lost 60lbs due to the distress and strain. I cried at the drop of a hat, couldn’t focus. My work was suffering, and my daughter was noticing things were wrong. She was distressed about “dad” suddenly staying in the spare room, and why are you both crying all the time? She noticed his attitude towards me was shifted, and it began to affect her in disturbing ways.

April 24th I got news my daughter had been sexually assaulted at school. Spent the night in the ER with her, texted him as a courtesy and he about lost it at work. April 27th we went out to dinner, had a great time, laughing and joking like we used to. Right before we left for home, he asked me for a kiss... we kissed for 10 minutes. He hadn’t kissed me since Easter. On the way home, he told me he "hasn't treated me right" and asked if I would still allow him to be a dad to my daughter. We had a great weekend altogether, but on April 29th he told me it was “an anomaly” but went ahead and made plans with me to go see Avengers the following weekend. May 4th I cursed at him for the first time when he told me he was going to watch Avengers that evening with coworkers instead, said they had invited me to go but he didn’t want me there. He missed the show due to traffic, came home and cried- he was "looking forward to not being in this effing house" and other mean things. I had already decided to take myself out that night since he had abandoned me, so I invited him to join me. He did, after telling me I “suck the life out of him” among others. Strangely enough, he had a good time out with me that night. May 5th, he told me the reason he had so much fun with me the prior weekend was because we were able to go out and “just be friends”. May 11, he had a job interview- he came out of our bathroom wearing a new bracelet, and when I asked about it he said it was a gift from her. When he saw the hurt on my face, he got angry & reminded me that he had a tattoo I drew permanently inked on his skin, then left. On the 12th we went to watch the Avengers movie, later on that night had sex for the first time in a few weeks, during which he proceeded to tell me he didn’t give a **** about me. May 13 I found every love note I have ever written him shoved into the center console of my car- he used to carry them in his wallet- this was also his first day on day shift. May 17 he wasn’t home for dinner (he went out to eat with her). We argued later how he was still married and living under our marital roof, he shouldn’t be dating- he said it’s not a date as they arrive in different cars, and don’t leave together. He said dates mean arriving and leaving together, having sex later like we did- I told him no, that’s called being a married couple! On the 24th, he was leaving to go eat with her again. He said it was going to be an every Thursday thing, except for the following week as it was my daughter’s birthday. I told him if he was planning on dating her and taking her out to eat then he needed to be out of the house within a month’s time. He looked at me and left. Came home that night wanting to know why I asked him to go. I told him that I don’t get to heal until he’s gone. Sunday the 27th I had a severe breakdown while driving, resulted in me getting my very first ticket ever (and an immediate two week suspension from work!). The next day I sought out a counselor to begin addressing my mental and emotional issues and attempt to help myself recover/heal.

During all this time, he would lay beside me on the bed whenever possible. If he was gaming and I was laying on the bed, he would get up and come lay with me, mirroring whatever position I was in. If I was laying on my belly, he would drape himself over the top of me. Occasionally he would reach out and poke me, sometimes initiate conversation, but mostly just stare at the ceiling, at whatever I was looking at, or at me. He told his gaming friends we were getting a divorce- after awhile he (finally) admitted it was 90% his fault and that there was another woman involved, but she was “just a friend”. My family is aware what is going on- he refuses to tell his mother or brother.

May 31, on my daughter’s birthday we went out and adopted a puppy. This was to fulfill a long-standing promise I had made as he (and my daughter) desperately wanted a dog. He had never been allowed pets growing up as his siblings are allergic (turns out he is too- we have 3 cats and now a dog). That evening after we set her kennel up he laid on our bed and cried, and then asked if he could return to our bedroom. From this point forward, he stopped wearing the bracelet A gave him, the messaging decreased (contact on FB and text is still there), he started leaving his phone on his desk instead of keeping it in his hand, his attitude in general began to shift. Still not back to the same man I love so deeply… but not the monster that borrowed his body. He began looking for another job, asking for my input. I have told him time and again I would support whatever work he wanted to do, as long as it made him happy. He started cuddling me on the couch, finding reasons to spend time with me, etc. He still doesn’t tell me he loves me, and has only called me beautiful once (the other night he told the puppy “you’re just as beautiful as momma!”). Late June he suggested we move out to where my brother and his wife are (something I have been talking about for a year now)- said he has no ties to this area and if that’s where I wanted us to be then that’s where we would go. Two nights ago we were in bed talking about weight gain/loss and fitness and I mentioned I would like to lose a further 40 lbs in the next year or so to which he said “well maybe I should do something else to stress you out, that worked well before!” (such a bad joke- I’m hoping it was a joke!). Still won’t properly kiss me, put his arms around me fully or hold my hand. Has not brought up divorce again, or moving out.

I’m pretty lost as to how to proceed. I do not want a divorce- I forgave him for the EA as I can completely understand how something like that can happen, have spent countless hours analyzing anything I have said or done in the past that could have contributed to this situation and changed what behaviours I have identified as problematic. I have apologized for my shortcomings and begged his forgiveness for hurting him multiple times. My worry is even though he has “said” he was sorry, he was never really able to follow through on the promises he made and has not demonstrated that he IS sorry. I don’t want to be a doormat to him- I have never been one before in previous relationships. I walked away from the last man who cheated on me (daughter’s bio father, short term rebound relationship), and the one prior (4 years together) I threw out immediately. I come from a broken family- mother and father divorced when I was 2, mother brought my stepfather home at 3 and he never left. Alcoholic and abusive, had a brother born when I was 10 so ended up “raising” him as well as my sister while my mother worked 3 jobs and my stepfather drank himself away. Mother passed at 17… a stable marriage/partnership and family has always been a priority for me. My husband comes from an alcoholic father- his mother divorced him when he was 14. He’s very close to his mother and brother, nearly watched his brother die being hit by a car.

If anyone has bothered to read this far, thank you. Any ideas on how to proceed, how to repair this relationship?
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Old 24th July 2018, 8:41 PM   #2
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Wow. My first instinct is to say run, fast and far away in the other direction. But I understand you want to save your marriage.

The two of you need to get into intensive counseling if you are intent on staying married, there's just so much going on here.

Your husband is not an emotionally safe person for you, hasn't been for some time. There is nothing a spouse can do that "causes" an affair. Problems may sometimes be more one spouse's fault than the other, but nothing excuses an affair. Ever. Don't take responsibility for the cruelty he's shown you and continues to show you.

I'm just lost as to what else to say within the context of saving your marriage. I just don't see how I could possibly stay if I was in your situation.
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Old 24th July 2018, 10:23 PM   #3
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Wow, that is some story sister ... I read the whole entry. Since only one person has replied and because your story really resonated with me, I am going to break my reply into two entries: Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 1:

OK, a few random thoughts ... not necessarily in any order. You said so much I need to go random on you.

Some key info came out at the end ... your incredibly difficult family background ... These are key sentences right here:

I come from a broken family- mother and father divorced when I was 2, mother brought my stepfather home at 3 and he never left. Alcoholic and abusive, had a brother born when I was 10 so ended up “raising” him as well as my sister while my mother worked 3 jobs and my stepfather drank himself away. Mother passed at 17… a stable marriage/partnership and family has always been a priority for me.

So ... you say you two have been to marriage counseling ... quick question: did the counselor zero in on the fact that you function like Ninja Superpower CEO ... and that he does not function so well? If not, this was a lame counselor and you need to find one who zeroes in on this dynamic ...

So ... the term I'm going to use to describe you is that you "over-function." Meaning, you have an amazing energy ... you're meeting this guy for midnight lunches at his job ... 35 minutes away ... OMG! ... You juggle details and finances and all kinds of tasks ... and that's wonderful ....

And ... unfortunately that style also creates problems ... over-functioning people tend to not know how to ask for what they want, they tend to think it's their responsibility to fix problems in a relationship ... and their over-functioning ... then draws in ... under-functioning partners. If one party is doing all the work in a relationship, there's only one role for the other party: to go awol.

Here's a quote from an internet site, though this site didn't give me this idea.

The over-functioner is someone who looks like they have it all together. They are detail-oriented, organized, reliable, typically viewed as a great worker. The characteristics include being overly focused on another person’s problem or situation, offering frequent advice to help others, and doing things that are part of the other person’s responsibility. With the over-functioner, there’s a fear that if they don’t do it, it won’t get done.

Over-functioning comes at a huge cost. You might feel exhausted all the time, or burnt out from trying to maintain an impossible workload. This is all at your expense. And when an over-functioner is in a relationship with an under-functioner, the situation can only last for so long and will likely be unhealthy, as it could be that the under-functioner is out of work and quite literally needs the over-functioner for basic necessities – this is a clear recipe for resentment

This is a subtle dynamic that happens in couples ... take an emergency with a child or something ... parents rush to ER ... one parent will lose it ... scream, cry and all of that while waiting for word on the kid's health from the doctor ... The other parent will be the rational one ... Now, here's what I think psychologists have discovered: It's not the individual who is emotional who will break down ... and it's not necessarily the individual who is more rational who will stay un-emotional ... because these roles flip. NEITHER parent is causing this dynamic ... and neither are you causing the dynamic (as in at fault) in your marriage.

So let me make clear again: I am NOT blaming you ... not even close. You sound positively amazing and positive and energetic and constructive and real. Seriously! ... But ... your over-functioning might be UNINTENTIONALLY blocking him from functioning at a higher level ... Just to make sure you know I am NOT blaming you ... I can flip the dynamic and say his under-functioning (His lack of being on top of things) UNINTENTIONALLY requires you to over-function and be hyper on top of things so that you guys have a place to live and bank accounts and food and so on.

So I actually think you need to try less hard ... do less work ... do less work in the relationship with him ... and so on ... That's going to be hard for you ... and I'm sure that sounds strange. I think couple's counseling can deal with that dynamic. And in turn, he needs to take on more responsibilities and feel proud doing so.

Right now, you are coaching him, loving him, criticizing him--you're doing way too much for him. He needs to step up and do more ... not to please you. But to feel strong and valued in the relationship, to feel he is making a contribution to the relationship. And I can hear your reply ... But he won't ... yes, I get that for now ...

(Part 2 follows):
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Old 24th July 2018, 10:33 PM   #4
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Part 2:

There happens to be an element in your background that lends you to over-functioning. Basically you became a parent at what ... age 10, it seems! By parent I mean you were the caretaker for your brother and sister. "Caretaker" is nice word. You were their parent in fact. You parented them. (BTW: praise to you for stepping in ... I was parented by an older brother, which is why I know some of this.)

The problem is that your history and habit of parenting probably slipped into the marriage--and he's 13 years younger! People who become unofficial parents tend to bring that behavior to relationships and it gets in the way.

The problem with parenting is that it has no place in marriage other than supervising people under 21. You don't want to be the parent in a relationship--and no one wants to be married to a parent. We want to be with a peer! ...

When someone is basically functioning as the parent, the other partner (in this case your husband) will hear any criticism of him ... any suggestions ... as not the suggestions of his mate who is his equal and peer ... No, because you are the rock of responsibility for the house and the relationship, because you are acting like a parent, he will hear all feedback like a teenager hears feedback from a parent. As rejection. As correction. As pointing out immaturity and incompetence.

One more time--you are NOT doing this deliberately ... neither is he ... and you're not doing him wrong! ... There is something deeper going on ...Counseling ... big time ... One more time, you are NOT at fault for this. You are amazing as I mentioned.

I'm a little troubled by how much you had sex and closeness in between and while your husband was carrying on with this other woman ... I don't think that's good ... for you or him. Either be mad or not be mad. Don't be mad in the morning and have sex and hang at the beach in the evening. Something chaotic and messy and confusing going on there.

He's carrying on the emotional affair, and you're pretending "Oh, we had a romantic night and he cuddled me." Something wrong there. Again, might be parenting that you're slipping into ... the way parents subtly and no subtly push children along in a certain direction without the child necessarily knowing this.

To be more blunt: quit trying to seduce this guy back. Let him go and let him discover that he wants to come back. Sounds like that process has begun. Sounds also like Ms. A dumped him ... and called off the relationship. And that rejection kinda brought him back to some basic sanity.

That you were thinking of having another child with him during some of the craziness strikes me as absolutely nuts ... and totally consistent with over-functioning. It's like you don't want to REALLY notice a problem. You figure let me close my eyes and slam myself into that wall and I'll knock down the problem. Sorry, relationships don't work that way. The other person has to equally want to knock down the walls. Better to not attack the wall ... better to climb over it or go around it.

You guys aren't getting along. Stop sex. Not as punishment but for honesty and consistency ... You guys aren't getting along, don't even THINK about having another child.

Him being the son of an alcoholic can play a role here ... Having an alcoholic parent leads to neglect ... same for you ... and guess what? ... often children of alcoholics have to be more controlling and responsible since their parent is asleep at the wheel ... they have to over-function ... and they do too much ...they have to do too much and grow up too soon.

His depression needs to be treated ... it sounds to me that like he was using the other woman as a drug and a distractoin to pull out of the depression ... and here we go again: ... to escape the intense responsibility and demands of being married to such an energetic, fast-moving, hyper-competent woman--to escape the pressures of being married to someone who over-functions.

Secret thought he's having: I can do my very f-ing best and I'm still likely to disappoint this woman (you). Not disappoint as in incur your wrath ... I mean disappoint to say he inside his mind fears that he can't match your level of energy and he feels inferior and inadequate about that.

But let make clear, sister I cannot bet against you and your energy. Don't worry about relationships breakups ... If this relationship doesn't work, it doesn't work. Don't stay in a bad relationship (if you guys can't fix things) just to make an official point that you didn't break up.

That's dumb. And if the relationship/marriage is bad, it's NOT a success just to stay together, in my view. You may decide to stay together, but I don't see it as some major achievement when you're carrying around all kinds of emotional bumps and bruises.

And your breakups weren't necessarily failures. We're all still learning and I know people who were married for 50 and 60 years ... whose marriages might as well have been case studies at the U.N.--since there was so much sniper fire and hostility involved.

I think you're wonderful ... now I would say use some of that high energy to practice not working so hard in the relationship--I know, a contradiction. Let there be room for him to step up. Seriously, you deserve to work a lot less hard!
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Old 24th July 2018, 10:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SC_sunrise View Post
My husband is having an EA...
Can't help but wonder why you think their relationship was limited to an EA?

It sounds like a full-monty affair in which he still may be at least partially enmeshed. If it's over, he appears to be mourning its demise, not an unusual situation.

If you're ever going to get back what you had, you'll need to stop rug-sweeping the effects of this and drag it out into the open. From what you've described, I'm not sure he has the commitment to do so.

Hope you get what you want...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 25th July 2018, 12:14 PM   #6
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Thank you to the three who have commented at this point. I appreciate your words!

Findingmyway - I completely agree that his affair is 100% his choice. He chose to allow himself to walk that road- he didn’t have to. He had the opportunity to walk away multiple times and was not able to. I don’t accept responsibility for that, but I do forgive him for not being strong enough to walk away. Honestly- he is a young man who has only ever had ONE woman tell him he was handsome, had potential or show interest in him- me. I can imagine how much of a change it was for him to go from being the overweight, shy guy who no one ever gave the time of day- to being the tall, slender, handsome man with the Swedish accent that another woman was now looking at. The kicker is he seemed to find someone who is so similar to me, without being me? I wish he had trusted US enough, but I’m guessing the external validation from her is too much to resist. I can forgive being human, but at the same time I know that never in a dozen lifetimes would I have ever put him in the position he has forced me mentally and emotionally.

Mr. Lucky - I have no proof that it’s a PA. I know for 100% certain it’s an EA at the very least, the only physical contact he will admit to is hugging and he kissed her once on the cheek (according to him). I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, but to be honest I wish it were just a PA instead of an EA- the emotional pain of knowing my husband has given his heart to another woman (reciprocated or not!) is the worst feeling I have ever experienced save the loss of my mother! At least my prior experiences were purely PA’s- being betrayed physically, while still a betrayal, didn’t carry the sting of this.

Lotsgoingon - Thank you so much for this!! You touched on something that I desperately wish someone had pointed out to me before! Maybe I could have changed this trajectory … and you are absolutely correct. I checked out that link, and taking an objective look at things YES! I DO over-function. I am a “fixer”- always have been. It’s how I have always described myself. In every capacity- friendships, relationships, work. If something happened, it was always “hey, go get K, she can figure this out for you!” or ‘call K, she can help!”. Always, without fail. I fix things, I analyze things. I have always been the in-crisis/trouble/whatever you can lean on me person. I’m the shoulder, the rock, the unwavering support for everyone I know, and it has actually cost me. The only friend I had in my area (besides my husband) abandoned me earlier this year when I stepped back from helping her to try to solve ME. I carry the workload of two seperate positions at work while assisting a third coworker with their workload because I made the mistake of demonstrating that I could do it on my own at a time of need. Every single one of the adjectives used to describe this type of person, I have seen used to describe me by others.

I can completely see now why he would react the way he has because yes, it does seem I have effected more of a parental role in our relationship. I am so used to DOING- making sure everything is taken care of that there was nothing he could do for me, for us. His behaviour has been incredibly reminiscent of a rebellious teenager - “mom said I she doesn’t want me talking to this person, but I’m gonna anyway! She can’t tell me what to do!”. He probably resents me with every fiber of his being at this point. I didn’t marry him to be his mother. He was supposed to be my partner.
I agree, the sex is a problem. For me, being physically intimate is a priority in my romantic relationships- it’s deeply tied into how I feel loved/desired by my partner. Without sex, there is a massive void for me. Before Feb 24th, as long as I thought he was NC with her we were having sex as much as possible. I didn’t want him to feel physically abandoned for his “mistake”. Aside from the few times I mentioned, sex now has pretty much devolved to waking up in the middle of the night with him on top of me. Pretty sad. He rejects any advances I make, so I no longer make any efforts to initiate sex, hug or kiss him. It’s strictly on his terms, which makes me sick as he knows exactly what he needs to do for me to not be able to resist him.

The thought of having a baby pretty much got shelved between my diagnosis and his declaration that he was worried I am “too old” to be a new parent. I have been on a hormone therapy trial since my surgery and right now it’s just not a feasible possibility.

I had brought up IC to him to address depression and he outright rejected the idea, stating that he would not be subjected to it. MC was an absolute bust- he felt the counselor was attacking/blaming him for everything and it made him resistant to what was being said. No, our counselor did not pick up on the dynamic- he was simply focused on trying to help my husband see WHY his “friendship” with A was so destructive to us. I do feel that my husband bears a large amount of guilt for the current situation based on his references to being a “bad person” and an “evil man” and telling me he thinks he’s going to h-ll. He’s laid awake at night multiple times with tears streaming down his face- I know for a fact that he used to consider himself a “good person”, and engaging in an affair and devastating your partner definitely does not fit his definition of a “good person”. Now he just says he’s a “piece of sh-t a-hole”. I’m willing to bet he is struggling to reconcile himself to the idea that he is capable of doing what he has.I still don’t understand how someone who doesn’t believe in the Christian version of H-ll can be so worried that’s where he’s headed… I am terrified his behaviour at this point may have disastrous results. For my part, I have been participating in a weekly therapy session since June and I do feel it has started helping me out.

I feel a massive burden of responsibility towards him. He’s in this country, far away from everything he’s ever known, his entire biological family and childhood friends because of me. I’m the one who researched, prepared and filed everything for his immigration. There’s a chance he will be sent back to Sweden if we are no longer married and I would hate to see that happen- he has no desire to return and feels there is no opportunity for him to lead a good life there.
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Old 25th July 2018, 1:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SC_sunrise View Post
I’m the one who researched, prepared and filed everything for his immigration. There’s a chance he will be sent back to Sweden if we are no longer married and I would hate to see that happen- he has no desire to return and feels there is no opportunity for him to lead a good life there.
SC_sunrise, pretty apparent you managed every aspect of this relationship, from inception to discovery of the affair to attempted recovery. It's as though the two of you decided to build a house together, but you've been both the general contractor and manual laborer and, if this happens, one partner has a lot more "sweat equity" in the project than the other. When it comes to relationships, that out-of-balance condition is not a good thing, as it's often said here "he who cares the least has the most power".

He's obviously made decisions to this point based on what he thinks is best for him. I'd suggest you start doing the same...

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Old 25th July 2018, 1:42 PM   #8
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I hate to tell you this, but you are being a huge doormat. I was shaking my head reading your story that you kept allowing him to come back after the things he said to you and how he treated you. If a man said or did those things to your daughter, would you advise her to stay with him?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you didn't spend any substantial time together in person until he moved to the US in January 2017. And then he's told you he stopped loving you as of May 2017, five months later. IMO, this will not be the last affair he has. Long distance relationships are hard, and not only did the two of you marry prematurely, but he is immature and had no previous relationship experience. And once he spent some significant time with you in person, another woman caught his eye immediately. This does not bode well for your future together.

Are the two of you going through the green card process for him? If so, where are you at in the process? (I'm just wondering if him wanting a green card is tied into any of this.)

In my opinion, you are going to be in for a world of hurt if you remain with him, likely going through everything you've been going through for the past year over and over again with different women. I just do not see a future for you with him. My advice would be to get out now and save yourself the future trouble.
In the end one loves one's desire and not what is desired. -- Nietzsche
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Old 25th July 2018, 2:10 PM   #9
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all the behaviors you've describe scream full blown affair, not just EA.

would coming to terms with the reality of this change how you would proceed?
This above all: To thine own self be true
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Old 26th July 2018, 12:09 AM   #10
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Happy to hear my comments were helpful ...

A few thoughts on your reply.

He is not your "responsibility." I'm sorry, flat out he is not. Either he is a fully functioning adult who CHOSE to move to be with you and can take care of himself ... or he's not. If you want to take care of him and see him as your "responsibility," then time to be honest: you are married to a child. Go down to the courthouse and register him as a minor.

Or waitaminute! Did you kidnap this guy and bring him overseas? Is that why you feel "responsible"? OMG Sunshine, how could you do such a thing!?

Look I twice considered moving to be with women. One dumped me on the way to the move ... The other I dumped on the way to the move. I visited both women on trips as part of the process of deciding.

In both cases, I was the one who was thinking of relocating ... I had career flexibility that they did not. My moving would have been my agenda, for my selfish purpose of living with these women I loved. I wouldn't have moved to do them "a favor." I would have moved because the idea of living with them was better than the idea of not living with them. And it would have been up to me to find male friends, to find good work, to find activities and hobbies ... and to find fun things to do ... These women could have introduced me to a few people, but my life outside of them would have been my responsibility to create.

Now you know how much I admire your energy ... your relentlessness ... But here is where you style is getting you in trouble ... How can he feel proud of himself if he's not responsible for his life? If he does well, it's because of you! ... That's the logic of your thinking. If you are responsible for his misery then you are also responsible for his happiness ... and you are dating a child.

See Sunshine ... this over-functioning thing has me to the point where I'm ready to call the authorities.

You are married to a child but haven't filed the courthouse papers.

Or .. .you kidnapped your husband and are holding him hostage.

So here's the shift you want to make: if he's not doing well and he's away from his "home" country, you want to feel bad only because he's struggling. You don't want to feel bad because you "feel" responsible. Sunshine, you probably feel responsible for the rain ... so we know you can't trust your "feeling" on being responsible. Your over-functioning radar is off.

What you're also missing is that he could have easily (most likely would have easily) found himself in the same situation as he is in with you ... had he stayed in Sweden. The second woman who dumped .. well ... I stayed in a city I have longed for 20 years ... and guess what? My life sucked ... Had several deaths in my family ... but just took time for me to generate a good social life ... In my home city. I had to finally get in gear to get some things started.

So staying in home country or home town DOES NOT EQUAL ... life is great.

He couldn't find a Sunshine over there, so that's why he came here.

Just trying to give you permission and encouragement to lighten up Sunshine.

Most likely he cannot be a good sexual partner for you until he gets his life together and until you guys get some balance in the relationship--where you are not doing everything.

It's really hard to help depressed people. I mean, you can listen, you can hug, you can encourage. But love and attention can't cure depression any more than it can cure cancer. He has to get treated for that ... Depression runs in my family. I've suffered depression. No one could get me out of depression. Now, people being kind gave me room and space to figure out that I needed treatment. Sure ...

Your hubby cannot have it both ways ... On the one hand, he's under-functioning and hating himself for this ... On the other hand, he's rejecting counseling ... and treatment. Frankly, it sounds like could use a boost from antidepressant medication--AND therapy. So he's doubly-whacking himself. Which is sorta what depressed people do ... The depressed brain works to use any piece of information to put the person down, tell the person they're worthless--even if the info doesn't show that the person is worthless at all. The depression brain can convert any experience into evidence of worthlessness and failure. So that's what you're up against.

I would encourage you to slowly ratchet back your superhero performance ... at work and at home. Make sure you learn how to receive help from others ... and don't block help and love from others.

But hubby is not your responsibility. He's your love ... and you encourage a love. You cannot fix them. They have to work to fix themselves ... He can use skype and various apps to contact people back home ... He can restart friendships with people back home over skype ... He has lots of opportunities.

Ok a suggestion. On sex, since that is a priority for you, I might suggest an experiment. Tell him you love having sex and sex with him ... but that if he wants to have sex with you, he's going to need to approach you and be the confident and strong man you know he is (sneak in compliments here) and ask for it ... but that he cannot climb on you when you're asleep.

Tell him that he is the man you love and the man you love can ask for sex if he wants to ... and you demand that he do this because you wanna see that man ... and you are turned on by that man ... The sneaky bit here is to weave in a lot of compliments and true statements about what you like about him, what you see in him.

The goal: give a bit of encouragement to step into the role of being assertive. Show him that he has to work some to get what he wants.

It's the difference between an order and a dare. You are daring him to take responsibility and approach you sexually ... not "requiring" it.

Just an idea. The more he steps up and takes initiative with you, the better he'll feel and the better YOU will feel about him.

Good luck.

Last edited by Lotsgoingon; 26th July 2018 at 12:18 AM..
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Old 26th July 2018, 12:36 PM   #11
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I feel a massive burden of responsibility towards him. He’s in this country, far away from everything he’s ever known, his entire biological family and childhood friends because of me. I’m the one who researched, prepared and filed everything for his immigration. There’s a chance he will be sent back to Sweden if we are no longer married and I would hate to see that happen- he has no desire to return and feels there is no opportunity for him to lead a good life there.

He's a grown ass man. What he has done to you is abuse. I suggest IC for you. And I agree with hose who say it is more likely than not that it is/was a full blown affair.
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