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primrosestar5

I am not sure this title begins to explain what I am going through, so I will start by telling a bit about myself. This is my second marriage. The first one was very abusive and demeaning and I remained single for a long time. In my fifties I met my current husband; I will call him Charles. I found this guy to be the very opposite of everything bad about my first husband, and it was love at first sight for both of us...or, so I thought. One of the first things he did that disturbed me, was to admit that he tended to crush on young women. I decided to believe that he meant that he had been that way before he got involved with me, so I let it go. We dated for two years, then decided to marry. We also bought a house that same year. One day, about a month after we married, he made an observation about a young cashier at a store that we frequented, saying that she resembled an actress. I kidded with him, asking if he had a crush, trying to be a good sport. I know that men like to look at women. But then, he started making a point of going into her check out lane each time we shopped. He would chat with her, and make a point of bank facing all the singles when he paid in cash. He seemed a bit too friendly for these interactions, but it didn't make sense to me that he would flirt right in front of me after we had just married, and I thought maybe I was paranoid.

I started to feel weirded out, but I didn't want to examine my feelings to closely. It would have meant admitting that I felt something was very wrong with him, plus I still loved him and we had also just bought a house together. But it continued to get worse. He would always want to stop at that supermarket after work; he would call me and ask if I needed anything from the store and even if I said no, he would find a reason to stop anyway. And then he would keep talking about her. This was the unmistakable behavior of a fourteen year old with a crush. He would exult that she had smiled at him. He would lament that she hadn't smiled at him. I wondered how that poor girl felt! I tried not to, but we ended up having words.

That weekend, we were shopping there again, and when we entered, he kept openly looking in her direction. It was like I wasn't even there. I could see that she was no longer smiling and friendly, and she would not make eye contact. I felt humiliated and angry at him. Then he ordered me to go and fetch something on our shopping list, as if he wanted me out of sight. I went to get it and when I returned to the shopping cart, I found him at the end of the aisle, peeping at her. I suspected that this had been going on for awhile. I didn't know what to do or say. I had married this man, loved him so much, and had taken out a mortgage on a home with him and he was behaving this way to a young girl who had no interest in him. Later she got transferred to another branch of that store, and I only found out because we were driving home and stopped in to make some purchases and I saw her behind the customer service counter. Charles swore he didn't know she worked there. 

Over the years, my thoughts kept returning to his behavior. I felt like a fool and wondered if this wasn't the first time that he had behaved like this, and wonder even now if he is still behaving this way with other young women.  The only reason I didn't take action is that I am now permanently disabled and depend upon him for care giving, finances, etc. This may sound like nothing to you who are reading, but I felt betrayed and deeply hurt for years. Even now it comes back to haunt me and I am convinced that I no longer love him. Even worse, I never feel that I can fully trust him. I don't know what he gets up to when he goes shopping alone. I feel fortunate that the cashier didn't call the police on him for stalking her.

Sorry I didn't mean to write a novel. But I would appreciate hearing opinions. Is my husband deeply disturbed, to behave that way right after marrying me?

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30 minutes ago, primrosestar5 said:

 I feel fortunate that the cashier didn't call the police on him for stalking her.. Is my husband deeply disturbed, to behave that way right after marrying me?

Sorry this is happening. Your husband seems to have severe midlife crisis and an overactive imagination. While this clerk probably thinks he's just a dirty old man, he may fancy himself as some sort of ladies man.

Since you depend on him, try to take care of yourself and your physical and mental health as best you can. As far as him slithering around peeking at young women, it's unseemly but doubtful it will go anywhere. 

Edited by Wiseman2
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Sorry to hear you've had to put up with this embarrassing and rather creepy behaviour. I'll take a guess and say he has probably has some issue with self-perception and other people's boundaries, and is basically a deluded old fart who makes sport of harassing young women, (who probably laugh at him and are repulsed by him). By behaving like this he's diminished you as his partner, it demonstrates a lack of respect and disregard for your feelings, which is a type of emotional abuse. Whether he does it to hurt you or he's just socially inept would be debatable, but it sounds to me like he does it to hurt.  I really don't know what advice to offer being as you're in a situation of  being quite dependent on him, (I'm assuming you rely on him for transport?), plus the shared ownership of property, but if possible I suggest confiding in a close friend or family member, someone you know you can trust and who will advocate for you, and just as an exercise maybe have a quiet consult with a family law solicitor. Personally I wouldn't trust Charles as far as I could kick him....it comes across to me that he married you to achieve property ownership, did he own anything substantial before he met you? 

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primrosestar5

Thank you for responding! Yes I depend upon him for transport, among other things. A little back story might help. He is mildly autistic and also has anxiety and avoidant issues; I knew about these issues before we married but was not familiar with the avoidant issues. I tend to think there is some social ineptness but whatever the reason, his actions hurt me badly. When I confronted him about his stalking behavior he denied it. Taking into account her being friendly to us both at first, then becoming uncomfortable whenever we were in the store, plus her subsequent transfer to another store tells me he is lying.

As for the home purchase, we both were living in apartments when we met and I felt that since we were practically living together we might as well buy a house instead of maintaining two residences. It was my credit rating that enabled the home purchase; his rating was low. I honestly don't think the home purchase factored in this. Neither of us owned anything substantial. I really don't have anyone to confide in; my family is scattered and dysfunctional. I lost all my friends when I became disabled, so unfortunately I am heavily dependent upon him. If I had enough money of my own, I would probably leave him. 

I know that this cashier incident is the only one that I actually witnessed but I often wonder if he is doing it again to someone else. We have since moved to a different state, but I don't feel the same as I did before we married. He is very good to me, tells me he loves me, looks after me. He does most of the housework, the shopping and cooking as I am usually unable. It causes a cognitive dissonance when  I try to reconcile this behavior with that creepy incident that I witnessed. If I bring it up (which I don't) I just know that he will gaslight me. It's like he has two personalities and I got a glimpse of the other, undesirable one.

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4 minutes ago, primrosestar5 said:

. He is very good to me, tells me he loves me, looks after me. He does most of the housework, the shopping and cooking as I am usually unable. It causes a cognitive dissonance when  I try to reconcile this behavior with that creepy incident that I witnessed. 

Please see your physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health and get some tests done. Please ask for a licensed qualified therapist to unpack and sort out some of this as well as for ongoing support.

Repeatedly confronting him about it isn't helping, in fact he seems somewhat clueless and at best a dirty old man. He may be denying it because of that or he thinks looking at young women is relatively harmless. 

While his creepy behavior is upsetting, he's not cheating or harming you. Unfortunately it's been years and you're still ruminating about it.

Therapy could help with that, especially since overall he seems quite kind and loving and supportive to you and you're dependent on him. Please consider viable realistic solutions for your distress. 

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41 minutes ago, primrosestar5 said:

He is mildly autistic

This could be where the problem lies as social ineptitude is quite common with people on the autism spectrum. He may, literally, not be able to understand why his behaviour isn't acceptable to you, so when you feel he's gas-lighting you he may not be doing it deliberately but more because he doesn't relate to other people's emotional experiences. Given your disabled status are you able to access support services? Perhaps some counselling, qualified professional advice, about all of this might help you come to terms with this side of his personality. That being said, having a partner stalking other women so openly is disturbing behaviour and I can see why you can't move past it and think about leaving, but again, if you have access to support from a counsellor they could help you to come up with options which are actually viable in your situation as without him you'd obviously need someone to assist you with day-to-day requirements. Even just having someone to talk to about the issue could be a huge plus in your life as debriefing is an excellent way to reduce the impact of stressful situations. 

 

 

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stillafool

I can't believe you watched and heard all of this for that long without calling him out for it.  He sounds like a creep, autism or not.

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primrosestar5
2 hours ago, MsJayne said:

This could be where the problem lies as social ineptitude is quite common with people on the autism spectrum. He may, literally, not be able to understand why his behaviour isn't acceptable to you, so when you feel he's gas-lighting you he may not be doing it deliberately but more because he doesn't relate to other people's emotional experiences. Given your disabled status are you able to access support services? Perhaps some counselling, qualified professional advice, about all of this might help you come to terms with this side of his personality. That being said, having a partner stalking other women so openly is disturbing behaviour and I can see why you can't move past it and think about leaving, but again, if you have access to support from a counsellor they could help you to come up with options which are actually viable in your situation as without him you'd obviously need someone to assist you with day-to-day requirements. Even just having someone to talk to about the issue could be a huge plus in your life as debriefing is an excellent way to reduce the impact of stressful situations. 

 

 

I have started looking into counseling where I don't have to leave my home. I do need to talk more about all this.

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primrosestar5
2 hours ago, stillafool said:

I can't believe you watched and heard all of this for that long without calling him out for it.  He sounds like a creep, autism or not.

I don't know how much of my original post you read, but I did discuss it with him. I soon saw that he either was in denial or didn't think anything was wrong with his behavior. If anything, I can't believe that it still comes up and still hurts after all this time. It was especially painful since we were newly married when this happened. I did not come here asking to be judged or blamed for what someone else did. I am only asking to be heard, validated and possibly supported.

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mark clemson

Consider insisting that you shop at a different store from now on? Not visually seeing her on a semi-regular might help. If he had a mild crush or similar (adults CAN get these), it will eventually fade although that may take even several months depending on "severity" of it - that sort of thing is ultimately a brain chemistry issue.

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primrosestar5

Hi, Mark.I don't know if you read where I mentioned that we have since moved to another state so he has other stores to shop at. I have started online therapy and hope to find some kind of closure and solutions.

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primrosestar5

I am really having a hard time here. I started having 'those thoughts' which I haven't had for a long time. I had had two sessions with the new counselor on my own, then decided to invite Charles to join the next one. We got into it last night, and I found myself trying, once more to discuss this highly disturbing incident. I merely explained how his actions had upset me, but first, he flat out denied that he had done anything wrong, then he turned around and said that he had no memory of his stalking behavior. He even went so far as to say that I had imagined it. Gaslighting on top of every thing else. I can't believe that I married this guy.

I am in a very low place right now. The therapy website has a thing where you say you want to add your spouse, and they text an invitation. After he has accepted, he can see anything I write to the therapist and I can see what he writes. After inviting him, we had the hurtful discussion and I changed my mind about including him. It would be a waste of time and money. I need help more than he does and it will be hard to speak about how I feel with him there. So, I wrote and asked if they could un-invite him because I am uncomfortable having him read what I say. He may have even seen that I wanted to cancel the invite. I am so confused and hurt!

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NuevoYorko

I'm sorry you're going through this.  I have a question:  Why did you just shut up about this years ago when it happened, yet continue to harbor fears and to ruminate about it?  You didn't say how many years you are talking about, but it sounds like a long time.

Though it's water under the bridge by this time, and you definitely do need the help of a counselor, I would encourage you to face issues in your marriage in the same time frame that they occurred.   It is pretty hard to repair grievances that have been percolating for a long time.

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primrosestar5
1 hour ago, NuevoYorko said:

I'm sorry you're going through this.  I have a question:  Why did you just shut up about this years ago when it happened, yet continue to harbor fears and to ruminate about it?  You didn't say how many years you are talking about, but it sounds like a long time.


I didn't actually shut up about it, but I did talk about this with him until I was blue in the face. He kept denying that he had done anything and basically gaslighting me. I have pointed out the evidence of his having done this, the most obvious being that the woman got herself transferred elsewhere because of it. How much can I do with someone who won't even admit to their  behavior? Why do I keep ruminating about it? Because it just doesn't fit with the man that I thought he was. It was incredibly childish and ridiculous. I harbor fears because I wonder if he is doing it again, somewhere else.

Though it's water under the bridge by this time, and you definitely do need the help of a counselor, I would encourage you to face issues in your marriage in the same time frame that they occurred.   It is pretty hard to repair grievances that have been percolating for a long time.

I wonder if he did this before we met. And we both attended marriage counseling around the time that it happened, and it didn't really help. I have initiated counseling with him, three times in ten years to address this and other things with him. I did discover that he had been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder as well, and it explained a lot. 

As I mentioned earlier, I have actually found a counselor. It is early days to know if it is helping yet.

 

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