Personality Cafe banner

Does this cross the line in a marraige

  • Yes, that is just too much to be OK with.

    Votes: 15 48.4%
  • No, but it's playing with fire

    Votes: 9 29.0%
  • no, she is free to have whatever friends she wants, however she sees fit.

    Votes: 5 16.1%
  • not yet, but it might be if she if it went further.

    Votes: 6 19.4%
1 - 20 of 98 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
long difficult marriage and lots of backstory I will share if asked, but I don't want to overly bias the question at the end.

Wife and I go to her 20th HS reunion day function at a city park, and she spends most of her time talking to an old boyfriend while I play with our kids in the park. The night function is at a large ballroom, I agree to not go so I can watch the kids, and I don't know any one there anyway. She comes home and tells me she spent most of the evening with him. He is single, and has been most of his life. He and I have similar personalities, and why they dated prior so I see why she still likes him.

A few months later I discover she has been texting back and fourth with him, but it's just innocent conversation about nothing. I found out because her phone dinged and i saw his name and the preview of the message. We know all of each others passwords, there is no expectation of privacy in our house.

a year goes by with nothing between them, and then out of the blue he invites her to lunch a month from then (to be during x-mas break), she accepts. They text back and fourth for a week figuring out when and where. This started 2 weeks ago, and I found out last week because I had to retrieve a text from our nanny on her phone. The nanny told me she texted my wife and got no reply, and needed a response to some tax information. I looked in her phone to see what the request was. That's how I found out about this new plan. I haven't been snooping per-se, but I did see his message below the one I was looking for.

My wife doesn't know I know about this plan. They are going to a bar while I'm at work, and she is going to get a baby sitter to watch our kids while she goes on this date. She is a teacher, so her and our kids are both home that week, I work a regular schedule.

Things that may make this innocent:
  • she did have a real and maningful friendship with him, and only dated him briefly, and remained friends after the breakup. I don't think she sees him as a lover in any way.
  • They have not crossed any intimacy lines that I am aware of, it seems to have been "just friends" so far.
  • She is an ISTJ, AKA very loyal and driven by high principals and personal standards, I can't see her being a "cheater", even under the worst of circumstances.
  • She is asexual, there is no drive to "fulfill a need".
  • ISTJ's pretty much never lie.
  • She is kind of oblivious, she probably doesn't see any problem with nurturing this friendship. She feels close to me and that she can trust/depend on me, this comfort may be allowing her to push normal limits.
Things that are bothering me:

  • She is going on a date with an Ex, at a bar, when I'm at work, and she hasn't told me.
  • He's a guy, all guys want sex, especially single ones. She is rather naive and probably won't have her guard up.
  • She is putting more effort into making this happen than she has ever made for any friend in the 16 years we have been together. She's never sent our kids to a baby sitter for "girl time", or friend activities time, or any other personal time.
  • She has no real reason to nurture this friendship, they live an hour and a half apart and she is too busy (workaholic).
  • They had no contact for 20 years, this isn't a friendship that will be easily maintained, and doesn't make much sense to me.
  • She is an introvert (ISTJ), she doesn't maintain or nurture friendships with people that are close by, she just kind of counts on them to be there, takes what she needs, and moves on. I've never seen her make time/effort like this, it's completely out of her norm.
  • She is off work for 2 weeks, and has been at this time of year for 16 years, she's never gone on a lunch date with me and there is plenty of opportunity.
  • The day that she received and accepted this invitation was the same day she had come home very late from work for the 3rd time in a row, a major violation of our clear agreements (long story, safety issue with autistic child). She told me she was just so tired and sick, and mentally drained and couldn't even take care of herself or manage herself. yet she clearly has mental energy to make these plans. I told her I was still feeling cast aside and abandoned this same day (I didn't know about the text's at this point), and she indicated she didn't have anything to give. This isn't as confrontational as it sounds, we have discussed this problem a lot lately as a collaborative effort to find balance, I'm expected to voice my concerns and she accepts this as expected feedback.
  • all of her replies to him are while she is at work. She avoids texting anyone from work, even me. She's "too busy", "not near her phone", "didn't hear it ring", "bad cell service" etc...
  • She has been withholding intimacy (physical and emotional) from me for years, and blames it on her demanding job and her personality. It feels like she is offering him something she won't give to me (and I had -just- asked too, see above).
My current plan is to monitor her texts and let her make her own plans without intervention. If she ends up going without telling me, I plan to be there to document it without confronting or revealing myself. I've already cleared this day with my boss. If she is going to lie, I want her to go ahead and lie so I know where she/we stands. I will deal with it when she comes home after the kids go to bed. I'll ask her what she was up to without he knowing I already know, to see if she continues to lie.

I expect she will tell me the day before and drop it on me casually, trying to make it no big deal and to not give me any time to think it over. She has done this with other big things, like making major family-effecting work commitments that negatively impact me, without consulting me prior (which she agrees to never do BTW). This is her MO, I've seen it a dozen times. She always makes me the unreasonable jerk when I object, and does it anyway.

I realize this all makes me look like a stalker/control freak. I accept that criticism. I don't think she has any plans to have a sexual affair, but I think she's nurturing an emotional affair. I'd be OK with it if I had been neglecting her, but it's quite the opposite. I constantly try to engage her, and she says I "try too hard", and I am "too needy". this is mostly personality conflict (I'm an INFP).

At what point in this process will the line be crossed where I can justify my feelings of betrayal as being more than irrational INFP over-thinking? At what point would a majority of you consider this a violation of our relationship?

I suspect this is just an ego boost for her, and she's taking the attention to feel good about herself. She's 39 and rather insecure. I frequently compliment her appearance, sexyness, and intellect, but she was emotionally neglected by her narcissistic parents and she is a mild narcissist herself. I know what I do/say doesn't seem to make her feel adequate and she never responds to me so I don't know it it even helps.

I feel like it crosses a line, but I suspect she doesn't agree. I think this is a narcissism thing, but it is influenced by other factors too.
 

·
Registered
INFP 4w5 6w7 9w1 so/sp
Joined
·
3,417 Posts
Doesn't sound like something to be okay with. They clearly have a 'special' factor between them going on, and that's not good for your relationship. In other words, there is too much of a spark between them to swallow in a relationship, I'd say.

And don't stereotype people too much.
 

·
exploring space
ENFP
Joined
·
9,464 Posts
I think your concerns and approach seem reasonable, her behavior seems suspect, according to how you describe her. I dunno if I'd call it infidelity at this point yet though. There may be reasons in her head for hiding this from you that may be stupid rather than because she wants to go behind your back purposefully, but dunno. What do you plan on telling her if she mentions it casually the day before as she does?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I think the comment "the second it happens" refers to the question "when is the line crossed?". I take that to mean that actually going is too much, but not until it happens. That planning isn't line crossing. Things might change between now and the date. I kind of feel this way myself, but I need unbiased opinions.

If she tells me her plan prior, I'm going to share all of my concerns and say I'm not OK with it. I'll grill her for details that I already know that she is unaware of to see if she is honest about them. if she is honest, I'll know it's just poor judgement or obliviousness. If I find lies, I'll know she was or is now suddenly considering her actions as unacceptable, and is concealing them.
 

·
Registered
INFP 4w5 6w7 9w1 so/sp
Joined
·
3,417 Posts
I think the comment "the second it happens" refers to the question "when is the line crossed?". I take that to mean that actually going is too much, but not until it happens. That planning isn't line crossing. Things might change between now and the date. I kind of feel this way myself, but I need unbiased opinions.

If she tells me her plan prior, I'm going to share all of my concerns and say I'm not OK with it. I'll grill her for details that I already know that she is unaware of to see if she is honest about them. if she is honest, I'll know it's just poor judgement or obliviousness. If I find lies, I'll know she was or is now suddenly considering her actions as unacceptable, and is concealing them.
She should be very open and honest about it to you. She fails there. That's concerning, and should not be tolerated when it involves an ex.

You should confront her and express yourself completely, and see what happens.

I don't know if this ends well, but most certainly it needs to happen whatever will happen out of this.

Don't wait another second with this. This bothers you rightfully, so confront her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Don't wait another second with this. This bothers you rightfully, so confront her.
I know that is the best and healthiest thing to do, but a part of me want's to give her some rope to hang herself with so I can catch her and end things. There are other reasons I'm not happy or feeling secure in this relationship, and divorce has been on my mind lately. This issue has higher stakes than it would standing on it's own.

I am having anxiety about this and it's clouding my mind, so I'm choosing not to act just yet on anything without getting some input, and giving it some thinking time.

Thanks for explaining your opinion.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
307 Posts
some people like to keep contact with their past partners so that's rather absolute don't you think
And some people like to molest kids, but that doesn't mean we need to be any less absolute in our abhorrence of such actions. Decent human beings don't communicate with their exes behind their husband's back.
 

·
exploring space
ENFP
Joined
·
9,464 Posts
And some people like to molest kids, but that doesn't mean we need to be any less absolute in our abhorrence of such actions. Decent human beings don't communicate with their exes behind their husband's back.
Maybe you should have been clearer in your first post then cause the way you phrased it it was as if you were directly answering the topic question, therefore making a blanket statement against all types of contact (or lunch dates) with exes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,248 Posts
My vote goes to:
- No, but it's playing with fire
- not yet, but it might be if she if it went further.


She's seeking solace in an unhealthy place, but in my opinion she hasn't actually crossed any solid lines yet. And as you reasonably admitted you have some unhealthy behaviors too. Stalking her phone isn't exactly ideal. Wanting to give her rope to hang herself with - well just look at the wording there, that's not exactly healthy either.

I think it's unrealistic to expect your spouse to be in love with you all the time. My husband wrote some quote on the program for our wedding I liked - something about how a successful marriage requires falling in love multiple times with the same person. Your wife is probably tired and stressed and your life together has had some challenges. She wants to feel the nice warm fluttery romantic feelings without the complications of practical life and an easy and accessible way to achieve this has presented itself. Yes, she's nurturing an emotional relationship with him. Yes, it's a betrayal emotionally, and it's overall a shit idea. But, again, I don't think she's really crossed a hard line, and I doubt she's really intending to, either - though the potential exists for her to get in over her own head. Generally, I think you have reason to be pissed at her, but I don't think it's worth ending the relationship over yet.

I suppose you could try sitting down and talk with her about why she felt the need to run to someone else, but honestly, I think that kind of thing just ebbs and flows as we live our lives. Research on infidelity suggests that a partner cheating typically is correlated with the cheater's internal emotional state and not with the health of the relationship they are in. So basically - she's hurt and she's acting out. You're caught in the crossfire. It sucks but it's not really about you. You've already figured out you're an INFP overthinking something. Hi, me too!

Over a lot of years, I've decided taking the "Chinese fingertrap" approach to a relationship is best whenever possible. The root cause of a hurtful behavior is hurt. Pulling away usually exacerbates the hurt. Pushing in helps soothe the hurt. Soothing the hurt helps heal the root cause. Healing the root cause stops the hurtful behavior. So, when you feel like you should pull away, push in, instead. Therefore, IMO, quit stalking her phone, assume her emotional fling with her old classmate will fizzle, and just do something nice for her. Buy her a pedicure and invite her out to a play or something. Tell her you know you've both been distant emotionally and you want to get back to a good place. I understand that is counterintuitive. I do however find it incredibly effective most of the time.

chad96tsi said:
There are other reasons I'm not happy or feeling secure in this relationship, and divorce has been on my mind lately. This issue has higher stakes than it would standing on it's own.
I think this is your real issue and deserves consideration on its own merit. What I would take away from this situation is that she is feeling unhappy and insecure too. The question, then, is whether separating would help both of you to be happier and more secure, or if you are both in that bad emotional spot for other reasons, and the relationship is suffering because of it.

I do believe in "downward spirals" and "upward spirals" in relationships. We can engage each other in vicious or virtuous cycles of behavior. It seems from my observation that couples tend to fall into one of the two patterns as a force of habit, just in terms of the way their personalities and typical behaviors line up. My brother was in a relationship with a girl years ago where despite both of their efforts to the contrary they always ended up setting each other off and dragging each other down. Now he's with someone else where mostly it's a soothing cycle, where each of their typical behaviors lend solace and bolstering to the other. I think it would be worth analyzing if you and your wife tend to lock into downward spirals often or not. If so - can you talk about how to adjust your behaviors to have less of a negative impact on each other? If not - can you look at some major life changes, like jobs or place of residence, that could help ease up the external stress? If you have already tried adjusting, and it's never resolved, maybe it is worth considering divorce. Separation itself is an enormous stressor though. I wouldn't assume that will make you both happier unless you can pinpoint the relationship itself as the source of mutual unhealth.
 

·
Registered
INFP 4w5 6w7 9w1 so/sp
Joined
·
3,417 Posts
I know that is the best and healthiest thing to do, but a part of me want's to give her some rope to hang herself with so I can catch her and end things. There are other reasons I'm not happy or feeling secure in this relationship, and divorce has been on my mind lately. This issue has higher stakes than it would standing on it's own.

I am having anxiety about this and it's clouding my mind, so I'm choosing not to act just yet on anything without getting some input, and giving it some thinking time.

Thanks for explaining your opinion.
It explains everything. The love between you to is over, so that's why this all is happening.

If you wanna end it, you don't have to wait. Either way, definitly talk with her about everything that's been bothering you, and see into what it will result. Most important is to communicate what's on your mind, to avoid regretting too much you haven't. It will give more clearance, and everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,346 Posts
Normally I wouldn't care if I had a partner who wanted to hangout with old friends, but an ex is different. Emotions come and go, but that doesn't mean they don't come back.

If I were in your situation I would first confront the ex first and tell him to back off and know his place. Tell him you don't appreciate him seeing your wife at a bar while you're at work. If your wife really cares about you, she will understand. If your wife reacts negatively, ask her if it would be okay if you went ahead and saw your exes while she was at work. Don't be petty, just be frank.


But this is just what I would do. Trust your gut, because it's usually right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,428 Posts
I haven't read through the entire thread but I'm still friends with most of my exes , sometimes they'll call me up and invite me out for drinks - I have no feelings for them and whether or not they like me- doesn't matter much because they know I'm devoted to my husband.

My husband ex texts him now and then - believe they went out to lunch a couple of times - he doesn't tell me about them unless the topic matter comes up - I couldn't care less

My husband doesn't know my email pw- whereas I know his only bc he needs me to do work for him -
I never look at my husband text unless he ask me to

I have friends/family members who would email me or text me about their personal problems - hence I'll be extremely offended if my partner was to go through my text oh and marriage is built on trust

Now back onto your situation - don't stress so much about it

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: chad86tsi

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
My vote goes to:
- No, but it's playing with fire
- not yet, but it might be if she if it went further.


S. Wanting to give her rope to hang herself with - well just look at the wording there, that's not exactly healthy either.
Exactly, which is why I feel like I've lost my objectivity and better senses.



If you have already tried adjusting, and it's never resolved, maybe it is worth considering divorce. Separation itself is an enormous stressor though. I wouldn't assume that will make you both happier unless you can pinpoint the relationship itself as the source of mutual unhealth.
We had literally hundreds of hours of marriage counselling about 10 years ago, it's never really been that great. We are both stubborn and want to make it work. I'm well versed in most tools to cope and navigate relationship difficulties. This is something I never expected, and have never experienced, and I just don't want to take on yet another battle. My view of the situation is distorted by that reality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Normally I wouldn't care if I had a partner who wanted to hangout with old friends, but an ex is different. Emotions come and go, but that doesn't mean they don't come back.

If I were in your situation I would first confront the ex first and tell him to back off and know his place. Tell him you don't appreciate him seeing your wife at a bar while you're at work. If your wife really cares about you, she will understand. If your wife reacts negatively, ask her if it would be okay if you went ahead and saw your exes while she was at work. Don't be petty, just be frank.


But this is just what I would do. Trust your gut, because it's usually right.
The ISTJ part of her would like and appreciate that direct approach, but when she feels "caught" or painted in the wrong light (because she probably feels innocent), she is completely unable to constructively participate in such a conversation. She was emotionally abused as a child and has horrible defense mechanisms, usually to counter attack viciously. I avoid most conflicts with her because even when I'm right and I win, it just costs me or us too much. This helps with some things, but allows others to fester. I've honestly considered your approach, it is on my short list of options.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,355 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I haven't read through the entire thread but I'm still friends with most of my exes , sometimes they'll call me up and invite me out for drinks - I have no feelings for them and whether or not they like me- doesn't matter much because they know I'm devoted to my husband.

My husband ex texts him now and then - believe they went out to lunch a couple of times - he doesn't tell me about them unless the topic matter comes up - I couldn't care less

My husband doesn't know my email pw- whereas I know his only bc he needs me to do work for him -
I never look at my husband text unless he ask me to

I have friends/family members who would email me or text me about their personal problems - hence I'll be extremely offended if my partner was to go through my text oh and marriage is built on trust

Now back onto your situation - don't stress so much about it

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
But your husband knows about these friends, and about these encounters beforehand? It seems implied, but not clear.

I agree she deserved more privacy that she has received, but the the ends do seem to justify the means. I feel guilt, but I also feel validated. I wasn't looking to look, I was in there for other legitimate reasons. She is in my personal email all the time for legitimate reasons, it's reciprocal openness. I've seen personal conversations in her texts before with other close female friends, I don't open them. I learned by watching others relationships unravel that this is just never a good place to go, some truths need to be unknown. I get your point on that for sure.

Stressing about it is unavoidable as an INFP, and I know it's a flaw, one I'm trying to manage. For me that looks like data collecting and bouncing ideas off others that are not involved, and are not INFP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,428 Posts
But your husband knows about these friends, and about these encounters beforehand? It seems implied, but not clear.

I agree she deserved more privacy that she has received, but the the ends do seem to justify the means. I feel guilt, but I also feel validated. I wasn't looking to look, I was in there for other legitimate reasons. She is in my personal email all the time for legitimate reasons, it's reciprocal openness. I've seen personal conversations in her texts before with other close female friends, I don't open them. I learned by watching others relationships unravel that this is just never a good place to go, some truths need to be unknown. I get your point on that for sure.

Stressing about it is unavoidable as an INFP, and I know it's a flaw, one I'm trying to manage. For me that looks like data collecting and bouncing ideas off others that are not involved, and are not INFP.
It's understandable for you to feel uneasy about it, it's the action you choose to make that differs :)
If the situation bothers you too much you can always tell her about what happened , I don't see any harm in it

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
1 - 20 of 98 Posts
Top