It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Lied To” who discovered that her husband had been pursuing another woman. “He insists that he didn’t sleep with her,” she wrote, “and promised that he would do everything he could to get my trust back. […] Am I being a fool thinking that he will be faithful to me?” Keep reading for her update.
Unfortunately, we are still having issues. I decided to stay with him and try to work things out, as he promised to try and win back my trust and he apologized profusely. But now, he gets upset with me because I don’t trust him. I have told him that it was his actions that have brought on my distrust, but he says it makes him angry and uncomfortable (I said, “magine how I felt when you asked her out!”). He says he talked to the other woman because he can’t talk to me as “I always have something smart to say.” He also says he doesn’t consider what he did cheating and gets offended if I refer to it as that. I have told him I am trying my best and I would like to go to counseling to get help with our trust and communication issues, but so far he has refused to go.
He says he loves me and that I make him happy, but in all honesty, he doesn’t appear to be happy. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t seen to make him happy or be the kind of wife he needs me to be. I get mad at myself because I love him so much that I am sticking this out even if he seems to be putting in no effort. Every time we try to talk about things, I end up feeling worse about myself. I have asked him if he wants a divorce or a separation, and he says no. He did ask me, though, why I married him if I knew his past with women (past cheating, sleeping around). I said that I married him because I was deeply in love and trusted that he was too and that I hoped that the love and respect we had would be enough. While I am trying to be understanding and less angry, I can’t help but feel saddened, defeated and that somehow all of this is my fault. I have called a therapist to see if I can start counseling. Maybe you’ll get another update soon. Thanks again.
In your original letter you wrote that he “promised that he would do everything he could to get my trust back,” and yet now you’re saying he refuses to go to counseling with you. Stop listening to his broken promises and meaningless words and pay attention to what his actions are saying. He is not invested in saving your marriage. I say quit wasting time and MOA. This guy is not good husband material.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
AKchic November 27, 2012, 1:14 pm
Oh chickie… this guy is not a husband.
Listen to Wendy. He said he’d do anything to win your trust back, yet he won’t go to counseling? It’s a simple request.
He doesn’t consider asking a woman on a date cheating? What is cheating, in his definition? Because a date usually leads to sex for a married man.
He can’t talk to you? Because you always have something “smart” to say? Smart-ass or intelligent? If it’s intelligent, does that mean he wants a stupid woman? If it’s smart-assed, then he needs to give examples. Ultimately, it does come down to wit though, right? I doubt everything you say is barbed with sarcasm, so he’s probably gaslighting you on that subject. He doesn’t WANT to talk to you. He’d rather talk to this other woman, which means he hasn’t STOPPED talking to this other woman, meaning there is still a RELATIONSHIP going on with this other woman.
If there is still a relationship with this other woman, then you aren’t enough for him and he’s not happy in this marriage, despite what he says to the contrary.
This isn’t your fault. He’s the one that chose to stray in the marriage instead of communicate. He’s the one that has the defeatist attitude. He’s the one that would rather have a wife and a girl on the side. He is emotionally and mentally beating you down and beating your self-esteem so you’ll be OKAY with him having the both of you (or you and whatever side piece he’s got going on). Walk away from this. If your state as an at-fault divorce, get a P.I. and get the goods on him and use it against him in the divorce. As punishment for trying to make his philandering your fault.
oldie November 27, 2012, 1:14 pm
Yes, you are a fool. Yes, MOA. He was a cheater before you married and he is still a cheater. Of course he asked the other woman out in order to cheat with her. He does not seem like the sort of guy who values women highly enough to have platonic women friends. YOu are not happy and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to get any better. Your ‘love’ is a poor excuse to remain in this situation. Cut your losses. You seem invested in the fantasy that you were the one who could reform this bad boy. He has as much as told you ‘what did you expect, when you married me, knowing my history’. He has no intention of changing. I don’t see the value of going to therapy alone. What can you achieve? An increased level of tolerance for his bad behavior?
oldie November 27, 2012, 1:16 pm
You know the kind of wife he needs you to be. You’ve described it well enough that it is clear to us, as well. He needs you to be the sort of wife who doesn’t mind, or at least tolerates, his cheating. If that’s not the sort of wife you want to be, MOA.
lets_be_honest November 27, 2012, 1:41 pm
Yea the whole ‘you knew what you were getting into’ comment is unbelievable! So the LW is supposed to be cool with her unfaithful husband who could care less about their marriage?
JB November 29, 2012, 12:04 pm
I do like the idea of the LW going to therapy alone, based on my own experience leaving my ex-husband. I felt like the marriage failing was my fault, and my therapist and I worked on building my self esteem and self confidence back up. My ex said all the same things that the LW’s husband is telling her. (And yes, my ex cheated on me too, and had cheated in relationships in his past).
Ultimately what I got out of individual therapy (with a good therapist) was that I didn’t need or deserve that kind of toxicity in my life.
Datdamwuf June 5, 2013, 10:03 am
Yes, individual therapy will help.
L November 27, 2012, 1:15 pm
This man is manipulating you far more than you realize. He’s calling ALL the shots in this. He isn’t willing to change, but yet he says that he’ll do anything to win your trust back? Actions speak much much MUCH louder than words. You say “Every time we try to talk about things, I end up feeling worse about myself.” Do you want to be miserable for the rest of your life? If you stay in this relationship you are doomed to an eternity of misery.
You need to get yourself out of this relationship. Take control. I promise you will realize how much he had control when you’re out of the relationship looking back at it. When my ex and I broke up a week and a half ago, I FINALLY realized how much control he had in the relationship and how little control I had. He was the one calling the shots and as a result I wasn’t getting what I needed.
I know it’s hard, but you can do this.
MJ November 27, 2012, 1:21 pm
The fact that he turns it around on her and makes her feel bad is just ridiculous. “Oh, this is your fault because you married me when you knew I am like this.”
Don’t let him make you feel bad. As awful as it is to contemplate ending a marriage, this relationship is incredibly dysfunctional and I don’t see much hope for the future.
L November 27, 2012, 1:27 pm
Agreed, MJ. I don’t often advocate ending a marriage, but in this case, neither of them will be happy unless they break it off.
Riefer November 27, 2012, 2:04 pm
This, exactly! *YOU* feel bad because *HE* tried to cheat on you?!?! He’s manipulating you. You even say that you’re the only one putting in any effort. Well, if he doesn’t put in any effort, this marriage will never get fixed. You can’t carry a marriage alone, and you’ll only feel worse and worse the longer you try.
I think you need to sit down with him and say that you can’t be in a marriage like this. Then lay out what you need to stay in it: whether that’s therapy, full access to his phone/email, whatever. And if he can’t or won’t make any changes or any effort to work with you on keeping your marriage together, then that’s it. Unfortunately there’s nothing else you can do, by yourself. You need his buy-in or you need to leave.
kerrycontrary November 27, 2012, 1:28 pm
Ugh, I feel sad for this LW. She says she is defeated, and her letter just bleeds “defeated.” This is NOT your fault. Your husband CHOSE to behave this way and he’s not taking responsibility. If he doesn’t go to counseling I would leave him. I admire you for putting so much effort into your marriage, but it takes two.
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 1:31 pm
Aw this update made me sad. I think either way you should get counseling. It would be really nice to have an established relationship with a counselor while going through a divorce – which honestly is what I think you should do. He sucks. I can tell you’re trying really, really hard to work on this – but unfortunately you can’t do it all alone. I am giving you permission to divorce him knowing you did everything in your power to fix it.
Jenny November 27, 2012, 2:29 pm
May I ask why she needs your permission?
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 2:37 pm
She doesn’t. But I think people often feel like they have to wait until X, Y, and Z occurs before they’re “allowed” to get divorced. And I don’t want her to have to wait until it gets worse. Hence she has my permission. She can set herself free.
Any other questions?
Jenny November 27, 2012, 2:40 pm
I just thought it was an odd thing to say. No need to be defensive.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:22 pm
IWTTS’s defensiveness was probably out of frustration that you took her comment so literally. But I give you both permission to duke it out!
SweetPeaG November 27, 2012, 2:57 pm
I have seen others on here say that. And I think that people sometimes write in because they are looking for validation. They need someone else to tell them “it’s okay, you’re okay”. Maybe she is too embarrassed to bring this up to people in her life. I know when I was in a relationship with a scummy person, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was ask for advice from friends & family because I was so deeply ashamed about what I put up with. I could have used the Dear Wendy community to tell me that I wasn’t wrong. That I deserved to be treated better. And maybe their “permission” would have helped. So, maybe the LW does just need someone to tell her that if she left her husband, she wouldn’t be at fault. It’s okay, she tried her best. She’s not a bad person.
MissDre November 27, 2012, 2:59 pm
Yeah, it’s pretty much just giving validation.
Jenny November 27, 2012, 3:07 pm
I completely understand the sentiment, and I don’t disagree with anything IWTS said, I just found the wording odd. That’s all.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:20 pm
I think it’s also just, you know, humor. Clearly IWTTS’s persmission is needed for… nothing. So by saying “I give you permission,” IWTTS is making fun of herself a little … But when you gotta dissect it like that, it loses its pizzazz. There was a girl in my law school class who would take EVERYTHING you said to her literally. She turned out to be a mighty successful lawyer. But man was it painful to talk to her.
lets_be_honest November 27, 2012, 3:25 pm
Was her name Amelia Bedelia?
MissDre November 27, 2012, 4:10 pm
I loved Amelia Bedelia when I was a kid!
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:30 pm
Oh crap, that girl I want to law school with is named Jennifer. It just occurred to me. Is that you, Jenny? Do you ride horses? Are you dating the brother of the girl who ended up marrying the guy I dated for a hot second? *gasp* it’s you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I take back the comment about it being painful to talk to you. That was a poor choice of words. You are smart, tou work hard, you haven’t gained weight since practing law, you always match. I admire all of those things.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:32 pm
Also, that time in the library when you said “I feel like you’re making fun of me, I can never tell if you are joking” – I swear to god I was not making fun of you. I only make fun of people behind their backs, and for non-petty things.
Jenny November 27, 2012, 3:33 pm
Ha, nope, sorry. Although she does sound pretty awesome. I assure you I do not take everything literally, like your robot lawyer friend. I knew she didn’t mean it literally. I just found it sort of…patronizing, I guess. But I know that wasn’t her intention.
I think horses are scary.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:39 pm
Jennifer is an inspiration. She never missed a class. She had the prettiest handwriting ever. She was involved with her church. When she spoke in class, she never said “um” or rambled. I don’t think she has ever misused or misspelled a word. She’s always tan, and she has the straightest blondest hair I have ever seen. We have absolutely nothing in common.
New rule: take everything IWTTS says with a grain of salt, hahaha.
True story: I have a cousin in the rodeo! One time she came to our house with 3 horses in a trailer and she walked them around the neighborhood. I’m trying to get her to bring them to Chicago. I want to ride down Michigan avenue.
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 3:42 pm
By grain of salt do you mean lick of salt and a tequila shot.
mmmm tequila. My cleanse blows balls. It’s only day 2.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:45 pm
That’s exactly what I meant. I feel like we are two (drunk) peas in a (bar) pod.
Oh hey, that reminds me of a joke I heard. But pretend we are in a bar when I tell you. Ok, it goes like this: what’s the difference between this place and an elephant’s fart?
A: This is a bar room. An elephant’s far is a BAR ROOOOOOOM!
Ok, it’s better if I could tell the joke verbally. And if we were in a bar. And maybe if we were both tipsy.
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 3:50 pm
Haha I laughed. Today is actually day 1. I forgot I had a beer during MNF last night. You know you’re a mess when you don’t consider one beer having a drink.
Have you made it to yoga recently?
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:51 pm
Oh come on people – BA’ROOOOOOM! … That is really fun!
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:53 pm
I take offense to your question and will not answer it until you give me a little credit. … ok, fine I have not been to yoga recently. FUCK OFF ALREADY!!!
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 3:59 pm
Yeeeesh sensitive are we? Listen my current yoga trend would not be happening without your inspiration – so I would like to send some of the inspiration back your way. Texty-von-barf-face would love a nice tight yoga ass. Get it girl. Also maybe materialsgirl will be friends with you again.
MaterialsGirl November 27, 2012, 4:10 pm
Yeah aP! Maybe I’ll be friends with you again if you go to yoga… Do you accept bribes? How about if you go to yoga with me, I’ll let you wear my new bling for ten minutes 😉
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 4:17 pm
By bling do you mean engagement ring or tiara?
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 10:48 pm
Home from my birthday dinner, and I can report back: materialsgirl’s engagement ring is the PRETTIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. So unique, so classy, so original, so materialsgirl! MG, I have never said this about someone’s engagement ring – it’s absolutely stunning. Good job, MG’s bf, good job!!!
rachel November 27, 2012, 10:56 pm
Jenny November 27, 2012, 3:47 pm
Kids in school used to call me “Casper” because I’m so pale. And yeah, Jennifer sounds like a robot. I was once convinced that my 9th grade English teacher was a robot. I can’t remember all the reasons why, but…she had no magnets in her room. That seemed like compelling evidence.
My in laws have 3 horses and they always want me to ride them. So far I’ve made it almost 7 years without having to. I had a bad experience with a horse as a child and now they give me the heebie jeebies.
va-in-ny November 27, 2012, 4:53 pm
I think horses are scary too.
katie November 27, 2012, 1:32 pm
dang this sucks.
LW, i think you need to reconcile how much shit your willing to put up with to save your marriage vs. how much shit you will put up with until you leave. i dont know what that “should” look like, but i think its something you need to think about. no one should feel terrible about themselves.
MMcG November 27, 2012, 1:42 pm
LW – please look up gaslighting because your husband is a world class asshat who has you so twisted around you wrote in this update still worrying about his happiness and what else you can do to make the cheater feel better.
You can start therapy, call a lawyer, and get your self-respect and confidence back!! This man will not bring you want you need… Especially when you are still so obviously putting this asshat’s needs in front of yours. You don’t have kids. Put yourself first and MOA.
londonlin6 November 27, 2012, 5:27 pm
I love when people say “Asshat”!
P.S. This hubby is a first class ASSHAT!
MaterialsGirl November 27, 2012, 10:50 pm
We have an ‘asshat’ book at work.
MMcG November 27, 2012, 11:43 pm
Asshats — Unfortunately they come in all shapes and sizes 🙁
FireStar November 27, 2012, 2:06 pm
Aw hon. The reality is you can’t fix your marriage alone…particularly when the problem is your husband wants to cheat. Go to counselling – hopefully the therapist will be able to give you the perspective you need to make the next steps in your life. I know it is hard to think about leaving but staying in the marriage without meaningful change on his part will eventually destroy you and rebuilding from that place – when your self esteem is shot all to hell – will be infinitely harder.
FireStar November 27, 2012, 2:53 pm
Oh and I always have something smart to say too… and it doesn’t stop my husband from talking to me – he actually kind of loves that about me. It just sounds like the lying is still going on and the sad part is you are starting to believe some of it.
Kate B. November 27, 2012, 3:20 pm
I’m sure the husband doesn’t like smart women because they can see through him. Some men like smart women and are not threatened by them. The LW needs to find one like this.
Eve Harrison November 27, 2012, 11:41 pm
Agreed. You [well, everyone] needs a strong man. You deserve to experience a healthy mutually satisfying relationship where your man wants to hear your smart quips.
Smart is sexy.
And frankly if he’s intimidated by your ‘smartness’ then you’re doing something right.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 2:07 pm
He’s an ass. And a flip-flopper (e.g., he tells you to trust him but then questions why you married him knowing his cheating past, like you should be ok with his cheating ways or something / he says you make him happy but then says he can’t talk to you). The qualities you listed about him – smart, attractive, hard-working – aren’t enough. They speak nothing about the way he treats you and values you and makes you feel (or should treat you, value you, and make you feel). Good luck, LW! I hope counseling will help you sort out what you want, what your husband is offering you, and what you need to do.
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 2:12 pm
Guys – I commented on this thread. I never get updates on the ones I comment on. And I made a Teen Mom reference. I’m hilarious.
Addie Pray November 27, 2012, 3:23 pm
Um, hello, welcome to my world. But good news, if you complain about that enough, the LWs will start sending in updates with a shout out to you!
TaraMonster November 27, 2012, 2:16 pm
It’s been awhile since I actually felt pretty angry FOR the LW.
“You knew what I was like when you married me.” OH HELL NO! That is the number one excuse that cowards and manipulators use to make other people feel bad about something they’re doing wrong.
Now I know the barrage of “Divorce him! What a dickbag!” comments are going to hurt your heart, but think about how much your heart already hurts now. It’s going to suck big time in the beginning, but you know deep down what you need to do.
I’m not sure why you think this is your fault. Because you married him? Because you love him? Maybe you made a mistake, but that does not mean you deserve to be treated poorly and to feel miserable. You chose the wrong man. I’m fairly certain this is the most common mistake made on the face of the Earth, so don’t go beating yourself up about it. Remember that you deserve to be treated well. You deserve respect. And you can start by respecting yourself first. I think therapy is probably a great way to start taking care of yourself.
Good luck, and if you ever want to hire someone to drive-by dick punch your husband, I’m starting a dick-punch company, and I’m offering you my start-up promotional deal: ZERO DOLLARS FOR ONE ANONYMOUS DICK PUNCH.
TECH November 27, 2012, 2:57 pm
Love every part of this. Especially “You chose the wrong man. I’m fairly certain this is the most common mistake made on the face of the Earth, so don’t go beating yourself up about it.”
Othy November 27, 2012, 5:37 pm
Yeah, they get you with the free anonymous dick punch, but what are the rates when the promotional period is over?
TaraMonster November 27, 2012, 10:01 pm
We quietly charge your Visa for six months until you check your bank statement and realize that not only have you been paying $22.50 a month and not noticing, but now you can’t even cash in on the monthly dick punch you’re paying for (you only get one a month. If you don’t use it, it expires. Don’t you wish you read the fine print?).
SweetPeaG November 27, 2012, 2:26 pm
Wait just a minute here!
Your husband claims that asking out another woman is NOT cheating? But, then turns around and asks you why you married him when you “knew his history of cheating”? It is almost as if he is saying “Well, you know how I am… why are you upset that I did this?” Is he not totally and completely contradicting himself here? What the hell?
I hate that you feel this is your fault. I don’t know you, but it makes me so sad. I think you’re probably a really sweet and lovely person who doesn’t deserve this for a second. I understand your desire to save your marriage. I think that there is so much beauty in forgiveness and in love that survives rough patches. However, the person that is commiting the wrongs in the relationship has to admit their wrongs, be truly sorry, and take concrete steps to help the healing process. Your husband is doing none of these things. Zero effort!
I can’t tell you what to do, but I think the individual therapy is a good start. It sounds like whether you decide to continue on with this man or not (although, I vote not), you absolutely need some help in realizing your self-worth.
Fabelle November 27, 2012, 2:30 pm
I remember the originally letter very clearly, but apparently I didn’t comment on it?
LW, we say this a lot on here, but “love is not enough”. You are experiencing that firsthand, unfortunately.
j2 November 27, 2012, 2:34 pm
“He did ask me, though, why I married him if I knew his past with women (past cheating, sleeping around).”
That is SUCH a revealing comment!
I repeat what I said last time:
“How can you trust? How can you relax with him totally as one should be able to with one’s life partner?
“Get out, get (STD) tested, get therapy.”
bagge72 November 27, 2012, 2:35 pm
He won! You let him make you think that it was your fault, and basically he won. I would say it is also time to MOA, because he clearly doesn’t think what he did was wrong, and doesn’t love you enough to regain your trust, and have a long happy marriage.
Taylor November 27, 2012, 3:48 pm
How is that winning?
bagge72 November 27, 2012, 4:08 pm
He got her to believe him when he said he would do what it takes, and then flipped it all around on her to make he thing it’s her fault. That is winning for a guy who likes to cheat.
Taylor November 28, 2012, 12:15 pm
That’s brutal! I learn something new everyday on this site.
Amber November 27, 2012, 2:36 pm
Sounds like he freaked out when he got caught and begged and pleaded for you to stay, but once he knew you were staying he’s not following through on trying to get your trust back because he either a) doesn’t really care about the relationship, but just didn’t want to be left (at least not on his own terms), or b) really doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
SweetPeaG November 27, 2012, 2:46 pm
Yep, beware the person that is only sorry when it suits them.
Lindsay November 27, 2012, 4:18 pm
I think this guy took her willingness to take him back and believe him as a sign of weakness, and thus decided that he could do whatever he wanted because he was in charge. I think he knew that most self-respecting women would have dumped his ass, so he ran with it.
Diablo November 27, 2012, 2:48 pm
LW, I’m a married guy. Sometimes I need to talk to someone other than my wife. Over the course of our marriage, because I’ve always found it easier to make friends with women, I’ve made numerous friendships with women other than my wife. But the differences between me and your husband are basically the things you articulated in your first letter. You said: “I have plenty of guy friends I talk to, but I don’t hide my friendships, delete texts, and deny knowing who texts are from.” Exactly. I have even gone on what could be considered dates: gone for lunch, gone for drinks, etc. Because these women are only friends, I never have a need to cover up where I’m going, what I’m doing, or who I’m doing it with.
Once, at a New year’s party, one of these friends kissed me. My wife was on the other room, but we both knew everyone at this party. I was surprised and did not “kiss back,” though I also did not have the drunken wherewithal to avoid it. So, a bit later, i said to my wife, “Hey, wow, so, X kissed me in the kitchen before. Weird, huh?”
My point is that the last thing in the world I would want to do is give my wife a reason to worry, especially knowing that other friends had seen this happen. So I addressed it right away, and there was no problem. We talked over whether we should address it with the friend, basically did a fade out on her, and moved on together. The difference between your statement that I quoted above and your husband’s actual behaviour and response to you is an important difference. Get counselling if you think you need some, but I think you already know where you are at with this marriage.
j2 November 27, 2012, 3:01 pm
A solid entry for your “The Good Husband” best seller that you need to hurry up and finish and get published.
Diablo November 27, 2012, 3:12 pm
Thanks, but I’m quite far from ideal. I can be a nightmare of selfishness and immaturity. In fact, years ago, my wife and I decided that our motto for our marriage would be “Despite Everything.” She had this engraved on a birthday gift a few years back.
I just think too many women/people settle for far too little. Not cheating, admitting when you are an ass (cuz everyone is sometimes), and being open to communicating and solving problems when they arise – these are not exemplary traits, they are a MINIMUM standard for a successful grown-up relationship. If you’re not getting this much from your SO, MOA, because the bad news is in the mail already…
Unless, j2, you are simply being sarcastic about my constant shameless promotion of my marriage, in which case, well played.
j2 November 27, 2012, 3:35 pm
Not sarcasm, not hardly – no player moi!
For that matter, your middle paragraph could be another entry.
L November 27, 2012, 5:05 pm
Diablo, I think my ex could give you a run for your money when it comes to selfishness and immaturity…from his “treats” for himself adding to his thousands and thousands of dollars in credit card debt to him not talking to me at all for days on end to him dismissing my needs and turning it on me to call me “selfish” to him calling me to tell me not to come up to visit him last minute…
Clearly I was dating a winner there. Sarcasm very much intended.
Diablo November 27, 2012, 5:21 pm
I said I was “far from ideal,” and i stand by that. I know you are hurting right now, L, but your guy seems to have been a bit of a heinous douchenozzle. I was more referring to whining when i don’t get to hold the remote and stuff like that. Childish, but unlikely to saddle you with crushing debt. Take care.
L November 27, 2012, 7:05 pm
Haha, thanks Diablo. 🙂 You seem like you have a very level head on your shoulders. I’m actually doing really well because I’m noticing how much he wasn’t for me. I didn’t mean my comment to sound bitter or anything because I’m really not. I’m at the point where “heinous douchenozzle” actually describes him pretty well.
CatsMeow November 27, 2012, 5:09 pm
“I just think too many women/people settle for far too little. Not cheating, admitting when you are an ass (cuz everyone is sometimes), and being open to communicating and solving problems when they arise – these are not exemplary traits, they are a MINIMUM standard for a successful grown-up relationship. If you’re not getting this much from your SO, MOA, because the bad news is in the mail already…”
AKchic_ November 27, 2012, 3:44 pm
I totally get it on the friend thing. I have more guy friends than female friends. The majority of I’ve slept with previously (both sexes). It takes a very un-jealous person to date me. I get phone calls, texts, emails, etc from friends and we get crude. Take my friend M, for example. Our favorite phrase instead of “thank you” and “goodbye” is “handjob you later” (we’ve known each other since 7th grade orchestra, and revert back to jr high-high school mentality on occasion around each other). The first time he said it to my SO – priceless! But, it opened the door to their comradery. Sci-Fi nights at my house get rowdy.
Diablo November 27, 2012, 4:02 pm
I’m lucky, in that i never have to REVERT BACK to high school mentality. Because I’m there, right now! Tee-hee-hee-hee-hee!!!!
AKchic_ November 27, 2012, 5:44 pm
Yeah… with four boys in the house (one in jr. high right now), I can’t act that way all the time. Sucks having kids sometimes. *sigh* But, I get to make all of my friends feel old by saying “my oldest is in jr high” or “my oldest will be 13 soon”. Or worse, counting how many years we’ve known each other. 3rd grade? 20 years. 7th grade? 16 years. Mua ha ha bitches! They hate it. The friends I met on mIRC are still pissed that they spent 3 years so stoned/drunk that they didn’t realize that I was “18” the whole time. Glad they grew up. They turned out to be awesome people.
theattack November 27, 2012, 2:48 pm
It sounds like you’re trying everything you can, and I really commend you on that, LW. I’m sad about this, because this is just awful. Unfortunately you can’t pull the weight of both of you in fixing this marriage. He’s not willing to even admit that he made a mistake, so he certainly won’t ever come around to wanting to fix it. And if he does come around… Well, do you really want to stay in a marriage with someone that 1) thinks dating other women is acceptable marital behavior, and 2) essentially told you that he has the right to cheat on you since you married him knowing he had done it before? I think you should get an individual counselor (one who will be supportive of you, so you might want to stay away from religious counselors that frequently discourage divorce), and I think you should get a divorce. Sorry about this, LW, and good luck…
landygirl November 27, 2012, 2:52 pm
LW, what advice would you give to a friend who was in your situation? Would you tell her to put up with her husband’s shit or would you tell her to leave?
I think your first action should be to get therapy to find your self esteem and then dump his ass like a hot potato(e).
MiMi November 27, 2012, 3:09 pm
It is bewildering and sad when you realize the relationship you thought you had doesn’t exist. You were in it 100% but he wasn’t, and his actions say he neither takes responsibility or particularly cares. A wife or girlfriend is such a convenience for a cheatin’ man, giving him an easy out of entanglements. Don’t be his beard or his patsy any longer – really, been there done that and it suuuucks and it doesn’t get better when there is no genuine remorse. This one is broken, return him to store.
EB November 27, 2012, 3:17 pm
LW, I can’t even be snarky as I can only imagine what you may have experienced in your life that has made you feel you are worthy of so little…
You are concerned about your husband’s happiness yet you seem all to willing to consign yourself to state of perpetual instability, insecurity ,and misery that yields only inconsistent attention and scraps of affection. I can only guess that on some level you believe yourself to be undeserving of respect, consideration, and even basic decency as you have chosen to build your life around someone who treats you with none. However, the only things separating you and most people whose relationships contain these attributes is a belief that you are worthy of these things and a refusal to settle for less.
I believe you are desperately searching for what you can do or say or change that will make your husband love and cherish you but unfortunately the only person whose actions and feelings you can control, is you. If you want love, please learn how to better love yourself. I hope you explore therapy and eventually redirect the majority of the passion, energy, and commitment currently aimed at your husband back towards yourself because even if your marriage is a lost cause, you are not.
MMcG November 27, 2012, 4:27 pm
“Even if your marriage is a lost cause, you are not”
YEAH!! AMEN!! WOOOOOOOO!!
just wanted to pull this portion out, LW you are more than your relationship status!! Being in a couple with the wrong person is so much more lonely than being by yourself… Please look inward and find the strength to love yourself no matter what. You seem to be a very caring and compassionate person and there is a guy out there that will cherish you. And you do deserve to be cherished 🙂
Hannanas November 27, 2012, 3:27 pm
Like always, WWS. She’s like the Judge Judy of the advice community.
Diablo November 27, 2012, 3:31 pm
Except she doesn’t usually tell LWs that they are stupid. Sadly, that is one of my fave things about Judge Judy.
Painted_lady November 27, 2012, 3:52 pm
I would love to know, in this guy’s eyes, what it means when you ask someone out on a date. Because in my world, it’s to vet someone for the potential of having a sexual or romantic relationship with them. I’d love to know why he asks women out, if it’s not about exploring a relationship he should only be having with you. I assume he’s straight, so since it isn’t cheating and was just friendy, how many guys has he asked out? Would he be okay if you came home and told him you asked some dude out? Fuck this fucking fucker. Seriously.
Also, “It wasn’t cheating,” and “Why did you marry me if you knew I was a cheater?” both came out of his mouth regarding the same incident. So a) what you have experienced is incorrect and irrational, and b) because I have always been an asshole, it’s your fault that I’m still an asshole. And I don’t want you to leave me, but you’re still guilty of my wrongdoing. Holy fucking gaslighting, Batman. There is not going to be an ending to this that doesn’t culminate in it being all your fault. Heads, he wins, tails, you lose. And when he’s talked you into feeling like his asshattery is entirely your fault and this is happening to you because you’re to foolish to see what’s good for you EVEN THOUGH what’s good for you is for him to treat you with a modicum of decency. I am so angry. No wonder you feel like you deserve this, and no wonder you can’t bring yourself to leave.
LW, you may hate me for saying this, but please don’t shut down without hearing this. I don’t think you’re with this man still because you love him. I don’t think you love him. I think you think he’s the best you can do, and I think he’s backing you up on this. I think you’re still fighting for your travesty of a marriage because it will be your fault in your mind if it doesn’t work. I think you’re still there because you’re afraid to be alone because you thought you had yoú future squared away and the idea of a Plan B is terrifying. I think you’re afraid you’ll be embarrassed and humiliated because your husband cheated on you, because he has convinced you this is your fault and so you’re afraid of having to deal with it. Guess what? This isn’t your fault. Just because he doesn’t have the decency to own his actions doesn’t mean he gets to shove them onto another person, and just because he dropped it on you doesn’t mean you’re required to pick it up. When people ask you what happened, the answer is not “I was stupid enough to marry someone who said he’d changed and then get angry with him when he didn’t,” the answer is, “I left him because he cheated on me, lied about it and tried to argue his way out of cheating, then tried to make it my fault.” HE did this. And I think the moment you get out from under this heaping pile of guilt he’s tossed on you, you will see that. All you have to do is go.
Amanda November 27, 2012, 3:57 pm
LW, I’m really sorry about what you’re going through. That you care for your husband’s happiness as much as your own and are doing everything in your power to save your marriage speaks to what an excellent partner you are. Unfortunately, you cannot enter into and maintain a healthy marriage alone. Your husband’s actions have shown that he does not care for your happiness as much as his. He is not doing even the simplest things (i.e. NOT manipulating you in conversations, making you feel terrible/crazy, going to therapy at your request) to maintain a healthy marriage with you, dear LW. I think that the writing is on the wall. You’ve done your very best LW, now it’s time to move on from this relationship.
Lindsay November 27, 2012, 4:08 pm
Ugh. This guy gets me so angry! So, he’s basically saying, “Hey, you knew I don’t like to be faithful, so why are you surprised?”
Anyway, listen to Wendy. If the deal was that you’d stay with him because he would work to regain your trust, he hasn’t held up his end of the bargain. He appears to not be trying at all, and really, the audacity of someone who’s cheated to ask like a selfish little brat about it is appalling to me. I think it’s fairly clear that even if you guys build up your relationship again, he’s going to cheat again in the future. He’s shown his lack of concern for faithfulness and monogamy, and it’s not something he’s going to suddenly start believing in.
Leah November 27, 2012, 4:42 pm
The one thing that comes through in your letter aside from the anger, sadness and betrayal is how much you deeply love this man. It’s clear that you would do a lot to save this relationship. You’re the one pursuing therapy, trying to understand where he’s coming from, starting discussions, trying to forgive, and you wouldn’t be doing that if you didn’t truly love your husband. And the thing is, despite his unhappiness he may very well love you just as much! Maybe his wanting to stay in the marriage is because he deeply loves you as well, and you were right about his emotions all along.
The thing is, you were wrong about your love for each other being “enough”. Love is enough when life goes well, but in a marriage it’s inevitable that hard times will follow good ones. You’ll both have personal problems that will affect your partner directly or indirectly, and you’ll have problems with each other. Dealing with those problems takes work (talking, counseling, compromising, making joint decisions that you can both live with) and skills (communication skills, emotional IQ). Your husband has shown you that he does not have these skills and he’s not willing to put in the work necessary to save your marriage. When he needed an ego boost, he looked outside the marriage. This woman didn’t pursue him, he pursued her! And now that that decision has harmed the marriage, and harmed you, he’s deflecting the issue and refusing to work on things.
You might love this man EVEN AS you separate and eventually divorce him. Love isn’t enough. Go to therapy and work on your feelings of guilt, as they are completely unfounded. My advice to you the last time around was to move out and get some physical space from your husband, and it still stands. It doesn’t make sense to stay in this marriage as you feel worse and worse and fall more and more out of love with your husband. You deserve better, and you said yourself that you’re both unhappy. Now is the time to start the long process of moving on.
Qara Koz November 27, 2012, 5:01 pm
LW, you brought up the comment that in your original letter you had nothing positive to say about your husband but at the time you were really angry and not dwelling on his positives. But then this letter still doesn’t paint him in a positive light at all. You throw out some adjectives (smart, attractive, hardworking, etc) but the picture you paint is still of a man who is unhappy, disrespects you and hasn’t been putting in very much work to make it up to you.
I’ve commented a couple of times why it’s a red flag when a LW can’t say a single positive thing about their SO because our obvious response is always MOA. Someone can look great on paper but that doesn’t necessarily make them right for you. The tone of your letter feels like two people too tired/dejected/sad to separate which is not what being very much in love is supposed to feel like.
oldie November 27, 2012, 6:43 pm
Yes, and then you put these positives side by side with the comments in the original letter.
“Smart” = she’s going for her PhD in a difficult technical field, while he has just agreed to go back and study for his GED. Doesn’t equate to ‘smart’ to me from the standpoint of a PhD
“Attractive” = he just started working out and has lost 30 pounds, so she stayed with him in his fat days
“Hard-working” = works in a diner, where he chases the customers,
Then there is the not-repeated prior comments on the 2 D.U.I.s and her concerns about how much/often he drinks
Then he is unhappy, as you say
Obviously a match made in heaven, for this woman who just can’t bear to let go and be alone for awhile.
brad November 27, 2012, 7:55 pm
LW, I’m sorry to hear your situation hasn’t gotten much better over these last couple of months. It’s a real shame just how many marriages are struggling these days. It’s especially sad that your husband is not putting in the effort needed to live up to his promise to be faithful to you when you wed, and his recent promise to you to do everything that was needed to repair your relationship. It’s clear from your post that you still want to save your marriage and really don’t wish to give up and divorce. I can’t say that I blame you on that regard as marriage is supposed to last for a lifetime. I certainly would like to hear things get fixed somewhere down the road. However, it’s very difficult to have a fulfilling marriage if your husband isn’t willing or capable of being honest with you. Expecting your husband to be honest with you is not an unreasonable expectation by any stretch. But I cannot help but wonder, and forgive me if this sounds like a dumb question, but does your husband know how to get your trust back? I know in an ideal world that this should be obvious to him but perhaps it’s not?
I’m going to take a huge risk and go out on a limb and say that perhaps some of the dumb comments he’s made, such as the remark about why you married him since you knew he cheated in the past (what a douchtastic comment by the way), come from a place of extreme frustration. For the sake of argument, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment (which is mighty generous) and assume he genuinely means it when he says he doesn’t want a divorce and wants to repair the relationship. The fact that you don’t trust him anymore, which is completely justified and deserved, probably really hurts and makes him super uncomfortable. That’s a feeling that nobody likes and is something all of us would want over a quickly as possible. And I can also understand him not wanting to go to therapy since many men aren’t comfortable talking about those kinds of feelings with their spouse, so doing it with a stranger sounds like the worst idea ever (for the record I don’t think it is). It would feel like further shaming to have to sit there and listen to you discuss with some stranger the fact that he’s been lying to you and then have to explain to this stranger why he thinks he’s been behaving like that. So it’s easy for me to picture him having that naive boyish hope/desire for the problem to just go away on it’s own. If all that’s the case (I don’t presume to KNOW I’m right) then his behavior would make at least a little sense to me.
But before you seek out a divorce it might be worth figuring out some tangible things that he needs to do for you in order for him to regain his trust with you. To give a silly example, but I’d think he would feel a little less frustrated about not having your trust if he knew that to get it back meant that he needed to do 30 jumping jacks, buy a bouquets of flowers, say I love you, every day for 30 days. Men tend to be a little bit more task oriented after all, which is why it’s hard for some men to just listen and be empathetic when women explain problems instead of trying to fix the problem, so I’d think having something specific to DO with some sort of known end point would remove a lot of the stress and anxiety he feels. Imagine if I told you that I would give you one million dollars if you started walking and told you that eventually I’d give it to you (and for the sake of argument let’s say you have no doubt that I’d pay out). How frustrating would that be? Wouldn’t you want to know just how far or how long you’d have to walk to get it? I’m assuming that you haven’t given him specific instructions for how to get your trust back beyond the obvious of stop texting other women behind your back. So there’s no end in sight for him. No light at the end of the tunnel. He knows you’re unhappy and is regularly reminded that he broke your trust and I’m guessing isn’t entirely sure what exactly he needs to do to get it back.
So it might be helpful for him for you to sit and figure out just what specific things he can physically do that would make you happy. A few examples might be telling you that he loves you every morning and when you get home, not getting defensive about who he’s communicating with on his phone, taking the trash out every night, taking you out for a date once every week or two, etc. You have to figure out what exactly you need him to do and say that will help with that. And have him start small. To that end I’d like to suggest a book for you. It’s called “The Love Dare” and you can get it for less than 10 bucks on amazon. The book is meant to help retrain a person to love their spouse in a way that is evident in both words and actions. It gives you 1 thing to do for/to your spouse every day for 40 days in a row. Maybe this is something you could give to him and/or each do together as a couple. If you (and more importantly he) take it seriously and put real effort into it, it can really help. It’s very highly rated and there are many couple who swear that the book saved their marriage. I will say that the book definitely has a Christian influence to it (it became popular after the Christian movie “Fireproof” came out) but the book can help even if you’re not a Christian. The things it asks you to do aren’t hard or that time consuming, but it’s supposed to change the way a person treats their spouse. And it covers many of the love languages because each day asks for something different and cross different love languages like words of affirmation and acts of love.
You can’t save your marriage on your own and you can’t live with someone that constantly lies to you. But you’ve been brave and toughed it out for this long and I can tell you don’t want to give up, so maybe give it a little bit more time? Hopefully specific action and/or the Love Dare, is the sort of guidance your husband needs to make good on his promise to try and win back your trust and love. I wish you the best and hope my comments were helpful. God Bless.
MissDre November 27, 2012, 10:04 pm
I nominate this not only as comment of the week but best advice of the week. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to make the decision to end a marriage. Maybe Brad is right and the guy needs a physical list of things he can do to make things better. And for the record, I don’t think my bf would ever go to counselling and tell his problems to a stranger either, even though he’s the kind of guy that generally does anything I ask of him. So maybe Brad has a point there as well.
MMcG November 28, 2012, 12:03 am
I love this answer – if there was any indication that this guy cared enough to try.
Here’s the thing – the not going to counseling/sessions/workshops/whatever – is absolute bullshit. I know people have a hard time with it… but if you can’t make a little effort, despite the fact that it makes you uncomfortable, to support and love your spouse than you shouldn’t get married. Mind you I’m not suggesting forcing someone to go to counseling to resolve some buried issue from childhood or something that is personal to one person – I mean couples therapy, counseling, talking to your priest, workshop, whatever – if nothing else to have an objective third party involved if one person wants it. No guarantees, but you have to at least try.
My bf was not hep to counseling or anything like that when we started getting more serious yet having communication issues (LDR for the win!)… but I meant enough to him that the man I eventually married went through premarital counseling after reading through a couple of relationship books and attending a PAIRS workshop. We aren’t perfect but we are always willing to try and would never be so cruel as to just shut the other out because we aren’t mature enough to manage the upset feelings. And this guy isn’t shutting down because he’s depressed or mismanaging a bad situation at work – he can’t get his way by keeping his wife off his back while trying to sleep around!?! ASSHAT
painted_lady November 27, 2012, 10:07 pm
I like your perspective, Brad, and also that you said this is all being overly generous to LWs husband. It does make sense. And it would have been especially useful after the first letter, but my time machine’s in the shop, so c’est la vie.
One of the things I’ve discovered in my myriad failed relationships – and my current successful one, although much less so – is that the more uncomfortable a man (or woman, too, probably, but I’ve never dated one) is with emotions and discussing them, the more likely he is to want deadlines, as in, “What day do you plan on forgiving me by?” Or “How long do you need before you can talk about this?” Obviously that’s an unrealistic expectation. I do think eventually the LW is going to have to forgive her husband if she’s going to stay with him, for both of their sakes, and they will need to decide some sort of an end date that works for both of them, if for nothing else but to know when they have to quit torturing themselves and each other, and best-case scenario, they have to figure out how to let go and move on. And yeah, she will probably need some sort of regular reassurance from him, maybe forever.
Thing is, since that end date and the method for letting go and the concrete things that she’s going to need him to do aren’t written in a textbook someplace – they need to be figured out. And a good way to figure all of that out is through therapy. Which he refuses to go to. And actually, that *is* a concrete thing she’s given him that she needs him to do, and he hasn’t done that, and he refuses to do that. And your reasons are totally valid why some guys don’t want to go to therapy, and I know you’re not trying to say she’s wrong for asking for that, but if your car breaks down and you hate going to the mechanic, that doesn’t mean you get to pretend your car is running normally.
I know you weren’t necessarily defending him, just providing perspective, which is awesome, and I think this is good general advice for how to work on a relationship, but I think maybe the refusal to do anything necessary to repair this relationship and acting like he’s being punished, as opposed to these changes in his marriage being the consequences of his actions (which he might figure out IN THERAPY), may mean that your really great advice probably doesn’t apply here. But it is really good advice.
MISS MJ November 27, 2012, 8:49 pm
LW, looking at both of your letters, you are obviously smart and have at least a general plan for your life. Your letters suggest you recognize that your husband treats you terribly and is emotionally manipulative, uninvested in your relationship and has already checked out, which says to me that you already know what you need to do. Its just hard to accept it and do it. And it hurts. If I could send a hug through the Internet, I would. But, all we all have here are words of encouragement. You can do better than a guy who cheats on you then asks you what you expected. Maybe he is a good guy sometimes – most people are not 100% awful all the time – but he isn’t the guy for you. He makes you feel bad. He tears you down. He makes you unhappy. And he doesn’t care. Continue to see your therapist, and file for the divorce you know you need. You’ll get through this.
pamplemousse November 27, 2012, 9:46 pm
Does anyone else feel like there are some people who write in just to talk about their feelings rather than get advice? I feel like this could be one of those scenarios.
iwannatalktosampson November 27, 2012, 9:54 pm
Oh my gosh take it back. I LOVE these kinds of updates. It’s the LW that just keeps on giving.
pamplemousse November 28, 2012, 12:06 am
Haha, yeah it is one those “this is going to be ugly but I can’t look away” types of things.
Lucy November 28, 2012, 9:44 am
I didn’t go back and reread all the old comments. But when I read this: ‘He says he talked to the other woman because he can’t talk to me as “I always have something smart to say,”’ plus the GED, the weight, and the service job – it sounds like this guy feels inferior to the LW (the PhD candidate). He doesn’t want her to leave him, because then he’s a loser, but he doesn’t want to unpack all his shit in therapy either, because that will make him look and feel weak. So he’s an immature, selfish liar with deep seated feelings of inadequacy. Five years is really enough to waste on someone like that. Now that he’s shown you who he really is, don’t waste any more.
Fish-E November 28, 2012, 2:43 pm
“I can’t seen to make him happy or be the kind of wife he needs me to be”
—He needs to be happy with you and you with him. You can’t make anyone happy if they don’t want to be happy. If you chose to forgive him and stay, then you shouldn’t be throwing it in his face that he “almost” cheated every chance you get. If you can’t forgive, because it’s very hard to forget then maybe just maybe it’s time to move on already. Maybe what you both need is some time apart to figure out what both of you really want.