Friend is a four-letter word
January 14, 2011 10:45 AM   Subscribe

{Relationship Filter} So my husband of less than a year looked up an old friend last month. Said friend happens to be married, female and goregous. They hadn't spoken in more than 10 years. They've been e-mailing, and my husband says he has no ulterior motives. I'm not so sure.

Yep, I've got trust issues.

Before we married, my husband and I were together for over four years. A couple of years ago, he looked up another old friend of his and started e-mailing, chatting, and talking to her on the phone when I was out. This was after he bought me a ring and we told our families we were making it legal.

I learned about this relationship a few months into it when I looked on his computer one night and found a chat program open where he had saved conversations talking about them meeting up on a weekend where I was out of town a month earlier. I'm pretty sure they didn't meet up then because he had taken ill on the weekend in question and I took him to the doctor right away when I got back into town.

I went ballistic and tried to end things and he said it was just a friendship (despite the saved conversation where he licked her as a greeting) they didn't meet up, and it wouldn't continue. But it did; phone bills state their conversations continued for a few months beyond D-Day I have no evidence they did meet up, but my gut tells me they did.

In fact, our best man dropped out of the wedding because of my husband's relationship with this other woman. I did not get details from the best man as to what happened, so the wedding took place.

Back to this second woman. My husband told me they had made contact on the day he sent the first e-mail. She was a girlfriend of his friend back in his late teens. She and her boyfriend had relationship problems, and she and my husband lost contact.

In fact, he forwarded me the e-mails exchanged that day. He told her he was married and what my name was and basic details about our wedding day, but said little else. He showed me another e-mail yesterday where he left me out of a day-long trip we made to some stores recently.

Our communication skills aren't so great. I've told him that this new friendship concerns me because of this past relationship of his. He said he was stupid back then. But when I told him he really hurt me, he said nothing, not even "I'm sorry."

I also told him that looking up this woman, mulling over whether or not to contact her for a week, and going forward with the e-mail is an action that tells me he's not happy in this marriage. He just brushed that off. In fact, he tells me he loves me 20 times a day... his actions don't match up with his words.

You may be wondering if he's open to counseling. The answer to that is no.

You may be wondering if I'm open to counseling... not at this time, as the last person I saw for 2+ years didn't meet my needs.

You may be wondering if we're intimate. The answer to that is not really. Our attempts at sexy time end in failure more often then not; we've both gained weight and I'm just going to say it: I don't think I do the job anymore. He says his weight is causing the issue, but he's taking no steps to lose weight or get a script for an ED drug.

You may be wondering why we married in the first place. Basically, I listened and believed the "I love you's."

If he were writing this question, he'd say my bad qualities include my passivity and my tendency to sit on the couch with him and surf the web. But when I want to talk, he never wants to talk or he mocks me for what I have to say. We're trying to work on this, but I'm just shutting down.

I've given you a ton of backstory, so I should make with the questions: Should I be worried about this new relationship? Why is he with me if he reminsces about the past so much? Why is he with me if he doesn't respect me?

(tl;dr: I am worried about a friendship my husband is striking up with an old friend from his late teens due to a similar incident which may have included a physical affair a couple of years back. There are other signs of trouble in our relationship, including poor communication, little respect and no sex. Should I be worried about this new woman? Why is he with me if he doesn't respect our relationship? He refuses to attend counseling and I am gunshy about re-entering therapy due to a shoddy therapist I saw over the past few years. Thanks.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If he's not open to counseling and there are no kids...DTFA.
posted by sweetkid at 10:47 AM on January 14, 2011 [8 favorites]

SO, what's good about this relationship? Is it worth the bad you detailed above? For me, I don't think so, but only you can answer this for you.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:55 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

You may be wondering why we married in the first place. Basically, I listened and believed the "I love you's."

So that's why you got married. What makes you want to stay married now?
posted by mazola at 10:56 AM on January 14, 2011 [9 favorites]

Why is he with me if he doesn't respect me?

Why are you with him? This sounds like a relationship that should NEVER have moved forward into marriage without hammering out your communication issues.

The only positive thing you say about your husband is that he tells you he loves you a lot (but doesn't seem to follow through with the corresponding actions). You need to think seriously about why you are still married to this person, forget about why he's still married to you.
posted by Bebo at 10:58 AM on January 14, 2011 [17 favorites]

Also, saying 'I love you' is one thing. Are there any ways, through his actions, that he demonstrates that he loves you? And vice versa?
posted by mazola at 10:58 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Along the same line as mollymayhem - do you want to save this relationship? You don't ever mention that you love him, you even say that the reason you got married was that you believed it when he said he loved you.

I can't fathom a reality where a married couple that admittedly has communication problems yet refuses to seek counseling makes it, long-term. You are gun-shy because your last therapist didn't meet your needs. Great, now you know what you are looking for in a therapist that CAN meet your needs. You husband doesn't want to go to counseling. You can't force him, but you can tell him you aren't happy or secure in your marriage and you need this from him to move forward.
posted by coupdefoudre at 10:59 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Actions speak louder than words, even when those words are repeated 20 times a day.
posted by hermitosis at 11:04 AM on January 14, 2011 [11 favorites]

Of course he has ulterior motives. Maybe he's just flirting with someone unobtainable because it's a safe way to experience some sexual tension. That, taken in isolation, isn't really a sign that something's wrong. It goes on in lots of healthy relationships. Not being honest about it is the problem.

All the problems you're having are workable if you both want to work on them. He doesn't, and even you (ostensibly the one who would like a magic fix) aren't listing things you're happy about.

IMO, with no kids, this one doesn't seem worth spending your life with.
posted by pjaust at 11:17 AM on January 14, 2011

I've only been to couples counseling when a relationship was headed to Splitsville, but here are the parts that actually helped me:

1 - Having an impartial observer confirm issues. You already have the best man thing, so check.

2 - Having each of us brainstorm what it would take to save the marriage and then making a list -- we basically horsetraded and compromised on things as we talked through the list. For me, he had to go to AA for 6 months. For him, I had to stop talking to my best male friend. Any breach was a sign the marriage wasn't as important to us -- even if I couldn't imagine not talking to my friend (who is now my husband, so my ex knew something I didn't about me, good for the ex) and he didn't think he had a problem.

That's something that you may or may not be able to do on your own depending on your relationship. They have to be measurable, frustrating actions, right? You don't need to say "Lose 40 lbs" but rather "Exercise 30 minutes a day" or "See a doctor about the ED" or, of course, "cut out all contact with the ex girlfriend". But this only works if you have proportional action/sacrifices to shore things up too.

But if you're willing to work on what makes him dissatisfied earnestly and he's not willing to give up contact with her (after 10 years of not talking to her), you know what you have to do.

I say from being in your husband's shoes, maybe he's gaining closure over something about her that hurt him, maybe he's in love with her but doesn't realize it or maybe he's getting something from her emotionally that he doesn't think he can get from you (because being married to someone, sharing the bills and having to be a partner is VERY different than a flirty fantasy who occasionally materializes). You can't know what's going on in his head and you can't tell the future.

But you can clearly and honestly communicate what you're willing to deal with and what's a deal breaker and then STICK TO YOUR ACTIONS. If you tell him you'll leave and you don't, you've just trained him to treat you like crap.
posted by Gucky at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

Does your husband have any female friends other than this woman? If so, then how is this relationship different that the ones he has with his female friends? If not, then why doesn't your husband have any platonic friends of the opposite sex?

You two may be married but y'all are not in a romantic relationship.
posted by fuq at 11:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yikes. Why is it you still want to be in this relationship?

Did he even come clean about it and say it won't happen again? And his best friend was so disgusted with him that he dropped out of the wedding? It seems like this past issue has never been fully addressed, which is a major problem.

AND he is not interested in addressing these issues. AND he mocks you when you try to have a serious conversation. AND you are not intimate and have trouble communicating or even improving this issue. AND you don't feel like he acts like he loves you.

These are some major problems. The only way any of them will improve is if you have open communication, and that'll only happen if both of you want it and work hard at it. Which doesn't seem like it's happening.

I'm just....really really curious as to what is GOOD about this relationship...
posted by lacedcoffee at 11:36 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Excuse me, but did you say your husband greeted this other woman in an IM session with a lick?

The flag, it is red.
posted by emelenjr at 11:37 AM on January 14, 2011 [14 favorites]

This is like a red flag with the word NIGHTMARE written on it thrice. If the guy's closest friend is so disgusted by his behavior as to refuse to lend legitimacy to his wedding, there's absolutely something terrible afoot.


I'm assuming the best man is not the type of person would take umbrage merely at the mention of the other woman's name, but was in fact so shocked by your husband's actions that he removed himself from his biggest day. Are they still (best) friends? It may be worth it to get in touch with him to get the real reason he dropped out, especially if they no longer communicate.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

What Greg Nog said.

Also, I'm sorry your last counselor sucked, but there is a vast range of skill levels and a myriad of approaches. Maybe you got someone not good? (Though it doesn't seem like you have unreasonable trust "issues," so I'm not sure what the focus would be.) Just FYI.

If you do want to save the marriage, I'd go to couples counseling, which is very different from individual counseling. It sounds like you guys really do not communicate well (from the sit-on-the-couch / never-wants-to-talk sentences). You could use counseling as a way to make the stay or go decision.
posted by salvia at 11:38 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh god, be super careful to not get pregnant while you take the time to decide to divorce him.
posted by fritley at 11:46 AM on January 14, 2011 [25 favorites]

I was thinking of saying that after the second affair, more affairs will surely follow, regardless of what he says about it.

Then I wasn't sure if it was an affair, because although the cyberdetails look the same as the previous time, you don't know if he's acted on it.

Um, but wait. Whether he's acted upon it or not is a MacGuffin. You're less than a year in and you already don't have a good relationship, and neither of you are willing to take any action to improve it.

It is not for me to say whether you should take action or what action you should take. I personally think that marriage vows are to be taken extremely seriously and only broken for serious cause, including such things as adultery... which you are left in the awful position of being unsure has actually taken place this time, although it did before... which I think accounts for your unwillingness to knock yourself out trying to save the marriage. It's as if your husband is unwilling to do anything real, including cheating on you.

This is pretty awful and I can see exactly why you think anything you do would be a wasted effort, but I strongly suggest two things: 1) go find the best man and get the full story, and 2) go to couples counselling, or, if your husband won't go, go to couples counselling alone. Don't rely only on your instincts or, God forbid, on a bunch of us. You need professional help here.
posted by tel3path at 11:54 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

People are much better at recognizing that they're unhappy than they are at recognizing why they're unhappy, and since it's much more comfortable to blame something or someone external, significant others often end up the most convenient receptacle for projection. It sounds, at least to me, like this is the case here, that your husband is fundamentally unhappy with something about his life, and when he feels it most acutely, he starts casting around for ex-girlfriends who are connected in his mind with a time before he felt this way.

So don't feel too bad about "not doing it" for your husband anymore; nobody "does it" forever for the chronically dissatisfied. There's a vulgar saying that "for every sexy, gorgeous woman, there's a guy that's tired of f**king her." Sounds gross, sure, but the underlying message is that if you're no longer attracted to your wife or girlfriend, it's not because she's not hot enough. You could look exactly like you did when you and your husband met, and he'd still be looking around for someone else because he'll never be satisfied until he addresses what it is he doesn't like about himself, and he'll never do that so long as he has someone else around to blame.

So where does this leave you? Well, you could DTMFA. Probably the safest bet, to be honest. But if you're not ready to go down that road, don't sweat it just yet. You could try to figure out what's really behind your husbands dissatisfaction and see if you can gently guide him toward doing something about it... but only if you feel a marital obligation to try, because 99 times out of 100, it's never going to work, and it will probably upset your husband.

Your best bet, IMO? You named a few of what your husband thinks are your "bad qualities," and it sounds to me like you don't entirely disagree. Do something about them, then... but for you, not for him. Look at things about yourself you don't like, and make a few changes. Doesn't have to be huge and life-altering. Just, try to be less passive. Rekindle old hobbies and interests, on your own, if your husband isn't interested. Or try something new. And just because your husband isn't interested in getting in shape doesn't mean you can't. Physical activity is so good for you, for both your mental and physical well-being. Go online and find a local meet-up group for whatever game/sport sounds fun.

In short time, you should be feeling more confident and sufficiently motivated to readdress the situation with your marriage. Your increased sense of self-worth will help you not settle for less than you deserve, and if your husband remains unwilling or unable to follow your example of self-improvement, you can DTMFA having proven to yourself that it really never was you, but him.
posted by patnasty at 11:55 AM on January 14, 2011 [11 favorites]

You may be wondering why we married in the first place. Basically, I listened and believed the "I love you's."

You may be wondering if I'm open to counseling... not at this time, as the last person I saw for 2+ years didn't meet my needs.

I don't think you should be worried about this new woman so much as you should be worried about your pattern of responses to troubling or unacceptable behavior.

You've spent five years in a relationship with someone you don't trust. You spent two years working with a therapist who didn't meet your needs. Why? Do you think it's all you deserve? Or, perhaps, does it allow you to blame others for your situation rather than take responsibility (i.e., the marriage isn't working out because he isn't trustworthy; you didn't meet your therapy goals because your therapist was ineffective)? For some reason, you're accepting things that make you unhappy rather than making changes to pursue something better. I'm not saying that you're responsible for your husband's untrustworthy behavior or your therapist's ineffectiveness. It just seems strange to me that you would accept both of those things for years.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:58 AM on January 14, 2011 [27 favorites]

Why is he with me if he doesn't respect me?

More importantly, why are YOU with him if he doesn't respect you? You've trained your husband to expect that he can do whatever the hell he wants and you'll still be there. That's great for him, but not so great for you. On preview, Meg_Murry says it well- the time has come for you to start actively running your life. First up, setting boundaries with your husband. I wish you luck.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:10 PM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

But when I want to talk, he never wants to talk or he mocks me for what I have to say.

DITCH HIM. Spouses do not mock each other without apology and efforts to avoid it in the future.
posted by infinitewindow at 12:14 PM on January 14, 2011 [12 favorites]

But when I want to talk, he never wants to talk or he mocks me for what I have to say.

DITCH HIM. Spouses do not mock each other without apology and efforts to avoid it in the future.

Agreed, and that's when you're trying to have a conversation with him, not even fighting. Get far away.
posted by sweetkid at 12:44 PM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Why not hang out with the two of them together? Befriend the friend. See what this is all about. Allow him to be friends with her openly.

If my partner seemed jealous of opposite-sex friendships that pre-dated our relationship, snooped in my chat history, went ballistic about something that never actually happened and wasn't sexual, anyway, and continued to insist that this platonic friendship was some sort of romantic affair, I'd mock my partner. I would refuse to apologize, because in my eyes I'd have done nothing wrong. I'd also probably refuse to go to counseling, because there is nothing about me having friends that necessitates us having to go into therapy.

All of that said, it sounds to me like the real issue isn't this friend, it's the two of you. You don't sound happy, and if neither of you is willing to change anything or seek counseling, what else is there to do but break up?
posted by Sara C. at 1:18 PM on January 14, 2011

Hi! In another life, I was that ex your husband contacted. And YES - he's cheating or looking to cheat on you.

My ex also showed his wife our emails to show it was on the up-n-up. HA! Turns out, he'd been stepping out on her for years, he knew how to dodge her suspicions. Some of the women he cheated with included their mutual friends. Especially one of the wife's childhood best friends. They're divorced now, she still doesn't know the extent of the cheating. Similarly, you'd be surprised how many of their male married and non-married friends helped the husband cheat.

In short, the Best Man bowed out of your Wedding Day because of your now Husband's relationship with another woman?? You're not crazy. This weird soap opera stuff does happen. Get out now, while you can.

Oh, and the wife from the story above? She ended up a little unbalanced by the divorce. Over 10 years, this guy undermined every correct instinct she had about him, and it severely damaged her self-esteem. Don't end up like that.

I hated the way you started this post off, "Yep, I've got trust issues." Bullshit. Don't disparage yourself or your feelings like that from now on. That's why I am writing.
posted by jbenben at 1:31 PM on January 14, 2011 [18 favorites]

In fact, our best man dropped out of the wedding because of my husband's relationship with this other woman. I did not get details from the best man as to what happened, so the wedding took place.

I truly don't mean to berate but you've got to really focus on this moment in time, as others have pointed out. His best friend could not bear witness. Didn't that give you pause?
posted by thinkpiece at 1:36 PM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

The last time someone said to me, "You do know it's just dinner with her, right?" he was married to the woman in question 16 months later. Men and women can be friends, but listen to your gut, which sounds like its telling you to worry in this case.
posted by analog at 2:10 PM on January 14, 2011

nth "why are you with him"

I don't know if he's cheating. I don't know why he's with you (maybe because it's the easiest option). But you don't trust him. Neither of you is taking (or apparently, willing to take) steps to work on your relationship. It's weird that you didn't ask this (I think), but this post just screams DTFMA.

Even if he means it when he says he loves you, even if he isn't trying to bone this other chick, ask yourself this: Is this relationship making you happy?
posted by J. Wilson at 2:32 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think it's nuts that anybody in society even asks the question of whether men and women can be friends.

I don't think it's remotely nuts that you are asking yourself whether THIS man and THIS woman can be friends.

You have "trust issues" because he's given you good reason to mistrust him.

Please follow my advice about interviewing the best man. I bet he's dying to spill the beans.
posted by tel3path at 3:45 PM on January 14, 2011

Sara C.: If my partner seemed jealous of opposite-sex friendships that pre-dated our relationship, snooped in my chat history, went ballistic about something that never actually happened and wasn't sexual, anyway, and continued to insist that this platonic friendship was some sort of romantic affair, I'd mock my partner. I would refuse to apologize, because in my eyes I'd have done nothing wrong. I'd also probably refuse to go to counseling, because there is nothing about me having friends that necessitates us having to go into therapy.

But would you greet them online with a lick? Or is that platonic behaviour she should tolerate as well?

The little bits and pieces are balancing in any healthy way. He not only crosses boundaries that make you upset, he mocks you for having those boundaries. Add in the amount of small details just not adding up and I'd say run as well. You've checked out, you don't care, so why stay?
posted by geek anachronism at 3:50 PM on January 14, 2011

Chiming in here as a data point, nothing more/nothing less.

I'm the male half of a 8 year long (practically married) relationship. We are quite happy with each other.


I am, at various times, in loose touch with old relationships as is she. We tell each other what needs to be told, as dictated by our previous discussions. No more, no less.

Our sexy time has been on a slight decline partially. I'd say my recent weight gain of a few pounds is an issue (on my side of things) and we deal with it as we can. We're both working out and things are kosher.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm rubbing things in, but I'm just trying to say that what he says is happening can be valid facts in a healthy relationship.

Best of luck with your issues.

Mods: can answers be anon? If so, and it's no huge trouble, please make this one so.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:12 PM on January 14, 2011

Yeah, but has your best guy-friend dramatically cut contact with you because he was disgusted at how badly you treat your partner? I'm guessing not. That is something that doesn't tend to happen in healthy relationships.
posted by tel3path at 4:21 PM on January 14, 2011

I think he does not want to be married, but he is too much of a coward to tell you, so he is just going the weasel route and acting like a single guy.

I am so sorry.

You are newlyweds, You are supposed to be in a honeymoon phase right now, not dealing with this kind of immature fratboy nonsense. You can do better, and I hope that you do.
posted by 4ster at 4:26 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a ton of male friends from the past who have contacted me over the last year or so since I made a Facebook page, including some who had giant huge crushes on me and so on. That alone isn't a huge whoop in my book; we've all grown up and moved on and gotten married or partnered or whatever.

The stuff that concerns me more is the "his best friend dropped out of the wedding because he was so disgusted by his behavior" and "he refuses to talk to me and mocks what I have to say."

Really? Do you really need to be married to someone who mocks you? There's enough doucherie in the world at large--your spouse/partner is supposed to be on your side, not one of the douchebags who mocks you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:40 PM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't consider a man who treated me the way your husband is treating you to even be a friend.

You're recently married; unless you own property or have made business investments together, there will never be an easier and cheaper time to get divorced.

If sexy time fails, can't you get it annulled or something? Jeez. Don't let other people treat you that way - saying "I love you" is literally meaningless in the context of his overall behavior.

He might as well be saying, "I love you for letting me treat you like shit and get away with it every time" and you're just being deaf to everything but the first three words.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:17 AM on January 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

I'm noticing a troubling lack of agency in your post - you say, for example, that you married him because you believed the "I love yous." But that's not why you married him, that's why you thought he wanted to marry you. Or is that enough? If it is, I think you need to take another look at that underlying issue - if you marry someone just because that person loves you, or claims to, I'd say that your real problem is a serious lack of self-worth, almost certainly crossing the line into depression.

Similarly, you describe what sounds like a joyless marriage, one that doesn't seem to offer you anything. And your question to us is whether or not you should worry about his friendship? And why is he with you if he doesn't respect you? In other words, a ton of anxiety about the way he feels about you.

What about you? How do you feel about him? Does being with him make you happy? At all? Even people who come in here with questions about real asshole partners usually have about a paragraph about how great the person is when he or she isn't acting like an asshole. I see nothing at all in your post that suggests this relationship brings anything positive into your life, and nothing that suggests you should stay in it. The only reason you seem to be staying is that you seem to be processing this whole situation entirely through his thoughts and his wants. So again I ask:

What about you? Spend some time thinking about what you want, what would make you happy. Then go do that. I suspect it will involve getting away from this person.
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:48 PM on January 17, 2011

Mod note: From the OP:
"Wow. WOW! The people of AskMe are good at an ass-kicking when it's warranted. Thank you.

I'd like to elaborate on topics people are looking for further information on. This may get long.

The Best Man: The night when I found out the real reason BM was out of the wedding, I tried to call it off.

I also tried to call the Best Man for further details that night. He never called me back. He is related to my husband, so I've seen him once since the wedding. I am pretty sure all I will get out of him is that I'm too stupid to live for marrying my husband.

Husband talked me down from calling off the marriage by saying 1) his relationship with Other Woman #1 was a friendship he didn't want to tell me about because I'd freak out and 2) BM was using her as an excuse because he didn't want to deal with the responsiblities of being a Best Man and have to travel out of state. Furthermore, BM had some health issues going on at the time, so it seemed plausible to me.

I know, I know, I was so stupid. I know!

What he brings to the table: He hasn't done something purely loving for me in years. He'll do nice things once in a while, but I'll think it through and realize he was being loving to benefit himself.

I've told him he wants a mom and not a wife, and it hasn't sunk in. I'm also going to quote this for truth:

You two may be married but y'all are not in a romantic relationship. Yep! I've told him that and it. does. not. faze. him.

Pregnancy: We've completed intercourse a handful of times during our marriage. That's not my main concern right now. He's not exactly jumping my bones or taking me up when I offer.

All the questions posed to me: Well... I don't have answers for them right now. I want to thank Salvia for letting me know I can go to couples counseling by myself, which I will likely do.

How did I get to the point where I married a man who treats me like this? I don't know; I can point fingers at a lot of sources that made me who I am. What I can tell you is I don't know what I can do to change this, and I've been through a lot of therapy and been on a lot of medication.

Can this relationship be saved? Signs point to no, especially after this weekend, where he dismissed a gift I gave him by telling me I never know what he wants or would like AND finding out that he put an ad out a cousin of Adult Friend Finder near the end of the year. In the ad, he said he was open to threesomes, experimentation and a relationship. He ignores the fact that I'm open to those things too.

I told him a few weeks ago I wanted a divorce in the heat of the moment. He told me that it was just like me to run away when things got hard. Later, after things calmed down, I told him that we needed counseling. He refused. I was going to take this year to better myself and try and make things work, but after this weekend, I think I need to take action. "
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:50 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look, you obviously don't want to be with this guy anymore. Whether it's "his fault" because of his friendship/relationship/whatever with this woman, or whether it's "your fault" because you don't trust him or are too jealous or whatever the root problem is for you.

Just get out of it, already, before you get pregnant or something else makes it much harder to leave him.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

OP - your update makes no sense. You give this guy all of your power and agency, and yet it is clear he has nothing but contempt for you.

You realize you don't need his permission to leave, right??

He's on Adult Friend Finder? Who cares if you are open to openness, too? This guy is actively looking for anything outside of the marriage!! He's expressly not including you in the physical and possibly emotional intimacy he shares with others.

I'm starting to wonder if there is a financial angle here. Are you the breadwinner in the partnership? Because that would explain a lot of this.

I also kinda suspect the guy simply enjoys going behind your back. But speculating on that is just a distraction from the obvious...

Seek therapy. You deserve better. It's troubling you don't have a sense of your rights to enjoy respect and happiness internalized to the point where you feel strong enough to make the right choices for yourself.

You are in charge of your own life. You don't need your husband's participation or permission to get out of this relationship.

posted by jbenben at 2:50 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Adult Friend Finder? And you don't even seem to be able to muster any outrage.

You could be talking about an annoying roommate who leaves dishes in the sink, except most people who do that are way more passionate about it.

You seem passive about this in a way I can't quite get my head round. I have known very passive people, though, and if you are like those I've known then perhaps it's the act of leaving that's offputting to you rather than the thought of life after you'd left him? If so, maybe you would rather stay in your marriage until it ends in some way unbidden by you. You'll be there for a long time, if that's the case, because for reasons passing understanding (considering the way he treats you) he seems to want to be married, and you didn't say no, so as long as you continue not to say no, my guess is neither will he.

I can't understand either why he is with you if he doesn't respect you. Maybe he just likes to be married, because he assumes it's What You Do, and some people just do What You Do. Façade of respectability? Better standard of living? Base to work from generally? Laundry service? Doesn't have to commit to anyone else because they knew he was married when he hooked up with them? Do you have a large inheritance coming to you? Has he put joint financial assets in your name (a classic trick of the perpetually bankrupt)? Really, I don't get it either. I'm unable to think down to the level of someone who operates the way you describe your husband. Just some people, who don't operate like the rest of us, have a "sure, I'll get married, I'll go along with it, but don't expect me to participate or anything" kind of attitude.
posted by tel3path at 3:46 PM on January 18, 2011

I knew there was something more I meant to say. I was going to repeat my suggestion that you contact the Best Man.

I'm skeptical that you'll just get "that I'm too stupid to live for marrying my husband." Really? You really think that's what you'll get? You think if you call him up and ask "What is the real story behind you dropping out of the wedding, because I want the full gen," he will just tell you you're stupid and refuse to say anything more no matter what? Or are you afraid he'll tell you everything and you'll get the answer to your question? And possibly have to face something you don't want to face, and do something you don't want to do? If so, you probably need to know/do whatever it is.
posted by tel3path at 3:58 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

You two may be married but y'all are not in a romantic relationship. Yep! I've told him that and it. does. not. faze. him.

Ok, but what about you? You seem to realize that this relationship is broken (beyond repair, IMO), so why are you still in it? Like jbenben said above, you don't need his permission to leave. Just get out. Your description of this relationship sounds so miserable. You deserve better.
posted by chiababe at 9:56 PM on January 18, 2011

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