dating / EXs / friendship / life / long distance / relationships

Relationships: Infidelity and Integrity.

I swear sometimes my friends must think I’m off in la la land when we’re cruising in the car, sipping our coffees and bitching chatting.

The truth is, sometimes, they’re right. Except that it’s not really la la land – it’s la la bloggyland.
It’s never been more true than it has over the last week.
And not just because I’ve been dealing with my own shit.

I’m at that age where everyone either has, or is in the middle of settling down. It’s interesting to watch from my perspective – as someone, in my mind, who “settled down” when I found out I was pregnant, close to 5 years ago. Which makes me feel old in case you’re wondering. I mean I didn’t get married but becoming a mom, even that young, has a rather similar effect on you, in my opinion. While my friends couldn’t understand it back then, they’re coming to me for advice now as someone who’s “been there.”

With the exception of my very best friend, Brian, everyone is either taking the plunge and getting married (and subsequently having children) – or breaking up and moving on.

Brian.. I love him to death, I swear I do… he’s a special case, his relationship deserves a post all of it’s own, and I’m not going to go into detail here but I’m really disappointed with him, and his view on his, very long-term, relationship.
To sum it up, his view on being with his live-in girlfriend (and this is a direct quote) is: “I’m at the age where I should be settling down and I love her, but not in that way. I just don’t want to have to put the effort into finding someone else to be with.”
There are so many things wrong with that, I don’t even know where to begin.

I don’t believe in being with somebody, just to be with them.
Companionship – yes. Building a life with someone out of laziness – no.
If you don’t have any desire to put work into a relationship, and only want to be in it out of lack of other options and lack of desire to “work” for it, then you don’t deserve it.

Relationships are work.
I don’t care who you are, what you do or who you are with – if your relationship doesn’t require some kind of upkeep or maintenance, there’s something wrong.
There is no relationship – romantic, platonic friendship, parent/child – that is effortless.
It may seem effortless at times, but I promise you that if there is “no conflict” and “no work required” then there is something under the surface that isn’t being acknowleded.

Love is hard, it is messy and it hurts.

It pains me to see so many of my friends abandoning long term relationships, divorcing and remaining in loveless relationships while, for lack of a better way to phrase it, seeking outlets outside of their relationship to service the needs that they find are lacking.
My heart hurts for them.

I can most definitely understand – you can’t be in something when your heart isn’t in it – but the problem lies in “moving on, without moving on.”
If you’ve checked out of your relationship and have no desire to fix things then yeah, it’s time to move on. The thing is, you can’t do that without consulting with your partner – or, if not consulting, at least informing.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, the most important parts of a relationship to me is 1) honesty and 2) communication.
Nothing will make or break a relationship faster than that.
Personally, I’m an open book – all you have to do is ask.
There are no pretenses, no facades.

Having an affair, whether emotional, physical or both, is one of the most disrespectful things that I think you can do to somebody.
I know people who have had them, I’ve unknowingly been a part of them, and I understand why they happen.
I genuinely hope I’m not offending anyone, but it doesn’t change my opinion.

If you feel comfortable enough to move on to somebody else, or comfortable enough with someone to seriously consider it, then you need to step up, communicate and be honest with your partner about those feelings.
You need to decide how to proceed together. Deception does nothing but damage – damage your relationship, your partner and yourself.

The hard thing about infidelity is defining it.

What is it? What do you and your partner, consider cheating?

Photo from bustacheatingpartner.com (I don’t know.. I just google imaged it. lol)

We were driving, Tuesday afternoon, drinking our coffees and talking about the kids and all of a sudden Tina says to me:

“I wasn’t snooping but… Tom left his Facebook logged in and up on the computer. I went to use it and he’d left his inbox open to messages that he’d been sending to a girl that he’s always told me was a friend.”

“I didn’t open the laptop with the intention of checking up on him, but he left it open and I just saw it.”

Long story short she witnessed some messages between him and another woman that hurt her.
They were sexual in nature and disrespectful towards Tina, name calling and insults behind her back.

What do you do?

Do you pretend you’ve never seen it?
Do you confront him?
Do you pack his shit up and tell him to get out?

Really, I want to know, what do you do?

I have to say that she handled it a lot better than I would have. For me, life is too short to put up with that kind of stuff. I want to be with someone faithful – both physically and emotionally. I expect to get back exactly what I’m putting out there. I want to be with someone who can resist acting on doubts he might have about our relationship – because there’s always going to be some kind of doubt, at some point, right?

I’m also wondering if maybe she would have reacted differently if she’d caught them having sex or something of the sort.

To me, all signs point to an emotional affair, if not a physical one.

According to Article Mesh:

So, What Exactly Emotional Cheating Is?

Emotional cheating occurs when one person gives his love to an opposite sex despite the fact that he’s with someone else already. Furthermore, there’s always this inappropriate sharing of marriage details, hopes or aspirations, fears, dreams or just about anything. It’s not difficult to tell if your partner is having an emotional affair with someone else. Here are a couple of signs to watch:

? This relationship is a closely guarded secret, and that includes the things they have shared or discussed

? Your partner shares pretty much everything to this person, including his dreams, fears, and plans more than he does to you

? He’s sharing your marriage details to this person without your consent

? Your partner won’t allow you to meet his new friend, or if you do, interactions are in a very limited fashion

? You feel that your partner isn’t attracted to you anymore – emotionally or physically.

? Even without sexual contact, your partner is having sexual attractiveness to this her.

No Sex and its Infidelity, Why Is That So?

Because of its potential impact to hurt the spouse, experts have realized it’s the new face of infidelity. In order to keep the cheating going on without the wife’s knowledge, a considerable amount of emotional energy is spent to hide the relationship.

Tom has always been open about both male and female friends and always invited her to be a part of his friendship with them.
Except for this girl.
He spends a significant amount of his day texting and facebook messaging her.
Nothing that Tina is ever allowed to be privy to.
He expects to be able to spend the night at this girl’s house but Tina is not, and I repeat, NOT allowed to meet her. Ever. No exceptions – and he’s been very clear about that.
“I don’t want you to meet her because you aren’t going to like her or the way we act around each other and you’re going to tell me I can’t be friends with her – and I will not end our friendship, even if it makes you uncomfortable.”
In between explicit messages on facebook he came right out and said that he wasn’t attracted to her anymore and that she “doesn’t take care of herself.”
This girl is a stay-at-home mom, goes to the gym every day, takes care of their new baby, their two hound dogs and their cat. Not to mention the house, the yard, the bills and the grocery shopping. Trust me, no small feat. She actually said that despite all of the sexual things being said, saying she didn’t take care of herself was what hurt her most.

So, I don’t know.. to me, it’s suspicious and it bothers me.

She sat at home all night on Saturday, processing her thoughts and feelings and called him at the garage – at 3 AM – to ask him if there was anything he needed to tell her about. When he insisted there was nothing, she specified – were there any messages, texts, BBMs or emails that he was exchanging with somebody else that she needed to know about.
He insisted, there were not.

She didn’t call him out on it but basically gave him an ultimatum: Marriage counselling or we’re done.

He told her that marriage counselling would never fix what was broken between them and that if things were going to end it might as well just happen. She shared her opinion that it was worth it to her to try, to at least put effort into it.

She wanted to wait until they saw the counsellor to confront him about the messages so that she could explain she hadn’t been snooping – and went back to the computer to print out what was up, exactly as he’d left it.
The page refreshed and the message was gone – he’d deleted it.
That’s a red flag if I’ve ever seen one.
He knew exactly what she’d been talking about…

She, later on, came to find out that this is an old girlfriend, not “just a friend” as he’d told her. He was adamant that nothing had ever happened between them and that they were just friends that played pool together once a week. His mother says otherwise. She says they were an item.
Why lie about it?

Why all of the secrecy?

I don’t get it.

If he’d come right out and shared all of this upfront, would it feel like such a big deal? Or is there something to hide..

I can’t imagine, for even a second.
Being married and having so many doubts, so many fears and so much… evidence?
There is so much hurt happening right now that could have been avoided with some honesty and a little bit of communication.
Maybe it would have been the same hurt but personally, I would rather know.
I’d rather know that there is someone else. With certainty – confirmed by my significant other.
Actually I’d rather faithfulness but that seems to come few and far between these days.
I’d rather know that than wander around every day wondering.

Everyone is different. I get that.
For myself: I fall hard, I love hard and I give it everything I’ve got.
Like I said above, I expect the same back. I’m not going to work at a relationship with a partner that has no interest in being a part of it.
If we are together then I am 100% faithful – it’s what I believe in and it’s just part of who I am and who I’ve always been.
Heck, I’m even monogamous in “friends with benefits” relationships.
I believe in being faithful to somebody that you are in an exclusive and monogamous relationship with.

It literally made me sick to my stomach to find out that I’d been the other woman. That somebody else hurt because of my actions, whether intentional, knowingly or not. It’s just not who I am. I don’t have it in me.
Je ne comprends pas.

To find out that someone else is doing it to you? There are no words.
Maybe that’s why I feel so much hurt for my friend..
Empathy and guilt will do that to you.
It’s a rather sickening combination.

I remember shortly after the little dude was born I’d met my friend Shawn for coffee. He needed to “talk.”
He told me that he’d slept with his best friend’s pregnant wife.
While his pregnant girlfriend waited for him at home, because she thought he was at school.
His explanation: he was stressed. Dealing with their unplanned pregnancy was “hard.”
Well, no shit.
What do you say to that? That isn’t okay. How do you do that to so many people that you care about?
We are no longer friends – not directly because of this, but related to it.

Again, in the face of all of this I keep telling myself, even as it gets harder and harder to truly believe: I believe in love. I believe that two people can be together if they want to be and they’re willing to put the work into it. I believe in being faithful and I believe in having integrity. Whether that means working through the hard stuff like Shawn should have or finding ways to make it work when your spouse is away more days than they’re home – or being the spouse that’s away all the time and being able to recognize when you’re starting to check out and touching base with the person you’re so sure you love, like Tina and Tom.
People do it every day.
People make things work – and anything worth having and keeping is worth working for.
That’s the bottom line.
Something worth so much isn’t going to be easy.

I don’t know why people always expect it to be – why they can’t see that there is going to be the occasional bump in the road. They get to that bump and decide to turn around, go back and give up. Why not work through it – climb the fuck over it.

I put work into relationships every day – with my child, my parents, my friends. I don’t expect a relationship with a partner to be any different.

“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for. If it is worth attaining, it is worth fighting for. If it is worth experiencing, it is worth putting aside time for.”
-unknown

A post I’ve stumbled upon that I really enjoyed: The Emotional Affair – When Feelings Get In The Way

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27 thoughts on “Relationships: Infidelity and Integrity.

  1. God, this was a long post to read, very good and informative ( i learned something in the reading). We live in a micro-wave, fast-food-drive-thru world and I’m guilty of having that kinda mentality. your writing was worth the time it took to read it. Thanks, glad i stumbled upon it.

  2. Marriage is hard work & I guess too many people feel the grass is greener on the other side. I see nothing wrong with having a friend as a sounding board but in this case it seems like this is a physical affair, not an emotional one. I hope Tina finds a solution.

  3. I agree with you Nikki. It’s a shame your friend has to thru this, I would have handled it much differently. Now. But, I know what it’s like to be emotionally weakened. It’s not healthy.

    I really hope that Tina checks out because her husband seems to already have done so. I hate to be blunt but, once a man crosses that line, it’s hard to change. She and her child deserve better, someone who loves and respects them unconditionally. He should think what his actions and their consequences will have on the child.

    Either way, I only wish her the best.

    I’ve been thru a crappy and abusive relationship to what I have now. To understand what it’s like to get back exactly what I put into it, sometimes more. Do we fight? Not really, we disagree but damn straight we work on this relationship everyday to keep it alive.

    You always get what you give and when that stops you should too. Your better off alone than in bad company.

    Awesome post m’love!

    -NPC

    • I tell her every time we talk that she’s a beautiful person with a beautiful child and that they both deserve better.
      It’s hard for her to see herself being alone and handling things solo but at the same time she already is.

      She deserves better and if he isn’t willing to give it to her then there’s going to be somebody out there who is.
      She doesn’t have to live miserably just because she made a commitment to him – he made the same commitment and doesn’t seem to have any desire to make it work the way it should.

      Thank you for your input Nancy 🙂

  4. I have personally seen those texts, messages, and e-mails. I’ve been the wife that “doesn’t take care of herself”, that doesn’t understand her husband, that has unrealistic expectaions of her marriage. I have seen e-mails where the other woman called me a bitch and said that he “deserved better”. I’ve done the marriage classes and the marriage counseling that he didn’t want to attend.

    In your post you said that he said “I don’t want you to meet her because you aren’t going to like her or the way we act around each other and you’re going to tell me I can’t be friends with her – and I will not end our friendship, even if it makes you uncomfortable.” You called it “suspicious”. It isn’t suspicious, it’s blatantly OBVIOUS! He knows his wife will have issue with how they “act around each other” and he’s not willing to give that up. He has made his own ultimatum. He has said he will chose his “friend” over his wife.

    There isn’t any grey area here. Tina needs to come to the realization that I did. LIFE IS TOO LONG TO BE MISERABLE. Especially at the hands of someone else.

    I wish her the best, it takes a strong woman to summon the courage to stand up for herself, but it’s the best for her and her child.

    • Honestly, I’ve come right out and said that to her.
      She says she knows and she understands but that she doesn’t know how to do it all on her own – although, he isn’t even home because he’s gone for work so she IS doing it every day on her own.
      We’re still talking about it but she seems confused and unsure.
      I plan to show her my post and everybody’s comments and I’m hoping it’ll help…

  5. I read up to the following quote and was trying to give Tom the benefit of the doubt before it (even though I’d already thought he was an asshat sandwhich topped with douchebag sauce) but um:

    “I don’t want you to meet her because you aren’t going to like her or the way we act around each other and you’re going to tell me I can’t be friends with her – and I will not end our friendship, even if it makes you uncomfortable”

    Excuse me?

    Maybe I’m Naive but when a friendship you have makes your girlfriend/sig other uncomfortable, you do whatever it takes to make sure she isn’t uncomfortable. And if he is that convinced she won’t like the way he acts around this girl, what does that tell you? The fact that he already knows she won’t like it means the relationship he’s having with this lady is inappropriate… he pretty much admits it by his little tirade there! And it’s one thing to defend your friends but to say that he will keep that friendship no matter how awkward it is for the girl he’s actually with? That shows a blatant disrespect to Tina… I mean come on, if he respects her that little, who knows what else he was doing?

    I remember hearing that people who cheat (either consciously or subconsciously) leave stuff around to get caught. That’s the first thing I thought about when reading about him leaving the laptop open — also, I’d have thrown his ass to the curb after that alone, you do not disrespect the person you are with like that, calling her names behind her back and making sexual comments to another girl? This dude is a pig and she needs to be with someone who is A LOT more deserving of her. If she’s willing to put up with this crap, she’s obviously a much better human being than he is because this guy is ridiculous!

    I also agree that no relationship can work without honesty and communication. You have to put everything into it or else what is it really? It’s not a relationship if you’re doing the bare minimum to keep it going, it’s just wasting the other person’s time because you’ll both be unhappy eventually — nothing like that can last.

    Scary part is that I know two people who are engaged and the guy is very similar to Tom here. The problem is that the girl engaged to him turned 30 and somehow thinks that she needs to be married and having kids by now — so she overlooks his transgressions, resigned herself to his treating her like shit and he has it made as a result. She’d never admit it but he’s more like an “insert groom here” space than anything else. And at the end of the day, who’s to blame?

    He’s a total idiot but she took him back after breaking up for a week or two in the summer and lets him walk all over her. It’s sad but there also comes a certain point where you say enough’s enough and take a stand — she never will though. He uses her as a gravy train and, despite saying how much she loves him, she’s using him for her wedding and baby making — trying to fit a square peg into a round hole despite him being many things she doesn’t want him to be.

    I don’t know why people do this… I really don’t.

    Maybe I’ve let myself get stepped on enough to have reached a point where I swore I’d never let it happen again. Maybe people need to hit that breaking point? Does everyone even have a breaking point?

    I just think that respect, honesty and communication are manditory for a relationship and if you don’t want to show the ability to do those three things? You can help yourself out the door and not bother coming back. That’s just how I feel though.

    • I think that a lot of people stay in relationships that make them unhappy because they WANT to be in a relationship or they don’t want to be the ones to end it.
      Neither of them seem happy but they both want what they get out of it.
      A family, a house – a significant other.

      I think part of the reason she hesitates to end things is that she isn’t sure how to do it on her own.
      Probably part of the reason he doesn’t want to end things is that the house and both vehicles are in her name and not his.

      I think there is some kind of ulterior motivation for both of them, and I don’t think it’s love or happiness.
      Which is genuinely unfortunate.

  6. Oh your poor friend. My heart goes out to her. She wants to try, and he’s being a complete asshole. To me, there are no excuses for secrets. My last relationship was 3.5 years of secrets, hiding things, and lying. I will never put up with it again. Oh man, I am still feeling really down for your friend. I hope she finds herself in a better place soon. As for you being the other woman and not knowing, I am so sorry for that too. But I can appreciate your outlook on love. You will find it again someday because you believe in it so much.

    • I think she’s given up and just wants to make it work no matter how hurt she might get.
      They are no longer going to couple’s counselling and have agreed to “start over” and begin from a clean slate.
      Which in my opinion isn’t a great thing to do without actually handling the problem that started everything. It’s like they’re just ignoring it and pretending it isn’t there.
      She’s looking the other way and he’s getting off without any consequences.

      In my opinion it wasn’t a healthy decision for their relationship – but I’m just an observer myself..

      Most days I believe in love and fate and finding the one.
      Days when I am bombarded with relationships that are failing and people who give it all and get hurt in return make it hard. But there’s still that glimmer of hope.

  7. I agree with some of the other comments and don’t think there’s anything “suspicious” about Tom’s behaviour – I think it’s completely obvious what he’s doing. Life is way too short to be miserable or suspicious. If your friend was able to work it out with Tom – what would her level of trust be with him? If you can’t trust your partner I don’t understand the reason for staying. So much easier said than done though, I get that for sure. It’s just such a sad, hurtful and abusive situation.

    • Unfortunately I don’t think she can see it from our perspective.
      She’s too attached to the situation (as she should be, I suppose) to be able to step back and take a look at the big picture.
      I’m offering my support – and my opinion when she wants it – but I can’t make her decisions for her..
      I’m feeling very sad for her right now.

  8. Pingback: Trolling for Controversy? « Mister Mama, Sir

  9. Wow, long read, but well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a proper way to move on if it’s necessary and unfortunately it’s becoming more and more rare these days.

    I think it’s true that a lot of people leave things behind to get caught. For some reason I think it’s easier for some people to defend themselves after getting caught than to “man up” and admit what’s going on without any suspicion from their partner.

    I’ve dealt with being cheated on and you absolutely have to stand up for yourself and move on when it happens.

    • I know it was long! I got to 2000 words and thought “nobody is even going to read this.” lol
      But it looks like I was wrong.
      I didn’t think it was something I could break up into two separate posts.

      Unfortunately she had the courage to stand up for herself and then quickly took it back.
      I’m not sure how things are going to turn out for them but I don’t think it’s going to end well.

  10. Oooohhh girl. I blogged about this so much last year. I have so many friends who are going through this or are involved with someone they shouldn’t be. They all came to me for advice because I’ve been on both sides of an affair. I actually had to blog all of it out in November 2010. It was bothering me too much.

    Yeah. I so get this post.

  11. Kudos, Mister Mama, Sir; well said! It is SO difficult NOT to call people out on their behavior! I dated a man for 2 years that I *thought* was so honest. True, there were red flags all over the place, (hind-sight’s great isn’t it?),–that I chose to ignore. In the beginning I tried, rather pathetically to break up with him,–but he was a great salesman. Selling himself, that is.

    I too, am a “one-man-woman”, and agree that 100% honesty and communication are the only ways that any relationship can or will succeed. Hindsight,–I was an “open-book” in the relationship, as in, he would grab my phone and scroll through it, look at my computer when he was close to it, and I really could have cared less. I didn’t have anything to hide.

    On the other hand, it NEVER ONCE occurred to me to check HIS phone! After catching him in a massive lie, (totally bizarre how it happened,–but it definitely wasn’t planned on my part!), I knew it was over. Still, I kept asking/doubting myself as to how I could have been so stupid, ignorant, blind, or whatever you want to call it. Yet, I was. Even after breaking up, I continued question myself as to how I was so totally ignorant. I would remember the good times that we had, and how much I believed that he was an honest person, but, in spite of his tearful pleadings, I refused to go back.

    He already had “the next one” (his words!) lined up. It was weird. I guess he thought he could manipulate me or make me jealous by letting me know he had found, in his words, “a sweet deal”. At the time, I felt nothing other than relief that he was no longer a part of my life,–or so I thought. He continued to call. He told me that his “sweet deal” knew that he was still in love with me. Please, oh please, would I not take him back? He is/was so unhappy with “sweet deal”. My only thoughts were,…”I wonder if “sweet deal” knows that her “dragon-slayer on a white horse” is calling me, much less saying the things that he was. Once when he called I said something to him about it and he said that she knew. But, the weird thing was,–if she knew, I wonder why he called from pay phones? I didn’t even know that pay phones still existed, but apparently they do. He got his friends to call me. He used other peoples phones.

    I pay each month to have his “known” numbers blocked. “Sweet deal” has contacted me, calling me “psycho, pathetic, etc.” warning ME to stay away from him and “move on”. I can only imagine the lies that he has told her. I refuse to respond. I’ve actually wondered if she has me mixed up with another woman (women) that he is involved with. I refuse to respond. I know I’m pathetic. Pathetic for putting up with the way he treated me for way too long. I don’t think I’m psychotic; yet. But there were times when I felt a little crazy. I felt crazy after he would call, begging me to please take him back, call him back,–anything. I felt crazy because I thought to myself,–doesn’t this guy see that every time he calls me behind “sweet deals” back he was only reinforcing “who” he really is? Crazy when, “sweet deal”, who apparently has been married and divorced multiple times, with multiple children from her multiple ex-husbands,(information divulged by my ex-boyfriend during one of his “I’m-so-unhappy” pleadings), sent a message to me telling me that I should “leave them alone” and be a better mother. I was totally flummoxed. Does/did she have me mixed up with someone else? 1) I refuse to respond to anything in relation to him or her, or have anything to do with their drama; 2) I’ve only been married 1 time, and have two wonderful children who are 18 and 19 years old.

    At first I felt sorry for “sweet deal”. But, the more I thought about it, I figured that if she has been married and divorced as many times as he says (four, if I remember right), this isn’t her first rodeo. In fact, the more I thought about it, I figure they’re a match made in heaven. But, I often wonder, for people who choose to live a lie, how they look their children in the eyes and not feel guilty for what they are doing to them? Because, invariably, it is the children who suffer the consequences. And then, I remind myself; people who live this way don’t care about the innocent victims of their selfish and destructive behavior. It’s all about them and only them. One can only hope that someday they will realize the person they have lied to the most, the person they have deceived the most, is the one looking back at them in the mirror.

  12. Wow I can only imagine how your friend feels. I have been through something similar, tried marriage counseling but the ex had checked out, not just on me but our kids as well. It took me forever to realize we were better off without her. I have been the other guy as well and it’s a horrible feeling to be led on like that. I hope your friend sees the light soon and that she pulls through and comes out on top shinier than before 🙂

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