I thought this made me a good husband. Now, none of those things are bad, and I still do them, but in talking to OW about all of her problems she was most upset at feeling neglected by her husband. It occurred to me that I had been negligent in many of the same ways and wasn't making my wife feel beautiful, sexy, fun - someone I wanted to be around because she was [I]desirable[/I] rather than an obligation.
So what did you do to achieve this?
I'm curious how the OW sees this. She's getting your stellar example of a good guy, which should be diminished in her eyes simply because you are focusing so much of your mind and self on someone other than your wife. But I'm thinking she just loves being the object of desire of a good guy, one that maybe wants her so much he does things like have drunken, intimate conversations by the firelight. So she can stay with her loser husband or sleep around while being on this pedestal you created. Might be a way for her to avoid finding her own decent relationship instead of siphoning one from her 'best friend's husband.
As long as you are examining your own motivations with a hard, clear eye - spend some time examining the OW's reasons too. She's being a lousy friend to your wife. You think maybe she'd love it if you slipped, allowing her a way out of a marriage she doesn't want to stay in? You might lose some of the glow-y, forbidden love feelings if you start seeing some of the flaws in her behavior.
[QUOTE=kenn;975225]So what did you do to achieve this?[/QUOTE]
All low-hanging fruit...
[LIST][*]Before walking in the door after my evening commute, remind myself that I'm happy to be home rather than mad at the world. [*][*]Then kiss her like I f*cking mean it. Even if her mouth is full of Chocolate (or maybe especially if).[*][*]Dozens of small, loving touches throughout the day rather than just passing by.[*][*]Big smile, bear hug and "I love you" when she looks completely ridiculous in the morning.[*][*]Hold her and and marvel at the dogs running, rather than...doing something else because the pets are taken care of.[*][*]More sex (rough, I know)[/LIST]
...thousands of small things I had forgotten mattered more than doing the laundry.
[QUOTE=Uncephalized;975157]how incredibly easy it is to idealize and obsess over a woman--ESPECIALLY an unavailable woman--who isn't really deserving of the devotion, and who plays on your emotions for the attention/validation.
This is what I was thinking.
I was thinking in fact of something that happened to my partner, before we got together, when we were still friends.
He was dating someone. But then he met a girl at work, lets call her A, who was having a bad time with her boyfriend, and he was also attracted to her. My OH developed a friendship with her, which started off as an emotional thing I guess - he was there for her for support, to talk to whenever "douchebag" boyfriend did something douchebaggy. But their relationship strayed into dodgy territory (sexting, sending naughty emails). A broke off with her boyfriend, and said to my OH that she wanted to get together with him, but she wanted him to break things off with the girl he was with. He broke up with that girl, who kinda knew something was up anyway.....then A slept with him once and then went back to the douchebag a few days later, and didn't sail off into the sunset with him. He realised his mistake, and tried to get back with the girl he'd been dating. She told him to get stuffed, and he spent a fair while alone and pretty heartbroken. A dropped him like a hot potato - she didn't want him when he was available. She wanted the drama, frisson, and attention. She barely spoke to him the whole time he was single.
Fast forward a year or so down the line, and we got together. And A suddenly started to want to meet up with my OH for drinks again, and was having fights and bad times with the douchebag and was soliciting his support. So we had a wee chat about what this meant, and I told him that I did not want a repeat performance, so if we were going to work out, he needed to set some boundaries with her. He did, and surprise surprise, once she realised he wasn't going to bite, she moved on to another poor sucker. And proceeded to repeat the whole thing again - sucked the guy in, got him to break up with his girlfriend, slept with him a couple of times, and then got back with her ex. That was a lesson for my OH - he thought I was overreacting and that A just "needed a friend". But once he saw her go through the whole spiel again, he realised that people are not always what they say on the tin.
I wonder exactly just how interested your OW would have been if you had offered to leave your wife and sail off into the sunset with her, or whether she was another of those who just wanted attention and excitement, and dare I say to stir things up a bit.
I hope that things work out for you anyways - honesty probably was the best policy. Your wife is very understanding - make sure you remain worthy of it.
[QUOTE=Zanna;975245]You might lose some of the glow-y, forbidden love feelings if you start seeing some of the flaws in her behavior.[/QUOTE]
Our conversations are often about her self-loathing over her behavior and her stilted view of men and love. I know how flawed she is. I also know she's quite exceptional in other ways and it takes some strength to face the world every day when you hate yourself.
I just don't think that trying to make myself despise her for being a troubled human is part of the solution.
I'm not saying you should try and despise her, but absolutely try and see her clearly. Everyone has flaws - but I don't see how she could consider herself an actual friend of your wife.
It does take strength to face the world everyday when you hate yourself. It takes more strength to make choices that don't result in self loathing. And I'm not trying to sound mean because I've made countless selfish choices but using a friend's husband to meet needs her own husband doesn't provide while not changing her situation for the better is pretty selfish.
[QUOTE=Zanna;975304]I'm not saying you should try and despise her, but absolutely try and see her clearly. Everyone has flaws - but I don't see how she could consider herself an actual friend of your wife.
It does take strength to face the world everyday when you hate yourself. It takes more strength to make choices that don't result in self loathing. And I'm not trying to sound mean because I've made countless selfish choices but using a friend's husband to meet needs her own husband doesn't provide while not changing her situation for the better is pretty selfish.[/QUOTE]
I also don't think you need to despise her. Compassion is positive. Hating is emotionally corrosive. But you can have compassion without being too close or getting too wrapped up in this woman's life, or feeling you need to fix her.
It is terribly sad that she feels so awful about herself. I know from my own personal experience however that when you hate yourself, you tend not to treat others very well (hence the poor behaviour/self loathing cycles this lady is experiencing). It's just that people who try to help and get involved with people who have these issues often end up with their own lives getting devastated in the process.
I think for this lady's own good that some detachment would be a good thing, because she needs to sort her own issues out without leaning on someone else's husband as an emotional crutch. If you really want to help her, and she really is so messed up, then perhaps suggesting she gets therapy or looks at reflective activities such as meditation would help her more than being as enmeshed in her life and troubles as you are right now.
Awesome thread. I just killed a half hour of this boring-ass all hands meeting. Super impressed with the quality of advice being thrown around!
My only addition would be to spend even more extra attention on your wife for the next few weeks. Even if she was understanding, she's probably still hurt and sad. I know I would be.
Good on you for recognizing the colossal mistake it would be to cheat, though. I was cheated on once and it fucked me up with men and trust for a long long time. Come to think of it, I'm still totally fucked up in that regard... ;)
[QUOTE=BestBetter;975043]I don't want to turn this thread into a debate or an argument, however, i do need to clarify that I NEVER implied that women have lower sex drives. In fact, I've posted multiple times on other threads that I, personally, have an incredibly high sex drive. However, I personally am not driven to satiate that desire with multiple partners, as is MORE COMMON for men.
I've read quite a few scientific papers over the years on the differences in reproductive and sexual psychology between men and women (something I'm really interested in). This isn't me plucking an idea out of my ass, it's a pretty well researched and studied area. No, not ALL women or ALL women fit this pattern, but it is a generality that applies to many.[/QUOTE]
The research says that because it confirms the prejudices that the researchers went in with.
Maybe the societal norms of the past marginalised women's sexuality and when reality failed to conform to the politically correct theories at the time the solutions were things like fixing the 'abnormal' women with [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysteria"]hysteria[/URL] or [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation"]FGM[/URL].
You're in a tricky situation. If your wife was cool with a poly relationship, it'd probably work out just fine, but quite often this isn't the case!
In which case... I think you just keep loving this OW from afar, if you wish to keep in a relationship with your wife, who you obviously love.
I am definitely sympathetic...yes, I'm female... but I don't seem to be the naturally monogamous sort (for all that I AM monogamous ;)). However, my husband isn't at all into the idea of poly relationships, and I'm not willing to break up my family (been there, done that... wasn't good all round, and we ended up together again).
But yeah, I don't really have any great advice. I certainly don't think you should end your marriage, if it's otherwise very good and you love your wife. But it IS hard loving someone and knowing you can't be with them!