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forgiving is so very difficult

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  • #67925
    moriah
    Participant

    Hello all. This is my first post. I hope to get insight from others about a very personal situation.

    I’ve had some rough times over the past year with my husband. One night when we were hanging out with another couple we were all drinking way too much (I know, I know) and the next thing I know the wife started sharing how she and her husband have had 3-somes. Apparently they go out to bars when they are out of town and she “picks up” another woman and the 3 of them have a wild night of sex.

    The next thing I know my husband is rubbing her back and she is nodding and smiling. I confront them and freak out about the whole thing. My husband admits he was hoping we would end up having a 3-some with her. He also admits to me later that if I had wanted to be with the husband he would have been ok with it “b/c he’s such a good friend.” All of these statements disgusted me and made me feel like I didn’t know who my husband was. He seemed like a stranger to me.

    I’ve refused to get together with this couple since (it has been over a year) and also do not want him to be around her ever again. He is still best friends with the husband. The 3 of them all see this as just a “drunken night that got out of hand”. My husband was very angry with me for a long time for making a big scene and refusing to resume my friendship with her. We went to counseling and finally he gave up on his efforts for me to see this as no big deal and go back to being friends with them.

    He has apologized extensively and says he now sees that the bedroom is a sacred place. He says we are more important than any youthful fantasy he had. Yet, in my heart of hearts, I feel like he still doesn’t believe there would be anything wrong with a 3-some – as long as I was into it. In fact one night he admitted to me if I ever developed a “freaky” side, he’d be ok with it.

    So here is my question. He has apologized. He states our relationship is the most important thing to him. He has been very, very good to me over the years. When I think about our 20+ years together, I see him as such a wonderful, good, good man. Extremely loving. Very caring. Has always been there for me, even through some extremely difficult health issues I have had.

    But when I realize now that he didn’t value sex between us as something sacred, it rocks me to the core. I considered us soul mates. In fact, he and I both said this many times over the years to each other. I feel like I have seen a side of him that I didn’t know about. It made me feel like I don’t really know him like I thought I did. I know he no longer wants this because it has damaged us so much, and he is placing “us” first now. But I don’t think he doesn’t want it b/c he thinks it is wrong to want someone else besides your spouse, as long as your spouse is “into it”. And that is really hard for me to comprehend and makes me so sad to realize. I always felt like our connection was special, and I would never want anyone else. Now sex doesn’t feel magical to me anymore, b/c I feel like it is just a physical thing for him. I understand sex can just be physical. But to me, once I fell in love with him, it became a magical, sacred thing we shared. I don’t understand why it didn’t become this way for him. Is this just a female/guy thing??? So hard for me to comprehend.

    How do I forgive him for this? I am trying to see it as he was just very selfish that night, and the idea was extremely exciting to him and he forgot about “us” and became a young, uninhibited boy again. I’m trying to forgive him for a moment of forgetting about “us” and what we have built together over the years. But the fact that he minimized his actions for months and tried to get me to be friends with her again for months has made it so much harder to forgive. I had to fight so hard to defend my viewpoint. The other night he mentioned that he still misses getting together with them as a couple. That comment has set me back again.

    I realize that I became so angry at him that a part of me started seeing him as a bad person. But then I have those times when I remember who I thought he was at his core, and I think…no…he is NOT a bad person, he just doesn’t always put us first. And I try to forgive him for that, as I know we all have selfish tendencies. I know he has always been there for me and always will be. He truly is a good man at his heart. But it is hard. I am having an internal struggle with trying to accept something I’ve learned about him that I really dislike.

    Any insights appreciated. And yes, I am still in therapy (but not couples, he did not want to continue once it was determined I was not going to change my mind about being friends with them).

    Thanks for listening. 🙂 I appreciate a place where I can share such a personal story – I feel ashamed to share it with those who know us as a couple. I don’t want to turn people against him. The few I have told have admitted they don’t see him quite the same way any more.

    #67937
    Inky
    Participant

    There are two things, and I’m going to boil them down until they congeal to the pan:

    1. All men are horn-dogs deep down

    2. It’s that woman

    So here you all are, totally inebriated, and suddenly someone is giving your DH permission, out of the blue, to have a threesome. He’s thinking, “OH! It’s THAT kind of a party?!” and he looks at you with a hopeful grin as is someone gave everyone an illicit joint or wanted to go cow tipping or something. I swear to God he thought of it as harmless, let’s live a little, fun. Now, I think if sober, he’d freak out a little the closer to the bedroom everyone got. I think it’s the IDEA of doing it that is so appealing.

    Now, that woman. Your friendship is off the table, sorry DH. I would, though, revisit them ten years later when she’s a little older, a little fatter, more flabby, and, dare I say, more moderate. We have all said things that we’d rather take back, and she has learnt not to talk to your friends as you would some people in a bar.

    Forgive, forget, and have him stay away from that woman until the mid 2020’s when everyone can laugh about it in their older age.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 10 months ago by Inky.
    #67985
    moriah
    Participant

    “All men are horn dogs, deep down.”

    Well, I didn’t think my husband was like this. I thought he was different. I guess that is a big part of the problem. He has really fallen a long way off the pedestal I had put him on. And it is hard to admire him the way I used to.

    Are all men truly, truly like this? I mean I just can’t visualize some of my good friends’ husbands ever doing this.

    And if all men are like this, why does that make it ok? Why are we so quick to say “oh, that’s a man for you” as if that is somehow an excuse for them to act in ways that are selfish and hurtful to others? Why does the fact that he is a man make his actions excusable?

    I’d like to think some men would put love and a good woman who has always been loyal first, not their fantasies and immediate gratification. I guess I am just a woman who really believed my husband’s love for me would always win out, no matter what the situation.

    #67986
    Inky
    Participant

    I think all (at least most) men think that way, but only a couple (or at least a few) would actually act on those fantasies. From what you wrote, I doubt your DH would actually act on the suggestion! But maybe keep him away from alcohol and definitely from the couple. Who needs that energy around? It’s more trouble than it’s worth, look at the arguments it started! It doesn’t seem fair to me that he’s angry at you for not maintaining a friendship with people that would make anyone (or at least most people!) uncomfortable!

    #67987
    moriah
    Participant

    Thanks Inky! I agree, it’s not fair for him to expect me to just forget it, act like it never happened and go hang out with them again. And trust me, we are NEVER getting together with them as a couple again. I do not need that negative energy in our lives.

    You know, if he had just remained really apologetic and did not try to minimize that night and not try to push me to resume our friendship (for 10 MONTHS we fought about it, he even requested marital therapy to help ME get over it…although he said it was for us to work it through, I know it was b/c he thought it would get me to change my mind, b/c when I didn’t, he stopped counseling), I think I could have let it go so much easier. But the fact that he fought me on it for so long has really damaged my feelings for him. I don’t see him quite the same way. I’m trying to remember that at his core he is a good, good man. But wow. I guess I’m just now realizing how him fighting me on this for so long has made me think of him as the enemy, as a bad person for not acknowledging how wrong his actions were.

    It had to get to the point where he realized he was going to lose me if he kept pushing the issue. One day he went and spent the whole afternoon with his friend at their house WITH her there (and yes, they were drinking). And he never even texted me or called me while there to acknowledge how difficult this was for me, AND he was later getting home than he had promised he would be. So I went off on him when he came home and asked him if he was trying to make me lose my love for him (yep, lost my mind for a few moments). Also, one of our good friends’ husbands sat down and talked to him about it, saying his wife would react the same way, and he would always put the marriage first ahead of any friendship. And then he finally gave up his fight to change my mind on the topic and gave up his mission for us all to be friends again.

    He almost had to lose me to realize I am the most important thing. WTF? I know this friend is so very important to him – he considers him one of his lifelong buddies – but – really? It’s not like I keep him from hanging out with him (alone, not with HER there).

    But then I think back to how wonderful he has been to me through all these years before this incident. I remember the good, good man that I know is at his core. He is so generous, kind, caring. And I want to forgive him for acting so selfishly and not making us the priority…I want to move forward and accept that he is not always going to act in my best interest, that he is human. But I am having a hard time with acknowledging this “bad” side of him I saw for so many months. It’s hard to put the two pieces of his personality together in my mind. I’ve never seen this side of him before, so it’s like I am trying to learn to love someone again who isn’t quite the person I thought they were. Not a bad person, but a good person who has some really bad traits. I don’t want to lose my love for him, but it has changed, to be honest. I don’t feel quite the same way about him, and that breaks my heart more than anything. I still love him so much and would be devastated if anything happened to him. Absolutely devastated! I feel bad writing that my love has changed and is not quite the same. I want to feel the same way I used to.

    Sorry to drag on. I truly do want to put this behind me as he is no longer fighting me on the issue. But I feel like I now see him differently, and it is impossible to forget what I have learned about his character. So I’m trying to figure out how to love the new him that I now see.

    Uggh!

    #67988
    Inky
    Participant

    Oh my God, I’m so sorry this has happened.

    Here’s a thought: Did he know before you did that they were swingers? Maybe his best friend talked about it from way before, and DH was already excited and half brain-washed? Or, maybe he told them that he would do it if you said “Yes”. Maybe he truly believed you’d be an easy sell??

    Only because for him to go on and on about it for ten months?? And you’re the one with the problem??

    Also, how old is he? This sounds like mid-life crisis with emphasis on the crisis.

    I think all you can do is wait it out. He hasn’t done anything, but has gone temporarily insane. I would wait for the spell to be over. Think of it as a secret shadow side that popped out like a bad zit. Hopefully it’s over.

    #67989
    Inky
    Participant

    Oh yes. Tell your husband what I tell mine: “Just remember, Babe: A happy wife is a happy life!!”

    #67997
    Jade
    Participant

    My two cents:

    Not all men are like this. Some men are. Some women are too. Example: my dad has only ever been with my mother and has eyes for no one else, and it’s so obvious that his friends tease him about it but he doesn’t care what they think. My fiancé on the other hand has wandering eyes like crazy but that’s who he is/how he has internalized his masculinity, so I accept it.

    My fiancé and I have talked at length about our particular s3kual fantasies and he has explicitly told me that if the opportunity ever presented itself for a 3-some, he would be in favour of it. Thankfully, so am I. Both myself and my fiancé have gone to strip clubs over the course of our relationship and have been honest about our experiences. The key is that we are open and communicative and laying the truth down on the table before we tie the knot and start a life together. I’m actually surprised that you never talked about this stuff to your husband until now!

    Personally I think you guys need to keep going with couples counselling; this is a big can of worms that has been opened. Forgiveness is one thing but forgetting is impossible. It’s likely that your relationship will need to change and adapt from this point forward, and certain values and incompatibilities will have to be addressed.

    #68004
    PDinSD
    Participant

    It sounds like there are two issues here. First, you found out something about him that you would not have expected. He is a complex male human being. Men in many ways are so different than women that it is difficult to really understand them. I think the male aspect and the fact that he is older and very settled had some influence on his feelings. Do you really know what others think and feel always? Could you predict his every thought? This for me at least would be more forgivable.

    The second issue is that he tried for many months to persuade you to feel differently and only let it go when he realized that he might lose you. Is he missing something in the marriage? Is he very communicative about his feelings? Perhaps talking about what he wants would help you understand better and you both could come up with a joint solution? I am not necessarily talking about the 3-some issue but more general issues.

    #68032
    Chris
    Participant

    Hi Moriah,

    Most men have intense sexual urges and desires that have absolutely nothing to do with intimacy, love or romance. Most often, societal and relationship “rules” cause these feelings to become suppressed. They build up over time and cause an internal rift that results in feelings of intense frustration, confusion and loneliness. It’s an extremely isolating experience, because he obviously loves you, but his internal mechanisms are in deep conflict with the conditions of your relationship and he hasn’t felt its ok to talk about it. He allowed this side to surface and it caused you pain because you think of sexuality in terms of intimacy and love, and you were unaware of this part of him. He has no love for anybody else. He obviously loves you and values your relationship, but internally he seeks novelty that has nothing to do with love. He likely feels guilty, embarrassed and incredibly ashamed because his internal experience does not match what is expected of him. I’m not suggesting that his behaviors are acceptable, but I’m offering you a different perspective so you might understand better. I agree with Jade, you guys need to learn to talk openly about these things. There is a can of worms there, but if you both learn more open communication, you just might develop a new level of intimacy, trust and understanding in your relationship. My best to you both.

    #67984
    moriah
    Participant

    <cite> @inky said:</cite>
    1. All men are horn-dogs deep down

    ive, forget, and have him stay away from that woman until the mid 2020’s when everyone can laugh about it in their older age.

    Well, I didn’t think my husband was like this. I thought he was different. I guess that is a big part of the problem. He has really fallen a long way off the pedestal I had put him on. And it is hard to admire him the way I used to.

    Are all men truly, truly like this? I mean I just can’t visualize some of my good friends’ husbands ever doing this.

    And if all men are like this, why does that make it ok? Why are we so quick to say “oh, that’s a man for you” as if that is somehow an excuse for them to act in ways that are selfish and hurtful to others? Why does the fact that he is a man make his actions excusable?

    I’d like to think some men would put love and a good woman who has always been loyal first, not their fantasies and immediate gratification. I guess I am just a woman who really believed my husband’s love for me would always win out, no matter what the situation.

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