Infidelity Deception and Delusion in Relationship

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Taupey
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19 Sep 2010, 7:22 pm

FemmeFatale wrote:
Taupey, As a result of this experience, do you find that you have any trust issues, money or otherwise, in beginning new relationships. I haven't experienced the problem with deception with regard to money, but because I have seen this take place with many people that I care about, I tend to be alert to this kind of problem. But I wouldn't want to judge another person based on their problems with money.

But we do judge people, don't we? If we discover that a friend has been (or is) sexually unfaithful to their partner, wouldn't it be natural to hold them in lower esteem, especially if we know their partner and feel bad that our friend is treating their partner with such disrespect?


I'm cautious but not anymore than most people. I have no desire to ever get married again. But I believe that has more to do with my need for time and space alone.

Not everything is black and white.


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ToughDiamond
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20 Sep 2010, 6:51 am

Wow, this is a big subject 8O 3 kinds of infidelity, and I could write a book on just one of those!
I'd best stick to financial infidelity in this post, and write about the other forms later.

I've never experienced this from partners except for my current (estranged) wife......best example was in the run-up to our wedding. She invited me to sit with her and pick the stuff we were going to get, which sounds lovely, but all she did was to pick out expensive stuff and put pressure on me to agree to pay for it all, regardless of my feelings or my worries about the cost - and she already had a lousy track record for underestimating prices when asking me to pay for stuff. I didn't want a blazing row, so I eventually said "look, I reckon I can afford £x, so maybe the best thing is if I just give you that and then you can spend it on what you want." I wasn't happy with the way that removed me from the sharing process, but frankly I can barely understand wedding rituals anyway, so it was no great loss. Sadly, a few weeks after the wedding she told me that she'd got into debt - silly girl had gone behind my back and borrowed to supplement what I'd put in, and as usual she'd completely misjudged her ability to repay it......so now I had to decide whether to leave her to the sharks or to bail her out - I chose the latter. Not a very good start for a marriage, was it?

Then there's the £2500 she "borrowed" after she left me (she has no intention of ending the relationship, or naturally I wouldn't have "lent" it to her)......she said that would be enough to solve her cashflow problems, but she only paid back about £200 before she had to ask me to write off the debt. Had I not known all along that I was unlikely to see the money again, I'd have been furious. Even now, I feel a tad resentful that I'll have to work an extra 3 months before retirement, to make up the defecit in my savings. But at least she now seems reluctant to ask for any more - and all I have to do is to remind her of what happened last time, if she does.

What was going on in her head when she did this is still a mystery - best guess is that she has autistic traits herself (there's good evidence for that), and like Danny in "Loving Mr. Spock," she cannot differentiate between her wishes and what is attainable. There's also her unusual tendency to feel that a relationship is all about the man pouring money into the woman's lap - she's very old-fashioned about gender roles.

Like I say, I never saw anything like it before. Previous two wives had incomes on a par with my own, and money was never an issue. There was one alcoholic, promiscuous partner I lived with for a year - she was on social, and I used to give her a bit of cash every week, but she was so frugal that the amounts she asked for were never big enough to threaten my economic security. She eventually put pressure on me to buy us a house to live in (we were renting at the time), and to get married......but at the time she was attempting to get half her husband's assets during the divorce proceedings, which I felt was unfair because although he hadn't been the world's greatest husband, her rampant infidelity seemed to have been the main reason for his bad behaviour and their separation, and I rather felt for the guy who had been the only breadwinner while she had been having affairs in between doing a bit of cleaning and cooking for him. I didn't want to get caught in the same trap, so I just told her the house-buying deal had fallen through (actually I hadn't tried too hard to rescue it). Towards the end of the relationship I opened a bank account that I kept secret from her, and I kept savings that I didn't tell her about - justifiable under the circumstances, I think. It was clear that the less she know about how much money I had, the better. She would probably have gone off and slept with somebody else if I'd been completely honest about my unwillingness to share capital with her, so I took to pretending that I didn't have any money worth talking about. I've never had a partner yet who has asked to see my bank statements, so it's not hard to hide it.

The only other thing I noticed was a partner who asked me to get a proper job instead of just bumming about in a worker co-operative that couldn't pay me anything - I did that, but never made the connection that she might want some of the money (she had 3 kids and not much cash).......I occasionally gave her a few £20 notes but after we split up she mentioned that she'd been disappointed with my level of financial commitment - I couldn't understand why she'd never mentioned it before.......after being in the alternativist movement since the late 1960s, I thought all that "man-gives-money-to-the-woman" thing was finished - I thought that was part of the man's compensation for the new equality that women now enjoy, just as he no longer would be expected to pretend he was a 100% macho guy who felt no insecurity at all. But something went wrong.....

My current wife and I have always had separate finances, which saddened me, but I had to insist on it because sharing accounts etc. would have bankrupted both of us by now. Her cash turnover is far greater than mine and her lifestyle has never been as frugal as mine......it seems completely wrong for me to subsidise a person who enjoys a "better" lifestyle than I can afford myself.

Financial infidelity isn't a problem for me, because unlike the other two forms, I'm legally entitled to keep 100% control over my own money, and if I smell a rat, that's exactly what I do. I only give out what I can afford to lose - as far as I'm concerned, if I hand it out, I know I might never get it back. Of course it's a terrible shame that it should come to that, and if I ever get another good partner, I'll want to share money again, but it's not a deal-breaker as long as the lady can live with the idea that money sharing depends on her ability to manage the thing properly. It would never feel right to me to live more expensively than a (serious) partner. I wish sexual and emotional infidelity were as much under my control as financial infidelity is!



FemmeFatale
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20 Sep 2010, 9:42 pm

Interesting thoughts on your experiences with finances in your relationships.

It seems that you were willing to give your partners money when they wanted or needed it, but did not feel compelled to combine your finances. How did your wives feel about keeping the money separate?

What is the custom in Europe for handling finances in marriage - separate or combined accounts? I am an American; my late husband and I combined our accounts and made decisions together, however I have been told that our way of handling finances was unusual even in the U.S. especially for our (younger) generation. I thought it was much simpler - but we never kept secrets from each other and we were both sensible about money matters.

I sometimes think the overspending (and resulting financial ruin) by one partner may not be meant to be deceptive but wonder if there is a lack of understanding of the consequences - how can we pay the bills each month (or save for the future) if we spend more than we earn? A cognitive problem that affects even non-autistics? Is there possibly a sense of delusion in spending and living a lifestyle far above our incomes?

<I only give out what I can afford to lose - as far as I'm concerned, if I hand it out, I know I might never get it back. Of course it's a terrible shame that it should come to that, and if I ever get another good partner, I'll want to share money again, but it's not a deal-breaker as long as the lady can live with the idea that money sharing depends on her ability to manage the thing properly.>

Interesting. The first part is the attitude that all should take in giving/lending money to friends and relatives but it is a good attitude. Because you know that you are not likely to get the money back! Since you have dealt with financial (and sexual)infidelity with your partners (if one can call it financial infidelity), how would you determine that your potential partner is capable of managing money properly? In my case, I would want to observe my partner over the long term to see how he responds to crisis (financial or otherwise) in order to determine if he would leave us penniless if given unlimited funds and credit.

However, you stayed with partners who were sexually unfaithful. Did you have a different view of sex in relationships (other than monogamy) that allowed you to tolerate their behavior?

But what happens when two people meet who don't communicate their preferences for sexual behavior in their relationship? For example, what happens when the womanizer is paired with a woman who is monogamous? She is unhappy and believes her spouse is cheating on her and he can't understand why she doesn't understand his need for sex with other women - after all, it is only sex! In his mind, he is not being unfaithful. So who is right?



ToughDiamond
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21 Sep 2010, 7:49 am

FemmeFatale wrote:
It seems that you were willing to give your partners money when they wanted or needed it, but did not feel compelled to combine your finances. How did your wives feel about keeping the money separate?

I might even have had a joint account with my first wife (can't remember), but it wouldn't have been a big issue with either of us - we trusted each other with money and had more of it than we knew what to do with. The house was in both our names, we both paid into the mortgage equally, and when we split up and sold the house, we got an equal share of the capital. I never thought it could be an issue in those days.

Second marriage, I bought the house in my own name and quietly kept it that way. My wife never commented on this arrangement. We were both working so again money wasn't an issue. She left work to have our son, and I had no problem accepting my new role as the sole breadwinner, except that I resented the increased pressure to hold onto the job. Definitely we had separate bank accounts, but again the matter was never raised. I think my relationship with the alcoholic nympho had made me wary of getting ripped off, and my separatist policy paid off when my wife was unfaithful (she'd had a history of infidelity so I'd always been half expecting it to happen) - when we divorced I gave her nothing and she never asked for anything, though I was rather afraid that the court would order me to pay something. Luckily the matter never arose - I wouldn't have liked to pay her maintenance money for my son but was quite happy to spend money on him on my own terms. Naturally the infidelity (which I would say was unjustifiable, though I know some affairs can be justified) contributed to my attitude, but she was quite capable of getting a living wage, and has done better than I have financially, as she had richer parents and less trouble in the world of work than I've had.

Third (current) marriage - I suspect she doesn't understand the logic behind my reluctance to share money with her, and sees it as unmanliness in me (either that or she just loves money and will say anything to get it). She's the only partner who's ever asked me to have a joint account with her.....she only mentioned it once and I didn't reply.....presumably she was disappointed but she's never mentioned it since.

I've told you about the other partner who got me to get a job - I get the impression that she wanted a lot of financial help but felt bad about having to ask. But she was very much an "alternativist" and I just assumed that she'd see the "male breadwinner" thing as a silly relic of old, mainstream society, and of course with my Aspie traits, I was blind to any subtle hints on the matter. :oops:
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What is the custom in Europe for handling finances in marriage - separate or combined accounts?

I don't know. I think it's very much up to the couple, and that neither approach is seen as particularly strange.

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I sometimes think the overspending (and resulting financial ruin) by one partner may not be meant to be deceptive but wonder if there is a lack of understanding of the consequences - how can we pay the bills each month (or save for the future) if we spend more than we earn? A cognitive problem that affects even non-autistics? Is there possibly a sense of delusion in spending and living a lifestyle far above our incomes?

I truly cannot believe that my current wife ever meant to default on those loans. As I said, she has some very strong autistic traits herself, and I don't think she can distinguish between what she would like (to borrow, work hard, advance herself and pay it back) and what is feasible. I've asked to see her accounts but she doesn't really have any.....her system seems to be to spend it while it's there and to hell with tomorrow. Bills always seem to come as a shock to her, and she's always telling me of little mistakes that she and employers make that leave her with less money than she thought she'd have. She doesn't seem to anticipate financial risk, and dreams up pie-in-the-sky plans, and looks deeply offended if I try to point out the problems. How can anybody reasonably careful with money share their wealth with somebody who always lets it slip through their fingers? The only beneficiaries are the loan sharks. I sometimes thought it might work well if I just set up a standing order to pay her a modest sum every month, but we never tried that, and I can't really afford even that, these days.
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<I only give out what I can afford to lose - as far as I'm concerned, if I hand it out, I know I might never get it back. Of course it's a terrible shame that it should come to that, and if I ever get another good partner, I'll want to share money again, but it's not a deal-breaker as long as the lady can live with the idea that money sharing depends on her ability to manage the thing properly.>

Interesting. The first part is the attitude that all should take in giving/lending money to friends and relatives but it is a good attitude. Because you know that you are not likely to get the money back! Since you have dealt with financial (and sexual)infidelity with your partners (if one can call it financial infidelity), how would you determine that your potential partner is capable of managing money properly? In my case, I would want to observe my partner over the long term to see how he responds to crisis (financial or otherwise) in order to determine if he would leave us penniless if given unlimited funds and credit.

Indeed - I've "lent" my son £20,000 to help him buy his house, but I've quietly written it off without batting an eyelid. Of course with children it's more natural for me to do that, because I see child-rearing as much more of a sacrifice than an equal relationship ought to be. But really with friends and family, it's very different to running a bank......I'd feel horrible if I sued anybody close for non-payment of debts, even if they deserved it. Taking a person to court may logically be a just and wise way to normalise a thorny situation, but I fancy that a close relative would see it as an unforgiveable assault.
I'd definitely want to look carefully at any future partner's attitude to money before making any commitment, though as I've said, I can always legally withold capital. And apparently the law doesn't require one spouse to be liable for the other when it comes to debt. Just that it's so heart-rending to have to leave somebody to the sharks, if you love them. I'm afraid sentiment has coaxed a lot more out of me than I'd ever have wanted to give. So yes, I'd want to watch before committing myself. Just like sexual infidelity......any history of that, and I hope I'd have the guts to ask "what makes you think you won't cheat on me too when the chips are down?" - and unless I got a satisfactory answer, to make for the exit door. But for financial stuff it seems easier - I could just say "look, I love you and want to share as much as I can with you, but with your track record on money, you must appreciate that I daren't pool capital with you, so I might seem rather mean, but if you can accept it's for the best, I think we'll be OK." In other words, establish that there are some ways in which trust must be earned.
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However, you stayed with partners who were sexually unfaithful. Did you have a different view of sex in relationships (other than monogamy) that allowed you to tolerate their behavior?

I didn't explain myself very clearly there - I went through a phase when I was open to new kinds of relationships such as group marriages - paradoxically I hoped that my own right to more than one partner would nullify the intense jealousy I've so often felt after committing to just one woman.....I've often felt that it was my own fidelity that made jealousy so hard to control, because of the awareness that if a sole partner is unfaithful, I've lost the only partner I have, one in whom I have my whole life invested, plus the moral indignation that I guess I wouldn't feel if I were sleeping around myself.

But in practice the (wide) open relationship method didn't work for me. I never handled infidelity with much grace even at the peak of my "experiments." Either the women concerned were unhappy about it, or I was, or both. Things got very complicated, I would always tend to have a favourite partner and I'd always find myself gravitating towards her, at the expense of the others. And I wanted kids, and didn't want to inflict my wacky experimental lifestyle on them - I couldn't explain exactly how it would do them harm, but it just felt dangerous, so my partner and I left the alternativist area and did the nuclear family thing instead.
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But what happens when two people meet who don't communicate their preferences for sexual behavior in their relationship? For example, what happens when the womanizer is paired with a woman who is monogamous? She is unhappy and believes her spouse is cheating on her and he can't understand why she doesn't understand his need for sex with other women - after all, it is only sex! In his mind, he is not being unfaithful. So who is right?

If there's such a thing as right and wrong here, I'd say the womaniser is wrong for not seeing that most people find infidelity abhorrent in their relationships. But I can't see it as absolutely wrong for two people to go that way if they both really want to. I wish people would just take a calm look at the person they're thinking of getting into a relationship with and look ahead, and be prepared to call it off if something important doesn't match up. It's almost enough to make me believe in the old "no sex before marriage" rule - but it's not all that popular these days. People seem to get sexual liberation mixed up with gung-ho stupidity these days. And the old people who used to insist on the "marriage first" rule completely failed to explain why (in practical, sociological terms) the rule was there - they just used to say it was immoral to be otherwise, or disgusting, or against God's law. So of course we young ones thought they were just being all frumpy and repressive.



ToughDiamond
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21 Sep 2010, 10:00 am

Sexual infidelity:
I've already told my attitudes and experiences with the honest kind of that particular infidelity. As for the clandestine kind, I've never approved of it and would instantly dump any partner who did that to me. Nor would I give permission for a partner to "open up" a relationship in that way, if the original agreement had been fidelity, and the mere fact of her wanting to dump that commitment would probably be enough to make me quit. Even if she later said she had only been teasing me, I'd probably quit on the grounds of not wanting to be involved with a game player.....jokes of that nature from a partner about infidelity don't amuse me, they just make me feel ill, probably because of my bad experiences.



FemmeFatale
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21 Sep 2010, 6:58 pm

<though I know some affairs can be justified>

Please give some examples of affairs that can be justified - I am referrring to the affairs that are kept secret.

<and my separatist policy paid off when my wife was unfaithful (she'd had a history of infidelity so I'd always been half expecting it to happen>

When a person marries someone who has a history of cheating, does that person have a hope that the spouse won't repeat this behavior? I would find it difficult to be with someone who has cheated on a previous partner because I would think they would do the same to me - and I wouldn't like it. Trust issues again. (However, although I am monogamous, I think I would have more of a problem with emotional infidelity, since the person who cheats sexually does not usually leave a spouse for the person they are having an affair with. Sharing a deep (and possibly romantic) emotional connection with someone other than the spouse could be worse than sexual infidelity.)

<I suspect she doesn't understand the logic behind my reluctance to share money with her, and sees it as unmanliness in me (either that or she just loves money and will say anything to get it). >

Perhaps she sees your unwillingness to share money with her makes her think you are hiding something - of course, I mean if you don't share money and don't share information about your income. If the spouse knows his or her partner's financial condition and assets, there is less of a trust issue and more an issue that she just wants to spend more money and her income is limited.

<But she was very much an "alternativist" and I just assumed that she'd see the "male breadwinner" thing as a silly relic of old, mainstream society>

No matter how liberated women may be, we will probably always see the man as the breadwinner. And of course, I get the sense from many men, that they still want to fulfill that role in a relationship.

<her system seems to be to spend it while it's there and to hell with tomorrow. Bills always seem to come as a shock to her, and she's always telling me of little mistakes that she and employers make that leave her with less money than she thought she'd have. She doesn't seem to anticipate financial risk, and dreams up pie-in-the-sky plans, and looks deeply offended if I try to point out the problems.>

I think this probably explains the mindset of the person who is deeply in debt. No forward thinking.

<But really with friends and family, it's very different to running a bank......I'd feel horrible if I sued anybody close for non-payment of debts, even if they deserved it.>

I agree. I would only lend an amount of money I can afford to lose. If a person who is employed is behind in their bills and can find no way out of financial crisis, it can be assumed that they will never have the money to pay back a loan, even if they intend to pay it back. So it is best to give it to them and never mention it again.

<And apparently the law doesn't require one spouse to be liable for the other when it comes to debt. >

In the U.S., I believe a spouse is responsible for one-half of their partner's debt (debt that occurs within the marriage) even if the spouse has no knowledge of their partner's activities.

I am not comfortable with the concept of the open relationship. In my view of infidelity in the monogamous relationship, the unfaithful partner is looking for something missing in his or her marriage. The unfaithful partner then has given up on the marriage relationship and might likely leave for their new sexual partner. Not sure that I would see it as a jealousy issue but a partner who leaves me for another would certainly make me feel that I was inadequate (or defective) as a partner.

<If there's such a thing as right and wrong here, I'd say the womaniser is wrong for not seeing that most people find infidelity abhorrent in their relationships.>

What if the womanizer has only womanizers as male role models? He then thinks that having a mistress as well as a wife is acceptable. Or in other words, if his mother tolerated it, why would he think it was wrong?

<And the old people who used to insist on the "marriage first" rule completely failed to explain why (in practical, sociological terms) the rule was there>

Perhaps it also kept pregnancy inside the marriage - something not very common these days. Sex with a commitment would insure that the spouse would stay in the relationship for at least 18 years.

I hope we can keep this discussion going and others will also share their views.



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22 Sep 2010, 10:30 am

FemmeFatale wrote:
Please give some examples of affairs that can be justified - I am referrring to the affairs that are kept secret


Now you come to mention it, I can't think of much......there's a film called "Intolerable Cruelty" that I think had a good example in it, though I can't recall it, and I expect it was something that's highly improbable in real life. Apart from that, I would say it's in a sense justified if the other partner is also being unfaithful......I once had a relationship with a married woman whose husband had always slept around, and he no longer had any sexual interest in her.....somehow they still had a strong marriage, in that they got on as well as most couples, they'd raised 3 fine kids (at least 2 of whom worked in socially worthy fields IMHO - helping deprived children, and grass-roots political activism), and they stayed together till death parted them - I saw it as a very sad situation and I didn't believe them when they insisted that they never felt jealous, but I never felt she was doing anything wrong - imagine the pain she'd have been in if she'd remained faithful. I was rather younger than she, and sometimes felt anxious about our age difference and what people might think of that, but I never felt a scrap of guilt about what we were doing, except for some apprehension about how I'd explain it to any future partner who wasn't so worldly as I seem to be. And for all I've said, I have to admit that even at the time, although a lot of good was done in some ways, it was never what I really wanted....more of a rough, pragmatic fix for an unusual set of circumstances.
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When a person marries someone who has a history of cheating, does that person have a hope that the spouse won't repeat this behavior? I would find it difficult to be with someone who has cheated on a previous partner because I would think they would do the same to me - and I wouldn't like it. Trust issues again. (However, although I am monogamous, I think I would have more of a problem with emotional infidelity, since the person who cheats sexually does not usually leave a spouse for the person they are having an affair with. Sharing a deep (and possibly romantic) emotional connection with someone other than the spouse could be worse than sexual infidelity.)

I think I gave my views on the first part already, which are in line with yours. I'm still struggling with this concept of emotional infidelity (though it's shed a powerful and welcome new light on a lot of my past anxieties and current possible overfriendliness with women, so thanks for bringing it to my attention).....so far I suspect I'd always find sexual infidelity more painful than emotional infidelity, though the latter can still be deadly.
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- of course, I mean if you don't share money and don't share information about your income. If the spouse knows his or her partner's financial condition and assets, there is less of a trust issue and more an issue that she just wants to spend more money and her income is limited.

Well, she knows in principle, because when we first got together I sent her all my financial details, and they've never been secret from her - she didn't comment or reciprocate......I presume she just doesn't think in objective, financial terms. But she was furious when I told her I'd given my son £20,000 for his house - actually that's probably quite close to the amount I've given to her over the years, and I've given my son almost nothing since he reached adulthood, and was pretty frugal with him even before. She doesn't seem to express her feelings very accurately at all, so I don't know exactly what her anger was about. My view would be that she's been so unfaithful financially that I divorced her financially, or that I've never really married her financially.
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No matter how liberated women may be, we will probably always see the man as the breadwinner. And of course, I get the sense from many men, that they still want to fulfill that role in a relationship

That seems to be the irony of modern feminism. Sex is a basic human instinct that doesn't understand political correctness or fair play. I've heard of men feeling castrated when they've lost their jobs and had to depend on their wives, and I might feel a little like that myself if it were to happen after I'd got used to the traditional thing, in spite of my constant whinging about being forced into an outmoded and unfair gender stereotype role, but I would never look down on a man for choosing to be a homemaker, and I would want to oppose his wife if she were pressurising him to be a breadwinner instead, if there were no strong practical reasons for doing so (such as her being unable to work).
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In the U.S., I believe a spouse is responsible for one-half of their partner's debt (debt that occurs within the marriage) even if the spouse has no knowledge of their partner's activities

That seems very harsh to me, as I guess it would, after my experiences - had we lived in the States, my wife would likely have bankrupted me by now. It was hard enough hanging onto my wad even with the legal right to do so.
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I am not comfortable with the concept of the open relationship. In my view of infidelity in the monogamous relationship, the unfaithful partner is looking for something missing in his or her marriage. The unfaithful partner then has given up on the marriage relationship and might likely leave for their new sexual partner. Not sure that I would see it as a jealousy issue but a partner who leaves me for another would certainly make me feel that I was inadequate (or defective) as a partner

I don't like the idea of "open relationships" either. Though I think the inadequacy thing you describe is also felt every time somebody makes a choice (e.g. between two suitors who want, but have not yet been granted, a relationship with the lucky recipient of their attentions)....but I'm sure the pain is more intense when the choice is made from within a supposedly closed relationship. I suppose I was lucky that my partner's affairs were always with poorer, less attractive men, although that was also an insult, because I had to accept that in some respects she preferred them to me. My worst rival, though, was only in the running because he was an alcoholic like her, so he could empathise with that, and he was wilder than I, so I tended to feel like a boring, straight-laced prude in comparison. But I was still able to work normally right through all the affair discoveries and splits, while he lost his job as a result of her ditching him, so I finally realised that his head was in even more of a mess than I was.
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What if the womanizer has only womanizers as male role models? He then thinks that having a mistress as well as a wife is acceptable. Or in other words, if his mother tolerated it, why would he think it was wrong?

Good point - it's hard to blame somebody for doing what they've been brought up to believe is OK. I guess that's why violent parents tend to produce violent kids, and it's not going to improve until one of those violent people questions their upbringing and does a fantastic amount of painful work to rise above their heritage. But when I say the womaniser is wrong, I don't mean to apportion blame, just that in his own head he's right, but from the outside his behaviour is just as wrong and harmful as it would be if he knew exactly what he was doing to people, in fact it could be worse, because appeals to his conscience wouldn't be understood.
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Perhaps it also kept pregnancy inside the marriage - something not very common these days. Sex with a commitment would insure that the spouse would stay in the relationship for at least 18 years.

I'm sure that the animal instincts that make us jealous haven't yet adjusted to the fact of contraception. So jealousy doesn't make complete sense to the modern mind unless you do a bit of anthropology.
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I hope we can keep this discussion going and others will also share their views

Yes, come on in and give us your thoughts.

I'll post something about emotional infidelity later, when I've got my brain round it better.



FemmeFatale
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22 Sep 2010, 8:42 pm

Toughdiamond wrote:

<I once had a relationship with a married woman whose husband had always slept around, and he no longer had any sexual interest in her.....somehow they still had a strong marriage, in that they got on as well as most couples, they'd raised 3 fine kids (at least 2 of whom worked in socially worthy fields IMHO - helping deprived children, and grass-roots political activism), and they stayed together till death parted them?

This would be an example of an affair that was not intended to end the marriage. You do not indicate that it continued after death of the spouse - of course, I don't know which one died. So sexual infidelity does not always end the marriage.

<I'm still struggling with this concept of emotional infidelity (though it's shed a powerful and welcome new light on a lot of my past anxieties and current possible overfriendliness with women, so thanks for bringing it to my attention.>

I'm still overanalalyzing which is worse - emotional or sexual infidelity. But you provided a possible cause - unintended overfriendliness with women/men - this can cause expectations and sexual advances (and entanglement) from one who misreads cues (not only aspies do this.) The third party does not always intend to poach someone's partner but it just "happens" when they believe they have received encouragement from the person who is married or taken.

<My view would be that she's been so unfaithful financially that I divorced her financially, or that I've never really married her financially.>

Interesting statement. Thinking about the statement again but replacing the word "financially" with words to describe other forms of infidelity.

<I suppose I was lucky that my partner's affairs were always with poorer, less attractive men, although that was also an insult, because I had to accept that in some respects she preferred them to me.>

It is interesting that we are concerned about who our partners would leave us for. My late husband always told me that if I wanted to leave him, he would hope that I would leave him for a man and not a woman (but of course he knew I was straight!) Seems that the thought of a wife leaving for another woman is somewhat emasculating. We had very interesting conversations !

Of course, the womanizer is wrong, but he is right only because he has rationalized his behavior, just as a spouse rationalizes that if her spouse is having an affair, she will have one too. Two wrongs really don't make right.

I still have trouble with the issue of jealousy. I don't think I feel what most people refer to as jealous behavior, usually just annoyance that my partner is making an a** out of himself with another woman. Does that seem harsh?



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23 Sep 2010, 5:42 am

FemmeFatale wrote:
Toughdiamond wrote:

<I once had a relationship with a married woman whose husband had always slept around, and he no longer had any sexual interest in her.....somehow they still had a strong marriage, in that they got on as well as most couples, they'd raised 3 fine kids (at least 2 of whom worked in socially worthy fields IMHO - helping deprived children, and grass-roots political activism), and they stayed together till death parted them?

This would be an example of an affair that was not intended to end the marriage. You do not indicate that it continued after death of the spouse - of course, I don't know which one died. So sexual infidelity does not always end the marriage.

The lady died first, rather suddenly, of cancer.
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I'm still overanalalyzing which is worse - emotional or sexual infidelity. But you provided a possible cause - unintended overfriendliness with women/men - this can cause expectations and sexual advances (and entanglement) from one who misreads cues (not only aspies do this.) The third party does not always intend to poach someone's partner but it just "happens" when they believe they have received encouragement from the person who is married or taken.

Ah, the old "nobody was more surprised than I was when we ended up in bed together" thing......I must confess I'm usually surprised when it happens to me, which must be rather scary for any partner, as it suggests that I'm blind to the danger of being unfaithful. But I don't think I'm at much of a risk. Although I find it hard to believe it when I'm headed for a sexual encounter, I always sense something of the sort could be on the cards. I have to peer over the top of my own poor self-esteem - "hardly anybody would want to sleep with me, so what's the danger?" And it's nearly always the man who makes the first unambiguous move and takes the lead, and I just don't start clandestine affairs or one-night stands. And it's possibly less of a threat if the man (rather than the woman) comes home blind drunk, because he isn't usually in much sexual danger, as a big dose of alcohol tends to reduce a man's sexual potency and his attractiveness, whereas a woman in the same state is more likely, on average, to be an easy target for a sexual predator.
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<My view would be that she's been so unfaithful financially that I divorced her financially, or that I've never really married her financially.>

Interesting statement. Thinking about the statement again but replacing the word "financially" with words to describe other forms of infidelity.

Definitely if I'm subjected to any emotional infidelity that I find significant, something happens to my tender feelings towards the partner, which could be called an emotional divorce. I've known of men who have been labelled possessive for that, because it looks like the deliberate withdrawal of affection, for something as "trivial" as the woman being surprisingly affectionate to a male friend, and the guy is condemned for what looks like controlling behaviour.
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It is interesting that we are concerned about who our partners would leave us for. My late husband always told me that if I wanted to leave him, he would hope that I would leave him for a man and not a woman (but of course he knew I was straight!) Seems that the thought of a wife leaving for another woman is somewhat emasculating. We had very interesting conversations !

In a way it's more of an insult if the partner leaves without running to anybody else - because that's effectively saying "I'd rather be alone than stay with you." but of course if they do run to another lover, it tends to make a clearer ending to the original partnership, because as long as the deserter is still unattached, reconciliation is probably more feasible.
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Of course, the womanizer is wrong, but he is right only because he has rationalized his behavior, just as a spouse rationalizes that if her spouse is having an affair, she will have one too. Two wrongs really don't make right.

I agree it's not really the best way to just go tit-for-tat, but possibly in some cases it's better than just soaking up the agony. Frankly I'd almost certainly just leave a sexually unfaithful partner, and I'd want to leave a "decent interval" for the sake of my own sanity, but from the moment I knew of the betrayal, I would no longer feel bound to remain faithful myself. My reasoning would be that "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" - so if a partner shows that they don't want a particular rule (by breaking it), I'd feel that the rule could no longer justifiably be applied to me. And it would be completely hypocritical of a wayward partner to complain about that. I'd have immense trouble trusting a woman who had been sexually unfaithful to her previous partner if he'd never been unfaithful, but if he'd been the first to do that, I think I'd feel a lot safer. I have no trouble at all remaining sexually loyal to somebody I love, and if I wasn't, I'd accept the consequences of poetic justice like a man.
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I still have trouble with the issue of jealousy. I don't think I feel what most people refer to as jealous behavior, usually just annoyance that my partner is making an a** out of himself with another woman. Does that seem harsh?

No, not harsh - just remarkably thick-skinned compared with my usual reaction. I've always felt deeply wounded by partners who have crossed my line.



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24 Sep 2010, 8:36 am

Finally, here's my thoughts on Emotional Infidelity - forgive me for swamping the thread with my home-grown ideas.......hopefully somebody else will now comment on this thread.


I think it's tricky to define - "certain kinds of thought or behaviour towards a potential sexual rival" is the best I can do so far. As for what kinds of thought and behaviour, some things are obviously unfaithful, like having full-scale erotic fantasies, but where is the boundary between a warm friendship with somebody who happens to be of the opposite sex (if you're heterosexual), and emotional infidelity?

I checked out a few Websites to find examples, and a common one is when a partner divulges "private" information about their relationship to a possible rival. In a way I have little choice but to do exactly that, as I obviously sometimes have to explain my wife's absence from the matrimonial home, and I feel no moral obligation to lie to my friends, even when they're female. I've actively told 3 men, but no women. I've "passively" told one woman who was interested enough to ask, but with another I hesitated to explain why I'd not been in touch with her for so long (I'd been having talks with my wife about our separation and had suggested divorcing in a year's time if we don't learn to relate better), the lady asked if it was private, and I said yes it is. Later I wondered if I should have just told the truth, and I'm still not happy about the obvious distance it must have put between us - "it's not your business why I haven't been around much lately." Yet I did that. I'm not the unfaithful type, but I'd been a little worried that I could be playing with fire with this lady......I guess I felt I'd been slightly emotionally unfaithful with her, though I didn't know the term till now. I've never done anything beyond trying to be a good platonic friend to her, I'm a regular Ned Flanders when it comes to guilt, and it would be very hard to point to anything specific that we did wrong, but I think I sensed some kind of chemistry between us, and backed off just to be on the safe side.

As for the other lady who actually knows this "private" information about my relationship, somehow I feel completely safe....we've discussed our respective relationship problems together but we've never tried to demonise our partners to each other. Our friendship feels more like the "cup of tea and a natter" kind of relationship than some collusion to commit any kind of infidelity. I don't sense any chemistry between us like I did with the other lady. I don't find her ugly, and conceptually I can just about imagine having a relationship with her one day, though it's a scary thought because she has a few traits I probably couldn't cope with. I think what's missing, that was there with the other lady, is that slight clumsiness and anxiety about cuddling or showing unusual warmth for each other - I sense no sexual tension or potent excitement between us, we find each other interesting and we very much enjoy being together, but if feels much as it would in a good, same-sex friendship or a family bond - we're calm about each other. Looking at her behaviour, she would qualify in spades for the "emotionally unfaithful" label, but somehow it hangs well on her, and feels like nothing more alarming than an affectionate and familiar interpersonal style.

In a way, the Web descriptions of EI give me hope because they seem to suggest that it's OK for me to feel wronged over a lot of the "little freedoms" that some of my partners have hurt me with, whereas in the past I've felt like some kind of possessive monster for expecting to be protected in those ways, and sadly some of those partners have tried to label me in just that way. Judging by the number of Biblical references in many of the Web pages, I suspect the whole argument is grounded in Abrahamic standards, and although I think those standards would make me feel wonderfully safe if I felt I could legitimately apply them to a partner, I can't quite bring myself to subscribe to them 100% - not because I doubt there's a god, but because of the danger of the whole thing spilling over into extreme puritanism, which I think could create more emotional problems than it would solve, because it's just too hard for any real human being to follow, and because it might kill the warmth that I feel is vital to ANY friendship, even the strictly platonic kind.



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24 Sep 2010, 9:31 am

y'know, i was thinking some more about infidelity.... have you noticed that there is often one partner who is less likely to cheat (either sexually, emotionally or financially), even if the other partner has cheated first?

i don't know if that is due to increased tolerance, or less importance placed on fidelity, or is one partner is more moral, but it is a curious phenomenon.

i am of the opinion that unapproved infidelity (i don't consider open marriages to truly involve infidelity, as it is an agreement to allow outside relationships, and in my perspective infidelity means to break a vow without permission) is NOT acceptable, ever - even if the other partner does it first.

a partner who follows suit after the first partner cheats is sullying themselves with the same bad behaviour. in my opinion the second partner is just as bad as the first one... the second partner is taking the low road too. the fact of one partner breaking the marriage vows does not change the actual morality or ethics involved with infidelity.


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24 Sep 2010, 11:07 am

I think that's a good way to go, if you can do it. But for me, once a partner has been sexually unfaithful to me, it's not so much a case of my picking a higher or lower road, but of it being the end of the road - as far as I was concerned, the marriage would have become nothing more than an out-of-date piece of paper. But thinking a little more widely, there would be the problem of whether or not it would be fair to drag some unsuspecting third party into the proceedings just to even up the score with an offending spouse....I could never do that. Nor would I want to hurt myself by getting into bed with another person before I'd fully recovered from the original betrayal, by which time the divorce would probably already have been granted. All I'm really saying is that I wouldn't support an unfaitfhul partner's right to fidelity from the one they've injured in that way. Anybody wishing to try and forgive infidelity has my blessing, just that I've no idea how they'd do it - I wouldn't even want to try to do that.



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24 Sep 2010, 12:13 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
I think that's a good way to go, if you can do it. But for me, once a partner has been sexually unfaithful to me, it's not so much a case of my picking a higher or lower road, but of it being the end of the road - as far as I was concerned, the marriage would have become nothing more than an out-of-date piece of paper. But thinking a little more widely, there would be the problem of whether or not it would be fair to drag some unsuspecting third party into the proceedings just to even up the score with an offending spouse....I could never do that. Nor would I want to hurt myself by getting into bed with another person before I'd fully recovered from the original betrayal, by which time the divorce would probably already have been granted. All I'm really saying is that I wouldn't support an unfaitfhul partner's right to fidelity from the one they've injured in that way. Anybody wishing to try and forgive infidelity has my blessing, just that I've no idea how they'd do it - I wouldn't even want to try to do that.
oh yes, sorry - i wasn't clear at all! i would be completely out of there as well! i just don't see how it is acceptable to follow the same path of infidelity as the first partner had done. it is still reprehensible, even if it was started after the other partner did it.

in the best example i could think of off the top of my head, if a friend betrays my innermost secrest to a third party, i think it is not acceptable to turn around and do the same thing to the friend. better to cut off the friendship (or move on if i was the forgiving kind). but the goose/gander approach reduces all parties to the same level.


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25 Sep 2010, 6:41 am

hyperlexian wrote:
in the best example i could think of off the top of my head, if a friend betrays my innermost secrest to a third party, i think it is not acceptable to turn around and do the same thing to the friend. better to cut off the friendship (or move on if i was the forgiving kind). but the goose/gander approach reduces all parties to the same level.

I guess it depends on the individual.......I think that there are some cases in which they could be brought to their senses by a direct retaliation, if they just hadn't appreciated how it feels to be hurt in the way they have hurt you, or if they thought that nobody would ever dare to retaliate like that. A "short sharp shock," or a taste of their own medicine. But I've no idea how often it works. I've known of violent people getting beaten up for their violence, but I never heard of it curing them. Maybe it's just an urban myth?



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25 Sep 2010, 4:21 pm

Quote:
Ah, the old "nobody was more surprised than I was when we ended up in bed together" thing......I must confess I'm usually surprised when it happens to me, which must be rather scary for any partner, as it suggests that I'm blind to the danger of being unfaithful.

But how does it "just happen?" Poor self-esteem. Not sure I really understand that. And when it happens, do you share the incident with your partner or do you find ways to keep it a secret from your partner? Does the secret slowly wear away the relationship? And is it a reason for ending the current relationship?

I think of emotional infidelity more in terms of emotionally sharing or sharing information that should be kept private. If my partner or friend shared personal information with me, I would be cheating (or gossiping) if I shared that information with someone else. I would feel betrayed by my partner or friend if I knew someone else knew of personal issues that were not meant to be discussed. In the romantic sense, the married partner becomes too close (without sex) to a person outside the relationship while eventually making plans to leave their partner for their new confidant. To give an example for the first part, I have revealed to my partner that I am aspie. I am very sensitive about this and I would hope that he would never share this information with others. If another person observes me, suspects it and asks me about it, I can decide whether or not to share this information. I would feel very betrayed if I knew he told others about my "different" personality. I would prefer that he lie to protect me and tell others that I am just very shy. In the same way, I would expect that he would not share private information about our relationship. So in a way, yes, I am living a lie that I consider to be acceptable.

Frankly I'd almost certainly just leave a sexually unfaithful partner, and I'd want to leave a "decent interval" for the sake of my own sanity,

But would you do this if she shared with you that it had "just happened" as in your example? But wouldn't people in a relationship have an expectation that these sexual encounters would not "just happen" since each person should be able to set clear physical and emotional boundaries with those outside of the relationship?

[quote]No, not harsh - just remarkably thick-skinned compared with my usual reaction. I've always felt deeply wounded by partners who have crossed my line.

I feel deeply wounded too by betrayal but know that I don't have the ability (or desire) to control the behavior of another person.