Wedding Woes

Cheating repeat neurosis

Dear Prudence,
I have been with my husband for five years. He is attentive, kind, thoughtful, and attractive, which are all qualities that make him appealing to other women. Four years ago he cheated on me, and I found out almost immediately after the affair started. He showed remorse, we went to counseling, and I decided to stay with him. Since the affair, I check his Facebook, emails, phone calls, and texts regularly. It’s obviously insane and has become somewhat of an obsession. I have attempted counseling but this hasn’t stopped or curbed my snooping. I am just waiting to catch him again and feel that it’s only a matter of time before he strays. I have had five serious long-term relationships in my life, all of which have ended with infidelity. I am not quite sure what about me screams “cheat on me,” but it is an obvious pattern. This man is the love of my life, and I live in daily fear of getting cheated on. I need advice on how to deal with these issues and move on into a healthier mindset.

—Husband Monitor

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Re: Cheating repeat neurosis

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    I need to know if he's going to therapy too and wanting to "work on the marriage" like she is?  I think she'll be doing all the snooping for years to come, though, regardless of therapy or not.  Trust was lost. 

    mrsconn23charlotte989875levioosaOurWildKingdom
  • mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,
    I have been with my husband for five years. He is attentive, kind, thoughtful, and attractive, which are all qualities that make him appealing to other women. Four years ago he cheated on me, and I found out almost immediately after the affair started. He showed remorse, we went to counseling, and I decided to stay with him. Since the affair, I check his Facebook, emails, phone calls, and texts regularly. It’s obviously insane and has become somewhat of an obsession. I have attempted counseling but this hasn’t stopped or curbed my snooping. I am just waiting to catch him again and feel that it’s only a matter of time before he strays. I have had five serious long-term relationships in my life, all of which have ended with infidelity. I am not quite sure what about me screams “cheat on me,” but it is an obvious pattern. This man is the love of my life, and I live in daily fear of getting cheated on. I need advice on how to deal with these issues and move on into a healthier mindset.

    —Husband Monitor

    Well obviously if you think you need help you write to Prudie and don't seek a licensed therapist. 

    You have two issues:
    1) You need to find a way to trust the husband or you won't have a successful relationship.
    2) You need to figure out yourself.  


    mrsconn23charlotte989875short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • So, I think find a new therapist. This is clearly an issue you have to work on. But also, I want to know what he's doing to rebuild trust. Is the snooping happening with his permission? If so I think that's a good sign he doesn't have anything to hide (or he deletes it all).
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Accept that you might be cheated on (even though that isn’t necessarily true) and learn how to make that okay. 

    Honestly, the only way I see for LW to be able to let go of her obsession is to give into it. It is the way people treat other traumas and phobias. I am not saying that she should tolerate being cheated on just that she needs to find a way to get a little zen with the idea. I know I am explaining this wrong, can someone help me out?

    Like, death/cheating is inevitable so why worry about it sort of deal. Just live your life to the happiest/fullest that you can with the time you have.
    charlotte989875mrsconn23SP29short+sassy
  • Accept that you might be cheated on (even though that isn’t necessarily true) and learn how to make that okay. 

    Honestly, the only way I see for LW to be able to let go of her obsession is to give into it. It is the way people treat other traumas and phobias. I am not saying that she should tolerate being cheated on just that she needs to find a way to get a little zen with the idea. I know I am explaining this wrong, can someone help me out?

    Like, death/cheating is inevitable so why worry about it sort of deal. Just live your life to the happiest/fullest that you can with the time you have.
    Like it won't be the worst thing, she will survive, and be all right if he cheats again?

    It also sounds like she needs some hobbies or distractions. If the cheating happens again it will be good for her to have other things in her life if she finds herself in that place again. 
    mrsconn23
  • Accept that you might be cheated on (even though that isn’t necessarily true) and learn how to make that okay. 

    Honestly, the only way I see for LW to be able to let go of her obsession is to give into it. It is the way people treat other traumas and phobias. I am not saying that she should tolerate being cheated on just that she needs to find a way to get a little zen with the idea. I know I am explaining this wrong, can someone help me out?

    Like, death/cheating is inevitable so why worry about it sort of deal. Just live your life to the happiest/fullest that you can with the time you have.
    Like it won't be the worst thing, she will survive, and be all right if he cheats again?

    It also sounds like she needs some hobbies or distractions. If the cheating happens again it will be good for her to have other things in her life if she finds herself in that place again. 
    No, like she needs to get over it, stop obsessing, live her relationship to its fullest. Sometimes the only way for people to do that is just to accept that shit is going to happen, if/when it does it will be dealt with but until then why fret about it. 

    I agree that she needs some hobbies.
    mrsconn23charlotte989875
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited October 5
    Accept that you might be cheated on (even though that isn’t necessarily true) and learn how to make that okay. 

    Honestly, the only way I see for LW to be able to let go of her obsession is to give into it. It is the way people treat other traumas and phobias. I am not saying that she should tolerate being cheated on just that she needs to find a way to get a little zen with the idea. I know I am explaining this wrong, can someone help me out?

    Like, death/cheating is inevitable so why worry about it sort of deal. Just live your life to the happiest/fullest that you can with the time you have.
    Like it won't be the worst thing, she will survive, and be all right if he cheats again?

    It also sounds like she needs some hobbies or distractions. If the cheating happens again it will be good for her to have other things in her life if she finds herself in that place again. 
    No, like she needs to get over it, stop obsessing, live her relationship to its fullest. Sometimes the only way for people to do that is just to accept that shit is going to happen, if/when it does it will be dealt with but until then why fret about it. 

    I agree that she needs some hobbies.
    I agree.  Kind of like someone obsessed with their own death or death of the loved ones.   Like everyone has their moments where they contemplate mortality, but you cannot think about it 24/7 and/or live your life in a restrictive way in order to 'prevent' it.   You just have to live and come what may. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • Thank you @mrsconn23
    i wasn’t trying to say that she should tolerate being cheated on.
    mrsconn23charlotte989875
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    I think LW needs to leave.  You can't have a healthy relationship if you constantly need to snoop, even if it is permissible by the other party.  Perhaps its just a trial separation.

    LW has been cheated on numerous times and its understandable she has a fear of it happening again.  That is why I think LW needs to leave, be on her own for a while and get lots of counseling (with a different therapist).

    OurWildKingdom
  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Accept that you might be cheated on (even though that isn’t necessarily true) and learn how to make that okay. 

    Honestly, the only way I see for LW to be able to let go of her obsession is to give into it. It is the way people treat other traumas and phobias. I am not saying that she should tolerate being cheated on just that she needs to find a way to get a little zen with the idea. I know I am explaining this wrong, can someone help me out?

    Like, death/cheating is inevitable so why worry about it sort of deal. Just live your life to the happiest/fullest that you can with the time you have.
    I agree with you.

    LW cannot control whether or not her husband cheats on her again. She has to decide whether or not she can deal with it if he does. And if she decides she can, then she needs to let everything else go.
    missJeanLouisecharlotte989875
  • If every one of her relationships has ended in infidelity....Like, I don't want to blame her, but the common element is her. I get the feeling there's a lot she's not sharing here, and most of it probably deals with her being insecure or extremely jealous, yadda yadda.

    I doubt this is the first time she's been a snooper, is what I'm saying, and yes, she needs a whole lot of counseling to figure out why she is whatever she is that's contributing to this. 
    image
    MissKittyDangermrsconn23OurWildKingdom
  • The fact that she says, "all qualities that make him appealing to other women" makes me think she's making excuses for his behavior, and that she doesn't actually want to fix it/work on herself. I mean, why even mention that. My husband has all those qualities too. I know he's appealing to other women, but that doesn't mean he's going to cheat on me.

    But also, has he been faithful in the 4 years since? 

    Good catch.  I always find statements like that a little eye rolling.

    It's like she's already making the excuses for her H's philandering.  Because you know how women just THROW themselves at him.  So it's just too much temptation for him.  Gross.

    Excuse me while I go armchair psychologist.

    We all have general "types" we date.  She has already identified herself as having a history with cheaters.  Maybe that is where it comes from.  Maybe she subconsciously gives off a vibe that she's okay with cheating.  Because in a sense, she is.  She makes excuses for it that puts the blame on "those aggressive women".  Not the blame where it should be.  On her cheating H and her cheating exes.

    And she's attracted to men that other women want.  She's attracted to men who RESPOND to that.

    I'm not trying to excuse bad behavior or victim-blame.  But she has already seen this pattern herself.  She already expects her H to cheat again.  Not a matter of "if", but "when".  Maybe this has ALWAYS been her attitude.  Even before he cheated.  And it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    At any rate, it's like the old adage, "The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results".

    She needs to resume therapy.  With a different therapist.  And keep trying to FIND the cycle/behaviors that need to be broken.  So her path changes.  Maybe with the same H.  Or maybe he can't change and will never be the right person for her.   

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    MissKittyDangerclimbingwifeOurWildKingdom
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I would hope you wouldn't say about your H, "God, no one but me would ever date him."

    Zero to do with the personal responsibility of not having an affair with the other people who might date them.

    Anniversary

    charlotte989875
  • baconsmom said:
    If every one of her relationships has ended in infidelity....Like, I don't want to blame her, but the common element is her. I get the feeling there's a lot she's not sharing here, and most of it probably deals with her being insecure or extremely jealous, yadda yadda.

    I doubt this is the first time she's been a snooper, is what I'm saying, and yes, she needs a whole lot of counseling to figure out why she is whatever she is that's contributing to this. 
    Home girl needs counseling. On that, we agree.

    But, to the bolded, it IS kind of blaming her. I mean, even if she's a jealous, snoopy girlfriend that doesn't mean she's fair game to run around on or that she was "asking for it" with her behavior. If a couple is in a monogamous relationship and one is unhappy because the other is jealous/snoopy, they should leave not cheat. And it's on them if they don't. The only scummy one here is her husband and previous boyfriends. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdom
  • baconsmom said:
    If every one of her relationships has ended in infidelity....Like, I don't want to blame her, but the common element is her. I get the feeling there's a lot she's not sharing here, and most of it probably deals with her being insecure or extremely jealous, yadda yadda.

    I doubt this is the first time she's been a snooper, is what I'm saying, and yes, she needs a whole lot of counseling to figure out why she is whatever she is that's contributing to this. 
    Home girl needs counseling. On that, we agree.

    But, to the bolded, it IS kind of blaming her. I mean, even if she's a jealous, snoopy girlfriend that doesn't mean she's fair game to run around on or that she was "asking for it" with her behavior. If a couple is in a monogamous relationship and one is unhappy because the other is jealous/snoopy, they should leave not cheat. And it's on them if they don't. The only scummy one here is her husband and previous boyfriends. 
    Oh, I think they all should be held very accountable. 

    But. 

    Like, I had a string of dudes who treated me like dirt. You know why? I didn't think I was worth more than that, and I responded to them in that vein. Were they jerks? Sure. Was I contributing mightily to that jerkitude? You bet. 
    image
    mrsconn23short+sassy
  • baconsmom said:
    baconsmom said:
    If every one of her relationships has ended in infidelity....Like, I don't want to blame her, but the common element is her. I get the feeling there's a lot she's not sharing here, and most of it probably deals with her being insecure or extremely jealous, yadda yadda.

    I doubt this is the first time she's been a snooper, is what I'm saying, and yes, she needs a whole lot of counseling to figure out why she is whatever she is that's contributing to this. 
    Home girl needs counseling. On that, we agree.

    But, to the bolded, it IS kind of blaming her. I mean, even if she's a jealous, snoopy girlfriend that doesn't mean she's fair game to run around on or that she was "asking for it" with her behavior. If a couple is in a monogamous relationship and one is unhappy because the other is jealous/snoopy, they should leave not cheat. And it's on them if they don't. The only scummy one here is her husband and previous boyfriends. 
    Oh, I think they all should be held very accountable. 

    But. 

    Like, I had a string of dudes who treated me like dirt. You know why? I didn't think I was worth more than that, and I responded to them in that vein. Were they jerks? Sure. Was I contributing mightily to that jerkitude? You bet. 
    Yes, a little (or a lot of) introspection on the LW's part could go a long way.   She's half of the relationships she's been in.  These dudes aren't just happening to her, she's choosing them.  Finding a common thread between them and/or her behavior can only help LW. 
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • 1) She's not over him having cheated.
    2) End it or give the guy credit for the 4-years cheat-free and back off one thing at a time...  That doesn't mean doormat it never happened, but the constant spying, and being on guard isn't healthy either...
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    short+sassy
  • Probably everyone on here is going to think this is bad advice but.... you can buy a keylogger and install it on his phone. It gives you ease of mind. I have one on my computer.. have had it for years and I got to see which bfs would try and cheat on me. It would capture everything they type. Any secret second fb ig etc is found out. It really eased my mind. Yes it sounds crazy but I also gifted it to my friend and my mom. My mom found out my dad was cheating for over 10 years. I feel the phone one is absolutely necessary because it's so easy to cheat nowadays. And I would rather know what's going on in my life. Usually the people against it don't want to really know the truth. They say "I trust him" while I watch them grab his phone the second he's gone. There's free trials online. For iPhone you need his iCloud password. 
  • lol I knew someone would say it but it works. Not gonna lie when my mom caught my dirtbag cheating homosexual father I realized how sadly absolutely necessary this is. Men get bored 
  • NowIAmSypNowIAmSyp East Hanover, NJ
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    lol I knew someone would say it but it works. Not gonna lie when my mom caught my dirtbag cheating homosexual father I realized how sadly absolutely necessary this is. Men get bored 

    Oof.  
    charlotte989875OliveOilsMom
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