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dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 08:36
by Silly Brad
Hopefully, I can discuss this here. Its a major issue that affects a lot of people.

I have been cheated on in the past by a person I had known for well over a decade. It took me five years to get over that enough to try again. Problem is though, I cant seem to sort out the difference between past scars and legitimate concerns.

I have a lot of strong feelings for the new girl. Id say Weve been together about six to eight weeks now.

I had seen some things on her phone about three weeks in that seemed a LOT like cheating. The first time, she left her Facebook logged in on my phone. Her messages to guys were very suggestive. I confronted her on this. Her story was very convincing, that her and I were new and the messages were all in good fun. A few days later, I found Pics and vids of herself in sexual poses/acts going out to other guys. This time I left in the middle of the night. I returned a few days later to talk, and give it one more shot. I had to give it another chance... make absolutly sure before buring bridges, right? In the two days I was gone, she had carved my name into her leg where I like rubbing on her. I recently read somewhere that this may be a coping with guilt or grief mechanism... similar to suicidal acts.

The carving has now healed, leaving a scar on her. I had asked her when I came back to not delete her txts anymore. She still deletes them though. Although nothing would stop her from selectivly deleting stuff if she so choose.

She has admitited to me she sonetimes sexts. I can get it. The ego boost, the fun... especially when I consider how she claims her ex treated her. (And I do believe those claims)

She has also made comment before that she really likes sex... and she loves to be admired by guys. I can understand that too. Any mother of 4 would like to know that shes still "got it."

If I try to think logically, she has given me very very little reason to suspect her. Aside from the frequent txting and one visit to a guy friend while I was working... nothing she does makes me think emotional or sexual distance.

Im fairly sure Im pleasing her sexually. Without being lewd, some body reactions are next to impossable to fake.

Im pretty sure Im fitting the bill as a trustworthy and good person for her kids as well.

Im not quite sure on the emotional side yet. She keeps saying that shes been hurt so much its hard for her to open up. I can definatly understand that!

What might be some ways for me to recognize the difference between past scars and current emotions?

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 14:26
by Aphritha
Kinda sounds like a tough one. I haven't got any past scars(that are still present) in that area, but I think if my husband told me he sexted sometimes, he'd find his phone lodged rather uncomfortably in his hind end. Though, I'm not really tolerant of that behavior. Some people are much more tolerant and accepting of expressing sexuality outside the relationship. Its really whatever you're comfortable in dealing with.
As to the cutting of the leg, I'm not so sure I'd automatically link that with a suicidal drive. There are many reasons a person engages in this behavior(I used to be one of them), and wanting to die isn't one of the more common ones. Maybe this is something the two of you should talk about.
I'm not quite sure where you see the link between her liking sex and also liking to be admired. Did she word it this way? I think everyone enjoys a compliment(provided its tasteful). And most of us like sex. The two aren't necessarily dependent on each other.
You mention she has trouble opening up. How about you? Are you sharing this with her? Talking is necessary. In this day and time, conversation seems to be getting more difficult, especially of the face to face variety. This should be something you discuss together(in person).
Past scars contribute to current emotions. Its okay to have feelings, its expressing them appropriately that's the trouble. How have you expressed your feelings to her?

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 14:29
by andromeda
There is a very good book "Women of the Celts" by Jean Markale that gives light on how different Celtic society was. It is a very enlightening read.

From that book and others that I have read, fidelity was not at the top of the list of Celtic culture. Marriages could be done for a year and one day in Beltaine and dissolved the following year if they did not work. There was not such a thing as "marital assets" to divide either.

People could be unfaithful at Beltane and that was ok and broadly accepted too without the need to dissolve a relationship.

IMHO the concept that has been transmitted to us regarding how relationships should be is very Victorian and impossible to attain. In Georgian times "the marriage market" was intended to find the "right economically" partner not the pursuit of fidelity.

Being faithful goes together with the romantic notion that a perfect love should be forever. Yet nothing lasts forever.

I myself have been of the opinion in my life that if someone wants to be with someone else is fair enough, it is time to move on.

For me Love as derived from romantic books or movies is a manipulation tool to make us feel unhappy about our lives. It took me a lot of years to realize that and was quite liberating to read about Celtic ways.

Sexual attraction only lasts so long so is best to have a good chat and see where the other one stands and whether there are other aspects in the relationship. If sex is the only glue and there is no friendship there is no point in trying to make someone like us. It is better to let them go IMHO

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 14:35
by WaffleBox
I'm a big fan of absolute, unquestionable, 100% clarity in relationships.

Have you actually talked about and come to an agreement on whether it is okay to have sex with other people? Or did you just assume that because you call each other boyfriend/girlfriend that you both have the same understanding of what the rules of the relationship are?

Did you come to an agreement that you can both support with regards to flirty chat messages or sexually provocative texts?

It is very important to think (and more important to talk) about these issues and come to a very clear, mutual understanding that doesn't leave any questions open. It has to be an understanding that you can both support wholeheartedly. After you have such an understanding, you have to trust that they will abide by it unless you see proof that they're not.

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 15:08
by Silly Brad
What I require is total honesty. The sexting leaves me feeling uncomfortable for sure, but its something I can smoke a smoke and move past. If I were feeling more secure, I can handle casual ducking with another person or two, assuming that its not an every other day affair.

Yes, Im insecure. She is a beautiful girl. She is wonderful to cuddle with. I really like our time together when we are just watching shock drama type tv shows and sitting on the step outside. Im not the only fish out there though. Lots of better looking guys with more finances than myself. I feel replacable.

Ive asked a couple times about the carving. She kinda tears up and tells me she doesnt know why, that she just started cutting the night I did leave, and it just came out. She also said that some types of pain is easier to handle than others.

I want to love her with everything I have. Most of the time, I do. I still have reservations that creep in. I dont know if its past scars, or messages of warning.

I do know though what would help my trust issues. If she wouldnt txt all day, that would help a lot. For me, the safety of a screen helps me be more open... not fearing facial expressions or physical actions. I have fears that she has my body, but someone elses mind.

The advice so far has been great. I just want to state, that even though I very much enjoy the relationship type advice, what Im really looking for is how can I tell the difference between past scars washing around in the mind chatter vs messages from the divine?

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 15:35
by Aphritha
Well, in the past, I cheated on a former boyfriend. If he had been paying attention, he could have pretty easily caught it. The signs would have been:
A big change. I hate texting. Absolutely hate it. When I was cheating, I began to text. I also got VERY protective over my phone. I'm not saying the phone secrecy is always a surefire way to catch infidelity, merely such a big shift in attitude was.
I avoided my boyfriend. I wanted little to do with him, and was no longer reaching out for sex(he had always denied anyways, so that wasn't as obvious). I really didn't display any interest in him at all.
Increased social activity with friends. I wanted people to talk about the new guy with!
Lack of caring about the future of the relationship. I didn't really care what he said or did, because I had something better elsewhere.
However, this didn't come out of the blue. Cheaters don't usually just cheat for the heck of it. They usually have a past of displaying that they don't really want to be tied down, and are reluctant to tie in the future. Because your relationship is more open, I can't really see where there would be issue with this.
In other cases(like mine), the other person is being pushed away, either from abuse, lack of attention/affection, unhappiness in the relationship. You would know if any of these apply to you or not.
And sometimes another person comes into it. That's harder to control. Its best to just maintain alot of communication to prevent that from happening, or to be aware if it is.
Sometimes we get scared/stressed over things for no reason. I wake up several times a night to check my baby. I know he's not hurt, I can't help it. I get scared. But, I recognize that's my own personal issue, not a real threat. I get scared of all sorts of unreasonable things, but I identify them as 'fears', not 'possibilites'. You say you've logically found no reason to believe her to be cheating. So, next time that 'fear' crops up, think about why you feel that way. If you have no good reason, acknowledge, "I'm scared, and that's okay". Do something else to take your mind off of it if you can. But, it may take a long time for the fear to completely melt. Scars do indeed take time to heal. Just hang on and weather it the best you can!

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 15:48
by andromeda
It is possible to differentiate. For example, if you feel emotional pain (or fear) think about the first time you were hurt and see how it feels, then think about the girl in your current relationship.

If the pain is more intense in the past, it is an unresolved issue that had no closure and it needs resolving.

If your pain is more intense now it might be your intuition trying to warn you of worse to come


Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 16:49
by Silly Brad
What might be some good ways of resolving the past? I do love the current girl. I feel good things with her that I havent felt for a long time.

At the same time, I need to have at least a plan of how to heal. She is a good one I think... but its not fair to expect her to have to constantly explain herself and worry about me freaking out about something.

She is worth the effort it takes me to resolve this. She is not the past. How can I fix my past so I can live and have a future?

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 30 Jul 2014, 17:12
by andromeda
Feeling the feelings without buying into the mental rant works to resolve any blocked issues

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 31 Jul 2014, 07:21
by Skogsvandrare
Why not have a talk about what you consider infidelity. That could be anything from "not using a barrier with others" to "looking at another person for more than one second" (I've experienced both of these extremes). You will have to -- if the relationship is to work in the long run -- come to an agreement on that. Talk about it, agree on common rules. One hint as to common rules: they need not be symmetrical, perhaps one of you is ok with something the other one isn't. Maybe she has a "sexting habit", a game that she likes to play? Maybe she was using that as a way to flirt before she met you, and now have to break it off with people who give her positive feedback? What is harmless fun for one person is way over the limit for others.

Oh, and don't let the "better looking and better off financially" thing bother you. If she picks a partner based on that alone the feeling can't be very deep: if she loves you that is not an issue. Besides, "better looking" is *very* much a subjective trait.

The cutting is a point of concern, my first pass amateur analysis of that would be some emotional instability, combined with the fact that she loves you and feels that she somehow needs to "atone" for the error that she had made, and mollify your anger.

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 31 Jul 2014, 09:57
by xidia
Firstly, unless she has freely agreed you can look at her phone and her communications with others, that needs to stop. You have no right to be doing it. Why should she trust you to open up if you clearly don't trust her?

Secondly, yes, agree what cheating means to each of you by talking. She has every right to continue sexting if she chooses, and you have every right to choose not to be in a relationship with her if she does. That's not an ultimatum, it's a statement of your boundaries and may highlight a basic incompatibility between you both.

Thirdly, you can't stop her doing anything, or make her start doing anything. You can express you feel when some things occur or don't occur, and she can take that into account or not. And you can then decide what you want to do. The same goes in reverse, of course.

Finally, I think you would benefit from therapy, if you can access it, to sort out the unresolved issues from your previous relationship and your self-esteem. (She might as well, but that's her choice, not yours.)

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh.

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 01 Aug 2014, 08:48
by elementalheart
I can't give relationship advice, I'm far from experienced on making such things work, but since that's not what you're asking, my comments are purely on differentiating pain from a scarred old wound and from the current situation. I agree with other posters that you need to clarify the current situation in terms of what is acceptable to you both and be communicating with her in order to do so. But you are right to look at your own wounds and scars before assuming it's all about her and what she is doing. It rarely is so simple but the temptation is to project the past wounds onto the current pain and make it all that straightforward that it's her fault you are in pain when all she is doing is showing you the triggers in your own psyche.

So, rather than go over all the things she does, says, thinks, doesn't do, pick one. Just on gut instinct, but not the most glaringly painful one. Start somewhere easier, a smaller but significant pain you feel when she says/does whatever it is. Something you sense is tugging on a wound of yours, a past event, a reminder that hurts and aches, but not the big ones, not yet.

Remind yourself of her doing that and then let her go from your awareness, focus entirely on your own body and feel the feeling that is coming, without judgement, just sit and let it arise. I guess it is no surprise to learn this will hurt, so breathe into and through it to the point you can maybe ask for a memory, or let one arise. Where did this happen, where, with whom, when, how old were you, any kind of questions help keep your focus and cope with what you are allowing to come. This is the difference between controlled release and drowning or slamming it shut. Hold it and be with it but not lost in it. Find out what it is for you. If you have someone to talk to, a therapist, mentor, tutor, a friend not involved in the events concerned, work it out with them externally too if you feel able, or when you do. Internally if it gets to a threshold you can't manage, you still have two choices, pull back and keep breathing til you are fully present again, and/or call in your guide or guides, whatever forms you work with, spirit guides, power animals, deities, angels, elements you are working with. Get assistance to balance it out until you can emerge safely. I find working in my internal grove in this way very useful - you can invoke or call in specifically or just ask for the support/guide you need to do this work and see who or what comes.

Once you have yourself moving through your own past scars, you may get more perspective on the current situation and exactly what aspect of her behaviour is the trigger, and it may not be the entire thing but just a tiny piece of it which you could make her aware of if and when the trust/communication is there to do so, perhaps negotiate how she can respond, whether it is a piece she would alter slightly, enough to allow the disconnection for your trigger. Sometimes it isn't possible, some things are non-negotiable not because people want to hurt each other but simply they aren't aware, or are aware but don't feel capable of change in their own needs and responses. Doesn't make either of you bad, your contract with each other is based on a reasonable or good fit but there is no perfection so you just both have to work out if you can live with what is, build on it, heal it, grow it etc, or if you have come to a point where there isn't a solution. Even then if you both know that is a trigger and a non negotiable, you can choose together to make allowance for that and acknowledge when it happens without going to blame and demand. It's a challenging and neverending work in progress, but whether it's worth it to two of you is between you to decide at each stage.

We can all too easily rush to judge she is bad or he is wrong or you are this or that or the other on the basis that we would never allow it or cope with it or want it, but some people will survive and others thrive on what we might find unbearable and vice versa. The more you discover, the better you know yourself aswell as her and you the couple, so whether it works long term or not, it's an opportunity to go deeper.

Good luck to you, and I hope you find your wounds and the path to their healing.

Incidentally, are you working with the gwersi at the moment? It may be that the very next one you pick up has something to offer on precisely the matter at the heart of your question. I find it was often the way of things :wink:

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 06 Aug 2014, 14:16
by Serpentia
I think Skogsvandrare has put it exactly on the line.. it is all about communication, and about being open to different ways of faithfulness. I've been blessed with a total lack of the gene that causes jealousy, somehow, and so it is hard for me to understand why somebody would not happily share their love with others (not their time, I can be envious of that, since it's limited). But all of that can be handled by communicating - explicity, not implicitly, always say what you feel. The problem will be that as a rule, females have learned not to communicate explicitly, and men have learned that women don't. So you need to clear that obstacle out of the way first, until both of you know that explicit communication is both expected and delivered. NO hidden meanings, no assumptions.

Then you can take the next step.

poly loving the world

Re: dealing with sexual infidelity

Posted: 25 Aug 2014, 18:37
by MountainGnome
I have a couple questions.

For one, is the relationship worth so much to you that you would consider slackening your ideas on fidelity and being open to other systems of values? Kind of like the last poster said, I'd be more jealous of my girlfriend spending lots of time with someone else than if she was flirting or sending naked pictures. I'm not sure how I'd feel about her sleeping with other people though. As strange as it sounds I guess it would depend on who it was. :P

Another thing I wonder is if you are somehow naturally attracted to unfaithful people for some reason. Maybe just something in your subconscious that makes you find them attractive, is also something that makes them more likely to be unfaithful, like a personality trait you like, that happens to cut two different ways. Just something I'd wonder about.

Sometimes people set up self-fulfilling prophecies but I don't get the feeling you're doing that. My girlfriend tries to do this all the time, not with cheating but with her "bothering" me. I try to show her how this works: "Am I bothering you?" "No." Later on, "Are you sure I'm not bothering you?" "Yes, I'm sure." Later on still. "I'm sure I'm bothering you." Me: "You only bother me when you keep saying that you're bothering me!" lol. The same thing can happen with suspecting that someone is cheating I think, always suspecting someone so it makes them feel like they're not trusted, then they BELIEVE that they're untrustworthy, and then they act on that belief. But like I said it doesn't sound like that's your case, only a few weeks into a relationship.