What if the shoe was on the other foot?

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by Susannah, May 2, 2019.

  1. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    I have been thinking a lot lately about this line from @fadedfidelity :
    “Men, would you support & be empathetic to a woman who denys you, lies, cheats, and spends your money on hotel rooms for lovers & can’t stop?” And I would add, “for years.”

    When I read through some of the SO journals here and talk to other women in my support group I often hear different versions of this question/sentiment. I think of my own situation, where I really believe I gave it my all until I had to pull out in order to save myself, and I ask, “If the shoe had been on the other foot (I was the addict and had behaved the way he did), would my husband have put in the level of effort I did to support my recovery and save our marriage? Not only do I think “no”, but the very idea seems preposterous to me.

    So what do you say, PA’s? How would you answer @fadedfidelity ‘s question?
  2. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    Yes, amazing question. I asked my husband that in the beginning and at other times and he said he wouldn't have stuck by me if the situation was reversed. It sucked and hurt to hear, but I was so happy he told me the truth, and the truth is the person he was - the insecure and jealous possessive guy he was.... of course he wouldn't have stuck by me. I can see that, and I knew the answer before I asked, it was just nice to see his honesty. For us, we weren't married when I found out, so had the roles been reversed it would have been easy for my husband to leave.

    I would love to hear from other addicts if they would have stayed. I know most times men leave if cheating occurs, especially physical cheating. Same with when a wife gets sick or a husband gets sick, usually the husband of a sick wife (like cancer) ends up leaving versus staying... its' sad...
  3. Lilla_My

    Lilla_My Fapstronaut

    So many times I've wondered about this... but of course I know the answer! They would NEVER accept that, never! It makes me so angry that I'm supposed to eat his indiscretions with a spoon, forgive and forget all the time although he has killed me inside in ways I thought he wasn't capable of.

    So many times I thought I would buy the biggest vibrator in existence, lock myself in the room to let him hear me moan while looking at young fit guys all day and night, but I can't. Because I'm not like him. I took my vows seriously and nothing can change that. As long as we are married, I'm his faithful wife. If he had to endure even a tenth of my pain and disgust for a whole full day, he would never be the same again.

    In the end, I do not wish him any harm. All I want is for him to look me in the eyes, tell me that he did in fact ruin my life and our relationship with his choices, apologize and never do it again. For real this time. No more lies.
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  4. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I would do anything to keep her, no matter what she did. The only line I would draw is hurting our (adult) children. I'm not sure I'd realised how committed I was before all of this though.

    (I remember a similar thread a while back, I'll see if I can dig it out. I thought it was @Queen_Of_Hearts_13 but now I'm thinking another SO)
  5. Mourde

    Mourde Fapstronaut

    I would do what ever it takes to save our marriage! Just like she is for me I would for her, she is the love of my life.
  6. AngelofDarkness

    AngelofDarkness Fapstronaut

    I think in a healthy relationship both parties should naturally be equally invested with their feelings and committed to their partner. If I knew that my partner doesn't love me back the same way and do (or not do) the same things I'd do for him, I wouldn't stay in that relationship.
    Mourde likes this.
  7. I can say you did work just as hard for me when I was falling apart with the ACOA issues and my own way of handling your addiction. You saved me from a lifetime of pain and misery. Granted you added to it, unknowingly being addicted, but I have your back and we will get through this as a team. :) I'm hopeful one day we can put this all behind us and live the rest of our lives in a way better place mentally, emotionally and physically. Stay strong, you're doing great, and never forget the side steps aren't failures, they are growth opportunities. Love ya!
  8. Live and Grow7

    Live and Grow7 Fapstronaut

    I absolutely would stand by my wife no matter what. We've been through plenty of rough circumstances prior to us getting married including her knowing about my addiction. I'm committed to our marriage over everything.

    I feel like there's nothing we can't overcome together.
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  9. Bobske

    Bobske Fapstronaut

    My answer is:
    Why the question?
    It sounds like someone seeking vindication or approval for leaving his/her partner.
    Or a want of recognition, a pat on the back; you are being such a good person by staying.

    A relationship is so personal both ways that I cannot judge anyone for staying or leaving.
    Is this scientifically proven? And even than, is this a result of the way men and women are raised and (unconsciously)want to live up to societies standards? or is it in our genes?

    In life you change, and in a relationship circumstances might not make you change the same way. Sickness can change a person so you might not be in a relationship with the same person anymore. Even if someone is dying I can understand partners leaving before the final end if the other one is bitter, negative etc all the time.

    Personal experience: hell yeah. When my wife and I were on the point of breaking up het brother suddenly died at 29 of an undiagnosed heart condition. I stayed of course, for another year.
    Even though the main problem was, she could not support me. 2 years earlier, when I was 25, my father got ill from cancer and died within 5 weeks, at 56. 3 months later I was crying and ended up comforting my spouse who was crying that she wanted everything back to normal again, wanted her man to comfort her again.
    It wasn't going to be normal ever again, my father was dead.
    I tried to stay friends and even paid alimoney for a year even though there was no legal basis for it. (no kids or own home, no debts, she had her own job to pay the bills, only mine earned better.

    So I did the right thing.
    I still cannot forgive her even though I've been divorced and in a new relationship for 15 years.

    Don't judge others, love and look at yourself. Life and people are not black and white.
    Keep questioning, especially yourself.
    Why do you stay? Why do you want to leave?

    Scientifically it is proven that in general men cheat because they want to stay in a relationship, women cheat because they want to leave.
    In my case this worked with PMO, My wife sex drive has lessened since we went living together. For 10 years I used to PMO because I did not want to bother her with my urges, I wanted to be a nice man.
    But I became resentful and frustrated by being turned down all the time

    Now I'm working out, who I really am and what my "sex drive"really is.
    My wife truly feel like my soulmate even though I do not believe in those things. We click.
    But not always, so I work on it, she works on it. We fight, we threaten to leave.

    Love is hard work, that's all I know, things for free are worthless and at the same time priceless
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  10. kropo82

    kropo82 Fapstronaut

    I agree that things are not symmetric, that if my wife did the same as me it may be for different reasons, but scientific studies seem to lead people to very different conclusions. My guess is that the sexes are more alike than we imagine (e.g. this is on my 'to read' list The Enduring Myth of ‘Complicated’ Female Sexuality).
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
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  11. I love your answer and can’t help but love how genuine and funny the scenario you describe here. Lol!!

    It’s scientifically proven that women move between their hemispheres of their brains more often and faster than men. Explains why men can compartmentalize destructive behaviors (ie one hemisphere) without reaching the emotional centers.

    I think the hurt occurs because our expectations are crushed by reality. We hold onto fantasy expectations in spite of life giving us a cruel hand of cards. This refusal to give in causes problems.

    If I came across crushing information about a secret addiction, I would immediately need to plan to reduce the expectations to the lowest common denominator so as to have an even keel response in each “revelation.”

    Remember Maury... we all held our breath waiting for the dna test ? We only cared if the show made you hype up your expectations.
    The same thing happens on the HD improvement shows but in reverse.
    “Realtor—-You bought this ghetto-fabulous crack house, now Watch this! You—“ aaaahhh, we love it!”

    I suggest It’s all in the expectations.

    For example , I, like all dads who become pregnant, was nervous—then very excited about having a baby. I, however, did not have a correct understanding. I was ignorant about the complications to my sex menu once the baby started bulging. Sex would be Less frequent, yes it’s more awkward , now forget about that favorite position of yours, then we overcompensate by the gentlest sex we can imagine for at least 2 months... while trying not to imagine the baby at all etc.
    Bad expectations, bad experience.

    For another example, I was so happy to get married couldn’t wait to plan the wedding. I however did not have a correct understanding. I was uninformed about weddings. I was not in charge apparently, she was. I was not the main event, she was. My opinion on how cosmetologists put too much makeup on the brides for their wedding day—did not matter. Bad expectations, bad experience.

    Last one. Shopping was always enjoyable as a bachelor or a kid, right? New gadget, new toy, new gizmo. Video games, legos, or action heroes, this was fun, relaxing and easy. So I thought shopping with my newlywed wife for a bedroom set (that was our wedding gift) would be enjoyable. To this day—-14 years later, we refuse to do it again. Why? For the same principal. Bad expectations, bad experience.

    Countless stores, countless mattress trials (let me lay down here babe), oooo feel this one ? Nah, maybe in the next store ? Ohh, I like everthing except the color.

    Me—-who’s gonna assemble this gargantuan bedroom set?
    Me—- have you tried lifting up the footboard? It’s a test that even Samson needs to warm up for.

    Her—Well we didn’t see anything in the first 7 stores, oh maybe in that one that says “going out of business sale”, cause assuredly they suck at selling furniture—-but I bet we will find a great deal and the perfect bed set there!?”

    I may have gone a little light in accuracy here, but the idea is there.

    For me, a realistic expectation, leads to good experience.
    Bobske likes this.
  12. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    I think what she's looking for is reassurance, empathy, and safety. She wants to know if her husband loves her enough. She wants to know that she's worth as much to him as he is to her. Would he fight for her the way she has been fighting for him? She wants to know that she's not alone in her pain. And she wants to know if any other PAs would fight for their partners if the situation was reversed. It has nothing to do with justifying anything. Sit on that for a while.
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  13. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut


    And to back up what @EyesWideOpen said this question was asked because she is in pain, not vindictive or anything. If you went through severe trauma that was caused by your partner it's natural to wonder if the roles were reversed if they'd do the same....

    And the answers will vary.... some are actively in addiction and have no empathy so when they answer of course it's no because they srent in a place to truly care whereas addicts that are in recovery and out of the fog might have different answers....

    But she just wants to know that her husband loves her just as much as she loves him....its not silly or vindictive or anything... it's pretty human after what he did to her. If someone destroys you to your core of course you question whether they love you and how much they love you....
  14. I have an answer with no hesitation.

    Ask me in 80 more or so days and I think my answer will be the same.
    I just started this journey, but I know my mind tells me what to think instead of the healthy ways. We all like to think we would be the best versions of ourselves, but we can only try. Just as we fail in everyday life, the vast majority would fail at that reversal sacrifice. But it's hard for me to reverse thesituation, I see only Grace and Love in my SO. I am blessed as no man could hope to be.
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  15. Bobske

    Bobske Fapstronaut

  16. Queen_Of_Hearts_13

    Queen_Of_Hearts_13 Fapstronaut

    @Bobske there have been many studies on sickness and divorce and the studies mainly focus on life altering illnesses like cancer and sclerosis in another study and again the reasons a husband leaves a sick wife makes sense, it's sad, but makes sense - he doesn't have a support system (he relied only on his wife), he is not used to care taking and now suddenly is the only caretaker, and fears that she may not survive so books it hoping to avoid the possible real life loss of the woman he loves... https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110105401.htm

    there are many more articles if you look, and there was an article saying that they believe that maybe this genration might be making changes in that statistic, which hell I hope so for all the women out there.
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  17. We had just moved to rural Kentucky to be closer to my wife's folks. We were living in the upstairs of my in-laws house while our doublewide trailer was being moved onsite. My wife had just delivered our first son. She had *really bad* postpartum depression, we learned later. At the time, we had no clue what was going on. She just wouldn't get out of bed. Ever. I stayed up through the long nights with our infant son (he was not at all a good sleeper), went to work full-time during the day, and did it all over again the next night. I slept between 2-4 hours a night. For ten months.

    This isn't comparable in any way to what I did when I hid my PMO from my wife for 15 years. If she had decided to leave me when I confessed to her, she would be justified in doing so. If she decides tomorrow that she was wrong to restore things, she would still be justified. I can't undo what I did in those years. Those choices were mine, and I chose very poorly many times.

    But I did decide on those long nights with my young son wailing in my arms and my depressed wife snoring away in the next room over that I was in this for the long haul, no matter what. Even though my addicted choices would continue to keep a part of my mind and self walled off from her (and really from everyone), I was as committed to our life together in those moments as I knew how to be. And I still am.
  18. Tau Jones summed my feelings well.

    My situation is different as well as everyones. Do I feel that if the shoe was reversed, I can truthfully say that with a lot of shame I would say probably not. It's well established that wives are levels of magnitude higher scored in loyalty.

    But my answer is still affected by my current mind, there is no way to take the bias out of that equation.

    I cant fathom 19 years, not as bad as the last 3 or so but regardless, 19 years of this and its affects. I can't carry that shame and survive, I have to forgive myself for the past and the only way is to forgive her for the future.
    I know as we work the path to improve there is a real possibility that she will realise who she is as a new person and I and our marriage may not have a place there. I have to accept that and I made an agreement with myself that she is 100 percent in control of that future. As Tao says she wakes up and says she wants to leave or me to leave, I have arguement no defense, no armor or persuasion to offer that I feel is even remotely comparable to her effort. Understanding, empathy and grace are all I can give her in that possibility. I feel that anything less than total agreement is an insult to her and God.
    Does she know this, she has access to my posts here, but I have not told her this in so many words. I feel I didnt have to. This is my agreement binding me to being at least a human being and allowing for someone else's happiness above mine.
    She has remarked that there is no future she sees without me beside her, but at the same time both of us are changing for the better and evolving. No one can tell the future so I work to improve me and my problems and the Lord helps me with the rest
  19. Tannhauser

    Tannhauser Fapstronaut

    I think this thread highlights once of the interesting aspects of this "Rebooting in a Relationship" board. In general the PA that are here are those that are most committed to recovery and to the relationship. On the other hand, the SO that are in here are those who have been most hurt and betrayed - and also those that are most invested in healing themselves, and if possible, their relationship. I think this dynamic is behind much of what is being seen in this thread.

    And to answer the OP - if the shoe were on the other foot and I had been the one to discover that she had done things similar to what I have done:

    1) If I had also done everything I had done (i.e. I was still a PA) I would actually be relieved as it would mean that we could heal together and I wouldn't feel as guilty.
    2) If I had not been a PA, and found out she had done all that I have done, I would do exactly what she has done with me - demand change and accountability, and then move on.
    3) One caveat and wrinkle to #2 above: she has always been the one with the low sex drive and interest in sex in our relationship. If that were still true, I would be upset that she wasn't interested in sex with me, but was aroused by images and videos. That would be the hardest part for me (and I know many SO on here go through this).

    Regarding the fact that men leave sick women more than vice versa - the only experience I have had with this was a coworker who left her husband after he became disabled. However, in talking to her he had become verbally abusive and just a plane jerk after he became disabled, and that is why she eventually left, despite feeling guilt about it for many years. I don't doubt the rational listed above, namely that women with an ill husband often have other support from friends, family, etc. but men often lack that support system. I think that is much of what is wrong with our society, men lacking a support system. Just a small example I have noticed in my circles: women who go out with friends for an evening of fun while leaving their kids at home with their husband are seen as "deserving a night out", while husbands who go out for an evening with friends while leaving the kids at home with their wives are "selfish jerks".

    One last thought on infidelity. Many men seem to cheat while thinking they can keep and maintain the primary relationship - have their cake and eat it too as it were. Women, on the other hand, seem to cheat when the feel the primary relationship is irreparable and damaged. If they stay it is often unwillingly. Therefore if more relationship fail after disclosure of female infidelity than of male infidelity, it many not be a result of unwillingness on the part of the partner who was cheated on to continue the relationship.
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  20. JKnight

    JKnight Fapstronaut

    My wife was diagnosed with a psychological disorder, like bipolar and chronic depression. This was before I became an addict and after we got married. I was really mad that it wasn't disclosed to me before we got married. I wanted to leave her but I didn't. I stood by and still do. This has caused me a lot of pain as my wife will never really be emotionally stable nor one hundred percent functional. I can't really rely on her for a lot of things and things that are small are huge accomplishments for her. After 3 years of dealing with this, I became an addict, when things got really bad. That was 4 years ago. I have thought about leaving many times, but I have always remained by her.

    I agree with
    Each partner is committed differently and handles things differently. This sounds like fishing for a pat on the back and self-vindication.
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