you asked for honesty and radio silence

You separate from your wife and you are pursuing a new relationship with a woman who by all accounts, is simply perfect for you. She is all you ever imagined sexually. Mentally, she is who you want to be with as an equal partner who can inspire you to be a better man than you were with your wife. She is all that you hoped to have in a woman and you are grateful, thankful and thrilled that you found her.

And then she catches your online presence on a dating site because you left a tablet unlocked at her house and discovers that you have been talking about your marriage and separation, with other women ,as well as discussing your wishes to pursue a future relationship with someone. No mention of the woman you left your wife for. You conveniently left out the fact you had been in a committed affair for the last year and she has left her husband as well.

You are stupid. Selfish. An idiot. A fucking immature and juvenile asshole who needed his ego stroked and as a result you have risked everything. And for what? A compliment from a woman who you don’t know and who doesn’t know you or your life or your situation? A woman who hears one side of the conversation and validates your experience and affirms the fact that you are indeed a viable partner choice? I don;t really feel this way, but part of me feels like you want to be castigated for your choice. Like if others were angry with you, it would be easier to be less angry with yourself.

You didn’t just risk a single, marital relationship as that’s been over for a while now. You physically separated months and months ago. Primarily, you risked losing the woman you wanted to invest your future with. You risked her anger and potential for her to retaliate by sharing your online dating experience with your soon to be ex-wife or heaven forbid, your children.

You completely risked our friendship, as well as risked exposing my activities to my spouse, because your new partner would have to accept the fact you have withheld my information from her for so long. In her mind, if it’s secret, it must be complicit. You introduced mistrust and lies into your new relationship when there was no reason for it. And you have soured the milk for future use as this event will always be part of your history now, if she decides to keep you.

There is a chance that what you did will not be able to be resolved inside of your new partners mind. She may find herself worrying so much about your potential to hurt her again, that she finds it easier to terminate your relationship instead of trying to work through the violation. She may try and it may not work. Or she may try and the thread of mistrust will always be there and rear its head at inopportune moments. You did that. You created an ongoing drama. You hurt people.

You did not discuss your online dating with me. You knew I would have counselled you against it as well as provided you reasons why I felt you were doing it. You did not want to hear that, did not want to be challenged, and so you kept that information from me. Instead you spoke with other women you could manipulate into agreeing with you, supporting you completely and who did not push you to examine your damaged areas in a way in which I would have done. I love you my friend, but am not blinded by it.

So let’s do that now. Let’s lay a few things out in the open. You are damaged. You do not have it all together like you think you do. You stayed with a woman for almost 30 years before you left her; a woman who marginalized you and treated you with contempt as she de-sexualized you and infantalized the relationship between you. It left you unable to have a healthy relationship with a woman where trust, conversation and prioritization of another’s needs, were primary pillars of the relationship.

You have used online dating as a way to work through and process how she has treated you and why you accepted it for so long. You also use it to test out new ways of responding to triggers that come up when women respond in various ways, you are completely unfamiliar with. You use it to distress from the predictability of work and the unpredictable nature of your wife as you work through the separation. You also use it as a hobby to pass the time. You invest the time but no emotional or physical context because it’s more interactive than television.

You have used online dating as a form of self therapy. I would even suggest immersion therapy. You search out women who you think will be empathetic to your situation in hopes of engaging them to interact with you under the pretense of perhaps establishing a relationship, so that you can gain some emotional benefit from being seen as a desirable mate or partner as well as validating your reasons for straying from your wife in the first place. You lure them into thinking you are interested in more than chatting, so they invest time with you. Time you steal because you don’t want to spend it alone or in facing yourself and the reasons why you are, where you are at.

These online connections are disposable to you. They are no different that dialing up the 1-800 line for a mental health hotline. You need them to bounce off your impressions of your marriage so you can analyze your response to it. and as you did not want to be challenged on things, pushed on topics, you chose to not tell me about your online dating either. This is the main reason I feel you need to attend a regular therapy session. You need a professional to guide you through the steps to understanding not just your basic personality and behaviours but to push you through the trauma caused by your wife’s neglect.

Once you expose yourself to the online dating world, it can become addictive. Unlike gambling, drugs or alcohol, in today’s world, you can not simply stay away from electronic devices. Once you develop an addiction to something online, it is as hard to control as a food addiction because it is always present. You are addicted to emotionally engaging women to affirm your own desirability as a partner and a man, not just sexually, but as someone who should have been wanted.

Your online presence after finding a woman who adores you tells me there are many underlying issues you need to address before you can move forward and into the next stage of your life. Things you have to fix before expecting a new partner to deal with them. You have chosen to focus on a healthy sexual life with your new partner. You have not worked through your fears and concerns with her. You have withheld the damaged sections you have from her view in hopes of attaining her as a partner; which you did.

You have pretended to be more healed than you are. You have used other women to try and work through those issues you have while pretending there was a potential for involvement, when there was none. You have left your new partner alone while you invested emotionally in other women, even if it was for temporary gratification that you were justified in leaving your prior situation and marriage.

You are not ready to go forward into a real and emotionally open relationship with a new person until you face your past and examine the damage. You need to have a professional push you until it feels uncomfortable and intrusive. You need to work through the pain of your past mistakes, to become a stronger person who can accept his worthiness as a partner from a woman who wants to work with you, in your growth. If our friendship wasn’t enough for you to do this with and your love for this new woman wasn’t enough, then what will be?

I believe you became addicted to the easy access of women who were ready to provide a distraction to your problems as well as the need to be seen as the injured party in your marriage. It is attention seeking behaviour which has a basis in narcissism. Do I believe you are narcissistic? No. Do I believe it is a personality trait you were trying on? Yes. Once you affirmed your desire to pursue this woman and this relationship, I advised you to open up to her and explain our friendship.

Your fear was that she would not understand our level and degree of communication and my position was it was far better to be open about it to her from the beginning rather than introduce me to her later and have to explain why my presence was not revealed to her sooner rather than later, if as all you said was true, and we were merely friends.

You’ve not only made her fearful you are searching for another partner but that you have someone on standby if things don’t work out with her. It doesn’t matter that it’s not accurate. It’s perception. It’s implied by the actions or inaction you’ve taken. You have failed her. You made her feel threatened and unsafe. You have not only jeopardized our friendship but placed ME in a precarious situation if you handle the situation with HER poorly.

You have also put your entire plan at risk to exit gracefully from your marriage and to not have your children aware of your actions IF she deems it necessary to provide proof of your searching for an affair by your online pursuit of other women to your wife and evidence of our long term association.

You were not thinking clearly because if you had thought at all about what you were doing, you would not have done it. Therefore since this type of behaviour is not in your nature, I have to assume, you are compromised in such a way that you have made a monumentally poor decision which has massive ramifications, without the goodwill of your new girlfriend. That goodwill comes at the price of you getting some therapy and reducing if not completely removing contact from all women you have spoken  to and with…including me.

I am not happy with you right now. And I am sad for you. Plus I am worried. When you started seeing your girlfriend I told you ‘our’ relationship would change as you came to rely on her for more of your emotional needs as well as the physical ones. You did not trust her enough to be nakedly honest about who you were and what was important to you. Now you are facing the consequences to those choices.

And truth be told, at this point, I have no clue if she will be able to recover enough to continue with you after she has time to process how she feels when faced with the information that you went behind her back to talk to other women. I couldn’t and I haven’t. You more than anyone should understand the cost of what you did, has on a woman’s heart. You did to her what was done to me and it destroyed me, making it impossible for me to move on in a timely fashion to be open enough to love someone again, as I am capable of.

The only one you haven’t hurt by this, is your wife and that’s only because she doesn’t know about it. Think about THAT for a minute. You lied through omission to how many women? Why is this a pattern of behaviour you are repeating? Why are you so afraid to face yourself and spend time alone? Why did you risk everything and fail to plan with your girlfriend, when you did it minutely with your wife? Did you try and purposefully sabotage the relationship? Your actions certainly make it seem like you did.

You can not cheat on and or lie to 3 women and not expect to get caught, when you add the stressors of unraveling a marriage at its end, to the equation. You lacked forethought and insight. I hope your new girlfriend can get over this and treat it like the mistake it was. Know that I could not move on from it and would not give you a 2nd chance as my personal history would not tolerate that kind of deception; it would be as if you knifed me to my core. Perhaps she is less damaged than I am and can forget what you did.

Do NOT focus on your marriage anymore as you process how you are now compared to when you were married. Focus on YOU. Get therapy regardless of what your partners do in regards to staying or leaving, as you need help with breaking down barriers and walls you have around who you are as a man. You need some guided direction and someone who can help you shed light on the dark spots of your soul, so you can figure out a way to move forward; to progress into a better partner. Right now, you don’t exactly have a stellar track record and it’s going to be a long way to get back from where you once were.

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