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Please help me stop being a slapper (long, sorry)(58 Posts)
I have a good marriage and 2 DCs, it isn't perfect, but nothing so wrong that I would have an excuse to do what I've done.
I have 'emotional issues' from childhood which make me crave the feeling of being wanted and getting some attention. What DH gives me should be enough, but when somebody else gives me a bit of attention I find it really really hard to resist.
Throughout our relationship I have talked dirty with other men, cuddled them, fondled them, occassionally kissed them, then last year it all went too far with a man and I slept with him, fell in love with him, got really hurt because he regretted losing control and doing something immoral and put a stop to it. Missing him still hurts now and I had vowed to myself not to get physically close to another man apart from DH because I'd proved to myself I couldn't be trusted to have self control and I don't want to hurt like this over another man.
I am seeing a therapist about all my childhood stuff and we had talked about OM as well and I was starting to feel a bit better about him and more in control. I was feeling better about all my issues, but now I feel like I'm going through another phase in the therapy where I am feeling angry, hurt, unloved, unloveable etc all over again. My behaviour with other men does seem to get worse when something sparks off all this stuff.
Anyway, I thought I wouldn't behave like this anymore and hate the thought of my therapist thinking badly of me (when I tell him because I will feel I should tell him), but the other night I went out, had a few drinks (usually alcohol involved), saw a man I found attractive, talked to him, told him I was married with kids, half hoping he would be put off enough that he would be the one with self control and nothing wrong would happen, but he wasn't put off and we ended up snogging. He was suggesting we do more and I had just enough self control to decide to leave with my girl friend at that point before I did anything worse.
But I am SO ashamed of myself. It worries me that I want to do these things and don't honestly feel that I won't do it again. It feels like an addiction and the more I do it the more I want to do it.
I feel so guilty for DH when apart from a few minor things most people would see him as being a good, stable, loving, caring, hard working husband and father. Sex isn't as exciting as at the very beginning and not as frequent although we are still managing to do it occassionally, maybe once every two weeks on average. But this is not a good enough excuse to do what I do.
I'm not sure what response I want to this. A number of things:
1. I would like to know how wrong you think I am and why (be nasty to me if you think it might make me think twice about behaving like this again!).
2. Or I would like to know if you feel you can understand why I do this.
3. I would like to know at what point you think flirting, cuddling, kissing etc becomes wrong and cheating.
4. And do you have any advice for how I can be a better person
Can you put yourself in the shoes of the wife he's left at home? how would YOU feel if it was your DH going out and doing this?
Flirting is already cheating, IMO.
I would say:
1) very wrong
2) I don't know why you do it. Continue to explore that with the therapist
3) Cuddling and kissing etc is cheating. I'm not so sure about flirting. Too broad a term.
4) Avoid temptation. Stay home.
I don't think being nasty to you is the answer.
No real advice, but if you do feel tempted to do something just think about how you will feel afterwards.
How old are you? It might help us to help you if we knew whether you were early twenties, or early forties ..
1. I think what you're doing is very wrong indeed. You need to spend some time imagining that you'd found out your husband had done this sort of thing, and thinking about how you'd feel. Then imagine your DH found out, and think about how your kids would deal with you splitting up and the practicalities with your home, money etc. Scare yourself a bit.
2. No - can't understand. I gather you weren't given much affection or attention as a child, and that you have low self-esteem and so need to be constantly reassured that you're an attractive person. I can see all that, and have a lot of sympathy for you, but can't see how that translates into snogging random men.
3. Flirting - OKish, especially given your issues. Everything else - a betrayal and wrong.
4. Keep with the therapy. But maybe change therapists - it doesn't seem to be working out with this one. You need someone you can be completely upfront and honest with.
Well I think any kind of kissing, cuddling is being unfaithful. DOn't you?
Why do you think that it is soemthing beyond your control that you could not resolve NOT to do it and then stick to it?
your therapist won't think badly of you
he isn't there to judge
but you do need to get to the bottom of this risky behaviour
you are jeapordising a lot and for what?? Some meaningless sex that you feel mortified about afterwards ...
kissing/flirting is NEVER harmless
you need to put your time and energy into repairing and nurturing your relationship with your DH, IF that is what you want
i think the alcohol is also a key
alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions and behave in a way you normally woulnd't
probably gives you the bravado and "confidence" to start the flirting etc
that's true ruby and I think if you have problems drawing the line, maybe you could work on interacting with men without flirting. Just try being a bit more aware of how you are acting rather than just let it unroll unconsciously IYSWIM
I am mid 30s, been with DH for 13 years, married for 4 years, DCs 5 and 3.
get a female therapist for one, judging by that comment your already starting to see him more as a male you want to impress than a medical prefessional who you need to be honest with.
you know the answers to your questions already don't you? how would you feel knowing your dh had commited even one of the infidelities you have? absolutely heartbroken? used? shellshocked? disgusted? violated? like you could never trust him again? like you're not good enough for him? that you don't make him happy?
now imagine how you'd feel knowing he'd done all of the things you'd done. It would be over wouldn't it?
there are no excuses for what you've done..... you're a grown woman with too much to lose. you got away with it once so you think you'll keep getting away with it and you think that nonsense about 'needing affection' is going to get you out of trouble when you do get caught...... it won't. we all need affection and lots of people don't get enough of it at home due to work, kids, family commitments or simply being with the same person for years and having gotton used to the other person always being there and no longer appreciating them as much.
looking elsewhere isn't going to make you feel more loved, it's going to destroy your marriage, make your kids resent you for breaking up their home, make your friends lose patience with you and make your family feel disgusted at you.
you'll end up a sad old lady with no-one at the end of the day, when right now you have everything you need to be happy.
work on keeping your marriage healthy and showing your dh what a good man he is so that he feels appreciated and loved and it'll come back on you and you'll be happier too.
You don't need us to tell you how wrong it is, you know its wrong.
I'd say cut out the alcohol, don't put yourself in that position until you have got further along in your therapy.
It is not out of your control, you have the choice, but alcohol makes you forget that.
Read some of the threads in this section from people who have been hurt by affairs and then think about what would happen if you got caught, how would your dc feel? where would you live? what would you do for money? etc etc.
The other thing is could you try and talk to your dh, tell him when you are feeling unloved and ask him to be more affectionate.
I don't think you are a bad person, just a damaged person who needs help.
Thank you all for your posts so far. The kind ones are making me feel good and supported and the harsher ones are also very useful in helping me see my behaviour for what it is and how pointless it is long term (I only feel wanted for a short time during and after each episode, before feeling the temptation to do it again). I think re-reading them at intervals will help me think more about controlling myself.
I agree I should drink less, another thing I find hard to resist, and remember that ALL of it is wrong, and even if it wasn't, the first bit always leads to me wanting more and being in danger of doing more. I agree I should try to talk to men as just people, not subconsciously thinking how can I provoke him into wanting me. Another thought occurred to me - that man the other night, and probably all of them in the past, didn't want me, he just wanted my body. DH has stayed with me for years so he must want more of me than just my body. I should appreciate that.
I don't want to change therapists as he has done a really good job on me so far with everything else and it is good to have some kind of relationship with a man which doesn't involve anything sexual. He talks to me with more respect than anyone ever has. I would like to be good enough to follow his example. If I had imagined him watching the other night I don't think I would have done it.
and I really like that bit about showing DH how much I want him and how good I think he is and then he might do the same back and then I will be getting more of what I need from my marriage rather than elsewhere.
I think it is true that people sometimes mirror the way you treat them because with last year's OM he always talked to people in a respectful manner and I always had the feeling I should respect him and wouldn't swear when talking to him even though I swore loads at my other workmates.
I am not going to be unkind to you- for what it's worth, I don't think anything short of full sex is being unfaithful , though I know that very few people here would agree( waits for flames), but i think you need to find out WHY you do these things- the classic answer would be that it's about self-esteem- it makes you feel good, loved, and maybe in control/rebellious.
You also need to ask if your DH, for all you say about him, is really the man you want to be with, or if you are looking for an escape route. If the OM who hurt you had said "Run off with me"- what would you have said? Are you getting into these things just for the thrill of sex/kissing/etc- or for an emotional bond?
I think you are showing remarkable self-knowledge. You should congratulate yourself for that, and for embarking on the therapy you need.
I don't personally think that you are going to find what you need here on MN. All the angry posts in the world aren't going to help you overcome what is, in effect, a compulsion.
You have pinpointed the feelings behind the behaviour. The only thing you can do is to try as hard as possible to repair and/or place the 'broken' parts of you which underlie the low self-esteem, which drives teh compulsion - and IMO therapy is the way to do that.
You might ask your therapist whether he could recommend any CBT-type thought interruptions for you to use when you feel anxious and in need of approval?
Is there something more constructive you could do to get you the attention you obviously need? Perhaps the sexual part is only one side of it - if there was something that made you think - yes I am, e.g. good with people, clever, caring for animals, good at looking after kids, good looking! - I dunno, I don't know you! But something that would give you that kick, then all this silly business running after pretty useless sounding men (what kind of man hangs about women he already knows are married, with kids etc. No one I'd snog, anyway!!) which must be doing your self esteem all kinds of damage, well the loser-chasing might stop as well.
GirlNextDoor, I wasn't looking for an escape route when I first started doing things with OM, only really started thinking about what was wrong with my marriage after I had done it and thought 'something must be wrong for me to do this'. If I have to be honest I think the first feeling was getting a sexual thrill and simply being too weak to resist it, the second feeling was enjoying feeling so wanted in those moments, and after that I couldn't separate the sexual feelings from my constant craving for human connection with an emotional bond.
I feel there is a big void in me that I can't fill and I don't know if any man/any amount of alcohol etc could fill it unless he acted like he desperately wanted me all the time, which is unrealistic apart from the first few weeks of a new relationship. If I thought OM could do this and he offered to run away with me then I would consider it but logically it wouldn't last and I would probably cheat on him as well.
I know it must be to do with loss of my mother and lack of bonding with anyone during childhood (not trying to say this is a good enough excuse BTW) but don't know yet how to deal with the feelings of loss and sadness and the aloneness I still feel even though I am not alone now.
Have you thought about divorcing your DH? Sounds like he might be better off without you. He gould go on to meet someone who treats him properly and you could go on shagging about to your hearts content.
SS- keep going with your therapy- and if it doesn't sort you out- change therapists.
Sounds as if you need to work really hard on your self-esteem, which only appears to exist when you get the quick boost from new relationships/flirting. That is what is behind most people who are promiscuous.
You need somehow to be content with who you are, and happy with your own company- and not needing an ego-boost all the time.
The thrill of a new relationship is a chemical reaction- and you have an addiction to it. First, just don't put yourself in situations where you are tempted. Second, find something in life- whether it's a job or charity work- that makes you feel useful and wanted- so you don't look to men for that. It might help, as you pointed out, to realize that they are not interested in YOu, they are, by and large, happy to have a quick shag with not commitment. If you think of your behaviour in that light, it might make you stop.
There are 2 stages in therapy- one is understanding why you behave in a certain way, the second is changing your behaviour- by changing your behaviour, you will in time become the person you want to be- but just wishing and thinking about it won't help.
The OP isn't proud of or enjoying her behaviour waffletrees. It is worrying her enough to seek out therapy. Not very helpful or insightful, your post, imo.
oh waffle- that's not called for! Why take that line? Does it make you feel self-righteous?
How is your support network? do you have many friends? Other than the friend who accompanies you to clubs and sits back while you snog random men? (not a true friend imho- you need someone who will discourage you from doing that, even if she doesn't step in at the time)
I think perhaps you need to fill your time with things which won't mean spending time with other men, and drinking alcohol. I know it's nice to get tipsy and forget your problems now and then, but if it's a contributing factor to your cheating then you need to stop it.
It doesn't sound like you want other men so much as thrills and excitement. One thing you could try is imposing limitations on yourself. Try reading erotic fiction if you want to escape out of yourself, or if you must flirt, try flirting in online adult chatrooms, on the strict understanding that it's mere text flirting, no phonecalls, no meeting up etc.
You sound like you feel neglected by your dh, is that the problem? Could you improve things with him if you spiced up your sex life or designated friday night as "date night" and had an evening to yourselves?
Remember, you can catch all manner of std's not just vaginally but via oral sex etc with strangers. If the thought of accidentally giving your poor unsuspecting husband herpes (or worse) doesn't deter you, try imagining him leaving you.
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