I have tried to put boundaries in place but he just says I have ‘issues’. I have now told him that I don’t want to be part of his life at all while he’s having or looking for another woman. He rang back again last night and we had an hour conversation about this stuff. He finally said he understood that I would not want to be part of some triangle.
So let me ask you this. You said you’re setting boundaries. Boundaries are when you say out loud what you will and will not accept in your life–not a “rule” he has to follow. So for example, I might say “I will only share myself fully and intimately with an open, honest spouse in my life. I will not accept dishonesty, covering up, unfaithfulness emotionally or physically.” Now, my Dear Hubby is 100% free to choose whatever he wants. He can be open and honest, and I will share myself with him. But he is also completely free to choose to be dishonest and unfaithful–in which case I would not share myself with him.
Now if your boundary is “I don’t want to be part of his life at all while he’s having or looking for another woman” then how does that fit with having an hour long phone conversation with him? It doesn’t! You violated your own boundary!
Here’s how you can diminish your own distress and back your boundary with a firm, cement wall. YOU don’t contact him at all. If you want to, distract yourself…but don’t contact him by phone, email, or text. When he contacts you (and he will because he’s going to try to get some of his needs met with you or to be able to blame you for the ills in his life) you either ignore it–don’t answer, turn the phone off–OR answer and say “Hello (hubby) are you ready to give up having or looking for other women in your life and dedicate your affection and loyalty only to me? You’re not? Okay when you’re ready please call me. Bye!” and then hang up. Don’t listen to his drivel otherwise…it’s just Disloyal Dizzy talk anyway, and the purpose of it is to deflect from the huge phone pole in his eye (the AFFAIR) to the teeny toothpick in yours (you had a “tone” with him).
Now let me translate some Disloyal Dizzy Talk for you. I will write what it REALLY means and what you can reply to the Disloyal Dizzy Talk. You wrote:
I can’t give up the OW even though she keeps me at arms length.
MEANS: Can’t=won’t, so this means “I want to behave immorally and I don’t really care who it hurts. I won’t stop even though I know it’s wrong.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right! You are unwilling to live a moral life and that’s why I am protecting myself from you.
I still want the excitement of other women.
MEANS: “I’m so immature, I follow my hormones rather than honoring my commitment to my family like an adult.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right, you are so blinded by the pleasure, who needs to think of the veneral diseases the exciting women may have? I choose to have a pure marriage bed.
Don’t pin your hopes on me.
MEANS: “I’m undependable, immature, and self-centered.”
ANSWER: Oh I have no hope for you.
I don’t want the same old stale relationship.
MEANS: “I want what I want and I want it NOW but I’m not willing to work for it at all.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right, I would never accept that neglectful relationship we had in the past. Now I expect a mature partner who’s willing to keep his promise to keep working at it until death parted us.
I have too much baggage with you.
MEANS: “I’m not willing to forgive you or let go of the negative memories.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right you do have too much baggage for me to accept you.
I don’t want to be committed to anyone at the moment.
MEANS: “I’m selfish.”
ANSWER: I can see that you’re only willing to consider yourself and can’t see the damage you’re doing.
I don’t want to be your one and only person.
MEANS: “I know this is wrong but I want to do it, so I want you to do it too so it’s legitimate.”
ANSWER: I can see that you don’t want to be a person who honors their commitments.
You are not my wife anymore.
MEANS: “I’m looking for a way to make my cheating okay.”
ANSWER: (I can see going two ways with this one) #1–You’re right. Until you start treating me better I don’t choose to let you be my husband. #2–My promise to you was to keep working at it until death parted us and I’m not dead, so I’m your wife.
I can’t say if I’m definately not coming home because I don’t know yet.
MEANS: “I want to have the freedom to be sexually immoral and have a safety net just in case.”
ANSWER: “You’re right you can’t say, and right now I’d say you are not invited to come home. I’m not sure yet.”
Now let me translate the opposite side of the Disloyal Dizzy Talk for you. I will write what it REALLY means and what you can reply to the dizzy talk–just like last time. You wrote:
be more encouraging to me because I might be interested in having a relationship – I don’t know.
MEANS: “I want to have my cake and eat it too.”
ANSWER: You’re right. YOU should be more encouraging to ME because I may be interesting trying to revive our relationship…I’m not sure.
Go to the dance with me and just have fun, they’re baby steps we can take together and might lead to doing more fun things.
MEANS: “Nobody else seems to want me right now so I’ll turn to you as a last resort.”
ANSWER: Are you ready to give up other women in your life? I’m not willing to be second best.
If we can have fun, you might be the one I want to be with.
MEANS: “I’m unwilling to do the right, honorable thing unless it’s FUN!”
ANSWER: You’re right, if you were fun you might be the one I wanted to be with.
You might be one of the other women I’m interested in.
MEANS: “I’ll string you along as long as possible.”
ANSWER: Look me up when you’re ready to give up having or looking for other women in your life and dedicate your affection and loyalty only to me
If you don’t want contact with me you will be burying any chance there is of a relationship.
MEANS: “I’ll threaten you with something I know scares you, if you won’t do things my way.”
ANSWER: You’re right. Your unwillingness to give up other women in your life buries any chance this marriage has.