3.12.2009

How Not To Resolve Relationship Problems

I'm not quite sure how to approach this post. There's so much going on behind the scenes and under the radar that I don't know if I can adequately express it here. Some tips for would-be cheaters on spouses first, if you're going to engage in email based cheating, you might want to change your password to your account and/or not leave yourself logged in on the family's common computer so that your supposedly significant other can't just happen upon the evidence of your cheating trysts. That seems like a no-brainer unless the cheater has an either subconscious or not so subconscious desire to get caught.

Another tip is that sometimes, when you push hard for an answer you force the other person into a corner and the only answer they will be willing to give you is the flight one. That is, sometimes its best to just back off and let the dust settle for a couple of days lest you force the other person's hand and send them further away rather than giving them the opportunity to come to their own conclusions about what they want.

Now, given that opportunity there's still no guarantee that they'll come back to the table with an open mind to reconcile but the odds go way, way up if they are given that chance.

Some relationships though, are unrecoverable because the cheater has already moved on and has been making plans in the background via email and Facebook and cell phone.

Without drilling too far down into the specifics in an attempt to not inflame already ragged feelings, here's what has happened. A couple that we know well with two young kids is in the process of splitting apart. It had been represented differently early on in the process as a trial separation to let the husband get his shit together, get some counseling and basically get an opportunity to get his head on straight.

But what has come to light in the last 24-48 hours is that there have been other plans in motion unbeknownst to all but the wife. This involved a relocation from the mountains back to the bay area, an upsetting of the kid's entire lives, a loss of their father ostensibly for a short period but it is appearing more and more like the wife's plan all along has been to get away and then simply move on regardless of her statements to the contrary.

There have been numerous ethical lines crossed on both sides at this point but I can't really blame the husband for snooping. His wife is gone and won't return his phone calls and email. So he did some unethical things to try and find out just what the hell was going on. And what he found is pretty damning and hard to swallow and even harder to forgive.

You see, its much easier to believe someone if you don't look through their email history and see that they have been patently lying, engaging in phone sex with multiple other men and likely planning worse. It also doesn't help when there's multiple tryst trails in email and on Facebook. Really, none of it helps if the end goal was to "work things out" and it makes all of the people on the periphery take sides which further deepens and steepens the dividing chasm.

Which digs the chasm between the two even deeper and makes any kind of happy ending so much less likely. It is all very sad, very dramatic and very dishonest.

The worst aspect of it all is that there are two children being buffeted about by their parents tornadoing marriage. They are old enough to recognize that something has fundamentally changed in their lives but not old enough to figure out how to deal with it. And, because they are with the wife, they don't appear to be getting any help in dealing with the whirlwind that has become their universe. Which makes me very, very sad.

At this point, it is hard to see any light at the end of this tunnel. And it is hard to feel anything but anger and disappointment in the wife for not being honest and upfront. Anytime there's any sort of infidelity involved it is the emotional equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire and the flare obscures everything else.

It is very sad all the way around and it sucks to be a mostly powerless bystander as all of this unfolds.
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