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Old 03-23-2013, 12:37 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Husband insists on involvement w/AA women

A little background... I've been married a little over 11 years and my husband is a little over 2 years sober. About 7 years ago he had a sexual affair that lasted for a year. About 4 years ago I decided to get sober with the help of AA. I eventually came to the conclusion that I was someone who had more of a tendency to abuse alcohol rather than an alcoholic. When I was attending meetings I wound up attending women only meetings because I saw boundaries being crossed with men and women in relationships. I has also been "talked up" a few times and it made me very uncomfortable. The "men with men, women with women" saying certainly rang true with me. I should also add that until recently I was attending Al-Anon meetings, but stopped because on of my "friends" tried to get physical with me and it was very upsetting. I will probably go back in the future, but right now I am too upset by what happened and I'm barely keeping my head above water.

So with those few experiences, when my husband got sober I had asked him to not get involved with women in his AA group. What exactly were the boundaries I asked to be respected? I have no problems with him talking to women at his meetings. I had asked him not to get emotionally involved. By that I mean, not meeting up with women outside of group or texting, calling or emailing. That if there was a women with a problem, to refer her to another women. Basically, the whole men with men and women with women.

I had already had concerns because my husband can be very secretive. He has a long history of lying. I also believe he is very ego driven and gets very caught up in external validation and can be drawn to drama. There's also the affair I had mentioned earlier. So there is a pattern and I was very worried that by sharing personal things it would be a recipe for disaster and there were very grey areas were boundaries could easily be crossed.

So about a year ago I noticed two particular females interacting with him quite often on social media that sent off alarm bells. I asked him who they were and if they were women in his group. He said no, they were just people in his industry. A few months later when it continued I asked again and was told the same thing. You can probably guess where this is going... It eventually came out that he was lying. His explanation? The whole an anonymity thing which I thought was nothing more than an excuse because tells me about people all the time. I accused him of hiding behind his sobriety and that set him off.

So he continued to interact with one of the ladies on a pretty heavy basis in spite of me saying I wasn't comfortable with it, in fact, he accelerated it. They work together, but something didn't seem right. The only part I saw was HEAVY interactions through social media. There were comments from here like "I miss you.", "Wish I was there. See you soon.", "I'm baking you cookies." Sometimes there were as many as 7 posts in a two day period on his wall. I was told constantly they were nothing more than friends. I got lecture upon lecture about how he's a changed person and if I don't trust him what kind of marriage did we have. He told me I was crazy and that I was imagining things. I started thinking I was nothing more than a nagging b****.

A few months ago we were driving and a text came up from her while I had his phone giving him directions. I was so angry and said I am going to look at what else she has texted you. There were these long texts with things there like him supporting her because she had a miscarriage and asking her out to lunch. I should add that he had been very withdrawn from me emotionally.

Another example of his behavior was he had a work dinner with her that he led me to believe another co-worker would be attending. I was very suspicious. The next day he was acting cagey and I asked him if it was just the two of them and he said yes it was. I don't believe in my heart of hearts he would have been forthcoming with this information had I not asked. I was given the excuse of the other person had to back out at the very last minute. With some prodding on my part he had also asked her not to post anything on social media about them being out to dinner lying and saying he should be at another work meeting and didn't want to get into to trouble. He explained to me the reason he did this because he didn't want me to know because he wanted to have a good night. They went to a meeting together after dinner for his two year birthday and she wanted to take a picture of them together, but he refused because he also didn't want me to find out about that.

I should mention we are in marriage counseling right now. One of the agreements that was made was that if asked to see work emails from her, he was supposed to share them. He was away at a meeting to take a cake and before the meeting was starting I saw the "I miss you" posting. I had enough and asked him for his password so I could look at the emails. He freaked out saying he was coming home to look through them with me and I couldn't get into his emails without him showing me how to get into them. Which is a lie because you can go directly into to them. I didn't want to ruin his day so I dropped it. A few weeks later I asked again and he had deleted a bunch of stuff from her saying that they were all old things from before the agreement. Hmmmm.

About a month ago he was away and there she was doing more postings. I had spent about a month not really saying anything, but it still kept up and I had reached my boiling point. I asked him point blank what was going on and I got the same excuses. So I did something I am not proud of. I lied and said I was going through his journals. I then texted him back saying that it was all there in black and white and that my instincts were right and I couldn't believe he was having an emotional affair with this girl. And he finally admitted it. He also told me that during his one-on-ones with our counselor she had told him not to disclose his "crush" on this girl. I don't know if she advised this because he was not totally forthcoming with how deep he had gotten in. She told me in a session she thought it would have caused more harm. He has now changed his tune about calling it an emotional affair, but says there were certainly aspects of it, but that was not what it was. I am sticking firm to calling it as I see it.

So as it stands right now, he is staying at a friends house while we continue to go to counseling. He is more angry about me lying about going through his things than apologetic for his part in this whole mess.

Last week in our session he dropped something that knocked me back a few steps. He had made a list of things he wanted to see change in our relationship. The one that made me feel like I got punched in the stomach? He wants to be able to have emotional relationships with women in the program. I am not comfortable with that at all and I've been very clear about my reasons for this boundary. The books I've been reading about emotional affairs talks about how these things start - you open a door for someone to come in. After everything that has happened I just can't believe it. I don't understand his desire for this when there are so many men in the program that need help. The very idea of sharing deep and meaningful thoughts and having to keep them secret from me causes some pretty heavy anxiety for me especially coupled with his history.

Sorry this is so long. There's a whole bunch of other things he has done and hidden, but I don't want to write a novel. Am I crazy for asking him to respect what I am asking? Any advice would be very much appreciated. I am feeling very overwhelmed.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You'll find lots of support here.

I find that sometimes my "guys" opinion can be unpopular in things like this, and I have chores to do. I'll check in later!

I hope to hear more from you on SoberRecovery!
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I'm female too and would not be happy with my husband forming new emotional attachments to women. It sounds as if he is using AA as an excuse for having a relationship with this woman. There is no reason for him to be close with women in AA or elsewhere. The comments on social media to another woman's husband are wholly unacceptable imo and show no respect for you.With his history too it's an accident waiting to happen. I really feel for you and hope you find the strength and courage to end this. you deserve so much better than to be treated with such a lack of respect
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You certainly have a lot to deal with right now. I hope you and he can come to a satisfactory arrangement.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:22 PM   #5 (permalink)

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I'm trying to be grown up and diplomatic, but I'm sorry I can't keep it in and I think he is a pig :-(. You deserve more, he making you doubt yourself constantly - your instincts were right he did have a crush on her. I hope he doesn't break your heart :-(
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Reading through your post, I can't help thinking how tiring it must be to be constantly searching phones, emails, etc trying to figure out what's going on. I think you know what's going on and you just need to come to the right conclusion.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:48 PM   #7 (permalink)

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Thanks Anna. In some ways it was a relief to finally know about his "crush" as he calls it. How minimizing is that?! I am trying to stay out of the cycle of going back through things. I am seeing my own counselor and trying to employ the things we have talked about to avoid throwing myself down that pit of despair.

Where do I stand right now? I would like to try and repair our marriage. There are many good things about my husband along with all the bad I went through in my original post. I myself am certainly no angel and have PLENTY of things I need to work on, but it's going to take the two of us to do that and I can't believe this is an issue after everything that's happened.

I am just so hurt and frustrated that he lacks the empathy to understand the reasons behind me asking him to honor these boundaries. I guess my next step in our upcoming counseling session is to ask him to explain to me why it is so important to him to be able to have these close relationships with women in his group. I can't even imagine what his answer will be. Maybe that he feels like I'm being controlling. I don't know...
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:49 PM   #8 (permalink)

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I can relate to ur experience.both my spouse and i are in recovery, and we interact with both men and women. He says its not a big deal to give his phone number to girls, and its not a big deal if they call or text him. He isnt very forthcoming with this and i must admit that i only found out bcuz of my snooping. I have come to the point that i have to accept i cannot change this, i just have to trust that he will stay faithful. I also have to look at his behavior, he is very involved in recovery and outgoing. People will seek him out for advise, including women.
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:49 PM   #9 (permalink)

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He's either cheating on you or is at least trying his hardest to cheat on you. It's obvious. I'm not gonna try and tell you how to react because that's your decision alone, but I am 100% sure that he is at least trying to sleep with other women.

Last edited by avocado; 03-23-2013 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #10 (permalink)

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I have only just started going to meetings. If I get a single teeny whiff of any man coming n to me I will run a mile and be very upset - it's not the right place surely? :-(
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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i agree with avocado....He sounds like he puts all his energy into OTHER women instead of his marriage...He is NOT putting you first and respecting your very reasonable requests.

I am not an AA person, but his logic is flawed...he is trolling for other women and seems to be using their vulnerability in AA.

you know what they say....(at least i have read it here), when you remove the booze from a drunk assh***, you still have the assh***.

you deserve much better treatment, the trust is completely gone. I'm sorry that he is acting so selfishly, it must be so hurtful.
I gotta have more cowbell!
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #12 (permalink)

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The thing you have to realize about AA meetings is that they're filled with people who fundamentally have character flaws. Even though they are trying their hardest to change one symptom of these flaws, alcohol abuse, it doesn't necessarily mean they're making any effort to change anything else that's bad about them. I think sometimes people have this idealized notion about people who are trying to sober up that they're trying to be better people, in general, but it's really not the case. There are plenty of predatory men who will go on being reprehensible pigs for decades after reaching sobriety.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If I did that my wife would not take that crap. I chat on SR but would never do this because I would lose it all. My family. I think he is using meetings to pick up women be size they might be vunerable
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Him being emotionally supportive of the woman who had a miscarriage sounds a little strange to me. From what I've seen, women who have miscarriages get emotional support from other women who have had miscarriages, not one of their guy friends.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:04 PM   #15 (permalink)

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My counselor brought up the "dry drunk syndrome" in our last session and it scared me. I need to do more reading on it, but I think it certainly might fit. I wouldn't classify him so much as predatory, but as I said in my original posts he is definitely a person that needs constant validation, is very self-seeking, impulsive and driven by his ego.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm sorry but if it was "innocent" then he wouldn't be using so much of his energy to hide things and keep them from you. He wouldn't be blaming you for things. I don't think it's healthy for him to be forming such attachments to women in AA PLUS the fact the he works with her and sees her even more often than he would if he just knew her at AA meetings.

If he really wants things to work in the marriage he should be willing to not form emotional relationships with any other women.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am a male, 58 yr old, married, and I am involved in a few AA groups in my area.

Your husbands behavior is entirely inappropriate, and you should take the necessary steps to get the equilibrium you need and deserve in your life. Based on your relationship and your values, you probably know what those steps need to be.

The other issue. if you do have men 'hitting' on you in AA as a newly sober member, that is completely inappropriate also. My suggestion is to be direct, but polite, at the 1st instance, and if it happens again I suggest going to the next Group Conscience meeting of that group and voicing your concern, or ask for the group leadership to intervene. You have just as much a right to be at an AA meeting as anybody there, if you are there with a desire to be free from your addiction. DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE VICTIMIZED by someone else.
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I also hate to be a downer but there is so much wrong here that I question whether it CAN be fixed.

The "long history of lying" coupled with the previous affair AND his current desire for relationships with other women within AA really do not bode well. At all. No wonder you don't trust him any farther than you can throw him.

At least you're in marriage counseling -- I guess his willingness to do at least that much says something positive, and if your marriage can be salvaged, that's the place to start, I would think.

Good luck and take care of yourself. We're here to provide support when you need it.
Be great in act, as you have in thought. . .
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Old 03-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #19 (permalink)

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Thank you cleareyes and RDBplus3. Sometimes I feel like maybe I'm being irrational asking for this.
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