Guidelines & Boundaries vs. Rules: Merged Threads, General Discussion

LovingRadiance

Active member
Communication skills are lacking combined with problem solving.
Something a good counselor should be able to teach.
That's one thing I see.

For example;
problem exists.

Person upset states three things that would make them happier in regards to the problem.
Other person gets to choose one. ANY of them to do.

End of argument.
Person one has to accept that person two DID SOMETHING to work with them.

With specific.

person one feels abandoned or scared or whatever when they don't know when person two will be home.

They give 3 options,
Be home by 3am OR
text me if you will be late OR
don't be late more than 2 times a month.

Person two gets to choose as long as they meet ONE-the topic is done.

(we learned this in counseling and it helped A LOT. Forces both people to be more conscious in their compaints AND saying "I just want...")
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Trust is earned by way or a two way street.

Person who broke trust has to be accountable and allow themselves to be fully seen by the person who lost trust.

Person who lost trust has to take chances, allowing person one the chance to break trust again.

The examples you give-don't suggest that you actually made yourself fully seek for them to know you were being accountable.
Likewise they don't suggest that she is taking chances either.

Unfortunately-IMHO-the time doesn't start ticking until you make yourself fully visibly accountable which has to come first AND THEN they start feeling safer and have to force themselves through the discomfort of taking chances.
 

willowstar

New member
Trust is not something that comes with just time. You said it has been 5 years, and that should be long enough. But if you havent been doing things that specifically help her to trust you again, time doesnt really mean much. She is just waiting for you to do it again.

If you want her to trust you (and you are actually trustworthy) then you will need to do things that specifically show her that. Maybe you dont NEED to come home at 1am. But you can. You can make the effort to do it. Because you love her, and because you want her to trust you. It is not enough to just say "Hey, Im an adult and i should have freedom to hang out with my friends whenever I want". You made the choice to cheat in the past, and now you need to make up for it. You will need to show her that you are capable of keeping your word, even about small things. Especially small things.

I agree that hiding your email/FB etc looks suspicious. Giving her access to all areas of your life demonstrates to her that you have nothing to hide. Anywhere. If she doesnt like your personality and how you joke around with your friends, that is a separate issue. But showing her that you are not sneaking around on social media can be huge. And making sure that your friends know that she will see everything too, means they might hold back a little (which you may not like, but she may appreciate).

It is hard to come back from a loss of trust, and it does take time AND effort. Asking her what SHE needs for you to do to prove you are trustworthy may help. Even if you dont think its necessary, doing it for her might be the first step towards knowing you are serious about wanting it to be better between you two.
 

bookbug

New member
To add to Willowstar's thought: it's hard to prove a negative like, "I'm not cheating." I mean I have no reason to disbelieve you when you state you haven't in five and years and have no intention of doing so again, but I bet the behavior you exhibit toward your wife now isn't any different than when you were cheating. So she thinks to herself (or more accurately "feels") that she trusted you before, your behavior looks much the same as it did then, and you cheated. In her mind your behavior looks the same so she can't tell if you're cheating to not, and she obviously does not trust your words, well because you've lied to her before.

Seriously however, to be stuck in the same place five years later is a bit ridiculous. It could mean, as others have suggested, that you haven't done the work necessary for her to trust you again. On the flip side, maybe she will never be able to bring herself to trust you again. If the latter is the case, you need to know. Have you asked her what it would take for her to trust you again? If you knew the answer, you might better know how to proceed. If the answer is nothing ever, then you two can quit torturing yourselves and each right here, right now. If she has specific ideas - and they must be specific, something measure able so you both can objectively know if you are doing them - then you can decide if you're willing to put in the work. Or not.

Might be a good topic for your counselor.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
The bigger problem is the lack of trust. If I'm texting so she doesn't have to worry then great. If I am texting so she can keep tabs on me at all times and then get interrogated when I get home then that's not healthy for our relationship.

I agree the issue is trust-but I think maybe you aren't seeing how trust is rebuilt.
Trust isn't rebuilt by someone saying anything. It's rebuilt by experiencing that they aren't lying and THAT is hard to achieve.

One thing I find made a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference in our relationship; is when I decided to create my own boundaries for MY own behavior.
To use your texting example;
I make it MY duty to text if I am going to be late. Period.
Doesn't matter if he wants it or not.
It's not about HIM-it's about me being the kind of person I want to be-which is considerate, responsible and concientious.

So-I text.
He can take it or leave it.

The other side of that coin, was that I could more easily state what it was I was doing, and he could easily see that in fact, that is what I had been doing.

So when he threw a temper tantrum about me being late, I could say "I told you I would text if I was late. I did not agree to never being late. I won't fight about it. When you are calm, rational and have your emotions under control, we can talk about what you are feeling."

Then-I could walk away and not be caught up in the "WHEN is ENOUGH ENOUGH?" issues.

But none of that could happen until I got VERY VERY clear with what my expectations were for me, stated them clearly, AND upheld them to the letter.

Furthermore; with rebuilding trust; it's about SHOWING, not saying.

If you maintain complete privacy, there is no showing going on and that means there is no trust growing going on either.
Right wrong or otherwise, seeing is believing and if you aren't showing what you are doing/saying then they aren't seeing it.

I am generally a very outgoing, social flirt. My husband is NOT NOT NOT. He had a HARD time with that. he still does. But-before he could realize that my flirting was "just flirting" he had to SEE. By being able to go through and read the long versions of my conversations, by being able to overhear phone calls and scroll through series of emails, he started to see the theme.
That didn't change who he is and sometimes he still freaks out. But-it did help him to see who I am.

Too often, we try to keep the sides of ourselves that we know upset or hurt our partners, hidden from them. Whether for their benefit, or just so we can avoid the drama;
But this is actually counter-productive. Because the result is that they feel the break in the field so to speak. They can sense that there is something missing but they don't know what it is-which increases their fear, doubt and paranoia.
It also means that they aren't actually loving us for who we are.

It was a scary step at first. But when I became pointblank about who I am and I stopped trying to keep certain parts "hidden" from view-meaning that I flirt IN FRONT of him with other people. I say what I mean, I do what I want. IN FRONT OF HIM. Then-he knows me. He is free to choose to love ME, the REAL me, or leave. But there is no risk of him THINKING he loves me only to find out that who he loved was a figment of his imagination and my creation.

I tell him about flirting with people at school. I jump into my best friends arms and kiss him on the cheek or sit in his lap or whatever-in front of him. It makes him uncomfortable sometimes. Sometimes it scares the shit out of him. But he KNOWS ME. He knows I'm not hiding me from him. So he trusts me. Because he knows even if it's something he doesn't want to hear or see-I won't keep him in the dark.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Have you asked her what it would take for her to trust you again? If you knew the answer, you might better know how to proceed.
Might be a good topic for your counselor.

ABSOLUTELY! This is a critical component of rebuilding a relationship!
If you don't have concrete answers of exactly what concrete actions each of you expects-you will just run in circles forever.
 

Kernow

New member
It was a scary step at first. But when I became pointblank about who I am and I stopped trying to keep certain parts "hidden" from view-meaning that I flirt IN FRONT of him with other people. I say what I mean, I do what I want. IN FRONT OF HIM. Then-he knows me. He is free to choose to love ME, the REAL me, or leave. But there is no risk of him THINKING he loves me only to find out that who he loved was a figment of his imagination and my creation.

I tell him about flirting with people at school. I jump into my best friends arms and kiss him on the cheek or sit in his lap or whatever-in front of him. It makes him uncomfortable sometimes. Sometimes it scares the shit out of him. But he KNOWS ME. He knows I'm not hiding me from him. So he trusts me. Because he knows even if it's something he doesn't want to hear or see-I won't keep him in the dark.

This is exactly what I needed from my husband. It took him a long time feel comfortable enough to be completely open in front of me, but it has made such a huge difference to our relationship. I'm not a particularly jealous person but no one likes to feel that their partner is hiding aspects of himself and his behaviour from them. Occasionally it can be a bit uncomfortable to see the real person, but I accept that as part of the give and take of our relationship.
 

JaneQSmythe

Well-known member
I was wrong

I was the one who wronged my spouse and needed to regain their trust.

I have written about it in my blog and in this thread.

Reading this thread, it does seem as thought you have never done the work to repair the damage that was done 5 years ago - the only option I see is to DO it. The fact that it has been 5 years...the process may take longer. BUT, as pointed out in the link above, she actually has to be WILLING to forgive (completely).

If you are NOT willing to do "whatever-it-takes" and she is NOT willing to ever ACTUALLY forgive you...I think you both need to be looking for an amicable ending.

I gave myself a "time-limit" of one year to do whatever-I-had-to to regain MrS's trust...If I couldn't prove myself in a year then I would let him go. (It didn't take as long as that - but I didn't know that at the time.)

Marriage does NOT have to be a strait-jacket (ours has never been) but if you don't have a sold foundation...then all of the band-aids will turn into one.

JaneQ
 

seakinganswers

New member
I agree with a lot of what y'all are saying. The idea of doing "whatever it takes" though kind of sounds like doing "whatever she wants me to do" which is what I did for the first 10 years of our marriage and it ended up with her learning to use that to manipulate situations... "If you love me then you will..."

So I don't want to go back to that and I think there are things I have had to do I know she didn't want me to do like tell her about my leaning toward poly and being into BDSM, etc. how do I do "whatever it takes" without doing whatever she wants me to do? I think that's the big question. Sometimes it can be painful for her because I have to be the bad guy who points out when she is starting to manipulate the situation because she doesn't really see it unless I point it out.
 

KerryRen

New member
So I don't want to go back to that and I think there are things I have had to do I know she didn't want me to do like tell her about my leaning toward poly and being into BDSM, etc. how do I do "whatever it takes" without doing whatever she wants me to do? I think that's the big question. Sometimes it can be painful for her because I have to be the bad guy who points out when she is starting to manipulate the situation because she doesn't really see it unless I point it out.

Can you ask her to bottom-line it? To determine what actions on your part will earn her trust back? "If you love me, you'll do this" can be outright manipulation, indeed, and easily abused. But it's often easier to say than to come out and say "I need you to do this and that, consistently and sincerely -- and to never, ever do this, because it's a deal-breaker or a trust-destroyer."

It may take her some time to get to that point, once you've broached it; it's not always easy to articulate those needs, and she might need time to think about them and figure out how to say them.

Then you have to figure out if, in fact, you can accommodate her; it's always possible she'll ask for what you cannot do and still remain true to yourself.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
Your wife doesn't even know the man she's married to. It doesn't sound like she wants to know.

When I met Gralson, I knew within hours (days at least) that he's bisexual, perverted, and sadistic. It took him a couple weeks to open up about the klismaphilia.

Your wife is not wrong in her belief that you're hiding things from her, she's just wrong about what you're hiding. You've tried to tell her some of them, and she doesn't want to hear it. Instead, she explains her gut feeling with a possibility that's more comprehensible for a woman in our society: simple infidelity.

Bisexual, non-monogamous, kinky. Those are some really big easter eggs. That pretty much encapsulates your entire Sexuality. How can two people even begin to have a marriage when one of them can't even accept one aspect of their spouse's sexuality, let alone three major aspects?

How can you even accept yourself when you're stifling such important parts of your sexuality just because she doesn't want to hear it? Forget about the lectures from staying out too late, you're allowing her to control you on such a fundamental level simply by refusing to hear what your desires are. Never mind acting on them, you're being denied even superficial understanding of them. To be understood and accepted are important human needs, needs that are not even beginning to be met in this relationship.

If you want this marriage to work, you need to tell her who you really are and what you desire from life. She doesn't have to like it, but you need to be understood, and that means her hearing it so she can make an informed choice about whether or not that's the man she wants to be married to. She needs to realize that this IS the man she's married to, and all the fingers-in-the-ears-humming-la-la-la in the world isn't going to change that. You can choose not to act on those desires, but you have the right to have those desires be known by your life partner.

Otherwise, she'll always be suspicious that you're keeping secrets, because you are. Since her brain won't "go there" with the other stuff, she'll always turn to secrets that a woman in our society can understand: cheating, other women, infidelity. In other words, she'll never be able to trust you so long as you really are hiding things. It would be insane to expect her to.
 
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LovingRadiance

Active member
Whatever it takes; to make it possible for them to SEE that you are no longer lying is DEFINITELY not the same as doing whatever they want.

I can assure you-Maca did not WANT to hear about my love for someone else or see it. He didn't want to face my blunt honesty about who I am.

But-he did.

Being transparent has nothing to do with "giving them what they want" and everything to do with shoing them WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

It might be helpful to also realize, trust isn't about knowing someone won't hurt you. It's about knowing that they won't lie to you.

So-I can trust Maca's psycho ex wife. She's predictable in her actions and she never TRIES to lie. She SAYS she's clean (drug addict) when she's clean. But she doesn't claim to be when she falls off the wagon again.
I don't want to BE AROUND HER-cause she's psycho. But I can trust her.

You need to rebuild trust-because a relationship can't function without trust. But trust alone doesn't mean that the relationship will be maintained either.

She may find that you are honest and sincere and transparent about yourself (which allows her to regain trust) BUT that she can't stand you and doesn't want to be with you.

However; if you aren't transparent and you lock her out of parts of your life; she can ALWAYS ALWAYS make up more frightening stories in her head of what you are hiding behind those locked doors.

Do you have children?
I have kids.

If I put a lock on a box-they WILL break into it eventually. Not all of them, but one or another will. The curiosity will kill them.
On the other hand, I have so much porn it's unreasonable and it's just sitting on shelves in a closet that has no doors. They NEVER LOOK. The oldest DID NOT EVEN KNOW IT WAS THERE and she's 22 and regularly goes to that same closet to borrow clothing!

Because when someone makes something inaccessible; we are driving to wonder what is there AND we make up stories in our minds about what we think may be there.

So-you block her out of your facebook/text/email whatever; and her mind goes PSYCHO making up all sorts of shit.

Whereas; if she saw it; she still may not like it but she would know what she saw was what was actually there (even if she misinterprets it).

Like your female friend at work and sharing off-color/sexual jokes with her or whatever.
Don't be defensive.
Be forthright;
YES I enjoy having provocative conversations with her. I'm not interested in having a sexual relationship with her because (xyz reason she is not of interest to you) but-I absolutely enjoy her conversational skills in xyz type of provocative conversation.

NOT defending yourself as if there is nothing to notice because you aren't screwing her. Who cares if you screw her or not? You enjoy the conversations. Claim it. Own it.

I have a best friend. We've been friends almost 30 years. We talk about sex EVERY TIME WE SEE EACH OTHER. Maca knows. He was REALLY uncomfortable with it at first. But-neither of us tried to minimize what we have. The dude is my best friend. We're totally honest and we act the same around Maca as we do when we aren't around him. Other people see us-and related to Maca what they saw and guess what? It matches.
HE doesn't talk that way with people he isn't screwing (totally cool) but I DO. He had to learn that. But-until he witnessed it, the idea that someone could have a long-term relationship that involved talking about sex and never ACTUALLY have sex-never ever ever ever occurred to him and if you said it to him he would have told you that was total B.S.

So-no. Not saying "do whatever she wants.
But yes-I am saying if you want her to trust YOU and know YOU and love YOU and consider having a real relationship with YOU-then you need to BE YOU all of the time and that means being transparent-not hiding shit for convenience of avoiding her emotions and reactions to who you are.

Much like; as a bisexual person, I had to step it up and claim my girlfriend in front of my parents; not keep that part of me in the closet;
OR THEY COULD NOT ACCEPT ME because they didn't know me.
 

azorkanesbrat

New member
Broken Boundaries/Broken Trust

I will do a search, but how do you regain trust when a boundary has been broken?
 

billypi

New member
Trust is like a sheet of paper. When you break that trust, the paper is crumpled up into a ball, stomped on, crushed.

You can take the paper. Unfold it. Carefully work on it until it is a single sheet of paper again.

It will never be perfectly flat again. It will always have creases and markings.
 

Sannafrid

New member
Not knowing the particulars, my answer is based on my own anecdotal experience. I think the best course of action would be honest discussion with the offending partner about how and why what happened was a boundary violation. Of course, your partner would have to be willing to listen and let you be vulnerable without hurting you further. If they can't do that, they don't deserve your trust.
 

Confused

New member
To regain someone's trust you need to demonstrate understanding of how and why the betrayal occurred and show them by taking actions to prevent it happening again that you are serious about repairing things. And listen without getting defensive when they need to tell you how it felt or when they honestly say that they don't yet trust you.

My experience is that regaining full relaxed trust in someone takes 1-2 years if they do these things. It's a long road but can absolutely be repaired.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I think the length of time it takes to restore trust depends on how serious the original breach of trust was. Did someone forget to clean the litter box when they promised they'd do it? That's a minor breach of trust, pretty easily fixed. Did they go out and have unprotected sex without telling you, and then expose you to HIV? That's a major breach of trust, not at all easily fixed.

The big breaches of trust generally heal one small step at a time. You can't just wave a magic wand and start trusting someone again. You have to see evidence, over a long period of time, that the person can be trusted. Also the person who broke your trust should provide any restitution that they can provide.
 

azorkanesbrat

New member
Just to be clear - it was me that broke a boundary.

I didnt' see it as a huge breach of trust - but he does.

I didn't see it as a HUGE boundary - but he did.

I must have known something was wrong - because I did it, and didn't tell him, and finally threw it in his face in the middle of an argument.

I feel kinda like I"m sitting on a fence - on one hand - there's possibility of life on my own. On the other hand.. there's life without him. Which kinda devastates me on both sides.

This is one situation where I can't have everything I want.

It would have been easier for him to decide - for him to just say "done"

:(
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Do you *want* him to say "done?" If you do, and he won't do it, then maybe *you* should say "done." Don't you think?
 

Candiedlove

New member
You say poly is on hold, but what about Amber?
 
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