I Was An Enabler

I just had one of those A-ha moments by way of reading the comments on another blog…I was an enabler. I have never, never thought of myself as that person. I guess when I think of enablers I always associate it with some type of substance abuse or addiction. However, the fact is that I was an enabler.

JR has always been a huge flirt…always. He is (was) overly friendly with women…all women. The problem here is that some women simply can’t handle that. Women have always found JR charming and attractive. He has always given the kind of attention to women that they gravitate towards. They eat it up in big huge gulps. Mostly this behavior was innocent in nature, but on those two occasions where he flattered the wrong women in the wrong way it resulted in their pursuing him until they had him in their beds.

I was never a jealous wife. It didn’t bother me when he would flirt with women. It never bothered me that his voice was always different when he spoke to women versus when he spoke to men. It never bothered me when he would talk about how “hot” Nikki was. I never felt insecure. I guess I just always accepted that it was his personality, it came with the territory.

Things are much different now. I don’t know if it’s because of the affair, or if it’s because I am older, but I decided that his behavior with other women is bullshit! It is highly inappropriate and plain out disrespectful to me. I mean I have known and seen men whom I think are attractive but I don’t act like a walking hormone because of it.

The good news is that I have already laid down the law with JR regarding this and he completely understands how I feel. I believe he even felt a little embarrassed about his behavior when he actually took the time to think about it. Though he had been this way for his 40 years of life, he has done very well with respecting my wishes these past 2 years. He is now more aware of “those” kind of women who mistake his kindness for flirting. It’s like I had to teach him about “needy” women who are unhappy with the attention or lack of attention that they get from their own men. The ones that fall all over themselves when he’s around.

It’s too late to turn the clock back, but the “what if’s” weigh heavy on my mind. What if I would have freaked out on him the first time he ever mentioned Nikki. If I would have told him that he should never talk about another woman that way in front of or to me, then maybe he would have stayed clear of her. Maybe I would have been the voice in his head telling him how wrong what he was doing was. Maybe if I would have put an end to their so called “friendship” right from the beginning then it would never have developed into anything more. Who knows, we never will.

I truly believe that the months leading up to the affair that JR was crying out for my attention and my guidance. He needed my help, he wanted my help, otherwise I would never have even known that she existed. He never tried to keep her a secret. He talked about her the whole time they were fucking. It’s nuts. I simply didn’t recognize his attempts to get me to engage in our marriage, to engage in him. That is my one fault in all of this. I chose to ignore my husband, even though I wasn’t aware I was doing it. That’s a mistake I will never make again. Just like I know that he is always very aware of how he interacts with women now.

It’s taken me 27 months to admit some of these things to myself, but each day I grow wiser. I am getting better, one day at a time.

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19 Responses to I Was An Enabler

  1. Still Loving Him says:

    I am guilty of some of these things.. But I did call my husband out when he would talk differently to women vs men. I told him the first time I ever met the main OW that I did not like her. She was a cheating whore then… The first time I met her she was with the guy she was cheating on her husband with, she ended up marrying him while she was having an affair with my husband. Bitch was straight up bat shit crazy.

    I never caught my husband looking at other women and he never commented on women in front of me. He hid his game well. He never flirted with other women in front of me, except once when he was wasted drunk. I should have taken a clue then that that’s how he always was when I was not around.

    I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him, and I can’t pick him up so that would be difficult. If I get the slightest inclination that he is looking at, interested in or thinking about another woman I swear I may castrate him. When I see women look at him I want to claw their eyes out. I wish he was ugly.

    • kayboo24 says:

      LOL, I have often thought that I wish JR was ugly too, but then I think no…I don’t like ugly men. I do however hate that he seems to get better looking the older he gets and I just seem to get older. When I look back at everything I honestly believe that JR wanted me to find out, he wanted to get out of it and didn’t know how. He wanted me to force him to end it and I never noticed the signs he was sending out. So blind, so trusting, so secure…I was dumb. The thing is once I found out I never had to ask him to end it, he knew it was over if he wanted a life with me. There was no question about it for him, the physical contact with her ended immediately. He knew he would never see her in person again and he didn’t want to. How stupid she was because she thought that she was an option for him and the minute that being with her meant that he would lose me…the minute that became real for him, he dropped her like a hot potato. Instantly she meant nothing to him.

      • Still Loving Him says:

        Lol.. My husband gets better looking with age too. I’m getting my restylan injections next Thursday so I can keep my youthful look!!! I hadn’t ever had anything like that until after D-day.

        My H also dropped the OW like a hot potato. Once she was a threat to the marriage she no longer served a purpose. She did continue to harass him for awhile during the time her husband was extorting my husband. She wanted to make sure their stories lined up. Fucking cunt. I’ll hate her until the day I die. N

  2. I think we may have read the same comment because Bug & I had a convo about this today.

    He never acted inappropriately in front of me. Never. He was kind, friendly, and gentlemanly to other women when with me.

    BUT I loved that other women wanted him. It turned me on & made me strut that he always went home with me. Until he didn’t & I had no clue.

    • kayboo24 says:

      It’s tough to say that JR acted inappropriately in front of me…I wouldn’t call it that exactly. He just acted the way I allowed him to. He was a flirt and it didn’t bother me…until flirting turned into fucking, and fucking turned into “I love you’s”, which actually makes me want to vomit. I too was proud that all the other women thought that I had such a catch, which I guess I did (do). Nikki was miserable in her marriage and decided she wanted a piece of mine. She really has no clue what it takes to actually have a good solid marriage. Even after all of this I know that my marriage is solid, that’s the only reason we are still here, together and dare I say happier than we ever really were. It’s like we see each other through different eyes now, we value each other more than we ever have, and we certainly love stronger than before. I guess that’s what happens when you almost lose something that you never thought you could lose.

      • Mara says:

        That is so true for us too! We sort of needed something like this to happen, to realize what we’ve got. Sounds weird, but in my ‘good’ moments, I think this is true 😉

      • Still Loving Him says:

        Women wanted my H too. He was the VP and everyone knew he was going to be promoted to president. The whore’s at worked flocked around him, they all knew me and were nice, but I could tell. They put off that VIBE… He tried to hook up with 2 different HOT girls at work but they both wanted more, like to be his actual mistress or to try to steal him. I remember one of them flirting with and hugging him right in front of me. I commented on it and he said oh it’s just her culture. I actually had my ethnic friend with me that night, we were at a holiday party and she was like, hey I’m that way too, don’t worry about it. She was wrong. He never followed up with the ethnic girl because she bugged him to take her out, thankfully he never did anything with her but flirt at a work event. The other work girl he kissed once. Of course then there was the ugly work whore who he ended up in the 6 year sexual affair with. It’s so strange to me that she was okay with nothing but having sex, she asked for more but he always said no. I guess he thought perhaps because she was less attractive that she would just accept what she got out of him. It’s all so weird.

        I’ve noticed he talks to women the exact same as men now on the phone and in person. God he was such a good conman. How sad is that to say about your own husband.

  3. blogventer says:

    “I simply didn’t recognize his attempts to get me to engage in our marriage, to engage in him. That is my one fault in all of this.” –> Except that when you didn’t take the hint, he could have used his words and SAID to you, “Hey, I want to work on our marriage,” “I need more of your attention,” etc. Please don’t beat yourself up about this, Kayboo. You are kind to try to shoulder his faults, but you didn’t make him pull down his pants. I felt so bad when I read this, and it sounded like you were blaming yourself for something that was out of your control!

    “Maybe if I would have put an end to their so called “friendship” right from the beginning then it would never have developed into anything more.” –> I did this. He told me he’d broken it off with her. But he lied. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do; they do what they want, anyway.

    • kayboo24 says:

      I know that you are right, they will do what they want anyway. He actually took me to meet Nikki, after I insisted, and this was before they were fucking. It’s like that sent them running towards each other even faster. Maybe after I met her and still didn’t pitch a fit, he just figured I didn’t care what he did. I think that hurt him a lot, me meeting her and telling him how unimpressed I was. He wanted a reaction from me and didn’t get one. I know that she was just some big cover up for the pain he was in…he wanted his wife, he missed me.
      I don’t really blame myself for anything that he did, I just want to be very aware of my role in this. I want to learn what my mistakes were, I do not want a repeat of this in my marriage. There can be no more NIkki’s in his or my life.

  4. I had this conversation with my husband a few weeks ago. He has always been overly nice as part of his character that makes him good at his job. In his business, he must build good relationships with his clients. With women, he flirted, noticed if they had a nice handbag or shoes to compliment, or just remembered them. I told him that to a desperate housewife (which his AP was) those compliments can mean the world. His AP wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t hot or the type of woman that men tend to notice or flirt with. She was a plain-Jane type. So the compliments he gave her, she didn’t get anywhere else…. She probably thought he was flirting. He says she began to make sexually charged comments to him that he didn’t expect….. But who can deny that attention feels good. Someone telling you that you are hot, sexy, desirable…. It feels good (at least at first). But a healthy man tells a woman that she’s crossed the line and he closes the window. But a man suffering from depression and low self -esteem struggles to walk away. He believes the BS more than the truth. Do I really think she desired my husband? No. I think she was alone, desperate and hoped she could take my husband away from me, not because she loved him-so she wouldn’t be alone. My guess is she will be alone for the rest of her life.

    • kayboo24 says:

      It’s true that most of these women who willingly choose to be second best by playing second fiddle to a wife are broken. That’s how JR would always describe Nikki, he would say, “she’s broken.” He doesn’t believe that she has the ability to be in a normal, healthy, and productive relationship. He talks about how needy, clingy, and possessive she was with him, something I have never been. I know this is true because she would harass him when she knew he was with me just to create a disturbance. He would have to try and hide his phone, lie and say it was a friend who kept texting him over and over again. She really was sick and pathetic.

      • The other night I asked my husband if it ever struck him how easy it was for his AP, Julie, to be secondary (maybe even lower than that). She never called or texted him while he was at home, on our vacations or anything. She was so comfortable being a mistress and I find that odd. Because she so freely wrote about how much she loved him–unless that was all BS on her side too. Idk. It makes me wonder if she had experience as a homewrecker? Or if she never really cared for my husband at all. I’ve just started to wonder if all she wanted was to destroy a perfectly happy marriage/home/couple. If her marriage was going to fail–someone else’s need to break too? Who knows. She succeeded in breaking my husband, making him regret over a year of his life, making him feel like he will never forgive himself for the pain and damage his choices caused… She succeeded in having a wife that loved, adored and trusted her husband realize that even perfect happiness can be broken and the cracks will always remain in some way.

  5. kali4ever says:

    I think feeling responsibility for his behavior in any way, shape or form is the enabling mindset here. Gets him off the hook if you should have done more to prevent it or stop it. Boundaries are for you, not him. He is responsible for his own choices and behavior.

  6. kayboo24 says:

    I don’t feel responsible for his behavior, I feel responsible for mine. I believe that part of being a loving, caring, committed spouse is recognizing when your significant other is in trouble and then doing all that you can to help them through it. I didn’t do that. I believe that to be true in any situation, no different than if he had a substance abuse problem or a gambling addiction. It just happened to be that for him it was another woman. Regardless of what the action was it was self destructive and I didn’t try to save him from himself, I just stood back and watched him self destruct. I should have been more aware. It may not have made any difference in the outcome, but at least I would have known that I did all that I could. That would have been easier for me to live with, I would have felt more at peace about my part in this.

  7. My husband was always a big flirt. I hated it and I told him so. We fought about for our whole marriage. Nothing I did or said got him to stop. He was so self absorbed that he would do anything to get attention. My enabling came in the form of keeping his secrets. I never wanted to make him look bad to the people he was helping. And I didn’t want his sister-in-law interfering or my family who thought he was amazing to think any less of him. I begged him to put distance between him and Tina and Celia and he would act like he was for a week or two and then go back to same behavior and with Tina he just met with her in private. I don’t know honestly if going to his boss or family would have changed things. He might have stopped but he would have hated me and we might have ended in divorce. He needed to lose everything to wake him up. He told me a month after that he never saw what he was doing until he stopped doing it. We both agreed that there was really nothing I could have done or said short of leaving him and I’m not even sure of that that would have changed his behavior.

    • kayboo24 says:

      I guess a lot of what you say is true…who knows if anything would have changed their behavior. Ultimately it was a conscience decision that each one of our cheating spouses made in their own mind. It was a choice. The worst possible one, but a choice none the less.

  8. betrayalsurvivor1981 says:

    My xH was also a handsome & charming flirt. My therapist said I enabled xH by enduring his multiple affairs & beatings.

    • kayboo24 says:

      Thankfully I have never had to endure any physical abuse. JR would never put a hand on me. He isn’t a violent man by any means. I know that would be the final straw.

  9. ak209AK209 says:

    I totally appreciate all of what you are saying here. I was just confronted today with the label of enabler and after careful research I find that it fits. It’s hard to understand that about myself because I always thought of the things I do as being an out word sign of my love for the people around me. Most times it is, but there are those times that it does no good for anyone and those are the times I need to get a handle on. I am with you 100% Kayboo, on your assessment of your own contribution to the situation. While your hubby is responsible for his own actions and for not voicing his needs to you, you are responsible for your actions that helped create the situation to begin with. I applaud your strength in not letting either one of you off the hook and stepping up and not playing the victim. You have a good balance and grasp of the situation.

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