New Here and I Need Help..Long

wdwfanSeptember 15, 2010

I have just discovered this site and I hope this will be a place that I can come to with my problem. I have been married for 12 years. For the most part my husband is a very good man. He works hard to support the family. He has never cheated on me and deep down I believe he would leave me before he did. But he did something that I am having a hard time shaking. When he went out of town for work he went to a strip club. He has only been 2 other times in his life...before we were married. He went with 3 of his co-workers. According to him they pushed him until he agreed. When they got there he gave them 15 minutes. The 3 coworkers sat in the front row while my DH sat at the bar. Now this is a very small town on a weekday and according to my DH the only 1 girl there was on the dance floor (or whatever you call it) even the bartender was a guy. After 15 min my DH grabbed his drunken coworkers and left. Now my DH told me he didn't go down and sit by the stage...he stayed only at the bar. No girls were in his vicinity the entire time. Now I am married to a guy that I believe. If he told me that this is what happened..I am sure it is the truth. He has never lied to me (just kept the truth about this from me for a while).

After I found out every emotion I have flooded out (my 1st husband had a problem with strip clubs and I guess I expected so much more out of my DH) DH even cried (and he's not a wimp) because he had no idea how much this would have hurt me. He swore and promised that this would never happen again (the man has never promised me anything ever..not even to remember taking out the garbage).

So why am I having such a problem letting this go?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Well, I'm not sure I am the best person to respond because I don't really think going to a strip club 3 times in a man's entire life is a big deal.

Go back and read all the wonderful things you wrote about your husband, he sounds like a good guy...and he messed up. I normally wouldn't consider this a mess up, but if he knew that you felt strongly about it, then it is a mess up.

He was with the guys and went with the flow rather than risk looking like a wimp who says, "Sorry guys, my wife will get mad". I really think you need to move on. Whether there were 20 girls or 1, he didn't touch them, he didn't sleep with them, and it's doubtful he even talked to them.

He obviously loves you very much and has been a good husband to you, so don't make this a huge issue. He is human and did something dumb, as we all do sometimes, and was not trying to hurt you. Don't keep punishing him as he has already apologized and it's over. If I were you I would concentrate on all the good things about him and try and forget about this so you can move on.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Actually I think you were a good choice for a response. He is a good man (maybe I expected too much out of him) and I have stopped talking to him about it as most of it is kept to myself. He did tell me he doesn't care what the guys think and will take a cab home if the situation presents itself again. I know he didn't even talk to a girl there. I guess I am overthinking this. I am still thinking he went there for stimulation (even just visual) with a female that wasn't me... kinda like cheating but not cheating.
I am trying to get over this...really I am. Thank you for the reply.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:22PM
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Oh, for God's sake, wdwfan - you are being so ridiculous. And you obviously know nothing about men.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Thanks a lot scarlet2001.. the reason I post online instead of talking with people I know is so I don't get bashed.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:00PM
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Nothing happened. Forget it. Never mention it again. You're fine.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 7:25PM
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"So why am I having such a problem letting this go?"

Because your first husband had a problem with it and you are afraid, I'd imagine.

To avoid this being an issue in the future I'd address my personal fears rather than make him out to be the wrong one. But I personally have no problem with my DH going to a strip club. As it is he goes 1-2x a year for birthdays/weddings/etc. with the guys. I trust him, and I don't mind a bit.

Have you ever had a male stripper? I had a very cute, very young policeman come for my bachelorette party. It's not that big of a deal. I was so happy to see my husband afterwards!

Let your DH be an individual. Let him make his own choices. Don't put those kinds of restrictions on him. Men are very visual creatures. They look. If your man is any good, that's all he'll do. Tell him you're glad he told you, and that you trust him and that you love him, and leave it at that.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Here's another wife that doesn't get upset when my husband goes to strip clubs when one of his friends gets engaged or there is a birthday. He doesn't get upset when I would go see the Chippendales or male stripers either. It is all about trust in the person you love. If he wanted to cheat on you he would. Strip clubs have nothing to do with it. He could be in a library and see someone. You need to stop putting the worries of 1st husband onto you present husband. He has done nothing wrong. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:33PM
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wdwfan, what you have to realize is EVERYTHING stimulates males, LOL, whether or not they are married. Commercials, movies, a pretty lady walking down the street, a song on the radio, pretty much everything. That is the way men work, and they can't change their biology because a ring is on their finger. Getting turned on is not cheating, only acting on it. It's unrealistic to expect your husband to never get turned on ever again by anybody/anything but you. If he says that's the case he's lying. It's physically not possible.

Your husband is not a bad guy, he is a man. Try not to fault him for being completely normal. I've never cheated on anyone in my life, but that doesn't mean I don't own a few Brad Pitt movies. ;)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:34PM
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"It's unrealistic to expect your husband to never get turned on ever again by anybody/anything but you. If he says that's the case he's lying."

Amen. My husband is happy for me when I tell him someone flirted with me. He came home from work the other day and told me one of the girls in his office complimented him on his eyes. I told him "she has good taste" and we laughed.

Sexual attraction is normal. Acting on it is a violation of our agreement to be monogamous.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 4:35PM
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I want to apologize for my too-blunt posting. I am a very outspoken woman, as everybody tells me. Constantly.

So let's start in a kinder, gentler manner: men are different from women. I know you have noticed that by now! Men are psycho-sexually set for visual stimuli. We may get all romantic over a chick flick or something, but guys like to see skin. Don't blame or penalize your man for being a man, he's wired that way, Hey, at least you know he's not gay.

Please don't cut his masculinity off in front of his friends by making him take a cab. He is acting in a completely normal, harmless way. He's not cheating, sinning or doing anything abnormal. All you will do by creating a gigantic fuss is to drive this behavior underground. Then you really will have troubles.

Finally, have you ever seen a really handsome man who made your heart go pitter-pat? Maybe you felt a flush creeping up your neck or you blushed and felt that kind of glow come over you. Were you cheating by doing that? No, you were reacting in a normal biological way, as Mother Nature designed us. So don't worry. Sounds to me like you have a good man. Treasure his manliness.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:43AM
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I'm glad that apology was made - clearly, the OP has issues spilling over from her first marriage and it's truly amazing how complex the human brain is - it's obvious OP is looking for help to see the situation "clearly."

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Yay Scarlett!!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 12:52PM
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He sounds like a good guy.

Try not to make this a big issue, it sounds to me, that you could have issues about self esteem.

Think about how you view yourself, do you think you are desirable to your husband ? He loves you, not some silly stripper in a club.

If you think you could improve the way you look, then go and do it. It will make you feel better about yourself.

Remind yourself why your husband married you, try to move on from the hurt of the past.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:50PM
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Thank you to all that replied. As far as him taking a cab in front of his friends...these are not his friends, they are his coworkers that were along on the business trip and they only had one rental car. I am sorry if no one agrees but I do feel like he should respect me and my feeling way more that high fives from a group of guys he doesn't like. I am also well aware that guys look at everything, I know my husband does look. I also know that I have noticed a guy walking past but I don't go to places that I know guys will be just so I can look. I will never agree that he should get to go whenever just cause he's a guy. And FWIW I have not let myself go at all. I work hard to keepmyself looking nice not just for him but for my own self as well.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 10:00PM
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YO, wdwfan....if this is the hill you've chosen to die on, you're being a fool. If you don't let this go, whatever comes next will be your fault, not his.

If there's more, by all means write it. However, from what you've written to date, I think you're being astonishingly unreasonable.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:00PM
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Listen to Asolo. This could be a great learning experience for you. (I mean the situation, not listening to Asolo! Well, both, really.)

Have you ever given your husband a little strip show at home? I'll bet he would like it a lot. There are always new boundaries to extend your love life.

Marriage is like a restaurant. When we marry, we agree not to eat at any other restaurant, so we have to keep the menu interesting. It's been my experience that men will pass up a nice steak dinner for a hot dog just because that hot dog is different and new. It's our job not to let that happen.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 11:20PM
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Thanks again for all the replies and trust me I know how to turn the same steak into something new for dinner all the time. There is nothing lacking there. I think the reason I am writing on this board is because I do not mention it at home. He hasn't heard about this since he told me and I won't mention it again. Since I am having some difficulty I am telling you guys.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 11:55AM
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it might be cultural for me but going to strip clubs is considered trashy, not a classy sophisticated thing to do in my circles, so I understand how you feel. We like having fun, but we are not strip club going crowd. I would feel disappointed too. but everyone makes mistakes especially if they just follow their dumb friends, if it is one time deal try to let it go...I understand how you feel, you are not being crazy at all.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Thank you parent of one. This seems to be a one time deal (the other 2x's DH went were in his early 20's before we met...he is 40 now). There are many reasons why I fell in love with and married my DH. One of them was the fact that he wasn't into all of the things my ex was into. My DH didn't go from woman to woman..he didn't have a playboy collection and he wasn't the kind of guy that went to strip clubs because he was a man. Now I know what some of you are thinking that a guy like this has to either have a secret underworld or he must be gay. Well my DH is neither..maybe that is why this was such a shock. I used to catch him (on occassion) watching those late night adult flicks. I am not a prude by any means and it took many years for my DH to finally understand I can enjoy those movies with him. I enjoy many things and he is not lacking for quality or quantity. I was just hoping to keep it between us. Now I am not an idiot. I know that he has sized up every woman in a room within 10 seconds...good bad and ugly. I know he may go to a certain store with the cute checkout girl that flirts with him even though it is out of his way. That he likes stupid guy movies because of the bathroom humor and naked women doing things women would never do except in those movies. To me this means he is just a normal man. I was very hurt when he went out to a place for one purpose only. Not saying he did anything wrong...a matter of fact read one of my previous posts...he acted more like the cab driver than a frat boy. When my husband realized how much this hurt me he promised never to do it again. Not never tell me just never do it again. I decided instead of hashing out everything to my DH (what good would that do) to talk here. I speak my mind and even though I will be judged no one knows me here.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:07PM
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WDW, I'd invite you to consider sharing with your husband what you've been experiencing. True intimacy is about sharing your good and your dark side - if you present it as "this is MY problem, not yours", it's a gift you give him.

We often think we're so great at hiding stuff, but I bet there's evidence of your anxiety, and to explain it would help him understand you. If you made sure to let him know that you have a goal to overcome it, and that it is not about his faults it's about yours, I bet he could tolerate it.

I bet it would also help you "get over" it. It would increase your trust in him to share it with him and him not over react - If you state it as YOUR problem.

He may need to recognize that this is a weakness of yours, and that it may require more than one conversation. None of us are perfect, and it is awesome when we can confess this to our partners and they can support us through our struggles.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:31AM
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"Now I know what some of you are thinking that a guy like this has to either have a secret underworld or he must be gay"

don't let other women confuse you. there are men out there who do not go to strip clubs and yes it is normal, no they are not gays. LOL plus everyone has different standards. you don't have to have the same standards as others. some men go to bar every night, some go to stripclubs, it does not mean you should be happy with yours doing that. but again everyone does silly things once in a while.

amy, I don't think it is OP's weakness not having much respect for strip club. I think it is her standard. we are not talking about museums or theaters here you know or sporting events. not like she does not want him to play golf.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 6:28AM
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"I know he may go to a certain store with the cute checkout girl that flirts with him even though it is out of his way."

See, now that is more 'cheating' to me than going to a strip club. My DH does not have a secret stash of playboy magazines and never initiates going to a strip club. But in the five years we've been together he's gone to at least three bachelor parties and one birthday party where that was a part of the evening.

I don't know of anyone who thinks going to a strip club is "classy and sophisticated" PO1... I think that's the point... right? My DH doesn't particularly like to go and is the one with the hand sanitizer in his pocket for the door handles, lol.

Honestly, to me it is telling that your DH was with co-workers. I think in this situation it's probably for the best that he just went. At least with friends he could have comfortably said no, co-workers are different.

My dh never hangs out in bars, doesn't flirt with other women, and has asked me if I felt ok with him going to the parties every time. And I've always said yes, because I trust him.

Either you can trust him or you can't. Don't put a collar around the guy.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 10:56AM
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wdwfan, have you ever been to a strip bar? I really think all women should go to one at least once, to see what most of them are really like. When I was younger I thought that they were just like the movies; beautiful Playboy type women with men just completely captivated by them. Well, most of them are not like that at all. (Years ago, a friend of a friend's GF was an "exotic dancer"; sometimes we'd have to pick her up at work. She was a nice enough woman and I could think of no tactful way to say that I wouldn't even set foot in the places she worked in.)

Anyway, the majority seemed to be filled with a few sad lonely men who are mesmerized by the dancers, but mostly businessmen or guys having bachelor parties who really seem to be more interested in the concept of being "bad" and acting like they're getting away with something than that much real interest in the dancers. The women are attractive enough but usually nowhere near porn star perfection, and probably a lot closer to the physique of a normal fit woman than you'd think (yup, they've got cellulite too!).

I can understand that you're upset, but it really was probably completely innocuous male bonding in a frat boy way. A very rare trip to a small local strip bar was probably less stimulating to him than watching the sleezy NFL "cheerleaders" during a football game. Many of the men I know over about age 30 dislike going to strip bars because they find the experience a bit sad and pathetic.

Seriously, if it's bothering you that much, ask your husband to take you with him for a very brief visit (it's not uncommon for women to be there). I really think you'd feel a lot less threatened if you saw what it was really like instead of a Hollywood portrayal.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Just a personal quip....might be overboard and unrelated....however, I was once married to jealous woman. I never did any of those things OP speaks of but my then-wife was constantly in my face about where I was and who I was seeing and what I'd been doing, all of her suspicions having no foundation whatsoever. It made my home-life a misery.

Upon telling her of my intention to seek a divorce, one of the statements I made to her went something like this: "I've never done or even thought about doing any of the things you've suspected me of. But, you know, I might as well have done them and enjoyed them because, even being completely innocent, you've caused me to pay the same price as if I actually had."

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 1:29PM
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"WDW, I'd invite you to consider sharing with your husband what you've been experiencing. True intimacy is about sharing your good and your dark side - if you present it as "this is MY problem, not yours", it's a gift you give him."

Excellent advice from AmyFiddler --

Believe me, I understand how you feel about strip clubs. Ick. And yes, I've been to two with 'packs' from work on business trips -- one straight and one tranny. (FYI, the tranny strippers were much better looking than the 'natural' women... ;-)

Anyway -- Your husband was put in a tight spot and subjected to a lot of peer pressure. He resisted as much as he felt comfortable resisting -- which is a good thing, right?

You say you absolutely believe him about how it went down (I would too) --
Ao let it go, feeling confident it's not going to become a habit.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:24PM
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"Many of the men I know over about age 30 dislike going to strip bars because they find the experience a bit sad and pathetic."

good is sad, nothing cute about it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 7:37PM
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Yeah. Many men over 30 have also seen enough naked women and (hopefully) enough in loving situations that just watching the flesh isn't enough to tantalize in the same way as it did ages 14-25.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 11:12AM
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This was a post that I thought I didn't need to post on at first, but I will offer up my $.02 anyway.

When I met my current husband, he was a bouncer in a bar. Not the kind of bar that has too much excitement, but I am sure he had his chances. (Hey, I thought he was cute; I couldn't have been the only one.) He was also a friend of my brothers. One of the reasons I dated him was because he never went home with any of the women there, didn't waste his time flirting with them either. He had friends that were girls, but he didn't hang all over them either. I also got a pretty good recommendation from a rather over protective brother. LOL. You would think that with me being the oldest one, I wouldn't need protected, but my first husband did more wrong than you could imagine and I was pretty fragile afterwards for a while. I wouldn't even date for nearly a year.

Back to the point. Later I found out that DH worked as a bouncer at a few strip clubs before he met me. I had to deal with that. He knew what they were like and told me stories that would curl (or straighten) your hair. Some of them might just make it stand straight up. I was really insecure for a while. I took it hard. I finally swallowed my pride and told him how I felt. He knew something was bothering me, but didn't know what. It was just a part of his past, like his first marriage, after all. He told me that it was just a job, one that paid pretty well. He also told me that the last thing he wanted to touch was a woman like that after seeing how some of them behaved when they were off stage. He could never have made enough money at his day job to support himself and still pay child support, and help take care of his mom. It was just a way to make ends meet. I know that there are other jobs, but I guess he just looked the part. He is about 5'9" and looks as wide as he is tall with little fat on him. Most of the time he didn't have to do much, but sit and glare at idiots. That was enough to settle them down.

The point is that sometimes what men do doesn't make sense to women, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. They just think differently than we do. It is what makes them the way they are. Unless you are lesbian or bi, it is best to be thankful they don't think like we do. That would change everything. Even the best men make choices that don't make sense to us and we don't have to agree with them. But we can't expect them to be something they are not. Your husband shouldn't do things that cause you pain, but you need to keep in mind that what he did was in the past and you have to leave it there. If he knows how you feel, then that is something that he is unlikely to forget and if he is considerate in every other part of your marriage (most of the time, anyway) then he is going to respect your feelings. That is more important than one bad judgement call. He obviously wasn't comfortable there, and I doubt he will choose to go to a place like that again.

I think you need to approach him like Amy Fiddler suggested and make sure he knows how you feel without making your past his fault. You may need to talk to someone else about your past because you are still carrying baggage from your first marriage. It might be hard to put it down, but your marriage will be a lot better if you can leave your ex and his problems out of it.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 3:50PM
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Ah yes, I should clarify - the "weakness" i am referring to is the "stuckness" - being unable to get past the obsession.

I don't think it's weak to dislike the idea of a husband at a strip club. It's a preference, not a weakness.

The weakness is the OP's struggle with moving beyond the husband's clearly remorseful 'confession" and also the baggage left from the first husband.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 6:14PM
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Wdwfan, one thing I think you need to get out of your mindset is this:
"when he went out to a place for one purpose only". I would believe your husband when he told you he went to go along with the crowd. That was his purpose. To not rock the boat. To not be the awkward one who took the car or had to organise separate transport. If his purpose had been to look at naked women, he would have been there in the front row with his colleagues, not sitting at the bar. As it was he only sat there for 15 minutes, then left. If his purpose was to look at naked women, surely he would have been there a lot longer. Clearly he's not comfortable with the strip club thing, either.
Let it go.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 6:57AM
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I agree with Colleenoz. Your husbands intention was to not rock the boat....not to ogle other women. I feel the same way you do about strip clubs. I think it's extremely disrespectful for a married man to go to one. While he should have had this mindset all on his own and not been swayed by his coworkers, he made a mistake and went. BUT, judging by what you've said I don't think he realized how much it was going hurt you. Now that he knows he won't make that mistake again, sounds like he loves you too much to do that intentionally. You have a good man, and let me tell you they are hard to find. Talk to a friend or counselor until you feel better. Oh, and if he has a brother send him my way. LOL

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:34PM
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