Sometimes we need directions on how to conscientiously affair-proof a marriage.

affair-proof a marriage

By Sarah P.

While I realize most of us have found ourselves on this site because of infidelity, infidelity does not need to define our future. After infidelity has occurred and if a couple has mutually decided to rebuild their marriage, they will be required to build a new marriage on a stronger foundation.

If a new marriage is not built on a strong foundation, then the same mistakes can occur.

While we could come up with a million reasons a marriage has gone wrong, sometimes we need to focus on ways to make things go right. Sometimes we need instructions on how to break bad habits that have gotten us into a rut.

Most importantly, sometimes we need directions on how to conscientiously affair-proof a marriage.

When I talk about affair-proofing, we must understand that this process takes two people who are equally committed to making the daily choice of saying “yes” to their own marriage.

In theory, one partner can do things and set boundaries that keep a marriage safe. As long as the other partner follows these boundaries, a marriage can be safe. That’s not always the case, so both partners need to be equally committed to affair-proofing their marriage.

But, what does it really mean to affair proof a marriage?

It means that both partners must adhere to a set of mutually determined boundaries and choices daily, no matter how tempting the alternative might look.  Each partner must be mindful that the grass might look greener, but in reality, this “greenness” is false.

I have a metaphorical story to illustrate this false greenness. My family lived in Las Vegas in the early 1980’s because my dad worked as a professor at UNLV. The first year we lived in Las Vegas, we rented a house until that perfect house came along. 

Even though we watered our lawn, it was a scrawny mess and a wilting shade of pale yellow.  One day, I decided to go over and inspect the lush, green grass at the apartment complex across the street. I took my shoes off and the green grass felt weird. Then I touched it with my hands and to my surprise, it felt like plastic.

So, I decided to pull it from the ground and it had roots! What was up with this plastic grass that had roots? Then, a truck showed up that explained it all. A man got out of the truck with a paint sprayer and was literally spraying the grass that deep shade of inviting green.

The real grass would have been the same wilting yellow as ours, except for this grass got painted every week, making it falsely appear more healthy and green than the grass in our yard.

In reality though, how healthy could this grass be since it was being sprayed with chemicals each week that gave it the illusion of health and greenness?

This is the same phenomenon that occurs when people look at others and believe they are the greener grass. They are seeing a surface appearance that seems to be genuinely tantalizing and perhaps ‘better’ than what they have at home.

But, they have no idea that they are seeing a falsehood since it is only a small slice of a person and perhaps an image that the other person is projecting to the world. All the ugliness underneath is slickly painted over and as long as you stay at arm’s length, the paint looks real.

I know many families that project the image of having it all together while being a wreck behind closed doors. Sometimes, even my family fits this description. To some extent, every family and every person fits this description since most of us try to show our best faces while out and about. It is the “right thing” to do from a social perspective and it is rewarded to some extent.

During affairs, both affair partners are showing up with their ‘very best paint jobs’ for the other person and the whole person is rarely seen. That is, until something goes wrong such as one person ending the affair. Then, the craziest parts of a person can – and do come out. Not everyone who has an affair is crazy, but if there was already a crazy person on the inside, an affair can and does bring it out. If there is a bunny-boiler on the inside, it will come out.

There is no such thing as greener grass since every person and every marriage has its challenges.

Empowering Yourself: An Essential Part of Healing from Infidelity


Affair Proof a Marriage with “We”ness

There is a balance between codependence and interdependence. A stable and supportive marriage requires a “we” in every important thought and decision.  When decisions are made, they need to be what is best for the marriage and family. Taking the other spouse’s wellbeing, happiness and success into account is also important. It is also important that both spouses generally make each other happy and they like spending time together.

Amanda Chatel said,  “According to a new study out of Canada, great relationships aren’t only about communication, respect, love, and all the rest of it. People in happy relationships are also emotionally interdependent. Good couples ― especially elderly ones who have spent the majority of their lives with one another ― are far more sensitive to each other’s emotions. In some cases, their emotions are actually dependent on that of the their partner. Basically, couples that are happy because of each other and for one another are more likely to have relationships that stand the test of time.” (1)

Some marriages are competitive, but those marriages cannot succeed in the long run. We must support each other.

Ability to Choose Their Partner Daily

I was reading another blog recently and the author recounted her experience with her husband being a target of another woman. Her husband was coaching little league and a single mom would hit on this woman’s husband over and over again.

Even though he said a clear “no” to the other woman, the (would be) other woman told him he couldn’t possibly be “happy” in his marriage because most marriages are not happy, and so she reasoned he was fair game.

The single mom claimed she could make him “happy” where his wife had failed. When the man realized the problem would not go away and this single mom would try every trick to lure him away, he confided in his wife about it.

The wife very bravely confronted the other woman. No, she did not have a smack down in the wrestling ring with the other woman, which is what I would have secretly been tempted to do. But, as a pacifist, I could never do such a thing in reality. 

The wife took the high road. She actually spoke to the other woman/single mom with compassion and said she understood why the woman was attracted to her husband. Then, she caringly gave advice to the single mom on how to get a good husband.

I do not know how this ended since it was a standalone guest piece on another blog. But, I have my doubts. The cynic in me would say that the single mom probably just moved along to another (easier) target since she had a very particular disregard for the bond of marriage. 

The way I handle these things is to show up with brownies for everyone and get to know everyone. I show up as often as needed to get the other person to look elsewhere. It’s a win on several levels: I get to know my husband’s colleagues, any would-be other women understands there is not an easy target, and everyone gets chocolate.

There have been a couple where the brownies did not work, so I just reminded my husband about boundaries. One of these women even wore lingerie to work and showed him bikini photos in an effort to entice him. He immediately told his manager and then told me. The manager sent her home to change. (Even the patients complained.) Yes, some would-be other women are quite bold and have no regards for marriage.

See also  Healing from Infidelity: I Liberated Myself Today

So far, my husband has chosen me. So far, the author of the guest post has a husband who has chosen her. I continue to choose my husband daily and hopefully he will continue to choose me, although he is entering prime midlife crisis time and only time will tell if our marriage withstands that.  The crux of it is, both partners must continually chose each other despite the fact that we live in a society where morals have almost been completely abandoned.

Got Happiness?

Here is a side note that I wanted to talk about before I forgot. Very occasionally, people will divorce and marry their affair partners. They falsely believe that if they project a happy appearance to their children, that the children will be happy for their parents and at peace. This could not be further from the truth.

Having an affair and marrying an affair partner will do damage to many future generations and there is no way around that. A parent’s so-called happiness does not a happy child make. All children on some level want their biological parents to find a way to work out their differences, no matter how dismal the outlook.

My oldest son notices when men look at me in the store or when waitresses get a little too flirty with my husband. He gets so angry that he sees red. Breaking up due to an affair (when children are involved) should not be for the purpose of pursuing the other person and marrying them. Affairs, whether they are hidden or out in the open, hurt children just as much as they hurt a betrayed spouse.

The best thing anyone can do to affair-proof a marriage is to choose their partner on a daily basis. Marrying the other person brings sadness to all in the long run.

happy marriage


Each of us must have accountability for our own actions, no matter how small or large. We are responsible for our attitudes and our reactions, no matter what comes our way. Our actions, reactions, and attitude are the only things we can control.

On the flip side, we are accountable for our actions, reactions, and attitude.

If a married man is in a scenario where a woman is offering sex with no strings attached, he is accountable for his actions—for his choice—if he chooses to go through with it. Yes, the woman offered herself on a platter, but a man could walk away.

Yes, I have heard from men personally that walking away is not as easy as it seems, especially when they are going through a rough patch. I have heard all of the justifications.

But, justifications do not remove the fact that a choice was made and each person must be accountable for his or her choice.

There can be no blame put on the betrayed spouse. People must be accountable for the actions and reactions in all aspects of their lives. (Caveat: a betrayed spouse can do some very out of character things right after D-Day. A betrayed spouse is in mere survival mode during this time and it often transcends the ability to reason. When people are pushed past their limits by something they did not choose, allowances need to be made for out of character behavior.)

Men with the Ability to Give In to Their Wife’s Wishes

Thomas H. Maugh said, “Husbands, forget all that psychobabble about “active listening” and “validation.”

If you want your marriage to last a long time, the newest advice from psychologists is quite simple: Be willing to do what your wife says.

A widely recommended form of marital relationship advice has been active listening, in which one partner paraphrases the other partner’s concerns–“So what I hear you saying is . . .” But that is unnatural and requires too much of people who are in the midst of emotional conflict, said psychologist John Gottman of the University of Washington. “Asking that of couples is like requiring emotional gymnastics,” he said.

Gottman and his colleagues studied 130 newlywed couples for six years in an effort to find ways to predict marital success and failure.

Couples who used techniques such as active listening were no more likely to stay together than couples who did not, they report today in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, published by the National Council on Family Relations.

“We need to convey how shocked and surprised we were by these results for the active listening model,” the team admitted in the article. In fact, Gottman and his colleagues have long recommended active listening to couples seeking counseling and had expected that its use would be a predictor of success in marriages.

That it was not, he said, suggests that its widespread use in marital counseling–a field already beset by sharp philosophical divisions–should be abandoned.

The marriages that did work well all had one thing in common–the husband was willing to give in to the wife.” (2)


Even though I just read this, I have a marriage very much like this. While my children know that my husband is the head of the household and should be respected as such, my husband also defers to my guidance. (And yes, so far I have gotten it right, whether it be what is best for our kids to what we should invest in.) Of course, I would never ask for him to defer to me on topics of which I am uninformed. That would be both disrespectful and unwise.

So, I defer to him when he is the expert and he defers to me where I am the expert. But, I see both of us as a team and we are on the same side; anything that I want is always for the good of keeping the family together and helping our children and future grandchildren build a secure future. The world is not about me, but about “us” and that us includes my husband, our children, our future grandchildren, and parents.

Now, on the other side of the coin, I have seen examples where a husband deferring to his wife has ruined his life financially. Deferring to one spouse (male or female) needs to be balanced with analyzing the other person’s motives and goals. All motives and goals need to be directed toward what is best for the family.

It is unwise to defer to a wife who spends 15k on clothing/shoes/purses per month. (Yes, I know of a marriage like this through the grapevine and they will be bankrupt soon if the husband does not put a stop to it.) I am not against women treating themselves to nice things; I am against it if it puts the family budget in jeopardy.

So, while I believe in listening to a wife’s needs and deferring to her, my caveat is that big decisions need to be in the overall best interest of the marriage and family. I am not a feminist and do not believe women are better than men. I believe life is best when we enter relationships as equal partners and cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect and love. (And mutual respect and love cannot co-exist with infidelity.)

Make This D-Day Your Last – What Works in Rebuilding a Marriage after Infidelity


Ability to Laugh and Stay Grounded in Times of Stress

They say that laughter is the best medicine and it is to some degree. We must have the ability to laugh at ourselves even in stressful situations. 

We were in Hawaii during the recent bomb scare from North Korea. It was our last day there and the sky was cloudless and blue. I kept staring at the sky and feeling that something was very ‘off’ even on this beautiful day. (I have had premonitions my entire life.) So, I pulled my Jeep over and started taking pictures of the mountains against the sky and then took photos of the sky.

When I was almost home, my phone beeped loudly and I pulled over again. The text read that there was an inbound missile coming from North Korea and that we needed to seek shelter immediately. I raced home and thankfully everyone was at the town home. We sat in the stairwell wondering what to do.

See also  The Ache of Affairs and What You Can Do About It

Then, my husband started to compulsively clean the windows on the townhouse even though he knew the maid would (hopefully) come that day. I said humorously, “these could be our last minutes together and you are concerned about Windex?”

That broke the tension and we could all get settled and start to think clearly. I called my parents and we prayed. My husband called his brother who was on a different Hawaiian island.

We looked at the news to see if the bomb scare was true and found no evidence that it was. So we sat together, thought, reaffirmed our love as a family, and took deep breaths. We thought out loud about how best to stay alive.

Almost forty minutes later we found out it was (thankfully) a mistake. But, even if it had not been a mistake, what good would it have done to become completely hysterical?

We obviously wanted to stay alive and were thinking through how to do so. Giving into hysteria would not have helped us stay grounded. Staying grounded was essential to survival since it allowed us to think clearly.

Of course, on a personal level, prayer is what helped get me through the situation the most. When I am under stress, I take my problems straight to God and give them to him. This is how I personally stay grounded.

Others might find comfort in meditation or surrendering to the concept of radical acceptance when in stressful situations. It does not matter what you do to stay grounded. It matters only that you have a mechanism to handle stress.

When I recounted this story to my dentist, he asked if I had been scared. I told him that Kim Jong Un was a lot like a human version of Dick Dastardly. Dick Dastardly is the “id” personified in the Wacky Races and Kim Jong Un has a lot of these qualities; he is a walking caricature.

So, how could someone be scared of a walking caricature? Kim Jong Un is like all the cartoon bad guys who set out elaborate plans to destroy the world and whose plans always fail. Like the evil cartoon characters, despite the weapons he makes, all of Kim Jong Un’s weapons (I believe) will be built to fail and his plans will backfire. And Kim Jong Un probably even has a little dog called Mutley that will smirk and snicker when he fails. That’s a funny image and it helps me get through the stress of an impending nuclear crisis.

Seeing the humor in a situation along with consecrated prayer are the two things that keep me grounded during stressful times.

You Need Authenticity to Affair Proof a Marriage

Here is an addended version of a blog post from Psychology Today. The author, Mel Schwartz said,

“The act of authenticating is a process of determining that something is indeed genuine, as it is purported to be. Experts receive training to authenticate precious objects, memorabilia, and documents, among other rare items. Yet we have no such method for ascertaining the authentic nature of people. 

Short of being caught in a bold-faced lie or transgression, methods of determining an individual’s authenticity often go unexplored. One’s authentic nature is revealed in their ability to express and share what they think or feel in a relatively unadulterated form. Diplomacy, political correctness, false flattery, people pleasing, avoidance and silence may, in fact, be designed to mask the authentic, unfiltered self…

Most of us are too concerned with what others think of us. As such, we may disguise or manipulate features of our personality to better assure that others aren’t judgmental or adversely reactive to us. If I worry about what others think of me, then I manipulate my personality and communication, either to seek approval or avoid disapproval. This masks my true or authentic self. Although this personality trait is commonplace, it is far removed from authenticity.

It’s the exceptional individual who seeks authenticity. If our primary education provided coursework that taught us how to achieve emotional intelligence and the skill set of genuine communication, we might realign our priorities accordingly. The competitive spirit honors the winners, not the most sincere. And within that motif there is a belief that being authentic may impede success. Yet one need not preclude the other. If you untether yourself from insecurity and fear, you can set the stage for a self-empowered life.” (3)


Of course, being authentic requires risk. After all, when you show your authentic self to another, you become vulnerable. When you are vulnerable, you are emotionally exposed and this feeling is incredibly uncomfortable for many people. You run the risk of being laughed at or (even worse) rejected.

Some people cannot tolerate exposing their authentic selves with all of its flaws. The higher a person’s insecurity, the harder it will be to show authenticity. Insecurity and authenticity cannot coexist since insecurity usually overpowers authenticity.

Still, authenticity is the key to a self-empowered life and a healthy marriage.

affair proof a marriage

Strong Sense of Integrity

This is a no-brainer. When both married partners have a strong and unbreakable sense of integrity, an affair will not happen. Someone who has integrity generally has strong boundaries and avoids the activities or behaviors that would open the door to an affair.

Even if they are strongly tempted, their sense of integrity and how it ties into their identity will ensure that they do not go down the road of infidelity.

If a person with integrity is truly struggling with attraction toward another person, they will speak to their spouse and ask for help.

I have noticed that when someone tells their spouse about their attraction for another, they often feel so ashamed that it douses any amorous feelings they had for someone else. There is such a thing as healthy shame and healthy shame prevents people from ruining their lives and the lives of others.

Someone with integrity does not get drunk and dance on the tables in front of co-workers.

See the Value of their Partner

This is also a no-brainer since one of the tactics wayward spouses most commonly use during an affair is to demean their spouse. By demeaning their spouse, they can convince themselves that they are entitled to an affair.

When my ex was having an affair, I noticed that the way he spoke about me aloud changed. But, I did not know it was a sign of an affair. Before the affair, he bragged (in front of me) to people about how fun and cool I was.

One time, he took Dale Carnegie training. When he was getting his certificate, he thanked me in front of the 300 people in the audience and said his life goal was to be a wonderful man to me since I was such a wonderful person. During his ‘speech’ he also thanked me for my support and noted how I positively shaped his life.

Since we worked at the same company, he sang my praises to all the managers and always had my back.

Then, unbeknownst to me, he met someone else.

Toward the end of our relationship, he would ask me to stay home from a function because I was a ‘wet blanket’ and he feared I would ‘cramp his style’ and make him look bad in front of others.

I did not know he was cheating on me and so I took these comments very hard and tried to be a better person.

Now, I can envision what was happening behind the scenes. The other woman was probably dropping comments like, “she doesn’t know how to have fun like me…she is such a wet blanket.” Or, “you are such a special man and she cramps your style!” And, “If you stay engaged to her, I am afraid she will ruin your reputation around work. How will you be successful with her on your arm?”

I am also aware that the other woman was a consultant and had access to the managers and others whom my ex so wanted to befriend. He linked his success to quickly climbing the corporate ladder and wanted to be a CEO before the age of 35.

See also  Good Morning America Profiles Couple Trying to Survive an Affair

I am aware that she originally got him to go to dinner with her because she allegedly had a job lead for him, which would have been a promotion. The job was a ruse, but he took the bait.

After he took the bait, he had to come up with a list of my faults so that he could assuage his conscience and blame me.

One caveat: no one is perfect, but when someone starts having an affair, they will see their spouse in a very negative light and often make up flaws that simply do not exist.

I know and knew where my flaws were, but my ex was saying things that simply were not true and that were just the opposite of everything he had said and believed prior to that.

When recovering from an affair, a wayward spouse MUST find value in his partner once again. He must stop believing the lies that the OW told him or implied since many OW’s sabotage a marriage by either subtle or bold put-downs of the wife.

The same thing goes for female wayward spouses—whatever their excuse is or was, needs to be seen for what it is—a justification that helped them carry out the affair. Female wayward spouses are just as capable as male wayward spouses to re-write the entire history of the marriage.

Both genders need to find the real value in their partner and drop the illusion that someone else is better. Everyone has good points and flaws, but it is best to focus on the good in one’s spouse.

A caveat: sometimes wayward spouses are emotionally and physically abusive and have been during their entire marriage. Or sometimes wayward spouses have been life-long addicts and their addiction affects every aspect of their lives, including their financial stability.

In these cases, an affair is the least of the problems. There is no sense in trying to foolishly build up the good points in someone who (literally) pushes you down the stairs. There is no sense in trying to rebuild a relationship with someone who chronically uses drugs, or someone who continually convinces you that you are crazy and/or worthless.

Some marriages are extremely unhealthy and soul-shattering. When an affair happens, that is often a door opening that will allow someone to get out of an unhealthy marriage.

affair proof a marriage


Kindness includes unselfish love, sincerity, and empathy. A person who is truly kind to the core weighs the needs of others along with his or her own needs. A kind person chooses not to harm others.

A kind person actively refrains from actions that he or she knows will harm others, especially the people he or she loves. A kind person treats everyone with a measure of respect and regard, especially when no one else is looking.

There is a difference between the two words ‘kind’ and ‘nice.’ Kindness is a core quality that serves as a guidance system for every behavior and every decision.  If a person is genuinely kind, kindness infuses everything they do. Mother Theresa was kind.

Mother Teresa said,

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

As you can see, kindness is a mindset that is based upon actively doing good for others.

On the other hand, there is ‘nice.’ Anyone can be nice and anyone can be charming. I like to reference Ted Bundy frequently because he is really the best example we have of this distinction. The people I know who knew Ted Bundy personally describe him as, “the nicest guy in the world.”

Being nice and being charming are both behavioral choices that can be used to manipulate others. Of course, genuinely kind people are also publically viewed as nice, but we still cannot mistake mere charm/niceness for kindness.

People use charm to get things from others. People use niceness as a smoke screen to hide character deficits. Charm and mere niceness are not authentic since they are behaviors chosen to slip under the radar.

Ironically, since truly kind people are generally authentic, they will probably tell you about their bad day and will not try to project a false self.  Most of all, a truly kind person is motivated by giving unselfishly to others and doing good in the world. A kind person knows his or her reward is in the good that he or she does for others. Doing good for others is an expression of the kind person’s highest self.

Choosing a kind partner is probably the most important decision one can make in life.

That does not mean kind people are perfect—everyone makes mistakes. Kind people get depressed and are not exempt from the cares of the world. Even kind people have bad days where they can be tempted by an affair. They are only human.

Still, someone who is truly kind would not be capable of carrying out an affair because they know an affair would cause them to hurt so many innocent people.

Kind people will almost always take the high road. They are generally trustworthy since they live from a standpoint of trying to do the highest good for everyone.

These days, truly kind people are getting more difficult to find. But, this should be one of our highest goals as individuals.

Affair Proof a Marriage – Walking the Line (Summary)

All of us must be able to ‘smell’ the danger of an affair around us. Having an affair is easier than ever. Every type of ‘fantasy’ or ‘fetish’ experience is out there for the taking if people choose to cross the line.

While we cannot live a life in paranoia, we also must be aware that infidelity is just a click away.

If we are recovering from an affair, each spouse (especially the wayward spouse) must rethink how they relate. Wayward spouses must rid themselves of the character traits that led them to have an affair in the first place.

Most of all, it would be beneficial for wayward spouses to build up the character traits we have discussed in this blog. Sometimes it is easier to come at a problem from a positive perspective—that is, instead of dwelling on negative traits, start actively practicing positive traits. If you practice them long enough, soon they will become habit and easily override negative traits.

Some of you might be in a situation where your spouse does not want to practice these behaviors that are good for a marriage. If they practice just one, such as accountability, they can make a big step forward. Of all these habits, I would say that accountability is the most important trait for a wayward spouse to practice. (Most affairs are about NOT being accountable for one’s feelings, choices, and behaviors.)

Finally, we live in the real world where where change takes sincere effort. Sometimes people do not want to change. When they do not want to change, all we can do is set boundaries and do what is best for us regardless of another’s actions.

Do not forget, regardless of what others do, that we have free will and we can control our actions and reactions as well the way we think about the events in life that happen to us. Do not ever give up your power to another by allowing them to make you feel helpless. You are never helpless and always have a choice on how to respond. Regardless of what another does, you can work on you and live a full life.



Amanda Chatel. Happy Couples Are Emotionally Interdependent, Says New Study, Plus 7 Other Facts About Your Brain And Body On Love. From

Thomas H. Maugh II. Study’s Advice to Husbands: Accept Wife’s Influence. From

Mel Schwartz. Seeking Authenticity. From


    149 replies to "Affair Proof a Marriage: Some Habits of Infidelity-Free Couples"

    • TheFirstWife

      Interesting. I thought I had “Affair proofed” my marriage.

      I would tell you I was loving and kind and supportive and allowed him “free time “ with his friends to golf and play sports. Not excessive on his part but there was an annual guys golf trip etc.

      I did not complain the extensive amount of traveling for his job. We did not have cleaning people or babysitters.

      He started his As because “he didn’t feel loved and supported”.

      I talked and communicated with him. HE on the other hand communicated only when he wanted to, which was fine with me. I accepted him for who he was. Never tried to change him.

      And HE started the A. He made it happen.

      How do you protect your M when you believe you are doing a great job and are happy and loving to your spouse – but they CHOOSE to be selfish?

      How many here on EAJ were blindsided by the infidelity? I know I was.

      • Shifting Impressions

        TFW and Tired
        I was blindsided as well. Was life perfect….Hell No!!! No life ever is. Did I love him completely? Absolutely.

        I knew something was very wrong….I tried everything I knew to figure it out. I thought we were best friends…through thick and thin.

      • Exercisegrace

        TFW, you nailed it. I did think we were affair proof and so did he. You can’t be married 20+ years without hearing about couples you know dealing with infidelity. We had numerous conversations over the years about how awful that is, etc. But when the chips were down, and the ego-jacking began, he rewrote the script. I heard all the tired lines too. After d-day, I wrote him a letter entitled “I am the one who should have had an affair”. I listed all the ways I could have twisted things around to justify cheating.
        Ex: instead of saying…I’m so lucky my husband works hard to provide for us…. I could have twisted it to say….Oh poor me, my husband works so much and doesn’t spend enough time with me. PERSPECTIVE. Much of life is how you choose to see it.

      • Rose

        I was. Three times. Always telling me loves me (before, during, and after the EAs), proud of me, how wonderful I am.

    • Tired

      I agree with you TFW. I didn’t think “affair proofing” was necessary. I thought that being in a committed relationship meant that you don’t cheat. I stand by that. I thought it was integrity? I don’t think you should have to spell out in words what you expect. You know what is right and what is wrong. It sounds like you have put up with this behaviour for years.

      I too was blindsided by infidelity. I never thought my husband would cheat. Everyone we know was shocked. But he has, maybe not physically (how would you ever know that for sure). But he has betrayed our union, disrespected our marriage and lost my trust.

      I have to admit that I’m grumpy and have a temper. But you, TFW seem to have always been very supportive of your husband. So why are we in the same predicament? My husband also said “he didn’t feel loved and supported.” I think it’s an excuse. Some piece of skirt came along and admired them, and that was it. “Im unhappy.” Is it so simple as that? The wrong male brain being used? I think that is a big part of it. Maybe not all, but still a big part of it.

      Yes I can try to better myself in this way and that on the relationship front, but at the end of the line, if the partner is a silly person with a fantasy dream relationship they are bound for disappointment. What I do will never be enough. They will eventually see with life’s experience that no one is perfect. The grass is greener on the side you water it!

    • TheFirstWife

      Tired. Completely agree. We should not have to “babysit” an adult that knows right from wrong.

      So yes I am supportive of him (always have been) but the crap that came out of his mouth during the A was pitiful. Pathetic. Rationalize it all to justify the A.

      At one point I said to him “you are holding onto something for 20 years that I didn’t even know bothered you. How sad you didn’t mention it then. Am I supposed to be a mind reader?”

      How sad. It’s like being a parent to my spouse (which I refuse to do).

      Thank you for acknowledging my support of my H. To be fair and honest he has tried to make amends every day. I see that. I love him for it.

      However the scars run deep – his own doing. He caused major problems in our M including him wanting a D. So while I acknowledge what he has done to date I will always remember him walking in the door and saying “I want a D” out of the blue on two occasions.

      I will always remember the ILYBNILWY speeches.

      I will remember almost being tossed to the curb like the garbage.

      And yes some days I am just tired of it all too.

      Msybe I need to reinvent myself and cover my arms and neck and chest in tattoos. Wear clothes with my boobs hanging out. Start wearing tons of make up and post selfies all over. Become a drama queen. Woe is me mentality. Complain and live my life on FakeBook and blogs.

      I just don’t get why people think an A is going to make them happy and resolve their problems.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi TFW,

        Here is the irony. If you got tattoos, wore clothes that caused your boobs to accidentally “jump” out of their shirt, wore tons of make-up, and then posted yourself on instagram, my feeling is that your husband would be shocked, embarrassed and ticked off. The thing about some men (I have learned) is that they love to drool over “slutty” looking women but they do NOT want their wives to look like that. They want their wives to look respectable (to make them look good by proxy) and they also don’t want too many other men drooling over their wives.

        To be clear, I have actually read about this perspective on several different blogs written by men and those particular male bloggers have all said something to this extent. It’s not something I came up with on my own. Not all men are like this, but a certain sub-set of them are.

        • TheFirstWife

          I’m not changing myself or my looks for anyone. Ever.

          I just laugh b/c of how trashy she was and he honestly thought they could be Mr & Mrs Happy and he woukd take her to corporate events and she would fit right in.

          Hahahaha. He should have more common sense than that.

        • Tired

          That is very true Sarah. And I think that is also why the husbands don’t go off with the other woman and stay with their wife. No man wants a cheap looking tart that everyone is drooling over. The ones that do are usually players anyway.

          • Sarah P.

            The thing that I am trying to figure out is why a man will have an affair with the type of tart he professes to hate. For example, a man could be married to a classy wife and complain out loud that he doesn’t understand why all these women cover their bodies and faces in tats and piercings. And then he could say smugly say that he is so happy to be married to a classy wife who upholds a perfect image for the family.

            Then, midlife crisis hits and that same kind of guy will drive to the nearest gutter, pull out the woman covered in the most vomit (from drinking to much). She will be his new ‘project’ and he will convince himself this project is his new soulmate.

            Suddenly, that stable and wonderful life he has spent years building with his wife and kids looks boring compared to this addict covered in puke. And the addict covered in puke becomes almost like a princess in his eyes and he believes it is now his life-long mission to save the Princess from the Kingdom of Addiction from herself.

            And when the wife doesn’t welcome this new development (eg. the destruction of her own life taken to epic proportions), she gets the ILYBNILWY speech.

            Because the wife just doesn’t ‘understand’ her husband the way the gutter girl does. And the gutter girl ‘only wants what is best for his happiness’ whereas the wife is ‘stifling’ his happiness. And so he muses that gutter girl in his soulmate and that they will waltz into the future with their own happily every after. It never works out and lays waste to families.

            On some level it’s also almost more insulting when a man chooses someone from the lowest level of gutter over a wife of a high caliber.

            • Tired

              Sarah, my husband said a funny thing to me when we were apart and he was in the midst of his EA. It looked like he was leaving for good. He said to me that he had always ‘wanted to save me.’ I thought at the time that it was a ridiculous statement because I never thought that I needed any saving. I have always been self sufficient and independent and I am proud of that. But I have thought about this statement over the last couple of years and now I see it. He thought he was the knight in shining armour who was coming to save me, and he needed to be that for his own sense of self worth. But I didn’t feel I needed saving and so probably it looked to him like his efforts were not rewarded. Therefore I think he took that as I did not appreciate him.

              So the reason I think they go for this woman who others would laugh at is the way it makes them feel. Obviously if they are down in the dumps any admiration is like a carrot to them. The woman looks up to them, tells them how great they are. They don’t feel judged, they feel accepted. That’s a big recipe for an affair.

              Think about it. The woman my husband had this fling with was not covered in vomit, but she was definitely not his match in terms of education or intelligence. I think what appealed to him was the way she flattered his ego and made him feel like a “man”. I think when a man is not as his best and is down in the dumps it is easy for a man to fall into this stupid kind of affair.

              It is insulting that they choose someone like that over a woman of higher calibre. And I am insulted too. But have they? Most of them stay with their wife. That says a lot.

            • Rose

              Absolutely. That’s why they call it white knight syndrome and that’s exactly what my H has. He needs to be needed by women who ALWAYS use him.

            • Tired

              Rose, you can obviously see that fault in your husband. Are you still putting up with affairs? It sounds like they are still going on. I may have given some bad advice to you before. I would never advocate being the good wife while the man was still cheating though. My husband was used as well. But he is not still doing it. And if he was I would leave immediately.

            • Rose

              Fairly certain there is not one now but there is a woman on FB He is flirting with. For multiple reasons I cannot leave but I AM on to him. Just playing the game for now.

            • TheFirstWife

              Rose. I understand not being able to leave now.

              Good for you for being on to him and his cheating. And being able to understand how to play the game.

              Maddening. But it know you are smart.

              Keep posting here for support

            • Angela

              Is he still trying to impress her on FB with his newfound “knowledge” in Zen, Buddhism, etc? Did you ever ask him why he’s so needy for other’s approval? I truly hope things are going better for you.

            • Rose

              Thank you Angela. Yes he still is but then last night posted a cute animal video. He gets NOTHING of the sort on his FB feed. Well of course he shared her post because she cares about cute little animals and Zen.
              Actually on Saturday I called him on it. I should “detach” as my therapist said, but after he posted something I said “Are you really reading this crap that you post?” And he loudly “Of course I am! Why would I post it??” I said “I have no idea why the sudden interest in Buddhism” and he went quiet. He knows I’ve called him on it. Another thing…I posted a new pic (a damn sexy one I must say) as my FB profile pic. I did this because a) I never do…pics of grandson and dogs and a long time ago of me and H but none of just me and b) the narcissist sociopath posts a new pic of himself every week or so but in 7 years has only posted one pic of me and that was before I lost 100 pounds. He went nuts, asked me about the pic 2 days in a row, even asking why I took it. Oh I don’t know…maybe because everyone I know has a pic of themselves? Maybe to elicit a reaction after he saw my male friend’s reaction of “hubba hubba”?? (No worries, just an old married friend, nothing going on there) Yep, I got the reaction I wanted. All except he never clicked “like” or “love” because he has to save those for the OW. Am I playing a game and baiting him? You bet I am. I’m also going to yoga several nights a week so now he’s worried. Good.

            • TheFirstWife

              ???? Rose. Good for you.

              You have done nothing wrong. You posted a photo. Nothing he hasn’t done. (Except your photo is not intended to attract OM).

              Now you will start to see what happens when you no longer engage. No longer react to him. No longer CARE that he disrespects boundaries and you.

              You do not have to be mean in detaching or implementing the 180.

              Great start on the road to healing yourself in some ways.

              Now watch his reactions. He’s not going to like it ???? b/c he’s not in control. Especially of you. And the more independence you obtain the more he won’t like it.

              If this doesn’t get him to change I don’t know what else will.

            • Tired

              To be honest Sarah I don’t think there is much sense in their reasoning. It is all in the moment. They feel good in the moment and they don’t think about the consequences. I told my husband before the affair happened what would happen. Do you think he listened? Nope, blow full steam ahead, confident that he was not doing anything “wrong” because they were only texting (behind my back), right? Until it escalated to secret phones and dinners and staying back at work talking.

              It is all about their ego and how wonderful the other woman made them feel. That, it would seem, takes precedence over everything and everyone else in their lives. I have read many blogs and it seems the man always cheats “down.” Aka, vomiting woman in the gutter. This is why. They have this irrepressible need to feel wanted and admired. To be the rescuer. It is annoying but I think it is part of the male psyche.

              Not sure what we can do about it apart from being vigilant and chopping parts off if they dare to do it again.

            • Exercisegrace

              Sarah, I’ll take a crack at answering that one! While my husband’s whore was educated and in a professional job, she was trashy in other ways. After five years spent contemplating this, I think it’s a combination of a few things. First, it seems the cheater almost always comes from a place of low self esteem, crappy childhood, etc. Like my husband, they mask it behind professional and financial success, build a family to be proud of, etc. But when we rest our self-worth on external things, we are bound to fall eventually. Some into alcohol, drugs, and for our men, an affair. Mostly it’s a way to boot the flagging ego. Proof they are still desirable, successful, fill in the blank. Husband’s whore praised him nonstop. When I told him….but I told you most of the same things!….his shamed response was…but you had to say those things, you are my wife. At the time I thought she didn’t have to… sadly her praise carried more weight.
              Next, I believe most men have NO INTENTION of leaving their marriage. Subconsciously, I think they gravitate toward these women BECAUSE they are the opposite of what they would desire in a spouse. His whore was a big drinker (he abstains) she has no kids and doesn’t even like them (he has 4!!) I could list many more. I believe they initially see no harm in flirting, because this woman isn’t their type. For my husband (and most men, according to our therapists) the initial attraction isn’t about sex at all. It’s about the ego.
              Lastly, I think they get caught up in it all. When they realize what they have done, what they have risked, they feel trapped. My husband says that the first time it became physical he was certain I would leave him once I found out. He was horrified of being alone, losing his family etc. He felt a certain desperation to justify his horrible choice, to make their relationship “work”, and so the affair continued. The giant ball of crap began to pick up momentum as it sped downhill to eventually crush me. He admitted that had he been single, he wouldn’t have ever dated her. He never found her that attractive, she was just a dealer supplying his drug of choice.

            • Tired

              That is a very interesting way of thinking. “She was just a dealer supplying his drug of choice.” How very true.

    • Patsy50

      Sarah — great post!

      • Sarah P.

        Thank you, Patsy!

    • Exercisegrace a

      This is a great post. But as others have said, We did all of these things. My husband himself would tell you we had a great marriage. If we think we can “affair proof” our marriage, we are kidding ourselves. We are building what we think is a fortress, but it’s really a fairytale we tell ourselves. When we hear of friends’ marriages falling to infidelity we run behind the walls we think we have built, and say to each other “that will never happen to us, right?!”.

      My advice to others is to do all the things Sarah mentioned above, but know that AFFAIRS CAN HAPPEN ANYWAY. If you are married to someone who has a traumatic past, ask them if they have received counseling for it. I thought my husband turned out remarkably “normal” given the alcoholic, toxic childhood he had. We talked about how we would do things differently. He talked about how he would be a better father and husband. But at the end of day, he never learned solid coping skills. Never redeemed his sense of self-worth. So when times got tough (parents dying, new babies, moving, financial struggle all in short period of time) he couldn’t cope. The whore admitted she had been pursuing himfo

    • Exercisegrace

      This is a great post. But as others have said, We did all of these things. My husband himself would tell you we had a great marriage. If we think we can “affair proof” our marriage, we are kidding ourselves. We are building what we think is a fortress, but it’s really a fairytale we tell ourselves. When we hear of friends’ marriages falling to infidelity we run behind the walls we think we have built, and say to each other “that will never happen to us, right?!”.

      My advice to others is to do all the things Sarah mentioned above, but know that AFFAIRS CAN HAPPEN ANYWAY. If you are married to someone who has a traumatic past, ask them if they have received counseling for it. I thought my husband turned out remarkably “normal” given the alcoholic-parented, toxic childhood he had. We talked about how we would do things differently. He talked about how he would be a better father and husband. But at the end of day, he never learned solid coping skills. Never redeemed his sense of self-worth. So when times got tough (parents dying, new babies, moving, financial struggle all in a short period of time) he couldn’t cope. The whore admitted she had been pursuing him for a long time. When she saw him struggling with depression. She was quick to lend an ear at work because they were ” friends”. It boosted his ego, he was flattered to be pursued. He thought he was keeping good boundaries. He lied to himself that it was “cheating” because nothing physical had happened. Until it did. Then the shame and guilt drove him further into depression. He contemplated suicide. The whore talked him out of getting help. The kids and I were at fault, SHE had the answers and only SHE could help him. Sick, dangerous, horrible. Your partners past can come back to bite you in a big way. Make sure it’s dealt with.

      So it’s easy to get blindsided. Your best strategy is to not fool yourself into thinking “oh we have such a good marriage. It could never happen to us”. That is where the vulnerability lies. I’m not saying live a paranoid life. But stay awake. Listen to the first instinctive stirrings of unease.

      • Tired

        Your husband’s affair partner sounds like the woman who came between us too EG. Depressed and unhappy with his job, she saw his major career crisis and depression as a stepping stone for her future ambitions. Even he is angry now that she took advantage of his vulnerability and he sure does regret it. The things he said and did still hurt though. Like your husband’s tart, this one also was the only one who could “help” him. It annoys me to this day that he came home spouting about how wonderful she was and how she “understood” him even when we were trying to reconcile. This did not help us at all and caused further damage to the relationship. I know it was affair fog talking but really, it still hurts that he was do disloyal and disrespectful. He even said things like ‘everyone at work agrees you are this and that…’ These people did NOT even know me. Everything they knew about me was told to them by her, and it was all just a repetition of my husband’s disloyal complaints. Hardly an unbiased view! I’m more than willing to admit that I have my faults and I probably didn’t support him but it was all wildly exaggerated so he could excuse his terrible behaviour.

        TFW, like your husband’s bimbo mine also used Fakebook and Instantgratification to post her life. When we were reconciling she kept posting things that were aimed to upset me but do you think he could see it? No, I was the one who was paranoid. It annoys me so much. I think he knows now though because when she got really desperate she started posting things that were aimed at him! Haha

        This girl has someone else now (hopefully he was single!) and a new baby but she is still on social media 24/7 showing off. She seems to be using her child as some sort of narcissistic tool to get attention. Hilarious because my husband has always hated social media and would have hated a partner who was airing all the laundry in public! She takes photos of her partner asleep in the most unflattering of poses and posts them all for all and sundry to see! mine would have hated that, lol! The only time he was interested in logging on to facebook in ten years was when she wanted to add him!

        I’m also really disappointed in some women’s behaviour. All these people at work were female and they so easily joined the bandwagon to destroy another woman’s life despite not knowing me. How would they like it if it were done to them? I can only hope some serious karma comes back to bite them all!

        • TheFirstWife

          Tired. Thank you for your kind words.

          Yes I do struggle sometimes with all of it.

          But mostly the “I want a D” statements. It hurts to know you can be thrown away so easily. But I try to be positive b/c that is not who he is now.

          And I agree about other people believing the lies the cheater tells about the BS. to others.

          When a guy starts talking trash about his wife – I immediately think two things. That they are trash too. No respect. No love. No commitment. And NO brains.

          Second thing the blabbermouth doesn’t Realize is that it makes them look bad too.

          And I would always think – what is your role in the things you are complaining about?

          And I think many guys (and women too) use that as an opportunity to start an A.

          Husband: my wife doesn’t understand me

          Potential AP: oh let me be the shoulder to cry on.

          Boom!!! Beginning of the slippery slope.

          So just know that many people would not have believed a word your H said about you. We are smarter than that.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Tired,

          That really hurts to be badmouthed around the workplace and the fact that the OW was on a character assassination mission.

          I have noticed that a lot of female bystanders fall for the “he’s married to a wicked witch” narrative. And then the female bystanders feel sorry for the poor, long-suffering man who has to come home to the ‘wicked witch’ who makes him a good dinner, cleans his clothes, cleans the house, and lovingly takes care of his children. Oh the poor fellow– he is just so abused!

          I have even heard women who are against affairs say things like: “well, if his wife is evil, then you can forgive him for having an affair. He deserves to be happy.” To which I respond, “How do you know the wife is evil? Don’t you realize that when a man has an affair he will make even the most stellar woman look like the wicked witch of the West?”

          The things people will do/say and the things they will risk losing just for an affair is mind boggling to me.

        • Exercisegrace

          Tired, I really will never understand these pathetic whores. Snuffling along for scraps falling from the marital table like pigs in the mud. If I have taken one good thing from all of this, it’s that I have learned to respect myself for who I am. Not who I am to others (wife, mother, etc). I think it scares him sometimes. I told him at one point that I appreciate the lesson. There was a time when I thought I couldn’t live without him. Now I know I can and will if he ever puts a foot wrong again.

          • Sarah P.

            Exercise Grace,
            That is a great image of other women snuffling along for scraps from the marital table. And one always wonders why on earth they would settle for someone’s seconds that have fallen onto the dirty floor.

            • TheFirstWife

              I agree with you Sarah P.

              Why would a woman date a married man. Makes you wonder why they allow themselves to be treated so poorly. Beva side piece of action.

              But you don’t know what the CH or CBF tells the OW.

              My H told the OW he was divorcing me. So she had an “incentive” to be interested. Because he led her to believe our M was over.

              Now most of is here at EAJ would never believe that. We would run far far away. And not even consider entertaining the idea of a relationship with someone who was still married.

              But for some people – it is not a red flag. They will believe the guy and get involved in a relationship thinking they are not the OW.

              I’m just saying there are two sides to the story.

            • Tired

              Yes there are two sides to the story. For instance, my husband still denies telling the woman anything bad about me but I can read between the lines in the things that he HAS said and it is clear that he must have. In my opinion my husband thinks he behaved stupidly and is really ashamed of his behaviour. He thinks admitting it would shame him more, when really it would be better if he just admitted it. Im sure there was talk with the other woman about leaving me etc. I do believe he said it in a moment of madness, but probably the other woman believed it. That’s probably why she became so persistent and wouldn’t leave him alone when he came home. She thought some part of him meant it. And that is probably also why he kept responding to her messages once he came home even though I read them and they look like he was trying to do a slow fade- he KNOWS what he said and he probably feels some guilt that he said these things and then she got her hopes up only for him to do an about-face.

            • TheFirstWife

              I hear you about”what did they say about us”.

              They weren’t saying “my wife is wonderful” but let’s have an A anyway.

              I KNOW he was planning to dump me b/c I was told “I want a divorce” a number of times. I just thought it was him – and nothing to do with her.

              And yes he did tell her they had a future together. He did tell her they would be together. He did make it seem as though he was just going to sail off into the sunset and live happily ever after. With her!!

              I saw the emails. I know what he wrote.

              But he did try to lie his way out of it completely. Like he wasn’t making promises to her.

              Like I’m THAT stupid

            • Tired

              TFW, I didn’t see any of the emails or know of any of the verbal conversations that occurred during the affair. But I know he must have been bad mouthing me and saying he was going to leave. The little true bits that he did tell me made it painfully obviously about the large gaps that he did not. It is true that they must think we are stupid. Nobody with a brain would have believed the lies he told to cover it up. My husband is an absolutely hopeless liar. I mean when you ask a question and it takes a long pause before there is an answer and then the answer doesn’t really fit with the other things they have said…hello? And his eyes would give him away too. Then he expects me to believe it!

              The affair only lasted about two weeks. But I did find emails after he came back, but like I said it was like he was trying to do a slow fade. Too cowardly to tell her bluntly not to contact him, he did reply to her messages hoping she would get the hint and just go away. If I was on the receiving end of those messages I probably would have got the message but she obviously didn’t as she became very persistent. I think he only realised it when she started showing up at his new work – that was when I think he finally got it through his fat head that he needed to be firm. To his credit he did tell her in no uncertain terms and she was finally out of our lives forever, but it is still very upsetting that he didn’t do it earlier and continued to deny they were still in touch. I was living in limbo for 3 months wondering what the hell was going on. And he was wondering why it was so hard to reconcile!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Exercise Grace,

        The sad thing is that research has found men “who are happy in their marriages” will still cheat. So, that explains why your husband would have described your marriage as great. The fact that men who have good marriages and are in love with their wives and then still cheat has always been a sticking point to me. I guess that speaks to many men’s ability to disconnect mind and body. (I believe women have a more integrated view of mind and body– their emotions get tied up with sex and sex gets tied up with emotion.) It seems men can have emotionless sex and compartmentalize it.

        My cynical opinion is that most men (even men in happy relationships) don’t stand a chance when a woman has targeted them and when she will not give up. Women who target men (spouse poachers) know exactly what they are doing and exactly the right things to say to get a man to drop his guard (and his pants.)

        However, this does NOT take the responsibility off of the man for terrible and life-destroying choice.

        The OW in my situation told mutual friends that part of it was a game for her and the fact that he was getting married made the game all the more fun and intriguing for her. She targeted him and pursued him relentlessly. (I found out all of this after the fact because the stinking coward refused to tell me to my face even when I asked multiple times. He had the audacity to swear on the Bible and his eternal soul that there was no one else.) It was humiliating because about 30 different co-workers and work friends saw various parts of it go down and what happened after he forced me out of our home. (He and I worked together in the same department and on the same floor.) He had the OW move in the second I decided it was too dangerous to stay (he physically assaulted/battered me) and subsequently left. And he still wanted me to pay my half of the mortgage. I hired an attorney to communicate with him for the next year and half until the house was sold. Even though it is hard to imagine, there are women out there who get tremendous (sick) pleasure out of not only poaching a spouse but also over hurting the wife. Some women find great satisfaction in hurting the wife. These type of people are sociopaths and they walk among us.

        Do you think the OW in your case was a sociopath?

        • Tired

          Sarah, i agree. My husband’s affair partner was definitely a sociopath. She cared about no one but herself. I also agree that the man is fully responsible for his decisions. However it does seem true that men just give in when they are pursued full on by some desperate whore. Sometimes I think that the best revenge would have been to let her have him…he would have had a life very different to what his fantasy had been.

          My husband has always been looking for a ‘passive income.’ They did have a lot in common in that respect…she was looking for a passive income as well. Only he didn’t realise HE was HER passive income. Vomit. She is now with someone else who is providing her with that, more fool him. And she found him so quickly even though she was apparently devastated that my husband did not want her.

          Even though I hated him for what he was doing to me when he was in the grips of the affair I cared about him too much to let it happen. I thought even if it is over between us, she would ruin his life. She was selfish and had no conscience. There was no way that would ever make him happy in the long term. Her conduct was disgraceful…talking about past boyfriends in disparaging ways, having a ‘go for it no matter who it hurts mentality.’ The lengths she went to to manipulate and control my husband (while telling him I was the controlling one) were mind boggling.

          These women wreak havoc in other people’s lives and then they move on to another target with no regrets. I don’t know how people can live with themselves. I just wish men had more sense!

          • Sarah P.

            As for passive income…. I know a woman whose husband started a ‘bogus’ business with his female business partner (who unbeknownst to the wife was the other woman). The woman had inherited 1 mil in inheritance when her parents passed on. The man convinced his wife he needed to tap into the 1 mil to get his business off the ground. He and his female business partner (other woman) ran through all of it with nothing to show for it. When the cash was gone, he came out with the affair and left his wife for his affair partner. They had to file bankruptcy and the wife lost her gorgeous house on the water and moved into a trailer until she could find employment. This woman was starting over ay 60.

            There has got to be a special rung in hell for these types of people like this woman’s ex-husband and the OW. I am talking sheer evil.


            • Tired

              That is awful Sarah, and so cruel! I hope you are not concerned about me because the evil witch is way out of the picture and I’m quite confident that my husband would never do such a thing. That said, I’m glad I don’t have any money. How chilling!

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Tired,
              I am glad the witch is way out of the picture for you and that you and your H can move on.

              My story about the lady who lost everything is mainly an instructional illustration of what some men can do when deep in the affair fog. (I don’t know if they guy got out of the affair fog after their divorce was over, but it was as if the OW had some kind of hypnotic control over him and it was stronger than I usually see.) And if people do have money, I believe wives need to be on guard more than usual.


            • Tired

              It’s interesting what you said about that woman’s hypnotic control over the man. I felt like my husband was brain washed at the time. I remember reading somewhere that most cult leaders are sociopaths and the techniques they use seem to me very similar to those used by some of these affair partners. The responses we get from some of our cheating spouses are also very similar to how cult members behave…rejecting their families, etc. Very thought provoking indeed!

              The sociopath we knew used a variety of techniques including targeting a vulnerable person and love bombing. In fact, I would be interested to see an article on love bombing on this website. This is exactly what this woman did to influence my husband. Maybe you should write that one next!

            • Exercisegrace

              Tired, I second the request for a post on love bombing. Husband’s whore definitely employed that tactic. She even bought him a new phone, and installed tracking app on it. He said at first it seemed “cute” that she wanted them to be able to “see” each other, but it didn’t take long until it seemed creepy and stalkerish to him. At the time I used to wonder why she ALWAYS seemed to call with a work question when we were out as a family somewhere. Now I know.

        • Exercisegrace

          Sarah, I am so glad you were strong enough to escape your situation before it could turn deadly! Terrifying!
          Yes, to answer your question I do think she is a sociopath. Both IC and MC all tossed out that diagnosis. She has a history of chasing men 10+ years older than her, breaking up their marriages and walking away. When my husband ended the affair (prior to being caught) she waited patiently and then when she realized she couldn’t get him to resume it, she turned full bunny boiler. She tried to ruin our lives every way you could imagine. Hired an attorney, cost us a ton of money. Made crazy accusations. Her own attorney dropped her and told ours that if he were us? He’d sleep with one eye open and watch our backs. She stalked and harassed my older two kids online and infiltrated a private youth group page. It was terrifying. I could go on and on. We still have strange things happen from time to time, and. D-day was nearly six years ago. It’s part of what makes complete healing difficult, never knowing when the next jab will come that rips the scab open.

          Our MC said that she likely LOOKS for men who say they are happily married. That’s how he described himself to her when they first started working together. I think she took it as a challenge. But believe me, I hold him 1000% accountable for HIS choices. After long counseling discussions, I can see that what reeled him in was the flattery. The attention. She made him feel like the center of the universe. How do you compete with that when you are home alone all day with four kids, including two toddlers in diapers? She was a master manipulator. Although again, he should have known better. In the past, he would tell me when someone was flirting or had behavior that was unacceptable. I did the same. We communicated well, put each other and our relationship first. So I really, really didn’t see this coming. Our therapists said it was a perfect storm. We had lots of life stressors we couldn’t control (death of parents, business/money issues etc) and his shitty childhood left him with poor coping skills. The whore admitted taking advantage of his depression. She is scum. And I’m sure she is out there tearing apart some other marriage.

          • Sarah P.

            Hi Exercise Grace,

            This OW that you describe needs to have a warning label branded on her forehead. I can only imagine the level of craziness and stress and fear this woman brought into your life. Boy, I bet your H learned his lesson. The lady who flattered him and made herself appear special turned out to be one of the world’s biggest psycho B’s. Hopefully he will now have an aversion to any other women like this who cross his path.

            I am just glad you have come through this together and that no one was physically harmed. I could truly see her being capable of physical harm, but God must have been with you the whole time offering protection.


    • Tired

      TFW I have enough trouble trying to make peace with what my husband actually said about how this woman “understood him” (she didn’t even KNOW him). Yet your husband was actually asking for a divorce and giving you the ILYBINILWY speech. That has to be 100 times worse trying to come to terms with. That is so hurtful. I hope he is ashamed of it. I don’t know how you have come this far, but your husband seems to have made progress and I hope he sees you for the wonderful woman you are. Many wives would have walked away, and I can’t say anyone would blame them. I am glad he appreciates you now and is making heartfelt amends.

      Please do not cover yourself with tattoos and become a drama queen…I suspect you will end up attracting a horde of acopic males with ego issues!

      One thing I find funny is that the other women who are often involved in these situations is that they commonly have trouble getting a single man interested in them. If they didn’t, why would they be after married ones? I wonder why? DUH? Tattoos, drama and instagram. Lol

      • TheFirstWife

        I chalk it up to his temporary insanity lol

    • Puzzled

      I’m not sure you can truly “affair proof” a marriage either. I read the whole article and thought, “hmmm, this was us”. We were a team. We had fun together. We chose each other. We enjoyed each other. We valued each other. But…
      Something changed. She decided that she was “unhappy”. She decided that it was her “turn” to have everything about her. She chose to lie to me. And just like Sarah P, she swore to the Heavens that there was no one else. But there was. She chose to cheat.
      Affairs happen. You can plan, pray, & prepare. But, in the end, it’s an individual choice. Do I choose my spouse every day? Do I choose to love? Do I choose: integrity? Character? Commitment? Loyalty?
      Unfortunately, I know the ILYBNILWY conversations all too well. To say I was blindsided isn’t even close. This experience has changed me and, sadly, I’ve lost some of what I loved most about me. Maybe one day I’ll get those things back but I’m not holding my breath. I do cherish the fact that the affair doesn’t dominate me like it once did. However, I still get triggers. I still feel jaded.
      My wife keeps doing her part to bring us closer. But, I’m not sure she will ever know the pain, anguish, sadness, anger, bitterness, and loss that I felt. The way she treated me and the things she said are memories that will never disappear. There’s a saying I like: Be careful with your words; once they are said they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.
      Our “first” marriage died the day she chose someone else. Our “second” marriage is what we make of it from now on.

      • TheFirstWife

        Puzzled. I understand your position too well. Lived that nightmare. For a long horrific 6 months. Complete with a walk in the door where he demanded a D.

        By the end of that day I was only too happy to give it to him!!!

        But I look back and maybe b/c I am just “that kind of person” – I refuse to let a broken and unhappy person ruin my life.

        Not going to happen

        So I have made sure my life is happy and fulfilling to me – with or without him. I spend time alone (happily I might add) doing things I like. Reading. Gardening. See my friends (girl stuff). Whatever.

        I made a decision last summer to move beyond him and his As. I was a good person and had/have a great M and trested him well. If he can do better – he can leave at any time. And I will help him pack with a smile on my face.

        I am not here to make him happy. I am his wife who should ADD to his happiness. But if he is not happy with himself then he will never be happy.

        My attitude is you are either with me or not. And if not please get out of the road before I run you over!!

        Yes his words will always hurt. The fact he was going to kick me to the curb for someone else hurts. Always will.

        But he is/was not that person before the A or after. He gets a chance b/c I see he has and is trying to make amends. He is different than before his A.

        But I will not let him cause any more pain in my life. He took a number of years of joy from me – not all the time but a significant portion – and I don’t want to live like that. Ever again.

      • Untold

        Well said puzzled. Your words express my thoughts exactly. Affair about 5 years ago discovery about 3 yrs back. I don’t really like the way I am now, I don’t really love her the same way now, and I don’t feel great about our marriage now. Hanging in there to keep it together, because it’s not bad enough to choose the alternative. But it’s hard to make it great again when your spouse isn’t pulling their weight to repair the damage they caused.

      • Fatherof4

        Puzzled — Great post. I’m in a very similar position. Completely blindsided. Then chaos then, thanking God that she came back to us but knowing it will never be like before. I never knew how much of my self worth I received from my relationship with my wife. Once she stepped all over that, it’s been a struggle getting back. And they never will realize how much pain they’ve caused.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Puzzled that is really well said. I don’t know if they will ever totally understand the pain of the betrayal either. I too am forever changed. Something very deep inside broke on that day.

      • TheFirstWife

        I think my feelings towards HIM have changed due to the A and fall out and aftermath.

        But for the most part – in other aspects of my life – it is the same and I am the same or better.

        Better because I take nothing for granted.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Puzzled,

        I am sorry to hear about what you went through with your wife. What is the secret to your marriage now? Any tips on how you go forward?

        Also, that thing about losing some of the things you loved about yourself is very real.

        Prior to going through what I went through with my ex, I was known for my wicked sense of humor. I was always laughing, always making jokes. If there was a gathering, I was the proverbial ‘life of the party’ because I had the ability to see humor in everything and make large crowds of people laugh. I was this happy-go-lucky natural comedian and was “popular” in college and at work because I could diffuse any situation with humor. And I loved to laugh more than anything. My friends and I got into some real hilarious antics in college.

        After the trauma of the affair, losing my home etc, I lost my ability to laugh. I became profoundly serious and frightened all the time. The thing I loved most about my personality was gone. It’s just over 15 years later and only now am I getting that back. I would say I am 85% there on a good day.

        And that was and is one of the biggest things I resent about the whole thing. It ripped out that joyful, secure core then tore it to shreds and stomped all over it. For no reason. I don’t think wayward spouses can truly appreciate the depth of harm done.


        • Puzzled


          Sorry for not seeing this sooner. I think the secret to our marriage is a daily effort to make things better. As most of us can say, her affair was a shocker and completely out of character for her. I think she desperately wants daily connection with me for both of our benefits. And I think that’s a major avenue to rebuilding what she tore down. We are simply making each other a priority (more so on her part). She knows that she hurt me but she has no idea how it destroyed me.
          I’m sorry that you lost your “humor” side because I can relate. I don’t laugh like I used to and I’m less patient and trusting of anyone. I think the thing we all hated to lose was our naive belief in love and trust.

    • TheFirstWife

      After reading through these posts and being here for a few years I just had this thought.

      For so many people they are blind sided by the A. Never thought their spouse or SO or BF/GF would do that.

      I have always wondered this since DDAY- how is it that I was happy in my M and he was not??? I understand (now) that he wasn’t ???? % happy. Well no one ever is. But overall yes I am happy.

      But if your spouse doesn’t communicate feelings of unhappiness or show any outward signs, how would we know??

      My H joked at facing turning 50 but it was a joke. We all laughed. I never suspected MLC b/c we were still having fun and enjoyed spending time together and still had a lot of laughs. And my H is in good shape and doesn’t look his age.

      So what gives??? How are we to know the CS was “unhappy”? How can one spouse go along thinking all is ok and not know the other doesn’t feel the same way?

      It’s like you are not in the same M or relationship.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I have asked that same question several times. I asked him why he didn’t come to me. He said I tried to tell you in a million different ways how unhappy I was. My answer was “Why didn’t you tell me in PLAIN ENGLISH???”

        He was unhappy and depressed and didn’t seek help. He was good at helping others but when it came to himself became totally out of touch with his own feelings. It wasn’t really about the marriage at all.

      • Exercisegrace

        TheFirstWife….here is my answer. They WERE happy. I know we both were, I looked back at things I wrote and photos etc. But here’s the thing: every life has stress, every relationship has ebbs and flows. What I believe happens is, the affair partner comes along, picks up a shovel and helps the cheating spouse make mountains out of molehills. My husband’s whore (single, no kids) played the “she expects you to help with _____ after you have worked hard all day?? I would never do that! You deserve better! Why doesn’t she support you! She’s holding you back! You deserve ________!! You should never have to _________!! She is so ungrateful!! Your kids are being brats! She’s a bad mother! ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.
        He admits (now, at the time he didn’t see it) that whenever the guilt nagged at him he would pick a fight with me to justify the affair. I had to be painted as a monster.

        Combine that with the giddy feeling of someone being attracted to you and pursuing you. That first rush of a new relationship. It’s a disastrous combination. The spouse can never win that battle. The affair is self-centered, and there is no taint of the “real world”. No bills to pay, no garbage to take out, and no puking kids at 3 am. The spouse can never win that battle. If they are selfish enough to cheat, they will rewrite history to support their choices. Worse, they actually believe their revisionist history. My husband did! And later there were many things I could disprove. It’s a sick and ugly mess.

        • TheFirstWife

          EG- Everything you just wrote – applies to us as well.

          I was the “mean mommy” in his eyes and he picked fights and justified it all.

          And in between we were going out and having fun and laughing and sicializing etc.

          Everything you wrote is spot on!

        • Tired

          You are very right EG. And we were happy too. Now of course we are not so happy. I wonder why? A few months before this whole thing began my husband gave me a Valentine’s card stating I ‘light up his life every day.” Months later when I discovered it I tore it up and threw it at him. I was sick of hearing the ‘I wasn’t happy for years’ excuse. Because that is what it was…an excuse. It was bullshit. Yes, I agree he wasn’t happy. But it wasn’t the relationship that was the problem, it was him! He was unhappy with himself as you have said before, EG. The affair partner was just someone with the unenviable talent of sensing out that kind of vulnerability for her own advantage. She said all the things your husband’s affair partner said. She too hung around until a couple of crises befell us and she was immediately there to “help him.” I was also painted as a monster and Im still really angry about that! The only thing he did have at that point was me, and I stood by him no matter that his moods were affecting me as well. How loyal! It makes me so mad.

    • Hopeful

      I do not think there is anything you can really do to affair proof a marriage either. In the end it is all about the person who cheats and their issues. And I do not take responsibility for needing to be a detective to figure this stuff out. In my case my husband knew 100% it was wrong before it started and had tools to avoid it or face it head on before it happened or even sooner than 2 affairs at the same time over 10 years. But he was weak and selfish. I do believe he was targeted especially the one tracked him for four heads before anything happened. The other was like a series of 3 one night stands over 10 years with her tracking him too. I 100% agree he is to blame. He entered into marriage with me not these ow. I think they are scum but he is the one who should have said no. There are tons more like these ow and it could have been anyone.

      I tried everything through the years and we were still close. Our relationship would go through highs and lows though. Now I know it was because these affairs were sporadic. So as time would pass since he saw them he would grow closer to me as his guilt would subside or be easier to repress.

      In the end if someone wants to have an affair they will find a way. I think with technology it is easier than ever. I do believe in stating expectations and boundaries. And I would say as time passes those elevate. This is it for my husband and he is proving he has made huge changes. I also have made it clear that if he deviates that I have very strict parameters around custody and visitation with our kids. This is an area I will not back down on. I do not care what he thinks and I know technically it might have no merit or bearing in a court of law but he understands how serious I am. I will not allow him to do this again and in turn have my kids around any woman even some non affair partner if we were to separate. There will be very high hurdles. My kids would be all over it too but that is for us to deal with not them. He claims he is here for us and not the kids. Time will tell but the way he talks i do believe him. Time will tell…

      In the end I will continue to be true to myself and watch out for me. I know who I am and what I want.

    • Tired

      Yes Sarah it does hurt…especially as I know that the things said must have come from him. The person I most trusted and expected loyalty from. I had to actually blatantly point out that they could not know that information unless SHE had told them all. The look on his face was priceless when he realised that was true. Such is the cost of trying to fool yourself.

      My husband has always been madly in love with me. Everyone saw it. There was never any indication that he was unhappy. There were a few comments that he made that I did not take seriously, but they only started AFTER the friendship was becoming a little too close. He was already trying to find reasons to cheat.

      I think it is a character weakness. They love you and are faithful but then some woman or man comes along and the ego stroking is just too much for them. It feels so good when someone really admires you doesn’t it? So they just give in. And then, so they can live with themselves and their awful behaviour, they rewrite the marital history so they can justify it. The wife does indeed become the wicked witch.

      I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t discovered the affair. My husband is usually such an honest person that the fact that he was being deceitful was very obvious and therefore it was very easy to catch him. I read somewhere that there was a study that people who see themselves as truly good and as having integrity give themselves more leeway in justifying the cheating. I think that is true. They perhaps have been good, but not because they are truly good. Perhaps its the way they have been conditioned from childhood but there is a rebel inside resenting it. Perhaps coupled with low self esteem. I don’t know. Im no psychologist. But it always seems as though no one would ever have thought the person who cheated would cheat…

      Anyway, I ramble on. But what I am getting at is that I’m trying to do all the things to affair proof now. But I do wonder if the cheater would find a way to justify it all anyway?

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Tired,

        Some cheaters will do whatever it takes to justify their affair because they cannot deal with the cognitive dissonance that occurs when someone has an affair. If someone has always been “the good guy” who “has integrity” and “who will never cheat” he will have an internal struggle when he cheats. His actions point blatantly to the fact that he is NOT the good guy, he is NOT the guy with integrity, and he is NOT the guy who would never cheat.

        Some people just cannot stand not being the ‘good guy’ in their life-narrative. Some people must see themselves as the night in shining armor even if they are out committing unjustifiable and horrific acts.

        Please show this article to your husband because this article was actually written for wayward spouses, even though I had decided not to state that outright. If I told wayward spouses this article was about them, then they could get defensive and not be so open to the message. Even though they know they are at fault and know they lack integrity, they don’t want to be told outright they have no integrity because that causes shame. And when there is shame, most people will shut down any ideas that make them feel shameful and they will make excuses. They will then refuse to receive the message.

        Unfortunately, a lot of men cheat because they can compartmentalize their lives with their wife and kids and their secret life. I have heard from many different men personally that they can be madly in love with their wives and never intend to leave. Then a skirt comes along and the skirt is telling him how handsome he is, how muscular he is, how smart he is– how much he turns her on. Then, BAM! The guy gets taken in and falls for it. But, even though he has fallen for it, he can still be madly in love with his wife. I am going to say something sexist- men and women really are different in this respect. Men have an easier time separating sex and love. They can be having sex with ‘the skirt’ and then come home and make love to their wives. When the guilt comes in, they will start to justify it. They will nitpick the smallest things about their wives– anything to convince themselves that their wives brought them to this point. Now, cheating women can do this too, but the difference between men and woman is that men can have sex with another woman without getting their emotions involved. Women are not able to do that. If they have sex with another man they often come to love them. So, men can be in a good marriage, be madly in love with their wives, but if a beautiful woman offers herself on a platter day in and day out, many men will not be able to resist the temptation. I know this is not politically correct and it is certainly not good news. And it is not meant to excuse a man either. He is responsible for saying ‘no.’

        But, I believe due to this ability that men have to love their wives while having sex with another (without emotion) they can more easily fall for a spouse poacher type, even when madly in love with their wives.

        This DOES NOT excuse their behavior. I am simply talking about a very unfortunate character attribute that is present in many men.

        This article really is for wayward spouses. They need to understand what TO DO.

        Again, I am sorry for everything that you went through. It must have been horrific.


    • chely p

      I think they call that entitlement. These people think that they are entitled to have it all. In my case he is a product of his FOO. Perfect for the outside world to see, but behind closed doors it is different. Perfect little covert narcissist, and I bought it all hook, line and sinker. Worst part I played right into his hand, knowing that his behavior/treatment of me was not NORMAL and after frustratingly trying to address the situation, I would behave in ways not normal to my character to get back at him (not infidelity) spending money, not telling him where going etc. Giving him plenty to twist and twist into the current rendition of i’m a terrible wife. Yeah he wants out alright, but not in a normal way, he has to take me down in the process so he can “WIN”. I never realized what a sick MF I married, until it was too late. He has destroyed my ability to ever love and trust again. It will be a long, long time until I can recover, if ever. I see now just how evil this type of man can be , all the while smiling and crying poor me to the rest of the world. What a fricking joke, but he will get away with it because he is that good of a manipulator. But I must have a trauma bond because I still love him. It is so sad.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sorry to read your post. It sounds awful.

        Maybe once you are out from under him it can start to get better.

      • Hopeful

        I agree it is a pattern of entitlement for sure with my husband. He never said one bad word to his friends about me and has always built me up. I have a great relationship with all of his friends. His family puts me on a pedistal. He said if his friends or family knew they would disown him. Not so sure about that but it is something within him for sure. He did not get pushed to do this or was not surrounded by others saying or thinking this is okay. His friends and family look down and bash those who cheat.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Chely,

        I am so sorry for what you are going through. For whatever reason, (for your H) the idea of malignant narcissism (or even psychopath) comes to mind. What you are describing is what many people involved with malignant narcissists describe: the trauma bond, the still loving him despite knowing he is a “sick MF,” him wanting to take you down so he can win… I can only imagine how terrible you must feel and I am very sorry.

        This book is a must-read if your H is moving forward with a divorce. Even if he doesn’t move forward with a divorce, it’s still a must read because it teaches you how to defend yourself against him:

        Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder Paperback – July 1, 2011
        by Bill Eddy (Author),‎ Randi Kreger

        Divorces are awful because they bring out the worst in people. But, if a normal divorce were like a little league game, a divorce involving a narcissist would be like playing in the World Series (only the victim is the weaker team). Narcissists are in their element when it comes to conflict.

        Hope things get better,


    • TheFirstWife

      I find it interesting that for some BS – we blame the OW or OM or AP for the A. As much as we blame our CS.

      I know in my case my H pursued her. He made the first move (I read the emails between them).

      His first EA it was the OW that pursued him but I completely blame him for not stopping it.

      So I think how can we “Affair proof” a M if it is our own spouse or SO that is clearly the person creating the opportunity for the A?

      when does it end? Because at any given time anyone can cheat or engage in behavior that is questionable.

      • Hopeful

        I totally agree. My husband is 100% responsible. According to him he was pursued. He said the one wanted no relationship just a series of one night stands and drunk emails, texts and phone calls randomly. The other one tracked him for 3-4 years trying to get his number. The final night when it happened she made sure she was dropped off at a bar where she knew he was late close to last call and had no ride home. Taxis do not exists where they were and Uber did not exist. So he drove her home and even though he said he was screaming no in his head he still did it. He justified it as he already cheated and I would never forgive him so who cares. This one had him convinced that no protection was needed since she was a nurse. I mean they will believe what they want to. My little kids would know that is not true.

        In the end anyone who wants to cheat will find a way and a person to do it with. They are everywhere. I have chosen to work on me and be cautious. I also believe his words are one thing but I watch his actions even more. That is all i can do.

      • Exercisegrace

        TFW, at the end of the day the blame lies with my husband. Ultimately he was the one who could and should have protected our marriage. He has four children who needed him not to bring this hell into our lives.

        But blame also lies with the affair partner. How much blame? Who knows. I don’t think you can quantify it. We all have a moral, ethical and to an extent, legal responsibility to be decent people. His whore knowingly took advantage of their friendship. She knew he was going through a lot. She knew he was clinically depressed, and suicidal with a plan. Not only did she withhold that information from me, she actively encouraged him to NOT seek professional help! She convinced him that she and she alone understood him, cared about him and could help him.

        Maybe I am cynical now, but to me you can’t affair proof your marriage. We did everything “right”, but his dysfunctional past caught up with him, and when the going got tough he bailed out into an affair. What I DO believe in is affair proofing YOUR DAMN SELF! Take a hard look at your past, your family of origin, any abuse or other issues from the past. Seek help. Shore up the weak parts of your character. Learn healthy coping skills. Be honest and look at your areas of vulnerability. Know what tempts you and develop strategies to avoid it. Make your strengths stronger. Learn to communicate your needs and better yet learn to meet some of your OWN needs. Have realistic expectations of yourself and others.

        Because it’s INDIVIDUALS who fail. INDIVIDUALS who cheat. I spent two years in counseling and more of that than I care to admit begging to be told what I could have done differently. How I could have prevented it. Three counselors, same answer: IT WAS NOT ME. There was nothing I could have done. No amount of affair-proofing would have stopped HIM from making the choices HE made. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. When we can blame ourselves in some way, when we can find fault in the marriage, then we feel that we have an “answer”. There is something to “fix”. But there simply isn’t. There is just a flawed spouse who made a multitude of poor choices.

        • TheFirstWife

          EG. that is one of the best comments.


          I love ???? it.

          I am going to remember that!

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Exercise Grace and Everyone,

          There is something that I did not stress enough in this post.

          BOTH people must engage in the habits described in the article and secretly I was hoping that everyone reading this would print this one out and show it to their wayward spouse.

          I was going to say that in the conclusion, but I didn’t because I did not want a wayward spouse to get defensive (because if I call them out they will not be so open to the message.)

          So many wayward spouses remain in a delusional mindset where they believe they have integrity, accountability and all the other good stuff.

          I fully realize that everyone who comments here was always living in a way that would affair-proof their marriage.

          But, it takes two to tango and a spouse can be an absolute saint and still be betrayed. The only affair proofing there can be is when both people are equally committed to the behaviors that keep people loyal. The problem is not with the betrayed spouse and never was.

          My hope is that some of you are able to show this article to your wayward spouse as a ‘discussion point’ on how to move forward. Rather than telling them they don’t have such qualities, talk to them about how each of you can build up these qualities in each of you. (Again, you the betrayed spouse are not at fault– I was hoping that this article could be read as a couple so that the wayward spouse gets a gentle nudge on what TO DO rather than not to do.) While right and wrong is obvious to all of us betrayed spouses (shockingly) it just is not obvious to many wayward spouses and they almost need to be given a guide on how to behave. I was hoping this would be a high-level and non-judgmental guide that would be passed along to wayward spouses so that they could search themselves for these qualities.

          So really, when I talk about affair-proofing, I really do realize that a betrayed spouse can affair-proof for the rest of their lives– but if their spouse is not willing to do their part (which they alone are responsible for) then the betrayed spouse cannot make them loyal. Wayward spouses have to make that choice continually and make the active decision each day to “choose their spouse.” They need to understand that even though it is so glaringly obvious to the rest of us. They need a guide on how to behave so that they are less likely to cheat in the future. Some people simply don’t have a basic moral compass or if they do, they do not have coping mechanisms that would prevent then from straying.


          • Rose

            Right Sarah. But when the CS neither believes they had an affair, betrayed anyone nor did anything wrong…none of this applies.

            • TheFirstWife

              That is true Rose.

              Which is why you cannot “affair proof” a marriage. You can only affair proof yourself. Those words are from ExerciseGrace but it is an excellent point.

              I am sure so many of us here would swear their spouses would never cheat.

              And since my H never admitted the first EA -you can see why he had another one.

          • Exercisegrace

            Sarah, I did understand what you meant. Sadly I would tell you that my husband I did live an affair-proof lifestyle. Right up until the few months before he cheated. We had been married 22 years before his affair. We communicated well, and both truly felt an affair would never happen to us. We saw many couples fall during these years. We used those times to talk about how we never wanted it to happen to us, etc.

            When the ho-worker first entered my radar screen, I asked him if we could talk. I calmly told him I was becoming uncomfortable with things I was seeing and hearing. We talked about it not being appropriate for her to call him over the weekend and some evenings for non-emergency work issues. I voiced my concern that she would get “the wrong idea”. We talked about being careful not to send the wrong message. Going forward, he stopped mentioning her all together. I asked him more than once if he was still working with her, and how much contact they had. He assured me that he had taken my advice. He said he let her calls go to voicemail during family time, was more aware of not engaging in personal conversation and kept things work focused.
            In other words, he told me EXACTLY what I wanted to hear. Except they were all LIES. He let her across the boundary, and we were being ruined, even as I congratulated myself on how well we had handled a difficult situation TOGETHER to protect our marriage.

            At the end of the day, we only control ourselves. At least in the early months of his affair, he was attentive and loving. Beyond convincing. Any red flags I raised were efficiently and effectively put to rest. It sickens me when I think of it now. The best we can do is communicate OUR needs and expectations clearly. My power lies now in the fact I can trust my own instincts. Where I once thought I would be lost without him, I now know I could be fine on my own. Better yet, he knows it too. There will be no third chance.

            • Tired

              EG the evolution of your husband’s affair is eerily similar to our situation. I too said I wasn’t comfortable. He dismissed it as me being silly and jealous. But she had asked us out a couple of times with other people from his work and I saw the danger in her immediately. She talked only to him, he was the focus of her attention all night. He would occasionally mention things that she said, like our text messages were always so boring. They were little things, but I was on my guard. I even told him this was how people end up in affairs and then say ‘it just happened.’ And I was right.

              Once she rang up in the evening and I think it was TRUE that it was about a work issue because I heard some of the conversation, but the way he skulked off around the back in the dark and took the call in a very low voice shows that he felt there was something wrong. I had always said despite my feelings that she was after him it was ok that she called about work issues. He said he did that because I would have got angry about it. Well I only got angry because he had been told she could contact him about work issues and he was trying to hide it from me! Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with their brains.

              So I agree it is true…we can only control ourselves. And mine wont be getting another chance either.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Tired,

              That whole thing about luring your husband out in a group of people for dinner is something I went through when first married. The would-be spouse poacher assumed I wouldn’t be there in the small group and so she wore lingerie as a shirt. (She was married and her H was not there. He was watching their kids). She was shocked to see me there. I sat across from her and intentionally talked about all the books I read and generally obscure topics. She couldn’t follow the conversation and I knew that. I also knew about her various blatant antics (trying to take my spouse) prior to the dinner. So, I was very pissed by this point. She had met me before, met our new baby, knew our situation and she still did not care. I admit that was NOT my finest hour doing that. I was many years younger then and still believed it was okay to be petty and small-minded. Today, I would have handled it differently. I would have been more compassionate– asked her about her children– asked her about her marriage. I would have killed her with kindness while very clearly standing my ground. I just don’t have it in me any longer to be mean to these people because when it comes down to it, they are really pathetic. What person in their right mind wants to target someone who is married, especially when they have met the spouse and children and it could not be more clear that the guy is taken!? The point is, they are not in their right mind. They are pathetic human beings who are not right in their own lives or their own heads and they believe that they cannot get whatever it is they want by playing by the rules of decency, integrity, and morality.

              And it’s true, people can play by the rules of decency, integrity, and morality and still NOT get what they want. But, here is the scoop. If I cannot get what I want or need according to decency, integrity, and morality, then I will keep trying until I reach my goal. If I fail, I will readjust my expectations, but I refuse to give up decency, integrity, and morality for any reason. You know, I would rather live in a tent than live in a house that was acquired through compromising my personal values. I love nature and the outdoors and being at one with nature is a beautiful thing. So, being in a tent in nature would not be a punishment. I really like the Tiny Home movement because it reminds us that materialism does not need to be the center of our lives and it reminds us that we can also get out of the “rat race” by living in a mortgage free space. (Tiny Homes can be built for under 50k– some as little as 20k). Sometimes I believe that materialism drives this crazy behavior. Too many people get their identity solely from materialism and so they will break all kinds of moral boundaries to get a certain lifestyle that doesn’t even matter in the grand scheme of things.

              Tired, how did you get rid of the OW? Did she change jobs?

            • Exercisegrace

              Sarah, for what it’s worth I think you handled it the right way. I tried to befriend my husband’s whore and it only made me seem weak in her eyes. In fact, at one point she told my husband that because I continued to be nice to her even when I was having doubts about their relationship, was PROOF that I knew what was going on and didn’t care because I didn’t love him. Therefore, it was OK for him to be cheating.

              Sometimes the only thing a predator understands is a stronger predator who protects what is theirs. Aggressively.

            • Tired

              I agree with that EG. In hindsight I think if I would have befriended the woman my husband would have thought that I thought she was a good person. That might have made things worse in the long run, because he cares about my opinion of people. I can just see our OW using that against me as yours did. Ouch!

              I see us more as being maternally protective though, than as being a better predator.

            • Tired

              Yes, it probably would have worked out better if I had engaged the woman and become her friend. Unfortunately I was not as wise about these things as I am now. And there were red flags all over the place. I was never a jealous person. I knew my husband loved me and I was sure of that. I never realised how depressed and vulnerable he was. I trusted him implicitly. I never thought it would really happen. Not so sure now 🙁

              These women ARE pathetic. I agree with all that you say. And I would never compromise my morality either. As for material things…I grew up with nothing, I make a good living now. I am happy with being comfortable. I do not care that I am not rich and material things don’t interest me at all, except for pretty little things for the house. You should see my wardrobe…clothes from 10 years ago even though I could have bought new ones every week if I cared. We have a house and we have cars to get us from A to B. Not limousines, but reliable cars. I have a tendency to drive my cars until their natural lifespan ends despite people telling me I’m losing money on them! I think I actually save money by doing this!!

              In answer to your question about getting rid of the other woman…I thought we were rid of her when she was fired from the place they both worked at. He was then transferred. All of this happened because of the affair. However she later found out where he was, he possibly stupidly told her thinking they could still be ‘friends.’ She started coming to wait for him after work. He told her in the end in no uncertain terms that he was not going to contact her again and that she should not contact him…because he finally realised his silly cowardly ‘slow fade’ technique was never going to work. He only told me this bit about the stalking very recently.

              I think telling her to stop contacting him was a big thing for my husband to do, because he is used to trying to please everyone and stretches himself thin. But I knew it the moment I saw him after that day that she was well and truly gone. I think me having gone off with a girlfriend of mine for a trip might have scared him a bit. That was when he did it. I was determined to show him I was going on with life with or without him.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Exercise Grace,

              I had forgotten that your H had gotten involved with a co-worker. What is interesting is that us wives can actually see the danger before it even begins. We can pick up the smallest signs and understand where something is going (if it has not been there already). And we are reassured, or we are called paranoid, or we are lied to. Yet, our intuition knows exactly what is happening.

              It feels like watching a car wreck in slow motion and getting in there and telling someone how to turn the wheel so that the accident doesn’t have to happen and yet they refuse to listen and the accident (which could have been prevented) happens.

            • Terry

              My husband’s EA was with a woman who was both a coworker in a very small restricted access work area and who was in our social circle (evolved from college/co-ed frat socializing). He didn’t think there was any danger in listening to all of her life drama and opinions about life and didn’t think anything about sharing his personal life as well as about me and our marriage to this woman because of the social familiarity.

              One thing that sent me a big red flag about their conversations during work hours was my husband talking almost every evening about her. His excuse was “you know her too, I thought you’d be interested in what is going on with her, just like I’m interested.”

              One major crisis she let him know about (among so many other things) was that she had a miscarriage and that her doctor thought it was due to an injury to her pelvis from an auto accident. We knew her at the time of the accident and she said she it was her fault for pulling out in front of the other car – she took a chance. She told him about the miscarriage and going to a specialist to try to fix things.

              My husband was SO withdrawn and sullen that night. It affected him personally & deeply to hear this. He told me she was dealing with so much pain and he really felt for her. Well, that is what her own husband, both sides of the family and her girlfriends should be around for – to support her. It was not his life or his wife that was affected. It seems the only reason to disclose this very personal issue with him was to make him feel sorry for her. This conversation happened during our first month of marriage. When I got sick with a sinus infection & fever and had to stay home from work for a day to get rid of it, he told me in the morning before heading to work that I was “playing stay at home”. No concern or basic consideration for me from him, but tons of sorrow and caring for her from him. Even when we had our own issues bringing children into the world years later, he acted almost indifferent to the problems. Somehow it was fine to feel emotional for her problems and not give a damn when things happen to your own. Her early imprinting on him really did damage him for years because of terrible counselling. Anytime I was sick or injured (fractures, ruptured spinal disk, etc), he treated me like I was just looking for attention and must be faking it, like his mother and sisters. No. I am very self-sufficient and hate being sick or out of commission.

    • Rose

      Friggin’ Facebook. When your H has had 3 EAs, you put your foot down and establish the boundary that NO, he cannot have female friends of any sort, but he thinks single Facebook friends aren’t real friends….and he can do whatever he pleases. When he posts pretty Zen music and Buddha quotes all of a sudden because SHE has a picture of the Dalai Lama as her profile picture and when asked about it pretends he’s suddenly interested in it. When he posts Happy Birthday on FB to everyone but me. When he privately messages her pretty music and artwork because he is trying to impress her, but it’s pathetically creepy and she doesn’t respond.Affair proof in the social media age? Impossible because it’s not “real” to the serial cheater, but it sure is.

      • TheFirstWife

        Rose. I keep reading your messages and they upset me too!!! Because my H’s first 4 year EA (they physically saw each other 4 nights a week in grad school) was completely denied by him.

        It finally ended. Never heard from her again.

        And rug sweeping and gaslighting me the whole time.

        And then he cheated again.

        Regarding your H and your current situation:

        I do not have any real suggestions to get him to understand or RESPECT you or your feelings or boundaries.

        It is frustrating as hell!!

        He knows it is wrong. He’s not stupid. He’s just more ADDICTED to the game he plays with these OW than he will admit. If he spent half the time addressing his issues then he wouldn’t be acting this way and continuing the on line EAs.

        I hope you have read up on the 180. Start detaching from him as a way to protect yourself. Start your OWN life as NOT including him in plans. Dinner with friends – he’s not welcome. Movies or coffee with family or friends – he’s not welcome.

        Do not do his laundry or errands or cook meals or anything. Let him spend his ego boosting time taking care if himself. Don’t buy food from the grocery store for him. Let him learn to manage all of that.

        He needs to start to see you will not tolerate his disrespect.

        Had I truly made my H I will not tolerate his crap any longer I doubt I would have suffered with the 2nd A. He would have (hopefully) known better.

        But at least he does now as the 180 and my plan to D him was the cold bucket of water he needed.

        Don’t play his game. I’m suggesting you get out of his arena. Stop trying to make a change that HE will not adhere to.

        Make the change yourself. And the change is YOUR reaction to him.

        Could be an eye opener for him.

        PS I still don’t do my H’s laundry or errands. ????????

        • Rose

          Thanks TFW, actually my counselor gave me that as homework this week…detach. I can’t change him. He’s going to do whatever he wants so I can only change my reactions. She suggested that I “unfollow” him so I can ignore his FB posts and that’s just what I did this week. His posts trying to impress OW are pathetic because I haven’t seen her respond, and they are so far removed from who he is that it’s almost funny. He for sure has no “deep thoughts” and Zen for him is ridiculous. I’d like to be really snarky and ask if developing inner peace means pursuing OW for him but I’m keeping my mouth shut for now.

          • TheFirstWife

            Sorry it has to come to that.

            But it made a huge difference for my H but then again he (on his own) ended the A and realized he made a huge mistake.

            I started 180 the same day b/c I’d had enough.

            And talk with your counselor but just b/c you see results doesn’t mean you go back to same old same old.

            I still don’t do his laundry or errands. Redefined my role in this M. And cheating doesn’t warn you anything so I take care of my stuff. He takes care of his.

            We both pitch in around the house and both go to the grocery store.

    • Sarah P.

      Hello All,
      I am going to leave the 67th comment and say something that might surprise you.

      Some things have come to light this week and I am coming to the conclusion that it is impossible to affair proof a marriage. I should probably write a follow-up to this another time and redact most of this article.

      My reasons for coming to this conclusion have to do with the nature of (most) men themselves and how the most gorgeous, intelligent, amazing wife cannot keep her husband loyal if there is someone at work who is gorgeous, sociopathic, slutty, and dead-set on spending many months wearing a man down in a very targeted way. I have just lost hope that there is a man alive who could stand up to this.


      • Exercisegrace

        Sarah, I do think the article is a good one. ALL couples should read something like this early in their marriage. These discussions must be had. They are important words. I wonder if it would have made a difference early in our marriage to hear this POV. If hearing how easy it is to step on the slippery slope would have mattered. Sadly I think not. Just the way no one ever believes they would be a drug addict doing unspeakable things for their next high.
        I don’t think you should take the article down. Just my opinion (and that trades for about 3 cents on the open market LOL).

      • TheFirstWife

        I know of many men who can withstand those temptations.

        The retired pastor of our church – I am certain many women tried. Never would they have success. I know that he & his wife were very happy and in a great M.

        My dad. Never cheated. Not once.

        My grandfather. Never cheated.

        My grandmother was widowed 3x and every one of her Hs adored her.

        They are out there!!! Have faith.

        But as EG writes we can only affair proof ourselves!!! EG posted that in this thread in 2/2. One of the best comments I have read here.

      • Shifting Impressions

        I wouldn’t take it down….it generated a lot of good discussion.

      • TheFirstWife

        Sarah I don’t know what is going on BUT do not give in to a bad experience or situation.

        Proof is that many CS here on EAJ have attested to being a cheater but no more.

        My H being one of them.

        Don’t generalize. Look at how many people here at EAJ are not cheaters and never will be.

        People disappoint us in life. But we take the good with the bad – unfortunately.

      • Hopeful


        This article has a lot of value and all of the comments too. It is such a great forum.

        Based on what my husband has told me many husbands have zero interest in their wives but would never leave them or not until the kids are grown. And he said they do not leave for many reasons dependency, apathetic, lazy, low self esteem, religious or moral reasons. But most do not cheat either. Who really knows?? I do think if someone wants to they will find a way. I am not sure what information you have yet I think as a society we know very little about infidelity. How many times I hear that the wife was not satisfying the husband, or she spent too much of his money, she did not have sex with him. I could go on and on. And then the mentality to throw them to the curb.

        Sorry for rambling but in the end we have to be confident with ourselves and not let others poor decisions drag us down. Of course there are rough spots and nothing is perfect. I used to believe in karma but I do not at all anymore. I think you can be the best person and have horrible things happen to you. In the end I will not let someone else’s poor decisions and actions define me.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Hopeful,

          Thanks for letting me know what your husband says about why most men won’t leave.
          Why don’t you believe in karma anymore?

          • Hopeful

            For me I felt like my version of karma was if I was a gold person and did good things that good things would come my way. And also people that do bad things would have negative things their way. As of today i feel like the only reason I should do anything is for my own personal satisfaction. Of course taking care of my kids is something I see as a responsibility and also enjoy. I feel the betrayal of my husband has hardened me. I am skeptical of everyone and in the end feel i can only depend on myself. My husband swears to me he will always be there for me and wants to be the best husband and father. I know he is sincere and I see that in his actions but this has made me so guarded.

            • Sarah P.

              Hi Hopeful,

              I certainly can’t blame you for how you have changed. I have seen karma play out and sometimes it takes so long that it seems karma is not a force. Or as some Eastern religions believe, if a person doesn’t get karma in this life, it will be waiting for them in the next. I just hate seeing good, innocent people get hurt. It’s my biggest pet peeve.

              Many blessings,

      • Untold

        Sarah, like others I support keeping the article. We all just need to use common sense to know there are no absolutes nor guarantees. We can do verything right and that cannot stop our partner from cheating. Only they can stop themselves. I’m one who you’d think from the outside had everything going right, but it didn’t stop my wife.

        That is one addition I would make to your comment. Even in a perfect marriage it can be the man OR the woman that strays. It’s not just men. I know it wasn’t intended that way, but it sounded a little biased saying only men can’t control themselves.

        Thanks and keep up the good work.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Untold,

          Point taken and I need to stay gender neutral.

          But, here are some musings on the genders. (I hope I don’t tick anyone off…)

          I do know a couple of very vicious married women who spent years trying to find the right target to replace their husband. But, what is interesting is that these women were extremely calculating about it. They knew what they were doing all along, surveying the horizon, and getting the right pieces into place. Meanwhile they were playing the role of wife. (It’s terrible if a man finds himself married to one of these ‘creatures.’)

          I am sure there has got to be a man out there like this (who calculates) but for the most part, I have observed that a man can be happily married and *bam* physical attraction hits him like a Mac truck. And if the woman is more than happy to oblige he could go for it. Unfortunately some research has shown that if a man is happily married, this is not enough to keep him from having an affair. It’s a paradox.

          Then, there is the second type of woman who is deeply insecure and likely had a rough childhood in one way or another. She is not getting what she needs emotionally. A man comes along and flatters her and she is starved for that kind of flattery and makes bad decisions.

          I will say something that might surprise folks. I am actually not a feminist — at least not in the way that feminism manifests itself these days. My greatest joy is being a mom and serving my husband and serving God.

          I do believe there are concrete differences between genders (and we can see this one brain scans). From Science Daily:

          “In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers.

          This, according to Rex Jung, a UNM neuropsychologist and co-author of the study, may help to explain why men tend to excel in tasks requiring more local processing (like mathematics), while women tend to excel at integrating and assimilating information from distributed gray-matter regions in the brain, such as required for language facility. These two very different neurological pathways and activity centers, however, result in equivalent overall performance on broad measures of cognitive ability, such as those found on intelligence tests.”

          Then there are the differences that testosterone and estrogen cause. Put it all together and the genders really are different. Some say it’s social conditioning that makes them different, but I personally believe the differences are accounted for by the difference in brains and hormonal profiles.

          I am going to make a jump here and say that men and women generally have different motivations for affairs. When available female (and attractive and ego-stroking) sexual bait appears in front of a man, it’s going to affect him in some way and possibly wear him down if presented over and over again. He may or may not act on it.

          From what I know of my own gender, such a scenario would probably not wear on a woman’s defenses. Women tend to crave the deep, emotional stuff and they want to know how unique they are. Most husbands don’t know that a woman needs this type of reinforcement frequently. So, if someone comes along who knows this and uses it as a strategy, a woman might fall for it (if she is in a vulnerable position.) If a woman is not in a vulnerable position, she might call BS. I never fell for this approach, but I saw my friends fall for it all the time.

          Of course, there is always the lone woman out there who sees what she considers an incredibly sexy man and she will offer herself up. (And if said man is single, well, he probably won’t turn her down.) I do know a few women with naturally high testosterone and they tend to have a type of sexuality like stereotypical male sexuality. If you heard them talk, they can objectify a man just as crassly as men objectify women. It’s really a bizarre thing to see and I see it more among millennial women.

          It seems no one got the memo that true feminism is supposed to be about women being respected in their own rightful place and for their innate talents. It is not about women serving themselves up on sexual platters, having a 100 different partners, and then bragging about the sexual experience over beer. Some feminists have merely just taken on the most base qualities that men sometimes engage in. And that in no way does society any good.

          I bet you didn’t expect that answer!


          • Untold

            Thanks for the thoughtful reply. This is late and will get buried, but I wanted to post a couple observations on your reply.

            I understand and agree with 95+% of what you say. But…

            “She is not getting what she needs emotionally. A man comes along and flatters her and she is starved for that kind of flattery and makes bad decisions. ” – sounds like a hint of victim blaming. Maybe her needs were unrealistic. Maybe there was no amount of flattery that would satisfy her. The thrill of “new attention” sparked her interest.

            “Women tend to crave the deep, emotional stuff and they want to know how unique they are. Most husbands don’t know that a woman needs this type of reinforcement frequently. So, if someone comes along who knows this and uses it as a strategy, a woman might fall for it (if she is in a vulnerable position.) If a woman is not in a vulnerable position, she might call BS.” – sounds like more victim blaming. Most husbands are short on making their wife feel special? That can make a woman vulnerable and fall into an affair? Maybe sometimes, but not mostly. Some can be made to feel all kinds of special, and again it’s never enough, or it’s “old” not “new and sparkly”.

            Men may be more prone to visual/sexual and women to emotional/flattery, but for both it comes down to shitty character when it counted. I met all kind of needs for my wife but it didn’t matter because she was screwed up in the head, at least when in the affair and fog. And most of the “shortcomings” of the marriage came out AFTER the affair as excuses, and blatant rewriting of history to make herself feel better. I think it’s similar for most men who comment on these sites.

            You are a great writer and very engaged Sarah, pleas keep up the good work. I just ask you be consider some comments can be read as stereotyping or discrimination or generalizations that favor women.

    • TheFirstWife

      I would not delete this article because it contains so many valuable points. Insightful commentary too.

      Many of us here did believe we had affair proofed our M. But for people who have a really bad M in terms of respect and neglect and so many other issues, these points can be helpful and eye opening.

      We all add our points of view. But they stem from what we have read AND experienced. Humor as an example can diffuse some terrible situations. Some people may not even know that it can be a useful tool.

      As EG stated all of these points can be used to affair proof yourself which in turn can hopefully help you Affair proof a marriage or relationship.

      But we all know if people want to cheat they will. That’s just reality.

      • Fatherof4

        Sarah – I think you should keep the article up but strike out the term Affair-proof and replace it with a less definitive term. If I buy a water-proof case for my phone, I expect that there is zero chance water will seep in and destroy my phone. There is absolutely no way anyone can be 100% sure about their marriage, no matter how solid it feels. My wife, after 20 years of marriage and 4 kids, woke up one morning, snapped a picture of the guy working on the roof across the street and then struck up a conversation. I’m sure she didn’t in that moment plan or hope that she would be in an EA with the guy 6 months later. She was depressed, bored, and a little lonely despite being surrounded by family and friends. If i had thought I had an affair-proof case around my marriage, I’d be looking for a refund.

      • Sarah P.

        Hello TFW,

        Thanks for your support, I appreciate it. You are right- if people want to cheat, they will find a way.

    • Tired

      Sarah don’t take it down. It did generate a lot of good discussion as mentioned above. They are all still very good points. I would love to print it out and show it to my husband as you suggested but I think he might have discovered I’ve been looking at this site and if he has he will probably recognise us in my posts. I have not always been very charitable!!

    • Sarah P.

      Hello All,

      Something came to light this week that made me re-think this article as a knee-jerk response. I have decided I will fold some of what has come to light in my next article, which will be a deep-dive on narcissism versus situational (affair-related) narcissism.

      The high-level of what is going on: there is a spouse poacher who has an extensive criminal record (per a detective) who also happens to need funds and who has gotten into the good graces of her married target, who has a lot of money and appears to be completely fooled and will not listen to reason. That’s how it seems at least. I have seen this play out before in the past and no matter how nice and moral the person, if a sociopath needs something and has found a gullible target who has what they need, they will not give up. It’s kind of like putting a cat in front of a fish tank. The cat knows that the fish will get used to its presence and if the cat is still and seems benign, the fish will go about their business. So, the fish patiently waits and then strikes at just the right time.

      Once again, good, old Ted Bundy comes to mind. That’s good, old Ted who was everyone’s best friend, who helped the elderly cross the street, who helped the homeless, and worked at the suicide and rape crisis hotlines. (Even though I am talking about a sociopathic female) Bundy keeps coming to mind because of his ongoing effect on people. As I have said before, by random happenstance I know three different people who knew Ted Bundy well. None of them know each other because they knew him at different times during Bundy’s life. And they all refer to him as “good, old Ted.” Not a single one of them, despite Ted’s confession and mountains of evidence believes that good, old Ted murdered anyone. And these are SMART people I am talking about. One is even an attorney. The attorney is Ted’s most vehement defender even though Ted has been dead and put to bed (nice rhyme).

      What I keep coming to realize is that we CANNOT underestimate the power of the sociopath. They can fool even the smartest people. Why? Because they know how to imitate the best of people. That’s why they are called wolves in sheep’s clothing. They play a sheep better than the sheep themselves. And most people are so fooled that if someone raises the alarm, they will be called paranoid, or jealous, or mean, or whatever else.

      I have seen it play out many times in real life. Unfortunately, I am often one of the only people who can tell the difference between ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ and I raise the alarm. I can see under the mask because deep intuition and years of studying them. I have come to the conclusion that if you put a hungry sociopath into a field of sheep, the sociopath with get their targeted sheep. It doesn’t matter if the sheep has the best intentions, or iron-clad moral values, or believes he is so smart that he can never be taken in by a sociopath. The sociopath studies the target and becomes an expert in the target so that they can play the role of the ideal person and the target will be fooled.

      As seen in this light, very few people are strong enough to survive a sociopathic spouse-poacher who is in the game for keeps. And in this case, the techniques in this article do not apply.

      Maybe I need to write an article about how to recognize sociopaths and how to deal with them so that they don’t intrude on your marriage.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Fatherof4,

        Very sorry for what you are going through with your wife. Unfortunately, the stupidest things (such as snapping a photo of a guy) can lead to out of control consequences. I hope that your wife is coming around and seeing the error of her ways.

        I do know what you mean about the waterproof phone case and wanting a refund. I need a new title.

      • Sarah P.

        PS- I meant the cat patiently waits and strikes the fish. I was thinking too fast and my typing was not catching up. It sure would be funny if a fish could strike the cat. Sweet justice for all the fish in the world.

      • Hopeful

        How common are sociopaths? Are there reliable statistics? I know many mental health professionals are careful to ustize labels but many people have tendencies. I do think that women or men who target married people have some level of issues. What is wrong with them that is who they target. I guess it reminds me of most people are found guilty of murdwr rather than not guilty by reason of insanity but on some level anyone who murders another human has to be insane on some level. I know the threshold for criminaly insane is high but just a few thoughts.

        • Sarah P.

          Hi Hopeful,
          I have read that sociopaths can be as little as 1% of the population and 4%. But recently it has come to light narcissism is dramatically on the rise and it is my personal belief that psychopathy is on the rise because there is much overlap between the two personality disorders.

          The DSM guides us on how to diagnose a personal with an actual pathology. If people have tendencies but meet some of the criteria of the pathology, then they probably just have tendencies. Regardless, I would argue that for one’s own well-being they stay away from people who only seem to have tendencies towards such behavior. Obviously a person can only be formally diagnosed by someone with a psychology degree (at least Master’s level) and the guidelines for diagnosis are very clear.

          If we are talking about psychopaths in general, we can list their traits and provide examples of things they would likely do in real life.

          If I were to have to name a sociopath, Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind. But he is an extreme version. Some studies have suggested CEO’s have proclivity toward anti social personality disorder (the formal name for sciopaths/psychopaths.) Many so called diagnosable sociopaths fly under the radar when they interact with the general public or at work where they know what behavior is expected to appear “just like everyone else.”

          It is my personal belief that when a woman sets her sights on a married man and studies every aspect of him to seduce him, she definitely has sociopathic traits. She might even be a full blown psychopath but that would need to be determined by how she has generally conducted herself over a span of time and if she meets all the traits required for a diagnosis.
          The scariest thing about them is they study normal people with great interest, figure out what makes them tick, and then they heartlessly exploit their target for personal gain. And if you were to ask her about it, she would not understand why she was doing anything wrong. She might pretend to know, but in the end, she could care less. And this is why they are the scariest people on earth. With a population of 7 billion and growing and with 1% of the population being sociopaths it’s actually a lot of people. If it’s more like 4% of the population, then there’s a good chance many such people work in large corporations. Think about how many there would be in a city the size of NYC. Scary!


          • TryingHard

            Hi All—. I’ve been silently reading many posts here but the subject of sociopathy is of great interest to me and something i have read a lot about so I’ve chosen to chime in. I’m no expert but I’ve learned a lot. Especially where sociopathy/narcissism crosses into infidelity.

            Sociopathy runs on a spectrum as does many mental illnesses or physical illnesses. It runs on a bell curve. Certainly Jeffery Dahmer is the most extreme case as with many other murders and abusers. Those people in CA that starved and chained up their own children are extreme cases as well. But be aware not all sociopaths run this extreme. But their acts as very disturbing to their victims and their families and we must all be aware who we let into our lives.

            Please don’t discount your cheater or the AP as not being sociopathic just because they haven’t murdered or physically abused someone. Most sociopaths DONT go to that extreme but they do enough manipulation to serve themselves and themselves only. For the Sociopath it’s they who are most important. It’s their needs that are most important and the rest of the world are their pawns to get what they want. It’s the devil may care attitude. Listen to the podcast
            Dirty John. That should be enough to scare anyone into being aware who they let into their personal lives.

            Not all narcissists are sociopaths, but certainly all sociopaths are narcissists. One would def have to be diagnosed by a professional to sort out the difference but in many cases it’s a tiny leap to full blown sociopathy for many narcissists.

            So what difference does it make if you’re dealing with a narcissist or a sociopath ? It’s a big difference because you never know when or if the narcissist will take that next leap. Both become very dangerous when rejected or think someone else is in their way of achieving their ends.

            So many cheaters get caught in the web of infidelity thinking they are in control of the affair and AP. Most times they are not in control of anything. Not themselves, the affair and certainly not the AP. They are fooling around with someone they do not know. They have let an enemy into their lives in most cases. They think they know them and a problem is they WANT to trust them so it’s easy for the narcissist/Sociopath to ensnare them. Before they know it they are in way over their heads with what is most the time a psychotic nut bag!! And by the time the cheater has figured it out it’s too late. So much damage has been done. So what do they do? They keep playing along waiting for the AP to leave or shut up about them leaving the marriage

            I’m currently watching The Murder if Gianni Versace. It is eye opening how sly a sociopath works to learn everything about their victims. But worse is how naive and trusting the victims are during the relationship building phase. They let complete strangers render them helpless. Both physically and emotionally. The Sociopath doesn’t even have to work that hard to ensnare the victim. Well watch that show and we can all only wonder how by only the grace of God our mates weren’t murdered by some of these APs.

            I know in my case the OW was at the very least a total narcissist and borderline sociopath. Once she had my h, yes he was a fool to bite but i get how a weak person falls for the sales talk, she made sure he felt threatened enough not to dump her or fire her. She flew under the radar. When threats were questioned by him she would laugh and say she was “teasing” and he needed to lighten up. No in fact she wasn’t teasing and he knew it. He was scared to death of her. He continued to fall into her trap. She was not stupid. I’m certain had i not been as forceful as i was driving her away she’d have done some kind of sick revenge. It’s been repeated many times to me she was scared of me. Well that was a good thing.

            I’ve learned that these people are bullies and manipulators. All you have to do is bark louder and bully them better and they run off like scared dogs!! Don’t cower to any sociopath you think is trying to bully you. Get info in them and use it. Force the narcissistic/sociopathic mask to fall and expose them for the evil they are. Dont let their bullying tactics ensnare you too. And then get the hell away from them even if it means getting a restraining order. Know the enemy. Know who your mate has brought into your lives and the implications it has for you and your family and then do everything you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones. these people are not to be taken lightly. The are dangerous

            • TheFirstWife

              These are great points. The AP can very easily suck someone in to staying in the A out of fear.

              Just watch the movie with Glenn Close and Michael Douglas “Fatal Attraction”. You think that movie would set some people straight. That is where the term “bunny boiler” emanated.

              Perfect example of the type of person that appears sane and rational – until you try to escape her clutches.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Trying Hard
              That’s great info. Gives me the creeps just reading it. The OW in my situation did a few things that creeped me out. She comes across as very together and people think she is “oh so wonderful”. But I have some suspicions.

    • Rose

      It’s kind of like PTSD.

      • TheFirstWife

        You need to throw your H off balance.

        By that I mean your reactions will no longer be the same. He won’t know what to do now because he is expecting you to react according to your prior responses and patterns of behavior.

        Now you are doing something different.

        Watch and see what happens.

        • Rose

          That’s exactly what I’m doing TFW. He can wait and wonder and get anxious just like he’s made me do for the last 7 years.

          • TheFirstWife

            I do that now every so often to make a point of “now you know how it feels” when I REFUSE to answer a question or even acknowledge when I speak.

            Sometimes they need to actually live the experience before they get it. Sometimes that is the only way they get it. Sadly.

          • Shifting Impressions

            I book I found really helpful with that is IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred M Reilly,

            I find myself recommending this book really often….

            I found there is really a lot of power in our own response and how things can shift when we change our expected response to our partner.

        • Rose

          Also he thinks I’m going to say “So asshole, its okay to delete all posts with your family in them but keep the 18 profile pics of yourself?? And keep the post up that you shared from your “friend”? But guess what. That’s the reaction he expects so this time he gets a smile with no reaction at all.

          • Rose

            Sorry to hijack the thread. It makes me so sad that I literally have hundreds of pics of the two of us that I’ve shared and lots of just him but in 7 years he only had one of me and that’s gone. Also you can really tell the narcissist because his posts are always “I” instead of “we”…I went to this great restaurant last night…I went to this concert…I think I’ve finally woken up to the fact that it’s ALWAYS just been about him so my therapist is right…I’m the one who should change because he won’t.

    • TheFirstWife

      Rose ????. I think no reaction is your best option.

      He cannot accuse you of anything except no response.

      He will be more bothered by that than anything. Trust me. No response or reaction bothers people way more than a negative response.

      You are right that he has been selectively deleting his posts. And all of the “I” posts not ”we” posts is maddening.

      But he could create a new FB profile if he wanted and you may not know. I would give him no Information on what you know.

      I would save that in case it is needed.

      Meanwhile continue doing what you are doing. You can tell it is torturing him – he’s already showing a reaction.

      Just not the right one yet. He is not apologetic or remorseful. He still thinks it is a game.

      • Rose

        Sociopath, psychopath, narcissist, or just a bully? After his last EA, he gave me a huge bottle of Chanel No.5, about $350. A few days later he wrote me a nastygram, saying it reminded him of his old girlfriend and that he hated it. He said if I really loved him I would ONLY wear what he liked. That day I put all my perfume in a box, duct taped that baby shut, and stuck it in the garage. That was 2 years ago and I haven’t worn any perfume since. Oh I asked for an apology—twice (once just lately) and he is silent. I’m thinking bully. That was the same year he called me a whore for buying pretty heels and also threw and broke my phone.

        • Rose

          We’ll go with narcissistic sociopath for $500, Alex! He’s downstairs (where I wouldn’t see him of course but happened to pass by) photoshopping yet another picture of himself, probably to put on Facebook. No one will realize he doesn’t have brown hair and no wrinkles because none of these people are “real” friends or ever see him. They won’t actually know his hair is white. Isn’t it funny how you can be someone completely different online? None of the kids will see it either. He’s alienated them all with his stupid posts and comments.

          • TheFirstWife

            Rose you are funny.

            I think you need to put yourself FIRST.

            Life is too short.

          • Hopeful

            Rose, I think you need to decide what you want to do. Do you want to detach, give him an ultimatum, or continue as is. I think you pick a way and stick with it.

            When someone is in an affair or not in a committed mindset they will do anything. It is all crazy. My husband has a fake fb page with a fake name and photo of someone who looks nothing like him. He had a fake email he would im women. I still wonder if all of them were women or who knows. That is the point this is all fake and a fantasy. But as long as he is caught up in any of it he will not we a worthwhile spouse/partner. It is up to you to decide what you want from your life. This can take time to figure out. At first I thought there was no way i could get by without my husband. Now I feel the total opposite. I would do great without him and I agree I would eat ramen noodles and live with other people if I did not want to be with him. The only factor for me would be my kids. My husband knows this though. He is fully aware of what I am willing to do and that I would rather live alone than with someone who is focused on themselves first and foremost. He understands his is serious and no going back. I call him on anything and everything. Think about what life you want for you and make it happen. People reveal themselves when pushed good or bad. And your true character is revealed in how you face challenges.

            • Shifting Impressions

              Hopeful….that is excellent advice!!!

        • TryingHard

          Rose—— please make no mistake. I am not saying my h is a narcissist nor a sociopath. But from what I’ve learned about the dead OW is that she and her siblings are.

          I do not buy into the whole the AP is not in any way responsible for the betrayal. They are. Yes 100% is on my husband and his naïveté/stupidity for letting himself be drawn in. We did not have an unhappy marriage. Regardless she set her sites on a successful MM who showed her some respect and attention and she ran with it. She groomed him.

          He foolishly believed she was safe because he wanted to believe that. It was easy for her and she was a pro. Most narcs/sociopaths are. By their standards all people are just pawns in their lives. She used him for her financial reasons and gave sex in return. There was no love involved because she loved no one but herself. It wasn’t her first rodeo. Whores are better than her. At least whores are up front about their business at hand.

          I’m not even saying your h is a sociopath. I’m not sure what your h is but something is def off with him. He likes his fantasy self. Probably very disappointed in how his life has turned out. Just a guess in my part.

          Personally i dont know how you live with him let alone care what the eff he was doing on FB or anywhere else. I understand there’s financial considerations and that’s a tough place to be to consider leaving. But many people leave regardless those financial constraints. Personally I’d eat beans and live in an RV before spending another minute in his company. It sounds like this situation has become a way of life for you and him. The constant sniping and disrespect and the packing up of perfume into boxes is no way to live.

          I feel for you. It must be a terrible feeling to wake up every morning and realize what you have to endure with him and your life.

          With his daily FB fishing expeditions it’s only a matter of time until he meets his sociopath. I hope you’ve learned enough here to protect yourself when that happens.

          • Rose

            I’m sorry TH…wasn’t saying your H was one of those things…trying to get opinions on what mine is!

    • TryingHard

      Here’s a link to an article that is pretty easy reading if you are interested in learning about sociopaths. There’s also more links at the end of the article

      TFW yes Fatal Attraction is a fun piece of fiction dramatizing a sociopath and a great example. The two sources I cited are non-fiction. There’s numerous non fiction e ampules of sociopaths and infidelity. Any one remember Joey Butafuco and the Long Island Lolita? Little psycho bitch shot the BS.

      There’s plenty of non fiction and fictionalized versions of sociopaths. Point is they are not fictional people. They are real and they are closer than we know and they are dangerous

      • TheFirstWife

        Joey Butta(whatever) is trailer trash and so was Amy Fisher. Know that story well. He convinced her to kill his wife.

        Crazy crazy people.

        I mentioned Fatal Attraction as an extreme of what can happen with people in an A when you really don’t know them well.

        As we can all attest to about the AP and some of the crazy stories we have heard. And about the crazy spouse or boyfriends people are involved with too.

        • Tired

          Joey Butt F—er was indeed trailer trash. Just the look of him was enough. He looked untrustworthy and you could see it in his face (and that perfectly coiffed hair). I remember watching a woman in the audience standing up on Oprah saying to the wife that “if it looks like a snake it’s a snake.” And the poor wife who had half her face blown off because of her husband’s actions looked like she didn’t believe it. You could see it! The man was a sleaze bucket.

          The girl was crazy (wasn’t she like 16?), but the husband I think is much, much worse. Pure evil.

          • TryingHard

            Lol Tired—Joey butafucco is no worse or better than our own cheating husbands. I’m simply lucky my husbands sociopath didn’t shoot me.

            • TheFirstWife

              I disagree. Joey is worse. I live near him.

              He is a total nightmare and Unfortunately Amy Fisher was victimized by him (young and dumb).

              The wife should have left him immediately. Not sure why she did not!

              They were people you see on a reality TV show – not in a good way though.

    • Rose

      He also walks around here like nothing is wrong at all. I want to drop him a note today to say please do NOT get me a card or gift tomorrow. Or should I not say anything and leave it unopened? Do I tell him that if Miss Sweet Cheeks Zen Girl gets an ecard that he can go live with his mother? What do all of you do on that awful Hallmark Holiday? I dread it.

      • TheFirstWife

        See my prior post. Get your plan in place.

        Say nothing about VDay. If he gets you a card or gift a polite thank you is enough.

        If you are detached it won’t mean anything to you anyway.

        When you decide to pull the plug you will be on firmer ground. You will have an attorney or mediator lined up. A counselor (which you have) to support you.

        You will have his “stuff” in the garage or basement or front lawn. Ready for him to take with him on his way out.

        If it comes to that you will be ready to say “get out” and he will not need to come back. He can talk via attorneys and iron out the settlement. He can pay you (or not) but I say spend the time NOW before issuing an edict but still having to face him.

        Because he sounds as though he is clueless and not living in reality. So when you say “go” he may not take it seriously.

        You can fail to plan – and possibly plan to fail. Or you can be smart and execute a plan (if it comes to that) wlthout emotion and detached. Because you know what comes next.

        And you will have planned the “discussion” you need to have. It can be two minutes. Simple and direct. Not emotionally charged.

        When I told my H get out – it was calm and rational and a two sentence long “discussion”. I said I’m divorcing you. Sorry it had come to this. Kids & I get the house until last one graduates and you are paying for it. And we will go to mediation and I will set up the appointment.

        And you need to leave by “x” date.

        That was it! He just said Ok. he had nothing left to say and I wasn’t listening to any more b/c I had a plan. I was ready for it.

        • Rose

          So TFW did he leave then?

          • TheFirstWife

            No he said he wasn’t leaving. I said yes you are and I made a phone call and found him a place to stay. On Monday afternoon he wants a D. Monday night he (again) changes his mind. I was tired of being a yo yo. Tired of the drama.

            Now I had NO IDEA the A continued to occur. I thought we had reconciled and it was going fairly well. Not great but we were making progress. Until I got the ILYBNILWY speech (again) a few weeks prior to DDAY2.

            Plus we had a family situation going on and a very close young relative was in hospital fighting for life. No one had answers. We were all just holding on by what little we had.

            And then I was dealing with this.

            So at DDay2 I called the OW b/c I thought maybe she had answers. And that is when and how I found out the A had resumed and that is why he wanted a D.

            Now in between his “I want a D” and my calling the OW he begged for another chance. But how many times can I go thru this? I had done it once the prior week. Then he swore to everyone – even our MC – he wanted the M.

            But of course no one knew the A was on going.

            So I had nothing left emotionally and said he had to leave. Before he was to move out (few days later) my relative passed away. I was in no shape and had children to take care if so I asked him to delay moving out. And then a week or so later was Christmas.

            Blah blah blah we then committed to R. And his A was ended at DDay2 and he never had any. Intact again. She tried yet again and he came to me to show me the email – he was shaking for fear I would throw him out.

            4 years later – we survived it. But the difference is HE changed. He made amends. He was remorseful. He knew the mistakes he made. All of them. And he Hs worked hard every day.

            Just recently he was out of the country for a business trip and on a phone call said he was looking forward to seeing me in a few days. ????

    • TryingHard

      Rose–LOL no I didn’t take it as you were calling my h or anyone else’s h a narc/sociopath. No need for apologies. I understood what you were saying.

      As I said I don’t think your h is a socio/narc. But he’s in fantasyland for some reason. So weird for a grown ass man to act like a sophomore in high school. He’s def out fishing for something.

      Geez seems like it’s all too much work for you parsing and trying to figure out the next step. He gives you a V Day card open it or don’t open it. Personally I’d open it and say thanks. But I hate V Day and yes if my h were giving Schmoopie a card, the one he gave me would go straight to the trash. Just my opinion

      • Rose

        TH, that’s what my therapist just said! She said to be in the moment and stay out of the drama and open a card IF there is one and say thanks. He won’t be getting one from me. I won’t know if Schmoopie 😉 gets one but if she does and I find out, he CAN go live with his mother. He did ask me to dinner tomorrow and I said no but thanks for asking.

        • TheFirstWife

          I think those are the best responses. Short & sweet and polite.

          In his mind he probably believes that if he takes you to dinner on VDay – it’s all good.

          He needs to learn he just can’t put a band aid in it and everything is ok. That’s not living in reality.

    • Rose

      I hope its ok to share a song link. I found this over the weekend and it was so perfect for how I was feeling. Please excuse the title! Its pretty raw. (You Bloody Mother f***ing A$$**le by Martha Wainwright)

      The chorus goes

      I will not pretend
      I will not put on a smile
      I will not say I’m all right for you
      When all I wanted was to be good
      And live in truth

    • TryingHard

      I’m not going to judge Mrs Buttafuco because by the grace of God Go i. She stayed for her own reasons a just as we have. But this is what happens when you let desperate wanton sociopaths in your life. I’m lucky and so are all of us her we didn’t meet the same fate or worse at the hands of these OW scorned

    • TheFirstWife

      I’m sorry but having someone attempt to kill you – at the urging of your spouse – forgiveness I understand. But staying and living with the person that caused it is something else.

      I know she was in pain and needed help from him. For her daily living – she needed assistance.

      I just could not rationalize living with the person that wanted me dead.

    • Tired

      I’m not judging Mrs BF either. I think she was the victim here. But he was something else. A real sleaze bag

    • TryingHard

      I’m sure Buttsfuco is a skeeze bag and I’m pretty sure others who know about my husbands A puts my h in the San sleeve bag category and are wondering and judging why i stayed.

      I have no idea why his wife stayed. Of course a bullet in ones brain may possibly render one incapable of making rational decisions. I didn’t get a bullet in my brain but I’m certain people question my decision making capabilities. Why would i stay with a man who lied and cheated and abused our finances?

      The life she has with him is all she knows. It’s common to go back to the status quo when a different life is unknown and scary.

      I’m not agreeing that staying with him was a good decision on her part. Heck I’m not even convinced me staying with my h was good decision on MY part. But i get why she stayed. It’s amazing to me how we rationalize things away.

      • TheFirstWife

        I stayed too. I’m not judging why anyone makes those decisions. But having your spouse involved in an attempted murder is just more than lying and cheating.

        I’m questioning why she would stay after the murder attempt. Not staying after the A.

        But your points are all good – she forgave him and stayed with him. Despite wat happened. Forgiveness is forgiveness.

        She’s a better person than I could be. I’m not sure if I could forgive attempted murder.

        And BTW my H opened us up to a potential harassment lawsuit as a partner in his company. Idiotic move!!!! Exposed us to the possibility of financial disaster.

    • Tired

      Trying hard…I don’t think anyone here is judging you about why you stayed. Most of us are in the same boat 🙁 It has nothing to do with those people. Obviously you stayed because there was something worth staying for. Same here. I’m quite sure you are capable of making your own decisions. No one could ever make that decision for you!

    • TryingHard

      LOL–Not saying YOU or anyone else here on EAJ is judging me. I’m talking the general public, “friends”, family, people who know what my H did. I heard it a lot, TH (not my real name) is crazy for staying with that jerk, I don’t know why you’re staying, you deserve better, what a sleaze he is,…. I heard it all.

      Mary Jo knew he was having an affair long before the Lolita shoot her. I guess she forgave or just didn’t leave. I can bet she never expected the crazy bitch to shoot her. And I’m guessing she doesn’t believe he really wanted to kill her because she wanted to believe him. That’s how liars and manipulators get away with this crap, their victims want to believe them. I wanted to believe my h too, still do. Some people, not you guys, will say that’s crazy.

      This case is extreme but you never know when someone, an AP or a spouse will lose their shit and go off the deep end. Desperate people do desperate things. I prefer not to cheat, not to invite strangers into my life. I know enough weird people, I don’t need to ask for trouble.

    • Tired

      Well Trying Hard, I think that the people saying that about you are not really your friends. Real friends would not tell you that you were stupid or crazy. That is just horrible. I feel for you because that would be very embarrassing. The people I did tell about it I now wish I hadn’t, because I’m sure they are thinking the same about me. At the end of the day, people who think that about you without knowing everything that went on are not worth thinking about. Silly gossips!

    • Angela

      Here’s a success story: (for a day anyway)

      I finally got my H to take a hike! Lol, I’m referring to taking a hike up a mountain trail.

      I made him promise me he’d go 2 weeks ago, (after asking off and on for 4 years now) and I wasn’t really paying attention to the calendar, and UN-purposely planned it for Valentine’s Day.

      The night before, I realized he and I both needed better footwear since it had been years since I hiked, and he’d never been much for hiking at all, so we invested in some suitable hiking shoes the night before, which was a way to stack the deck against backing out of it. I don’t know why I thought he might back out, but still felt like I needed some insurance that he would go.

      We woke up to rainy weather and 3 hours later than planned, but he still suggested we could go do half of the planned trails. I was thrilled he still wanted to go and we got ourselves ready and out the door.

      It was awesome! Just me & him on the trail climbing our way up to an overlook of the city we live in. The rain stopped and did not start again until the moment we descended from the mountain and got back to the car! What good luck!

      I can’t recommend a better activity for getting away from home, social media, TV, telephones, work, and the whole world in general. We got to talk, laugh, fall in some mud, found a crawdad, and had a picnic on top of a nice flat rock overlooking our city and the mountain ranges in the other direction.

      We’ve decided it will be a regular thing for us. Luckily, we live in an area with endless trails and natural areas to explore.

      I guess the most significant thing about it is the former way we spent those days. We used to schedule every other Wednesday as “talk day” for the healing and repairing of our marriage. And, we even got some talking done while we hiked. (Not much though, because the hiking was too fun to ruin it with such discussions.)

      We’ve never really celebrated much or made a big deal of Valentine’s Day because we were so in love, every day was Valentine’s to us. Well this year, we inadvertently made it more of a Valentine’s Day than we’d ever had.

      Just wanted to share a success day, and throw the idea out there for someone else.

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