couple drinking alcoholBy Sarah P.

Have you gotten your daily dose of infidelity today?

For your sake and for the sake of everyone around you, I sure hope not. But, the unfortunate truth is that some people, just like crack addicts, may need their daily dose of infidelity just to feel better.

Some people have brains that are more sensitive to the flood of chemicals that are released during lust. But even worse, they are also sensitive when those chemicals wane during normal long-term relationships.

Consider this: “When most people think of infidelity, they don’t think of junkies injecting heroin or smoking crack cocaine. They ought to, because the behavior that takes place during an affair mimics exactly the behavior of a drug addict” (Brain World Magazine, 2013). 

During lust, our brain is flooded with the same feel good chemicals that are released when someone takes drugs. Norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are all released in our brains when we are in lust or when we are taking drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamines.

In fact, cocaine is so addictive that is has caused laboratory monkeys to push a lever 12,000 times in the hope they will get another hit. So what does that say about lust?

But, the real ‘jackpot’ drug is dopamine. It makes us feel so good and it locks into permanent memory the things and people who make us feel good.

That’s all great and dandy except for when you consider this: “Unless a married couple works at keeping things fresh and new, dopamine levels stay low. But continued exposure to an attractive person outside of marriage causes a surge in dopamine; the absence of that person generates emptiness and unease. The only way to feel normal again is to return to the source of the chemical rush—the affair mate” (Brain World Magazine, 2013). 

Ouch.

But, it’s not just a decrease in dopamine that occurs during long-term relationships. The stress of day-to-day living is what is the real kicker. When we are in stress or have anxiety, we seek out experiences such as sex to feel better. But, sex and anxiety cannot co-exist and this causes a conundrum.

According to a study done by the American Psychosomatic Society, when volunteers were shown a suspense film and an erotic film simultaneously — among other tests and experiments — anxiety and (sexual) arousal cannot coexist. Sometimes, when marriages provoke high levels of anxiety in one or both partners, they may seek sexual satisfaction outside of the relationship. This may be due to the fact that they are physically incapable of sexual arousal when concomitantly anxious.  (Gaiam, E. C. LaMeaux).

But, is it a losing battle?

No.

But, it does take character, integrity, rational thinking, and selflessness to resist an affair.

In addition to that, there are things we can do to create novelty in our marriages so that dopamine levels stay high and cause our partners to come back to us for their fix time and again.

Affairs are not as cut and dry as they seem. Still, I will not give anyone an excuse for having an affair since it ultimately comes down to individual choice. Even though neurochemistry plays a strong role in our lives, it is only one aspect.

And, in my belief system, the soul trumps the material body and brain. It is our soul (spiritual) nature that can help us avoid temptation and make the choice to build our marriages instead of tearing them down.

Still, I will warn you that if your partner has an addictive personality at their core, it is not going to be an easy go of it. Therefore, take the information in this article to assess your situation because it provides some clues as to the future and how easily your spouse will be able to stay on the straight and narrow.

Knowing this and being able to predict this can hopefully help you make an informed decision in terms of what type of help your spouse needs in order for the marriage to recover. While I always recommend therapy with a good therapist, work may need to be done in terms of chemical dependency and addiction.


 

We’d like to thank Sarah for once again contributing to our blog. Sarah is a busy writer and mom and has two Master’s degrees – one in English and another in clinical psychology. 

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    44 replies to "Beware the Dopamine Seeker Who Needs a Daily Dose of Infidelity"

    • exercisegrace

      Personally, I think everyone (given the right circumstances) is vulnerable to this. Life can be stressful. Marriage can get bogged down with the intense responsibility of bills, childcare, chores, elderly parents, etc. If you have been married for any length of time at all, your spouse knows you. KNOWS you. Your faults, your bad habits, your areas of laziness. But the new person in the office? They haven’t heard your stories a million times. They haven’t seen you scratch your balls on the couch. When THEY ask you to do something? You do it without procrastinating or pushing back off onto them. They see you “cleaned up” every day, not sitting around in your ratty college baseball shirt. We put our best selves out there when we go to work or public social events. It’s always a rush when someone likes us, finds us funny, lets us know they enjoy our company. Whether it’s a new same sex friend or opposite sex friend. It’s new, it’s fun and we feel flattered.

      I am not going to be my husband’s hall monitor. He has had enough therapy to understand that it wasn’t the sex, it was the attention. It was the flattery. And it was a lie. Whatever rush he felt was short-lived. He traded a tremendous amount of good in his life for it and he regrets it. I have chased excuses, reasons, vulnerabilities and better ways to understand “how” he could have done this terrible thing to his wife and children. Even more, he did a terrible thing to HIMSELF. At the end of the day, people either pick the people they love or they pick themselves. They choose the greater good, or they choose extreme selfishness at the cost of all others. I am at point where I am done labeling it, I am done trying to understand it. I have been vulnerable in my life, I have been depressed. I have had many chances to cheat and never took them. And yes I was flattered and felt the rush of the potential. But I made my choice and I can live with myself. Woe to the cheaters and whores who have to live with THEIR choices.

      • Shifting Impressions

        Well said EG!!!!!
        I don’t know why, but this article just made me want to smack someone! It feels like just another way to excuse infidelity!!! As if all my needs are met all of the time….oh and I have to keep things “fresh and exciting” on top of everything. Anyway….extremely well said, EG, you do have a way with words!!

        I better stop before my comments become x-rated!!!!!

      • showmehowtoheal

        exercisegrace,
        your post has hit a major cord with me……It is my story….minus the children (& I can’t imagine going thru this with children in the mix)
        Its been the hardest thing in my life, and that includes harder than taking care of my mother-in-law in our home under Hospice care before she passed on.
        We have a business together (20+ yrs) which we are both active partners in and we are married 30 years(just outa HS) My husband is a good man. A very hard worker and always had morals that he would preach to others, even about love and marriage. Always boasting about what ‘we’ do right to make it work. I have not told my story here yet (this is my first post), but I have been so busy in fix-it mode…..am over it…..so done with trying to fix-it, I think. See, its crazy. I have been going to therapy for about 3 months, on & off, and he just started about 3 weeks ago, but is not giving the therapist the whole story….so that’s another story on whether that will help him understand the whys of it all. He loves me very much and because his morals tell him that the OW is a sleep-around type, that he has no good future with her, but he still thinks he’s in love with her also.
        This is so ‘bizarre’ to me, I cant even stand thinking about it anymore. We had our ‘twice kicked him out’ moments and he promised to ‘never speak to her again’. Well, as far as I can tell, maybe that lasted 3 months, Maybe. Burner phones are wonderful, aren’t they? His went from a EA to a PA and ‘as far as I can tell’ now its back to an EA. Both my H and I have talked about how I know he has this burner phone and is talking to her. He said ‘he is trying’. He said he needs to understand why he cheated in the first place, before he lets the phone go, so that he doesn’t disappoint me and do this again. He keeps telling me he has not seen her in 7 months (since 2nd/last time I kicked him out), only talking. He doesn’t know that I am aware of some of the actual talk & altho its not as sexual in nature, but its not just how was your weekend. This is crazy. I can’t concentrate on anything but it.
        I could go on & on, but really this all seems to be so Strange, yet so Similar the stories……If you can shed any light on how your H was able to Stop his EA/PA it could help me maybe steer my H in the right direction. I just picked up a book ‘Not Just Friends’ and after readying some chapters, I immediately wanted to share some with him, but I have not yet, as I read one of Doug/Lindas blog post and maybe throwing this info at him will have him ‘feeling bad’ about himself (directed from me) and make him contact her even more. Again, this is so Absurd, but he is a Man and I still Love him very much. I just never realized how much he ‘needed’ me more than I need him ;-(
        Any insight to your successes are appreciated.

      • Chapter3

        Wow well said! I couldn’t agree more!

    • Fragments of Hope

      Yes Exercise Grace, you said it perfectly. Anxiety and living stress played a huge part in my husband’s self-medicating affair. Sadly the same extreme stresses ( a special needs child) are still ongoing and I know that it has taken the shine off life and the marriage. it’s also true what you said about trying to make sense of it and choices. There are plenty of reason and excuses for doing things but there were various times that he made the choice to go against me and do the wrong thing. We are going through a particularly difficult time with one of our children at the moment and it just brings home how when times were tough and I was doing the best I could as a wife and mother, he made the terrible choice of the affair and saying nasty things about me to the OW, he made things even more difficult, heaped down another massive load of sh*t upon what I was dealing with already. Yes, he needed, we both needed, a dopamine hit and I can understand that but the nastiness that went along with it, still chills me to the bone. He was a good guy and has been since the affair but it’s hard to accept how much my mental health and resilience has suffered due to his actions, especially when I still need to be strong for my family.

    • TrustingGod

      So true, exercise grace. But we do need to remember to show our spouse some interest and appreciation, give some of our best efforts, or else we take them for granted. And I don’t like being taken for granted. I’ve had an experience where I found someone very attractive, because he was nice to me when no one else was. I didn’t act on it, and rarely saw him, but I realized how much I had romanticized him when I saw him a couple weeks later, when I wasn’t under so much stress, and people were kinder to me. I was shocked that I had found him attractive. So when I hear about affair fog, I can understand the concept. But I also understand that I was able to come to my senses quickly because I didn’t have regular contact with him, and wasn’t depending on him to make me feel good. And I think that’s where the danger lies–it’s normal to feel attracted to someone who’s making your day better with their attention or admiration. But it’s when you consciously make the decision to seek more contact with that person, instead of recognizing that the person represents a danger to you and your family, that you start to lie to yourself. Then you have to keep on lying, because you can’t reconcile your behavior with the type of person that you believe you are. So then it has to be that the spouse and children you’re betraying don’t provide you with what you need, that they don’t appreciate you, that you’d all be better off if the marriage ended. The truth, of course, is that the cheater rarely reaches out to the spouse to get what they need. The cheater was taking the spouse for granted, too, which is probably why the spouse wasn’t giving them what they needed or wanted. That’s the only reason why I think it’s important to remember to make a consistent effort to be more appreciative and admiring, so that it’s harder for another person’s attention to be anything more than a nice extra, but not anything that a spouse doesn’t already get plenty of at home. It makes lying to yourself about your family so much harder–you can’t then complain that they don’t appreciate you like this other person does, that this new person is what you need to be happy. But this is something that I learned too late. Once you are betrayed, and the CS does little to help you recover and almost nothing to improve the marriage, you run out of things to admire and appreciate in your spouse. And since your spouse is not exactly doing anything to boost your self-esteem, you find yourself overly thrilled by a salesman’s compliments about your shirt bringing out the color of your eyes or how delicious the dinner you’re cooking smells, even as you realize that he’s deliberately flattering you to increase his sales. Even so, you are happy that someone even noticed the color of your eyes or appreciated your efforts to cook a meal, and at the same time think how pathetically sad and lonely you must be for those remarks to even register such a high emotional reaction.

      And there are people who have the need for excitement that this article talks about, but I think you have to try to avoid commitments with those people, because they have yet to find in themselves what makes them happy, they don’t actually love themselves or have a compass for their lives. Again, though, you have to be wise enough to see and know this beforehand, and most of us only gain this knowledge after we’ve been significantly burned by someone like this.

      • exercisegrace

        I agree that as difficult as it is, even in the post-affair landscape we must make a massive effort to show appreciation to our spouses. We all need to feel loved, needed and wanted. Even when we have made mistakes. If I am honest, are times where I feel he should just be grateful that he is still here with his family. BUT. It is crucial for healing that both parties feel loved and appreciated. It is equally sad that our spouses have placed such large obstacles in both of our paths.

        I fully admit that in the two years leading up to his affair we did take each other for granted. And to a point, I think this is okay in a marriage. Because marriage is not 50/50. At any given point it swings widely and can be 90/10, 60/40, etc. when one spouse experiences an illness, job loss or death in the family for example. In our case, we both lost a parent, watched the economy nearly tank our business, had financial difficulties, moved, had two children in diapers, and I could go on. Here is where the road diverges. My husband chose to escape into an affair with a co-worker who freely admitted she took advantage of his depression and “pursued him aggressively”. I chose to suck it up and work even harder. It was a very bad season and I knew we just had to make it through. I took on ALL the responsibility at home. The chores, the bills, the parent-teacher conferences, the school plays, the sports events, walking the floor with sick kiddos and so on. He always had to work. Or he was too tired. I made excuses for him. Praised him for working so hard to keep us going. Upgraded his hotel to oceanfront with money we didn’t have when he traveled on business so he could “get a break” and that translated to “vacation with his whore”. In two years, he never let me sleep in even once. I took the kids everywhere, even to my OB/GYN appts because he wouldn’t watch them and we didn’t have extra money for a babysitter.
        I took every criticism and answered it. As the affair progressed, he moved from distant to cold to cruel. At the zenith, he woke me up enraged at 2 am because there was a rinsed dish, spoon and glass in the sink of our spotless kitchen. He demanded I wash them and put them away because he wasn’t “going to live in filth like this”. The kids avoided him because his demands got ridiculous and nothing pleased him.

        I understand it all now, we had to be the enemy in order for him to justify his choices. But during our therapy I wrote him a letter and listed all of these things and many more. I could SO EASILY have been the one who chose to cheat. I could have listed so many ways he neglected MY needs or was emotionally distant and even (in my opinion) emotionally abusive. But it was very hard then. My mantra became “just do the next right thing”. And “be able to stand before God, our pastor or a counselor and know I responded appropriately”.

        You are very right when you say the cheater typically doesn’t reach out to the SPOUSE regarding any needs they feel are unmet. In many cases, I would venture to say it isn’t until the AP comes along, grabs a shovel and helps the CS make mountains out of molehills that the CS even SEES very many unmet needs. The AP most certainly magnifies those that exist to the extreme. I asked my husband once what he thought would have happened if he had treated ME the way he did her as he pursued building a relationship. How, I asked him, did he think I would have responded if he had written ME love notes? Bought me little gifts? Spent HOURS talking to ME on the phone? To his credit, he was very ashamed. And lastly, it is so ironic that he was ONLY free to pursue this single, childless woman because he had me at home keeping everything running and caring for his four kids. Yet I was somehow to blame for it all. Thankfully his head has been fully retracted out of his arse and he is a completely different person today. But it still leaves scars and a difficult road to walk.

        • Strengthrequired

          I think the head in ass syndrome has been cured here too eg.

    • TrustingGod

      Wow, exercise grace. I’m a little unsure why you think the emotional abuse is just an opinion. If my husband ever woke me up to wash dishes at 2 am, raging about how he wasn’t going to live in filth, I’m pretty sure I would have told him that he was free to wash them himself if it bothered him so much, and to stop being a psycho. Refusing to watch the kids so that you can go to the doctor is an abuse of your whole family. Suddenly my husband looks so reasonable, but then, he wasn’t as firmly entrenched with one person, but looking hard for one everywhere he could. I’m sure he would have become more abusive over time. He had already been saying cruel things and neglecting me and our family in much of the way you describe your husband doing. He made me so miserable just before our last son was born that I almost didn’t call him at work when I went into labor. I have done many things for the same reason as you, because I want to know that I did what was right before God, and if my marriage ended I wanted to be able to tell my children that I did everything I could. I have tried to make our marriage work and get past everything, but he won’t meet me halfway. And I have already had to forgive so much over the years that it would take a sovereign move of God to change our marriage into what it shows be. I pray your husband continues to do what is right and helpful to you.

    • TrustingGod

      Should be, not shows be.

    • Tryinghard

      Well ladies I don’t know about you but I’m starting to re-think thus whole monogamy thing. Maybe we are missing out on something really special and life changing. I mean who doesn’t want to “feel alive”. This dopamine rush, that apparently you only get by lying, deceiving, giving away marital assets, and fucking someone besides your spouse can only be attained by having an affair when you are committed to someone else, sounds like pretty heady stuff.

      I just listened to Esther perls Ted talk that someone recommended and well she seems to think it’s perfectly natural to do that shit. Who are we to judge? I mean why the hell not?

      Gosh and here I thought raising your family, enjoying time with your mate, having a nice social life, enjoying a reasonably productive middle class life made me feel alive!! What a dope I’ve been!! Haha these days I feel alive when I wake up and nothing hurts!!! What kind of fools are we to buy into this whole trust, love and honor in a marriage? How stupid are we to put everyone else needs before ours when we could have been off “feeling alive”?

      You know what I lost a lot. I lost a whole business that I worked my ass off for. My business partner threw me under the bus when she wanted out and left me holding the bag. My sons marriage was falling apart. Depressed??? Fuck I can show you depressed and self loathing, why didn’t I know that what I needed was an affair to help me through it. Fuck blaming their depression or family of origin problems for their poor choices to cheat.

      So yah they liked that tingly euphoria they got by sneaking around like teenage boys sneaking away from Mommy. It has nothing to do with depression and everything to do with their lousy character. If my husband was depressed during his affair he sure never said it. I never saw one bit of depression. He liked having his cake and eating it too, plain and simple. Lousy character and a real sense of entitlement. I was very appreciative and said it too. I praised him and showed him attention. It was HE that showed me no attention and took me for granted. Never showed an iota of appreciation for anything. Different now I must say, but kinda like closing the barn doors once the cows have gotten out!
      I don’t know if he misses his dopamine rush or misses the dope. Don’t care. Not asking. If he is he knows where the door is.

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, well we were the walking dead, and they were the walking living….
        Guess we did choose the wrong path. Instead of letting depression eat away at our souls maybe we should have turned to some om, like our ch turned to some ow to soothe their soul, and of course, we could have told our om just how much our ch mistreated us, to make ourselves feel better.

        I think it would be nice to feel alive again. So the dope is the ow, lol. How true…

        All seriousness though th, although it would be nice to find that being alive feeling, one gets from giving it all up for an affair partner, I think, I’m actually glad I didn’t follow my husbands footsteps. although it would have been nice to lose the plot, even for a moment, my children are the innocent victims in th, what sort of character would I be teaching them if I showed them that our family meant nothing to either of us.
        They needed someone to stand up for them. I also prefer not having that guilt over me for sleeping around and chasing after another man, while I’m still married.

        I prefer knowing that I’m not hurting anyone, I prefer to do my best and not do something I don’t want done to me.

        • Tryinghard

          Indeed you are SR. you do have children that need guidance and sanity and stability. I don’t have that excuse. My children are raised. They are adults with lives of their own. I did what you did. I stayed home raised our children bought into that whole contract of the importance of being there for my children. Sometimes I regret staying home raising children and taking care of the tedious responsibilities of our lives and not taking care of my own career and financial well being. but I did it for OUR good of my husband and my family. Then when it’s all done he comes home and tells me he doesn’t need or want me anymore. I became irrelevant and expendable all for his dopamine fix? Nice.

          Well hey according to Esther Perl everyone does it. They like it. They feel ALIVE! Well what’s more important than feeling ALIVE? What’s it the young people say YOLO? Maybe they are on to something and it is we who are the dummies.

          If it feels good, do it. Don’t worry about anyone else, NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. And the best one, if God didn’t want you to have an affair he wouldn’t have brought this other person into your life. After all He is in control. This universe spins for YOU. you’re depressed, HAVE AN AFFAIR. You feel bored, HAVE AN AFFAIR. You feel under appreciated, HAVE AN AFFAIR. You feel taken for granted, HAVE AN AFFAIR. Some pathetic person strokes your tender little, wounded ego, HAVE AN AFFAIR. Mommy and Daddy didn’t give you the right kind of attention, HAVE AN AFFAIR. Man I missed the memo. I had all this shit and yet I did not HAVE AN AFFAIR.

          WTF I sure as hell dont think I’m any Mother Theresa with such an exemplary character. Never thought about my character at all. Character is what you do when no one is watching. And here I thought the worse thing you could do when no one was watching was pick your nose!! Apparently character is no big deal and should be compromised any time your little world isn’t quite right.

          LOL I’m going shopping today and I’m going to look great. I think I might just leave my character at home and see what I can attract. I’m feeling bored, taken for granted, under appreciated, expendable, irrelevant, and well my Dad spanked me when I was little. I think I’ll go kick the nearest dumpster and see if I can find someone who makes me feel ALIVE.

          SHEESH!! NOT!!!

          • antiskank

            TH, I LOVE your take on this!! If it wasn’t so true, it would be hilarious. It made me angry that we have to deal with this childish behaviour that keeps having excuses made for it, yet I also laughed at how you interpreted it to show just how ridiculous it really is! Thank you:)

            While I would never suggest anyone turn to the illicit drugs that give a high that is similar to that experienced by lust, there are other options. It would seem that anything that gives a dopamine rush is bad for you in some way so be choosy! What ever happened to the good old days when people ingested chocolate, sugar or caffeine for their rush? What about the old cancer sticks – cigarettes – they can give a similar rush, and hopefully these things only harm the one seeking the rush.

            I am SO tired of all the excuses made for the cheaters. Let’s be honest here! As stated in the article – “But, it does take character, integrity, rational thinking, and selflessness to resist an affair.” End of!! They need to get their freaking act together and find some integrity!

            If none of these home remedies work, I guess castration is still an option! hehe

            • Tryinghard

              Antiskank
              I’m glad I gave you a good laugh! Def my intention. This is not a laughable situation though. I’m sick of hearing the lame excuses why cheaters cheat. It’s bullshit. Instead of feeling sorry and wringing your hands and trying to “understand them”, I think they should be ridiculed. Made fun of for the pathetic cliches they chose to become during an affair. I’m not going there, EVER. There were a million things he could have done and chose the shittiest. You’re depressed get some Zoloft. Haven’t they seen that cute ad for it with the bouncy dark cloud?? They’re talking to YOU loser. Hey I got a great idea, I’m depressed, I think I need an affair. No, no loser that is definitely not a good idea.

              Well anyway, I looked good and went shopping and karma got me cause I found nothing to buy. Couldn’t even find that dumpster to kick to find an affair. So I just had to satisfy my dopamine rush with a Vente coffee from Starbucks. I’m such a loser:)

          • Strengthrequired

            Th, lol. I love and appreciate you…. I think that dumpster you kicked came out lil Ol me…

            • Strengthrequired

              Th, you had to have kicked something, otherwise I wouldn’t have come scurrying out.

            • Tryinghard

              Awwww. You’re so sweet S R. Love and appreciate you too. But you are definitely NOT a dumpster denizen:)

            • Strengthrequired

              Your the sweet one TH. Your right, I didn’t come from a dumpster, and neither did you. we became the exterminator….
              So. Uch for out with the old and in with the new.

              I told my husband one day, if he ever slid back into affair mode, then it’s only right for me to enjoy the fun and find my own affair partner to give me what I need, if my husband doesn’t measure up.
              needless to say he didn’t like that idea. Lol. He said it will not be happening for either of us. Lol
              I actually couldn’t stand it, and the sts buffet turns me off too.

            • Strengthrequired

              Std buffet

            • Strengthrequired

              I was just thinking, that I wasn’t very good at pest control because we didn’t keep up the husband keeping to keep the bugs off. So I guess can’t even call myself an exterminator. Lol

    • TrustingGod

      I watched the TED talk, too, and I didn’t appreciate it anymore than I would’ve enjoyed Monica Lewinski’s, talking about how terrible it is to shame women by calling them sluts. A woman who has an affair with a married man doesn’t exactly have any moral grounds to tell me that it’s wrong to call women names, and how much suffering it causes them. Maybe if she’d seemed repentant, instead of proud of her behavior, she wouldn’t have taken so much flack? But I digress…

      I didn’t actually learn anything new from the TED talk, but I didn’t get the same feeling that she thought it was okay to have an affair. I wonder if we’re not doing ourselves a disservice in trying to find scientific evidence that supports why people have such a difficult time ending affairs or why affairs meet the emotional needs of cheaters. Because it takes away so much personal responsibility from the cheaters to say that they are at the mercy of chemicals in their brains, as if we are all merely animals and have to follow our urges. I know this site has one or two articles pointing this out. I think the most helpful way to deal with this problem in society is to look more at the root cause of it, which for most everyone is really not feeling a strong emotional connection to the spouse, and not knowing how to communicate a need or want to that spouse, so that the spouse is given an opportunity to to help them. If we made more of an effort to teach these skills, instead of believing that men and women are essentially the same, and all know how to communicate in a relationship, even when we’re upset, we might actually get somewhere with this problem. That, and more acknowledgement that marriage vows are to be taken seriously, because breaking them and splitting up your family generally causes much more damage, pain, and regret than anything that the spouse is experiencing at any particular moment (unless there is serious abuse). It seems to me that there is too much belief that you can just get a divorce if things don’t work out, and so many messages in the media that affairs are exciting and common and probably even something you fall into without meaning to. I personally believe that the feeling of excitement you get from doing something you know is wrong is the first sign that you are being tempted into sin, and that engaging further in that activity is about to cause you and your loved ones harm. But if you don’t believe in God or sin or you allow yourself to be deceived into thinking that God actually put another person in your path on purpose because that’s who you are actually supposed to be with, then I guess that the only thing that would keep you from hurting your family, your spouse, and in all actuality, yourself, is to recognize that you shouldn’t get married until you know who you are as a person, know that you have to love yourself, have integrity and be committed to growing and loving the person you choose to share your life with. I know that if I had understood this more when I was younger, and hadn’t felt like I had an easy out if the marriage didn’t work out, I would’ve been a lot more cautious and careful about who I married and when. But I was looking for someone to love me so that I could love me. I was young and stupid, and there aren’t any legal requirements to get premarital counseling or take any kind of test or reality check to see if you should actually be trying to make a lifetime commitment to someone. But there should be, just as relationship skills should be taught in schools, in my opinion.

    • Tryinghard

      Trusting God
      I hear what you are saying I just disagree. Couples who are. Dry happily married, have great sex, great communication there is still cheating. These deficiencies might affect a marriage but do not lead to cheating in and of themselves.

      Don’t even get me started on Monica lewinsky. She turned me off with her opening statement ” 20 years ago I made a big mistake. I fell in love with my boss”. Right then and there I knew she had learned NOTHING in those 25 years. Really giving BJs and hand jobs in the Oval Office is love??? Letting him perform sex acts with his cigar is love?? Please your freaking idiot, give me a break. She knows nothing about love or supporting herself for that matter. She is a useless waste of space on this planet. Nothing she says has any value.

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, I’m sure that’s what all of our ch mistresses would say. Ohh I made a mistake and fell in love. “Hang in just have to race to the bathroom and puke”. Ohhh and God brought us together, we are meant to be together. “Hang on just have to puke again”. 0hhh and its ok he doesn’t love his wife anymore, he lves me, so we aren’t doing anything wrong. “Hang on can’t keep puking, need to rush off to the bathroom again, Geez I’m sick today, lol.”
        The problem is these apparent mistakes only get told as mistakes when they are found out, prior to that, they aren’t mistakes.

        I found out just the other day, that oeole that know my husband and me, who also know her, would ask her “why don’t you leave him alone, he is married? “. She would say, “ohh he doesn’t love his wife anymore”. (Her justification, at making people understand why she is a dirty home wrecker ). What’s funny is the response.
        They told her ” that is where you are wrong, he loves his wife, he always has, he won’t leave her for you”. She then would try again to tell them by getting angry, that “no he loves me not her”.
        This is why she kept trying to break my marriage, she wanted to prove them all wrong.. So she just kept on trying to persuade my husband into changing his mind, and leaving me and our family for her. Sicko….

      • Rachel

        Do you know how many Monica Lewinsky’s are out there?
        Way too many to count.
        Way too many who are classless and prey upon another woman’s spouse .
        Way too many who crave attention.
        Way too many who just don’t care that they broke up a family.
        It’s all about them!

        • Strengthrequired

          Rachel, I think too countless to come even close to an amount. Sad, because so many people, families are getting hurt by these women, and men.
          Yet look at how many fall for their advances. Too many to count as well.
          It’s hard to know who to trust anymore.

    • TrustingGod

      Trying hard,

      I guess I have a slightly different perspective because my husband and I have never had very good communication or especially great sex and I haven’t been very happy most of the time because of his neglect and mistreatment. I’m no angel, either, but I tried to overlook things and forgive. It was very hard, and everything I thought I’d forgiven came crashing back to me on D-Day. And today my husband told me that he’s not going to live his whole life with me looking over his shoulder at who he’s talking to and that he’s not going to ask me to forgive him again because he already had and I had said I forgave him, so I should just leave him if I don’t trust him. This is after I was telling him why I didn’t really believe that he loved me, and giving examples of why I believed that, and why I needed him to change. Well, he’s been clear now that he’s not going to change and that I am wrong for wanting him to. And, after all, he’s done virtually nothing to help me overcome his infidelity and thinks he’s been some kind of hero because he doesn’t hang out with his friends on the weekends, even though he has a history of ditching our family to be with other family members or friends on the weekends. He actually said he should go with his friends to Las Vegas on the weekend some time so that I could know what it’s like to have a husband abandon me, and appreciate that he’s there on the weekends. He never wants to do anything with me on the weekends, of course, but I should be grateful he’s not off somewhere else. I don’t know why I thought there was actually still some hope, but it’s probably because he was acting nice to me yesterday and sat next to me watching TV and for once didn’t go rushing off to help some friend who called him because she locked herself out of her car and her husband wasn’t answering his phone. Normally he would just go, but she didn’t have a spare key somewhere else and for once he thought about us (or maybe just himself, because he might need it for his car any day) and didn’t offer her our AAA service to get her door unlocked just so she wouldn’t be out $30. So I stupidly thought he was changing and might give me and our family priority instead of trying to look like a hero to everyone but me. But today my talking to him during our lunch date was just the thing to turn him right back into the unrepentant guy with the heart of stone when it comes to me. So I have to be done. I don’t have a choice when someone essentially tells me to shut up and trust him, and, by the way, he will continue to do everything that hurts me because I shouldn’t expect him to change.

      And if I knew how to reach him and he knew how to make me feel loved instead of like an albatross around his neck, we might not have to put our children through what’s coming. But I don’t know how to make him understand anything I say, and I can’t pretend anymore to be happy. I don’t have the luxury of thinking, he’ll never leave me for another woman, even if he has another affair, because he does still love me. Because he doesn’t love me, and I doubt he ever has or ever will. I have never been what he wanted and I struggled with the evidence of that for years. And now I can’t deny it anymore. So maybe there are some people who have great relationships and still cheat, but I don’t know any.

      • Tryinghard

        Trusting God
        I hope you can hang in long enough to gather some money for you and your child. Maybe even get a job. Your husband sounds like a real asshole!!!

        • Strengthrequired

          Trustinggod, you don’t deserve this treatment, as TH said, I too hope you can hang in long enough to set yourself up with work and money to support yourself and your children. im so sorry your husband is like this, you deserve happiness.

    • Rachel

      Trusting God,
      I know exactly how you feel. Our stories sound very similar.
      I never felt the love from my ex. Never felt it when we held hands or a hug.
      Just felt his slimy bony hands touch me. One of his comments was ” you can’t force someone to fall in love with you”! So why did I beg him? Ugh! Some days I get so mad at myself for begging him to stay.
      Why??? I never thought I could make it without him. I had such doubt in myself.
      When he changed his mind and wanted me back all I could think of was the constant looking over my shoulder wondering who he was with. Wasn’t worth it !!!! I’m too good for that.
      The confidence builds over time. When I hung my first hook I was over the moon!!!!
      I was never allowed to do anything to the house. And now it’s mine!!! It’s so freeing and so peaceful not having negative energy lurking.
      And today when I get the”how are you” pity look I smile big and say I’m great!
      It’s tough to get rejected, but there is someone out there that will think that you are just a beautiful person inside and out. Someone that sees all of the positives in you and makes you feel like the special person that you are.
      Trusting God, you don’t deserve to be treated poorly. Your husband sounds like a real jerk.
      Keep your head up high and remember you are a good person.
      Good luck with everything.

      • Strengthrequired

        Rachel, I’m glad you responded to Trustinggod, I think she needed to hear some encouraging words from someone as wonderful as you.

    • TrustingGod

      You are right, I do need encouraging words. I wish I had a chance at having a decent home to move into. Right now I am searching for a rental that I can afford that accepts dogs. They’re not both small, so that’s difficult, especially since I now have bad credit and no job yet. I would try to stick it out until I get a job, but I just can’t take the stress any longer than I have to. The pain and sadness I feel is almost as bad as D-Day, but duller, because it mostly comes from getting my hopes up, only to have them dashed, over and over again. And from having my husband look me straight in the eyes, ignoring all my pain and everything he’s put me through, and tell me that I’m the problem, and that I should’ve accepted him how he is, and not try to change him, and that I want everyone to be just like me (which I gather is not something he admires in any way). But I am deep-down angry, just the same, because he’s just continuing with the lies he has in his own head, making me out to be something I’m not. And his rejection of me, phrased in an ultimatum that makes it sound like I’m choosing to destroy our marriage (for not agreeing to be a doormat), hurts so very much. But even if he sees us living in a hellhole he will just think that I brought it all on myself, for refusing to accept his terms of forgiving and forgetting everything, with no changes or improvements to our marriage. And that complete lack of repentance and the way he twists everything to make it look like I’m a terrible person who deserves nothing makes it so hard to have patience with my children.

    • Strengthrequired

      Trustinggod, is there anywhere you can go to in your area that can help you get on your feet sooner? Don’t let your husband blame you for anything, I’m glad you see that you aren’t the person he claims you to be. You are deserving of a good life. You do not deserve to be unhappy.
      I know it can be hard to reach out for help, but maybe this is what you need. You sound as though you have made up your mind on leaving your husband, just make sure you find out what help is out there for you, that can help make things easier for you and your children.

    • TrustingGod

      Thank you, I am meeting with someone from my church in a couple of days. It was supposed to be for marriage counseling, but since I’ll be going alone I will make sure to find out from him, or anyone else there, if there are some resources I can count on. I have looked and looked and just can’t find anything that I can afford that will work with having 2 dogs, and the house we’re in is really the best option. So I think I have to focus on finding a job so that we can live here, which means I don’t know how long I will have to stay living with my husband. I’ve felt very frustrated and upset today because I just want to be separated from him, and now have no clear idea of when that could happen.

    • Tryinghard

      Trusting God
      You’re going to have some difficult choices to make. Do you think perhaps given you may have to move, and you have children to take care of, and find a job where you will be gone all day, that it is in your best interest to maybe leave the dogs with your husband? I know we love our dogs but you have a lot on your plate and maybe you don’t really need to worry about dogs at this stage? I’m just putting it out there. I hate to see people in such anguish over dogs. I love them too but we are talking about you sanity here. Perhaps you can even stay in another room in the house until you get things sorted out logistically and financially?

      Unless he is physically abusing you I doubt there are too many resources out there. You don’t have family that can help you? You’re going to have to simplify your life if you are going to make these changes and dealing with two dogs is the last thing you need right now. I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I hope your clergy has some answers for you.

    • TrustingGod

      It wouldn’t work to leave the dogs with my husband. Besides the fact that he doesn’t like them, even a little, he would have the same problem finding a place he could afford that takes dogs. They’re pretty much my eldest son’s dogs, and I already know giving them up isn’t an option. I’m feeling a bit frustrated about that, but I guess I’m just going to pray for greater strength and a steady income. I’ve already gone through so much stress and near-fatal disease, and maybe this is just the last test, how to keep your cool and release your pain in a healthy way, despite what goes on around you, before the exit appears.

      • Strengthrequired

        Trustinggod, I’m glad your seeing someone soon. I do hope they have some ideas that can help you. I do hope all turns out the best for you.

    • TrustingGod

      Thank you, Strengthrequired, so do I. I try to remind myself that it shouldn’t be too hard to wait for a bit, because my husband doesn’t attack me unless I speak to him. He just stonewalls me and ignores me, and is gone for most of the time, working. I have to remind myself that what makes me an emotional wreck is that he doesn’t care enough about me or our family to do anything worthwhile to save it. It’s the rejection that hurts me, and the continued pressure of me having all the responsibility of taking care of the family’s needs. But it’s been this way for a long time, now. I guess I’m just missing the self-esteem that came from thinking that I was doing something good for others, through my former job, and from thinking that I was at least attractive to my husband. It’s also the letdown after hoping that my marriage might finally improve and that I might feel loved. So it is MY emotional problem to handle. I have to stop letting his indifference affect me, because that is really the only thing that is different about being separated and what I have now. When he is here I become angry and upset because I see the lack of caring and feel the rejection. So I will work on handling and accepting that, and on finding a job so that I don’t have to see it anymore.

    • Strengthrequired

      Trustinggod, let me ask you this. Does your husband seem attractive to you, after all he has done? If you really think about it, he may be attractive on the outside, but what about inside?
      You underestimate yourself, don’t think you aren’t beautfiul or attractive, just because of how your husband treats you, and how he makes you feel. He is just one man, there are many men out there that would think you are awesome, beautiful and who would be happy to call you their wife, and treat you how you should be treated.
      Try hard and bring that smile back, if your husband wants to join in on your happiness, then he will, if he doesn’t after seeing his beautiful wife rising above his bad behaviour, and proving to herself that she is worthy of love and respect, that his actions, his opinion, is just that his to own.
      You need to show yourself that you are worthy of love, you are beautiful. You know you can shine… Don’t let your husband keep the sun from shining into your heart, smile, laugh to yourself every day,even if you feel like your forcing it, do it until it just comes naturally again. think about how lucky and blessed you are that you have your beautiful children.
      Hugs to you

    • TrustingGod

      Strengthrequired,

      Sometimes I just don’t know why people tend to betray their spouses, when their spouses are awesome, caring, supportive people like you and so many others on here.

      In answer to your question, I actually don’t find my husband all that attractive. On the outside, he is neither very handsome nor very ugly. I see his physical flaws but I generally ignore them. On the inside…I don’t want to look too hard at that. There’s just not that much to admire anymore. And one of the things I used to tell myself was, at least he’s not a cheater. But now, after seeing only some of the evidence, I have to make an effort to forget that he is capable of engaging in behavior that I can only call sleazy. I felt true disgust, along with my disbelief and shock. All I wanted was to get away from this person that I realized I didn’t even know.

      But I thought about my children, my then 4-month old baby, and about my faith, about forgiving as I expect to be forgiven. And I told my husband what I expected from him in order for me to forgive him and stay with him. But I didn’t search out the right help, and I made a ton of mistakes. I had no idea how far my self-esteem was going to sink when he didn’t respond the way I expected. I didn’t realize that I’d become less self-conscious, felt better about myself, because I’d stopped worrying what other people thought of my looks or my weight or how I dressed. The problem was that I’d replaced it with, “as long as my husband finds me attractive, that’s all that matters.” But then I found the proof of how he didn’t, because he spent so much time comparing me to twenty-somethings that never had any children. And to know that he had really amped it up while I was pregnant, when I was suffering and ill, made me feel so disrespected, so dishonored, and, looking at my stretch marks and the sudden wrinkles under my eyes, so very, very old and fat and ugly and utterly used up. It definitely didn’t help when some people assumed my baby was my grandson. I was only 40! Not even a gray hair in sight! I’ve since been more at peace about this, but some of it has been to just accept that he doesn’t find me attractive anymore, but that it doesn’t matter that much, because I still look good for my age, and I can look better with a little more effort.

      But I don’t kid myself anymore that there’s someone else out there for me. I wonder if anyone who’d have me would be someone I’d want. Someone trustworthy, faithful, kind, etc. To top it off, I listened to a lecture about admissible circumstances for divorce and remarriage for Christians, and it doesn’t look like I qualify. I know there are many interpretations of that, but it is the main reason, other than the effects on my children, that I was willing to try on our marriage. Not because I still loved him so much–I had almost no love left. Not because I thought we had so much going for us otherwise–we didn’t. Not because he begged me to forgive him and to stay–he didn’t, and seemed willing to leave. Just my own belief that my vows meant something.

      I’ve wanted so much to get away from him so that I can stop obsessing about what he’s doing and how little he cares about me. I want to learn to love myself. I would say, love myself again, but when I look back at my life I think, no, no one who loved herself would have put up with any of that. And staying with him sometimes means putting up with garbage, or speaking out against it, only to be told I’m a ungrateful complainer who’s never happy with anything. But I’m definitely going to concentrate on exuding confidence and finding joy again. I don’t much care if he notices it, since it’s not for him. It’s for me and my children and anyone else in the world who appreciates me.

      Much love to all here.

    • Strengthrequired

      I know exactly how you feel trusting God, I’m a similar age to you, and when my husband had his affair, my youngest was just one. I was going through depression, seeing Drs for my youngest two children as well as myself continuously, yet my husbands excuse for his affair was, that I wasn’t doing anything to help myself, and he had tried to help me. I still don’t understand that, because I was seeing drs, what I did need though was an understanding husband, one who didn’t avoid coming home, but wanted to help out with the children and just be there supporting me, for what I was going through.
      Instead he too was going through a depression, midlife, so his way of helping himself was to have an affair. Yet somehow I managed to stand by him, support and love him, while he felt entitled and blaming me for his life. He was able to turn his back in me, but I did not turn my back in him. I guess we know who ended up being the stronger one.
      I too honoured our vows, my children needed us together, and they certainly did not need the ow in their lives, especially my baby.
      I still don’t understand how another woman would do that to young children, be willing to break their family apart, for her own selfish reasons.
      All I know trusting God, is that we have had our fair share of sadness, that is why I say, smile, laugh, try and have fun, to bring joy back into your life, don’t let anymore get taken from you, take your life back. We may be in our fourties, we may not look how we used too twenty years ago, yet no one stays the same to when they were younger. Everyone ages, and I know that what our husbands don’t find attractive, someone else does.
      I just don’t know if I would want someone else if I ever left my husband.
      Just know that your not alone…

    • TrustingGod

      Strengthrequired,

      I don’t know why our stories all have to have so much of the same element–cheater BS. I had depression that started two days after my baby was born. My husband works at night and at another job in the afternoon. I struggled to keep the baby quiet, which meant I frequently did not get a shower, because he would cry the second he was put down, and awoke easily, and I would often be too exhausted to take a shower by the time my husband was awake, or he would be in too much of a hurry to watch the baby so I could shower. My oldest son was helping me out by making dinner for me and doing the grocery shopping, since the baby cried the whole time he was in his car seat for the first few months of his life. My other sons occasionally helped me out when not at school, but my baby pretty much just wanted to nurse 24/7. And when I told my husband that I was very depressed, crying every night he wasn’t there, and that it was pretty dangerous for me to be that way, that I thought I needed help, he said NOTHING to me, left our room, and went to work. On another occasion I was trying to get him to understand why I felt so lonely and sad, and that he couldn’t really understand because he had friends and talked to adults all the time. His response was, “well, if you’re lonely, you shouldn’t have quit your job.” I never got any help, other than talking to my oldest son. I prayed and watched TV and tried to get myself together and go outside once in a while, when I’d had a shower.

      The thing is, the depression had been building beforehand, when I saw my husband’s treatment of me grow progressively worse, when I saw that our new baby was just another son I would have to raise virtually alone. And I would say that this happened because he was cheating on me during all this time. I had felt so relieved to leave my job, and finally have time for my family. It was the realization that my marriage was crap, and that my husband didn’t care about me, or even for his sons, all that much, that was doing me in. And it was caused mostly by his nefarious behavior.

      If your husband can’t name what he did to help you, and you can’t think of anything, either, I have to call BS. Did he text or email you uplifting verses or jokes? Did he make sure you all watched comedies or comedians on TV? Did he tell you that he loved you, and that everything was going to be okay, and that the good thing was that you had each other during this difficult time? Did he make sure you had some time without the kids to take care of/pamper yourself? Did he take you out on dates without the kids so that you could do something fun together? Did he at least smile every time he saw you and offer a hug? Or was his way of helping you just not getting angry when you weren’t overjoyed to see him? Not arguing with you when he normally would have? Telling you to smile, and cheer up, becarse that’s all you really need? Or is the truth that he didn’t know what to do, and actually distanced himself from you, because he felt he was failing to make you happy? Is his saying he tried to help you just the typical re-writing of history that cheaters do? Maybe I am getting too bitter or mistrust too easily, but all of the excuses and half-truths are so tiresome. Supposedly men have a huge ego problem when it comes to admitting failure, but I would sure like to hear it, regardless.

      Something like, “I felt like a failure, because I knew I wasn’t doing what you needed from me. And instead of getting advice from a trusted mentor or professional on how to help you and myself, I did the worst thing I could do. I betrayed you, hurt you even worse, because I wanted to pretend that I was actually wonderful and that you were the cause of all my problems. I put more responsibilities on you, and destroyed your self-esteem and what little trust you still had in humanity, just so that I could feel better about myself. And I can’t undo it, I can’t erase your pain, and I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but I’m asking for it, anyway. I promise I will do all I can to earn your trust again, to make sure our marriage is rock-solid, and to make you feel safe with me again. I will support you in every way and make you a priority. Please forgive me. I love you so much, and I want to make sure you always know it.”

      And then I could see some proof of that and get to be the magnanimous one, and forgive, and do my best to create the happy marriage I’d always hoped for. I could be introspective and look at how I can improve in my relationship, instead of futilely attempting to get my husband to understand what he’s done to me and how he needs to change his behavior and attitude so I can trust him and forgive him, and not put up with an unrepentant attitude.

      I would like that so much more than hearing about why I am the problem, because I am such a negative and unforgiving person, who can’t just trust in what my husband tells me, on blind faith–like before, because that worked out so well for both of us! Seriously, that’s why I don’t want to try anymore. I really hope I get some good counsel about this tomorrow. *sigh*

    • Strengthrequired

      Trustinggod, the depression I had had plagued me for a while, but just worsened after I had my last child. There were so many things that happened over the years that just liked on too if the other. I needed my husband but he just kept working, then come home not wanting to talk most of the time we all felt like we needed to walk on eggshells. He still told me that he loved me everyday, yet that feeling of coming last in his life was also growing.
      Yet we still went out together at times. The time I felt him really starting to distance himself from me was when his ow turned up in our lives. It just got progressively worse as time went on, that was a couple of months prior to his affair coming to light.
      When my husband tells me, he was trying to help me, I can’t see where he was, because he was never home. If telling me to see a dr was his way of helping me, then he already knew I had been seeing them already.
      He at times even now, still tells me on occasion, when the conversation comes up, that his affair was partly my fault. My response to him, when he tries that, is “I will not take blame for your affair, that is on you. the affair was a choice you made, I was not apart of that choice. I honoured our vows”.
      I’m lucky that he listens, I am lucky that he does want to stay with me, and in many ways is different to before his affair, but is so very different to how he was during his affair.
      Yet I’m also lucky that he understands trust now needs to be earned, and will take time.
      In answer to your question about what my husband did for me, while In my depression, I think he really didn’t know what to do, he didn’t even know what to do with his own depression, except to get his ego stroked by the ow.

    • Strengthrequired

      I remember getting this said to me. ” what do you have, to be depressed about, your at home, I will swap you for the work I do, then you know what stress is.”

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