Hello everyone,

The idea for our discussion this week comes from one of our readers. 

Here is the topic (thanks to “Exercisegrace”):

How do you handle it when the topic of affairs comes up in discussion with friends, etc.?

When “EG” mentioned this topic she referenced an episode from her own experience which I thought would give you all some point of reference:

Last night my husband and sister got into a somewhat heated discussion when she brought up a friend from our hometown that got caught cheating. He has become a public figure, and the repercussions are potentially enormous. Of course my sister feels that he is getting exactly what he deserved, put himself in that position, etc. My husband said you don’t know what was going on in his life, what he was dealing with, etc. (She does not know our situation.)

I tried to strike a balance and move the conversation in a different direction. But after she left, he was angry. He said if she was going to be such a jerk, she didn’t need to come over here, or he didn’t need to ever be around her, blah blah blah.

Of course that was a trigger for me, and I told him that it was nice that he was focusing on how the whole thing made HIM feel, and totally ignored how gut wrenching it was for ME as she sat there describing a college boyfriend who cheated on her, and went on at length about “how I have no idea the pain, the agony, the etc etc…of being cheated on”. Ugh. I felt gutted. If she only knew.

I basically told him I understand how shamed and guilty that all made him feel, but he has done the crime and this discussion WILL come up from time to time. And he had better think about how to mentally gird himself and decide how to react calmly to it. I handled it FAR better than he did, and I think I should be the one ranting and raving over how bad it made me feel. Oh wait, here I am doing JUST THAT, LOL LOL.”

So, how do you handle it when the topic of affairs comes up in discussion with friends, etc.?

See also  Open Discussion: Are You Working on YOU After the Affair?

If you have never had the experience to this point, how do you think you would handle it?

Thanks!

Linda & Doug

 [wlsp_signup]

LINESPACE

    15 replies to "Discussion – How to Handle the Topic of Infidelity?"

    • Gizfield

      Personally, I feel like any time a person defends the actions of another, except maybe their child, what they are really doing is defending THEMSELVES. Our society is really big on defending adultery right now, and it seriously needs to stop. There are NO legitimate reasons to cheat. It harms everyone involved. It is a reflection of your moral character at that time. I read an article that said you are even more likely to be convicted of murder if you are a cheater. Interesting. I guess they think you dont limit your lying to the affair. Who knows.

      • chiffchaff

        Giz – there’s also research that shows that people who commit minor traffic violations are more likely to have also done something far more serious, like be violent, commit more serious crimes or not pay their taxes. It seems to display a general attitude to laws and acceptable behaviour that these people think they can get away with things.

    • chiffchaff

      It’s happened once so far to us. It came up when we were with friends who know nothing of what we’ve been through. How we handled it was to not say much. I knew that if I joined in the discussion I would get heated and say something that would indicate that I had more knowledge of the subject than they would expect. My H stayed completely stony silent and didn’t even make a comment.

      I agree with Gizfield that adultery has become more acceptable in our society and I also don’t agree with it. I suppose it comes from the current ‘me me me’ culture that we live in. People feel justified in doing what pleases them at that time and bugger the consequences. Morals are boring and limit your excitement. Denying yourself anything these days is seen as weird, certainly in the younger generations but also in my parents’ generation. I think that to a certain extent worrying about what others will think of you can go too far but cheating and lying affects others. For instance, I have to stop myself worrying about what others think about the way I look when I run outdoors and just do it, which I do. But how I look when I run, or at any other time, has no bearing on anyone else’s life at all really. But cheating and lying does affect someone else’s life, in fact many people’s lives.
      I read recent research that looked at young people’s view of drinking to excess. They would admit to drinking too much and back it up with ‘well, it’s no more than everyone else my age drinks’. When they were asked again during the test and given real statistics on how much (or how little as it turned out) that their peers drank then their drinking levels significantly decreased. Basically you’ll do whatever you believe is socially acceptable.

    • Broken2

      It has happened to us before and gosh the minute the subject comes up I can feel my heart race and I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach. My husband defended the betrayed spouse which was refreshing but nonetheless difficult. I also hate how people make jokes about cheating…if they only knew the pain. You guys are right …cheating is becoming like many other things acceptable in our society of immediate gratification. You know men will be men and all thinking. Websites devoted to helping you have an affair. Articles and books glamourizing it. Does it really matter what’s going on in someone’s marriage…does that justify the affair?. This is one area that bothers me a lot. I was in the same marriage with the same problems yet I didn’t cheat….I believe it is the decision of a person of weak moral character t cheat. I have to agree with the rules thing. My husband as always pushed the envelope so to speak to justify his behavior in many areas of his life. Even today it is sometimes exhausting for me to try and keep him walking down the right path.

    • Paula

      Interesting. During the affair, a couple of things happened, that should have been warning signs to me. An acquaintance of ours, a married man, who we knew had several affairs in the past, but we believed his wife had no idea, was fully involved in an affair with another married friend of ours. We discovered they were using our maimai (hunting lodge) at the back of our farm, whilst it was under construction, as a place they were meeting for their sexual trysts. I was a little indignant (I discovered this after they had “moved on” to somewhere else) and said, I wasn’t a fan of them using my property for this purpose, and my usually anti-affair partner, said, “well, yeah, not ideal, but we can’t live their lives, we don’t know what is happening in their marriages. I’ll tell him that we don’t want him using it anymore.” By this stage, the maimai was completed, and locked, so they were no longer able to use it. I do remember saying to him, “it sounds like you are not as annoyed as me about this.” He answered that we never know what is going on in other people’s lives, to which I replied, “oh, and X has SUCH a terrible wife, and Y has such a terrible husband – we both felt that neither marriage was a good one, but neither of the betrayed spouses was a bad person – that they deserve THIS?! No one asks for or deserves to be cheated on, LEAVE if you are that unhappy!” I told him I was disgusted that they weren’t brave enough to just divorce, and THEN try with each other. Well, of course, MY partner was also using the same place as a brothel with his particular darling delightful skank! No wonder the change of ideology! BTW, as an aside, the couple we speak of, did divorce, and are still together, five years later.

      I am angry I didn’t read the signs here properly, and that is partly because I understood what he meant, we didn’t know what was going on in their own marriages. The woman’s husband had had an affair several years earlier, they had two teens, and then he (a vet) suffered a life-threatening head injury at work, and he took two years to get back to the point whereby he was allowed to be issued with a drivers’ licence again, and the injury was very hard on a marriage already under a lot of pressure. I believe she stayed to at least get him through to a point whereby he was able to live independently – and I admire her for that, so she was in a sad marriage, but helping the father of her children to get better, and she was amazing, patient, his advocate, and a good partner. He will never work again, his head injury precludes that, as he cannot maintain concentration for longer than about half an hour, and tires very easily. The cheating man is just a selfish shit!! My partner felt that I was very unhappy (without asking me!) and so thought that if he was discovered, I would be relieved, as I could exit, righteously! (I KNOW!!! There was no such thing happening, I was still very, very happy with him, thought we had the best relationship in the world!) The lies he told himself, and the methods of justifying and telling himself he really wasn’t the shit he was! He shakes his head these days in disbelief, at his cowardice, and downright idiocy.

      When affairs are discussed in social settings, we also do not partake, “our” affair is public knowledge amongst the people we were friends with, thanks to the OW, and it sucks, being the poor sap who was cheated on, much pity and scorn for staying with a perceived (and real!) arsehole! As such, we don’t seem to hear the gossipy nature often, more just general discussions. Yes, they make us uncomfortable, and there are many times when I want to interject, and add that NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING until they are confronted with this, for real, in their own marriages. Everything is conjecture, and judgement until then. Luckily, my very best mate in the world, my ex-partner, is very defensive of me, and my feelings, and doesn’t take anything said personally, I know he feels stupid and a fool, I know it hurts that he is judged, but he is always more worried about these comments as far as the betrayed feels – and he used to before the affair! Sometimes knowledge of the affair, although deeply, deeply embarrassing, is helpful for avoiding these situations, to a degree. If EG’s sister only knew, she would not be so in-your-face – but I fully understand why it is so much easier not to have your family and friends judge your wayward spouse! After all, once tarred with the cheating brush, that is often ALL other people see, not the lovely person you married, the fun, good-looking, wonderful parent, generous, kind and caring person he also is. I think it is just another unfortunate thing you have to “suck up” after your love exposes you to this shit! Sad. Otherwise, is there any way you can appeal to someone close to you, to maybe see things through different eyes, to be more compassionate to those who have made an error, yes, a gigantic one, but one that can be so severely judged? I hear you on the “oh well, an affair, whatever,” attitude – it truly sucks, no one understands how much this rips you apart, forever – but conversely, affairs can also be more harshly judged than many other immoral acts – con artists, environmental pirates, many others. I hate that although I am completely devastated by what my ex and my “friend” did to me, that this is what he is judged for – and all of his good deeds, community acts, lending money/time to those in need – are overlooked, because he did a desperate thing, whilst he was in a desperate place in time.

    • Gizfield

      After hearing of a couple of people defend cheating, by saying “you dont know what is going on in their marriage”, here is what I have decided to say “yes, I do. Adultery.” The only acceptable time for someone to “date” while they are married is if they are legally separated and BOTH parties are aware of the situation. I think we should start a club, Adultery Busters or Cheater Choppers or something, lol. There is no middle ground, in my opinion. I think if you can get to a point where you can discuss this rationally, like Doug and Linda, I think you csn be a positive influence for good. Maybe think about what you may say in advance, and maybe even have a few interesting statistics you could use. I believe that adultery is a sin, I have been a sinner myself. If I csn help save anyone else from this particular transgression by sharing what I know, I’m willing to do that. Defending adultery never helps anyone. Just my thoughts.

      • Recovering

        Gizfield,

        I totally agree with you! It doesn’t matter what is going on it their marriage because it is NEVER okay to CHEAT!! NEVER!! And any defense otherwise, as I have learned, should be looked at carefully. I did have this discussion actually with my good friend and neighbor, who does NOT know that my husband, who she is friends with, cheated on HIS wife! My friend was on the bandwagon of “you never know what is going on with other people”. Well, you don’t, but that isn’t the point. When you get married you make promises to “forsake all others through the good times and the bad”, not until some hootchie comes along and throws herself at you! Either commit or get out. Cheating is lying, and it should be treated as the crime it is!! Just my opinion…

    • Gizfield

      Not long after I found out the identity of my husband’s Turd, I had one of the more shocking discussions of my life with a co worker.

      It turned out the Turd was the person I originally suspected. I was mad because I had asked our one mutual friend if she knew if this girl had moved back from California and she told me that she had not. So she lied.

      I was talking to my coworker and said “if I catch this witch with my husband, I am going to jack her ass up.” My CW said “why? She is not doing anything WRONG !” I’m sorry, WHAT? “She’s not married. She’s not doing anything WRONG.” We bickered a bit, then I just was done. This was not a slutty chick either. She went to church all the time, had a son about my daughter’s age, had never married. And she thought it was just her right to date, and I assume have sex with, other women’s husbands . I was, and still am, incredulous. How do you even think that??

      • Paula

        Gizfield, so with you on the “what’s happening in their marriage” comment – IT IS NEVER OKAY TO CHEAT, as you yourself have said, from bitter personal experience! I was didn’t even have cheating on the radar when he made that comment, and so didn’t really notice the comment, and how terribly stupid it was, although I did tell him that there were no circumstances where it was okay to cheat at the time. And yes, the comments about not doing anything wrong if you are single and screwing SOMEONE ELSE’S husband. Unbelievable! The only thing I can say to that is that I found both parties equally culpable, as they BOTH committed adultery, however, my ex-partner was the one that had a commitment to me, but she did too – we were friends for 34 years!!! Even if she didn’t know who I was, she would have been doing plenty wrong!

        And I can calmly add to such discussions what I believe, and have been able to articulate better, with backup research since I have participated in so much counselling, etc, since this happened, and when I feel like I can interject with some insightful information, I sure do. Education is important, but I did a lot of education of my ex prior to his affair, so as I say, I can talk until the cows come home, it doesn’t stop one person from hurting another, only bitter experience does that, and of course, by then, it’s too damn late.

    • Broken2

      I think there are two issues here. Today there is a moral decline in our society and a generation of people who feel “entitled”. (and no I am not saying cheating hasn’t gone on forever) If we want something…we get it and that includes someone else’s husband. I have noticed as my husband ages (he is very handsome…I on the other hand just get old) that young woman don’t think twice about hugging him and flirting with him. What about respecting me? Last week we went out on date night and went into a bar where a bunch of woman were sitting together. When we walked in they all looked at him and smiled (they looked at me like I was a pile in the backyard from my dog) and one actually tried to talk with him when I was sitting next to him. He smiled and turned his back to her but I often wonder now what he does when I’m not there. I know what he use to do and I know what he says he does now and before the affair I never thought twice about it because I trusted him to never hurt me. People have no morals anymore…they have no respect and woman are the worst offenders. They see a meal ticket .I know my husbands OW was a young woman going through a divorce and I know that is what she saw in him and she didn’t care that she could have potentially destroyed a family. She had even befriended my daughter on Facebook and had set up a time to come to my house so my daughter could do her hair. Entitled bitches.We have a culture that where instant gratification is the norm. We have preachers like Pat Robertson say that “men will be men” like they are Neanderthals that can’t control themselves. We live in a culture were just about anything is acceptable and cheating really isn’t seen by many as being “all that bad”.

      The other issue is that I believe after the affair we are in another category. I liked the ignorance of never being cheated upon a lot better then I like the feelings I have now of always being on alert. hyper vigilant to my husbands every move. It just sucks. I see every woman now as a potential threat to me and I hate that feeling too. Cheating fundamentally changes the very nature of who we are. It is so not fair because it isn’t a change I made or even asked for. I wonder often if I were with someone who hasn’t cheated on me would I get me back? Or am I gone forever? Cheating is wrong. I look at my daughters generation where “hooking up” is ok and no one is looking for anything any deeper then that. No one walks in anyone else’s shoes anymore nor do they care to. Sad

      • Recovering

        Broken2,

        I am with you… I hope to one day get ME back. The happy, trusting, loving wife I used to be. The confident woman who knew I could do anything and the belief that everything I had was from all of my hard work… You look at yourself and every aspect of your life entirely different after you have been cheated on – even though you KNOW it isn’t your fault, you know that the life that you’ve worked so hard for can be smashed by the one who you thought was working WITH you! Everything is on the line every day now. I can’t feel totally happy, I don’t feel confident (have gained 30 lbs in the last 2 years – probably from the wine that helps me cope, though am lucky to have NOT turned into an alcoholic considering my family history), and I don’t feel secure in ANYTHING anymore. Almost like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop… pure relaxation is a luxury I can no longer afford. Cheating is WRONG, and selfish, and immature, and sick. It is WRONG. And the bullcrap about “she didn’t make a commitment to you”… it takes 2, and if the OW has ANY idea that the man is married or in a relationship, then she is JUST AS GUILTY. Is why I freaked out on my husband right after D-day when he said he felt guilty about hurting HER! SHE KNEW he was married! REALLY!!! REALLY??? Hurting HER! What the hell did SHE expect! Oh, and yeah, she was married too!! Dumbasses!!

    • Gizfield

      You are so right about the lack of boundaries and respect toward marriage today, Broken 2. In writing a Jealousy Autopsy post (lol) I finally realized my husband’s Turd disrespected me the very first time I met her. She was with a girl that knew us both, at a club waiting for HIM to arrive, and saw us come in together, KNEW that we were a serious couple. Yet she chose to launch herself off her chair and onto him, with me standing there! It was truly embarrassing for me. I dont even remember what he did but it was like a planned ambush. No surprises she was his co cheater of choice. She’ d already shown what she thinks of committed relationship s. and if I had said anything I would have been accused out being jealous or insecure or crazy. After all, they DID live in the same apartments once, lol.

      • Strengthrequired

        Gizfield, my h family have always disrespected me, so how could I have expected any difference with cousin it, well actually I didn’t, I never trusted her from the first time I heard her h had told family members he didn’t want her or my h seeing each other as he heard her tell my h how much she loved him, that was 20 yrs ago.
        My h said he doesn’t remember her saying such a thing, but I was glad she wasn’t in our life for those 20 yrs and disappointed that she had to show her face and chase after him 20 yrs later. Just goes to show you, I had a baby when she apparently first said that to my h, and she thought it would make a difference, yet my h and I having 6 children she still thought she was all that, to try and break my family.
        I don’t know where these women’s morals are, where their dignity is, but it has to be very low for them to resort in targeting someone else who is lost with a low self esteem and dignity for them to think they v a chance.

    • exercisegrace

      Thanks Doug and Linda for posting my question! And thank you everyone for responding. It really means so much to have people helping and supporting on this journey.

    • Recovering

      Exercisegrace,

      It is almost funny that this is a discussion topic because we all talk about this kind of stuff all of the time, and always have, because it is in the media and on TV all of the time! Shows like “Scandal” and “Mistresses”… they make me want to just SCREAM! Yet even one of my best friends LOVES the series “Scandal” and insists I should watch it. She had NO IDEA about my husband’s affair… she would NEVER believe that my husband would do such a thing… and neither would I have, until he did. I won’t watch those shows, and when the topic comes up I voice the same opinion I’ve always had, just a bit more forceful now… that that stuff is trash and shouldn’t be allowed on TV. That if those people didn’t want to be married then they should’ve just left… Though now that we all have kids, I do have to throw them into it a bit, asking these people how they will feel if it happened to them… or their children… because that seems to be the way it is going, and I know that it will destroy my child if it ever happens to them!! I do actually DISCUSS cheating with my children now, though I never would have thought to before. Mine are old enough now to start learning about relationships and what is acceptable and what is not, so I am hoping to instill that deep moral belief in them to protect them from hurting someone they love, or claim to love, in their lifetime… I can’t protect them from the ones they love, but I hope to protect them from themselves… am at least trying!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.