Hero-Fantasy Aspect of Affairs

Photo by chickspirit

 

By ‘TryingToGetOver’ 

Our cheating husbands and wives all wanna be freakin’ super heroes.

A year into the healing process I was using a journal with a goofy Star Wars theme, scribbling on a page with a line drawing of Luke ferrying Lea from one ledge to another via rope, an iconic image from the original movie. Spoiler: Luke and Lea never become lovers (they’re long-lost siblings!) and Lea doesn’t need rescuing (she outlives Luke in the series).

Thinking about “rescues” that don’t need to happen got me confronting my husband about the hero-fantasy aspect of his affair.

I have read many posts here on the blogs from betrayed spouses lamenting similar situations. Their partners perked up when a woman said, “my husband isn’t nice to me the way you are.” Their ego was inflated when she said, “only you understand me.” They bought fully into the fact that the poor, misunderstood woman needed them. They put on their superhero cape.

It works the other way too: Men court a married woman by playing the unloved guy needing a shoulder to cry on, or by saying that they, rather than the woman’s husband, see her for the true beauty that she is. There is a lot of pretending that the real marriages are dead.

There is so much ego involved on both sides of these scenarios. The players unspoken agreement is to act out the fantasy of the rescuer and the rescued and congratulate themselves for it. But the tired old plot is the same every time. After the “rescue,” then what? If “love” is based on someone in peril, it never settles into anything lasting.

The Hero-Fantasy & Alexander Hamilton

Have you seen the musical Hamilton? It’s inspired by the true story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. A woman seduces Hamilton in exactly this way, claiming to be mistreated by her husband and so very embarrassed to ask for help but…cut to Hamilton sleeping with her while the chorus sings “Noooooo.” The affair ruined his reputation and political hopes, and it devastated his wife, according to the biography on which the musical is based.

Hamilton himself laments, in the musical, “I don’t know how to say ‘no’ to this.” That seems to sum things up for my husband. I think most cheating spouses, as these blog comments tell it, sink into an affair a little at a time, starting by being supportive of someone (a coworker, an ex) and slowly crossing boundaries until vows and hearts break. They simply don’t know how to take the superhero cape off and say “no.”

As for my husband…

In our case, my husband’s AP pleaded for emotional support, claimed that her husband took her for granted, and insisted she needed my husband for everything down to advice for raising her child. Every day, after I left for work, he was on the phone soothing her. The irony is, as my husband became, essentially, her partner, he was the one taking ME for granted, emotionally and physically abandoning me and leaving me alone to deal with raising our own kids. In making himself over as her hero, he became a true failure of a husband. 

So now that their affair is all over, I asked my husband, “Is a strong woman who doesn’t need to be rescued doomed to be unloved? Am I less sexy because I take care of myself?” He swears that is not true but of course I can’t help but wonder if, anytime he is feeling low, he will be tempted to rescue another damsel in distress to build himself up. Meanwhile I don’t need a rescuer, I need a mate. I need to know we are a solid team of two stable people.

I have renewed respect for people who don’t go looking to others to feel fulfilled. Myself included. This is exactly what my husband is working on: Becoming a person who digs inward for strength rather than searching outward. It’s his greatest wish to get there, and I hope he does.

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Thanks so much to ‘TryingToGetOver’ for sharing her experiences with us on the hero-fantasy aspect of affairs.  We love to share articles from our readers.  So if you’d  like to submit an article for us to possibly post on the blog, feel free to contact us about your ideas.

 

 

 

    23 replies to "The Hero-Fantasy Aspect of Affairs"

    • newl17

      TryingToGetOver, thanks for sharing this, it really resonated with what I have observed. Particularly “The players unspoken agreement is to act out the fantasy of the rescuer and the rescued and congratulate themselves for it. ” is so true, my H and the OW did exactly this because they could not get their validation elsewhere. My H gave up on raising the kids in the family in the face of hardship and that failure led him to seek approval from the OW who of course had no issue telling him that by ignoring his children (one of them was recently discovered with a disability) he was doing the right thing. I know she was even attracted by this because of course where else would you find such a dumb man to ignore his own children and spend the money and energy on hers instead? In the mean time, OW was fired from work due to poor performance, so my H was the one who insisted she is professionally capable and “decent“ (this after she posted all the gory details about the whole A onto a public forum with minute details about my family without anything about hers so that everyone could figure out who we were while she remained anonymous, which was how the A got exposed.). If they look into the mirror they would loathe themselves, could not accept the failure as they are, so naturally by feeding into each other’s ego, they got the so badly needed approval and validation that they could only find in this fantasyland. When back to the real world, H could not face himself for how he had squandered his blessings, so he did this to keep himself hidden away in this dreamland for safety.

    • Hopeful

      Great article. I do not feel like this was my husband at all. I think I was put on a pedestal and he felt worse about himself like he could not live up to me. I was always the better parent etc… His friend that introduced him to both ow thought I was too snobby etc. So I am sure that fed into my husband’s insecurities. It is all crazy since he has been super successful since a young age. Granted everyone claims he would be no where without me and y support during his education, early years and starting his business. Again I am sure that fed into it. Basically he created a narrative in his head that he was this great breadwinner and that was enough. So he would do what he wanted when he wanted to without any regard for us.

      He lives with so many regrets but as long as he works to be better daily and is happy then we are in a good spot.

      • Danna

        This was my husband also.
        My strength always intimidated him so I’m left to wonder how he became attracted to me to begin with?
        His problems went so much deeper than his EA. He has watched porn and turned to mastrabating since the age of 6. Daily. His porn usage shocked me and after investigating I found the porn on his phone while at Disneyland with extended family. A quick slip into a bathroom stall.
        For 23 years I had no idea.
        His need for validation had been going on since childhood.
        His emotional affair? Was indeed a woman who told him how smart he was and how she’d never reach his level in their field. He, of course, hired her into a position she had no experience in. He chased her for 7 years but never truly showed his hand. [ which was full at least once a day :)]
        While she kept him on the hook for promotions, help finding other jobs when she left the company ect, she never slept with him or did anything sexual. She never shared her personal life with him….. while he poured out ours. Even lied in his quest to get her to feel sorry for him. Fortunately she moved across country 5 months after their attachment began. Her life? Was always in flux. Fired from one job after another due her narcissistic personality, he was there to be used as needed. She kept him on the hook, along with lesser fish, for years to help find jobs.
        D day was a shock to me. It’s been 10 months and while he can’t remember everything, he has been making changes. Church has been the biggest game changer for him.
        While I’ve forgiven him, stayed because I didn’t want to break up our family and honestly understood the problems from early childhood…. it was again that part of me he resented that allowed me to stay. My strong personality.
        My question these days? When does that little thread of anger that he had made a lie of MY life go away? I look at pictures and still look at his face. Thinking, he was abusing me. Does this ever stop?

        • tryingtogetover

          I don’t know if it ever goes away or if we just do our best to turn it into something more emotionally useful for us: motivation, inspiration, a reminder to try and reach for grace. There’s no time machine so erasing it isn’t going to happen.This morning I am just trying to remind myself of all the humans in this world walking around carrying various awful hurts-I think because yesterday I heard that a friend of a friend lost his 5-year-old to a degenerative disease, and news like that wakes me up to all the pain greater than mine that families must somehow absorb. Pain doesn’t magically disappear but it can morph into something we carry more naturally as we move on.
          I would give you a hug if I could and remind you that 10 months is not that long – many people on these boards will admit to the entire first year being a huge struggle, and then things getting a bit easier after that, minus various triggers and setbacks. I think Linda wrote that she finally felt more or less “over it” at the 5-year mark. SO glad your H is working to turn himself around, that is huge.

    • Rose

      Also known as White Knight Syndrome. My H had/has it bad.

    • Blindsided

      Thanks for this post ‘TryingToGetOver’. I have told little bits of my story in other posts, but this post has encouraged me to summarize the bigger story here.

      My husband is a charming, very handsome, extraordinarily magnetic guy. He experienced great success in business – we ‘had it all’ … beautiful homes, vacation homes, fancy cars a great social life. We also had a VERY happy home life, wonderful kids and family. I thought I was the luckiest person in the world for decades. Issues with the economy and markets, and bad decisions on my husband’s part put us into a financial free-fall. Over the period of 2009-2014, we lost everything, and I do mean everything. It was devastating. We have spent the past 4 years clawing our way back. Over that time, I was incredibly angry – there were so many lies and covering up of the financial situation by my H, so I was angry at him – and so much denial and looking the other way by me, so I was angry at myself. We had become roommates, brother and sister. We had some good times, but mostly it was survival. My H became depressed, withdrawn and lost so much of his self esteem. He continued to work his ass off trying to get us back on track, as I did. We were exhausted emotionally and physically from working all the time and carrying the baggage of the debt we were in to banks, credit cards and to family. I put on a lot of weight, had very little contact with friends, and worked 50+ hour weeks to pay our day-to-day expenses. Somewhere along the way, my H started to go the local dive bar with the mechanic who let H work with him on fixing our cars to save money, and he enjoyed the blue-collar guys and the local small business owners at the bar who looked up to him. Soon he was ‘the man’ [Hero] at the dive, and I think it was good for his self esteem giving them business advice, listening to them, etc. And, he wasn’t at home moping around and watching TV, so I thought it was good for him, and me.

      One snowy night a year ago, I arrive home after dinner out with a girlfriend, and H’s car was not in the garage. I was surprised to find the TV on, lights on … it seemed he had just stepped out for a minute. After 20 minutes or so, I texted wondering where he was. Said he had run out to the liquor store, and was on his way home. That is the last I heard from him for nearly 4 hours (until 2:00 am). I was in a panic. I went out looking for him, fearing that the had driven into a ditch, or worse. Nothing. After repeated unreturned texts and calls, I decided to try to get on his computer to use the find-my-phone app. And there it was … an email from someone with whom he was clearly more than friends. A flirtatious exchange with someone I had never heard of. My heart began to pound, I couldn’t believe it! What was going on? I became a detective, looking through everything on his computer. There was little to find other than several email threads that, as I said were flirtatious.

      He finally texted me at 2:00 am with a bullshit story of where he was, “helping a friend”. When he came in the bedroom, he repeated it, and I told him to stop. He went to another bedroom to sleep.

      I could go on with the months of lies, denials, fights, my meeting with OW … but the point I wanted to address is his fantasy/hero that was at play. He couldn’t see that this woman set her sights on him, and manipulated him like a pro. She thought she had nabbed f-ing George Clooney. She poured out her bad marriage, her two young sons (kids are always my H’s soft spot) and as I understand it, hung on his every word. He was her hero, and when he looked at me, he saw himself as a failure. As far as I know, and I 90% believe, it was an emotional affair, no PA. But, that really doesn’t matter. It was an AFFAIR. It went on with lying and subterfuge while I knew about it. I know that it is over now.

      His need to have his ego served, his hero-complex was probably the #1 factor in this “friendship” turning into an affair. She played him like a fiddle. He couldn’t see it – didn’t see it until very recently. He thought he loved her. She told him she loved him. He tells me that for a brief time he actually thought they had a future. That breaks my heart. I hope some day he sees her for what she was – a manipulative gold-digger (she thought there was gold)

      Interesting that made you the Hamilton reference, ‘TryingToGetOver’. In the middle of the hell of one year ago, my H got me a ticket for Hamilton for my birthday. I knew it was a hit show, but didn’t know all of the details. I cried during the show when the whole affair came up – I wasn’t expecting it. He was not with me at the show – oh how I wish he would have been. I would have loved to have seen his reaction to the show.

      So, it took him a long time to ‘take off his cape’ … to see how ridiculous the whole thing was, to understand that it was a fantasy that unfortunately played itself out in our real-life, and just about destroyed what was left of our marriage.

      • Hopeful

        Blindsided, I am so sorry about your entire story. That is devastating to go through those type of financial challenges. But then to think you are in it together and find out he was cheating on you makes it a million times worse.

        For us we did not have the financial challenges. However a huge hurdle to recover from this is the fact I thought no matter what we were in this marriage together. Really no matter what. After his betrayal when nothing was really challenging it has been hard from me to envision being with him forever. What about illness, a parent dying, financial challenges, issues with kids. What would he do then??

        For us I know my husband wants to be perceived as the breadwinner. I had never thought he was that way but over time and maybe with his success and age it has become a more prominent theme. I will never forget when I told him how I was annoyed that people do not take any interest in other people or asked questions. There was a mom who has not worked for 17+ years but I know exactly what she did during her career before kids. I know because I asked and took an interest. When I brought up I could not help out at school since I had several conference calls scheduled she was shocked. She was like “you work, I had no idea”. I am not one to talk about myself but in general no one asks. I was telling my husband this and he said without thinking he likes that people think I do not work and that everything we have and do is because of him and his career. He said it makes him feel and look more successful. Whoa, my mind was blown. I was so taken aback. It still does not sit well with me. I did not grow up this way. My parents and especially my dad always supported women in his field of work making sure they had every opportunity.

        Thanks for sharing your story and glad you are here!

        • Blindsided

          Thanks Hopeful 🙂 It’s interesting that you bring up the breadwinner/working mom issue. Just last week, we were having a conversation with one of our grown sons. He has a new job, and he was lamenting the salary. He asked me what my salary was when I was his age. in ‘real’ dollars, I was making over 3 times what he is currently making, and adjusted for inflation, it is nearly 10 times! (I have to admit that I hadn’t ever done the math, and I was pretty darn impressed with myself). He said, why didn’t you keep working when (his brother) and I were born? I said that Dad and I made a decision that because we could financially, we wanted one parent to stay home and we decided it would be me. We then talked about how I had a better career at the time, and that maybe Dad would have made the better stay-at-home parent … but that being the 1980’s we were pretty traditional, etc. My H piped up and said that because of Mom’s financial success, we were able to buy our first home, had a healthy amount of savings and investments, and we were on the right track to build a secure family. My son said that he never knew that, and wondered why we had never told him. I wanted to say that no one ever asked … that you all just assumed that Dad was the one who made it all happen. But instead I was just secretly pleased that some of the facts had come out, and that it was my H who spoke them.

    • Better days

      I think it’s simply incredible how common some form of this scenario is. Unfortunately some of the stories really have a lot leading up to the affairs. However, I also see the common theme wherein they play the hero to their AP’s with over exaggerated issues. Most of our issues developed once she checked out, after the affair started. I can only imagine there was a level of that with the other couple. According to my wife, her AP’s marriage was a wreck and he was truly unhappy. My wife was there for him and she truly believed he would have committed to my wife in any way she was willing(i.e. starting over together). I don’t know how likely that is but that’s what he had her believing. Well, I informed his wife what was going on and had several communications with her and she had the same image of our marriage after she confronted her husband. I didn’t have any wavering from my wife, at least that she revealed, but I don’t have many doubts that it would have eventually turned into a case where they both felt they should be together as life partners. I wonder how much attitude was brought home to our relationship because of the resentment of not being able to spend evenings with their AP’s, which compounded the issues, which gave them more justification?

      • Blindsided

        Hi Better Days,
        I spent a considerable amount of time with the OW after the affair was known. Back story: I was at my wits end that it just. kept. continuing … even after I knew, and he was 100% aware that I knew what was going on, and with whom. He wouldn’t/couldn’t break it off. So, I went into her store (luckily no one else was there) introduced myself and she just said, “I am sorry”. I kept my calm, told her that I needed her to see that I was a real person, a good woman who loved my husband, and I asked her to break it off – told her that ‘real’ women don’t do this to one another. I turned on my heel and left, shaking uncontrollably. The next day she sent me a text saying that they were done/over. (they weren’t) Several weeks later, I asked my H to send her an email, copying me in, telling her that they could not communicate ever again. She agreed. But, it was all window dressing … they continued to carry on. I had an instinct that they were together, and walked into the dive bar where they met. There they were. My H acted like nothing was up, OW looked mortified. I noted how ‘cozy’ it all was that the 3 of us were there together. My H did nothing. I eventually (was probably 2 minutes, but seemed like 2 hours) walked out. My H did not follow me – too much here for now, but suffice it to say that more lies followed and the affair continued. Eventually, about 3 weeks after this, I sent her an email telling her that she better meet with me, or I would pour everything out to her husband (I regret that I never did tell him, but I wanted answers from her, and threatened her in order to get it) At this time, i felt I needed all the ammunition I could get in case of a divorce. She and I spent two hours together. I asked questions, she gave me answers. Whether her answers were all true, I will never know. But, I am smart enough that I made statements more than asked questions, and she confirmed my statements. Learned A LOT. Funny thing – she came to learn that he was lying to her, too! Why was she so surprised – if she had looked at it with rational thought, she would know that lying came easily to him. I asked her where she thought we lived – she said the fancy house on the lake … nope, lost that 3 years ago. We live in a little rental 2 towns over. Lost the house with everything else. “Wasn’t that because (insert a whole fabrication here)?” Nope – he screwed up. She confirmed to me that they had in fact gone to a hotel one day (he denied this vehemently) then said that he couldn’t bring himself to have sex with him … he said he ‘couldn’t do that to you’. REally?!?! The fact is that he has erectile dysfunction, as while you were in the hotel room, he probably realized he couldn’t perform, so created the whole story that might make you swoon even more for him. I have to tell you that I absolutely loved watching her face fall as she realized that her knight in shining armor was lying to her too.

        He had shown her the man he wanted to show her, and the reality is that because of the fantasy world she met him in/they were living in, she never got to see the true H, the man who is a great father, son, brother, coach, etc. could never come out. The man who had so many good years, who was generous, kind, loving, and good friend … The man who LIVED for his kids, who was THERE for everyone …. she would never see that man.

    • Better days

      Blindsided,
      What a story. Biggest takeaway for me is your restraint and tact. I can pretty much guarantee, if I came face-to-face with the weasel asshole other dude, there would have been punches thrown. We only work a block apart and I still have visions of what might occur if we come face to face.

      In telling the AP’s wife. My wife promised to me that if he reaches out to contact her in anyway, she would forward me the message. A couple weeks went by and I informed her the longer we go without you forwarding me a message from him, the more I think/know you are hiding communications. Sure enough, a few days later, she forwards me an e-mail from him. I then sent him a text giving him a chance to prove that my wife was either also contacting him or encouraging his contact leading up to his e-mail to her. If he could do that, I would have let them have at each other. If not, I was contracting his wife. He couldn’t so I had several chats with his wife. I honestly don’t know why so many are so hesitant to go there. I honestly felt absolutely horrible for his wife and family. I felt a sense of responsibility and gave very general answers to her questions. Though, her scumbag husband had zero regard for our family, even after he knew that I knew.

      • Blindsided

        Better Days,
        Thanks for acknowledging my “restraint and tact”. I still hold my head high in how I dealt with her, and besides telling this on these pages, I have never told another soul except my therapist. It’s nice to get some validation – I appreciate that 🙂

        I’m curious, when you contacted his wife, did she already now about the affair? What was her reaction? You sound like a good man – having empathy for her, and having a sense of responsibility. I bet she is grateful for your actions.

    • kicked in the gut

      My husband actually said, “She needed me, you didn’t.” YET, when he told me the things that attracted him to me when we were dating, he loved my independence. Wha? And no this woman did not need him. She was very self sufficient and made really good money. He was her supervisor, so I know. BUT, she is an extremely manipulative person and knew which buttons to push. Everytime he was determined to end it and pull away from her, surprise! another crisis would magically appear. Her dad was supposedly close to death for a year. And strangely would always start to die when my husband would start pulling away. That was three years ago. Guess who is still alive and kicking. If it wasn’t that, her dog was dying (never did die), her daughter was being mean to her, blah blah blah. More fake drama than a reality show. He still doesn’t see it.

    • Tryingtogetover

      Kicked, I know that is all serious but it made me laugh too! The person who puts themselves “in need of rescue” really can not possibly keep the act up. If affair conversations ever moved from “help me!” to typical relationship “what’s for dinner?” the whole thing would fall apart, so the “peril” act has to go on and on until it’s exposed as BS.
      But hugs to you for what he said to you; I also got the “you didn’t need me” line. Actually mine was not that she needed him more, it was “you have always needed me less than I need you.” My H felt unbalanced by my strength and wanted someone to need him, and probably had deeply buried shame from me being the breadwinner for decades. That whole side of things IS so interesting. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories confirming how, as a society, we work so hard to make the guy the head of household to protect his ego. As an example, we have always filed taxes under my H name with me as “spouse” even though the income was usually mine. !
      His affair began literally the month he finally signed a contract earning him real money, twice as much as me. I think the A was stoked by the AP suddenly seeing dollar signs, and my H suddenly feeling like, to be crass, a big swinging dick in the world. It perfectly played into her “help me!” and his “i’m here for you” charade.
      That said, your story, Blindsided, makes just as much sense. Once someone is down, they might go looking for an A to build themselves up. It all goes back to people getting their heads on straight and not looking for validation outside of themselves.
      I appreciate you all weighing in, it is lovely to have a place to spew all this!

      • kicked in the gut

        The ego stroking thing. I have a story! I work for a financial company. I sent out some paperwork to a military couple. They were both active. So as protocol, I addressed the highest ranking first, using their rank. She was a higher rank than he. I received a SCATHING letter from him telling me that if he received one more piece of correspondence from us that is addressed using their rank instead of Mr. and Mrs he would pull out all of his money. He is the head of the household and will be listed first. I mean, wow.

      • Peggy

        Tryingtogetover,

        Thanks for a couple of good laughs!

        My H, too, has always been drawn to my independence. And it is something that I have always viewed as one of my greatest strengths.There have been times that my ‘heart’ wanted him to worry about me a little more, ie, let him know when I arrive (wherever) when the roads are bad, stay up to make sure I get home safely late at night, get my car serviced, etc. But he knows I always take care of myself, will solve whatever problems/challenges come up on my own. For me, being viewed as strong, capable outweighed the feeling that he didn’t need to take care of me.

        I have always been the spouse on our taxes, too! Even when I was the breadwinner, the one who made the down payment on our first house 100%, who paid off his student loans 100%, etc. Ha!

        I also so appreciate having a place to ‘spew’ all of this out!

      • Blindsided

        Tryingtogetover,

        Thanks for a couple of good laughs!

        My H, too, has always been drawn to my independence. And it is something that I have always viewed as one of my greatest strengths.There have been times that my ‘heart’ wanted him to worry about me a little more, ie, let him know when I arrive (wherever) when the roads are bad, stay up to make sure I get home safely late at night, get my car serviced, etc. But he knows I always take care of myself, will solve whatever problems/challenges come up on my own. For me, being viewed as strong, capable outweighed the feeling that he didn’t need to take care of me.

        I have always been the spouse on our taxes, too! Even when I was the breadwinner, the one who made the down payment on our first house 100%, who paid off his student loans 100%, etc. Ha!

        I also so appreciate having a place to ‘spew’ all of this out!

        • Hopeful

          Blindsided, How did you know what to write about me! This is me/us exactly. I know that was what drew him to me. Part of me thinks that is so he can be more self centered/lazy/not responsible. But he also likes the image of I am the breadwinner/the man/in charge. All I can think is it stems back to his parents. They have a very traditional marriage.So he likes that but then I will say if that is what you want then you can pay the bills, take care of the taxes, manage all of our travel, manage all of our important documents, manage our banking, investments….I could go on and on. That is what his father does. Instead I have everything except being the breadwinner on my plate. I could go on and on….

          • Blindsided

            It is incredible how so many of us have a similar story … My in-laws also have a traditional marriage (but then so did my parents) and I think that had a big impact on my H. I think the difference is that my dad has huge respect for my mom 🙂 and my father-in-law doesn’t have much respect for my mother-in-law, or really for his daughers/sisters, etc.

            I am self-consciously laughing because I not only take care of all the things you mention for my H and me, but I also help both of my sons with their taxes, one of my sons with his business, and though they are grown, on their own (one of them married with a child) they still keep their passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, etc. at MY house! Might be an opportunity to take a look in the mirror :0

    • Better days

      Yep, lots of fake or over inflated drama it seems. But I’d be willing to bet that went both ways to some degree.

      Blind sided,

      Funny thing is, she actually knew more than I ever did before I got suspicious in the last few weeks leading up to confrontation day. She had questioned who my wife was months prior. Get this, she believed the three of us were best pals at work and we all sat near each other. If you know anything about the type of place we work, and she does, you’d know that a husband and wife or any other family members wouldn’t be allow to work in the same division or be allowed any work interaction what so ever. She was shocked I didn’t know who her husband was. He had told her multiple lies surrounding the affair and she bought all of it. Even during our communications, she asked me what I knew and what was confessed on our end. She took this info to her husband and he convinced her that my wife was making it up. I spent no effort trying to convince her otherwise. To this day she may still buy the “just flirty with each other” confession/lie that was first revealed. She was super grateful and said she’d have never know if I didn’t tell her. To me it seemed like she should have known but decided not to deal with it. I know the second I had a suspicion, I was getting to the bottom of it.

      Regarding suspicion. I really though my wife just had a crazy phone/social media addiction. And I still believe an element of that was true, even before the affair. I truly thought it was her addiction to her phone that was driving a wedge between us and I was actually researching for ways to address that. Then I witnessed her receive a chat photo that made her face drop in shock. I knew right then and there and became super aware of the way she acted differently when on that chatting app. Always back to the wall, smiling and super engaged. Everything started to make sense in a worst case scenario. In less than 2 weeks from first suspicion I got the confirmation I needed to be absolutely sure.

      • Blindsided

        About 2 weeks after my H stayed out all night with OW (my D Day) I was in a state of panic, not knowing how to make the insanity stop, I went to see the OW at a shop that she owns with her husband. He was there working, and I asked if she was there. He said no, and introduced himself as her husband – but could he help me? I said I was just looking around … we were the only 2 people in the store, and I was so tempted to spit it all out. But, I was in a mode of protecting OUR shame at that time. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on. I just wanted it to STOP. I thought of buying something with a credit card, or making a special order so that SHE would see my name … know that I had been there. But I chickened out.

        Some time later – after I had confronted her, we had exchanged texts/emails, and the f’ing affair still continued – I went back to the shop to speak with her face-to-face. She was there, and looked like she might faint when she saw me walk in. Almost immediately, I saw that her husband was there too. She was giving me a pleading look like “don’t say anything!” He said “Hi, weren’t you in here a few weeks ago?” I said yes, and introduced myself (full name). He said, “Oh, you’re (my husband’s name)’s wife! Nice to meet you. Your husband is a great guy!” [Cue gag reflex] Me: “Oh, do you know him?” Him: “Yes, from (the dive bar). This is my wife (name) – but I guess you already know her …” I said, “not really, but we have met. So, do both of you know my husband?” [I was actually having a little fun with this] Him: “Yes, we have seen him at (dive bar) a lot” Me: “Oh, it’s funny (my husband) never invites me to go there with him. I guess I always figured he went there to be with the guys … but maybe I should join him one of these days, and we can all have a drink together!” Him: “That would be fun! As I said, I always enjoying seeing him – he really is a great guy” I have always regretted not saying something like, “if you only knew … or I guess you’re entitled to your own opinion, …. or Not once you get to know him”

        As time went on, I used the threat of telling her husband about the affair to make her stop. I think it may have been the thing that finally worked.

        But, I wonder if the OW’s husband ever found out … If he did, he has never confronted my husband, contacted me, nothing.

      • kicked in the gut

        Oh yes it did! He had a several year health scare that was wrapping up at that point, so I am sure that was part of the heart to hearts they were having after work. Plus, ya know, the horrible woman he was married to and how I didn’t come downstairs to greet him after he got off work. I am not even kidding, that was his main complaint. The other complaint was, we had two foster dogs at the time that were turning out to be longer term than expected. (I am the Director and founder of a 501c3 dog rescue) I keep my foster #’s low in deference to him because he doesn’t want to live with 10 plus dogs. And I don’t blame him, so I compromise. But he listed that as a thing. And that’s all he had. I get so angry when I think of this. Seriously, that’s what sent you over the edge? Two foster dogs and no welcome home hug? I feel like I am standing on shifting sands…..Any moment, he could just fold and say, “Nah, I’m not feeling it anymore. I had to take the trash out 3 times this month and I just don’t feel you appreciate me”.

    • Still_Not_Over_It

      Broken people are attracted to broken people.

      I was broken when I started dating my husband, and then I gained strength to no longer live a broken life. That is when he had his EA. He did betray my trust in other ways before the EA (ways that weren’t affairs), but it was always about doing what made him happy and made him appear perfect to everyone else including me. He had me fooled for a long 5 years – the longest anyone has managed.

      The EA came at a time when I was dealing with a traumatic natural disaster that hit our home. I was “busy” adulting and fixing our house while he was busy getting his ego stroked by a co-worker (who is also broken). I read all their text messages – I knew exactly how/why she was broken because she sounded exactly like I did 10 years ago. Not to mention all the songs that were shared between them that I call subtle innuendos into their feelings/thoughts.

      Irony in all of this — his first betrayal to me wasn’t worked through completely and our house was in shambles from the disaster. He wasn’t worried about fixing any of that though, but that was because that meant fixing himself too, not just helping someone who seemed like “they needed a friend”.

      I THINK he actually is trying to fix his broken self now, but I’m still never really sure. The moment he steps away from any of the affair recovery phone call check ins…it’s almost like he quickly starts diverting back to his old self, only thinking of himself.

      Something he has said recently is he’s so unsure of himself now and second guesses everything. My response was “welcome to what my world was when you chose to betray me.”

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