I learned a valuable lesson about transparency…Even after more than five years, one slip-up can throw a betrayed spouse (BS) back into panic mode.

Lesson Learned about TransparencyBy Doug

In this case, the BS happens to be Linda and I’m the one who slipped-up.

Everything was cool after an hour-long discussion but I certainly learned another valuable lesson. Actually, it was a lesson I already knew (or should have known), but I got lazy and careless and it caused Linda some undo worry and panic.

Here’s the story about transparency…

I have a small business where we produce marketing materials for people who are in the mortgage business. I really have very little time involvement anymore in the business and sub-contract out all of the graphics, design and fulfillment work that goes into producing and delivering these things. All I do is write the material, invoice customers, process payments and pay bills.

The few people that work for me do so virtually and are scattered about the US and sometimes even in other parts of the world.

I just recently hired a woman (Let’s call her Joyce) in Texas to help me write the articles and other copy, as it was starting to get a little too much for me to handle with everything else I have going on. Not to mention that I’ve totally lost interest in writing about the real estate and mortgage industries, to boot.

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Anyways, one evening about a month ago after reading some of the work that Joyce produced, I commented to Linda that I thought she was a very intelligent person and a very good writer and was glad to have her helping me out.

Linda became somewhat interested in Joyce and asked me who she was, where she lived, what she looked like, etc., and then made the comment that she always felt insecure about her own writing abilities and by me raving about Joyce’s writing skills, it made her feel even more insecure.

See also  The 8 Pillars of Trust  - Ways the Unfaithful Spouse Can Help Rebuild Trust

I explained that I didn’t mean anything by it and that my saying that had nothing to do with her own abilities, as I feel she is a good writer, and that I didn’t mean to upset her.

She responded that she knew I didn’t mean anything by it but that it reminded her of a time when we had discussions about my AP and her qualities that were different than Linda’s. Those qualities were always something that bothered her and caused her to have feelings that she wasn’t good enough, exciting enough or special enough.

Long story short…we talked things out and everything was good.

Since Joyce started about a month ago, we’ve had regular discussions of a business nature via email. I’ve had to bring her up to speed a bit on the mortgage industry and the types of articles and other materials that I expected, as well as discuss future editorial content and schedules. During one of those emails, Joyce mentioned to me that she lives in Austin, TX. I respond that I’ve heard Austin is a cool town with a rich musical history and nightlife and had always wanted to visit there. Joyce replied by mentioning a few of her favorite restaurants and even included some links to their websites and to an Austin visitor bureau website.

I didn’t think anything of it, thanked her and went about my day.

Why Triggers Are So Hard and Why They Should Never be Minimized

Fast forward a few weeks to this past Wednesday…

Joyce shoots me an email about a work related issue and also included another link to a tourist spot in Austin. I didn’t see the email as I was outside doing something, but Linda did. When I got back to our office, she’s sitting at my desk and says “I think I’m gonna get sick.”

See also  Cheater's Remorse - Going Beyond “I’m Sorry”

I could see a look of panic in her eyes but had no idea why. She showed me the email and I’m like, “Uh, ya, so? What’s the big deal?”

“Why didn’t you show me all these emails and why didn’t you tell me where she lived when you knew I was curious about that?” she asked.

My response was something along the lines of, “To be honest, I didn’t think anything about it. I get so many emails each day and communicate with so many people I really didn’t think it was any big deal and never gave it a second thought.”

Whoops!

That’s where I f’d up.

I should have known that Linda had an interest and curiosity in Joyce based on what I had said earlier about her writing skills, and that I should have been transparent by letting Linda know about our discussions regarding where she lived, etc.

When Linda saw that email it catapulted her directly back in time 5 years ago when she saw the “innocent” texts on my cell phone. There was real panic and fear. She felt I was hiding something.

Even though the discussions between Joyce and I were completely innocent and 99.9% business related, (Even Linda admitted as much after reading them) it was a major trigger and I should have been more aware and sensitive to it. After all, if we’ve learned anything from our own experiences and of others on this site, it’s that affairs can begin with the most innocent of conversations or remarks.

After a long discussion, everything was pretty much back to normal and we were even joking about the incident.

See also  “How Could You?” - The Psychology of Justifications, Rationalizations and Excuses for Infidelity

However, I learned that even the most innocent, seemingly harmless thing can cause a trigger for Linda and I need to be even more transparent, especially since she had already expressed her curiosity about Joyce earlier.

Why Betrayal Makes You Feel Worthless

Feeling inadequate

The experience also magnified a deeper element. An element we hear all the time during our mentoring sessions with other betrayed spouses…

The betrayed can have a terrible time getting over the feeling of not being good enough. Even after 5 years, one small slip can send a person back in time to a very bad place that was filled with feelings of worthlessness and massive inadequacy.

To be honest, it can be a tough hurdle to overcome because on one hand the cheater may be doing everything possible and right to make amends and to help the healing process. There has been forgiveness, there’s adequate transparency, trust has been restored and there is much love and intimacy in the relationship. Things are going good. However, the betrayed may still have an underlying fear of being hurt again.  Their radar remains on alert and there is the mindset of “I may have been fooled once, but…”

After all, the cheater did feel that someone else was better during their affair (the fantasy), so these feelings the BS may have are totally legitimate and understandable and must be handled in a sensitive manner.

So, I learned my lesson.

Please share an related experiences about transparency, your thoughts and/or advice so that others may learn.  Your comments are very important and much appreciated!

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    42 replies to "A Lesson Learned about Transparency"

    • Strengthrequired

      I’m glad all is sorted and kinda is feeling better now. I can understand how she feels, yet I’m glad you are there helping Linda, Doug. If only all cs were like you. At times I think my h doesn’t understand the magnitude of hurt he placed on me, I think he believes it wasn’t that bad. Today I had a little setback, and it is soon very frustrating when it happens because you just want to feel normal again, you want to feel appreciated and worthy, and like no one else matters in your cs eyes, but it is hard to shake that thought that someone else was more important and more special than you were, even though it was at a time of fantasy land.
      Sometimes I find myself repeating myself to my h, just to see if he slips up, if his story changes, it is annoying that I do it, yet I believe it is because I don’t think I have been given the full story, I keep imagining others knowing more about his “love affair” than what I do. Others I mean his family, and those that also know the ow.
      When I see these people, I know I’m going to feel very uncomfortable. It’s getting closer too, where I will be seeing these people again. Can I just keep hiding away, I feel like I just want to keep hiding away, under my little rock.
      As you mentioned, the bs is always wary of being hurt again. That is me….

    • Donna

      Good article, Doug. This is one of my biggest fears–my husband “innocently” getting involved with a woman. It has been an easy & routine pattern he has done for so long that I’m not so sure he could handle the situation if it is in his face. I believe it’s a weakness in his character. And I know only he can ‘fix’ that. But it doesn’t give me much confidence in his transparency. I think he would handle it the same way you did, by not telling me. I don’t think he really understands what transparency means.

    • Gizfield

      I do believe that the main thing that makes affair recovery more difficult for B.S. than C.S. is that their self esteem is attacked, whereas for the C.S . it is actually improved, by being the center of attention, having two people wanting them, etc. Fortunately, for me, after contacting my husband’s girlfriend, any feelings of “inadequacy” in regard to her completely disappeared. What a loser. And since I don’t normally get jealous, compare myself to others much, it’s not a big issue for me.

      One thing I have been doing recently is reading a lot about Other Women. I don’t like spending money on trash, but for a few dollars you can get insight into the way these people think that is just absolutely astonishing. After you read a few the stories get so similar it is almost laughable. The women ALWAYS portray themselves as victims. The wives are ALWAYS betrayed as Trolls. If they aren’t physically unattractive, they are bitches who deserve it. The CS are ALWAYS portrayed as wonderful people, good parents, etc. who are martyrs for staying with their spouse, when the spouse is such a loser. This is pretty much the same portrayal as fictional adultery but it is amazing to really see how delusional the OW actually are.

      • Strengthrequired

        You know what I have noticed giz, ? Nearly everything I see on TV lately has somebody cheating on somebody else, and every time the ow is like every other ow, and occasionally the husband is sucked in by the ow and her sad story, and each time the wife is talked down. It’s getting ridiculous, how many affairs are being shown on TV. Maybe it’s because I am more aware now, that’s probably why.

        • Doug

          There’s going to be show on Showtime called “The Affair”. Where supposedly they take a look at the psychological aspects of infidelity. Might be an interesting view just to see how the directors portray things, because it’s not a documentary: http://www.deadline.com/tag/the-affair/

          • Strengthrequired

            Doug, just watched the preview. I’m not sure I would be able to watch it. Probably too soon. I would probably also wonder if my h was thinking about his own affair if he was to watch it with me. Crazy huh?
            I will be interested to hear what you think when it airs.

            • Doug

              Well SR, Not crazy at all. We don’t have Showtime so I don’t think I’ll be watching it until it comes out on NetFlix, and it’s probably questionable that we will watch it even then. I may watch the first episode just to see what it’s all about and go from there though.

    • tryinghard

      There’s always going to be issues like this I don’t care if it’s 20 years down the road. Of course it’s all a mis-communication issue. Linda perceives it as developing a personal relationship when it should only be business, the whole fantasy thing with regards to wondering or admiring “Joyce”, your only seeing it as business and not big deal.

      Yeah ok so we can forgive, maybe, it’s the forgetting that will NEVER happen. It’s not that she thinks that you’re actually going to work this into an affair, but history is the only indicator of the future.

      My h did the same thing. My work space is right next to his office. I heard him talking on the phone to a woman who owned a business and, from what I surmised (yes we women can sniff that shit out!) this wasn’t the first time they had conversations. He was all proud to be giving her the benefit of his business acumen (BWAHAHAHA). Laughing a little to enthusiastically, a little too interested in a conversation that had nothing that would benefit our business or our life. And it triggered me. I was furious and asked him WTF? How the heck did he time in his busy day to spend so long giving business advice to some random woman. It was so obvious to me that his ego was being stroked and she knew how to do it. None of that even occurred to him until we discussed the conversation. Same thing with a waitress a 54th Street Grill. Which don’t even get me started on how female waitstaff suck up to male customers hoping for a big fat tip. LOL I take care of that and when it happens I PAY the bill and the tip is non-existent. Which is totally against my nature because I always tip waitstaff well until they pull this bs right in front of me like I’m not even there!

      So sometimes I feel like I’m the character cop and it gets reallllly old. I don’t want or like having these conversations. I raised children. My job is NOT to teach character lessons to my husband. Yes he should be totally sensitive to me with regards to his interactions with females whether in person, on the phone, via email, etc. So time has passed and things are “smoothed over”, and we are communicating like a couple of trained Minah birds, and all’s good. Don’t ever forget that scar will ALWAYS be there and all it takes is on teeny tiny nick to make it start bleeding again.

      The innocence is gone, forever. There may be some trust, maybe, but never again the unconditional, naive trust. You know that Doug. I’m not even suggesting there was ANY kind of impropriety in your conversation with Joyce. As the betrayed have had to learn, it is what it is. So cheaters have to accept too that you never go back to the before modes of behavior.

      • forcryin'outloud

        I can appreciate your “character cop” term. I too have told my husband I am not his integrity policeman nor should I be.

      • Strengthrequired

        Th, one of our old friends my h went to visit a while ago, had just left her h, her h was his friend first. Well anyway, my h went to offer her support, her family was there too, and he got to hear about how her h cheated on her. My h was disgusted on what he heard and told her how he did a very stupid thing and almost lost his family over it, and that he couldn’t believe how he let it go on for so long, but he also mentioned how glad he was that it was finished and done with. He didn’t tell her everything. Yet he told me how bad he felt for her and he would tell me, I think to make himself believe, that what he did wasn’t as bad as what her h did to her.
        Anyhow, one day I saw a message saying thankyou it was lovely seeing you and it was great catching up, and talking. ( did I mention this girl was someone who had a crush on my h a long time ago, yet when she realised he was married she backed off)
        Anyhow, when I saw that msg, ( even though I knew about the visit, and I knew about how she had morals, it did not stop me from reverting back to dday), I got upset and questioned him, thinking he had seen her again, to console this woman that was now on her own ( just like it was). Turns out I had jumped to conclusions that day because she sent that msg to him after he went to see her to see what happened.
        I know this woman and I know she has a lot of integrity, but it didn’t stop me thinking the worse, all because of how it used her sobbing stories and aloneness to lure my h. My h likes being a hero, likes to be the good guy. So of course I immediately worried.
        Afterwards though, after we sorted it all out, I felt bad, and he hasn’t seen her since his first visit, he has seen her brother, and during that time our friend has reconcilied with her cs.
        I hate how I felt like I couldn’t think better of our friend, who too loves her h and was hurt by his cheating, and who has no intention on stealing a married man, but my guard is up and trusting anyone with my life is pretty hard to do now.
        I think that guard will forever be up now.

    • forcryin'outloud

      My H and I were watching one of our favorite recorded shows last night and when it was over the TV was on a movie channel playing “Last Night.” A movie about a young married couple tempted by other people. The questions my H starting asking while watching this movie let me know he has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how these things blossom into dangerous territory quickly. Even after all we have been through.

      I was astonished how perplexed he was over the machinations of the OW/OM trying to get their “perceived prize.” He was equally baffled with the spouses behaving inappropriately with other people. Unfortunately a thunderstorm killed our satellite service so we were unable to see the end and got sidetracked whining about the satellite service which killed any further discussion about the movie.

      Today I wonder if he has a complete understanding of boundaries and how certain behaviors and conversation topics cross those boundaries which can lead to a dangerous predicament. Especially because he still feels like he never “cheated” because according to him there was no sex. IMO he likes to play semantics to alleviate his guilt and shame.

      • Seenthelight

        I see this is an old post, but I’ll put my two cents in any way. From what I have read and seen with my own eyes. The cheaters not seeing themselves as the same as the examples on TV or on these posts is because their circumstances weren’t EXACTLY the same. Names were different, locations were different etc. so they see their situation as “different”. They are not the same as those disgusting people who really did cheat. I gather, from what I’ve read, this is their way of not seeing themselves as the same kind of people as the REAL cheaters. Hypocrisy is king.

    • tryinghard

      FCOL

      I like your term Integrity Police better. Yep that’s what it is integrity and Cheaters need to learn a hard lesson that we see them as being void or very deficient in this category.

      OK get this tell me what you think. He and I played golf last week and we were pretending we were playing in tournament just to make the game go faster because we were running out of day light. I kept wanting to take putts, mulligans, claim a 6 when it was a 7, you get it, cheat. Well I’ll be damned if he didn’t refuse me, (now it was just him and me), saying “No that’s cheating”. WTF!!!! I’m not an athlete, never have been, don’t like athletics, could care less about cheating in athletics, am not athletically competitive. How does someone who so deliberately cheat in his marriage take umbrage at cheating in a pretend golf tournament???? I swear I am losing my mind!!!

      Yeah my H hides behind semantics. I called bullshit on it. The old Bill Clinton, “..well it all depends on what is is….” Blah, blah, blah, fuck you, you know what is is.

      Was that a movie or a series? I’ve never heard of it, Last Night? LOL my h gets very squeamish watching infidelity on TV. Literally he squirms in his chair like he’s waiting for some blow up, namely ME :). It’s hilarious really. I just sit very quietly an let him squirm.

      • forcryin'outloud

        Oh TH he was squirming. I could feel the air getting thicker in the room. He didn’t want to get up because his legs were cramping after trying out his new golf swing and he kept complaining how bad he had torqued his side. And I just kept watching!!!

        He did ask me if I thought the movie husband’s OW had self esteem issues probably because his sure did. Sometimes he’s just a moron – not only do I love a liar, I love a relationship moron. HAHAHAHAHA! WTH!

        Your “golf tournament” story is too funny. I cannot play with my H anymore. If I don’t have a good shot he drives the cart over and picks my ball up. He’s a freaking control freak on the golf course.

        PS – It was a movie on HBO with Keira Knightly and Eva Mendes – not a particularly good one but was successful in presenting the dynamics of affairs although unless you’ve been around this carousel you would miss the subtleties.

        • Strengthrequired

          Haven’t had the pleasure fcol, of sitting there with my h while we watch a movie that has cheating in it, he may squirm, because he knows I will make a comment.

          Glad your h squirmed, lol. If you cheating on the golf course is the only problem he has to face with you and cheating, then he should count his lucky stars. He should bend down on his hands and knees and thank god he gas such a wonderful wife.

          • forcryin'outloud

            Oh SR you are a wonderful wife too – a truly lovely person. Please don’t ever forget that.
            As far as watching movies with cheating I have to say it can be very painful for me too. But you can really glean a lot about the minds of cheaters and APs because basically we all have the same story just different details whether it be in reality or movie fantasy. Probably because all affairs are fantasy excursions.

    • tryinghard

      FCOL

      My H used to be a real jerk on the golf course too. He’s a single handicapper and I am, well, they don’t go that high on handicaps for me. We actually had fun that night. It was a beautiful evening and he was so nice to me, except NOT letting me cheat:) He gave me some very helpful putting pointers. I golf BUT I don’t take it seriously. I’m there because I enjoy the outdoors and camaraderie and the drinks afterward 🙂 I’ve been playing for years and I still pretty much stink and it’s because I really don’t care. Golf courses though are pretty beautiful places and we live on one so I play. I don’t play with girls anymore, I only play with my H. He seems to enjoy it, but I know it’s hard for him to play with me when you are as good as he is at the game. He invites me and as I said his attitude is a vast improvement from before. We’ve played in tournaments where he actually made me cry. I don’t like doing things badly and normally if I’m bad at something or don’t like it, I quit! I would NEVER put a game together or go to the driving range.

      We get HBO so I will look it up.

      • forcryin'outloud

        TH – Sounds like me and you and our husbands share the same golf game. In my H’s mind every round is a PGA event. Plus I think he enjoys the “man time.” His refined way of beating his chest. LOL!

        Glad you had a nice evening on the course. Like you I think they are beautiful places.

    • Bessie

      Transparency wasn’t the problem here, boundaries were. When a woman, other than your wife, takes steps to connect with you outside of work related information, it starts with sharing personal information. When you respond with “shared” likes, “Wow – you live there? I have always wanted to come there.” it starts a relationship of sharing personal information that is outside of needed work information. You responded with personal interest in where she lived. She responded back to you based on your interest you showed. Step by step by step….! Would you have responded back to her so personally if your wife was standing right beside you?

      • Doug

        Hi Bessie, Thanks for your comment. You do make perfect sense in what you say, but in this situation, I would have had no problem responding to Joyce the way I did even with Linda standing beside me. I have nothing to hide.

        • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

          Doug, I have come to see that a lot of the triggers, no matter how far down the road have a lot to do with insecurity. One of the main results of my husband’s first affair was this feeling that I somehow did not measure up. Linda knows with her logical brain, now after all this time, that your emotional affair wasn’t about her shortcomings but about yours…yet, because it happened once, albeit ever so long ago, there is always a fear that it could happen again.

          I now have the refreshing experience of being with a man who never makes comments about other women, EVER. He always gives me the feeling that I am enough, and more than enough! He and I talk about the self-esteem issues that result from a spouse’s infidelity. While you cannot fix this tendency Linda has to personalize you could probably recognize that anything personal and positive you might be thinking about “Joyce” would not be easy for Linda to be objective about.

          • Rachel

            Saw the light,
            Yes, refreshing is the word!!!
            My new man looks at me. Has never made a comment about another woman to me.
            REFRESHING!

        • Bessie

          It is how it starts. Doesn’t mean this one is a start of course. But it is how every single one starts. Personal sharing. Back & forth. Awareness. Simple awareness. Acknowledgement. Exactly what made your gut clench. Not her writing skills. Her personal interest & his responsiveness to her.

    • Gizfield

      My husband has always worked in fields with heavy customer contact, male and female. Hes a friendly sort, and personally I dont have a problem with him talking casually to females about general things like where we live, work, pets, kids, etc. I have had a super nice attractive single guy sit behind me at work a couple of years and we talk about that type of thing. We don’t get inappropriate so I don’t think my husband should just totally avoid talking to females in an appropriate way. If I ever catch him communicating in a flirty, creepy way he did with the whore, we are done. But I do think that was an isolated incident due to immaturity, availability of the whore, and mid life crisis.

    • Gizfield

      I disagree that “this is where it ALWAYS starts”. I know for a fact that my husband looked up a chick he wanted to “have sex with” many years ago and didn’t. She already knew all his personal information, including he was married with a five year old child. He knew her information too, specifically that she wouldn’t have a problem with dat ing married men. His problem was that he was FINALLY having to grow up at the age of 45. Instead of doing that by being a husband, father, and MAN, he course to blame his issues on me, and retreat to boyhood of however old he was when he knew this person. 16, 20, 25. I dont even know.

    • Gizfield

      I do think if you aren’t careful you can put yourself into a mother/child type relationship with your spouse by forbidding them to have any dealings with the opposite sex. It’s a real Catch 22 because if you freak out every time they show normal human interest in a person of the opposite sex they will either resent you for it or they will start sneaking around and lying about it. just my opinion, of course.

    • tryinghard

      Affairs start many ways. I agree with Bessie that they do start the way she describes. But if some AssHat is determined to have an affair they will def go looking for it.

      I am CERTAIN (well as certain as I can cyberly be) that Doug had good intentions with the discourse he had with Joyce regarding Austin, TX. Bessie, he share personal info on this blog with all of us and I truly don’t think it’s because he wants to troll for possible affair partners.

      It’s a shame that Cheaters can’t go back to have innocent conversations with the opposite sex. Much in the same way that people with addiction problems can’t have a glass of wine or sometimes even walk into a bar. It’s the new normal. The betrayed spouses accept their new normal and the Cheating Spouse must do the same and be consistent with it.

      Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it because I don’t know if anyone can really change that much. Doug seems like and affable, gregarious person who is naturally curious and enjoys conversation and interaction with people of both genders. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to have an affair with them, but I am not his wife so I look at it from a different perspective. It’s sad that after an affair every action and word is parsed to the point of threatening a relationship.

      Doug I hope I have been judgmental or harsh to you in this instance. I just reallllly know where Linda is coming from. It’s a knee jerk reaction on her part but rightfully so.

      I’m really on both your sides, but as I said I totally get where Linda is coming from.

      Courage my friends.

      • Doug

        Thanks Giz and TH. I agree with you guys, and I really do not feel that Linda thinks I can’t have innocent conversations with other women. I’m going to have them. It’s a part of life and a part of business. I just need to continue to be proactively transparent when those discussions occur. And to be clear, Linda has no problem with what I said to Joyce, it was that I failed to mention it to Linda when she had expressed her curiosity in Joyce.

      • Bessie

        This personal exchange would be a red flag for anyone, but for someone that already experienced the innocent beginning of an attraction, it’s known that once the attraction is felt it’s too late. Attraction develops with “shared” likes & dislikes, the back & forth. Where do you live? Appropriate boundary.

        Oh, you live ______? “Wow. I love it. I always wanted to go there. I like this, I like that.”

        “Wow. Me too. That would be great. Here’s some info about coming here. Where I live.”

        Since we’ll be talking, working together, you already admire my intelligence, enjoy working with me, and it’s mutual.

        Personal exchanges are a slippery slope.

    • Gizfield

      You are so right, trying hard, about how much should a person change. And that applies to us as well. I dont want to change my self into a person who sees a potential affair partner “behind every bush,”. It’s just not very appealing to me. And way too time consuming. If I discover my husbands true character is Cheater , I dont even want him anyway.

    • Gizfield

      Bessie, you are really reading a lot into this that wasn’t even there. At least in my opinion. I dont see a red flag. The city you live in is public domain as far as I’m concerned. Now if they were discussing bra sizes or sexual preference, that would be another story. But like I said, this is all opinion.

    • tryinghard

      Bessie

      No one is disagreeing with you yes many affairs do start that way but not every one. There’s plenty of slippery slopes out there and you are right they need to be avoided especially if you’ve already fallen down one of them. But Holy Cow we live in a big world. Are we supposed to go around with blinders on (literally) and maybe covering ourselves up like Muslim women so as not to even attempt any slightest move that might or might not be construed as a sexual advance to us? Certainly if you can’t have some friendly discourse without it being construed as a possible affair maybe you should move on and find a different partner.

      Yes in business as Doug said, you do and will get personal. Heck I had a vendor tell me he “loved” me this morning because I mailed him a big fat check. I guess I better tell my husband because obviously this guy wants to see me naked 🙂 No, seriously he doesn’t. Heck I don’t want to see me naked.

      I hear what you are saying. I just don’t think it’s reasonable. There’s personal discourse and hey I want to have an affair with you discourse.

      As Doug said, it wasn’t the conversation, it was that he forgot to tell Linda about it. I can see that. We have busy days and busy lives. I wonder if Linda tells Doug every minute detail about her conversations at work. Not that she purposely leaves things out, it just doesn’t occur to you. My H does the same thing. Sometimes I won’t find out about a conversation until he’s telling the story to someone else and I’m all “wow you didn’t tell me that..” I don’t think this is indicative of one’s propensity to have an affair. There’s just many slippery slopes that go along with this one slippery slope.

    • tryinghard

      LOL Giz!!! That made me laugh out loud and I needed that!

      BTW–what size bra do you wear????? BWAHAHAHAHA, I crack myself up…

      Hope those storms aren’t hitting you down there in Tenn.

      And no, just because we talked about you living in Tenn and me in Ill does NOT mean I want to have an affair with you!!! Even if you do tell me your bra size…:)

    • Gizfield

      Thanks, Trying! Anytime I can brighten someone’s day on here is a good one. Thanks for checking on me after the storms too. We had a minor storm last night. Yesterday was so hot and windy I told my husband it was like we were in a giant clothes dryer. It’s much cooler today, high seventies instead of high 90s. Yeay.

      regarding the topic at hand, yes I realize the exchange of “personal” information can lead to an affair. But I bet 99.99999 percent of the time it does not. In spite of what happened, I think most friendships between the sexes are just that, friendships. Like you say, if talking to a business acquantiance about general stuff gets my husband so turned on it turns into an affair I need a new husband, or no husband, lol.

      • Strengthrequired

        I’m going to put my two cents worth in, Now I agree that I affairs start with giving out personal details, but if handing out details on where I live, how many children I have, and that I’m married, and have someone tell me the same, I think I would have been in trouble a long time ago. Everyday meetings with people, when you first meet can turn into that conversation. The danger is the flirting, the things you say, your stare, your body language, your touch, and your reactions to these, to the opposite sex, that is where you need to be keeping an open eye. It’s when you start accepting all of these from someone that is not your spouse, when you feel that hey, this person has started to cross the line with comments, and touch. If you can have a conversation with a person of the opposite sex, you have to know for yourself what is appropriate and what isn’t. Talking about the weather, or talking about what your kids did that day, or what your having for dinner that night, isn’t inappropriate talk, having a joke with someone isn’t inappropriate, it’s when boundaries are nearing being crossed, where the potential conversation can head off into the direction starts to head into more intimately personal, the touching is more of a rub your boobs in his face, pinching her rear, or patting her rear, or his, etc is when you need to recognise this is inappropriate behaviour.
        We all have to recognise what is appropriate and what is not. We are all going to have dealings with someone of the opposite sex, someone that we find attractive in one way or another, but if we don’t put the signals out there that we are looking, or don’t give in to the other persons advances, and don’t engage in inappropriate conversations that can lead into an affair, if you don’t give out personal details about your marriage, or do something that your spouse would not like if they saw you, then don’t.
        Unfortunately as bring a bs, trust has to be earned back when it comes to the cs dealings with a person of the opposite sex, we tend to watch them more closely, we watch for the ” I’m a hero, or I’m a damsel in distress” mode, as we know that is where the danger started. Him wanting to help her, her wanting him to save her, this is where the cs needs to tone it down, this is where they need to act differently, so I don’t hurt my marriage.
        I know for myself, if my h has an innocent conversation with a woman, which is going to happen all the time, he can’t not talk to his customers, or suppliers or the checkout chick or bank teller etc, what gets me is when the conversations turn into, woe is me, my life sucks, type of conversation. With him feeling sorry, and feels like he wants to help, as that is the type of person he is, a good guy, but he doesn’t see that women will use the help me card to get a man, he never thought it could lead to something more.

    • forcryin'outloud

      SR – I couldn’t agree more with your last paragraph. EVERY woman my H cozied up to was in need of some sort of help usually emotional and financial. I think there has been about 6 counting the OW. The OW was the only one he kept hidden. All their correspondence was clandestine. The others I found out about before he went completely down the rabbit hole.

      I will also say that Bessie made an earlier comment about “his responsiveness” to her. I think the enthusiasm in the response triggered something for Bessie. We all have boundaries we have to set. Maybe for Bessie at this point those boundaries need to be VERY close. I was like that in the beginning. Oh hell, one of my worst explosions was when we were at a restaurant sitting across from a women that looked similar the OW to me. I swore my H was repeatedly looking at her. When we got to the car I lost it. It was horrible, irrational and lunatic behavior but I was terrified at what had happened in my marriage and where it was leading us. Maybe Bessie you are still at this point.

      IMO Doug didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done and I’m a BS. But I also understand Linda’s response too. Unfortunately there is some affair fallout that never goes away. And lack of complete is the hallmark.

      • forcryin'outloud

        …”his responsiveness” to her – meaning the Austin lady.

        • forcryin'outloud

          Meant to say complete trust.

    • EyesOpened

      Speaking as another cs, I have had to reinvent the way I communicate with people. I would often be flirty, inappropriate and cross boundaries but because I felt nothing in my head for the recipients I didn’t feel it was inappropriate . I now know that those flirty emails can be misconstrued, read from a different perspective and at worst , cause pain – but I have to reign myself in, because I am a naturally open and friendly person – who now has new rules and boundaries to follow.

      I’m not sure the point of this post is what was actually said though – it was the perceived ‘bordering ‘ on secrecy. I feel massively for Linda – it is an awful emotion to feel that doubt and anxiety, and it must be so frustrating to feel like she had to ask to get that information, rather than it be volunteered by Doug. Meanwhile, Doug was in blissful ignorance – not volunteering because it just didn’t compute. In my opinion – this is a no fault circumstance .. But how impressive it is that Linda had the courage to address it and Doug has learned from it and is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again – even though there was no original bad intentions! This is that hard work that everyone talks about. You two are an inspiration to us all!

    • exercisegrace

      Doug, I think the only other thing you could have done differently would have been to add something along the lines of…..thanks! I will pass this along to my wife, she’s always wanted to see that part of the country too! Overall, you both did a great job of talking about it and sharing how you felt. That is what protects our marriages the most.

      My husband talked about me and the kids quite a bit to his co-worker and “friend”. Early on in meeting her, he had described himself as blessed with a strong marriage and family. This did not deter her in the slightest, as she set about (her words) “aggressively pursuing” him. It was more of a…..challenge accepted! mentality.

      I say all this to point out there is no one way to protect yourself from crossing the line. Avoiding any and all personal conversation is unrealistic. Expecting ME to be his marital parole officer is not a task I am willing to take. We all have to monitor the situations we are in. We have to listen to our gut and be painfully aware of our hearts. I am fairly certain all cheaters can point to a time when they first “knew” things were sliding over the boundaries. Maybe they looked forward too much to the soon to be affair partner’s phone calls or texts. Or they set up a work meeting on the flimsiest of reasons. We have to guard our own hearts and understand our own vulnerabilities. Remove ourselves from circumstances that are becoming too familiar. Listen to our own moral compass….and HEED IT.

      • Doug

        Wise words as usual EG. Thanks for chiming in. I too think that it’s unrealistic for anyone to avoid personal conversation. One might as well be a hermit!

    • theresa

      NOT JUST FRIENDS by Shirley Glass, (in my top 10) discusses this topic in detail. The world today makes it impossible to avoid the opposite sex in one on one situations. We work together, play together, carpool together, worship together, study together, arrange play dates together…..
      That being said, we betrayed spouses live in an almost constant hypervigilant state. And probably have a great many unreasonable reactions to seemingly “innocent” situations.
      There’s a reason for this.
      I hope it lessens as time passes, but I don’t think it will ever go away completely. There are just too many gray areas. My only absolute right now is that any way the affair partner touches our life demands immediate notification. Including the circles around our lives.
      There are NO innocent circumstances.
      Here’s the thing. The betrayed spouse has to develop reasonable expectations. We must trust the cs to be aware of questionable or dangerous situations. We must trust their judgement to do the right thing. We must trust them to be honest. We must trust them to know they are crossing a line. We must trust them to tell us when they are getting close to a line. We must trust them to step back from that line. We must trust them to honor the boundaries that have been agreed upon, even if they disagree with some of them.
      They must honor promises made to us.
      They must do this to honor, respect, care for, love us and our marriage.

      And why is everything so much harder for the betrayed?

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