Today we have a great piece taken from a thread in the Higher Healing Forum that we’d like to share.  One of the blog’s active contributors recently had lunch with a friend who also happened to be a cheater.  She feels as though she gained some valuable insight from her lunch with a cheater.  You just may as well.  Please read on!  

An Interesting Talk With a Cheater

by “Livingonafence

Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend. He and I used to work together and became really good friends. We have the same sense of humor and take on a great many things. He has been gone for some time, taking a trip across the country for the last year-and-a-half in an RV with his family.

He just got home a few weeks ago and we went to lunch to catch up. He’d told me on the phone that he and his wife have been fighting, or rather are still fighting. So when we got together I asked what was going on and if he was OK. 

Backstory: He had an affair. It was around the same time that my husband (H) had his emotional affair (EA). I didn’t know he was doing it when he did it. He confessed when he realized he was dealing with a bunny-boiler. It was physical. He had told me this just before my own D-Day. I talked to him right after D-Day but I was too confused to know what to ask. So yesterday we really discussed it. It was very enlightening.

Here are a few of the things he told me:

It was like a drug – she complimented him. She made him feel good and he kept going back for more. He could have cared less about the physical part. He did that mostly because it was expected of him, and he needed to do that to keep the ‘feel good’ talk to continue. 

I asked him how he was able to do it knowing his wife was home, trusting him and waiting for him. He knew it would be bad if his wife found out, but the logical side of him convinced himself that it wouldn’t be that bad. He said he logically knew it, but emotionally he couldn’t feel it.

He didn’t know he would feel so low hurting his wife this badly. He didn’t know she would be so devastated. He couldn’t put himself in that place. When he ended up there, he felt like more of an asshole because he hadn’t expected the pain he caused. Once he was in that place for real, he saw the affair for what it was – nothing. I used the word ‘fantasy’ and he jumped on it.

The OW heard what she wanted. He told her from the beginning that he wasn’t leaving his wife and kids. He was clear that they were never going to be ‘a couple’. She ignored that, believing they were in love and that eventually he would see that too and they would end up together. She did what many OW (and OM) do and began pressuring him more and more to be with her. She started making real life demands on his time and attention. That’s when he told his wife. Interestingly, that’s the same point where my H ended his EA. Both of them were not interested in anything real. They were interested in having someone tell them how great they were. Seems to be a standard tactic in an affair – when one party starts to act like this is a real thing, the other ends it.

See also  Discussion: Your Perceptions of the OP

His wife was devastated that he could do that. He lied to her, betrayed her, etc. We all know how his wife felt. He confirmed that yes, during the affair he magnified all of his wife’s flaws and ignored anything good. He didn’t realize it at the time but that’s how he was able to treat her so poorly. He can’t believe, in hindsight, how horrible he was.

From me, he wanted to know how I was able to move forward. He asked if I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I said “Oh yes, but I didn’t realize how fragile that bulb is. It’s much more fragile than I had thought before he cheated.” He got a kick out of that answer. 

He asked if I still thought about leaving, and I confirmed that I did but not as much. I also confirmed that not a day goes by where at some point I don’t hate my H with a passion for causing all of this. He laughed but I saw the look in his eye. It was pain. It pained him to know that after all this time his wife most likely had these same thoughts. I told him that the images in my head of my H becoming giddy when she messaged him, or being so happy on a call with her, was maddening. I said “It still hurts knowing someone replaced me in that role in his life. That was my place – that’s what made he and I different than you and I (meaning my friend and I). That’s what separates a romantic relationship from a friendship. It hurts knowing someone else filled that role for him.” He seemed to completely get that.

He and his wife are having problems, but they are the same problems they had before he cheated. His wife has wild mood swings and they last a long time. He wanted an escape from that. He knows now that he handled it all wrong, but he wanted someone that wasn’t bitching at him. He isn’t blaming his wife for the affair. He’s blaming his unhappiness. He says now he doesn’t have any voice because he cheated so no matter what she was doing, it pales in comparison. He’s trying to address the real problems now, the right way. She isn’t. She doesn’t care.

See also  Another Trigger After the Emotional Affair

I did tell him that no matter how wrong my H was or how hurt I was, I’m not blind enough to think that we got to the point where he cheated because we had such a wonderful marriage. I took ownership of my part in the relationship being in that state. We took each other for granted. We didn’t really talk. We were existing in the same home. His wife won’t do that.

I just wanted to share some of our conversation with all of you. My friend confirmed so much of what we all say. This man doesn’t know my H, so he wasn’t saying all of this to help his pal out. I know his wife but we aren’t ‘friends’. She is my friend’s husband. I’ve met her twice? Maybe three times. We’ve never ‘hung out’. I met her when I went to their house to see him for computer help. In other words, he wasn’t saying any of this knowing it would get back to his wife. He wasn’t saying anything to make me feel better. He’s not like that, and our friendship isn’t like that. It was two people on opposite sides of an issue discussing the issue and the aftermath.

It was a great insight into the mind of a cheater – both what was happening during an affair and what happens after D-Day. 

So his family took a long trip together. He planned this hoping that getting away from all the stresses of daily life would help his marriage. He wanted to spend real time with his wife. He wanted to make new memories. He wanted to reconnect. He’s done well financially since I met him so he was able to do this (yes, I’m jealous!!) but he says it didn’t help. It helped the affair recovery, but not the existing problems. 

I feel sorry for him. They’ll most likely divorce. He isn’t happy and she won’t even discuss working on it. Her standard response is “this is how I am. Why don’t you love me unconditionally like I do you? I put up with your quirks.” Quirks is how she puts it. Apparently it’s so bad that their sons have said to my friend “why did you leave me alone with her all day?” That isn’t a quirk, that’s a problem.

They’ve been to counseling, but the focus was healing from the affair. During counseling when his concerns came up they were quickly dismissed because that wasn’t the focus. It was very frustrating to him because he wants his marriage to work. I suggested they go again but this time with the focus being on the marriage and ‘the quirks’. He knows he solved his problems in the past the wrong way and he wants to do it the right way. She isn’t interested and doesn’t see it as a problem. Yes, she knows her children have made comments. Yes she knows that if they divorce the kids have said they want to live with their father. It doesn’t matter to her. It’s very sad.

See also  32 Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are in a Marital Affair

He did say he’d never cheat again. He said again he had no idea how bad it would be after D-Day. He didn’t know he’d feel this bad. He didn’t ever imagine the pain it would cause.

Finally, I told him my H hasn’t even looked up OW online, just to see how she’s doing or whatever happened after I found out and told her H. He said he’s the same. He couldn’t care less. The thought of seeing her only brings up all of the memories of the pain the affair caused. He has no interest in peeking under those covers. He said within just a few weeks he was asking himself what he ever saw in any of it, and now the thought of doing it again just would never exist. 

I asked why people do that – why they cheat, get caught, and then have no interest in it. Why do they not think about it first? He said it goes right back to all of the internal justifications. Once it was known to others he saw it as they saw it. He felt embarrassed and ashamed that he ever thought it anything but the stupid fake neediness that it was. And he reiterated logically knowing it was wrong but not being able to emotionally put himself in any kind of post D-Day scenario. 

It was interesting having a real person vocalize all of the things that we’ve read or discussed. I’ve known this man for 12 years. We were very good friends (never hiding anything from our spouses). This was genuine. He liked being able to ask me questions as much as I liked being able to ask him. It seems cheaters have questions too.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this with my online friends.

Thanks “Livingonafence“!!

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Inside the Mind of the Unfaithful
Understanding Why Cheaters Do What They Do

Doug talks with several ex-unfaithful persons who share their experiences, thoughts and feelings.  They answer the most asked questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.


    30 replies to "Lunch With a Cheater"

    • Surviving

      Thank you for posting this well written article..
      My comment no way reflects on you, after all I’ve been through with my husbands EA if he talked about our marital issues with anyone except a marriage counselor or myself our marriage would be essentially over. I guess for me there were just too many triggers that hit close to close to my situation, perhaps in a few days I can be more objective.

    • Gizfield

      I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone my husband had lunch with, if he didnt keep it a secret except of course ex girlfriends. There’d be no reason for a person to go there. I think there’s a difference between talking about your marriage to a true “friend” looking to help you, or you them than the mutual Bitch Fest that cheaters seem to enjoy so well. I can definitely say that I have a lot of male friends I could get/share advice with about anything without getting emotional over it. with cheaters, it’s usually just an excuse to get together. I think all adults KNOW when what they are doing is inappropriate and when it is not. But I certainly understand anyone being concerned so dont think I’m trying to discount your feelings or anything because I’m not.

      • livingonafence

        Agreed. I would, given his history, have a problem with my H going to lunch with a female. He’s already shown he has very poor judgement and trouble with boundaries. I don’t think that makes me a hypocrite. Prior to his EA I would think nothing of it. Now? No, I don’t think so. I haven’t proven that I can’t handle being in the company of male friends so that’s that. It isn’t a secret. There is no hiding of anything.

        Also agree on the difference between two people discussing their lives and the ‘bitchfest’ that occurs in an affair. For my husband, he would say things about me and she’d laugh. He liked that, so he’d say worse and worse things. Almost all lies right down to my age, how we met, etc. I wasn’t even me and yet I was a monster. No, my friend and I were discussing our real problems in a manner that most friends do, and it was genuine and not sexual and not just to prove to each other how unhappy we were so we could move on to how wonderful the other was and how we should run away together or whatever other idiotic things people in affairs say. Let’s face it – if any of that were true then no one would hide an affair. They’d be happy to have such a nightmare marriage end. But the other side buys into it because it ‘fits’ what they want to be true. Blind selfishness wasn’t at lunch with my friend and I LOL.

    • EyesOpened

      LOAF – I agree – not only interesting but fantastically written too.

      What is so weird about this is that it could have been a conversation between my AP and me – even the bit about the kids not wanting to be with his w because she scared them and was relentlessly attacking him. He had had a previous affair and said he was existing in his marriage and that his wife didn’t care and she didn’t want to try. It was essentially over. Note at this stage I had no previous knowledge or experience of affairs. I guess what I am trying to point out is …. How do you know he is being truthful with you? How do you know this about his wife other than that he’s told you ? You’ve only met her twice. Did his wife know he was with you ? Did she know he was discussing her and their relationship with you? Are you sure she wasn’t in agony over his meeting with you? Are you sure he’s not trying it on with you?

      I’m being provocative I know – but this is EXACTLY how it starts.

      When I had my first talks with my AP – he was a friend that I was listening to – that was it. The intimacy developed from a desire to keep hearing the next chapter in the book – and my total belief that I could help. That – and believing my own propaganda.

      Just trying to point out that this is the SAME situation – only you have the benefit of knowledge and experience that lots of CSs haven’t. And you probably are a decent human being that wouldn’t go there!!

      • livingonafence

        I’ve known him for 12 years. He isn’t trying to start an affair. He definitely isn’t trying to start one by asking how I’m doing since being cheated on and saying that cheating was the worst mistake of his life.

        I don’t know what brought you down the path you went down, but it is quite possible for a man and a woman to be friends and discuss things. Yes, his wife knew exactly where he was, and my husband knew as well. He was gone for 3 hours to have lunch with me since I work an hour away from home and he lives close to me, and she knew where he was going. She even sent him a text during lunch. He responded, and then she wrote “Tell (LOAF) I said hello”. I saw the text. There is NO EA in our future.

        I’m sorry – but assuming any conversation between a man and a woman is him trying to start an affair is simply ridiculous. My friend is/was genuinely depressed about his situation. He wasn’t buttering me up for some sleazy activities. He just came home from an 18 month long vacation with his family. He’s not out trying to get rid of them.

        It’s possible for a man to actually have marital problems and discuss them. We discussed him going to therapy. We discussed him NOT wanting to get a divorce. We discussed the effect it would have on the kids, on his wife, and on him.

        What about ANYTHING in this suggested that this was possibly the start of an EA? Why does your mind go there first? This man was my friend before he cheated and before my husband cheated. It isn’t my ‘benefit’ of being a CS – I assure you, there is no benefit about it – that stops me from having an affair with this man. It’s the fact that he is my friend. I couldn’t have been more clear about this.

        I think what you’re trying to do is show how easy it is to get involved in an affair. I’m sure it is since I’ve seen that door many times myself. It’s a lot easier to say no than it is to walk through the door. Sure, it may not give a person that ‘high’ one would get from compliments that are designed to get similar compliments in return, but just being shown that it’s possible, that one is still attractive, is really enough.

        I respect my friend. I don’t view him as some cheap ego boosting pod. I view him as a person. My friend feels the same about me. I respect my husband. I don’t want to look in his eyes and wonder if he suspects me of doing things I’d never in a million years want him doing. Since my husband cheated, I can’t say if he respects me. He may now, but when he was cheating there was no respect. How could there be? How can there be any respect when lies are being said, when sexy talk and sweet nothings are being exchanged with another, when nasty things are being said about another just to ‘prove’ that the cheater really means all the things they say? No, there is no respect for the spouse, and no respect for the AP. There is no respect at all – just selfish behavior, lies and justifications.

        This could never be a conversation between any two affair partners. Two such people don’t respect each other.

        My friend didn’t say his wife was a bitch, or any other names. He was simply saying what life was like for him and the different ways he’s tried and that he’s still trying. I don’t find your questions provocative. I find them insulting and sad. Insulting because you seem to think that a man and a woman can’t be friends without that ‘slippery slope’ being right there, all the time, and sad because that’s where your mind goes. As a CS, I would think you would have learned that the affair started as a result of poor choices and coping skills, not because it was ‘just so easy’. My friend has learned this and understands how wrong it was. No offense, but it seems that you’re still looking to claim that it isn’t entirely your fault because ‘it just happened’. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I took from this. I do hope I’m wrong.

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      So, interesting indeed. I have had some friends over the years who were male, and some now, but having lunch together won’t happen unless there’s a possibility of more than friendship. I’m not dating until my divorce is final. But my (almost) ex had lunch with women regularly over the duration of our marriage and prior to the last three years, I never thought much about it. It was mostly in the context of work, but given what I know now and what has happened to us, I wonder….

      His first affair began with a lunch. I was working out of the country for six weeks. He knew the woman well, had worked some with her in the past and she ‘needed help.’ Boundaries began to be crossed. He decided we were “going in two different directions.” Well, obviously we were, because I was not interested in having something with anyone else.

      Second affair was with the younger woman, the one who said all the right things. Apparently he’s still seeing her, despite telling me “it would never work” for them to be together. I don’t really care, and actually it makes it easier for me to move forward.

      I agree with Eyes Opened, that for decent women (and maybe also for the not-so-decent), affairs begin when they become the one listening, the one a man is opening his “heart” to. But I also think every one of us is vulnerable, wants to be a special friend…I am working now on figuring out how I ended up spending nearly 3/4 of my life with someone, sharing life and having kids and grandkids and careers and nursing each other’s sick parents, and traveling, and on and on, and who am I now? I don’t want to find my identity in being a victim. I have my eyes wide open, too, EO, and I am looking and waiting and healing. Someday this will just be another chapter in my life journey and maybe be a story to share with another.

      • livingonafence

        Well that’s an odd view. This wasn’t a ‘date’ so I’m not sure why you brought up dating until your divorce is final. Also, if you won’t have lunch with a male unless there is the possibility of more, I don’t know if the males you call friends would be what I would call friends. If I won’t even have lunch with a person that I know I wouldn’t consider them a friend. That’s just someone I know.

        This man is my friend. I have male friends and female friends. I would have lunch with any of them.

        I disagree about affairs beginning when someone becomes the one listening. My listening to a friend doesn’t make me want to tell them I want to run away with them. Affairs begin when one person makes another feel special and wanted and that person likes it and wants more, so much so that they start to do things that are unacceptable and lie to cover their tracks. Affairs begin when a person lacks respect for everyone including themselves and goes for the easy thrill instead of seeing a warning sign. No, I don’t think simply talking to another person in a genuine way is how affairs start – they are based in lies and deceit, so how can that be the start.

        I think we are coming from two different places to start with. You don’t think men and women can share lunch without it meaning that bigger things are to come, and I don’t think lunch with a friend means anything other than two people talking while eating a midday meal, regardless of the sex organs of the two individuals.

        Just different viewpoints on what’s acceptable I suppose.

    • livingonafence

      I think I’ve ‘defended’ my lunch as much as is possible. I wrote this to show what goes on in the mind of a cheater regarding certain things. I asked him some of the questions that we’ve all asked our spouses. The difference here was that he had no reason to lie. My feelings didn’t need to be spared so there was no reason to sugar coat his answers. I found his answers interesting so I wrote about them. That’s all. I’m going to back out of this topic now unless for some reason a specific question comes up. Thanks all!!

      • Lisa

        Thank you very much for this ! It helped me understand so well my husbands mind set and what is was like. I wouldn’t even waste your time on some of these comments. Stay true to you and what you feel and believe. A lot of these women seem to be unable to move past their own pain and that is evident in their anger and the words they chose and what they are saying. I have stayed with my husband and I am trying to work on my marriage , and I was in just as much pain as everyone else on here . Thank you again for the insight and sharing. I wish I had someone on other side to talk to like you do

    • Gizfield

      LOAF, my comment was the second one made, and I definitely didn’t see anything that made me think lunch was in appropriate, or affair like or anything. Like you, I can be friends with a person of the opposite sex. I’ve been doing it at least 30 years, and I never claimed to be a friend to get to someone romantically. The person I cheated with was my high school boyfriend, and we never had any kind of friend relationship. My husband could go to lunch with most of the women I know and I wouldn’t care. This DOES NOT INCLUDE the road whore who dated him while she knew he was married to me!

    • Surviving

      I was the first posting and again no reflection on you in anyway whatsoever.
      There were just too many triggers from what you originally posted to what my H had said right after I found out about the EA, my response was based on that.
      For your friends wife to know her h had a physical affair and be okay with him to discuss their marital issues with another female tell me she has more trust and maturity than I have. Will I get there one day? I don’t know…
      It’s always enlightening to hear more success stories and to read these though provoking postings.

    • Gizfield

      Personally, I dont think the “event” is the problem, or that even the “topic” is the problem that starts affairs. Psychologists say that 90% of communication is non verbal. THAT is the problem.All the sly little looks, accidental touches, way toooo much laughing at a joke that is just not that funny. Cheaters tell themselves “oh I’m not doing anything wrong” when they know damn well they are. One reason I can respect myself is that I know exactly what part I played in my adulterous relationship. No slippery slope, no we’re just friends, blah, blah, blah. If you are not open to an affair, you will not have one. And most others won’t approach you if you dont give off a “receptive vibe” unless you are Miss Damn America or something. There are too many willing sluts in the sea to mess with someone that you know is going to turn you down.

      • Teresa

        That’s interesting what you wrote…”Psychologists say that 90% of communication is non verbal. THAT is the problem. All the sly little looks, accidental touches, way toooo much laughing at a joke that is just not that funny.”
        I never knew that! Maybe that explains, in part, how my H got hooked up with the cow!
        I could never understand it…They met again at his family members wedding, and talked for about 20-25 mins, so my H says….and my H must have made such an impression on the cow, she asked a family member if she would give her his cell number.
        The family member (my H’s cousin) texted him and asked if it would be ok….and without hesitation, my H said YES!

        I’ve wondered for a long time how in the heck they could “connect” in such a short amount of time…maybe that’s the answer!
        And not to offend anyone out there…but the cow is a hairdresser, and as a friend recently pointed out, hairdressers are “flirts” her words, not mine, lol, and know how to make people feel good about themselves,so yes, she could have been sending him subtle “messages” while they were talking and he obviously LOVED it!
        Still pisses me off when I think about it! I bought and paid for his ticket home to visit family, thinking I was being a “loving wife”….and this is what I get!
        It’ll be three years this month that the EA started….three lonnnng years!!

    • Saw the Light (formerly Roller Coaster Rider)

      LOAF, I must apologize because you must have thought I was implying you were doing something besides having lunch and being supportive of a friend. I do not think that at all, nor do I think having a meal together is just a prelude to something more or something else. My reason for the boundaries I have right now are about me and about what has happened in the past three years of my life. I know that your friend appreciates you, and so he should. True friends are one of life’s best blessings.

    • EyesOpened

      LOAF – I just wrote what I thought. I don’t think all meetings between the opposite sex are going to turn into an EA. I always have, (and still have) male friends who I talk to and have lunch with and never before have i had an affair. Interestingly – more people seek interaction with me than before now. I think people in long term relationships mostly have problems and want to know how another person got to a certain place. Someone else I worked with who loves his wife and doesn’t give off any ‘signals’ announced he and his wife hadn’t had sex for a year! I think he just wanted to tell someone! Once upon a time I’d have continued that conversation – on this occasion i told him about the harville hendrix book and asked if he’d ever thought of counselling – but i digress.

      You are right. You were conveying an interesting conversation with valuable insight and the thing that I took from it was an emotion that it stirred up within ME.

      I was absolutely not saying that he WAS trying it on – and I truly don’t believe YOU would ever have an affair. Really I was just saying – goodness that sounds exactly like a conversation I had once – and mine turned into an affair. I suppose I wanted you to see it from a different perspective. Not to say its not my fault. But just to think – Ah yes – that’s an interesting point – I hadn’t thought of that.

      As I pointed out previously – if I wanted to lay the blame of my actions at another’s feet – I wouldn’t be here. I really value your comments LOAF. I am sorry you found my post insulting – it was not my intention.

      • exercisegrace

        Eyes, you bring up a good point. My husband was friends with his colleague for years before things went south. When he discussed things with her, he thought it was a “safe” place to do so. But eventually her feelings for him changed, and gradually the boundaries slid. For US, there will always now be a boundary of not talking about deeply personal marital issues with a member of the opposite sex. It is extremely unlikely that even if this WERE acceptable, that we would present the “other side of the story” and get any real and true advice. When we complain about our marital issues we are looking for sympathy, whether we want to admit that or not.

    • Gizfield

      Teresa, it’s a very interesting topic. Try googling “nonverbal communication”. I’m not sure of my exact percentage (90%) but it’s very high. Just notice what people around you are doing. You know some people give off a creepy “vibe”. They say one thing, and act another way.

      I met my H’s cow twice. The first time was when we had not been together long, still dating. He is in a band, and they were playing at a club one night. She was there. When we walked in, she literally “launched” herself out of her chair like a missile onto my now husband. Why?? She knew he would be there, so it wasn’t a surprise. She knew we had been dating quite a while, yet here she is plastered to him, two feet away from me, lol.

    • Gizfield

      Part 2. What was I doing during all this? Standing there, feeling embarrassed, in front of a group of people, thinking ” who is this bitch, and why is she up on my boyfriend”, lol. I dont remember much about her, blonde hair, glasses, pretty, or anything about her the rest of the evening but I can still picture this greeting in my mind.. I’m not the jealous type, but she gave me a feeling of “unease” which I’m sure she classified as jealousy on my part, but I was really just a reaction to her disrespectful, dramatic, over the top BEHAVIOR. I knew this bitch was trouble but I “trusted” my husband.. Again, lol, my bad.

    • exercisegrace

      Personally, if my husband had lunch with one of his female friends and discussed his affair, particularly in this kind of detail it would be a HUGE issue. It would be an even bigger issue if the friend he discussed it with was also a betrayed spouse. While LOAF has NO intention of crossing the line with this guy or anyone else for that matter, this IS how affairs start. This guy stated HIMSELF that he fed on JUST that type of attention. What happens if he wants more lunches, more calls, more great listening skills to bounce his thoughts off of? His marriage is still on the rocks and it SHOULD be a HUGE boundary to NOT discuss all that with a woman. Any woman, other than his wife or marriage counselor. Especially if he is getting the message verbally or nonverbally that his marriage is likely headed for divorce. AGain, this is NO judgement on LOAF, but this situation would be completely intolerable for ME, with MY husband and a female friend.

    • Gizfield

      I apologize. I just now read Strength required comment meant she intentionally deleted posts. Unfortunately, idont do that but I enjoy feedback so good or bad I throw it out there…

    • Gizfield

      The whole, sad truth is this. Lunch, work, going to the car wash. Our spouses have a life of their own that we are NOT a part of. My spouse is away from me a minimum of 10 hours a day, five days a week. He could be having lunch, or sex for that matter, talk about anything he wants to anybody he wants and I would not know. The same goes for me. I could be doing it as well. The fact that both spouses of LOAF and her friend know about it is huge, in my opinion.

    • Gizfield

      Oooops, s/b friends wife

    • Carol

      I found this interesting. My H says a lot of the same things that LOAF’s friend now says, things he thought and felt during the affair — he figured I wouldn’t find out, so his EA was ‘harmless’. He was able to recognize logically that I wouldn’t like it (hence the hiding and lying) but not to feel emotionally how badly his dishonesty and betrayal would hurt. And yes, the OWs (several, in my case) were free with the compliments.
      (Of course they can be — since they don’t have to deal with his dirty laundry, his tendency to pay bills late if at all, his difficulty sticking to a budget, his addiction to his iPhone, his inability to get his car serviced before crisis point, etc., etc.)
      Funny how the minute it becomes ‘real’ — for LOAF”s friend and for my H — those empty compliments start to sound, well, empty, and the little fantasy balloon gets popped.

      It’s also the case that my H now has a boundary I don’t have. Specifically: I am free to have lunch with a male colleague or friend. I’ve got a proven track record of fidelity, and in fact of brushing off would-be APs. I tell my H about what I’m doing, and I’ve always been honest about the guys I meet up with and why. My H, on the other hand, has a track record of using lunches with a woman (or a meeting for coffee, or a secret dinner) as an opportunity to mess around. With my H, the whole point was to get right up to ‘the line’ (for him, that means sex) without crossing it. But as far as I’m concerned, he crossed ‘the line’ the minute he decided to lie to me about who he did and didn’t have lunch with. So now, he’s agreed that he will not have lunch or drinks or coffee with a female colleague unless someone else is along. Not fail-proof, of course. But at least he now recognizes that he used those situations to start acting like a sleazy lounge lizard.

      Here’s the thing about LOAF’s lunch — both spouses KNEW that their wife/husband would be having lunch with an opposite-sex friend. Her friend’s wife texted a ‘hi’ to her. That’s how it SHOULD be, in an honest marriage. That was NEVER the case with my H’s boundary-crossing meet-ups. I was to be in the dark; that was the thrill of it for him. How sick is that? And don’t get me started on the pathetic women who KNEW he was hiding stuff from his wife and helped him do so.

      It’s the dishonesty that’s the worst. Months of texting and sneaking off to see his opera whore (that’s what OW stands for for me, heh), and, most devastatingly, lying to me about it: that’s what’s nearly impossible to get over for me.

    • tryinghard

      Just read your piece. Well done. I did not take anything other than two friends having lunch so I am a bit surprised at the thread. I guess we have all become so jaded, CS and BS alike, that everyone is too suspicious and sensitive to anything that remotely sniffs of an EA or it’s beginnings. I did not take away any of that. I have/had male friends but just as I am too busy and pretty much wholly uninterested in having coffee or lunch with them, an affair is wayyyy off the screen. I don’t even have time for my female friends other than short phone calls. Works for me.

      From your comments if he is so miserable why does he stay? I don’t get it! Why does the wife stay? I feel sorry for these people. I don’t know about you LOAF, but pity is NOT an aphrodisiac for me. He would be the last “friend” I would sleep with right?? He sounds rather pathetic. He’s a liar, a cheater, and martyrs himself in a seemingly miserable marriage. Even if you were thinking of having an affair, which I do not believe you are, you could do better than that!!! I have pathetic friends too 🙂

      I think it’s interesting that he confirmed, after the affair came to light and she was demanding more, that was the end of it. My H says he had the same experience. Once it was no longer a secret her importance faded away like a ghost. He doesn’t even drive by where she works. I know because I have GPSed his car. He can’t stand the sound of her name. It’s as if all his bad personality traits are attributed to her. I told him I felt sorry for her and he practically snarled and said “do not feel sorry for her!! She is getting what she deserves!” YIKES right??!!

      Did your friend say why he didn’t contact her again? Did he tell her it was over or just quit seeing her without another word? Did he say why is he not curious in the least about her when she had been the epicenter of his life?
      Here’s what I don’t get. How do people switch their feelings on and off so easily? How can one carry on so as to stand to lose everything they have worked so hard for all their lives and just say OOPS that was a bad thing to do and then expect to carry on as if nothing ever happened?? My H really thinks things will just go back to how it was before the affair and it’s aftermath. He keeps thinking I will “get over it”. No we don’t “get over it” ever. It’s a black hole in your life forever. We just learn how to dance around it and make a new life with that black hole forever in the background.
      I don’t think my H is miserable at all in our marriage neither now nor previous to the affair. The affair was a result of boredom, a mid-life crisis, opportunity, and stupidity. If he bad mouthed me to his AP it was a lie. I was good to him. Never fought. Loved him, took care of him, his kids, his home, his beloved dogs. We had a great social life with many friends. I never complained about his golf trips or golf outings. His decision to have an affair was all about him and his own prurient curiosity. He did everything to cover up what he was doing. The LAST thing he wanted was for me to find out and leave him. Plus I think being sneaky boosted the lust factor for him. Charming right? HHHMMM no wonder she couldn’t resist him. So if she bought any bad mouthing about me from him that is her stupidity. It’s almost cliche that the married man bad mouth his wife to his mistress.

      I hope what any of you CS or OW women get from my comments is that I am the wife. I probably represent most wives. I’m not unique or a special woman in any sort. We are not frigid, demanding monsters. We do not push our husbands away in bed. I mean really how many women do you know like that?? Really how many women do you know that are happy to stay in a cold sexless marriage? NONE, no one wants that. Why would you believe your MM when he tells you those things when you know he is an obvious liar?

      One more thing. I don’t think ANYONE is a better person than the other. EO and others, you are no worse or better than me or anyone else here or any place else. I may have a stronger commitment to my marriage, I may have a stronger moral code, I may chose not to be used physically or emotionally by another for his own selfish needs, I may be more mature in facing that life is hard and ugly and that things don’t always go my way and that I live with my choices, but I am NOT better than you.

      Great article. Thank you Doug and Linda for posting this from LOAF.

      • livingonafence

        TH – interesting comments. I know in my friend’s case OW wanted much much more. She tried to contact him several times and he would repeatedly tell her it was a mistake, he wanted his family to work, and to please leave him alone. I guess that happened about 7 times before she finally went away.
        How do they switch their feelings? Because they never had those feelings. They loved the attention, the sexy talk, the adoration, the sneakiness of being ‘bad’, but the person on the other end? Eh, never mattered. They placed the high from the compliments and all on that person, but it was never that person. So, when it comes to light and shame and humiliation take the place of that high, it’s easy to not want to be near that person. That person now represents the shame, the pain they caused, etc.

        I know some CSs do develiop real feelings, but for those like your H and mine, it was the feelings the person created, not the person. That could have been anyone. My H was the same as yours – boredom, midlife crisis, opportunity, etc. He also dropped her like a stone. He had ended it months before I found out, but she wanted more. He would text her every 3 weeks or so just to keep her hanging. That was his new game – keep her wanting him but never giving anything. Then I found out and all hell broke loose. The end.

        LOL – yeah, pity isn’t an aphrodisiac for me either. That kind of confused me, but everyone has varying viewpoints. Besides, my friend wasn’t asking for pity. He never gave any ‘whoa is me’ looks or sounded that way. It was a very honest discussion, and somewhat emotionless actually.

    • Gizfield

      Great comment, Trying hard. I have to say, I plan to be cautious about outsiders “invading” my marriage BUT I am not going to spend the rest of my life treating the entire female population like they are my Romantic Rival either. The affair partners on here have run the gamut from exes, to coworkers, to friends, to relatives, to strangers. You just can’t stay on guard against everyone. It will make you crazy, lol. I just dont want to do that.

    • tryinghard


      OMG hellllll no. That would be on the road to madness. But I am sure you certainly can tell when someone has different intentions in mind. That’s when I have no problem intervening!! Matter of fact I’ve decided the next time a waitress decides she needs to flirt with my H in order to get a better tip, that is when I will be paying the bill, if you know what I mean 🙂

      I’m pretty intuitive and I just don’t see LOTF lunch with that guy as being the beginnings of anything other than what it was, lunch.

    • Gizfield

      Oh, I wouldn’t have any trouble intervening, either, lol. I have certain friends that are, quite honestly, road whores, usually self admitted and I wouldn’t trust them around anyone’s husband. But the majority of people are going to be ok, and unless I have a reason to think otherwise I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I mean, there are women my husband is on email lists, etc, with and that doesn’t bother me. I dont want to see the world as more dangerous than it is. But everyone is different, and theres no right our wrong way to deal with people of the opposite sex.

    • Tryinghard

      Yeah I didn’t think he was asking for pity but he sure sounds pretty pitiful. In other words someone with way too much baggage to get emotionally involved with from your end. Not that I thought you would but he’s a friend and I know when my friends hurt I hurt. That’s probably why I’ve let a lot of my friendships go. I am dealing with too much of my own hurt. I thought you wrote a good article with good affirmations

    • tryingtomoveon

      I am constantly amazed at the number of postings with which I can identify regularly on the blog. So first, thanks to Doug and Linda for creating it, and next, thanks to those who, like me, are looking for some solace or understanding to make sense of the most difficult situation I’ve ever faced and are willing to share their pain.

      My husband’s EA was conducted primarily online (the AP actually advertised for men to write to her on Craig’s List. My husband was feeling lonely, depressed, and unloved due to our rocky marriage and financial woes and responded, allegedly feeling that since they both professed to be “writers” they might have someting in common–yes, both had bad marriages. They met twice (supposedly no sex from both of their comments, which I’ve read–hundreds of poignant, loving emails pouring out their hearts to each other) and talked on the phone regularly (at work, of course, since I paid the cell phone bill).

      Nevertheless, the damage to our marriage is real and the work to repair it ongoing. DDay was June, 2011; our 43rd anniversary is today, and frankly, I’m having a hard time thinking anything positive about it. We’ve been in counseling for over 2 years, and while on one level I understand what happened and am working on trying to rebuild our relationship, on another I simply cannot comprehend how my husband could behave the way he did, how I can celebrate our union, or how I can ever trust him again.

      I also want to thank LOAF for sharing her lunch comments. I don’t think there was anything more there than two people looking for some rationale and understanding of the opposite sides of the “fence” as it were. Her friend’s comments about how he feels about himself and how it all happened echo my husband’s; he has repeatedly told me how ashamed, sorry, and humiliated he feels over what he has done.

      LOAF’s comment about the fragility of the light bulb at the end of the tunnel was particularly telling–it sizes up my feelings exactly. Getting beyond betrayal and the daily hurt you feel arevery much like falling down a black hole; I only hope I can find the way out.

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