moms say the darndest thingsAs many of you know, last week we were down in Orlando for a national dance competition that our daughters were participating in.  When it was over we then traveled further south to stay for a few days at the beach.

We appreciate your patience while we were gone as our condo at the beach had no internet connection, so Doug and I traveled each morning to a Starbucks to check emails, approve comments, etc.  The rest of the day we were completely away from any computer – which I must say is delightful.

Anyways, Doug actually had some business to attend to for a few days and wasn’t able to make it down to Orlando until Monday, July 4th.  The dance competition started on July 3rd, so I had to drive myself, my Mom and the girls down there a few days early.

It’s Always a Conflict with Mom

Discussions with my Mom are almost always “interesting” and on the drive down she initiated a conversation about my brother’s situation

In the past, our conversations about him have not turned out well because she has always sided with my brother, and whatever I say usually ends up causing some kind of conflict.  It is understandable I guess, as he is her son, and in her eyes he can do no wrong.

Last week as we were talking she said (to paraphrase), “Men do not have affairs if they have a good wife.  It is the woman’s fault that men stray.”

I had a difficult time keeping my composure and not divulging too much of our own situation.  However, I did say: “So if Dad or Doug would have been unfaithful it would have been our faults?”  No answer.

Many years ago, her close cousin’s husband left her for his daughter’s best friend, so I asked my Mom if she told her cousin that all of that was her fault.  She said her cousin wished that she would have taken better care of herself and did a better job at controlling her weight.

I then asked if she believed that if a woman takes perfect care of herself and is the perfect companion to her husband, is that a guarantee that a husband will not have an affair?

She couldn’t answer that question either.

I guess what really upset me was that my mom had such a narrow point of view, and that most people who have never been a victim of an affair believe the same crap.  It is always the woman’s fault that a man strays (and vice versa).

Knowing the Affair is NOT Your Fault

Back in Time

After we got back from our trip, my daughter was reviewing our vacation pictures that we had taken.  We have a difficult time managing our photographs so there were some pictures on there from three years ago, which was during the time of Doug’s emotional affair. 

My daughter commented how chunky I had looked at the time compared to how I look today.  Her comment brought me back to my conversation I had previously with my Mom.

I remember the time very well.  That year I had the 3rd grade class from hell, in addition to our children’s increased extracurricular activities.  I was very stressed, tired, and unhappy. 

Obviously, I must have turned to food and put on about ten extra pounds.  I was too busy to take care of myself and I remember not being very fun to live with.  I am sure that Doug felt neglected and questioned if this was the kind of woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

As luck would have it Tanya enters the picture – skinny, attractive, fun, exciting, etc.  I am sure that she was looking a lot better than I was at the time, and gave him the attention and companionship that he was lacking.

Is that the reason it turned into an emotional affair?

Now I’m not saying that Doug had his emotional affair just because I put on a few pounds, but if I would have taken better care of myself and not allowed the stress of my life to influence my marriage, would the emotional affair ever have happened? Who knows?

I think about times throughout our marriage that Doug had stopped taking care of himself.  Times when he was too busy with work or coaching to exercise or pay more attention to me. 

There were times when he let himself go.  There were times when I felt lonely, bored and neglected.  Would it have been okay for me to have an affair?

When I look back, there were times where I tried to encourage him to take better care of himself.  I knew he was under a lot of stress, so I tried to alleviate his stress by doing more around the house.

I know that in his mind I had missed the mark, but I feel I was doing what most committed people do by trying to make the situation better.

They make an effort to put themselves in their spouse’s shoes and try to help them in any way that they can. They face the problem head on rather than run away from it. They don’t escape and have an affair and then blame the other person.

I am baffled how cut and dry many people’s opinion is regarding infidelity.  Many feel it is either the husband’s fault or the wife’s fault.   They cannot see that it took two people to get to that point and many times it was due to a simple lack of communication and understanding.

 

    33 replies to "Moms Say the Darndest Things"

    • roller coaster rider

      Well, Linda, once again you have hit on a topic that is likely to generate a lot of emotion. I have played the tapes over and over again, especially in the past month. “What if I had done this?” or “What if I hadn’t done that?” How painful it must have been to hear your own Mom try to pin the blame for your brother’s wrongdoing anywhere but on him! And I am proud of you for asking her the questions you did (I still think that in my case, it would be hard for me not to have those closest to me know about what happened, but given your mother’s thinking I am sure it is best she not know!)

      As you said, the bottom line is that cheating is just plain wrong. Sure, it points to deficiencies in the marriage. Sure, there are always things betrayed spouses can do to improve the relationship. But blame-shifting is also wrong. Healing a marriage will not come (in my opinion) until the cheater accepts responsibility and even refuses to let the betrayed spouse accept blame. How can there be any semblance of a mature, loving and close relationship without both parties seeking the welfare of the other, and not just doing whatever to make themselves feel better?

      I guess forgiveness can also be applied to our relationships with our parents! It’s hard to forgive someone who is consistently narrow-minded, but I think you are right when you say that your mom can’t be objective about her son…he can do no wrong. I wonder how she feels about Tiger Woods and the illustrious congressman Weiner??

      • alycon

        I so agree with you RCR, and Linda, I just can’t believe that your mother said that! I’ll never forget whatr my own mother told me when I was in my mid teens and we were talking about her marriage and why it failed – ‘never let a man push you around.’

        Well, my H has tried that throughout our marriage and because I stand up for myself I’m deemed ‘unfeminine’.

        He’s compared me to other women because I’m not as successful / my breasts aren’t as large as theirs (he even once said he was disappointed when he first undressed me because my boobs weren’t as big as his exes’!!!) / I’m not in a glamorous profession (ie acting).

        So I don’t have certain physical attributes that other women are lucky enough to have, so I don’t work in a glamorough porfession, so what? But I’ve always been 1,000 % loyal to him and been there when he needed me. It’s not my fault that he’s never wanted to talk about our marriage or his needs because he deems that ‘boring’. It’s not my fault that rather than talk my H has always resorted to ‘distancing’ and sabotaging behaviour.

        No, I’m afraid a lot of this has to do with some men’s attitudes towards and expectations of women (we talk about gender equality but some men like my H only pay lip service to it) and the need to be in control. And maybe the need to be in control is a result of their low self esteem. If that’s the case they should sort themselves out, rather than take it out on their innocent spouses.

        BTW I know I’m not perfect. But I would never resort to what my H has done to get his attention.

    • Paula

      My initial thought was, wow, Linda hasn’t confided in her Mum, even during the events that have since happened with her brother, but I immediately understood, I haven’t told my family either, but had my Mum still been alive (we just passed the 10 year anniversary of her death a few days ago) I know I would have confided in her, and I know she would have been supportive, and understanding and wouldn’t play the apportioning blame game. Every family dynamic is different, I was close to my Mum, as the eldest, and only daughter, and my brothers and father would be of no help to me, so it hasn’t really crossed my mind to tell them.

      All I can say is, we (BS) all know that men/women don’t stray because their spouse “deserved it” by not being pretty/caring/skinny/beautiful/etc enough. I remember seeing an interview once with a (beautiful 45+) female private investigator who said that when she first started in that profession, she was amazed that in 9 out of 10 cases of spousal cheating, the OW (and she was specific about it being women) was less attractive than the wife. Cheating is definitely about shortcomings in the cheater, issues he/she has not dealt with in a healthy manner, not the BS, as you say, no matter what the BS has done. We all hit tough spots and times in our marriages, but we also get over/through them with effective communication, honesty and commitment, and that is where my frustration sprouts from, I only wanted my OH to TALK to me, to TELL me what was wrong, because I didn’t know what is was, so I couldn’t do anything effective to fix it, I was doing all I knew, but impossible to get it right when you have no idea what the problem is in the first place!

      Yes, I would also be interested to hear Linda’s mother’s take on the serial cheaters we have heard so much about in the tabloid news media in the past year or so, were their wives also not taking care of things? Sometimes people like her just need to read a little to educate themselves about such a topic before they offer an opinion, unfortunately, most of us don’t until it is “too late,” and that is in no way an attack on Linda’s mother, as I can understand her generation’s view of this.

      • Doug

        Paula, It sounds as though you had a wonderful relationship with your Mum. You would have to meet Linda’s Mom to understand why she says the things she does, and why Linda had never confided in her. Though she has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone, in a lot of ways she’s like Marie in the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

        “We all hit tough spots and times in our marriages, but we also get over/through them with effective communication, honesty and commitment…” You hit the nail on the head here!

        • Paula

          Hi Doug, yes, I get how Linda’s Mom is, loving and caring, and wanting the very best for her children, but to the point of being a little bit blinkered to their faults!

          I had the very unenviable task of having to tell my OH’s mother about his affair, because the OW (who is a bit of a bunny-boiler, unfortunately) was making very scary threats to our children and telling us that her and her mother were going to go knock on my in-laws’ door and explain why she and my OH should be married, phew, sweat-inducing stuff. I took matters into my own hands (this was about a month post D-Day) and sat down with my mother-in-law and told the truth, in as gentle a way as I was able, I reassured her that the kids were fine (and didn’t know – they do now, I had to tell them about 9 months later, as there were rumours going around their schools, and I needed them to hear the truth, from us) and that we felt confident that we would be okay. It was a horrible thing to have to do, he is the apple of her eye, also, her baby, the “only son, hallelujah!! lol” I would never have done it if I thought we could avoid it, I just didn’t want her to open the door to a pair of psychopaths! In lighter moments, I do tell my OH to make sure that “next time” he better be a bit more careful about choosing someone less dangerous – of course this is a joke, all of you who think I am thinking of “next time!” We do have some fun times, and sometimes, they even involve joking about this most awful of things!

      • Linda

        Paula, very good comment, the reason why I didn’t tell my parents is they would have been very, very upset at Doug, and even though we have worked things out they would not have forgiven him. In they eyes their children are perfect and they would feel the hurt and pain as much as I did. I believe my mom’s view is more because she believes my brother can walk on water, and honestly she blames herself for this mess. How and why I have no clue but that’s just the way she is. My brother’s marriage and wife has not been perfect by any means (and honestly he should have left the marriage a long time ago) but he didn’t because of the children. The problem I have is if he was so unhappy he should have left, or done something, having an affair, betraying everyone was not the answer. Ask for a divorce, go to therapy, don’t find someone else to dull your pain. Linda

        • Paula

          Linda, I SO TOTALLY agree about the point about don’t have an affair, get a divorce! Obviously after trying to work it out, trying to see if it’s worth saving. My OH and I had talked about this SO many times, and I know that is part of the reason I am struggling still, because he ignored all of those talks, and did it anyway, frustrating, he had never felt the devastation up close and personal, I don’t believe, he’d seen it, but had walled himself off from any feelings about it. His sister married the guy she was having an affair with (she was single, he married with child) and seemed surprised when he had affairs on her, and she kicked him out after only 3 1/2 years of marriage (7 years together, 2 very small children) and his best mate’s wife left him for another man, BUT, this guy moved on IMMEDIATELY to a new relationship, and he is now married to her, with two (more) children, unhappily. We talked about all of these poor scenarios, we were never gonna let that happen to us, weren’t we so perfect!! I had seen my happily married parents divorce after 19 1/2 years of marriage, because my Dad discovered that he was gay, it was shattering for all, would have been better if they didn’t love each other, but you can’t live your whole life denying your sexuality, my Dad grew up in a very sheltered family, and didn’t know what homosexuality was, married young, and found out about it later in life, and realised that was what made him feel “different” from everybody else. so sad, so I knew about being true to oneself, and honest in your dealings with people.

        • alycon

          I ask my husband if he wants a divorce… no.

          I ask him if he’ll go to therapy with me….no.

          I ask him what he needs from me….extremely vague references to love and support and he won’t elaborate on this.

          I’ve always told him I’ll never turn him away if he needs to talk….he never talks unless it’s about his new exciting (unpaid) career or something he’s interested in.

          Yet I don’t get that level of interest in my needs or feelings from him.

          Yes, I’ve always reacted badly to the horrible things he’s said and done to me, but when this is all you get long term from the man who in his wedding vows promised to love, cherish and protect you I’m afraid it has a tendency to grind you down.

    • Still hurting

      Compared to other posts on this blog when Linda stated that the BS is never at fault for an affair, I am perplexed by the statement: “if I would have taken better care of myself and not allowed the stress of my life to influence my marriage would the emotional affair ever have happened?” Are you seriously suggesting that because someone has “let themselves go” that is an open door to being cheated on? Turning to food is a hell of a lot different than turning to another person to fill needs. I used to rely upon this site to help me navigate my H’s emotional affair. But lately the posts are leaning towards a continuing blaming and re-victimization of the spouse who was betrayed.

      • Doug

        Still Hurting, If you’ve followed this site for a while, which it sounds like you have, I think you should know that Linda does not suggest that letting oneself go is an open door to cheating. But I’ll let her reply to that if she wants to. Apparently you missed the post where we stated we were going on vacation and that we were re-posting some older posts while we were gone. Five of the last seven posts were actually posts that were about a year-and-a-half old, which reflected a different stage of our recovery. Thanks as always for your contributions!

      • alycon

        I agree Still hurting, I’ve been under relentless pressure myself and I put weight on too, far too much for my slight build. But that was partly because I’d been so neglected over the years that I became depressed and got to the point that I didn’t care anymore. Oh yes, my H noticed, but all he did was comment about the weight. Up until my suspicions that he and this woman were closer than they should have been were confirmed by his admission that he had a ‘crush’ on her I was overweight. Then I crashed deeper into depression, stopped eating and sleeping, and within a few months I’d lost two stones.

        A few weeks ago my H commented that I was too skinny. I’m 5 feet 4 and currently weigh 7 and a half stone but I’m not emaciated. I come from a family of genetically slender frame and I obviously can’t do anything about that. ButI’m happy with my body the way it is; when I put the weight on I didn’t look healthy at all. If I was hitting six feet then yes, I would be way too thin.

        But this all points back to how some men perceive women; my H’s mother used to enter beauty competitions at holiday camps and always looked ‘glamorous’; maybe his need to be around those kinds of women is a result of the influence of his mother’s beauty pageants, but I’m not his mother and though I realise that physical attrractiveness is a part of it, I don’t belive that focusing on superficial qualities to the detriment of everything else is the stuff of a loving and successful marriage.

        My husband is very handsome but his good looks can never make up for the horrible way he’s always treated me behind closed doors.

    • Kerrie

      Totally spot on, Linda.

      We can all put on a few pounds, become stressed by the realities of everyday life, and perhaps we aren’t fun sometimes.

      If your partner is becoming affected by your weight-gain, or your apparent pre-occupation with work, or your tendency to be ‘no fun’ anymore – the partner has to take RESPONSIBILITY for THEIR part.

      First of all for me, it’s all about COMMUNICATION, they could tell their spouses ‘When you work so hard, I feel ignored and undervalued. When you gain weight, I feel like you’re making no effort for me’.

      How else would you know how what you do makes your partner feel? Sometimes you have to spell it out. People are not mindreaders, even if you have been with one another for a long time.

      Also relationships are NOT A ONE WAY STREET.

      For me the spouse could be asking themselves ‘What can I do to help my wife lose weight/take the pressure off at work/help around the house, what could I do do make him/her happy and have more fun?’

      People who stray want to point the finger to their partner to justify what they have done. It also prevents them from looking at themselves and perhaps their contribution to the breakdown in the relationship that allowed this opportunity to happen.

      It’s just my opinion, but if both partners can take a good hard look at themselves and are willing to be brave and honest to themselves and each other, they stand a good chance of not only over coming the devastation of an affair, but for having a better, stronger relationship for the future.

      Kerrie
      xxxx

      • Linda

        Kerrie, I agree with everything you said, and that I was exact intent when I wrote the article. Marriage is about communication, honesty and both partners working together to achieve happiness. It is not about being selfish, instead it should be about looking at your partner and doing what you can to make their lives better. Linda

        • alycon

          Doug, what you say about marriage is so on the mark, I wish I had that in mine.

          What you said about asking what you can do for your partner really hits home for me because when I approached my H in the past in a seductive manner he rejected me. Since then I haven’t been able to bring myself to do so again because it crushed my sexual confidence.

          Then there were the times when I would laugh and smile and he’d sarcastically ask me what I had to be happy about. I’d reply I’m just happy to be with you and have you as a husband and he said ‘love won’t pay the bills’. It put me off being lighthearted and happy around him.

          And then there was the support and affirmation I gave him when he told me he’d made a major acheivement at the place where he met the woman he had the EA with. I was thrilled for him, hugged him, told him how proud I was of him. How did he repay my suffport and affirmation? By having his EA with the woman he met at work.

          I’m so angry, hurt, disappointed, betrayed – he’s just asked me to go for a walk with him and I asked him if there’s any point when he won’t listen to a word I say and honour his promises; surprise surprise, the same old excuses have started again, the ‘don’t be silly’s’ in that baby voice have started again, I must be insane to try to stay in this ‘marriage’. He’s making it so obvious that he’s not interested despite his ‘claims’ that he cares.

      • roller coaster rider

        This was a great post. Thank you for writing it, Kerrie.

    • R

      I am ashamed to say I used to be pretty judgmental about adultery myself. Before it happened to me, I used to look at the BS and try to figure out what “caused” the betrayer to stray. In most cases you could tell the couple wasn’t close and didn’t have a great marriage before the affair. In our case, my husband and I were very close before the affair. We did everything together and loved each other very much. I would have never dreamed his having an affair was even a remote possibility. I’m sure there are lots of BS’s out there who felt the same way. It isn’t about what the BS did or didn’t do or how the BS looked or didn’t look. My husband made that clear to me after his affair. It was all about how he was feeling. In his case, he was feeling old, unattractive and taken for granted. I admit, after 30 years of marriage, I was taking him for granted, but he admits he was taking me for granted as well, and I didn’t have an affair! We were both bored, but we never bothered to discuss it. I think deep down we thought that’s how marriage became after 30 years. There are lots of excuses for infidelity but there are no real reasons. Everything that has changed for the better about our marriage since the affair could have taken place with good communication and without an affair. There is no reason for an affair – period, and it is very unfair to blame the BS when it happens. After my husband had an affair with a woman at the church we were attending, his sister told me that it had never happened to her, but if she were me she thought she would focus on what she had done wrong in the marriage and try to work on that. I told her I used to take the blame for the adultery, but I have since figured out that the problem was with my husband, not with me. Even if he and the OW hadn’t been married, what they did would have been fornication, so it would have still been wrong. She had nothing to say to that.

    • Alice

      Do I think Doug cheated because you gained 10 pounds?

      No.

      I think Doug cheated because of Doug’s low self esteem.

      Tanya could have been short or tall, skinny or plump, blonde or red haired or looked like a horse. It didn’t matter – just as long she boosted his ego.

      I believe low self esteem of the cheater is the root cause for most (if not all) affairs.

      • roller coaster rider

        In our case, there was a big deficiency in my H and the way he was dealing with life change, but it’s pretty hard to say that cheaters always have a low self-esteem. Those who are narcissists see themselves reflected in everyone somehow. I think having an affair, for a person who is generally honest and caring, would lead to low self-esteem. And I also think that virtually anyone could be tempted to be a cheater, given the right combination of life circumstances. If Doug cheated because Linda gained 10 pounds, this website wouldn’t exist.

    • melissa

      Good post, Linda. Your asking yourself the question ‘if I hadn’t put a bit of weight on, would it ever have happened?’ is quite normal but it is symptomatic of how much (too much) emphasis we, women, put on how we look. Does my husband worry that he’s overweight? Hell, no. Does he worry about his lines? Not at all. In his mind, he felt he was young and seductive (yet the OW told me she never found him attractive!) and could have an EA with a younger woman (bearing in mind I’m already quite a few years younger than he is). As a rule, women think they’re never ‘good enough’, men are delusional about their looks and powers.

      As to mothers…mine confided in me a few years back that my father had had a PA and it had nearly destroyed her. Yet, she’s always been extremely pretty, slim, clever and kind. She ran the house, looked after three kids, had a full time job as a teacher and never complained. She was fun (we used to dance around to music on her day off or dress up with her) but my father was pretty much absent, concentrating on his career and, as I later discovered, another woman who could never measure up to my mother. Why? I do believe it has to do with men’s fragile egos, their need to be admired and the fact that many men never ask themselves the question ‘is this the right thing to do, will I hurt the ones I love?’ before jumping into an affair. If they did, it’s quite likely that at least 50% of EA and PA would never happen.

      PS my parents are still together and seem happy but I know that my mother’s trust in my father and her own sense of ‘wholeness’ has never been and will never be the same, even all these years after his affair.

      • alycon

        Great post melissa, but I done woder sometimes if it’s fragile egos or over inflated ones – vanity, arrogance, hey, look at me, I can bag any woman I want and to hell what it does to my partner…….

        • melissa

          Alycon, I think it’s a mixture of both – feet of clay and all that.

          As to my parents, to put a positive note on their relationship, they’ve been married for over 50 years and despite the very bad episode, my dad helps a lot more at home and is clearly very, very fond of my mother. They’ve made their relationship work and it’s not perfect but they’re seemingly happy.

    • alycon

      Melissa, re your comments about your poor mum, I fear that I feel exactly the same as she does. I know in my heart that even if I did acheive what I’m now believing is the impossible and get the marriage I want this EA and all the bad treatment I received before it (and my bad reactions to it all) will haunt me forever.

      My outlook on everything has changed. I will never be able to trust another woman around my husband again. My outlook on life will neve be the same.

      • Paula

        Agreed, we are changed, and we grieve for our “lost innocence.” I know I do, terribly. I haven’t seen to many real life situations where people successfully overcome an affair, most divorce, and many carry on, pretending they are okay, but you see the cracks, mostly very uptight women, scared their husband is cheating, or looking to cheat again (in many cases, they are!) I know of one that seem okay, years after their affair storm, but just continue to hear stories of many other couples pain, and it seems there is an epidemic of this. Several people have told me stories of their parents’ brush with this, and I haven’t heard a fully happy story, some stayed until the kids left home, resenting their spouse, and then left, some still bristle every time their spouse talks to someone of the opposite sex for “too long.” get angsty when they hear people talking about affairs that other people are having, etc. It does affect you permanently, it is a matter of how you learn to process information, and deal with your anxiety in a healthy way, sometimes it’s hard to dela with the new way your mind works, but I have tried separation, to see if I coudl have a healthier mind alone, but it didn’t deal with the core issue of dealing with this issue now, so that it doesn’t continue to invade your life in such a destructive way forever.

        • JS

          I agree, Paula and alycon. I truly do wonder if it ever goes away or if the wounds ever heal 100%. I know I can definitely pull it together after my husband’s EA, and I can look the part and I can accept this is where he wants to be now and that he wants things to be better than before. But the romance, trust, fire, whatever you want to call it, has been cracked. The betrayal was so deep and the lies so elaborate, I think I would be a fool to fall back into feeling things could ever be as carefree for me as they were before this happened. I had no idea what was going on, and I thought any struggles we were having were normal marriage struggles and we were both committed to working through them and making things better. I had no idea how much of an influence the OW was in creating these struggles. Yes, the feelings you talk about that flare up – I feel those, too. My husband still works with the OW, so any mention of anything work-related is a trigger for me. I’m not sure I’ll care to hear any work stories at all unless/until one of them leaves the company.

          • Paula

            Me too, JS, all the same, I had no idea either, I thought we were just having a bit of a rough spot, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I made plans for lifestyle changes that would improve the stress, but my H couldn’t see the light, all he could see was the “now”, which is unlike him, he’s always been a planner, a “look to the next, better, improved” way of doing things, so I’m sure he must have had a mini breakdown. He refuses to let himself off the hook so lightly, he says it’s no excuse, and I guess he’s right, but we just hit the straw that broke the camel’s back just as I invited his cheating ex-girlfriend back into our lives, silly, silly me, she was just too available and pretended to be interested in him, she wasn’t, all her actions were actually very self-serving.

            Over two years out, I agree, I try to be positive as an active way of life now, not just letting “life” and all of the emotive ways I react to it, “just happen” anymore, but I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% again, either. However, some parts of my life must get even better? Surely you don’t go through this without some upside? I just still miss “my hero,” the love of my life, who I trusted with my health and my life, who, unfortunately, through trying to cope with his own emotions without me to help, forgot about me, and acted in a very uncharacteristically selfish manner, thinking, “to hell with it all, I don’t care what happens anymore.” My rose-tinted glasses have been severely scratched, lol!

    • Kris (aka Kristine)

      I think this is a misconception MANY people have about affairs elderly, middle-aged and young. It’s hard to fathom that it can’t be someone’s fault, who would go out and do something like that without a legitimate cause?

      Now, being a BS I know there is absolutely no legitimate reason a person has who commits adultery. I don’t care if you were the worst spouse in the world, your spouse, even if it’s not to protect you and your feelings, should protect their reputation and their vows. Get out of the marriage after trying to work on things if that’s the case. That’s easier said than done though isn’t it? We as people react and move and do things (or not do things) based on our FEELINGS. If we don’t feel like going to work, we call in (sometimes). If we don’t feel like working out we don’t go. If we’re hurting we eat, or drink or do drugs… or commit adultery. We’re human BEINGS. We don’t just BE though we DO. We should have been called human DOINGS if you ask me 😉

      I believe from my own personal experiences now with a dad who had multiple affairs all of his 20 years married to my mom, some men are serial cheaters. It’s their own perception of how a man should be. They tie what they do to their ego. They feel ACCOMPLISHED when they conquer. It may be how they were raised or what they saw other men do, it could be tied to their own low self-esteem or that they had lust embedded in their heart from an early age and they never learned how to commit. That was my dad. He grew up without a father and found out later the man who he thought was his dad (that was killed when he was 2) wasn’t his father. Who knows what issues my dad had growing up or what behaviors he took on as a young man in the 60’s. All I know is he had many affairs while married to my mom and when my mom had enough she asked him to make a choice. He chose to leave. My dad actually married the OP. He moved out after he said he was leaving and two weeks later someone came to the house to pick me up to visit with him. There was a strange car in the driveway. It was the OP. I remember seeing her at my dad’s office the summer before all dressed up and he took her to lunch. My dad was an attorney, I wasn’t shocked that he was going to lunch with a woman (I worked there in the summers in high school) but I sure was when I recognized her sitting her in my driveway. They’re still married today and yes he cheated on her for years as well. My step-mom, as nice as she is, has her own issues too. I believe she saw my dad as a future, a bank, a way to do better in life. She was/is a seamstress, didn’t have much money, just looks. From what I understand about her past, my dad was not the first married person she hooked up with. Their marriage is NOT a happy one. My dad is not an easy man to live with. He will push you around if you let him and she lets him. My mom never did, my mom is the opposite of my step-mom, she is strong, self-sufficient, intelligent, has her own opinions. My step mom at the time my dad moved out was 6’1″ and an ex-model with looks. Now she could stand to lose 60 lbs and is still as dumb as a doorknob. I like her but I will never forget how they started and the hurt and devastation to those of us left behind. Their marriage is one that is quite sad. My dad talks over her, walks over her and takes advantage of her. Doesn’t appreciate her and isn’t loving to her at all in any shape or form. Was it worth it? I don’t see it.

      I say that all to say that some men are just CHEATERS. I think the only reason my dad stopped cheating is he’s too old to lol he’s 66 now. Retired. Too much work. My husband on the other hand was not a serial cheater. I DID take the blame for the affair because he blamed me as he was in the fog even before I knew that adultery had been committed though his small comments he’d make. It wasn’t until I discovered the affair when I realized all the things he had been saying and what they tied to. ME. I started looking at things in our marriage that were an issue which was hard for me to do because he never actually TOLD ME what the issues were. I had to take the small pieces of the puzzle that he flung at me on the way out the door and decipher what it all meant. At the time I discovered the affair I thought my husband was going through a mid-life crisis. I had NO IDEA there were any issues in our marriage or that he had issues with me. Sure, I knew there were some things that could have been worked on, some things that weren’t perfect but we were best friends. We laughed and shared everything together, I thought we had GREAT communication skills. I used to say before all this happened that if my husband was more laid back he’d be laying down. Now I realize that he seemed so laid back because he never shared ANYTHING with me. He never really communicated his FEELINGS about things he felt he was missing. I was completely blindsided when the adultery happened because I never knew my husband had issues with me. It was lick a mack truck had hit me when I pieced things together. So on top of getting over the pain of him stepping outside of our marriage, I had to deal with the wrapping my head around realizing I had never been given the courtesy to have a chance to rectify things.

      I’m rambling now and about to get on an entire different topic if I keep this up lol but I want to say that there is no reason for a person to commit adultery. NONE. And I’m thankful that I finally realized it is NOT my fault. My husband had other choices. He didn’t pursue any of those before committing his act of betrayal. Yes I had some weight to lose at the time but I was stressed out and had been for many years. One of our sons is ADHD and was having some serious issues at school to the point I ended up homeschooling him for a year. Issues my husband didn’t step up to the plate to assist me with (even though I *cough* talked to him at length about needing help in this area but he never did help!) but did I go have an affair? No.

      The adultery is all about the person(s) committing the adultery. No one asked me if I wanted my marriage to participate in this chapter. the decision was made for me. I used to always say I’d leave if my husband had an affair. I used to tell other people who was dealing with this “I don’t know how you can stay!” now I get it. I get it all too well.

    • melissa

      Thanks, Kris. I think your point that your H did not tell you of his issues is important. Mine did not either and still doesn’t (much). Possibly because some of the time, he cannot even articulate his own issues to himself.

      I’m not perfect and there are things I’ve been able to work on but I can’t change who I am. Trying to be like the OP (as Linda has described several times) does not work. Yet, the person I am was the one my H was attracted to in the first place, so go figure.

      As you say, it is all a matter of CHOICE. The CS should be adult enough to make choices: should I stay or should I go, should I try and discuss my/our issues (with a counsellor if it helps), should I call it quits? All of that can be painful enough but having an EA is a cowardly way out which does not resolve anything.

    • Moms Right

      Well 50%, What if Linda started gaining weight reverting back to her old behaviors what message would this send to Doug? That she is not only not interested in herself but also him and their marriage. if Linda stopped paying attention to Doug his behavior towards her would also change and height then seek outside his marriage for the attention he wants.
      With the obesity rate as high as it is I find it hard to believe mist women on this site are 10 pounds overweight.
      Mom was partially right and Linda knows that she needs to take some responsibility in the EA. Doug and her were just roommates and maybe she was okay with it but Doug wasn’t now they are no longer roomates.
      The brother did what he thought was right for the kids their marriage was in all aspects over and they were also roomates. It sounds like his wife never wanted to try like Linda did and turn it around. The wife needs to quit playing the victim she made her choices.
      Mom has some valid points

      • Kerrie

        Whilst gaining weight as a wife (or husband) and becoming pre-occupied with work/family or whatever might have an impact upon the partner, I can’t agree that these things are to blame for Doug’s (or anyone else’s) affair.

        So I can’t agree that the Mom is right even 50%.

        Rather what is to blame for the affair is the way the Cheating Spouse FELT about their partner’s weight gain etc.

        What I’m saying is…

        One wife might put on 10 pounds and the husband might quite like the bit of something to grab hold of, one wife (or husband) might feel grateful/relieved that their partner is taking care of the finances and looking after the home well/and taking charge of the kids.

        It’s not so much what you are doing that encourages your partner to have an affair, but how the Cheating Spouse FEELS about it.

        It is the responsibility of the Cheating Spouse to COMMUNICATE these feelings to their partner about their behaviour.

        Only then is the Betrayed Spouse in a positon to take even a modicum of responsibility for the relationship, I say relationship – not the affair.

        Otherwise, what you are saying is that you expect all Betrayed Spouses to have been mind-readers and know how their partners feel instinctively.

        Quite often when someone explains how they feel about someone’s apparent weight-gain or preoccupation at work, they may never have known it was having this affect on them!

        I’m not saying that the Betrayed Person doesn’t have responsibility – their responsibility is to LISTEN to their partner and CONSIDER them and try to work out problems TOGETHER with them.

        So if their partner comes along and says ‘I’m feeling hurt/unloved/neglected because you spend so long at the office’, it’s a joint discussion about how to work through it.

        And even then, the decision to go outside of a marriage/relationship is ultimately the choice of the Betrayed Spouse.

        And I am sure that there are many women/men that live with partners who have gained weight or been preoccupied with work etc and they have not made the decision to cheat.

        What is truly empowering about this realisation is that if you stop to communicate your feelings and listen and accept what your partner is saying (even if you don’t agree), you are on the route to learning what makes each other tick, what makes each other happy (or sad). You can learn to have a mutually satisfying and loving relationship.

        I just want those people to know who have been so devastated by an affair that whilst we may have regret about our relationships and mistakes, it’s ultimately not your fault. I don’t want people to continue their lives sorry, full of remorse and sad blaiming themselves for something that is not their fault.

        Love and best wishes, Kerrie xx

        • Kerrie

          Sorry, I meant to say ‘And even then, the decision to go outside of a marriage/relationship is ultimately the choice of the Cheating Spouse’. DOH!

    • Irish Kate

      Great post Linda and I would have to say its not the first time I’ve heard the old ‘she let herself go’ chestnut 🙂

      I’m 13 years older than the first day I met my husband, I’ve always been a curvy woman and I like who I am so I’m not changing that for anyone, in fact I’m a little less curvy today than the first day my husband clapped eyes on me. But we all change as the years pass on, grey hairs appear, lines develop, parts of the body that once stood to attention start to pack their bags for the migration south, the lure of a DVD, comfy sofa and takeout sounds like the perfect night 🙂

      I did confide in my dad (I lost my mother very young) about the affair, sometimes I wish I hadn’t as he didn’t need the stress of worrying about his adult child.

    • Paula

      Oh, please, the weight thread here is a little juvenile. We all know in our own minds when we are unhappy with our own weight, etc, but life’s stresses sometimes just mean there’s no time, and your eating and exercise habits just go in the “too hard” basket for a while. Many of us fluctuate a little, I know I do, and stress and unhappiness are perfect weight gain triggers for me, however, when I get hold of the reins again in my life, as you do eventually, I work out more, and eat better, and the weight becomes more stable and I feel sexier, and better FOR MYSELF. The point is, affairs don’t happen because someone “let themselves go” physically, and all the talk here is really just avoiding the real issues of communication and honesty, and placing the blame on the BS for “not trying hard enough” – ridiculous!

      • alycon

        So, so, so agree with you, Paula! If you folks have read my previous posts about how I, over the years, have tried to reach out to my H with my concerns and issues you will see exactly why I agree with this.

        When I first met my H I was as slender as I am now. I wore makeup every day, made sure my grey roots were regularly touched up (unfortunately in my family premature grey hairs are hereditary), wore feminine clothes (dresses / skirts) as well as jeans, and was basically at his beck and call. None of that encouraged him to talk about his own issues or where he felt our marriage was going.

        But the blame for the ‘bad’ stuff in our marriage, regardless of what it was, always ended up in my lap because I wasn’ t feminine enough, quiet enough, too opinionated or, in his opinion, too clingy when I wanted to spend quality time with him. The fact is we hardly spent any time together and that actually hasn’t changed; there’s always been something else to distract him.

        I became perimenopausal when I hit 40 and I think that was partly why I started putting on so much weight.

        When he admitted that ‘he really liked the OW’ he said he’d neglected me for years ‘because he didn’t know what he wanted from me’. He said she was ‘nicer than me’ but I pointed out that it would be different if he was with her on a day to day basis.

        He admitted that he was attracted to her because of her job – she works in the media and is involved with filming, etc, and she got my husband on the media / filming course. She actually sidelined people at the office who’d been there longer than him and wanted to go on it. Apparently that caused a hell of a lot of resentment. Clearly the fact that I didn’t work in a ‘glamorous’ profession reduced my worth in my H’s eyes. I’ve even been told that I’m old (I’m not yet 50 – the OW was – though the other girls he’s been too friendly / supportive towards are age 18-24ish).

        Of course it helps if we look after ourselves. But if our men can’t accept that one isn’t always going to look as if one has stepped off the cover of vogue, then they have to take a long hard look at their own issues and attitudes and ask themselves why they insist on focusing on the superficial stuff and not on what, at the end of the day, is more important – loyalty, love, trust, respect, the security and warm glow that comes from being in a stable, mutually loving relationship. If they’re too lazy to try to achieve that with their partners, what right do they have to point their fingers at their BS’s?

        And as for ‘being able to read minds’ – one of the most dangerous love myths is the one where people think ‘if he / she loves me he / she doesn”t have to be told what I want / need / desire.

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