musings on infidelity

By Sarah P.

The things that people say and do during affairs are so predictable that it is almost funny. Unfortunately, broken trust, destroyed lives, and broken families are no laughing matter.

Still, there are patterns that all affairs follow; there are universal actions on the part of the wayward spouse; and there are the same unthinkable words spoken. These words and actions don’t vary according to geography, religious background, profession, or socioeconomic status.  The ironic part is that an adulterous pastor is just as likely as a plumber to follow the universal affair script.

You see, adultery is not original, even though the two affair partners will tell you that their affair story is one of a kind—an epic tale of love and devotion. No, adultery follows a universal script so closely that others can easily identify stages such as the affair fog and the moping that comes with break-up grief.

Others have noticed this pattern too. Several years ago, two divorced wives wrote a book called The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat.  

These two authors, Elizabeth and Vicky, were both left by their cheating husbands for the affair partner. After they compared their stories as well as the stories of other wives, they noticed that all of their stories were virtually identical.

The Saga Continues

This particular post was triggered by the continued antics of my husband’s coworkers. Now that everyone in the workplace has heard the story about how both were married and how both had an affair under their spouses’ noses, these two have begun to double down and paint a thoroughly different story than what had actually occurred.

A couple of weeks ago, these two were telling everyone that they were victims of bad marriages. But, that was soon corrected by another coworker who happened to see it all go down since she lived in the same community. The truth was that these two both victimized their betrayed spouses and did everything to break their spirits. 

Now that the victimization tale has been corrected, they have chosen a new tactic. The new tactic is claiming that they are soulmates and were made for each other. Sure, maybe they happened to meet when they were both married, but they are soulmates, you know, and well it would just be cruel to keep soulmates apart in this crazy, big world.

I know that all of you see through that one too—because using the soulmate card is the ultimate get out of jail free card. It is the utterance that cheaters use when they realize the gig is up and everyone else is catching on. It is also used to justify horrible behavior. But, most of all, it is used to alleviate feelings of guilt that a wayward spouse might otherwise have.

When affair partners utter the magic words, “we are soulmates,” it seems they expect this utterance to change the minds of everyone around them. It is as if they expect the betrayed partner to say, “Well, pardon me! If you have found your soulmate, I could not possibly keep you from your soulmate!” Yes, this is the delusion of the wayward spouse when he or she talks in terms of their affair partner being their true soulmate. They expect the rest of the world to burst into applause and throw a large party in their honor.

This is laughable, but it is quite real.

The Soulmate Excuse

I believe that affair partners use the soulmate excuse because of the way the concept of soulmates has been romanticized. Before most singles get married, you can often hear them say, “I am looking for my soulmate.” 

A soulmate has come to represent an idealized (and non-existent) person who always makes the other feel ecstatic, aroused, and safe. A soulmate is the mysterious stranger you see across a crowded room and then “just know” they are the one (without knowing anything at all about them.)

The concept of soulmate is no more than a construction of popular culture and romanticized thinking. Even if people happen to meet and marry their soulmate when they are both single, a soulmate cannot stand up to the drudgery of marriage. Even soulmates have bad breath, dirty socks, and issues with body odor.

The pull of the soulmate myth seems to correlate to a person’s brokenness. The more broken a person is, the more powerful the idea of finding a soulmate. Healthy relationships are about each person being well and grounded within themselves. Healthy relationships are about two people with healthy self-esteem who understand their completeness, regardless of their spouse.

But, broken people (for whatever reason) do not have access to this type of groundedness and cannot feel complete without another person. To a broken person, a soulmate is basically the ultimate balm that will heal everything that is broken inside of them.

Unfortunately, other people cannot heal our brokenness. It is work that we must do within ourselves. Other people can walk alongside us, point the way to wholeness, and help us feel less lonely.

For the person looking for a soulmate, they want to mesh with someone outside of themselves in an unhealthy way. They expect these people to magically make all the pain go away and they gauge love based on whether or not that person makes the pain go away. If you put a broken person with a person who feels complete within himself or herself, the stable person will likely have the ability to make a broken person feel okay for quite a while; sometimes even years.

At some time or another, something will happen to the broken person. The pain caused by the event is such that the level-headed person can no longer meet the broken person’s need’s. Since the broken person believes that love is based on meeting the other person’s profound emotional needs and healing huge hurts, the broken person believes they have fallen out of love.

When another broken person comes along and mirrors back to the broken person what he or she needs, the broken (married) person believes they have found their ‘real soulmate’ and they often begin an affair because they convince themselves their spouse was never their ‘real soulmate.’

Do Soulmates Even Exist?

But here is the worst part: soulmates do not actually exist. At least they do not exist in the way I am describing them.  When someone believes he or she has met that perfect person who will make their life seem as if it will be one never-ending bundle of fun, they are merely locked in a very powerful form of infatuation.

They have never known what real love felt like and so they have always believed powerful infatuation is actually love. The infatuation distracts them from themselves and all of the pain inside of them seems to evaporate. They believe the person they are infatuated with is their soulmate, not understanding that this person merely brought on a very powerful form of infatuation that has a time-limit.

After the infatuation wears off, they believe that they were mistaken and go on the quest to find their real soulmate. Sometimes these people do not get married and when this happens, they are basically the serial monogamists of this world. Sometimes they get married and when a crisis hits, usually around mid-life, then they go looking for their ‘real soulmate’ again because their spouse can no longer mask the pain.

The same thing would happen if a person were in physical pain from a broken leg and then took morphine, expecting it to heal their broken leg. While the morphine was active in their body, they would believed they were healed. But, once the morphine wore off, the pain would return and they would falsely believe that it was just the wrong thing to take. Instead of getting a cast on their leg and allowing their injury to heal, they would be walking around looking for a miracle drug to make the pain go away.

This is the same infatuation and emotional healing balm that drives the affair fog.

The infatuation with the affair partner feels like the most profound type of love and yet it is not based on anything real. Infatuation and the feelings of “love” created by an affair is no more real than a heroin high. Infatuation with the other person is a powerful, altered state of consciousness that is fleeting. 

Yet, to the wayward spouse experiencing infatuation it often feels like true love. Infatuation is tricky because it takes much longer to wear off than an actual drug high. It can sustain itself for months on end and make a person believe it is true love. But, it is not true love and never will be. When this infatuation runs in tandem with infidelity, it is called the affair fog. Finally, infatuation within affairs has a longer shelf-life – sometimes years—because it is constantly triggering the dopamine reward system in new and unexpected ways. This particularly long shelf life is what makes it so hard to break through the affair fog. 

…And then things got worse….

But, there is another element here, that when combined with the affair fog, can cause a wayward spouse to leave the marriage. This phenomenon is often overlooked, even though it makes the affair fog all the more powerful. This phenomenon is low-level depression.

In fact, infidelity is often a way to medicate low-level depression.

Many people who commit adultery are actually depressed. But, if the depression is mild to moderate, it may go unnoticed both by the individual and the people around them. A depressed person may mistake depression with dissatisfaction with one’s partner. A depressed person may look outward and believe that his or her life is the problem, his or her spouse is the problem, or his or her job is the problem.

Or, if an individual is experiencing anhedonia, this same individual might believe that not being able to take joy in life has to do with his or her spouse. Anhedonia refers to a type of depression where someone is functional, but where he or she is no longer able to find satisfaction or joy in things that person used to enjoy.

Anhedonia is tricky to diagnose because even though it is a serious type of depression, it feels like boredom. A person experiencing anhedonia might not have feelings of worthlessness, suicidal ideation, sadness, or the lack of functioning that is a hallmark of typical depression.

Such a person may not recognize this as depression and instead might believe their spouse is the cause. They might feel restlessness and long to feel alive again. Such a person is ripe for an affair. The neurochemical changes that happen during an affair act as a band-aid for anhedonia. Suddenly the (now) wayward spouse feels alive again because his or her brain is on dopamine overload.

Any depressed person is ripe for an affair unless they seek help. The mistaking of low-level depression for something else is the first step on the way to an affair. Seeming dissatisfaction with life or wife (or house and husband) works its way into the sub-conscious mind of the would-be wayward spouse.

If infatuation is sparked, that person can find himself in affair and now believe that in order to feel good for the rest of their lives, they must remain with the affair partner.

If you are scoffing at this concept, please realize that depression is a biological disease. Depression is so much of a biological disease that it can be seen and measured via PET scans.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Let’s now compare how Alzheimer’s scans to a normal brain: 

No one would argue that a patient with Alzheimer’s disease could just “snap out of it” and they would not tell the person “it was all in their mind,” unless of course they were being literal.

How are Alzheimer’s and depression similar? Well, they are both very real and biologically-based diseases. Depression is much more than sadness just as Alzheimer’s is much more than being forgetful.

Both depression and Alzheimer’s cause marked personality differences and cause impaired decision-making. Still, depression is not Alzheimer’s disease.

Also, depression and/or Alzheimer’s disease DO NOT cause someone to have an affair. 

My only point here is that low-level depression as well as anhedonia can cause a person to falsely believe that his or her spouse is the issue. A person may or may not have an affair when they believe their spouse is the issue.

To reiterate:  if a depressed person has an affair, the infatuation that comes with an affair can temporarily cause feelings of wellbeing that were lacking due to depression. In turn, this causes the depressed person to falsely believe that the other person is their source of happiness.

So, let’s imagine that a depressed person makes a bad decision and has an affair. That depressed person will begin to feel euphoric due to the neurochemistry changes caused by infatuation (affair fog). When the depression is replaced by (temporary) euphoria due to infatuation, it is easy for the depressed person to draw the incorrect conclusion that his or her happiness has been caused by the affair partner. This false belief is deadly to longterm happiness because it can cause a person to leave his or her wife and family. He (or she) does not realize he is making decisions based on an impaired and temporary mindset.

The affair fog is heady stuff for people who were never depressed. But, it can seem like a lifeline to the depressed person. One can only hope that a depressed person in the affair fog can see that the lifeline was nothing more than smoke and mirrors all along. But most of the time, it is up to the betrayed spouse to understand what is going on and make the choice to wait around (or not). 

Universal Affair Behaviors

People who have affairs also follow a script. That is, there are universal behaviors that all adulterers follow. It does not matter if the wayward spouse is religious or not, if he is wealthy or poor, if she is attractive or not, has a good job or not, or has a loving spouse or not. Everyone who has an affair ends up saying and doing the same things.

Unfortunately, I recently read a book by a pastor who was preaching sermons against infidelity, counseling couples through infidelity, and all the while having an affair with the church organist. This pastor was happy to shout ‘hypocrisy’ from the rooftops as long as he wasn’t directing it toward himself.

This is the essence of infidelity: it seems to steal away the person that was there and then replaces that person with someone the betrayed spouse does not recognize. Here are some of the universal behaviors:

  • Wayward spouse gaslights the betrayed spouse
  • Wayward spouse paints himself or herself as the victim
  • Wayward spouse believes using the word ‘soulmate’ nullifies his or her terrible actions
  • Wayward spouse acts very much out of character, which makes the betrayed spouse wonder if someone else is inhabiting their wayward spouse’s body
  • Wayward spouse is often ‘the last person who would have had an affair’

Why Do Happy People Cheat?

We have been talking about depressed and broken people. That is more easily understood than scenarios where happy people cheat. It is the thing that I personally have trouble wrapping my head around. Specifically, it was the case with my ex. We seemingly had an awesome relationship on all fronts. Everyone else thought so too.  The quality of our relationship did not change when he was having an affair. This is one of the reasons that I did not notice something was amiss.

Besides me having to work 16 hour days for an entire summer, nothing else was different. Plus, he and I worked in the same company. People say that the wife/husband or fiancée always knew something was amiss. I hate that because I look back and I could not really point to anything that was amiss. So what gives?

Theorists have used the investment model to explain why some people who have happy marriages cheat and why some with very unhappy marriages never cheat. It has to do with investment and opportunity.

For example, let’s imagine a person is very happy in their marriage and has nothing to complain about. Let’s imagine that this person is then placed in an environment where there is a lot of opportunity for new partners. Then, let’s imagine that the would-be cheater has very little to lose if he or she cheated. This scenario can actually predict that many people in such a situation will eventually cheat. (Not all, but many.)

How would this scenario look in real life?

Here is a fictional example:

Courtney is married to Jake, and Courtney is incredible happy with Jake. Jake is a well-known heart surgeon who makes a lot of money per year. Courtney is in the US Navy Reserve and ends up getting deployed for 9 months. During this time, Courtney is placed on a ship with many different men and Courtney is the only woman. Even though she is happily married, Courtney notices that many of the men around her are very handsome. But one man, Stephen, stands out above the rest. He is a ruggedly handsome and newly single commander. Several lonely nights later, Stephen checks on Courtney in her cabin and the rest is history.

If she were to divorce Jake, she knows that she would get a large cash settlement and so she is not worried about the affair being found out. On the other hand, if it is not found out, she plans to stop the affair and resume life after her deployment ends. Here there would be no financial penalty for Courtney if found out and here she is surrounded by seemingly endless opportunity. She has nothing to lose financially, she does not have children, and she has a lot of potential affair partners. So, this environment ensures that someone like Courtney will probably be unfaithful.

On the other hand…

Let’s consider someone in an extremely unhappy marriage who does not cheat using this same model of investment and opportunity. 

Alan is a software developer who works long hours on a team filled with men. Alan’s wife, Megan, is a stay-at-home wife who stopped caring for Alan a longtime ago. She spends evenings out with the girls and never says more than two daily words to Alan: hello and goodbye. Alan has felt lonely for years and his marriage to Megan keeps getting worse. Friends have told Alan they would not blame him if he found someone else. But, Alan is not in an environment that lends itself to finding someone else. Plus, since Megan is a stay-at-home wife and has never worked, Alan knows that Megan could claim a significant amount in alimony and from Alan’s retirement. In this scenario, Alan has a lot to lose if he had an affair. In addition to that, there is little to no opportunity to meet an affair partner. Thus, even though Alan is incredibly unhappy, there is little chance he will ever be unfaithful.

Again, I am gleaning this information from studies on infidelity and I am summarizing the findings. This information is not merely my opinion.

Then, there are the situations where an allegedly happy wayward spouse has everything to lose and is also surrounded by many potential partners. This is the case when a family man becomes a corporate executive or has any other high profile job. If he were to divorce, he could lose a significant amount of money and the love of his family. Yet, if one too many desirable women try to seduce him, he will find himself in a position where he must constantly say “no.”

And he should say ‘no.’

In the end, cheating is always a choice, whether or not temptation exists. Even if strong temptation exists, infidelity is always wrong. It is never excusable.

So, the investment/opportunity model simply illustrates a psychological principle that could make cheating an easier or more difficult choice. This model is used to describe measurable behavior that is determined by a condition or conditions.

It is meant to describe what people actually do and under what circumstances they do it.  It is always wrong to have an affair and affairs are always a choice. But, the investment/opportunity model is not meant to describe morality, just conditions and behaviors. Still, we know that the choice to have an affair is always wrong, even if conditions are likely and/or favorable.

Inherent Hypocrisy

In the past 70 years or so, there has been a disconnect between what people in our society say and do. Over 90% of people in our country agree that cheating is always wrong. Yet, depending on whose statistics you are reading, cheating happens in half of marriages. This brings into sharp focus the hypocrisy inherent in many people. Or perhaps it is a double standard—maybe cheating is only wrong if it happens to them. The old saying “do as I say, but do not do as I do” certainly applies to this mentality.

A couple that I knew in my mid-20’s comes to mind. I had befriended the wife, Carolina, while frequenting a local yogurt shop. She worked behind the counter since she could not use her nursing degree in the United States. She and her husband, Dmitry, were from Bulgaria. He was a molecular biologist who had received a full ride to the local university. Carolina followed him and left behind a rewarding career.

One of the striking things about this couple was how poorly Dmitri treated the very beautiful Carolina. Dmitri was a very average looking person and Carolina looked like a model with her aqua-colored eyes, long legs, and an enormous head of curly hair. She was also smart, extremely bighearted, and accomplished.

Sometimes she invited me home for dinner and she made everything homemade—even the bread and the cheese.  For as beautiful as Carolina was, she was also shy, generous, kind, unassuming, and humble. She was a great friend when I lived in that particular town. If I were preparing for a date, she would pull out her sable coat and designer clothing and give me a makeover. She was such a beautiful person, both inside and out, and I just adored her like a sister.

Then there was Dmitri and Dmitri’s favorite topic was women. He often mused about how he checked out and fantasized about almost every woman he met. Each time he got rolling on the topic of women, Carolina blushed and stayed quiet. Dmitri’s favorite thing to say was: “It’s easy to see Carolina could be a model. But yah know what? It does not matter. You see, us men, we like variety. Carolina is a stunning, slender brunette, but I could just as well cheat on her with a plump redhead. It’s all about finding someone different even if you are married to the most beautiful woman.”

He said a variation of this comment each time I was there for dinner. And each time I would tell him that he was lucky to be married to an amazing woman and that he needed to appreciate her. He usually laughed and said he would probably have an affair one day just to have something “different.” But, if Carolina had an affair? Well, he said, of course he would leave her for that. He believed that wives needed to stay loyal while ignoring her husband’s encounters.

I moved away about a year after befriending Carolina and have emailed her from time to time. They are still in the United States and still married. They now have a small family. I am still absolutely puzzled why Carolina has stayed, but it is not my place to ask.

This example was not given to ignite a battle of the sexes. It is an example of double standard that seems to exist in some people. But this is an example that has stayed with me because of the utter confidence and lack of shame in Dmitry. He spoke as if these things made him a better man.

On the other hand, I have met women who have admitted to cheating on their boyfriends, but these same women dump their boyfriends when he so as much as looks at another woman for too long. There are unfaithful women and men and both devastate the lives around them. But, it is the utter hypocrisy of some people that gets my blood boiling.

Hypocrisy is Universally Unacceptable

There are fourteen different religions/philosophies that address hypocrisy. For example:

Brahamism:  Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

Christianity: And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31, King James Version. 

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18 

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

Jainism: A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. “Sutrakritanga 1.11.33 

Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien 

Confucianism: Tse-kung asked, ‘Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?’ Confucius replied, ‘It is the word ‘shu’ — reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.’ Doctrine of the Mean 13.3 

Shinto: Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God.” Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga 

Ancient Egyptian parable: Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 – 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. 

Native American spirituality: All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One. Black Elk .  Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself. Pima proverb.

 

There are other religions and philosophies other than mentioned here that have concepts similar to these. Aristotle, Socrates, Seneca, and more contemporary philosophers have also urged others to do no harm. As seen in this way, traditional moral values are not religious. While all religions subscribe to the concept of do no harm, so do all other social philosophies, irregardless of a belief in a higher power.

Some have said that because they do not believe in God, they are not required to adhere to such outdated and restrictive systems. In saying this, they believe that they author their own rules and that they are bound to however they wish to live.

But, they are mistaken when they say doing no harm or traditional morality are part of religious tenets. The concept of treating others as we wish to be treated is a universal tenet found in all cultures. All societies have come to realize that harming others does not and cannot work. Therefore, it is up to each person to live the same behavior he or she wishes to see in others.

Committing adultery is one of the worst offences against another. Whether the adulterer believes in religion is not at issue. The adulterer is breaking a universal law that is outside of the scope of creed or conviction. The adulterer cannot write his own rules. In fact, the adulterer can be an atheist while still being bound to the same universal cultural rule. There is no excuse and no amount of denial in which to hide. Infidelity is wrong and (as my grandma liked to say) there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Summary

In summary, there is a script that the unfaithful follow and it is uncanny to what extent all adulterers follow the script. Therefore, don’t be surprised when a spouse brings up the soulmate argument and his or her get out of jail free card. This is the affair fog talking and it is never an excuse. Plus, whether or not someone is an alleged “soulmate” is not the issue. The issue is that a wayward spouse broke a promise; lied; broke a contract under the law; often broke a contract formed under the eyes of God, and harmed a betrayed spouse greatly. The next time your spouse tells you that he or she met their soulmate, you can stifle a guffaw and make your spouse wonder.

Next, low-level depression can create seeming feelings of boredom in an individual. Some individuals believe their spouse is causing their boredom and some even (falsely) believe they have fallen out of love. Untreated and unrecognized depression can leave an individual vulnerable to an affair. If he or she engages in an affair, the dopamine rush that is experienced will provide a temporary Band-Aid for depression. This will cause a wayward spouse to falsely believe that the other person holds the key to their happiness. This belief is absolutely false.

Therefore, it does not matter who the other person is. The other person is often someone that leaves everyone shaking their heads in disbelief. That person is not special; that person was just available to lead a spouse astray. This person was there and had no problem committing an immoral act with a married person—but the other person certainly was not special.

Finally, moral rules such as the Golden Rule are not solely the domain of the religious since there is a version of this concept to be found in every culture, philosophy, and religion. A wayward spouse cannot claim that he or she is not bound to these rules since he or she is not religious. These rules are so much bigger than religion. Therefore, there is never an excuse for hypocrisy or double standards.  Some like to fool themselves and believe that they are “special” and need not to obey the standards that they expect others to obey. When a person always feels this way, they are likely narcissists. But, it is also common to find as a situational phenomenon during affairs. Call it what you like, but it is always wrong.

Affairs are not special and the tales that cheaters tell themselves are not special either. There is nothing unique about the other person, or how they got into their particular situation, or any other aspect of their affair. All cheaters feel the same way and follow the same scripts. Having an affair is likely the most UN-original experience on the planet.

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    66 replies to "Musings on Infidelity: Affairs Are Not Original and Not Excusable"

    • Tired

      Oh please. The soulmate. Vomit. The soulmate is indeed a fictitious person and very likely the other person will not match up to these ridiculous expectations in the future if the relationship continues. The problem is, most wayward spouses never get a chance to realise this because they are caught. They have to end it. And the soulmate ends up as a martyr who “understood” them. I have never heard such rubbish than what I heard coming out of my husband’s mouth on d day. The woman didn’t even know him! She knew his work performance, that is all. And she admired him. And that was it. All a “soulmate” is really is someone who tells you how wonderful you are when you’re feeling bad about yourself.

      I sound very negative, but actually I agree with the article. This soulmate business is bunkum

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Tired,

        How are things going with your husband this week? Is he beginning to understand what he did was wrong or is he still in denial?

        Sarah

        • Tired

          Hi Sarah. I’m well. I’ve made my husband sound like a callous jerk, but really he’s not so bad. He does understand what he has done. He just doesn’t want to talk about it because he’s not good at dealing with these emotions. I noticed he shows he is sorry in other ways. Like having a nice dinner ready for me when I get home from work, or picking flowers from the garden and making an arrangement for the house. Or fixing something I’ve mentioned needs doing. I may just have to accept that this is the way he is. I don’t think he was of sound mind when this all happened.

      • ken

        5 years this month, Soulmates she told me, among other things, like it was my fault
        They lasted about a year or more after she upgraded.
        Now when people ask me how I’m doing, “I’m living the dream”
        I haven’t spoken to her in 2 years, one day she’ll ask me how I’m doing……
        Well sweets, I’m living ‘your’ dream

    • Tired

      And Dmitri is a dick head!

    • TheFirstWife

      The infatuation is so intoxicating. I get it. But how is it that adults don’t realize IT WILL NOT LAST!

      It is based in a fantasy situation.

      It is not real.

      They are not living in the real world with kids, jobs, financial problems, in laws, mortgages and car repairs and illness and sports commitments for your kids and homework etc.

      It is a small snapshot of time where you are escaping. The affair is an escape.

      And how my very smart H could not see that is beyond comprehension.

      I meet people all the time and have witty conversations and enjoy myself and time spent. I have long term friends I like to see and enjoy an evening out or lunch or coffee with my friends. But I don’t do anything that would make ME appear as though I am doing anything wrong. Ever.

      I have respect for my children and H and would not want any gossip or inferences said about me.

      But just because I meet people and have a great conversation would never lead me down the road that this person is my soulmate or develop an attraction or crush on someone. I will admit if a person is attractive but it stops there.

      But for some I also think it is the thrill of the Chase or the challenge. It boosts their fragile ego. Ooooh attention from a cute younger woman – I still got it!!!! I know too many men who think like that.

      How immature

      • Sarah P.

        Hi TFW,

        I know what you mean about being able to have a laugh with someone of the opposite gender while maintaining boundaries in place. I used to work in an almost all male environment because I worked in the software industry. Sometimes I was even sent on business travel with teams of men and I was the only woman. Other times a female colleague and I were sent on business trips where we met the directors of the new departments that were being created across the country. I had a lot of opportunity, met a lot of men, and was often hit on (during travels) in a very forward manner.

        …And yet…

        I never strayed.
        I never had emotional affairs.
        I never crossed any boundaries that would be considered remotely inappropriate.

        I am just not that person to have an affair. Ever. The very thought makes me feel sick to my stomach.

        I really wonder if it comes down to the level of internalized moral values a person has (or not.) I have strongly internalized moral values because I was brought up that way. My parents expected the highest standard of honesty, integrity, and expected me to treat others fairly– always. And I internalized it so much that I am not able to deviate from the path.

        On the other hand, I am grounded and I love being married and my goal is to remain married for the rest of my life. But, I don’t look to my spouse to make me feel good; I don’t look to him to fill a void; and I don’t make him responsible for my happiness or emotional wellbeing. That is MY job. I also don’t gauge my worth on whether or not guys are hitting on me. Occasionally there are way younger men who hit on me because I think they assume I am much younger. I always look at them and I see my sons. YUCK yuck YUCK. It does not make me feel good.

        I sometimes think that if someone does not have internalized moral values and is a broken person who looks externally to get needs met, this causes the perfect set-up for an affair.

        • TheFirstWife

          I think so many people are raised with the mantra “I deserve to be happy”.

          I say that is a crock. Everyone deserves to be happy BUT not at the expense of your loved ones, family, etc.

          And BTW I think cheating is just a selfish excuse. And I believe many people do it b/c they don’t think they will get caught.

          And they have no morals either. They are led to believe they can do whatever they please.

          I would love to take a poll and ask all the cheating spouses what they would do if their spouse cheated on them. I wonder if they would try to repair the marriage or stick around and deal with the aftermath.

          My gut tells me the cheating spouse who is then cheated on would head for the hills and divorce.

          • Tired

            I think if you took a poll of cheating spouses TFW, they would actually say they would support their partner and they wouldn’t act in the manner that their cheating spouse is acting. However, I think if their spouse actually cheated and they were dealing with it and if you took a poll, you would get a totally different answer…

        • Hopefull

          I agree I could never or have never considered the idea of cheating ever. Even when faced with any opportunity I would never do that. I have removed myself from situations even if there is any hint that could happen. For me like you Sarah it is grounded in my upbringing. Hard work, honesty and integrity are everything. Without that you are nothing is how I was raised above all other things. And as I look at my husbands family they are not that way. They are about how they will benefit and getting what is best for them. The what’s in it for me mentality.

          Basically the best excuse I have gotten related to his affairs is he did it because he could and felt like he deserved to do what he wanted. He said there was no love, soul mate or anything like that. He did say there was some sort of immature “thrill” the first time he cheated. I find it odd he was so messed up and willing o risk it all for this type of mentality. I know it will never make sense to me.

    • Shifting Impressions

      Good article…..amazing how they do seem to follow a script.

      • Sarah P.

        Thanks, Shifting.

        How are you doing this week?

        • Shifting Impressions

          I’m having a pretty good week, Sarah, thanks. As I read your article….so much of it makes sense to me. I wish my husband was more willing to read this type of article. We have come a long way but I’m not sure if he has really tried to figure out what went wrong and why he made such poor choices.

    • Rachel

      Heyyyyy my ex had a “soulmate”! She brought ought the “best” in him. And made him click!
      Blah blah blah.
      He made me feel like I was a nothing when he described how wonderful she was. I now feel like I really did waste a lot of time with him.

    • Tired

      I just re read this article. It is so spot on. My husband indeed was mildly depressed. Looking back I can see it, but at the time I missed the signs. And he did indeed blame it all on our relationship. Of course he had help. The other woman closely worked with him. One day she saw an angry text from me and used that as her launch pad to manipulate him. She convinced him I was psychologically abusing him and that he would be better off without me, in other words he would be better off with her. Yes, because she was perfect. Looking back there are so many red flags. For instance, we were hiking one day and had to get down a very steep rocky slope with a long drop if you missed a footing. I became quite hysterical but he was laughing at me. That made me angry and I told him off. He then mocked me saying my behaviour was not normal. I could not believe he was being so insensitive. It was so unlike him. His usual attitude would be to be kind and loving but this was odd. I should have seen there and then that it was because she was influencing him.

      Now I do have a temper and I can blow up easily. It must be hard to take at times, but psychologically abusing him is a great exaggeration. He probably went back to work and told her all this and she had further information to manipulate him. So by the time he had a major career crisis, the seeds had already been sown. I was the bad guy. She was a spouse poacher and there were other manipulative things she did and I really believe my husband when he says he didn’t see it coming.

      Actually, writing this I have just realised that this was actually when the emotional affair was in its infancy. I only caught it 5 months later when it started moving into more dangerous territory…hanging out together alone. Initially the conversations were all during work hours and they spent a lot of time working together. Once the career dilemma happened he started staying back much later at work on the nights I was working. About ten days later I was really red flagging his behaviour and caught him going out for dinner with her although this may have happened infrequently before. This night, I had them caught on film as she made her physical move.

      Fortunately, once he got out of the affair fog he could see clearly and now realises how his depression contributed to his downward spiral. Unfortunately by trying to self medicate his affair with an ego boost he created far bigger problems.

    • Falling Ash

      My OH was all of these things. He is stitched up tight emotionally, so when a family tragedy occurred, he dealt with it by shutting down and not talking to me about it. As Sarah describes above, I feel he was suffering with depression. Despite my suggestion to get counselling, he did nothing about it but ruminate. So when a PYT started at work, laughed at his jokes and listened to his opinions on various topics, he was ripe for it. He described it as having “an affinity” or as a “melding if minds”. Phrases that make me want to vomit!

      It lasted for 8½ years as it was mostly internalised and I do believe him when he says that he never actually told her how he felt. Just fantasised and wrote yearning poetry about her, whilst on the face of it maintaining a secret “friendship” hidden from me. Just as damaging to me as if it had been physical. He gradually checked out from our relationship more and more, until even trusting ol’ me could no longer deny there was something wrong.

      To give him his due, he ended it immediately post-discovery (3 years ago) and hasn’t contacted her since. Apart from a couple of stupid lies since, he has done everything he can to show me how much he wants me and our relationship to survive. It has been a long, hard and very bumpy road for me and I still have times where I really struggle to equate the man I loved and thought I knew with this lying, duplicitous doppelganger he was for all those years. But we are still together and I hope time and continuing effort will continue to heal us.

    • TheFirstWife

      Falling Ash. That could have been written by me.

      I think depression about career and mid life crisis and turning 50 AND some PYT thinking he was all that led to the affair.

      What I will always struggle with is that he asked for a divorce a number of times and was planning on going through with it the last time around.

      I struggle with it to this day. You can’t understand the long term effect of someone walking in the door and announcing “marriage over !” With no rhyme or reason. No fight or argument. No long term serious issues BUT his lack of connection, his lack of discussibg things over 30 years, his ability to turn every serious conversation into a joke, his avoidance of any topic HE did not want to discuss. Yup all of it. And he wants out.

      Just shaking my head about that one every day.

    • Falling Ash

      Totally get that TFW. OH always made light of everything, however serious. I guess that is why I didn’t see the low moods for so long. It wasn’t until he began to be addicted to living his life through his social media presence and virtually ignore our real lives that I realised how bad things were becoming. Still didn’t twig there was somebody else stirring the poison for another 2 years or so. How trustingly dumb was I?

      Dumb no more. I take no shit these days!

    • Puzzled

      FA: don’t call yourself dumb. Naive? Of course. I think we are all lovingly naive and that’s how we should be. Our CS’s destroy that and it is a sad reality for us. The simple belief that our spouses would honor and cherish us is destroyed. Even though we rebuild and restore our marriages, the memory of their betrayal is always there.

      • TheFirstWife

        Puzzled. That is true. We are not dump people but kind, loving spouses who were taken advantage of by their spouse (and in some cases the OW or OM).

        Puzzled I read you posts about not knowing who the person was who was involved with your wife. It is torturing you she won’t admit it who it was. I was stuck on something with my H and that was whether or not he loved the other woman.

        He claimed he did not. I saw in emails that he wrote that he did. So when he continued to lie to me, even when I saw those words in black-and-white it infuriated me and basically stalled my recovery for more than six months. I believed he was lying to me and had the evidence to prove it.

        However, as my therapist would say, that is a detail. A detail I already knew the answer to and whether he validated it or not was not going to change anything.

        I think That it is possible, that the person you suspect had the affair with your spouse, is in fact the person who had the affair. I believe there is some reason as to why your wife continues to lie about it.

        Her lying by omission doesn’t change the facts. she just refuses to be honest about who she was involved with.

        I think for yourself, the way you can move past this, is to just accept that this is the person and move on. If this is the worst case scenario then you have your answer.

        What I mean by that is since she won’t tell you and be honest with you, you were left to piece the answers together. So if you suspect this particular man was involved with your wife, then you are probably correct. Since she won’t be able to provide any cooperation on this point, you are right.

        So now what? What do you do with this information moving forward? Will it change anything between you. Will it make a difference in your healing and your ability to repair your marriage?

        I am hoping that by looking at this from a different angle you can move past this with your wife. I think you know the truth already.

        • Puzzled

          TFW: your words really hit home. I appreciate them. I know you’ve been through a lot and I know you speak from the heart. I’ll keep working on me and trying to accept things as they are. It’s not an easy thing to do though.

          • TheFirstWife

            Puzzled. One of the things my H (and OW) swear is that there was no sex. She told me that on the phone a few times and my H swears they did not have sex.

            I have no proof but I do not believe it.

            It is a detail I have to accept and move on. He cheated. He lied. He tried to divorce me. At this point it really doesn’t matter if he had sex with the OW. I believe he did.

            I just had to move on.

    • Puzzled

      TFW: The more I’ve thought about accepting the “who” as the person I suspect, the more I think it’s the right move for me. When it gets down to it, the “who” isn’t important. It won’t change what happened. Maybe it’s just my ego controlling it. We hadn’t talked about the affair for quite a while until last night while we were watching TV. It was good. I told her how the last couple weeks had been hard because it was 2 years since her “not in love” talk. I then told her how hard it had been when our friend jokingly commented about “did you have to call your boyfriend to warn him not to come over” when I’d come home early from a trip two weekends ago. She said “you know that wasn’t true, right”? I told her of course but it was just a gut punch reminder of what had happened. I told her I still didn’t have all the answers I needed and that she will never understand how hurt I am. I told her that I’m still scared at times. I also told her that it will always hurt that I wasn’t enough.
      It was a very relaxed talk. She didn’t get defensive. I wasn’t mad. She said “sometimes I think you hate me”. I said, “I don’t hate you. I hate what happened and I hate what you did”.
      It was a good talk. Hopefully a good building block talk for both of us.

      • TheFirstWife

        That is a great step. Maybe when she sees you are acting with love she will start to open up more.

        Good for you!!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Puzzled,

        I would recommend keeping open lines of communication between you and your wife. Has she ever been to therapy with you over this? Has she ever looked inside as to why this happened?

        Sarah

        • Puzzled

          Hi Sarah,

          We went to couples therapy just a couple times and she went to individual counseling 3 times (I can’t remember for sure). She told me she wasn’t comfortable with our therapist and wanted to work on things together/on our own. Looking back, I know the reason she didn’t want to stay in therapy: he was peeling back the layers and was about to expose her affair. She had sworn to me and in therapy that there wasn’t anyone else. I think our therapist knew all along and was trying to get her to open up and admit the affair.
          I doubt that she has ever done any self-reflection to understand why it happened.

          The affair has always been the “elephant in the room” that doesn’t get discussed. We continue to get closer and our lives are settling into a “new normal”. I really feel she just wants that part of our relationship to fade away and never be looked at again. I’ve told her that she is the only one who knows everything about the affair; she knows all the details and I know nothing. I’ve told her it’s like she handed me a puzzle box with 1000 pieces but no picture on the box to know what I’m putting together.

    • TryingHard

      People with character disorders, and yes a character disorder is the single common thread with ALL cheaters, tend to project

      My h accused ME of being depressed and that HE was bored!!! We’ll I wasn’t depressed at all. I’d just lost my business. I wasn’t depressed I was mad at the circumstances that arose during that time and getting royalty used and screwed over by my ex business partner. But I owned my mistakes and moved on from it. It wasn’t I who was depressed. It was he. As far as bored? It is HE who is boring not me.

      So yes, he projected his own crap onto me. As an excuse. That was his story and he was sticking to it damn it!!! IW schooled him well.

      I believe what our MC said, Bored people are boring!!

      I didn’t see any depression and if he had it it was up to him to deal with it. Not me!! But no and coupled with a lousy character and lack of self unawareness or introspection, he went for the low hanging fruit of an affair partner. Seeing himself glorified in her eyes.

      Yeah sure all the soulmate stuff was tossed out. Whatever. I don’t buy it. Childish talk he got from her. Crap she read in cheap romance novels. Hey sounded good to him right? Why not run with that sophomoric theory. Rubbish is right!!

      Life is nothing but a series of choices. Some of us are better than others at making those choices.

      Not feeling it today. Dealing with sexual harassment issues at work involving a fired employee having an affair that involved sex pictures and videos. Yes I had to see them. DISGUSTING BASTARDS!!

      Talk about a trigger. GGGRRR

      • Shifting Impressions

        TH
        That couldn’t have been pretty….yikes!!!!!!!

      • Sarah P.

        Hi TryingHard,

        Oh geez… inappropriate photos. That just reminded me of that ‘latest installment’ of the Steve and Nina story. Steve and Nina have befriended another couple of narcissists at work. The female narc, we will call her Vicky, was one of the folks who made a dive for my husband about 3 years ago. When she contacted me directly, I took care of it. (No, there was no affair.) She just figured that by hanging out with her and her boyfriend as couples, she could get closer to my husband. I can spot these folks. Anyhow, now Vicky and her boyfriend have befriended Steve and Nina and they spend weekends at Vicki and her boyfriend’s house drinking. The last time they were over there, Vicky wanted to photograph Nina mostly in the nude for Steve. And so they did. And then they Vicki and Nina took the semi nude photos to work and showed them to whoever would look at them. (No, my husband was not there– an offended female nurse was there and was really upset by it.) My husband is the back up supervisor when the manager is not there. Anyhow, no one has reported this to HR and I am not sure why. This could only get worse since they were not showing the photos on their personal time. They were showing them at work in an open area where patients and everyone else could see.

        I cannot imagine being the manager who has to address this stuff. What are you going to do with these two?

      • Puzzled

        TH: I think that’s the natural response for the CS. They want to project their insecurities and issues onto us. They want to find blame in us to rationalize their behavior. At least in my situation, my wife started pinpointing things that I did that “bothered” her even though in the past they’d never been an issue. She’d bring up things from the past that were never an issue just to try goading me into lashing out. It was very strange. We only went to couples counseling a couple times but the things she said to me seemed to come from an alien. I think the affair fog clouds their thinking and turns them into someone we don’t know.
        Luckily, when the fog lifts, they start to become themselves again. I’m not sure my wife can remember some of the garbage she said. That’s another puzzling part of affairs: does the CS have selective memory failure or is it affair fog amnesia?

        • TryingHard

          Puz– it’s called ethical amnesia and it’s a real thing. Google it.

    • TryingHard

      SI and Sarah—the employee was already fired two weeks ago. I hated her from the day we hired her. She had some experience in an area we needed but found out she was sorely lacking. She got fired because of incompetence.

      This woman was a troll in every sense of the imagination. Pretty sure she hated me too. She would never speak to me unless she had to. I’m certain I intimidated the hell out if her. She played the innocent little girl. Ugh I could go on and on. Just trust me she was a troll!!

      Then we started going through her emails and she was having an affair with a vendor. That in and of itself is against company policy but she took pictures of other female employees and was trying to fix them up with him and other married men who were also vendors. She disparaged my other employees and placed their character in a less than professional light. They were actually discussing and critiquing my other innocent employees who also have to work with this vendor. She sent videos of herself masturbating and he sent the same. To MY company computer. She also sent him bootlegged movies from MY computer. So now I am denying her unemployment.

      I have to call the owner of the company and give him this information. He will probably lose his job!! Good!! All I want to do is call his wife but if he gets fired she will find out.

      I’ve read all the emails back and forth. They are so ridiculous I can’t even begin to tell you. All on my time!!!

      Plus they texted and talked on the phone after hours. I saw his wife in FB. She’s pretty. This AP is not low hanging fruit. She’s fucking rotting fruit lying on the ground. I can’t imagine any man in his right sense paying any attention to her. And she stunk!! Dirty hair and BO!!! I’m not exaggerating. I couldn’t stand looking at her let alone her privates!!! I need eye bleach. I am traumatized.

      It gets worse. So my h and I are talking about it. Not only a trigger for me but him too and he went into defense mode because of course his affair came up. There was eye rolling and a big huff!! I have spoken to him in two days except when absolutely necessary. I’m too old for this crap. I’m over it. I’m not asking shit anymore. Don’t care.

      Sarah–this absolutely needs to be reported to HR. This must be taken seriously. Others that work there can sue the clinic and your husband for knowing about it and doing nothing. Even tho I fired the troll I have to show my other employees that I am taking a stand against any sexual harassment toward them. Seriously your h needs to get educated what sexual harassment constitutes and if he does nothing in light of this legally he is culpable and complicit.

      As if being in business isn’t hard enough. As if I don’t have enough on my plate personally I have this to deal with now!! That troll better not ask for a letter of reference!!!

      I am so fed up. But I tell you seeing and reading this crap that went on between them it’s textbook classic cheater shit. I even checked his FB out. He posted a picture with his wife that said I love us and then 3 days later he emails her “hi beautiful I miss you”. AARRRGGGH WTF is wrong with people??

      • Rachel

        Omg a troll for sure! What is wrong with these people!!

      • Sarah P.

        Trying,

        This is an insane situation you describe. I hope you call all of the vendors involved and get them fired. It would be nice if their wives could find out in a roundabout way. It always amazes me how many people go to work without doing work.

        Thanks for the top on HR. I did not know someone could get in trouble for knowing about pictures and not reporting it. I will tell him at the right time. (My husband is only open to hearing about these things at certain times. He is one of those people who hates to rock the boat.)

        Good luck with everything. It must be maddening to be a business owner and have to go through it. It would drive me over the edge.

        • TryingHard

          Sarah P–Google sexual harassment for your state but I believe it all falls under EEOC rules and regulations. I’d print it out and give it to him. If he’s in a position of authority and knows about the offensive pictures and someone complains he is culpable. At least in my state. Ignorance of the law is NOT an excuse. I hear you though. That clinic sounds like a cesspool of humanity! And these are professionally educated people. More like narc pigs!!

          Anyway, I did talk to his boss. I almost called the offending salesman, but I know his boss and he’s a very nice man. Thing is I need this vendor. We sell a lot of their product and it’s all custom made! Not easy to find. Actually I emailed the story. I’m telling you it was classic case cheater/AP talk!!!

          I would LOVE to tell his wife but he would know it was from me. But I have a feeling this is NOT his first time. I mean he was giving her directions about downloading disappearing texting apps and he had a fake email address with a fake name. UGH makes me mad. Anyway his boss said he was going to take care of it and that was yesterday but I haven’t heard from him today. We will see.

    • Rachel

      My friends sister (67) is in the middle of a very messy divorce. Her husband (70)told her that he wanted a divorce. She had no idea and then recently found out he has a girlfriend. He’s really a piece of work even at this age. I guess I never thought anyone at this age would go through something like this after being married for 33 years!!!!
      I’ve given her the name of this site as I feel it will be very helpful to her. She is very distraught. Can anyone recommend any books?? I just feel so bad for her. Her children are grown and out of the house.
      He sounds like a piece of work. He’s been spending money on weekend in Vegas!!!! Thanks all!

      • TryingHard

        Rachel–a good one I read is He’s History, You’re Not.

        Yeah they’re never too old to be an asshole. Now he’s just an old asshole!!

        • Sarah P.

          That is a quotable quote. We need to start collecting all of these witty truisms somewhere.

    • Tired

      Trying hard…I could think of nothing worse than seeing these awful pictures. Of course it was a trigger for you even though it was other people. How stupid are people! Fancy using the office computer. Aren’t they embarrassed? It’s kind of funny too though…how humiliating it would be for your boss to see you in that state!! 😂But then, some people have no shame.

      • TryingHard

        Tired–disgusting is right. I could not turn it off fast enough😳 Such base low life’s and yes stupid enough to use a company computer. But cheaters are stupid like that. I can’t stand the thought this low life was in such close proximity to me.

    • Bb65

      My H is leaving this weekend and moving in eith OW! I don’t know if he had low levek depression the last few years but he shut down on me a few years ago and eventually I dis the same. We were living like roommates…but when I finalky figured out after a lie about a work conference That something was wrong he finally sat doen and talked to me and said he wasn’t happy and had been staying for years for our granddaughter who we were raising. I could not believe what he was saying! All my feelings for him came back strong for him. He agreed to try to work on us. He insisted there wasn’t anyone else. Then I started receiving anonymous texts while at work saying he was having an affair. And each time I tried to reply ir trace it they changed the number. He still denied it. Said some people from work hated him and were doing it etc. Well fast forward 6 months of of rekindling our love and connection, me trying to fool mysrkf abd believe his lies, me trying to accept the past and just wnting to move foraard, reading, learning, etc. things started going great then I found secret phone with texts declaring love to each other like etc. anyway, I he was i. Mayor ambivilance… he tried to stop but always “fell of the wagon” (using his words) when I triggered him. But he caused my triggers Due to lies and deceipt etc!!! I truly believe he has affair fog, he works with her so that hasn’t helped. She is definately step down. She has been married 5 times. And my H still csn’t see she has issues! So anyway, he says can’t kerp hurting me. He loves me but is not in love with me. Can’t get that spark back, bla, bla…. be my luck I have the H who can’t snap out of his fog and actually leaves to move in with her! I offered to get his own place for a few months but he refused. He says he has to figure himself out … anyway, granddaughter and I are at the beach this weekend so he we don’t have to watch him move out. Granddaughter is heartbroken. He will come see her several times a week, and he thinks she will be just fine. He can’t see what he is causing her to go through. (She is 7! ). She was abandoned by her mother and had major emotional issues we helped her through. And he can’t see how this will affect her???
      So I am on a tollercoaster of emotions. I was doing good working on me and getting stronger, not spying etcthat dtove me almost ti yhe nuthouse… I knew what he was doung and where he was after work for a while until the time I get off and .pick up granddaughter. But with move out day here I feel like I an back about thinking about him and us and him being with her now 24 hrs per day. I wonder how long before he realizes his mistske. I sm holding on to hope that this is part of his story if his life…if ge doesn’t “try this”, he was never going to snap our of his fog.. but am I fooling myself? I sm too goid of a woman, wife, friend etc to let me go. It’s like he wants to be my friend instead of my husband.

      So what should I do? Stay i. Touch, let him be my friend? Do I play the game So he can see snd remember our good times? Do I ignore him and make him miss me? What if he doesn’t??

      I am lost..can’t imagine going home To the his clothes gone..all his sports stuff gone. Sleeping In rhe bed alone while knowing he has someone else in his arms? How can I get this sll out of my head? And how long before he sees her for who she really is??

      How do I not text him, csll him etc?

      • Shifting Impressions

        Bb65
        I am so sorry that you are going through this. Do you have anyone to talk to?? Perhaps a counselor would be really helpful at this time. They can help you decide the best plan of action.

        If you can….try to focus on yourself and your granddaughter, At this point there is probably nothing you can do or say that will change what your husband is doing.

    • Bb65

      Thanks. Yes, I am focusing on granddaughter. Nights are the tough times. I don’t feel much benefit from my counselor anymore. Plus I have granddaughter in counseling with a play therapist that she loves.

      I also do the email coaching with Doug & Linda. They have been very helpful.

      • TheFirstWife

        Bb. Trying Hard is spot on.

        Get your plan B

        File for divorce on grounds of abandonment. Document the affair.

        Get assets in your own name whete possible. Don’t let him leave you financially in a mess.

        If he does come back get him to sign a post nup. I did it. It is legal and have an attorney write it. State ANY AND ALL assets in your sole name are yours alone and not part of any assets should you divorce. Get him to agree to this as a condition of return.

        Protect yourself emotionally, physically and financially. Your grandchild needs you more than ever!!! She is blessed to have you.

        Your H not so much

      • Shifting Impressions

        Bb65
        I am so glad to hear your granddaughter is in counseling and perhaps it’s time to get a different counselor for yourself. Either way, I’m happy to hear that you are getting coaching from Doug and Linda.

        I can imagine how difficult night can be for you. When our partners of many years cheat we feel devalued and broken. They have a way of making us feel “less than”. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is their selfish behavior that is “less than”, not yours.

        Your granddaughter is very fortunate to have you. Your love for each other will help carry you through this nightmare. Be kind to yourself….make sure your “self talk” is gentle and supportive. Do not take the blame for your husband’s pour choices.

        During those low times come here and pour out your feelings. You will find tremendous care and support. We are here for you.

        • Shifting Impressions

          As for being his “friend”……I wouldn’t think that would be possible. Friends don’t lie and betray each other.

          I would take the high road and treat him in distant, civil manner. Trying to “win him back” at this point is probably futile. He needs to know that by “trying it with her” he is risking his relationship with you. You just might NOT welcome him back with open arms, should he change his mind.

    • TryingHard

      BB65—I am so sad you and your precious granddaughter are going through this. How terrible for a young child to be abandoned by her parents and now her grandfather. So sad for her especially.

      Bb is there any way you can focus on just you and her?? I mean really make her and yourself your main priority. Such as plan a trip with her as soon as school is out. If for nothing else than to have something to look forward to and plan and focus on together. Like Disneyworld or a cruise somewhere?

      Five marriages??? Yeah this shit show isn’t going anywhere and I have a strong feeling you will see him back on your doorstep. I only hope you are to a point where you tell him to get lost.

      Also redecorate your bed room. Get rid of your bedding and paint a different color. Make your bedroom just for you as you like it. There’s a good book called He’s History You’re Not. I highly recommend you read it. It’s written by a women our age who’s husbands just leaves. I think you will find it helpful.

      Your husband is going through a severe mid-life crisis and is using a very maladaptive way of handling it. I strongly recommend you get the baddest ass lawyer and get the financial support you and your granddaughter will need. A judge will not look too fondly on him abandoning you and her. So get your legal ducks in a row ASAP.

      I think doing this will help you stay NC with him and not focus so much on the hurtful mind movies.

      Hugs and good luck

    • Bb65

      Well financially he is going to fo the right thing. I am getting it on paper and notarized though. I would not get much in court because I earn more than him, but I still need his money for mtg, etc. my focus will be to pay off big joint credit card do if he does reduce support I can handle household by myself. He promised he would never divorce me..but look what other things he lied about… I have multiple health issues with expensive medicine and need his 2 insurances. Also, I deserve his retirement check if something is to happen to him!

      Gdaugther (is there an abbreviation for that?) and I are at the beach. Goung home tomorrow. Yoy must have been reading my mind about cruise. That’s what I am planning on next. Or go to Costa Rica where my friend lives now. Just hard to get time off from work right now.

      My bedroom really was/is my sanctuary , my decor. Changing paint color isa thought. I have instructed him to pack up his man cave and I will make it her TV room.
      I will definately get that book. I am focused on her well being, and need to regain control of my mind and stop thinking about it/him. I feel like I did when I first found out. But I definately will work on NC. It will be hard because of GD and he comes to see her. Because GD does not know anything about OW and he cant talk about her, show her house or anything. I put it in our parenting agreement.
      I know he hasn’t told his close friend at bowling alley. (Female)We have Become close friends now too and he doesn’t know I already gave her the rundown. We are going to see how long he hides his new life. GD and I go yo bowling alley on Thursdays for his league. GD has little friends there too. I like to go because of my close friend.. but I don’t think I can handle being around him without my heart being ripped out for now.

      I am reading too bad to leave, to good to stay right now. I figured it might help me see I don’t want him anyway.

      Well he just called to tell GD goodnight, and I could her her in the background when ge but dialed the first time., That just turns my stomach.
      He called back saying his blue tooth didn’t pick up the first time..

      Anyway, i’m ok right now. Packing to go home. Tomorrow will be hard.

      Ps: We just bought a “worry eater” stuffed animal at one of the stores here. It says write your worry on a piece of paper and put it in the doll and he will take your worry so you fon’t have yo worry anymore. Really neat concept. And she already wrote her biggest worry down, she worries tht her pspa wont come visit often… :-(.

      I still can’t phantom the idea of him driving around town with OW in his truck. I hope they at least take her car. His truck is very recognizable due to nfl logo stuff.

      • TryingHard

        BB-No do not trust one w rod he says. Make your lawyer speak for you on all legal and financial matters. Also fight for full custody of your granddaughter. A pot smoking cheater is the last person who should be alone with a young child. Tell your lawyer about the pot smoking and make him be drug tested so you get full custody.

        Don’t go to the bowling alley. Find other play areas for your granddaughter and her friends to meet. You don’t need to be there in case he brings the OW.

        Also he may not want a divorce or say he doesn’t but to hell with that, HES MOVING IN WITH ANOTHER WOMAN!!! It’s not only what HE wants. Start the process to at the very least get custody and full control over your granddaughter Che can visit but supervised visitation. Also you need legal help to settle the finances insurance etc. do not leave it up to him and his fake promises. Remember the OW will be pushing to cut you off financially.

        Do not be a chump. Take control and empower yourself with a good strong attorney. Your and your granddaughters life depends on it.

        Yes thinking about them together is awful. It hurts like a mother effer!!! It’s supposed to. Ride the wave. Don’t deny your grief but please don’t be foolish. DO NOT TRUST A WORD HE SAYS. Try to go NC unless it’s making visitation arrangements and do not tell him you are going to an attorney. Don’t give him time to make his own plans or steal or liquidate assets. Play your cards close to the vest. And yes I would bet she does smoke and probably worse.

    • Bb65

      Oh, one more thing. He smokes weed (one of our constant arguments during narriage). So he “numbs” himself so he doesn’t have to feel his guilt and pain. I always wondered uf she smokes too.

    • Bb65

      I honestly trust him regarding our financial arrangement. He will give ne $2000/month and has to cover us with insurance. I told him OW was going to want him to start contributing ans he says he will dign up for overtime. My plan B has been in action a few months. Had my yearly bonus check go to another bank acct he has no access to.
      I really don’t think their hobeymoon period wilk last very long. I had reached out to her ex husband through FB snd he said she will hound him, snoop through his phone and not trust him. So I am getting joy knowing that every time he comes to our house she will wonder..get suspicious i will make sure if that.

      Her ex also said alk her marriages ended due to her cheating.. ..

      I don’t think he wilk bring her to bowling alley as our mutual friends are there and he hasn’t told them yet. I think he is going to act like nothing changed..

    • Bb65

      We have guarduanship if our granddaughter, so if divorce, guardian ship will be nul.and void. J dont want her mother to g it

    • TryingHard

      B.B.–only you know your situation and circumstances. I’m glad to hear you’ve had a Plan B.

      The fact that you don’t have custody of your granddaughter and only guardsdhip makes your situation even more tenuous legally. I hope you will seek legal advice in light if the other person in the guardianship agreement abandoning you and the granddaughter.

      Your h has created a mess for you and his granddaughter leaving everyone’s lives in a sort of limbo. I feel for both of you. I’m glad there is trust there si I am sure he wouldn’t mind putting it in writing legally fir the sake of both of you.

      The OW sounds like a real piece of work. They all are!!! You are correct in showing him the door. In the end it has to be their decision. I hope he comes to his senses and sees the damage he’s doing. Be careful is all I’m advising you and take good care of yourself and your granddaughter during this time.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi BB and TryingHard,

        I am just going to chime in. BB I love the advice that everyone here has been giving you. I agree with TryingHard that this guardianship issue makes this situation all the more tenuous. This really makes the situation all the more immediate and it is crucial that he comes to his senses. So, he may be in the affair fog (obviously) but someone needs to talk brass tacks and do whatever it takes to wake him up. What would it take? An attorney? A pastor? A family member?

        All affairs are selfish, but this one creates kind of a life and death situation for your granddaughter. For you to have guardianship says it all– the situation with her mom is obviously not livable. If nothing else he needs to wake up and realize he will be ruining the life of a true innocent. You two staying married ensures your protection.

        Many blessings to you,
        Sarah

    • Bb65

      Doung better today. Thanks for all the support. He came over and visit granddaughter after we got back from out of town and stayed to put her to bed. I showed him some of her “worry notes” so he can see her pain and worries and know what she has going in in her head. I didn’t fall apart last night (yeah), and instead went to bed with granddaughter.

      I think I am starting to feel relief instead of the constant anxiety and wishing he would snap out of it etc. I think the last year I have gone through all the stages of grief just about. I thought I was starting that all iver again but I think it prepared me for dealing with it now in a way I can be there for Granddaughter in the best way possible, without my anxiety. It is strange. I am still thinking about him most of the day but not in the sane way I was 2 days ago, fearing coming home to a half empty house. Now I kind of like my clean house! Lol

    • Bb65

      Sarah P. Thanks for the advice. He did stop by to visit GD (granddaughter) last night and stayed until he put her to bed. I made up a parenting agreement as well as financial agreement that we are getting notarized tomorrow. I know the parenting agreement really has no lefal benefit but I wanted ri put it on paper as if it was divorce regarding visitation and also put in there that for tge benefit of the child he cannot talk about paramour ((OW) or show her house or even know about it. I know he will do right by her. Bw also didn’t smoke his weed until after her bedtime but I included the no drugs and no drug paraphanailia..
      My mind will be more at easy once we sign everything tomorrow.
      I have my budget prepared on an excel spreadsheet and am planning on doing Dave Ramsey’s financial planning to get out of debt. Something we were going to do together years ago but dudn’t.
      As far as someone talking to him to break him out of the fog…no one can change his mind. I think the OW will do that all by herself. All I can fo is let him see our happy home from a distance and make him see what he is missing out on.

      GD dad has moved in with us a few months ago as he fell of a roof last year and is disabled and was in a cery bad state mentally due to toxic relationships and she really hasn’t leaned on him as”dad” while her papa was here and she sees us as her parents. But he has stepped up to the plate these lady 2 days so I think that has helped her.

      Her major abandonment issues were/are with her mom as she is not in contact at all. Ur I want to make sure she doesn’t find out about separation. H understands that, so does son. I will remind him again so ge doesn’t tell the wrong person because news spreads fast. I dont want her to get any ideas.
      She always has understood that tge best place for gd was with us but she did try to get back i. Her life recently and I didn’t let her because she absndoned her twice over last 6 yrs abs I will never let her hurt her like that again. I was mad at mysrkf for letting her back the 1st time and she pacjed up and left again for some man.

      Anyway, thanks everyone for keeping me focused on the important part. Protecting the guardianship

      • Sarah P.

        Hello Bb65,

        I am glad you put together a financial and parenting plan. They are certainly a start and a parenting plan might be helpful on day if there is a divorce. There are many issues on your plate right now, but do not lose sight of the fact that your granddaughter needs to maintain normalcy as much as possible, even though it is understandably hard. You are the one who must maintain normalcy here. My heart goes out to both you and your granddaughter.

        What is your husband running from? I get the sense that even though he thinks the other woman does something for him, she is no more than an escape. It is obvious your H does not want to face stressors at home. But what is he running from within himself?

        Big hugs to you,

        Sarah

    • BB

      Hi Sarah,
      I am making sure GD is my primary focus and I make sure she gets used to the new routine, can share her feelings, gets her emotional needs met etc.
      I must say my H is sticking to his part and has the same focus in regards to his care & love for her.
      Regarding what is he running from inside himself…I guess that is the million dollar question..
      We had a great marriage and love for many years. Then eventually he started shutting down after it came to light that he had ran up major credit card debt without my knowledge. He knew how important it was to me to be financially responsible and have good credit.
      That really was the first big issue that caused trust issues. before then I never had a reason not to trust him.
      Then we had issues about financially helping his daughter and my son. It was tit for tat …
      I think he started to keep a lot to himself and started shutting me out. And eventually I started doing the same ti protect my heart. Then he had EA with co-worker. Mainly talking in phone and texting. I found out, he said it was mainly talking “shop” but I know he contacted her outside if work to. Eventually she was fired and moved to another job, he recommited to us and I think things were good again. Then we took in granddaughter. We both love her to death but we do see that a lot of stress came with it dealing with her emotional issues.
      Somewhere after that we started to resend each other. Me resenting him for not helping out and him resenting me for always complaining and fusding about financial issues. We were living as room mates taking care of GD. His focus was his golf, his bowling, etc. my focus was GD.
      It wasn’t until last May that I figured something wasn’t right regarding a conference he went to.
      Long story short, he said wasnt happy and wanted out. I begfed him to try again. He said there wasn’t anyone else. He reluctantly agreed. I got the Marriage Max program which was really good and things started to turn around, then I started receiving annonimous texts that H was having affair. He still denied it. 8 months of emotional rollercoaster and his deceipt and gaslighting and ambivilence I finally made him make a choice and never expected him to choose her. My spying triggered him he said. I told him hisying triggered my spying!
      We had some goid calm conversations lately and he really feels he has to figure out what these feelings are about. I know he loves me, but like he says can’t get the spark Back.
      So I hope he does eventually tries to figure out the million. Dollar question.
      I know that is the only way he will find the happiness he desires. We used to have it. Yes, we were soulmates… many years ago.
      I listened to the coaching session regarding midlife crisis and I so see him in that.
      I also see the I love to be in love type of affair in him from dr. Huizinga…
      I guess he has the need to be admired by someone who doesn’t know all the faults… or 2 broken people trying to comfort each other..

    • TheFirstWife

      Soooo. Just wanted to give you a quick laugh. Just took on a new client at work. We are local to each other and live 10 mins apart.

      Working on his account. Funny guy. Lotsa $ (he brags about his cars, toys, vacations). He is married and appears to have a lovely wife (his words not mine).

      Wants to meet for lunch to talk about his company.

      Ummmm that’s a no unless the other guys on my team are available. He is a player and disguised “lunch” as an opportunity to meet up. See if he has a chance.

      As if!!

      AND I immediately told my H the entire situation. My gut instinct etc.

      Some of the cheaters could learn a lesson on how to handle these situations. You don’t cross the line. Period. End of story. Keep it professional. Keep your distance.

      Didn’t even have to think twice. Lost all respect for this person as well.

      And told my team manager (in another state) and he agreed. I will not go to lunch w/this guy even if we lose the client.

    • TheFirstWife

      PS to last post. I guess he thought I would be “wowed” by his money and fancy cars and stuff.

      Not impressed in the least!!!

    • Tired

      Hilarious TFW! What a creep. I hope you sent him off with his tail between his legs!!! Men like this disgust me. I’m sure he will find someone with lower standards to cheat with though. Poor wife

      • TheFirstWife

        Unfortunately I had to remain professional so I could not say anything that I would have liked to say, as in “sorry no not interested in this ‘pretend’ business lunch so you can check me out to see if you are intetested” type of response.

        I swear it takes all kinds. But this is how so many affsirs start. Good people who just go down the wrong path from day 1.

        I asked my H recently why he had an affair. Of course I don’t know was the answer. But they both had a mutual interest and liked talking about it and the affair developed quickly. Like in 2 months of meeting her.

        If course I had to tell him that and fill in the blanks as he didn’t really answer the question.

        But I don’t think all affairs start out that way. For some it is innocent enough but I do believe when the warning signs are there, it is hard to stop it b/c infatuation, addiction, lust and selfishness have reared their ugly heads.

        If you don’t go down the path in the first place, then you don’t end up in these situations.

        I could very easily met this guy and it could have been innocent enough. One lunch – all business and done. BUT I don’t know his intentions and would not want to put myself or my family in a crazy situation.

        After reading what some of the cheating spouses endured (and their families and spouses) when the relationship/affair ended, I realize some people are not playing with a full deck. I would not want to be in that situation.

        • Falling Ash

          TFW,

          “But they both had a mutual interest and liked talking about it and the affair developed”

          That is what my OH claimed. It was all so innocent at first. The OW started working with him and was the only person he could talk to at work about similar interests. That was just the start of the slippery slope of course. They started to take their little chats out of work time. Meeting in cafes and bars to avoid the “glares of colleagues” and talk more freely. Work colleagues, to me, are there to have professional conversations about work matters with, and nothing more.

          Heaven forbid that he could have saved the evenings to talk to me about those interests!!!

          Which is what he does now, I may add!

    • TryingHard

      TFW–some people have to have lunch with business associates. I go out with my banker all the time. It’s almost required. That said if it’s not necessary then it’s a def NO. I’ve never gone out with vendors and you should see some of them. I wish I could describe the last female vendor who came in and demanded to meet my “boss”. She didn’t know he was also my husband!! Idiot!!! Sent her packing with her 5″ stilettos and tight skirt. LOL I wanted to tell her she better get moving or she was going to be late at her Hooters job!! These women are pretty effective sales people to dumb men.

      Right now I have some guy in instagram that keeps messaging me. I keep posting pics of me and my husband and grandson. I ignore him. I think he’s a widower in FL!!! Ugh. No thanks!!!

      My h had nothing in common with his AP. She was from the other side of the tracks and was just a nasty willing participant. Once he hired she drew him in by talking shop. Making crap up about other employees and how wonderful she was, how she was his best employee!! She had way too much regard for herself and her abilities. And people are dumb. Thank God some aren’t.

      • TheFirstWife

        I am not opposed to business lunches or meetings. I believe most are really business. Nothing more.

        This guy – however – sent out the wrong vibe. Rich, good looking and thinks I would be impressed by him and his $ and car, etc.

        I didn’t date players when I was single and I won’t get involved with them now. I would rather lose s client than compromise my values.

        As for the sales people you meet in your office, I don’t know how you tolerate that trashy Low class type of behavior.

        Do they think iris part of the sales training manual to dress like a Hooker?? Eww

    • TryingHard

      TFW—LO this wome was selling trucking. She knew about as much about trucking as I do neurosurgery. I spot these women and men a mile away. Have you ever seen those drug saleswomen and men when yo go to the doctor?? Same thing. All looks no substance or brains. You just have to get in give away stuff, act charming, smile a lot and maybe just lay your hand ever so gently on your targets arm just to make your point of course.

      As you can imagine they don’t get much past the front door with me nor do the ever return. I’m not rude I let it be known their charm doesn’t work. I smile back and give short answers and tell them thank you but I really don’t have time right now!!!

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