The Psychology of Affairs: The Games People Play and the Lies that Bind 

 

the psychology of affairs

A small peek into the psychology of affairs, what makes affairs tick and how people can get caught up in a very false and misleading psychology in order to continue an affair.

By Sarah P.

While we have talked a lot about the concept of the affair fog and the fact that it causes flawed thinking and game playing, I wanted to do a deep dive into this topic. I have accumulated tons of real-life examples of how people behave and what they say while in the fog. I also wanted to talk more about “the why” of it all.

Now, this is not an article about excuses. This is actually an article that essentially examines what wayward spouses do and how they perceive themselves so that you can (possibly) confront them more effectively. (I say possibly because confronting someone who happens to be deep in the affair fog might be a futile task.)

The thing is, the affair fog is tough to dispel and if there is any chance whatsoever of dispelling it, the betrayed spouse needs to know the mindset of a wayward spouse who has (in a sense) gone crazy.  I wanted to examine the lies that bind a wayward spouse to the affair partner.

After all, the only thing that truly binds affair partners for a period are lies on top of lies on top of more lies. It’s about the lies affair partners tell themselves in order not to be eaten alive by guilt. It’s also about the lies they tell their spouses to keep the sick and twisted game going for as long as possible. Finally, it is about the lies affair partners tell each other.

But, here is the thing, let’s imagine the number zero is symbolic of a lie. Then add 1,000 more zeros to it, just to seem like you are going somewhere. This can go on for infinity and you still get the number zero. Affairs in essence have no foundation since they are based on lies and whatever foundation affair partners think they are building is just like the futile task of adding more zeros to a zero.

Even if the minority of affairs partners get married, they are just a couple of zeros getting together trying to build on a foundation of nothing. How can someone look a cheater in the face? Because affair partners who marry each other are automatically looking into the face of a cheater. Affair partners who marry are automatically caught in a double-bind because they both know that no one can trust a cheater.

Let’s move on…

A list of what affairs are about: 

  • Extreme arrogance
  • Lies (as said above)
  • Entitlement
  • Selfishness
  • Fantasy
  • Self-centeredness
  • Secretiveness
  • Broken promises
  • Broken vows
  • Privilege
  • Insanity
  • Betrayal
  • Evasiveness
  • Negligence
  • Egotism
  • Self-interest
  • Narcissism
  • Insensitivity
  • Carelessness
  • Lust
  • Immaturity
  • Compulsion
  • Escapism
  • Insecurity
  • Devastation
  • Ego stroking
  • Sex Addiction
  • Distraction
  • Harm to the family and betrayed spouse
  • Danger to the lives of the innocent
  • Loss
  • Grief
  • Profound regret
  • Stupidity
  • Distraction from family of origin issues

Did I forget any? If so…add them to the comments!

 

 

The Psychology of Affairs: Inside the Mind of the Wayward Spouse

Now that we got out of the way, I wanted to peek into the minds of wayward spouses and really look at the depth of flawed thinking involved. I have created a male character that I will refer to as “Dick Devious” and he represents an amalgam of several different actual cheating men.

I have also created a character called “Poaching Patty” who acts and says things I have also personally observed. She is also a combination of the different real-life techniques I have witnessed spouse poachers use.

I do not want to single out any one of them because I do not want their identities to be obvious. However, rest assured, every excuse that I will explore are things these people have actually said to justify their infidelity.

Statistics demonstrate that many men who report themselves as “very happily married” still cheat. In order for these men NOT to think of themselves as total soulless jerks, they must create very elaborate lies that they tell themselves in order to carry on with an affair. Worse, these men repeat these lies so often that they come to believe them as fact.

They must place the blame externally and almost always, they place the blame on their wives. The kinds of things that they come up with to carry on with an affair are preposterous. Meanwhile, their innocent wives are none the wiser.

The female poachers also have to create a set of lies about the wife. After they create them, they make sure to share these lies with their lover until their lover is convinced of what his mistress says.

When these affairs come out – and they always do – to say the wife is blindsided is an understatement.

The Story of Dick Devious, Supportive Samantha, and Poaching Patty

Dick Devious is a middle-aged man and with the untiring support of his wife, Samantha, he has become quite a success. They have several children and supportive Samantha pulls her weight both as a professional and a mom. She finds the time to be a good wife and mom and still pursue a career, all the while putting hot meals on the table at night. She hosts dinner parties for Dick and ensures he looks good and is the star of the show.

The issue is, Dick Devious has been promoted and he now has his very own secretary, a 27-year-old (Poaching Patty) with no degree who has floated around from one temporary job to the next. Poaching Patty has no marketable skills (professionally speaking) since she decided to party throughout her 20’s instead of attending college.

The one thing poaching Patty has going for her is her physical appearance. In high school, she was a cheerleader and very popular. Because of all of the attention she received in high school, she believes that she deserves such attention for the rest of her life. The world owes her because she is so very beautiful and special—at least according to her Instagram followers.

A long time ago, Poaching Patty learned how to put on a big smile and flirt because that was all part of being head cheerleader and homecoming queen. She learned how to manipulate everyone, especially the boys and men around her to get whatever she desired.

Poaching Patty has noticed Dick Devious’ nice car, the photos in his office of his nice home and exotic vacations, and the photos of his teenage children and his wife. Poaching Patty wants that life for herself, but she doesn’t want to spend years of honest, hard work to get there.

Manipulating men through sexuality (or promise of it) is her normal mode of operation. Even though she is not physically attracted to Dick Devious, she is very much attracted to the lifestyle he could offer her. She knows how to fake adoration and to string a man along for quite awhile without having to consummate the physical act. The physical act is reserved solely for the times when she needs to play hardball. 

Poaching Patty has identified her target…

Her first move is to ask Dick all kinds of questions about her work and hang on his every word. She laughs at all of his jokes. She makes excuses to sit on his desk, while wearing a skirt, and making light conversation. Poaching Patty will do or say the following:

  • Look enraptured even when Dick talks about how carefully and meticulously he vacuums the floor mats of his car.
  • Twirl her $500 hair extensions and bat her $200 false eyelashes (because unlike people with families, she doesn’t have normal expenses).
  • Say: “Since we work together, I understand you in a way no one else can.”
  • Wear clothes hardly appropriate for work and will bend over to give peeks down her blouse.
  • Say: “You are so smart…I could listen to you for hours….OMG, Dick, you are just so interesting!”
  • Or, “Are you eating that frozen dinner again? Oh poor baby, someone doesn’t know how to take care of her man…”
  • Or, “I have so much trouble changing those light bulbs in my ceilings. I am really missing a pair of strong arms like yours.”
  • Show Dick her Instagram account where she poses on the beach in her thing bikini while pointing out the tattoo on her lower back.
  • Do whatever Dick asks of her (filing, errands, coffee, phone messages) so that when his wife wonders about the secretary, Dick can legitimately say the secretary does her job well.

I have encountered the last one a couple of times from particularly smart poachers. They will selectively do their job correctly if there is something more in it for them. But, if it is a legitimate job (without someone to poach or without easy money) this same person will be on her phone all day. I have witnessed it myself.

So, how does Poaching Patty’s behavior affect Dick Devious?

Obviously, all of a sudden, Dick feels young again and there is a spring in his step. He now looks forward to his mundane job and Patty’s smiling face and gregarious laugh. If Poaching Patty decides to concentrate solely on Dick, it is a ticking time bomb. Dick might say the following things to fool himself:

  • “Poaching Patty does her job well.”
  • “I can be Poaching Patty’s mentor because it’s a hard, cold world out there and she needs someone experienced to guide her.”
  • “It doesn’t hurt if I flirt with eye candy…what my wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
  • “Buying her a gift here and there won’t hurt. It would be wrong not to get her a diamond tennis bracelet for her birthday because she works so hard.”
  • “Patty deserves two dozen roses, a $300 Nordstrom gift certificate, and lunch at a 5-star restaurant for secretary’s day. I have to make sure a good employee feels appreciated. After all, good employees are hard to find.”
  • “I am a generous person and buy gifts for everyone. Good people give their employees gifts all the time. I am a good guy.”
  • “Gosh, maybe I should find out what kind of men she likes so I can set her up on a date. Yes, I can take her to dinner and discuss this matter because I am a good mentor.”

Are any of you sick to your stomach yet? I sure am because I have witnessed people making such excuses. When you read what Poaching Patty does and says and what Dick Devious does and says, it becomes clear that an affair will begin.  It is just a matter of when.

Patty has determined her target and her target is responding with expensive gifts. This only serves to reinforce in Patty’s mind that taking Dick away from his family is the right thing to do for her because he will provide her with an easy lifestyle. She believes she can marry him and never work again. Days will be filled with manicures, more hair extensions, sunbathing, and shopping trips. Then, Poaching Patty’s problems will be solved.

Oh, did I happen to hear you wondering about the wife?

Well, Poaching Patty could care less about the wife. The wife is a mere obstacle that needs to be removed. The wife is inconvenient and must be dispatched at all costs. After all, the wife is “ruining” Patty’s life just by being the wife in the first place!

I was the almost wife and those who know my story will remember that the OW was willing to do anything – including destroy me – if it meant achieving her (primary) goal of moving into my home and poaching my fiancé. And under her influence, my fiancé became a ruthless, cruel, and soulless person (who harmed me emotionally and physically).

He became a truly frightening individual and to say I no longer recognized him would be the understatement of the century. I have never experienced such a rapid and thorough transformation as the ones I experienced with my fiancé. (Both in him and me). He did some truly evil things and in the end the very essence of me seemed to be obliterated. I am still rebuilding myself. I would say I am about 85% there, but some parts of me will be forever changed. Even if you break up with the person who cheated on you, it will follow you into your future relationships—and that is the most difficult thing of all. Even if you forgive and move on, it will always be there.

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

Doug and Tim share their experiences as ex-wayward spouses and answer the top 11 burning questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.

 

An Inconvenient Truth

To switch gears back to people who have affairs…

There comes a point of no return for people who have long-term affairs, whether emotional or physical. In my opinion, it has to do with what we refer to as the affair fog.

The issue is that there are very real changes that occur in the brain that serve to bond affair partners to each other. These changes are real and could in theory be observed on brain scans or perhaps by measuring dopamine levels or other neurochemical spikes.

I can tell you for certain that a wayward spouse can be of two minds.

On one level, measurable chemical changes can be occurring in the brain, but on the other hand, a wayward spouse can absolutely despise himself as they happen, and yet he cannot stop himself even when his rational mind tries to step in.

Hopefully, I will be doing an interview with an expert who will illuminate this point within the next month or so. I know now it seems difficult to believe, but after I chatted with this expert, I now understand it better. (But, I still do not want to accept it.)

Here is part of article I found about this topic of the hormones released during a sexual relationship and how they bind us:

“When we have sex (we being humans, not the author and you, the reader) there are three main neuro-hormones that are released for men and women, and a fourth just for men. These hormones impact the way our bodies behave, and influence our minds and thus our perception of reality.

The first one is dopamine. Dopamine is the pleasure high, the fireworks, our reward. Dopamine is one of the most fundamental neurotransmitters we have. Basically we are dopamine machines. The expectation of dopamine drives our mind to control our body to do things. We think you wanted a coffee to perk yourself up, but in fact it was a dopamine cycle that kicked in to make your body get up and find a coffee to sate the dopamine expectation.

The next is serotonin. Serotonin is serenity, ecstasy and the state of grace. It is the lingering pleasure sensation we get that is less intense than dopamine, but nonetheless a powerful driver for our behaviors. Serotonin is about feeling good, really good.

The third, for both men and women, is oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding agent, the cuddle chemical. This bonding agent makes us want to connect, physically, with another person. And once connected, stay connected. It is a powerful force, one that men sometimes complain about “she wanted to cuddle, I needed to get to work”, and women too “… and then he just left me.” 

Oxytocin can be easily fabricated, just with close contact to another human being (or a pet). Just twenty seconds of hug contact, even with a stranger (with a tolerable level of body odor), can dramatically boost levels of oxytocin. It is very much the bonding glue for humans.

The fourth chemical is a male neuro-hormone, vasopressin. Vasopressin is the protection drug, one that kicks in to support feelings of possession and desire to thwart anyone else taking possession. This is now the knight in shining armor threatening to skewer any rival that comes near (or more realistically, the inner thug who would bash someone over the head).

So we have two people (or more, depending on how extreme your lifestyle might be) engaging in a deeply sexual act, and inside the brains you have a rush of chemicals. These chemicals control our bodies response to the act.

Moreover, the recollection of this chemical experience will be encoded into our memories so that if we dig back in our minds to experiences past, we can regain at least a part of the actual feeling experienced at the time…

Those of you in longer term relationships, more than two years, will probably have experienced the distance that is created if one does not maintain a sexual relationship. In some cases, this morphs the relationship into a best-friend partnering. At worst, lifting the veil of oxytocin gives one person in the couple, if not both, the opportunity to see the person in a new, more rational light. That often ends in a break up, or a much more argumentative relationship with few benefits.

Whilst oxytocin must be maintained, it has a more dampening impact on sex itself. Over time, as oxytocin between a couple builds up, it reduces the impact of both dopamine and serotonin. This would happen anyway as habit builds up in our neuro-systems, so things become less novel, and practical couple issues become more prominent (such as “who is going to take the kids into school tomorrow”). Therefore, as oxytocin builds up, sex is just not as fun any more. Certainly not in comparison to the highs of the first months, and maybe couple of years of a sexual relationship.

One other function of oxytocin is even more controversial to those who believe in true eternal love. Oxytocin not only bonds people together. It also, on ‘first use’ has the effect of erasing the memories of the previous partner.” (1)

 

I am not going to lie. Knowing these details actually make me angry—especially this last part about oxytocin and “first use” since it can erase the chemical bond with the previous partner.

Think about the implications if a spouse is in a sexual affair and continues to have sex with their spouse at the same time. Each time they have sex with one person, it will break their bond with the other. Then, they will go and have sex with the person (where the bond was broken) and that bond will be restored again.

Honestly, I do believe that this phenomenon can account for fence sitting if the wayward spouse is engaging in sex with both the other person and the spouse.

One day, they will have sex with their spouse and there will seem to be a breakthrough (from the betrayed spouse’s perspective). Then, the next day, the wayward spouse will have sex with the other person, only to return home and give their spouse the “I love you, but I am not in love with you speech.”

The betrayed spouse will feel utterly broken and confused. But, then the betrayed spouse and the wayward spouse have sex again – perhaps hysterical bonding – and all of the sudden the wayward spouse seems (firmly) back in the marriage. Then, again (firmly) he goes off to see his lover.

Back and forth, the wayward spouse will bounce like a ping-pong ball and the betrayed spouse does not know on which side the ping-pong ball will finally land. From a betrayed spouse’s perspective, living with a wayward spouse in this mental state is an unspeakable and mind-bending torturous hell for the betrayed spouse.

I do not want anyone to write off the power of this “first use” effect of oxytocin.

We Are Emotional Creatures

While many people believe their decisions are logical and thought through, any good advertising company will know better. Almost all decisions, especially purchases, are made by emotions. When someone makes a purchase, they justify all of the logical reasons they need the thing they purchased. All of this happens on a subconscious level.

This is not to say that purchases are bad or that marketing is bad—there are things we must buy, such as food, shelter, and clothing. There are services we purchase that enhance our lives such as counseling, a personal trainer, even a good, weekly manicure.

What woman doesn’t feel good after she leaves the hair salon or puts on that dress that removes her flaws and reveals her assets? When we get down to it, these are very emotional experiences and there is nothing wrong with these experiences being emotional rather than logical.

Here is where advertising (and emotional decisions) comes in and where it is plainly revealed that people make emotional decisions not logical ones. For example, when we go to purchase a vehicle, we need to decide if we want a compact, a sedan, a small SUV, a large SUV, or a minivan as a vehicle. Then we need to decide if we want a hybrid or perhaps a car with an electric battery versus a car that uses gas as the only fuel source. Then, we need to decide which car company we are going to choose and why. There are so many different car companies out there. Where do we begin?

Car manufacturers know this and they know the first and foremost thing that often comes to mind is safety. Well, this seems logical—we want to be safe. But why? Well, because we do not ourselves or our loved ones to die should an accident occur. We think of that possibility and it unfathomable; the grief would be too hard to bear. One could argue that the need for safety is grief-driven (among several other things) and all of them ultimately come back to an emotional state.

Some advertisers exploit emotions in ways that I feel are wrong. The most recent example I can think of is the Ram commercial for the Superbowl.  Martin Luther King Jr’s voice speaks as various images of hard-working Ram truck owners appear on screen.

Then someone says, “In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ram truck owners also believe in a life of serving others. They serve because they’re driven by a higher calling. They serve because they feel a shared responsibility and commitment to their family and community. They serve because they’re men and women of their word. They serve because they know the world could use a little more kindness…”

Here is the scoop—I did not see the commercial first—I heard someone talking about it and found it offensive. Since I was not emotionally involved, I saw the clear motive of Ram Trucks trying to hijack people’s emotions in order to sell a product. They did not even do it in a subtle way.

It was very offensive that Ram Trucks actually thought of aligning a vehicle (or their vehicle owners) with ideals that changed a generation—ideals that had and have nothing to do with Ram Trucks, which is just another multinational corporation. Tell me the last time a multinational corporation’s first and foremost goal was to serve and create more kindness in the world. The answer is NEVER.

How does this idea of emotional decisions versus logical decisions apply to affairs?

Well, when we think of cheating, we think that no matter what happens to the would-be cheater in terms of temptations, they have a clear-cut choice NOT to cheat. We believe logic is always the basis of thinking.

That is our logical mind applying its logical judgment to the mind of another—a mind that makes decisions emotionally and not rationally. There is nothing more emotional than feeling profoundly and urgently wanted, desired, seen, heard, and special.

For example, would any of us say that we hate feeling wanted? That we hate feeling seen and heard (and accepted) for it? That we hate feeling special? I don’t know of anyone who would hate feeling that way.

Here’s the thing: these are the emotions that the affair partner counts on and knows how to manipulate. The affair partner knows that all humans innately desire these things and the affair partner lowers the wayward spouse’s defenses by seeming to supply these things. The affair partner is very intentionally making the wayward spouse feel these things so that he or she starts acting irrationally. (That is, irrationally from the perspective of the betrayed spouse.)

Compare this to marriage.

After the courting phase is over and people are well into a marriage and all of the complications that go along with it, there comes a time when one or both spouses stop making the other spouse feel special, seen, heard, and wanted.

They do not withhold these things intentionally. People get busy; people have kids; people have elderly parents; people have jobs; people have all kinds of different demands pulling them in different directions. In short, people get caught up in the day to day tasks of life and no one is exempt.

Affairs exist in a protected bubble. They exist in a very intentionally created space made up of illusion. Because emotions are involved and because rational thought has been turned off, the illusion of the affair truly seems real. Affair partners get fooled into believing this space they have created is real life and that if they were to be together, life would always be like their living fantasy.

Again, we must understand that the logical mind has been shut off during this time and the person is operating solely based on emotions as well as the very real chemically stimulated highs that are induced by an affair.

The affair partners look at each other as if they are special. However, they are interchangeable. Given a different time or circumstance, Jenny would actually be Stacey or perhaps Anna or maybe even Vicky. The affair partner is not special. The feelings produced by the affair cause people to falsely believe the other person is special and is the only source of these emotions. Not true. But, the wayward spouse is caught up in irrational thinking.

Think about the first year or several months of dating your current spouse. Do you remember how “high” you felt and how you believed this high would continue forever? Well, for any of us who have been married long enough, we know the physical high does not last forever.

But, if there is anything substantial to a relationship, it is easy enough to rekindle attraction to your partner each day. It is just a different kind of attraction and it is truly based on deep feelings and experiences lived together. Marital attraction is like a seven course meal at a five-star restaurant. It is nuanced, there is much variety, and it has many layers to it.

Affair attraction is like eating a diet of processed icing and cupcakes from the grocery store shelf. It’s sweet, you will get a sugar high, but there is no nutrition in this diet and it cannot sustain you over the long term. It cannot create anything healthy either. Nothing healthy can be built upon nothing, whether it is the lack of a healthy diet or a lack of things that build a healthy relationship.

Just Excuses?

What am I trying to do in this blog post? Am I trying to make excuses for people who have affairs? NO.

Here is what I am trying to do: I am trying to explain the psychology that a person can become caught in during an affair. 

Even though I am explaining the psychology of affairs and how they work, a person is still responsible for themselves.

I am trying to give both betrayed and wayward spouses a small peek into what makes affairs tick and how people can get caught up in a very false and misleading psychology in order to continue an affair.

I am trying to show that our minds are not as logical as we believe them to be. You see, when we believe we are logical people, this gives us an element of control over our lives.

But, when we realize that we are more emotional than we think, this is scary. Many times, people simply do not know how to control or process emotions and so they get swallowed whole by emotions.

Therefore, it is a far less frightening proposition to walk around believing we are all logical and think through things in great detail before we act on them. This helps us believe we live in a more controlled environment than we actually live in.

Realizing we do not have a lot of control over our lives (because of the decisions others make that impact us) is frightening. We can only control ourselves.

We can be the best person on the planet and even the best spouse and parent on the planet. But, our spouse can one day meet someone who triggers a whole lot emotions in them and off the spouse will go, headlong into an affair.

I need to remind everyone that most people who cheat on their marriages report to be in happy marriages.

One must ask why on earth would someone in a very happy marriage risk everything for an affair? It makes no sense. The only thing that accounts for this paradox is the fact that we are emotional creatures and not as logical as we believe. Look at how easily Dick Devious fell into Poaching Patty’s trap. All the while, he believed he was thinking logically.

Does this mean you should lose hope?

No.

It just means that when a spouse is in the affair fog, that person will be operating completely in and from a highly emotional space that does not allow himself or herself to see clearly. When a person is in this state of mind, you could talk to them about their illogical decision and how it impacts others for hours. But, it simply will not get through to them.

When someone is in the affair fog, you are communicating with someone in an entirely different reality than yours.  This reality is heavily influenced by the neurochemistry of infidelity. The wayward spouse must have time to habituate to those neurochemicals and these neurochemicals act on the brain the same way as any other drug.

If a person is involved in illegal drugs, it is widely known that they are always chasing the initial high and must use more and more of a substance to get high. It is because the brain gets used to the high. Pretty soon, the high of the affair will wear off and the affair partner will one day begin to seem like no one special. They have exhausted all that was in the affair partner and then the flaws emerge. And the high ends.

what were you thinking

The “Other Women”

I heard an interesting story the other day. I will not provide details, but I am sure this kind of thing happens more than we realize. Someone told me about a tight-knit church and that church’s philosophy on divorce. If someone were to divorce, the other spouse should try to rebuild the marriage and restore the family.

So, there was a particular woman who was doing this with her own marriage and tried to help others rebuild their marriages. She was the head of the group. She had no success at rebuilding her own marriage with her ex, but kept trying. People really admired her for trying to win him back for years.

But, it was all a ruse.

It finally came out that this woman and the married minster had an affair that spanned over three decades. Her leading these groups was the ultimate red-herring so that people would never think she was capable of an affair.

When the word got out, everyone was shocked. The pastor’s wife was someone people described as a “gem” and the other woman was “no one special.” Yet, the two had carried on an affair for decades right under the nose of the congregation. On the other hand, I have come across various blogs by ministers who have written about falling into similar traps with the church organist or perhaps a board member.

Once again, I just scratch my head.

As I have mentioned in other blogs, there is a particular couple that works at the same place where my husband works. I think their story sticks out in my mind because it feels so very similar to my own story, except the wife in this case is a notch above anything I could be.

The wife in that situation was and is a veritable saint. Everyone who knows her – and a lot of people know her – sing her praises. I have come across her in a group and I have also come across the OW. But, I have come across the OW several times, whereas I only got a view of the wife once.

The first time I saw the OW and before anyone knew she was an OW, I was dropping off lunch for my husband. One of the female docs wanted to catch up with me and sitting next to her was a woman filing her nails, looking bored, who looked completely out of place. She wasn’t wearing scrubs (like everyone else) and she could not hide her contemptuous boredom. Immediately I thought to myself, “Here sits a psychopath and she is either in this hospital to ruin a doctor’s marriage or she has already ruined a doctor’s marriage and it has yet to come out.” I was leaning toward the idea she had already done it and that soon the identity of the ‘poached’ would be revealed.

I told my husband about it that evening. And he asked, “how can you be so judgmental when you have not even spoken to her?”

And he got my typical response, “I can read people as if they are books. They don’t even need to talk or be in the room, I can still read them, even with a mere photo.”

I told my husband in great detail what I had “read” about this particular woman and he shook his head and said I was being too judgmental and my imagination had gotten the best of me.

When the story came out, I had gotten it correct down to the smallest detail. And my husband was once again flabbergasted because I do this all the time and I have never been wrong. I cannot explain how I do this either—I just do it.

So, I was right that this was a mistress and I was also right that this was a psychopath. The problem with psychopathic other women is that they get the husband in the situation to believe the wife is a psychopath. They are masters in the art of projecting what they are onto their victim (the wife) and making their target (the husband) believe it.

There is extensive objective data about how the wife lived her life and treated her family and others and then how the OW treated her family and others. While the wife was and is a church elder, a volunteer, and an advocate for family and humanity, the other woman is an atheist, who was married at the time and had several children, and who was specifically at work to find someone better so that she could leave her own husband in the dust. The OW apparently boasted about her ability to do this to others.

Now, fast forward and the OW actually got married to her target. As soon as she got married, she left work. (Actually, she was told to leave, but her new husband likes to tell it as if she left by choice.) Her new husband still talks out loud when he is at work about how wonderful the other woman is and how she is NOT a gold-digger. (Note: no one has asked him if she was a gold-digger or suggested it out loud.)

And in the same breath, he paints his ex-wife as some kind of evil entity who was preventing him from being truly happy. People who know the ex-wife say that his description is 100% NOT accurate.

In fact, the poor wife was surprised by this the most. He has told her all those years she made him happy, he seemed to everyone around him to be happy with his wife, they counseled people at their church together. They helped others together.

From those who know the wife, she was completely, 100% taken off-guard. To her, there was no inkling that anything was wrong. They lived their dream life, they had wonderful children, and the wife was apparently very happy. This correlates to the research that says most men in an affair are and were in very happy marriages.

The husband also left church because the OW will not allow him to practice his beliefs.

Yet, he comes to work and always talks about how bad his ex-wife was and how good the OW is and how she is not a gold-digger and how she is not using him to raise her younger children.

Really?

Why does he say that when no one asked?

Well, he is obviously continually trying to convince himself that his ex-wife is the villain here and that his new wife “saved him” from an unhappy life that was going nowhere. The OW tells everyone she is his “savior” and that she bravely stepped in and saved him from a life of misery. (Pretty soon, he will find out what true misery is since he married it.)

Most of the men at work talk about this guy behind his back. Some of them even refer to him and foolish and crazy. The other men saw what he lost and see the fact that he traded way DOWN with the other woman.

The OW is the complete opposite of the wife. The wife is one of the best and most beautiful people you could ever meet and the OW is basically a gold-digging sociopath who got a guy to fall for her because she wore nightclub clothing to work and heavy make-up instead of scrubs. How stupid can you be?

Yet, sometimes that is all it takes.

In other research, I saw that of all the men who cheat, only 13% of them said the other woman was better than the wife. That means 87% of wives are BETTER than the other woman.

Why do wayward spouses do this?

Well, back to the man I had singled out

Like Dick Devious, he obviously got swept up in emotions, especially since he was very specifically targeted. He has to continually tell himself an outrageous story about his wife to make his decision seem logical. His entire emotional survival depends on it.

One day he might just wake up, look in the mirror and say, “Brian,* you are really an idiot and you threw everything away for fool’s gold.”

That would be quite a realization and it would bring anyone with a conscience to his or her knees.  If that were to happen, the whole house of cards falls down and a person’s life falls apart.

So why do unfaithful people keep telling themselves lies about their spouses?

In essence, a wayward spouse must keep fooling himself  or herself to carry on with an affair or to continue the marriage to the affair partner.

It has nothing to do with a husband or wife’s qualities. Most betrayed spouses would never recognize themselves if they were to hear how their wayward spouse or the affair partner spoke about them.

the honeymoon phase is coming to an end

The Excuse of the Unhappy Marriage

Recently, something surprising has come to my attention. My closest female friends are like me. They are not flirts and they do not respond if someone else’s husband tries to flirt with them.

I was talking with one of them about how taken men are off-limits, no matter what the circumstance.

In response, she said, “Well, unless they are married to a real “witch” (she did not use the word witch) who makes them unhappy.”

I was frankly surprised. So, I let her know that in my experience, the number one trick or justification people use to have an affair is that they are married to a terrible person who doesn’t make them happy.

I have heard mistresses’ protest, “But, she did NOT make him happy; I make him happy and therefore WE are NOT wrong.”

I told my friend that anyone who has an affair, whether they are the wayward spouse or the lover, will tell you that the marriage was not happy and this justifies the affair. I told her about the statistic that most who cheat are in happy marriages and that almost all affair partners are several steps below the betrayed spouse.

Luckily, my friend understood what I was saying. But, she understood me because she has core moral values and I could appeal to her core moral values. It turns out she said the thing about unhappy marriages because she had never thought through the bit that people who have affairs lie.

In Summary

Humans are simply not as rational as they believe themselves to be. Almost all decisions are emotional and then logic is used to justify an emotional decision. Most people truly believe that their decisions are based on logic.

If you think about anything that seems purely logical such as putting money away for a kid’s college, it can still be linked to emotion. Why do we really pay for our kid’s college? Because we want them to have good jobs. Why do we want them to have good jobs? So, they won’t be homeless and can get married and have grandchildren. Why don’t we want them to be homeless and why do we want grandchildren? Because it breaks our hearts to see our child homeless and makes us feel like we failed as parents. Plus, if our children don’t have grandchildren, then we have not left a so-called physical/genetic legacy on this planet. And those are very emotional thoughts. But, in the forefront of our minds, we put money away for children’s college because it’s the logical thing to do.

Personally, I cannot think of one decision that we make that is truly logical. Not one. If you can think of one, I can bet there are always emotions behind it if you look deeply enough.

I believe this is one of the main reasons people can get pulled into affairs—especially since we have established most who have them are in happy marriages and most affair partners are lesser than the spouse. 

If you try to understand that through logic, you cannot. It is purely emotional and people get pulled into affairs because of overwhelming emotions.

If you look at the emotions the other woman (Poaching Patty) uses to draw someone like Dick in, these are very powerful emotions. If someone has been married long enough, their partner may not have been bringing these emotions out in the forefront of their minds.

Real life is the biggest obstacle to bringing out these emotions. That is why affairs exist in a bubble of fantasy. Affairs are not real life and no one can sustain the emotions brought out by affairs during a long-term relationship.

Finally, let’s not forget the “first use” effect of oxytocin and how I believe this explains fence sitters who are in an affair. This first use effect will cause a wayward spouse to bounce back and forth like a ping-pong ball between the betrayed spouse and the lover. (The wayward spouse could be a man or a woman since this first use effect appears to be gender neutral).

I believe this is the best explanation I have found so far for people who sit on the fence for extended periods of time. Add to that hysterical bonding between wayward spouse and betrayed spouse and fence sitting could occur for a very long time. In this case, the wayward spouse will get a heady cocktail from both the lover and the betrayed spouse. And it will be much more heady than the cocktail they get from a betrayed spouse who cuts them off sexually and moves into another bedroom or moves out. (This often, ironically, causes the wayward spouse to pursue the betrayed spouse heavily.)

None of this sounds logical, does it?

Finally, it does not matter how old you are—as long as you are on God’s green earth, affairs will be there. One time I read a bit where an 89-year-old woman was on a message board talking about the 88-year-old “whore” who was trying to steal her husband by making him casseroles. The 89-year-old woman wanted to know how to confront “the whore” so that the would-be poacher and her casseroles would go away. For those of you who speak French, that last sentence will have a double meaning since casserole is a real word in French, but also slang for private areas.

I have no solid conclusion for this blog post except that the more we have to think about in terms of affairs, affairs are not always as cut and dry as they seem. This blog post is not meant to give excuses for wayward spouses. There are no excuses. People are accountable for their choices. People are adults and have to be accountable for stepping on the road to an affair in the first place. I am merely giving some ideas that give us a glimpse into the irrational world of people who cheat. I sincerely hope that you have gotten something from this post.

Do you see any of your wayward spouses in what I have described? Do you see affairs as emotional or logical?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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

Doug and Tim share their experiences as ex-wayward spouses and answer the top 11 burning questions betrayed spouses typically have for the cheater.

 

 

Source:

Mark Turrell. Sex and the Brain. From https://markturrell.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/sex-and-the-brain-how-neuroscience-may-soon-change-all-our-relationships-6/

 

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100 Responses to The Psychology of Affairs: The Games People Play and the Lies that Bind 

  1. Tired February 27, 2018 at 7:40 am #

    The ‘first use’ theory really got me riled up too Sarah! But it explains a lot in terms of the way my husband was behaving when I found out about the affair. He truly behaved as though he hated me. It was such a shock because he has always been smitten by me. Yet all it took was a bit of flattery and ‘understanding him’ for him to start justifying his awful behaviour. Well of course she understood his work issues…she worked there too. All of a sudden I was a cruel monster and he hadn’t been happy ‘for years.’ It is funny (or not) that they all say the same things, both the cheater and the affair partner. I’m sure the internal dialogues you point out for Poaching Patty and Devious Dick would apply to most of our cheating spouses and the other person. So original, aren’t they? They sound exactly like the things I heard.

    I think I have been wrong in assuming my husband’s relationship with this woman was sudden. The actual step into a physical affair was what was sudden. If I think back she was working on him for months building up a ‘friendship’, but she only pounced when he had a major disappointment at work on top of all his other issues (none of which I caused I might add). My crime according to him was that I didn’t support him. Well when you are knee deep in debt and you go out and buy a new car shouldn’t I say something as the responsible partner? But no, it was more fun to hear how wonderful his new car was and couldn’t he just drive her to her car in it? She probably also urged him to buy it because then I would have looked bad telling him it was not a good time. She was giving him an escape, the promise of a carefree life where bills, horrible employers and career disappointments would not happen. A world where ageing people drive around in fancy, “cool” cars (that look way to young for them) with a younger girl by their side admiring and simpering about how wonderful they are. Everything would go away if he just listened to her. Her approach was insidious over a period of several months and it is all very apparent to me now. Even though I saw it, and raised it as being uncomfortable to me, I really didn’t think he would do it. I handled it badly too, by getting emotional and angry, allowing him to dismiss my concerns as me being jealous and crazy. I also I misjudged her persistence and determination, I’ll give her that.

    The real problem was within my husband himself. He was not happy with himself or his career direction. It was pretty easy for this woman who worked so closely with him to take advantage of his vulnerability for her own advantage.

    The mind is definitely not logical in the affair. My husband honestly can’t believe some of the things he said. He can’t even remember some of them. But I can tell you I will never forget.

    If it is true about the ‘first use’ theory, then I am glad I threw him out and did not contact him. I was scared to death of what would happen between them and I now know she used every trick in the book to try to ‘help’ him because his cruel wife, on top of all her other faults, had now thrown him out on the street and changed all the locks. No money to move out? No problem, I’ll lend it to you. I’ll even help you buy the furniture, I’ll even choose it for you. You’re too busy at work so I’ll just take your credit card and do this nice thing for you. Talk about trying to step into my shoes! And the way he went on about being the victim in all this, and how it was an abuse “of his basic human rights” for me to take steps to find out what was going on. Both maddening and ludicrous at the same time. I mean how do they believe these absolute whoppers they tell themselves?

    However my throwing him out threw a spanner into the works for him…it wasn’t supposed to be like that. He was supposed to go on believing I was a cruel woman and he was well rid of me. Then he could have gone off living happily ever after in his fairytale. But with me out of the picture he saw things for what they really were…and more importantly, he felt guilt and had to face the lies he told himself. It did not take him long to come crawling back.

    These things anger me even now, over 2 years later. Especially what happened in that 2 or maybe 3 week time period. I don’t know if I will ever get over it! Anyway, it helps to vent!!

    • Sarah P. February 27, 2018 at 9:11 pm #

      Hi Tired,

      Even though it seems counterintuitive, leaving a cheating H, preferably making him move out, is the best way to wake a spouse up.

      The only way the affair game can keep going is if everyone decides to play. At one point or another the betrayed spouse must withdraw their consent and that can come in many forms such as kicking out the wayward spouse, or consulting an attorney, or freezing bank accounts, or telling friends and family and having an intervention, or consulting an attorney for a post-nup. Those are only a few things. But you basically have to make the wayward spouse you are out and now the wayward spouse has to navigate real world problems with the other person. This bursts the fantasy bubble. If the betrayed spouse goes no contact for a while, the wayward spouse is forced to live the mess he or she created.

      Tell me more about the poacher in your life?

      What did it take for her to leave?

      What did she want? Did she want a promotion at work?

      Did she want to be his wife?

      With the persistence you describe I am going to guess she was a psychopath. (Remember— psychopaths never look like psychopaths.) Before Ted Bundy was caught, he did NOT look like a psychopath. In fact, he presented himself as the opposite of a psychopath to the point where people who knew him refuse to believe he murdered anyone.

      The OW you describe had the heartless persistence and lack of conscience that psychopaths possess.

      But, I saw that kind of targeting when I was in the corporate world. And the men fell for it every single time while the rest of us watched and shook our heads. What was outrageous to us the wayward spouse was blinded to. I mean think about it. There was this one time this 23-year-old who was married pretty much told us she was going to target a VP about 25 years older and that she would be our boss soon. That is how shameless this lady was — she actually announced to us women what she was going to do. A couple of us tried to talk to HR but they assumed we were making it up. And the poacher knew that and so she bragged about what she was doing. And she did it and got promoted to management within the year. After she had her job for a while she went to HR and said that that guy she seduced sexually abused her. He got fired and she got a huge promotion and an undisclosed amount of money. Yes, these are real things that me and many other coworkers have witnessed first hand.

      So tell me more about your OW. What on earth did she really want?

      Sarah

      • Tired February 27, 2018 at 10:35 pm #

        Well, where to start Sarah? The poacher was basically my husband’s right hand ‘man’ at work. They worked very closely together. I think she wanted both to be his wife AND to get a promotion, but not in the way you might think.

        He was meant to open a big money making franchise close to our home. I didn’t know this until way after the affair, but she had already offered their boss to go to the new place and work with my husband. That was probably step 1. But then there was a change of plans, the owner of the business decided not to open there. My husband was devastated because he had worked so hard and had put up with a lot of bullying and unreasonable behaviour from this man for the soul purpose of getting his own place in the end. About a week later, she suggested to my husband that he offer to open in another state because we all knew the boss wanted a clinic there…we had already discussed this a number of times and I was not willing to go because it would mean leaving my elderly parents back home. But of course she used that as her opening. I wasn’t being supportive. I should go. How selfish of me to hold him back like that when a life of opulence was waiting for him. If SHE was his wife, she would never do such a thing. And that is where it started.

        He started coming home hinting that it would be ‘easier’ to leave me for someone else. I was dumbfounded. But he wouldn’t admit why. I had a fair idea because I was already suspicious of her motives. The information he gave me made it so obvious that he was being influenced by someone else, and that is why I decided to hire a detective to find out what was going on.

        I’ve explained in my last post what happened next so I won’t repeat it in detail. I threw him out, he realised his mistake and we reconciled. But she kept on at him. I could feel there was still something wrong, although I didn’t think the affair was still going on. But I had a feeling they were in contact. Initially they still had to work together and that was hard, but then he moved to another workplace although he still worked casually at the old place. It angers me that he didn’t change his phone number and block her emails. She kept contacting him, usually with an innocent excuse to tell him something outrageous that the boss had done to get him talking. And he felt bad too because the boss told him he was going to fire her and he felt responsible. But he knew he was going to end up in the affair again if he kept it up. He said to me he knew it was a slippery slope.

        He was trying to appease her by replying to her messages but he just didn’t get that she was not going to get the message until he cut of all contact completely. Those messages I’ve seen, and he is trying to be polite but I can see how it would give her hope. He is trying to be too nice about it so as to not hurt her feelings.

        When she started to realise she was not going to get what she wanted though she started to act desperate. She would put notes on his car. She found out where his new job was and started coming to wait for him after work. That was when he realised that he had to be firm and he told her bluntly that there was going to be no more contact. He was still too nice about it in my opinion, but that is the way he is. She still kept trying to contact him for a few more weeks but eventually gave up.
        What better way of having it all than to marry the guy who is going to make a fortune? (I have to say a fortune is a great exaggeration, but with her lowly pay it would have seemed like it). She would be the wife of the clinic owner. But for her plan to work, first she had to get the annoying current wife out of the way.

        A year later she was announcing her engagement and pregnancy to someone else. She probably got pregnant to keep her claws in the guy. Well good luck to the poor sucker is all I can say…she’ll be off with half his assets when she starts getting bored and restless again and on to the next target.

        My husband is not a womaniser, not a flirt and I don’t believe any of this would have happened if it was not for her manipulation and persistence. He was weak and vulnerable. It is hard not to hate her.

        • Sarah P. February 28, 2018 at 12:33 am #

          Hi Tired,
          Does your husband work in a medical clinic and may I ask if he is an upper manager type or a medical provider? What did the OW do? Was she a secretary or so-called administrative assistant?

          There are a lot of men who suffer from nice guy syndrome and even though they do not want to hurt anyone, they will allow themselves to be led around by the nose by pushy, manipulative, and persistent women. They are so afraid of offending anyone or saying “no.” I am married to this type of guy and it’s one of the reasons I am always on guard. My husband can’t say “no” to any strong personality whether male or female. He was trained to be this way by his parents. They are extremely overbearing and would punish him if he said no.

          These spouse poachers can “smell” easy prey a mile away.

          There is nothing that disgusts me more than a person who is willing to create the most heinous emotional crimes to get what they want. If someone wants wealth, train in a field that offers a high paying job. If someone wants a guy with a great career, find a single one.

          Okay, I am going to say something really vulgar, which I don’t normally do. But, there is a Britney Spears song that I would like to dedicate to all gold diggers and female spouse poachers who only go after high income men. If they would take Britney Spears advice and “go to work” then they could get what they need through their own hard work.

          If you are easily offended, don’t open the link. It’s also not safe for work. Even though this video is extremely offensive, Britney calls it as it is and I respect that. She says what I have thought before but would never say out loud:

          https://youtu.be/pt8VYOfr8To

          Back to the OW’s. They know how to twist things to make a wife seem like a wicked witch. I cannot tell you how many times my husband’s female colleagues have said something snarky. These are almost always low-paid staff in the hospital, never the doctors. One time a female coworker said I was controlling because we have a rule where neither of us have non work related dinner alone with the opposite sex. She told my husband I was a real drag because of that and limiting him. What she was actually saying was that there are rules in our marriage that ensure he is not an easy target for people like her and that pissed her off. So she called me controlling. These OW’s will turn anything into a negative. A wife budgets? The OW will say the wife is trying to control all the money unfairly and preventing the H from having fun. The wife cooks diet food? The OW will say the wife doesn’t know how to feed a real man. The wife makes meat and potatoes and homemade rolls? The OW will say the wife is trying to give the man a heart attack. The wife is tall? The OW will say the wife is not feminine. The wife is short? The OW will call the wife a hobbit. The wife doesn’t wear makeup? The OW will ask how he can tolerate a dowdy wife. The wife wears make up? The OW will ask how he can be married to someone so vain. The wife stays at home? The OW will say the wife is a leech. The wife works? The OW will say the wife doesn’t know how to take care of him or her family. The wife is older? The OW will ask how he can sleep next to someone with a saggy body. The wife is young? The OW will say it must be hard to be married to someone immature. My point is this, any manipulative OW knows how to take any trait that the wife has (even positive traits) and put them down. Even the most perfect wife could be torn down by a manipulative OW. And this is how they slowly get into a man’s mind and cause him to see his wife in the same negative light the OW sees her in. If a man believes the OW, the wife doesn’t have a chance unless she does something radical like kick the H out of the house to cause him to wake up.

          How much younger was the OW in your situation and what did she look like?

          Did you ever speak to her?

          • Tired March 3, 2018 at 5:53 pm #

            She was mid thirties and fourteen years younger. She is a nurse and he is a doctor. She never worked for a thing in her life… she has rich parents and I suppose she thought she had to snare someone with status to impress them. It pisses me off because I have the same qualification he does and I worked very hard to get it. I come from a working class family and was the first person in the family to ever get a degree. Yet she just thought she could just come in and help herself to half of my assets. She was from a broken family so perhaps she has the daddy issues you speak of. So I agree with Britney and I am not offended at all. Her job was just a hobby for her to put her in touch with suitable marriage material. Ugh.

            Incidentally, she probably doesn’t know I have seen this but a couple of years before all this happened one of her friends tagged her in a meme that suggested she was a gold digger looking to marry a doctor. That friend of hers actually did marry a doctor and that girl’s instagram is full of pictures of her designer shoes and handbags. I don’t know how these types of women can maintain any kind of self respect.

            And yes, I did speak to her. She was rude to me behind my husband’s back and nice as pie in front of him when she was trying to lure us out to “get to know us.” So I looked like a jealous woman saying I didn’t like her.

            I also arrived at the clinic one night to meet him for dinner after the EA had been exposed and we had reconciled. She had heard he was there and had come in to ‘help’ the older nurse….all dolled up in a short skirt and plastered in make up as if she was going to go to a night club. The look on her face when I arrived was priceless. Unfortunately at that time I didn’t know about her homeware shopping and trying to take my place and I was way too civil to her. Had this happened with what I know now I would have really told her exactly what I thought of her.

            • Sarah P. March 3, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

              Hi Tired,
              Wow, I cannot imagine how angry you must have been: you are someone who had to work for every scrap of anything you got in life and reached an advanced educational credentials that most people don’t have. That took tremendous work and I cannot imagine the hours you slaved away to achieve your goals because reaching that level is difficult (to say the least).

              Then enter someone who thinks all she has to do is look like a prostitute and make herself available to a married doctor– then all she has to do it take him away.

              This is exactly what happened at my H’s workplace. The nurse who wrecked a 25 year marriage (on the doctor’s part) and a 17 year marriage on her part, did not even wear scrubs to work whenever I saw her. She wore her hair extensions, night club make-up, low cut blouses, and pants so tight anyone could see the outline of EVERYTHING. Gross, right? Obviously she was a honey trap for some men while all the women could see through it to the point where the only more obvious thing she could have done is to wear a neon sign on her head that said: “I am here to break up Dr. N’s marriage.” And even if she wore such a neon sign, Dr.N would have been so busy looking at her cleavage to see the neon sign right in front of him.

              (Note to the male readers. Not all men are jerks and not all men are as stupid as Dr. N. But, Dr. N’s actions destroyed many lives that are beyond repair.)

              Tired, back to your poacher. What is this thing about buying house ware and what all happened? How long was the EA and how long did it take for you to figure it out? What all did the OW do because she (I assume) she thought she had a slam dunk?

              Has your husband gone to counseling? Do your children know? Has this changed your level of trust in general?

              Sarah

              • Sarah P. March 3, 2018 at 10:54 pm #

                PS-

                I wanted to say something about spouse poachers in general. If you really think about it, they are a type of criminal. In seven states a betrayed spouse can sue a poacher and recover damage.

                I believe this should be the law in all states. Why?

                Well, a married couple have spent many years together raising children and building financial assets. Or maybe they don’t have children but have been building financial assets. The female poacher doesn’t really want to work hard to get to a financially secure place. So she finds a man with assets and knows that if she can break up the marriage and marry him, she now finds herself with all these assets.

                Equally unfair is when a woman decides to leave her husband at mid-life so that she can get the ultimate cash grab. Once again, a couple has spent their whole life accruing assets and they are looking forward to a retirement. But, the wife decides to leave and do a cash grab. If the couple ever had a chance at living a fairly well off life in their retirement this has now been ruined because of the asset split.

                It’s so very scary if you think about it. I do not believe in no fault divorce. I do not believe divorce should be easy. I also believe that people should still be able to sue the person who broke up their marriage. Finally, I believe that if a wayward spouse leaves a betrayed spouse, the wayward spouse should pretty much go with the clothes on his or her back. The betrayed spouse should not be punished for the life-changing mistakes and stupid decisions of another. When someone has an affair and they leave, a person gets the one-two punch. They are emotionally and financially destroyed.

                So to all the male betrayed spouses out there, I believe in Father’s Rights. I do not believe that a wife who has been unfaithful should be able to take your children and take the lion’s share of the money.

                And to all the female betrayed spouses, I do not believe that your wayward husband should have 50% of the assets. He should have MUCH less. And there should be laws that prevent a male wayward spouse from bringing your children around the person who broke up your marriage.

                Yes, I am very hardcore in my beliefs in terms of affairs and the fallout. No fault divorce has not worked. The laxity in divorce laws in most states have not worked. Removing the social stigma around affairs has not worked.

                In the end, I am on the side of the betrayed spouse, whether male of female.

                Sarah

                • TheFirstWife March 4, 2018 at 12:09 am #

                  And that is why a pre-nup or post-nup can protect you.

                  • Sarah P. March 4, 2018 at 4:38 am #

                    That is the most important thing of all when it comes to marriage- especially the post-nup because it protects the betrayed spouse from financial loss should a husband or wife decide to leave.

                    • Hopeful March 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm #

                      That is one thing I wish we had. My accountant even cautioned me. We went into our marriage young and on equal footing. If anything with his education upcoming he would be “ahead” of me at least in earning power and employability. However after we were married I ended up paying for most of his education. I never questioned any of it. Or moving where it would be best for his career/earning power. I took a back seat. We talked about all of this at length before and after being married. It was all “we are a team. What is mine is yours”. I always controlled all the money and investments. This was a hard aspect to get over. This idea that you just get child support, some maintenance and split assets is a joke to me. There is just no way to monetize what I did for him to attain his education and build his practice. Many outsiders have said he would not be where he is without me. And on top of it when you split a household it will just never be the same supporting two of everything. I often thing about the ow. I wonder did they think they would end up with him or not. He claims they never spoke of that and he never planned or wanted to leave me. However I wonder if they thought about that and thought all this could be mine. Well so interesting if we split for them to see how little would be left. I have so much documented of what he did. I never got to the point of contacting a lawyer but I screen shot and printed so much. Who knows if it would help me. But I honestly feel like if he left I should be given a part of all of his earnings forever. I am sure no court would agree to this. I still think about this at times.

              • Tired March 27, 2018 at 11:28 am #

                Sarah, buying homewares: when hubby was in a dilemma about being caught and I had thrown him out and changed the locks, little miss innocent set about ‘helping him.’ She helped him find a place to rent, He was working 6 days and had no time and so she ‘helped’ him by going out and buying furniture and homewares. She even lent him money to do it!! The naivete he showed about her was unbelievable. She was not trying to help him…she was trying to take my place. I am still shocked when I think how shamelessly she went about this behaviour not to mention how she thought she could get away with it all. He honestly behaved like he was brainwashed.

                Then when I refused to contact him and he came back home she played herself as a victim and had all the work colleagues feeling sorry for HER. It is unbelievable that people will stoop that low. It is even more unbelievable that people will be fooled by such manipulation.

                I think she sounds exactly like the woman you described who broke up that doctor’s family. I also think doctor N will soon find out just who he is dealing with and hopefully his wife will have too much sense to take him back. I sometimes wonder why I took my husband back, but he never went so far as doctor N. That would be unforgiveable.

          • Tired March 27, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

            Your descriptions of the other woman’s comments on the wife made me laugh my head off! Almost rolling on the floor. So true. I was ‘controlling’ because I didn’t want a husband with an affair partner on the side lol. I mean, how unreasonable can a wife be?! And she wanted to ‘cook’ for him because you know, I should come home after my night shift and cook a cordon bleu meal for him to take to work…even though I had been eating potato chips and coffee for my work meal, if I was lucky enough to have time for even that!

            And that other woman’s motives were exactly what you said with regards to your husband…she was annoyed because she wanted your husband to be an easy target. You were a ‘real drag because you were limiting him’…limiting his access to her. Our other woman said this kind of thing too. It is a pity that many men get blinded by the vanity thing and listen to this rubbish. As women I think we are much better at recognising the tactics that other women use.

            In answer to what did the OW look like: she was one of the funniest looking women I have ever seen. But she was very self confident and funny in a vulgar way…and I hate to admit this but she had that charisma thing. One of those ‘life of the party people’ that my husband would absolutely hate to be in a relationship with!! He is not sociable at all. She was vain, immature and silly. And she had no respect for commitment and loyalty. I suppose her risk taking was a bit exciting to him. In reality I doubt she takes any real risks…she just wanted to appear like that to him.

  2. TheFirstWife February 27, 2018 at 1:08 pm #

    And if your H made the A happen then the “poacher” theory goes out the window.

    The OW made it clear she did not want to be the OW but my H said and did everything he could to reel her in.

    And she fell for his lies. Not excusing her b/c she knew he was married.

    But I saw the email that showed where my H started this whole A. But yet he was happy to let me believe it was the OW who pursued him.

  3. Nearly Normal February 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm #

    Hi, Sarah. Good article, as usual.

    One part of it reminded me of a conversation, oh, so long ago. My best friend at the time talked to me privately about why people do things that they know they shouldn’t do, and even when they try not to, they do anyway. He did not give any specifics, but it turns out that he was wondering why he kept engaging in sexual activity with my wife.

    It is amazing how a person can act completely against their values (I guess you could call that “logic”.) when emotions and hormones are driving them. Perhaps true love is when a person is being strongly pressured by emotions and hormones, but chooses to ignore them by doing the right thing instead.

    • TheFirstWife February 27, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

      I wonder what the CS tells themself to get to the point they make the choice or decision to cheat.

      It is pure selfishness.

      And I guess they convince themselves “they deserve to be happy”. 🤔

      • Nearly Normal February 28, 2018 at 10:59 am #

        Hi TFW.

        I think that they have to completely lose their minds. However, deep down, I believe there’s a part of all of us that is vulnerable to completely losing our minds. It is very tempting to chose a quick, easy path that will lead to some kind of gratification, especially if you think you can get away with it. There’s a saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.” This is not to deny that upbringing and psychological factors have something to do with it, nor that those who give in are reprehensible for doing so.

        I used to think I would cheat because I thought I was the weak one in our marriage. Guess I was wrong about that one.

    • Sarah P. February 27, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

      Hi Nearly Normal,
      Your best friend engaged in sex with your wife and kept going back for more? Frankly, I cannot think of a worse betrayal. Normally when a betrayed spouse finds out their spouse cheated, they go and tell their best friend. But in this case the two people closest to you (aside from a person’s parents) were cheating together.

      Not to sound grim, but that would just be a little too much for me to get over. I don’t think I could.

      But here is one sliver of info— you are not alone in this. I talk to many people and read many articles and books and I also read message boards because people generally let out their true feelings on these boards. I can think of a scenario (from a message board) where the woman fell in love with her husband’s best friend. The friend had been living in a different part of the world for a while and working so the woman did not meet him until about 4 years into the marriage. The woman lost all physical attraction to her H. The woman convinced herself her h’s best friend was her soulmate. The woman did everything to seduce the friend and the friend knew he was weak so he moved overseas again. Anyhow the woman was on the message board asking for tips on how to seduce the best friend even though he moved far away. (The best friend never slept with her, much to her torment.) I don’t know who these people were, but I felt terrible for the H. With a wife like that, it would be only a matter of time before the wife found someone else and projected the soulmate ideals onto another person. Women who are generally insecure or have “daddy issues” tend to do these kinds of things. Subconsciously they are looking for the perfect father. I don’t know if your wife has daddy issues— I am just saying it’s a common motivation.

      If you ever decided to leave the marriage I would not blame you. But if you do decide to, please communicate clearly and thoroughly why you are doing so.

      Honestly, if I was ever so immature or messed up that I cheated, I would tell my husband I was letting him go and why. I would not be able to rebuild a marriage if I cheated with my H’s best friend or anyone else.

      But these words are coming from someone who would never cheat. (I know people never say never…) But, several years back my H and I went through a terrible time. I was so lonely and starved for connection — and I communicated this to my h over and over again —- and he would just get mad. That would make me lonelier and most nights I would cry myself to sleep. Meanwhile, I was working in an industry that was primarily male and there were several men who made it clear that they were waiting in the wings. Seems like the perfect storm.

      Did I have an EA or PA? No.

      I took my husband to marriage counseling. Since life is not cut and dry, counseling did not help.

      And those male coworkers were waiting in the wings.

      Finally, I moved out with my kids for about a month. I did not have an affair, talk to other men, or do anything of that sort.

      After I came back, my H was willing to listen and work on our marriage. And we have both been consciously working on it ever since.

      I think one day I will talk about that big down period in my own marriage and how I got through it. There are always alternatives to infidelity and I have always made the choice NOT to find the so-called solution in another person. Because that is not a solution at all.

      Is anyone out there surprised that I did not naturally have the perfect marriage and that my marriage had to be brought to the breaking point before it got better?

      Well, one of the main reasons I talk with confidence about the fact that I will never cheat is because I have lived it. I have been brought to an extremely low point and still found a different way to handle it.

      So this is why I know in my heart cheating is a choice.

      By the way, I do believe in your definition of love.

      What ever happened to your best friend? Did you confront him?

      Sarah

      • Nearly Normal February 28, 2018 at 10:44 am #

        No, Sarah, I did not confront him. I did not find out until he was no longer living close to us. Before he moved away, I knew that he and my wife were spending too much time together and were much too close (I did not know the phrase “emotional affair,” but I was looking at one.) There were confrontations over the emotional part, but I was ignorant of the physical part, which developed after the EA had been going for a while. Of course, I was assured that they would never betray me with a PA.

        Thanks also for the empathy. I appreciate that you stood firm even though you were going through hell. Yes, that is love. I, on the other hand, will never cheat because I know how much it hurts the other spouse.

        As for the marriage, I am committed to remaining. Some days I can forget the past. I have some lingering feelings that will probably never go away. My wife tries very hard, although she has some personality quirks that sometimes open old wounds. But she is not malicious, and she is not repeating past behaviors that led to the affair.

        Hope your days are always up.

        • Sarah P. March 1, 2018 at 12:26 am #

          Hi Nearly Normal,
          The thing that I like about your wife and the reason I think you two have a lot of hope is because your wife woke up to her actions and has been trying.

          As long as she keeps trying, I think you guys will do well.

          As for those lingering feelings, they might always be there. But life is complex and marriage is complex. You can still have a good marriage and have lingering feelings. We must look at the big picture and in this big picture your wife understands what she did and has been trying to make amends.

          It’s easy to work through it in these situations. Rather, it’s never easy, but it’s essier to work through it with a wayward spouse when they do the right thing. It’s almost impossible to work with a wayward spouse who denies even when there is proof and who in the end blames the betrayed spouse and won’t budge or be accountable under any circumstance.

          Are you able to speak with your wife about the residual feelings you have?

          Blessings,
          Sarah

          • Nearly Normal March 1, 2018 at 11:02 am #

            Sarah,

            I am not really able to talk about my feelings in any specific way. I will tell her I’m feeling depressed or something, but nothing in detail. Because of some of her actions, I resigned myself that I was on my own as far as the healing process goes. She is doing her part in other ways, as you point out.

            • Sarah P. March 1, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

              Hi Nearly Normal,
              Would you like to talk to your wife about your feelings in a way that has a productive outcome?

              If so, you can give examples of some of her common unhelpful reactions when you have shared feelings in the past. I can take a shot at why she reacts that way and perhaps give a couple of ideas on how to approach it. By the way, you are NOT the problem here. I am trying to figure out how you can say something that gets through. But that all depends on what she is telling herself because what she tells herself will cause unhelpful reactions.

              For example: what would your wife say if you said, “Honey, I know we have been over this a lot and it happened years ago, but I am having a really bad day. I still deal with the hurt of all those years ago and I really need some reassurance today. I need to know that you are here for me and so that I have faith this terrible chapter in our marriage will never happen again. Can you tell me that you are here for me and that you will always love me?”

              I have no idea if you have said such a thing.

              That’s a so-called “courageous conversation” but a necessary one. Most people have not said such things and don’t have the stomach for it.

              But if people keep at it no matter how uncomfortable it gets then eventually a couple will draw closer.

              A caveat: if someone is married to someone with borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder that kind of talk won’t work. Someone with BPD or NPD will roar: “aren’t you over this yet? What’s wrong with you? Why are you attacking me?” And then they will stomp off.

              Note that there were no attacking words that were said. There is a difference between sharing how you feel about what happened in the past and asking for reassurance verses attacking someone.

              What would your wife’s reaction be? If you can tell me, I can try to figure out how to state it in a way that will get her to listen.

              Sarah

              • Nearly Normal March 5, 2018 at 10:24 am #

                Sarah,

                Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. Partly I’ve been busy, but partly I’ve been wrestling over my answer.

                Would I like to talk to her about my feelings? Yes and no. I have had that as a goal for years. I know it would be healthier. But it has never worked well. It has ended almost every time with me being hurt, and I am reluctant to try again.

                Some examples of what goes wrong include making it about her. Several times, when I have told her about my negative feelings, she broke down and cried. At that point, nothing productive about my feelings happened. Me comforting her because I have negative feelings is a fun experience (fun meaning painful).

                Other times, she has listened to me talk about my feelings, but then done the opposite of what I wanted her to do to help me. I think this is because she thought about the situation, decided how she felt she could best help me, and then acted on that, rather than on what I actually said. This also is a very painful kind of experience.

                I am not eager to renew those kinds of conversations. With my own healing to deal with, I do not want extra pain on top of it.

                Also, the script you gave as an example is not like something I would say. My concerns are not about her repeating that chapter so much as healing what will not go away completely. I really have no idea how she would react if I said such things. I am pretty sure she would not react with a strong anger response. She genuinely wants to help. But there is a disconnect somewhere in the communication process, and more communication does not create clarity.

                I wish I had more for you to go on, and I appreciate your efforts.

                • Sarah P. March 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm #

                  Hi Nearly Normal.

                  Would you two be open to seeing a couple’s counselor who can facilitate such a situation?

                  It is still bringing you pain, but I understand that you feel talking about it will lead to another instance of her either doing the opposite of what you ask OR her crying because you have the feelings you have and then you having to ignore your pain to help her stop crying. (Or something to that extent.)

                  I am going to throw something out there and all the other women out there can call me on this one if they think I am being unfair. But here goes:

                  There are some adult women who have learned that if they do something that another person (such as their husband) doesn’t like and they are confronted about it, they can manipulate the situation by crying about it. They know that most men truly don’t know how to deal with a crying woman and that most men will automatically turn into Daddy trying to make it better by soothing the crying woman. This teaches the husband NOT to ask justified questions or make justified comments about a wife’s legitimately hurtful behavior. It is a skill I have personally seen some women turn on and off in less than two seconds as if they were merely turning off a faucet.

                  One time, in my personal life, a woman with severe borderline personality disorder (that overlaps with NPD) did something that almost caused my infant to drown. When I confronted her about it, her first reaction was to start wailing. But, I stood there unflinching and said, “I know those are fake. You can turn them off now.” And she literally turned the tears off in less than a second and she started raging and screaming at the top of her lungs. She told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and then stormed off to tell her husband I verbally attacked her. And she cried when she told her husband this.

                  Her husband actually had seen this act a million times and knew that I did not attack her– I just called her on her manipulation. I am sure the longtime readers can guess who exactly I am talking about, but I will not disclose the name. The name is not important– it is the manipulative dynamic that is important.

                  So, I am just throwing it out there that your wife might be using crying as a manipulation tactic. A caveat: your wife is from a broken family and has a lot of genuine hurt. If she cries to quiet you down, I don’t believe she does it consciously. Many very hurt women do it because being confronted about the past is hard. And they have a meltdown and cry. These are not ‘bad’ women who do it. They have no coping skills and get emotionally overloaded. But a part of them has learned that crying has the side effect of steering the conversation away from their behavior.

                  The first example I gave was someone who had BPD and NPD and because of that could never see herself as wrong. If someone tried to point out objective evidence that she was wrong, she would cycle through crying and yelling and punish the person who dared say she might have done something wrong.

                  I hear that your wife cheated and has been trying her best to make up for it. That is someone who is broken, but not someone with BPD or NPD.

                  Still, take note that many women can and do use crying specifically to take the focus off their bad behavior.

                  What do you think of everything I said?

                  Blessings,
                  Sarah

                  • Nearly Normal March 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm #

                    Hi, Sarah.

                    On the crying issue, I am sure she is not consciously trying to manipulate. She is very fragile, and some of that is guilt, as well as low self-esteem (of which we both have very scant supply). I have seen the kind of phenomenon you talk about, but not in my wife.

                    I am not ready to take her to couples counseling because of various issues that I don’t want to rehash at the moment. But I do have a long range plan. I am not giving up, by any means. We may yet get there.

                    I am not sure what her attitude would be towards counseling. If I had to guess, she would initially be for it because she wants to help me, but then not like it once it gets going because it would require her to face her past behavior. But this is just a guess.

                    Happy Lent.

                    • Sarah P. March 6, 2018 at 3:29 am #

                      Hi Nearly Normal,

                      I did not believe your wife was like the women who manipulate. I can intuit she is troubled and doesn’t have great coping skills. Crying seems to be an automatic reaction for some women when they are on stress overload or frustrated by a situation or feeling guilty or ashamed over a situation.

                      Here is a question: let’s say I had a magic wand and after I waved it, you and your wife would have a perfect marriage. In detail, what would that perfect marriage look like and what role could either of you play to create that perfect marriage? How would you feel on the inside, how would she act and speak, and what would life look like?

                      This is not a trick question by the way. This is simply a question that helps bring out exactly what you want in a marriage so that goals or actions can be used to get you closer to the marriage you would consider perfect. Of course there are no perfect marriages but if you can identify what it would look like, then you have a chance to work toward it in ways that are amenable to both of you.

                      Just throwing those questions out there because it will help you organize thoughts and figure out what would make you happy. Again, no right answers. Everyone is different and each person would have a different answer.

                      Blessings,

                      Sarah

                • Shifting Impressions March 5, 2018 at 9:25 pm #

                  Nearly Normal
                  I have been reading along regarding your discussion with Sarah about the sharing of feelings

                  My husband and I have often run into trouble in this area as well. I share my feelings rather easily and am fairly in touch with my emotions. And as is often the case my husband is the opposite. Why oh why do opposites attract???

                  Anyway, one thing I have noticed is that we run into trouble is when the person sharing the feelings has fairly specific expectations as to how their partner should react to the sharing. We have worked harder at just listening when one of us is getting some of those deeper feeling out into the open.

                  I have told my husband, that just because my reaction did not meet his expectation, it doesn’t mean he should stop sharing. Sometimes its painful to hear our spouse pour out some of their pain and anger etc. Perhaps just allow your wife to cry……and allow her to collect herself and go on. Or agree to just listen to each other and perhaps have a discussion later.

                  Not sure if any of that makes sense.

                  • Nearly Normal March 6, 2018 at 10:48 am #

                    Sarah,

                    yeah, I’m not sure what perfect would look like at all. I’m so used to thinking in terms of making this current situation (whatever it is) a little better. Maybe it is my ingrained pessimism talking, but I don’t really think in terms of perfect. It would take me a long time to even imagine that.

                    Magic wand would be nice, but I would mistrust it even if it existed.

                    Unless you actually happen to have one. If so, why you been holding out on us? 😉

                  • Nearly Normal March 6, 2018 at 10:50 am #

                    SI,

                    yes, it makes sense. I’m not sure that would work. I mistrust communication because of the pain I keep receiving. It’s hard to be patient and go on. But it might be a good thing to keep in mind next time I make an attempt

      • Nearly Normal February 28, 2018 at 11:02 am #

        Sarah,

        also, good call on the daddy issues. She had divorced parents at an early age.

        • Sarah P. March 1, 2018 at 12:28 am #

          Hi Nearly Normal,
          If her parents divorced when she was small, that explains a lot. So very sad!!

        • Hopeful March 6, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

          Nearly normal, I have been reading along too. I will say it is hard. For us we worked through the basic pain of the affairs. But what we both found was that was the tip of it all. We had a strong relationship but we had formed habits I guess you could call them or settled into behaviors as a couple. We have worked really hard over the past three years to move past the affairs but more to what we want in a marriage/relationship. I will say I pushed for this. My husband has told me he wants it too but that it is harder for him since he knows he has caused me so much pain and facing any of it brings it up for him. My husband is a mental health professional so that helps him a ton. And he has done amazing. What might be a good idea at first for you is for you to see someone. I went on my own and my therapist who was a specialist in infidelity helped me so much. Through our sessions I was able to pull my thoughts together, gain confidence to not just settle and be happy he chose me but to get more out of our marriage. Also I read a lot of books beyond infidelity focused ones. I found all the Gottman books very helpful. It took me a long time and lots of work but there was a point I told my husband I needed more. Yes I do not believe he was going to cheat or do anything like that. However as I told him now that we were past that initial pain I expected and needed more. My expectations have elevated.

          Think about it. It never hurts to go talk to someone. Maybe by getting support for you then you can make your best choice or maybe you can figure out what you do need to do. Some things I was holding on to and my therapist helped me move past those.

          • Nearly Normal March 6, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

            Thanks, Hopeful. I appreciate your thoughts and sharing your experience. I am actually thinking about a therapist and have one in mind for the near future.

            • Hopeful March 6, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

              Nearly Normal, Great. For me at least it was the most manageable option. I was taking care of me for once and in the end it helped me so much. It really was the best thing. My husband suggested it and I was resentful at the time since he said it would not be a good idea if he went. Again his issues I know more tied to his professional background. And with his level of training, education and professional experience it is shocking what he did. My therapist was blown away. But in the end he has risen to the occasion and has redeemed himself. I still am shocked each day how things are so good. It feels like a dream often or I am waiting for my husband to tell me it is a joke. I know that is my cautiousness and avoidance of being vulnerable. Thankfully he is patient and understanding that I am more reserved. He never thought we would be able to be together after what he did. It took him a long time and a lot of work and seeing me work with him to make changes. He now says that this was such a gift this second chance. He also has said that he gives it his all and will always do that since he never thought what we had was possible. Also he said it was like he started his life on dday. All of the other stuff was nonsense. At first I thought he was minimizing what he did. However now I realize he was just living this fake life. It is hard at times since I feel he took advantage of me and drug me along but I also look at the good we have now. I am not sure without kids what I would have done. But I am grateful every day.

  4. Puzzled February 28, 2018 at 10:06 am #

    TFW hit it on the head for me: at what point did our spouses look in the mirror and say “it’s ok to cheat on my husband/wife” & then “I’m going to keep doing it”.

    The mentality of the cheater must be chemically altered to a psychotic level. How can they actually look at us and say “there’s no one else”, “ILYBNILWY”, and all the other garbage they spew out? Maybe it’s simply survival mode and convincing us so that they can convince themselves that they are justified. The ironic thing for me is my wife never painted me as the “bad guy” as some have mentioned a cheating husband making his wife out to be a real “witch”. She actually told me that I’m “too nice”. Once, in the deep throws of her fog and during a disagreement, she said “why don’t you just yell at me and tell me you hate me?!”. I simply looked at her with a mix of sadness and compassion and said, “I don’t hate you. I hate what you’ve done to us. And I will never yell at you. That’s not me. No matter what you do, you won’t change who I am.”
    I realized at that point that she was pretty much gone. I didn’t change how I acted or who I was but my expectation was a divorce. I had resigned myself to that. Sadly, I think my daughters expected the same thing. They saw how she was acting and how she was behaving. And, even after I told my wife that the girls knew, she still acted the same way or worse.

    I’m not sure what makes a normally ethical, moral, sane person turn into a narcissistic, devious, selfish cheater. I’m not sure it makes any difference. The damage is done. The rebuilding continues. We can all just hope that our spouses learn and grow into a better version of the person we thought they were.

    • TheFirstWife February 28, 2018 at 11:10 am #

      Puzzled. Thank you – but I have come to the realization that we (the BS) have to stop trying to make sense of the A.

      There is no sense or logic. To the A or the CS.

      • Shifting Impressions February 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

        TFW
        You are so very right about that…..but it is so very hard to do. Even though we are making good headway and it’s been over four years, that “how could you have done that to me???” Still has a way of haunting me.

        Like you, I thought I was the weaker one in the marriage…..sadly I was wrong,

    • Shifting Impressions February 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

      Puzzled
      You are so right…..the damage is done. And slowly we pick up the pieces. The other day I dropped a glass into the sink and it shattered into pieces….as I picked up the pieces I became aware of how sharp each shard of glass was. Even the slightest sliver can cause one to bleed. The rebuilding with all those sharp edges is an excruciating process.

      I agree that we can hope that our spouses learn and grow into a better version of the person we thought they were. But at what cost…..it almost broke me, as I know it did many of you. Yet I am still standing and that is something to embrace.

    • Hopeful March 6, 2018 at 12:43 pm #

      I am not sure how moral or ethical my husband ever was. I think he cut corners wherever he could.

      Also my husband was very honest and said he knew he was making a huge mistake before the first moment he cheated on me. He said inside his head he was screaming no to himself. Then he felt like he did it once he has already sunk so low and had destroyed everything. He figured once it came out we were over. He did contemplate coming up with a we’ve grown apart excuse to leave me with no real answer to save face and be the good guy. He also thought about telling me too. I hate being in my spot but to live with making those horrible choices is a huge burden . I see it in my husband every day.

  5. Hopeful March 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    This is all hard to comprehend. As I have said before my husband said he actually had the words/thoughts go through his mind right as he was cheating “no, stop, you cannot do this, you will destroy your wife and family.” However even knowing he would take our world to the brink he did it anyways. Honestly he can only come up with it was an escape, entitlement, selfish and available. He did not seek it all but he said he realizes he lowered his boundaries and made himself more susceptible. He was never happy. And ended up hating himself for years and being miserable. He was not at midlife and was more successful than ever. It is hard to comprehend. It is upsetting to him still today that he did that without any “justifiable” reason wherever that might be.

  6. John H March 2, 2018 at 5:31 am #

    …..yet another article that (largely) paints the saintly wife and the devious other parties. Do not forget that married women /women in relationships have affairs and that not all husbands / boyfriends are WSs. As a BS, sadly, I know that all too well. The points you make may have validity, just, please acknowledge the reality of life and be fair handed.

    • TheFirstWife March 2, 2018 at 9:44 am #

      John I do try to be fair in using the term “cheating spouse” or “Affair partner”. Gender neutral b/c we know cheaters and poachers and stalkers are from both sexes.

      I think the bias is that “women cheat for a reason” which I find absurd. Or “women have an emotional connection” to the A. It seems “society” goes easier in cheating wives than cheating H.

      I think it is just a bunch of crap. A cheater is a cheater and both are equally bad and should be viewed equally in the same light.

    • Sarah P. March 2, 2018 at 10:50 pm #

      Hi John H.

      Actually, you do have a point and I try to make things as gender neutral as possible. I will be mindful and try to be better at this. I know there are so many hurting men out there and my heart goes out to every single one of you. You did not deserve to be betrayed.

      But, here is a question– are you new to these blog posts? I assume you are new because in this blog post I mention a couple at my husband’s work and how the male coworker left a “saintly wife.” I have written about that escapade in detail before and that story has been mentioned in several posts as it has unfolded. (This is different than the make believe Dick Devious and Poaching Patty, although I have seen that dynamic played out in real life many times.)The backstory about the real people at my H’s work is this: the OW was actually married to a very nice man and had several children with him. But, she had an issue with her husband in that he didn’t give her enough status. Note this woman is basically a nobody and has to get status from riding other people’s coat tails. She found a target she wanted to poach (a doctor) and even bragged to coworkers that she would do it. It took a while, but she successfully got this man to leave his wife and children for her. Anyhow, I don’t think I made it as clear in this blog post that a married women was the instigator. What she did to her husband and her children is horrible beyond words. Her children are traumatized but she seriously could care less. She got what she wanted– someone with higher status and believes her children should basically shut up and not make an issue of it. Anyhow, people who have been reading for a while will remember this story and the fact that a married woman was on the prowl and the instigator– the man was NOT the instigator. But, here is the most disgusting part. She openly tells lies about her ex-husband in an attempt to make people feel sorry for her. People who know the ex-husband know that what she says is 100% fabricated. But, she does it so that people will forget the heartless thing she did. Not only did she victimize her H, she lies constantly about him to whomever will listen.

      I have heard the story as it has unfolded and heard the backstory from numerous people. The level of utter disgustingness and the level of harm this married woman has done is more cold-hearted than most stories. This married woman was very calculated about how she poached this married man. This married female poacher has absolutely NO remorse over what she has done– that is breaking up two marriages and families. She is very proud of herself and in fact tell others that she “saved” the man she poached. And she truly believes this. I feel terrible for her ex husband and her kids. She just keeps saying the most terrible lies about her husband to paint herself as a victim when she is the perpetrator.

      So yes, married women cheat.

      There are married women out there who always have an eye out for something better. It doesn’t matter if they have a husband and five children. It doesn’t matter if she will devastate her husband and children. This kind of woman cares only about finding someone who she believes is better for her. This particular woman is cold-blooded and I feel terrible for any man who marries this type. This is the poacher I described above.

      Now, I am not saying that is the case of the wayward wives and betrayed men on this blog. I am not saying their wives have this motive.

      I am just describing what one particularly vicious married woman did and how there are others out there like that.

      On the other hand, there are wayward women who are not vicious people and they are not looking for the next best thing. A lot of wayward women are just regular women (who are perhaps lonely and insecure) and they happen to fall into an emotional connection with a man and then it may or may not lead to an EA or physical affair. If they do fall into an EA or PA, they do a terrible amount of damage to everyone.

      I hope to make this blog more friendly to betrayed men, so I will continue to be mindful of more gender neutrality.

      Many blessings,
      Sarah

  7. Rebecca March 2, 2018 at 10:05 am #

    Great article. It really helps to understand that there is no logic to an affair, I need to remind myself of this every day. It’s not about the affair person, it’s about the “feeling” they had with that person.
    My H cheated with a co-worker, it lasted 6 months and ended when I found out. They were in love (according to the AP), were making future plans together, blah, blah, blah. She was married with 2 small children. Their relationship was based on friendship, they had a lot in common. She told him she had a crush on him, our marriage wasn’t the greatest at the time, we weren’t connecting and I think she saw this and knew he was vulnerable. It makes me sick to know that he was that weak and selfish. We have reconciled, he feels horrible for what he’s done. He changed jobs (same place, different department and building), and we’re in a better place, although I’m still healing even though D-day was 20 months ago.
    I still do obsess about the AP, I’m trying not too. I truly believe that she still feels that she was the better choice, she was very angry and “so devastated” when my husband cut ties and blocked her. Unfortunately they still worked together for a few months before he was able to get out of there. Her marriage ended and as far as I know she’s still single, looking for her next victim.

    • TheFirstWife March 2, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

      Hey Rebecca. Great post and you learned something in a shorter time frame. It took me 2+ years to realize there is no logic to the A.

      And my H was in love and they were planning on being together after knowing each other less than 6 months.

      Funny thing is when I did tell him a few times “go be with her” he would not do it. He would back down. At DDay2 when I told him get out now – that was a shock to him and things changed from that point on.

      He is not the same person now.

      He tries to make amends every day.

      Just wish the cheater would wise up BEFORE they cheated.

  8. John H March 2, 2018 at 11:31 am #

    TFW: my sincere apologies if you thought I was referencing any comment you made: not at all so.
    When I wrote “another article” I meant Sarah P’s reference(s) to Dick Devious, Poaching Patty and Saintly Samantha etc. Any article can be written referencing “spouse / WS / BS” – affair partner / AP” etc…we all know what the initials mean – I know because I have done so. I am also well aware of my betrayed male spouse hyper sensitivity ! A few (homosexual) affairs apart, an affair is a two gender thing and whilst I, least of all people, would ever condone a cheating person (I know only too well the long term hurt and emotional destruction my wife’s affair has caused) sometimes when “wearing my man hat” I get offended at the seemingly constant portrayal of male partners as the “Devious” one and the female as the “Saintly” one. In the end, nearly everyone suffers from an affair.

    • TheFirstWife March 2, 2018 at 2:01 pm #

      John. I did not take it to mean anything I have posted.

      I just make an effort to try and not bash men (as an example) just because my H cheated.

      And I try to include it lump all cheaters together.

      They all stink! Lol

  9. Puzzled March 2, 2018 at 11:58 am #

    John H: I too am a BS from a wife’s affair. I haven’t seen many posts from you so thinking you’re newer to the forum. I have learned to read articles and responses with an open mind to the message. I don’t really care if the article or response speaks about cheating husbands or wives. I read it as “cheaters”. And really, if you’re a BS with a cheating husband then you will write with a slant towards cheating husbands just as we do with a cheating wife. I can honestly say that all on this site are equal in their feelings about a CS. We have all been to hell and walked through it and many have come out stronger in spite of the poor life decisions of our spouses.
    Don’t read too much into the genders that are referenced; instead, absorb the emotion and insight that many of our fellow posters provide.

    • Sarah P. March 2, 2018 at 11:01 pm #

      Thank you, Puzzled.

      I am trying to become more gender neutral because I do want betrayed men to feel at home here.

      And I freely admit I often write from the wayward male and betrayed female because it is what I lived through. I lost my home and my almost husband when it happened.

      But thank you for being understanding about absorbing the emotion and the insight provided by fellow posters.

      Still, I want to be mindful of writing more about things that men can relate to.

      In fact, if any of you fellows out there have topics you would like to see addressed, please let me know because I write this blog for all readers and I want to write things that speak to whatever someone is going through or questions they might have.

      Many blessings,
      Sarah

  10. Shopgirl March 4, 2018 at 3:17 am #

    Hello,

    I am new on here, with a bit different story than everyone else, yet what I realize is that we all have our own tragic stories to share, each slightly different from the other. I guess what I am in search of is insight as to why you all stayed and how did you move past the betrayal? I am in search of self-help tools. Do you feel that your relationship is as fulfilling as it would have been minus the affair? Are your needs being met? I am guessing they were not met during your partners affair…..and after D-day, what did you do to assure they were met and heal from this tragic, life changing occurance?

    Thanks,
    Shopgirl

    • TheFirstWife March 5, 2018 at 5:43 am #

      Hello shopgirl.

      Welcome to our group !

      Our relationship is better in some ways after my H’s A. To summarize – he had a mid life crisis (MLC) Affair. He wanted a Divorce (D).

      I finally told him I wanted out and we were finished and he had to leave due to the fact I no longer cared b/c I was done with his lying and cheating. The A ended and he begged for another chance.

      He has made an effort every day to make amends. He realized he was going to lose everything. After DDAY 2 I made sure he knew it was a privilege for him to eat dinner at the same table with me and children.

      He now communicates on a level I have not seen in years. We are more connected. We spend time together. The first 24 months after the A ended was very rocky but I could see he was trying. Even though he made mistakes I could see he was trying. And I focused on that.

      My self help was this blog and an excellent therapist.

      Also I have financially protected myself. That alleviated much of my PTSD. I had a hard time dealing with being married for 25 years (at the time of the A) and having my H walk in the door on three occasions and say he wanted a Divorce (out of the blue).

      There are some great books and counseling options.

      This blog has been a lifesaver.

      But I am living proof that the cheating spouse can turn it around. But my H was literally one second away from being on the path of no return.

      He had to decide to make that commitment to change.

  11. TryingHard March 5, 2018 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Sarah–Very informative article.

    I’m happy you pointed out the difference between being a full on NPD and those having narcissistic tendencies during an affair. Not all who have affairs are NPD, but certainly those in affairs are acting within the limits of those tendencies.

    My first appointment with a new therapist led me to believe the opposite. At my first appt as I was describing mine and my husband’s relationship she assessed him as being a narcissist and not just a narcissist a NPD. This is without having ever met him and only hearing my side. Prior to DDay I had never even heard the term so as usual I was Googling the hell out of that term. And yes he was acting very narcissistic. Only after reading and learning A LOT more about narcissists did I figure out that no my H is not NPD and given his FOO issues he was vulnerable to being groomed by NPD/cluster B/personality disordered people. This was pointed out by my second therapist. That the OW had indeed groomed him and because the OW was a disordered woman like my MIL the grooming felt very familiar to him. So weird, since he has always expressed his dislike for his own mother and being somewhat co-dependent myself I made it my job for many years to “fix” that relationship. I know, I know, I’ve since stopped that foolishness and I am def a work in progress 🙂

    Point of my comment is, the danger lies in throwing that term Narcissist around. Especially by professionals. I’ve heard therapists group many personality disorders into the term Narcissist just for ease of conversation and I get that now. However at the time I first heard the term I was devastated to think my h had this incurable personality disorder.

    The first therapist told me NPD was NOT curable!! Also at that time I was furiously insisting h get to a counselor for help. Of course he fought me the whole way which just solidified her assessment that he was NPD because we all know real Narcissists don’t ever think they are wrong, don’t ever seek counseling (unless it’s to manipulate their victim further) and often simply discard and move onto the next shiny object. I was co-dependently looking for counselors for him and offering to set up appointments. I’ve learned by experience THAT never works NEVER. If someone truly wants help they will and must do the heavy lifting to find someone to help them. No one, not a parent, a spouse, a friend can or should do that. It has got to be their idea.

    In the end it was he who suggested a MC, although at first not for such honorable reasons. But that’s a different story.

    So that’s my experience with my first introduction to the term narcissism. I’ve since read a few books, watched videos and Ted Talks and have come to learn a lot about the subject. I find it fascinating. If I weren’t so darn old I’d consider going back to school to study the psychology of it.

    Thanks Sarah for pointing out the difference between people with NPD and those who simply act narcissistically during an affair. This is a very important subject to understand since not only do people become romantically involved with people who have this disorder and if not the full disorder certainly the traits. We are in their presence daily through work, social and professional situations. It’s good to be armed with this knowledge to know how to protect yourself.

  12. TryingHard March 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    Sarah–Absolutely!!! Two women in my family. Both are borderlines/cluster B.

    I am totally amazed at how they get their ways by crying and acting like they are the victim or throwing such a loud shit fit their spouses fall all over themselves giving them their way.

    I have always been so amazed at how these nasty vile women get their way. If I acted like that my husband and every one else, would laugh in my face!!

    This is total control and manipulation as far as I am concerned.

    • Sarah P. March 5, 2018 at 4:07 pm #

      TryingHard,

      Yes, you indeed have seen and experienced the very same thing that I have seen and experienced.

      I have to admit that it is quite a sight to see an almost 70-year-old woman, standing in her bathrobe, and reverting to toddler behavior complete with the hysterical crying, throwing laundry, and fist pounding. One time this particular woman got upset and chased her husband around the house with a knife. (And in case anyone is wondering, these people do NOT live in a trailer park. Quite the opposite in fact.)

      Thankfully, I don’t have any blood relatives that act like this. Thankfully everyone on my mom and dad’s side grew up to act and behave like the adults they are. Not to say my family is perfect. No one is perfect. But, they are all successful adults with functional lives.
      (All except for one– but she got her issues from her own mom who married into the family.)

      What is the most outrageous behavior you have seen, TH?

  13. Sarah P. March 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi TryingHard,
    Thank you so much and I am glad you liked the article.

    I never got the impression that your H was a diagnosable narcissist and indeed it is bad when mental health providers are too quick to make an assumption. Everyone in the affair fog seems like they are diagnosable narcissists. But, that is the affair fog and a transient trait. After most people wake up from the fog and see the full repercussions of what they have done, they feel bad. (True narcissists never feel bad because they cannot empathize with another’s viewpoint.)

    Totally agree with everything you said and everyone needs to heed TryingHard’s warning about a betrayed spouse and counseling. That is, a part of them has to come to the idea on their own. Otherwise they won’t go. Or, if they do, they won’t be engaged or get anything from it. Like alcoholics, wayward spouses need to humbly admit they are broken people and their lives have become unmanageable and that they need help. Then they need to get themselves help and do the hard work of looking at themselves in the mirror unflinchingly. Like an alcoholic, they need to see all the proverbial scars on their face, the pallor, and the sickly look that makes them shudder.
    (Note: this is a metaphor. People probably don’t look different after an affair.)

    To continue the metaphor…prior to looking at the hard, cold truth, a wayward spouse sees their life as if it were heavily photoshopped. Everything looks great and shiny and vibrant. Is that a Toyota photoshopped into a Porsche? Check. Has the (beautiful betrayed wife) been photoshopped to look like a beast? Check. The wayward spouse looks great and their affair partner looks like their savior from the beast. But, it is just one, big illusion and ONE BIG LIE and sooner or later they will have to see what they really look like and that the OW was actually the beast– not the wife.

    Thanks for your comment! And Big Hugs to you, TryingHard,

    Sarah

  14. TryingHard March 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    OMG Sarah there are so many instances–Most recently my 88 year old MIL literally yelling and screaming at anyone who would listen how the people that ran the auction at their home they are selling, were robbing her. Actually called the police and filed a report on them. My FIL allowed it. Yelled at her daughter that she should have aborted her! Screams at her constantly and yet my SIL always goes back for more. She throws a fit and everyone jumps. She cannot and does not take no for an answer. Saying no sends her into a rage. Of course she blames my FIL and SIL in particular for every thing bad that happens to her. It goes on and on. I only go over to their home (retirement) occasionally. I don’t play mediator any more.

    • Sarah P. March 5, 2018 at 11:58 pm #

      Hello TryingHard,
      I am relieved that someone else out there (besides myself) has had extensive experience with an extremely malignant narcissist. Your MIL has a twin on the West Coast.

      Honestly, malignant narcissists baffle me to such a degree that I could spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why they are so disconnected from reality. All they do is spend their days victimizing others all while believing themselves to be the biggest victim of them all. Then to make it worse, some of their biggest supporters are the ones they victimize the most. I cannot understand why victims come back for more. If my mom told me she should have aborted me, I would never speak to her again. But then my mom is not abusive and would never say a mean thing to anyone. Ever.

      One day I will right a book about how narcissism looks in daily life. Because it’s uglier than the description in the DSM 5.

      Honestly, when I tell my friends about a particular narcissist in my life they say the stories are so outrageous they cannot even dream of such a thing. Luckily there have always been witnesses to the craziest events so that I have proof of ever needed. I also document and save the craziest events in case another family member lets their guard down and wants to let the narcissist back into our home. I will take out my journal and say “remember this? And remember that?” I honestly do not feel physically safe around the narcissist because of past physical aggression towards family members. I have a rule and I have always stuck to it. I will never touch anyone when I am angry, ever. And no one is allowed to touch me or family members in anger. Physical touch is only allowed if it’s loving.

      Did the police actually file a police report against the auctioneer?

      Sarah

  15. TryingHard March 6, 2018 at 7:55 am #

    Sarah P- No. but the police had to respond to the call. She said they were coming in without her permission. She said she never signed anything but my FIL signed. Now everyone is stealing from her. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. She’s pathological and always has been.

    It’s incredulous and frustrating. And yes when i would tell even my therapist some of the harmful things she does i think she didn’t believe me. For years prior when i would tell my family they wouldn’t believe it. She is a textbook Narc. She is all normal outside the family with people she grooms for admiration. She would give birthday gifts to people like her hairdressers children but not her own grandchildren or even her children. Before learning about Narcs i would simply get angry and stew but now i know what it is. And of course she has FOO issues. Actually many many horrifying FOO issues. And she nor my FIL sought professional help. Some of her actions now can be chalked up to old age behavior but she’s always been like this. My SIL says it’s dementia. It’s not dementia. She’s sharp as a tack. Can one be crazy and sharp as a tack at the same time? I say yes if they are Narcs

  16. TheFirstWife March 6, 2018 at 10:08 am #

    My grandmother was an alcoholic and had narc tendencies. My poor mother had a very difficult time with that as her MIL but always did the right thing.

    My grandmother was never mean to her grandchildren. Just adults.

    My MIL was a narc &/or mentally ill. Refused any contact with her only grandchildren (my children). Cut her off with no contact years before her death.

    She didn’t like many and one minute was your best friend and the next was Screaming her head off over how you said “hello” to her.

    My H did the right thing by walking away from her and her drama. No verbal abuse suffered by us at all because we had limited contact for the 15 years or so prior to the final no contact.

  17. Shopgirl March 6, 2018 at 11:42 am #

    Hello Everyone 🙂

    What about the guy who lied to you from the beginning? Someone who poured his heart out to you – took you as his wife – the whole time cheating with another woman from the day you met him? Then, after years of the one OW – he adds in another and another and another – ALL at the same time? Not just “one-night” these are relationships – birthday, Christmas present giving relationships. To share the full content would be a book. It has been 4 years now since D-day and the only reason I am here was because he refused to leave – still refuses to leave. Keeps saying he wants things to work – he loves me NOW?!?!?! ….what does that mean? He has gone to counseling and keeps professing his love (sound familiar)? Trying to read and listen to all of you who said your marriages became stronger? I feel weak – I have never felt so weak or beaten down. I have been in therapy now for 4 years – weekly. Since having a hard time letting go or moving on. STUCK :(. I guess that’s why I am here. Looking for feedback from some wonderful people who have the scars and have survived this horrific battle. All your thoughts and insights are welcomed here.

    Thanks,
    Shopgirl

    • TheFirstWife March 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

      Shopgirl. Oh my how this is awful. His behavior. His “love bombing” you. His refusal to move out.

      This reminds me of an old saying I use often. Especially When it comes to relationships I think this applies in so many cases. And that is “people want what they can’t have”.

      Maybe this is your H. Now that you don’t want him he is more desirous of you. It’s a game. I’ve seen it done (usually in high school) but for some it is the never ending conquest. Your just OK while they are with you but if the shiny new thing comes along then they are swayed by that. They keep the current relationship going but go after the new shiny toy until they get it. Then the next and next. Rinse lather repeat.

      That makes me so mad!!!

      He won’t leave. Make him if that’s what you want! It can be done with a lawyer’s help if necessary.

      There are limits and boundaries on what you can accept. It may not matter if he is Prince Charming the rest of his life to you. If you cannot accept him for his Affaird then it was a deal breaker and the M is over.

      It doesn’t matter what HE wants – what do you want???

      My M is better because I fought for what I wanted for 4 years. I made it clear what my expectations are – very few things actually. But it only works b/c my H made the choice to change and wanted our M to work. But he had to make amends every day (and still does).

      My H was a good guy for most of our M. But when he decided to cheat it became like all the other stories here on EAJ. Typical pattern.

      It may be your H has changed. But it just may be too late. And that is ok. He has to suffer the fall-out from his poor choices.

      And if that is what you want / get a lawyer and D him and move on. Be honest and tell him it cannot work.

      Maybe a counselor might help you figure out why he is still living with you. Because that seems odd. Unless you are doing it for the kids. Then it may seem like it makes sense if he is a good parent etc.

      But now it is time for you!

    • Shifting Impressions March 6, 2018 at 5:53 pm #

      Shopgirl
      You have my deepest sympathy…..that is terrible

      I agree with TFW….you need to ask yourself WHAT DO YOU WANT??? Staying with someone because they WON’T LEAVE makes no sense at all.

      We always have choice in the matter.

      Also, are all these other women still in the picture???

      • Hopeful March 6, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

        Shopgirl, I agree. I took a lot of time alone to assess what I wanted for me. I made the decision what I was willing to work through. I made it clear to my husband what my expectations/boundaries were and if those did not work for him then I was not interested in being with him. I told him i would rather be alone forever. Do you have a therapist? I think as I suggested to Nearly Normal above going to a therapist just for you can be so helpful to work through these feelings.

        • Shopgirl March 6, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

          @ Hopeful,

          I do have a therapist. I see her weekly – for the past four years. I spin a lot still. Diagnosed as PTSD. I am trying to let go of the past and focus on the future – but the triggers are so many it is very difficult. I could never imagine doing something like this to someon – I guess that is my biggest issue – why would I want to stay with someone who is capable of this? I question how I could ever feel any love for someone that has this capacity. This is why I ask you all – HOW did you find love towards them? How did you “feel” again? I know that “innocent” love is gone – and the rawness of it all is there to ever allow that “innocent” vulnerability to occur – so HOW do you allow yourself to become vulnerable again with someone who damaged you so badly?

          • Hopeful March 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

            Shopgirl, Sorry I did see you said you were seeing a therapist. Lots of us here to keep track of. From what I know with my husband being in the mental health field that typically with a therapist there is a purpose to your therapy especially if it is cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea is that there is a goal and work is being done to reach that. I know if things are not progressing then questions are asked or even another therapist should be considered. Just an idea. Maybe trying someone new could be helpful.

            I totally understand the PTSD. I am not diagnosed but I have strong physical reactions at times. It is so strong and overpowering at times. And triggers are huge.

            For us we started off by having weekly meetings. Once a week we would talk about issues related to the affairs, us, our marriage. This helped so it was not a daily focus for both of us. I did journal/write daily. This helped me see where I had been and when I felt no progress had been made I looked back and every time I saw some progress. Also these writings would help guide me to patterns of my thoughts. This helped me move along and gain more closure. And I did a lot of thinking. Not really meditation but thinking about what happened and what I wanted going forward.

            I will say I think we moved quicker than I expected since my husband had two affairs over two years and other not good behavior. I think we moved along more quickly since he had broken it off with both women 15 months before dday all on his own and with his mental health background. A lot of the healing process had been hard almost impossible to hear/face. He was basically living a very fake life he is not sure he ever wanted. He has been really honest with me and said he now feels like on dday is when his life began. Not everything has been perfect and smooth. At times it feels like a roller coaster. He has since dday been 100% transparent and authentic. I never did get all the answers to my questions since these affairs went over many years and he doesn’t even know what year one of them started. Crazy but true.

            I decided on dday I was going to commit to working as hard as I could since we have kids. I was not going to stop without a fight. I worked very hard with my therapist and was very honest with my husband what I was feeling. It was hard for him to hear it all but I felt that was critical. He did not know on dday if he could stay with me and be an actual husband. He is a huge proponent of being judged by not only his words but his actions. He believes love is a verb. He has really transformed who he is. It is shocking at times who he has become. By watching his transformation and working with my therapist I was able to keep moving forward. My husband was up front that trust would be the last thing to come from his experience. And he knows I might never trust him 100%. But it was through all of his actions that I started to let my guard down and become more vulnerable. This started really slowly and I am still cautious at times. It is like anything take small steps. I also find when I am open and honest with him it helps so much. That way I feel relief and am not on edge and he is there to support me.

            And yes that totally innocent love is gone. It is I guess a more mature love. Some how now though seeing what we have gone through together and how we are closer than ever does make me love him more now than I ever did before. And I know it is the same for him. I never thought I would say that or feel that but it is true. I could write a ton more but hate to get too long of a post. I am happy to keep answering questions. I too got stuck at times and I did a lot of thinking about why I was stuck. Keep posting, that helped me a ton too!

      • Shopgirl March 6, 2018 at 10:45 pm #

        No – as far as I know the women are gone. Although one of them keeps trying to find out information and keeps infiltrating into our circle of friends. She tried contacting him a year ago and he called her in front of me and told her that if she came near us or our friends/family – he would contact her husband himself and tell him the whole affair! She recently reached out to friends of mine – trying to find information. He did a number on her. She believed he “loved” her so much that he made up all the OW so he could secure a divorce. LOL – I dont get why ANY woman would want to marry thier affair partner. If they lied and cheated WITH you – they will lie and cheat ON you!

        • Shopgirl March 6, 2018 at 10:55 pm #

          My H wants to contact the OW husband since she yet again is attempting to gain access to him. I am on the fence – he feels that if he does not follow through on what he told her last year – she will just keep going. He wants this woman controlled (she is the one that blew his cover). I am concerned what the OW husband might do – I do not know any information regarding thier relationship. I agree that you cannot make false threats – but on the other hand, I just want this to all go away and I feel this will just stir up things more. Thoughts? Has anyone told the OW husband?

  18. TryingHard March 6, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    I agree TFW no contact with a Narc is the best way to go if you can do it. I would never, nor have I ever, told my h or my sons they couldn’t have contact. I would not want to treat her or any other family member like that. I want them to understand who and what she is, and they do, and be armed with the tools they need to have any kind of relationship with her/them (FIL included who is NOT a Narc but def a co-dependent. But we all need to figure out our own way of handling these kinds of people. I so get the NC though.

    I tried for years to “make nice” and Narcs hone in on good people and abuse them. LOL I truly believed I could “nice” her into liking me. Now that I understand what and who she is I maintain very little contact with her personally. I used to talk to her on the phone, go to lunch/shopping with her etc. all in an effort to be a good DIL. And everything I did was turned against me. I played the go between for her and my h who absolutely hated her. The day he graduated HS he moved into his own apartment to get away from her. While an adolescent and younger he spent every weekend with his grandmother, who happened to be a saint, because she was so abusive to him. Thank God for her influence in his life.

    But now I do very little. I will occasionally go over to their apartment (retirement) and of course holidays they come over, but I have no one on one contact. My h does however maintain contact but not in a loving way, more out of some kind of perceived duty. I say good for him because when she dies he will feel ok about how he treated her. I think that’s important. He will have no regrets about their relationship. She shows no love to him or anyone else. It’s always about her and her opinion and her victimization. Maintaining minimal contact with her has worked for me.

    I will actually even remind him to call her or go by. He is very good at ignoring her bad behavior and turning a conversation with her that can escalate by changing to another subject. Children of Narcs are def different people. They are almost too nice, too understanding and too willing to set the relationship bar very low. I’m also proud my sons know how to handle her and maintain some kind of relationship with her no matter how superficial it is.

  19. TheFirstWife March 6, 2018 at 11:19 pm #

    Hopeful. I understand your position on the division of $ and assets.

    Which is why I have a post nup after the last A. To protect myself in the future.

    • Hopeful March 7, 2018 at 11:38 pm #

      That is a great idea. To be honest I had not heard of a post nup. Where have I been? I need to look into that. It might make me feel better especially regarding inheritance etc.I do know where all of our money is and have total control, contact person with the investment people, contact person for the accountants etc. But this is a good idea, off to research.

  20. TheFirstWife March 7, 2018 at 6:40 am #

    Shopgirl. Many people have told the other betrayed spouse (with evidence such as emails or voice mails) and it has stopped the attempted A or contact.

    Maybe if the OW’s H knew what was going on and confronted his W then she would be accountable to him and stop the contact. Her H knowing may be the thing that stops her.

    I think your H is correct here – following through with his threat may be helpful for you as well.

  21. TheFirstWife March 7, 2018 at 7:00 am #

    Shopgirl. Regarding the question about reigniting the love and marriage.

    IMO it is a huge leap of faith and blind trust to stay M to your spouse once they cheated and lied. Logically it makes no sense.

    But here is the thing if you take a moment to think about it. There are no guarantees and you married your H on blind trust. As we all did.

    And our spouses cheated. Lied. Made poor choices. Made the worst mistake you can make in a marriage.

    FYI my H had two As and the last A he wanted a D. After 25 years.

    But he has proven he is not that person anymore. He has changed. We re-worked some things and addressed his issues. He tries hard every day to make sure I feel loved and like I am #1.

    I also did things to protect myself in the future. I have a post nup. Ironclad that if we D my $ is my $. Not marital assets.

    I don’t know how I stayed with a guy who was ready to kick me to the curb for a much younger woman. Or why. It is not logical. I know that.

    But he is not that same guy. I can see it. I feel it.

    I had PTSD for years after his A ended. And one day I decided I can live like this OR make changes and be happy.

    I chose happy. And I decided if I am not happy with him – I can D him at any time for any reason. I have options. So I live my life that this way: either you are with me or against me. And if you are against me and not on my team – then I may have to move on.

    Life is too short to spend my life being unhappy. I know if we D I would be sad. But I would not crumble or live in the past. I have a good life. I will be happy.

    Because I choose me. And happiness.

    I am the driver here – kids no longer babies and moving to the stage where we will be empty nesters at some point. I see a happy future for us. But given his past mistakes I would never say with 💯% certainty this M is forever.

    That firm foundation will never be rock solid again – but pretty darn close. But my rational side forces me to have my exit plan in place. Unfortunately.

    • Shopgirl March 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

      TheFirstWife. I did give my H a post nuptial and the attorneys are just getting a date to have us sign. He has financially ruined us and I have to protect myself moving forward, since I am still in limbo. At my age – this REALLY hurts, since I am 10 years older than my H. Btw….all the OW were my age or older – he didn’t go younger or even his own age ?!

  22. Shopgirl March 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm #

    Thank you TheFirstWife and Hopeful! Hearing what you have been through and how you are working on things does help. I feel like I am constantly thinking :(. I believe the lack of intimacy I feel towards him makes it so much worse. I know this may be a very personal question, but how did you get through the “intimate” phase without comparing yourself or thinking about your H and the OW intimate connection. I am and always have been a very sexual person – and my H always told me that I had a much stronger libido – that is why we didn’t have sex as much as I would have liked. Now I know the truth! He preferred the Affairs. I cannot compete with affairs. They are all smoke and mirrors…..and I now view him in such a negative light. This makes things very difficult :(. I feel robbed of so much and I want that with someone – I am not sure how to get that with him. If this is too personal to respond – I understand.

    Thanks,
    Shopgirl

    • Hopeful March 7, 2018 at 11:53 pm #

      I am so sorry for the financial difficulties. I know many things besides the affair can add to the recovery. And financial issues have to rank up there. I was concerned about the financial situation regarding the affairs. Luckily all those years I had complete control of everything. I was a private detective for that first year and did not uncover anything. The only stuff could have been drinks maybe but nothing else. I would say more money was wasted on the guys and guys trips.

      We had the hysterical bonding phase that was crazy. For me I think it was an emotional outlet and also me validating that he was choosing me. I am sure it might have been overwhelming for him even. We always had a healthy sex life. I will say that a difference in desire is one of the most normal things any couple deals with. However you throw in affairs and betrayal then it makes it even more challenging. For anyone I think intimacy comes from being safe with someone. For me once the hysterical bonding phase faded then it was about starting to build trust. I also needed to feel my husband was making changes and doing the work to be in this marriage and to be a honest and transparent individual. I know it is a basic book but we saw the one man play of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. This was insightful and the play made it more approachable than reading a book for both of us. It really highlighted how we differ and the efforts that are needed. The whole idea of sex does not start for women when the climb into bed. It starts in the am when your husband kisses you awake and says they love you, when they do the dishes, offer to fill up your car with gas… all those little things. And for me at least those were more important than ever. During the “affair years” I was very independent and on my own. I am naturally that way but now I see he was detached at least for periods of time since both his affairs were sporadic. Have you read any books? I love all the Gottman books, also the article in The Atlantic Masters of Love by Gottman is excellent. My husband brought home this article and it started so much discussion. Gottman talks about making bids towards your partner and turning towards them. For me really being intimate and feeling okay about it stems from working through all the pain, betrayal and lies. Both the ow were younger than me. Nothing amazing, totally trashy, but I am sure potentially more adventurous than me in bed. I really have no idea. But in the end I told him I am who I am and I refuse to change for anyone including him. I will not compare myself to them. I told him if he wants to then he can leave me. Honestly there will always be someone else if he wants it and I am not going to compete with others. Sure I get insecure at times still. Also another thing at least for my husband is he was not in love and did not want to be with them. The way he describes his time with them was as if he was using them, it could have been any woman and really just a real life version of porn. Not great at all and a poor reflection on him but not on me.

      So I would think about why there is a lack of intimacy. Is it really due to his connection with the ow. My husband said while he was in it that it was an escape and since he did it once he felt like he ruined us. I had in my mind it was amazing and he said it was not. Probably a quick thrill but it ended there and he was depressed and miserable for over 10 years. And same as above by seeing how he lives his life now it makes me want to be with him both in company and intimacy wise. It has taken us a while to get to this point but intimacy wise we are closer than ever too.

      • Shopgirl March 12, 2018 at 10:15 am #

        As far as intimacy goes…..It is good to see that you were able to get that back :). I have always been a very sexual person, which is why I was so understandably upset. I was NEVER unavailable to him – actually it was the opposite. I question how anyone who sexually gets off cheating can ever have a normal monogamous relationship. My husband was a cheater and had been cheating his whole adult life. I feel like its part of who he is sexually. I know its not my fault. He obviously has issues. I just do not know how staying married is going to fix his sexual issues. I cannot compete with affairs. I cannot fill the need of whatever it is they get out of this altered sense of reality. Not sure how someone can live thier whole adult life this way and not feel a loss or bored with relationship sex. UGH. This is the issue.
        Thoughts?

        Thanks,
        Shopgirl

        • Sarah P. March 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm #

          Hello ShopGirl,

          I have been following the thread and refrained from commenting until I was absolutely, 100%, undeniably sure about my first impression. My first impression was correct.

          So there are two words that sum up all of your problems and your entire relationship with him. I was wondering if anyone would spot this. Here are the two words:

          Sex addict

          Yes, sex addiction is real although some in the community (male psychologists) want to dispute its existence. Sex addiction was always in the DSM, but I am not sure if they finally included it in the most recent edition or not. There was a strong debate over whether it was a “real” phenomenon.

          It seems to me you have had the unfortunate experience of being married to a sex addict for many years– a very smart sex addict who probably has another issue such as narcissistic personality disorder.

          With any addiction, the addiction comes first even though the addict will go to the ends of the earth to convince you otherwise.

          What does your H’s therapist say about this?

          Finally, I wanted to say how sorry I am. But, this is one of those situations where you must save yourself. Please, please, please save yourself. This man will bring you to your knees and I don’t want another woman (you) in this world to experience it.

          My heart goes out to you and I send you my blessings,

          Sarah

  23. TheFirstWife March 7, 2018 at 11:25 pm #

    shopgirl.

    Sorry you are battling so many fronts. The financial devastation must be difficult to face. Are the financial issues related to the As or something else?

    If they are related to the As that explains a bit more of what you are dealing with. It’s not just the As – it is more than that.

    That may explain more if the situation surrounding your M.

    • Shopgirl March 12, 2018 at 10:03 am #

      The financial piece is all related to his A’s. I trusted him wholeheartedly so I never thought of questioning him. I was working 2-3 jobs throughout our marriage to help support his career changes. He was “handling” the financial end. He also was working “two” jobs – obviously the second job was not as often as he said – he used that job as his “get away”. I paid for everything and he was suppose to be saving for our retirement/vacations, etc. Our lives were busy with aging parents, kids in college, moving. Etc…. We really didn’t have any vacation time – so I never looked into touching our “savings”. I only really remember one time when I asked him about taking some money for a vacation and he said we didn’t have enough for vacation since he had some expense car repairs. I also didn’t know about the numerous credit cards he had opened (guess its expensive to maintain 4 girlfriends on the side). So – this all makes everything for me difficult, because I had not been putting any of my earnings into a retirement plan, since we needed to live on my income….so our retirement plan was his pension, retirement and our savings. UGH! So – here I am yet almost four years later and still unhappy. I cant remember when I was actually ever happy with this guy. During our marriage (prior to Dday). I could overlook the struggles and kept trying to find happiness in the marriage because I thought he was a GOOD man. If I had ANY idea what a horrible person he was – I would have left YEARS ago! He says he has changed and wants things to work NOW. (I hate that word NOW). Why is it that all cheaters want things to work “now” ….why didn’t ya think about that PRIOR? Cheating isn’t a random act – it is well planned out and thought through. The problem is – the spouse is NOT included in the “planning” and they DEFINATELY do NOT think of the spouse :(. I really appreciate all your responses. It is nice To hear from everyone who has dealt with this in thier lives. My friends are not very helpful or supportive, they really do not understand what this feels like – I do not believe anyone can until they have gone through this themselves. I remember when my father died – you try to explain the loss you feel – even my best friends would sympathize with you, but never really knowing HOW that felt…..only when they encountered that kind of loss themselves did I hear “so this is how that felt”. This is one of those times, no one can really understand until they are in it themselves – which I hope never occurs for anyone! Please keep your comments coming – I cannot tell you how much they help 🙂

      Thanks,
      Shopgirl

  24. TheFirstWife March 12, 2018 at 11:19 am #

    Shopgirl.

    He has cheated his ENTIRE ADULT LIFE!?

    why bother to get married is the 1st questing that comes to mind.

    That is a different set of facts to face.

    Does he believe he wants to be monogamous now? What are his actions?

    • Shopgirl March 12, 2018 at 11:42 am #

      To start off – I guess I should let you know we have been together for 22 years.

      Yes – when I met him he had been dating someone for over 7 years, which he told me he was miserable and has been trying to break up with her (probably the same script he used on these OW)……..what I didn’t know was that he was already sleeping/cheating on her with a co-worker of mine that was married. We started to hang out as friends with other friends/co-workers and I started to know him better – that is when he started to pursue me – he made it sound as if he had already broken up with his girlfriend – so I went on a few dates w/him (no sex yet) after about 5 months of “seeing him” and him not breaking up with his “so called miserable girlfriend”, I called him out on his cheating behavior and broke it off – I made it very clear that I wanted nothing to do with a guy who lies and cheats!!!! About a week later he came over crying telling me he broke up with his girlfriend and that he loved me and wanted to be in a one on one monogamous relationship with me. He knew about my first marriage and the difficulties of being a single Mother of two – so I thought he was genuine in caring enough about me that he would never intentially hurt me. We talked a lot about that and I agreed to date him solely OBV not knowing that he was sleeping with my married co-worker. Also, FYI – this guy is 10 years younger than me AND the other woman. We dated for four years and got married. This whole time the OW was in the picture…..after about 11 years he added in #2 then 6 months later #3 then a year later #4 and was working on two other women (I use women – because all these women were 10-15 years older than him) when he was caught. Now his world has crashed down on him and he is begging to stay. He has gone to his own therapy and will do whatever I ask to stay married. I am just not sure what his intentions for staying are. He is either maniacal or extremely broken. Everyone who knew us or my H would never have thought this of him. He appeared to be one of the nicest guys you could imagine…..but then again, so was Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey. So – that is the short of it – OBV there are many many many more details and horrific events that have unfolded and been outed. I am sure there are secrets that will remain that he will take to his grave – and I really do not need to know anymore than I already do…..this alone has been a NIGHTMARE! I hope this gives a little more insight. So – jury – Maniacal or Broken????

      Thanks,
      Shopgirl

      • Shifting Impressions March 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

        Shopgirl
        This really is a nightmare. Is he broken or maniacal??? I don’t know the answer to that one…..a professional therapist should be making that diagnosis.

        At this point, you probably don’t realize it but, you hold all the cards. You have more power than you realize. WHAT DO YOU WANT???? Turn your focus on you and your needs. Get help for you.

        When someone shows you who they are……YOU SHOULD BELIEVE THEM!!! Your husband has shown you years of lying and betrayal. My gut says….run, run for your life. What does yours tell you???

        It sounds like your husband is so mired in his lies that he is probably not capable of sorting the truth from his lies. He needs professional help!!! I would imagine it would take years to sort him out….if ever.

        Is that what you want for your life??? Please put yourself and your children first. Get help just for you.

  25. TheFirstWife March 12, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

    Shopgirl. I just read the other posts.

    22 years married. Serial cheater (that you were unaware of) before you married as well as after.

    Financial issues b/c he had credit cards he used to finance his “other” lifestyle.

    And he knew you were married before and a single mom and yet he chose to behave in this manner. So he has basically financially bankrupted you and emotionally devastated you as well.

    Those are the facts without any emotion.

    The only question you can answer for yourself? Are you better off with him or without him? By “better” I mean happy. Fulfilled. Loved. Appreciated. Willing to put in 💯% as is he to restore the M.

    It appears you are in the fence about being in love with him. Rightfully so. You appear (from what I have read) that you are trying very hard to keep the M together but you know it is a daily struggle for you.

    If you can get past the anger and hurt and rage you have – that is a big hurdle to overcome.

    But that doesn’t address the question of whether you still are in love with him. You “love” him in a way that you don’t want to be mean or vindictive. BUT that doesn’t mean you are passionately in love 😍- or that you can get those feelings back. Two different feelings – very challenging.

    I think you have done everything – counseling, time, etc. but it is hard to face up to the reality of “I need to Divorce him!” That hype of decision is hard. Very hard.

    My therapist told me this (as my D was going to happen any second). To have a “successful – no regrets” D you have to walk away feeling you have done your best and given it 💯% but just could not make it work.

    Maybe that is where you are. You don’t need anyone’s Approval to decide to D except your own.

    I find it interesting how the CS always swears up and down they want the M to work. Well then why the hell does the CS cheat in the first place? Is that their way of “fixing” the M? no it is their way of “fixing” their issues.

    By being selfish. And being a coward. By not looking to address their issues. Or FACE the fact they have issues!

    Still SMH.

    Shopgirl – I cannot give you answers b/c only you know how you feel. But you don’t need “permission” or a “reason” to leave this M. Do not let him guilt you into reconciling or staying.

    As much as I love my H – when DDAY2 rolled around it was difficult. I had a family member fighting for their life in the hospital (unfortunately the relative passed after being ill for a few weeks) and the passing was 4 days after DDay2.

    At DDay2 I decided it was him or me – and I finally realize I had nothing left to give him and I was not sticking around another second waiting for him to decide. So I calmly told him I was D him. I knew I would have to tell my children and it would break my heart but there was nothing left for me to give.

    I chose me!!!

    Long story short he finally stopped playing around and fence sitting and treating me like a yo-yo and has tried hard every day. Not always successfully. But he made an effort. I have no good reason to have given him another chance. Maybe b/c of the death and I was emotionally raw.

    But somehow – some way – he turned it around.

    Think about what your heart really feels.

    • Shopgirl March 12, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

      So you stayed even after Dday#2? I think that is really great that you were a lad to fall “in love” with him again. How long has it been for you? How long did it take you to achieve this transformation? My heart is still numb – there are times I feel like I could love him again and then there are times that I look at him and feel nothing – just nothing. Then there are the times where I want to punch him in the face – LOL. UGH – I wish I liked women 😉

    • Shopgirl March 12, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

      So you stayed even after Dday#2? I think that is really great that you were able to fall “in love” with him again. How long has it been for you? How long did it take you to achieve this transformation? My heart is still numb – there are times I feel like I could love him again and then there are times that I look at him and feel nothing – just nothing. Then there are the times where I want to punch him in the face – LOL. UGH 🙁

  26. Hopeful March 12, 2018 at 6:15 pm #

    Shopgirl, I think the others left excellent comments. In the end you have to decide if you want to stay or need to move on. Neither decision is easy and only you know what is right for you. For me personally I felt I had to do everything 100%. And I had very specific boundaries and expectations of my husband. And I hate it all too but at a certain point I felt it was time to move forward and focus on what he was doing in the present vs the past. This was not easy because we had been together a long time and had very detailed discussions where he lied to my face for years. We were really close through all of this and same here no one would have guessed. He is and i think anyone who does this is flawed on various levels. My therapist and I talked often about this and at a certain point suggested based on what my husband was doing that I needed to move forward. This was not let’s forget but it was let’s move forward and the fact that my husband cannot go back and change his past no matter how bad he wants to. So my therapist said I needed to move forward for me and let go some for me. Otherwise it would be time to consider separation and/or divorce.

    My husband did a lot of work but I am glad we moved forward. It is not always easy and he knows and understands what I expect and he honestly has higher expectations of himself than I do. I even gave him some extra space per my therapist so he could prove himself which he did.

    I also think until you get all of these feelings sorted out intimacy will feel as if it is a challenge. I would suggest figuring out what you need. Set very specific expectations. Some people will never change but some do. It is up to you what you want to have in your life.

    • Shopgirl March 13, 2018 at 10:05 am #

      Hopeful, How did you give your H extra space? How did he prove himself? I think that is a large part of my issue. I feel that even though my H is trying, it feels like the same old marriage, just with him being nicer. I am not sure what is needed, but “same” doesn’t feel good – just triggers the past – the M cannot stay the same, it needs to evolve. Right now it feels like it did before – just with cherries on top…..which just feels like the marriage minus the A’s. I think this is where I am stuck. Would love to hear what your H did 🙂

      Thanks,
      Shopgirl

  27. TheFirstWife March 12, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    Shopgirl. Yes I did stay after DDay2 and this being his second EA. Hard to believe right? Shocked even me.

    But one of the reasons was that my family all intervened on his behalf and said to try and see if we could work it out.

    He was a good guy. He just made some poor choices and big mistakes during that year.

    But the first year was very rocky and I did almost walk out a few times when I would become just frustrated.

    But we have a really good M now. Things have improved in some areas. I still love him very much. We survived the storm.

    But there are no more chances. He knows that.

    God blessed us to give us the faith and commitment and ability to do the work needed to keep us together. Truly a miracle.

    Because he asked for a D many many times. But would always change his mind the next day. He was so out of character it was scary. I actually thought maybe he was on drugs he was acting so irrationally- believe it or not.

    But if I did D him I knew I gave it all I had and did my best. I had a clear conscience as hurtful as it would have been.

    And I would have felt he left me no choice.

    Follow your heart. Life is too short to spend your time in an unhappy marriage – especially when he caused all of it. But only you know how you feel. And sometimes it is just too late, unfortunately, to make amends or turn things around. 😢

  28. Laurie March 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

    The question I have not seen anywhere about affairs is this: What do you do if both spouses have had affairs and one of the spouses has had multiple affairs and may still be in an affair. And what if that partner says to the other (who has fully confessed) that he/she should get over it and that nothing is going on or has gone on for “years”?

  29. Laurie March 12, 2018 at 10:38 pm #

    Also what if the first spouse says the other spouse who is the “one who will not get over it,” is also according to the other spouse, “crazy” and needs to not ask any more questions and just “let it go” or “move-on” and “give me space.”? What do you do? How do you move on and how do you save your marriage and family?

    • Shopgirl March 13, 2018 at 9:53 am #

      Laurie,

      Have you been to counseling?

      Shopgirl

  30. Shopgirl March 13, 2018 at 2:15 am #

    Hello 🙂

    I read over and over again and the common theme is that you all stayed and wanted to give 100%. Isn’t that what you gave throughout your marriage? I gave 150% – only to receive so little. I think the tables have turned – since now I almost refuse to give. That is not a good place to be in a marriage. I do not want to play a victim – nor do I want to persecute……how horrible that would be for us both. I guess I am trying to find each little % to add up to as close to 100% to try and give again. It’s exhausting! I am not sure what everyone’s ages are on here or at what age/stage this all occurred in your marriage. I am in my 50’s and as much as I could move on – the thought of being alone (even happier) is more scarier than it was when I was 21 with a 9mo. Old and a two year old – divorced! I ask myself constantly – what happened to ME? I think it is all the years within this relationship that has decreased my own self worth that I am willing to settle for ANYTHING – guess its better than nothing right? isn’t that what the OW settled for? I was played the same way – manipulated and brainwashed for YEARS! Sometimes I get so scared that staying is actually worse than being alone – because WHO is this person that I have been sleeping next to???? Scarey to think that you know someone so well when actually you dont know them at all. 🙁 I used to think I was such a good judge of character……now I ask myself…..when a tornadoe hits on a sunny beautiful day – how do you ever predict its coming? That is the feeling I live with daily. I am not sure if that would go away being alone or being in another relationship – I think the trauma takes time – so I just keep living day to day. I do want to say that I am very grateful for having stumbled onto this blog! Thank you all for your support 🙂

    Thanks,
    Shopgirl

    • Shifting Impressions March 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

      Shopgirl
      One of your key words here is TRAUMA. You have been traumatized. There is a good chance that staying is worse than being alone.

      Yes, many of us here stayed with our partners. There are many reasons for that. For me the good outweighed the bad. In my case two emotional affairs about fifteen years apart. The first lasted 8 months and the second a about a year and three months. I discovered the latter first and found out about the earlier one about a year after the first d-day.

      I am almost sixty-five and yes the thought of being alone is scary for me as well, but losing my self-respect is far worse than being alone.

      The last few years have been extremely difficult…..but the good and honest years of our marriage kept me going.

      There has been deception and dishonesty on your husband’s part since the beginning. I doubt he can change without some serious and I mean serious help.

      Please I entreat you to get the help you need sorting this through. The giving of hundred percent seems completely irrelevant at this stage of the game. At this point in time, I believe it’s about survival of your very being. You gave one hundred percent and he destroyed you.

      I know I am coming on rather strong….what I would really like to do is give you a hug and pull you out of there to safety. Please please don’t take any of the blame for this situation. Please get help.

  31. TheFirstWife March 13, 2018 at 5:39 am #

    Laurie. That is a very complicated situation you are in. I’m sorry you have ended up in this quagmire.

    “get over it” is a way to get the cheating spouse to avoid the issue and seeep it under the rug.

    My H did that during his first EA. Then he cheated a second find b/c he basically got away with it the first time.

    He refused to admit he had an EA or anything was going on. Stonewall and gaslight at its best.

    I would suggest not to allow it.

  32. TheFirstWife March 13, 2018 at 9:09 am #

    Laurie. I think that if both parties in the M have made a commitment to the M it is possible to overcome the obstacles.

    I think many of us here have proven that. We overcame the Affair(s) and lying and worked through the issues.

    When I was ready to give up on my M (due to the fact I was the only one working on “us”) my counselor used to say that if both parties want the relationship to work and commit 💯% then the M can be saved.

    But then again there are times that things just cannot be salvaged due to the damage and pain.

    But it is possible to survive infidelity and come out with a better M. I am one of the lucky and fortunate ones.

    • Shopgirl March 13, 2018 at 9:58 am #

      One thing I heard that I think about – just not practicing – YET…..is “a marriage is not 50/50 rather, it is 100/100.” You each need to give 100% into the M. OBV, my H never gave 100%, and I gave 150%. And NOW my H is giving 150% and I am not – but I am trying.

  33. TryingHard March 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Shopgirl–yes I’m a woman of that age too. Yes the thought of being alone is pretty scary. But not as scary as other scenarios.

    No one here or anywhere else can tell anyone what to do. We may get an idea of what you are going through by what you have told us but we really don’t know you or what your life is like.

    All we can do is share our experiences and how every worked or didn’t work for us.

    The one piece of advice I hope you can take away from all the people who have commented is to take care of yourself first. Figure out your needs and wants first and foremost. I
    learned not to give too much time to sorting out my disordered husband and to sort out my disorders first. I also learned to go much easier on myself and truly know I did nothing to deserve this, I didn’t ask for it, I was loving and trusting and a good wife. His poor coping skills are all on him.

    My job was to figure out if or could I continue with the relationship knowing what I knew. I tried very hard not to paint a rosy picture or gloss over his many very poor choices. And not just one. He made them over and over and over again. I also learned to put my own pride and ego aside and maybe that’s when I started to realize I was forgiving him.

    It’s all hard Shopgirl and my heart breaks for all who are struggling with infidelity. Our numbers seem to be growing 🙁

    • Shopgirl March 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

      TryingHard. So, you worked through your H infidelity? I know my pride is definately damaged. It is humiliation at its best. All the people that know for SOOOO long behind your back :(. My ego – I think I am rebuilding that….my H crushed me. There is nothing special about “us”. I think I romanticize what “could have been” or “could be”? The problem is – the “could be” is with the person that hurt me the most. Who wants that? I do believe that I need to work on myself, since I lost myself years ago trying to gain the attention of my H. I need to rebuild and gain confidence in myself. I think if I can learn to let my pride go – maybe I can find some forgiveness? I think forgiving is more about me than my H – forgiving frees me! Just easier said than done. I am not sure if it is wise to “have dinner with the devil you know, or dinner with the devil you dont know”. I do know that my H has been dissected like a bug. He was going to therapy for 3 years and the therapist feels he has a good grasp on what was broken in him that would cause him to behave so badly. His therapist feels that we should now be in marriage counseling. I think that might be appropriate – at least to see if this is the kind of marriage I want. Affairs aside – I think I was never really happy – maybe that is because of the disconnect from him from day one in addition to the adding of more OW – or maybe it is just that my H is incapable of fulfilling my needs or possibly the needs of anyone within a real relationship. We have been this far – I will continue for a bit longer to see where marriage counseling takes us. There are still so many hurdles to jump – not sure if the bridge to the other side is gone – or if it is just barely strong enough to get me there. ?

      Shopgirl 🙁

  34. Hopeful March 14, 2018 at 12:19 am #

    Shopgirl – it is all horrible for us I believe no matter whether you stay or leave. Neither path is easy. When dday happened i did want to give it my all but i also knew i wanted to give it time. Almost a cooling off period. I knew if I made a decision early on I could regret it. There was no big hurry since we had been together for 20+ years. I took a lot of time for me and worked through the pain. That was a long process with lots of ups and downs. I was just getting through it. My husband also had to go through the process and even now three years later i think he is more affected. I worked with my therapist to set boundaries and expectations. A lot of this was made easier due to my husband knowing so much from his career. Also he had broken up with both ow 15 months before dday all on his own. So that helped a lot too.

    And honestly we were not able to move on until I accepted what went on. And not forgetting or anything like that but getting to the point where I could move forward. I was able to consider this due to the work my husband did and the changes he made. My therapist was surprised by his transformation. He really did change so much. But it was with weekly discussions, daily effort and work. And I was very direct with what I needed and wanted. I also went through feeling like things were too similar to before since my husband had sporadic affairs he was not checked out or caught up in it all the time during the affair years. And when we were busy and moved further away from dday then I felt like it was old times in a bad way. So we addressed that. And yes our marriage is very different now. I do think for us at least a big chunk of time was focused on affair recovery but more has been spent on our marriage, relationship and communication. I think if you are still seeing your therapist I would say you need to set up a plan and work through these issues. Going to therapy with little progress or direction is frustrating. I understand it is scary to think about being on your own but if you work through it with the support of a therapist you can create the life you want and deserve with or without your husband.

    I will never forget the session with my therapist and i was rehashing something. Now I do not even remember what. But my therapist asked me if my husband was still doing whatever it was. I told my therapist no and in reply my therapist said we need to understand if and why t is still bothering me. My therapist said that if there are major roadblocks that do not go away then at a certain point it might make sense to more on. Even if the wayward is sticking around. It is just not a quality life.

  35. Shopgirl March 16, 2018 at 10:33 am #

    Hopeful. What were some of the changes your H made? What was is that you needed to see from him? You mentioned that the further away from Dday – the relationship seemed back to “normal” in a bad way. I completely understand that!!!! HOW did you or your H make those changes?

    Shopgirl

  36. TheFirstWife March 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

    Shopgirl. We are 5 years out.

    My H has not returned to the “pre A guy” in a negative way. The positive changes he made are here to stay. There is no backsliding at all. Or none that I can see – because he realized his mistakes.

    And the changes he made in terms of communication and accountability are still a major part of him. He makes sure I feel I am the most important thing to him – maybe not every day but a large large percentage of time he does.

    Lucky me!

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