Watching some television shows, like “Scandal” can be dangerous for your affair recovery.

your affair recoveryBy Doug

For the last two years during the cold, snowy  winter months here in the Midwest, Linda and I have spent a good deal of time at night parked on our asses in front of the TV and a roaring fire.

We have developed an addiction that involves Netflix and hours and hours of binge watching.

It began two years ago with “24.” I think we watched every episode of every season over the course of a few weeks. The writers of that show were masters of the cliffhanger which kept us coming back for more.  It was exhausting.

Then last year it was “Dexter” and  then “Orange is the New Black.” This winter, it’s been “Scandal.”

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Now, we had heard of “Scandal” but never watched an episode before a week ago. In fact, we really didn’t even know what the show was about.

On the recommendation of one of Linda’s teacher friends we thought we’d give it a go. It’s pretty good. It’s entertaining. But in my opinion, it’s certainly not great.

Anyways, I’m not going to spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched it, but a major theme of the show is the main character, Olivia Pope’s intense affair with the (married) President of the United States.

See also  31 Survivors Share Their Lessons Learned, Mistakes Made and Affair Advice

The show apparently sparks much debate on the subject of infidelity as “Scandal” and its creators have taken some criticism for making adultery acceptable.

Also, there has been some back and forth between the show’s fans, who on one hand detest cheating and cheaters, but on the other, think that the relationship between the President and Olivia is wonderful and they should be together.

But critiquing the show is not what this post is about. It’s about the fact that infidelity is so prevalent in the show (and in many other TV shows, movies and the media) and it’s so romanticized that any person who is struggling to recover from infidelity will certainly suffer if they bother to watch.

My advice is to stay away from it if you feel you might be triggered.

Discussion – Dealing with Triggers and Memories of the Affair

Linda, who is hooked on the show by the way, asked me if I had a hard time watching it and if it brought back fond memories of my EA and of the OW. Honestly, it does bring back memories – bad ones. They’re not memories of how great the affair was or anything like that. Rather, it reminded me of what a selfish douche I was, because that is how the Presidential character acts, in my opinion.

In fact, (spoiler alert here) as I write this, the last episode we watched ended with the President getting shot in an assassination attempt. To be honest, I hope he dies so I don’t have to watch any more episodes that focus on their affair.  I have a feeling that won’t be the case though.

See also  Even a Good Thing Can Be an Affair Trigger

We’re not typically fans of shows like “Scandal,” but I’ve read that there are others that seem to have infidelity as the main theme. “The Good Wife” and “Betrayal” seem to be two such examples. I’ve never seen them, so if I’m wrong here, feel free to set me straight.

One of our readers once commented, “Infidelity is EVERYWHERE, but perhaps TV is where it reigns supreme.” I would agree with that and I think that if you are recovering from infidelity and enjoy a good movie or TV show, make sure that you check out what it’s about so you don’t have a massive trigger. Hit up a movie review site like Rotten Tomatoes  before you watch.

If you mistakenly end up watching a show that eventually triggers you, turn it off, or simply exit the room or movie theater. Then have a discussion with your spouse as to why the show/movie bothered you.

Now, as part of this post I was hoping for a discussion from you guys. Please consider the following questions and respond in the comment section…

Do movies/TV shows that involve infidelity or are “true” love themed cause you to trigger?

If you find yourself suddenly triggered by such a show, how do you handle it?

Have you ever been able to take that trigger and turn it into something positive – like a meaningful discussion with your spouse, for example?

What are some movies and TV shows that those who are trying to recover might want to avoid? (feel free to make a list)


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    45 replies to "TV Can be Hazardous to Your Affair Recovery"

    • Tryinghard

      I don’t think I could watch the Showtime series The Affair and some shows will trigger me. I know my H squirms during infidelity on movies and TV. Actually it can be a good vehicle for a conversation.

      You can’t avoid it. Whether it was Clinton and Monica lewinsky investigation the news last week or General Petraeus last week it’s every where like a piece of nasty gum on the bottom of your shoe.

      We are watching House of Cards. Yikes!!!! Evil incarnate!

      • Doug

        Thanks TH. I’ve wondered if any readers have watched “The Affair.” It gets good reviews and all, but I’d think it would be difficult for many to stand.

        You’re right, you can’t avoid it. It’s in the news and every media outlet on a daily basis.

        • Patsy50

          I have watch Betrayal and The Affair by myself. Husband is usually sleeping and I don’t think he could get through it, for it would remind him of his quilt and the pain he has caused his family. I wasn’t to sure how I would be affected by watching The Affair but I gave it a try. I did shed a few tears but also came away with some sense of how an affair can get started. In this case it was an instant sexual attraction to the affair partner. I did last through all the episodes and will watch when it starts backup again.

          It’s been four years since my husband had his EA. We have made very good progress and moved forward in our relationship but every once in a while I need to be reminded it can all come crumbling down if we are not vigilant in safe guarding our marriage.

      • forcryin'outloud

        TH – have you watched all of season 3? I watched all 13 episodes the weekend it was released. That crazy SOB Frank (FU)! The crazy thing about that show is Frank is pretty creepy from the get go but then you realize the wife’s as evil as he is even with her few momentary expressions of feeling/guilt.

        • Tryinghard

          yes I’ve watched all three seasons. Frank is the epitome of a sociopath. Claire is ruthless and power hungry. I thought season 1 and 2 were better than 3.

          Curiously the infidelity didn’t affect me. It was almost the least of their vices. I also thought it was metaphorical when he threw her in the path of the train though. Hey, he was done with her. She served her purpose and the sex was just, so what to him. My take is he wasn’t really interested in sex with her but took her up on her offers. An affair with him gave her power at her own expense. And isn’t that truly how affairs fizzle out?

          • forcryin'outloud

            I agree the first 2 seasons were better. The last episode when he grabbed Claire and got up in her face made my skin curl back. I guess he doesn’t love her more than sharks love blood.
            The funny thing about the Zoe affair was how completely idiotic she was to the fact that she was chum for him. She thought it gave her some sort of leverage even over his wife. Not so much!

            • Tryinghard

              Zoe was young and ambitious. I like to say people should “dive in their own lane”. Zoe definitely was not driving I. Her own lane. How about when she went to franks house, I think season2 and tried on one of Claire’s dresses. Frank laughed at her. She was driving in the wrong lane. Maybe she wanted to replace Claire but she definitely was after advancing her career. LOL that came to a crashing halt.

    • Tryinghard

      Oh yeah I forgot to say, I think it’s funny when he squirms. I’m sure he feels like a douche too. I think it triggers his discomfort more than my anxiety about it. As I said it’s everywhere you can’t avoid it. There’s plenty of fodder for the media where douchebaggery is concerned:)

    • exercisegrace

      If I know that infidelity is a central or ongoing theme of a show, I won’t watch it. At this point in our recovery, I can watch shows or movies with infidelity and I am able to “handle” it if I know to expect it. I struggle most when it catches me off guard and I am not mentally prepared. Oddly, I think it bothers my husband even more at this point. It triggers so much guilt and shame. He is far removed from who he was during his affair that watching something like that is agonizing for him. Another reason I will not watch these shows (and I don’t want to come off as judgemental or preachy, although perhaps I am?!) is the fact I don’t want to support them. TV programming has taken a sharp nosedive in my 49 years and it shows no signs of getting any better. The majority of Americans agree that cheating is wrong, yet they will hang on every scummy episode of shows that are filled with it. Ok, rant over!

      Now to the point of the questions. It does bother me when I see affairs portrayed as grand romances, or the affair partner portrayed in such an unbalanced way as to seem like the “right” person for the cheating character. I identify too much with the underrated, underappreciated betrayed spouse. Granted, while some marriages DO need to end, they don’t need to end by throwing one’s morals and integrity on a bonfire. When I am triggered by a show, I turn the channel immediately. I don’t wait for a full-blown meltdown feeling to begin. Our therapist told my husband he has close friends who experienced infidelity fifteen years ago. They are well recovered and happy, yet recently the wife requested they leave a movie because it triggered her. He told this story to my husband to help him understand this will always be a part of our lives. Something that to varying degrees will always require some work arounds.

      finally, yes we have been able to take some of those triggers and control them. My husband has used numerous ones to apologize profusely (again) and remind me of who and where he is “today”. Hearing how little that all meant to him, how much he values US, how horrible it is for him to think about what he almost threw away, etc. NEVER gets old! I have used some of them to gently remind him this is and will be, an ongoing battle for me. It is always painful to remember what he did. While it doesn’t dominate my thoughts and life anymore, the memories of what happened will always be very hurtful. Sometimes I think the reminder is necessary for him. It reminds him to keep good boundaries and what can happen if he does not.

    • Untold

      Male, 1 year post last DDay after wife’s EA/PA. Yes, movies or TV shows with adultery do trigger painful feelings/memories. The situation, how it’s portrayed and current mood make it more or less tolerable. If mildly annoyed, I stay quiet and ignore. If more aggravated, I put something else on or leave the room. Wife appears unphased,

      We have not turned it into anything positive, yet anyway. Wife is still in denial and rug-sweeping mode. Maybe even delusional. She cannot talk about anything yet with control of anger, emotion and show empathy. It would be so nice when an obvious trigger like that occurs to hear “”I’m sorry again for what I did. Thanks for hanging in there for me.” I doubt I’ll ever hear that again.

      I wish there were a movie or show that truly conveyed the shame, betrayal and pain experienced by the betrayed spouse. It would have to be a well-liked, respected actor/actress to be believable. Then maybe some of the CS’s would gain a better understanding of the damage they’ve done. And more important, others leaning that way would stop before the fall.

      One recent movie was “This Is Where I Leave You” with Jane Fonda, Tina Fey. Jason Bateman was a BS and did a decent job of conveying the experience, emotional turmoil, but not with much depth.

      Good topic! Thanks.

      What are some movies and TV shows that those who are trying to recover might want to avoid? (feel free to make a list)

    • Untold

      Sorry for leaving the cut and paste question at the bottom of last post.

    • TheFirstWife

      Untold you have a tough road. When my CH was in the midst of his affair, we were watching The Sopranos (rerun). Episode is where Tony is at the marriage counselor with Carmela and saying how great things were between them even though he was still cheating on her. You can imagine how awkward and uncomfortable it was as we were in the very beginning of the nightmare.

      My CH’s comment at the end? “That was a bit awkward”. Really – just a bit?

      Now he realizes things differently and understands what a jerk he was then.

      I am sorry your cheating spouse does not get it. Clearly she is still justifying her affair and until she gets past that, not much will change unless you change things yourself.

      Avoid most TV shows and movies. Most have elements of cheating and they portray wives as fat, stupid, lazy, bad cooks, etc. The OW is usually smart, hot, sexy, funny and the “perfect match” for the CH. How pathetic. What a stereotype.

    • antiskank

      It seems to be all around us with no hope of escape, doesn’t it? I think maybe the reason I watch so many animated movies with my grandson is to get away from infidelity for a while.

      I agree, in TV and movies, betrayed wives and even husbands are usually portrayed in a very poor light in order to make us dislike them. The affair partner is gorgeous, hot, sexy, multi-talented, smart, and a perfect match for the cheating spouse. We are supposed to want them to be together, they are justified in their cheating, and of course they love each other soooo much! Sickening!

      The other problem is that even without infidelity being a part of the show’s romantic story, the characters seem to have the perfect, fairy tale romantic love, the type that cheaters think they have with their affair partners, the type that only really happens in movies.

      There have been many shows that I just can’t watch- the Good Wife among them. One show that I did watch religiously while it was on was “Unfaithful- Stories of Betrayal”. It involved real people re-enacting their betrayals. The cheater and the betrayed would each talk about their part in the disaster and tell how they felt, how it progressed while actors acted out the story which was mildly X rated. It was hard to watch with everything being a trigger but also made me feel I wasn’t alone in my situation. I couldn’t stop watching, it was like seeing a train wreck! Has anyone else seen it?

    • TheFirstWife


      I agree! I could be hot, smart, sexy, (not 30 again but I look great for my age) and completely available for fun, fun, fun if:
      I did not have to cook and clean
      I did my have a job PLUS a new business I recently started
      I did not have teenagers to raise (who are great kids btw)
      I did not have to be a single parent 60% of the time while he travels for business week in and week out
      I did not have to grocery shop or do errands
      No sick friends, patents or children
      No car or house repairs
      You get the drift. The OW is raised up on a pedestal which are then compared and will lose every time (in the CH’s mid).
      What they don’t understand is that while we remain married and live them and understand them, it will never be the same. How sad they just do not get that. The marriage may be there, but you just cannot look at them in the same way. And that is the part that saddens me.

      • exercisegrace

        Well said. But it is those very responsibilities that give us depth and character. While the cheating spouse may be temporarily blinded, eventually they see the qualities in us that shine through who we are and what we do. Whores and affairs are very shallow indeed. Nothing that lives in the dark can thrive. These hidden relationships by their very nature cannot truly grow and deepen. They cannot develop strong roots. They are a diversion at best.

        • TryingHard

          Hey I’ve got a good idea!!!! Why don’t we turn ALL those pesky familial and household responsibilities over to the cheater!!! Then we can spend allll our time sexying up, you know mani-pedi every few days, can’t go letting all those tacky chipped nails show and working out, shopping for sexy lingerie, looking realllly good and relaxed to boot, all for them??? And when we aren’t working on our physical looks we will read every book on different sexual positions to please them as well as how to build his teeny tiny fragile ego up.

          Isn’t that a great idea? The upshot on turning over all the responsibilities is they won’t even have time to THINK about having an affair let alone do it and besides they will look all tired and haggard, who’d want them??

          BWAHAHAHA I crack myself up 🙂 But I am considering turning all those responsibilities over to him….

    • TheFirstWife

      Trying Hard. You crack me up! That is my point. I did look good, we still had fun, we enjoyed being with each other, we had sex often (not 2x a year lol) AND HE STILL CHEATED AND HAD AN AFFAIR.

      So my question is why wasn’t that satisfying enough for a year or so (while he was cheating though they both claim there was no sex BUT he did end our marriage twice) but now I am all that and more?

      It is so funny b/c now he is the one tired and out of energy and I am on the go all the time. And I currently have 3 jobs and two teenagers and most nights fall asleep after him. HA HA.

      I know the mid life crisis issue is real as I have seen what it has done to my CH and led to the affair. Wish he would have bought a sports car instead

    • TryingHard

      First Wife
      LOL I was totally being facetious. And, BTW, are you sure you aren’t married to my husband?? Yep same story. Poor guy doesn’t know if he should shit or go blind. I’m after it all the time. Yeah, tired? too bad so sad, I’m not pal so get busy!!!! 🙂 I went without for a long time and now I’m catching up. Sex is good for wrinkles so etc so it’s sick for purely aesthetic and medicinal reasons. “Don’t mind this, doctors orders” right??

      Of course it has nothing to do with how you look or what you do or don’t do. That’s my point. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s not us, it’s them. It’s not us who took for granted, were boring, etc it was they who took us for granted and were boring. It was they who refused to put anything into the marriage. It is they who only took from the marriage, ie us taking care of all the things you mentioned in order to keep or families from falling apart!

      Plenty of beautiful, smart, skinny, sexy, woman get cheated on by their mates. It’s their shitty character that tells them it’s ok.

      But I’m still considering turning all the responsibilities over to him….:)

      • Nic

        100% tryinghard it’s them not us.
        They see us strong secure women who juggle life, keep on top of everything. Look after the house family everything. Sometimes we don’t give them enough attention boohoo. Man up grow up ffs. I’m everything he needs, wants & desires. Shame he chose to loose his integrity values & morals to realise this fact.
        His lack of contribution made him feel insecure. Its all on him, I know 100% it’s him not me.
        The nerve, the audacity, wtf were they thinking.
        I’m not sure if the resentment for his decisions will ever go away. I am working on myself but how much is too much to tolerate?
        I think it will eventually collapse, I think I will leave in the future as I know that trust will never be 100% again.
        In the meantime he’s doing everything he can to fix this, I’m not sure he can truly meet my needs, you can glue China but the cracks remain.
        Wasted 10yrs lots of trauma & challenges, now this.. I shouldn’t feel guilty for choosing whats right for me, why do I? I suppose this is why I’m still here, I’m trying. 7months past dday.

    • antiskank

      You guys are too funny! Sometimes it is great to laugh about how silly it all is! If only our cheating husbands could understand the humour of the situation and better yet – understand the truth of the situation and get on board with living in the real world. I know, it’s a fairy tale, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

    • TheFirstWife

      As my therapist has said “denial is a beautiful thing”. So my CH for the 33 years I have known him never talked about anything that bothered him. His friends would even say it to me. If you asked him a question he would make a joke, deflect and change the topic.

      So when his mid life crisis led to his affair, he said we did not communicate anymore. And that I only married him to spite my parents and that he believed after 1 year I would leave him(we dated 5 years before being married). And that I never apologize to him.

      None of this is even remotely true, and he checked out and he did not communicate. When 9-11 happened he was out of the country. My family snd friends lost loved ones and some of them were running down the street as the tower fell. Yet in 30 years I could not get my CH to let me know what time he would be home or where he was after work at midnight (yet I knew who he was with). I begged, cried, pleaded, asked, everything I could think of and he just would not do it.

      So when the affair happens, I then have to listen to his rants on how I don’t communicate. Let’s have a reality check here Buddy. It ain’t me. It is you and every single person that knew if the affair all said the same thing. He does not feel connected because he does not speak openly.

      Now he tries real hard to make up for that awful year of hell and I have forgiven him, but I will never forget those words accusing me of not communicating. He refused counseling until I threw him out and then he only went for 2 months and used the excuse we could not afford it and I am really not getting anything out of it. Riiiight because then you would have to open up and speak about deep rooted thoughts or feelings.

      Which he was certainly able to do with the AP as I saw the emails. Me? I get the leftover scraps.

      I am financially planning when the other shoe drops and by then I will not have the kids to worry about as they will be old enough to understand those decisions. No longer fully invested as this was the third time.

      I ain’t no fool. Love him to death but some days I bieve I am better off not with him. Temporary improvement last year but cannot be sustained. I am in the middle of witnessing the backslide.

      What a shame. But no surprise.

      And yes I plan on ditching the chores and errands as much as possible. I finally decided to put me first for once.

    • Tryinghard

      First Wife
      YES!!!! You get it! He sounds emotionally in mature. He was probably raised that way. You know don’t show anger and feelings are for wimps and girls. He’s scared of disapproval blah, blah, blah and it’s his problem. Not yours. Look you can lead a horse….. We went to marriage counseling for a year. But when the tough questions came he called an end to it. But I’ve got to say he’s been consistently transparent, loving, remorseful etc. All the stuff you want to see for reconciliation so I’m still here.

      If you truly believe the other shoe will drop I hope you are making financial plans. I am and I’m not planning on leaving unless another shoe does drop. Some. Days I want out more than others because I just cant get all the shit he said out of my mind. Now I’m perfect. I do no wrong. Lol. One time I asked him what I did that annoyed him. You I expected silly stuff like leave the cap off the toothe paste. You know what he said? “Nothing, you’re perfect”. Well I haven’t changed that much. If I’m so perfect why did you cheat?

      Anyway yes it is so stupid and silly and they are fools. Silly old cliches. Yes a sports car would have been better

      • Strengthrequired

        My h bought his sports car, kept wanting to make it faster, louder, because even it wasn’t good enough at the time. Guess he just didn’t know what he wanted, because nothing was fulfilling his needs. Guess he figured the ow would fulfil them, look where that got him. Just made himself feel even worse.
        If only his midlife stopped at the car.

    • 112347

      I have watched Scandal. I dont find it to be a trigger. Maybe because the actors are so far removed from reality-because it it s a tv show but , also who their characters portray.My H is a Police Officer. Like the TV programs the environment he works in encourages affairs and glamorizes them. Whats interesting is that just about EVERYTHING else is a trigger for me. Cars,songs, quotes,so many places in the town we live, For so long not only was he in denial,living a double life, I was too.He blamed me. He painted her as a fun, successful,beautiful,person with whom he could share all his thoughts and talk to easily-they had everything in common and us never having anything in common or being able to ocmmunicate.Especially after I started my own business-he claimed I wasnt there for him and the financial strain pushed him to her. I tried desperately and not always gracefully , to save my marriage . (my H and I met when i was 15 and have shared 28 out of my 43 years together) Ive had four “Ddays”
      Each time I believed he left her and had no contact only to be blindsided again.
      And still,, i couldnt divorce. Weve reconciled.and been going to individual counseling now for four months. Its still a rollercoaster ride. I too am always waiting for the other shoe to drop-and wished I “let” him by the motorcycle he wanted when his crisis started!
      Thank you excercise grace-very helpful words!

    • Rachel

      My therapist recommended a book for me ,that I thought I would share to you all.
      “Narcisstic Lovers” by Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble.
      You may see a pic of my ex on the pages because it is about him 100%!!!!!
      It has really helped me understand that I wasn’t the reason for this as my ex has told me.

    • Arawin

      What I find remarkable in watching a series that involves infidelity, is that my CH goes on and on about what a selfish jerk the cheating character is, but doesn’t make the connection to his own behaviour! My CH continues to see the OW, he claims they aren’t hurting anyone and he is being his authentic self so we have to accept him. Meanwhile, our family is blown apart, our daughters won’t speak to him, our son thinks he is a pathetic cliche, our extended family has lost all respect for him etc. and I, finally after a couple of years of therapy and working through all the crap he put me through with his repeated affairs (6 that I know of) believe my life will be joyful, creative etc without him. I am ready to move on. It has been a long journey for me to get out from under the trauma of repeated betrayal, while raising three children and working full time and doing all the household management etc., but I have shifted.

      • CBb

        Arawin, that is unfortunate that he has so little regard for you. It may be that once you pull the trigger and start the separation/divorce process, he may see you in a whole new light.

        Some always want what they can’t have. I see it too many times with my friends. Guy cheats, wife leaves, guy begs for forgiveness, blah blah blah.

        Best revenge is to live a good life without him! You deserve better.

        Or better yet, wait for his AP to cheat in him and see how he likes it. Payback.

      • TryingHard

        i agree with your son! They are pathetic cliches.

        I’m sorry you’ve endured so much. It also sounds like you are taking care of YOU which is the point. Glad you are doing what is right for you.

        Of course they don’t see themselves in the ugly light of other cheaters. They are entitled Narcs. That would make them common and they certainly don’t see themselves as common, they’re special!!! Well let’s see how special a court thinks they are. I hope you go after everything that belongs to you including his Social Security, 401k and retirement savings.

        Good luck to you sister.

    • Beckyb2

      Watching netflix it’s very hard when CSI has cheating in 3 out of 5 episodes which lead to death and destruction. Even watching MASH every episode of hot lips and franks stupidity then you throw in the other stupid asinine escape artists cheaters can’t escape themselves it’s pathetic. I’ve basically quit watching TV unless it’s SPROUT TV with my 1year old grandson and there is NO cheating!!!!! I have never been much of a TV watcher except kids shows . I know having 8 kids means watching what they watch yes I am the censor for my family. The world can choose to be an ugly nasty place overflowing with garbage human wasted life . I choose to raise caring loving nurturing honest faithful GOD fearing humans who fill the world with good not evil so I keep as much evil out of my families life as I can. If every one of the writers and producers and financial backers of TV shows and movies experienced cheating from the betrayed a side I doubt there would be as much cheater filth in TV or movies. Once it’s happened to you your innocence and your families innocence are forever gone never to be a part of your life again. Sad how a penis and a vagina can create such a less than life all for self entered selfish entitlement hmm just not worth the effort some days.

    • gizfield

      One reason crime shows have adultery as a theme so often is because it is a factor in a large percentage of real life crime. It is probably the first motive the police look for after money. I have heard that a person is more likely to be convicted of a crime if they are discovered to be a Cheater. Sneaking around and lying about it can be hazardous to your health.

    • gizfield

      I think that after a certain amount of time has passed, and you can stomach it, shows and books about adultery can be helpful to your recovery.

      For a while now, I actually seek out novels with adultery in them. It’s been very educational. If I ever get a Master’s Degree (which I won’t), I think it would be on something like “The Role of the Media in the Glamourization of Adultery”, lol. Television and movies usually go for the make out scenes so they aren’t as helpful. What I have noticed is that most fiction is very sympathetic towards the Cheaters, unfortunately. Cheaters are sexy, they are fun, they are Soul Mates, they are everything the Betrayed Spouses are NOT. BS and marriage are portrayed in negative ways, always. If they aren’t physically unattractive, they are stupid, lazy, bitchy, etc. Etc. Etc.

      The important thing about this is, Where do you think these attitudes toward adultery came from originally? That’s correct, the books, television series, movies, etc. Real life cheaters are pathetic, using celebrities and public figures as examples, and nobody idealizes them.

      The fact that 3 percent of cheaters marry their affair partner is very telling, as is the fact that 75 percent of those marriages end in divorce. I think the actual driving force behind affairs are the affairs themselves. By that I mean, the only thing unique about them is the secrecy itself, and when you remove that factor they collapse. In reality, most of the relationships would not have even started if they had to pass the test regular relationships do. The criteria for someone you sneak around with is definitely much lower than the criteria for someone you want to marry.

    • tryingtomoveon

      I have problems with show and movies that portray adultery and affairs as glamorous and fun, for sure. But yesterday the trigger was seeing Monica Lewinsky on the Today show talking about how she’s been attacked by social media and how you can overcome humiliation and change your story.
      Yes, she was very young, and yes, Clinton did take advantage of both her youth and admiration of him. I’m sure it was quite a thrill to be providing “service” to the President! But really–what did she think her actions would achieve? I don’t think he was going to move out of the White House to start a new life with her.
      And frankly, while Hillary may be ambitious and probably not easy to live with, I feel sorry for both her and Chelsea at having this dragged out in public again. I sometimes wonder how she could overcome such a disgraceful episode and still be a very public figure.
      In any case, hearing Lewinsky talk about how she’s been called a “tart” and “slut” just reminded me of all the others like her.
      I found it amusing (ha!) that my H’s AP mentioned they did not have TV, and that she has an active fantasy life–she writes stories, a few of which she shared with my H. Not exactly great literature in my opinion.Maybe she should watch the portrayal of an affair on TV or in a movie; then she might see why having them (she’s already had at least 2 that I’m aware of) is so destructive. But wait–it was only friendship, right????

    • Kay

      I’ve come to a place where I go into a movie expecting to see infidelity. We’re almost 2 years post Dday and for awhile there it would just rock me to see it. Especially how it was so glorified and it would add to my feeling/fear that the AP was better and that he would rather be with her. But usually my H was understanding & would reassure me afterwords. He would hold my hand if he noticed these triggers.
      Fences really caught us off guard especially as we were really at a place the day we went to see it.

      Recently movies where the guy resist the advances have hurt me more cuz it showed it could be done & made me upset that my H did not. Those movies triggered my H like you says Doug cuz it reminded him of how stupid & weak he was!
      (Sorry did the spoiler alert but heads up in case you wanted to avoid The Greatest Showman & Barbershop 2 )

    • Dawn

      It seems like any show that you watch anymore has infidelity in it. They make it look so glorious how the cheaters life is just made so much better by what he is doing. I wish they would make shows that shows the consequences, the grief, the hurt, the anger and the sheer agonizing pain that the cheaters families go through do to his actions. Maybe this would deter some of them if they could see the destruction instead of all the glamour of it
      Yes TV does trigger me alot at first it was really bad. Even those stupid Zales commercials about a diamond and how they show love could trigger me. I would leave the room and cry for hours. Now after 2 years I can get through a small amount of cheating on a show but it still makes me hurt but not as much. I still hate those commercials. I have lost my faith in love.

    • TryingToGetOver

      I deliberately avoid shows that I know will cover infidelity. The surprise is when it sneaks up. Kay, I hear you with “The Greatest Showman!” I took my kids and my in-laws to see this story about PT Barnum. It was, like, three weeks after my ultimatum and I still wasn’t 100 percent sure our marriage would make it. And there, in the middle of the movie, an affair played out that was SO much like my husband’s own affair that it took my breath away. Two saving graces: My husband wasn’t there with me, or I probably would have vomited; and, to the point of some of the posters above, the movie did real service by focusing on the wife’s pain. Michelle Williams, God bless her, got the pain across beautifully. But in the 10 months since I have drastically reduced the amount of screentime I watch. Oh- I did see Crazy Rich Asians in August, because I read the book and knew what I would see. That movie also portrays an affair very well, showing all the pain and anger of the betrayed. But that doesn’t mean survivors in this forum should run and see it! Triggers are real.

    • wenja

      Dawn, I totally understand the Zales commercial trigger! Especially early on, anything describing long-lasting true love was like being tackled and having the wind knocked out of me! I had to attend my nephew’s wedding 2 days past D-Day, and barely made it through. Also, I couldn’t sit through Prince Harry & Meghan’s Wedding without crying, which really disappointed me because I have been a royal family fan since I got up at the wee hours of the morning to watch Princess Diana’s wedding when I was 15.

      I am close to a year past D-day now and we are doing SO much better! But I realize that there will be triggers for the rest of my life – don’t know if my husband realizes that though. It always seems to blindside him when I have a rough day or something triggers me – I think because they are much farther apart now he believes I am over it all. Sometimes I try to keep it to myself so we don’t end up having a bad day, but the longer I bury the emotion, the stronger it is when it inevitably bursts out of me.

      I feel like I’m babbling here, but I also wanted to say that as Kay pointed out, movies/shows where the man IS able to resist his temptation are almost harder to watch because I wish so much that MY husband had exhibited that kind of integrity, strength of character, and respect for me and our marriage.

      Also, TryingToGetOver, thanks so much for the heads up on Crazy Rich Asians and The Greatest Showman – I think I will avoid them now 🙂

      • tryingtogetover

        I so relate to your second paragraph, Wenja! You and I are at about the same point. My husband of course NEVER brings anything up. It is always me. He is totally willing to listen and talk, but the look in his eye is kind of “This again?!” I am sure he wants to know when it will not be top of mind and I can’t tell him when that day will come. I told him that, truthfully, his affair has been the first thing I’ve thought about when I wake in the morning every day for a year now. That shocked him, though I don’t know what he expected. I look forward to a day when maybe the subject is boring and tired and not on my mind.

        • wenja

          Yes, exactly! Her, the affair, them together… all of it is a constant background noise in my mind, morning till night. Just when I think I’ve asked him every question possible, my crazy brain comes up with another angle. I try to be careful how I broach the subject, taking into account his mood & attitude and our surroundings. I must admit, there have been times I could’ve been more tactical in my approach, but that’s just the way it is I guess. He has been great, all things considered, and is extremely committed to healing our marriage. He’s done some reading and realizes its a form of PTSD, but I’m still afraid sometimes that I’ll push the boundaries too far. There have been times when I’ve ruined what was going to be a nice day together, by bringing something up at the beginning of the day. I also don’t want to over-remind him of things or make him think of her anymore. And I worry that I’m allowing this to take over my life… that my new unwanted role of “victim” has become a sort of security blanket for me… if that makes any sense? I, too, long for the day when I suddenly realize I haven’t thought about it for awhile!! Stay strong, TryingToGetOver, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. We’ll get there eventually!!

          • Shifting Impressions

            I can totally relate to what you are saying…for the longest time I just hung on to my pain and my sorrow. I had to give myself permission to be happy again.

            My husband used to tell me that I had “ruined” the day when I brought something up at the beginning of the day. But then when I brought it up at the end of the day he would tell me I had ruined the day anyway and now I also ruined his night’s sleep. No matter how careful I was….he made it about him…how it made him feel. I finally called him on it. I realized no matter what the time of day….these were always going to be difficult conversations.

            I also worried that this was taking over my life….and for a long time it did. But we need to allow ourselves time to grieve. My husband’s bertrayal was the deepest betrayal that I have ever experienced in my whole life….my trust was shattered. It takes time to grieve that loss and rebuild the trust.

            I am so glad to hear your husband is doing all he can….but even if they do “everything right” it is still a long and painful journey. Take care of you….don’t be to hard on yourself.

            • wenja

              Thanks for your kind words, Shifting. It is the same for me: the “deepest betrayal I’ve ever experienced in my whole life” – the only time I’ve ever truly understood what a Broken Heart actually feels like! I’m so thankful for these forums and for women like you that can relate to what I’m feeling!!

        • Shifting Impressions

          I don’t know if one ever gets to the place where the subject is tired or boring but the pain does ease as time passes. It took me probably three years of thinking of it first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I cried almost everyday for three years.

          I am almost at the five year mark and can honestly say the last two years have been much better. I found that slowly slowly I thought of it less and less. And when I do it is less painful….but it is a scar that will always be there.

          • TryingToGetOver

            Good to know, and thank you for your reply! The honesty about how long recovery takes is helpful, I think.

    • Oleanna

      I am not at all saying this is in a joking way, sorry if it offends, as the same happened to me, and so that is why I googled it. I am non stop googling. I have felt the same for a year, thinking of it all the time and TV triggers and more. It was a ONS that I found out about, from many years ago, no idea if anything else happened since. But I cannot get out of my mind that at some point, I will also have a fling, even a one nighter, and then I will think of that instead secretly instead, purely for me and for my healing, not to tell him, I would not tell…….I would need to be careful as I want to keep the marriage going for so many reasons, but I am vengeful, maybe it is my latin blood….

    • MB

      My wife is currently watching the Ashley Madison documentary. This is her second time watching the show. The first time she watched the show she started sobbing, which I totally understand. Now she is not sobbing anymore watching it the second time.

      One year ago, she looked through my phone one day and saw messages and more on my phone without my knowledge or consent of my one-time only affair. This happened 11 months ago. We still live together have have no kids but are no longer communicating with each other. It’s been strained. We’ve been together for 18 years. None of us can afford to move out. It’s like we are just roommates now.

      I think it is time for the both of us to separate for the time being. Sometimes married couples lose their love and affection and grow apart from each other. It happens. She refuses to do marriage counseling together and neither one of us can afford to move out.

      My question is, why is she intentionally watching these trigger shows and enjoying it? This cannot be good for both of us and our mental health sitting on the couch while I have my head buried down on my iPad tablet listening to the show uncomfortably and squirming around on the couch. I’m trying to ignore the show. But she seems to enjoy the show rather than watching comedy or drama shows. It’s just awkward and uncomfortable listening to the show while she is fully engaged in it.

      Why is she watching these trigger shows and enjoying it, almost one year of her discovery? Is she watching the show for herself only? For me only? For us? Is she bored?

      *please be respectful in your replies to me

      • Doug

        Your wife might be watching that documentary for a few reasons. She could be trying to process her own feelings about your affair, even if it means exposing herself to something painful. Sometimes, people watch these things to make sense of their emotions or to find some validation in their experiences. Maybe she’s trying to understand her own pain better by seeing how others deal with similar situations.

        Another possibility is that she’s watching it as a way to communicate her feelings to you indirectly. Since you guys aren’t really talking, this might be her way of showing you that the hurt is still very real for her. The fact that she’s not crying this time doesn’t necessarily mean she’s enjoying it; it might just be that she’s reached a different emotional stage—maybe even feeling numb or resigned to the situation.

        If you haven’t already, it might help to have a calm and open conversation with her about how this makes you feel. Let her know that you’re uncomfortable and ask her what she gets out of watching it. It might open up some dialogue that can help you both understand each other’s perspectives a bit better.

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