The Ache of Affairs and What You Can Do About It

why do people have affairsBy Sarah P.

The one question that people ask after their partner has had an affair is “why?” There are many answers to this question, but not enough information on what to do about it. In this blog post, I will talk about my own answer to the “why” and “what.”

But first, let’s define our terms and discuss affair definitions:

Emotional affair: An affair of the heart that goes well beyond platonic friendship and includes sexual fantasy. An emotional affair causes a wayward spouse to take all of their emotional energy away from their spouse and direct it toward the other person. An emotional affair is an affair of feeling and heart.

Physical affair: An affair that involves sex, but does not involve any feeling or emotional attachment. A one-night stand is a good example of a purely physical affair.

Mixed affair: An affair that meets all of the requirements of an emotional and physical affair. This affair is the most dangerous because it involves body, heart, and soul.

So why do people have affairs?

Before I get into my take on why people have affairs, I wanted to present someone else’s view on what causes men (specifically) to have affairs:

“While many reject the notion of midlife crisis altogether, it is fair to say that when men reach a certain age (usually their mid-40’s) they begin to change their outlook on life. They are coming ever closer to death, retirement is around the corner, kids are running around the house etc. This period of time can bring about a lot of emotional stress and existential thoughts into a man’s head.

To further understand the possibility of men who are having a midlife crisis and contemplating affairs, it is important to understand what these men are looking for. Many of these men can’t accept their current age and want to do everything to prove to themselves that they are indeed young. This may often include buying clothes or cars to compensate for this age. Oftentimes men do more than just buy material goods—they want a younger woman. How is a man who can’t come to terms with his age supposed to accept his spouse who is just as old as he is? Men will always crave younger, more attractive woman [sic] and a midlife crisis often brings that reality to life. Again, there are many reasons many enter into extramarital affairs. One of them is for validation, and by dating a younger, more attractive women he tries to convince himself that he is worth more than he thinks he is.

By the time a man hits his 40’s he has likely been married for a decade or two, and has had the same job for that period of time. Having the same routine day in and day out for such a long time is enough to drive any man over the edge. A lot of men simply can’t take this monotony, and they seek out an affair. Even into a man’s 40’s there is still a lot of opportunity for change and growth. However, the idea of having extramarital relations with a pretty young woman seems to be more appealing than a promotion at work or picking up a new hobby. On top of this monotony, it is likely that things have slowed down in the bedroom. Both the male and female sex drive begin to decline in middle age. And to make matters worse, sex becomes stale and routine. Affairs are a means of rejuvenating a man’s sex life and making him feel younger.” (1)

Would it surprise you to know that the reason above comes from a website that is actually geared toward helping people have affairs and not getting caught?

I decided to present this reason first so that I could discuss what I believe are false reasons for extramarital affairs:

  • It assumes that only a younger woman can rejuvenate a man
  • It assumes that the marital bed is stale and routine
  • It assumes that men are so shallow and insecure that they have to engage in a midlife crisis affair with a young woman
  • It assumes that most affairs happen at midlife
  • It paints a picture of a bleak, monotonous life where it is a natural conclusion that a man would have an affair
  • It takes ownership away from the man and his choices.

The most important reason, of all of the above, is that is takes ownership away from men and does not hold them accountable for their choices. These reasons create a situation where a man is blameless and where it is implied that a man is the victim of his life and perhaps wife. (Poor guy!)

This is all part of the old thinking about infidelity. It is part of what I call “old boy’s club thinking.” When I picture the ‘old boy’s club.’ I picture a bunch of midlife men during the 1950’s sitting around at a men’s club and harassing all of the female waitresses and the men egging each other on to see how far they can take their pestering. Then, I picture them all putting down their wives for (alleged) nagging and a myriad of other imagined behaviors. At the end of the night, each man in the group concludes that he is a victim of his wife, his family, and his obligations. As a victim, he believes that he is entitled to have an affair. This is how I picture it, at least.

I cannot speak for women in the past, but I can say that today’s midlife woman is spunky, passionate, creative, wise, and beautiful. Still, it does not matter because that would imply that it is solely a woman’s job to keep her husband’s attention and fidelity. Each person is accountable to his or her choices and free will.

Here is a better reason why people might have affairs in midlife:

 “An MLCer is experiencing internal unhappiness outside of his marriage. But he is either unaware or denies the deep and superficial causes of his unhappiness. Since he does not know why he is unhappy, he makes the assumption that it must be his wife and marriage–the major environment and influence in his life. In addition, internal unhappiness without initial projection toward the spouse creates an environment of tension within the marriage, causing a relationship to suffer.” (2)

This definition is much better because this author points toward a wayward spouse either being unaware or denying the actual deeper or superficial causes of his unhappiness. The difficulty beginning within the wayward spouse is much closer to the truth.

Oftentimes, a betrayed spouse may have been meeting the needs of the wayward spouse, but the wayward spouse built walls to intimacy. The wayward spouse was unwilling to accept or acknowledge his or her spouse’s bids for love and affection. This is one of the absurdities of an affair. A spouse may have already been meeting the needs of a wayward spouse, but it was the wayward spouse who was busy building walls against intimacy. As I mentioned in a prior post, having an affair is the ultimate wall that works against spousal intimacy. Sometimes this wall is so costly that a marriage is lost in the process.

But, there is still more to the story to turn it on its head. The old narrative has been that men are wired to engage sexually with as many women as possible. As part of this narrative it has also been taught that women do not like intimate relationships and only engage in intimate relationships to get their needs for financial security met. Thus, men are biologically wired to have harems and women are wired to have a partner just to get financial needs met. Out of this logic comes the idea that it is a woman’s job to keep a man interested. Moreover, she should understand if her husband has an affair because he is not wired for monogamy.

Is that true?

I do not believe it is true. Furthermore, the most recent studies indicate that women are less made for monogamy than men.

For example—take this bold assertion from the New York Times:

“New research from the University of Texas is challenging long-held notions that humans have evolved to be monogamous. David Buss, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Texas, and Cari Goetz, an assistant professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino, and their team introduced a new theory they call the “mate-switching hypothesis” in which they argue that humans, particularly women, have evolved to keep looking for new partners. Ancestral women lacking a back-up mate would have suffered a lapse in protection, and resources,” Buss explained, adding that it was prudent for them to always be on the lookout for a new partner.” (3)

That’s right—the tables have turned. Scientists have now said that women are not wired to be monogamous because it is like an insurance policy for women. I have always believed that men and women were equally capable of having affairs and neither one was more monogamous than the other. I believe that historical norms have dictated a woman’s mate selection behavior. In the past, women depended on men to survive. Now that a woman can support herself and her children, the infidelity gap has closed and men and women have affairs in equal numbers.

So why do people cheat?

Some People Are and Were Always Bad Apples

I believe it is because some people always were bad apples and that being a bad apple was not and is not dependent upon gender. It is no secret in the psychology world that people’s behavior was and is dictated by whether or not they have internalized moral values.

On one extreme end, sociopaths have not internalized social norms and morals at all. On the other extreme end, a small amount of the population has internalized moral values to an extreme extent and values integrity, selflessness, and the higher good about all else. These altruists show the way to the rest of us and serve as an inspiring example. Everyone else falls somewhere in between and some people are closer to the sociopathic end of the spectrum while others are closer to the altruistic end of the spectrum.

I wanted to go back to a very specific drama that has been unfolding in the past several months. I believe that the two stars of this drama are both narcissists and one of them is likely a sociopath. Since it is very rare that a wayward spouse actually marries his affair partner, this story gives us a rare glimpse into the anatomy of an affair and why some adulterous situations lead to marriage.

In this situation, I have concluded that both the wayward spouse and the other woman in this situation were and are always bad apples. It is a shame for their betrayed spouses and children that they have had their lives and security ruined by two unapologetically selfish and self-centered people. This is the biggest tragedy of it all—that so many innocents were hurt and are still hurting while these two snakes seem to be slithering along smoothly through life.

This is a story that regular readers have read about in my recent comments from time to time. It is one of those stories that has actually caused me to question some of my deepest held beliefs. Specifically, it has caused me to question some of my beliefs about God and why God would allow two such people to seemingly flourish while so many innocents have been harmed and have had their lives destroyed by these two.

Steve and Nina

This is the story of Steve and Nina, the two adulterers, and their betrayed spouses, Jeanine and Tony. All names and other identifying details have been changed and this sordid and bleak story of these two self-described soulmates is continually unfolding.

Are these two actually soulmates?

You decide.

Once upon a time, Steve was married to Jeannine and they were both successful doctors and had a wonderful family. They also had a house on the water in a coveted neighborhood that read like a “who’s who” of the United States. Jeanine was a beautiful, fun, well-liked member of her waterfront community and well-respected member of the medical community. People referred to her as a supermom, super-wife, and super-doctor. Somehow Jeanine managed to do it all while looking decades younger than her age. The two had a wonderful family together.

Across the other side of town lived Tony and Nina. Neither were from educated backgrounds, but Tony had a wonderful reputation as a fearless firefighter, medic, and community volunteer. He had pulled himself up by his bootstraps and was the pride of his family. Nina, who was a tall, blond, had only done two years of school to become an RN and had worked on and off in the career. Aside from Nina’s flirtation and inappropriate manner of dress, they too had a wonderful family.

One day, Steve, Jeanine, and Nina ended up working at the same hospital. Everything seemed to go well for several years.

Maybe it was several malpractice claims that drove Steve over the edge, or, perhaps Steve was negligent because he was already having an affair with Nina.

Coworkers of theirs who watched their sordid tale unfold noticed how Nina intentionally flirted and with Steve and made sexual comments to Steve when Jeanine was not around. One woman reported that she personally witnessed Nina coldly orchestrate and plan the downfall of Steve’s marriage.

But, that was not all. Nina had also intentionally planned the day that Jeanine would come home to find Steve in their marital bed, in the middle of a pornographic act, with Nina. Nina knew that Jeanine would not be able to unsee the act that Nina had planned.

Nina had absolutely no shame about her actions. Even though Nina had never done anything particularly special in her life, she felt that she deserved another woman’s husband. Even though Tony, Nina’s husband, was well-respected and they made more than adequate income together, it was not good enough for Nina.

In fact, getting more at a high emotional cost to her children was a non-event for her.

The day after Nina was caught in Jeanine’s marital bed, Nina did not show up for work. This was because she was already negotiating a job at a new workplace. Nina told no one at the workplace about the affair. However, she was hired against the wishes of all of the other female nurses who interviewed her.

It seemed that even though Nina had not mentioned the affair, the other nurses sensed she was not trustworthy. Soon after, Nina got a job for the man she referred to as her boyfriend, Steve.

So it was, both couples went through a terrible divorce, which by all accounts irrevocably harmed all six children who were involved in the mess.

Now, both adulterers, Nina and Steve, work together again at a new job. Steve has developed a habit of sitting next to my husband and recounting his alleged victimhood to my husband.

Neither Steve nor Nina know that the real story about them has gotten out in the workplace and that most co-workers neither respect them nor want to work anywhere near them.

Recently the two became engaged and even more drama has been occurring. Neither set of children wanted them to be married and you can understand why.

Steve loves talking to my husband about how he is being victimized by his own children since they will not accept Nina. Nina’s children don’t much like Steve either, although they are all now living with him in an expensive home on the water that he purchased for Nina.

Steve was most recently disappointed because Nina and her children are atheists and refuse to celebrate or acknowledge Christian holidays. Nina and her children refused to celebrate Christmas with him in the house he purchased for them. Steve reported the story at work and painted himself the victim of this tale too.

But, Steve refused to shoulder any blame for the situation. Steve has related that as an elder in his church, he believes that he is being victimized by Nina’s children over Christmas and other religious holidays. Steve continually speaks of himself as if he is the best of Christians. Furthermore, Steve likes to play dumb when he was asked why he knowingly chose an atheist.

Steve created his situation. He alone is the maker of his conundrum. Yet Steve does not want to be accountable to the fallout. Like a toddler, Steve prefers to throw a fit, have it his way, and have everyone meet his (harmful and petty) needs. If people do not meet Steve’s needs, he immediately falls into a victim role and acts as if the world is against him. Steve pretends as if his situation happened to him instead of him taking an active role to create it.

So, what is happening here?

Well, I believe that Steve is a narcissist. I also believe that Steve is a coward and a liar.

But, Steve also happens to be of the prime age where some men are leveled by midlife crises. I have met him several times, I know the story, and in my opinion, Steve also meets all the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So, now Steve is involved with a narcissist just like himself, Nina, and only now is he discovering that two narcissists do not soulmates make.  

But, that is the easy answer. What is really going on here?

“People in midlife crisis live in a victim mentality. Though often manipulative, they are also a whirlwind of confusion and instability, desperately grasping for something solid, secure and stable. Victims, overwhelmed in their insecurity, may be attracted to controllers. Other women are jealous in nature–since they are assuming possession of a married man–and seek to control the MLCer to avoid losing him to the spouse or a new other woman. This level of control tends to increase as the relationship and midlife crisis progresses and as the MLCer grows and matures the control destroys the relationship. But in the beginning when he is seeking anything that seems solid, control may meet this need. A controller takes over decisions and provides a feeling of safety. In midlife crisis affairs, both the other woman and the MLCer may be seeking this controlling stability in their partners. MLCers seem controlling because of their Knight in Shining Armour Syndrome in which they get to rescue the fair maiden and sweep her off her feet, and other women seek control in that they get to rescue the MLCer from a wicked and uncaring wife and nurture him to health. The relationship is an abusive dynamic which keeps the MLCer stuck or returning as he fears the other woman’s actions and reactions.” (3)

So there we have it: the male in midlife crisis mode feels victimized and too entitled to understand that he is the one who caused the fall out. He does not want to take ownership over the repercussions of his own actions.

In Steve and Nina’s case, it is apparent that Nina is the controlling and aggressive one. Steve is the passive-aggressive type and prefers to play the victim. In the past, Steve most likely believed himself the victim of his then-wife. However, it is likely that in time Nina will naturally fall into the role of persecutor and Steve will make choices that ensures he appears to be victimized by Nina. Most importantly, Steve will seek out of the role of victim.

And so, Steve-the-oh-so-good-Christian-who-is-just-minding-his-own-business is the victim of a situation he specifically orchestrated through his actions and choices.

This is the crux of the midlife crisis mindset. The wayward spouse often believes himself to be the misunderstood, unloved victim. No one gets it according to the MLC spouse. Of course, no one gets it because it is clear to everyone on the outside that an affair after the age of 40 is the acting out of a midlife crisis.

But, men in midlife crisis affairs like Steve will choose to stay blissfully ignorant so that they do not have to wake up to the part that they play in their own demise. These men will never admit that they created the entire situation through poor choices. And the reason they will never realize it is because of a very unstable ego that will not allow them to see their faults. In Steve’s story, he casts himself as the model Christian, the good husband, the good father, and the good doctor. His denial and ego-protection is so strong that he cannot peek underneath the façade to see the truth: he caused every bit of it.

So do you believe these two are soulmates?

Doubtful.

They talk about water finding its own level and these two have found their level in the gutter.

Broken People

I believe that the severity of a midlife crisis correlates with the severity of the person’s internal brokenness. Midlife just seems to cause enough existential thinking and this magnifies preexisting brokenness, insecurity, selfishness, addiction, or psychic pain. Old issues may come forth and bring a new haunting. Midlife is a great time for a man to address all of the old pain and transform. However, most find such work too difficult and unwittingly pull others into their own hell.

In this way, the other woman can be seen as merely a pawn in a larger game. The other woman provides a fantasy that allows the man for a moment to forget his own personal hell and live in a projected world. In this world, which is made of no more than smoke and mirrors, there are no problems—just temporary bliss.

It would be a situation where one could say live and let live, but when a man is married and has children, he selfishly drags his innocent wife and blameless children through the muck. This is the tragedy of the midlife crisis—one man’s existential catastrophe harms so many innocents and changes lives forever.

Midlife Crisis Women

I do not want our male readers to feel singled out. As I said before, these days, just as many women as men commit adultery.  So, I wanted to talk about whether or not women also go through a type of midlife crisis.

Women go through menopause and I believe that this life-changing event also provides a time when a woman is invited to look at her own life. However, I do not believe that menopausal years cause women to do stupid things.

Then, there are women who were and always will be selfish. These women can have affairs at any age since they look at the world in terms of getting their needs met, no matter what the cost to the innocents around them.

Finally, one cannot forget grief. Female mid-life correlates with a time when a woman knows she will soon lose an aging parent while at the same time watching her children leave the nest. Midlife for a woman can be a time of magnified grief. These are experiences that can unhinge the best of women and make them easy prey for prowling men.

In Nina’s case, I believe that she was and continues to be a selfish narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. Nina ensured she got what she wanted even if it costs others greatly. Women like this have always been this way and their age does not cause them to act out. These users are always on the look out for quality of the prey and the next situation through which they feel their financial situation or prestige can be elevated.

I must admit that I have a very particular kind of dislike for women like Nina. Her ruthlessness and dogged pursuit of breaking up a family absolutely chills me to the bone.

My opinion is that there are some differences between men and women. It is not a surprise to me when I hear about another man having an affair. But, when I hear of a married woman doing everything in her power to break up two homes, the first word that comes to mind is: sociopath.

No, I do not believe women like Nina are merely good women who have been led astray. It takes a certain resolve for a married woman with young children to set a goal to break up two families. Good women may have unfortunate times of weak thoughts, but when they come to their senses, they realize that they do not want to head on a path that leads to breaking up their home or anyone else’s. Good women realize it would be too unfair to their children and the children of the other man.

If good people have issues, they generally go to marriage counseling or take the initiative to talk about issues and work through them. If their issues cannot be solved, they generally initiate a divorce long before they decide to bring someone else into their heart or their bed.

What You Can Do

Selfish male and female spouses provide a world of hurt to betrayed spouses. The initial blow of the affair is so disorienting and painful that a betrayed spouse loses his or her bearings.

The most important thing a betrayed spouse can do throughout a continuing affair or through recovery is to keep presence of mind. This is essential because a spouse needs to maintain their self-esteem, dignity, and rights within their marriage.

I love this quote by Shannon Alder. It may not have been written for betrayed spouses, but the message applies nonetheless:

Sometimes on your travel through hell, you meet people that think they are in heaven because of their ability to get away with things. Travel past them because they don’t understand who they have become and never will. They are the people that don’t care about anyone, other than who is making them feel confident. They would rather put out your light than find their own. They don’t have the ability to see beyond the false sense of happiness they get from destroying others. You know what happiness is and it isn’t this. They believe that they are entitled to win. You are not like them. You were not meant to stay in hell and follow their belief system. You were bound for greatness. Rise up and be the light home. You were given the gift to see the truth. They will have an army of people that are like them and you are going to feel alone…It is time to let go!”

Now, I am not asking you to let go of your spouse as much I am asking you to let go of being swept up in the chaos. People in the midst of adultery want you to be part of the chaos. They want to have two people fighting over them. On the other hand, during the recovery process, you cannot be swept away by self-doubt and you cannot accept anything less than full remorse and commitment to change on your spouse’s part.

Someone who is having an affair or has had an affair is living in a state of darkness. That person will seek to put out your light for many different reasons: misery loves company, ignorance does not understand goodness, and bad actions are unintentionally rebuked by people who live moral lives.

Having an affair is the antithesis of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you shall have them do unto you. An affair actively harms many: a spouse, the children, and even the community. All of us are interconnected– more than we could ever image. One incidence of evil goes out into the world and creates a ripple effect. On the other hand, one incidence of good also goes out into the world and creates a ripple effect. Each of us must be asking ourselves daily: what kind of ripples do we want to make?

Here are some things that you can do:

Refuse to clean up your spouse’s mess: One way you can do this is to allow your spouse to suffer natural consequences. For example, if your spouse had an affair and if your children know, you do not have to facilitate a relationship with the wayward spouse and your children. It is your wayward spouse’s job to earn back his children’s trust. Refuse to play a go-between where you tell your children that your husband did not really mean to hurt them. He may not have “really meant to hurt them” but he did hurt them and it is his job to both apologize and to facilitate a healing by exhibiting trustworthy behaviors.

Do not go on your wayward spouse’s behalf and demand that your children trust your wayward spouse. This would be enabling on your part and enabling behavior prevents the perpetrator from feeling the full affect of their actions. Enabling is also part of a larger codependent dynamic. Codependence is not a healthy place to be because it further facilitates a dynamic where the erring spouse is able to take advantage of the betrayed spouse.

Do not allow yourself to get pulled into the drama and chaos: Steven Richards said, “It is not enough if you just live life as it comes to you like a floating leaf in a pond. Make use of the powers bestowed in you and soar like an eagle.” People who are in the middle of an affair are often in a state of chaos. They will try to drag you into the chaos so that you become distracted by it. When you are distracted by chaos, then you cannot keep a clear head. When you cannot keep a clear head, you cannot see a clear path out of the chaos.

Assert your rights: In this day and age, we have to give our consent to just about everything. In the United States, everyone has a variety of rights. There are the rights afforded to us by the constitution of the United States, there are patient rights when we seek any kind of physical or mental health care, there are employee’s rights and there are unions, there are rights afforded to renters and homeowners, and finally there are the rights given to us by God. But, when it comes to personal relationships, do we even realize that we have rights? Or do we believe that we must always please others, go with the flow, and say ‘yes’ to situations we do not like?

I believe that a lot of people are bound by “shoulds” and never even question it. How many times have you heard any of the following?

  • You should just forget about the time…
  • You should never confront your sibling because…
  • You should be a good wife and…
  • You should be a good husband and…
  • If you want to be a good adult child, you should…
  • If you want to get along with the world you should…
  • You should never…
  • You should always…
  • Good spouses should….
  • If you want to keep the peace, you should just pretend the affair never happened.

Did you notice how all of those “shoulds” usually benefit someone else? Oftentimes, people tell us we should do something out of selfishness or to keep the peace. Oftentimes, we are told to do something that suppresses our feelings or authentic selves. (Note that I am NOT talking about reasonable requests such as “you should stop drinking and having affairs.”) I am referring to the ‘shoulds’ that serve to further unhealthy situations or dynamics. I am talking about the shoulds that want to silence your inner knowing and crush your wellbeing—the shoulds that demand you live an inauthentic life against your own best interests.

Anytime someone tells you that you should do something, you need ask yourself if such an action is to your benefit. You need to assert your rights to respect, fidelity, humanity, honesty, support, and love. Your spouse made a promise before the law and before God that he or she will forsake all others. You need to claim your right to unconditional fidelity and accept no less. Never do anything to keep the peace if it means you must suffer disrespect and maltreatment. Remember, we must teach people how to treat us since there are people who never internalized the Golden Rule. 

Maintain your inherent mental superiority over the other person: Many people struggle with the concept of why a wayward spouse chose the other person. Our insecurities can rise up before us and cause us to wonder if the other person is prettier, more handsome, smarter, wealthier, more seductive, or more personable. This wondering gets magnified whenever we stumble upon an inner insecurity.

Maybe we have struggled with thoughts of not being thin enough, or maybe we have struggled with getting older, or perhaps we have struggled with not being able to get our pre-pregnancy or more youthful forms back. We secretly wonder if the other person is better in the area where we are most insecure. And it really hurts. Worst of all, it causes us to create stories in our minds about what we believe are our personal inadequacies.

These thoughts can lead us down very dismal and disempowering paths. But, here is the truth: the other person can never be better than you in any way. In the end, a person’s heart, a person’s kindness, and a person’s unselfish love is what defines their individual worth. The other person is not building up any of these wonderful qualities and so they are greatly inferior to you. A person who is capable of knowingly continuing an affair with a married person is greatly inferior. In the end, the other person is never better than the betrayed spouse since character and integrity are the issue here. Anyone who poaches your spouse can never be better than you.

Recognize gaslighting: People who are engaged in affairs or have engaged in affairs acted on many traits that seemed narcissistic. However, in the big picture they do not qualify for the diagnosis since the Narcissist Personality Disorder because oftentimes these behaviors are temporary manifestations caused by the affair.

On the other hand, people with NPD also frequently have affairs. Regardless of whether a person actually has NPD or is temporarily engaging in behaviors that are common to NPD does not matter as much as being aware of these behaviors. You need to know how to protect yourself.

The most common behavior you will be subject to is gaslighting. Gaslighting can be defined as a behavioral tool that serves to brainwash the victim. Examples of gaslighting would be the following:

  • When a wayward spouse constantly invalidates the betrayed spouse’s experience of the affair or tries to blame the betrayed spouse for the affair.
  • When a wayward spouse denies factual events and rewrites them to serve his or her own purposes.
  • When a wayward spouse does not want to disclose the affair even though the betrayed spouse senses it. Instead, the wayward spouse will do things that make the betrayed spouse feel as if they are crazy.
  • When the wayward spouse intentionally makes the betrayed spouse look crazy to others.
  • When the wayward spouse tells others the betrayed spouse is going crazy (behind the betrayed spouse’s back).
  • When the wayward spouse tells lies about the betrayed spouse to gain public sympathy.
  • When the wayward spouse presents himself or herself to others as someone who is being abused by the betrayed spouse. This is meant to set the stage in the event the affair comes out. The wayward spouse will then position himself as the victim to gain public sympathy.
  • When the wayward spouse does things to make you constantly second-guess yourself and keep you off balance.
  • When the wayward spouse intentionally emotionally abuses you and belittles you.
  • When the wayward spouse intentionally sets up situations that will trigger you.
  • When the wayward spouse says cruel things to you that seem to serve no purpose.
  • When the wayward spouse tells you that you are doing things that you are not doing
  • When the wayward spouse constantly nitpicks you and finds fault.

Use the Medium Chill Technique: The Medium Chill technique is a skill that was developed in online communities such as those that help victims of narcissists.

“Medium Chill is an idea that was born on one of the many Internet boards that serves those who have been affected by people with a personality disorder. It is a simple and powerful concept, but like many simple things, it takes practice to implement fully. In a nutshell, Medium Chill means that:

  • You are detached
  • You are emotionally disassociated or indifferent

In practice this means that when someone lashes out – you show no anger…  When they sense they cannot manipulate your reaction, they tend to leave you alone. Tell them nothing, ask for nothing, and offer vacuous pleasantries. Medium Chill gives no appearance of withdrawal, so they can’t accuse you of giving them the cold shoulder. You are there, you’re just not present to them in an emotional way.” (5)

Using the medium chill technique is a tool to use when your wayward spouse is engaging in gaslighting or in situations where your spouse’s behavior is volatile and out of control. The essence of medium chill is that you are present in the situation and engaged. But, you refuse to be drawn into their chaos, their gaslighting, or their misplaced anger against you. There is nothing a wayward spouse loves more than crazy making. They hope to bait their betrayed spouse to behave in ways that are undesirable and chaotic.

When a betrayed spouse is drawn into emotional volatility, this gives the wayward spouse all the more reason to call the betrayed spouse crazy. When the wayward spouse is able to make the betrayed spouse act out, it helps assuage the guilt of the WS and takes the focus off of their own behavior. It also provides the WS with future excuses when he or she is engaging in “tit for tat” arguments. For example, if the betrayed spouse were to raise a concern about the wayward spouse’s behavior, the wayward spouse would then be able to say, “Well, if you hadn’t done x, then I would not have had to do y with the other person.” Do not give your spouse anything that can be used against you. Therefore, being as emotionally as stable as possible under pressure it key.

Realize that your wayward spouse only has as much power as you give them: The power you do NOT have is the power that you choose to give away. Too many of us falsely believe we must give away our power to others who are hurting us. Conversely, the only power that a wayward spouse has is the power that we give them. Therefore, if you do not want a divorce, do not sign papers. If you are feeling bullied by your wayward spouse or the other person, talk to an attorney to know your rights. If you live in a state that still has alienation of affection laws in place, use those laws. If you live in a community property state, keep a journal of all of the activities of your wayward spouse and the other person. You might have a case under tort law. But, the most power you give away is in your thinking itself. Any thinking that is disempowering to you is probably indirectly empowering to your spouse since your thinking influences your actions. Never forget that a perpetrator always needs a victim. Make choices each day that prevent further victimization.

Don’t forget the three C’s: You did not cause it, you did not create it, and you cannot control it. (There is also another version of the three C’s used in Alanon: You did not cause it, you cannot cure it, and you cannot control it.) Remembering the three C’s reminds you that a person is in charge of his or her own thoughts and actions and these create his/her destiny. You create your destiny and your wayward spouse creates his/her destiny. Some of us have been raised in families where we took on the role of fixers. Therefore, we falsely believe it is our job to fix broken situations. The three C’s help us remember that we clean up our own messes and others clean up theirs.

In Summary

The why’s of the affair do not matter as much as your own empowerment and your own understanding. Being able to separate what is yours and what is your partners is a big step.

Don’t get wrapped up in whether or not the other person is better for your spouse or better than you in some way. It is an emotional red-herring that leads nowhere good. 

Maintain your power by realizing you do not have to give it away. Also realize that you do not have to do anything for the wayward spouse while they are acting out and continuing the affair. The point I am trying to convey is that you do not have to play the part in the game that has been assigned to you.

Do not try to clean up your spouse’s mess or try to fix their messes since this is not your job. Like dealing with a petulant child, natural consequences are in order.

The battleground on which you fight is thinking and behavior. You need to find your inner courage, no matter what life has thrown or continues to throw at you. And always, my many blessings go out to you.

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The Unfaithful Spouse Program
Guidance and Understanding for the Ex-Unfaithful

Typically at some point after their affair, the ex-unfaithful find themselves getting off track, feeling lost and not knowing what to do or what to say throughout the healing and recovery process.  It's normal.  

If you are an unfaithful person - or married to one - and are looking for some answers, some direction - this bundle will do the trick.

 

 

Sources
Is A Man Going Through A Midlife Crisis More Likely to Seek an Affair.  From http://www.affairhandbook.com/index.php/is-a-man-in-midlife-crisis-more-likely-to-seek-an-affair/ 

Stumpf, Kenda-Ruth. Understanding Love and Infidelity. From http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/mlc_understanding-infidelity.html 

Staff article. Scientists Say Women Are Genetically Programmed to Have Affairs. From http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/08/22/scientists-say-women-are-genetically-programmed-to-have-affairs-its-like-mate-insurance/

Stumpf, Kenda-Ruth. Infidelity: Why Her? From http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/mlc_understanding-infidelity_other-woman.html

Dia. Use Medium Chill and Improve Your Life Today. From http://www.dhyanna.net/how-to-use-medium-chill-to-improve-your-life-today/

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65 Responses to The Ache of Affairs and What You Can Do About It

  1. Hopeful January 10, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    For us what is interesting is mid life is when my husband woke up and stopped all of his terrible behaviors. He lives his life with such clarity and purpose. I find it hard since he is still surrounded by all his friends who still act like they are 25 years old. But I can see the changes in him. For him mid life is giving him a greater purpose and wanting to have a strong marriage, a great relationship with his kids, prepare for the future, plan for our retirement years… it sometimes feels shocking the 180 he has done but I am cautiously embracing it.

    • Butterball January 10, 2017 at 8:39 am #

      The odd thing for me is that although he is in MLC and engaging in bad behaviors, in some ways he has also woke up and became better than he ever was before.

      This was a good article. Lots of good advice I am already putting in place but the part about not cleaning up the spouse’s mess and staying out of the drama is timely for me now. The OW has created two situations where she put my husband in the middle. I think she wanted him to take her side, but he didn’t. The first incident didn’t even involve her but she imagined it did and that I was accusing her of something, even though it was someone else who had been bothering me. She fought with my husband for two days about it. In the second incident, she did something sudden that disturbed me and I responded and then she responded in a passive-aggressive manner. I decided to take the high road and did not complain to my husband about it, but she did. He did not take sides, but he did point out to her how I had treated her with respect by not complaining even though I could have. At the very end after both incident s were basically resolved, she acted disrespectful toward him and he got angry at her.

      I even told him I have no plans to find faults in her and point them out to him. That he needs to discover her faults on his own. Yeah, it might take some time but he’s not going to believe it if it comes from me. As far as I am concerned she can try to badmouth me all she wants, even if she points out bad things about me, I came to the realization is that my husband already knows my faults and by virtue of the fact he has chosen to stay with me all these years, he accepts them. It’s hard for her to use them as a weapon against me.

      • Butterball January 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

        I did have something good happen today though. My husband bought some property last year to build on for his business. He had been talking in the last week about selling it and buying another larger property, but he would have needed to find someone else to share in the larger property. Yesterday as he was headed out to work, he declared to me that I would be buying the property with him. Not a suggestion, a declaration. I was annoyed and so I told him just go to work and we will discuss this later. I cried after that because I felt he wanted me as a business partner, not a wife, and I really was not interested in tying myself down with him in a piece of land that had no use yet. He also was convinced that the value of the land had increased since he bought it but the way he calculated it was incorrect. So I opened the subject when he came home and told him first of all that if he sold it now it would be a loss not a gain and that his ideas for the larger property were simply speculation and may not work out as he expected. I also told him that I thought his original plans for the land he already purchased and the location was good for his needs. That I thought he should go ahead with his original idea. And he told me I was right and thanked me for telling him his original plan was a good one.

        Lesson learned: As much as it seems he wants to make changes, sometimes he just needs reassurance he was already on the right path.

        • Sarah P. January 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

          Hi Butterball,

          Glad that the article was helpful.

          I am glad that you are taking the high road. The things that the OW does speak for themselves and I am sure your H knows.

          As for your husband, I have the impression that he would be a lost soul if he did not have you and the other woman to help him through his current life.

          But, I also have the impression that your husband would crumble if he was no longer able to keep you and the OW spinning in chaos. It is kind of like that game of two ends against the middle. Only, people’s hearts and emotions are involved so the situation takes on a more sinister tone.

          I can only imagine what a state of mental chaos he must live in each day. He has to ensure his will is imposed on those around him and that you and the OW play your parts. (And he has written the part of each of you to play.) It seems like common sense would tell you not to get involved with your H as a business partner. Even if you were not his wife, it would be unwise to do business with someone who is living in a chaotic situation.

          Do you think that is an accurate assessment of what is happening even though he may not be doing it intentionally?

          • Butterball January 11, 2017 at 12:07 am #

            I gave him a chance to put us in a situation over the last week or so that I know makes him feel he is doing the right thing, but he has been doing it in a very juvenile way but tolerable, but last night he crossed the line with a rather insensitive and insulting joke, and so now I am just going to pull back and refuse to participate in that situation anymore when he invites me to do so. I wouldn’t quite call it chaos but it was a situation where he could have acted better. But I gave him enough rope to hang himself and now he has so now I have to pull back so he can feel what he is missing.

            He needs me, but I don’t need to be put in a juvenile social situation, not from a highly educated, intelligent and worldly man who has regressed to about the age of 18.

            • TheFirstWife January 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

              Just when you think you are making progress.

              Sorry to hear it – frustrating for you.

    • Sarah P. January 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

      Hi Hopeful,
      I am really glad that you guys are on the other end of it now and that things are going well. I am glad that he is using mid-life to create a sense of purpose for himself because purpose is one of the things we all need to feel fulfilled. Thanks again for telling us all about your progress because it provides a sense of hope. I am sure one day he will realize that friends who still behave as if they are 25 no longer meet his need for companionship. Honestly, I kind of feel sorry for those guy’s wives.

      • Hopeful January 12, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

        I totally agree and I think he does too. He always wanted to be with them and had fomo. But now he wants it less than ever. However I do not know if I ever see him cutting them off completely. Most of them he has known and been friends with for 33 or more years. We have known each other 25+ years. Even some friends do not wish the best for him. One in particularly. And many live their lives in less than desirable ways. I can see he is less drawn to them but he says he still has fun with them. Many have noticed he has changed so it is obvious to several of his friends. His most destructive friend passed away which is a good thing for us.

        What still concerns me is his draw to these friends. Even though he is living his life differently. And I would say alcohol use is still of concern. But there have been times he has said he is coming home and an hour later he has not left watching the game because a friend needs a ride or would be alone. He still lacks the ability to put him and us first. It is something I still struggle with. For me I have cut off and distanced myself from people I feel are not authentic and high quality. The issue is my friends are pretty much all that way. Well maybe one of his friends would classify as that so he is left with no one. we have discussed cultivating new friends and there is not a lot to choose from. So we will see.

  2. TheFirstWife January 10, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    I think this is an interesting article even though it bounces around between a number of good points.

    First mid life crisis does exist and can cause all kinds of issues.

    Second the narcissistic behavior patterns will appear whether the Cheater is a true narcissist or just acting that way temporarily during the affair.

    Third I think that there are all types of reasons or justifications people use to cheat. None of them are valid but they cause pain and heartbreak and destroy families.

    But one of the things I discussed with my therapist was that it doesn’t matter WHAT the reason was for the cheating. Trying to “understand” the Cheater and his/her choices is irrelevant. The person is a cheater – plain & simple.

    I think my mistake was continuing to try and “help” my H and “understand” his cheating. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter why he cheated. Whether it was MLC or revenge or if I was an ugly boring witch, he made the choice to cheat.
    He chose to cast me aside. He chose to destroy our family by asking for a divorce on a number of occasions.

    It might be helpful to “know” why the cheating occurred. But you have the facts in black and white. Your spouse was selfish (even if temporarily) and made a choice to be with someone else.

    I think you need to figure out what you are going to do about it. Hopefully the marriage can be repaired.

    I have a success story but it has taken 3 years to get there. The aftermath was worse than the affair and we continue to address our issues. Hopefully we have made changes for the better.

    But I will always wonder if my H had come and said he was unhappy, what woukd have happened.

    • Hopeful January 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

      I have said to my husband unless he was drugged and raped there really is no good explanation it is al a bunch of excuses. I think I shifted at a certain point and want to understand what type of behaviors he exhibited and what situations he was in that allowed this to happen. In the end if we want this marriage and family to continue we have to understand ho to prevent it and for me that became the focus. And until that was addressed I felt vulnerable and unsafe. We have had major improvements. But now I am pretty hard line and matter of fact. I am not emotional and just tell him exactly what I think and expect.

  3. TryingHard January 11, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    Butterball

    I’m going to go out in a limb and you can choose to answer or not. I won’t judge and this question is strictly out of curiosity on my part.

    That said. I’ve made it no secret that I’m having a very hard time following your story. I understand your need for anonymity. But you seem to eschew any kind of advice some very bright and well intentioned people have offered up with regards to infidelity, betrayal and affair partners. You almost seem to distance yourself even from some of the experiences all of us here have agreed we have in common and therefore better able to help and support one another.

    So I have to ask, is your situation with the “OW” in your life a case of a “sister wife” and your competition and cooperation with her and her status? There’s just such a divide here in your story. I can’t tell if it’s a cultural divide or if this is a case of multiple partners and polygamy?

    I know I’m being provocative here and you certainly have a right to your privacy but things are just not adding up for me and well I’m curious.

  4. Sarah P. January 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    Hi Butterball,
    I am also curious about your relationship to the OW. Your story stands out since it is the first one I have encountered on this website where a betrayed spouse is not particularly bothered by the cake part. Affairs are generally in conflict with the wiring of our brains. The part of the brain that is responsible for jealousy and mate guarding also happens to be the oldest part of the brain. I would be curious to know why the physical aspects of the affair don’t bother you since we are literally (primally) wired to have such things bother us.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • Sarah P. January 11, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

      PS
      One more piece of clarity. When I say affairs are in conflict with our wiring I am referring specifically to how we are wired to guard our spouses.

      I am not talking about the brain being wired not to have affairs. I do not know whether the brain is wired to have affairs. But I do know we are wired to respond with extreme jealousy and mate guarding when our spouse has an affair.

      Thanks,
      Sarah

    • Butterball January 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm #

      Our definitions of cake-eating are different. What do you mean by it?

      I wrote a long reply yesterday and it has disappeared. Maybe it needs approval as I was on a different computer?

      • Butterball January 12, 2017 at 12:21 am #

        I should explain that my big issue is that I am not getting my whole cake myself. It’s not about my husband, it’s about me. I think the real issue of cake eating is not what the husband is getting or not getting, it’s what we aren’t getting.

        • TheFirstWife January 12, 2017 at 7:00 am #

          I think there are multiple issues.

          You are not getting what you want from him is one issue.

          His disrespect of you and your vows is another issue.

          His continued contact/affair with the OW is another issue.

          His refusal to end the contact/affair is an issue.

          His demanding you buy property with him had me concerned. I think he has a lot of nerve even suggesting it and I am glad you were able to stand your ground.

          I hope you can see the issues as clear as the rest of us on this bog. You can handle however you wish but from my experience, I would rather live and deal in reality and not rely on “hope” and false promises. From no one. Ever.

          • TryingHard January 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

            TFW–Well said

  5. TryingHard January 12, 2017 at 8:19 am #

    Butterball– it’s an old saying “He is having his cake and eating it too”. It’s often used when people have are in an affair and still have a wife, in this case. Sarah shortened it to “eating cake”. It’s a common usage if the phrase. And I agree you most definitely are not “eating cake”. There’s nothing about a betrayed spouse that gets “cake” . We just get the mess the “cake eater” enjoys.

    Your husband may or may not be “eating cake”. Especially if a third person is invited and accepted into the relationship like a “sister wife”. And in that case she would also NOT be an OW. I just can’t tell with the information you’ve provided. You seem to be accepting of her presence. I could be all wrong too. Just having a very hard time understanding your accceptance of this “OW” presence in your husbands and your life. It dounds like you have some sort of relationship with her too just from your comments.

    Blame it on my detective abilities. Just trying to sort your story out and it’s a simple conclusion of come up with. At first I thought maybe you may have been a different nationality and differing culture but I can telll you are American by your words. Maybe your husband is from a different nationality where multiple partners are accepted by other family members and wives for that matter. Not sure which. But you certainly are mysterious and an enigma. I do however wish you the best.

  6. TryingHard January 12, 2017 at 8:24 am #

    Butterball–another clue for me is your are very respectful of your husbands paternal authority in this situation. You don’t seem to want to assert your rights for a monogamous and deserved marriage. There’s only so many conclusions or scenarios one can assume without personally knowing you and you situation.

    • Butterball January 12, 2017 at 9:42 am #

      It’s not so much a matter of paternalism with me as my husband has always valued my opinion in what he does. I have a lot more influence over what he does than anyone else in his life. I would say even now, although more indirectly. . If anything half the problem may be that I have had too much power in the relationship and he maybe has resented that.

      It’s just his personality has changed completely and I really am at a loss how to interact with him anymore. I just don’t know what I am going to get back out of him. I feel I need time to get to know him again without making demands that will lead to unforeseen results. There”s certain kinds of conversations you don’t have with strangers.

      Just an example of how he really has become a different person. Little idiosyncrasies he used to have, for example, have disappeared. For example, before if I pointed out to something I had done that I wanted him to appreciate, and he didn’t care or felt he didn’t need it, he would say, “I didn’t tell you to do that.” He said this ALL THE TIME before. He hasn’t said it a single time in months and months. Not that he hasn’t had the opportunity or reason to either. It’s like certain parts of his brain have gone into hibernation and he can’t access them at all. There’s no other way to explain it. I am convinced that MLC has a basis in brain chemistry or hormonal changes, but if you look at the medical literature there is ZERO research to say this. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

      Another reason I don’t want to push him now is I want him to feel comfortable opening up to me and talking without worrying I will judge him as this will give me the insight and authority to ask for more from him later. He actually revealed something about himself and the OW today unexpectedly that while I am not entirely surprised about it, I was very surprised that he actually told me about it. They always say that the man in a MLC tries to pretend everything in the relationship with the OW is perfect even when it isn’t, but he didn’t do that. And what was more surprising was this was something related to the core reason he got involved with her in the first place.It’s clear he is already seeing the reality of what he has gotten himself into is not all a bed of roses. But it also shows that at some level he still views me as his best friend because this was something that I am sure he would never have revealed to anyone else and wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t trust me. I took the opportunity though to point out some facts (NOT opinion) about the reality of the situation and he complained that it made him feel discouraged but I reiterated these were simply facts that he needed to keep in mind and had nothing to do with my feeling about the situation.

      I know it may seem I am not facing reality, but I am. There is no doubt he is in MLC. Most men come out of MLC within a few years. If a spouse is patient and understanding, there’s a chance the marriage will come out intact and even stronger. It might not, of course, but from what I can see now of his current state and what I know of him over the years, I believe there is truly a very good chance of this. If he had cancer or was paralyzed in an accident, or developed Alzheimer’s, I would not leave him, so why should I leave him over this?

  7. TryingHard January 12, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    Not suggesting you leave him

  8. TryingHard January 12, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Butterball–I think you’ve answered my question by not answering my question. Good luck to you

    • Butterball January 12, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      I answered your question yesterday. But i think the post needs approval or something and hasn’t appeared because I used another computer.

  9. Hopeful January 12, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    I also was wondering if it was a relative or maybe a work place/boss subordinate situation where he cannot cut off the ow without major implications. As I said my husband did not have mlc affairs so I cannot speak to that and also have not researched that a lot. I think life is complicated at all stages and we all handle it differently. What I am curious about is how is he so comfortable with you knowing this is all going on? as far as I can remember almost all affairs I have heard about the wayward spouse hides or diminishes it or sneaks around. My husband hated it and hid it from everyone. He said it was the worst feeling and felt like he could not escape it and basically kept digging himself a deeper hole. On dday when he opened up to me when I knew nothing he said it was horrible but it was a huge weight lifted off of him. He said he never wants to live that way whether we are together or not. And my husband was great to me during his affairs in many ways. Both were very sporadic so he saw them barely at all and would go 6-12 months with out contact. He is a better husband now but there were not any red flags. So how does he live his life feeling okay to be so open about it? I get it my husband said I was always his best friend even when he was doing it but it almost crushed him. And cake eating to me even means doing laundry and cooking meals etc. Whatever is done to make his life better/easier. I am confused by this.

  10. TheFirstWife January 12, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    Butterball. I want to give you the benefit of my experience. I want to be clear that this is my experience and I am not saying your H is like this. But I just want you to see the error of my ways, so to speak.

    Many years ago (about 30+) my H had an EA. From the moment I met this girl I knew she was madly in love with my H. I told him to watch himself with her. This one-sided emotional affair lasted 4 years. Initially I was OK with it until I found out that my husband was not being truthful and honest about everything that was going on with her.

    I even confronted him and asked for the truth, asked him what was exactly going on, and the only thing I received from him was a bunch of lies, stonewalling, arrogance, denial and disrespect. When I would ask him a question he would give me the same response which was there’s nothing going on and then refusing to answer any other questions.

    Finally I exploded with rage and he FINALLY cut contact with her.

    Fast forward to 2013 and he is now engaged in another EA which quickly escalated to him leaving me or planning to leave me. I was being patient with him and supportive of him. But he was in an affair that overtook his life.

    One night I finally had enough and called the OW b/c I had no idea what was going on with my H. I asked her if she knew what was going on and she told me they we’re seeing each other (again). I made a comment and she told me he admitted that he had the prior affair (in the 90s).

    So he would never admit his first EA existed to me but it admitted it to the OW.

    My mistake was letting him sweep the first EA under the rug. He got exactly what he wanted because I played along and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I knew he was never in love with the first other woman but somehow the relationship clearly was continuing even though I voiced my displeasure.

    Second affair, was a completely different story. He tried to minimize it and pretend that it was not as serious as it appeared. He continued to lie to me even though I begged him to tell me the truth

    And then the OW sent me the emails between them. My husband did a very good job in getting me to believe that his last affair was because the other woman pursued him. He had me believing he never really planned on divorcing or leaving me. He had me convinced that his last affair was a temporary midlife crisis and didn’t mean anything.

    You can imagine the devastation I felt when I realized it was all a lie. Everything he told me to try to get me stay with him was a complete Lie.

    My mistake was allowing him to get away with the first affair without any consequences. I never set boundaries. I did not make any changes in my expectations of him. I still allowed him free reign and I completely trusted him.

    I do believe that after the first affair I should have done things differently and maybe the second affair would never have occurred.

    By being nice and kind and understanding w/ my H he felt he could cheat yet again. He just assumed I would be the same trusting fool again and again.

    Except this time he saw a different side of me. When his last affair came to light, I told him to leave. He was scared and fearful and told me he was not leaving. So I picked up the phone and called a friend and found him a place to stay.

    I believe it was at that moment that he realized who and what he was dealing with. I now have made some very drastic changes and I am no longer a doormat for him.

    When he finally saw I was leaving him he realized what he had done.

    Now I set the tone. I make myself heard and I never back down. I am not confrontational but I assert myself and wished I had done it sooner.

    I would tell you or anyone that you need to make yourself heard and he needs to hear the message loud and clear.

    My inaction led his affair to resume and overtake his life and mine. And continue.

    If I had to do it over again, snd I havd told my H this, I should have left him after the 1st EA.

    His ego and selfishness allowed him to watch me be upset and disrespected and he did not even care. Now it is a different story – thank goodness.

    He always treated me well but I now see how selfish he was at times. How his flirty behavior was really an ego boost for him.

    How sad – he almost destroyed his entire family with his selfishness and ego.

    Butterball you may need to DO something to get this sffsir to stop. Sitting by the sidelines and doing nothing may give him the appearance that you are accepting of his behavior.

    • Butterball January 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm #

      I’ve started my withdrawal since yesterday. Basically, I have figured out he is substituting the interaction I need with interaction that is not a suitable substitute for me. He can continue to refuse and makes excuses for not giving me the interaction I need, but I am simply walking out of the room when it is the substitute. The substitute wouldn’t necessarily be entirely bad if I was also getting what I need. But he is also handling the substitute inappropriately and it’s not just a matter of one thing for another but also putting me in situations where I feel he is testing my reaction and also behaving inappropriately and I don’t have time for these games. So I am going to read a book instead or do some work. I can’t force him to do anything but he can’t force me to accept to be in a situation I don’t like either.

  11. TryingHard January 12, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

    Ok here’s a question for all. First what man would consider a major investment in business such as a major land acquisition with his present wife while in the middle of an affair?? Also what wife would even consider that investment with a man that’s cheating on her? This makes NO sense. How dumb is this guy?

    The fact that he doesn’t say “I never asked you to do that” is indicative of what??? So what? What did that statement ever mean in the first place? Personally if my h didn’t show gratitude or appreciation for something good or nice I did, would be the last damn time I did it!! This is just all too obtuse.

    No Butterball has some kind of relationship with this “OW” and there is more here than she is saying. What betrayed wife has reasonable conversations with their husband mistress? What wife doesn’t want to rip the OWs head off if she had the nerve to get within a foot of the bitch??? She knows way too much about the relationship with the “OW”

    MLC as an excuse?? Please that’s just making excuses for his bad behavior. No Butterball is working way too hard making excuses for her husband. MLC is NOT cancer or heart disease or Alzheimer’s, he is making a choice. He’s not under a spell at all. He’s choosing this chaos. One doesn t choose those other diseases but one does choose to cheat and KEEP cheating IF that is indeed what he is doing.

    TFW you can recant your story once again thinking it will help but I believe you are wasting your breath. But that is your choice. LOL by now I think I have your story memorized!!

    I have no idea what Butterballs lost answer was and I’m getting close to not giving a damn anymore. It’s weird is all I know.

    These comments and stories are so off topic from the original post I’m not sure I even want to follow EAJ anymore.

    So if this marriage works for Butterball, well mazeltov!!! I’m not wasting any more time on this.

    • Butterball January 13, 2017 at 8:47 am #

      One of the things I mentioned in my disappeared post is the core reason for all this IS a medical issue. I know that won’t make a lot of sense to you but while we can agree to disagree about MLC as an illness there is another medical issue underlying all this and it is not something either one of us would abandon the other about. And there’s a chance that he will realize on his own this was all the biggest mistake of his life, also due to a potential medical issue. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about STDs at all.

      • TheFirstWife January 13, 2017 at 10:08 am #

        Butterball. You don’t owe any of us any explanations or details. You are entitled to your privacy, as we all are.

        We just are trying to help and give you the benefit of our experiences.

        As I stated previously a MLC is spurred by so many things – illness, death of a loved one, job loss, financial problems etc.

        My prior point is that it doesn’t really matter why the affair occurred. It is great if you can figure out the “why” but it’s not important. It’s important to deal with it however you need to or however you can.

        I too tried to be kind and understanding of my H’s MLC. But I have a disability and he was willing to leave me. No care in the world about me or kids.

        Now of course he is deeply remorseful but at the time he was a different person. Not himself. I tried to be patient and considerate.

        But as I stated previously nothing changed until I stood up to him. Finally.

        But you are like me – if my H had a medical issue during his affair I would not have left him. But once recovered and affair was still going on – well sorry I am not that nice!!

        But that’s just me.

        • Butterball January 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

          I’ve looked at the situation we are in from all the possible angles and you can speculate all you want about affair vs. sister wife but in the end the only angle that I have found that really helps me to understand and deal with it is the MLC angle because that is something that trumps everything else. The OW is only a symptom, not a problem.

          As for my husband talking about himself and the OW, actually what was so interesting about the comments he made was not because it was about him and her, but what it actually revealed about HIM. It came up because of something about me and him and he actually made a comparison and basically admitted the problem was HIM because he had the same problem with her as with me. This was quite an admission because it is a problem that has existed between us for years now and he has always blamed it on ME. And he basically admitted yesterday the problem was with him. I’m not going to imagine he is anywhere near finishing his MLC but for him to blame himself for something that has been a major problem between us was a big deal to me.

          • Butterball January 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

            And I should say I always suspected the problem was to a large extent from him and not from me, but it would have been a terribly hurtful for me to say that to him.

    • Hopeful January 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      I agree too. My husband did everything to keep his affairs from everyone for 10 years. Granted they were sporadic but he gets almost physically ill when he has answered my questions and he cries and is most disappointed in himself. He says there is no legitimate reason to have an affair just excuses.

      My husband lived a very normal life with us and I think due to the nature of his affairs that is why I never had any indication this was going on. There has to be some sort of a dual relationship. I have never heard of this level of openness and betrayal being accepted. My husband I know feels lucky I did not make him leave and his had been over for 15 months. all I can think is there are deeper issues and really professional help is needed. Otherwise if you are okay with waiting for a mlc to be over then there isn’t much else to do.

  12. Rachel January 13, 2017 at 5:59 am #

    Hello all! Hope you all had enjoyable holidays.
    I thought I’d throw in my latest to give you all a chuckle. The ex emailed me a happy 2017 and hopes we will be on friendly terms this year because life is so short. DELETE!
    Yesterday I got another email saying how nice I looked and how nice it was to see me at a basketball game that our son coaches at. He also said, “wish we could talk”.
    What??? Talk??!! You never wanted to talk when I wanted to talk!! Now after being divorced for 3 years you want to talk??????
    DELETE!
    I just filled out the paper work from the court to go back to my maiden name. I will have a new email address. The ex will not have the email address and then hopefully I will be free of his bull sh*t. If not I will get the authorities involved. I think I’ve put up with enough of him 3 years after the divorce. He’s just as exhausting as he was when I was married to him.🙄
    Have a good weekend all.

    • Sarah P. January 13, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      Those are all funny stories. Thanks for sharing! I am glad that you were able to divorce this person and be free of him. He does not sound like the kind of person who was capable of experiencing any kind of real change.

      In fact, I can picture your ex’s personality type. My first serious boyfriend was a conservative business major from a prominent family in the area. The guy seemed to come off as the perfect son, grandson, church goer, and boyfriend. It was a smoke screen for his other activities– five women to be exact. He literally could not understand that if he promised to stop why I would continue to have an issue. I broke up with him and he bugged me for about 2 years afterwards and even wrote some threatening letters that I turned over to an attorney in my family. Meanwhile, he was engaged to someone else and was still with the same five women. He would approach me on campus and he believed that I did not know he was engaged to someone else and that he was still with the same five. I would tell him I knew he was engaged etc and he would play dumb and offended. This is a certain personality type of guy out there and I do not believe they ever grow out of it. I heard through the grapevine that this particular ex never grew out of it. I do not believe he ever will either.

      Your current experience indicates you did the right thing and your ex’s behavior is typical of this personality type. I am glad you are at the point where you can laugh at all of this. Laughter truly is the best medicine!

    • TheFirstWife January 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

      Rachel. Boy is your ex dense!!!

      He had you and didn’t want to be with you but now he can’t have you and wants to be with you.

      How immature!!!

  13. TryingHard January 13, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    Rachel– you have done so well in three years. I know divorce is not what you wanted and you did your best not to divorce. I remember the day you went to court. LO you wore high heeled boots and sounded like you looked like a million bucks and I believe you did!!!

    What do you think was the single best thing you did to heal your broken heart? I know this was not an easy decision but your husband kept pushing your boundaries and continued having affairs and contact with the APs. We all know he’s a complete Narc. I’m thinking you are seeing a lot of similarities between him and what’s playing out on our national stage!!

    He will never stop but making the changes like taking back your name and changing email addresses will send a loud message. You could block him too on your current email. After all your sons are adults and you don’t need to be in such close contact with him. NC is the only way to deal with Narcs like him. They don’t get nuance. Is he still living with his Mom?

    • Sarah P. January 13, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

      Hi Trying,
      Agreed. No contact is the only way to deal with narcs. The thing that amazes me though about narcs is no matter how many times you reason the situation through with them there is still no insight.
      How were your holidays?

  14. TryingHard January 13, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    Wait, there’s a disease that causes a mid life or contributes to a mid life crisis??? You’re serious about this? Haha, ok whatever you say

    • Butterball January 13, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

      Yes, there is, because it leaves a couple without any way to fulfill the dreams they had together for their life. Do you always laugh at people’s medical conditions or are you just feeling particularly cruel today?

      • TryingHard January 14, 2017 at 11:06 am #

        Butterball– no im just very educated in infidelity and betrayal. You can call it cruel if you like. I like facts not fantasy. In fact there IS no disease that causes an MLC. You know it, I know it, the medical community knows it. To compare MLC to cancer or Alzheimer’s is over reaching at best and irresponsible at worst. And I hope you never have to deal with either disease

        ni cheating is a CHOICE plain and simple. And no amount of over analyzing your situation will change that fact. I’m not saying there aren’t life events that push weak people to make a choice to cheat. I know a woman whose husband need knee replacement surgery. The surgery went bad and he was bed ridden fir months. During that time she not only devoted herself to his physical care, as she was a nurse by profession , she also acted as surrogate secretary to his very active law practice. After he recovered he decided life was short so he had an affair just to thank her for all her devotion and hard work during his arduous recovery. He’s an asshole. She divorced him and took most his wealth with her. Good for her!!! His illness during his knee replacement surgery wasn’t his choice but what he did afterwards was. She was smart enough to realize that.

        Look people make horrible choices in life, both cheater and betrayeds. But to sit by and allow, yes I said ALLOW, the affair to continue once it’s out and known is inexcusable on both the cheater and betrayed.

        In fact no it is not I who is being cruel to you but your husband who is cruel. It is HE that continues to play you for a fool and you are allowing it by making excuses.

        Everyone here has shown by example and history that being psssive doesn’t work and actually makes YOU co-dependent allowing the bad behavior to continue. And this is exactly what you are doing by making up excuses for him and his cheating. But this situation works for you on some level. I don’t know what that level is but it’s not what I or seemingly most here want in their lives

        You can argue your point all you want. That’s your choice. I just think there’s more than meets the eye in your story.

        Cruel or not. I’m no nonsense. I put up with way too much gaslighting and BS not to call out BS when I see it. If you’re offended that’s in you not me. Wake up girl. You are not holding up the sky. You are being used and abused by a cheater.

        • Sarah P. January 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

          Hi Trying,

          Your comments resonate with me and Dr. Dobson pretty much says the same thing in his book. Even though he is a Christian and believes in marriage and family, he has advised women to take action. He advises that a woman needs to tell a man he needs to stop seeing the other woman and repair the marriage. If the man is unwilling to do that, then he says a woman needs to tell her husband to move out. Dr. Dobson believes that women need to take the toughest line from the very beginning if the marriage is ever to recover. He believes that only when a woman draws strict boundaries will a man have a reason to change. Most men do not want divorces and they will continue to use both the wife and OW for as long as possible. They may threaten divorce, but in the end, most do not desire a divorce. So it is up to the wife to enforce strict boundaries. I believe enforcing boundaries is always the right thing to do, but so do the experts.

          What were the best things you did for your marriage that caused your H to make a change?

          Sarah

          • TryingHard January 15, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

            Hi Sarah– I don’t know why but I’m not getting my feed thru email si I just saw this

            After all the crazy fallout, and I mean crazy at times and I also did some very smart things like retain a bad ass attorney who made some very good legal move to my benefit, after about 3 months and he was out of the house, self inflicted, I drew the line in the sand. Shit or get off the pot!! He either fire the OW and move back home and start MC or he should gird his loins for the fight of his life. pretty sure his lawyer said the same thing to him.

            Once my legal strength was recognized he earnestly went to MC. I gave him every opportunity to leave. I also let him know how much he meant to me. Our MC had us write a letter why we loved each other and why we wanted to stay married. Mine made them both cry, his well, let’s just say he’s not very eloquent.

            Essentially I took a living but hard line. Prior to MC he was getting advice from a relative who is an MD although hasn’t practiced in years. LOL she was of the old school bullshit that it wasn’t the affair that was causing problems in our marriage and was just a symptom. He lapped that crap up like candy. That bolstered his resolve and he was bound and determined to blame our marriage on him having an affair. Well the MC blew that bullsHit out of the water. He soon realized the faultiness in this thinking and how indeed he was grasping at anything to save face.

            So yes I was tough and loving. I made him talk. Talk about anything. I turned off the TV and made him talk. We had dates and we talked. Yep I got pissed A LOT but I learned to calm down and listen. I learned not to react so he’d talk more. I watched, I put a GPS on his car, I key logged his computer. I verified everything. No stone was left unturned. It was EXHAUSTING!! But he proved to me he was sorry and cherished me and regretted ever taking me for granted and having the affair. The MC made him talk too and to be honest. Do I know everything? Probably not, but I know all I need to know.

            My marriage is good now, not perfect but good. We do everything together, well not golf. I hate golf and that’s ok.

            I don’t regret one thing I did. And I did some crazy things CRAZY like arrest crazy but it was all part of it. Also I only took the duplicitous bullshit for 3 months after DDay. I still remember the day I screamed he should go eff himself I was done doing the pick me dance. I was going forward with a divorce. That’s when everything changed for me.

            To this day he still knows he can leave and where the door is. He’s still here reminding me everyday how much he loves and appreciates me and that I saved his life and his soul. Crazy right?

            • Sarah P. January 17, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

              Hi TryingHard,

              Thanks again for sharing what you did to get through your H’s affair and come out on the other side with a strong relationship.

              It’s plain to see that setting boundaries and forcing a choice was the thing that caused your husband to stop in his tracks. Great work!

              I believe every woman needs to be okay with herself in the event that a husband leaves the picture, even if not due to an affair. It’s just a healthy mindset for women to have. But it is not an easy mindset.

              Glad that you have come to that point. It is an empowering place to be.

        • Butterball January 17, 2017 at 7:02 am #

          I didn’t say a disease caused it like MLC is a symptom of a disease. No, I meant that the relationship is supposed to be a solution to a medical problem, and that the mental impact of this medical problem on his sense of security pushed him into the MLC. I’d say you just wouldn’t get it because it is a cultural thing that you just wouldn’t have experience with.

          I’m not being passive. I’ve actually challenged him several times in the last few days, forced him to step by step admit the OW had crossed a line that he himself had made, made it clear how his behavior is affecting me, called his bluffs by not reacting to them and basically goaded him into spending more time with the OW and then not getting upset about it, which upsets him because he wants to feel that his spending time with her is of his own choosing, not something I give my blessing to. He’s tried to put several bad choices in front of me and asked me to choose and then I told him I didn’t like any of the choices and my choice was something else but that he was free to choose and he backed down on his insistence on any of them. He’s trying to scare both the OW with threats that he is going to dump us both. He’s basically been avoiding me mostly the last couple days but I am OK with that, because this ISN’T the man I was married to. I’m reacting to him the total opposite of how I used to react. I don’t chase, I push him away, I don’t react at all: if he blows up, I get calmer. He’s under a lot of stress right now but i will let him take out that stress on the OW, I will let him feel any extra stress comes from her. I don’t want to be responsible for any of his current feelings, because none of them are good, so better he be away from me so he can’t blame them on me.

          i’m not making excuses for him, but he is what he is now, and that I have to deal with. Ultimatums will NOT work. He’s so wrapped up in believing his own justifications for what he is doing that he is not going to be swayed otherwise. When I managed to get him to admit the OW had crossed a red line he himself had drawn, his reaction was to want to dump us both, maybe because he was angry at her for crossing it and angry at me for making him face her flaws. He can’t face being challenged with reality now, it’s too painful obviously. He’s put himself in a situation that doesn’t suit him and I am sure he knows it but he wants me to take responsibility for it and it’s not my responsibility and the only way he is going to see that is for me to allow him to detach from me. As someone wrote on another forum, this is a season he is going through. It will pass. He went into this all a lot more consciously than your average MLCer and in doing so he made it clear to me that he had no intention of leaving me, and even at one point admitted he had to suppress his feelings for me to do what he was doing. This was up front, and most men don’t have this level of awareness until afterward. It may seem now he hates me and doesn’t respect me etc etc., and no objectively at the moment I would say he doesn’t, but I am going to give him a chance to return in time and will expect him to make up for it. We had a good relationship before and we even reached a deeper, and closer level in our relationship than we ever were at before just as he went over the edge and it was almost as if we needed to strengthen our relationship at that point because we both knew it was going to take a beating and it’s like he fell into a hole that he needs to crawl through on his own to reach me again on the other end.

          • TryingHard January 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

            Hi Butterball–I thought maybe it was a cultural thing I was not getting about your story. And maybe in YOUR culture, as you are taught to believe, there are excuses or “diseases” that cause MLC.

            I am just NOT familiar or educated in any remote way with this way of thinking or value system to be of any help to you in regards to your situation with your husband and marriage.

            I have nothing to add that could possibly help you and all I can do is give you my best wishes for the future.

        • wiser February 10, 2017 at 11:25 am #

          I think all of you should back off from telling butterball how to live her life, I for one, am rooting for her. The easy and weak thing to do is to give up on your marriage, do the worldly thing and walk away. Butterball is doing a godly thing. I will be praying for you

  15. Rachel January 13, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

    Oh Sarah P. My ex is just like your ex. Perfectly combed hair, creases in his jeans, church going fake fake fake!!
    Trying hard, not sure if I just have one thing that healed my heart. The peace and quiet is really really nice. Ther are no more egg shells that I walked on. And I had the kindest man put into my life. It is so nice to mean something to someone other an object. It’s so nice to be respected. It’s so nice to hear the question,” how was your day”?
    My ex said some pretty rotten disrespectful things claiming that all guys talk like that!!
    Well, they don’t . And I was lucky enough to have a kind caring gentleman put in my life.
    Oh and yes, trying hard he does still live with his mother, she’s the one that puts the creases in his jeans. 😉

    • TryingHard January 14, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

      Rachel– you have come such a long way. We all know you tried to make it work with your ex. But sometimes there’s nothing left to work with. You are def having the last laugh though. Because the best revenge is living well and you are my dear. I am so happy you have a wonderful person in your life. I’m certain you have many wonderful people in your life. Now Mr Cheaterpants can just wallow in the mud with his perfectly pressed seamed jeans from mommmy!!! That is what you call Karma!!!

  16. TryingHard January 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    Butterball– by the way there may indeed be a disease that causes infidelity, Alzheimer’s and maybe that is what your husband is indeed experiencing physically and he’s simply forgotten his vows of fidelity. If that’s the case you need an Alzheimer’s support group. Not not an infidelity blog.

    As far as dreams dashed? Join the club. Not one person here hasn’t had a dashed dream. It’s called life. Hollywood is in fact a whole city of dashed dreams. One deals with dashed dreams and move on. You make changes and institute personal boundaries and progress with an authentic life whatever that may be.

    But you don’t sit back and accept abuse and cheating is abuse. Quit denying it. There’s whole women’s shelters full of women who deny their partners are abusive and yet they have physical scars and blackened eyes that speak to the contrary. Cheating is emotional abuse and no less hurtful or harmful.

    You can explain away all the reasons to validate your husbands infidelity and unless you are living in a cultural where multiple partners is acceptable no one here is going to accept your reasoning. once the cheating is out and known to the betrayed the onus is no longer solely on the unfaithful to make things right. The onus is on the betrayed to INSUST the AP be out of their lives. Anything less is being complicit in the continuation of the affair. But hey whatever works for you. Live and let live.

    • Hopeful January 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

      Is there a “medical” illness or is it being said that the mlc is the illness? I am confused. If the mlc many people do have this issue and seeing a mental health professional is very important. They are trained to support both sides to find a resolution. Therapist are trained to find out what the goal/desired relationship is and then to help everyone work towards this. The first question my therapist asked was if I was being abused and second if I wanted to work to save my marriage. We took it from there. I honestly think our mental health is as important if not more important than our physical health. They are at least intertwined. And neglecting the damage that this does to each of us as individuals I think is harmful.

      My goal still is to be a happy individual. It starts with me. We have a lot of history and 25+ years together and we are still fairly young. We met really young. And I hope we last a lifetime. But if we don”t I know I gave it my all.

      And one last thing I have brought up the topic if either of us had a physical illness or injury can we count on each other and even with age. I really questioned him on this on. He has sworn he will be there. So far so good but I have really high expectations.

  17. Rachel January 14, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Oh boy!! Just got another email from yours not so truly!! Asking me why we can’t be committed like Brad and Angelina??? For the well being of our kids!!! Kids they are 25 and 21!!! They are fine !
    He copied and pasted an article. What a jerk!!! Wait I already knew that!
    I must send out the name change on Tuesday!! He’s crazier than I thought!!

    • Sarah P. January 14, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      Wow, I am surprised that you don’t go over and tell him off. Of course that would be the WRONG thing to do because then he would be getting attention. He is obviously looking for any kind of engagement with you even if it is him being told off.

      The nerve of him to say you need to get along for the sake of the kids. He should have thought about that before he made all of the choices he made with other women. But, I can tell you that my first ex was the same way. I literally spelled out to him why what he did was both hurtful and wrong and it just did not compute. I explained it many times over and all I got were glazed eyes and the same old answer: “Well, I promised I would stop now you need to move on and plan a wedding.” Seriously, he said that. Luckily I did not write it off as immaturity and realized that his issue was a core personality trait. He was so broken in his thinking that nothing would ever get through to him about the wrongness of his actions. Plus, I knew it would continue as soon as he was in a weak moment again. I will never understand why people like this waste the time of people who are faithful. An inherently unfaithful person should never think they are entitled to an inherently faithful person. It is so selfish.

      I have a recurring fantasy of putting all of the serial adulterers on an island together and to film a survivor type show. It would be interesting to see who outsmarts whom and see if any of the serial adulterers gain insight on why their behavior is hurtful.

      It will be one fine day when he sees that you have changed your name and moved on. What a terrible excuse for a human being.

      Sarah

    • Hopeful January 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

      Rachel, oh my. All this nonsense must reinforce that you made the best decision for you. And crazy with the ages of your kids he sites brad and Angelina. Crazy! So glad you have someone that values you in your life. It is a long hard road but glad all that work is paying off for you!

  18. TryingHard January 14, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    I love how he compares himself to Brad Pitt and Angelina!! Talk about narcissism!!! Next he will be quoting The Dali Lama. No wait the Dali is way too humble for him. He’s a piece of work or like the kids say a real tool!!!

  19. theresa January 15, 2017 at 12:48 am #

    We’re trying to help, and as said previously, no 2 situations are EXACTLY alike. You have responded to some of the comments that we (TH, TFW, HOPE, ETC) could not understand what you are living with, your situation is different than anything we have experienced.
    I also get the impression that you feel that you know your husband better than he knows himself.
    I assume nothing. I have found that incorrect assumptions limit my power to act. I’ve made mistakes by basing my actions on incorrect assumptions. No longer do I say to myself and/or others “I know what he”ll say. I now what he’ll do. I know what he’s thinking. I know what he feels.”
    I know longer assume how I will r.eact to any given situation in the future.

    I didn’t and I don’t.

    I’m learning more about myself as every day passes. How cam I presume to KNOW anyone else’?

    So, don’t dismiss advice and suggestions by presuming to know us.
    You hurt yourself by limiting your options.

    I also get the impression from more recent posts, that you are trying to convince yourself.

  20. BB January 15, 2017 at 1:45 am #

    I really enjoyed the article. It seemed to give me some calming if my mind. If you remember my Christmas wish was for my H. To give our marriage another chance. And surprisingly he ageeed on New years eve saying he has been trying (just forgot to telk me?). I asked if that means seek g and twxting OW he said yes but got aggrevated and doesnt wanr to tak about it. He works with OW, so I have the agi y daily to wonder if it us true or is it all a lie again.
    We are goung oyt of town tomorrow and I want it ti ve a nice getaway but J feel the need to ask afain about OW. But it eill just be another argument and I will never feel J get a truthful answer. Even if it is truthful I will always foubt it… any afvice? I gave the chance I wanted but now I feel my emotions and anxiety are back!

    Help pleas

    • Sarah P. January 16, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

      Hello BB,

      I am glad that you liked this article. I am also happy that your husband has decided to try to work it out with you. Please let us know how things progress and I am so happy you got your Christmas wish!

      Sarah

  21. TryingHard January 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Hi B.B.–here’s the problem from my experience. You need answers, and rightfully so and trust me those answers will piss you off, and he doesn’t want to answer and will become defensive, which will piss both him and you off. We did the same going out of town. Sheesh almost left both times I was so pissed and anxious!!! Si if you want a harmonious tred lightly. And look I’m a no nonsense girl so I say this seriously and I am on your side, you deserve answers. You will be spending lots of time together and you will be watching him and parsing every word that comes out of his mouth. LOL probably not the kind of get away you and he are imagining. I’m just giving you a heads up, nothing will be natural or normal. Don’t even be convinced he’s not still in contact with the OW. She’s the one who will validate his resistance. Watch his phone use. My h even agreed to me being in control of his phone!!! That was huge.

    Si expect the unexpected from both you and him. You will be suspicious of every thing he dies and that is normal. It’s like being bitten by a dog. You now know what he is capable of and you will be on guard. It takes a while not to feel this way.

    I suggest if you do have to ask questions make sure to keep your cool. Ask questions he can answer, not abstract questions. The info you gather needs to be built on slowly. Guve you and him a time limit such as 15 minutes or half hour. Tell him about the time limit but he has to cooperate during that time. But most of all KEEP YOUR COOL. They clam up tighter than a drum if you fly off the handle. There’s a time and place to show anger but that is at home where you can go to neutral zones in your home NOT in a hotel room or strange city. Wait till you’ve gathered enough solid info and the cooler you remain the more you will get. Remember cheaters are like petulant children and hate reprimand and punishment and they know they have someone else who will support them the ever understanding affair partner.

    I hope I’ve helped.

    • Rachel January 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

      Very true, the cooler you remain the more info you will get.
      I remember this well. It killed me hearing his comments but I knew to keep calm and not cry. I pretended I didn’t even care.

  22. theresa January 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    A perfect 10

  23. TheFirstWife January 15, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    THard.

    Great advice. I think the one thing you may have added was that it is a common trait of the Cheater to lie when asked questions.

    They will lie to save face

    The cheater will lie from embarrassment or shame

    The cheater will lie for fear of further argument or that the truthful answer will cause even more pain

    The cheater will or may also lie because the affair may not be over or they may still be in contact secretly

    The cheater may just be a total liar on all fronts

    • TryingHard January 15, 2017 at 10:44 pm #

      TFW–great point. Yes they will lie, obfuscate, gaslight you name it. But she has to start somewhere

      • TheFirstWife January 16, 2017 at 4:13 am #

        TRying Hard.

        I think if I had been aware of the continued lying and why it occurs I would have been less devastated.

        Doug was nice enough to send me a response on the lying after the affair comes to light and it helped tremendously.

        I guess I thought that the lying about the affair would cease. But I was wrong on that front too. It caused so many more problems for me.

        But I think if I had known this was an expected pattern of behavior I would have been better off.

        • TryingHard January 16, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

          I agree TFW–There’s so much about affairs that devastate and lying is certainly the main one. I would even say the actual affair is easier to forgive than the outright lies. And the fact that it’s kind of unexpected because what could be worse than the actual affair that they would need to lie about it?

          Yep they lie and they will continue to lie. That’s also why staying calm should be a priority to get to the truth. The calmer you are and the less anger that is shown the more likelihood you will get the truth. But while you’re blowing your lid all he will want to do is retreat and lie his ass off.

  24. Hopeful January 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    I totally agree the affairs were bad but it was the lying and trickle truth and dday 2 they almost crushed me.

    I still remember the day and I think I was so devastated and in so much pain I thought he was there to help me. Well I kept asking many of the same questions over and over. Well I just knew in my gut there was more to it. Things did not add up. I had a total breakthrough as to I need to take care of myself and forget about him. Why was I taking his word and giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think due to his profession I thought he would have some desire to help and watch out for me. Dumb! It took me a couple of months but after than I was headlined and has very clear boundaries.

    With time I have gotten more form. One day in the summer I was taking care of a lot, work, kids, mowing the lawn, taking the trash out and I had this overwhelming feeling I can do this I am more capable than I ever thought. I have continued to be firm. If he does not want to be his best self, transparent, honest and trustworthy then he has no spot in my life. My life means too much. He really is a new person now. Nothing is perfect but it is pretty close. But it has taken a lot of work.

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