I have written something very similar to this before but you really need to piece a lot of my posts together to get what I am telling you here. Here are a couple that provide so more in-depth insight into my journey into my affair:
All along I have been searching for the why of having the affair. Why did I do it? I think it is important because if you understand the “Why” you can protect against it in the future. I think that all people on both sides of an affair ask themselves this and I doubt any answer is the same and regardless of what silly surveys same they are hardly boiled down to one or two issues that lead to an affair. I can promise you that there are so many things that go into it and it is so individual that it is hard to make an all-encompassing list of why affairs occur. Here are a couple of things I know for sure:
- It is never the betrayed spouses fault
- It is completely the cheating spouses fault 100% of the time
- There is a communication problem within the marriage
- There is a self-esteem/confidence/image issue with one or both of the spouses
This is all about I can say is normally within most affairs. While other people are open to say I am full of it I do not believe that most affairs are about the sex. I know mine was not about the sex. I do not know that I realized it at the time but it is very clear now. Instead I believe that most affairs occur because of a whirlwind of issues within a marriage. Let’s look at the list above but in reverse order.
For this I believe that at least the cheating spouse, but also often the betrayed spouse, has these issues. This is one of the dark deep down secrets that the cheating spouse is looking to boost themselves through having the affair. They may not even be aware of it but they do enjoy the attention that they get from the affair partner. They like how that person makes them feel (important, attractive, funny, strong, …). This builds up their view of themselves and they want to continue these feelings so they spend more time with the affair partner. Does it mean that they have a very negative self perception? Not really, but they obviously are wanting in this area or they would not be drawn to this type of attention. At least not to the degree that occurs within an affair.
Let me give you an example from my life. A few years ago we used to have family friends that we did everything with because they were about our age and their kids were also the same ages. This made it very easy to get along with them and keep everyone happy. Well, the husband worked very long shifts and about an hour away. This kept him out of the home a lot and so when I would come over with my wife and kids she would normally have a list of things that needed to be done and I would just do it. I liked the feeling of being needed and the husband did not know how to do a lot of the things anyways. So I would get them done. She would always comment on how handy I am and how lucky my wife was to have me around. She also had me write workout plans and give her nutrition and exercise advice (previous life experiences qualified me to do this) which I gladly did. She began working out and eating healthy. I was oblivious at the time but she was replacing me with her husband. I just thought I was being nice. In the end she made a pass at me that I quickly yet politely declined and told my wife. This has strained our relationship so much that we hardly do anything together anymore. Her husband never knew, but I was confident in myself at the time that I could still bring my wife around. This wife, though, has serious self-esteem issues. It was one of the things she discussed with me the night she made a pass at me. I really did like the attention she gave me but I was confident in who I was and what I had and so I did not need nor want anything more.
Many affairs are people filling a need that is not being met by their marriage. This very often could be how they view themselves. A wife or husband who belittles and does not treat their partner with respect can open themselves for their partner finding someone who will. Someone who will make them feel good about themselves. I know I felt very good about myself when I was in the beginning and middle of the affair, when the fog was the thickest. This issue can be dealt with but it needs to have good communication, which is the third item on the list, and respect.
If a married couple can talk about anything with their partner then they can workout most any problem before it becomes a marriage killer. When one partner feels undervalued or belittled within their own marriage then the likelihood that they can bring this issue up with their partner is slim. Trust and respect are needed with the communication that the partner will listen to what they have to say and consider their feelings when acting about what is being said. In my case, my wife and I had hundreds of conversations about sex and our incompatibility, but I never once attempted to tell her how her rejection was making me feel. Mostly this was due to my ignorance of my feelings and where I was gaining my self-worth from, but in the end my inability to talk to my wife about how I was feeling and her inability to tell me how she was feeling about herself led us both to views of ourselves that were not positive. The funny thing is that everyone used to ask us how we communicated and we would both say how well we communicated with each other, but we never said the things that actually needed to be said, just everything else.
We still struggle talking to each other about our feelings and the things we do to and for each other that change those feelings both about ourselves and each other. It is an area that we will be constantly working to improve. For example, even as I write this I have something big on my mind that I should talk to my wife about but I cannot bring myself to do it. I don’t even know why. It is not something that will be hurtful to her, but I am just that uncomfortable talking about my feelings. I am great talking about everyone else’s, just not my own.
Whose fault is it?
These two items can be tackled together. It is always the cheating spouses fault for the affair regardless of what has happened within the marriage. It does not matter what the betrayed spouse has said or done before the affair, nothing is a good enough reason to have an affair. In my case, my wife used t tell me to go out and find what I wanted because she believed she could never give me what I truly wanted. This used to drive me crazy because I knew that all I wanted was her. Does her telling me this grant me permission to have an affair? Absolutely not! Having an affair is not an accident. You do not walk down the street and trip and fall into an affair. It is something that while it may not seem preplanned, it takes a deliberate action on the part of the cheating spouse to make it an affair. Martial issues can develop unbeknownst to both partners over years and years of marriage and they are not normally deliberate acts. Instead they are things that have not been communicated between partners that grow and grow until they threaten a marriage.
The betrayed spouse no matter how crappy of a spouse they have been is not at fault. They are not the one who broke their marriage vows. They are not the one who chose the selfish route of satisfying a personal need over the need of the relationship. The needs of the individuals do need to be met, but within the confines of the relationship. If they cannot be met then the avenue for fulfilling those needs should be ending the current relationship and looking for someone to fulfill those needs. Not finding someone and then deciding on the relationship at that point. If the cheating spouse is unhappy enough to want to find someone else then they need to end what they have in order to be free to pursue other options.
I am ones who always wants to take ownership for their actions and gain any rewards or suffer any consequences for those actions. It is the same in this case. I am responsible for all that has gone on. I am responsible for the affair and how I have handled myself leading up to and during. Am I responsible for our marital issues, well not 100% but I have my share of responsibility there as well but I am also well aware that those issues, while contributing to my unhappiness within the marriage did not “cause” me to have an affair. What caused the affair was me downloaded apps that I shouldn’t have, contacting women that I found attractive and they also found me attractive as well, meeting them and starting a relationship with them. That was what “caused” the affair.
Another big FLIT year! – Dr. Seuss