Response to comment

 
This is a response to a comment I got.  I just knew it would be too long to comment to so I am making it here. 
 
 
Couple questions: I’d like your thoughts, acknowledging up front that this is not an attack on and you do not speak for all men, but you can offer a male perspective – being a man yourself and knowing other men in that “bro” way the women aren’t part of.
Re: Full disclosure – It seems that a very large percentage of cheaters (male only as I have no experience re female) don’t give full disclosure. They give the bare minimum. Some claim to not remember even the simplest things, such as “Where did you go to have sex?” “Were you with her on (an important day – betrayed spouse’s bday, anniversary, cheater’s bday, Xmas eve)?” I find it impossible to believe that the AP had him so enraptured he completely forgot the occasion. His amnesia is to protect his own skin rather than thinking about his devastated partner, especially if he’s trying to stay married.

 
There is a lot that goes into the mind of someone who has cheated, been found out and is trying to reconcile their marriage and themselves.  I think before you can fully understand what goes on here you need to know if the person is sincerely apologetic for their actions of if they are just upset about getting caught.   If they are truly apologetic then there is healing that needs to be done both ways.  I say this because the affair was a real life fantasy the AP was living but it will not fit into reality.  They were able to have this “carefree” life in their minds even though it was not real, but until they are ripped out if it it is their reality.  Once that all comes down around them and the affair fog is lifted then they truly see what they have done and how delusional they really were during the affair.  This is where I think there are a couple of different paths the Affair Spouse (AS) can take. (Please for give the simplistic nature I am about to take when explaining this as there are probably infinite different paths and infinite different types of cheaters)
 
The first path is that the AS is more upset they got caught and lost their fantasy than having ruined the relationship and destroyed their wife.  They may seem remorseful but when pressed to do the work to repair the relationship they will resist.  This is someone who is either a narcissist or someone who does not believe the relationship is salvageable or just does not want to put in the effort required to do it.  They may not recognize that they have already given up or may not be strong enough to end it on their own.  Instead they drag it along, doing just enough to keep the wife around but they are not fully committed.  This type of person will usually resist any type of disclosure or defend the Affair Partner (AP) or blame the wife for the affair (relationship problems are both people responsibility but affairs are solely on the AS).  Getting information that is asked is like pulling teeth and the wife will feel like she has to find most of the information on her own and then get confirmation from the AS.  They also will resist doing the work to fix the relationship.
 
 
Another path is the AS can be truly remorseful for what they have done and try and do the work to keep the relationship.  They will be upfront and honest and spill all the details.  This usually occurs when the AP recognizes their mistake before they are caught  because of the amount of guilt and they confess to the Betrayed Spouse (BS).  This is more often seen in one large mistake and not so much in a full blown affair relationship.  This requires the AS to be very cognizant of their actions and their relationship (pre-affair) was usually not in the trouble that you would see in other affair situations.  This is one reason the AS saw the mistake and did not get pulled into the affair fantasy.  This does not mean that there were not problems, they are probably just not as severe.
 
The last path is one where the AS can be remorseful for their actions and try and keep the relationship, but it may take a little to get there or may not happen at all.  This is where the BS discovered the affair and confronted the AS.  This is a life shaking event for all parties involved.  The BS loses her identity, self-esteem/worth, is overwhelmed by disgust, shame and guilt of it all.  She will need to grieve for the loss of her relationship and the life she had before the affair.  The AS will also be shaken to their core.  They will have been fully in the fantasy land they created in their mind.  The discovery will rip them out of this fantasy world and like the BS they will lose their identity, self-esteem/worth, become overwhelmed by disgust, shame and guilt over what they have done.  Getting the details you want from this type of AS can be difficult as well, however, it may not be because the AS is really trying to hide things.  Once they understand that the BS needs the information to heal, they will usually provide the information that is asked.  However, there is a lot of self-protection that goes on here as well.  The AS may unintentionally block certain things/details/events and may not remember them until triggered or directly asked about them.  They do this because of the amount of shame and guilt they are holding in.  They will probably hate themselves and may rather abandon the relationship rather than trying to face all the things they have done.  Until they have fully recommitted to the relationship they will trickle information out, some intentionally some not intentionally.
 
I feel I was on the last path.  Once I recommitted (I did not recommit to the relationship right away) to the relationship I disclosed anything my wife wanted to know that I could remember.  However, there is a lot she brought up later that I had not remembered until she brought it up or asked about it.  I was then able to give her more details and answer any other questions she had.  I tried to not be defensive and made sure to let her know that I would answer anything she wanted and I was not trying to purposefully hide things.  I still have major anxiety over the fact that there may be things I have buried deep down and she may run across them some how and shit will hit the fan again.  It is not because I am trying to hide things from her, I have just buried to the point of no return so I don’t have to remember what a piece of shit I am.
 
I can see how hard this would be to differentiate from the first path, but the big difference is that the AS will be recommitted to the relationship, both verbally and in actions.  They will not be defensive when asked about things and take full responsibility for the affair.  The first path, the AS will constantly shift the blame and be defensive about the information the BS is wants to get in order to heal.
 

 

Then comes the ‘trickle truth’ which seems to be mostly about the cheater trying to escape the feelings of guilt they get every time the spouse asks questions.
From observer’s POV (and usually the wife – going by friends who’ve been cheated on) it appears the cheater’s actions are almost entirely done to limit his own negative emotions.
Do the cheaters think that releasing information a little at a time will mitigate the destruction and pain to the spouse? (A cheater I know believed that would soften the blow🤣).
 
I answered most of this above, but I do think that in some way the AS may think the less the BS knows the better off they are because of everything that may become triggers.   This comes from a lack of understanding about what the BS really needs in order to heal. However, what the BS may need varies tremendously. If the AS is recommitted to the relationship and it is discussed what the BS needs  in order to heal, then the AS should not be resistant to answering any questions and giving the details the BS needs to know.  I will add one thing here and that is when my wife would ask me certain things I would gently remind her that she cannot unknow anything she asked and if she was sure she wanted to know.  If she was certain she wanted to know then I would give her the information she wanted.  I tried not pressure her one way or the other, but I wanted her to be sure she wanted certain details.
 
 
 

Some cheaters have the balls to say “That’s none of your business”, “It doesn’t matter. Can we just move on?” and refuse to address the issue, often getting angry when wife continues to ask. Often goes on for rest of the relationship – if there is one afterward.
Do they withhold the information, when they know the lack of answers is hurting the spouse (and only works to destroy any chance to regain trust) , because they are trying to protect the betrayed spouse from further harm? Or are they trying to protect their themselves and/or the AP? This type of behavior always makes me think that whatever they are withholding must be something particularly heinous, the ‘worse than she imagined’ facts.
 
 
I think there is a few things going on and it depends on if the person really wants to be in the relationship.  I think that the reason a large number of affairs are found by the BS is because the AS wants to get caught.  I think they are hoping that the BS will find out and end the relationship for them.  This makes it the BS decision, not their’s and in some sick way they believe they are not responsible for the demise of the relationship.  ASs that say they just want to move on, either don’t understand what is needed for the BS to heal and move on, in which case, the couple need professional counseling.  Or they are not committed to making the relationship work and are just trying to protect themselves.  Both types of AS may believe the less the BS knows the better and then they will not be as hurt.  However, if the AS is committed to fixing the relationship then when they are confronted and asked for the details because it is what the BS needs to heal, they will give the information freely and without being defensive.  This is not saying they will like giving the information because by giving it they have to relive those details, as does the BS, and is reminded of what a horrible person they have become.
 

 

The cheaters’ motivation and reasoning leaves me baffled. I know the standard response from counselors and books is “They weren’t thinking”. I find it impossible to believe men begin affairs and try to handle the fallout without deep thought and consideration.
 
 
I think that this completely depends on the type of affair.  If it is a one night stand with drugs or alcohol involved then I might buy the excuse they were not thinking.  This would not absolve them of the behavior, but I could possibly buy this excuse once.  If it was not a one night stand then I think it is exactly opposite.  I think there was too much thinking and too little communicating with their spouse.  In order to go that far down the rabbit hole, the AS has to rationalize a lot.  They usually take small steps that they can justify that slowly lead them down the affair path.  It might begin by “harmless” flirting to get a self-esteem boost.  This may lead to creating a dating profile, just to flirt, while convincing themselves they would never really meet someone.  These steps continue until they end up in the middle of an affair.  This is why the affair fog is so strong.  They convince themselves what they are doing is not only okay, but it might actually be good for their relationship.  This takes time and also usually takes an AP that promotes this type of rationalization.
 

 

Do you think ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater’ holds true? Does the damaged self-esteem from the first affair cause one to be susceptible to another affair due to needing the attention/ego-stroking from others? Does the pain and destruction of an affair keep one from doing it again?

 
 
Umm… Do you want my answer or the answer of my therapist?
 
I think that once you are a cheater then that is who you are.  It does not mean  you will repeat the behavior of cheating, but I think you are what you do (my therapist says this is a way of continually punishing myself needlessly).  I believe the actions you do when people are not looking is the type of person you really are.  If you don’t do good things when people are not looking then are you really a good person and if you know you won’t get caught then will you do something bad?  You are a product of your actions.  If you stay in the relationship and do not heal from the initial issues that led to the affair then it is only a matter of time until it happens again.  However, if the couple can heal and learn to better communicate their needs and desires and what they need from their partner, then there is hope they can stay in the relationship and not relapse.
 

 

Regarding the pain and grief of the cheater, all I can say is that I don’t care how devastated they are. They are adults, made a conscious decision to cheat knowing the likely outcome and still went forward. We know that all actions have consequences and by taking those actions we must accept the responsibility.

 
 
I agree with this to some extent.  If the relationship is to continue, then healing must occur on both sides.  In order for this to occur both the BS and the AS must help the other heal.  They need to be there for them and support them through it.  Should the immediate healing of the BS spouse trump the healing of the AS?  Absolutely!  However, if the BS does not care about the AS’s healing then the relationship will never be able to move forward.  If you are just asking the AS to hide his feelings because they are not important, then this will create resentment and set the relationship up to fail.  That also does not mean that the AS is absolved of their actions.  They must also be truly remorseful before any healing can occur and help the BS to heal before they can heal and then the relationship will follow.
 
 

i think your post is extremely well-written and a welcome view from ‘the other side’. Please don’t take this as a personal attack. The opportunity to get the thoughts on infidelity from the opposite sex as well as the adulterer’s POV seldom arises. Most men are not able to access their emotions honestly nor can the write eloquently.
 
Your comment “I see things all over that remind me of what a shitty person I am…”

Are you talking about places – restaurants, stores, hotels… or things that are specific things?

 

It is everything.  Music, places, things that come up in TV shows and movies, there are so many things that can bring back those thoughts.  I don’t share these with my wife because I don’t want them to become triggers for her.  I just swallow them down and remember what a piece of shit I am.
 
 

 

Personally I wanted to know specific places, especially bars. Besides feeling those places were tainted, I wondered if being there was making him remember being there with AP. I wanted to avoid any bars and pubs he’d taken her to because we had been regulars at a number of them and the thought of shooting pool with people who had met them as a couple there made nauseous.. but all brought back all the rage I felt.

Since he refused to discuss it I stopped going out to our usual places. Which really put a crimp in our social life when our friends wanted us to meet them at our usual places. And he didn’t want to go meet them by himself. And he did not want to let friends know why I refused to go there.
Guess some of us want that information, some don’t.

 
 
Once I was fully out of the affair fog and re-committed to the relationship I did not think about the triggers as fond memories, nor did they make me miss her.  Instead, I completely internalize them and suffer on my own.  If the AS is not fully re-committed to the relationship then I could see them possibly not wanting to taint the AP memories and that would be why they don’t want to give up the details.  However, if they are recommitted then I would tend to go the other way thinking they are trying to protect themselves or the BS.  Either way they need to recognize the importance of the details to the BS’s healing process.
 
Hopefully this answers a lot of your questions but feel free to ask more if you need.
 
 
 
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About bac4sccr

I am just a run of the mill, ever day father/husband who is just trying to navigate my way back to where I want to be. Unfortunately there isn't an "Easy" button or a "Reset" button or I would be hitting them repeatedly. This is just my journey from my perspective.
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48 Responses to Response to comment

  1. I found this post very fascinating. I am one of the (fairly rare) female cheaters. I was ready to get a divorce but my husband begged and begged me to come back, saying he loved me. To this day I’m not totally sure why I went back. It’s not so much that I wanted to be with other men, but that I was (and probably still) am not truly in love with him. He had a career that demanded so much of his time that I became bored and lonely. He was never there for me. I wanted what was missing in our relationship, so I went looking. I cheated with several men for one night stands – never a long drawn out affair. We separated after he found out about one. I went back with him and we went to several years of counseling with him, but I was resistant to it as you mentioned. We have a good life but still the spark is missing from our relationship and probably always will be, even though he is a good guy, I no longer have any desire to cheat, but often wish I had not got back together with him. Funny, I have NEVER been plagued with the guilt you mention. I guess because my husband does take responsibility for driving me away. It would be interesting to chat more with you. Best of luck to you. It is a very hard journey but you and your wife can succeed if you are totally transparent and honest – and still want to be with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bac4sccr says:

      Did you ever feel that your affairs were a whole different life you could be having? Or because they were more one night stands they didn’t hold the emotional connection that a relational affair might have?

      I would love not to have the guilt but I just don’t see that happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • At the time, I wanted some excitement and fun that I wasn’t getting in my marriage. I longed for a different life, but knew that these were simply flings that were in fact stupid and dangerous. I had already been unhappy with my husband for so long that I just had no guilt at all – until the last one, when he and ny daughter exposed what happened to other family members. Which was just really hurtful to me and them. I felt guilt over hurting my daughter much more than my husband. In some weird way I guess I felt and maybe still feel he deserved to be hurt for all the pain and hurt he caused me in our relationship. He acknowledges this.

        I’m so sorry you are plagued with guilt. One thing which helped me to a degree was not only my husband’s forgiveness, but in my faith, God forgives our sins. All we have to do is acknowledge we have in fact sinned, try to make reparations to those we hurt, and try to lead a more exemplary life. I have not cheated again, and in fact devoted much of my free time for many years to volunteering and philanthropy. We are all sinners in some way but forgiving yourself and and knowing you are flawed but can always try to do better is a good start, I believe. Best of luck to you and your wife, on your journey to healing.

        Like

        • bac4sccr says:

          I am glad you found a way to forgive yourself and let go of the guilt. I don’t see me being able to use the same means, as religion and I do not get along. I am sure I wrote a post about it some time ago. After years of abuse and indoctrination I don’t think I could ever find solace in it. However, if it works for you then I am happy for you.

          Like

  2. This is a really nonest post, and from the perspective of the person who has had the affair helps a lot. I just read it to Rich because he was the same as you, the category (for want of a better word) that you describle. Even to this day, nearly 12 years later, Rich carries his pain and guilt with him; and I understand that and if I could take it away I would. I don’t want him to feel that any more.
    Rich started off with the harmless flirting, the kiss that frightened the life out of him, and readthis I realsise that alot of what he told me was the truth. He tried to distance himself but had got caught up with a narcissist and she used all his insecurities to feed what she needed, him!
    Having been there I fully understand the pain, it’s so immense, but my stubbornness came out and I was not going to be bitter because that is what the narcissist wanted, and I wasn’t going to let that bitch beat me!
    Thank you, I am going to share on my blog, because I think this post is so important. I hope that’s okay.
    Moisy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on moisfrenchadventure.com and commented:
    I am sharing this well written post by a man who had an affair. Even Twelve years later it has made me re-think some of what Rich has told me, and I have realised some of what I didn’t believe was the truth.
    I truly believe some of you will find this helpful.
    Moisy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think whoever sent this to you needs to research limerance aka the fog. They don’t remember stuff which is crazy but true. It’s like a drug.

    Like

  5. You described my H perfectly in the last one… that actually helps me a lot.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The perspective from the other side – Making this better – A blog to help and give hope to all those driven mad by infidelity

  7. This was very insightful. Thank you. My wife and I are the bumpy road of reconciliation after her long affair with an abusive boss. It’s a very complicated situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was a very interesting read. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum (cheater and cheated) and a lot of it rings very true.
    I will have to say – the one time I had an affair, ten years ago, in my early 20’s – we were never discovered. He was married, I was engaged. He was actually a family member of my ex-fiance. As bad as it may seem – even if we would have gotten caught – I wouldn’t have regretted it, wanted to change it, or do anything any differently. My ex was abusive and it’s all an excuse anyway … but this man with whom I carried on with, was and is married for over ten years now. He is over twenty years my senior. Neither of us had any intention of being together in any serious way – so it worked and ran its course for about a year, and then we stopped without ever really talking about it, and we are still friends to this day.
    I would have to agree with you about “Once a cheater, always a cheater” … but I am now married to someone that I am absolutely crazy about. The thought of cheating on him makes me feel sick to my stomach. There have been opportunities that I could have but I just can’t do it to him. So while the inclination to cheat may always lie dormant within us, I do believe that there are just some people out there who can be with someone and not ever want to stray from them for any reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bac4sccr says:

      Do you think you cheated because you wanted out of the situation with your ex?

      Like

      • I doubt it. I was obsessed with him. I was truly convinced that I was nothing without him. But he also had issue with how I looked (to him, I was too fat) and this family member of his worshiped my body like a damn shrine. It was an experience.

        Liked by 1 person

        • bac4sccr says:

          You being obsessed with him and knowing deep down that he is not good for you are two separate things. Especially if he was critical of you as you say. Finding someone who liked you for you would be exactly what would wake you to those feelings you may have been suppressing. Then again I was not in your shoes and only you know. Sometimes these things only show themselves after the fact.

          Like

          • That’s very true. I knew he wasn’t good for me. But I wanted to be the person that could change him. Make him love me. There are a lot of things that I really didn’t know or understand at twenty years old. At almost thirty-four years old? I don’t put up with that kind of stuff for one second.

            Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder how his wife would respond if she found out about the affair now. Would she let the past be past or would the yrs of silence and secrets, esp in light of your still being in his life and close friends, break her. Make her question her truths because of the years of lies? For me, finding out about your affair and the yrs you’ve been in their life while you both had this past would humiliate me.

      But the past is past and she’ll never know. Did he ever feel guilt? It would eat me alive.
      I was OW in a one night stand. But I was only 15, wasn’t in a relationship and he was 25 yrs older with 4 other women. The guilt made me tell his wife. She said “Aren’t you a cute little thing.”

      Like

      • It was a very weird time. The more I think about it, the more everything sounds like an excuse. At the end of the day, any explanation offered will just be an excuse as to the why’s and the how’s. Everyone always wants to be the exception to the rule. I can tell you now that if I had of been thirty rather than twenty years old, it would have most likely not happened. I thought it was grown up at twenty but if I knew then what I know now ….

        His wife would probably kill me. Or at least beat me within an inch of my life. I actually really like her a lot. I like both of them. I don’t know what was going on in their marriage during that time, or if anything was going on. He came on to me one evening, but I didn’t try to stop it. So, the blame rests of both of us. If he ever regretted it, he never expressed that to me. I could never and would never tell his wife, because I don’t want to destroy their marriage. It’s a weird thing to say “They really love each other” after what we did ….. but I mean …. they do. And I can honestly say she is 100% crazy about him. How did they meet? Well, they are the result of both of them cheating on their partners ages ago … so at least I know that the scope of cheating isn’t beyond her, though I don’t think she has ever or would ever cheat on him.

        But, just being honest with myself …. I honestly can’t say I regret any of it. At that time in my life, he was a light at the end of a very dark and abusive tunnel for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ainsobriety says:

    I think this is amazing. I’m left to question:

    Why does the AS want to repair the relationship? Do they really believe their spouse that they cheated on is the right one for them? If that was true, why cheat?

    Why does the BS stay? I understand love, and it is very hard ta the beginning to turn off that love and only look at the AS in the full light of their behaviour, but once you do, doesn’t the love fade?

    I’m early in this process. I don’t think I can live with triggers that bring me back to this feeling of rage and complete helplessness. And by that I mean I had not control over my spouses actions and he choose behaviours that have create deep emotional pain for myself and his two teenagers.

    I can see he is a person with flaws and who makes mistakes, but I cannot see why I would be willing to accept those mistakes as part of our continuing story.

    I’m open to any advice/suggestions. Right now my plan is to get divorced and find a way to have an ongoing civil relationship. He seems truly and deeply remorseful, but he does not know how to show it and he’s only aggravating me.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can love someone and not keep them in your life. Sometimes even the love isn’t enough to make the pain worth holding on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • bac4sccr says:

      I will start by saying that every situation is different and every relationship has its own problems. However, most affairs are products of some relational issues that are not resolved. This means that both people in the relationship are both part of the problem and can be part of the solution. Do not equate this with me saying the BS was even partially responsible for the affair. I am not. That is always on the AS, but any relational issues prior to the affair are shared between the AS and BS.

      Why does the AS want to repair the relationship? I don’t know that I have ever been asked this before. I would believe there are a number of reason that the AS wants to repair the relationship, however, only a few I would think would be worth it. In my situation, it took years of neglect and hurt to push me the direction of an affair. Even that took years of baby steps going in that direction before it happened. I rationalized everything, would look at my relationship for signs of life without knowing that was what I was doing. When I saw nothing it would push me one more step into the affair fog and one more step away from my wife. When the affair was discovered and I was ripped out of the fog I was stripped of all the rationalizing I had done. It reminds me of the saying “You don’t really know what you have until it is gone”. At the same point I also had someone I had sworn to love and protect dying right in front of me because she will never be the person she once was. I also had rationalized that what I was doing was all for the betterment of my relationship. I know this sounds silly, but if you find the right partner telling you all the right things it makes it easier to believe these things. As i was broken and remorseful I kept thinking that I was just trying to make everything better, and I had now just screwed up thinks possibly beyond repair. I thought that I needed to do what I could to try and get the wife I married back, get our relationship back. I know it won’t be the same but it cannot be any worse than what it was already. I will also say if my wife would have left, even for a night, I do not believe things would be the same. I would have probably taken the easy route and just escaped. I don’t know if this even comes close to the answer you are looking for but it is so different for everyone it is hard to answer. I will say that the “affair fog” and living in a fantasy is very real. When that is stripped away you can see that you have done things you don’t think you would have ever done.

      Why does the BS stay? – there are a number of reasons. Some stay to save public face. Some stay for financial reasons. Some stay because this person is the love of their life and they feel partially responsible for the relationship not working. Some are a combination of these or none of these. Each situation is different and every BS is different in how he/she will decide. I do think that it will partially be in the sincerity of the remorse the AS shows. If they are not sorry for their actions then staying becomes less and less likely. I think it also is related to the preaffair relational issues. If the BS can identify that there were unresolved issues over a long time that both parties were responsible for then they be more inclined to see a path back together. If they can’t understand that there were issues then the path back together is a lot less likely. Don’t misunderstand that this is some small issue, like daddy didn’t get his ice cream so he ran out with someone else to get his cake. The relational issues have to be long standing and undealt with by both parties. I would think this would provide the hope that if they can learn to address those issues and future issues then the affair might be a one time thing and reconciliation is more likely. However, this is all very logical reasoning for a time when no one is thinking clearly or logically. In the end, I think it comes down to a feeling from the BS and if they think they can see a future with the person that is not full of pain and suffering. They are the ones with the most to lose by staying. You would be surprised to hear how many people try and stay that have sworn that if their partner ever cheated they would be out the door.

      It is very easy to look at all of the things you have asked from a very logical point of view, however, the heart is usually anything but logical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ainsobriety says:

        In my own case I cannot say that there are any relational issues that would need to be addressed. We were best friends, had a lot of fun and shared similar interests. We both make good money and even ate lunch together in a group at work. If he felt there were issues they were hidden and his alone. H has been depressed and we have issues with one child and her mental health. My only thought is that he wasn’t getting all the attention.
        The affair was short and with a young, sexy girl who looked like a slutty Barbie. He was sober (we are both sober) so it wasn’t a drunken incident.

        I was quite happy and content in our life, but it is very apparent to me I was doing everything and that I was very codependant. I was trying to help him be happy and content.

        I feel no responsibility for our breakup. H left immediately after being found out at my insistence. he desperately claims this was a one time thing, and that he is sorry, but he wants me to tell him what he needs to do to repair things.
        I don’t want this responsibility.

        My heart is broken, but I just can’t see today where we would ever get back to a happy couple.

        Because this is so new I also feel maybe I should give it some time before filing for divorce.

        I know he could change, as he got sober 5 years ago and did just that. But now I e changed…I won’t go back to being the caretaker. So where does that leave us?

        Sorry for the long replies. I’m still in the thinking phase.

        Liked by 1 person

        • bac4sccr says:

          Don’t worry about the length.

          I don’t know if you noticed but you said there were no relational issues, but then were able to name to big issues. His lack of attention and your codependency. There is also the communication issues, at least on your husbands side, as he was not able to tell you that he was having issues.

          Have you thought about getting counseling as a couple? I know that we explored counselors and we would go in saying we were not sure that we wanted to stay together and we were trying to decide if it was worth it. Actually, to be honest, that is what I said as my wife really wanted to stay together but this was also before the affair was discovered.

          A good couples therapist would be able to help you explore your feelings with this decision. They should not push you one way or the other but give you an avenue to explore what it would mean to separate or to stay together. I think you are right in not rushing into making any decisions.

          You should also probably go into it knowing that you are not trying to get back what you had (which you said you don’t want the role of the caretaker) but you are building something new with some of the pieces of the past.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ainsobriety says:

            I have my own counsellor. I told him I would be willing to go to couples counselling once he spent some time in individual counselling. He is a typical addict – once the booze was gone it went to tattoos, travelling, exercising. Anything to fill the discontent in his head.

            I know this. I was the same, but I found my own peace with yoga and self compassion.

            I’ve seen him self destruct this past year. I have tried to shield him from himself. It clearly did not work and that is one role I would take on. I enabled. I’m not surprised this is where he ended up…although I am surprised it’s sex and not booze or gambling…But I am also not willing to get dragged down into his self destruction. I know I might accept all the fault and try to make things better. But the kids need to see behaviour and consequences and they know everything as one of them discovered the affair. She is devastated.

            I want him to grovel and make amends. I know he’s heartbroken. And I know he is a good person. But so am I.

            Argh. I hate this.

            Liked by 1 person

            • bac4sccr says:

              It does sound like he has a lot to sort out before he could do the work needed to make the relationship survive. Having kids in the mix never makes it easier especially teenagers who are trying to learn what healthy relationships looks like.

              I can’t even imagine how hard this must be for you and your kids. I hope you can find happiness and contentment again, whether by yourself or together again.

              Feel free to reach out anytime you might have questions.

              Liked by 1 person

      • You say “It took years of neglect and hurt”. During those years how frequently did you have an sit-down, get-all-out-in-the-open discussion with your wife about how you felt?
        Many people are afraid to open up and tell their spouse exactly how they feel, what they need and are not getting from the relationship that they need without mincing words. They could be trying to avoid conflict thinking about the way the spouse might react and are afraid that they might lose the marriage entirely by discussing everything wrong with the relationship. Sometimes these discussions do end the marriage. They may realize they are not able to meet the others needs or that the marriage is already too damaged to repair. Many people don’t want even an unhappy marriage to end when they don’t have a ‘lifeboat’ (possible new relationship to jump to). They fear being alone, not being able to find love again.
        Sometimes there needs to be a ‘referee’, a counselor, to keep the spouses from becoming to upset or angry, from lashing out verbally and saying things they may not truly believe.
        I spent a decade internalizing all things that hurt me in my marriage – the way it had changed from the early years, the loneliness, feeling slighted, being second place to work – travel, socializing (Huge part of husband’s job was conferences in exotic locations, cocktail and dinner parties and social outings like sports events, going to shows in Vegas, Broadway etc, golfing… while I stayed how with 2 kids and sat in a cube all day staring at spreadsheets). Built up a lot of resentment, anger etc.
        But doing it all alone taught me I didn’t need him. I was there because I loved him and wanted to be there.
        So when I decided a co-workers name came up too often in conversation I had that ‘hard conversation’. And when he told me I was being ridiculous and got up to leave — I told him to sit down because we weren’t done (while holding a large butcher knife). Then I stabbed the refrigerator where it stuck. We talked.
        Let him know I was not a doormat, was not the little wife keeping the home fires lit. Took a few more talks to come up with what was going to be done to fix the marriage. (I went on a couple cruises, saw some great places, and went to dinner at an embassy & a cocktail party at the Smithsonian).
        He made an effort to cut down on travel and go to more of the kids’ activities.
        But it took hard discussions – hurt feelings and setting hard lines about what I needed and wanted the marriage to be. Brought out things from years earlier that had been hurtful. Set a soft deadline to see changes and what I would do then. And I revisited the topic regularly until things changed. Now I immediately say what is bothering me. I often need to pry his feelings out of him tho. Doesn’t communicate emotions well.
        I have seen friends’ marriages devolve until some cheated because they never truly told their spouse how they felt. Let the hurts pile up until the marriage broke. They had been madly in love with the person they had married but people and life change over time. The relationship has to adjust to meet those changes, with both spouses helping to create those adjustments.
        IF problems are communicated to the spouse and nothing is done to fix them or they deny a problem exists, time to exit as calmly and gracefully as possible.
        But you’ve gotta do it before infidelty tears the other spouse apart.

        Like

        • bac4sccr says:

          Did we talk about our problems? A little. We hardly ever fought and when we did it was the same fight over and over. Did we ever have a REAL discussion about our problems and my feelings? Absolutely not. I don’t think I could have effectively ever known let alone said what I was actually feeling at the time. Hell, I still don’t understand what I am/was feeling under I have time to process it. I never understood that I was feeling ignored, unwanted, unloved, and made to feel like I was a roommate. I would have taken someone to understand me and multiple conversations to get it out of me. Even now, I don’t understand my own feelings. So having conversations about them is so hard because it is always about how I was feeling or how I was made to feel, instead of fixing the problem right then.

          Do I wish things could have gone your route? You bet, and I envy that you had the strength to do that for you and your husband. Maybe someday I will get there.

          Like

          • My mother was a psychologist. For as long as I can remember, whenever I was upset about something she could always tell. And she’d sit me down and ‘talk it out’ even if it took hours, me hurling 4 letter words at everyone I knew. I hated it. But it did teach me to examine my feelings and talk openly about difficult subjects. I remember being mortified when she made me confront my feelings about fiance’s cheating. While I hated having everything I said, did or didn’t do analyzed, I am thankful that she taught me how to be open and honest when talking about feelings. Unfortunately, most people I’ve met are very uncomfortable examining their own emotions too deeply.
            But I talk it out (tho I had to have my husky keep my husband from leaving the room so we could discuss something).

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you. Extremely enlightening.
    I think the drunken one night stand that is disclosed upon sobering is much closer to the ‘mistake’ lable than the weeks or month long affair where the conscious decision is made every day. When a man takes of a wedding ring to meet the AP, remembering to put it back on before going home – that should be a shot of overwhelming guilt and reality. Of course a psychopath or someone truly wanting out doesn’t care.

    Last thing – I guess I don’t understand what the cheating spouse to heal his personal psyche from. His healing should be dependent upon the healing of the BS. ‘Healing’ implies accepting the painful emotions one feels for their actions making amends/giving apologies, aputting the past in the past (it can’t be changed) and moving on as a better person/spouse. Working the 12 Steps basically. Except it really doesn’t help the BS heal. For many BS they will never forget and healing is only learning to become numb to the wound.
    You are part of a minority of men who struggle to do the steps to move on.
    Too many of the divorcees I know see it as their husband acting out a fantasy and getting their rocks off. Then they come home, apologize and want to move on. All healed.
    I think my husband thought transferring the AP, moving 800 miles away from scene of crime and giving me everything I want – houses, vacations, possessions. But emotionally he was more closed off from pre affair, seemed to tread lightly for fear of upsetting me more.
    Our marriage now had a small distance, something intangible that was missing but could never be found. We’ve been together 40 yrs. Happy, a good marriage. But no one has ever fully healed.
    Good luck with your marriage. I hope you both are able to heal and regain what was lost.
    (It really helps to hear the ‘other side’).

    Like

    • bac4sccr says:

      I think that the healing for the AS happens on two planes. On one plane the healing is dependent on the BS’s healing. They have to help the BS heal, make amends for their actions, show remorse, and be open to having a new relationship with the BS (the old one is dead). This is the only way they can help the BS and hopefully be able to move forward in rebuilding trust with the BS.

      The second is the healing independently of the BS. If they don’t work out their own issues and insecurities then the relationship will never work. There will be an unequal power dynamic that will eventually make one person in the relationship resent the other. If the AS is terrified of hurting/upsetting the BS all the time and is walking on eggshells then it is not a sustainable dynamic. This is also true of the BS. If she does not get the resolution and healing she needs then she may feel trodden upon and beholden to the AS. Neither situation is good for a relationship.

      Healing has to occur both ways so both the AS and BS will feel comfortable discussing things about their relationship that may be upsetting to their partner. They have to be able to talk about what they want and need and be respectful of their partner. If they cannot get this then trust and respect cannot be rebuilt.

      In your situation your husband sounds like he has not been able to fully trust you again with his feelings (I know, the irony of this statement).

      I had it explained to me this way for my situation because I scoffed at the notion. It took a long time for our marriage to breakdown before the affair. It was years and years of neglect and unresolved hurt feelings that closed me off to my wife. I don’t feel this was done intentionally by either of us but it happened none the less. This slowly got me looking for outside ways to get what I was missing. The affair destroyed the trust my wife had in me, but I unknowingly already did not trust my wife. She had denied me for so long that I cannot just turn it back on. I have had my wife and other people ask why didn’t you just go to your wife and tell her your marriage was in trouble. After the first kiss and before it led to more why didn’t I go to her and give her the chance to salvage our marriage. It is because I had already unknowingly learned not to trust her with my feelings and that she would listen to what I needed and be responsive to what I had to say. I have to learn to retrust her again as she has to learn to trust me again. I think there are different things that go into the two different trust issues, but both affect the relationship and the healing of both the AS and the BS.

      As for the AS coming home after an affair fully healed as in your description. I just cannot see that from someone who is actually remorseful for their actions and from someone who is committed to helping the BS heal. If that is how they act then they are in it for themselves and the BS should be very wary of continuing the relationship. However, you and I both know that every affair and relationship is unique and has its own set of complications. So take all that I write with a grain of salt.

      I also think that people in relationships think that healing is getting the relationship back to what it was before the affair. It will never be there. The relationship is dead and if they want to stay together they need to create a new relationship. They need to build a new foundation and work at making it. It is a lot of hard painful work and that is why most relationships don’t make it. They say to look for professional help from counselors that specialize in infidelity and agree. Doing it all on your own is complicating an already complicated situation.

      Like

      • Very true that the original relationship is gone for good. Unfortunately I’ve yet to meet any BS who feels the ‘new’ relationship is ever as good/satisfying/comfortable. There are too many memories, unanswered questions, triggers. For people who believed they ‘truly’ loved the other person, who thought they were soulmates, best friends, etc, affairs are a harsh blow. Telling them that they really didn’t know their partner as well as they believed. And that their partner’s feelings for them were not the same as their own. We all want to believe that the one we think of as a ‘soulmate’ feels that same ‘soulmate’ closeness. Rarely the case. One person always loves harder, deeper, whatever. What needs to be there to hold them together when times get tough must be honesty, loyalty, and respect.
        Seems too often cheaters go outside the marriage to find self-worth, happiness, love… that they don’t feel they’re getting in the marriage. What too few understand is that all those things need to come from within yourself, not external sources. Until they can feel satisfied within their own skin, no one and nothing will satisfy them. An affair will only screw up your life more.
        If discussing the problems doesn’t help or you’re unable to attempt addressing the situation with your spouse, focus on making your own life bigger, better. Make your own life enough. If you can be happy and confident as an individual you will connect with others in a healthier way (not trying to find completeness through sex with equally lost and damaged people).

        Like

        • bac4sccr says:

          I completely agree that the thing that needs to be fixed the most is inside the person. I know in my case it was years and years of constant rejection from my wife that helped eroded the feelings I had for myself. I don’t blame her, she was in a bad spot with depression and I did not know how to effectively understand or communicate my feelings and how it was affecting me.

          Adding an affair may look like it is a fix to the internal issues but it made them so much worse in the end. I struggle with the same issues from before and now a host of other issues on top of it.

          Like

          • Exactly! When people hurt emotionally, they aren’t able to think that way. All they see is what looks like a way to feel better. Unfortunately, what they’re actually seeing is a mirage. And when it vanishes and they see more clearly, they find their life is in chaos and the pain is still there.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Ainsobriety says:

      I really like your 12 step analogy. And I think it can be a powerful way for the unfaithful party to apologize and find self forgiveness. Which they will need to be a whole person.

      But what does the spouse do?

      My husband and I are both in a 12 step program and they have all jumped at the chance to help him. What about me?

      Hmmmm

      Like

  11. bac4sccr says:

    Are you going to the same 12 step programs? Have you thought about doing one separate from him. Sometimes people look for the most damaged person and think they need the most help.

    Have you also said something to him about this? If you said something, he possibly should recognize that this is a chance to help you heal and he could redirect peoples efforts to help him and the he should look to provide you more support. Obviously he should be tactful about how this is handled but I would feel extremely uncomfortable getting any help before my wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is refreshing to see someone actually owning up to their behavior and explaining it a way that is so easy to understand. You have perfectly described my ex, who cheated on his wife with several partners, then cheated on of those partners with me (without my knowledge).

    He and I often talking about his cheating on his wife, mostly because he just walked away. It has caused her such pain and I tried explaining it to him because he would complain about her behavior to me. My sister was also cheated on so I really see a common thread between the two of them.

    He never took full responsibility for his actions. He should say he felt horrible about it and hated himself and called himself a bad guy but has continued the same behavior for years now.

    I realize now that he was the first type you described. He is mad he isn’t in the fantasy anymore and is doing everything in his power to get back there.

    I feel fortunate to have gotten away from him when I did. I pity his next victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lior Rozensweig says:

    My wife cheated on me for years. She lied to me all the time. I don’t care about the details. It hurts enough. Lior Rozensweig – Karkur

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yourlostmernaid says:

    Sometimes people just need the truth to start fresh again. If he knew something was up. Give him closure so he can let go of it and move on. Some people can take things others can’t. You should know how much that person can’t take. From the sound of it. He can take a lot. So I think he would of got over it and started fresh with you.

    Like

  15. Foreverregretful says:

    I know everyone had their own opinion and perspectives. Is it still considered cheating if you were drunk and someone touched you? Does it matter if it was the opposite sex? And what if there was another man in the room but he didn’t touch you? Please help.

    Like

  16. I know everyone has their own opinions and perspectives. My anxiety makes everything so much worse.
    If you were drunk and someone touched you, is that cheating? If it was the opposite sex? What if there was another man in the room but he didn’t touch you? Please help.

    Like

    • bac4sccr says:

      I don’t think the sex of the person matters as much as the intent, regardless of how inebriated you may have been.

      If the touching was unsolicited and not welcomed then you are talking abouts being assaulted.

      If it was welcomed and reciprocated then it is a violation of trust between you and your partner.

      Like

  17. Pingback: Response to comment – WJ Clark

  18. “the actions you do when people are not looking is the type of person you really are.” This is so true.  

    Like

  19. I find myself stuck at one last roadblock. My cheating husband says he never slept with the same person twice, he never said I love you to anyone. He had one night stands and paid for stuff. He never wanted a trail to led to him, never gave his phone number. Damn I really hope this is the truth. Do you think it’s possible to only be in it for one night stands? It’s hard for me to understand doing all that and somehow not crossing the line into a relationship.

    Like

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