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Do we ever really find out / understand 'why' affair happened?

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tooloyal posted 3/18/2013 15:18 PM

We have talked and talked about 'why' my WH had an affair.... the answer can vary a little at times depending on whether he is being open or feels threatened by my questions (due to feeling guilty).
The reason he has given most often is 'I was questioning my feelings for you at the time...' I find it hard to accept this as a feasable reason as we were getting along very well, no problems that I was aware of, but he was having problems at work which was exacerbated by us hardly seeing each other due to our work schedules and he admits to lonliness at that time.
My questions is...do WS ever really understand 'why' they had an affair...why couldn't they talk to their spouses if they felt unhappy within the marriage?
I would welcome input from WS

poopylala posted 3/18/2013 15:42 PM

I never got the explicit "this is why I did it" explanation but we went to counseling to work on communication which opened our eyes to a whole new world of our relationship. We began to understand each other's previous coping mechanisms and how we felt about ourselves and what we saw in each other. These things helped me understand what lead to Dday and it was enough to let me move forward with my life and our relationship.

Communication I think is almost if not definitely always a factor that leads to an A. How many times have you told someone something and they didn't seem to understand you? You felt frustrated didn't you? It continues to build into a wall between you and the person.

The other thing is that it's not often unhappiness in the marriage I think as it is unhappiness with themselves. There is a reason inside each WS that allowed them to go forth with what they did.

I had an EA without realizing that's what was happening (slippery slope) and when I felt a line was crossed, I stopped it and confessed that an EA happened to fwbf. I was too broken to understand why I did it or how it happened. I didn't think anything was wrong with me at the time, either. Then fwbf began his EA-turned-PA, followed by a ONS and several months later, dday happened. THAT is what it took for us to address our individual and relationship issues.

leccden posted 3/18/2013 15:49 PM

To me there is no real answer to that question. I feel that any answer we get from our WS is more of an excuse then why they did it.

I believe they need to figure out what caused them to cross that line. We all know how wrong it is. We are all responsible for our choices.

[This message edited by leccden at 3:51 PM, March 18th (Monday)]

OktoberMest posted 3/18/2013 15:54 PM

FWIW, I believe this:

'I was questioning my feelings for you at the time...'
is not a why.

It's much deeper than that.

I'm not sure the BS will ever really be satisfied with the why the WS reaches - because there is always this very logical question outstanding:

why couldn't they talk to their spouses if they felt unhappy within the marriage?

The trouble is twofold here. Frst you're asking that question assuming the person has healthy strategies in place, because healthy people WOULD act that way. As we all know the WS is far from healthy, so this doesn't work.
Equally, you are assuming here that a spouse must be unhappy in their A to have an A. And they don't. I wasn't. We went meeting each other needs, but I was perfectly "happy". Or so I thought. But not healthy or aware.

I know how I had an A. I pretty sure I understand the bulk of why I did it too. I think my BH does too. I shall probably keep discovering stuff too.
So yes I think a WS can understand why - but you really have to rip yourself apart to get there.

The why you have is, IMO not a why, it's an excuse.

looking forward posted 3/18/2013 16:41 PM

Unfortunately for my H, he'll only know my side; OM is long dead, so no closure for H.

Jeyana posted 3/18/2013 17:52 PM

Uh ya. Gratification. To be told how wonderfully awesome and great he was! Sex was a lusty bonus. An infantile sense of narrisim, coupled with and adult sex drive. Because well, I told him the truth, told him when I was dissapointed in him. Held him accountable when he made mistakes. You know, thinks you do for each other when you are in a normal adult relationship. Don't get me wrong, i am also a loving and kind, encouraging person. But my douchebag of a exfiance wanted the fantasy of seeing himself as perfect, and thats what she gave him. He could do no wrong. Lies they told to each other, ego stroking with some .... stocking to go with it. Well now he has started to open his eyes, eww what a nasty person he has to look at in the mirror. He is working on owning his shit..and man does it stink. Blows my mind that so many people can delude themselves, I never realized until I had to join this club

dameia posted 3/18/2013 19:48 PM

I think that there is a lot of emphasis on this site about the WS "digging deep" and figuring out the answer to why they felt they did what they did, and rightly so. It seems a lot of fWS on this site have really uncovered their deep-rooted issues and that has made them better people.

But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

Knowing posted 3/18/2013 20:01 PM

Well said, Dameia. I see cheating as any other vice. It could have been drugs, gambling, alcohol, shopping, anything. They just want to feel good, now! And to hell with anything that really matters.

How did they get there? They were vulnerable, had bad boundaries, no coping skills, and were self-deluded; the lies they told themselves about their spouse and marriage, then the lies they told themselves about their lives, their needs and their wants, then came the lies about the AP and the fantasy outcome...

Flatlined123 posted 3/19/2013 05:34 AM


But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

You hit the mark! They wanted to. They were only thinking of themselves. There is no other answer.

Itsgoingtobeok posted 3/19/2013 07:57 AM

The real question should be not why they did it but what are they doing not to have happen again .

stillcrying4ever posted 3/19/2013 11:03 AM

My counselor had me read the book "Not just friends". For me it showed a lot of why it happened. There are a few scenario's. Sometimes or maybe mostly it's because of how they feel about themselves. They need an ego boost and they think they will find it with someone else. And they always affair down. So their AP makes them feel they are wonderful until reality hits.

confused615 posted 3/19/2013 11:17 AM

Itsgoingtobeok..it's important that they figure out the "why" so they can prevent it from happening again. How can they ever say they won't do it again,if they don't know why they did it in the first place?

WH has given me a few reasons...he thought I was cheating(I wasn't..had he asked or looked for any evidence at all,he would have know I wasn't)...I have also been told "I was stupid,a fool,fucked up"etc..etc.

Oh..and the latest reason? "I felt I had been faithful for several years so I deserved a reward."

His reward for being faithful? Fucking other people.

sailorgirl posted 3/19/2013 11:58 AM

tooloyal,

I am the BW, but I can tell you what WH says.

he was having problems at work which was exacerbated by us hardly seeing each other due to our work schedules and he admits to lonliness at that time.

The starting point for WH was stress at work. His work was under attack and he had to defend himself. He was deeply afraid of being a failure in his career.

WH should have been able to look at the situation objectively, remember the numerous successes he has had at work, and the many options available to him career wise. He should have admitted that his feelings were out of control, and reached out to me for help.

But, instead, WH dealt with the problem the way his FOO taught him. They told him he was a failure and bad person, so he believed that trouble at work confirmed it. They would not validate bad feelings--he was expected to deny them and stuff them down. If he told anyone he was struggling--that made him vulnerable and they would attack.

So, he isolated himself in anxiety and low self-worth. To complete the perfect storm, OW was his partner and they were expected to defend the work together. Because WH was weak, and not open to me (or anyone else) OW could exert her twisted influence on him. Once he started the PA, he was under tons more stress, had to wall off more feelings, and lost all ability to think clearly and make good decisions.

I don't know if any of that is similar to your situation. WH is working hard now to value himself, let himself feel vulnerable emotions like sadness, fear and worry, and communicate with me regularly and honestly.

Fractured.Us posted 3/19/2013 12:01 PM

You know, I hate to be the dissenting voice, but I don't quite agree with this.

But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

I get that this is the case for many, but not all. I think this generalizes too much. I think for some, it's not a quick fix and an easy thrill. It's more to do with being swept up in the convergence of circumstances and the wayward not realizing until too late where it has led.

Whatever the "why" may be, A claims too much collateral damage anyway you look at it.

sisoon posted 3/19/2013 12:06 PM

I think maybe a WS can understand her whys, but I doubt that a BS can reach a satisfactory understanding of his WS's whys.

I'm not that big on finding the 'why', because I think analysis can prevent change, because analysis gets easier and easier, and change is hard.

As my WS has gone after her 'whys', she hasn't come up with anything that satisfies me. Nothing she's said has seemed like enough to cause me to cheat, so I can't see how those 'whys' allowed her to cheat.

W's therapist (also our MC) doesn't go for 'why'. Instead, she's stressing self-soothing. From what I've learned about my W's A, I am certain she would not have cheated if she had soothed herself.

I want my W to devote her energy to being a good partner, which is a hell of a lot easier than not being a bad partner.

Think Polonius - 'This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.'

ladya posted 3/19/2013 12:18 PM

Sometimes he says because he was an idiot! Other times, I get a ton of stupid excuses: we weren't getting along.....I felt like a paycheck..... I thought you didn't love me........ But, most of the time he says he was an idiot. I won't accept the other excuses. They are just that, excuses to justify a horrible choice he made.

Deanna posted 3/19/2013 13:28 PM

He cheated because our marriage was in a bad place and along comes Poliana to rescue him out of his dull, horrible marriage. That is what he thought at the time.

DWBH posted 3/19/2013 19:38 PM

I am in the camp of "because they wanted too".

I think maybe a WS can understand her whys, but I doubt that a BS can reach a satisfactory understanding of his WS's whys.

Agree 100% with this. I've had a lot of the same talk on my W's whys, and it just never really sinks in. I kinda gave up on trying to figure it out, and just go with because she wanted to. No, she didn't wake up and decide one day to have an A, but when the opportunity presented itself, she jumped right in.

girlsbird posted 3/19/2013 21:08 PM

I also go along with the thought that he wanted to.

sri624 posted 3/19/2013 23:55 PM

he says all of the same reasons all waywards pretty much say...one that has come up in mc is that i was pregnant and not paying him any attention. what an asshole, you know?

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