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trauma/life altering events shortly before dday?

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cinnamongurl posted 3/21/2013 21:21 PM

Was there a major trauma or life changing event that occurred shortly before A behavior began? I'm curious to see how many folks experienced such a precursor, and how many didn't?

With me, there was a culmination of trauma and flashbacks and some life altering news that shoved me down that slippery slope without ever learning to ski.

BS's feel free to chime in if you noticed the same about your WS.

Eta: whoops, I meant to say A in the title, not DDay)

[This message edited by cinnamongurl at 9:23 PM, March 21st (Thursday)]

Syzy posted 3/21/2013 21:44 PM

My ex did. A friend of hers suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack in her late 40's. There were things leading up to that where she felt something had to give. Living in the suburbs, losing touch with parts of herself she valued. (like being a writer) She had started writing again, didn't want to live in the suburbs at all and had smoked pot again which triggered some of her addiction issues though that was alcohol and not pot. At the funeral she met someone who was a mutual friend of the deceased. And bam.

She has told me it was a combination of all it and years of resentment for being an undervalued stay at home mom during the day while working nights.

I think traumatic events, death etc can be a triggering event that makes you look at your life and thank OMG what have I done with it.

Paladin posted 3/21/2013 23:10 PM

Yup...her mom died of cancer...she turned 40..her doc tossed her on adderal for ADHD (Im sure she was not ADHD but depressed)..I was working my dick off...she looked up old boyfriend on facebook...began EA within months the PA began....

9 months later OM's ex ratted them out on my front porch...

WW was in "luuuuurve" by then...refused to go NC...tossed her out 3/12

[This message edited by Paladin at 9:44 AM, March 22nd (Friday)]

disillusioned12 posted 3/22/2013 00:37 AM

Where to begin...a timeline is the simplest way to list the life altering events leading up to my STBXWH's EA/PA?

Married 4/2011
Moved across country 5/2011
Bought a house 7/2011
Got pregnant 8/2011
STBXWH deployed 9/2011
Miscarriage 10/2011
STBXWH returned 11/2011
STBXWH deployed 1/2012
STBXWH returned 2/2012
Got pregnant 2/2012
STBXWH deployed 5/2012
EA/PA? with MOW
STBXWH returned 10/2012
EA/PA? with same MOW
Had baby 11/2012 (a week after DDay)
STBXWH left for training 1/2013 - 4/2013
False R 2/2013
STBXWH still with MOW

I'm filing for D and hoping to serve him before he returns next month.

tabitha95 posted 3/22/2013 00:47 AM

Life, especially adult life, is full of life altering events.

Babies, job changes, money changes, death of loved ones. It happens to all of us, all the time. So most people will be able to point to something and say "there it is...there is my excuse for cheating".

Paladin posted 3/22/2013 00:55 AM

there is a huge difference between a reason...and an excuse...

The dog ate my homework=excuse

I didnt do my homework cuz I was lazy=reason... WW went through some definate trauma....but she cheated due to poor boundries...poor coping tools...and really really bad choices...

disillusioned12 posted 3/22/2013 01:27 AM

I agree Paladin. My STBXH made a conscious decision to have an A. He made a conscious decision to lie. He made a conscious decision to continue his A after D-Day and attempt to eat cake until I caught him again. He's still wrapped up in his fantasy and will probably never choose to live in reality.

I was naive to think we could get through anything, that our relationship was strong enough. It clearly wasn't. Frankly, the weaknesses were there irregardless of the life events. I'm convinced he would have cheated no matter what because of his insecurities, sense of entitlement, selfishness, and poor boundaries.

silverhopes posted 3/22/2013 01:34 AM

...I don't like to tie the two together too much, not sure, maybe because I don't want to blameshift... It's more a testament to how very messed up I was during both times (in first relationship and in this one)...

Both times were within a month after going to the hospital for suicidal ideation/self-harm. Also both times were around pseudo "breakup" periods - in both cases after the hospital stays but before or during the infidelities. I let my morals and my boundaries slide (or maybe I stomped on them would be the more accurate term). So stupid.

The recency of the hospital stays are really upsetting and shake me up to think of it that way. I either tried or thought seriously about harming myself, went to the mental ward, other things happened once I got out, and ...I coped like that?!?!!!!! I chose to do that?!! Really?!?! WTF?! I want to smack myself when I think about that. What the actual fuck was I thinking?!

Anyway... I've been trying to focus on the choices I made, rather than the suicidal part, because it seems like it's wrong somehow to think about my choices surrounding suicide... I think I know why. For some reason I am deeply ashamed of, my family and H seemed to suffer so much more from my struggles with the suicidal thoughts/self-harm tendencies than with my infidelity. I'm deeply ashamed of being so selfish that they would worry about either one, and that the one that caused me harm would take precedence in their minds over the ones that hurt them more.

Wow, gotta go sit with this for a while... Thank you for the good topic.

OnAnIsland posted 3/22/2013 01:44 AM

Yes indeed, friend and co worker died 6 months before A started. Unexpectedly and just a few years older than WH. At a similar age, his father had been diagnosed and struggling with the disease that eventually took his life.

And one year before the A, we moved overseas and left all friends and family behind. That was a big challenge to me, along with the challenges of living in a country where i do not speak the language. And then A recovery, next steps, and healing have been complicated hugely by this.

cinnamongurl posted 3/22/2013 06:01 AM

I didn't mean as an excuse for an A in anyway, I just wonder if some major trauma impacted the change in thought process that led to the A. I know PTSD can rewire the brain and change your entire outlook on life. Just curious what others thought.

wifehad5 posted 3/22/2013 08:41 AM

PM for you Paladin

Brandon808 posted 3/22/2013 08:55 AM

I know PTSD can rewire the brain and change your entire outlook on life. Just curious what others thought.

This is very true. I've known a few people who have PTSD and understanding it is difficult for their loved ones. Most people see the effects but cannot know what occurs underneath all of that. There are always physical manifestations of PTSD, it is just the severity and types of that vary from one person to the next.

Coping mechanisms with traumatic events are critical. If someone hasn't dug deep into themselves addressed their own issues then they may fall back on those old poor coping mechanisms (drinking, drug use, having an A) or shift to another self-destructive way a dealing with that trauma.

BaxtersBFF posted 3/22/2013 09:38 AM

I think that trauma is going to be completely relative to the person experiencing it. I can say that I experienced trauma, but to someone else, it would have been no big deal at all.

Also, I think we all deal with trauma/life changing events almost everyday in some form or other. Again, it is relative to the person experiencing it, and it is also a matter of how that person deals with it. I dealt with things for 38-years before it dawned on me that my coping mechanisms would not work anymore. At that moment, the minor trauma became major. I lost it, went down another path, had an A, and then learned that what I thought I knew for those 38 years wasn't what I thought I knew.

Admitting that, accepting it, and working to change it was the process that I wished would have happened much earlier in my life.

HurtButHoping12 posted 3/22/2013 13:20 PM

Something big happened shortly before every single affair my WH had... I got pregnant with our first unexpectedly, he started talking and exchanging pics with a woman online. He was having a hard time with his job and we were struggling financially... he started texting with a co-worker. I was still reeling from finding out about the first two EA's... he starts chatting up a friend, another co worker AND our friend's wife. Finally, I become pregnant unexpectedly with our third and have a hard pregnancy and birth... he meets a girl through his cousin, and is completely in love and ready to leave me 4 days later.

It seems to have always gone in this cycle with him. He's having a hard time with his job again, and to say I'm nervous is a serious understatement...

Nothingspecial posted 3/22/2013 13:31 PM

We had emigrated the year before the ONS, we both had a really tough time settling in, WH went through 5 jobs in 6 months,
The financial pressure started to build slowly, then the emotional abandonment, I didn't recognize it, thought he was just stressed, which was true but I trusted him so completely I had no idea it would lead to ow

LA44 posted 3/22/2013 13:44 PM

Absolutely! I am so glad you asked this question. In fact, one of our exercises was to do up a chart of Critical Life Events that took place before the A. Our chart was one bloody thing after another in a two year time-span. We moved to a new province, were getting bombarded by alcohol/drug problems from his family (who live here too), we were away from my family and our best friends which let's face it, provide a major outlet and relief during stressful times. We had a second child and he was sick and then in 2008 the market fell to pieces. Next to our child, this was "the big one" for him. I believe men identify so much of their success with their work and he was completely shallacked by this.

The affair began I believe as an escape - a release. And the Ow (a colleague) was there to compliment, soothe, encourage and do a whole lot more! Funny how the escape turned into a real life nightmare isn't it?

While I DO NOT think people can use these events as an excuse, I do believe that they shake us and we either rise up during tough times or we do not. My H did not and for many reasons (conflict avoidance, internal anger mainly). But that has changed.

We are now learning - 15 years of marriage in - how to deal with these critical times ie: how about an affair! in an open honest way.

If not now, when?

[This message edited by LA44 at 1:48 PM, March 22nd (Friday)]

Jospehine85 posted 3/22/2013 14:15 PM


Did my WH have traumas shortly before the A? Yes.

But they were all self-created.

He started losing work contracts due to his belligerent personality, causing him to spiral downward and bankrupt his business. He started the affair 2 mos before the business was forced in to closure due to lack of money.

At earlier times in our M there were traumas and life altering events: deaths, near deaths, disease, etc. None of these ever affected him. He eventually told me he never thought of those things because at the time, they just didn't matter as they did not happen to HIM.

So I do not believe his traumas illustrate a cause and effect relationship with the A.

I think his traumas and the A are all symptoms of the same basic emotional problems he is now learning to overcome.

1sorryGDF posted 3/22/2013 14:44 PM

Shortly might not be the right word to describe it, but my affair started in December of 2010, in January of 2010 I learned that my parents were divorcing. They'd been married for 30 years, my dad claimed to be unhappy for years and was leaving...not specifically 'for' another woman, but started a relationship with her almost immediately. Devastated my mother and my sister, they all live on the other side of the country and all I could do was communicate by phone. Everyone was blindsided. At the time my wife was pregnant with our first child, who was born in April of that year. I think the end of my parents marriage and the transition of my marriage from a couple to parenthood was something that affected me more than I was willing to admit. I withdrew from my wife (who was admittedly very wrapped up in being a mother) and made a very poor decision when I felt a level of dissatisfaction growing.

None of this is an excuse, or even an explanation of my incredibly poor choices and awful behavior, but has at least for me shed a bit of light on what I was feeling at the time. I discovered a journal entry I'd written five days before the affair started where I discussed the loss of a sense of home when my parents split, and concluded by saying I didn't know who I was anymore.

cinnamongurl posted 3/22/2013 15:23 PM

It seems like the As may have been a form of self medicating for some waywards (myself included). instead of/in addition to substance abuse, the A's seem to be an unhealthy coping mechanism used to deal with, or rather escape from, something too overwhelming to face.

The unfortunate thing, for me at least, was that it took the A's to hit the rock bottom, and finally seek out help.

cinnamongurl posted 3/22/2013 15:27 PM

LA44, I like the idea of a creating critical life events chart. I think it would be extremely helpful in identifying what was going on at that point and to try and pinpoint how I was feeling and why I chose to stuff it instead of face it.

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