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Wayward thinking I will never understand

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Undone1 posted 6/13/2013 23:59 PM

Last weekend, my fWH planned a lovely mini vacation in New Orleans. It was delightful, but as we grew closer, it hit me that we had had these experiences before, even during the last 3 years while he was engaged in his affair. While I was experiencing this intense intimacy and connection with my H, I began to wonder, how could he have these loving/caring/intimate/romantic lose moments with me knowing that he would be meeting her the next week while he traveled on business. How can someone lie so well, show no anxiety about living a double life, act totally devoted and loving. I JUST DON'T GET IT!

I could NEVER pull this sort of thing off. I would be far too anxious knowing that I was with my wife today and the OW tomorrow.

I NEVER had a clue and genuinely believed that I was married to Prince Charming. If you would have asked me, how is your marriage, I would have answered, "IT'S GREAT" "I AM SO BLESSED and GRATEFUL".

How can I be living a charmed life and not know what was really happening. My H was always attentive, always loving. My adult children would have told you the same thing "Our parents are so in love."

What is the Wayward thinking that makes this possible in their brains? I feel like I have to understand in order to move on.

Any insights that you have gleaned from your WS's?

Phoenix1 posted 6/14/2013 00:48 AM

I look forward to reading responses from others because your post could have been describing my WH to a tee. Loving, attentive, but leading a double life. That is why I was blindsided so bad with D-Day1. He was my Prince Charming, used to actually call him that, but all the while he was having an A. I thought we had the picture perfect marriage and took comfort in the knowledge that I didn't have to worry about him straying because how could he possibly do that when he was so obviously focused on me (my deluded thinking). I would be so fearful of getting caught I could never do what he has done, plus I never had any desire to do it. That made the betrayal so much more painful because I never saw it coming nor saw any warning signs.

My thoughts are right in line with yours...

catlover50 posted 6/14/2013 02:07 AM


I don't have any answers for you, sorry. I'm sure you have asked your WH this question-- what does he say? This is the type of thing that should be worked on in IC, IMHO.

My H did not behave any differently with me during his A, and was not emotionally bonded with her; we too had some intense romantic, sexual vacations, etc. But we realize now that he had dismissive attachment, control issues, fear of intimacy etc etc that kept him from truly being bonded with me, due to CSA. I always felt it on some level, but since we rarely fought and had a "good life" and he was kind and always said he loved me, was complimentary etc I looked past it. Well, not looked past it, since I would raise the issue of his being withdrawn or not as close at times (of course this would vary through the years) to no avail. Looking back I remember sitting in a movie theater watching a preview where a man had lost his wife and missed her so much that he talked to her ghost. I started crying because I felt that my H would not truly mourn me and would quickly remarry. I did not feel "adored".

I suspect that many WSs have some issue or another that prevents them from having a deep bond with their BS-- how else could they be so selfish and betray them this way? The big question is, can they do the necessary work to develop that bond?

Best of luck to you.

Flatlined123 posted 6/14/2013 05:07 AM

My H always said that he separated the two. That was the fantasy and we were the reality.

The problem for him came in when fantasy and reality clashed.

somanyyears posted 6/14/2013 08:46 AM

..many refer to it as "compartmentalization"

..they are able to separate the two lives.

..entitle themselves to the 'A'

they deserve a little fun, excitement, escape, adventure..

..they figure they won't get caught, what the spouse doesn't know can't hurt them..


..and they're amazing actors to lie over and over again, looking straight at us.. as they planned their next meeting..

..a life of total betrayal..

simply mind boggling..


TrustGone posted 6/14/2013 09:16 AM

I also feel the same way. I was blindsided by his A. I thought we had a great marriage and so did our friends and family. I now see major issues that I did not see before finding out about his LTA. I guess my first marriage was so rocky for so many years that this marriage seemed like heaven compared to my first one and prevented me from actually seeing the problems. WH#1 also never had a LTA. His were always drunken ONS's and inappropriate EA's, so I thought I would know if my WH#2 was cheating on me. Now I know that WH#1 could not compartmentalize like WH#2 did, so he was never able to keep a secret for long. I also knew nothing about EA's and thought that you actually had to have sex for it to be considered an A. Also the fact that WH#2's 1st wife cheated on him and I had divorced WH#1 due to his continued cheating, I never thought I had to worry about it. We had discussed A's before we got married and had agreed that we would D or go to MC if it ever was a thought in either of our minds. I was so sure that I never had to worry about it with WH#2 and he would tell me if he was unhappy. I thought only unhappily married couples cheated. Boy, was I wrong on all accounts. WH#2 was a major compartmentizer. He could look me in the eyes and lie as easily as he could tell me the truth. He was not looking for an affair, but when it was offered, he took her up on it without a second thought to what it would do to us. He assumed he would never get caught and he was right. I trusted him totally and only found out because the OW was tired of being lied to that he was leaving me. They had been engaged for a year before I ever found out and then they took it underground for another year after DDay#1. He never had any intention of leaving me and never thought I would find out. He can't answer the question of how long did he think he could lead her on before she got tired of being used by him for his sexual porn fantasies and started making demands that he leave me for her.

I will never understand it either, because I don't think he even understands it himself. The really sad part is that he is doing nothing to try to understand how he was able to do that for so long and live with himself. I have started to detach myself from him and the marriage and it breaks my heart to have to do it. I know eventually I will get to a place where I will say enough and file for D. like I did with WH#1.

The other sad part is that I don't think at my age I will ever trust another person with my heart, so I will spend the rest of my life alone. I am not ready to at this point in time to end the marriage, but I know once I get stronger I will. I no longer feel the intense love that I had for him, nor does he make me feel special anymore even though he seems to try at times and I get a glimmer of the man that I fell in love with.

I know it would be so much easier if he was like my WH#1. Him I understood. WH#2 I will never understand as I can't grasp how someone can compartentalize their lives to that degree for that long and act like they are happy with me. I wished I had the answer to your question as I have spent the last 1.5yrs trying to figure it out myself and I am getting nowhere either. (((HUGS)))

Chefj9 posted 6/14/2013 09:18 AM

What is the Wayward thinking that makes this possible in their brains? I feel like I have to understand in order to move on.

I am struggling with this as well. My WH is a SA, and he has tried to explain the thinking to me, but it's very illogical. We had discussions last night about it and didn't accomplish much. Here's an example:

He told me that he was trying to break things off with OW. He was rolling off of his project and coming home, he was never going back to her city. He travelled home from being with her on 2/12. Yet, he still sent her flowers for Vday. This required effort. He has a prepaid Amex cc, he had to take cash, put it on the card, get her work address, go online and order the flowers. If you're trying to break things off, swearing that you didn't have feelings for her, that she was there to be used for sex, why go through all this trouble? If you weren't going to see her again, what was the point? Dday was 2/15. He's tried to explain that it's part of te addiction. I'm very confused and I don't get it either.

He did not treat me well, these past 6 years, but he never stopped telling me that he loved me. Doesn't compute

Sal1995 posted 6/14/2013 09:21 AM

Sometimes Cinderella turns out to be a frog, too. My wife was the same way. She appeared to be 100% my wife when she was with me and the kids, but lead a double life where nothing in her boring real life was sacred.

If you ever answer the question to your satisfaction, clue me in Undone.

JustWow posted 6/14/2013 09:33 AM

They lie. They lie to themselves the most. They lie to us they lie to the AP. Two of those 3 believe the lies, have their "self-esteem" hanging on the belief of those lies. Only a twisted crazy nutcase would challenge such "truths".

Lie - I wanted to break it off with AP - Challenge - how the hell hard is it to break up with someone?

lie- I loved you both - Challenge - Exactly how do you define love?

Lie - I didn't think about how this could hurt you - Challenge - then why go to such lengths to sneak and hide and cover.

When someone is in an A, it is my opinion that they love nobody. If you loved your spouse, clearly you wouldn't have an A. If you loved your AP, you wouldn't relegate them to some seedy, hidden shameful status. Love is a verb.

Actions during an A create the illusion of love - all the fake cover crap that goes on with the BS, all the empty bull**** that go on in the A - none of that is love. All of that is an illusion designed to trick the receiver into believing the WS loves them so the WS can use them as they intend.

They lie, lie, lie, to themselves most of all. It can be quite a brain-slap to have those carefully concocted stories pulled apart. It is amazing how, once WS had a line he wanted to believe, he clung to it. When faced with a perfectly logical challenge to his lie, he was genuinely puzzled "hmmmmmmm, looks crazy when you put it that way....".

It is crazy.

[This message edited by JustWow at 3:47 PM, June 14th (Friday)]

CrappyLife posted 6/14/2013 09:53 AM

JustWow - Thanks so much. That is the most amazing piece of explanation I have read to this topic. To infidelity in general. (claps)

JustWow posted 6/14/2013 09:57 AM

so sorry I could help - lol!!

Undone1 posted 6/14/2013 10:34 AM

Just WOW--that is the best explanation I have read! Thanks for sharing your insights. I do get it!

StrongerOne posted 6/14/2013 10:43 AM

My fwh convinced himself (by not really thinking about it) that there was absolutely nothing wrong with his "friendship" with the OW. Of course, he kept his meetings with her secret, he kept his phone calls and texts with her a secret, he kept their very voluminous email correspondence a secret. Not until she outright told him how in love with him she was, did he "suddenly" see that there could be problems with the "friendship" (ya think?)

It took months for him to acknowledge that it was an affair. He said that, "I just didn't see it as an affair or as something wrong." And I believe that's true, because he did not actually *think* about it consciously.

Compartmentalizing and self-deception. Unless the WS is a sociopath, I think that is how it happens. Because otherwise, how could you live with yourself?

struggling16 posted 6/14/2013 11:42 AM

This is something I will never understand and I have lost much sleep over it. During the A, he said he wanted to "work on the M." I thought we were; that's why I was so confused when he could be loving and attentive one minute and viciously turn on me the next.

JustWow expressed it well.

I used to call it "pretending to be married" when in the throes of agony over his behavior after Dday. He really hates that phrase but it is so true.

Kierst13 posted 6/14/2013 12:48 PM

I can't understand it either. The first betrayal was nothing compared to the second while in false R for several months.

He was doing everything necessary and being so affectionate and loving to was all a lie. I don't know how they sleep at night while purposefully gutting those of us dedicated to them.

Rebreather posted 6/14/2013 13:03 PM

Part of the absolutely craziness of this, is the cycle that my fwh would go through.

He was cheating, and he hated himself for it. It made him miserable. But you know what made him feel better? OW. And so he would cheat, leave her and come home, feel like utter dogshit, and then have to escape back into lala land to feel better. It's like other supid, maladjusted methods of coping. Turing to the unhealthy choice because it helps you hide from reality. It can only work so long. And when the coping choice is removed, it is ugly for awhile until the wayward becomes strong enough (willing enough?) to face the pain on their own.

ms521 posted 6/14/2013 13:08 PM

Our MC used a "lateral file cabinet" analogy to explain this to us: Picture your life as organized into a lateral file cabinet with separate drawers assigned to separate parts of your life. For example, your family/marriage/house will have a drawer. Your parents/siblings (FOO), childhood friends might have another drawer. High school might have a drawer, college, grad school, etc. They ALL have their own drawers.

In the case of an A, the OP gets their own drawer.

MC explained to both of us that most men and women use these drawers very differently. Most men open one drawer at a time. That means that when WH was with me on a date or on a family vacation, the work drawer and OW drawer were closed. In other words, because WH was happy and enjoying his time in our family/marriage drawer, he truly wasn't thinking about her when he was with us. Likewise, he wasn't thinking about us when he was with her. These drawers are very separate in his mind and he closes one entirely before opening another.

Most WOMEN, on the other hand, operate across multiple drawers at the same time. THIS is why it's next to impossible for us to imagine how a WS does NOT see a connection between what they've done... and how it "contaminates" almost everything else for us. All our drawers are open! We don't close one drawer before jumping into another.

For me, this example illustrates why, when I was involved in my A, my marriage suffered. WH was totally & justifiably suspicious because I couldn't hide it very well. I was very aware that I was cheating on my husband every time I was with FOM, and sickeningly enough, I felt like I was cheating on FOM when I was with my husband! There was no jumping from one drawer to the other... they were all open which meant my A was affecting everything: my work, my husband, my friendships, my self-esteem, etc. On the flip side, WH does well with closing his drawers... I had no idea about his extra-curricular relationship because he was loving, attentive, supportive, and engaged at home. I would say when he was with us, he was really WITH us.

Now if I could just figure out how to set fire to her drawers....

meplusfour posted 6/14/2013 14:02 PM

Ms521, that is a brilliant analogy about the lateral file cabinets. Thank you for sharing this insight. I have been struggling with this issue as well.

1Faith posted 6/14/2013 14:18 PM

You will NEVER understand. You can't. The best we can do is try but we can't fathom their thinking - their rationalization. It is like trying to understand why a suicide bomber chooses to blow themselves up.

You triggered and we have all been there. I know.

Just know that your thought process and his are different.

If he is doing the hard work toward R - try and focus on that. That is what is real and now.

You can't change the past but you can learn from it.

Are you in IC? Great question to explore here.

Sending hugs. Keep moving.

1Faith posted 6/14/2013 14:19 PM

Sorry - double post. iPad issue

[This message edited by 1Faith at 2:56 PM, June 14th (Friday)]

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