Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

What makes or breaks an affair?

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3

dbellanon posted 6/19/2013 19:07 PM

So, from my WW's perspective, she had an affair because she was unhappy in our marriage. Would she have had an affair with the same man if she had found our relationship more fulfilling? I have no idea. Maybe yes. Maybe no. But it seems that we can all point to things that might make someone more likely to have an affair or give in to the temptation to cheat on their spouse.

The question in my mind is, what makes the difference between someone who is having that temptation, someone who has the chance to cheat, and doesn't, and someone who does? Is it simply a matter of character? Is it that some people are just more honorable than others? Or is there more to it? I'm sure there's no simple answer, but I would like to hear people's thoughts. From BSs, from WSs, anyone.

Conflicted1 posted 6/19/2013 19:53 PM

Moral compass and honor. Sounds simple when you see it in writing but I believe it comes down to that.

catlover50 posted 6/19/2013 20:18 PM

I think that upbringing has a ton to do with it. In my family loyalty was huge. And for some reason I had a strong personal moral compass, different than my brother. (I decided I would not have sex in high school or ever do drugs and I just didn't. My brother did, but he was always faithful and loyal). I had tons of support and attention from my parents, who totally believed in me and taught me I could do anything. I was very interested in sex, but just was not interested in having it outside of a committed love relationship.

My H, on the other hand, came from a broken home with two alcoholics, parents divorced due to infidelity, father not around, mother absent, only father figure molested him from ages 8-10, older brothers routinely beat him, absolutely no one to count on or look up to, his mother dated married men and every other male around cheated. He had only himself to count on and not a single role model for healthy intimacy. Started having sex at 12 and had a string of partners.

How can I say that I am a better person because I didn't cheat? How can I know how I would have reacted under such pressure? I literally have never struggled with temptation--just don't feel it. I have also never struggled with depression, low self esteem, attachment disorders, etc.

So, clearly, I see this as complicated and try to reserve judgement when possible. However, when the chips are down and people are downright cruel I do get judgey.

wannabenormal posted 6/19/2013 20:23 PM

I think some of it is timing too. Had XH run into OW before he was 'not happy' it wouldn't have been an issue. I think he wasn't happy, met her and it just all seemed easier, more fun and plus they have so much in common.

I can't even guess now if he would have ever or never or for sure, I feel like I don't know him at all - but the timing was right for him to cheat and it wasn't because I pushed him to it or anything. he was unhappy with himself and found someone to fix it all.

LA44 posted 6/19/2013 20:36 PM

We have spoken about this dbellanon. We were both under considerable stress, our critical events timeline as per the book, After the Affair, was off the charts. I believed it was temporary and things would eventually settle down. I did practical things ie: attend a parenting program (one of our issues), or I would read, or I would talk to friends. I was still stressed never occurred to me to have an A. There was no escape altho I wanted one.

He, on the other hand, escaped. He was away from home, hotel, drinking at a conference late at night, talking to a co-worker who could drink with the boys and do the dirty talk all went downhill from there.

It's incredible to me that he even did this. He was seriously messed up. Today he says that he doesn't even recognize that person and the A "repulses" him.

Guess we all get back to reality eventually.

stunnedin12 posted 6/19/2013 21:11 PM

When it all boils down to the bare nitty-gritty..... I think it is a matter of character, honor, and decency.

betrayed5years posted 6/19/2013 21:36 PM

You pose a question without an answer to me. My WS had a great upbringing, morale code/ethics, a good 35 year marriage by his own words....and it was agreed before the affair started he would not leave me. We both have been offered affairs over the years and have shared openly with each other attraction to person of the opposite sex, but never crossed the line.

The OW was a neighbor,friend of us, co-worker and had been my ICU nurse in years before the affair. She, per WS, and she has not denied it is the one that pursued him....sexual temptation including emails, cards and etc. They discussed the game plan and rules.....and WS words now he sold his soul and all he was to have illicit sex.

He did everything he perceived as a immoral person...putting his job, his family (marriage and kids), our financial situation, his health and etc in jeopardy while lying, deceiving, disrespecting our house, his job....and on and on but refused to admit until he literally almost died and I discovered the confirmed the affair.

He loved the excitement of the chase, loved the secret life, but hated himself whiling do it, the deception, the lying to me and other friends...not enough to stop though.

He hates the shame and guilt now and loss of respect for those few that know. Loss of a good friend (OW's husband) and OW...he takes total responsibility for giving in to the temptation and the hurt/pain he has caused.

We are in R, only cause I choose so far to be here.

stillhere09 posted 6/19/2013 21:50 PM

Okay, take a person with a good solid moral compass, someone who is determined not to ever cheat on the spouse - that person is very likely to be tempted at some point in their marriage. Perhaps they will run into an ex, perhaps a coworker who really looks good will be very available and willing. Perhaps this all happens at a bad time in the marriage. A person with a strong enough moral compass will still resist the temptation.

But there are some who just don't resist. In my opinion, it is for one of two reasons: Either their moral compass is just not strong enough or they are not sure they want to stay with their spouse forever (which is also a rather weak compass), but I do think there are times when some WS's - some but not all - have decided that they might have made a mistake in the choosing of their mate. They wonder what they are missing. They wonder if they could have it better. Some may consider that it wasn't a mistake to marry their spouse, but now it may be time for a change; they're not sure. Of course, the right thing to do is to go to MC, but too many times, they don't.

It is true that a person who is honorable in other things, like honesty in finances, honesty when it comes to refusing to lie or cheat in other ways, a person of integrity, is far less likely to cheat on a spouse. There's no guarantee, but the chances are far fewer.

nuance posted 6/19/2013 22:53 PM

Character, yes. Also lack of respect for the SO.

wannabenormal posted 6/19/2013 23:01 PM

He was away from home, hotel, drinking at a conference late at night, talking to a co-worker who could drink with the boys and do the dirty talk all went downhill from there.


Before when XH traveled, he would call us (me and kids) and LAUGH at 'those people' that acted like they were on Spring Break. Then he turned into one of them.

You know what? I sort of 'get it'. I wasn't 'fun, sexy or exciting'. I was taking care of kids, house and cleaning up catshit. I get where the 'fun peeps' were simply more fun.

But I still would have never stooped like he did.

Rise And Shine posted 6/19/2013 23:07 PM

Is it simply a matter of character? Is it that some people are just more honorable than others?


Or is there more to it?

No. Not really.

ChesterChump posted 6/20/2013 01:07 AM

catlover50, with the exceptions of only having one alcoholic parent and no molestation (although plenty of other physical) your WH's childhood sounds just like mine. I was rightfully unhappy with my marriage and I never once thought about having an affair even though I probably had plenty of opportunities. My WW, who also claims to have been unhappy and had a much happier childhood, didn't hesitate to.

OnAnIsland posted 6/20/2013 01:33 AM

Broken people- lots of different forms and shapes, but broken people have affairs. Because they don't have healthier coping mechanisms, because they deserve this escape, because they want to, because their spouse or partner isn't paying enough attention to them. Because married and family life are hard work that they didn't count on.

stronger08 posted 6/20/2013 01:58 AM

A mind filled with fantasy makes it. A mind filled with reality breaks it.

refuz2bavictim posted 6/20/2013 06:15 AM

Don't you have to have some degree of willingness at the outset, to even be tempted? Wouldn't you "want" something from the whole thing? Validation, ego boost, sex, attention, whatever the payoff may be? I believe the ultimate decision to engage comes down to selfishness, but I'm not sure how simple it is. Why is one person primed for an A when another in the same situation is not?

The temptation part, where someone has to "resist" an affair, is unacceptable to me. If they have to resist's because they want it, and I surely don't want to waste my time with someone who has this idea that being with me, causes them to miss out on something else.

It's kind of hard to tempt someone with Chocolate if they don't like chocolate. Dangling it in front of them, isn't going to make that person suddenly like chocolate.

(and for the record...I like chocolate and would selfishly take the chocolate)

Opportunities have presented themselves over the years, and I did not feel the least bit tempted. I am certain that it is NOT because I have some extra special code of higher moral character. I haven't the slightest interest in other men, and I think it's because I am lazy, and I don't *want* the hassle or the junk. The payoff isn't there for me.

catlover50 posted 6/20/2013 07:35 AM

Well, I guess it comes down to why do some people have the willpower or moral code and others don't? Just as science is starting to show that being overweight is not just simply a matter of lack of willpower, I suspect there is more to it with infidelity too. Or how some people get caught up in a gang, for example.

I have no trouble getting up in the morning to exercise, but I just can't do it at night after work. Other people can't drag themselves out of bed, but can stop at the gym after work. We are wired differently. And saying selfish, bad character, IMHO, is too simplistic. Just like that kid who joined the gang; what were the influences at play?

I'm not trying to not hold waywards responsible for their actions in any way; we all know right from wrong. I just think that the motivations, etc are more complicated.

Razor posted 6/20/2013 08:55 AM

Can get away with it.

In my book thats all it takes.

All the M problems are just pig shit. Excuses and justifications.

There is a point though where many would turn back. A decision point. I like to call it the *get naked moment*. Where things have gone to a point where the deed is the next step.

At that time our morality should be screaming at us. That voice in our head telling us right from wrong is yelling dont do this. I think this is where justification comes in. The morality is shoved aside by the justification of *I deserve this because..*

daledge posted 6/20/2013 09:13 AM

Yes - where was that voice in their head screaming: "This is wrong?" !!!!!

And Damn - who hasn't been tempted??? Not just by sex, by anything? Another potato chip, a piece of chocolate? An unattended purse? A mean joke at someone else's expense? There are millions of temptations all around us.

All I see is a weak character.
A selfishness, a sense of entitlement, and a "I'll deal with it later" attitude if they get caught.

I hope they all burn in hell.
Wish I could watch.

hopefullromantic posted 6/20/2013 09:13 AM

Many years ago I found myself on that slippery slope. I was very happy with my marriage but found myself increasingly attracted to a man who was clearly attracted to me.

I talked with my H about it. And I prayed. A lot. An A did not happen, although it could be argued I was in the beginning of an EA that was curtailed.

My H and I both have a strong moral compass. He has great integrity, or so I thought. The difference, I think was that I communicated to my H, and others, while my H did not. Not only did he not tell me of his temptation, but when I had told him of mine he really didn't want to talk about it much. And later, when I brought it up again he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about!

My H denies his feelings. When really bad things happen, he does not talk about them. He avoids and denies. That is the difference between us.

AFrayedKnot posted 6/20/2013 09:19 AM

The internal battle between instant gratification and delayed gratification.

Is the pride and esteem I feel from doing the right thing worth missing out on that rush that the wrong thing can provide?

Is that rush worth abandoning myself and others?

It is a deep internal subconscious battle. So many factors play a role: FOO, habit, perception of reality, perceived self worth and on and on.

But all if those factors are inside the WS. It is not the state of the M but the perceived state if the M

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy