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Why take back a cheater?

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PRNDL posted 1/14/2014 12:11 PM

This question is very interesting to me because of the following:

We dont practice what we preach. If I was giving advice to someone in my same exact situation, I would tell them to leave her ass and NEVER look back.

I beleave this is due to our hearts getting in the way of our intellect.

Most of us, me included, wholeheartedly believe in the very logical "Once a cheater, always a cheater" life rule. Its a common sence rule, such as: Dont do drugs, Dont touch the oven because its hot, and so on...., yet here we are in LIMBO, in house separations, and on SI looking for advice on saving our marriages even though our marriages died long before D-day.

Whats wrong with us?? Am I wrong?

I too am guily of this. I am in limbo, missing the creature that hurt me more than anyone in the world.

Bacause of my career, I have a habit of researching things I do not understand, but not theoretical research, like what psychologists belive. I mean case studies. Nothing beats case studies. I read through hundreds of these cases. Other peoples stories and lives. People that have been through this 5, 10, even 20 years ago. How are they now????

From what I learned, the BS never truly gets over the A. The WS seem to always miss the OP, or keep seeing him. Worse yet, the BS takes a blind eye and lets the A(s) happen to keep the M alive.

Thats crap. In my next post I will paste what an unknow BS man wrote. Its long. Sorry, but its food for though. I do not want to be that guy. He essentially threw away his chance to be happy....... See next post.

[This message edited by PRNDL at 12:36 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

PRNDL posted 1/14/2014 12:14 PM

This is what he posted. I did not write this. This is not my story.

We can learn from this guy. This is not the first time I have read something like this.

Pay particular attention to the second paragraph.

"I am also a betrayed husband but I took a different route. My wife and I were teenagers when we were married and things were rocky for the first few years. At one point we separated for a couple months but decided to reconcile and try to salvage our marriage. About a month into the reconciliation my wife went on a vacation with her family - something that had been planned before we decided to get back together. I stayed home with our 5 year-old son. When she returned a week later she announced that she had met someone and that our marriage was over. She said I must pack up and leave because her new boyfriend was driving back from Vegas to move in with her. I was crushed. I decided that I would hate her forever and never have contact with her again outside of arranging to take my son for weekends & such. I knew I had to swallow the hurt and move forward with my life in order to get past the hurt. A few weeks later my wife ambushed me when I came to pick up my son for the weekend. She begged me to come home and try again. She had learned a valuable lesson and was now ready to commit to me forever. Like a fool, I relented and came home. She would not discuss her dalliances (she had a ONS with another guy) as "cheating". She viewed them as a great experience that taught her valuable lessons. And I just came home, swallowed hard and hoped that time would heal the wound. What a fool I was.

This was 30 years ago and I still hate her for what she did to me. I hate myself even more for accepting her and reconciling with her. During the past few years I told her that we either deal with what she did or I'm leaving. It's been very difficult rehashing all of it. She says she now understands how selfish and hurtful her behavior is and has expressed much remorse over both her cheating and the way she framed it for so long. The thing is, I don't believe her. I think she's just telling me whatever she thinks I want to hear because now she's old and is dependent on me for her financial life.

Reconciling with my cheating wife was the worst mistake of my life. I hate myself for making such a weak-willed decision due to the pain, shame, shock and confusion I was suffering from. I should have stayed no-contact with her for at least 3 months before making a decision. You have a chance to do what's best for YOU so take as much time as you need before you act. Finally, I warn you that you will never forget that she has had sex with another man and the images of that will haunt you for the rest of your life. It never goes away. I urge you to consider this fact when you make your final decision."

Brandon808 posted 1/14/2014 12:25 PM

The difference to me PRNDL is that BH did not R. He rugswept which is a massive difference.

I have seen many members of SI, in some cases both BS and WS posting, discuss triggers and mind movies and how they are dealt with. The key difference is healing. In that sense I would agree it is difficult to let go of the hope that it will happen. But a healthy M cannot be rebuilt without both being committed to R and the WS being truly remorseful and supporting the BS healing.
My xww could/would not admit to her cheating so we D. My two wxgf before her did not want to R. I actually did the 180 on one wxgf before I even knew what it was. It was not easy but I know that it ultimately kept me from inflicting more wounds upon myself by trying to be close to someone who was as cold and cutting as an ice dagger.

You say you are in LIMBO. How? It takes two to be in LIMBO just as much as it takes two to R because if you or her decide to D the other really can't stop it. Not really.

My xww did not want D but she could not R either so I served her with D papers.
I did look at it as seeking D as much as I no longer had a true marriage. The D was just the legal paperwork to confirm the state the marriage was in.

lostandhopless posted 1/14/2014 12:25 PM

As much as I want to R with my STBXWW, I believe this man has fallen into the category of "truer words have never been said".
Because I don't believe that she is capable of doing what I would need to R, she has too much pride to swallow it... Although I obviously have been wrong before about her, so one never knows. Until then on my way to D

[This message edited by lostandhopless at 12:28 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

steadfast1973 posted 1/14/2014 12:35 PM

I dunno, 30 years? Hell i've even forgiven my first XWH, and he never showed any remorse, and continued to punish me for two years after he left me for that bitch, who dumped him before his bags were unpacked (she wanted to hurt me).

Look, the BS, sometimes, does get over the A. Sometimes the WH hates the OW. (I can assure you my h does not miss the EAP, and certainly not the hooker...) You can't let someone else's bitterness decide for you. And holding a grudge for 30 years, that's mean spirited bitterness. He just decided to hate her forever, and he's done just that. He never committed himself to R, just staying married. There is a difference.

Razor posted 1/14/2014 12:36 PM

IMO there are just to many shades of gray when it comes to affairs and WS and BS. For any *1 size fits all* solution.

Relationships are complex things and are very dynamic. People are very dynamic. And there are lots of differences between affairs. EA. ONS. LTAs. PA only. Prostitutes. FWB. They cant all R with the same process and set of tools.

Vulcanized posted 1/14/2014 12:40 PM

I so badly wanted to R w/HX that from DD to D was close to 4 years. There was never R talk, NC less than a year after DD. I contested D for over a year. That should give you an idea how much I wanted R, even though XH was(is?) still w/OW.

Been D'd for almost a year. I am 8,000,000% ecstatic that I didn't R w/XH. I've heard some squawking about R thru the grapevine on XH's end. Nope, no way, no how. I don't care if he is in IC for the next 20 years, becomes model H, wins the Nobel, walks on the moon & cures cancer. He did it, he can't un-fuck the donkey & I can never un-know what he is capable of.

I've forgiven cheating BFs in the past. Guess what? They. All. Did. It. Again. Fuck that shit. I'd rather be alone forever than take back my XH.

cl131716 posted 1/14/2014 12:45 PM

If I was giving advice to someone in my same exact situation, I would tell them to leave her ass and NEVER look back.

Oh wowza, I find myself thinking this all of the time. Even when I re-read things I write I think what the hell are you still doing here???

Why am I still here? Honestly, because I think I am scared of being alone. I also still have a slight glimmer of hope things will get better, that HE will get better. Even though this is the second round I feel like I wasn't clear enough on boundaries so in some way it excuses the behavior. I know that is not healthy thinking. I really think I am still trying to come to terms with things and at some point I will be ready to move on. I don't know.

suckstobeme posted 1/14/2014 12:45 PM

Of course your heart gives way to intellect. If that weren't the case there really would be no need for SI, IC/MC, or self help books. It would be like we were robots who could just turn that piece of ourselves off the minute we found out.

I agree with Brandon that there is a massive difference between true R and just living with what happened. I believe that one of three things, or a combination of all will eventually occur if true R hasn't taken place 1. The WS will cheat again, 2. The BS will, many years later, realize it was a deal breaker and leave, or 3. The Bs will stay married but harbor a huge amount of resentment toward the wayward and him or herself.

I honestly can't tell you what true R feels like. I see it on here sometimes and know that it took a shit ton of work and a major emotional toll on both parties to get there. There are all kinds of reasons for trying to rebuild a marriage and I would never judge or fault someone for wanting to try.

At the same time, I personally don't know how a BS gets over it or how it leaves the bedroom. To me, it would always be there and it would always be something that would prevent me from giving my whole heart again. In the beginning, I may not have thought that if my exWH actually wanted to try to R. I do believe, however, that even if we did the work and he WS remorseful, I would have eventually ended the marriage on my own terms. I would have had to heal and regain some strength first, but knowing me, I wouldn't have stayed with him forever after that.

jackie89 posted 1/14/2014 12:47 PM

He never committed himself to R, just staying married. There is a difference.

^^^^^^ This

steadfast1973 posted 1/14/2014 13:00 PM

The sad truth is true R doesn't happen for MOST of the people in our situation. Some BS's are unable to get past the A, some WS leave for the OP, and some people stay in limbo for 30 years, just staying married.

But once a cheater always a cheater? I don't believe that. I used to use drugs, and steal and sell drugs to buy my drugs. I am not that person, now. I owned my shit, and changed it. I see that happening with my WH. He's owning his shit, and changing it.

ReunitePangea posted 1/14/2014 13:06 PM

PRNDL your post reads like you are trying to find the magical play book that will tell you exactly what you are supposed to do when you find out. It just is not that simple. BS's are different, WS's are different and the A's that happen are different. Many different combinations of all of these differences make for many possibilities.

Probably like many here I had prior opinions on what an affair was before I found about my wifes LTA. Some of those things that I thought I knew to be true about affairs have in fact been proven to not be true from my own situation and what I have learned about others.

Once a cheater, always a cheater - in some cases this may be true, in many other cases is is simply false. People can change and a WS that fully is remorseful, wants to change is fully capable of doing so.

A BS never truly gets over an A - For some BS it is a deal breaker and it may take a bit for them to see it that way. Occasionally these peole live in the M even though it is a deal breaker for reasons due to kids, finances, etc. For many BS this is simply not the case, in time they are able to process what happened to them and move on.

WS seem to always miss the OP -I am sure some WS due miss their OP, however I think is often the case for a WS that is remorseful and works on fixing their issues that they eventually grow to hate their OP.

A few mythes that I learned in my own case are the following:

The BS carrys some blame for the A - you don't have to spend much time on SI to understand how false this myth is. A's are 100% the WS fault.

Affairs only happen when there are issues in the marriage - affairs can happen in good marriages. Both my WW and I both feel that our marriage has always been good but my wife still cheated. Prior to this experience I would have never understood that to be able to happen.

Getting no contact in a long term affair will be impossible - In some long term affairs getting no contact is often much easier than a short lurveee type affair. In a LTA long gone is the strong passion for affair, what is left is simply a sick relationship with two people that really don't know how to end it. Having a BS find out and force change is what the LTA was waiting for all along to finally come to an end.

PRNDL there are many, many false myths regarding affairs. It took me a couple months after finding out to understand some of them. That is why it is often a good idea stay in limbo for a bit after first finding out. It will give you a chance to watch and observe your WS actions while getting a better understanding of the situation you are dealing with.

Unagie posted 1/14/2014 13:13 PM

As a FWS this is depressing to me. I read the original post and if I was of a weaker mindset and just starting my journey my thought would be what's the point of changing if this is all I'm ever capable of being again. I'm not sure how once a cheater always a cheater is logic or common sense. That would mean that a person has no capacity to change. If that's the case then why am I or any other FWS here? If we will always be cheaters then I should just accept this and go on my merry way knowing hey this is just who I am.

I went NC with my AP on dday. Due to him working for the same company I was forced to see him once more before I quit and he called once from a private number. Both incidences I immediately told my SO about. It has been 1 year and 4 months since last contact and I do not miss him. SO and I have since separated, and still no missing AP or breaking NC. The thought makes me sick and when I am in public in an area he might be in I damn near go into panic attacks. I saw a friend of his once and freaked out grabbing my friend's hand and dragging her down the street away from the person. How any of this means I miss or want to see AP not really sure.

I went into therapy immediately, I practically live on this site and still have trouble some days looking in the mirror. I destroyed the man I loved more then anything and I doubt I will ever forgive myself for it but I am learning to live with it. He left me, not completely for what I did but for the fact that he could not stop wanting to punish me for it. His punishment included some revenge affairs, sexual punishment, and confessions of an EA from 8 years ago. I never hated him, I was angry and hurt but I never did anything in revenge to him and I love him still. I don't know if he'll cheat again because I never saw actions changing but I know I won't. My actions have impacted the person I am and she is not a cheater, she is someone who cheated if that makes sense. I am sorry for your pain but I feel like the stories you're finding and paying attention to are those that will reinforce your belief. There are plenty of success stories right here on SI, the creators of the site being one of them. I agree witb the others as well that the story you posted was rugsweeping. The BH accepted never talking about the A's, his wife never making amends and never healed...of course resentment is going to build over the years.

steadfast1973 posted 1/14/2014 13:17 PM


nowiknow23 posted 1/14/2014 13:19 PM

((((PRNDL)))) Pain is pouring through every word of your post.

Listen - I'm the poster child for "leave his ass and NEVER look back." I was done on dday, Hefty bagged his crap, filed for D, done done done. That was the right choice for me, and I know other members have come and gone on SI who have walked that same path.

However, it's not the answer for everyone. And reconciliation CAN happen, complete with healing, moving on, and having happy, fulfilling, joyful lives with former wayward partners. I know it because I've seen it here. I've met these people in real life. I've seen the love, joy, and committment between reconciled spouses.

I have also seen people try for that without having the single most critical piece - a truly remorseful, committed, and driven WS. Without that? It will never work.

sisoon posted 1/14/2014 13:22 PM

You really need to cut back on your over-generalizations. You may understand your experience (and that's questionable this close to D-Day), but you don't understand others'. You're only one data point - not enough data on which to base a principle.

My advice - first asked for and given when I was 19 - always was for the BS to do what s/he thought was best for her/him - there's no 'one size fits all' approach to handling being a BS(O).

I never saw cheating as necessarily a deal breaker for myself or for my W. I always saw cheating as a symptom of a problem - the wrong problem, but a problem nevertheless. Fix the problem, and the M can continue, I always thought.

I never believed 'once a cheater, always a cheater'. People are complex, and people change over time. I think I learned that long before I was 19.

And once you're involved in infidelity, you have to deal with the fallout from being betrayed whether you R or D or anything else.

I know you're hurting now, and I can see you don't see a way to stay M without losing your self-respect. I guess you fear you're weak.

Be assured that if you let yourself heal, you'll find your strength. Attempting to take others down a notch doesn't help at all.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:24 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

neverdidithink posted 1/14/2014 13:26 PM

PRNDL, This is my second M and my second go-'round with infidelity in my marriage. The first time I rugswept, then eventually walked away. IMO there was nothing worth saving. Despite having 2 young kids, I knew we'd all be better off apart.

Fast forward to M#2: My H cheated. Kids are adults, we do not own property together. I'm older, wiser, financially secure, etc. I have SI!From a logistical standpoint, it would be easy to D. The big difference this time is that my WH is willing to own his actions and the associated fallout. He is working actively to make himself and our marriage better.

I may still need to walk away at some point, but as the weeks and months pass and we both put in the effort to R I'm more optomistic that we can build a strong post-A marriage where neither one of us ever feels as though we're settling.

musiclovingmom posted 1/14/2014 13:30 PM

I didn't take back a cheater. I chose to stay with a man who admitted his wrong, expressed remorse for the hurt he caused and started working immediately to help me heal and to discover and fix what was broken in him that allowed him to make those awful choices. He is not the man he was. I do not resent him for the choices he made. I respect him for the choices he is making. We are not past anything, but working through lots of things. I am not completely over his A, but at 18 months, I can honestly say that it isn't as consuming as it was. Just like the scar on my arm from a barbed wire fence, I'm sure there will be reminders of this forever. But like that scar healed and no longer hurts, I believe that already, his A's are becoming an event that happened with little or no emotional pain attached. My H does not miss any of his 5 OW. Not even a little bit. Two of them attempted contact about 6 months ago and he was beside himself with how he ever chose to have them as part of his life. My case is not the only one like mine. People change and truly heal their marriages from this. Some choose to rugsweep and stay married even through the bitterness and resentment. Some leave and create new, strong lives. Everyone has to choose what works for them. And, for the record, I don't believe that anything is wrong with someone because of the decision they make about how to proceed after an affair.

[This message edited by musiclovingmom at 1:37 PM, January 14th (Tuesday)]

roarlouder posted 1/14/2014 13:33 PM

No choice is wrong or weak. No choice comes with guarantees. For me, I decided to try R because my WS was willing to put in the work and was doing heavy examinations of the underlying reasons.

For me, it was the realization that staying together or not I needed to forgive him (for me). Divorce would be hard and painful and take work. At one time we were happy. I still loved him, all though was not "in love" right post DDay. So I chose to put the hard work and pain towards R rather than D. As long as he's keeping up his end and there's progress I will continue to.

silentscream13 posted 1/14/2014 13:36 PM

[My actions have impacted the person I am and she is not a cheater, she is someone who cheated if that makes sense.


Thank you for saying this. I think I needed to hear it today. It also reminds me of a quote I heard the other day:

"Judge the action, NOT the person."

I have always believed "Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater." I have also always said that cheating was my deal breaker. That I would never forgive it. Yet, it happened to me and here I still am. Yes, I am in limbo and I don't know if this is still my deal breaker or not.

Today it is exactly 2 months since Dday. I have just got home from my IC and then our MC. I know he is doing all the right things and is extremely remorseful, but I am terrified. I am terrified that the old saying is true.

Then I hear from WS like you. The ones who have done the work, or continue to do the work, even if the result did not turn out the way they had hoped. The ones who have shown remorse, even when it was not accepted by the betrayed. The ones who are helping me believe that I will forgive my WH, but more importantly, maybe, just maybe, that healing our M is worth the pain right now.

So, Unagie and all the WS who post on SI, thank you for showing this formerly disbelieving BS that there is hope.

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