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"I had no idea it would hurt you that bad." WS's welcome!

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naivewife posted 1/20/2014 11:33 AM

WHY NOT? I DID! I don't get this statement and I know other WS's have said it. WH said this again recently, thinking he was consoling me, that he would have never done this if he had any idea how much it would destroy me. It's one of the most painful things he says. I truly believe WH is truly remorseful, is doing everything he can to work on himself and our marriage, but this is so hurtful to me.
I told him I always knew it would hurt me this much. I would have nightmares, approximately twice a year, where WH cheated on me and I could barely speak to or look at him the next day, and would tell him how gutted I felt even though it was just a dream. So he knew how much I feared this and how badly just a dream about it affected me.
He says it's probably a combination of the fog and not realizing what he had done before it was too late, and then compartmentalizing and justifying. He says at that time he would think back to the few media portrayals he'd seen of spouses finding out their husband cheated - a few disappointed looks, a "how could you" and then a few sad walks alone out in nature and then all is forgiven. (It's true, we've all seen it!) And also that he claims that he just never thought about how much it would hurt either of us prior to the A, because he just assumed neither of us ever would.
But of course, all I can think is that he doesn't love me nearly as much as I love him. But that doesn't seem right either. I mean, it always seemed like he was truly in love with me and still does. But how can someone not KNOW that this would nearly kill their spouse? Is it a lack of empathy? But even that, I've always viewed WH as a very empathetic person. It freaks me out to think that I'm married to someone that could think for a minute that infidelity wouldn't hurt "that much." The only other thing I can think of is that his father (as we found out later) cheated on his mother, he admits to it only being once but we question if it wasn't more common than that. In his home, especially between WH and his sister, there were a lot of "Did you see dad check out that woman." "Did you see dad talking to that woman?" "Did you see the look mom just gave dad when he was dancing with that chick?" Ha ha, tee hee hee. But it's not like WH was like that AT ALL. Not a flirt or womanizer, so I assumed he took adultery more seriously than his father did.

[This message edited by naivewife at 11:41 AM, January 20th (Monday)]

silverhopes posted 1/20/2014 11:36 AM

I can see why that hurts. The *that bad* part… But he knew it would hurt you *at all*, period, so why do it in the first place?

FightingBack posted 1/20/2014 11:45 AM


I can't grasp this either. My WH has said the same thing, as well as that he "didn't consider" how I would feel because he never considered the possibility of the A being revealed. He also says he never allowed himself to "go there in his thoughts" because he didn't want to have to "do" anything about it. He claims that he didn't allow himself to even acknowledge that he was cheating on me.

Sounds bizarre, I know. My WH will even admit it is bizarre and schizophrenic in the way he compartmentalized.

I understand it intellectually, but emotionally I find it very difficult to believe.

It may have something to do with believing that we know someone very well and attributing characteristics to them ( honesty, dependability, faithfulness, morality) because we want to believe that they possess them.

The actions of someone who betrays us just don't seem to fit with the characters we have created for them.

kiki1 posted 1/20/2014 11:46 AM

I've heard the same thing and i call bullshit.

He knew it would hurt, hurt badly.

That's why affairs are kept secret.


confused615 posted 1/20/2014 11:47 AM

I remember on dday, or shortly after, FWH told me he didn't realize how much it would hurt me..which I called him out on. I, too, had dreams that he was cheating a few times a year..and we had talked about it..he may not have realized the depth of the pain he would cause..but he knew it would be devastating.

I think it's more that most of them don't think they will get caught, so taking the time to really consider how much pain they would be causing wasn't even on their radar.

Tred posted 1/20/2014 11:49 AM

Concur with Kiki. I never want to hear the words "If I knew how bad it would hurt you I never would have done this (tm)" again.

DeadMumWalking posted 1/20/2014 11:51 AM

The *that bad* part… But he knew it would hurt you *at all*, period, so why do it in the first place?

Yeah, cuz you get to decide how bad it's ok for me to hurt.


bionicgal posted 1/20/2014 12:03 PM

It is really more like:
"I had such a profound failure of empathy as a human being that I chose to ignore how devastating this would be for you so that I might behave as if my actions had no bearing on anyone else but myself."


"There was no room at the center of the universe for you. Just me."

kmom2662 posted 1/20/2014 12:14 PM

You said you wanted WS's input for this, so I'm going to try to give my perspective on it. Please don't take it as any kind of justification, I feel terrible about what I've done and the mess I've made of things; I've beem in IC and have been reading and posting here, and am trying to sort things out in my own mind.

There are two parts, I think:
First, as someone else stated, most of us WS's are masters of compartmentalization. I am so used to stuffing feelings down that it is hard for me to imagine the depths other people are capable of feeling. I hate it, wish I could change it, but I'm wired that way, at least for now. I have hopes that therapy etc. will help.

Second, the marriage before the A had problems with our attachment to each other for many years. H had FOO issues that made it neccessary for him to stay detached and not expose his feelings, even to me. I really didn't feel like I mattered enough to him for anything I did to really wound him. Now I see how wrong I was, but I didn't then. Again, please don't take as an excuse. I saw and did everything through a very damaged mindset and coping skills.

Ellejay posted 1/20/2014 12:14 PM

Of course he knew it would hurt you but the rush he felt during the A was more important than your feelings at the time. He would be better off saying "Yes, I knew it would hurt you but the need to satisfy my ego was more important. I now realize how immature I am and my biggest priority now is to grow up."

He will need to go through this justifying phase until he does grow up because he has been caught red-handed and knows there is NO excuse.

Hope this works out for you honey, take care of yourself.

Love Ellejay

SoVerySadNow posted 1/20/2014 12:23 PM

I also was never supposed to be hurt because I would never find out. He can't remember, but thinks he might have tried to sound cool to OW by saying, "What my wife doesn't know can't hurt her/me." But then other times he says that at the point of the chase/infidelity, he didn't think of me at all- poof- I didn't exist. So I have no idea how he comartmentalized.
WH also thinks he was desensitized to infidelity because he lived in a family full of adulterers. His grandmother's open mistress status was appalling to outsiders. Grandparents cheating, both parents cheating...

WH has claimed that if he had understood what the fallout would be he hopes he wouldn't have done it.
I remind him that regardless of the pain for me, what about his own sin/morality? He should have been better to his own soul too. This is why they need to go to IC or if that is impossible, they need to do some heavy self examination to become a better person for themselves too. Become a better man, or a better woman, if you will, regardless of R possibility.

Unlike your H, mine scores appalling low on the empathy test his IC gave him. But like your H, mine was aways sort of shy and not a flirt.
(t/j- other ridiculous statements have come in referencing OW: "She was on a mission!" Talk about not owning your own $#^+!)

My WH was painfully aware of his father's exploits, and and was even dragged in the family car along with his sisters while his mother collected up their wayward father from a girlfrend's house one night. He had always indicated to me that this was all so unacceptable to him. So I was shocked when WH went out of town and-bam!

None of it makes sense to us. We don't think that way.

flayed posted 1/20/2014 12:52 PM

I too feel like he should have known how this would completely devastate me. I told him how both of my parents had cheated on each other and I never wanted that to happen to us. (Because this happened growing up, and the way that my parents justified their waywardness, I grew a very firm belief in the Prevention Myth of affairs (i.e. if you make certain to meet all of your mate's physical and emotional needs, they will never stray)). I also would have nightmares about him cheating on me (3-4 times a year) and it would devastate me. I would talk to him about how painful and terrifying those dreams were. He would always comfort and reassure me that they were only dreams. Now it turns out my life is 1000% more devastating and painful than even my worst nightmare!!!! I could never have dreamed of the actual events that took place during his A!!

Scubachick posted 1/20/2014 14:32 PM

Mine said the opposite...He said he KNEW it was deal breaker in our marriage. He said his legs were shaking as he drove away from our house to meet her. And it still didn't stop him...He did it at least 4 times. He gives himself so much credit because he stopped at 4. I ask why stop at 4 and he says because he knew it was wrong. Yeah, but you said you knew it was wrong the first time but you still did it. He talks in circles!!

naivewife posted 1/20/2014 14:35 PM

He said he KNEW it was deal breaker in our marriage.

Ugh, yeah, WH has said this too. That he hit a point where he basically resigned himself to the fact that I would never take him back if/when I found out. I guess this is where the danger lies when trying to decode the WS mind. Looking for the logic in the illogical.

FeelingSoMuch posted 1/20/2014 14:37 PM

Weird. My WW said she knew it would hurt me, but that she continued because she didn't think that I would ever find out.

She said that during an MC session as though I would take some sort of comfort from it. Yeah, that's one of the stupidest things I'll ever hear in my entire life.

I guess if you're going to hurt someone and don't want to just accept that you're OK with hurting people for your pleasure any excuse will do.

dmg35 posted 1/20/2014 15:12 PM

My WW said those exact words to me "I didn't think it would hurt you this much" are you frigging kidding me. How did she think it would feel..... I never thought you would find out as she was getting ready to break it off, her EA lasted at least 6 weeks that I know of...... those words hurt deeply

steadfast1973 posted 1/20/2014 15:34 PM

My WH had compartmentalized it so much, he literally thought it wouldn't affect me at all. His "porn colored glasses" had him completely upside down. It had taken over his whole life... Every free moment was porn.

rachelc posted 1/20/2014 16:23 PM

I knew it would blow up our marriage. And it did.
It was the only thing He had ever asked of me.
Affairs are not thought through. I thought I could handle it. It turns out I actually DID have values, by the time I realized this it was too late. And it scares the crap out of me because I thought I knew myself. I did not.
There was an equal reaction to the magnitude of my betrayal. I commend those who can stop themselves from doing this.

We discussed today how big a thing it was. I tried to pick a fight to tell him how hurt I was, two years later. He didn't engage and I went to therapy.

I guess the one thing about being a MH is that you do understand the hurt. So, he did know what it felt like and did it to me. Message received loud and clear!

[This message edited by rachelc at 4:24 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

Razor posted 1/20/2014 17:38 PM

Of course our WS knew it would hurt us. Because in a nut shell.

That's why affairs are kept secret.

Scubachick posted 1/20/2014 19:07 PM

I know I had no idea it would hurt me so bad. I mean I knew it would hurt but I didn't expect it to destroy my self esteem and sense of safety like this. I thought I was stronger than I was. I had no idea how much my husband's actions could affect my self worth. My guard is up now and I'm not sure if I will be able to trust anyone like that again.

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